Hope you had a good and relaxing weekend!
Remember the rant I made last about the relentless summer heat here in Texas, with the temperatures being above 100+ for the past 45 days? Guess what? The rain Gods finally answered our prayers and it rained here for a little bit providing much needed relief. Come Saturday morning, we woke up to the smell of the earth. And not to mention the grass, yard all soaked in water provided a happy sight. As I stood there it reminded me of the old age adage, that it is the simple things in life that gives you most joy.
Now take this puffed rice for example a simple ingredient sold most by the street vendors. I am sure most of us are familiar with this regional name than the translated English name, chirmure/kadle puri/ mamra/ muri/ pori. There are so many recipes using this humble ingredient, that it is hard to keep count. I guess, each region in India has its own specialty making it so unique. Our family favorites are the Khara Kadle Puri, this upma and the ladoo that is made of it.
This is referred to as Mandakki Usli/ Kadle puri oggarane in Kannada, Soosla in Konkani. This is a low calorie dish, good as breakfast or as evening/ afternoon snack. You can add veggies like potato, tomato, peas, carrots and make it filling and nutritious. If you are new to this or have not tasted it before then this tastes like the regular old poha upma/ aval upma and looks the same too (after it is cooked).
- 4 cups puffed rice/ murmura (chirmure/kadle puri/ mamra/ muri/ pori)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 5-7 curry leaves
- 3-4 green chillies (chopped)
- Asafetida/hing a pinch
- 2 tsp urad daal (optional)
- 2 Tbsp peanuts
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 tsp Sugar (optional)
- Wash the puffed rice and rinse it in water. Since they are light, they will float in water. Use your hands to press it down to absorb water and then squeeze out the water completely from the puffed rice and keep aside.
- Take a big pan and heat oil in it. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and when they splutter add the curry leaves, asafetida.
- Add the peanuts, urad daal and keep stirring until the urad daal turns light brown.
- Add chopped onion and green chillies until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add salt and turmeric powder and add soaked puffed rice and mix well. Keep stirring until it is coated well.
- Check for seasoning and then add the juice of lemon, sugar (optional) mix and switch off the gas.
- Serve immediately when warm, otherwise it will become soggy.
Cluster Beans are called Gorikayi or ChavaLikaayi in Kannada, Guvar in Hindi and Chitmitki/ Chitmitkesanga in Konkani. They are flat and smaller compared to the regular string beans and have slight bitter taste too. They are rich in proteins, fiber and considered very nutritious.
For us they are available in the Indian stores and if I am not mistaken they are present all the year around, so I cook this pretty often. They have a mild bitter taste, so I add little shredded coconut to the curry to compensate for it. If you want you can also add little bit of jaggery toward the end and that balances the spiciness of chillies and bitterness of the beans. This is an easy curry to make and uses readily available ingredients. The time consuming part though is the trimming of the edges; however once the trimming is done, the beans do not take a long time to cook.
For this curry I add usually add green chillies instead of the red chilli powder. Doing so retains the color of the beans but unfortunately I ran out of green chillies and hence used the chili powder. This pairs well with daal rice and or rotis/chapathis.
- 3 cups of chopped cluster beans/guvar
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2-3 garlic pods (crushed)
- 1-2 tsp red chilli powder [substitute with green chillies]
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 3-4 Curry leaves
- Cumin seeds/jeera
- A pinch asafetida/hing
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves (garnish)
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- (Note: Make sure the top and the tail of the beans are removed and then chopped.)
- Take a big flat bottom pan; heat about 2 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
- Add the curry leaves, jeera/cumin seeds, asafetida and mix until it turns light brown.
- Add the crushed garlic, diced onions and sauté until it softens.
- Add the chopped beans and stir until it mixes with the onions and seasoning.
- Sprinkle some water, stir in between making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
- Add salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir again.
- Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer, stir in between.
- Switch off when the beans are cooked (has bite to it, but not over cooked)
- Finally add chopped coriander for garnish and shredded coconut and mix.
- Serve hot with rice/rotis.
While there are many ways of cooking capsicum, this way of cooking capsicum/bell pepper is my all time favorite. For starters the pungent capsicum is cooked in a coconut masala which has a balanced combination of the essential 4 S. The four S’s being sweet, spicy, salty and sour. So when the bell pepper gets cooked in this masala it forms an enticing combination.
I may be a little biased here, because I enjoy vegetables cooked in a spicy coconut masala/sauce. That is how I grew up eating and this dish transports me back home giving me that warm, comfortable feeling.
Apart from its taste, the other aspect I like about this Capsicum Masala is that it is easy to cook. After coming back from work, all I long for is to make something easy, healthy yet delicious and this one fits the bill. While the onion, capsicums are cooking in the pan, I grind the masala and add it to the pan. Since everything cooks fast, this dish gets done in a jiffy. Make some daal like “Daali thoy” and you have a wonderful lunch/dinner. Life could not get any better than that!
The coconut masala is very versatile and you can customize based on your own taste. Also you can substitute bell pepper (referred to as capsicum in India) with okra (lady’s finger), brinjal (eggplant) or even potatoes.
- 2 big capsicum/ bell peppers [substitute with okra, brinjal, Tindora, potato]
- 1 medium onion
- ¾ cup shredded coconut
- 1 Tbsp tamarind paste
- Little jaggery (for taste)
- Coriander leaves (garnish)
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- Asafetida (a pinch)
Ingredients to roast
- 1 tsp urad daal
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp methi seeds
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- ¼ cup peanuts/ground nuts
- 3-4 red chillies
- Wash all the capsicum/bell pepper thoroughly, chop into bite size pieces and keep aside. (not too small)
- Peel the onion and chop it into small pieces. Chop the coriander leaves and keep aside.
- Roast all the ingredients in little oil on low flame one by one and keep them aside to cool.
- Grind the coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind paste and water.
- Half way through add the roasted ingredients and grind it to a smooth paste. Add water as required. The paste should be a little thick and not too watery.
- Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Next add the asaferida and mix.
- Add the diced onions and sauté until it is semi cooked.
- Increase the heat and at this point add the chopped capsicum. Stir well.
- After the capsicum is cooked, add the ground masala, salt, jiggery and mix well. Sprinkle water in between and keep mixing as required.
- Cover with a lid, stirring in between. Once the masala is cooked, stream in little bit oil. Mix and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
This can be served as a wonderful accompaniment with rice or rotis.