Rava Idli

Rava Idli

When I am moping, I lie in bed while my kids climb over me, I shut my eyes tight when Yuvan pries my eyes open. I hear Hasini echo my dad’s words – “You’re always late.” Back in the days when I was single, when I was free, I’d brood on the toilet seat for hours without visitors, knocks and questions – “why are you taking so long?”, “what are you doing?”, “Did you go out the window?” (That’s a good idea!). I’d lie in bed reading all day, sleeping in between, ransacking the fridge at midnight for something sweet, going back to bed to read. Chocolate soothes me. Reading drugs me. Those days, I like to eat Paal Saadam (Rice and milk). I feel comforted.   When I am stressed, when I am wound up and exhausted after a frenetic day of work, I want to eat Dominoes Pizza and coke. I want to eat biryani and thumbs up. I want my soda. I want sugar. I want cheese. I want chocolate. I want empty calories and Vadivelu comedy. When I am happy I want to eat Molagai bajji, chocolate cake and Lasagne. When I miss home, I yearn for idli, vadai, sambar and thengai chutney and Ilayaraja songs. I want paruppu rasam saadam and fried egg and Balachander movies. When I am angry, frustrated, I want Paneer soda and friends to hear my story. A small paper cup with watery canteen coffee would do too. When I am hungover, I want Jagan’s lemon soda in a dark room. When I am busy at my laptop, I have filter coffee by my side and Hasini combing my hair. I want pattani and uppu kadalai while watching TV. There are times when I make Rava idli. I make Rava idli every time my………………………………….. yogurt turns sour. Every single time I feel ingenious to be making rava idli instead of rava upma. I am terribly proud of my soft, tender rava idlis that I make from scratch. Rava idlis were one of the first things I made after my wedding. I’d make them from MTR’s rava idli mix. I’d make MTR rava idlis and coriander chutney and wait for the Maamiyaar to be impressed. I had no clue then that making them from scratch was just as easy. You’ll never go back to buying the readymade mix once you make these...

My cooking Goals + one more Side dish for Idli Dosai – Milagai Thuvaiyal

What are your cooking goals for the year? Just putting them down makes me feel like I am organized, like I am the planning kind. I like that kind of illusion. And I always like a fresh start. So I wrote down some of my cooking goals for the year. The general theme has been to keep it simple, to take it easy and to experiment more. I’d love to know what your goals are. Make just enough chutney for now. Extra chutney in fridge will never see the light of day. “Dosai/Idli do not make a school lunch”, said Hasini. I have to agree. When I scramble out of bed 30 minutes before the school bus arrives, this is what I pack. I’ve also packed mini dosai, vengaya dosai, oothappam, podi idli, jam sandwiches and sugar & ghee sandwiches with no remorse.   Everything need not be from scratch. It can be from the store. And that is fine. It is ok to not bake your own bread, make your own pasta and manufacture your own cheese. I remember a time when I would put off buying bread because I thought that if I did then I wouldn’t bake my own bread, but I never baked bread as often because I simply didn’t have that kind of time. I am more accepting now. I bought vathals instead of waiting till summer to make my own batch. I am still obsessed about making my own podis and idli/dosa batters.   I cannot and will not make thali meals (rice, kuzhambu, poriyal kind of meal) more than 3 times a week. And that immediately means I have to do # 5.   Move out of my comfort zone and experiment more. Make at-least 2 new recipes every week. Currently on my to-try list are Murtabak, Aviyal, vada pav, Hyderabad biryani and Adhirsam among others.   To not repeat a chutney/side dish again in the same month. I am on a quest to banish the cooking routines that I tend to slip into all too easily. Coconut chutney, tomato chutney, kara chutney on rotation mode, lemon rice and potato fry on Mondays, dosai for dinners, biryani on Sundays. Not this year. Breakfast can be kanji in a mug, chaat for lunch and soup for dinner. Lord, give me the strength to defend my menu.   I’ve started to plan the menu for...

