Moong Curry and Cucumber Idli (Mooga Ghashi & Taushe Idli )

Time and tide waits for none says a 14th century adage and I am sure most of us could not agree with it more. Days fly by at the blink of the eye and even before we realize it months and years have passed by and all that is left behind are memories. Some of them good and warm ones that we like to cherish and some not-so-good ones that we like to forget.

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There are so many ways of evoking those memories like food, people, places, special days etc but I personally feel that food is the strong catalyst of all. Food is a part and parcel of our daily lives and it takes the centre-stage when there are festivals, get togethers, parties etc. So it goes without saying that there will be memories associated with it. I instantly go down the memory lane especially while making special festival meals, traditional meals etc and cannot help but recall the experience of joy, family, food, excitement felt during festivals.

“Mooga Ghashi” along with “Khotte” (idli steamed in jackfruit leaves) is a quintessential part of Konkani traditional cooking. For this curry, boiled moong is cooked in a coconut-tamarind-redchillies paste. No celebration is complete without these two dishes and it is a time-honored tradition followed by many generations.

However making the “Khotte” is a very tedious and time consuming process involving lots of steps. First appropriate Jack fruit leaves are hand picked from the tree, washed and then carefully dried. Next step is the time consuming process, where in which  5-6 leaves are taken and shaped in the form of “hands together, palms touching” by “sewing” it with small sticks.  Care should be taken so that there are no holes or loose ends while making the “moulds” as the batter might run out while steaming. These are then made in number of batches. Regular idli batter is then prepared and left overnight to ferment. The next day “Khotte” (idli) is then made by pouring the batter into the leaves “mould” and then steaming it. Never the less, after all the painful process it goes without saying that the taste is simply out of this world. The aroma that fills the house when fresh “khotte” are out of the steamer is simply out of this world. 

However for obvious reasons, we cannot prepare those idlis here. Instead we prepare another delicacy called “Cucumber Idli” the regular way. Cucumber Idli are instant idlies and requires no grinding and also no fermentation. There is no compromise in taste and the aroma is heavenly.I learnt this from my MIL who is an expert in making these.

Here is another option of making Cucumber Dosa using the same mixture.

This is my contribution for the event Monthly Mingle  hosted by wonderful and talented Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? 

  • Ingredients for the curry

    1 cup green whole moong 

     

Masala to grind: 

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • Juice of lemon sized tamarind
  • Salt to taste 

For tadka: 

  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Mustard
  • Asafetida
  • Oil (preferable coconut oil)

Preparation:

  • Soak the Moong in water for about 8-10 hours.  Drain the water completely and keep it covered and let the moong sprout.
  • After the moong is sprouted, pressure cook it with sufficient water. Make sure that the moong is not turned into a paste, but is still separate.
  • Make a fine paste of coconut, red chillies, tamarind and salt adding little water and keep aside.

Method:

  • Take a heavy bottom pan, add the cooked moong along with water and add the ground masala paste stirring in between. Let it come to a boil.
  • Make a tadka of mustard and let it splutter; add curry leaves, hind and red chillies. Cehck for salt and other seasonings.
  • Add this tadka to the boiled moong, masala mixture and cover it immediately.

 Ingredients for Cucumber Idli

  • 1 big cucmber
  • 1 cup of idli rava (more or less depending on the cucumber gratings)
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • salt 

Preparation:

  • Peel the cucumber and grate it. Retain the seeds of the cucumber but drain the cucumber water completely. Squeeze the cucumber to drain out additional water.
  •  Chop up the green chilies and coriander leaves very finely.
  •  Add the idli rava, coconut, green chilies, coriander leaves to grated cucumber and mix well. Add salt as required. Keep aside for 30 minutes. (Note: Try not to drain water at this time, try to retain as far as possible. But if it is too liquidy then drain the water)
  •  Note that the mixture in this case will be coarse and not “gooey” or watery like a idli batter.

Procedure:

  • Grease the idli stand and pour the cucumber mixture in each groove. 
  • Steam this in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.

 The idli can be eaten as is.  There is even no need to prepare any chutney or curry or powder. The idli has the right seasoning, but tastes awesome with some ghee.

