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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Muga Dali-Piaja Patra Tarkari ( Moong dal-Spring Onion curry )

Cooking Time Required: 10-15 mins
Cost of preparation: 15-20 rupees

Ingredients: Muga dali/moong dal ( 1 cup ), spring onions ( 200-250 gm ), dry red
chillis ( 2-3 nos.), pancha-phutana ( 1 tsp), garlic flakes ( 5-6 nos), turmeric (2-3 pinch ), salt to taste, any vegetable oil ( 3-4 tsp ) .

Preparation: Wash the spring onions and drain excess water. Cut into inch long pieces.

Dry roast the moong dal till it gives off a sweet fragrance.

Cooking: Wash and transfer the moong dal to a pressure cooker. Add salt, turmeric and 2 cups of water. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 whistles.

Remove from the stove and allow steam to escape. Lightly mash the dal.

Add the spring onions to the mashed dal and cook on medium flame for 4-5 mins.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the pancha phutana and broken red chillis. Crush the garlic
flakes lightly and add to the spluttering seeds. Fry for 10-20 secs.

Pour the contents of the wok over the dal and spring onions. Close the lid and simmer for 2 mins.

Serve hot with white rice/rotis.

Note: Reduce/increase the water content depending on whether you are planning to have it as a curry or dal.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dahi Pacchadi ( Apple & coconut raita )

Cooking Time Required: 10-12 mins
Cost of preparation: 25-30 rupees

Ingredients: Yogurt ( 1 cup ), apple ( 1 no ), freshly grated coconut ( 1 cup ), green chillis ( 2-3 nos), pudina/mint leaves ( a handful ), amba ada/mango ginger ( 1 inch ), black salt ( kala namak, 1/5 tsp ), jeera-lanka ( cumin-chilli ) powder ( 1/5 tsp ), oil ( 1 tsp ), mustard seeds ( 1/5 tsp ), chopped graped ( 1/3 cup), sugar ( 1 tsp), salt ( to taste).

Preparation: Cut the apple into small pieces (preferably like matchsticks).

Crush the mint leaves and extract the juice. Crush amba ada and green chillis. Keep aside.

Take the yogurt in a mixing bowl. Add jeera-lanka powder, amba ada, green chillis, mint juice, sugar, black salt and salt along with 3-4 tbs water. Beat well.

Add the apple pieces and grated coconut to the mixing bowl with required amount of water and mix well.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds to it. Pour the spluttering seeds over the contents of the mixing bowl. Garnish with chopped grapes. ( Optional: Few mint leaves can also be added to the garnish )

Serve as a side-dish with any non-vegetarian/vegetarian meal.

Note: Mango ginger is a herb of the turmeric family. It has a mild mango flavour with notes of ginger. Used for tempering dals, raita, chutneys and pickles.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Muga Khichudi ( Whole green moong khichdi )

Cooking Time Required: 15-20 mins

  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1/2 cup whole moong/ split moong (with skin)
  • 1-2 dry red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp fennel ( optional )
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated/finely chopped coconut
  • 2-3 pinch cumin seeds
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamon
  • 2 cloves 
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste

Preparation: Soak the whole green moong overnight. Or if using the split variety, for 2-3 hours.

Wash the rice and moong and keep aside to drain excess water.

Cooking: Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds,
cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, broken red chilli and bay leaf.

Fry for 30-40 secs till the fragrance of the spices fills the kitchen.

Add the washed rice and moong along with the coconut and stir fry for 3-4 mins. Pour
3-4 cups of water along with salt, turmeric and sugar.

Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.

Serve warm/cold with curd or raita . (Excellent option for lunchbox)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sukhua-Bilati Baigana ( Tomato ) Tarkari

Cooking Time Required: 15-20 mins
Cost of Preparation: 10-15 Rupees

  • 3-4 nos Sukhua (dried/smoked fish)
  • 2 nos medium sized tomato
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • salt ( to taste)
  • 1/6 tsp turmeric
  • 2 green chilli 
  • 5 garlic pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1/5 tsp pancha-phutana 

Preparation: Grind the mustard seeds with half of the garlic pods into a fine paste.

Cut the potato into chunks.

Soak the fish for 1-2 hours. Drain away the water.

Cooking: Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add pancha-phutana followed by crushed garlic pods
and green chillis ( broken into 2-3 pieces ).

