Category Archives: Rasams, Sambars, Kuzhambus, Koottus

Mango Daal

With the Summer heat on in full blast (wish there was a switch to turn it off, or atleast lower it), the only thing I look forward to is the deluge of Mangoes! Turn left, turn right, turn anywhere and all you see are those beckoning bright hues of yellow. It only tempts you to buy more n more mangoes during every visit to the sabzi mandi, and I give in to my weakness, end up stocking different varieties of the ‘King of fruits’ by the dozen, and snack on a mango every now and then, whenever I’m home! ;) And just as much as I binge on the fruit, I also love the tangy, tongue-tickling taste of raw mangoes. I love eating raw mangoes with a salt-chilly powder mixture; aaah even the thought of it is making my mouth water now…slurrrrp! Want to know how raw mangoes benefit you in summer? Lookie here. Like I’ve said before, it is believed that raw mango in any form, helps combat the heat. So here I come Mr. Sun, with my spear and armour, and my mangoes, all ready to fight your blistering heat…stop scorching us!

Ingredients:

  • Raw Mango – 1 no (I used the ‘Thothapuri’ variety, but anything will do)
  • Daal (Tur/Masoor) – 1 cup (I used Masoor, for a change)
  • Jaggery – 1/4 cup (pound into small chunks)
  • Green Chillies – 4 nos (vertically slit)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a fistful, finely chopped
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee/Oil (for tempering) – 1 tsp
  • Water – as required

Procedure:

  • Peel the skin off the mango and cut the pulp into thin slices, about 1″ wide/long.
  • Pressure cook along with the jaggery and 2 green chillies (slit).
  • Also, pressure cook the daal along with turmeric, in a separate vessel. Ensure both daal and mango are well-cooked (they should be easily mashable between your thumb and index finger).
  • In a wok, heat the ghee/oil. Add asafoetida and pop the mustard seeds.
  • Throw in the green chillies.
  • Now add the cooked daal and cook for a minute.
  • Next, mix the mango-jaggery-chilli mixture well using a spoon (don’t mash, just mix), and add to the wok.
  • Add water if required, to get the desired consistency.
  • Add salt to taste and let the daal cook on a low/medium flame for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from flame, garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro and serve hot with rice…finger-licking good!

This daal has the perfect mingling of sweet, sour and spicy. Try it…I’m positive you’ll love it!

Watermelon-rind Mozhagoottal

Summer’s here and most of you would bring home watermelon a lot. So, what do you do once you get the melon home? Eat the fruit, and throw the rest in the bin yeah? That’s what I thought! Did you know most people make use of even the white rind to make various dishes…dosas, stews/koottus, halwas etc, etc. It is safe to eat watermelon rind, and in fact it is more nutritious than the pink flesh of the watermelon, they say! Rind aside, you do not want to eat the green outer watermelon skin. That can upset your stomach, and it could also contain pesticides, dirt, and other bacteria. Read more on benefits of eating watermelon rind here. Until I came across this website, I had no idea there was dedicated website as this one!

Ever since I saw Anu’s Secret Ingredient Koottu, I had been raring to try it and try it I did this weekend. I loved Anu’s concept and I made the koottu the way I normally would, and it turned out just great! Since watermelon is available in plenty now (atleast in India), you must give it a try. Something very unique and tastes yummy too! Anu, I must thank you for sharing this…big hit!

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon rind – from one medium-sized watermelon (separated from the green outer skin and diced)
  • Tur Dal – 1/2 paav or 1 cup (Pressure cooked till softly done)
  • Rasam powder – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Jeera – 2 tbsps
  • Black Peppercorns – 1 tbsp (alter to suit your taste)
  • Freshly grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tsp
  • Water – as required

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Red Chillies – 2 nos
  • Asafoetida – 1 generous pinch
  • Coconut Oil/Ghee – 2 tsps (The authentic version uses Coconut oil. However, I use ghee because the hubby goes ballistic if he hears ‘Coconut Oil’ anywhere near the kitchen!)

