Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breakfast recipes...

Breakfast is a meal eaten after a long period of sleep, most often eaten in the morning. The word came about because it means breaking the fast after one has not eaten (fasted) since the night before.Studies say that it is very necessary to eat your breakfast as your metabolism system also sleeps when you sleep and starts exactly when you eat something in the morning.Varieties of breakfast ,you will find all over our country, India and also in the World.Here's some dishes i often prepare at home..though I eat cereal and milk in the morning except weekends.

Rava dosa :::
This is a healthy breakfast preparation from South India what is very popular among others nowadays because of its simplicity yet so delicious and kids love too. I was out of ideas for breakfast when inlaws are here and tried for the first time. I love to prepare nowadays for our simple weeknights dinner. I have gone through lots of recipes in website but really took the idea from Rak's kitchen or Tarla Dalal.

Ingredients:::
1/2 cup Rava or semolina,
1/2 cup rice flour,
1/4 maida or all purpose flour,
2 nos. finely chopped green chillies,
1 tsp grated ginger,
2-5 nos. crushed black pepper or optional,
1 tsp cumin seeds,
half cup finely chopped onions,
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves,
1 tsp oil,
salt and sugar as per your taste.

Ingredients:::
1. Take a big bowl and mix first three ingredients with salt and sugar adding one cup of water and let it soak for 2 hours.
2. Add rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix properly adding sufficient water. The batter should be watery or thin consistency. You can check while cooking and then add more water and adjust salt accordingly.
3. Heat a flat pan or griddle / tawa, sprinkle little oil and take a big spoon or ladle full of batter and pour first on tawa and using the handle rotate the tawa slowly to spread the batter or you can form a outer circle and then fill in the middle but don't pour extra batter on top of that. It should be lacy in form. Drizzle little oil on the dosa. For every dosa, please check the consistency if it is watery or not. Add water if needed.
4. Let it cook on low medium flame until it becomes light golden in color. Using a flat spatula, slowly fold it and serve hot with your favorite chutney or pickle.
You can make it instantly but I prefer to soak for minimum two hours. 
You can sprinkle onion on the tawa and then pour the batter but it is optional too.Sometimes you can mix finely chopped or grated carrots for nice color too.

Plain Dosa :::


Dosa or dosai, Indian spicy crepe is a typical South-Indian preparation mainly served at breakfast or tiffin item. Nowadays Dosa is very popular and favorite in other states of India also. Being a south-Indian daughter-in-law, I prepare dosa almost every week and I don't prepare dosa batter separately but use the same batter what I prepare for idli only when it becomes one or two days old. This is my mother-in-law's recipe what I use without any modifications.  

Ingredients :::
1 cup skinless split black gram / urad daal,
2 cup parboiled / Idli rice,
1/4 cup raw rice / sona musuri  (for crispness)
one fistful of tuvar daal/yellow pigeon peas, (for color)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds,
oil,
salt as per your taste.

Method :::
1. Wash and soak all the ingredients separately overnight or 7-8 hrs with fenugreek seeds and tuvar daal.
2. Drain excess water from rice and daal but keep the soaked water from urad daal.
3. Now grind first urad daal to a smooth paste then add parboiled rice and raw rice with tuvar daal and make slightly coarse paste using that water you kept aside .Try to use less water while grinding.
4. Now take the paste in a deep bottomed bowl and start mixing the paste with little water for some minutes.Then keep it covered in a warm place / inside the oven for fermentation for 6-7 hours.When done add salt and stir well again.Batter is ready for dosa.
5. Heat tawa / flat non-stick griddle properly and now pour two drops of oil on tawa and rub with a small cloth or paper towel. If the griddle is too hot , sprinkle little water and clean with a paper or towel before pouring the batter.
6. Bring the flame to medium level and then pour a large spoonful of batter onto the center of tawa and spread in circular motion towards the edges just like pancake.
7. Once done,drizzle little oil around the dosa so that it comes out well. Wait for 2-3 mins and then flip the dosa with a flat spatula and let it cook for 2 mins.If you don't want to use oil then dip the spatula before flipping the dosa.Dosa will come out well.
8. Now fold the dosa how you want and serve with coconut chutney or podis or spicy pickle.

Here's the video how to prepare masala dosa I have uploaded long back,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hRv2Ng5el0

To prepare a perfect dosa , you should have the exact consistency of dosa batter and maintain the perfect temperature of the tawa or griddle . Every time you take the dosa out,bring down the heat sprinkling water on tawa and clean with a paper towel.If you are using the same tawa for cooking other stuff then wash the tawa properly and then follow step 5 two times.And the tawa should not be too dry and not too oily. I generally use Sona musuri rice as raw rice and that gives you exact taste what you get in restaurants. You can add one fistful of soaked chaana daal or chick peas lentils while grinding dosa batter too.

