Saturday, June 12, 2010

Steamed Cabbage dumplings (Cabbagyaache undi)

Yesterday I was searching through my kitchen pantry and found that I was overstocked with items which were occupying valuable pantry space. Some of them include barley, different types of lentils, pudding mixes, etc etc. I felt guilty that inspite of having so many things, when it comes to preparing something to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I have to go into deep thinking mode. I don't spare my fridge too, though the condition inside the fridge or for that matter even the condition of the freezer is far better than the pantry. Now that's because V and me have this rule that whenever the fridge/freezer starts getting crowded, we would not do grocery shopping until the fridge/freezer gets almost empty. Now I know that might seem quiet impractical for people with kid(s), but me and V are content with this rule as its working for us till now.

Oh, in the midst of all this pantry talk, I almost forgot to mention that I had my special birthday last month and V had his birthday last weekend. Both of us gave each other a surprise birthday party for our birthdays. Out of the two surprise parties, I should say, V was the one who was surprised from the start to end. He had no idea I would be inviting our friends for a surprise breakfast party. Since we moved  to our own house last year, it was quiet a challenge for me to give V a surprise party by gathering our friends with whom we were staying in the same apartment complex before we shifted. Few instances favored me such as :
 
1. French Open tennis (if not for that sports event, V would have gone cycling or swimming during the time I planned the party...phew)
2. The birthday fell on a Saturday

Here are few pics from the party:

Our friends who were kind enough to suggest and offer to make this party a potluck party, made delicious Pongal and Idlis, while I made Sambar and Coconut chutney and of course baked a Carrot cake. I intentionally uploaded the picture of the covered cake on the pedestal as the icing project on the cake went bad :-( ...One of the letters in V's name , started becoming broad and long soon after I finished icing. I then decided next time, I would just stick a color  paper cutting with the name rather than write it in frosting ;-) Well its the love which went into making it that matters right? :) hence I wasn't too worried about it as the cake turned out so tasty , even the 11-month old baby of our friend loved it so much that if he was old enough to talk, I think he might have asked for second helping. Thanks to the Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Decadent Carrot Cake Mix which came with dehydrated carrots and raisins in a separate packet along with the cake mix.Though its a Cake mix, I spent considerable amount of time assembling, mixing, baking, layering, frosting, and icing. By the way the cake pedestal was a wonderful gift from cousin Ranji  when we shifted to our new home last year . This was the first time I was using it.



Now coming to the Steamed Cabbage dumpling, this is typically a Konkani snack. Though I had not had these, much in my childhood, this time during our India visit, my mother made this with drumstick leaves and , it tasted heavenly :) . The closest I could get here with respect to drumstick leaves would be Fenugreek (methi) leaves. Or maybe I can do it with spinach (as per, today's morning chat with my mother, she tells I can try it with any leafy veggies). Yesterday I didn't think about using spinach as I was concentrated on the almost full head of the partially cut cabbage, whose outer leaves were seen wilting in my fridge . I decided then and there, today's dinner special : Cabbagyaache undi :) . My ever supportive partner V nodded his head in agreement. Now I needed the recipe, and I was browsing Divya's Easycooking blog yesterday and found this recipe for the Undi which suited to my needs as I had to empty the Idli Rava in the pantry and also use up most of the cabbage. I followed her recipe to the 'T' and it came out perfect. The only change I would make is to use less red chillies next time as it was a bit too much for V, though I enjoyed the spicy taste. Here is the recipe for your reference:



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Idli rava
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut
  • 7-8 (can be more or less) dry red chillies
  • Hing (to taste, usually 1 teaspoon)
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Cabbage chopped finely: 1/2 a cabbage of medium size
  • Water to make a very thick batter

Method
  1.  Soak Idli rava with water just covering the top level of rava in the container for 15 minutes
  2. Grind Coconut, Red Chillies, Turmeric to a very fine paste with very little water.
  3. Add hing, and the soaked Idli rava (which would have by now absorbed most of the water) and grind it with the coconut paste with very little water to form a very thick batter.
  4. Add salt, and chopped cabbage and mix well. 
  5. Grease the idli plates or vessel that is used inside a steamer. Make small round balls (size of table tennis ball), and keep them on the greased plates. Steam them in a steamer until the steam is free flowing at high fire and then lower the fire to minimum and steam for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the dumplings come out clean.
  6. Smear some coconut oil/gingelly oil on the dumplings. Serve it with coconut chutney or as is as a snack, dinner, or for breakfast.
 This goes for Nupur's event 'BB4: What's lurking in the kitchen'

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eggplant/Brinjal raita

These days the weather in MA is turning from warm to hot to hot and humid...well whatever be the degree of heat, I am not a big fan of summer....yes have to say that because each time I hear people around me, especially people whose origin is same as mine praising this climate/season, when they used to dislike the same hot climate back in their native country ! ...I am consistent with my opinion in that matter, I don't like the hot weather anywhere.....

On the other hand I love rains....mmm the sweet smell of grass, and earth ...that's indeed intoxicating.

Amidst this hot unbearable weather, I was searching for innovative ways to cool our stomachs. Rather than heating up the house by doing heavy stir fries, steaming, ...I decided to 'go yogurt (curd)'  literally....meaning I am now adding yogurt to whatever dish I make....starting with stir fries.

Just months before my marriage to V, when I was still a novice when it came to cooking, like any other bride-to-be, I decided to buy myself a cookbook with basic recipes to help me not to starve both of us after marriage :D
I bought two books written by the author Mallika Badrinath. One which contains Vegetarian Lunch recipes and the other, 'Tiffin' (breakfast) recipes. Months passed, years passed, and now when our fifth marriage anniversary is nearing, I chanced upon these books which I had fondly treasured along with my mom's handwritten recipe diaries :) ....I showed the two books to V and he was impressed and was gleaming when I told him I bought these books to cook for him. He then told me to cook something from the book for him. That was a moment I liked a lot :) I got all excited and made this Eggplant Raita for him. He loves yogurt with everything and I wanted something to ward away the heat, hence this recipe was perfect. Here is how I made it from the book with tiny bit of modifications from my end:

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant /Brinjal : 1 medium sized
  • To coarsely crush together: 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut and 1 thinly sliced green chilly
  • Tampering : 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon each of mustard seeds, urad Dal, cumin seeds and 3 broken dry red chilly, a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • Well beaten yogurt (curd) : 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
Method:

  • Roast the whole eggplant in the oven, or over a flame (stick a fork in the eggplant and show over the flame) until the skin gets black. The inside of the eggplant turns mushy and mash-able when this happens.
  • After removing the skin, mash the eggplant (I used a hand blender for this purpose). 
  • Heat oil in a skillet, add tampering, and when the tampering splutter, lower the heat to medium, add the mashed eggplant and saute for 2 minutes. Add salt to taste
  • Add the coarsely crushed coconut and green chilly to the eggplant and stir well. 
  • Switch off the flame. Add the well beaten yogurt (curd) to the eggplant mixture and stir until the dish turns a bit watery due to the heat of the pan. 
  • Serve hot or chilled 
Variation: Vegetables that can be used: Cluster beans (kothamara, govar beans), Okra (ladies finger or bhindi), carrot (grated or thinly sliced), tomato.
Note: While making raita with the above veggies, cook them with no water (except in the case of Okra, where you may make them crisp by stir frying them) with the tampering (same tampering as in the above recipe), and when they are cooked well and follow the same procedure of adding yogurt towards the end.

Source: 200 South Indian Vegetarian Classic Lunch recipes by Mallika Badrinath

Hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you :)

Roopa

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