Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Rajamudi Vegetable Pulao - Vegetable Pulao With Rajamudi rice

Rajamudi rice is an indigenous rice variety of Mysore region. The high nutritional value and the low glycemic Index of this reddish brown rice makes it a diabetic friendly and anti-obesity food. The Mysore Wodeyars encouraged the farmers to grow Rajamudi rice and collected the tax in the form of rice. After highly polished white rice took precedence the indigenous varieties were virtually pushed into oblivion. There has been an increase in health awareness of late, hence the nutritious indigenous grains are making a slow and steady come back. I picked up a packet of Rajamudi rice at  Foodworld with a bit of apprehension. But my first attempt in cooking the Royal Rajamudi turned out to be a success.

Rajamudi rice - 1 cup
Mixed vegetables (I used carrots, beans and field beans/kaalu) - 2 cups
Slivered onion - 1
Slit green chillies - 2
Slivered ginger - 2 tsps
Salt - 2 tsps
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon - 2 one inch pieces
1. Wash and drain the reddish brown Rajamudi rice and keep aside.
2.  Chop and prepare all the vegetables.
3. Heat sesame oil in a heavy bottomed pan and splutter cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.
4. Add slit green chillies, slivered onion and ginger.
5. Saute till onion turns translucent and then add the washed and drained rice.
6. Stir till all the water evaporates and add the vegetables.

7. Add salt and stir well.
8. Add 3 cups of water for the rice and 3/4 cup of water for the vegetables into the pan and stir well.
9. When the water starts to boil decrease flame to 'sim' and cover the pan with a lid.
10. Open the lid and stir after ten minutes and immediately close the lid and allow the rice to cook.
11. After ten more minutes check if the rice is cooked by squishing one grain between your fingers.Sprinkle some more water if necessary and continue to cook.The Rajamudi Vegetable Pulao will emanate a very pleasant aroma when done. 

12. Switch off the flame when done. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the rice to cook on low flame.

Allow 15 minutes for the nutritious pulao to settle and then savour the hot, flavoursome and a pleasantly pink coloured Rajamudi Vegetable Pulao with onion raita and pickle.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Kurumilagu Oorugai - Green Peppercorns in Brine

"Black Gold!" "The King of Spices!" These were the glorious names given to Black Pepper, the most sought after spice from our God's own country. In ancient times the markets of coastal Malabar milled with foreign traders who yearned for this expensive spice. It is not surprising that Black gold or the expensive Pepper was used as currency then. New trade routes called as Spice Routes were developed with the intention of acquiring and monopolizing the trade of the King of spices. A peek into the history of Black gold makes my heart puff up with pride as I crush our own historic spice in a pestle to spice up my every day food. Peppercorns grow in clusters like tiny bunches of grapes on the pepper vines. The ripe green peppercorns are harvested and dried, and sold as black peppercorns which are used as spice. During the season the unripe and fresh green peppercorn clusters available in the market are pickled with lime or preserved in brine. Kurumilagu Oorugai or green peppercorns in brine is a delicacy which is a must in every meal during the season. 
Thanks to Savithri Sumanth for sending the picture of Pepper vine with Peppercorn clusters growing in her garden.


Green peppercorn bunches - 250 gms (about 10 to 12 bunches)
Crystal salt - 1/4 cup
Water - 4 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Juice of four big limes
1. Wash the clusters of green peppercorns with stalk intact and spread them out to drain.

2. Once the water is gone pat them dry with a dry towel.
3. Bring water to a rolling boil and add salt and turmeric powder.
4. Switch off after two minutes and allow to cool, and then squeeze in the juice of lime.
5. Place the pepper clusters in a clean dry jar and pour the brine over them till they are fully covered with brine.