Daalpuri ...in Bengali style :::

I wanted to cook something special for my mom and this stuffed unleavened Indian bread what we say chholar daaler kachori was perfect choice for a chilly winter breakfast. This is a little lengthy process but if you prepare the stuffing one or two days before then takes less time to prepare. Here again I prefer to follow Suchididi's recipe and turned out the best as always.
Ingredients:::
for 10 puris..
2 cups of all purpose flour / maida,
1/2 cup of wheat flour / aata,
a pinch of salt,
1/5 tsp kalonji or black onion seeds,

for stuffing..
one small cup chana daal/split chickpeas,
one small finely chopped onion, optional
one pinch of turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp ginger paste,
2 nos. finely chopped green chillies  , optional
one pinch of whole cumin seeds,
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing,
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder,
oil for frying and salt to taste.
Method:::
1. Wash and soak chana daal for minimum 5-6 hours. Cook with 2 cups of water with salt and turmeric powder. Make sure daal is just cooked and not too mushy.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add whole cumin seeds, chopped green chillies and ginger  paste. Fry for a minute and then cooked daal and saute until daal is nicely fried. Mix roasted cumin powder and asafoetida with daal and mix again. Switch off flame and let it cool. Make small size balls out of the mixture.
3. Now mix all purpose flour / moida, wheat flour /  aata , salt and kalo jeere / kalonji seeds thoroughly in a big bowl and then make smooth dough adding little water at a time. Cover the dough with a wet cloth for 20-30 minutes.
4. Make 10 balls from the dough and flatten a little in the middle and stuff with daal mixture and bring all the corners together and make ball again pressing the corners and make puri flattening the ball with a rolling pin.
5. Heat sufficient oil and then fry carefully all the puri and serve with spicy aloo dum or any gravy.
Some people like to use finely chopped onions but I wanted to prepare without onions. If you want to make it spicy add more green chillies.

Pesarattu / Green moong dosa :::

Green moong daal dosa is one of the best breakfast item I have learned from my motherinlaw. Every Saturday or Sunday she likes to prepare this with coconut chutney or ginger chutney. This crispy yet soft yummy dosa is very simple and easy to digest and good for people who wants to avoid rice.

Ingredients:::
One cup green moong dal / green gram,
1/4 cup yellow moong dal and raw rice,
one fistful of shredded coconut, fresh or frozen
1 small piece of ginger,
3-4 nos. green chillies,
one small onion, finely chopped(Optional)
half cup masala podi,
salt as per taste,
Oil to fry.

Method::
1. Soak for 8 to 10 hrs all the lentils/daal and rice together after washing until clear water comes out.
2. Make a smooth paste adding ginger ,coconut and green chillies and salt. Add water to bring it medium consistency for dosa batter. Keep aside for half an hour.
3. Sprinkle oil when the griddle or tava pan is hot. Take one big ladder of batter and make round dosa
with that. Sprinkle masala podi and onion on the top of it and little oil to the corners and let it cook covering the pan. When the corners become crispy and roll it and serve with your favorite chutney.

To make podi, roast red chillies,chana daal or yellow split peas, curry leaves,mustard seeds and urad daal. When nice aroma oozes out, spread on a plate to make it cool and then make a coarse paste of it adding salt.
If you add yellow moong Dal / yellow gram lentils to green ones, that gives a nice color and softness and raw rice gives crispness.


Chirer Pulao ::::

Chira or flattened/beaten rice is made of raw rice and very popular across India and this dish which is easy to cook and digest,very popular in Eastern parts of India as Sunday breakfast.This recipe is from one of my sweet sister, Nabamita with little variation.

Ingredients:
3 cups of thick chire/poha/flattened rice,
1 cup small diced vegetables,
1 small size onion chopped,
4-5 chopped green chillies,
1/5 tsp mustard seeds,
1 bay leaf,
1 or 2 whole dry red chilly,
4-5 curry leaves,
1 cinnamon,
2-3 cardamon,
2 cloves,
a handful of peanuts or cashew nuts,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp of roasted cumin powder,
a pinch of sugar,
salt as per taste,
oil.

