Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Amtekai (Hog Plum) Pickle

Pickle is a spicy dish. Varieties of pickles are available in the market under so many labels. But still its worth having home made pickle at home. We all know pickle goes hand in hand with almost all the main dish. It is one of the must side dish with curd rice. Parothas need pickle along with curd. Pickle -Ghee and bowl of hot rice is excellent. And when your curry or side dish turn bad pickle comes as handy. So pickle is one of the must dish one should try and prepare home made pickles. We can make pickle with raw mango, tender mango, lemon, mixed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower etc)

Pickle is known in different names in different parts of India. In Karnataka we call it as uppinakai. Tamil-oorgai, Telugu- oorugaya/pachadi and in Hindi its Achaar. In Tulu it is known as Uppad. In Marati it is lonache, Konkani-adgai and in Gujarati it is athanu.
The method of preparing pickle differ one from one state to another. In some places they sun dry the mango or lemon or whatever they use for pickle. In South Canara we do not do that. There is a traditional way to prepare pickle and it does stay for years.
Here I have tried Hog Plum pickle. I did not get the very tender hog plum. Using the tender ones are always better. I got little big one. So I had to cut them into pieces to make pickle. But the seed was not hard either. It is not easy to cut once the hog plum grow bigger since its seeds turns as hard and it is not so good to put pickle because we do not get much pieces.
Lets see the recipe :

Ingredients :

Hog plum : 1 K.G
Salt : 3 to 4 Tablespoons
Chilly Powder : 2 to 3 Tablespoons
Mustard Seeds : 2 Tablespoons
Methi /Fenugrik Seeds : 1 Teaspoon
Oil (Any cooking oil) : 1 Tablespoon
Ingh/Asafoetida  : a pinch
Turmeric powder : a pinch


1. Wash and let it dry nicely. Clean the water in a fresh dry kitchen towel.
2. Cut them into pieces.
3. Take a big bowl. Add 11/2 Tablespoons of salt. Put the cut hog plum pieces into salt and mix it well.
4. Leave this mixture of hog plum pieces with salt for a day. ( Mix it well once in between).
5. Now keep a big pan on the fire. Add a glass of water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

  6. Add the salt which hog plum pieces are kept. Let the salt water boil nicely for 4 to 5 minutes.
 7. Put off the fire and add cut pieces which are soaked in salt water. Let it cool.
  8. Keep a pan on the fire and heat. Dry roast methi/fenugrik seeds till they turn brown.

9. Put off the fire and add mustard seeds. Let it cool.
 10. Now grind mustard seeds, methi seeds and chilly powder using boiled salt water. Use little salt water while grinding.
 11. Mix this ground spice with chilly powder to the salted pickle.Mix it well.

12. Keep a small pan on the fire. Heat and add oil. Add little mustard seeds (1/2 spoon) and ingh. Let the mustard seeds splutter.
13. Add this mustard seeds mixture to the pickle. Let it completely cool.

14. Shift the ready pickle to a glass bottle.

Note :

Keeping the pickle in the fridge is always safe. Even though you use dry utensils some time it may get fungus because of the moisture.
Adding more oil is optional. Just use one more tablespoon of oil on the top of pickle and then cover it tightly. Use salt according to your taste. You can also use only mustard seeds (optional). Methi/ Fenugrik seeds help the pickle to reduce heat (body heat) in it. It also adds taste to the pickle. Just one teaspoon of methi will do. If you use more methi, pickle may turn bitter. Adding more chilly is also optional.
Time  : 1 Day + 30 minutes.
Serves : 1 Big bottle.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Foxtail Millet & Flax Seeds Dosa

Dosa or Dose (Kannada word), is one of the most favourite and famous food item of South India. Now world famous. There are different varieties of dosas and it can be eaten at any time of the day.
Normally dosa is prepared with rice (raw or boiled), urid dal, methi /fenugrik seeds and flattened/beaten (aval/avalakki/poha). I always try to twist the ingredients and prepare it in slightly some thing different. This time I have added flax seeds because it gives fluffiness and softness to the dosa. Use of foxtail millet turns dosa very crispy. I added 1/3 of raw rice which helps dosa to be not only normal kind, it also avoids dosa to be very stiff.
Trying dosa, using different healthy grains is really gives me joy. This time I tried with, fox tail millet, flax seeds, raw rice and urid dal. Dosa came out very well and adding flax seeds gave softness to the dosa. These dosas are really healthy because it contain good healthy grains like foxtail millet, urid dal and flax seeds.

Foxtail millet is known as Navane and flax seeds are Agase beeja in Kannada language.
Lets see some benefits of having Urid dal in our diet.

