southindian breakfast

Super delicious millet based recipes!

There are enough websites and enough people around to tell you about the health benefits of millets. Besides the fact that they are healthy, I like to use them in different recipes because I can get bored easily with the same kind and colour of food. So I try and kill two birds with one stone as using different grains/seeds every week helps keep me motivated to cook from scratch and also make a healthier meal simultaneously. So here are 3 simple recipes for the entire family to enjoy 🙂

Recipe 1

Ragi idli

For the ragi idlis, here is what you will need

Ragi flour or whole finger millet seeds- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal- 1 cup

Wash and Soak the ragi seeds and rice for a minimum of 4 hours. If using flour, soak only rice.

Soak urad dal for less than an hour.

Grind to idli batter consistency with salt and allow to ferment. Do not grind batter to a super smooth consistency. Grind till you can feel a slightly gritty feeling between your fingers so you get a nicer texture.

If adding ragi flour, mix the flour towards the end with the ground rice and grind for few minutes till it all comes together.

Once fermented make idlis as normal and serve with chutney of choice. I would normally prefer a green chutney using coriander or mint for these idlis while for a ragi dosa with the same batter I would make a red chutney with onions, garlic and red chutney.

Recipe 2

Kambu/pearl millet set dosa

Pearl millet flour- 3 cups

Idly rice-1 cup

Urad dal- 3/4th cup

Fenugreek seeds/methi seeds-1 tablespoon or a little more if you love the flavour

Red rice flakes-1/4th cup

Soak idly rice and fenugreek seeds separately for a minimum of 4 hours.

Soak urad dal and rice flakes for atleast half an hour.

Grind altogether to a nice smooth batter. Allow to ferment and make small dosas without too much pressure while you swirl them for nice set dosas. If you like a crispier version simply make as normal.

Any chutney or sambar goes well with this dosai.

Recipe 3

Methi/fenugreek leaves millet dosa

Varagu/Kodo millet- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal -1 cup

Soak rice and millets for a minimum of 4 hours. Soak urad dal for a minimum of one hour. Grind all together to a nice smooth batter. Add salt and mix well.

Allow to ferment.

Once fermented, clean and wash fresh fenugreek leaves and grind to a smooth paste. Add to freshly fermented dosa batter. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric too.

Make dosas as normal.

If you want a variation, thinly slice shallot sor small onions, handful of peas and make a little thicker dosa than normal, add thinly sliced onions, peas and podi/powder on top and cook on a medium low flame until the onions have slightly browned. You could add ghee or sesame oil for the podi dosa.

Serve with chutney of choice. I would omit the podi for toddlers and only add onions and peas.

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Really simple yet healthy south Indian breakfast ideas!

I have to admit that ever since I started to cook on my own, I may have not given breakfasts much of an importance for a very long time.Thankfully, years ago, I realised I shouldn’t skip breakfast. But  after I became a mother, I realised I should only make it more healthier than other meals. And here I am with a quick roundup of some healthy Indian breakfast ideas. Although these recipes need a little bit of pre-prep the previous night, they are all family friendly recipes which makes it ideal for busy mornings.

  1. Brown rice Set dosa 

Ingredients: 

Brown rice – 1.5 cups , Idli Rice – 1/2 cup , Aval/Poha/Rice Flakes-White or red(I have used red)- 3/4 th cup, Urad dal-1/2 cup Fenugreek seeds– One teaspoon, Salt– to taste

Soak the brown rice and fenugreek seeds for a minimum of 4 hours. The rest of the ingredients can be soaked for an hour or so. Grind all together in a mixer/blender to a smooth batter. The batter should be slightly on the thicker side after grinding. Add salt and mix well. Leave to ferment overnight. Once fermented, if the batter looks very thick, you could add some water to adjust the consistency.The batter should be light and you should be able to pour it quite easily onto the tawa/pan. And try not to spread it too much like normal dosas. You should be able to see those little holes forming as soon as you pour a ladle of batter. And cook like normal dosa and serve with any side dish of your choice.

