8 February 2012

Ragi adai

Ragi or finger millet is extremely rich in iron and calcium, but low on fat and calories. In many rural areas, ragi porridge, made with ragi flour, buttermilk and salt is consumed as breakfast which provides immense and instant energy for the day !!! Ragi is a source of heat energy, hence adding buttermilk equalizes this effect.
Ragi adai is a perfect dish for the health conscious, but that said, does not compromise on taste either!!!

Ingredients :
Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Chana dal - 1/4 cup
Ragi flour - 1/4 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Curry leaves
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 2

Method :
1. Soak the lentils together for about 3 hours.

2. Grind to a coarse paste, along with curry leaves and green chillies.

3. Add ragi and rice flour, salt and grind a little more, but not finely.

4. Add water to adjust consistency. Prepare crispy adais, just like dosas, but slightly thicker. Serve hot with curd, pickle or chutney.

TIP : You can add your desired variations to this, such as fresh chopped methi (fenugreek) leaves, drumstick leaves, etc.

Parval gravy

Parval/Parwal or Pointed gourd makes for an interesting accompaniment for several dishes and goes well with other vegetables such as potato, etc.
It's a rich source of Vitamin A & C, plus carbohydrates.
This is a gravy dish that my mother made at home and was perfect as a side-dish for chapatis.


Ingredients :

Parval - 500 gms
Tomato - 1
Small onions - 2
Curds - 1/2 cup
Mawa - 100 gms
Red chillies - 2
Haldi - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1" piece
Ghee - 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup

Method :

1. Wash, peel and slice parval lengthwise.

2. Grind onions and ginger to a paste. Puree tomato.

3. Heat oil and/or ghee in a pan, Add the onion-ginger paste, whole red chillies and cook till light brown.

4. Add parval, curds and fry for a while

5. Add tomato puree, chilli powder, salt and haldi. Cook till parval becomes tender.

6. Add boiling water, top with mawa and garam masala. Transfer this mix to a pressure cooker and cook with whistle on, just till full pressure is built up, but the whistle does not go off. Reduce flame and leave for 4-5 mins, then remove.

7. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Okkaarai / Ukkarai

A well-known sweet dish down south, especially prepared for Diwali in several places. It's quite easy to prepare and tastes absolutely marvelous.

Ukkaarai or Okkaarai is a traditional sweet that is associated with Diwali in most homes in Tamil Nadu.
It's a simple fare prepared with Bengal gram and jaggery, with cardamom enhancing its richness.


Ingredients :

Chana dal - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1.5 cups
Ghee - 2 tbsps
Cardamom (elaichi) pwd - 1/2 tsp
Chopped cashews for garnishing

Method :

1. Heat a kadhai, dry roast chana dal in it just till you start getting an aroma. Remove from fire. and soak in enough water for 1/2 hour.

2. Drain water and wrap the dal in a muslin cloth. Steam cook for about 15-20 mins in a cooker. Remove from fire and cool

3. Grind the steam-cooked dal in a mixer just to break it down into morsels. Do not grind too finely.

4. Melt jaggery in a thick-bottomed panusing just 1/4 cup water. Boil till a pearl consistency, i.e, if you place a drop of the syrup in a bowl of water, you should be able to roll the syrup into a ball, it should not dissolve or be stretchy.

5. Add the broken dal to the jaggery syrup aong with elaichi powder and broken cashewnuts. Stir well and serve as desired.
Tastes best when served slightly warm.