Method::

1.Wash chire/poha and drain water properly. Then spread on tissue paper/paper napkin to absorb the remaining water as shown in above picture.
2.Heat oil in a kadai/frying pan,add sugar wait for 1 min. Then add mustard seeds,bay leaf, dry red chilly, cinnamon,cloves,cardamon and fry for a min.
3.Now curry leaves and peanuts/cashew nuts and stir for half a min.
4.Add chopped onions and green chillies and fry nicely until onion turns light brown.
5.Now add small diced vegetables,like potatoes,cauliflower,carrot,beans and peas and add turmeric powder and salt. Stir fry nicely on high flame for 3-4 mins and sprinkle very little water and cover the pan for 2-3 mins.
6.Open the lid and add washed chire / poha and mix slowly and thoroughly to avoid lumps.
7.sprinkle roasted cumin powder and if you want you can add gorom masala too,but optional both. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or just like that.
You can adjust spice level according to your taste.As I love spicy ,i sprinkle little bit red chilly powder too.

Rava/Semolina Upma:::


Upma,a very common breakfast item in Telugu family and even other Southern states too. It is generally made with refined wheat grains ,called Cream of Wheat generally called Suji in North India and Rava in South India and Variety of Upma can be made but here i have shared the simplest one and which i learned from my father-in-law when i got married.

Ingredients :
2 cup suji/rava,
1 small size onion chopped,
3-4 green chillies chopped,
5-6 broken/whole cashew nuts/peanuts,
1/4 mustard seeds, chana dal,urad dal each,
3-4 curry leaves,
1 pinch of hing/asafoetida powder,
1 dry whole red chilly,
salt as per taste,
oil/ghee.

Method:::
1.First take a pan and heat 2 tsp oil/ghee and fry suji nicely stirring continuously until nice aroma comes and suji becomes light brown.Keep aside.
2.Now same pan,heat oil and add mustard seeds,chana Dal,urad Dal,hing powder,curry leaves, whole red chilly and cashew nuts/peanuts.and fry for 2 mins.
3.Now add chopped onions and chopped green chillies and fry until onion changes its color to light brown.
4.Now add 4 cups of water and add salt..it should little bit more than normal.mix nice and let it boil.
5.Once water starts boiling,start adding fried suji stirring continuously otherwise lumps will come very fast.mix thoroughly until mixing suji properly with water.cover with a lid for 15mins and let it cook in low flame.
6.Once done,serve hot with yogurt or coconut chutney.

Idli::::





Idli , steamed rice cake, is most popular South Indian breakfast and every week I prepare Idly as breakfast, snacks or sometimes in dinner at home as my kid loves to eat Nowadays this south Indian dish is very popular all over the world and it goes well with Sambar and Chutney as well with Molagai Podi specially in Tamil Nadu. My mother-in-law prepares very soft idli just like jasmine flower and I follow her recipe only.

Ingredients :
1 cup split Black Gram Dal / urad Dal,
2 cup para boiled rice / Idli rice,
1 cup normal rice / sona musuri rice
1/4 fenugreek seeds,
a fistful of cooked rice,
salt to taste,
little oil for greasing the idli stand.
Method::
1. Wash all the ingredients thoroughly and then soak the ingredients separately overnight or 8-9hrs with some fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds enhances the taste and helps fermenting too.
2. Now add urad Dal first to the wet grinder or mixer and run the mixer for 10 min and then add idli rice, normal rice and then cooked rice one by one and  make a smooth paste of all the ingredients adding little water. Use only the water what you use to soak urad Dal and idly rice. That will help better fermentation of your idly batter. It will take minimum 30 minutes to prepare a smooth paste.
3. Mix thoroughly everything for 5-6 min unless lumps disappeared if you are using normal mixer. Wet grinder itself does this process.
4. You can mix a handful of cooked rice while grinding rices and that will give easy fermentation. But if you want a pinch of baking power is good enough.
5. Now cover the vessel, for overnight fermentation(or 6-7hrs) in a warm place.Here I preheat the over to 100'F for 5 min and then switch off and then keep it for fermentation for overnight.
6. After 6-7hrs,the batter will be doubled in volume. The consistency of the batter should be medium,neither watery nor too tight.
7. Now you can add salt as per your taste .
8. Now in a very deep saucepan/vessel add 1 1/2 cups of water and keep for boiling.
9. Take the idli stand(as shown in picture),take out the plates from the stand and grease the round portion with little oil and pour 2-3 spoonful of batter.
10.fill all the plates in the same way and fix the stand and keep the stand inside the vessel and close with a tight lid and allow to cook on steam .
11.After 20 min,open the lid and touch the batter if it is soft and not sticky like wet batter,it is done.
12.Take out the idly stand and keep idli plates separately to allow it cool.Now take a spoon and take out the idlis. Serve with hot sambar, coconut chutney and podis. 
I generally use big pressure cooker for steaming idlis without the pressure.You can get the idli stand in any Indian grocery store in USA. Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of Idli and dosa and my mother-in-law was born and brought there and if you use the tips I have given , idli will come out very soft and tasty.


