Shakshuka- An Israeli breakfast recipe

Want to make a meal out of eggs? Try Shakshuka/Shakshouka(What fun saying it na!! Shaak-shookaa! 😛 ) This Israeli (Egyptian/Tunisian) dish of eggs poached over a hearty tomato sauce is excellent with some naan,roti or bread. This will appeal to the Indian palate because of its proximity to our cuisine. It uses coriander and cumin spices in the garlicky tomato base. I served it with a caramelized onion and spring onion flatbread.
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Recipe adapted from NY Times

You need
2 tbsp  vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large red chilli pepper, chopped fine
6 large tomatoes, blanched and chopped fine ( you could puree and strain them alternatively for a quick fix)
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
¾  tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 cup of assorted chopped vegetables may be added  (mushrooms, broccoli,peas,capsicum)
¼ tsp coriander podwer
½ tsp cumin powder ( I always keep some roasted cumin powder at hand for raitas and used the same)
Some chilli flakes (optional)
4 eggs
Some cheese, if desired
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
Some salt and pepper to season the eggs

Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Fry them till translucent and add the red pepper, assorted and garlic. Cook till the pepper is done and them add the tomatoes, assorted vegetables salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli flakes. Cook covered till the tomatoes are done.
Preheat the oven to 200C for ten minutes while the sauce cooks.
Stir in the cheese chunks (if using)
Transfer the sauce to a skillet or baking dish and gently break the eggs on the sauce. Season the eggs with salt and black pepper.
Bake for 7-10 minutes till the eggs are set.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with bread. I used my Caramelised onion and green onion bread recipe to bake flatbread and served alongside to swipe the sauce with!
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Enjoy a Shakshuka brunch this weekend.
Cheers!

Garima

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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo and Bedmi Poori

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Bombay finally feels the whiff of winter and it is the ideal time to brunch on this cracker of a meal from the Brij region; Mathura ke Dubki Waale Aloo, Bedmi Poori and halwa. Potatoes are cooked in a spicy, aromatic curry and served with crisp, kacori-style poori, and just a smidgeon of halwa. I first had it in Agra many many years back and the memory is as fresh as the visit to the Taj, well almost 😛
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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo
5-6 medium potatoes, hard boiled
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
¾  tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp kala namak/black salt/rock salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp haldi/turmeric powder
¾ tsp dhaniya/coriander powder
1 green chilli chopped fine
1 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
2 glasses of water
½ tsp aamchoor/mango powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder ( I use home-made)
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine

Whole spices
(can add whole or grind into a powder and add)
1 tejpat/ bay leaf
1 inch piece of dalcheeni/cinnamon
2 badi ilaichi/black cardamom
3 choti ilaichi/green cardamom
3-4 laung/cloves
5-6 sabut kali mirch/ peppercorns

Peel and cube the hard boiled potatoes.
Heat oil in a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan and add heeng and jeera. Once the jeera crackles, lower the heat and add the whole spices (add the powder, if using that)
Stir for a few seconds and then add chopped green chilli and grated ginger. Stir for 30 seconds and add red chilli powder, dhaniya powder and haldi powder stirring continuously.Keep the heat LOW all along!
Add the potatoes and stir so that that they are coated with the masala mixture. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, checking in between.
Add a glass full of water and increase the heat till the curry reaches a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and let the potatoes simmer in the gravy till they are cooked through. Keep adding water as required to get the consistency of your choice. Take off the heat and stir in the aamchoor powder and garam masala powder.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Bedmi Poori or plain poori.


 Bedmi/Bedvi Poori
2 ½  cups of aata/whole wheat flour
1 cup of moong dal , soaked for an hour
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or less as per taste)
½ tsp Heeng/asafetida
½ tsp Saunf/fennel , ground coarse
½ tsp Sabut Dhaniya/ coriander seeds, ground coarse
2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tbsp oil
Oil- to fry the bedmi pooris

Coarsely, grind the dal in the mixer. Mix it along with all the listed ingredients and knead into a firm dough adding water only as required.
Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make lemon size balls, roll out and fry in hot oil.


