Thursday, June 30, 2016

Medu Vada (South Indian Dish)

Medu vadas are a traditional South Indian dish. It may be served for the main course, a snack or a side dish. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The vada is typically made with urad dal batter and fried as donut-shape dumplings. They are served with coconut chutney and sambar.

Soaking time: 5 hours
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients: (for about 16 vadas)
  • 1-1/4 cups split washed urad dal
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 3 to 4 green chili, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon green coriander, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry
  1. Wash and soak dal in water for about 4 to 5 hours. Drain the water and grind the dal in a food processor or a mixer to smooth paste consistency using very little water. Just enough to get the right texture. Blend an additional 2 to 3 minutes more to make it fluffy.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the dal batter including coriander leaves, green chili, hing and salt. Beat the batter for 2 to 3 minutes. This will make the batter light and fluffy.
  3. To check the consistency, put the one drop of batter in a bowl of water. The batter should float. Keeping the right consistency of batter is very important
  4. When you put the batter on your palm, the batter should hold it's shape. If you are not using the batter right away, keep the batter refrigerated (as the batter sitting will get soft).
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. The frying pan should have about 1 inch of oil. To check if the oil is ready, put one drop of batter in the oil. The batter should sizzle and come up.
  6. If the oil is very hot, the vadas will not cook through and will not be crispy.
  7. Wet your palms and take a golf size batter and place over your palm. Flatten to a round shape and make a hole in the center with the other hand. Slowly slide the vada into the oil pan.
  8. Fry the vadas on both sides to golden brown. Take them out over a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  9. Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar. ( check my recipes for coconut chutney and sambar)

Medu vadas

Coconut chutney 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Oven Roasted Green Vegetables

Whenever I have a bunch of leftover veggies in the fridge from various dishes I've made earlier in the week, I end up making roasted veggies for lunch. I kept it simple and just use fresh garlic, salt, ground black pepper and red crushed pepper. The best part is that I only use veggies that I like. However, if any of the vegetables listed here are not your favorite, this recipe may easily accommodate other vegetables.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved)
  • 2 cups string beans (green beans, cut to 2" length)
  • 2 cups asparagus spears (cut to 2" length)
  • 7 to 8 fresh garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon red crushed pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl toss the above mentioned  vegetables with oil, fresh garlic, salt, black pepper and red crushed pepper. 
  2. In a tray, spread the vegetables and roast, stirring at least once or twice during roasting for even cooking and browning. Roast them for at least 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Vegetables are ready to serve. You may also serve with rice or bread.
You may add your choice of vegetables like cauliflower florets, carrots, red onions, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, etc.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rice with Corn & Spinach (Palak)

Rice with corn and spinach is relatively easy to make, but is a little time consuming overall. It is simultaneously a very healthy dish. Spinach with sweet corn is one of my favorite combinations. The sweetness of corn fuses well with the slightly bland yet earthy taste of spinach. This corn and palak variation is creamier than your average restaurant entree as I have added a white sauce in place of heavy cream. The white sauce prevents the palak vegetable from having a runny or watery texture. This dish is also a meal in a bowl. So, relax and enjoy!

Soaking time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients for Rice:
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 to 6 cups of water 
  • 2 bunches of spinach (will create approx. 3 cups of puree)
  • 1 cup boiled corn
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 3 to 4 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 to 5 green chili, chopped (adjust according to your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • Salt to taste
Ingredients for White Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
Ingredients for Veg Saute:
  • 1 small onion, cubed
  • 1 tomatoes seeded, cubed 
  • 1 small green pepper, cubed
  • 1 small red pepper, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red crushed pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oilve oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. First, we will cook the plain rice. Start by washing the rice and soak for 20 minutes in warm water. Then, drain the water. In a pot, add the rice, water, salt, lemon juice and ghee. While the rice is cooking, rinse the spinach very well in water. When the rice is cooked, drain the water and keep the rice on the side.
  2. Boil water with some salt. Add chopped green chili, ginger, garlic and the spinach to the boiled water. Switch off the flame and let the leaves be immersed in the water for 2 minutes.
  3. Drain and quickly immerse the spinach in ice cold water. 
  4. Boil the corn and keep it on the side.
  5. In a blender, make a smooth spinach puree by adding a little water. Keep it on the side.
  6. To make white sauce, in a pan, melt butter and stir in flour and salt. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 more minutes and the sauce is ready.
  7. To make corn and spinach mixture, in a pan, heat the oil or ghee and add cumin seeds. When it crackles, add hing (asafoetida) and chopped onion. When onion turn medium brown, add all spices, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, add spinach puree and boiled corn, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Add the white sauce, mix it well and cook for another 1 minute. The corn and spinach is ready.
  9. For saute veg, in a pan, add olive oil, cumin seeds and onion and cook on high medium heat. Then, add all other vegetables. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt, black pepper and red crushed pepper. Vegetables should be crunchy, not overcooked. Turn off the gas.
  10. The dish is ready to serve! In a plate, first, place the rice. Then, place the corn spinach vegetables. Finally, add the sautéed vegetables on the top of the spinach. Serve hot and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bhaat Na Rasawala Muthiya

Bhaat na rasawala muthiya is an option for you during those times you've cooked too much rice and want to utilize it for another meal (that or you may make extra rice on purpose if you enjoy this!). This is a family favorite recipe originating from the Gujarat region of India. The muthiya are made from cooked rice simmered in a yogurt spiced gravy. As they are boiling, the muthiya will soften and subsequently melt in your mouth when you eat them. The gravy may be slightly sour and medium spicy, but you may add to or subtract from the ingredients as you see fit to tailor to your own taste. In the end, I garnish it with chopped onions, tomatoes and green coriander leaves. Yummy! Hope you enjoy it.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


For Muthiya:
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 3 tablespoon chickpea flour/ besan
  • 3 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chili (adjust according to your heat level)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhanajeera powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
For Gravy:
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves 
  • 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-1/2 cups water (approx.)
  • 1 small chopped onion, for garnish
  • 1 small tomato, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh green coriander leaves, for garnish
  1. In a bowl, take all the ingredients listed under muthiya and mix well to make it thick and doughy without adding any water.
  2. Shape them into small sized muthiyas (see photo below) and keep aside.
  3. In a bowl, take yogurt and add red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Mix well and make the batter thin by adding water.
  4. Heat oil in a pan or kadai on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and when it starts to crackle, add hing/ asafoetida. Add green chili and ginger paste and saute for few seconds before adding curry leaves.
  5. Add prepared yogurt mixture and bring it to a boil.
  6. Once it starts boiling, add muthiya one by one. Let it boil and keep cooking.  If it dries up, then add more water. Keep cooking until muthiyas are cooked (approximately 15 minutes, minimum).
  7. Once cooked, turn off the stove.
  8. Garnish with onion, tomato and coriander leaves.
  9. Serve hot.

Shape of muthiya