Uttappam ::::



Uttappam or flat rice cake ,popularly called Indian pancake, is favorite and easy breakfast of my in laws house. When the dosa batter becomes 3 to 4 days old and tastes sour in taste, uttapam is prepared with the same batter. You can make with fresh batter too but the actual taste of uttapam doesn't come at all.I love to make this dish with vegetables and nuts and you don't need to serve with any side dishes. But some people like to have with sambar and chutneys.

Ingredients :::
1 cup of urad dal / spilt black gram dal,
3 cup of para boiled rice,
3-4 green chillies,
1 small size onion chopped,
1 small size carrot chopped finely,
1/2 inch ginger chopped finely,
1/4 cup coriander leaves & curry leaves chopped,Optional,
a handful of peanuts,
salt as per taste,
oil to fry.

Method :::
1. Wash nicely and soak dal and rice for 6-7 hours and grind to a smooth batter and keep for fermentation for 7-8 hours.
2. Take a pan,heat a little oil and fry ginger and peanuts for a half a minute.
3. Add onions,green chillies,carrot,coriander leaves and curry leaves and fry for a while.
4. You can add vegetables of your choice too.
5. Mix all to the batter and adjust the salt.
6. Heat tawa / griddle, spread a large spoonful of batter not too thin just like a pancake.
7. Drizzle a little oil over and around the uttappam and cover it for a minute to cook.
8. When the sides starts becoming brownish , turn and cook for half a minute.
9. When done ,serve hot.

You can fry all the ingredients and add after spreading the uttappam on tawa and I have seen my friends to add raw chopped vegetables to the batter. And try to make the uttappam on the non-stick tawa that reduces the use of oil.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rice Preparation....


Rice is our most important food in India and other countries too,with regards of caloric intake and our nutrition and it gives us carbohydrates of our daily diet.In my place,Rice is the main food for lunch and dinner and varieties of dishes are made of it.Here's some recipes i have shared with you and some more to come.


Andhra Chicken / Kodi Pulao ::::

Andhra cuisine has many best preparations but I love this one the most. For so many months I wanted to try this recipe from vah re vah but dint have quiet time for this as this needs lots of patience and time for preparation but when you serve this dish, it takes all attention and you are satisfied with your effort. This chicken pulao is one exquisite pot-meal and basically needs nothing as side dishes.

Ingredients:::
2.5 lbs / 1.2 kg medium size chicken pieces,
4 small cups rice, washed
1/3 tsp shahi jeera,
5 nos. slitted green chillies,
1" cinnamon,
2 nos. cloves,
2 nos. cardamon,
7-8 nos. curry leaves,
one big onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tbsp coriander powder,
3-4 tbsp oil, preferably ghee or clarified butter,
salt to taste. 

for marination...
1 tbsp turmeric powder,
1 tbsp red chilli powder,
salt to taste,
5-10 nos. curry leaves,
handful of chopped coriander and mint leaves,
5-8 tbsp yogurt / curd.

for ground masala...
4 tbsp poppy seeds / khaskhas,
5-7 nos. cloves,
7-8 nos. cardamons,
3-5 nos. small cinnamon,
1/2 cup fresh or frozen coconut pieces.

for garnishing...
1/2 cup fried cashew nuts,
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves. 

Method:::
1. Soak rice in a large bowl for 30 minutes. 
2. Marinate chicken pieces with all the ingredients mentioned for marination
3. Dry roast all the ingredients for ground masala on low-medium flame until raw smell of poppy seeds goes off. Once done, let it cool completely and then make a smooth paste adding 1/2 cup water. Keep aside.
3. Now heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan, add shah jeera, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon and curry leaves. Saute a little and then add sliced onions adding salt. Fry for one or two minutes or when onions starts changing colors add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Cover the pan and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
4. Once done, add coriander powder and then ground masala and saute a little.
5. Add marinated chicken pieces and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame. Then cover the pan again and let it cook for 10-12 minutes unless chicken pieces are half-done. 
6. Now , add soaked rice to the pan and press lightly and then add 1 1/2 cups of water and let it cook covered for 10 minutes. 
7. Now, open the lid and lightly mix rice and chicken and then add half cup of water and sprinkle fried cashew nuts and chopped coriander leaves on the top and cover the pan for another 15 minutes on very low flame. Once done, serve hot with any raita and salad.
As your taste bud permits , you can add or remove green chillies. You can remove mint leaves too.

