Cabbage Rice – a lunch box recipe


I am usually on the lookout for new and interesting ideas to pack for my lunch. I prefer light lunches that way I continue feeling alert in the afternoons. 

This rice recipe with cabbage works well, as it is light and not too heavy. It is easy to make and does not take a long time. If there is some left over rice from the previous night, then this gets done in a jiffy. All that is needed is to season and sauté the vegetables and then mix the powder and rice. 

I use the readymade MTR brand Vaangi Bhaat powder (easily available in the Indian store) for this dish. It is so flavorful and enhances the taste of cooked vegetables. Some people, who do not like cabbage, prefer eating this rice without problems. In this dish I do not add onions or garlic or tomatoes, but you can add it if you choose to. 

I change the vegetable depending on what is available in the fridge it could be capsicum, cabbage, eggplant, potato or even carrots.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice (raw)
  • 3 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp vaangi bhat powder ( I use MTR brand readymade)
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp urad daal
  • 2 Tbsp peanuts
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp coriander leaves (for garnish)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp jeera seeds
  • Juice of half lemon (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste 

Method:

  • Cook the rice separately either on stove top or pressure cooker using enough water. Make sure it cooks well without getting mushy.
  • Take a plate and spread out the rice, add little oil and make sure there are no lumps.
  •  Heat a big skillet on medium and add oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and urad daal.
  • After the urad daal is very lightly cooked add the peanuts and roast until it becomes crispy.
  • Add the chopped cabbage, salt to this and stir. Cover with lid and let it cook.
  • Add the chilli powder, vaangi bhaat powder and mix again. Again little oil if it is too dry.
  •  Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Cover the lid and let it cook for a minute or so. 
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and juice of lemon (optional). Serve hot.
  • Tastes delicious as is or with side of raita and some roasted pappad.  

Drumstick Sambhar

Sambar is one of the most loved lentil based dish in the South Indian cuisine. This versatile recipe of sambhar is  mom’s  and is one of her well loved recipes.

This sambhar does not use the store bought powder instead the masala is made from scratch. Lentils, spices etc are roasted and then ground along with coconut and tamarind. Drumstick is the main vegetable in this, but you can substitute with other vegetables like brinjal, radish, carrots, beans etc. 

Serves well with plain rice, idli, dosas or vadas. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Tur dal
  • 2-3 medium drumsticks ( cleaned and cut into 3 inch pieces)
  • 2 tsp Chana Dal           
  • 1 ½ tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3-4 Black Pepper corn
  •  ½ tsp Jeera/cumin seeds       
  • ¼ tsp Mustard seeds    
  •  ¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds  
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder      
  • ½” piece Cinnamon                
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 tsp jaggery               
  • Tamarind  Lemon size (soaked in water)
  • ¼ cup Coconut scraped      
  • Curry leaves
  • 3-4 Red Chillies
  • Asafetida a pinch         
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil  for seasoning 

Procedure

  • Boil the Tur dal in a pressure cooker along with Drum sticks in enough water. Switch off the gas and keep aside.
  • Add 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan, add the chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, jeera, black pepper,  red chillies, cloves, cinnamon and sauté it until it turns light brown. Let this cool.
  • Grind the above mix along with scraped coconut, tamarind, sufficient water to a smooth paste.
  • Heat a saucepan and add the boiled tur daal along with drumsticks. Next put the above ground paste in the boiled tur dal.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, jaggery and boil it thoroughly.
  • Seasoning: In a small pan put 2 tsp oil and heat it. Add mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves and let it splutter.
  • Add the seasoning to the boiled sambar, cover with lid. Serves well with plain rice, idli, dosas or vadas.

Banana Fritters/ Kele Mulik or Mulka

Mulka or Mulik as they are called in Konkani are fritters made from fruits like jackfruit and bananas. In most Konkani households they are usually made out of jackfruit and are called as ponsa mulka. But we make them using ripe bananas as well using the same procedure.  Also since it is difficult to find good quality of jackfruit here in the US, I resort to making them using bananas whenever I have some craving for them. 

These are perfect if you want to have something sweet and have some over ripe bananas to be used. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with dominant flavors of cooked banana it makes a good snack. If you do not want to deep fry and prefer low fat version then you can try the banana appe/paniyaram using the Aebleskiver pan. You can also try the pan fried version of bananas, if they are not overly ripe.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup sooji/semolina/rava
  • 1 Tbsp wheat flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp powdered jaggery/ substitute with sugar if you cannot find jaggery
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Method 

  • Making batter: Peel the banana and mash it finely in a bowl so that there are no lumps.
  • Now add the jaggery, wheat flour and rava little by little and mix so that it forms a thick paste. Add the cardamom powder, salt and baking soda and make the batter ready.
  • Frying: Heat oil on medium in a thick bottomed pan sufficient enough to deep fry.
  • Check to make sure that the oil has reached the correct temperature, by putting in small amount of batter. If there is a sizzle that means the oil is ready.
  • Note: These fritters begin to dark very quickly, so make sure the oil is not too hot.
  • Take about a tablespoon of the batter and put it in the oil. Add about 4-5 depending on the size of the pan at the same time.
  • After about 20-30 secs turn them around, making sure all sides get cooked evenly.
  • Transfer them to a plate with absorbent paper so that the extra oil drains. Continue the above process with the remaining batter.
  • This can be eaten as is and forms a wonderful accompaniment with tea or coffee.