 

     

NOTE: The moisture content in the cucumber itself is enough to steam the idlis. There is no need to add extra water or even retain water from the grated cucumber. Otherwise they turn soggy if water content is higher. There is no need to add baking soda as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Vegetables-Navy Beans Vegan Soup

It is that time of the year again, when the cold front has set in. The cold makes me want to stay inside, bundle up in some warm clothes, pull up a rug and sip something warm from time to time. And when hunger strikes it makes you crave for something special that makes you feel good both inside and out. The first thing that comes to my mind is hot hearty SOUP with some warm crusty bread.

Both me and my husband are great fans of soups and we have all the time in the restaurants, however I had never ventured trying it out by myself. But after seeing many of Rachael Ray’s cooking shows and the ease with she makes them, by putting together readily available ingredients, in less amount of time, it got me started into trying it out.

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I also looked for recipes on the internet that would suit my requirements. Even though there is no dearth of recipes for soup, my main source of idea and inspiration for this soup came from this site here. After going through numerous recipes I finally chalked out this recipe.

I could not help but realize many things while I was cooking this soup. This was the first time I was cooking with celery, navy beans, oregano and that I was not using the usual cumin, mustard, asafetida, curry leaves etc. I also realized that my everyday cooking is mostly vegan and that I hardly use any type of diary products in my cooking. Exceptions are in the case of desserts or the occasional “North-Indian” type of cooking which calls for milk or yogurt. Frankly, I am very pleased with this soup recipe. It is hearty, healthy, thick, chunky and filling. Best of all it is so easy to make and I am sure there will be more of these in the offing.

This is also my contribution to Vegan Ventures hosted by the wonderful and talented Suganya of Tasty Palettes.

Ingredients:

  • 5 mini peppers

  • 1 medium carrot

  • 2 celery sticks

  • 1 can vegetable broth

  • 1 can cooked navy beans (any type of bean is just fine)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • ½ cup pasta

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tsp basil

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • Oil

  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  •  Chop the peppers, celery into small strips and keep aside.

  •  Peel the carrot and cut it into small discs.

  • Chop the onions into small pieces and keep aside.

  • Cook the pasta separately and keep aside.

 Method: 

  • Take a heavy bottom pan; add about 2 Tbsps of oil. Add crushed garlic followed by diced onions.

  • After the onions are sautéed a bit add celery, peppers and carrots and cook for a while.

  • Next add the can of diced tomatoes, vegetable broth and part of the Navy beans and mix well.

  • Make a paste of the remaining beans and then add it to the above.

  • Finally add cooked pasta, salt, basil, oregano and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring in between.

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 Yummy and delicious soup is ready to be served with warm bread!

Potato Pepper curry/Capscium Fry

Here’s raising toast to the much awaited and anticipated time of the week, the weekend. Ah! The sweet joy, relaxation and freedom associated with the weekend after a major grind parallels none. It all beings Friday evening after calling it quits at work, suddenly things seem casual and laidback and everything is freed from the clutches of time. The pressure, tension, routine is put to rest and it is the time of sweet indulgence.

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Come Saturday and everything seems relaxed and calm. Monday seems so distant in the horizon, that there is time even to graze and admire the vegetables. The million chores, shopping, grocery, bill pay etc everything can wait while this peaceful moment is savored, at least until it lasts!This is my contribution for the event Think Spice …. think Ginger hosted by wonderful and thoughtful Sunita of Sunita’s world. Ingredients

  • 15 mini peppers

  • 1 medium potato

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 Tbsps Grated ginger

  • Coriander leaves for garnishing

  • Turmeric

  • Chilli powder

  • Jeera, mustard

  • Oil

  • Salt to taste

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Preparation:

  • Chop the peppers into small strips and keep aside.

  • Peel the potato and dice it into small cubes.

  • Chop the onions into small pieces and keep aside.

Method: 

  • Take a microwave safe bowl, add enough water and put the diced potato into it. Microwave for about 4 minutes. Make sure that the potato is almost cooked not completely though.

  • Take a heavy bottom pan; add about 2 Tbsps of oil. Add jeera, mustard and let it splutter.

  • Add part of grated ginger, mix it well and then add the diced onions.

  • After the onions are sautéed and turned transparent, add the cut pepper, salt and turmeric chilli powder and mix well until the pepper is cooked.

  • Next add the cooked potato to this and mix well. Add the remaining ginger at this time.

  • Add more turmeric and salt and oil if necessary.

  •  Lastly garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

 Serve with Rotis/ phulkas or with Rice.