Tag Archives: south indian

Pumpkin Payasam

A few weeks ago, I bought a small pumpkin to make creme brulee’. But I kept putting it off since I had to use cream. I thought maybe I would make Pumpkin Tapioca instead. From that sprung the idea of payasam. Here’s how I made it.

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Ingredients:

4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup tapioca
1/4 cup vermicelli
1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
1 tsp butter
2-3 tbsp cashews
2-3 tbsp golden raisins

Dry roast the vermicelli for 4-5 minutes till lightly golden.

In a large pot, bring the milk to boil. Add sugar, tapioca and and roasted vermicelli and continue to cook.

Meanwhile peel and chop pumpkin. Add some water to a pan and cook the pumpkin till it softens. Mash to paste with spatula or put it through a blender. Add to the milk and mix well. Continue cooking for a few minutes and remove from flame.

In a separate pan, add a tsp of butter and fry cashews and raisins and add to the payasam. Serve warm as dessert after lunch or dinner.

 

Amaranth leaves cooked two ways

Like most green leafy vegetables, Amaranth leaves are rich in vitamins (A & C) and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and folate. They can be commonly found in tropical and warm temperate regions of the world and go by different names depending on region. In Andhra Pradesh  they are commonly known as Thotakura. Unlike Red Sorrel (Gongura) leaves, Amaranth leaves don’t have a tart flavor.  We most commonly made dal or pulusu (a tangy stew with tamarind juice).

al3Ingredients:

For the dal:
1/2 bunch amaranth leaves
1 cup toor dal (pigeon peas)
2-3 tbsp tamerind juice
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced (if large)
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chili
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
cilantro to garnish

al2Stew Ingredients:
1/2 bunch amaranth leaves
1/2 small bottle gourd peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
a few curry leaves
1 tbsp sesame seeds (or powder)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp rice flour
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chili
1tsp urad dal
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida

To make the dal, cook toor dal with two cups of water in a bowl stove top or typically I cook mine in a pressure cooker.  Add half chopped amaranth leaves to a large pan, add some water and cook on medium for about 10 minutes, until the leaves wilt and cook. Lightly mash the cooked toor dal with a spatula and add to the bowl containing the amaranth leaves. Add 2-3 tbsp tamarind juice, salt and chili powder  and mix well. Reduce flame and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan heat oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, mustard and cumin seeds, red chilies, and sliced garlic and fry till lightly golden. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and continue frying for another 3-4 minutes.

al1JPGTransfer to the dal bowl. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

To make the stew, cook amaranth leaves and chopped bottle gourd with some water in a bowl, until cooked. About 10-15 minutes. Add about 1 cup tamarind juice and mix well. Add salt and red chili powder and mix well. Let simmer on medium low for about 15-20 minutes. In a small bowl  mix 2 tsp rice flour with some water and transfer the mix to the stew. This helps coagulate the stew. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan. Add tumeric, asafoetida, sliced garlic, cumin and mustard seeds, urad dal and red chilies and fry till lightly golden. Add sliced jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the stew bowl and mix well.

al4Lightly toast sesame seeds till lightly golden. Grind to powder and add to the stew. Can used mustard powder instead of sesame. Mix well, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice. We typically ate the stew with some snake gourd cooked with moong dal  or bottle gourd cooked with toor dal or pumpkin and chana dal or something similar.

 

 

Snake gourd and moong dal

Whenever, my mother made a stew, such as Spinach and yogurt stew,  or sweet and sour Pumpkin stew, or tangy Red Sorrel leaves stew or Amaranth leaves stew, my mother always cooked a dal based curry such as pumpkin and channa dal curry, bottle gourd and toor dal curry  or some such similar recipe.

sncIngredients:

1 snake gourd
1/2 cup moong dal
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp channa dal
1-2 red chilies
salt to taste
a touch turmeric
a touch of asafoetida
1 jalapeno chopped
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro

Bring about 1 to 1 11/2 cups of water to boil. Add moong dal and chopped snake gourd. Reduce flame to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked and all the water evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, red chilies, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chana dal and fry till lightly golden. Add chopped jalapeno and curry leaves and continue frying for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the cooked snake gourd  and moong dal bowl. Mix well. Season with salt. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice and tangy stew.

snc2We typically ate with some sweet and sour mixed vegetable stew or tangy amaranth (or red sorrel) stew or spinach and yogurt stew.