Vadakari | Vadagari – Idli’s best companion

Yet another side dish for Idli. There can’t be enough of them. We wake up to idlis, eat them for dinner watching super singer, pack them up for long drives and even order them at Taj knowing Taj idlis. I sleep assured that 3 large steel dabbas of idli maavu (idli batter) sit in the bottom shelf of our fridge. Idli-Vadakari is my most favourite idli combination. For a very long time I thought Vadakari is made from leftover masala vadais which is probably how they make it in most hotels. But that Vadakari can be made from scratch without making masala vadais, I learnt as the first lesson after marriage. My maamiyaar (mother-in-law) laughed when I asked her if we don’t have to make masala vadais first. I didn’t know better. At home we always ordered vadakari from hotels. We’d never made it. One of the very first recipes I learnt in my new home was Vadakari and I’ll tell you this. It is simply beautiful. It can give any hotel Vadakari a run for its money. My dad thought it was great and I’ve given my mother this recipe. Vadakari is quite straightforward but just a little time consuming, that is if your alternative is chutney or idli milagai podi. Grinding the dal is the most important first step. Make sure to only pulse the dal in quick bursts so that it is coarsely ground. The second important step is frying the ground dal. The fried dal has to be completely dry and crumbly. This takes time, patience and a generous amount of oil. Don’t skimp. The rest is a breeze. If you get the first two steps right then you are on your way to an award winning Vadakari. Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Serves: 5-6 Ingredients Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal/Bengal gram – 1-1/2 cups soaked for 2 hours Onions – 2 large chopped fine Tomatoes – 2 large chopped fine Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp Turmeric powder – ½ tsp Salt to taste Water – 2 cups Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece Bay leaf – 1 Oil – 5 tbsp Coriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnishing Masala paste Ginger – 1 inch piece scraped Garlic pods – 7 Green chillies – 3  Sombu/Saunf/Fennel seeds – 1 tsp Method 1.      Rinse channa dal/kadalai paruppu in 2-3 changes of water or till...

Sweet & Crispy Idli Batter Fritters – Quick & Easy snack

I love quick, easy recipes that involve minimal ingredients. It suits me perfectly. You see – I am basically a Somberi. Countless Sunday afternoons I’ve just slept away – all this is (BEMAK) before marriage and kids, of course. Now AMAK (After marriage and kids) I’d be happy to just sleep un-disturbed through the night. You need just 4 ingredients for this dish all of which are common and I am sure available in everybody’s kitchen. The entire dish comes together in under 10 minutes which is as much time as my adamant, tantrum throwing toddlers would give me to whip up a sweet snack. This is my mother-in-law’s idea and I think it is an ingeniously cool idea. It’s not surprising though as this family is known for its “idlisyncracies”. We live on idli-dosai. So coming up with new twists on the basic idli framework is just natural progression. These fritters are crispy on the outside and soft paniyaram-like on the inside. The crunchy, sweet bites are best made with the first or second day’s idli batter as later on the batter may get too sour. My kids enjoyed this snack a lot. So did the adults as well. This recipe may sound too simple to be good but trust me; it makes a really delicious snack which will be gone just as quickly as it’s made. And simple recipes are often the most tasty. I am happy and really excited to be part of Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon, and I am looking forward to knowing/reading all those talented food bloggers. This is my first time at the Blogging marathon. I am sending this for the Kids sweet Treats theme.   Preparation time: 5 minsCooking time: 5 minsMakes: 15 fritters (small gooseberry sized) Ingredients Idli batter – 2 ladlesSemolina/Bombay Rava/Fine Sooji – 4 tbsp (adjust)Sugar – 5 tbspOil – for deep frying Method 1.      In a medium bowl, ladle the idli batter. Add the sugar. Add the rava one tablespoon at a time. Mix well with a spoon. The rava adds texture and thickens the batter at the same time, so add rava in steps to make sure the batter doesn’t get too thick. The consistency of the batter should be that of the Medhu vadai (ulundhu vadai/urad dal vadai) type and it should drop easily from a spoon without too much shaking. 2.      Heat oil in a kadai/skillet and when...