2. Samba Godhuma Rava idly/Wheat Idli/Lapsi Idli 

Ingredients :

Lapsi/Plain godhuma Rava/Wheat Rava/Samba Rava– 3 Cups, Urad dal– Just over one cup , Red rice flakes– A big spoonful, Salt– to taste

Soak Urad dal and Red rice flakes for an hour. Soak the Wheat rava for half hour. Grind the urad dal and red rice flaked to a smooth and fluffy batter and squeeze out as much water as you can from the wheat granules. Add half the quantity to the blender/grinder and grind til smooth. Add this ground wheat paste, rest of the whole wheat granules directly to the ground urad dal and red rice flakes. Add salt and mix well. Leave to ferment overnight. You will be able to make spongy idlies for breakfast. Serve with any side dish of your choice.

The reason why only half the wheat rava is ground and added is to get that coarse texture for idli. If you want, you can either add the soaked wheat rava directly to ground urad dal or you can just roughly grind and then add. The ground batter will look like this.

3. Ragi red Rice dosa with Moringa/Drumstick Leaves

Ingredients: 

Ragi flour/ finger millet flour– 2.5 cups , Red raw rice flour-1/2 cup, Urad dal– 1/2 cup, Fenugreek seeds-1 teaspoon , Salt– to taste

Moringa/Murungakeerai/Drumstick leaves– As preferred

Soak fenugreek seeds for a minimum of 2 hours. Soak Urad dal for atleast 20-30 minutes. Grind Urad dal and fenugreek to a smooth paste and mix in the flours and add salt. Mix well and leave to ferment overnight.

Just before you make the dosas, clean and wash the drumstick leaves and add them to the batter and make dosas as you would normally do.

4. Mung dal dosa /Mung beans Dosa

Ingredients: 

Green Mung beans/whole moong dal/Pachai Payaru– 2 cups, Idli rice or raw rice– 1/2 cup, salt to taste.

This dosa is also known as pesarettu although pesarettu is a little more prettier looking than my version.

Soak the dal and rice together overnight. Grind them together with salt to a smooth batter in the morning. This batter need not ferment. You can make dosas immediately. Optional ingredients to add to the batter are cumin seeds, shallots, green chillies and minced ginger. Serve with chutney of your choice.

5. Turmeric Idlis

Ingredients : 

To the normal rice idli batter, add a tablespoon of turmeric powder before you steam the idlies. Mix well and then pour it onto idli moulds. This is one of those simple ways to include more turmeric in your diet.

6. Jowar/Sorghum Dosa 

Ingredients : 

Sorghum/Jowar/Cholam flour– 2 cups, Idli rice or Raw rice – 1/2 cup, Fenugreek seeds– one teaspoon, Urad dal-1/2 cup Salt– to taste

Soak Idli rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds for a minimum of two hours. Grind to a smooth batter and add the sorghum flour to the ground batter. Add salt. Mix well and add water if necessary to bring to a dosa batter consistency. Leave to ferment overnight. And make these dosas like your regular dosa and serve with side dish of your choice.

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. 

 

 

A few “Madras” things

A city that is known only for hot weather was showered with way too much rain for nearly a month. So much so that almost the entire city was under water for nearly three days this week.  And as I type, there are still some areas that are water-logged, and people stranded in streets with no water or food. Makes me want to hide my helpless face out of shame. A lot many people have come forward to do what they can. It was heartening to see this kind of attitude in a city where the newspapers often only report thefts and violence. Tough times like these are looked upon as a rather good opportunity to exploit people and rob them off completely but none of these things have happened in Chennai. That definitely says a lot about how people behave when their own lives are at risk. Yes, the flooding was so bad that almost every house was affected in some way.

