indian recipes

beetroot palya

11th April 2019

I prefer to keep this palya simple and the flavours subtle, as it is normally served with other complex dishes. Use fresh, small-medium sized beetroot with lots of flavour and preferably with their greens attached – a reliable sign of freshness. Always give them a squeeze to avoid buying old spongy beetroot that has been stored too long.

~ vegetable garden and blossoms ~

beetroot palya

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 4, as a side dish.

ingredients 

4-5 medium beetroot (450g)

for the voggarane 

2 Tbsp peanut oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

15 small curry leaves

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut – can replace with dried

to serve 

whole moong dal with garden greens

yoghurt

rice

preparation 

1.  Scrub the beetroot and place them in a pot of boiling water – simmer for 30 minutes until tender but still firm.

2.  Drain and allow to cool slightly. Using vinyl gloves (this will keep your hands clean while working with beets) slip the skin off. If the skin doesn’t slip off easily, use a knife to scrape the skin away.

3.  Finely chop into small cubes and place in a serving bowl.

for the voggarane 

4.  Heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds; when they start to splatter and pop, remove from heat, add in the curry leaves, swishing the pan around for the leaves to fry evenly. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 1 – 2 minutes.

5.  Add salt and jaggery, stir to combine and pour over the beetroot – toss until well-incorporated.

6.  Add the finely chopped dill and sprinkle over the coconut – stir to combine. Garnish with a handful of small beetroot leaves.  Serve warm, or at room temperature.

variations 

Stir through 1  cup full- fat yoghurt.

suggestions 

If buying beets with their greens still attached, lightly steam the greens when boiling the beet, double the voggarane and stir through.

whole moong dal with garden greens – two variations

18th March 2019

There are two different ways to prepare this dish. One is more of a soupy, liquid dish and the second is a dry palya of sorts; both use the same ingredients, whilst the main difference being the amount of water used.

Soupy Whole Moong Dal with Garden Greens

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 2 – 3

 

ingredients
½ cup/100g whole moong dal (mung beans)
4½ cups water/1.25 litres
2 cups/55g loosely packed kale/fenugreek/spinach,cabbage & coriander leaves
2 Tbsp dried shredded coconut
1 tsp fine rock salt
1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar
1 -2 tsp lemon juice
voggarane
1 -2 Tbsp ghee
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1  heaped Tblsp split channa dal
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 chilli (broken into three pieces)
⅛ tsp asafoetida powder
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
12 curry leaves

to serve
Rice
Yoghurt with cucumber
Beetroot Palya / Shaved Beetroot Salad

preparation
1.  In a medium saucepan wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain, then pour in 4½ cups water, bring to boil, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer, uncovered until tender – about 20-30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may need to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal.

2. While waiting for the dal to cook, wash the greens and roughly chop. Measure out the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

for the voggarane
3.  In a small pan over medium-high heat, add the ghee, once it’s hot; add the mustard seeds and channa dal, fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and the dal is golden-brown.

4.  Turn down the heat and add the chilli and asafoetida powder – continue to fry for 20 seconds, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly.

5.  Add the curry leaves and turmeric powder, turn off the heat, then add the voggarane to the dal.

6.  Sprinkle in the dried coconut, salt, jaggery, lemon juice and fold in the green leaves – mix well, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes until the greens have wilted.

7.  Taste adding more sweet or sour as needed.

Serve over rice, drizzle with ghee and sprinkle with a few rounds of freshly ground pepper.

suggestions
Soak the dal in the morning or evening for quick meal preparation.
To keep the green leaves vibrant, add only when ready to serve.

variations
Use split yellow moong dal instead of the whole moong dal.
Add in finely chopped carrot instead of the garden greens.