Procedure:

  • In a wok, heat the cooking oil. Add the diced rind and saute for 3-5 minutes till it softens a bit. Add 2 cups water and allow to cook till softly done.
  • Add the curry leaves, rasam powder and salt. Let cook on a low-medium flame for about 10 minutes, till the diced rind absorbs the spices from the Rasam powder, and also the salt.
  • Add the cooked dal and allow to boil for another 10 minutes, till the dal is well incorporated together.
  • In the meanwhile, grind together the freshly grated coconut, jeera and black peppercorns with adequate water, to form a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste to the wok and let boil another 5-10 minutes till the raw smell of coconut disappears. You will know the mozhagoottal is done when you see a frothy surface on the top. Remove from flame.
  • Prepare a tempering with the ingredients given and pour onto the mozhagoottal. Stir well.
  • Serve hot with piping hot rice and enjoy the darts of fiery pepper that engulf you! Some tangy-sweet Maangai (raw mango) pachadi goes best with the rice and Mozhagoottal. Will post the maangai pachadi soon.

Mini Idlis in Sambhar

Idli-Vada-Sambhar…who doesn’t enjoy this heavenly combo for breakfast? I can eat them anytime of day, anytime of year. When it comes to breakfast, this is my perfect idea of comfort food. And its healthy too (sans the vada of course!).This Sambhar is specially for Jennifer Kumar. Though I’d promised to email her the recipe long back, I thought giving her a pic to drool at would make it even better, what say Jennifer? ;) Hope you enjoy this one.

This is not the regular sambhar which I make for lunch/dinner. It’s specially made only to go with Idlis, ala Udupi hotel-style. For my Idli batter proportion, check here.

Ingredients:

  • Tur Dal – 1/2 cup
  • Onions – 2 nos (large-sized; julienned and halved to a shorter length)
  • Tomatoes – 3 nos (large-sized; cubed into 1/2″ pieces)
  • Curry leaves – a sprig; finely chopped
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful; finely chopped
  • Tamarind puree – 1/2 cup
  • Rasam powder – 2 tbsps
  • Salt – to taste
  • Jaggery – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

Note: You could replace the onions with shallots or pearl onions. They make this sambhar taste even better!

To grind together:

  • Freshly grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Onion – 1 no (large-sized; cubed)
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tbsps

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  • Ghee – 1 tsp

Procedure:

  • Pressure cook the tur dal and tomatoes together (with adequate water), till the dal is softly cooked and set aside.
  • In a wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and saute the onions on a medium flame till they are cooked tender.
  • Add the tamarind puree, rasam powder, salt and jaggery. Also add the curry leaves and coriander, and let it boil on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes (A lovely aroma will fill the kitchen and the entire house by now, and your tummy will start preparing for the treat that will ensue soon!).
  • Mash the cooked dal+tomato mixture and add to the wok. Let boil another 10 minutes. Add adequate warm water to adjust the consistency.
  • In the meanwhile, grind together the ingredients mentioned (for grinding) to a smooth paste, with adequate water.
  • Add the ground paste to the sambhar and let it boil on medium for another 5 minutes, or till you see a frothy surface on the top.
  • Prepare the tempering and stir in.
  • Serve hot with idlis (and/or vadas) for that perfectly divine, South-Indian breakfast! To make it even more heavenly, drizzle some ghee on top and dig in!

Keerai Mozhagoottal

Keerai Mozhagoottal is an authentic South Indian gravy, right from the lap of traditional Iyer cuisine. ‘Keerai’ as most of you would know, is Tamil for ‘Greens’ (‘Soppu’ in Kannada). ‘Mozhagu’ is Tamil for ‘Pepper’ and ‘Mozhagoottal’ is pepper-koottu when literally translated. My Mozhagoottal may look more like Sambar, but don’t be fooled, no its not Sambar (It’s my camera, and for once, I’m not happy with it :( ). Keerai mozhagoottal has more of a greenish tinge unlike the orange-reddish tinge which sambars have. That should give you an idea of how selectively colour blind my camera suddenly got :( Maybe it was the lighting…Im not sure; whatever it is, Im gravely disappointed with my shot. Nonetheless, Im shamefacedly putting it up. Alright, no more claptrap…Im moving straight onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Any greens – 2 nos, thick bunches (I used Thandu keerai/Dantina Soppu; sorry I’m not sure about the English name here, but you can pretty much use any greens)
  • Tur Dal – 1/2 paav or 1 cup (Pressure cooked till softly done)
  • Rasam powder – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Jeera – 2 tbsps
  • Black Peppercorns – 1 tbsp (alter to suit your taste)
  • Freshly grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tsp
  • Water – as required