Roasted Snake Gourd with Coconut and Sesame

You can find snake gourd, fresh, during summer months, in your local Asian grocery or frozen in any Indian grocery, year round. While there are many ways to cook it, we usually cooked it with coconut and sesame, yellow split pea or with yogurt.

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I’ve roasted Ivy gourd and Okra quite successfully in the past, so why not Snake Gourd?

Ingredients

2-3 snake gourd
1-2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
Red chili powder as preferred
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut
1-2 tbsp sesame powder
a few curry leaves
a little chopped cilantro to garnish

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Slice the snake gourd into thin rings and transfer to an oven safe dish. Toss with olive oil, salt and chili powder.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a pan till lightly golden. Process in a food processor or blender or coffee grinder till processed into powder.

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Bake sliced snake gourd rings for 30 minutes. Add curry leaves, shredded coconut and  ground sesame powder. Toss and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

sg2Enjoy with some rice or roti.

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Red Rice Poha Upma

Lately, I have been on the lookout for brown rice poha (flattened rice). Although I haven’t found brown rice poha, I did come across some Organic red rice poha.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup poha
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 small potato cut into small pieces
1 jalapeno sliced
1 carrot grated
1-2 tsp oil
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
a handful of cashews or peanuts
few curry leaves
salt to taste

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In a pan, heat the oil. Add channa dal, urad dal, 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, potato and carrot and fry on medium low mixing as necessary to prevent sticking, until onion are translucent and golden and potatoes crispy.

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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. Can drizzle some lemon juice if desired.

poha3Serve warm with some tea, coffee or juice!

See Also:

Pearl Tapoica Upma
Quino Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Amaranth Upma
Upma & Pessarattu

Thai Baby Green Eggplant

You can cook them stuffed or quartered. Either way they are delicious. You can bake them for a healthier version or cook them stove top.

Either way they are delicious!

greenthaieggplantIngredients:

8-10 baby Thai baby green eggplant
1/2 bunch cilantro
2-3 long jalapeno peppers
1 inch ginger
1-2 tbsp oil
a dash of turmeric
salt to taste

Wash and trim the stems of the baby green eggplant. Quarter them or slice them 3/4 of the way.

Rinse and process in a food chopper: cilantro, long green jalapeno pepper and ginger.

Meanwhile, place a pan on the stove top. Add oil, turmeric and asafoetida. Top each sliced baby eggplant with a tsp of the green cilantro, jalapeno and ginger mix and add to the pan. Add salt and fry on medium low, mixing as needed to prevent burning. Cover with lid, occasionally stirring as needed.  Once the eggplant are cooked and lightly brown, add any left over cilantro-jalapeno mix. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, mixing as needed.

Serve warm with rice or roti.

Quick Lunch Series: Mango Pullihora with Quinoa

Traditionally Pullihora (or yellow rice) is made with rice, the yellow color stemming from the fragrant turmeric powder that is used in abundance to give the rice the distinctive yellow color. The three key ingredients are the rice, turmeric and either citrus juice from a lemon or tamarind juice to give it a tangy flavor. Seasonings tend to vary by personal preference. Variations of this dish can be made by  substituting the lemon or tamarind juice with Indian grapefruit juice, mango juice, pulp or shredded mango, or any citrus fruit juice that is not sweet. Rice can be substituted with poha (flattened rice) or rice rava etc. Here is a healthy variation using Quinoa.

mq6Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1 green mango

Seasoning
1/4 cup chopped cashews (can also use peanuts)
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 dry red chillies
1-2 tbsp oil
dash of asafoetida
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro to garnish
salt to taste

MQ1Rinse and cook the quinoa per directions. Set aside.

Heat a pan with the oil. Add all seasoning ingredients except jalapeno, curry leaves and cilantro. Fry till lightly golden. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for a minute or two. Transfer to a large bowl.

mq2Meanwhile peal and cut the mango into 1in cubes, discarding the seed or hard shell in the core. Process in a food processor to reduce to a pulp or small shredded pieces.

mq3Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and transfer to the bowl. Add the mango pulp. Mix well. Add salt to taste and garnish with cilantro.

mq4Perfect for an office day meal or as a side. Can be prepared the previous night. Makes about 2-3 servings.

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