Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Onion Chutney

Here’s a recipe for a chutney that couldn’t be easier to prepare. It needs just two ingredients-onions and red chillies. This is something I learnt from my mother.
It serves as the perfect accompaniment to
idlis and dosas.

5 medium onions, chopped
7-10 red chillies
2 Tbsp oil

Heat oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions followed by salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes and then add the red chillies. Continue to sauté on medium heat till the onions cook down and turn soft and brown. This takes almost 20 minutes.

Cool the mixture and grind to a smooth paste.

Serve with dosas.
This is my entry for Zorra’s Onion Day celebrations.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aloo Rasedaar

This is a recipe that I have adapted from these two sources. I did a little tinkering with the original versions and came up with this to cater to two events. ;-)

3 medium potatoes, cubed and cooked in the microwave
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 big tomato, finely chopped
5-6 green chillies, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 ½ tsp
panch phoron
1 tsp ginger paste
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
1Tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add the panch phoron. When it splutters add the ginger paste along with the garlic and green chillies.

Add the chopped onions immediately and sauté well until they are soft. Add chilli, turmeric and coriander powders.

Toss in the chopped tomatoes and cook covered for 5 minutes. Then add the cooked potatoes (I mashed some of the cubes) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add some water to get a gravy-like consistency.

Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend.

Serve hot with rice or chapatis. I had mine with some steaming hot rice, pappad pickle and yogurt. It was so simple to prepare but oh-so- good! I wonder why I have never prepared anything like this before.


I know I probably should have used mustard oil instead of the regular vegetable oil but I had a feeling that it would not be agreeable to our South Indian palate.

The panch phoran lends an incredibly unique fragrance and flavor to the dish. It was so good that we did not have any left over for the next day.

This is my entry for RCI: Cuisine of
Bihar being hosted by Sangeeta of Ghar Ka Khana. This recipe is also going to SRA for her event, Grindless Gravies.

Many thanks to all those food bloggers who take time out of their busy schedules to host and put together these fun-filled events, and in the process help bring new tastes and flavors into my kitchen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simple Pasta Salad

3 cups cooked
Pipette pasta
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s light mayo)
1 Tbsp sweet relish
½ cup cucumber, diced
½ onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped scallions (I used only the green part)
Salt & pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions or until al dente.(8-12 minutes in this case) Drain and rinse with cold water till completely cool.

While the pasta’s cooking and cooling, get the other ingredients ready.

In a large serving bowl, add the pasta and the remaining ingredients. Mix till well combined.

Chill and serve.

The picture is being sent for the latest round of CLICK, a theme-based monthly food photography event started by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi.

This is also being sent to Ruth who hosts the weekly event,
Presto Pasta Nights.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Methi (Fenugreek) Dal

Pulses and legumes are a natural source of plant protein that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and extremely low in fat. They are used extensively in Indian cooking and form an important part of a vegetarian diet. Dried legumes and pulses are classified into three groups: beans, peas and lentils. They are eaten either whole or unhulled (with the skin still intact) or split in half with or without their skins.

Toor dal also known as arhar dal or split pigeon peas is one such pulse that is a pantry staple in most Indian kitchens. It is commonly used as the base for many of our South Indian preparations, the most common one in my home being Sambar.

My pantry is well stocked with a variety of dals but toor dal is the most-used one for sure. Dal is cooked in different ways in different homes and no two dal preparations from different kitchens or even the same kitchen for that matter, taste the same.

Here’s a very simple and tasty dal from my kitchen made using toor dal and fenugreek (methi) leaves. There are a number of versions of methi dal in the blogosphere. And now here’s mine!

1 cup toor dal/split pigeon peas/arhar dal
2 cubes frozen fenugreek/methi
½ red onion, chopped
1 tomato, cubed
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder

For the seasoning:
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp white lentils/urad dal
A pinch of asafoetida/hing
Salt to taste.

Rinse the toor dal a couple of times and then cook it in about 3 cups of water after adding turmeric powder.

In a pan, heat the oil. Add all the ingredients for the seasoning.

To this add the chopped onions, sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the ginger paste & mix well.

Add the cubed tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Add the cubes of frozen methi leaves to the pan (no need for prior thawing, the heat will do the job) and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add ½ tsp of chilli powder to this and mix well.

When the dal is cooked, add it to the pan & bring the contents to a boil. (At this point you could add water to thin out the dal if you so desire.) Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot with rice, pickle & pappad.

This is my entry for JFI: Toor Dal being hosted by Linda who blogs at Out Of The Garden.

I am also sending this over to
Easycrafts as my entry for her “Power” less cooking event.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tomatillo Chutney

Tomatillo (pronounced toh-MAH-tee-YO) is a relative of the tomato family. Tomatillos are of Mexican origin but are now grown in many other places in the Western hemisphere. The fruit is surrounded by a thin paper-like brownish husk and is ideal for use when it is still green.

Tomatillos are often confused with green, unripe tomatoes but unlike tomatoes, they have a distinctly tart, almost lemony flavor. This gives it an authentic flavor in a variety of Mexican green sauces and salsa. They also taste good fried in olive oil or grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I made a chutney using tomatillos for the first time, over the weekend and just loved it.

2 tomatillos, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
5-6 green chillies, chopped finely
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp garlic paste
¼ cup roasted peanuts
1 small piece of jaggery
1 Tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan. Sauté the onions, add the ginger-garlic pastes and green chillies followed by the chopped tomatillos and jaggery.

Cook till the tomatillos are done and turn to mush.

Allow the mixture to cool & then blend well along with roasted peanuts to get a thick chutney.

This chutney would be the perfect accompaniment to these
instant dosas or even these not-so-instant dosas. It would also make a great tangy dip for baked tortillas or could even serve as a spread on any kind of toasted bread.

I had it with some hot dosas and it was really good. This is one chutney I will definitely be making again.