Tag Archives: chutney

Brown Rice Buttermilk Pancakes (Challa Attulu)

Dosas are an extremely popular south Indian fare. Varieties abound: made from scratch to instant. Each distinctive, filled with different blend of flavors, spices, nutritional value and taste.

The most common is the plain dosa made from a batter of white rice and urad dal (split de-husked black gram).You can check out a healthier alternative to it made with brown rice instead here.

Utilizing a mix of some rarely used grains such as ragi and other healthy ingredients such as oats, soya and rice flour , all soaked in yogurt produces  some delicious Ragi dosas.

Uttapam is a kind of thicker dosa made from idli batter. A healthier version of this can be made with idli batter made from  brown rice and urad dal. See my brown rice Uttapam recipe here.

Following my exploration with brown rice, here is the 4th dosa variety in the series.

2 cups brown rice
1 cup pressed rice (poha)
1-2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 cups buttermilk
salt to taste

Soak all ingredients in buttermilk for 6-8 hours. Blend in a grinder until smooth batter forms of the consistency sufficient to make dosas. Not as thick as idli but similar to making pancakes. Add salt to taste and mix well. Cover and set aside for 10-12 hours.

To make the dosa, heat a flat pan or griddle on medium flame. Add some oil to grease the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of batter. Do not spread with spoon, but lightly tilt pan to evenly layout the batter in a circle. Add more oil as necessary and cook until it is golden.

Once one side is cooked, flip with a laddle and cook the other side. Add oil as necessary. It might be little sticky when you flip but don’t worry about it. Usually once it is fully golden it should be easy to flip it.

Serve hot with chutney. You can use peanut or coconut chutney. But my favorite is this south Indian gem. Since no south Indian home is devoid of mango pickle (magayi). This is a fairyly easy and quick way to make a chutney for dosas.

Chutney Ingredients:
1 cup Magayi
1-2 jalapenos
some cilantro
1 cup yogurt (use more if necessary)
1/2 chopped onion (optional)

Blend magayi with cilantro and jalapeno. Transfer to a bowl. Add yogurt and onion and mix well before serving with dosa. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Tasty! Next time I think I will use brown pressed rice if I can find it.

Don’t throw that skin away

There are some vegetables out there that are refreshing, tasty and exude flavors both inside and outside. You peel and chop them, toss them in your cooking and the final product smells and tastes delicious. The vegetable stands out among the rest of the ingredients. You bite into it and you feel the warmth of it.

While there are many such vegetables, the one I am talking about here is bottle gourd (aka long melon or oko squash). It is a versatile vegetable, one that has many uses in cooking. Boil, season and sprinkle some coconut or sesame powder or mustard powder. Cook in milk with some sugar and season. Toss in dal or cook in curd or green leafy vegetable or make sweet curry like stew with mixed vegetables and many more.

Growing up I watched my mother do this often. It’s interesting how it all comes back to you when you start to cook. Most of my South Indian cooking is based on what I watched my mother do. So patiently peeling this, chopping that and especially the laborious task of chopping and making pickles, plucking leaves from stalks of sorrel leaves and so much more. All that seemed so cumbersome and difficult then. But the end product always delicious. Cooking was a labor of love for my mother. But most of her recipes are etched in her brain. Now I cling to those  memories of when I watched her cook, as I try to cook as close to the tastes and flavors I can remember.

Each time I cook bottle gourd I end up making three different dishes. I peel and chop the bottle gourd into 1-2in squares and toss them into samhbhar, sweet pulusu (curry like stew) or challa pulusu (yogurt based stew). I chop it into smaller pieces and cook with yellow gram (pesara pappu) or with coconut or sesame. And those nice, green skin that I peel? Well don’t throw them out yet.  I wash and dry them out in paper towels and make chutney with it.  Here’s how I make mine based on the recollection I have of how my mother makes it:

Peel of 1 bottle gourd
1 tsp tamarind paste
a little jaggery or sugar
salt to taste
1 jalapeno (optional)

4-6 red chili
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black gram (urad dal)
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Heat one table spoon oil in a pan and fry the seasoning ingredients till lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add more oil. Add the peeled bottle gourd skin and salt and fry in medium low flame till cooked and turns slightly brownish. Remove from pan and transfer to a blender. Add the fried whole red chilli, tamarind and jaggery. Add jalapeno and cilantro and blend with a little water to a smooth paste.

Transfer from blender to a bowl and mix the rest of the seasoning ingredients. Stays upto a week or 10 days in the refrigerator. Can be used as side with Roti or eaten with rice.

Brown Rice Uttapam with Cabbage

When I visited my friend Anu in Chicago last time, she made this for breakfast. Seeing her toss cabbage into batter and make uttapams I was surprised. “Really, cabbage in uttapam?” I asked her. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that. But it was excellent! Especially with the simple, fast chutney she made. Roasted peanuts, garlic, whole red chilli and tamarind ground with some water. No seasoning. No need to turn on the stove. That too was tasty and excellent.

Cabbage is such a bland vegetable that I am always at a loss on how best to create something exciting with it. The one or two recipes I commonly use cabbage in long exhausted, these days I rarely buy cabbage when I go grocery shopping. So it was a pleasant change to find a refreshing new use for cabbage.

