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...

Peanut/Groundnut chutney – Versatile chutney

I am going to rave about peanut chutney the way people rave about peanut butter. Really, peanut chutney is such a brilliant, peanuttty chutney, it smacks of peanuts. Peanut lovers will love it. I served the peanut chutney with hot, crisp dosais.  Peanut chutney is also a great accompaniment to idli, upma or adai. With a tasty chutney I can down idli/dosai even though we had the same idli/dosai for yesterday’s dinner and possibly yesterday’s breakfast as well. You know the idli/dosai legacy of my family. I love chutneys, not so much sambar. My sister prefers sambar over chutneys. I think these are two fundamentally different people – the chutney lovers and Sambar preferers. Like the sweet lovers and sweet non-lovers. I cannot bring myself to call anyone a sweet hater, so I am calling them a sweet non-lover. I am a sweet loving maniac (I ate one Cadbury bar a day every day during my pregnancy) with a family history of diabetes and a family of irresponsible diabetics and I just don’t understand sweet non-lovers.     I can imagine this peanut chutney making a really good spread for spicy sandwiches instead of the usual green chutney. I think this peanut chutney will be a delightful change but you’d have to pair it appropriately – maybe peanut chutney flavoured spicy chicken sandwich or peanut chutney seasoned fresh cut veggie sandwich. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 7 minsServes: 4 Ingredients Peanuts/Groundnuts – 3/4 cupCoconut – half a medium coconut gratedDry red chillies (long ones) – 4-5Salt to tasteOil – 1 tbsp Tempering Mustard seeds – 1 tspSplit black gram dal/ulatham paruppu – 1 tspCurry leaves – 1 stemOil – 1 tsp Method 1.      Dry roast the peanuts in a kadai/skillet for 5-8 minutes on a low flame till they colour. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from kadai. When they’re warm enough to handle, rub the peanuts between your palms to remove the brown skin. It should fall off easily now that they’re roasted. 2.      Add 1 tbsp oil to the same kadai, drop in the dry red chillies and fry for a few seconds. Then add the grated coconut and the peanuts and fry for 2-3 minutes till the peanuts are slightly browned. 3.      Transfer the roasted peanut mixture to a mixer grinder, add salt and water and grind to a smooth chutney consistency. 4.      Add 1 tsp oil to the...

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...

South-Indian style Chicken soup – Kid friendly version

The Chicken soup I am posting today is an ideal introductory chicken dish for toddlers. It is mild, delicately flavoured and easy on little tummies. This dish is super quick and super easy and it can easily be transformed into an adult version with a few extra spices. I usually serve this soup with rice or as a side with idli. My 3 year old likes chomping on the chicken pieces. For my 1 year old, I dump the rice, soup and a few chicken pieces in the mixer and give a quick blitz, a very quick one so that it is a coarse mixture and not pureed all the way. It’s a good alternative to the usual paruppu saadam (rice and dal). I don’t  usually cook separately for my kids, but sometimes I do. I think once in a while, they deserve their own custom-made meal. I think the entire cooking in the house has in general become more kid friendly – we’ve cut down on the chillies, totally eliminated channa dal from all our  tempering (my kids don’t like biting into the dal), we make more Kormas/dal based curries (which are milder) and there is always idli maavu (Idli batter) in the fridge which is so reassuring. Long day, frenetic action for a function the next day, or the day after the frenetic function, kids sick, maid on leave, power shut-down, or even better – power shut-down and no water in the tank – whatever the odds, as long as you have idli maavu, you can manage.   On holiday trips, I remember how grateful we’d be for the puliche idlis (however sour and rubbery) that Taj served at around 100 rupees per idli (Yes 100!). Most hotels don’t serve idli at dinner buffets or even on order. My kids are by now so attuned to “an idli a day, everyday” routine that nothing else would do. They want their idli. No “kid friendly” macaroni and cheese for them. By the way, nothing is kid friendly when served on porcelain plates or in fancy wineglasses. Not a lot of moms on these hotel decision making panels, I think. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes: 2-3 Ingredients Boneless Chicken pieces – 10 small cubesOnion – 1 choppedTomato – 1 choppedGinger – 1/2 an inch pieceGarlic – 5-6 pods peeledCoriander powder – 1-1/2 tspChilli powder – 1/2 tspTurmeric – 1/4 tspBlack pepper...

Poached Egg Korma

Poached Egg Korma Poached Egg Korma Every family has its Sunday morning ritual. At my mom’s place, it was more of a Sunday afternoon ritual for me and my sister as we rarely ever managed to wake up in the am. We always had rice, paruppu (dal), rasam and fried eggs. This has been my dad’s Sunday brunch for as long as I can remember and we just followed suit. In my husband’s place, it is dosai and poached egg korma. There is something very comforting about these familiar rituals. This is especially true when I am away from home. I start craving the familiarity, the usual tedium. Go on any holiday and I’d start missing our giant-size triple bed (a double bed plus a single bed to accommodate the 4 of us), the bathroom bucket (I am not a shower person/tub person, I am a native Indian (Tamil) and I want my bucket and mug – what is it with five star hotels and buckets?), my cupboard (however messy it is) and idli/dosai!! At home it is unimaginable that I can miss idli/dosai, after all this is what we have every day. Even Murugan idli kadai may be closed on some days but not our idli kadai at home. It functions 24/7 365 days. Once our wet grinder broke down and we thought we may have to go through a day without idli but then we borrowed our neighbour’s grinder to make the idli batter and saved the day. How about that?   So this here is our Sunday morning ritual, Dosai and Poached egg korma. The korma is fresh, simple and beautifully balanced and makes for a hearty breakfast with idli, dosai or chappathi. What’s your Sunday morning ritual? Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time:20 minsServes: 5 Ingredients Eggs – 5Coconut milk extracted from 1 coconutOnions – 2 finely choppedTomatoes – 2 finely choppedFennel seeds – 1 tspCinnamon – 1 inch stickChilli – 1 slit lengthwiseCurry leaves – 1 stemChilli Powder – 3 tbspTurmeric – ½ tspOil – 2 tspSalt to tasteCoriander leaves – handful, chopped for garnishing Method 1.      Heat oil in a kadai and when hot add fennel seeds followed by the cinnamon stick. Add chopped onions and fry till translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes. 2.      When the tomatoes are cooked through, add chilli powder, turmeric powder and half a cup of water...

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