Even though I grew up in Bangalore, the home town of the famous restaurant MTR, I was never familiar with the MTR masalas, powders and spices then. The main reason being that my Mom is a wonderful cook and she made all the powders for sambhar, rasam, vaangi bhaat, pulliyogere etc from scratch at home.
Fast forward some years when I got married and came to the United States, I found myself as a clueless cook shouldering the responsibility of cooking. I used to crave for comfort food like rasam, sambhar etc food that I grew up with and that is when I discovered these MTR powders. My pantry now is adorned with variety of these powders and one of our favorite is the MTR rasam powder and the taste of the rasam is delicious!
½ cup toor daal
2 medium ripe tomatoes
4-5 curry leaves
4 tsp MTR rasam powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing
1 Tbsp Tamarind juice
2-3 red chillies
Jeera/ cumin seeds
1 tsp Mustard seeds
Pressure cook the toor daal with little jeera and turmeric.
Meanwhile dice the tomato into small pieces.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a vessel and add the mustards. After they splutter, add jeera and curry leaves and reduce the heat a bit.
Next cut the red chillies into small pieces add to this and fry for a little while.
Add the finely diced tomatoes, salt and let it cook for a while until the water from the tomato disappears.
Add about 4 spoons of Rasam powder and mix well. Stream in little bit of oil so that the powder mixes well and cooks with the rest of the ingredients.
Add the tamarind paste and cook again.
Next add the mashed toor daal and let it boil for about 5- 10 minutes.
Check taste and if necessary, add more rasam powder, salt, tamarind.
Finally garnish with coriander leaves.
This tastes good when it is a bit tangy, so go little extra on the tamarind or tomatoes. Serve with rice.
Lemon Rice also called Chitranna in Kannada is an easy to prepare yet flavorful rice dish. This is also a good way to use the left over rice or maybe a quick dish idea when unexpected guests arrive. The flavor of this depends on the strong seasoning (Tadka) that is prepared before the cooked rice is added. Even though the seasoning is prepared using simple and readily available ingredients like curry leaves, asafetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, daals they combine together to form an aromatic, sapid base to accommodate the rice. Peanuts add a nice crunch while the coconut balances the taste and adds little bit of sweetness.
Growing up in Bangalore we used to live very close by to Venkateshwara Temple and some days this would be offered as Prasadam after the Lord’s Maha Mangala Aarthi. Some days the prasadam would be different but their Curd Riceand Cucumber kosambari were the ones to die for! During our summer holidays we used to make a bee line to collect this prasada and savor it after we got back home. The Prasad would be served in a special leaf cup called “donne” and that would maybe enhance the taste of this rice.
There are different variations even for this simple recipe. My mother prepares this without adding onions, while my MIL makes this by adding onions and sometimes even garlic. But usually onion and garlic is avoided while serving this as Neivadyam.
This is my contribution to Rice Melahosted by Srivalli.
2 cups cooked rice (make sure it is fluffy and grains are separated)
1 tsp turmeric
¾ cup chopped onion (optional)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup groundnuts
3-4 green chillies (chopped finely)
Juice of a lemon
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
For the seasoning (tadka)
2 tsp urad daal
1 tsp chana daal
1.5 tsp Mustard seeds
Take a big plate and spread out the rice making sure there are no lumps. Add salt, mix and keep aside.
Take a heavy bottom pan, add oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter, next add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafetida. Mix well. Now add the peanuts, green chillies, both the daals and roast until the peanuts get crunchy.
Note: The flavor comes from mustard seeds, so add more thatn usual. Also the quantity of oil should be more than usual.
Add the chopped onions (optional) and fry until it gets transparent.
Add the rice, turmeric and mix thoroughly. Cover the lid and let it cook for a while.
Finally add the coconut, chopped coriander leaves and juice of a lemon. Mix well. Serve hot.
Note: Make sure to add the lemon juice when the prepared rice has cooled down a little, else it tends to add sourness to the rice.
Madhu of Ruchiihad sent me Arusuvai gifts about a month and half ago. I received the package at work and I excitedly opened it, my heart filled with warmth and anticipation. The package consisted of Rasam powder, Amchur powder, Raspberry tea, coasters and a thoughtfully written greeting card. The aroma of the Rasam powder was so powerful that two of my Indian colleagues came rushing to see what I was up to and what I was ‘cooking’!
Anyway, thank you very much dear Madhu for such thoughtful and wonderful gifts, I will cherish them for a long time. (For details of Arusuvai and credits see)
Now that I had the surprise ingredients on hand, I racked my brains and thought of different things I would do with them. I knew what I would do with the Rasam powder, but the Aamchur was the tricky one. I have not used Aamchur that much in my cooking and I had to ponder to come up with a good recipe. I zeroed in onto this No fry Falafel recipe using Garbanzo Beans and the source of inspiration was from the book Vegetarian Book.
The nutty flavored beans garbanzo beans are a good source of protein without the high calories or saturated fat found in other foods. Along with protein these beans, have the blood sugar stabilizing effect and heart health benefits of the soluble fiber. (Source)
After I made this I felt that the taste of this was similar to the Potato Tikkis. I had to add the bread as I felt the dough was not holding up well while making the Pattis. Addition of Aamchur really made a world of difference to the taste. This is my contribution to Sangeeth’s Eat Healthy-Protein Rich event at Art of Cooking Indian Food.
1 cup garbanzo beans/ canned is also fine
½ cup chopped onion
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated garlic
2 tsp Aamchur powder
1 slice bread (edges cut)
1 tsp jeera coriander powder(optional)
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
White sesame seeds for coating
(If using the canned beans then ignore this step) Soak the garbanzo beans in enough water overnight. Pressure cook the beans until it is soft (not mushy).
Dip the bread in water and squeeze out the water completely.
Mix all the ingredients (except oil and sesame seeds) well making sure there are no lumps. Taste for seasonings and adjust taste.
Heat a flat bottom pan and spread around 1 tsp of oil.
Divide this mixture into big lemon sized ball and using the tip of your hands flatten it.
Coat this thoroughly in the sesame seeds and place them on the pan. Continue the same process for the remaining balls.
Put little oil around each patty and cook until it is done.
After one side is cooked, (turned light brown) gently turn it on the other side and allow it to cook.