 

Dry moong dal with garden greens

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

 

ingredients
½ cup/100g whole moong dal (mung beans)
3 cups water/750ml
2 cups/55g loosely packed kale/fenugreek/spinach/cabbage & coriander leaves
2 Tbsp dried shredded coconut
1 tsp fine rock salt
1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar
1 – 2 Tbsp lemon juice
voggarane
1 Tbsp ghee
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 heaped Tblsp split channa dal
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 chilli (broken into three pieces)
⅛ tsp asafoetida powder
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
12 curry leaves

to serve

tomato gojju

shaved carrot salad

guacamole

rice

preparation

1.  In a medium saucepan wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain, then pour in 3 cups water, bring to boil, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer, uncovered until tender – about 20-30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may need to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal. You really need to keep an eye on them and judge so that you are not left with mush. You want the moong dal firm but cooked.

2. While waiting for the dal to soften, wash the greens and finely chop. Measure out the remaining ingredients – set aside.

3.  When the dal is ready, pour into a strainer to drain off any excess water – leave for a few minutes.

for the voggarane
4.  In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the ghee, once it’s hot, add the mustard seeds and channa dal; fry until the mustard seeds start to pop and the dal is golden-brown.

5.  Turn down the heat and add the chopped chilli and asafoetida powder – continue to fry for 20 seconds.

6.  Add the curry leaves and turmeric powder – allow to fry for a few seconds, stirring for the spices to fry evenly.

7.  Turn off the heat and add in the garden greens, mix well (may need to add 2 tablespoons of water if it feels to dry). Cover and allow the greens to wilt.

8.  Once wilted, stir in the cooked dal, dried coconut, salt, jaggery – mix well, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to come together. Taste adding more sweet or sour – I like to add extra lemon juice.  When serving, garnish with lemon zest and freshly grated coconut.

Because this is a dry dish it goes very well with tomato gojju.

cabbage carrot palya

23rd February 2019

Growing up as a child, dinner was always six o’clock sharp, no later and no earlier. I grew up on the same weekly menu for as long as I lived with my parents and they still, to this day, eat according to this same menu.

This routine seems to be deep-rooted, as I get older I see a pattern emerging; Sunday is pasta night, Monday mornings pepper rasam and in the evening chapati night, Tuesday morning is a garden inspired rasam and Fridays are becoming sandwich night.

On chapati night, I serve this simple dal, a quick guacamole and this cabbage carrot palya. It is a combination which goes well together and has become a regular on the table for years now.

I prefer to keep this palya simple, as it is normally served with other complex dishes. For a more deeply flavoured dish, add 1 tsp finely grated ginger, roughly chopped toasted cashews and a squeeze of lemon towards the end of cooking.

cabbage carrot palya

Preparation – 20 minutes

Serves 3 – 4, as a side dish

ingredients

2 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp split channa dal

1 tsp split urad dal

12 curry leaves

2 – 4 Tbsp water

3 cups/200g finely chopped cabbage

1 cup/80g loosely grated carrot

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ cup/20g dried shredded coconut

to serve 

one pot dal

chapati

preparation 

1.  Finely chop the cabbage, peel and grate the carrot using the larger side of a box grater – set aside.

2.  In a medium skillet, on medium-high heat add the oil and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the channa and urad dal – fry until both dals are golden-brown.

3.  Add in curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.

4.  Turn down the heat, pour in the water and immediately add the cabbage. Cover and simmer the cabbage until cooked but still firm, stirring every few minutes – approximately 4 minutes. If there is any liquid left on the bottom, uncover and increase the heat to high until it has evaporated.

5.  Stir in the grated carrot – cook 1 – 2 minutes more, uncovered, stirring until the carrot is soft.

6.  Season with salt and jaggery, sprinkle in the dried coconut – combine well. If you like, add a small amount of finely chopped fresh coriander.

suggestions 

Use a variety of cabbage (Savoy Cabbage) with dark outer leaves for a variation in deep greens. It doesn’t affect the taste but the contrast is lovely.

variations 

In spring, add in fresh green sweet peas, when adding the cabbage.