Serve with Dubki waale aloo and halwa!
Enjoy the meal over a winter weekend and a relaxed siesta thereafter.There is no other way really 😀

Love
Garima
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Dora Cake or Dorayaki or Fulffy Golden Pancake Sandwich from Japan

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Celebrating success with a childhood memory….
My elder turned 18 this January. He secured admission to the college of his dreams in the City of Dreams this week, and on the first merit list too!!
As the birdie gets ready to fly the nest, we relive some sweet childhood memories with this ‘Dora Cake’ or Dorayaki.
Dorayaki ((どら焼き) are silky, golden, fluffy pancake sandwiches from Japan. My boys, when they were little, loved watching a Japanese cartoon series called Doraemon. The protagonist, a super cat-robot (who is petrified of mice :P), is completely in love with this sweet treat and would do absolutely anything for them!
(Image Source – http://understandinganimation.blogspot.in/)
doraemon_dorayakisThe fluffy pancakes are sandwiched with red bean paste, which is difficult to come by where I live. So I replaced it with thick homemade strawberry preserve in some and good old Nutella in the others. My younger exclaimed ‘ Aha Mom! Now I know why Doraemon is crazy about these! ‘
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The recipe is from Namiko Chen’s blog Just One Cook Book. Her site has some lovely Japanese recipes.
Recipe
This yields 12 pancakes and 6 pancake sandwiches.

You need
4 eggs
140 g (2/3 cup) powdered sugar
2 tbsp honey
160 g (1⅓ cup) all-purpose flour/Maida (How to measure- Fluff  the flour and scoop into a cup to measure. Then level it with a knife)
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp water
A few drops of oil or butter
A cup of red bean paste/strawberry preserve/Nutella chocolate spread

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, powdered sugar and honey till well mixed and fluffy.
IMG_9158Sift flour over the egg mix, add baking powder and mix well till the mixture is smooth.
IMG_9159IMG_9161Add two tbsp water and mix well.
Heat a non stick pan on medium heat.
Drop 2-3 drops of oil and spread all over with a tissue.
With another tissue, wipe completely. The dry oil free surface of the pan ensures the characteristic evenly browned surface of the Dorayaki pancakes.
IMG_9163Pour ¼ cup of batter in the pan and cook on medium till bubbles form. It takes about a minute and a half. Flip and cook for thirty seconds.
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IMG_9167Keep the heat on medium and medium low throughout. They go from brown to black real quick!
Make all the pancakes like this.
IMG_9226To serve, liberally spread the filling of your choice on one pancake, keeping the bottom side up. Top with the other pancake and serve.
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This is my entry to the Japanese cuisine challenge by Shaheen of Spoon Fork and Food at Chefs Across Boundaries. Thanks Shaheen, this was fun!

I am also taking these yummy Dora Cakes to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, fun treats for a fun party!

Hassleback Potatoes

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Potatoes, we love in all forms, roasted, fried, boiled, mashed, as a filling in parathas  etc etc
And then there is the baked potato. With some beans and cheese. And crisp buttered toast. Need I say more!

A play on the baked potato is this Hassleback version, which gets its name from the Swedish Restaurant Hasselbacken, where it was first served sometime in the 1950s.  I wanted to make these since I first laid my eyes on them.  The other day my greengrocer delivered some king sized tubers and Hasslebacks just had to be made!
I served them with baby Focaccia and creamy coleslaw. And a tall glass of Minty Orange Spritzer. This is the stuff dream summery meals are made of.
IMG_9012Ridiculously simple to make too. Hardly a recipe, so to say. Butter them, cover them, stick them into the oven. Herb them, butter ttem, stick them in again. And done 😀
Tra la la! That simple, really 😀

So you need 4-5 (or as many as you like) large, oblong potatoes

And then for the brushing and filling you need
Some butter or olive oil. I used olive oil for the first drizzle and then butter and herbs for the halfway stuffing and brushing.
For 5 large potatoes, I used 3 Tbsp olive oil and about 4-5 tbsp butter. I added some fine chopped fresh parsley, basil and a tbsp of minced garlic to the butter and mixed well. If exotic fresh herbs are difficult to come by, fresh coriander works beautifully.
This part is as-you-like-it kinds. Flavour them with just salt, butter and pepper and a sprinkle of cheese towards the end of the baking period. Or fill them with fresh herbs.
And yeah that’s about it!

