Archive for the ‘Gluten Free’ Category

Puli Pongal(Tamarind and chili pongal)

Friday, January 4th, 2013

If I said it is freezing cold here in Houston, I’m pretty sure people in the east coast are going to get mad at me, so let me just say that it got pretty chilly here for the past few days. I weighed out the options- hot bowl of soup, pasta, spicy paneer and gobi with fried rice or this pongal(N will be against the soup any day). Majority of the vote(including my son) fell for the pongal, so it was pongal for dinner.

Puli-Pongal

This is something that my mom made when we were kids and it was hit especially in the winter. With the cold winds howling during the month of December/January, eating this hot pongal with mango pickle or puli mulagai pachadi or thengai thogayal and watching a movie was such a regular scene during those years! As mom makes this pongal, my dad will offer to do the pachadi, my sister and I will sit and talk in the kitchen with them and making dinner was such an enjoyable team work.

This is how it goes:
Serves-2

Rice(uncooked, not basmati)- 1 cups
Water- 3 cups
Tamarind- 1/4 tsp
For tempering:
Oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Urad dal- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- one spring
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut- 3-5 tbsp(depending on your taste)
Red chilies- 2
Yogurt chilies-2
Salt to taste

Method:
Just sprinkle some water on the rice and blend it coarsely in a blender. Mix tamarind paste in 1 cup of water.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and fry well. Then add red chilies, yogurt chilies and coconut. Pour 2 cups of water, one cup of tamarind extract in water, then add salt and turmeric powder. Cover and let the water boil.

When the water has been boiling for 2-3 minutes, reduce the flame, slowly add the coarsely powdered rice and mix well. Cover and let it cook on low flame for another 10 minutes till all the water has been absorbed and rice is cooked. Mash it well.

Serve hot with coconut thogayal or mango pickle or avakkai pickle or mavadu pickle or this puli mulagai pachadi. Even the yogurt chilies used in the pongal is a good accompaniment! This is something spicy and tangy for the winter.

Do not use basmati as it will be very mushy once the pongal is done. If the rice is old rice, then the pongal will come out really well. Just check for water to rice ratio, I used sona masoori rice. If you want, reduce the amount of water just a little bit(1/4 cup), make the pongal and you can even make kozhukattais like arisi upma kozhukattai. That is how my son likes his upams.

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Eggplant Rasavangi with Quinoa Pongal

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Quite an unusual combination, but it turned out to be super tasty and easy so here it is.

Kathirikkai(Eggplant) Rasavangi:
Ingredients:

Eggplant-6(small size Indian eggplant)
Toor dal- 1/2 cup
Green chilies-2
Ginger-1/2 ” piece
Red chilies-2
Turmeric powder- 1/8 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind pump dissolved in water- 2 cups(1/4 tsp paste in water)

For tempering:
Oil- 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few sprigs
Asafoetida- 1 pinch
Coconut- 1 cup

Garnish:
Lemon juice- 1 tsp
Cilantro leaves- 2 tbsp

Method:

Slice the eggplant into cubes. Heat one tbsp of oil in a pan and mustard seeds and asafoetida, when the seeds splutter add curry leaves, red chilies and green chilies. Saute the chilies and add eggplants. Add salt and stir fry the eggplants well. Add turmeric powder, tamarind water and cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes till eggplant is half way cooked.

Cook the toor dal and mash it really well with water if needed. Once the eggplants are half done, add the mashed dal, half of the grated coconut(fresh) and let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the rest of the coconut(1/2 cup), when the coconut starts to turn golden brown in color, pour it into the eggplant-dal pot and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Switch off. Add just 1 tsp of lemon juice, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice,papad and any subzi. This will be like sambar in taste but not exactly sambar :)

There is no red chili powder or sambar powder in this recipe so if you like it spicy you need to add more red or green chilies. I usually check for taste when I add the tamarind water and adjust the spice to tanginess ratio. As we also add dal and almost a cup of coconut you have to balance out the taste, besides the chilies I use are quite spicy so I used only 2 green chilies(birds eye chilies).

Quinoa Pongal:


I used to make the idli/dosa batter with white rice and Bise Bela bhath/mixed rices with white rice, then as I was expecting R I started using brown rice(Gestational Diabetes scare though I did not have it!!) in idlis and dosas, adais, BBB and khichdis. The main issue in this was that N had to like the taste of these ingredients too, right? But now he likes all of these and now we started using zucchini for raithas instead of cucumbers. So naturally when I saw this post at Priya’s on Quinoa Pongal I just had to try it out. Instead of the usual pongal chutney sambar or pongal kothsu, I made the eggplant rasavangi and I really have to say that N loved this combo! He even said quinoa tastes the same like mashed rice pongal and suggested to use quinoa for masala pongal instead of brown rice :) This was really filling dinner as quinoa is gluten free and full of protein.

Ingredients(serves -2)

Quinoa- 1 cup
Moong dal-1/4 cup
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cracked black pepper-1/4 tsp (or less depends on you taste)
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves- few
Chopped ginger- 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts- few

Method:

Quinoa can be bitter sometimes so I washed it once and soaked it in water for 20 minutes. Then I added moong dal and soaked it for another 10 minutes. I make pongal directly in a pressure pan cooker as it ends up as a one pot dish.