Tiffin Sambar – Saravana Bhavan Mini idli style

I am a huge fan of Saravana Bhavan’s mini idlis as are everyone in my family. This is such a delightfully tasty, absolutely lip-smacking tiffen – fluffy white mini idlis dunked in hot flavour bursting sambar, drizzled with ghee. Perfect! Unlike the sambar we make at home, this tiffen sambar is not tangy, is thick and full bodied and has mild sweet undertones. Tiffen sambar is the best accompaniment for idli, dosai or pongal. I have to thank Mythreyi of Myerecipecorner. I picked up this recipe from her blog. Her blog has so many amazing recipes, you’ll have to check it out. It is true to its name and tastes just like the hotel tiffen sambar (though not exactly like Rathna Café Sambar which tastes different from all other hotel sambars). I followed her recipe as is and it turned out great. Everybody in the family agreed that it tasted just like hotel tiffen sambar. Every week we cycle through various chutneys, kormas, sundakkai sojji and sometimes vadakari for the idli/dosai that we make every day. We try to underplay the idli/dosai monotony by changing up the side dishes. This tiffen sambar was a refreshing change and I’d strongly recommend anyone stumped for a side-dish to try it out. I cut up regular sized idlis and dunked them in sambar. You could serve it on the side as well. old picture Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Toor dal – 1 cupSambar onions/Shallots – 15 peeled and halvedTomato – 1 choppedCarrot – 1 choppedDrumstick – 1Curry leaves – 1 stemsMustard seeds – 1 tspTurmeric powder – ½ tspJaggery powdered – 1 tbspSalt to tasteCoriander leaves – a handful for garnishingOil – 1 tbsp Masala Paste Coriander seeds – 3 tbspBengal gram/kadala paruppu – 2 tbspWhole dry red chillies – 12Cumin – 1/2 tspFenugreek/Methi seeds – 1 tspGrated coconut – 1/2 a coconut Method 1.      Pressure cook the toor dal till soft. Mash well and set aside. 2.      Dry roast all the ingredients under “Masala paste” except grated coconut till fragrant and the Bengal gram starts colouring. Grind the roasted ingredients along with coconut and a  water to a thick, nearly smooth paste. 3.      In a vessel/kadai, add oil and when hot, drop in the mustard seeds. When they splutter, throw in the sambar onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions turn translucent. 4.     Add the tomatoes and fry...
light diet

Diet Plan for weightloss

I hope you’re doing great. How is weight-loss journey shaping up? Do you have any goals you want to achieve before the end of the year? I was thinking of setting a mini-goal for end of the year within my project 50k. End of the year is a little over a month away. But there’s a lot you can do in a month. I am going to be sharing a diet plan for weightloss today to help you stay on track. Truth be told, I’ve barely stepped in the gym the last few weeks. I spent the past few weeks hugging a hot water bag, a pain relief spray in one hand and popping tablets every now and then. I’ve been plagued by a persistent back-ache that still hasn’t gone away. I know now how it feels to not be able to bend at all. I also realized that I bend only when I am putting on my shoes or photographing food. I lower myself gradually into the chair and get up even slower. Nobody dare hustle grandmas and grandpas for being slow! It is easy to slip off the diet when you are not exercising. There just isn’t that motivation. But it is so important to stick to your diet to stay where you are, to not ruin the work you’ve done all along. I had a few readers ask me about the diet to follow for weightloss. So I decided to put together a couple of diet charts for the benefit of those who wish to lose weight. There are two versions of these diet plans – the light version is for beginners and anyone who doesn’t want to make too many drastic changes to their daily diet. The Advanced version is for the seriously disciplined kind who are up for a challenge. I have the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for both diet versions. Feel free to use the diet plan that suits your goals best. I am no expert, far from it. I have lost weight in the past with the “light diet” and regular exercise (5-6 days a week). Jagan follows the advanced version of the diet plan and has seen impressive results. He works out 5 days at the gym in addition to a cross-fit class he attends 3 days a week. These are also some of the things that I’ve heard from dieticians. This...
Deepavali mutton kurma

