Showing posts with label South Indian Cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Indian Cuisine. Show all posts

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan Baadusha Recipe

Do you know why Baadusha starts with 'baad'? Because it is one baaadass sweet! heheh Ok stop cringing, I promise not to make anymore poor jokes for the rest of this post. :oP

We've been making these babies for Diwali in the recent years. One of the quickest desserts to make! The only 'work' involved is the deep frying and even that can be easy with a partner. In my case, I shape the Baadushas and pop them into the oil and DH deep fries them and transfers them into the sugar syrup. 10-15 minutes of this et voilà, all done! :)


2 C maida/all purpose flour (I do intend to try these out with whole wheat flour at some point though)
1/2 C cold coconut oil + more for deep frying
2 C sugar
2 C water + more for the dough
A generous pinch of baking soda
Tiny pinch of salt
Chopped nuts - pista, almond, cashew

Fry the chopped nuts in a bit of coconut oil until lightly brown, strain and keep aside.

Pour this strained oil plus the remainder of the 1/2 C oil into the flour along with the salt and rub everything together until crumbs form.

Sprinkle the soda on top, add a little bit of water and knead into a soft dough.

Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a slightly thick sugar syrup with the sugar and water by boiling them together.

While the syrup is still warm, heat the oil for deep frying.

Shape the dough into little balls, flatten them and press your thumb (or index or whichever finger you like) down in the middle to form a crater in each one.

In batches, deep fry them in the hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown and transfer them directly into the warm sugar syrup.

Let them soak for about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer them onto a plate and place the nuts in the craters.

After they cool slightly, the sugar syrup will harden a bit and form a layer on top.

At this point the Baadushas are ready to munch on. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bille Kadubu - South Indian Steamed Delicacy

I have a nice book in Kannada called Paakadarshi which is filled with recipes of wonderful traditional dishes from Karnataka. My mom took it out of her collection and gave it to me soon after I got married and was about to move away from Bangalore for a long time. As a new cook it acted like the Gita to me in the kitchen. :)

I later bloomed into an experimental cook who rarely follows recipes to a tee. But even after all these years, when it comes to the very traditional recipes, the kind of wonderful stuff that my mom makes, I still fall back on my Paakadarshi. And it has always caused great results!

Here's a quick and easy recipe for this delicious dish called Bille (pronounced Bil-lay) Kadubu.

Bille Kadubu

2 C Rice Semolina (sold as Idli Rava at Indian stores)
3/4 C fresh coconut (I use half grated and half cut into tiny pieces)
2 t Channa Dal (soaked)
1 t Jaggery

For the seasoning:
Black mustard seeds, Curry leaves, Oil (canola, coconut... anything)

Heat a few spoons of oil in a wok/pan. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Turn off the stove and add curry leaves. Add 5 cups of water, jaggery and salt and turn on the heat once again. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and gently pour in the rice semolina while continuously stirring. Once the water has been absorbed completely, take the pan off the stove and stir in the coconut. Mix well.

Let the mixture cool slightly (but not too much). Lightly oil your palms and make little balls out of the dough. Steam them for 8-10 minutes.

Serve hot with Coconut Cilantro Chutney. (Just posting this recipe here is making me want to eat some right now! :oP)

Bille Kadubu

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bisi Bele Bath

A delicious mixture of rice, lentils, vegetables and spices. The perfect hearty, wholesome one dish meal! Here's a picture of my Bisi Bele Bhath (literal translation: Hot Lentil Rice Dish). It's served with a dollop of fresh, homemade soy yogurt.

We (meaning my mom) make the masalapowder for this at home from scratch and nothing can beat that taste but making it is a long, drawn out process and you need access to various 'exotic' spices. So instead I suggest you get your hands on a packet of the Bisi Bele Bhath Masala powder which will make do to begin with. They'll be easily available at Indian stores. The MTR brand is the most well known. If you can't find the Bisi Bele Bath Masala powder then the Vanghibath Masala Powder will do just fine as an alternative.

There are various styles of making this dish, our method follows... The recipe may look long but it's really a very easy dish to make.

