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...
Channa dal curry

Channa dal in coconut milk

You know you’re a domestic diva when your weekend plan includes operation ‘lice extermination’ from your kids’ heads, you’re planning the menu in the head while walking the treadmill, you make idli maavu, buy veggies, prep them, stock your fridge and feel too tired after all of it and order pizza. You don’t know the latest Netflix shows, your favourite songs are all old and you’re sleeping with an amrutanjan balm by your pillow, it’s safe to say you’re well into aunty-dom. I think it gets better after this. You can finally be the eccentric aunty you always were – recipe gathering, news-avoiding, sports-illiterate, shopping-crazy fat woman with a thing for mookuthis. You don’t feel the need to fit in, to keep up, to stay in tune. You’re happy to be off key, on your own terms in your own world. You feel happy to stay in bed and fall asleep reading. You feel accomplished and light of mind after decluttering the shelves. Now you’re really, truly free. I am happy to say that we’re somewhere close to the halfway mark with the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I hope you’re eating healthy too and you are finding this series useful. I’d love to hear your opinions, suggestions or feedback on the series. Chappathi has been a popular option in my healthy eating series so far because there are umpteen ways to jazz up a simple meal of chappathis and everybody at home enjoys chappathis. Here I serve it with a creamy, lip-smacking Channa dal that is slow-simmered in coconut milk. This dal is my Ammamma’s recipe and a firm family favourite. I was saving this Channa dal curry for a heirloom recipe book along with a grand old story about my Ammamma but I suddenly ran out of recipe ideas and I figured I’d include it in the book too anyways. This dal is made entirely in a pressure cooker and is simple enough to make on a weekday morning. Hot off the stove chappathis served with this warm, comforting channa dal makes for a wonderful, cozy dinner this time of the year. I threw in a cup of sprouts stirfry for an extra punch of protein. Enjoy!   Thanks for reading and thanks all your support and encouragement.  To stay updated on all the posts, like/share/subscribe to foodbetterbegood on facebook, Instagram, google+. Print Recipe Channa dal in...
Peas Poha upma

Peas poha upma

It’s that time of the year in Chennai when everyday is a potential school holiday. Give one holiday and we’re spoilt. We keep checking the news and whatsapp groups for a holiday announcement every day after that. For me, a school holiday means an extra hour of sleep, so that I start cooking late and I am late to office by the same amount of time that I am late on school days. I am consistent that way. I feel vulnerable when I am out of idli maavu (idli/dosa batter). It’s like you’re at a function and nobody seems to notice you and you don’t have your phone, so you can’t act busy. You could have scrolled through your empty whatsapp chat and looked at people’s profile pictures. Now you’re forced to look at people, half-smile because it’s not clear if they’re smiling at you. You end up making conversation with some aunty next to you and realize it’s not so bad after all. You realized you’re not as anti-social as you thought you were. Only when I am out of idli maavu do I explore other tiffen possibilities. I quite enjoy the different tiffens that I come up with and I am surprised I didn’t try these more often. One of those days, I made Peas poha with the leftover Aval (poha) from Krishna Jayanthi. I like my poha on the chewier side, so I don’t cook it too long. If you like it softer, you can sprinkle a little bit of water and cook a little longer. This Poha Upma is infinitely customizable. I skipped the usual boiled potatoes because I wanted to cut down the carbs. Instead I added peas. You could add sweet corn or paneer or anything else you fancy. You can add some grated ginger for extra zing. You can add fried cashews for extra interest. Make it your own. It’s infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Print Recipe Peas poha upma Peas poha upma is infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 5-8 minutes Servings 3-4 people Ingredients 4 cups Poha / Aval / Flattened rice1 cup fresh green peas1 Onion chopped fine2 Green chillies chopped fine1/2 tsp Mustard seeds1/2 tsp Turmeric powderSalt to taste1 lemon, juiced2 tbsp oil1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time...
Nasi Goreng with brown rice

