Roz Ka Khana

A blog about everyday food. Mostly Indian. All vegetarian.

Archive for the category “Anusuya’s Kitchen”

Anusuya’s Kitchen – Kuzhi Paniyaram

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This one comes from Anusuya’s kitchen…remotely that is. I have missed visiting and posting from her kitchen for the last two years since our move, but this winter visit to Dallas was a good reminder to bring this series back, and savor this amazing cook’s simple and yum recipes. This recipe was one I wrote down in 2010, when she was in the mood to share some quick and easy snack favorites. I’m not even sure if she remembers having shared this gem but this recipe came very handy this week as I was out of lunchbox ideas for Nikhil. Mix some left over idli batter, chilies, cilantro and sambar/vethalkuzhambu powder powder and you have a new savory “appam” dish that is quite healthy too. You may add grated carrot or beans or any vegetable of your choice though I left that out in this recipe. I did add some chopped onions but that is optional too. You don’t need to use oil at all if you use a non stick “appa-karal” or the ebelskiver pan. I barely used one to one a half tsp oil for making about 15-20 paniyarams.

They make a great breakfast or snack recipe and if your child or you like it enough even if cold can be a good lunchbox staple too. I have to thank my good friend Maha for suggesting this as a lunchbox recipe.

Enjoy with any chutney of your choice – coconut or peanut or tomato or anything spicy:)

Ingredients:

  • Left over idli batter – 2 cups
  • 1 tsp sambar powder
  • 1 tsp vethal kuzhambu powder (you may use 2 tsp sambar powder if you don’t have this one. You can find this occasionally in Indian stores abroad but I usually get mine from Grand Sweets in Chennai)
  • Ground ginger and chili paste (1 inch ginger plus 2-3 chilies or more if you like it very spicy)
  • Chopped cilanto 2 tbsp
  • Chopped curry leaves 1 tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil or rice bran oil – 2 tsp
  • Optional – chopped onions and grated veggies like carrots or beans (1/4 cup each)

Method:

Take the idli batter in a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix well.

Heat the appa karal or ebelskiver pan with about 1- 1 1/2 tsp of the oil. Just pour 1 tsp oil across all the cups in the pan so each cup gets a little to grease it a bit.

When the oil is hot, add one tbsp each of the batter. Cook till the batter is about golden brown and using a spoon or skewer or a chopstick turn the appam/paniyaram over to cook on the other side.

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When golden and puffy on both sides, the paniyarams are ready to eat.

 

Oatmeal South Indian Style

A creative method to making this breakfast staple, this South Indian style oatmeal comes from Anusuya’s kitchen. It’s popularly known as “Thachi Mammu” (yogurt rice) oatmeal in my home and not surprisingly a favorite breakfast item. You can find us making this almost every weekend, and Amma adds her own personal touch when she makes it, which adds to the taste. If you have a taste for yogurt rice and all its varieties, this is a must try recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups quick cooking oats

1- 1 1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup diluted yogurt or buttermilk

1/2 tsp crushed green chilies

1/2″ ginger

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

For tadka or popu or garnish:

1 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch asafetida or hing

1/2 tsp oil

Method:

Take the oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl. Make sure the bowl is not too shallow and is deep enough to allow for proper cooking in the microwave. Add 1 cup of boiling hot water, and let it stand for about 3-5 minutes. Now cook this in the microwave for about 2 minutes on high. The oatmeal should be completely cooked by now. If not, cook it for another 45 seconds.

Now add the diluted yogurt, ginger, green chilies, asafetida and salt to taste.

For the tadka: Heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, turn off the stove and pour this on the yogurt oatmeal mixture. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy.

“Maharashtrian Dal” (Lentil Soup – Maharashtrian style)

An easy yet healthy (as always) entry from Anusuya’s kitchen. She insisted that I not call it a Maharashtrian Dal as she isn’t really sure if this is authentic Maharashtrian, but given that it tastes better than the the dals I’ve tried and the fact that it required “Goda Masala”, a must spice ingredient in authentic Maharashtrian cuisine – these were reasons enough for me to give it the original name. I’m adding the quotes just for her sanity:). This is an easy recipe as it calls for red gram dal and Rotel..once again, a creative twist to an otherwise common dish, true to Anusuya’s kitchen.