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Red Chillies – 2 nos
  • Asafoetida – 1 generous pinch
  • Coconut Oil/Ghee – 2 tsps (The authentic version uses Coconut oil. However, I use ghee because the hubby goes ballistic if he hears ‘Coconut Oil’ anywhere near the kitchen!)

Procedure:

  • Wash the greens thoroughly and chop finely once you are assured there are no more fine sand particles clinging to the leaves.
  • In a wok, heat the cooking oil. Add the finely chopped greens and saute for 3-5 minutes till the greens soften a bit. Add 2 cups water and allow the greens to cook till softly done.
  • Add the curry leaves, rasam powder and salt. Let Cook on a low-medium flame for about 10 minutes, till the greens absorb the spices from the rasam powder, and also the salt.
  • Add the cooked dal and allow to boil for another 10 minutes till the greens and dal are well incorporated together.
  • In the meanwhile, grind together the freshly grated coconut, jeera and black peppercorns with adequate water, to form a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste to the greens-dal mixture and let boil another 5-10 minutes till the raw smell of coconut disappears. You will know the mozhagoottal is done when you see a frothy surface on the top. Remove from flame.
  • Prepare a tempering with the ingredients given and pour onto the mozhagoottal. Stir well.
  • Serve hot with piping hot rice and enjoy the darts of fiery pepper that engulf you! Some tangy-sweet Maangai (raw mango) pachadi goes best with the rice and mozhagoottal. I usually make the Maangai pachadi a lot during summers, when raw mangoes are available in plenty, so I’ll surely post it soon.

Microwave Tomato Rasam

They say ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. So true! We ran out of our cooking gas yesterday morning and yet to get our replacement cylinder from the supplier. It was nearing lunch time, and our stomachs were starting to growl. The hubby said no eating out or ordering a takeaway either. Bah! I gave him a resigned sigh and set out to do whatever best I could to fix us a meal. Just as I was pondering over what to make, I realized that the recipe book that came along with my microwave oven was sitting in the bookshelf, gathering dust. I thought it was time I put it to some use. Since the hubby was complaining of signs of the flu last night, I din’t find it hard to pick this rasam from among the other nice recipes the book seemed to have, wondering at the same time, why I hadn’t looked up this book before now! Though I put the microwave to good use, considering the occasional baked goodie and the regular heating/re-heating of food, I had never really cooked something completely in the microwave before this one. Another easy-peasy one for you all.

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes – 6-8 nos (medium-sized; cleaned and diced)
  • Curry leaves – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Tamarind Pulp – 4 tbsps
  • Rasam powder – 1 tbsp (I know a lot of you have requested for the Iyer style Rasam powder proportion, promise to post it soon)
  • Jeera-pepper powder – 2 tsp (freshly pound; yeah, go ahead and use some store-bought powder, it just won’t taste the same)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Water – 3 cups

(Note: My Microwave sets to 900W on high. Do give yours a check before you decide on the durations of cooking and slightly alter cooking times if needed).

Procedure:

  • Transfer the diced tomatoes to a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and cover with a cling film. Gently make some holes on the cling film with a fork to allow for air vents. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from microwave, allow to cool and blend to a smooth puree in the mixer.
  • In the meanwhile, micro the ghee in a larger microwave container on high power for 30 seconds.
  • Remove and add the asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Micro on high for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree, tamarind pulp, rasam powder, jeera-pepper powder, remaining water, salt and coriander leaves. Give it a stir and micro on high for 5-6 minutes. Allow to stand 2 minutes.
  • Remove and serve hot with rice. Slurrrrrpppp!!

Isn’t it perfect for those lazy days? ;) Tastes great with some mor-mizhagais/balakkas.