Bisi Bele Bhath

1 C Rice
3/4 C Toor Dal (split yellow peas)
2 C or more mixed, diced veggies - Potato, Carrots, Beans, Broccoli, Capsicum (Green Bell Peppers), Peas...
1 Onion sliced
5-6 cloves Garlic (optional)
3-4 Tomatoes Cut into medium chunks
1 T Tamarind Paste
2 t Bisi Bele Bhath or Vangibhath Masala Powder
3-4 T Oil (coconut oil makes it extra yum!)
2 Dried Red Chillies (broken into half)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Mustard seeds
Asafotedia powder
Curry Leaves

Cook the rice and toor dal together with plenty of water till very soft (a pressure cooker would make things easy).

Meanwhile chop and slice all the mixed vegetables and cook them separately (I like baking and grilling them for about 7 minutes with salt and oil sprinkled on in the microwave using the combi option but boiling them in salted water is fine too).

Slice the onion and dice the tomatoes and keep them aside separately.

Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok for about 30 seconds or so till it's hot (but don't overheat). Add a dash of mustard seeds, they will immediately crackle so be careful and cover the pan with a lid till the crackling is done. Quickly add a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of asafotedia. Then add the curry leaves. Finally add the red chillies and immediately add the garlic and the onions. Fry till the onions are transparent and slightly browned.

Sprinkle the masala powder and stir. Add 1-2 C water, the tamarind paste and salt to taste. Mix well, cover and simmer the veggies in the masala on a medium flame for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the cooked rice and dal and mix well. Add more water if required. Let everything simmer together for a few minutes.

Finally mix in the chopped tomatoes and mix. Turn off the flame.

After about a minute, squeeze the lemon juice over the Bisi Bele Bhath and mix well.

Serve hot by itself or with soy yogurt (plain, unsweetened) and a few potato chips for the crunch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A delicious Sankranthi vegan brunch

Sankranthi (aka Pongal) is an important Hindu festival which marks the beginning of the Sun's 'climb' into the Northern Hemisphere. In South India, we also celebrate Sankranthi as the beginning of the harvest season. Like most other Hindu festivals, we celebrate this one by having a bath (hair wash too) and then cooking the customary sweet and savory dishes meant for the festival. Then we place the food in front of the holy altar carrying pictures and idols of various Gods and Goddesses and light two oil lamps. We pray, offer thanks and request blessings. Then we offer the food to the Gods who get to 'taste' everything first (we don't taste them while cooking) and then... we dig right in! :)

In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh States, women also exchange Vayanas with the relatives or neighbors. These contain various items representing a good harvest like Sugarcane, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Peanuts, Elachikai (a kind of sour berry) and also other traditional things like Turmeric Sticks, Kumkum Powder (the red dot we put on our forehead), Coconut, Fruits, Beetle Leaves and Beetle Nuts.

In the South the main traditional delicacy for the Sankranthi breakfast is Pongal. Two types of Pongal to be precise - the Sweet Pongal and the Savory Pongal. The main ingredients in these are rice and split mung beans (yep, my favorite moong dal :)). Today, along with the Pongals, we also made Vadas (deep fried black gram fritters) and a Tamarind Gojju (sauce) to have on the side with the Savory Pongal. The Vadas are normally doughnut shaped but we weren't able to shape them so instead we dropped little spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. So what came out was something which could be termed Vada Holes (like doughnut holes) :D

Sankranthi or not these are delicious, easy to prepare dishes. If you try these out, please do leave a comment here on how they turned out.


Vegan Savory Pongal

1 C Moong Dal
1 C Rice
8 C Water (more if required)
2 t Olive Oil
1/4 t Turmeric

For the seasoning:

3 T any Vegetable Oil
1/2 t Mustard Seeds
1/2 t Cumin Seeds
1/4 t Asafoteida Powder
1/2 t Whole Black Pepper
10-12 Curry Leaves
1 t Ginger chopped into tiny pieces
Sea Salt

Lightly toast the moong dal in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring continuously till it's slightly deepened in color.

Put the rice, moong dal, turmeric, olive oil and water with a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker and cook for 6 whistles. If you don't have a pressure cooker then you can cook them in a large pot on the stovetop on medium flame for about 45 mins till the dal is well cooked and soft, in which case it needs to be monitored and stirred occasionally.

In a small pan, heat the vegetable oil for about half a minute. Add the mustard and let it crackle, then add the cumin, asafoteida powder, whole black pepper, curry leaves and the ginger and stir for a few seconds and switch off the flame.

Add sea salt and the seasoning to the cooked rice/dal mixture and mix.

Serve hot.