Ingredients:

1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)

4 cups water

1 can Rotel (mild or medium)

1/2 tsp Goda Masala (this was a generous contribution from Anusuya’s kitchen)

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

2-3 green chilies (optional)

1 small red onion

Curry leaves – a few

Oil – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Boil the red lentils in about 3 cups water in a saucepan, till the lentils are cooked.

2. Add a can of Rotel.

3. In a small frying pan, add a tsp of oil. When the oil gets hot, add finely chopped onion, the cumin powder, coriander powder, goda masala, curry leaves. Fry till the onions get transparent. You may also add chopped green chilies for extra spice.

We had it for lunch with some hot quinoa and aloo methi (potato with fenugreek leaves). Finger-licking good!

Sweet Corn Soup

Corn soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do realize I haven’t populated the comfort food section in a while. Well, I haven’t blogged in a while , if you could call 12 days ” a while” that is. I suppose it is a long time, for something that warrants “everyday” cooking.

We had our 9 year old nephew visit from India, and while that meant two boisterous boys (including mine),  running around the house, it also meant having to come up with some creative ways to feed them both and fuel all that energy. As with most kids, vegetables were challenging, and I was looking for ways to dot the daily menu with some, while sneaking some in other dishes.

Anusuya’s kitchen had the perfect answer, as always. It’s quite obvious from her previous recipes, that she somehow has that perfect balance between scrumptious and healthy. Whole wheat, low fat, low oil are some key words in her kitchen. Of course, there are always “treats” in store, with her desserts and other signature dishes, and I will try to share them all, as and when she chooses to share them with me.

Here’s a sweet corn soup recipe that’s a favorite of her family, and this is what I “tried” on the kids one evening. May sound cliched, but as with all her recipes so far, it was a hit! The kids downed the corn soup with french bread and actually asked for more. What more could I ask for?

Ingredients:

1 pack frozen corn or 3-4 fresh corn, kernels removed and steamed

2 Jalapenos (I retained the seeds, but if you like it less spicy, de-seed them)

1/2 Vidalia onion (chopped into chunks)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

1. Take a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt the butter and oil.

2. When the oil is hot, add the onions along with the jalapenos. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the corn kernels. You may want to reserve a few kernels for later to add some chunky texture to the soup, but that’s optional.

4. Add 2 cups of water to this mixture and let it boil. Remove from the stove and cool.

5. Now take the mixture in a blender and puree it to a paste like consistency.

6. Take the puree in another heavy vessel or a dutch oven. Add the reserved corn, milk, soy sauce and salt to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

7. Serve hot, garnished with scallion leaves (I was out of the leaves, as you can tell from the picture), and with a side of toasted french bread. I added some garlic butter on the bread as well. Or you could just use store bought garlic bread. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

Another healthful and delicious entry from Anusuya’s kitchen. I have never had luck with eggless baking so far, and the few times I have tried making cakes or breads without egg, they have either resembled pudding (I’m not kidding) or I’ve needed a heavy duty weapon to slice through the hardened sunk dough. A visit to Anusuya’s kitchen not only gave me a taste of delightful and very, very edible eggless muffins but she was gracious to give me the recipe. Tried it at home last week, and sure enough, the result was unbelievable…I was finally successful at eggless baking! These whole wheat banana bread muffins are eggless and full of goodness, made of 100% whole wheat flour. I also added a tbsp of flax seeds, for that extra boost of fiber. Here’s the recipe …

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup (heaped)

Brown sugar – 1 cup (packed)

Bananas – 3, mashed

Corn oil – 1/2 cup (You can also use olive oil – not extra virgin, but plain or canola oil here)

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp

Nuts (walnuts or pecans) – 2 tbsp

Flax seed meal – 1 tbsp (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F

2. Mash the bananas with a fork. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract and oil and mix well.

3. Sift the flour with the baking soda. Now slowly add the flour to the banana mixture a little at a time. (I used a Kitchenaid mixer to mix the flour with the banana here, but you can also just mix with a spatula manually until just combined.)