Start with washing and drying the potatoes.
Preheat the oven at 250 C with the rack in the middle and both the heating elements on.
Slice the potatoes stopping an inch before you reach the base, so that they are sliced thin but joined at the bottom. Slice them as thin as you can , say about a cm thick.(I need more practice and need to slice them thinner 😛 )
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Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and brush the potatoes all over with olive oil.
IMG_9029The slices won’t show yet but they will when the potatoes are half done. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and cover them with foil, leaving some gaps for letting the steam escape.
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Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking in between for them being a little more than half done. The baking time will vary depending on the size and type of potatoes.
Once half done, the layers will easily spread out. Remove the baking tray from the oven
IMG_9036Now melt the butter and add minced garlic , finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to it. Spread the butter mix over the potatoes making sure some butter does make its way into all the potato slices. Brush the top with the butter mix and bake the potatoes for another 15-20 minutes till the tops are brown and crisp.
IMG_9038Serve immediately.
Garlicky and creamy on the inside and brown and crisp on the outside, this is a stunner of a potato! Use baby potatoes to serve as appetizers.
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Medu Vada and Rasam with Rasam Powder recipe

IMG_8324Tamil Nadu is the final destination of my Dakshin Rail. Shall we call it Chennai Express 😀
I often make Sambar but had never tried Rasam- the very thin, watery soup like wonder. I love Medu Vadas with it. In fact the vadas are favoured over Idlis in my house ( Umm …why is fried stuff more popular I wonder…)

My darling buddy Jaya Amit shared her Ma’s recipes and I got them both perfect in the first go. And no surprises there. Moms recipes always rock ❤
J also gave me the recipe to do fresh rasam masala at home. I made a small batch and  the aroma that filled my kitchen was moth watering. So here goes
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For the Rasam Masala Powder
 (Makes about ¼  cup)
2 Tbsb coriander/dhaniya seeds
2 tsp tur/arhar dal
2 tsp chana/Bengal gram dal
8 whole red chillies
1 tsp peppercorns/whole kali mirch
1 tsp cumin/jeera

Dry roast all the above on a hot griddle one by one. Cool completely and grind. Store in an airtight box.

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For the Rasam
(Serves 4)

A very small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp desi ghee/clarified butter
1 small tomato chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp haldi/turmeric
1 Tbsp Rasam Masala
4-5  curry leaves
½ cup diluted tur dal (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped fine

For the tadka/tempering
1 tsp desi ghee
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
½ tsp jeera/turmeric
A pinch of pepper powder
4-5 curry leaves
IMG_8174Soak the tamarind in a cup of water for an hour. ( See the small ball. It is less than a tbsp )
Pulp and strain it. Add 2 ½ cups of water to the pulp.
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Heat a tsp of ghee and add garlic, curry leaves and  tomatoes. Cook stirring for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes are mushy.
IMG_8228Add the tamarind water, salt and turmeric and bring to boil. The diluted tur dal can be added at this point (If using). Add more water if needed. The rasam has to be nice and watery.
IMG_8231Add the Rasam powder and just bring to a froth and take off the heat.
IMG_8236Tempering – Heat ghee and add heeng and rai. As soon as the rai starts to crackle, take off the heat. Add the curry leaves and pepper powder and spread over the rasam. Serve hot with medu vada!

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Recipe for  Medu Vada ( Complete with tips and tricks!)
 ( Makes 12-15 medium sized vadas)
1 Cup Whole urad or good quality urad dal
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine and seeds removed
6-7 curry leaves, torn roughly
2 tsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
Soak a cup of urad dal for two hours ( Do not over soak else the batter gets watery)
IMG_8224Drain and grind till thick and fluffy, adding very little water slowly. Do not add too much water else the batter will be runny and the vadas won’t form well. Grind just before you are going to fry them for better results
IMG_8225.(TIP- If the batter does get runny, add a little semolina and make simple round Pakoda like vadas as it might be difficult to get the doughnut like shape)

Add all the other listed ingredients to the batter and mix well.
IMG_8226IMG_8232Pour oil generously in a  kadai/wok. Don’t be skimpy with oil, else the vadas will stick to the bottom of the wok.
Take a clean plastic sheet. Moisten the sheet and your hands. Take 2 tsbp batter and make the vadas.
IMG_8233Drop gently into the oil and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Serve hot!
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Upma- Quick Light Healthy Breakfast

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Upma

This light and quick fix breakfast is healthy and versatile. You can make it just with the basic tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves or as many seasonal vegetables as you want, to make a mixed vegetable Upma.
Although it may be made in oil, but the taste of the ghee-roasted upma is unsurpassable.
IMG_8036(This recipe serves 3-4)

