best south indian food recipes

Easy one pot Vegetarian rice

Its about 8:40 am on a Wednesday morning. I have managed to serve a good breakfast for all of us and also packed some lunch for the husband. The lunch that was a tad bit salty if I can remember correctly. Anyway, we are all ready. Husband leaves for work and I leave with this little person to drop him off at nursery. I buckle him up in his seat and turn the car engine on. And thats exactly the moment when my car-mad son had to ask me a question as funnily inappropriate as this- Mummy, why doesn’t our car ever get stuck??????  I was a little angry but wanted to laugh. And we come back home later in the day and he tells me he had a plate of vegetables for lunch at school. I say, thats amazing and that it will help to keep him strong and well. And he immediately runs to try and lift his daddy’s dumbbells. But he cannot and he comes back at me and asks why hasn’t he become strong yet?  Ermmm.. I scratch my head and give him a hug. I tell him they are way too heavy and only when he grows as big as his daddy, he might be able to do it. And now he wants to grow big immediately. God save me! He is going through a rather curious phase and asks a million questions in a day. Good for him! But not for me you see… because I am not very intelligent enough in the first place to answer every question of his. But my husband who is generally more knowledgeable than me gets away with it somehow. So, my answer to some of his questions is ” Let daddy come home and we can ask him together” and this has been working for a while now.

So, While I am learning to appear smart and impress my son, you should probably scroll down further for an easy one pot rice recipe… My version of a quick vegetable biryani!

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Here’s what you will need:

Recipe serves 2-3 people

Basmati Rice– 200 gms (Washed & Soaked for atleast 10 minutes)

Water– For every cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water.

One large onion– thinly sliced

Ginger garlic paste– made from 2-3 garlic cloves and a small piece of ginger

Vegetables like Carrots, beans, beetroots, peas (Grate carrots and beetroots if you can for a nice texture)

About 3 big spoons of thick creamy yoghurt

Red chilli powder– one spoon or more if you like it hot

Coriander powder– one spoon

Turmeric powder– a small pinch

Hing/Asafoetida-a small pinch

Salt– To taste

Ghee/Oil– As preffered

One spoon of cumin seeds, One clove, one cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf to add to Oil/Ghee

Coriander leaves to garnish

-Heat up Oil/Ghee in a pot, add cumin seeds,clove, cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf.

-Add sliced onions, saute till golden brown.

-Add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a minute. Add vegetables and reduce flame to medium and cover and cook for 5 minutes. If you are adding grated beets & carrots, you can also add them while you add rice because they cook really fast.

-Now, reduce flame. Add the spice powders & hing. Mix well. Add yoghurt. Add water and salt. Mix well and check for salt. It should feel a little salty because the rice tends to absorb salt quite well. So, don’t worry if you find it quite salty at this stage. Somewhat like your tears if you have ever cried and tasted it too 😀

Increase the heat a little, and let the water start to boil. Now, add the soaked and strained rice.Let it cook partly covered.

After 5-7 minutes, you will see that the rice has absorbed all the water. At this stage, reduce the flame to the lowest setting. Cook completely covered for 10 minutes. Then switch off the flame and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Just before you serve, add fresh coriander. Serve with your favourite curry or a simple raita/spiced yoghurt with onions, green chillies and cucumber.

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Karahi Tales

Parathas or Naan breads ? Curry or Biryani ? I am not even going to pretend I don’t like a greasy supper now and then. Something deeply satisfying about ordering for a takeaway from your regular Indian place isn’t it? Just like how each of you have your own local favourites, we have ours too. It is called Punjabi Karahi. Ever since I came to London, I have been eating here often enough with little breaks now and then. Although, we took a rather big break while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. See, before you go judging me, I am a good mother.

Punjabi Karahi is one dinky restaurant which is always overflowing with punjabi uncles sat in random tables and gobbling up parathas after parathas. So, it may not be entirely attractive to look at but the food is good. And best is to do a takeaway.

My brother visits us often in London for various reasons. Sometimes, it only appears as if he has travelled all the way only to eat from Karahi. Oh well, we are food mad like that.

I leave you with a recipe for a delicious Ragi/Finger Millet puttu which is totally non greasy and guilt free depending on the type of sugar you use.

Here’s what you need : 

A cup of good quality Ragi flour

Brown sugar or palm sugar to taste

Finely grated coconut

One or two pods of Cardamom

A little bit of ghee for frying nuts and raisins

Here’s how to make this:

One good tip I recently learnt is to sift the flour well for any type of puttu to avoid big lumps when it’s done.

Take lukewarm water about half the amount of flour.

Gradually sprinkle over the flour until you reach the point at which you can actually gather some flour and squeeze it between your fingers and it can hold a shape but when you let it loose it has to crumble.

At this stage, steam this flour using any steaming method you like. Steam till you get a nice smell and this might take about 6-7 minutes. The flour also turns darker when cooked.

Now heat a pan, add ghee and fry any nuts of your choice. I only used raisins this time to make it safer for the little person. Switch off flame and add grated coconut to the same pan. So with the remaining heat the coconut gets lightly toasted and that gives a wonderful flavour to this dish.

By now the flour would’ve cooled a little bit and you can add any type of sugar you may want. I used powdered brown sugar.i also added the cardamom pods to the sugar before grinding to make it easier.  Add the toasted nuts and coconut too. Give a good mix and serve immediately!

This can be a wonderful evening tiffin or can be a good idea for breakfast too.