Nasi Goreng with brown rice

I hope your Deepavali preparations are going great. Whether it is making 3 types of sweets and 4 types of murukkus, whether it is buying all of this in stores and putting your feet up at home, whether it is shopping till you’re knocked out and colour-blind and squeezed thin, whether it is sleeping in to shut out the chaos, whether it is buying all the “sara-vedi” (Red fort electric crackers) that you can afford, whether it is about making plans to visit all the relatives or staying in to avoid all of them or whether it is about focusing all your energy into getting your hands on Sarkar tickets; whatever you’re doing, however you’re doing..  I hope you’re having a good time. The honourable supreme court has so thoughtfully provided the 2 hour window for bursting crackers. As a mark of respect for this landmark ruling, some friends plan to burst atleast one bijli every hour. Salute these great people. Now there are only 2 kinds of people – the ones who have tickets to Sarkar and the ones who don’t. I don’t. I hope those who’re watching this week can keep their spoilers to themselves for some time. Until l watch. Deepavali is definitely the time for good food and indulgence. Just remember to eat small portions, single helpings and to eat slowly. You won’t feel guilty later on and you won’t slip from the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ll be making Mutton korma and idli too this Deepavali. I am just going to make sure to eat a small portion of it. If you’re looking for a healthy, yummy fried rice recipe look no further than this Nasi Goreng made with brown basmati rice, loads of veggies, sprouts for some added crunch and protein and an absolutely irresistible hot-sweet flavour blend. Brown basmati rice is nuttier and slightly chewier. It is shorter and stouter than regular white basmati rice but is just as flavourful. Brown rice packs more fibre and is a good alternative to regular white rice. You can substitute chicken with Tofu or paneer for a veggie version of Nasi Goreng. Nasi Goreng is hot and sweet and everything in between. It’s a complete meal in itself. Nasi Goreng is one of my very favourite dishes. This Nasi Goreng with brown basmatic rice is healthier and just as yummy. Try it. I am...
Chicken Aloo Tikki

Chicken Aloo Tikki

I am constantly wondering if Yuvi is as innocent as he seems. I can’t quite make out. I don’t know if I’ve told you this story before. Flashback a few years back when he was barely 4. He asked me one day – “Do you know which girl I like most in the world?” He was in LKG. I wasn’t ready yet for girlfriends and the lot. I knew among his friends, there was one girl. I said, Who da? Neha? Yuvi: No I: Then who? Yuvi: Nee thaan! (You!) I was beyond touched that I was his most favourite girl in the world, that he said it the way he did, that he called me a girl! I nearly cried. I lifted him up, kissed him and danced around the room carrying him. I related this incident to Jagan. He seemed a little less overwhelmed. I put it down to jealousy. A couple of days later my maamiyaar (mother-in-law) said, “Yesterday, you know what Yuvan said? He asked me if I knew which girl he liked the most in the whole world.” I knew what she was going to say. I didn’t want to act too proud. I didn’t want her to feel bad. I tried my best to keep my face modest and curious. Maamiyaar: I asked him if it was his teacher. I didn’t expect her to suspect me but teacher I thought was a bad substitute. Maamiyaar: He said, “No!” Then I asked him, “Is it your amma?” She had exceeded my expectations. She did find out. I beamed. I couldn’t suppress my glee much. Maamiyaar: He said, “No. It is you!” She beamed. I looked at Jagan. Jagan looked at me. We had underestimated little Yuvi. This little man far exceeded his dad’s prowess at chivalry, lying and diplomacy. Jagan seemed to acknowledge that he was the lesser talent here. Yuvi walked in then in his kutty jatti asking me to find his red car. I still couldn’t believe that this little imp in his kutty jatti was also a charmer of aunties, paatis and ammammas. What do I know? This boy also takes after his father in his love for all things meat. I knew that he’d love these chicken aloo tikkis. Hasini enjoyed them too. These chicken aloo tikkis are surprisingly easy to make. Like with most other deep fried items, these can...
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