½ cup semolina/sooji
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds/rai
6-7 curry leaves
1 small onion, chopped fine ( can omit if making Jain style)
2 green chillies chopped fine
5-6 cashew nuts, chopped coarse
1 tsp lime juice
2 ½ cups of water
1 tsp of urad dal and chana dal each, soaked for 20 minutes
A handful of fresh coriander

Roast the semolina in 1 tsp of ghee till it begins to change colour and gives a toasty aroma.
In another pan, heat the remaining ghee and splutter the mustard. Keep the heat on medium.
IMG_7585Add the cashew nuts and roast them till they get light brown. Add curry leaves and the soaked dals and stir for a minute.
IMG_7587Add onions and fry them till they begin to brown. Add green chillies (and any vegetables if using) and stir for a minute.
IMG_7589Increase the heat to full. Add water and bring to a boil. Add the lime juice.
IMG_7593Slowly add the semolina, stirring continuously till the upma comes together and loose fudge like consistency is reached.
IMG_7598Sprinkle fresh coriander, mix well and serve immediately.
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Upma Pesarattu or MLA Pesarattu – Green Lentil Dosa from Andhra served with Upma and Tangy Ginger Chutney

Andhra Pradesh is destination next on my Dakshin Samyal aka my Southern sojourn. My friend Sushma, was kind enough to share some of her family recipes with me and I was able to get together this meal.
The MLA Pesarattu, called so because it is popular in the the MLA quarters at Hyderabad. The green lentils dosas are roasted in ghee and served with a tangy ginger tamarind chutney (Allam Pachadi) and ghee laden Upma. A rich platter!
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For the Pesarattu/ green lentil pancakes
Pesarattu (Andhra)
(This recipe makes 10-12 pesarattu)

1 cup whole moong dal with skin/ chhilke waali moong dal
2-3 green chillies
2 inch piece of ginger
Salt to taste
1 tbsp rice flour (optional)
1 onion, chopped fine
A few cashew nuts, chopped coarse
Some fresh coriander
Ghee/clarified butter to cook the pesarattu (may use oil)
1

Chop the ginger and green chilles into large chunks and soak them with the dal in enough water for 4-5 hours.
2
Rinse and blend into a thick paste. Do not throw the water used to soak. Add as required while grinding. Do not add too much. We need a thick batter. Some rice flour may be used if the batter is difficult to work with.
3
Add salt just before making the pesarattu.
Heat a heavy griddle. Sprikle water and wipe. Immediately, spread a ladle of the batter like a dosa. Drizzle some ghee around and in the centre.
Spread a little thick for sofe pesarattu and really thin for crisp ones.
4

Lower the flame and cook till done. If required, flip and cook the other side.
6On top of it sprinkle the onions, cashews and coriander.
7Spread two tablespoons of upma ( Find recipe here) inside the pancake  and serve hot with the tangy garlic chutney.
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For the Ginger Tamarind Chutney /Allam Pachadi
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(Makes ¼ cup chutney)

This tangy spicy chutney is a tease! You cannot stop licking it off the bowl. It is that yum!!  😀

2 Tbsp tamarind pulp ( take a lemon sized ball of tamrind, soaked in 1 cup of water and strain it)
1 2×2 inch block of jaggery/gud, crushed to small pieces
3 Tbsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or more if you want it hotter)
1 tsp oil
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Soak the jaggery in tamarind pulp for 2 hours.
After the mixture has been soaking for 2 hours, heat the oil and  sauté  the ginger in it. Add salt and chilli powder, stir for a few seconds and remove.
IMG_7904Cool and add the sautéed ginger to the tamrind jaggery mixture.
Soak for another 2 hours to imbibe all the juices and the flavours to come together.
IMG_7905Blitz the mixture and cook on the gas on low heat for about 40 minutes to an hour to get a sticky spicy delicious ginger tamarind chutney! Yum 😀 :DBe careful. If you don’t stop ‘tasting’, you might have none left to serve with the pesarattu. Works well with dosas too.

Masala Akki Roti/Rotti- A crunchy pancake from Karnataka

1Akki rotti/roti from Karnatka, the second destination of my Dakshin Samyaal 😀
This Masala Akki is a vegetable filled crunchy delight. And so healthy! I have discovered a smart way to feed my kids lots of fresh seasonal vegetables and have been able to sneak in a load of never-appreciated veggies like beets, red cabbage, radish, cucumber and beans.