Also, a perfect Indian soup for when you sense the flu hovering over you.

Spinach Rasam | Soppina Saaru | Mossappu

I had been to a friend’s place couple days back and she asked me to join her for lunch on the spur. She dished up this yummy Soppina (Greens) Saaru (Rasam) right before me and when I got to taste it during lunch, I instantaneously fell in love with it. Since I happened to watch her prepare the dish, I knew how it was made; however I did modify mine a little to make it even more protein-packed. Its fairly simple to make, so Im supposing even a novice would find this easy to dish up. Alright, let me cut right to the chase now. Here we go -

Ingredients:

  • Spinach (or any other green) – 2 bunches (cleaned and chopped)
  • Tor Dal – 1/2 measure
  • Moong Dal – 1/4 measure
  • Masoor Dal – 1/4 measure (if not using moong and/or masoor, substitute with equal quantity of Tor Dal)
  • Onions – 3 nos (medium sized; minced/grated)
  • Tomatoes – 4 nos (medium sized; minced/grated)
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods (grated)
  • Curry leaves – a sprig (finely chopped)
  • Rasam powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee – 1 tsp

Procedure:

  • Pressure cook all 3 dals along with the finely chopped spinach (all together) and set aside.
  • In a wok, heat the ghee and pop the mustard seeds. Add the asafoetida.
  • Add the minced/grated onions and garlic. Saute on a medium flame and cook till tender.
  • Add the minced/grated tomatoes, turmeric powder. Cook on a medium flame.
  • Add rasam powder, curry leaves and salt. Continue to cook till you have a mushy gravy.
  • Mash and add the cooked dal-spinach mixture. You may want to add some warm water to adjust the consistency to that of ‘Dhaal’.
  • Adjust salt and allow to boil on a low flame, till it forms a frothy layer on the top.
  • Serve piping-hot with rice. Finger-licking good! :D

Shailaja, if you’re reading this, thanks so much for the yummy lunch! Loved it!

And thank you Amma for the lovely ladle collection from your trip! :D

Instant Mor-kuzhambu | Majjige Huli

I learnt this from my dear friend Sudha when we had been to her place over the weekend. Though Im not a fan of morkozhambu, this one had me falling in love with it as instantaneously as it can be dished up. I loved the simplicity of this dish and the taste was simply fantastic, with the curd lending its usual tangy twist. Sudha served the yummy instant morkozhambu with crisp, hot dosas and tangy-sweet tomato-onion chutney for breakfast. I must admit that initially I was a little skeptical about trying the morkozhambu, but in no time, I was begging for more! Sudha, I must thank you for turning around my dislike for morkozhambu. This one is a definite winner and I will certainly make this often now! Psst, the hubby is going to be extremely happy about this turn of events, since I would vehemently refuse to make morkozhambu for him, just b’cos I dint have a taste for it all this while ;)!!

Ingredients:

  • Thick Curd – 1/2 litre (whisked lightly to form a smooth texture)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig
  • Green Chillies – 3 nos (alter to suit your taste)
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

Procedure:

  • In a wok, heat the oil and add the asafoetida. Pop the mustard seeds.
  • Add the urad dal and fry till golden brown.
  • Add the turmeric and whisked curd.
  • In the meanwhile, give the coriander and green chillies a spin in the mixer (without any water), till they both blend well.
  • Add this to the curd mixture and allow to boil on a low flame for 5 minutes. It does not take more than 10 minutes in all to prepare this dish.
  • Serve hot with rice, or as a side dish with dosas. Simply finger-licking good!

Avarekalu Saaru & Raagi Mudde

Yesterday had me making Avarekalu once again, my favourite bean at this time of the year ;). This time, I decided it was going to be Avarekalu Saaru. Saaru is Rasam in Kannada, however, this saaru is more gravy-ish like any other sambar. Only difference is, there is no toor daal used in the preparation. I decided to make ragi mudde (ragi balls) to go with the saaru. I don’t think Raagi and its benefits need any introduction!

This Saaru-Mudde combo is a staple diet with the original localites of Karnataka. The Saaru has a perfect blend of spices and I’m postitive you will all absolutely love it!