Urid dal is rich in protein and carbohydrates which required by the body. It also contain Vitamin B, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Urid dal contain energy boosting, anti aging and anti inflammatory properties. It also helps to improve digestion and boost heart health.
Lets see the recipe now. You can prepare thinner and crispy dosa, fluffy dosa (Set Dosa) or Masala Dosa. (Option is yours).

Ingredients :

Foxtail Millet : 3 Cups
Raw Rice : 1 Cup
Flax Seeds : 2 Tablespoons
Urid dal : 1 Cup
Methi/Fenugrik seeds : 1 teaspoon
Avalakki/Poha/Beaten Rice : 1/2 cup or 2 handful
Oil : 2 to 3 Tablespoons.

 Method :

1. Wash and soak all the ingredients except avalakki together for 3 to 4 hours. Wash and soak avalakki separately.
2. Grind it nicely  (including avalakki) and till paste consistency with required water. (add water little by little).
3. Remove from the grinder or mixi jar and add salt and mix it well. Leave it fermentation. (Over night or 5 to 6 hours).
4. Keep a tava or dosa pan on the fire. Heat. Just sprinkle little oil and put a ladle of dosa dough.
5. Spread it nicely, cover and cook for 1 minute on low and medium flame.
6. Remove the cover and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of oil on the top and turn the dosa and cook other side of the dosa for 10 to 20 seconds.

7. Remove from the pan and serve hot dosa with chutney or sambar or any side dish. Add a spoon of ghee on the top just before serving.
8. Repeat the same and prepare dosa with remaining dough.
9. Masala Dosa with the same dough.

Note :

You can reduce the quantity of rice and foxtail millet (each 1 cup and 1/2 cup urid dal etc) .
You can also use ghee instead of oil. (optional)
Time : Soaking : 4 hours, grinding : 10 minutes in mixi and at least 1 hour on grinder.
Cooking time : 30 minutes (As per requirement).
Serves : at least 25 to 30 dosas can be made

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cabbage & Moth bean Dry Curry

Matki Kalu/Madke Kalu is one of the protein rich legume and popular in North Karnataka, Here I have used Matki Kalu, Alsande Kalu/Cow pea and Cabbage to prepare the dry curry. We in Kannada (Karnataka) call Cow pea as Alsande kalu. (legume).
I feel it is good to add some legumes with the vegetables we cook. It adds nutrition to the curry. This cabbage curry is dry curry and we can have them with chapati, poori, roti or even plain rice.
Lets see some benefits of having cabbage in our diet. 
Cabbage is loaded with powerful natural compounds. Cabbage improves our immunity. It is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C. It helps and protects our cells from free radical damage and toxins. It is cholesterol free and helps in losing weight. It helps to speed up the healing. It is rich in Vitamin K and that helps in blood clotting. It is rich in folic acid and good for pregnant women. Cabbage is full of fiber and helps to prevent constipation. Eating cabbage will help to keep the digestive system in very good condition.

Please note that people who are facing thyroid problem and prostate problem must avoid eating cabbage as it hinders(makes it difficult or obstruct or slow down) absorption of iodine.

No Onion or Garlic is used in this : Cabbage & Moth bean Dry Curry".

Ingredients :

Cabbage : 1 Bowl (1/2 Cabbage of medium sized cabbage).
Moth Bean/ Matki kalu : 1/2 cup
Cow Pea : 1/2 Cup
Coconut : 1/2 Cup (fresh and grated)
Oil : 1 Tablespoon
Curry Leaves : 6 to 8
Coriander Leaves : 2 Tablespoons
Green chilly : 2
Methi seeds : 1/4 Teaspoon
Mustard Seeds: 1/2 Teaspoon
Urid dal: 1/2 Teaspoon
Jeera : 1/2 Teaspoon
Ingh : a pinch
Turmeric powder : a pinch
Salt : as required.

Method :

1. Wash and cook methi seeds, cow pea and moth bean in a pressure cooker. ( 5 minutes will do).
2. Wash and cut cabbage, green chilly, curry leaves and coriander leaves into thin.
3. Keep a pan on the fire and heat. Add oil. Let it get hot. Add mustard seeds, urid dal.
4. Let the mustard splutter. Add ingh, jeera, curry leaves and cut green chilly. Fry for 10 seconds.
5. Add cut cabbage and stir nicely and cook on low flame. (2 to 3 minutes). Do not add any water.
6. Now add cooked moth bean/matki kalu and cow pea/alasande kalu. (remove extra water if there is in the cooked bean).
7. Add turmeric powder, salt and mix it well. Let it cook till all the water absorb.
8. Add fresh coconut and coriander leaves and mix it nicely and shift the curry to a serving dish.
9. Serve as one of the side dish with other dishes or as you wish to.