Replace the carrot with finely chopped fenugreek leaves.

easy one-pot kichadi

30th December 2018

This is a quick satisfying one-pot meal to prepare. It is easy to digest, nourishing, balancing and a complete protein in one bowl. When eaten together, rice and dal provide all the essential amino acids for a nutritionally sustainable meal. Perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook and need something fast but with enough nutrients to sustain you. It can be eaten in the morning or evening and takes only half an hour to prepare.

When preparing Kichadi, it is important to understand the different types of dal or legumes used and their energetic qualities.  There is one type of dal which is favourable and used most often – whole moong and when husked and split becomes split moong. These two are easy to digest, gentle on the system and cause minimum disturbances to all constitutions.  All other dals or legumes are recommended to use in moderation and small quantities.

When serving Kichadi drizzle with a spoon of ghee. GHEE is a magical golden substance that has many benefits for the human system including improved digestion as well as making everything taste better.

I recently spent a week with my daughter and helped her organise her first apartment in London. She needed a few quick no-fuss meals she could make while balancing studies and working – this was one of them.

Easy One-Pot Kichadi

Preparation – 35 minutes

Serves 2

ingredients
⅓ cup/60g split moong dal
⅓ cup/60g white basmati rice
3 cups/750ml water

1 Tbsp ghee
¼ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
½ small red chilli (optional)
6 curry leaves
⅛ tsp turmeric powder

½ cup/30g chopped cabbage
½ cup/70g finely chopped carrot

¾ tsp fine rock salt
½ tsp jaggery/brown sugar
1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 – 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
to serve
ghee
Indian Spicy Pickle

preparation
1.  Place the dal and rice in a bowl, rinse with water until the water runs clear, drain and pour in 3 cups water. Set aside.

2.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the mustard seeds start to splatter and pop, turn down the heat and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, and chilli – fry for a few seconds, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly.

3.  Add in the curry leaves and turmeric powder – fry for a few seconds.

4.  Pour the dal, rice and water into the spice mixture, bring to boil over high heat, then lower to maintain a rapid simmer.

5.  While waiting for the dal and rice to boil, finely chop the carrot and cabbage and add this to the simmering rice and dal.

6.  After 20 minutes, turn the heat to low and cover. When the dal and rice have softened – approximately 30 mins, add the salt, jaggery, ginger, dried coconut and stir in the lemon juice – turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to meld together.

Taste adding more lemon or salt as needed. Serve drizzled with ghee.

suggestions
Soak the dal and rice in the morning for quick evening preparation.

variations
Replace the white basmati rice with quinoa. When using quinoa, lessen the dal to ¼ cup and increase the quinoa to ½ cup.
Change the vegetables to suit the seasons.

 

favourite rasam recipe – three ways

22nd August 2018

This is a recipe I fall back on as a twice or thrice weekly meal. It is the same recipe, same measurement of spices, using a variety of different dal and vegetables. The first two recipes include grinding the coconut-rasam mixture, while the third does not, making it a quicker dish to prepare. It’s a good example of how one recipe can be used in many variations to give a totally different dish.

In these three recipes, I alternate between using mung beans(whole moong dal)toor dal and split yellow moong dal.

whole mung beans with tomatoes & chard

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients 

½ cup/100g mung beans(whole moong dal)

4 cups water/1 litre

1 tomato(100g), finely chopped

1 cup/50g tightly packed chard leaves (can use kale/fenugreek)

2 heaped Tbsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

sambar-coconut mix

¼ cup/20g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation

1.  In a heavy based saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs off clear, drain, pour in 4 cups water into the saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.

2.  After 10 minutes of simmering add the chopped tomatoes – simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes. 

prepare the rasam-coconut mix

3.  In an upright blender add the dried coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute.  

4.  Pour into the dal rinsing the blender clean with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane 

5.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

6.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, add salt, jaggery and stir in the chopped chard leaves.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to settle, the chard to soften and dal to thicken slightly.  Taste adding more sweet, tamarind or salt.

Serve with rice, yoghurt and drizzle with a spoon of ghee.