Zafrani Pulao /Saffron rice :::

First time, I heard about this recipe at the famous movie CHINI KUM and then in orkut community. Last week, I saw the same recipe where Sanjeev Kapoor showed the thing in microwave cooking. But I always avoid microwave cooking and tried the same recipe on stove-top.  You can prepare as Hyderabadi style and it will come real good.
Ingredients :::
2 cups of basmati rice,
1/3 tsp of saffron strands,
2 cup of warm milk,
1 tsp nutmeg powder,
1 tsp cardamon / elachi powder,
half cup of sliced almonds,cashew nuts and raisins,
one bay leaf,
3 tbsp of butter or ghee / clarified butter,
salt and sugar to taste.

Method:::
1. Wash basmati rice and soak for minimum 15-20mins. Soak saffron in warm milk mixing nicely.
2. Take a pan or deep bottomed pan, melt half of ghee or butter stirring on medium flame. Fry sliced almonds, cashew nuts and raisins carefully until cashew nuts become light brownish. Try not to over fry them.
3. Take out all the dry fruits and spread on paper napkin to absorb extra oil.
4. In the same pan, heat oil or ghee and add bay leaf and add drained rice to the pan and fry on low-medium flame for 4-5 mins.
5. Sprinkle cardamon and nutmeg powder and mix well with rice . Add salt and sugar and mix carefully. 6.Now add saffron milk to rice and then half cup of warm water and adjust salt and sugar and then cover the pan and let it cook for 12 mins on medium flame.
7.Once done, switch off the gas and add all the fried dry fruits to rice carefully using a fork.
8. Close the lid and let it stand for another 7-8 mins. Rice will be fully cooked in that way. Open it before serving and serve saffron rice with any spicy dish.
Saffron rice is sweet preparation so amount of sugar will be more than salt but I used little less sugar. To make it Hyderabadi version, you can fry whole garam masala and chopped onion,ginger-garlic paste before step 3. Then add chopped coriander and mint leaves for garnishing.

Coconut rice :::

When I get extra time specially in weekends to cook something special I love to prepare some dishes like coconut rice. Kobbari Annam or coconut rice is another authentic dish from south India and very simple but so delicious dish that fills the whole house with nice aroma of coconut and its creamy and little spicy taste makes your taste-bud tickle. I always like to prepare this dish from scratches though it takes little time and patience but once you finish coconut rice you will feel worth of it. Here I follow the recipe from a very good Telugu website Amma Cheppindi with little modifications as usual.

Ingredients:::
4 cups basmati rice, washed and dried
one big cup fresh or frozen scraped coconut,
1 medium size onion, finely sliced
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
4-5 nos. green chillies, slitted lengthwise
1 big bay leaf,
1" cinnamon,
2-3 nos. cloves,
2 nos. cardamon,
a handful of cashew-nuts,
one small cup of fresh coriander and mint leaves,
a pinch of turmeric powder,
salt to taste,
oil / ghee to fry.
Method::: 
1. Soak scraped coconut in a big bowl with hot water and keep it for 30 minutes. Then make a nice smooth paste of soaked coconut in a blender or mixie adding the water you used for soaking. Take out coconut water from the paste adding enough warm water with a strainer. Your coconut milk is ready.
2. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan or saucepan on medium flame and add bay leaf,cinnamon, cardamon, cloves in pan and saute for sometime on slow flame. Now add cashew-nuts and fry until cashew nuts become light brownish in color. 
3. Add chopped onions in pan and fry for a minute sprinkling salt on it and then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute and add chopped coriander and mint leaves to the pan.
4. Now add basmati rice and sprinkle turmeric powder on it and mix everything nicely and carefully for 2-3mins on medium flame. Adjust salt here.
5. Now add 6 and half cups coconut milk to the rice mixture and let it cook for 12-14 minutes on low-medium flame closing with the pan with lid. 
6. When done, take a fork and fluff it nicely or hold the pan with a kitchen towel and shake it nicely and let it stand for another 10mins on very low flame. Serve it with any gravy or you can have it just like that with any raita too. But I generally prepare CHICKEN or ALOO KORMA.
Now I use exact measurement for water while preparing coconut paste so that I can use it for cooking the rice. But you can add water later with coconut milk if you are using store-brought coconut milk as it would be thicker. I generally keep the coconut paste after taking out milk of it and store it in refrigerator for ALOO KORMA OR ANY GRAVY. You can prepare this dish in pressure cooker or electric rice cooker too. In that case don't forget to follow STEP 6.