Although it is hard to understand as to why such calamities happen ever so often in different parts of the world, they all teach/remind us the same old lesson i.e to not take things for granted. As cliched as it may sound, we all need to be reminded in order to better ourselves. And as a result of which, we become stronger and start to think of what can we do to protect ourselves in the long term. For someone like me, who is used to being pampered at home right from the time i wake up until bedtime, it is so easy to get carried away and simply ignore things like whether or not the motor has been switched on or if the vessels have been cleaned etc etc. But when we lost electricity last week for nearly two days, it hit me quite hard when I saw my folks struggling to keep things going for us. Every now and then when the mobile data worked, I would go online to check what everyone else was upto and people were out and about trying to help strangers and dogs.

So, feeling rather inspired to help,  I posted a status on facebook and twitter saying I can help people connect through telephones or atleast find out information locally for friends living abroad. I started to get a few phone calls after a couple of hours asking for updates on various roads and help with finding if their parents/grandparents were doing fine. Although I could not help with all the requests I got, I still managed to do one little service for a person from the middle east, who was worried about his single and aging mother who happeneed to live close to my home. We cousins personally went to her house and recorded a video of her and sent it to her son who felt rather relieved and wished us well. This is probably one of the best things I have ever done in a long time.And It felt so good. A kind of good that is hard to explain and one that fills your heart with so much warmth. So, to all those of you who are still out there and doing stuff unlike me who is only writing it all up at the comfort of a warm couch and hot coffee, I owe my respect.

After days of gloomy skies and the rains pitter-pattering on our roofs, I am leaving you with some photos that are quintessentially “Madras” with a hope to brighten up your day.

 

 

Idli sambar blog

South Indian mornings

Tea Madras blog

டி கடை கதைகள்

Madras blog Ko 1

Koyambedu flower market Scenes

Madras blog Rain 2

When it rains….eat bajji and make paper boats

In case you are wondering, we made all these dishes despite the rains because we live to eat….Yes, I baked the biscuits too 😀

 

Families frolicking, young lovers cuddling, kids running around and flying kites and huge cans of sundal being sold only makes this Marina beach a special one…

 

Saree shopping never gets boring in Chennai…If you are a chennaite and living abroad,I am sure you are reminded of the good ol’ stores like Kumaran Silks, Nalli Silks and all those crazily crowded T Nagar shops. Some things never change isnt it????

 

Golu time is one of the best times to visit Chennai. Happens around Oct/Nov every year.

Sometimes, I wonder what would this city’s people do if two wheelers didnt exist? Because this city is filled with so many of them…. The picture on the right happens to be one of my favourite…

dance blog newspaper

Besides everything else, I love the way people give importance to  carnatic music and the traditional dance called bharatnatyam here in Chennai.

wedding

This picture may not represent “Chennai” exactly but it is one of those special moments in every tamil speaking girl’s wedding. And most of the weddings that happen in Chennai are Tamil style. This is from my very own wedding that also happened in chennai and I am simply sharing it because I love weddings and I love Chennai….

So, What are your favourite things about Namma Chennai?

First Diwali/Deepavali post on my blog :) 

It is often said that Diwali is celebrated to enjoy the victory of Lord krishna over Narakasura (the demon god) while some other people believe it was only to welcome home Lord Rama after his 14 year exile. I am simply happy to believe in both these stories because it is such a beautiful day after all and I only feel thankful with every year passing by. A very happy Deepavali/Diwali to you!

So, When I first asked my husband what he thought of a post on Diwali for the blog, he only just said not a bad idea at all. Well, coming from him, this means it is okay’ish and not anywhere near exciting. But, you should know that I am on the opposite pole and I always get excited for things he isn’t. So, I quickly decided to write. Because life is too short to not write about things that we love!!!

