Sunday, August 22, 2010

Instant Spinach Idli and Oven Roasted Pathra (Pathrodo)

Happy Onam to all my readers ! :) I was kinda busy past few days, I know, I know, it being Onam, this is not the kind of post I should be blogging about, but something is better than nothing at all right?. Moreover, today we Konkanis celebrate 'Sutthaamppunnavu', (You may refer here for the history/explanation of the same) where the men of the family who wear the sacred thread, change it for a new one and its an auspicious day for us. Its so amazing that this day falls on the Onam day, that's what I like about India, goes to show that, everybody irrespective of their origin in India, have some occasion like this which falls close together in the calender :) The women prepare 'Hittu' (which is almost same as Idli with regard to the batter, but differs the way in which they are steamed. The 'Hittu' is steamed in Jackfruit leaves folded in a special way and bind together using toothpicks/or traditionally the thin stick like thing you obtain from the fresh leaves of a coconut tree, so that the batter which is poured in it doesn't leak out. You may refer my cousin Ranji's blog for step by step pics of the same,  . I wanted to make something similar, but not exactly Hittu, as I am in the diet mode to include more spinach/greens and and was also craving for Pathrodo which is yet another Konkani delicasy. Seeing a lot of versions of Palak pathrodo in the blogging world, I was indeed tempted to try, but didnt have whole palak with me. I decided to go with what I had in my fridge, and that is frozen chopped spinach which was hiding in the freezer for a long time. I decided to use a combination of spinach and pathrodo batter (recipe follows) to make Spinach Idlis and , boy oh boy, it indeed became a super hit with not just my hubby, but a lot of guests too. Actually I made this Spinach Idli extra tasty by adding some other flavor enhancers too :) Read the recipe to know the rest of the details :)


Note:(though the name of the recipe is Instant, there is a bit of soaking involved (maybe for 2-3 hours)
  • Any type of Spinach (chopped finely /frozen cut spinach also does the job) : 2 cups
  • Flavor enhancers : 1 cup whole mint leaves, 3-4 shallots  (See , its as simple as that :) 
  • Spices : 1 tsp Turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing), 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • White Rice/Brown Rice (or a mix of both) : 1.5 cups
  • 6-8 dry Red Chillies
  • Left over cooked Rice : 1 cup
  • Grated Coconut : 1 cup (available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 4 tablespoons Tamarind pulp or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid crystal or 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  •  Salt
  • Water to soak rice

  •  Soak the White/Brown rice along with Red Chillies in water until everything is properly soaked (2-3 hours)
  • Drain the water and grind this soaked rice with all the rest of the ingredients, except for Spinach and Mint, to a smooth batter by adding  little water so that the batter is not too runny, but just thick enough like Idli batter. 
  • Now add the Spinach and mint and mix well. Check for salt. 
  • If you want the Idlis to turn super soft, allow the batter to sit for atleast an hour (overnight is much better, but it would not become 'Instant' then right :)
  • Drop small amount of these in oiled Idli moulds and steam the batter in a Idli steamer until the steam flows freely through the vent. Now reduce the heat to lowest setting and let it steam for 15 minutes. 
  • Take the moulds out of the steamer and check if its cooked by inserting a toothpick /knife into one of the idlis, just like you do a test for checking cakes.
  • Let the moulds cool lightly, before removing the idlis from the moulds. 
  •  Enjoy these healthy snacks with a cup of tea/ or even as a morning breakfast !

For the Oven Roasted Pathrodo: Inspired by Ranji's version of Roasted Pathrodo, I made this oven Roasted Pathrodo.