Deepavali Special Mutton Kurma

Hope your Deepavali started with a nice oil bath followed by a long leisurely breakfast of several soft dosais alongside a rich, lip-smacking Deepavali special mutton kurma. Hope you planted your butt on the couch and remained there the rest of the day and watched all the programs on all the channels. Hope you stole some time in between to go burst 100 walas and 1000 walas, pisssed off your neighbours and filled the entrance to your house with a respectable amount of paper kuppai (trash). That was my Deepavali. A mutton kurma for Deepavali cannot be any ordinary kurma. It needs to be extra special and extra decadent. And so you marinate the mutton in yogurt, fry the spices in ghee, cook the mutton in milk and finish off with coconut milk. This is the kind of breakfast that fills you up till dinner time. That is essential when you have a day full of TV programs you want to catch up with. You don’t want to get off the couch to prep lunch. I know this post should have come before Deepavali along with the Diwali promotions, Diwali Sale, the great Indian shopping festival in time for you to try this recipe for Deepavali. I know I am a bad blogger. Often, it’s the build-up to Deepavali that I enjoy even more than the day itself. I loved the deluge of Deepavali sweets and murukku on my facebook and instagram feeds. I love the food blogger spirit (not me), simple, cheery and optimistic. I was surprised though that nobody seemed to be posting the most important Deepavali mutton kurma. I wondered if it wasn’t as popular a tradition as I thought it was.  or  If mutton kurma eating south Indian bloggers are under represented in the blogging community.  or If it is an outcome of censorship. I’ve talked to a couple of people who said something like this “I’ve read some of your posts. Your writing is really good. Hmm.. yours is a non-vegetarian blog right? But, I am a vegetarian.” to which I’ve very naively replied “But I post a lot of vegetarian recipes too.. (In my mind thinking “Oh, don’t stop reading because of that, Maybe I should post more vegetarian recipes.. “).  However I don’t think I should try to change anything. I consider it my foremost duty to post the traditions and recipes that aren’t...
Roasted cauliflower paneer and chickpeas salad

Project 50k update + Roasted cauliflower & Chickpeas salad

Fellow project 50k losers (weight losers, I mean), for the first time since I started on my Project 50k weight loss journey I saw some real results last week. I climbed up on the weigh scale not expecting much. And lo and behold, I had lost 1.5 kilos in 10 days. I was ecstatic, so delirious in joy that I couldn’t believe what I saw. I didn’t climb up again to check though. I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of this moment. I sang all day that day. There are some things that women are wont to share – maid, a good tailor’s contact and their weight-loss strategy. I am generous with everything except my maid. I am fiercely possessive of her. Here’s the weight-loss strategy I followed over those 10 days – I upped my workout to make sure I burnt a minimum of 500 calories per day. I had the normal breakfast I made for the rest of the family – idli, dosai, oats, upma or cereal. I continued to eat low carb meals for lunch – stir fries, sundal, salads or chapathi and vegetables. I ate dosai or lunch leftovers for dinner. Here’s the important part. I ate dinner by 8 pm every day. I’d been hearing from many sources that eating an early dinner is crucial. Little did I know that it can make such a significant difference in weight-loss. I absolutely have to credit Aarthi (a dear reader), for this little gem of a tip. Thank you so much Aarthi. The 12 hour fast is apparently a very popular and largely successful weight-loss technique. You basically confine all your eating to a 12 hour window 8 am to 8 pm or 6 am to 6pm. You don’t eat anything after 8 pm. You can drink water. Studies have found that just sticking to this time window helps burn fat and aid weight-loss. I think it really works. I strongly urge all fellow Project 50k losers to give this a try. While you are at it, here’s one more healthy and hearty salad to eat during your weight loss journey – Roasted cauliflower, paneer and chickpeas spiced to your liking and served on a bed of lettuce leaves. I love this salad because it has all my favourite things – cauliflower, paneer and chickpeas. You can roast them in an oven or...
Will Kelloggs K help you lose weight?

