Beetroot Masala Curry

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On the menu today is Beetroot or Beets Masala Curry. I have seen that beets are not really a favorite of most people. And mostly everyone eats it in salad or a beets soup. Some people make beetroot poriyal or beetroot dry curry. Beets I know have great nutritional value with all the vitamins and minerals they contain. They are a natural detox vegetable and help purify blood. I read somewhere too that beets were actually used as an aphrodisiac – they are nature’s Viagra :-)

This delicious curry dish is a recipe handed down by my grandmother who used to make many dishes in a similar fashion. The fresh ground masala in this recipe really lends it self well to the beets taking it to a whole new level. Serve this with roti and you have a great meal!

Tasty Beetroot Masala Curry

Tasty Beetroot Masala Curry

You will need:
4 Beets – Peel, wash and chop or grate in a Food processor (if you dont have a food processor, you can chop the beets into tiny cubes or grate with a large hole grater)
1 Medium onion – Chopped into cubes
Curry leaves
Seasoning ingredients: Mustard seeds, urad dal, hing or asofoetida
Oil
Salt to taste

For the masala paste:
2 tbsp grated coconut
3 Green chillies
1 small piece Cinnamon stick or dal chini
2 small cloves
2 small pods garlic
2 sprigs fresh cilantro or coriander leaves

Grind all of the above into a smooth paste with some water. Keep aside.

Method:
1. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the seasoning ingredients. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter and the urad dal to turn golden brown.
2. Add the curry leaves and the chopped onions. Saute for a few minutes until golden brown.
3. Add the chopped/grated beets. Add salt to taste and 3/4th cup water. Cover with a lid and cook until almost cooked.
4. Add the ground masala paste and mix well. Cover again with the lid and cook until almost dry. Ensure that the raw smell of the masala paste is gone.
5. Serve hot with Roti.

Beetroot Masala Curry

Beetroot Masala Curry

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Fusion Quesadillas

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Quesadilla (pronouced as “keh” “sa” “di” “yah”) is a traditional Mexican flatbread sandwich made of tortillas and usually a cheese and bean or cheese and vegetable or cheese and meat or a plain cheese filling. Popular in the US and in Mexico and some other parts of Central and South America..this dish a kid friendly snack. Make it with lots of cheese and you cannot go wrong.
To cater to a vegetarian palate at home and also to innovate with a slight Indian touch:-) I created what I call a Fusion Quesadilla this morning. This was our lunch for today, serve it with some fresh home made salsa or guacamole and you have a filling, fresh and tasty meal.

Fusion Quesadillas

Fusion Quesadillas

You will need (this recipe makes 2 quesadillas i.e 8 servings):
4 Tortillas (You can use either store bought tortillas or thin home made rotis)
4 Medium Potatoes – Boil in a pressure cooker, peel and mash
4 Tsp Green Chutney
3 tbsp Grated cheese (I used Mexican cheese, you can alternatively use grated cheddar or grated Amul cheese )
Salt to taste
Crushed black pepper powder to taste
Butter for roasting

Method:
1. Boil the potatoes and mash as mentioned above.
2. To the boiled potatoes add salt, pepper powder and 1/2 tsp butter and mix well. You may also add chaat masala or chilli powder if you like your quesadilla spicy.
3. On one tortilla, spread 1 tsp green chutney and slowly spread the mashed potato mixture. (Green chutney side facing up)

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4. Top with grated cheese

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5. Spread 1 tsp green chutney on the other tortilla and close the above with this (green chutney side facing down)

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6. Brush some butter on the top of the tortilla and place carefully in a quesadilla maker. If you dont have a quesadilla maker, you can cook on a pan or tava like how you would a normal roti. Make sure you press gently on top and ensure the tortilla sticks. The cheese that melts will help in this. Flip over gently and roast the other side too. Apply butter as needed.
7. Cut into 4 wedges and serve hot.