Capsicum masala rice :::
I mostly prepare this dish for lunch box and sometimes when I don't feel to cook anything else. This south Indian dish is very flavorful and quick preparation and very aromatic too. In south, they use roasted ground masala, also called Gunpowder for this recipe. The crispy crunchy capsicum and flavorful roasted whole garam masala with peanuts and other lentils make this rice preparation so tempting that you don't need anything with that preparation. I first time saw this recipe in Vahrevah website and modified a little. I am sure this is worth to try at least once.

Ingredients:::
3 nos. capsicum / bell pepper,
4 cups cooked rice,
1 whole red chilli,
a few fresh curry leaves,
salt to taste,
small cube of butter to fry,
fresh coriander leaves for garnishing.
For ground masala / gun powder ::
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp coriander seeds and cumin seeds each,
5-6 nos. whole red chilli,
1" cinnamon stick,
5 nos. cloves,
1/4 tsp urad daal / black gram,
1/4/ tsp chana daal / split chick peas,
one fistful of peanuts,
half cup of freshly grated or frozen coconut,
10 nos. of fresh curry leaves,

Method :::
1. Dry roast all the ingredients from ground masala section except coconut and curry leaves. Keep roasting all the ingredients on medium flame until all the lentil starts changing color and nice aroma starts coming out. Now on slow flame, add grated coconut and curry leaves and stir continuously to avoid burning grated coconut for 3-4 minutes. Take off the pan from heat and let it cool for sometime.
2. Now in the mean time, wash and cut capsicum / bell peppers into 1" cubes.
3. Make coarse powder with all the roasted ingredients.
4. Now add butter in a deep pan or kadai, add whole red chilli and curry leaves and saute for a minute. Then add cubed capsicum / bell pepper pieces and sprinkle salt over the pieces and fry on medium flame for 5 minutes or until half done. It should be crunchy and just done. Try not to fry too soft.
5. Now add ground masala to the pan and let it cook for one minute while mixing with capsicum pieces.
6. Now add cooked rice and mix everything together slowly on low flame. Add chopped coriander leaves and mix slightly with rice. Adjust salt. Once done, serve hot.
I use red,yellow,orange and green  bell peppers / capsicum to make this dish colorful. But you can use only green ones too. You can add cashew-nuts or peanuts while frying capsicums / bell pepper and you can use garam masala powder instead of using whole cinnamon and cloves to the ground masala mixture. But then the roasted taste will vary too. Add little oil and salt while cooking rice and that will help to keep every grain of rice separate to each other. Avoid not to over-cook rice.

Khichuri with vegetables ::::


Khichuri, combination of Dal and rice,the first I learned in my life because I just love it anytime. In my courtship day,when my would be asked me what I know to cook I said very happily khichuri. This dish what I m sharing with you is complete dish and kids just love it and moms love it because lots of vegetables,lentils and rice everything is in one dish and easy to cook too.

Ingredients:::
1 cup raw rice(I used sona musuri rice),
1 cup split green gram / moong dal,
2 cups of vegetables of your choice,
1 dry red chili whole,
4-5 green chillies cut lengthwise,
1/3 tsp cumin seeds /Panch Phoron,(available in Indian store),
1 tsp ginger paste,
1 bay leaf,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp cumin powder,
oil to fry,
1/2 tsp ghee,
salt as per your taste,

Method :::
1. Cut all the vegetable of medium sizes.Keep aside.
2. Take a saucepan or deep bottomed pan, heat oil and add panch phoron,bay leaf,dry whole red chili and saute a little.
3. Add ginger paste and green chillies and fry for half a minute.
4. In a bowl,mix cumin powder and turmeric powder with water.Add this mixture to the pan.Let it fry until oil separates .If needed add half a cup water.
5.Once oil separates from spices, add all the vegetables.Add first carrot and potatoes as both take more time to cook.
6.Fry nicely until raw smell of vegetable are gone.In between wash rice and Dal nicely and keep aside.
7.Now add rice and Dal to the pan and mix thoroughly with vegetables and then keep on stirring for 2-3 mins.
8. Now add 5 cups of water and let it cook covered on medium flame.
9. Once done ,drizzle half a tsp of ghee on the top and covered it again. Serve hot.

You can sprinkle dry coconut powder or fresh scrapped coconut and roasted cumin powder on the top of it.I used potatoes , carrots , cauliflower, cabbage,sweet pumpkin,green bell pepper, beans,peas and frozen corns and you can use more vegetables of your choice.

Curd Rice :::
Perugu Annam or Curd rice is another rice preparation common as Prasadam in Temples and in every body's lunch or dinner in Southern parts of India.After finishing meals, everybody just loves to have curd rice at my in-laws house.Even kids eat easily.I tell this preparation as comfort food for everyone. You can have curd and rice mixed with little bit of salt. But this preparation I have learned from my hubby and once you will have this,you wont like any other curd rice preparation.