6. Cover with a lid and use the Kurumilagu Oorugai after two days.
Enjoy the Kurumilagu Oorugai with Curd rice. Few  peppers removed from the stalk and sprinkled on the salad will lend a sharp and tingling zing to the salad.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mavina Shunti / Manga Inji Thambuli - A Curd based relish using Mango Ginger

Pickles are an integral part of an Indian meal. While most of the pickles are meant for long term use, instant pickles using the seasonal produce adds novelty to the meal. One of the pickles enjoyed during the season is Mango ginger/Mavina Shunti/Manga Inji pickled in lime juice. This time I used a portion of the Mango ginger to make a curd based relish popularly known as Thambuli in the Malnad region of Karnataka. Mango ginger has many health benefits similar to ginger and fresh turmeric. You can imbibe the medicinal properties by consuming the dishes where in the rhizomes are used raw. Thambuli is a 'no cooking' dish where all the raw ingredients are combined together.


Peeled and sliced Mavina Shunti/Manga Inji/Mango Ginger - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chilly - 1 (Chopped)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sour curds - 2 cups
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Cumin seeds - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp
1. Grind the sliced Mavina Shunti /Manga Inji, grated coconut, chopped green chilly and salt into a coarse mixture. (It can also be ground into a smooth paste by adding little water)

2. Mix the ground mixture and the sour curds together.

3. Heat the oil and splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds and pour the seasoning on the Thambuli.

Relish the Mavina Shunti Thambuli with hot rice at the beginning of a meal so that it activates your digestive system and triggers your appetite. Enjoy the mango flavour as it explodes in your mouth while you bite the crunchy shreds of Mavina Shunti in the lip smacking Thambuli.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Puffy Poorie And Sagu - Puffy Fried Flat Bread And Vegetable Gravy


Poories were my favourite tiffin during my childhood days. I used to lose count of the soft and puffy Poories I devoured as my mother served one after another straight from the kadai. I always relished a crunchy Poorie crushed with sugar in the end without which my tiffin ritual would never be complete. Now as my age has made me more health conscious I rarely make Poories. During my recent visit to Haridwar with family I had the opportunity to enjoy the noon meal at a place called Mohanji Puri Wale near Har Ki Pauri right opposite to the river Ganga. The hot and puffy Poories with tasty chole and halwa served in leaf bowls were something out of the world. The huge puffy Poories evoked my nostalgia as I enjoyed every bit of it with great relish.
Wheat flour - 2 cups
Semolina - 2 tbsps
Sour curds - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sambar Powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 pinch
Sesame Oil - 2 tsps
1. Mix all dry ingredients together.
2. Add sour curds and mix well. Curd gives a good flavour and rich colour to the Poories.
3. Add water little by little and knead into a smooth and slightly stiff dough.
4. Add oil and once again knead lightly.
5. Leave it covered for half an hour.
6. Start heating oil in a kadai on low flame.
7. Knead the dough once again and pinch out a lemon size ball of dough.
8.  Roll out into a moderately thick palm size Poorie.
9. Roll out four Poories at a time and turn the knob of the stove to high.
10. When the oil is hot enough slide a Poorie into it.
11. Gently press the surface of the rising Poorie using a slotted ladle.
12. When the Poorie puffs up nicely gently flip and cook till it gets a rich colour on both sides.
13. Remove using the slotted ladle and drain the puffy Poorie on a kitchen towel.
 Serve the Poories as soon as they are fried though they will retain the 'puff ' for a while.
Potatoes (Cooked and pealed) - 2
Chopped carrots - 2
Chopped Capsicum - 2
Chopped - Tomatoes - 2
Slivered onion - 2
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Slit green chilly - 2
Slivered ginger - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Besan - 2 tsps
1. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
2. Add slit green chillies and ginger followed by slivered onion.
3. Add curry leaves and saute till onion turns pinkish in colour.
4. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder followed by chopped carrots and capsicum.
5. Stir in salt and cook till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
6. Add 3 cups of water and allow it to boil till the vegetables are done.
7. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook till soft.
8. Crumble the boiled potatoes and add to the boiling Sagu.
9. Make a paste of besan adding little water and stir it into the Sagu.
10. Switch off when the Sagu thickens.

