Monday, March 23, 2015

Tiffin Sambar

Idly and dosa are the most common breakfast or tiffin items in a south Indian household, and it is no different at my home as well. Once I grind the batter for idly/dosa, I feel as if a big task is done – the task of thinking what to prepare for dinner. Yes we usually have it for dinner. Though the main item is gets decided, but what do you serve it with? I usually end up making either the coconut chutney, tomato chutney or  Sambar. This Tiffin Sambar is loved by all at home and my kids end up eating an extra idly or dosa. What more can I ask for?

The recipe for this sambar is quite similar to the Archuvitta Sambar, with a few extra ingredients in the spice paste. Also the amount of tamarind used is very little in this. The slight variations in the spice mix, does give a very different flavour to the Sambar and makes it perfect  as a side dish for idly/Dosa or Pongal. In the recipe I have mentioned cooking a few pieces of pumpkin along with the dal. I learnt this from one of the TV shows, and it gives that very slight sweetness, which balances all the flavours. It also gives a little thickness to the sambar. If you don’t have pumpkin, or forget to cook along with dal, use a tsp of powdered jaggery.

What you’ll need
Serves – 4
  1. Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
  2. Tomatoes – 2 big
  3. Chinna Vengayam – 10 or replace with 1 – medium sized onion
  4. Pumpkin – ½ cup, chopped into cubes
  5. Vegetables of your choice – like Carrots, potatoes, and drumstick. I used only drumstick
  6. Tamarind – a marble sized ball
  7. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  8. Asafoetida Powder – a generous pinch
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Curry Leaves – few
  11. Coriander Leaves – a few sprigs

To roast and grind
  1. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
  2. Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – ½ tbsp
  3. Urad Dal/Ulutham Paruppu – ½ tbsp
  4. Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam – 1 tsp
  5. Dry Red Chillies – 3 to 4
  6. Coconut – 2 tbsp

For tempering
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

  1. Pressure cook the dal along with the pumpkin pieces, little turmeric powder and a spoon of oil. Once cooked, mash well and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water. Squeeze and extract the juice and keep aside.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel with oil, add mustard seeds, once it splutters, add curry leaves.
  4. Next add the chopped onions and sauté a few minutes, until the onions turn translucent.
  5. Now add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until it turns mushy.
  6. Add the tamarind extract along with the vegetables, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt to taste. Also add another cup of water.
  7. Let this boil until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears, for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. In the meanwhile, heat a small pan, with a tsp of oil, add the Kadala paruppu and roast, for a minute, next add the ulutham paruppu, and fry, once the dals start changing color, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Lastly, add the coconut and fry on till the coconut changes to a light brown color. Do the entire frying on a low to medium heat. Take care not to burn any of the ingredients else the entire taste of the sambar will change.
  9. Grind this into a fine paste using a little water.
  10. Once the vegetables are cooked and the raw smell disappears, add the mashed dal and let it for 2 to 3 minutes, finally add the ground paste, add some water to adjust the consistency. Let it come to a boil. 
  11. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Remove from heat, cover and keep until use.
Serve hot as an accompaniment with idly/dosa/Pongal. Drizzle some melted ghee on top of the Sambar before serving.

  1. Use vegetables of your choice, like mentioned above, carrots, potatoes, drumstick. But don’t use too much. I personally prefer drumstick as it gives a good flavour.
  2. Prepare the sambar at least 2 to 3 hours before serving to allow all the flavours to mingle well.
  3. If you miss out on the pumpkin, don’t miss the jaggery.
  4. Also a drizzle of ghee before serving enhances the taste and flavour a lot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eggless Spinach Feta Muffins

It has been a long time since I posted any bakes here. This time when Priya suggested Savory bakes for the HomeBaker’s Challenge, I didn’t want to miss it. I love trying out savory bakes and these spinach and feta muffins were simply delicious. The next time I would surely like to add in some spicy kick to these muffins by adding some ground green chillies. They taste great immediately out of the oven, but were equally good on warming in the microwave for a minute the next day.

Recipe Adapted from here
Makes - around 18 muffins
What you’ll need
  1. Maida/All Purpose Flour – 2.5 cups
  2. Spinach Leaves – 2 cups, finely chopped
  3. Feta Cheese – ¾ cup, crumbled
  4. Tomatoes – ¾ cup, finely chopped
  5. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  6. Salt – 1 tsp
  7. Milk – 1 1/3 cup at room temperature
  8. Buttter – 6 tbsp
  9. Plain Curd/Yogurt – 3 tbsp at room temperature
  10. 2 tbsp of mozzarella

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Line a muffin tray with liners and set aside.
  2. In a wide bowl, add the all purpose flour, salt, baking powder and mix well.
  3. Next add the chopped spinach leaves, feta, tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave. To this add the milk and curd and whisk well.
  5. Pour this mixture to the other spinach flour mixture and combine well.
  6. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tray until ¾ filled. Top with grated mozzarella.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the top turn golden brown. Insert a toothpick and make sure there is no unbaked dough.
  8. Remove and cool.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Urulaikizhangu Bonda/Aloo Bonda

The weather in Amsterdam, on any day is perfect for some hot coffee and fried snack. Though I love all the different varieties of bajjis, bondas and vadais, I hardly prepare them. It has been a really long time since I prepared any snack. And this weekend, I decided to prepare something.
This post is dedicated to a special person, who loves these kind of snacks. Writing this post, brought back lot of fond memories of the times we spent together.

What you’ll need
Serves 4
For the filling
  1. Potatoes – 4 big
  2. Onion – 1 big
  3. Green Chillies - 3 to 4
  4. Ginger – a small piece
  5. Curry Leaves – few leaves
  6. Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  8. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Bengal Gram Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 1 tsp
  4. Urad Dal/Ulutham Paruppu – 1 tsp

For outer Covering
  1. Besan/Kadala Maavu – 1 cup
  2. Rice Flour – ½ cup
  3. Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  5. Baking soda – a pinch
  6. Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

  1. Wash the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Pressure cook the potatoes for 3 whistles.
  2. Peel and crumble the potatoes roughly. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a Kadai with 2 tbsp oil, temper with mustard seeds, once they crackle, add the kadala paruppu and ulutham paruppu and fry till the dals turn golden.
  4. Now add the chopped green chillies, grated ginger and curry leaves. Saute for few seconds and then add the finely chopped onions and turmeric powder.
  5. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Now add the crumbled potatoes and salt to taste. Mix well.
  6. Remove from heat and drizzle the lemon juice. Mix well.
  7. Allow to cool, and make small lemon sized balls of the potato mixture and set aside.
  8. In the meanwhile, place a kadai with oil for deep frying on heat.
  9. Now prepare the batter for the outer covering,
  10. In a wide bowl, take the besan and rice flour, add salt, chilly powder, asafoetida powder and baking soda, mix well. Add water little by little and whisk well to make a smooth batter which is not to thick or not too runny. It should be of coating consistency. Check for seasoning and add if required.
  11. Now dip the potato balls one at a time in the batter so as to nicely coat the balls and deep fry them in oil. Fry them on medium flame, flipping the bondas once in a while so that they are cooked evenly on all sides. Fry till the bubbles have almost stopped.
  12. Drain on a tissue paper.  Repeat with remaining potato balls.

Serve hot with coconut chutney and a hot cup of coffee.

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