Thursday, April 26, 2018

Vermicelli puloa - Vermicelli cooked with spices ,coconut milk and vegetables

Vermicelli upma is our very own noodles upma. My lil one calls it that way. It’s been almost 2 years since we stopped buying instant noodles, so whenever kids ask for noodles  it is either this vermicelli or Hakka noodles. I m not confident enough to pack Hakka noodles for their lunch box yet. I have my doubts, that it might go dry or gloggy, uff, mother’s mind! 
When they ask me pack noodles they now what to expect in the box, I either make upma or this puloa. Usually upma I make it just with onions,  but with pulao I try to add their favorite veggies in small quantities. The coconut milk in the pulao gives it a nice flavor and with mild spices and generous ginger it tastes exactly like our rice puloa. So if you are like me giving them vermicelli for noodles, then you should definitely try this pulao! 

1/2 cup vermicelli
3/4 cup mixed veggies ( I have used carrots , capsicums, cauliflower and potato)
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1&1/2 cup thin coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 a lemon(Indian lemon)
1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 curry leaves, torn into pieces
1/3 tsp freshly shredded ginger 
1 cardamom
1 clove
1 bay leaf
2 green chilies, finely chopped

  • In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast the vermicelli until golden brown. Remove the roasted vermicelli into another plate.
  • Now in the same pan, add coconut oil given under tempering, add cumin seeds, clove, cardamom and bay leaf to to and sauté for a minute.
  • Now to this add chopped onions and green chilies, sauté until onions turn translucent.
  • Now the time to add the mixed veggies, sauté for a minute and add coconut milk. If using thick coconut milk, add 2 cup of wAter along with it. If using thin coconut milk, no need to add water.
  • Add salt and lemon juice, let the water come to a boil, add the roasted vermicelli to his and simmer the flame to medium and let it cook covered until done, takes around 8-10 minutes.
  • Once done, remove the cover and fluff it up with a fork, let it be on the flame for another 2-3 minutes and then take it off the flame. 
  • If using coriander leave, garnish and pack it in lunch boxes along with some crisps or a spicy curry.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Upma - Rava Upma, Tomatoes and Carrot Sooji upma, Vegan Breakfast

I can hear "urghh" while someone read that title - upma! I know it is one of the least favored dish by many. But believe me when i say, i know quite a few you can eat upma anyway, anytime! Upma is a simple sooji savory pudding, tempered with spices. The modern upma is made with lot of veggies, to make it more colorful. I once remember watching, a wedding caterer cook upma for quick dinner, they used so much dalda/shortening, to get that nice, gritty, fluffy upma. 
I make upma atleast once in a fortnight, my goto dish, when i run out of dinner/dabba ideas. My elder one is fine, if i don't add big veggies in it, and as usual he prefers to have peanut chutney or some dal along with it. My younger one, if he is a good mood, would eat it as such or else he needs tomato chutney. 

Upma when made properly tastes really delicious, the proportion of liquid to rava, is the key to get a fluffy upma. It is usually 1: 2, for a cup of rava, it is usually 2 cups of water. If you using veggies i add another 1/4 cup extra. After adding rava, simmer the flame and cook it covered for a soft and fluffy upma. My kids don't like garnishes, go ahead and garnish with coriander leaves, or toasted nuts for a rich upma. 
1/2 cup sooji/rava
1/2 a carrot, shredded
1 tomato,finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt to taste

2 tsp oil/ghee
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chilies, chopped fine
hing a pinch
3-4 curry leaves, torn into pieces

  • In a pan, dry roast sooji until golden brown. I do this, even if i m using roasted sooji. Remove the roasted sooji onto a plate. In the same pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, next add chopped green chilies, hing and curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute until they turn translucent. Now add grated carrots and tomatoes. Add turmeric powder and saute fora minute. Add 1 & 1/4 cup of water and salt to this and let it boil.
  • Once it comes to a rolling boil, add the roasted sooji to it and mix well. Immediately it will start absorbing all the liquid, simmer the flame, cover with a lid and cook until done. It takes around 8-10 minutes

  • Once done, remove the cover, fluff it up well. Add a generous drizzle of ghee and pack  for your kiddo's lunch box.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tomato Coconut milk pulao

Whenever my elder one has stayback for his extra curricular activities in school , i need to pack him 2 boxes, one for his breakfast around 9:45 and other lunch around 1:45.  Packing 1 box itself is such a task , i need to pack 3 breakfast boxes and 1 lunch box on a normal day, so whenever he has extra classes, i need to pack 5 boxes totally. If i don't plan it, i will be standing like a stone! 
So it is always a rice dish for his lunch, makes my job lot easier as he loves to have spicy food, so a one pot jazzy dazzy rice along with some raita or some dal he loves it. He needs a gravy with his rice, he cannot eat pulao or biriyani with chips, whereas my lil one is quite opposite, he loves to have non-greasy type rice dishes, as such, he might ask for some appalam/chips. 
So during lazy days i make a pulao, make some raita and some appalam, both the kiddos are happy.  This tomato-coconut milk pulao is one such happy dish, it gets ready in 20-30 minutes, best recipe to make during the morning rush.
My kiddos don't like peas or carrots in their rice dish, so i havent added them , if you prefer to add please go ahead and add them, they will bring a nice color to the dish.