Ingredients:::
2 cup of rice,
1 cup of curd or yogurt,
5 tsp of warm milk,
2 tsp of fresh or sour cream or whipped cream,
a pinch of mustard seeds, chana dal / split chickpeas, urad daal / split black gram daal,
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped or paste,
4-5 green chillies slit lengthwise,
1/4 tsp asafoetida or hing,
a handful of cashew nuts,
1 tsp of ghee ,
1 small cube of clarified butter,
salt as your taste.

Method:::
1. Add 6 cups of water in washed rice and cook.Rice should be little overcooked or paste like.
2. Mix curd and cream very nicely in a bowl. Add salt to it according to your taste.
3. Mix this curd mixture into the rice thoroughly.Here adjust the salt and add warm milk to the rice.
4. Heat ghee in a small pan,add mustard seeds and when it splutter,add asafoetida,whole red chilli,curry leaves, urad dal andchana dal. Saute for half a minute.
5. Add ginger paste and green chillies and then cashew nuts. Fry until cashew nuts turns into light brownish color. Switch off the flame and let the tempering cool a little.
6. Now pour this tempering on the top of curd mixed rice and mix gently serve chilled.You can add melted butter on the top of curd rice while serving.

This preparation is little rich but very delicious in taste.You can make it simple without adding cream and using oil instead of ghee but then you will be missing the nice aroma of curd rice.Curd rice goes the best with spicy pickle .You can add one cup of milk to the curd mixture and keep it aside so that milk becomes curd inside the curd rice mixture only and that will give extra taste.and while serving ,add the tempering and serve chilled.
I sometime use left over plain rice too. Then I pressure cook the rice with one cup of water for one whistle and then use for curd rice.


Vegetable Pulao ::::
A simple n delicious yet indispensable rice dish commonly made in most of the parties and goes amazingly well with any rich or simple gravy sides and most of all when nothing is at home, you can have it with simply with raita or even just plain curd. First time,my friend Sarita brought vegetable pulao with some chicken curry when she was in Stlouis. Since then I m preparing this dish. She used MTR pulao masala which is available in any Indian store.

Ingredients :::
3 cups of Basmati rice or any other flavoured rice,
1 cup of any assorted vegetables chopped,
a handful of cashew nuts,
5-6 raisins,
1 bay leaf,
3-4 no whole black peppercorns,
3 nos cinnamon,
4 nos. cloves,
4 nos. cardamon,
1 star anise,
a pinch of nutmeg powder,
a pinch of broken maces,
salt as your taste,
4 tsp ghee to fry.

Method:::
1. Wash and drain water from rice and spread on paper napkin to absorb excessive water and keep it like that for 10 mins.
2. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker,add all the spices and fry nicely for one minute. Add raisins and cashew nuts and saute until cashew nuts changes to brown color.
3. Add all the vegetables and mix with the ingredients and fry until raw smell of vegetables disappear.
4. Add rice and gently mix with all the ingredients to avoid breaking the rice grains.
5. Stir constantly for 3-4 mins and then add 4 1/2 cup of warm water and salt.
6. Close the pressure cooker and cook on medium flame and wait for one whistle. Take off from flame and open the pressure cooker when pressure is off completely.Take out gently from the cooker and then serve hot.

You can prepare this dish in rice cooker and sauce pan also. Then add exactly 6 cups of water if you are taking 3 cups of rice. But I feel comfortable cooking in pressure cooker as it takes very less time.You can add little pulao masala for extra aroma and taste too.Don't compromise with ghee that gives you the aroma what you wont get if you use any other oil.

Yellow & Sweet Pulao::::



Holud Misti Pulao is very common rice preparation in Bengal and other Eastern parts of India and Bangladesh and specially prepared for festivals and special occasions . This sweet pulao goes well with spicy veg or non-veg gravy or dry dishes. Here is the recipe my mom prepares in almost every occasion.
Ingredients::
3 cups Basmati Rice/Kalajeera Rice,
2 nos. bay leaves,
3 nos. cardamons, crashed a little,
5-6 cloves,
3-4 cinnamon,
a pinch of nutmeg powder,
a pinch of mace,
1/4 tsp ginger paste,
1/4 tsp sugar,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
salt as per taste,
1 1/2 tsp raisins,
a handful of cashew nuts,
1/2 cup ghee/butter.

