Sunday, May 19

Whole Wheat Ravioli

When my new camera had come home I wanted to shoot some glamorous dish and I was hunting on net for a fancy dish. Ravioli was the beauty I decided to conduct my first photo shoot with. It had come well that I tried it again for the local cookery contest in Little Millennium School in our locality. You know what, it won the first prize and was critically acclaimed ;)… I made a twist to the traditional recipe for accommodating it to the contest theme; I used only wheat flour to make raviolis while traditionally semolina flour is used for the recipe.

Serves: 5

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

1.      Wheat flour – 2 cups
2.    Dried basil – ¼ tsp
3.    Olive oil – 4 tbsp
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Ricotta cheese – 50 gm (I used cottage cheese)
6.    Parmesan cheese – 50 gm (I used cheddar cheese)
7.     White pepper crushed – ¼ tsp
8.    Tomato well ripen - 10
9.    Onion big – 1, finely chopped.
10. Garlic – ½ a pod, peeled and grated.
11.  Dried Italian herbs – ½ tsp
12.Pepper crushed – 1 tsp


Step 1: Knead soft dough with wheat flour, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt as per taste, dried basil with luke warm water. Set it aside for a couple of hours.
Step 2: Prepare the filling by blending together both the cheeses with white pepper. It should be in a cream cheese consistency; I added little milk.
Step 3: Drop the tomatoes in boiling water and peel off the skin. Crush them in a blender pulsing few times.
Step 4: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil sauté garlic and onion in it and add the crushed tomato to it. Simmer it until a nice sauce is obtained. Sprinkle salt, crushed pepper and Italian herbs to it and mix well. Adjust taste and turn off heat. This might take 30 min approximately and you can prepare raviolis in parallel.
Step 5: On a wide working surface, soften the dough and divide into 4 portions. Roll them into long rectangle like sheets and cut each into 2” ribbons
Step 6: Now place blobs of filling on one ribbon leaving 2” gap in between. With the help of brush or your fingers, wet the rest of the surface of ribbon in which filling is placed with plain water.
Step 7: Carefully cover it with another ribbon from one side to the other by pressing your finger in between each filling so as to allow enough covering for the bulges.
Step 8: Once the entire ribbon is covered work to get the sheets stick to each other while not allowing any air bubble to stay in with the filling. Now cut the between fillings to get fresh raviolis. Alternatively you can use cookie cutter to get various shapes but it is meticulous relatively. Freeze them until use.

Step 9: To cook the raviolis, boil salt water in a vessel and blanch the raviolis until they float on the surface. When done, carefully drain all water and collect them. Repeat other batches.

Step 10: Serving is done as per comfort, look appeal and taste. Drop the raviolis into sauce and mix well and serve on a plate; or spoon enormous sauce in a shallow bowl and arrange raviolis on top; or arrange raviolis and pour some sauce over like our idli - sambar ;) (The photographer in me is yet to mature, bear with me)

Aval Upma/ Red Poha

I usually buy only red aval or red poha for they are healthy and colorful. For some reason Kundan quite likes poha, may be for its texture is soft and slightly chewy. Though it is ideal for breakfast, we have it for dinner at least once in a fortnight. I try minor variations to it one of which I share here. Although I’ve had it from my mom several times earlier, the dish had caught my palate when I tasted it in the Punjabi home where I stayed as a paying guest (But they use only white poha).

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: minutes
1.      Red poha – 2 cups
2.    Salt to taste
3.    Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
4.    Green chilies – 2
5.     Onion – 1
6.    Carrot diced – ½ cup
7.     Beans chopped – ½ cup
8.    Green peas – ½ cup
9.    Oil – 1 tbsp
10.                        Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
11.  Urad dal – ½ tbsp
12.Bengal gram – ½ tbsp
13.Curry leaves – 1 sprig
14.Asafoetida – 1 pinch
15. Lemon – ½

Step 1: Wash and soak poha with enough salt and turmeric in a bowl for 15 – 30 minutes.
Step 2: Heat oil in a pan splutter mustard seeds, fry urad dal & Bengal gram in it, sprinkle asafoetida, add curry leaves & green chilies and sauté chopped onion in it until translucent.

Step 3: Add the other vegetables and sprinkle enough salt for the veggies and cook them covered until done.

Step 4: Open the lid, squeeze the soaked poha and add to the vegetables and mix well.

Step 5: Cook for 3 more minutes in medium heat and turn off heat.
Step 6: Squeeze juice of half a lemon and serve with plain curds.

Wednesday, May 8

Samba Wheat Kuzhiappam

Mostly I make kuzhiappam with the last batch of idly/ dosa batter (what people call adi-maavu) because that is concentrated with rice flour and is perhaps sour which is suitable for this dish. When I prepare so, I add a handful of sooji or rava to get crisp kuzhiappams. That’s when this idea flashed me; why not I try kuzhiappam with samba wheat rava.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1.      Fine samba wheat rava – 1 cup
2.    Dosa/ Idly batter – 1 cup
3.    Oil as required
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
6.    Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.     Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
8.    Asafoetida – 1 pinch
9.    Onion chopped – 1
10.            Capsicum small – 1
11.  Coriander chopped – 2 tbsp
12.Curry leaves – 1 sprig
13.Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
14.Cooking soda – 1 pinch

Step 1: Dry roast the wheat rava and add it to the batter; add necessary salt and water to get a thick idly consistency batter. Leave aside for 15 minutes.

