Monday, October 22, 2012

Thotakoora Koora / Amaranth leaves with roasted gram

I miss all the greens I get in the markets in Bangalore. Here's its pretty restricted to spinach / palak, fenugreek / methi and some seasonal ones like bathua and sarson in winter.
Amaranth or dantin soppu as its called in Kannada is one of my favourites. It was available all year round and I used it in dals or paired it with some simple vegetables. I finally saw it in hypercity here last week, bought a big bunch and then turned to my trusted book for simple, tasty recipes - Cooking with Pedatha

amaranth leaves

I love this book and everything that I have tried from it so far, has been simple and delicious. Everyday vegetables like pumpkins, cucumbers, brinjals and carrots turn out to be such heart-warming dishes with the perfect balance of spice, sweet and sour tastes.
This recipe with amaranth leaves / thotakoora was another such earthy dish with so much green goodness. Paired it with hot rice and rasam, and had a happy content meal.

thotakoora koora

Thotakoora Koora

Adapted from 'Cooking at home with Pedatha' - Vegetarian recipes from a Trditional Andhra kitchen by Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain

What you need -

1 large bunch amaranth leaves
2 tbsp Roasted gram / pottu kadalai, powdered
1" piece ginger
2 cloves garlic
handful of coriader leaves
2 green chillies
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

1tsp urad dal
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida
6-7 curry leaves

What you do with it

Clean and chop the greens, along with the tender stems. Mine came up to about 4 cups
Grind the ginger, garlic, coriander and green chillies to a paste
In a deep pan, heat oil for tempering. Add the urad dal and the pop the mustard. Lower the flame and add turmeric, asafoetida and curry leaves
Add the greens and stir. Cover and cook till done
Add the ground paste and salt and continue cooking for 2-3 mins
Take it off the heat and stir in the powdered roasted gram
Serve hot with steamed rice or as a side dish

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Braided Pesto Bread for World Bread Day

Last time around, when most blogs had beautiful breads served up for World bread day, I really drooled over them and wished I could bake like that. Its not that I hadn't baked bread, but it never looked good enough. I hate that it didn't brown enough in the convection mode of my microwave oven.
I have been contemplating buying an OTG for a really long time now, but kept telling myself I didn't need it. My microwave worked just fine and I don't really bake that much. I am a member in two very active foodie groups on fb and read a lot about the ovens everyone recommended there. I am not really impulsive with my buying, but one day, under the pretext of retail therapy or such, I went and picked up the Morphy Richards 40L OTG. And with a lot of inputs from SJ, I finally made my first nicely browned bread in my new oven.

braided pesto bread

This braiding of bread is simple and fun and it makes the bread look so pretty. I followed the recipe from here and it started out as a wreath, but I didn't have enough pesto to fill up all the dough, so used half the dough and left it as a braided bread

braided pesto bread dough

The aroma with that pesto in the bread filled up the kitchen and that's when all those wonderful descriptions of how baking can be so addictive and so therapeutic start making so much sense. When it turns out right, baking is truly something that can lift your spirits and make you feel good about everything around you.

pesto bread in half
The swirls of pesto when I cut the bread in half

Instant yeast has been like a wonder find for me. It hasn't failed me once in the last few baking attempts. Thank you Suma and Sayantani for helping me discover this really user-friendly yeast. The bread was really soft and aromatic and the crust had browned really well. The slices looked nice with the swirls of pesto and tasted awesome with some hot soup.

braided pesto bread slices

I didn't get to take step-by-step pics of how you get this braid, since my hungry family was waiting for lunch, and pulling out a camera at this stage was not a great idea. Check this beautiful blog for the detailed steps

Sending this to Susan's Yeastspotting

Braided pesto bread
Adapted from 'Confessions of a Foodie Bride'

What you need -

For the bread -

2.5 cups flour (I used maida / APF)
1 cup warm water
1.5 tsp instant yeast (I used gloripan) / 2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar

For the pesto -

1 cup cleaned basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp grated cheese (I used regular Amul processed cheese)
1/4 cup walnut kernels (Use pine nuts or almonds if you like)
1 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt
3 peppercorns

What you do with it -

For the pesto - Grind all the ingredients along with the olive oil to a coarse paste and store. I made this a week in advance. It keeps well when refrigerated