Method::
1.Wash rice and drain excess water and spread on paper napkin to dry nicely.
2.Now in a big bowl , take dried rice,half of ghee or butter,ginger paste,turmeric powder,salt and sugar and mix properly altogether but try to be careful not to break rice grains.
3.Cover the bowl and keep aside for half an hour.
4.Now heat oil in deep heavy bottom saucepan,add bay leaves,cinnamon,cardamon,cloves,mace and fry a little .
5.Add cashew nuts and raisins and nutmeg powder and fry until cashew nuts turns light brown.
6.Now add marinated rice and fry nicely for 8-9 mins or until you get a nice aroma of fried rice.Stir rice very carefully to avoid breaking the grains and how much you fry nicely you will get better color and aroma.
7.Add 6 cups of hot water and mix slowly and check salt and sugar,if needed more.
8.Cover the lid and let it cook for 15 minutes or until rice done. Don't try to stir when rice is getting cooked.
9.Once done, hold the saucepan with lid and shake nicely and then spread on a serving dish carefully.
10.After you serve this dish, little wetness, if left, will be absorbed by rice itself.
Try to use good quality rice and both Kalajeera Rice & Basmati Rice will be available in Indian grocery store.

Tomato Rice::::


This dish,again a South-Indian speciality,is commonly prepared in my in-law's house when vegetarian guests are coming home or sometimes with spicy non-veg gravy.This dish,very rice in color and taste,would be favourite for who likes tomatoes a lot and a complete food too as you need simply yogurt with this dish.

Ingredients:::
2 cups of Basmati rice/other good quality rice,
2 medium size tomatoes finely chopped,
1 medium size onion finely chopped,
1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste each,
5 green chillies cut lengthwise,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds,
1/4 tsp fennel seeds,
1 bay leaf,
4 cloves,
2-3 cinnamon,
5-6 curry leaves,
5 black peppercorns,
1 whole dry red chilly,
1/4 tsp coriander powder,
1/4 red chilly powder,
a little turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp gorom masala powder,
2 tsp yogurt/curd,
salt as per taste,
5-6 tsp ghee/oil.

Method :::
1.Heat ghee/oil,add bay leaf,dry red chilly,cumin seeds and fennel seeds.
2.When cumin seeds splutter, add cinnamon,cloves,peppercorns and then curry leaves.
3.Now add ginger-garlic paste and slightly fry for half a minute.
4.Add chopped onions and little bit of salt and fry until onions becomes translucent.
5.Now add green chillies and tomatoes.
6.After stirring a little ,add turmerice powder,coriander powder, red chilly powder and gorom masala powder.
7.Now add half a cup water and mix everything and let it cook until oil separates.You can cover with a lid if you need.
8.Meanwhile,wash and clean basmati rice and keep it ready.
9.Once done,add rice to the mixture and mix nicely .
10.Add 3 1/2 cup of hot water and adjust salt.
11.Cover the lid and let it cook until done.Serve hot.

If you need more spicy you can add either gorom masala powder or red chilly powder more when adding water to pan.You can use Rice cooker or Pressure cooker for the steps 9-11.That will take less time to cook.

Ven / Venn Pongal :::::

Ven P0ngal is popular and simple dish usually prepared in Southern parts of India as breakfast.This dish is common in Tamil Nadu and as my mother-in-law was born and brought up there so pongal is frequently prepared on days when everybody doesn't eat non-veg.I usually prepared on Thursdays and the day when I really don't feel to go to kitchen.This is very easy and fast-digesting and good for kids and patients too. On festival days also,pongal is prepared as Prasadam.

Ingredients:::
1 cup normal rice,
1/2 cup moong dal,
1/2 inch ginger grated,
1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder,
a handful of cashew nuts,
1/4 tsp of black peppercorns,
1/4 tsp of cumin seeds,
5-6 curry leaves,
oil & ghee to fry,
salt as per your taste.

Method:::
1. Wash & clean daal and rice.
2. Take a pressure cooker,heat one tsp of ghee and fry Dal and rice together until nice aroma comes out.
3. Add asafoetida and salt and 3 1/2 cups of water.Adjust the salt.
4. Close the pressure cooker with weight and let it cook for 12mins or one whistle comes.
5. In between, heat 2-3 tsp of oil / ghee in a small pan and add ginger, cumin seeds, peppercorns,curry leaves and cashew nuts. Fry nicely until cashew nuts turns to brownish in color.
6. Now open the pressure cooker and mix all the ingredients from step 5.
7. If consistency is too thick,add one cup of warm water and let it cook on slow flame.
8. Once cooked ,Serve hot with coconut chutney or any spicy pickle.

You can prepare this dish on a normal saucepan too. Then you have to add little more water to cook. Some people do step 6 at last just before serving they spread the seasonings on the top of pongal and sometime they fry everything in oil and add daal & rice and let it cook too.