 

 

split moong dal with charred okra & fenugreek

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

This dish requires frying the vegetables, in this case, the okra, in the voggarane until nicely charred, then stirring it through the cooked dal when ready to serve. I like to keep 1 cup of the okra aside to use as garnish. This method of cooking works very nicely with green beans as well.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g split yellow moong dal

3 cups/750ml water

2 heaped Tbsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

rasam-coconut mix

¼ cup/20g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (moderately spiced)

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane 

3 Tbsp peanut oil

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped Tbsp channa dal

1 heaped tsp urad dal

400g okra

15 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

2 cups fresh fenugreek/kale/ coriander leaves – chopped

preparation

1.  In a heavy based saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs off clear, drain, pour in 3 cups water into the saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes.

2. Top, tail the okra and cut into 1 cm pieces and measure out the remaining ingredients – set aside.

prepare the rasam-coconut mix

3.  In an upright blender, add the rasam powder, tamarind, dried coconut and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute.  

4.  Pour into the dal rinsing the blender clean with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane 

5.  In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the channa and urad dal, fry until both dals are golden-brown.

6.  Add the okra and keep everything moving in the pan until all the okra starts to char around the edges – approximately five minutes.

7.  Turn off the heat and fold in the chopped fenugreek leaves.

8.  Set aside 1 cup of the okra mixture for garnishing and stir the remaining into the dal.  Taste adding more sweet, sour or salt.

This dish is best served immediately as the okra can become gooey, otherwise, keep the okra and dal separate until ready. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

 

 

toor dal with carrots and green beans

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

This is the same procedure, using a different dal and vegetables, however, the rasam and coconut are not ground, and added directly into the dish.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g toor dal 

cups /1-litre water

1 medium/100g carrot – finely chopped

1½ cups finely chopped beans (can use cabbage in Winter)

¼ cup/20g dried shredded coconut

1 ½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

2 heaped Tbsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation 

1.  In a heavy based saucepan, wash dal until the water runs off clear, drain, then pour in 4 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. 

2.  After 10 minutes add the chopped carrot and green beans, simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes.

3.  When the dal is soft, stir in the coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, salt and jaggery, mix to combine well – simmer for 4 -5 minutes.

prepare the voggarane 

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the curry leaves and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

5.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, and stir in the coriander. 

Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to settle and dal to thicken slightly.  Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

okra & fresh fenugreek palya

5th May 2018

Growing fenugreek (methi) in the garden or in a pot on a balcony is one of the easiest things to grow. The seeds miraculously start to pop up in 3 -5 days and in four weeks the fenugreek is ready to harvest.

Fenugreek grows well in Spring to early Autumn, especially when the soil is warm. It can be grown in full sun or part shade. The fenugreek can be grown in the soil directly or in a pot. I stagger my planting both in a pot and in the soil every 2 – 3 weeks for a constant supply.

To plant, prepare the ground with some compost and well-rotted manure mixed into the soil. You can buy the seeds from the sprouting section in the health food store or as I do, buy from your local Indian store, the seeds grow very well. I sprinkle the seeds directly in the soil, however, you can sow in straight line trenches and cover with soil. The fenugreek seeds don’t need to be evenly spaced apart like other plants in order to grow. The seeds also don’t need to be buried deep in the soil, so a scattering of soil on top to cover the seeds are all it needs. Keep the soil moist and within in 3 – 5 days little buds will appear.

I start harvesting around 4 weeks when the plant is about 6 inches high. To harvest cut the plant with a pair of scissors a few centimetres at the stem above the soil. This will encourage new growth enabling you to get a new crop in 2 – 3 weeks.

To harvest your own seeds, wait for the pods to turn yellow before harvesting.

~Fenugreek~

okra & fresh fenugreek palya

ingredients

2 Tbsp peanut oil/coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp channa dal

1 tsp urad dal

500g okra/ladyfinger

3 tightly packed cups chopped fresh fenugreek

½ cup/40g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

½ tsp fine rock salt

to serve

simple everyday dal

rice or chapati

preparation

1.  Cut the tops off the okra and cut into uniformed 1 cm pieces. Wash the fenugreek leaves, pat dry and roughly chop. Set aside.

