Category Archives: South Indian

Fenugreek Leaves (Methi) cooked two ways

I love all green leaf vegetables. There is always kale and spinach in my fridge at the minimum. Or other greens such as chard greens, mustard greens, collard greens, amaranth leaves, and red sorrel leaves.

But fenugreek leaves is a whole different story.

While I admired the patience with which my mother extracted, cleaned, chopped and used them in cooking and enjoyed the end product, I am lazy when it comes to following the arduous process involved!

I rarely buy fenugreek leaves, but on a rare occasion I do commit and often regret, which was the case this past week. Good news is, these days you can buy fenugreek leaves in the frozen section of an Indian grocery.

The most common recipe that we used to make at home was to cook fenugreek leaves with toor dal (pigeon gram). I scoured the web for other ideas and finally decided to also try a curry recipe with it.

Here’s how I used my bunch of fenugreek leaves.

Peas, Methi Malai (Creamy Peas & Fenugreek Leaves Curry)

3/4 bunch of fenugreek leaves, extracted, rinsed and chopped
1 cup frozen peas, washed
1 small onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
small piece of ginger, chopped
2 Roma tomaotes, blended
3-4 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1-2 tsp oil
dash of tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Extract, rinse, chop and set aside the fenugreek leaves.

Heat oil in a pan. Add tumeric and cumin seeds and fry till lightly brown.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry till lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add peas, and fenugreek leaves and continue flying for another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and spices as desired.

Add milk, sour cream and a cup of water. Bring to boil, and reduce flame and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes until the curry thickens. This is very lightly seasoned, always adjust seasoning to personal preference. You can also add paneer if desired.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan, roti or a bowl of rice.

Methi dal

 

I previously posted the recipe for Methi dal and you find the recipe for Methi dal here.

Note: Fenugreek leaves have a very strong flavor, and unlike other greens, using a whole lot of them in dal can make it bitter. I usually like to err on the lighter side and use less rather than more!

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Quick Lunch Series: Quinoa Bisibele Bath

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while, and finally cooked it this weekend. It is perfect for an office day meal. I do love one pot meals!

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I swapped in  Quinoa, instead of rice, as has been the norm lately in my routine.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup white Quinoa
1/3 cup Toor dal (Pigeon Pea)
1 small white or yellow onion cut into 1in pieces
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 Chayote squash, peeled and cut into 1in pieces (typically bottle guard is used, but I often substitute with Chayote Squash)
1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
2/3 rd cup tamarind juice
1.5 cups water
1 tsp oil
a dash of turmeric
a dash of asaphoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dry red chillies
2-3 tsp Bisibele powder, I typically use the MTR variety
2-3 tbsp fresh (or dry) grated coconut
a few curry leaves
cilantro to garnish
coconut slices to garnish
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp ghee (optional)

I like to use a pressure pan to cook this. Heat oil in the pressure pan, add turmeric, asaphoetida, cumin, mustard and dry red chillies and fry for a minute till lightly brown. Add onions, jalapeno,  curry leaves and squash and fry lightly. Add tomatoes and mix well.

Rinse and add Quinoa and toor dal and mix well. Add bisibele bath powder, salt and coconut powder and mix well. Add water and tamarind juice and mix well. Close pressure cooker lid and let simmer on medium low for 2-3 whistles. What makes this dish especially yummy is to add 2-3 tbsp of ghee!

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Let cool, before opening the pressure pan. Garnish with cilantro and coconut slices and serve warm.

Makes 3 servings.

Bulgur Wheat Upma

I thought I will finish the list and add the Bulgur wheat upma as well. I decided to measure carefully and make this following the 21-day fix container method.

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 shallot, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine or grated
1 small potato, chopped
8-10 mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 small jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp oil
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
8 cashews
a few curry leaves

In a small pan heat oil. Add cashews, dals, mustard seeds and let cook for a minute until lightly browned. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add onions and potatoes and continue frying for 1-2 minutes.

Add carrots and tomatoes and mix well and continue frying for another minute. Add 1.5 cups water and salt to taste and bring to boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables soften.

Add bulgur wheat and mix well. Continue cooking until cooked and all the moisture evaporates.  I like to increase the flame to medium heat, add a little ghee and cook for a minute or two to let the bottom brown a little.  That’s the tasty part 🙂

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Serve warm. Makes 1 serving.

I am not a 21-day fix expert, but I count this as 2 Greens, 1 Yellow,  1 Blue  and 1 tsp.

See Also:

Amaranth Upma
Millet & Beets Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Pearl Tapioca Upma
Red Rice Poha Upma
Quinoa Upma
Upma & Pesarattu

Amaranth Grain Uttapam

I thought I was done with trying new recipes for 2015, and I was wrong. Here’s another keeper recipe.

I wasn’t really sure how this would turn out. I had a lot of Amaranth grain and since making the upma sometime back, I haven’t really tried anything else. On a whim, I soaked it overnight along with urad dal and decided to give it a go. And it was all good!