Continuing my resolve for healthy eating and fitness (see Spinach on my mind), I decided to make brown rice uttapam for brunch for the weekend. To see the recipe for making the batter see my posting on brown rice idli here. Uttapam is a traditional South Indian breakfast and different people use different batter and ingredients in different ratios. I have evolved my recipe based on what works for my palate. For the traditional recipe I use to make idli/uttapam batter check here.

To make batter from scratch requires planning and preparation. Rice and dal need to be soaked at least for 8 hrs before blending into almost smooth batter. Then another 8-12 hrs or longer for proper fermentation. But once that is done, you can use the batter to make different dishes. The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Here is the chutney recipe I used. Since I was short on peanuts, I ended up using 1/2 cup peanuts with some coconut and roasted dal. You can never go wrong with these ingredients. It was scrumptious!

1 cup roasted peanuts
5-6 dry red chilli
2-3 garlic cloves
some tamarind paste or fresh
cliantro (optional)
1 green jalapeno (optional)
salt to taste

Toss all in a blender and add some water and blend to a smooth paste. Alternately you can also add coconut, roasted sesame seeds, cashews, and/or roasted dal. Any combination of these can also be used. Always adjust spices and salt for personal preference.

Brown Rice Dosa

Same Ingredients Tossed Differently

Dosa is another traditional south Indian breakfast item, eaten with chutney, sambhar and potato curry. There are many variations to dosa such as plain, masala, andhra masala, mysore masala, rava and so on. Plain dosa is made from a batter of black gram  and rice similar to the idli batter but ratio of ingredients is slightly different as well as the consistency of the batter is different. Dosa looks similar to a crispy crepe.

1 cup urad dal (de-husked and split black gram)
2 cups rice (I used brown rice this time)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
handful of beaten rice (optional)
Salt to taste.

Soak rice and dal in separate bowls for 8 hours. If using fenugreek and/or beaten rice they can be soaked with the rice. Grind together all ingredients into a smooth batter. Add salt and mix well. Set aside for 6-8 hrs to allow fermentation.

When ready to eat, heat a flat pan on the stove top. Grease the pan with some oil evenly. Thin the batter using additional water so as to be able to spoon in a thin layer of batter on the greased pan. Add 1 tbsp oil around the edges. Cook on medium flame till it turns lightly golden and starts to peel off the pan.

Traditionally masala dosa is fried only one side provided it is paper thin, masala powder or paste is coated on the uncooked side and topped with potato curry, folded over like a taco and served with hot sambhar and chutneys (tomato, mint, or coconut).

For plain dosa or when making thicker dosas or uneven dosas it is necessary to flip and cook both sides. Enjoy with a hot cup of fresh brewed South Indian coffee!

Gongura Pachhadi (Red Sorrel Leaves Chutney)

Recently tasted this new version of Gongura Pachhadi and enjoyed it immensely. I am normally used to the spicy version that my mom makes so it was a pleasant change to try a whole new sweet-sour version of the chutney.

Gongura (or red sorrel leaves) are an integral part of South Indian cooking. A little hard to find in some parts of the US but available in abundance in areas of high density Indian population. The leaves have a tart taste and go well when cooked with lentils. Pickled gongurra is especially a favorite in South India.

In the absence of the original recipe, this is how I made it based on the taste.

1 bunch of gongurra
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
1 small cube of jaggary
3-4 tbsp of oil
salt to taste

1 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
a tsp of white gram (urad dal)

Separate the leaves from the stalk, wash and layout to dry on paper towels. Once dry fry in a medium low flame in a pan with the oil for 20-30 minutes. Grate the jaggary and add to the pan and continue cooking on medium low till the leaves are slightly crisp. Add salt and red chilli powder and leave for a few more minutes.

In a separate pan, fry the seasioning in a tbsp of oil till lightly brown and add to the fried gongura.

Enjoy with some hot rice!

Variation on the theme of Red Pepper Chutney (Pacchudi)

3 red bell pepper chopped
1 small tomato chopped
1/2 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger
3 green chillies
Small Bunch of coriander leaves (1/3 of the whole bunch that is sold in market)
1-2 tbsp oil
2 tsp Urad dal
1tsp mustard seeds
6 red chilli
Pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add red bell pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, and green chilli with some turmeric, asafoetida and salt. Close the lid and cook till 3/4 water evaporates. Stir as necessary. Remove lid and continue to cook till all the water evaporates.  Add some tamarind paste.

In a small pan, fry the urad dal in a little oil. Set aside. In the remaining oil, fry mustard  seeds and red chilli.

Grind half the dal and the red chilli. Add the cooked red pepper mixture and grind to paste.

Garnish with the remaining fried dal and mustard seeds.

Recipe by Mani Lanka.

You can see my version of the recipe here.

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Red Bell Pepper Dip/Chutney


3 large red bell pepper
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
1 tsp fenugreek powder (roasted and ground)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
salt to taste

In a pan heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil with some turmeric and asafoetida powder.  Meanwhile chop the red bell pepper into 1 inch pieces. Add red bell pepper to the oil in the pan and continue frying on a low flame. Add a tbsp of tamrind paste or fresh seedless soft tamarind. Continue cooking until the moisture in the pan evaporates. Remove from flame and cool.

Blend the fried red bell pepper with the tamarind in a food processor.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and the paprika or chilli powder and fry until lightly brown. Combine with the processed red bell pepper. Roast a tsp of fenugreek seeds and grind to a powder. Add to the red bell pepper paste. Add salt to taste.

Use as dip or with Roti and yogurt for a delicious meal. Refrigerate left over chutney.