Heat ghee in the cooker and add cumin seeds, when they sizzle, add curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger and fry well, add cashew nuts. Drain the water from quinoa-dal mixture and add them to the pan. Add 3 cups of water(exact), salt, turmeric powder, pepper powder and mix well. Close the cooker and let it cook on medium flame for 2-3 whistles. Let it pressure cool down before you open the cooker.

Serve the pongal with your favorite side dish. The 3 cups of water is really enough to cook the dal and quinoa- this pongal will be mushy and cannot be shaped like normal rice pongal but it is tasty and healthy! If you like make the pongal without any pepper and make the rasavangi spicy, it will match well too.

Since both these recipes have lentils, this plate is off to MLLS-49, guest hosted this month by Simona, an event started by Susan.

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Daal Panchmela

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

To be honest, N watches the show “Lock stock and two smoking tikkas” presented by Marut Sikka and I
just get the recipe which N wants me to make.This daal with five different grams looked tempting and since he bought me the book Indian flavors(hmmm) he wanted me to make it for phulkas one day. I have previously tried Mirchi Ka Salan, Aloo Kari Patta ,clear tomato soup, pea patties from this cookbook and they were fantastic. I loved the taste of different daals but N was not too fond of the different textures of different daals in the recipe(but that is the speciality of this recipe). But still I make it once in a while and just mash up his portion of the daal to a very smooth consistency. This is an excellent recipe to try in the slow cooker too and the slow cooked daals will just melt in the mouth with some flaky parathas. This was our lunch last weekend when we went for swimming with lil R, I just pressure cooked it, did tadka and we had it with frozen parathas.

Ingredients: (Serves-2)
Chana Dal- 1/4 cup
Toor dal- 1/4 cup
Moong dal- 1/4 cup
Masoor dal- 3 tbsp
Urad dal- 3 tbsp

Vegetables:
Tomatoes(I used roma)- finely chopped- 1 cup
Finely chopped ginger- 1/2 tsp

Butter- 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder- 1/2 tsp
Hing- 1 pinch
Salt to taste

For tempering:
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Oil- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilies- 2

Method:

This is not exactly the method the chef has suggested but I find that cooking all the daals in pressure cooker is easy so I do it that way rather than boiling it in a pot.

Heat oil in a pan and toast all daals to a golden brown color. Let it cool down and wash all the daals (after toasting). Transfer the daal mixture to a pressure pan, add butter, red chili powder, turmeric powder,salt and ginger and add enough water to cook the daals. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles till daals are cooked enough and are tender.

For tempering, heat ghee in a pan add cumin seeds, when they spluttter add hing, dhania powder, dry red chilies and tomatoes. Stir fry well till tomatoes are cooked through and looks buttery. Add this to the cooked daals in the pressure cooker. Let it simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Switch off. Add lemon juice to taste and serve with any type of bread.

This Daal Panchmela goes to MLLA edition 46, hosted this month by the creator Susan.

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Coconut Milk Masala Vegetable Pulao in Cooker

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I have previously made a different type of pulao by following this recipe last year. But when I came across this chicken biryani recipe in Solai aunty’s blog, I thought of making it with vegetables. The ground masala is aromatic and it gives this pulao an authentic restaurant taste! I thought that the name pulao suits is better than biryani, so here goes!

Ingredients(Serves-2)

Basmati rice: 1 cup
Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas,cauliflower,beans)- all together 1 cup
Finely chopped onions-1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Garam Masala powder- 1 tsp
Butter/Ghee/Oil- 2 tbsp
Coconut milk- 1 cup
Water- 1 cup
Bay leaf-2
Cilantro leaves- to garnish

Masala:
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
(or use 1″ piece of ginger and 5 pods of garlic)
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Green chilies-4 to 5
Cinnamon- 1/2″ piece
Mint leaves- a handful
Cloves-2
Cardamom-2

Method:

Wash and soak rice with water for atleast 15 minutes.

Grind all the ingredients given under the masala section- first make a coarse paste then add water(3-4 tbsp) and make it into a thick,smooth paste.

I make this rice in my pressure pan cooker, so I directly add everything in it, if you want you can also make it in a rice cooker, but just do the stir frying in a pan and then transfer the contents to a rice cooker, cook it with rice like a normal rice cooker mode.

Heat butter/ghee in a cooker, add bay leaf, finely chopped onions,salt and stir fry well till onions turn translucent. Then add other vegetables,continue stir frying for 2-3 minutes. Add the ground masala paste(now the aroma of real pulao comes out),stir fry to coat the vegetables with the masala.

Drain water from the rice, add it to the masala and vegetables, stir fry gently for another 3-4 minutes and add coconut milk. What I usually do is to cook the rice with diluted coconut milk (1 cup water and 1 cup coconut milk)instead of using one entire can of coconut milk. You can use plain water or full coconut milk to cook the rice, it is up to you. Just remember that you may need to spice up the pulao by adding 1/4 tsp more masala powder or add another green chili to the masala paste if you use coconut milk to cook the rice.

After adding coconut milk, mix once, cover the pressure cooker with its lid, put on the weight and cook till one whistle(8-10 minutes) on medium flame.

Wait for another 10 minutes to release the pressure, garnish the rice with cilantro leaves and serve hot with any raitha!

The original recipe calls for red chilies in the masala, instead of that I used garam masala powder. N is not a big fan of cinnamon flavor so I have made this pulao omitting that in the masala too, and it still tastes great!

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