4. Fold in the nuts and the flax seeds.

5. Take a 12 cup muffin pan or a 24 cup mini muffin pan. Add a scoop of the batter each to each cup, with an ice cream scoop. (You can either line the cups with baking cups or spray with a non-stick spray before you add the batter)

6. Bake at 350F for 21-23 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Tip: If you’re like me, you almost always have over-ripe bananas in your kitchen, as I tend to buy more than we usually consume. One tip I will share that has worked with me is to freeze the over-ripe bananas. The skin of the fruit usually gets dark in the freezer but the taste remains unchanged. Good way to store the weekly stash of over-ripe bananas and keep the fruit flies from starting a family in your kitchen. When you need the bananas, just thaw them in the fridge overnight or for a few hours at room temperature.

THE Sambar (Lentil Soup)

Yes. I know this is quite an unusual title for something as commonplace as sambar, but I have a reason for naming this recipe the way I did. This is THE contribution from Anusuya’s kitchen. I will not be exaggerating when I say that this is her signature dish. Well, I had the good fortune of jotting down the recipe verbatim as told by her and also tried it not once, but twice, and the result was amazing. I say that because sambar has never been my forte, at least the way I have always made it, and this was not only easy but dosai-licking good! As you can tell, we had it with hot dosai and it was a hit! Here goes the recipe…

Ingredients:

Please note that this recipe is for a 2 quart container and should serve about 4 people.

Toor dal (yellow lentils) – 1/2 cup, pressure cooked till soft

Ghee – 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tsp

Shallots – 7-8 (peeled)

Saragawa (Murungakkai in Tamil also commonly known as “drumsticks”- not the chicken kind) – 7-8. I used frozen ones.

Tamarind paste – 2 tsp (You can also use a lemon size ball of fresh tamarind soaked in water to make a paste)

Sambar powder – 2 tsp (I used MTR Madras sambar powder. Make sure its the Madras kind and not the regular Sambar powder)

Tomatoes – 2, diced (You can also use half can of diced tomatoes for this.)

Cilantro – half bunch

Asafoetida – a pinch

Grind to a paste the following: 2 tbsp dhania seeds (coriander), 2-3 red chillies, 1/2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek). Fry the above till the dhania starts to crackle. Add 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut. Medium fry all the above till you get a coconutt-y aroma. Now grind all the above in a blender. You can also use 2-3 tbsp of coconut milk while grinding to enhance the taste of the coconut.

For the sambar, heat the ghee and oil in a 2 quart vessel. Add mustard seeds. When it starts to crackle, add the onions and saragawa and fry well till cooked.

Sambar 1

Add about 1 quart of water to this, add the tamarind paste, the sambar powder, cilantro, diced tomatoes. Add salt to taste and boil well till the raw smell of the sambar powder goes away.  Add the boiled toor dal to this mixture and boil for a few more minutes. Now add the ground coconut/dhania paste to this and boil again for 5-10 minutes. The Sambar is ready!

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A tip from Anusuya is to simmer the sambar in a crock pot on low for 1-2 hours to get the most out of its taste. I didn’t try this myself but can attest to the taste from having tried it at her home!

THE Sambar Version 2

Here’s another variation of the recipe from Anusuya which I have found to be equally good.

Ingredients:

Masoor dal (red lentils) – 1 cup
Sambar powder – 4 tbsp
Capsicum – 1 , chopped into medium sized pieces
Tamarind paste – 3 tsp
Canned diced tomatoes – 1
Cilantro, chopped – 1/2 cup
Curry leaves, chopped – 1/2 cup

For sambar powder – Coriander seeds – 4 tbsp, Desiccated coconut – 3 tbsp, Fenugreek – 1tsp, Dry red chilies – 5-6, Coconut milk – 1 tbsp.