Enjoy the flavoursome Sagu with the delicious Puffy Poories.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Avare Kaalu Huli - Field Beans In Spicy Gravy

Being a die-hard-fan of Avare Kaalu I grabbed a packet of ready to use Avare Kaalu as soon as I saw one on the shelf at a super market. Our home is usually flooded with Kaalu delicacies through out the season. A few decades ago my mother-in-law used to periodically purchase basketsful of Avarekai which were found piled up in heaps all over Malleswaram market. The shiny green fat kaalus were obtained by patiently stringing and peeling the pods with the help of a retinue of helpers. Segregating the clean ones from the ones infested with caterpillars used to be a laborious task.  

The delicacies prepared using kaalu can be termed as the signature dishes of Bengalooru and Mysuru. Avare Kaalu Huli ( Kuzhambu) pairs very well with Ragi Muddae, another signature dish of Karnataka. This versatile gravy goes very well with dosas, idlies, and plain rice too.


Kaalu/ Field beans - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Tamarind - 1 small lemon size ball
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Powdered jaggery - 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Split black gram dal - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - 1'' piece
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chillies (broken) - 6 
(Byadagi chillies lend a rich colour to the Huli)
Coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
1. Wash and cook Kaalu in 2 glasses of water adding turmeric powder and curry leaves.

2. Take care that the beans do not become mushy.
3. Heat sesame oil in a kadai and fry the cinnamon  till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
4. Add coriander seeds, Bengal gram dal, Black gram dal, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and the broken red chillies.
5. Roast till it emanates a very pleasant aroma and till the dals turn golden in colour.

6. Roast the coconut gratings till it gives out a pleasant aroma and blend together with the other roasted ingredients into a powder. 
7. Add tamarind and again grind them together into a paste adding water.
8. Pour the ground masala into the cooked Kaalu. Add more water as the huli is going to thicken considerably on cooking.
9. Add salt and jaggery and cook the Huli till it emanates a very pleasant aroma.

 Relish the hot Avare Kaalu Huli with Ragi Muddae, dosas, idlies or even with plain rice.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cauliflower And Paneer Dalna - A Bengali Curry With Cauliflower And Cottage Cheese


When Dibs and I cook together it becomes a fun filled and exciting activity. We learn from each other and try out new recipes which luckily turn out palatable! We visit restaurants and taste the latest delicacies and critically analyse them before trying them out at home. In short our kitchen becomes a heavily cluttered laboratory whenever she is around. She had just visited us during Christmas when she taught me to cook one more Bengali dish called Dalna. It is an easy and simple curry with no onion or garlic. Today I prepared Dalna using Cauliflower and Paneer and it turned out delicious.
Cauliflower - 1 medium size
Paneer -  200 gm slab
Juicy red Tomatoes - 5 (Finely chopped)
Sesame oil - 4 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 1/2 tsp (I used my versatile sambar powder)
Salt - 1 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon stick - 1'' piece
Grind the spices into a fine powder and keep aside.
1. Chop cauliflower into big florets, boil them for four or five minutes adding a pinch of salt, drain, and dry them.
2. Heat two table spoons of oil and shallow fry the drained cauliflower florets till dark golden patches appear on them.
3. Cut the Paneer into cubes and fry them till golden in colour in the same oil.
4. Drain the fried Paneer cubes and immerse them in warm water so that the oil is removed, and then drain.

5. Mix the spice powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt and sugar into a watery paste adding little water.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the same kadai and splutter the cumin seeds.
7. Stir in the spice paste followed by the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Let the tomatoes cook in its own juice.

8. Cover and cook till the tomatoes become slushy emanating a pleasant aroma stirring now and then. 
9. When the tomato becomes like sauce and the oil starts showing up stir in the fried cauliflower and the prepared Paneer and cook for a few more minutes.

Enjoy the delicious Cauliflower and Paneer Dalna with steaming hot rice or rotis.