Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friends chat over Fruit Chaat!

Our gang of friends decided to have a potluck one day. There were several yummy things to eat and the men tried their hand at cooking! One of our friends dished up this really easy but really healthy fruit chaat. With all the other sinfully rich dishes,we thought no one would care much for this, but surprise, surprise! The fruit chaat was the star of the evening...

Very simple to make -
  1. Dice all fruits - we had apples, watermelon, kiwis, oranges, bananas, peaches and grapes
  2. Put into a large bowl and add salt, pepper, chaat masala and some lime juice for flavour (according to taste)
  3. All done! Serve and eat loads. No guilt pangs at all!
I remember eating this on our many street-food adventures back in Bangalore...
This goes to Sunday Snacks - Chaats hosted by All Thingz Yummy.

'The Bangalore Breakfast Series'...

Mornings back in Bangalore meant mom-made hot delicious breakfast on the table and me rushing out of the house in a hurry while the cab driver honked impatiently outside. Then, at work, my stomach would make embarrassing growling noises and I'd pacify it with coffee. Back home in the evening, mom would start with her usual 'It's not good to skip breakfast, I had made idlies and chutney today, couldn't you have eaten some before you left?'
This happened almost every day and breakfast was always taken for granted. The same continued at my in-laws' after I got married, and now, it was like M & I were in the same club :-)

Only after we moved to Sydney did we realise the value of yummy homemade Indian breakfast. Of course, we do like the cereal and toast, but we miss the hearty and wholesome mom-made idlies, dosa, upma, avalakki, and the list could go on...

So, saying 'sorry' to moms (my mum & M's mum), I'm attempting to give the ever neglected Bangalore breakfast menu its much needed glory.

I'm starting with avalakki, one of my personal favourites. You may know it as poha, aval or beaten rice. Its source is rice. There are generally three varieties - paper thin, medium thick and thick and you can buy it at any Indian grocery store. I usually use the medium thick one, for which all you need to do is wash it a couple of times (like you would wash rice), drain all the water and set aside for about 10mins or so. It then becomes soft and fluffy and is ready to be cooked.

The recipe itself for Avalakki Oggarne as we call it -

  • 3 handfuls of avalakki (prepare it as mentioned above)
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped and 1-2 dry red chillies
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tspn grated ginger
  • curry leaves, a few
  • 1 tbspn peanuts
  • for tempering (oggarne)- 2 tbspns oil, mustard seeds, urad dal (split white lentils), chana dal (yellow split lentils) (I put in about 1/2 tspn each)
  • a pinch of turmeric, salt to taste
  • chopped coriander
  • 1/2 lime
Method -
  1. Heat oil in a wok/pan and add all ingredients mentioned for tempering.
  2. Now add curry leaves and peanuts.
  3. Add chillies and ginger.
  4. Next tip in the onion and saute till soft.
  5. Add turmeric, salt to taste and a pinch of sugar.
  6. Now tip in the soft 'n' fluffy avalakki and mix well.
  7. Turn off the stove, drizzle some lime juice and garnish with chopped coriander.
  8. Serve hot.
You could use grated fresh coconut to garnish. Avalakki can be served with coconut chutney. Some people like to eat it with some sev or bhujia on the side.
It is very filling and has this really nice sweet 'n' tangy flavour to it, mmmmm...yummy!

Watch this space, more interesting and much loved Bangalore breakfast items to come!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Winner!

This salad is awesome 'cos it looks colourful and appetising, it smells refreshing, it tastes great and it is oh-so-healthy!! Now that's a sure winner! Plus, it's so easy to make, so go on and try it and I can guarantee that this salad will creep into your meals quite often :-)

It's also a great addition to your starters/appetisers list for your next big lunch/dinner party. Serve it with some corn chips on the side and it will be devoured in no time. Your guests will thank you for a snack they can gorge on guilt free. It adds colour to your table and saves precious time (which you could probably use to dress up a little bit!)

You need -
  • 1 cup of corn kernels (you could either buy fresh corn, boil it and slice the kernels off the cob, which is recommended as it is fresh, or you could even use the canned ones)
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
  • 1 finely diced tomato
  • 1/2 an onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 2 tbspns roasted peanuts (gives it a crunchy punch!)
  • 2 tbspns mint chutney
  • salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice, and chat masala (optional) for flavour
Simply toss everything together in a salad bowl and add salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice and some chat masala (available at Indian stores, a tangy powder) according to taste.
This is great if you're watching your diet, especially for dinner. It's very light on the stomach but very filling too. The perfect combination, I'm sure many of you would agree, if you're like me, fighting with calories, perpetually!