Delicious Potato Quesadillas

Delicious Potato Quesadillas

This is simple dish that the kids will love.

Green Beans Curry

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This recipe is quick fix lifesaver if you are looking for a simple, flavorful dish to serve as a side to Roti or Rice. Thanks to my friend Anitha for sharing this recipe, this dish is now a regular feature on my menu..

Green Beans Curry

Green Beans Curry

You will need:
Green Beans – String and chop (or if you are pressed for time the frozen beans work fine too)
Garlic – 2 pods; Peel and mash roughly
Dry Red chillies – 2; broken into pieces
Salt to taste
Besan or Gram Flour – 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp

For Seasoning:
Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds (jeera), Hing or Asafoetida, 1 tsp urad dal, Curry leaves

Method:
1. In a pan, heat the oil. Add seasoning ingredients one at a time. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter and the urad dal to turn golden brown.
2. Add the dry red chillies and the garlic and fry for a minute.
3. Add the chopped green beans and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add salt to taste and mix well.
4. Add about 1/2 cup water, cover with a lid and cook until the beans are cooked and tender. Allow all the water to evaporate.
5. Add the gram flour/besan and mix well until the besan coats the green beans. Fry for 5 minutes on medium heat until the raw smell of the besan is gone.
6. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Delicious Green Beans Curry with Besan

Delicious Green Beans Curry with Besan

 

Mixed Vegetable Pulav

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On one of our train travels in India we happened to buy a box of Vegetable Biryani from a vendor who was selling it on the train. Surprisingly this was very delicious! If you have travelled on a train in India then you know that train food, especially food from the IRCTC pantry cart is something to be wary off! The food is barely edible.. I am hoping that they have improved ever since..However, the external vendors that sell food on the trains in the multiple stations do offer much more variety and tasty food. Not sure how hygienic these are, but for the most part the packaging looks good and food is pretty delicious. My daughter usually loves the Mixed Veg Biryani..she often asks me to make it just like “How it is on the train” when I make it at home. For me making pulav is easy because it is a one pot meal and I have mastered it enough that it does not take me more than 15 minutes to make it :-)
This weekend I bought green beans, carrots and cauliflower fresh from the Farmer’s market. The produce was so fresh that I did not feel like putting it into the refrigerator..wanted to use it right away :-) So Vegetable Pulav it was…

Follow this recipe to the “T” and I guarantee you a delicious rice recipe that you will keep coming back to :-)

Mixed Vegetable Pulav

Mixed Vegetable Pulav

You will need:

3 cups Rice – For Basmati rice use 1 cup rice to 1.5 cup water ratio; For Sona Masoori rice use 1 cup rice to 2 cups water ratio
1/2 cup Fresh Green Beans – String, wash and chop into finger sized pieces
2 Carrots – Peel, Wash and Chop into small pieces
1/4 head Cauliflower – Break into florets and wash
Fresh Green Peas – 1/2 cup (USe frozen if fresh is not available)
3 Medium Onions – Peel, Wash and Chop lengthwise
a few small pieces Cinnamon
3 cloves
4 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

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For the Masala paste:
1 handful Fresh Mint leaves
1 handful Fresh Cilantro
3 tbsp Fresh grated Coconut (if using frozen, thaw before using)
3 pods garlic – Peel
a small piece ginger
a few small pieces of cinnamon
2 cloves
10 Green chillies (adjust accordingly, this recipe is for a medium spicy Pulav)

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Combine all of the above and grind into a smooth paste with 1/2 cup water in a food processor or blender. Keep aside.

Method:
1. Wash and soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hour.

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2. Prepare the Masala paste as above.
3. Chop all the vegetables as above.
4. In a Pressure cooker or Pressure pan, heat the oil. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Saute for 2 minutes.

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5. Add the chopped onions and saute until light golden brown.

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6. Add the chopped veggies and mix well. Saute for a few minutes. Meanwhile drain the water from the soaked rice. Add the rice to the vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes.