2.  In a large wok or skillet over high heat, add the peanut oil and mustard seeds: when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the channa and urad dal, fry, stirring constantly until both dals are golden-brown, a minute or so.

3.  Add the chopped okra and keep everything moving in the pan until all the okra starts to char around the edges, approximately five minutes.

4.  Turn off the heat and fold in the fresh fenugreek leaves, leaving the pan on the stove to continue to cook even though the fire is off.

5.  Once the fenugreek is wilted, stir in the coconut, add the salt and jaggery and mix well.

This dish is best eaten immediately with chapati, rice and accompanied by a simple dal.

bisi-bele bāth – revisited

13th April 2018

I thought I would revisit some of my favourite recipes which I make weekly and update to our personal preferences. This is one dish I love to eat in the cooler months (which in Sintra is the most part of the year).

Once I start eating a warm bowl of Bisi-Bele Bāth a feeling of being present warms and soothes the system, satisfying all six tastes.

~ waiting for Spring

bisi-bele bāth

Preparation time – 1 hour

Serves 3 – 4 

This dish nourishes the body and suits all constitutions. It is recommended to consume in the colder months. During warmer months, it will be heavier for the body. People with Vata disorder or digestion problems should not consume very often.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g toor dal

6 cups/1½ litres water

1 medium/80g carrot

1 medium/110g potato

1 cup/80g cabbage/green beans

½ cup/100g white basmati rice

10 curry leaves

1 heaped Tbsp/15g jaggery/ brown sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 heaped tsp ghee

¼ cup/30g frozen green peas

¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

sambar-coconut paste

¼ cup/20g dried unsweetened coconut

1 heaped Tbsp/18g sambar powder (moderately spiced)

1½ cup/375ml water – divided

for the voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

¼ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation 

1.  Cut the vegetables into small uniformed pieces. Set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, wash the dal until water runs clear, drain then pour in 6 cups water, bring to boil over high heat, skim off any foam which accumulates on the top and simmer for 5 minutes.

3.  Add the vegetables, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer rapidly until the dal starts to soften – depending on the type of dal – approximately 15 minutes.

4.  Rinse the rice and add to the dal, along with the curry leaves – rapidly simmer for 20 minutes more or until the rice is sufficiently cooked. You may need to add more water.

prepare the sambar-coconut paste 

5.  In an upright blender, place the coconut, sambar powder and pour in 1 cup water  – blend on high for 1 minute.

6.  Pour into the dal, adding ½ cup water to swish the blender clean – simmer for 5 minutes, adding more water if needed.

7.  Turn off the heat, add the jaggery, tamarind, salt, ghee and green peas.  Stir, cover and allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. The bisi-bele bath will thicken as it sits.

prepare the voggarane

8.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splatter and pop, add the asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around allowing spices to fry evenly.

9.  Pour voggarane into the bisi-bele bath and stir in chopped coriander leaves. Taste, adding more salt, sambar powder, sweetener or tamarind.

To serve, spoon into bowls with a scoop of yoghurt and a drizzling of melted ghee.

Goodness shared by Stacey

pongal

7th December 2017

This is a dish I make after the Wednesday morning Yoga class when Lior is away as he usually prepares the Ayurveda meal for that day. It is much appreciated and is a wonderfully, soothing warm first meal. Pongal is favourable for all seasons, especially in the cooler months.  I serve it with tamarind gojju, steamed greens and seasonal fruits.