And one of the things that I love most about India is besides being associated with big bellied people everywhere, the country in itself is so bellyful of festivals. We are never in short of days to celebrate or let me simply put it as there is almost at least one day in a month which is auspicious and our mothers cook some special food and we all pray together as a family. For me, most of the fun and fond things from childhood days are associated with festivals and the food that are made on the day. For e.g, there will most definitely be one sweet treat, one deep fried snack and more of these. Plus the main meal which would either be rice based or traditional tiffins such as the good ol’ idli sambar or pooris with potatoes and so on. Talking of which, my mother always has a set menu for Diwali mornings. It is steaming hot spongy idlies with vada curry(curry made with lentil dumplings) and poori with potato curry. Since the time I was little, yet old enough to understand festivals, this has been the breakfast I have always had on this day. As silly as it may sound but I do miss having her breakfast every year if I am not visiting home. Here, I make my own version of idlies remembering the lovely old days but somehow it never feels the same or tastes like hers. Golly! Her’s are like sunshine and give life to a rather dark and hazy morning in Madras. And most importantly filled with way too much love. Honestly, I miss it as much as a monkey misses his banana.

And I am yet again leaving you with a very easy recipe for a plain red rice dosa which we had for Diwali morning. This may well look like a paupers version when compared to a mouth watering and a widespread menu at all our homes back in India. Nevertheless, this simple dish has started our day on a rather delicious note!

All you need is :

Equal measures of red rice and idli rice(for one cup of red rice take one cup of idli rice)

1/4th cup of ural dal

A spoon of fenugreek

Salt to taste

Soak the rice and fenugreek seeds for a minimum of two hours. And soak urad dal for a minimum of twenty minutes.

Grind all of it together in any blender/mixie or grinder to a smooth paste of pouring consistency.

Add salt and mix well. Leave the batter to ferment for 7-8 hours or until frothy. Best to leave overnight.

Now make dosas and eat with your favourite side dish. As you can see I served with potato curry and it was a lovely combination. After all, masala dosas are just perfect for anytime of the day!

What do you make for Diwali?
First Image Source : Google

Ghee Podi Idli 

Every two weeks(almost) I try to make the Idli/Dosa batter with the help of my darling boy. Yes, he loves watching the grinder run and is ever so ready to press the On/off button. So this week, I decided to make a little extra batter than the usual quantity hoping I could experiment with some new variety because I just love adding stuff to plain batters. For e.g. The other day, I added some freshly chopped methi leaves along with some onions to the Dosa batter and it was quite a hit even with my little man. Sometimes just grated cheese on a lovely roast of Dosa is good for us too. So you see, I am always adding bits and bobs to this and that.
With idlies, I haven’t tried stuffing it yet. I’m not even sure if I can do it successfully. But I love making different types of idlies. Our favourite has been my mom’s recipe for Ragi Idli which is quite delicious with any green chutney. No matter how many chutneys and sides one can make, there is nothing quite as simple as Idly and Podi. We, South Indians have a proper dabba (box) filled with this golden powder and it is usually kept at an obvious place because we want it so often. For those of you who don’t know what a Podi is, it is a very basic spice powder made of a combination of dals/lentils and dried red chillies. Today, people are experimenting with Podi by adding various seeds and nuts to make it a tad healthier. I’m sticking to the original type for now Atleast. This powder is mixed with any cooking oil just before serving.

So, here is a simple recipe using the ever so humble Podi.  And Here is what you need-

Idli batter

Podi with any oil of your choice(gingelly oil is usually the best)

Ghee – lots of it

Make idlies as you would normally do however grease the Idli plates with a little ghee before filling with the batter. Once steamed, let it cool down for few minutes. Meanwhile, take a small plate, mix enough Podi with oil to form a marinade.Take each piece of idly and smear it liberally with more ghee and then apply the Podi paste. Make sure all the idlies are coated equally on all sides with the ghee and Podi paste. That’s all there is to this recipe. You can either have it warm or leave it in a box for atleast another 30min. The longer you leave them the better it tastes.

For a change, I used the idiyappam plate to make these giant idlies just so I could cut them into neat bite size pieces.

You may now think this isn’t anything new as we all have eaten ghee idlies with Sambar, chutney and Podi etc etc. but quite often we forget that using the same old stuff in new ways can give wonderful results just like this one above.

And Needless to say, this recipe was much loved by my darling husband who even said  it tasted just as good the next day. Ahem!maybe because he almost never gets a choice to say anything other than ‘awesome’ or he probably is thinking he is better off eating only half decent food than no food at all 😉