1/2 cup basmati rice
2 medium sized tomatoes
2 green chilies
1/2 tsp shredded ginger
1/2 cup thick coconut milk (i used store bought)
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
a pinch of garam masala
a pinch of tumeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 cardamom
1 clove
1 bay leaf
1 red chilies 

  • Wash and soak rice in water for 20 minutes. Take tomatoes, green chilies and ginger in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • In a sauce pan, heat oil, crackle cumin, add clove, cardamom and bay leaf. Add red chilies,  now add the blended tomato juice to it, saute for a minute. 
  • Now add the drained basmati rice to it, saute for a minute, next add red chili powder, tumeric powder, coriander powder, garama masala powder to it.
  • Add coconut milk and another 1/2 cup of water to it. Add salt, mix well. Cover and cook in a simmer flame for 15- 20 minutes or until done. Once done, fluff it up with a fork, add a generous drizzle of ghee. 
  • Pack it with some potato curry or appalam for your kiddo's lunch. My elder prefers a liquid along with his rice, so i usually pack it with raita.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Stuffed idly - Idly stuffed with spciy masala veggies

Idly the best breakfast made ever! Ask any south-indian, we love our idlies and dosa's, we cannot live without idly batter in our fridge. Stuffed idlies is something, which i make, when i have sour idly batter, the spicy, masala veggies stuffing, masks the sourness in the batter and makes it delicious. Whenever i want to give something new for my kids dabba, i give them for  their dinner first. Once it is approved, it gets to their dabba. It is kind of me getting their nod for that food and they give me their assurance that it will be eaten. I cannot stand food waste, i don't mind them eating less, but if it comes in their dabba back as such, i go wild. So we both parties, accepted to first try it at home for dinner. This idly was packed after one such experiment. 
Why so much banter, before the recipe, because, this last week of Explore the Flavors, i will be posting Kids lunch box dishes. The dishes approved my by elder one and younger one, sometimes just the elder. So, go on try this soft and fluffy idlies stuffed with spicy masala veggies, a nice flavor to the regular idly.

Idli batter as required
gingely oil for greasing the idly plates
For the stuffing
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 a carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1 medium sized tomato
1 green chili
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
a pinch of turmeric
3-4 curry leaves, torn into pieces

  • Let us first make the filling. Heat a sauce pan, heat oil given under tempering, splutter mustard seeds, add asafoetida, and curry leaves. Next add chopped onions and green chili, saute until onions turn translucent
  • Now add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and salt and cook until tomatoes turn mushy. Now dump all the chopped veggies, add 1/4 cup of water and salt. Cover and cook until done. 
  • There should be no liquid in the filling. Even after cooking, if there is still liquid, cook without cover until all the liquid is absorbed. Let the filling cool.
  • Now let us prepare the idly plates. Grease the idly plates with gingely oil, fill half the mould with idly batter, spoon 2-3 tsp of filling into each hole, now top it with another ladle of batter. Steam cook for 10-12 minutes. Once done, let it cool for 2-3 minutes, then unmould the idlies onto a serving plate. 
  • The idlies can be made in one single big plate also, if  you make it one single plate, cut and pack as wedges. Pack them with a generous drizzle of gingely oil/ ghee with idly podi on top.
Day 19


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ram Ladoo - moong dal pakode

Ram Ladoos, a delicious chaat made of moong dal pakora, topped with chutney's and grated radish. These were my last minute resort for today's alphabet 'R'. Originally i planned to make ragda pattice, but then since i didn't have time, i decided to pick an easy to make chat recipe. Ram Ladoos also knowns as gul-gule, a famous street food from delhi. My elder one and my hubby enjoyed it with the chutney and the radish garnish, where as my lil one was happy with just the fried pakode. It is a win-win for all. These make a great snack along with tea, a delicious option for parties too. 
3/4 cup moong dal
1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 an inch ginger
2 green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1 radish, grated
hing/asafoetida a pinch
chaat masala, as needed
lemon juice, as needed
salt to taste

Green chutney
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 green chili
1 clove of garlic
salt to taste

  • Rinse and soak moong dal and chana dal in water for an hour or two. Drain and take the dal in a mixer, add green chilies, ginger,cumin and grind it to batter without adding water. 
  • Once done, remove it to a bowl, add salt and hing, using an electric whisk, whisk the batter fluffy, the yellow color batter, would turn pale white as you whisk, this way you are incorporating air into the batter, which will make the vada fluffy.
  • Heat oil in a pan for frying, pinch balls out of the batter and deep fry them until golden brown. Do not crowd the  batter, add 6-8 pieces to a batch. Once done, remove the fritters using a slotted spoon on to a kitchen towel.
  • Blend the ingredients for green chutney, with 1/4 cup of water. Remove it to a bowl. For serving, add 5-6 moong dal fritters to a bowl, add generous green chutney, you can also use sweet chutney if you like, add grated radish, sprinkle chaat masala, add a squeeze of lemon and serve immediately.
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