~A wintering garden ~

pongal

Serves 4 – 6

If wanting to make this a simple, cleansing first meal after a day of fasting omit the cashew nuts. Use only white rice as any other whole rice will change the overall flavour. 

ingredients :

1 cup/200g white basmati 

1 cup/200g moong dal, split

10 cups water

2¼ flat tsp fine rock salt

1 cup/80g dried shredded coconut

¼ cup finely chopped coriander

voggarane :

½ cup ghee – melted

1 heaped tsp whole black peppercorns

10 cashews nuts

1½ tsp heaped cumin seeds

¼ heaped tsp turmeric powder

¼ flat tsp asafoetida powder

20 fresh curry leaves

to serve :

tamarind gojju

steamed broccoli

preparation:

1.  In a saucepan, wash dal several times until water runs clear, drain, then pour 10 cups water into a saucepan and bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot, this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  You may need to skim off any foam which accumulates at the top at the beginning of boiling. 

2.  Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. May need to add more water, depending on the preferred consistency of your Pongal.

3.  While waiting for the rice and dal to cook, roughly grind peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and break the cashew nuts in half and half again. Measure remaining spices for the voggarane and chop the fresh coriander.  Set aside.

4.  When the rice and dal have softened sufficiently, turn off heat and stir in salt, dried coconut and fresh coriander. 

Voggarane :

5.  Heat a small pan over medium-heat, add ghee and the ground peppercorns and cashew pieces. Stir once, then allow the ghee to heat and the peppercorns to fry and cashews to turn golden – 2 minutes.

6. Turn off the heat and quickly add cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves – in this order. Allow to fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around, allowing spices to fry evenly.

7.  Pour the voggarane into the rice and dal, mixing well.  You may need to swish the pan out with a little hot water to get all the remaining spices.

8.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to be absorbed before serving. Enjoy as is with a spoon of ghee or my prefered way of serving Pongal is with a tamarind gojju and lightly steamed greens. 

Goodness shared by Stacey

tamarind gojju

26th November 2017

In my earlier days when I was studying yoga in Mysore, there was an Indian lady who opened up her house for Westerners serving breakfast and dinner.  She would make the most delicious Pongal drizzled with a sweet-sourish tamarind gojju.  Only recently, after making it for so many years, I finally obtained an authentic recipe for the Tamarind Gojju in India on our last retreat.  The secret lies in obtaining fresh curry leaves and using a seedless tamarind pulp.

~ Fallen leaves

~ The caress of Autumn

~ Favourite spaces

tamarind gojju

The colour and taste will vary depending on the type of tamarind used.  I use a partially dried, seedless tamarind pulp (on the right in the photo below) or when this isn’t available I use a moist seedless tamarind pulp which comes compacted in a package (to the left). 

The chilli, commonly used in South Indian cooking, is Byaadagi chilli and is known for its deep red colour; it is relatively sweet and less spicy.  If unsure about the level of the spice of the chilli you are using, leave whole or cut in half. Both the Byaadagi chilli and the seedless tamarind pulp can be purchased at your local Indian store.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for about a month. I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing in smaller batches to use as needed.

ingredients :

150g seedless tamarind pulp

3¼ cups boiling water

2 Tbsp oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 Byaadagi chillies, sliced in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

150g jaggery, or dark brown sugar

¼ tsp turmeric powder

⅓ cup unsweetened dried coconut

½ cup water

½ tsp fine rock salt

to serve :

pongal

preparation :

1.  Break the tamarind pulp into pieces and place in a bowl.  Pour 1¼ cups boiling water over the top and set aside for 30 minutes, mashing and turning the tamarind regularly to soften and break it up.

2.  Pour through a strainer, drain, use ½ cup boiling water to rinse out the bowl and pour over the tamarind pulp.

3.  Using the back of a spoon, scrape against the bottom of the strainer to get as much of the thick tamarind liquid out as possible. Do this for 5 minutes and then pour over another ½ cup boiling water – keep doing this scraping and pouring to get as much of the thick tamarind liquid out as possible until the water is used up. This process is fiddly and normally takes me about 15 minutes until I am satisfied with the amount of tamarind extracted.

4.  When you have extracted enough thick tamarind juice, either compost the remaining pulp or place in a jar to use later in cooking.  Don’t worry, the tamarind sauce will be quite liquid, the jaggery/sugar will thicken it while it simmers. Set the tamarind sauce aside.