For tadka or garnish – Mustard seeds – 2 tsp, Dry red chilies – 4-5, Asafetida – a pinch, Curry leaves – 5-6

Method:

1. Boil the masoor dal in about 1  1/2 quarts water (in a 4 quart saucepan)
2. When the dal is cooked, add the sambar powder.
3. Add the chopped vegetables to the water and dal mixture and let cook for about 5-7 minutes.
4. When the vegetables are more than half cooked, add 3 tsp tamarind paste and mix well.
5. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
6. Boil this mixture for about 7-10 minutes till the raw smell of the canned tomatoes goes away.
7. Add the chopped cilantro and curry leaves.
8. Meanwhile grind all the ingredients for the sambar powder. You can add the coconut milk to this while grinding so it becomes more of a paste consistency.
9. Add this ground paste to the sambar and boil for another 5-7 minutes
10. You can transfer this to a crock pot and continue to cook under low heat or in the “keep warm” mode.
11. Before serving, heat oil in a kadai, and add the ingredients for the tadka or popu. Pour the tadka over the sambar and mix well.

Sabudana Khichdi (Sago Stir Fry)

Sabudana is the Hindi/Marathi/Bengali/Oriya word for pearl sago. Sabudana grains look like tapioca and are small (about 2 mm diameter) dry, white balls. Sabudana is called javvu arisi in Tamil, sabbakki in Kannada and saggu biyyam in Telugu. When cooked they turn from their opaque white color to translucent, and become soft and spongy. In North and western India it is most commonly used in fasting dishes, such as sabudana khichdi (generally made using soaked sabudana, fried with potatoes, chilli and peanuts) and sabudana vada. In South India they are used to make small pappadam wafers, sabudana vada and also for making a variant of a sweet semi liquid dessert called kheer or payasam.

The word sabudana itself is made up of two words, sabut (meaning ‘whole’) + dana (meaning ‘grain’ or ‘seed’)

As mentioned earlier, this sabudana khichdi entry is from Anusuya’s Kitchen, her original method of making this versatile dish (not exactly sure why it was called the fasting dish, but can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack)

Ingredients:

Sabudana – 2 cups

Roasted peanuts (crushed) – 1/2 cup

Large green bell pepper (diced) -1

Green chilies

Medium sized red potato (cubed) – 1

Medium sized red bell pepper (chopped) -1

Oil – 2 tbsp

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Urad dal – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Chopped cilantro – 1/2 bunch

Chutney powder – 4tsp (This is also known as milagai podi in Tamil, commonly as chutney powder as it is eaten with idly and dosai. Made with a combination of sesame seeds, dals and red chilies, this “gun-powder” is the perfect ingredient to fire up your sabudana khichdi.)

Sabudhana 1

Wash the sabudana well. Soak it in 1 cup of water for about 5-6 hours. (You can also soak this overnight if necessary). Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed vessel or kadhai. Also make sure to coat the pan with baking spray. I would say this is an important step as it ensures the sabudana doen’t stick to each other and form clumps when you put it in the kadhai. Add the cumin, urad, mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the chopped green chilies. Now add the chopped vegetables and fry for about 5 minutes, till they are cooked. Add the soaked sabudana now and stir well to mix the vegetables with the sabudana and the tadka ingredients. Now add the chutney powder, crushed peanuts and salt to taste. Mix well.

Sabudhana 2 

As the final step, transfer the sabudana khichdi to a microwavable dish, and heat on high for about 3 minutes. This important step enables the sabudana to soak in the masalas evenly, to add the right amount of “kick” to the dish. Add chopped cilantro for garnish and serve hot.

Anusuya’s Kitchen

I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate a section of this blog to a gourmet cook, someone who is a fellow foodie but also the inspiration of many of the recipes posted here.
We share the enthusiasm of browsing the Mahanandi’s and the Saffron Hut’s of the blog world,  talking about food, and of course, critiq-ing them. I don’t call myself a great cook, but a decent food critic…she, rather is great at both!. She is the gourmet among us, so I wanted to create a section of her tried and true recipes here and almost use this as her mini-blog of her original recipes. Some of the recipes in here are those that I have tried to make in my kitchen but I will be sure to add in pictures and food from her kitchen as well as we go (that way, I get to taste her kitchen creations as well;).

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