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Amaranth grain is actually a seed, quite minuscule in size and interestingly enough it doesn’t grow in size much when cooked or soaked in water and might be difficult to determine if it is cooked. It has nutty flavor, and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

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Ingredients:

1 cup amaranth grain
1 cup urad dal
salt to taste

Soak the urad dal and amaranth grain in water in two separate bowls overnight or for 8-10 hours.

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Rinse and blend the urad dal with some water to make a thick batter. Rinse and add the amaranth grain to the blender and continue blending to make smooth batter. Season with salt.

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To make uttapam, scoop 4-5 tablespoons of the batter into a separate bowl. Add in your favorite vegetables and mix well. My favorite combination is peas, kale and sliced mini-heirloom tomatoes.

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Heat a flat pan on the stove. Add 1-2 tbsp of oil and grease it generously. Pour in the batter and spread evenly into a circle. Cover with a lid and cook on medium low until lightly browned. Flip and cook on the other side.

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Serve warm with chutney.

See Also:

Spicy Kale and Pea Uttapam
Brussels Sprouts Uttapam
Cabbage Uttapam
Brown Rice and Whole Black Gram Uttapam
Sweet and Sour Ginger Pickle
Tomato chutney

Best of 2015

I had a lot of fun in 2015 trying new recipes from around the world. There are many keepers in the list that i cooked over and over again, and I expect, will continue to do so.

Here are some of my most favorite recipes…

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APPETIZERS & SNACKS

Baked Bajji

Baked Vada

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GRAINS:

Quinoa Dosa

One-pot Mexican Quinoa

Mango Poha

Quinoa Vangi Bath

Cranberry Poha

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BEANS & LENTILS

Cauliflower, Kale, Chickpea  Curry Pot

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens with Navrattan Spices

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JAMS & JELLIES

Anise Flavored Kumquat Marmalade

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DIPS & SAUCES

Sun-dried Tomato and Jalapeno Hummus

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WRAPS & SANDWICHES

Edamame and Zucchini Wraps

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CASSEROLE

Zucchini and Yellow Tomato Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

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DESSERTS

Pumpkin Payasam

Cherry Swirl with Dark Chocolate & Cherry Bits

Baklava

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BREADS, COOKIES & CAKES

Farro and Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia

Cherry and Cardamon Cake

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Airplane Cookies

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JUICES & SMOOTHIES

Watermelon Cooler

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CURRIES & MORE

Tomato in Yogurt Sauce

Eggplant Curry with Onion

CherrySalad

SALADS

Cherry and Avocado Salad

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SIDES

Honey and Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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SOUPS

Vibrant Beets Soup

Mediterranean Grain Soup

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WHAT’S POPULAR WITH YOU?

Amaranth Upma

Amaranth Dosa

Spicy Chickpea and Brussels Sprouts Soup

Valor Papdi Bean

Baked Bajji

Edamame and Zucchini Wraps

Quinoa Upma

Mango Carrot Muffins

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Cranberry Poha

Revamping an old recipe with new ingredients

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Ingredients:

1 cup poha
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 small potato cut into small pieces
1 jalapeno sliced
1-2 tsp oil
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dry red chilli
1/2 cup cranberries
a handful of cashews or peanuts
few curry leaves
salt to taste

In a pan, heat the oil. Add channa dal, urad dal, red chilli,  cashews or peanuts (or both), and mustard seeds and fry till lightly golden. Add curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for a few seconds. Add onion, and potato and fry on medium low mixing as necessary to prevent sticking, until onion are translucent and golden and potatoes crispy. Rinse and process the cranberries in a food processor until chopped fine. Add to the pan and fry for a few seconds.

Meanwhile rinse poha in some cold water. Don’t leave it in too long, or it will get soft and mushy. Rinse, and squeeze out the water and add to the pan above. Mix well. Season with salt and leave for 1-2 minutes.

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Serve warm with a cup of tea.

Baked Garelu or Plain Vada

I typically shied away from making vada, since it is a deep fried dish. While I was happy to eat it while my mother or other family member created it, I personally have never made this dish. That is until recently.

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After the success of baking masala vada, I have tried to recreate the plain vada with no success, until today. It can’t be re-created similarly. I ended up using a muffin tin, but if you have a donut tin that will do perfectly since Garellu are made with a hole in the center!

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Ingredients:

1 cup urad dal
Salt to taste
Oil

Soak the urad dal in water for 5-6 hours. Rinse and blend in a blender till smooth with some water to make thick batter, similar to what is needed to make idlis.  Season with salt and set aside to ferment,

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

When ready to make vada’s, generously grease a muffin tin with oil, adding 1/2 – 1 tsp oil and add 1-2 tbsp of batter  to each muffin cup.

Bake 35-45 minutes till golden.

Serve warm with some sweet and sour ginger chutney.

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