Avarekaalu Saaru

Ingredients for Avarekalu Saaru:

  • Avarekalu Beans – 4 cups, in all (shelled and pressure cooked with salt)
  • Tamarind puree – 3-4 tbsps
  • Rasam Powder – 2 tsps
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Water – 2-3 cups
  • Salt – to taste

For the Masala:

  • Channa Dal – 3 tsps
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Dhaniya (Coriander) seeds – 1 tsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Black Pepper corns – 1/2 tsp (adjust to suit your taste since red chillies are being added too)
  • Selam Chillies (hot variety) – 2 nos
  • Byadgi Chillies – 2 nos (these add more colour than spicyness to your dish)
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Cooking Oil – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger – 1/2″ piece
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Grated Coconut – 4 tbsps
  • Avarekalu Beans – 1/2 cup (shelled and pressure cooked with salt)

For the Tempering:

  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee – 1/2 tsp

Procedure for Avarekalu Saaru:

  • In a wok, boil the tamarind puree, rasam powder, salt and water together for 2 minutes.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups of the cooked avarekalu beans and coriander. Allow to boil on a low flame.
  • In the meanwhile, fry together all the masala ingredients in a wok except the last 4 ingredients (ginger, garlic, grated coconut and 1/2 cup cooked avarekalu beans), on a low flame till the daals turn golden brown.
  • Allow to cool. Grind together all the fried masala ingredients with ginger, garlic, grated coconut and 1/2 cup avarekalu beans, with as less water as possible. Keep aside.
  • Once you see a froth collecting on the surface of the saaru in the wok, add the ground masala paste. Stir well so that no lumps are formed.
  • Continue to boil on a low flame for about 10-15 minutes or till the saaru turns into a bubbly liquid.
  • Prepare a tempering with the mustard seeds, asafoetida and ghee. Pour over the saaru and stir well.
  • Serve hot with raagi mudde!

Raagi Mudde

Ingredients for Raagi Mudde (serves one):

  • Raagi flour – 1 measure (I used a 1/2 paav glass)
  • Water – 1 1/2 measures
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp

You would need to use a short wooden stick (or ladle with a thin, stick-like end in upside down position – the side you would normally hold, would go into the pan/wok) while making the mudde. Don’t ask me why, but they have always used a wooden stick/ladle to make these muddes! I used my wooden churner in upside down position. You could do the same if you don’t have a wooden stick handy.

Also, preferably use a non-stick pan or wok to prepare the mudde. It avoids any wastage and plus, the mudde turns out really well without sticking to the sides of the pan.

Procedure for Raagi Mudde:

  • In a non-stick wok, heat the water. Allow to boil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the oil and salt. Stir well with the wooden ladle (held upside down).
  • Now, add one pinch of the raagi flour to the water and stir well (Pssst…this is a trade secret ;) – it prevents formation of lumps when you add the rest of the flour).
  • Allow to boil another 1/2 minute.
  • Now, ensuring the wooden ladle is sitting in the pan (in the upside down position), add the remaining flour and immediately cover with a lid for 1 minute. Do NOT stir during this time.
  • After a minute, take off the lid and start stirring vigourously till the mixture thickens to form a lump/ball around the wooden ladle. Remove from flame.
  • Slightly wet your hand and give the mudde a smooth, round form.
  • Enjoy it hot with the yummilicious avarekalu saaru!

Some trivia: You know, there is a way to eat these raagi muddes. From the main mudde (ball), break off small portions and dip them in the saaru/gravy and pop each portion in your mouth and just swallow. No chewing…it will only result in the mudde getting stuck all over the insides of your mouth and that’s something you wouldn’t really like! So, make sure you break off small portions that you’re comfortable swallowing in one go. And trust me, these muddes are very very wholesome and filling. You’ll be full in no time! Bon appetit! :D

The Ragi Mudde goes to the JFI – Ragi/Finger Millet event being hosted by Madhuram of Eggless Cooking this month. The event is a brainchild of Indira of Mahanadi. Thanks Madhuram, and thanks Indira for the round-up! Can’t wait to see the database of recipes calling for Ragi, once its all been collated.