For the bread -
If using active dried yeast, sprinkle the yeast with the sugar into the lukewarm water and keep in a warm place for about 10 mins. If it gets all frothy, proceed with adding the flour, oil and salt. If not, please don't use this yeast, it will not work
If using instant yeast, just sprinkle the yeast over the flour, add the oil, water, sugar and salt and knead well for about 5-6 mins to form an elastic dough, that's not too sticky. Roll into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with a moist cloth or cling wrap and allow it to rise, till it doubles. Mine took about 45 mins
Preheat the oven to 200 C
Punch down the dough and roll it out on a floured surface to a rectangle of about 8" x 12"
Spread the pesto over this, leaving about 1/2" along the sides
Start rolling the longer side, towards you, folding the edges in
Use a little water and seal the ends
Cut it lengthwise into 2 and then braid it with the filling showing upwards. Transfer to a loaf pan
Pinch the ends together and allow it to rise for another 20-25 mins
Bake for 20-25 mins (This depends on the oven you have)
Allow to cool slightly before you cut it
Enjoy with some hot soup

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pomegranate and lime juice

I can't seem to stop complaining about the weather here. Its so hot here again and many kids are falling sick with this crazy heat. TH is down with viral fever and there's the simple khichdi on the menu for every meal.
TH has been advised rest, something he does only on the doctor's prescription, and to drink a lot of fluids. I am very lazy when it comes to making juices for some reason, but being the good wife that I am, I decided to make fresh juice everyday for him.

pomegranate and lime juice

I had had this at a friend's place. It was a lovely combination using pomegranate and lemon and such a pretty colour too !
Its really refreshing in the heat here, my son loved it and TH found it very replenishing.

pom and lime juice

There's no real recipe here. I used what I had at home, you could use more or less of the lemons and pomegranates

What you need

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
4 lemons
2 tbsps powdered sugar
1/2 tsp black salt
ice cubes (optional)

What you do with it -

Squeeze the lemons and remove the seeds
Mix the powdered sugar into the lemon juice
Remove the seeds of the pomegranate and use a mixer/ blender to get a thick pulp
Strain using a muslin cloth or a sieve
Add this to the lemon juice
Mix in with the black salt
Add approx 3 glasses of water and stir well
Serve as is or with ice cubes
You could even spike it with some vodka !

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Patra / Pathrode - Repost

This is one more of those dishes making its way into my kitchen and blog again, thanks to the pictures I lost in blogger. One of my favourite Konkani dishes, this one is made specially made during Ganesh Chaturthi and of course, every time I just have to eat one !


Patra in Gujarati, Pathrode in Konkani and Aluvadi in Marathi is basically Arbi / Colocasia leaves bundled with some flour and spices, steamed and seasoned. In Gujarat, its made only with chickpea flour. In the Konkani version, its with soaked and ground chana dal and rice. Ma uses the easy way out and so do I. No soaking and grinding, we use chickpea flour and rice flour, with the spices.

I love dishes that are steamed on cooked in leaves. Gives it all the flavour and feels so healthy. The patolis that I made for Gauri puja just wouldn't taste the same if it wasn't steamed in those turmeric leaves.
I always thought this was a complicated and messy job, but realised how simple it is once I started making it at home

Here's a step-by-step on how to make patra / pathrode

Use leaves that have a blackish / dark stem. The ones with dark stems are not itchy, so always safer to use that. These were not dark and thankfully not itchy either.
Wash, wipe and place the vein side up. If the vein is too thick, roll it out with a rolling pin / belan

patra step 1

Spread the batter as evenly as possible, with your fingers, all over the leaf, leaving about an inch on all sides. Place the second leaf with the vein on top, but facing the other way, this makes it way easier when you need to roll it up. Overlap the first leaf with the second one and spread the batter over it.

patra step 2

Repeat with each leaf overlapping the other and spread the batter, leaving space at the edges. Using about 6 leaves in one set gives you nice layered big pieces when it done. You can use just three and make smaller ones too

patra step 3

Fold in the sides and start rolling it to form a log, gently enough, without tearing the leaves anywhere

patra step 4

Once you get a log like this, cut it in half

patra step 5

Steam these in a cooker or idli / dhokla steamer for about 10 mins. Allow it to cool and then cut into thick slices

patra step 6

Pan fry these pieces with the seasoning and garnish with grated fresh coconut. Enjoy as a snack or as a side dish with rice and a plain ghashi

patra 1

What you need

9 colocasia leaves
2.5 cups besan / chickpea flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp tamarind paste
2-3 tbsp grated jaggery
salt to taste
1 cup water