A beautiful baby and a new recipe!

Our friends' little bundle of joy arrived last week! I went to spend the day with them yesterday and had a lovely time. It's such a joy to watch a beautiful baby asleep and when he smiles in his drifting, flowery dreams, my heart does a little dance! Babies are God's most beautiful creation ever :-) Seeing the little baby and his mother yesterday made me realise, no matter where in the world, a mother's love for her baby is the same, selfless and pure.

Another treat for me yesterday was the delicious lunch my friend's mother cooked. While it rained outside, Aunty served hot and heavenly home cooked food, it was bliss!
She had made soft rotis, flavoursome rajma, tava (griddle/frying pan) roasted aloo-baingan (potatoes-eggplant) and fluffy basmati rice, yumm :-) I came back home and tried the roast veggies and it turned out quite well...not as good as Aunty's though...

Here's what I did -

Tava fried veggies
I made this for M & myself. Simply increase the quantity of the ingredients if you're cooking for more.
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 eggplant (the big, round ones work well)
  • 1/2 green capsicum
  • these flavours are according to individual taste and depend on the quantity of the veggies - turmeric powder, red chilli powder, jeera powder (cumin), dhania powder (coriander), amchur powder (dry mango), salt and a pinch of hing (asafoteida)
  • oil (I use olive oil)
Next -
  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. (You could keep the skin on if you wish as I've heard it is healthier that way.) Slice the potatoes into medium thick discs.
  2. Cut the capsicum into medium sized squares.
  3. Slice the eggplant into medium thick discs and then into quarters. (if you're using the small, long ones, you could just cut into strips)
  4. Put all these into a large, wide bowl and sprinkle all the dry masala powders. Drizzle some oil over it and toss well until all the veggies are well coated with the masalas.
  5. Leave it aside for about 5 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a griddle or a large frying pan and coat it with some oil (you could use spray oil). A non-stick pan works well.
  7. Arrange the veggies, separately, all over the griddle/pan. Cover with a lid and let cook on medium flame.
  8. Flip the veggies over after a while to cook the other side.
  9. Continue to do this till the potatoes are soft and well cooked.
  10. Spray more oil, if necessary.
  11. Finally, sprinkle some fresh coriander before you serve.
M was working from home today and he turned around to me in the kitchen and asked 'what's cooking?'. There was a whiff of appetising flavours while the veggies cooked slowly on the hot griddle, the way an Indian kitchen should smell :-) M is inspired by it and is trying the same recipe with paneer for dinner.

Thanks Aunty for this simple 'n' yummy recipe!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

CLICK: Cookies

It's been raining in Sydney...winter's setting in. It's the perfect time to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa, some cookies and a good book :-)
This picture goes to CLICK: Cookies hosted by Jugalbandi.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I love watermelon, I really do!

This is an interesting recipe. I had seen my grandma make this years ago. This summer I ate a lot of sweet, juicy watermelon and one day I remembered my doddamma's recipe. Well, it's quite simple, it's like any other veggie palya/subji (a veggie dish without any gravy/sauce).

  • watermelon peel (the green bit, a couple of quarters)
  • fresh green/red chillies
  • a small piece of ginger
  • a small onion
  • 1-2 dry chillies
  • 2 tbspns grated fresh coconut
  • 1/2 tspn mustard seeds, 1/2 tspn chana dal, 1/2 tspn urad dal, 1 pinch of hing
  • 2 tbspns oil
  1. Wash the peel thoroughly. Chop it up into small cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a wok/pan and add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal and hing
  3. Add the dry chillies.
  4. Next add the fresh chillies and grated ginger.
  5. Now add chopped onion and cook for about 2 mins.
  6. Tip in the chopped watermelon greens :-)
  7. Add enough water and cover with a lid. Let it cook well.
  8. Now just add some salt to taste and sprinkle in the grated fresh coconut.
  9. Serve with some rice, hot rasam and some papaddums and enjoy!
We have something to learn from our elders...they are really very enterprising! I can't get enough of the delicious, beautiful, red, juicy watermelon :-)


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