Add the soaked fish, crush and fry lightly for 2 mins.

Follow with the chopped tomato. Fry for 3-4 mins.

Add the mustard-garlic paste along with salt, turmeric and a cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook for 8-10 mins.

Serve hot with white rice.

NOTE: Instead of using the salad variety of tomatos, use the desi ( country grown )
ones. The latter have a sour taste in addition to the sweetness which enhances the
flavour of the curry.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Posto Bara ( Khuskhus tikkis )

Cooking Time Required: 10-15 mins
Cost of preparation: 30-40 rupees

Ingredients: Posto(khus-khus/poppy seeds)( 6 tbs), finely chopped green chilli (2 nos), finely chopped onion (2-3 tbs), finely chopped coriander (1-2 tsp), mustard oil (2-3 tsp), salt to taste.

Preparation: Grind the posto into a thick coarse paste.

Add the finely chopped ingredients along with salt and a few drops of mustard oil. Mix well.

Cooking: Heat a non-stick tawa/pan. Take small balls of the paste and flatten on the tawa ( just like tikkis ). Drizzle generously with oil.

Cook on both sides till light brown-red.

Remove from fire and serve with white rice.

Tip: Grind the dry posto seeds. Then add water and grind again. The paste will be much more fine.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy New Year and a Product Review: Sundrop 10 min Yummeals

Happy New Year to all of you!!!! (I know its a bit late for the wishes but this happens to be my first post for 2012)

Having been busy for the past few months, i happened to realize that the Indian customers do not have many options when it comes to the Ready-to-eat
department. A quick and economical 'heat and eat' meal is indisposable for most of the hard pressed for time folks whose tribe happens to be increasing by the day. Staying away from family, 15-16 hour work schedules and a harrowing commute to work are turning home-cooked meals into something of a luxury.

Most of the brands available on the shelves are expensive and lack the 'Ghar-ka-khana' touch. Not many of us would prefer having Chicken Hyderabadi/Moghlai Chicken/Dal Bukhara ( the usual fare provided by Kitchens of India/MTR/Gits ) for dinner/lunch everyday. Also most of these brands have only the curries/dal stuff. One would still need to prepare the rotis/rice to go with them.

Given these drawbacks, I would rather consider the home delivery/ take away option provided by most restaurants as they are more pocket-friendly and eliminate the hassles of heating the meals.

Sundrop has launched the '10 min Yummeals' to bridge this gap. Each of these packets is a complete meal, consisting of rice and a curry/dal. There are 6 variants available:

Dal Tadka and Rice,
Chana Masala and Rice,
Aloo Mutter and Rice,
Palak Paneer and Rice,
Kadhi Pakoda and Rice,
Methi Malai Mutter and Rice.

Each packet is very economically priced at Rs 30/- and serves one. Eliminates the need to store the extra/unused portion. Good for bachelors who would ideally wolf down a packet or two of Maggie for dinner.

The rice needs to be cooked in a open pan/ pressure cooker/ microwave while the curry only needs to be heated. Both can be done well within 10 minutes.

Pros -
1. Economical - A complete meal for a family of 4 would cost 120/- (30/- X 4) rupees. Students can easily afford it.
2. Serving size - Each packet serves one, so elimintes the need to store leftovers.
3. Complete meal - Includes rice and curry. Add a bit of pickle/papad and one is all
4. Less oily/spicy as compared to other brands.
5. Takes less than 10 minutes to prepare a meal.
6. The variety provided is what one ideally consumes in a home-cooked dinner.
7. No cholesterol/ trans-fat/ preservaties.
8. Indication of the spice content on the outer covering. ( Yeah just like one would
find on restaurant menus, example Pizza hut )

Cons -
1. One needs to have a gas stove/ induction cooker/ microwave to prepare the meal.
2. Taste - None of the packaged stuff ever comes close to the 'home-cooked' flavour.
3. No South indian varieties on the menu.
4. The rice does not turn out to be too fluffy when prepared in a pan/pressure cooker.
5. The serving size is a little less for any adult ( especially for guys ).

This is how the prepared meal looks like:

Kahdi Pakoda and Rice

Dal Tadka and Rice ( the pickle is my own addition )

Overall the product is a good one and makes life easier for lots of working folks. This

is how i would rate it:
Taste - 3/5.
Quantity - 3.5/5
Pricing - 4.5/5.

I hope they add more variety to the menu.

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