This time the theme at our blogger buddies group was to use a hitherto unused fruit or vegetable. I picked Indian broad beans/ Sem ki phali. The recipe is adapted from my friend Aruna’s wonderful blog Aahaaram.
Akki1This recipe gives about 6-8  akki rotis.
1 ½ cups rice flour
1 medium onion, chopped fine
½ cup of broad bean seeds ( Peel the beans to get the seeds inside. I used the peels to make a quick stir fry with potatoes )
¼ of a small cabbage, chopped fine
1 small carrot grated
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Malai/Fresh cream (the original recipe uses oil, but I found Malai keeps the akki rottis softer for a longer period of time. Else they tend to dry up)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp asafoetida
3-4 tbsp milk, used as needed to get the dough together ( the original recipe uses water)
Oil to cook the rottis
Akki2In a big bowl add all the chopped vegetables, rice flour, salt, asafoetida  and cream.
Akki3Mix well with fingers and add milk slowly to make a soft and supple dough.
Akki4Akki5Knead the dough just when you are making the rotis. This doesn’t keep well when made ahead and stored.
Heat a non stick pan and brush lightly with oil.
(Traditionally the dough is flattened directly on the pan. This is how I did it)
Take a plastic sheet and smear lightly with oil. Even a banana leaf works well. Also grease your palms and fingers.
Take a lemon sized ball from the dough and flatten in on the plastic sheet with your fingers, sealing the edges with the other hand.
Akki6Akki7aakki 23When rolled out to a regular chapatti size disc, make a hole in the middle of the roti with your fingertip and poke 5-6 holes around the periphery of the rotti. This helps in cooking evenly.
Akki7Akki24Gently, lift the roti off the plastic sheet/banana leaf  and put it into the hot pan.
Akki8Reduce heat and cook covered till brown spots appear. Akki9Brush the top with a little oil and flip and cook from the other side till done.
IMG_5582Serve with coconut chutney, tomato chutney or just fresh curd!
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This blog post is part of the monthly “Cooking With Friends” themed blog post challenge. This challenge was started by a bunch of virtual friends united by their love of food, with the aim of tackling a different food related theme each month. If you want to try this month’s theme, please feel free to do so and link your recipe in the comments section. We’d love to check it out.
Meanwhile, check out what the others in the group have come up with this month.

Dolphia of Story Of Cooks
Anjana of At The Corner Of Happy And Harried
Jayasri of My Veg Fare
Jyothi of Curry Trail
Madhuri of Mad About Kitchen
Subhasmita of The Flavours Of Kitchen
Sujatha of Spices N Treats

Kerala Style Vegetable Stew and How to extract Coconut Milk

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Kerala Style vegetable stew is a wonderful concoction of mixed vegetables gently simmered in aromatic whole spices and thin coconut milk.
I served the stew with appams and a bowl of chilled sweetened coconut milk. It made for an extremely satisfying meal!
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This meal needs copious amounts of coconut milk. You can use store bought, but it is really simple to make at home. And preservative free completely!
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All you need is some fresh coconut, cubed and some hot water.
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Grinds a cup of coconut, add hot water and strain. This is the first extract/thick milk.
Add another cup of hot water to the precipitate and grind again. Strain to get the second extract/ thin milk.

The stew gets its flavour from the whole spices completely and needs no ground spices apart from black pepper really. You can add a dash of cumin- coriander powder if you like. The stew gets heat from green chillies and pairs beautifully with the mild flavoured appams.

You need
2 cups of mixed vegetables, cubed.
I used carrots, cauliflower, French Beans, potatoes, peas and onion
1 tsp ginger,grated
2-3 cloves of garlic,minced
2 large green chillies (or less if you want to reduce the heat)
¼  tsp black pepper powder
1 cup of thin coconut milk/water
1 cup of thick coconut milk
Salt, to taste
Whole spices-  2 bay leaves, a small stick of cinnamon, 4-5 cloves
1 tsp oil
5-6 curry leaves
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In a pan (can use the pressure cooker) heat oil and add curry leaves.
Add the whole spices and roast for a few seconds.( I sometimes make it oil free and just dry roast the spices like I did here)
IMG_4516Add the vegetables, green chillies and black pepper powder.
Season with salt.
Add the thin coconut water and cover and cook till vegetables are done but firm.
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(If making in pressure cooker, use water instead of coconut milk)
Take off the heat and add the thick coconut milk.
Stir well and serve hot.
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* In case whole spices are not available, use some Garam Masala powder
* I always take the stew off the heat and then stir in the coconut milk so that the milk does not split.
* A tsp of mustard seeds can be added right after the curry leaves if desired.