5.  Over medium heat in a medium saucepan, add the oil and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop, quickly add the fenugreek, chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves – fry for a few seconds, then pour in the tamarind sauce, bring to a rapid boil, turn down the heat, and crumble in the jaggery/sugar.

6.  Allow to rapidly simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until it becomes slightly thicker and starts to come away from the edges around the saucepan.

7.  In a high-speed blender, add ½ cup water and the dried coconut – blend for 1 minute.

8.  Pour this into the tamarind sauce, using a spatula to get as much out of the blender as possible.  Allow the tamarind to simmer for a few minutes, then add the turmeric and salt. The tamarind sauce will thicken as it cools.

My preferred way of serving this is drizzled over this pongal dish, or as a dipping sauce with these samosas.

chuchu gojju

31st July 2017

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Chuchu known as Seemebadanekaayi in Karnatika, India, or chayote squash in Mexico. It is a pear-shaped, light-green vegetable in the gourd family and has a crunchy texture and a mild, sweet taste. Chuchu is a perennial vine that climbs over fences, shrubs, and even on trees. There is no need to peel the skin in the young, tender pears. However, larger and over-mature fruits need light peeling using a vegetable peeler. When in season you can find it in most supermarkets here in Portugal.  I make this weekly for a simple no fuss dinner – served with brown basmati rice and an extra drizzling of ghee.  I also use them when making a simple dal – grated carrot and finely chopped chuchu is a magical combination.

To sprout:  Each chuchu contains a single seed which is enclosed within the fruit and cannot be separated from the fruit.  To sprout place the whole fruit on a light-filled window sill and within days the chuchu will sprout from the broad end.  You can also set the whole fruit directly in the soil and within a week or two will sprout.

chuchu sprout - 1

Plant 1 chuchu vine per household of 4 persons. Chuchu is a vigorous climber; set a sturdy trellis or support in place at planting. Do not allow maturing fruit to come in contact with the soil; it will spoil and germinate while still attached to the vine. Chuchu will be ready for harvest when the fruit is tender and about 4 to 6 – inches in diameter, usually 120 to 150 days after planting. Cut chuchu from the vine with a knife or hand-pruner. Harvest chuchu before the flesh gets hard.

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chuchu gojju

Serves 3 – 4.

Recipe shared by our teacher Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Jivana Yoga Programme. 

Chuchu gojju is best served with rice or dosa – the dosa flavour and rice texture mixes well with the flavour of this dish.  It can also be served with chapati, however, it is best to decrease the amount of tamarind (sour) added.  Eggplant or capsicum can replace the Chuchu, additional capsicum may also be added.

ingredients 

1 medium Chuchu – approx 280-300g

1 cup/250mL water

1½ tsp fine rock salt

3 heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

voggarane 

¼ cup/60ml peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

15 fresh curry leaves

sambar – coconut paste

¾ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

2 heaped tsp Sambar powder- moderately spiced

1 tsp tamarind paste

2 cups/500mL water – divided

to serve :

brown rice

ghee

preparation

1.  Wash, peel and chop chuchu into very small uniform pieces to fill approximately 1½ cups.  Set aside.

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voggarane

2. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, add oil and mustard seeds; when seeds start to splatter and pop, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves  – continue to fry for a few seconds.

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3.  Add the chopped chuchu and 1 cup water and simmer, uncovered until the chuchu softens – about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sambar-coconut paste.

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sambar – coconut paste:

4.  In an upright blender, place the dried coconut, sambar powder, tamarind paste and 1½ cups water – blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute.  Set aside.

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5.  When the chuchu has softened, add jaggery and salt, mixing well.  

6.  Pour sambar-coconut paste into gojju, using remaining ½ cup water to swish the blender clean.

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7.  Allow to simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

8.  Turn off heat and add the coriander.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust the sweet, sour or salt to your preference.  The gojju will thicken as it cools. Delicious served with brown basmati rice or dosa.

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