Seasoning -
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tbsp oil

Garnish -
1-2 tbsp grated coconut
coriander leaves

What you do with it -

Make a thick batter with the besan, rice flour, jaggery, tamarind paste, chilli powder, asafoetida and salt using one cup water. Add more water if it is too thick, but don't dilute it too much
Wash the leaves and wipe them dry. Place the leaf vein side up, spread the batter with your fingers, leaving about an inch on all sides of the leaf. Overlap with another leaf, with the vein facing upwards, but on the other side of the first leaf, as shown above. Repeat the process with about 3 or 6 leaves, depending of the size of pieces you want.
Fold in all sides of the leaf and roll to form a log. Cut into 2-3 big pieces
Grease a steamer plate with a little oil and places the pieces in the steamer. allow to steam for 10-12 mins
Remove and allow to cool
Cut into thick slices
In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp oil, add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Add the asafoetida and then place the pieces in the pan
Allow it brown slightly on both sides and take it off the heat
Garnish with coconut and coriander leaves
Serve as a snack or as an accompaniment with rice and ghashi

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fruit chaat

The weather in Ahmedabad for about 9 months in a year fluctuates between hot, really hot and ridiculously hot. Between December and February, its pleasantly cold, especially late evenings and early mornings.
When we just moved here, it was the 'ridiculously hot' time of the year. And coming from Bangalore, that was unimaginable heat.

fruit chaat1

October is the time for the second summer (I really could do with just one) and the last couple of days have been bad.
Its always more difficult to eat regular hot food during summers and the body craves for liquids and cold food
I made this fruit chaat that was so soothing. It was my mid morning snack and my dinner. You could have it as a salad. Many fruits go well together in a fruit chaat - guavas and bananas work best. I used what I had at home and substituted fresh grapes with some raisins.

fruit chaat3

Quite predictably, TH didn't even want to try it. Fruits and TH have this complicated relationship. If he is to ever have it, it needs to be in the form of a fruit salad loaded with cream or ice cream, or with custard, or a pudding or something with a higher calorific count
The little one turned up his nose when he saw this and said it smelled spicy and that he didn't like spicy fruits, so I enjoyed a whole bowl of it for dinner.

This is the way Ma makes it. Its really simple, just that I am too lazy to cut those fruits up to make this. But I'm hoping I'll make it more often. I really enjoyed it. The black salt really adds the zing to these fruits.

fruit chaat5

Fruit Chaat

What you need -

2 bananas
2 guavas
2 apples
1/2 a pomegranate (or more)
2-3 tbsps raisins (use fresh grapes instead)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp roasted jeera powder
a pinch of pepper powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black salt (kala namak)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chaat masala
(You can use any other fruits like pineapple or papaya)

What you do with it -

Clean and chop the apples and guavas into bite sized pieces
Remove the pomegranate seeds
Peel the bananas. Slice lengthwise and then cut into pieces
Place all the cut fruits in a bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over it (This helps it from turning brownish in colour)
Add the jeera powder, pepper powder, chaat masala, salt and sugar
Refrigerate. Tastes great when its cold.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vegetable kurma

Here's another recipe I learnt from my mother-in-law. The only kormas I had had were the cashew nut based, rich creamy kormas - the very North western, Mughalai influenced gravies that were generally made with meat.
When I had this vegetable kurma, which has such distinct South Indian flavours, I was a little surprised. This is a coconut based curry, with vegetables and spices
That's when I realised the difference between a kurma / kuruma and a korma / khorma / qorma !

vegetable kurma

This goes pretty well with idlis, though initially I found it a little difficult to accept that combination.

I normally make it with jeera rice. Since it is loaded with vegetables, it pairs well with the mildly spiced rice

What you need -

2-3 cloves garlic
1" piece ginger
2 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 potatoes
1/2 cup shelled peas
2 carrots
1 cup cauliflower florets
8-10 french beans
1 onion
2 tomatoes
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

For the masala -
2 tsp chana dal
3 green chillies
1/2 an onion
3 green chillies
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 tsp coriander seeds

What you do with it -

Fry in a little oil, all the ingredients listed under 'For the masala' and grind it to a paste
Chop the onions and tomatoes. Finely chop the ginger and garlic
Cut the beans, carrots and potatoes into bite sized pieces
In a pan, add a tbsp of oil and add the cinnamon and cloves. Then add the chopped ginger and garlic
Add the chopped onion and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the tomatoes and allow it to cook a little
Add the potatoes and beans first and then pour enough water to just cover it
After about 4-5 mins, add the remaining vegetables
Cover and allow the vegetables to cook. Once its almost done, add salt and the ground masala paste
Bring it to a boil and serve hot with rice, idlis or jeera rice


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