Note :

Do not add water from the cooked beans. (If more use it as rasam or soup). Adding more chilly is optional. Adding onions and garlic is also optional. Adding coconut also optional. Adding more oil adds to the taste. You can also soak matki kalu/moth bean and cow pea/ alasande kalu for overnight and then cook. It enriches the taste. ( I did not soak it).
Time: 30 minutes
Serves : 4.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Amtekai Gojju (Indian Hog Plum Curry).

Amte Kai/Ambode or Indian hog plum is a savoury vegetable. We can use it for chutneys, curries, pickle or even you can use it in curries instead of tamarind.
The other day we had been to Malleshwaram ( lovely shopping area in Bangalore). We were passing through a market area and as soon as I saw these Amte kai/ Indian hog plum), I wanted to buy them. It was fresh and looked so good. I bought them and was thinking for preparing pickle. Amte Kai pickle reminds me of those days where we used to by MTR's hog plum pickle and enjoy it with hot rice and ghee. Now a days I can not find them in the market.But I do get to eat amtekai pickle once in a while here and there. This time I myself prepared some pickle and the ones already turned bit hard is used here to prepare gojju.
In Udupi and Dakshina Kannada (South Canara) Amte Kai gojju is always prepared for the feast or get together. This is one of the traditional dish and the taste will be always lingering in the tongue.
Amtekai /Indian Hog plum is called in different names. Amtekai in Kannada(Karnataka), Omora in Assamese, Amra in Bengali. In Goan Konkani it is known as Ambado and in Malayalam it Ambazham(Ambalham). Jungle Aam in Hindi

Lets see some benefits of eating Amtekai/Indian hog plum in our diet.
Amtekai / Indian hog plum is loaded with antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin A and C. It has good source of Iron and helps to reduce the bad cholesterol. It protects against the heart diseases since it is full of anti oxidants. Indian hog plum is also contain good medicinal values.
This is one of the traditional recipe and do not contain any onions or garlic.


To Cook 
 Ambade/Indian Hog Plum : 5 to 6
Jaggery  : 2 Tablespoons
Turmeric Powder : a pinch
Salt : as required

To roast or fry :
Coriander seeds : 1 Tablespoon
Methi/Fenugrik seeds : 1/4 Teaspoon
Jeera/Cumin Seeds : 1/2 Teaspoon
Urid Dal : 1 Teaspoon
Chaana Dal : 1 Teaspoon
Sesame Seeds : 1 Tablespoon
Red chilly/Byadagi chilli : 6 to 8
Ingh : a little
Curry Leaves : Handful
To grind :
Coconut : 1 cup
Fried spices
To Season :
Mustard seeds : 1/2 Teaspoon
Urid Dal : 1/2 Teaspoon
Curry leaves : 5 to 6
Oil : 1 Tablespoon
Ingh : a pinch

Method :

1. Wash and cut amtekai/ Indian hog plum into small pieces. Cook with required water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Cook the seed also along with pieces.
2. Grate coconut and keep it aside.
3. Keep a pan on the fire and heat. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of oil. Add methi/fenugrik seeds and fry till they get brown.
4. Add channa dal, urid dal and fry nicely till they turn golden brown. Remove from the pan. Fry sesame seeds till they pop up.
5. Add red chilly and fry for 1 minute. Put off the fire and add ingh, jeera/cumin seeds and curry leaves. Let it cool.
6. Grind the fried spice mixture with coconut with required water. Remove the ground mixture from the mixi jar.

7. Now keep a pan on the fire and add cooked amtekai, jaggery and salt. Add ground mixture. Mix it well and let it boil nicely for 2 to 3 minutes.

8. Shift the curry to a serving dish and add mustard-urid splutter with ingh and curry leaves.

9. Add a spoon of coconut oil to the curry and mix it well. Serve with the main dish you prepared.
 10. We had this Amtekai gojju with idli and chapatis even with plain rice.

 Note :

Do not add lot of water while cooking amte kai. Add it when are cooking with spices. Adding more chilly is optional. You can also cook this gojju with out coconut. Just dry grind the roasted mixture and dry grind it. Mix it well with amtekai and cook it. I have used coconut oil. Using any oil is optional. Adding coconut oil adds to the taste. (optional). Using more or less jaggery is optional.
Time : 20 minutes (total time).
Serves : 3 to 4.

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My name is Nalini Somayaji. Teaching is my profession. Cooking is my passion. Reading, travelling, visiting new places, having fun with kids are some of the hobbies I can say. My recipes are Healthy, quick, easy and simple. Grown up being a traditional family member I love and respect Indian culture and traditions. Love classical dance and music.
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