Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lemon Balm Tea along with Aloo Poha

We had an excess of potatoes after buying a bag of them without knowing there was stock in our pantry. I wanted to finish off the old stock of potatoes. One other reason was on our recent visit to the Indian store we bought Sago (Tapioca, Sabudana) and Beaten rice (Flattened rice, Poha). I was looking forward to make a Sabudana Khichdi or Aloo Poha, both requiring use of Potatoes. I made Aloo Poha first and then the Khichdi on two separate days. To go along with Aloo Poha I made Lemon Balm Tea with my homegrown Lemon Balm. I referred Padma's blog to get the basic idea of using Poha in recipes like Aloo Poha. I had only used Poha in dishes like Phovu Kalleylolo which I posted long time back. I had some idea that a basic potato curry goes into making Aloo Poha, but didnt know how to include the Poha. Padma has written in easy to understand words that the Poha must be soaked in water and immediately drained and kept aside until they look plump enough. That worked for me. So here goes the recipe:

Serves 4 :

Ingredients for Aloo Poha:

  •  Potato (cooked or raw) cut in small cubes: 1 big
  • Onion chopped: 1 big
  •  Poha (Flattened Rice, Beaten Rice) available in Indian grocery shops : 2 cups 

  • Seasoning: 2 tspns oil, 1 tspn mustard seeds,1 tspn cumin seed, 1 tspn red chilly powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric powder, 1 tspn dry mango powder (Amchur powder), 1 slit green chilly (optional), 1 tspn Urad dal , 1/2 -1 tspn Hing (Asafoetida), 1 tspn cumin powder, 1 tspn coriander powder

  • Salt to taste
  • Grated coconut (fresh/frozen): 1/2 cup (Indian grocery store)

How to make Aloo Poha:
  • Add the two cups of Poha in a big strainer or a colander with tiny holes so that it doesn't drain the Poha out when it is washed in water. Run water for 30 seconds on the Poha while mixing it with your hands so that the water wets the Poha evenly. Set aside the strainer or colander with the Poha so that all the water is drained off and the Poha gets time to become a little plump. 

  • Meanwhile heat a skillet on medium fire and add the oil. Add to it all the seasoning, stir well while after each addition. Add onion and saute until it turns translucent. 

  • Reduce fire to medium low and add the Potato cubes and stir well to coat the seasoning on all the pieces. Add salt and cover the skillet and wait until the Potatoes are cooked well. 

After the potatoes are cooked :

                                                    I like my potatoes slightly roasted :)

  • Once the Potatoes are cooked, add the Poha and Coconut and roasted Peanuts to the skillet and mix it well with the rest of the mixture in the skillet. Check for salt once the Poha warms up. 

  • Best served when its hot/warm. Can be eaten for breakfast/snack with tea/coffee. 

Now coming to the Lemon Balm Tea, I suddenly remembered that I never mentioned about my happiest gardening days of this year :) ....yes I have to say this time I am kind of very excited and satisfied with the gardening I did. Most of the seeds sprouted and even yielded their fruits/leaves/flowers :) ...what more could a novice gardener like me ask for ?
  In the beginning of February, I got ready with my plans for gardening this spring/summer. I planned much ahead as to what I would grow this year : 1 vegetable, 1 flower, 3 herbs. What I didn't  realize was like always during the excitement of seeing the seed packets at Home Depot/Lowes/Shaws/Sears I ended up planting an additional vegetable and  herb. The additional herb is the Lemon Balm. I should say now that I don't regret my splurge :) .....The Lemon Balm is growing happily :) . I never thought it had so many good properties which I found in this website.

 Let me give you a glimpse of  the seeds I planted this summer. Yes, I like to grow my plants from seeds, at least I try that first rather than going for the cutting straight away. This didn't work for me in the case of the Indian type mint plant , where I had to grow it from cuttings, which a generous friend offered to me. Thank you Sapna :) . Thanks to you, they are growing well.

The herbs : Mint , Basil, Lemon Balm,Lavender :

The vegetables : Tomato, Cherry tomato, Green Chilly, Taro Leaves:

The flower plant: Impatiens

Coming back to the Lemon Balm Tea, I got inspiration to make it after me and V recently bought mugs just for the two of us :) . The mug you see here is mine. I never drank tea/coffee from such a big cup before :-D ,  it feels nice, kind of cozy and comfy :) I am sipping tea from it as I write this post :) you get the pic ;-)

Okay, back to the topic, I decided to add some leaves from the Lemon Balm plant as my Lemongrass stalk got over. I found the tea refreshing. You may prepare it without milk and sugar, but I have not tried it that way. Hence this recipe includes with milk and sugar and ginger :) :

 Ingredients to make Lemon Balm Tea: Serves 1

  •  Lemon Balm leaves : 2-3 leaves
  •  Milk : 1/2 cup
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Indian black tea leaves (Orange pekoe grading) of any brand (available at Indian grocery stores) : 1 tspn
  • Sugar : 1 tspn
  • Crushed Ginger : 1 tspn
  • Tea masala (available at Indian grocery stores or make your own) : 1/2 tspn (optional)
How to make Lemon Balm Tea:

  1. In a vessel on medium high heat, add milk and water. Add all the other ingredients, except sugar. Stir once in a while
  2. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, lower the fire to low and give it a good stir. Keep a close eye on the tea and wait until the color from the tea develops (darkens) to your desire. Do not keep like this for too long (more than 2 minutes) as it tends to make the tea taste bitter.
  3.  Switch off the heat. Add the sugar to the tea cup. Strain the tea into the cup. Give it a good stir with a spoon. 
  4. Enjoy with the above spicy Aloo Poha  :)

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