Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Barley payasam ~ Jau ki kheer ~ Indian Milk pudding with barley

Festival season means there are a lot of occasions for making sweets these days. The other day  when I was flipping through a channel I came across a cooking show that was showcasing a barley kheer that looked and sounded really promising. Since the very next day was Ganesh chathurthi, I decided to add one more sweet for the occasion and included barley kheer on my to do list. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand and I did not have to make a run to the grocery store just because of my last minute addition :)

Since I was cooking at the time of the show, I did not note down the proportions, just made a mental list of the ingredients. I went with my instincts with regard to proportions, but the kheer turned out very well. Definitely a winner, it was quick, easy and delicious. It hardly took anytime at all to get done, it was pretty effortless. This is the first time I used barley in a sweet dish, usually any time I reach for barley it is to use it in some kind of savory recipe.  If the thought of using barley in a kheer/ payasam intrigues you too, give this one a try and enjoy it with your family for any festive occasion or even just to indulge over the weekend :)
 Barley Payasam ~ Jau ki Kheer ~ Indian milk pudding with barley | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Barley Payasam  (adapted from a tv program)
1/4 cup pearl barley (jau/ vargodumai)
2 and 1/2 cups whole milk (doodh/ paal)
1/4 cup sugar (shakkar/ sakkarai) (see notes)
1/4 tsp green cardamom seed powder (choti elaichi/ ellakai)
1 Tbsp clarified butter (ghee/ nei)

5 almonds cut fine (badam)
1 Tbsp broken cashew (kaju)

Soak barley in sufficient water overnight. Drain and fill with fresh water and pressure cook until soft. About 3 whistles in the pressure cooker is sufficient to cook the barley.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add cashews and almonds and stir until golden brown.Add cooked barley and stir a couple of times. Break off lumps if any.

Add milk and sugar and simmer for a few minutes until milk thickens to desired consistency. Do keep in mind, the kheer thickens further when cool. Add cardamom powder and mix well. Simmer another minute or two.

Remove from heat, serve hot, at room temperature or chilled.

Serves approx 2 to 3

With this quantity of sugar, the kheer turns out mildly sweet, if you want a more pronounced sweetness, you can increase the quantity of sugar to 1/2 cup or to taste.

If you are looking Kheer/ Payasam/ Indian pudding recipes, here are a few more

Oats Poha Kheer ~ Oats Aval payasam ~ Beaten rice flakes pudding

Gajar kaju kheer ~ Carrot cashew payasam

Badam Kheer ~ Payasam ~ Indian almond pudding
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bhindi ki sabzi ~ Okra curry ~ Vendakkai Curry

Okra is one of my favorite veggies and this easy and simple curry is one of my favorite curries to make with it. Every few weeks  I make this at least once, yet surprisingly I never got around to posting this recipe in this space before now. This is the type of curry I love to make for weeknight dinners, no fuss, easy, tasty and healthy too. With a minimum of spices, the taste of the vegetables shines through in this curry.

If you are making a list for "super easy and quick recipes" this curry will definitely qualify to be on the list and would probably get a top spot on it too :) This curry works very well with some phulkas/ rotis or with some plain steamed rice and dhal.

 Bhindi ki sabzi ~ Vegan Okra curry ~ Vendakkai curry | Easy side dish for Phulkas/ rotis/ flatbread | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make okra curry
6 cups of cut pieces of okra (about 50-55 pcs of okra/ approx 700 gms/ 1.5 lbs)(bhindi/vendakkai)
1 medium red onion cut fine (pyaaz/ vengayam)
2 medium tomatoes cut fine (tamatar/ thakkali)
1 Tbsp oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi/manjal podi)
1/2 tsp chili powder (or to taste) (hara mirch)
Salt to taste (namak/ uppu)

Wash bhindi/ okra, dry thoroughly using kitchen tissue. Remove crown and tail and cut okra into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut onions and tomatoes and keep aside. 

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds/ jeera to it, when the seeds sizzle, add onions and stir on low to medium low heat until onions turn translucent. 

Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt to taste and stir until tomatoes are soft and mushy. 

Add okra pieces and mix gently. Close with a lid and allow to cook until soft. Stir a few times in between gently to ensure even cooking. Make sure to cook okra until soft yet it retains it's shape.

Serve curry hot with phulkas/ chapathis/ rotis/ flat bread or as a side with rice and dhal.

Serves approx 3

Other easy curries that go well with phulkas/ Indian flat bread, or rice and dhal....

Dudhi/ Lauki sabzi ~ Bottlegourd in peanut gravy curry

Methi Baingan ~ Eggplant with fenugreek leaves curry

Potato Masala Curry ~ Aloo ki sabzi ~ Potato gravy curry
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Instant Multi Grain Dosai ~ Savory Indian Crepes

When it comes to dosa nothing beats the instant variety. And if the instant variety can be made with a combination of healthy flours, even better :)  Once in a while I make some form of instant dosa, sometimes with wheat flour as the star ingredient, sometimes oat flour and sometimes with different variety of flours like this version of multigrain dosa I posted earlier. 