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7. Add the masala paste, salt to taste and mix well. Saute for 2 or 3 minutes.

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8. Add water (6 cups for 3 cups as mentioned above). Mix well. Cover with the pressure cooker lid and allow 1 whistle. Turn off the stove and move to a cooler spot until the all pressure is relieved from the pan/cooker.

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9. Open the lid, mix gently and well. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot with raita.

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Thanks for stopping by :-)

Weekend Cooking – Bhel Puri

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This weekend was busy with catching up on a lot of household chores. Cooking was actually not one of my priorities – we made do with Cereal and Oats for breakfast, a quick sandwich meal on Saturday and a quick one pot Vegetable Pulav on Sunday. On Saturday evening though I did make a quick snack for my daughter – Bhel Puri – A very popular Indian street snack..simple to put togther if you have all the ingredients handy. Life is much easier nowadays with several brands of Bhel mixes available in the market. I still prefer making my green and sweet tamarind chutney’s at home. Somehow the store bought varieties are a little stale to taste. These chutney’s can be made and stored ahead of time to be used whenever you need to make a quick snack.

 

Delicious and Crunchy Bhel Puri

Delicious and Crunchy Bhel Puri

You will need:
Muri or Mamra – 4 cups (I usually roast the mamra in a pan without any oil for a few minutes on a low flames. This makes the mamra crunchy, especially if it is soft or stale and has been sitting in your pantry for a while.)
Roasted Peanuts – 1 handful
Roasted channa dal (chutney dal) – 2 tbsp
Any spicy mixture – 1 tbsp (optional)
1 medium Onion – Chopped fine
1 medium Tomato – Chopped fine
1 small Potato – Boil, peel and cube
1 small Carrot – grated (I did not have any at home that evening, but I usually add this in my bhel , it tastes great and is veyr nutritious)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
Green Chutney – 2 tbsp (or according to taste) – Recipe below
Sweet Tamarind Chutney – 1 tbsp (or according to taste)- Recipe below

For Garnishing: Chopped cilantro and Fine Sev (store bought)
Method: Mix all of the above in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with sev and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Yummy Bhel Puri

Yummy Bhel Puri

For the Green Chutney:
1 small bunch Cilantro – Wash
1 small bunch Fresh mint leaves – Wash
1 handful spinach leaves – Wash
1 medium Onion – Peel and Chop
1 medium Tomato – Wash and Chop
5 Green chillies – Wash
1 small piece ginger – Wash and Peel
Salt to taste

Grind all of the above into a smooth paste with some water. This chutney stores for 1 week in the refrigerator and can be used as a spread on any bread/roti also.
For the Sweet Tamarind Chutney:
2 large Golf ball sized Tamarind – Soak in 4 cups of water
4 Pitted Dates – Soak with the tamarind
3 tbsp Jaggery
1 small piece ginger – grated
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Amchur or Dry Mango powder
2 tsp Black Salt or Kala namak
In a blender, grind the grated ginger, soaked dates powdered jaggery together. Squeeze the tamarind pulp from the soaked tamarind. Add the jaggery, date and ginger paste to the thich tamarind pulp. Add black salt, amchur and red chilli powder. Boil on stove top until the sweet chutney is thick and reduced to half the quantity. Cool and refrigerate. This can be stored for atleast 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Will be posting my Mixed Vegetable Pulav recipe shortly :-) Thanks for stopping by.

Comfort Food – A Simple South Indian meal

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After 10 days of vacationing and a lot of eating out, its time for comfort food at home. My kids wanted to eat some simple home cooked comfort food (which rarely happens!!) much like how my little 1 year old and 3.5 year old nephews eat. So on the menu today is Rice with plain dal, instant garlic rasam and green beans curry (Beans Poriyal in Tamil, Beans Kobbari Koora in Telugu, Beans Palya in Kannada).