  •  Collard Green leaves without the stem/Any long leaf Spinach large enough to form a loaf when stacked and rolled with the thicker stem like portion of the leaf cut off very carefully without tearing the leaf
  • Batter Ingredients : Same as the Batter mentioned above , except for the Spinach and Mint leaves (not that it would matter if the Spinach/Mint leaves are present, the more greens, the merrier your health :)I haven't tried it that way, as I just thought about it while I was drafting this.
  • A sharp knife 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, grill mode. 
  • Spread a plastic cover, cut on the sides to expand. This is to prevent the staining of your counter top with the turmeric that goes into the batter :) ....that's a tip from my amma :) Start with two of the largest  leaves,spread the leaves side by side with the sides generously overlapping each other,  on the plastic cover apply batter on the leaf with your hands (you may wear a plastic cover around your hand and hold it in place by tying a rubber band/use a glove). 
  • Spread another leaf of similar/slightly smaller than the first leaf on top of these two leaves, spread the batter and then place two  more leaves on top of this leaf, with their sides overlapping and repeat this until you feel that the stacked leaves would turn to a nice thick loaf if folded and rolled. 
  • Tuck the sides of the stacked leaves together inside and fold from bottom, just like you make a burrito :) and remember to apply, batter each time you tuck and roll as the entire loaf has to contain a generous application of the batter which gives it the taste.
  •  Cut the loaf from the circular end, so that each cut is not too thin or too thick. 
  • Spread them on a well greased baking pan (preferably non-stick) and roast them for 10 minutes. Turn them over and roast for another 5 minutes.

  • Enjoy as a tea time snack :)

Roopa :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tomato- Basil soup

I could never get enough of Tomato soup, or for that matter any soup. How about you? Soups are known for their healing goodness, and I for that matter never leave a chance when I get to have some soup :) ....I recently had Tomato Basil soup which V had bought from Shaw's when I was not in good health. We both relished it as it was freshly made. Since then I was planning to make it once my homegrown tomatoes ripened. It was just last week that they entered my soup pot. I decided to add Basil flower/stalks/leaves from my garden. It was indeed a proud moment for me to make something like this using produce from my garden :) I am sure all gardening enthusiasts would agree with me on that one.

Recently V decided to grill some chicken, as the weather was perfect. He did a great job at it , and I am proud to show off his grilling skills :) Here are some of the photos that were taken:

Coming to the recipe, its very simple and easy to make. I haven't strained any of the contents I added to the soup as I didn't want to lose any goodness that I added to it. If you have a kitchen gadget that can puree the contents of the soup, it makes it even more easy. I used a hand blender which I use a lot to puree cooked food in some dishes. Here goes the recipe:

Makes 2 full bowls (cereal bowls ) of soup :)

  1. Tomatoes  sliced in quarters : 3 medium tomatoes
  2.  Onion finely chopped : 1 medium
  3.  Garlic minced : 4 cloves
  4. Ginger minced : 1/2 teaspoon
  5.  Basil leaves chopped : 1/2 cup 
  6. Green Chilly minced : 1 long or 2 medium ones
  7.  Milk : 1/4 cup
  8.  Water: 1 cup
  9. Butter : 2 tablespoons
  10. Cornflour/Cornstarch mixed with tap water : 1 tablespoon Cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
  11. Salt and Pepper
  12.  Grated Cheese and Basil flower stalk  for garnish


  •  In a deep vessel on medium high heat, add butter. When butter melts, add the Green Chilly and stir fast
  •  Add the Garlic and Ginger , give it a good stir , and follow it with adding Onion. Reduce fire to medium and stir until the Onion turns pale and very lightly brown, don't allow it to caramelize :)
  •  Now add the Tomatoes and stir well for a minute. Add the Basil Leaves. Add some salt , give it another stir and turn heat to medium low, cover the vessel and let it cook for two minutes or until everything in it turns mushy. 
  • Allow the contents to cool. Puree the contents. Then transfer them back to the vessel on medium low fire, when bubbles start appearing, add 1 cup water and give it a stir, cover the vessel and let it come to a boil. 
  •  Reduce the fire to the lowest setting, and check for salt.Stir after checking for salt
  • Now add Milk and stir for a minute. Then switch off the fire. Add the Basil flower stalk and cover the pot/vessel. Leave like this for a minute so that flavors mix. 
  • Serve with some grated cheese on top along with crackers or a grilled sandwich :) yummmm :)
  • Done :)
Roopa :)

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