Here is another version of multigrain dosa that I have begun to make fairly frequently. This version has a nice variety of healthy ingredients like wheat/atta, finger millet/ ragi, oat, sorghum / jowar and buckwheat/kuttu,  yet the best part is that it does not taste like it has so much healthy stuff in it. This is definitely an effortless way to make something healthy and tasty :)   It works very well for a weekend breakfast, as a snack or even a  light dinner.

 Instant Multigrain dosai ~ Savory Indian crepes ~ With Stepwise pictures | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make multigrain dosai
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (atta/ godumai maavu)
1/4 cup oat flour (see notes)
1/4 cup finger millet flour (nachani/ragi)
1/4 cup chick pea flour (besan/ kadalai maavu)
1/4 cup rice flour ( chawal ka atta/ arisi maavu)
1/4 cup sorghum flour (Jowar ka atta)
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta)
salt to taste

1 Tbsp oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds ( jeera)
3 Thai or Indian variety green chilies cut fine (or to taste) (hara mirch)
1 to 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves/hara dhania/ kothamalli )
Approx 2 & 1/2 -  2 & 3/4 cups of water or as needed

A little sesame oil to shallow fry the dosa

In a large bowl add all the flours one by one and mix well. Add water a little at a time and mix to get a batter of pouring consistency. Not too thin and runny and not too thick either, if in doubt err on the side of thicker batter, you can always add more water if needed later. Add salt to taste and mix well.

In a small pan heat oil, add cumin seeds, when the cumin seeds sizzle and green chilies and stir once or twice. Pour entire seasoning on the prepared batter and mix well. Add finely chopped cilantro to the batter and mix well.

When you are ready to make the dosa, heat heavy iron tawa/ griddle / flat pan/ non stick pan. Pour a little batter in the center and quickly spread into a thin circle, add a few drops of oil around the circumference of the dosai.When the lower side is golden brown, flip over and cook the other side until it gets golden brown spots.

Remove from heat and serve hot with chutney of choice, sambar or molaga podi (spice powder ) 

Store balance of the batter in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 3 days for best freshness.  Yield will depend on the size and thickness of each dosa.

For oat flour I powdered quick oats in my mixer until fine. If you have store bought oat flour you can use that too in this recipe.

If you are looking instant dosai varieties, here are a few more

Buckwheat dosai ~ Kuttu atta dosa

Finger millet Oats Dosai ~Ragi dosa

Oats Dosai ~ Atta rava oat dosa

Read more ...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Onion Spinach Roti ~ Indian Wheat Flat bread ~ Pyaaz Palak Roti

One of my favorite food combinations is roti or phulka with some kind of curry and/or dhal. This simple,  humble combination never fails to satisfy.  Since I like a little variety in rotis though, sometimes I add some vegetables or spices or both for additional flavor and nutrition.  Recently I tried a version with onions and spinach that we really liked a lot.

I've already made this a few more times after the first time and it's pretty versatile, it works well with any curry, dhal or even just plain raita.  If you are looking for some variety in your rotis too, give this easy nutritious roti a try, and as always would love to know what you think of it :) And just in case you are wondering, this packs really well in the lunchbox too :)

 Onion Spinach Roti ~ Indian Flat bread ~ Pyaaz Palak Roti | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make onion spinach roti
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( atta/ godumai maavu)
1 cup chopped spinach leaves ( palak/ Keerai)
1/2 red onion grated (pyaaz/vengayam)
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds ( jeera)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste (adrak/lehsun)
Salt to taste (namak/ uppu)
1/2 tsp chili powder ( or to taste) (lal mirch)
1/4 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder)
1/4 tsp coriander powder ( dhania powder)
A little extra oil/ clarified butter(ghee/nei) to smear on the rotis ( use oil for a vegan version) (optional, see notes)

Grate the onion and cut the spinach and keep aside. 

Heat oil in a medium small/ medium heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, when the seeds sizzle add ginger garlic paste and stir a few times.

Then add grated onion and stir until the onion is cooked. Add cut spinach and all the spices and stir until spinach is wilted, takes very little time about a minute or so.

Remove and place this mixture in a large bowl. Allow it to cool until touchable or to room temperature. 

Add while wheat flour to the bowl and mix with your finger tips until it mixes with the onion spinach mixture. Add a little water at a time and knead until it forms a soft, non sticky dough. Cover and allow the dough to rest for about 30 mins.

Divide the dough into equal sized balls.  With the help of a little flour roll out into a circle of desired thickness. Heat a flat pan/ griddle/ tawa. Place rolled out dough on it and cook until the lower side has brownish spots on it, flip over and cook the other side until it has brown spots on it. If you wish you can apply a few drops of oil or ghee to the side facing upwards. Flip over for a few seconds and remove from heat.

Serve hot with dhal of choice, curry of choice or some raita.

The oil/ ghee to be applied on the rotis is optional. When I plan to serve it immediately, I skip this sometimes and it tastes just as good. I do apply a little oil/ ghee when I plan to make this for the lunchbox or if I plan to serve it a little later.