Comfort Food - Rice, Dal, Garlic Rasam and Green Beans Curry

Comfort Food – Rice, Dal, Garlic Rasam and Green Beans Curry

For the dal:

1 cup Toor Dal

Pressure cook the dal with some turmeric, salt and 2 small pods of garlic (optional) in a pressure cooker for 4 or 5 whistles with enough water. After done mash and serve hot with rice.

For the Garlic Rasam:

2 medium Tomatoes – Wash and chop roughly
2 green chillies
a few sprigs cilantro
3 pods garlic
a few curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Rasam powder
Salt to taste

Ingredients for Garlic Rasam

Ingredients for Garlic Rasam

1. Combine all of the above, except the powder and grind coarsely by adding a little water.

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2. Add the turmeric, rasam powder and salt. Add some water from the above cooked dal (if you have some water saved or just use plain water). Mix well. And simmer on stove top for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Trust me this rasam is so simple yet so addictive you will end up drinking it instead of eating it  :- )

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For the Beans Curry:

2 cups Fresh Green Beans – String, wash and chop fine
2 Green chillies – Wash and slit lengthwise
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
a few curry leaves
Seasoning ingredients: 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp Fresh grated coconut(or frozen coconut thawed) for garnishing
Salt to taste
2 tsp Oil

Ingredients for Green Beans Curry

Ingredients for Green Beans Curry

1. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the seasoning ingredients and allow the mustard seeds to splutter. Add the curry leaves and hing.

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2. Add the chopped green beans, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Add about 1/2 cup water and mix well.Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is evaporated and the curry is dry.

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3. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot.

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Green Beans Curry

Green Beans Curry

Note: Many of my friends have asked me how my green vegetable (beans, broccoli, asparagus, gavar etc.) remain so green after cooking. I have seen when several people cook green beans it looses its fresh green look and looks a pale dull green which is not veyr apealing to the palate. I cant remember where I read this but many years back, I read that adding some turmeric powder along with green vegeable helps it retain its color. Also ensure that you do not add too much water.

Simple Comfort Food

Simple Comfort Food

Fresh Coconut – Mustard Rice aka Kai Saasive Anna

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Back from a vacation that went by too fast, I am reliving some of the wonderful memories with family as we upload pictures. I have several exciting posts that I want to write about, with all the pictures that I have taken :-) However, that will have to wait for now, I am on just 4 hours of sleep and a lot of caffeine..trying to get through my day so I can rest.
Digging out a old picture from my picture file and posting one of my favorite, yet simple rice dishes today to keep this blog going :-)

Coconut-Mustard Rice or Kai Saasive Anna, a typical Karnataka speciality..this rice is simple to make and very tasty to eat, the texture of the coconut with the sharp flavor of the mustard makes it a delicious rice dish for a quick bite on any day.

Kai Saasive Anna

Kai Saasive Anna

You will need:

Rice – 2 cups; I use Sona Masoori, 1 cup rice to 2 cups or 2.5 cups water ratio
Turmeric Powder – 1 pinch
Salt to taste

For seasoning:
Oil – 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Channa Dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves
a pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)

For Garnishing:
Cashews – a small handful; Roast in butter in ghee or butter until light golden brown
Cilantro – Fresh; Wash and chop fine
For the paste:
Fresh grated coconut (or frozen, ensure you thaw before using) – 1/2 cup
3 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tbsp Jaggery (Gur)
4 Dry Red chillies
2 Green chillies
Salt to taste

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Grind all of the above to a smooth paste without adding any water. Keep aside.

Method:
1. Cook the rice in an electric cooker. Cool in a large mixing bowl.
2. To this rice add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste.
3. In a pan heat the oil. Add the seasoning ingredients; Allow the mustard seeds to splutter, add the cumin seeds (Jeera) and other ingredients and saute until the dals are golden brown.
4. Turn off the stove, add the paste from above to the seasoning and mix.
5. Mix the seasoning mixture to the rice. Mix gently and well.
6. Garnish with ghee roasted cashews and chopped cilantro. Serve hot.