Vegan Sweet Pongal

1/2 C Moong Dal
1/2 C Rice
1/4 C Channa Dal (Split Gram)
2 C Water
2 C Soymilk or Almond Milk
2 T Olive Oil

Lightly toast the moong and channa dals in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring continuously till they have slightly deepened in color.

Cook all the above ingredients in a pressure cooker or a large pan till the rice is cooked well and the dals have become soft.

Stir in:

1 1/2 C Jaggery or Molasses
1/4 t Cardamom Powder
Handful of toasted Cashew nut pieces and Raisins.
1/2 to 1 C water

Bring to boil while stirring continuously and simmer for a few minutes.

Serve hot or cold.


Tamarind Gojju - as a side for the Savory Pongal

1 T any Vegetable Oil
1/4 t Mustard Seeds
1/4 t Cumin Seeds
Pinch Asafoteida Powder
1/4 t Whole Black Pepper
5-6 Curry Leaves
2 Red Chillies

Heat the oil in a small pan for about half a minute and add the mustard seeds (they should crackle immediately). Add the rest of the seasoning ingredients in the order given.

Take it off the flame. Then quickly mix in:

1/2 C Water
1/2 t Tamarind Paste
Sea Salt (to taste)

Put it back on the stove and bring to boil. Reduce the flame a simmer for a few minutes.

Note: If you desire a slightly thicker sauce then mix 1/2 t Gram Flour with a few spoons of water and make a liquidy paste. Stir in the paste into the Gojju while it's still simmering and keep stirring for a few minutes till the sauce has slightly thickened.


Oh will you LOOK at the time! It's 11:30 pm and I need to get to bed. So I'll post the recipe for the Vada Holes some other time. Until then... enjoy the Pongal! :)

love and light,
Susmitha :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hesaru Kaalu Sprouts - The BEST vegan snack ever!!

Mom used to make these often when we were in school and we used to carry dabba fulls to eat during our snack break. Of course long before the 11 am bell rang the little boxes were sneakily opened under the desk and handfuls were passed around. Surreptitiously munching on Hesaru Kaalu (Mung Bean) Sprouts made even the most boring class pleasurable! :)

When there are little kids at home a certain magic exists which makes all kinds of yummy treats appear constantly without anyone having to ask for them. No adult 'child' can make that happen! LOL So naturally after the school years were over, as all other snacks, these also became rare. Mom still made us anything we asked for but the asking in itself reduced. We got busy with our lives - tiffin breaks and special evening snacks receded to the background of our priorities.

The Mung Bean Sprout resurfaced only during certain festivals or wedding feasts in the form of the molike kosumbari - a sprout salad of sorts.

Last week I went into a health food trip because I had just recovered from being sick and figured I needed to replenish my body's nutrient content. In between the raw carrots & cucumbers and the fresh fruits & juices I suddenly remembered the Mung Bean Sprout! I just had to make a batch!!

Contrary to common belief, these sprouts are not difficult to make at all!

Mung Bean Sprouts

Take a cupful of dry Mung Beans and wash well.
Soak in about thrice the quantity of water for 8 hours or so (overnight is a good idea).
Drain completely and put in a container and close the lid.
Leave in a dark place for a day (not in the fridge).
Open the lid... Voila Sprouts!!
Store in fridge and consume as soon as possible - an effortless task I might add :)

It's as easy as that! :)

Each mouthful of sprouts is a delicious mix of fresh flavor and mild sweetness. I might be able to stop myself from munching on chips after a single mouthful, but Hesaru Kaalu Sprouts.. IMPOSSIBLE!!

The whole batch I made got polished off in no time. Some of it was eaten plan, some of it was turned into Kosumbari. Either way, it was yummy. And the amount of nutrition it contains makes it a perfect healthy snack!

In the hope that more people will choose this often over the regular junk food, here is the Kosumbari recipe.


Mung Bean Sprout Salad - A South Indian speciality.

1 C Sprouts
1/2 C Chopped Cucumber
1/2 C Grated Fresh Coconut
1/4 C Grated Carrot
1/2 t Fresh Green Chilly Paste (adjust quantity according to how much spice you can handle)
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 pinch Hing (Asafoteida)
Salt (preferably seas salt) to taste
Juice of 1 lime or lemon

Put everything in a bowl and mix together with your hand using a light squeezing motion to get the flavors to blend well.