If you are looking for roti varieties, here are a few more

Spring onion/ Hare Pyaaz Roti

Carrot Roti ~ Gajar Roti

Avocado Roti 

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Red coconut chutney ~ For idlis and dosas ~ Tomato Coconut chutney

Whenever I plan to make chutney to go with dosai and give R a choice of which chutney he would like, I am pretty sure of his response even before I ask the question. The answer for him would be coconut chutney, R always prefers coconut chutney to other kinds of chutney. And I admit that the combination of dosas with coconut chutney is quite awesome and I see why R is so partial to this combination :)

I make a few versions of coconut chutney and am surprised that not even one of them have found their way into this space yet. I feel sometimes that the things I make most often, somehow never appear here, mostly because I keep thinking I would probably take pictures of it the next time I make it and it keeps getting pushed off :)  Anyway I hope to be able to post all the versions in this space in time..... and am making a start with this red coconut chutney.

This red coconut chutney is quick and simple. In addition to the flavor I like the beautiful color and hue of this chutney. This chutney goes well with idlis, dosas or any other South Indian dish like upma, ven pongal or adai. 

 Red coconut chutney ~ For idlis and dosas ~ Tomato Coconut chutney | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make red coconut chutney
1 and 1/2 cup grated coconut ( nariyal/ thengai)
1 small tomato cut fine ( tamatar/ thakkali)
3 small dry red chilies ( lal mirch) ( or to taste)
2 tsp roasted gram dal (buna chana/ Daria/ pottu kadalai)
Salt to taste (namak/ uppu)

1 tsp oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds ( rai/ kadagu)
3/4 tsp split black gram lentil ( urad dhal/ ulatham parappu)
Pinch of asafetida powder (hing/ perungayam )

Grind together coconut, red chilies , tomato and roasted gram to a smooth paste. Add salt to taste and give it another turn in the blender.

Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, when the seeds splutter add split black gram lentil / udad dhal and stir until the lentils begin to redden. Add a pinch of asafoetida powder, stir once and pour entire seasoning on the chutney.

Serve chutney with dosas/ idlis or any other South Indian tiffin item like ven pongal, adai or upma. 

If you are looking for chutney recipes, here are a few more

Tomato Chutney

Carrot Chutney

Mixed Vegetable chutney

Read more ...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rava Ladoo ~ Indian sweet with semolina and coconut ~ With stepwise pictures

Remember this version of rava  ladoo with sugar syrup that I had posted a while back ? Before I learned that version, this version of rava ladoo without sugar syrup was the only one I ever made.  The difference between the two versions is that for the other version, sugar syrup provides the binding, so you only need a few tsp of ghee / clarified butter . In this version, the ghee provides the binding so it is richer than the other one taste wise. 

This is also an incredibly simple, fail proof recipe that requires just roasting, mixing and shaping, making it perfect for beginners. It  has this delicious melt in your mouth quality that make these ladoos very irresistible. If you have been craving sweets, or are looking for something sweet for a special occasion, give this rava ladoo a try and enjoy it with your friends and family :-)

 Rava Ladoo ~ Without sugar syrup ~ Indian sweet with semolina and coconut ~ With Stepwise pictures | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Rava ladoo
1 cup medium rava (semolina/ suji)
1 cup grated coconut (nariyal)
1 cup sugar (shakkar)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp warm ghee (clarified butter/ nei)
another 1 1/2 Tbsp of ghee for roasting
2 Tbsp cashew pieces (kaju)
2 Tbsp raisins (kismis) 
1/2 tsp elaichi powder (cardamom seed powder/ elakkai)
2 to 3 Tbsp warm milk (as needed)

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1 tsp ghee and roast 2 Tbsp of cashew pieces until golden, remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat 1 tsp of ghee and roast 2 Tbsp raisins until it puffs up slightly, remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat 1 Tbsp of ghee,  and roast rava on low to medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes until rava turns aromatic. Remove rava and place in a large bowl.

In the same pan, on low to medium low heat roast coconut until it turns creamy golden. Remove and add coconut to the rava in the bowl. Add roasted cashews and raisins and mix along with rava and coconut. Allow this mixture to cool until it is touchable, it is fine if it cools all the way to room temperature too.

Powder sugar to a fine powder and add to the bowl along with other ingredients and mix well. Add elaichi powder to this mixture and mix well.

Add warm ghee to this mixture and mix . Add warm milk one spoon at a time, take some mixture between your palm and make a fist. If the mixture holds together, then shape into medium sized ladoos. For this quantity I needed about 2 to 3 Tbsp of warm milk.

Proceed with the rest of the mixture in the same manner. I got about 25 medium ladoos with this quantity.

Store the ladoos in an air tight container, it does not require any refrigeration for 3 to 4 days if it lasts that long:)

If you are looking for  ladoo recipes ~ Indian sweets, here are a few more

Moong dhal ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with mung bean lentil

Besan Ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with chick pea flour

Poha / Aval Ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with beaten rice flakes

Read more ...