Kerala Appam or Palappam

As much as I love food from Dakshin Bharat aka South India, I realised there is very little I know to cook apart from idli and dosa (yum as they are!)
So May is a month to venture that way
A Southern sojourn, so to say.
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Up first are the feather-light and super yum ‘Lacy Hoppers’ from Kerala .Yeah! They have a cute English name!  Appams or Palappmas are soft pancakes which are made from rice and coconut milk.
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In case you have rice flour at hand, here is a wonderful recipe by my friend Rieby Jeetu Matthew which I have tried and tested numerous times. It is super simple and no fail! The batter is ready is all of two hours!
Rieby, our appam connection is now documented 😀 ❤

Appam recipe with Rice Flour or Appam Podi
This recipe gives 20 appams
You need
2 cups of rice flour
Half a cup of coconut milk/ desiccated coconut/ coconut milk powder
4-5 tbsp cooked rice
½ tsp Instant yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
Grind all the ingredients apart from salt in the mixture adding water very slowly as required.
If using coconut milk, first grind only with the milk and then add water if needed.
We need a batter runnier / looser than the dosa batter.
Cover and let ferment. It took about two hours here in this hot weather. The batter is ready. Add salt, mix well and make appams.
(To make appams, follow the steps shown below)
If not using immediately, do not add salt and store the batter in the refrigerator for up to two days.

I had requested a dear blogger friend for a recipe with rice rather than rice flour and she, very sweetly, did an appam post for me. Thanks a ton Shannu. They came out perfect! Here is Shannu’s recipe at Food Passion and Love.

I make them both ways, with rice and with rice flour. Both come out equally good. Just that, if you want to skip the step of soaking and grinding the rice, the rice flour recipe is really handy and all the prep gets done is just about two hours.

Appam recipe with Rice
(Makes about 15-18 appams)
1 ½ cup  Rice
¾ cup grated coconut or ¾ cup thick coconut milk
A handful of cooked rice
¾  tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
½ to ¾ cup of water for grinding ( To be added gradually)
1 tsp Instant yeast
(or 2 tsp active dry yeast  and 2 Tbsp luke warm water and a tsp of sugar to soak the yeast)

Soak the raw rice in water for about 4 -5 hours.
If using active dry yeast– When you are ready to grind the rice, soak the yeast in warm water and sugar. In about 10-15 minutes the mixture gets frothy.
Instant Yeast can be added directly to the batter, without soaking/blooming.
Grind the coconut

IMG_4656Drain the water and grind the rice in the mixer adding water gradually. We need a fine paste.
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Add the cooked rice and  and  Instant yeast or the frothy yeast mixture ( if using active dry yeast)  and mix well.
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Transfer to a large steel or plastic container and keep covered for 3-4 hours till the mixture ferments well and doubles up.
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Add salt and sugar to the fermented batter and mix well. Add some water if the batter is too thick. We need a runny sort of batter. Runnier than a dosa batter.
Appams are made in a small shallow kadai called appa chatti. They can be made in a non stick pan but won’t get the intrinsic appam shape. Will be a treat nevertheless!

Heat the appa chatti and  put a drop of desi ghee or butter. Wipe clean with a tissue paper. The chatti should not be too hot else the batter won’t stick.
Pour a ladle full of batter ( about ¼ cup) in the centre of the chatti.
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Holding the pan from the handles, take it off the heat and swirl the batter all the way around to form a circle. Try not to swirl after the first layer. There will be more batter in the centre and the edges will be thin. Don’t worry. That’s the way it is meant to be!
Increase the heat and cover  and cook for a minutes.
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Lower the heat and cook another minute if you like white appams. Make sure the centre is cooked.
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I like them soft in the centre and crispy and lacy around the edges so I wait another couple of minutes till the sides become nice and brown.
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With a wooden spatula lift the appams from one side. In fact I just life it with my hands. It leaves the pan easily.
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Serve with stew and coconut milk.
The leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
I served the appams with chilled, sweetened coconut milk and Vegetable Stew.
Find the recipe for the Stew here.

For the Sweet coconut milk- Chill some thick coconut milk and add some sugar or condensed milk to make it as sweet as you like it.  I added a couple of tsp condensed milk to a cup of coconut milk. Done!

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