Step 2: In parallel, heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds in, fry urad dal & Bengal gram in it, sprinkle asafoetida, curry leaves, chopped green chilies and sauté onion and then capsicum in it.

Step 3: Mix the prepared tempering to the batter and add a pinch of cooking soda and chopped coriander leaves.

Step 4: Heat the kuzhiappakal and spoon batter into each shack; drizzle oil and cook in simmer until the flipside is roast and brownish.

Step 5: Now turn all the kuzhiappams to get done on the other side; drizzle more oil if required.

Step 6: Take out and repeat batches for entire batter.
Step 7: Serve hot and crisp with coconut chutney or idly podi.

* Add your choice of vegetables to add more nutrition, color and taste.

Urad Sprouts Salad

I tried sprouting every other sprout-able grain before adding them to any recipe; so did I experiment with urad dal also. This is another imitation recipe that I tried, which otherwise we usually make with moong sprouts. As I expected, it did not have any raw smell or urad dal, in fact it did not taste any different from moong sprouts. For most of us urad is dominantly used only in idly/ dosa batter or tadka; this recipe is for people who want to try something new.

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: Nil

1.      Sprouted urad dal – 2 cups
2.    Cucumber – 1
3.    Capsicum – 1
4.    Onion – 1
5.     Tomato -1
6.    Olive oil – 1 tbsp
7.     Salt as per taste
8.    Lemon – ½
9.    Pepper crushed – ¼ tsp
10.            Roasted cumin powder – ¼ tsp

Step 1: Chop the cucumber, capsicum, onion and tomato.
Step 2: Toss the chopped vegetables and sprouted urad dal in a bowl.
Step 3: Sprinkle salt, crushed pepper, cumin powder and squeeze juice of half a lemon. Drizzle olive oil and toss well again.
Step 4: Serve garnished with mint leaves.

Puli Saadam or Tamarind Rice

It was very strange that I tried several new dishes but our favourite puli saadam or tamarind rice never occurred to me all these days. I remember during childhood whenever we traveled long distance or for journey by train or for any local picnics, my mom and maternal grandma used to pack puli sadaam with some thovial . We will all die to have them; somehow our digestive juices would start secreting an hour or two before our usual lunch time if we know puli saadam is for lunch. Gone are the days, but the hunger remains…

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1.      Tamarind – lemon sized ball
2.    Red chilies – 3
3.    Gingelly oil – 4 tbsp
4.    Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
5.     Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
6.    Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.     Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
8.    Groundnuts – 3 tbsp
9.    Curry leaves – 1 sprig
10.            Jaggery – a pinch
11.  Fenugreek powder – ¼ tsp
12.Asafoetida – 2 pinches
13.Salt to taste
14.Steamed rice – 3 cups

Step 1: Soak tamarind in water preferably luke warm water for 15 minutes and then extract juice from it.
Step 2: Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds in it, roast groundnuts Bengal gram & urad dal. When they are brown enough add broken red chilies, curry leaves and sprinkle asafoetida and turmeric powder.
Step 3: Now add the tamarind juice to the kadai and boil until it thickens and forms a sauce like consistency. Add salt, jaggery and the fenugreek powder.
Step 4: Turn off heat.

Step 5: Spread the steamed rice in a wide mixing bowl or plate, pour the puli kachal (the prepared tamarind sauce) and mix well without breaking the rice. Adjust salt and oil as required.
Step 6: Serve or pack with pickles or thovials or fryums or plain curds. It is as such good without any accompaniment.

*The prepared puli kachal (the spiced tamarind sauce) can be stored in air tight container and refrigerated for a week which can be mixed with hot steamed rice as and when required.

*If you like to retain the crunch in the groundnuts add it roasted finally while mixing with rice.

Urad Kadhi

I had sprouted some urad dal which I wanted use for another recipe but due to lack of time I made this interesting recipe that I had hit on the net. This is a simple to make kadhi full of nutrition and taste. I had prepared it to accompany hot steamed rice with papad, it was yummm… Kadhi lovers should give it a try; this is kadhi+dal in one dish.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1.      Sprouted Urad dal – 1 cup
2.    Gram Flour – ¼ cup
3.    Dahi – 2 cups
4.    Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
5.     Salt as per taste
6.    Water – 1 cup
7.     Oil – ½ tbsp
8.    Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
9.    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
10.            Green chilies – 2
11.  Ginger – 1 “ piece
12.Asafoetida – 1 pinch
13.Curry leaves – 1 sprig
14.Coriander finely chopped – 2 tbsp

Step 1: Whisk the curds, water, turmeric powder and gram flour in a bowl till smooth and thin. Keep aside.

Step 2: Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, add slit green chilies, and curry leaves, chopped ginger and sprinkle asafoetida.

Step 3: Sauté sprouted urad dal in it for 3-5 minutes until it is soft.

Step 4: Add the curd mixture and stir continuously in low to medium heat.

Step 5: When it starts boiling, the gravy thickens and nice aroma emanates from it. At that point, turn off heat and transfer the kadhi to the serving vessel.
Step 6: Garnish with chopped coriander and relish with steamed rice or roti.