Will Kelloggs Special K help you lose weight?

Nobody ever lost weight with their mothers around. When I am in the midst of the strictest diet, when I’ve not eaten rice for a week, when I am painfully sipping sugar-less coffee my mother hands me a big plate full of hot off the stove assorted bajjis – onion bajji, potato bajji and vazhakai bajji. She brings me mutton biryani the next day. She thrusts a big dabba full of fried vengaya vathal (onion-rice fritters) for snacking. You’d think she doesn’t want me to ever lose weight, which wouldn’t be inaccurate. In fact she doesn’t register that I am fat. Ah, Mothers. In spite of my mother’s sabotage, I managed to stick to Kelloggs Special K for breakfast and dinner for an entire week. 2-bowls a day, just like Deepika Padukone says. Do you want to know if it worked? If I lost weight? In just a bit.. As part of my project 50k, I am experimenting with different diets and exercises to see what works and what doesn’t and to infuse some variety and interest into my weight-loss journey. I am sharing all those details with you as I know many of you are in the same boat. The Kelloggs special K tastes delicious, slightly sweet and wonderfully crunchy. On the Kelloggs Special K pack, there are clear instructions as to what makes the 2 bowls that Deepika talks about. 30 grams of Kelloggs Special K along with 120 ml of skimmed milk makes one bowl and that is 144 calories. Compare that with 2 idlis+ sambar, 2 dosas + sambar or a serving of upma which all work out to about 300 calories and you are consuming only half of that. 144 calories is super low for a meal and would be fantastic for someone looking to lose weight. It tastes great and is low-calorie. What more could you ask for? Well, let me show you what 30 gm looks like. 30 gm turned out to be just over a 1/4 cup. I am using a 1/2 cup measure in this picture and I have a little over half of it filled. I don’t know about Deepika but a 1/4 cup of cereal is like a baby-portion of cerelac. That’s the amount of food we feed our neighbourhood crow. Sorry, he likes to eat more except on Ammavasai when he likes to act pricey. 30 gm of cereal is simply insufficient for me. On days I’ve worked out, I want to...
Chapathi dal grilled chicken - Diet meal

Chapathi, Dal and Grilled chicken – Diet meal

At times it’s hard to believe that something as good as it tastes could be good for you. It was so with this Chapathi, Dal and grilled chicken combo. Delicious, wholesome and satisfying. I wouldn’t mind having this meal again and again. Except for the chapathi, the rest of the components of this meal are almost no effort.   There are hundreds of flavours for your grilled chicken. I happened to have some leftover Thai red curry paste which I rubbed into the chicken and let it marinate for an hour before placing it on a cookie sheet in the hot oven and grilled for 30 minutes, flipping half way through. While the chicken cooked, I pressure cooked toor dal with salt and green chillies till soft, mashed it and finished with a simple tempering of mustard seeds and oil. I cut up a couple of carrot and beans into long strips and steamed them in my idli steamer. I made chapathis last. You can buy Thai red curry paste at stores if you don’t want to bother making it at home. If you are not crazy about Thai red curry flavour, you could try Tandoori style, Teriyaki or a simple lemon-salt-black pepper version. This is a meal you can serve your whole family. But good luck with the steamed vegetables. I ate most of them. Happy Dieting! Let’s do this – Project 50k!

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