Monday, September 28, 2015

Beetroot Raita ( Beet salad with yogurt dressing); Meatless Monday.

For most of my meals, I have to have a raita or salad or Kosumbari present. This ensures that I get my daily vegetable quota regardless of what my main course is. I have to admit, that I also like the combination of cold raita with hot food! Weird right?? Well, then again may be not. Cold salads, raitas and condiments have been an integral part of the Indian cuisine and they are always served with main course that is hot. Anyways, that's something we could discuss at length about.. Let us save it for another time.I regularly make beet upkari( sauteed beets/ stir fry). Today, I am bringing to you another of my favorite raitas: beet root raita. We all know that beets are very healthy. Pair it with the probiotic that is yogurt and you have a very healthy dish that is delicious and very easy to rustle up!

Servings:  2


Beet: 1 medium sized, boiled aldente
Yogurt: 1 cup
Green chilli: 1, chopped finely
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves( cilantro) for garnishing.

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal( split matpe beans): 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Red chilli: 1 small,broken


Beat the yogurt using a spoon until it is homogeneous. Add this to a bowl.

Peel and dice the cooked beet root. Add this to the above bowl. 

Add the chopped green chilli and salt and mix well.


Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds.

Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal . Sauté for 10 seconds. Add the curry leaves and red chillies. Add this to the above bowl.

Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves ( optional).

Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

I am bringing this to my friend Angie's Fiesta Friday #88!  Julie@ Hostess at heart and Liz @ Spades, spatulas and spoons are co-hosting this week!

Cooking made easy:

You can first peel, dice and then cook the beets too. I like to cook them first as it is much easier to chop them when they are already cooled . I also like to use the pressure cooker to cook them. I usually cook them when I am also cooking something else in the cooker; for example: rice.

Another cool trick is that I make raita out of beetroot upkari when it is  leftover the next day. Best use of waste.

Tip for healthy living:

Beets are known for their health benefits. It is the new superfood purported to help prevent many of the life-style related health conditions like blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.Studies have found that in blood pressure reduced significantly after consuming 500 ml of beet juice. It helps regulate the digestive system and prevent constipation due to it's high fiber content.It also helps reduce chronic inflammation due to the choline it contains. It is also supposed to have detoxifying properties and even help prevent the progression of dementia.

Food for thought:

Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets. Unknown

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ragi Masala Dosa ( Crispy millet crepe stuffed with sautéed carrots); Gluten free, Diabetes Friendly Thursday.

Served with coriander-coconut chutney and mixed vegetable sambhar

Masala dosa, paper masala dosa are all favorites in my home. Every weekend or every other weekend I make it. Every now and then, I try to make it healthier by substituting the traditional ingredients with healthy ingredients. Traditionally, sauteed seasoned potatoes are used as stuffing in these dosas. I have swapped the potatoes with carrots. This was a big hit when I made the tricolor masala dosa. Some of the successful variations that I regularly make is quinoa masala dosa and the Ragi masala dosa. The crepes made with  both these batters come out as crispy as the regular masala dosa batter. Today, I am going to share with you the recipe for Ragi masala dosa. Ragi is basically finger millet that is cultivated predominantly in Karnataka State of India since the iron ages. It is one of the key ingredients of the staple diet of Karnataka .It  It is a great source of protein and extremely healthy and nourishing. You can read more about it in the footnote section below.

Served with coriander-coconut chutney and mixed vegetable sambhar

This recipe is part of the Diabetes Friendly Thursday series. There are many diabetic people who are intolerant to gluten or have celiac disease and cannot consume food items that have gluten in them: wheat, barley and rye.DFT is not only diabetic friendly but has also stepped up to go " GLUTEN FREE" this time! Enjoy the gluten-free diabetic friendly recipes from the DFT bunch!

Creating Recipes with a Cause!

I am a proud DFT blogger. 

To learn about DFT, read this link

To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

Made at a different time, served with ridge-gourd peel chutney and sambhar.

Servings: 6 ( One masala dosa per person)

Ingredients :

For the batter:

Ragi flour: 1/2 cup
Chana dal( split yellow peas): 2 tbsp
Urad dal( split matpe beans): 3 tbsp
Raw rice: 1/3 cup
Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds ): 1/4 tsp
Salt: to taste
Water: for soaking and grinding

For the carrot bhaji:

Carrots: 2 medium sized, diced
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp ( any cooking oil can be used)
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Green chilli: 1 medium sized, slit
Salt : to taste

For the garlic chutney: click here for the recipe.

For the mixed vegetable Sambhar: click here for the recipe.


The dosa batter:

Soak the Chana dal,urad dal, rice and methi seeds together in water for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Grind all the ingredients  that were soaked to a batter with fine consistency using minimal water .The batter should not be runny. Let it ferment for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Add the Ragi flour to 3 cups water and mix well. Keep aside for 15-20 mins . 

The water and flour separate. Discard the top dark brown water. The sediment at the bottom will be lighter in color. 

Mix the Ragi sediment to the rest of the ground batter. Make sure that you mix it thoroughly. Add salt and mix well.

This part can be done just before making the dosa or can be mixed just after the rest of the batter is ground and ready. Again the batter should not be runny.

The stuffing ( baji):
Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and slit green chilli. Add the chopped carrots and salt. Cover and cook until the carrots are tender,around 10 minutes, stirring in between. Turn off the flame. Garnish with cilantro leaves and keep aside.

The garlic chutney: recipe here.

The mixed vegetable Sambhar: recipe here.

Putting it together:

Heat the griddle until hot on medium-high flame. Sprinkle a little water on the griddle. 

Add 1/2 cup dosa batter to the center of the griddle and spread it thin in concentric circles from inside to outside of the griddle. 

Add a few drops of oil to the edges of the dosa to make it crisp.

Cook the dosa until the underside begins to turn crisp. 

Smear the chutney to the center of the dosa. 

Place a tablespoonful of carrot bhaji on top of it. 

Roll the crepe as you remove it off the griddle or you could fold it into a triangle.

Served with coriander-coconut chutney and mixed vegetable sambhar

Serve immediately with coriander-coconut chutney and sambar. You could serve it with any chutney of your choice.

Made at a different time, served with ridge-gourd peel chutney and sambhar.

The dosa may appear darker than the regular masala dosa, but the taste is just awesome and makes for a balanced, healthy, nourishing breakfast to kick-start your day and something that will keep you full until lunchtime.

Do give it a try.I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday!


Cooking made easy:

You could mix the Ragi sediment into the mixer itself and blend it with the rest of the batter once the rest of the batter has been finely ground.

You can choose vegetables of your choice for the stuffing. Any combination of healthy, non-starchy vegetables will do. Sambhar for me is a great way to clean up the fridge. If you are out of vegetables, you can make Sambhar with just shallots or onions that have been diced large. It tastes delicious!

Footnotes( tip for healthy living):

Ragi/ finger millet is a healthy grain that is gluten free and is a great alternative to wheat. For time immemorial, finger millet has been a staple part of the diet of residents of Karnataka, a South Indian state. Karnataka happens to produce 58% of the Ragi grown in India.Ragi is one of the few grains that does not need to be polished and therefore is minimally processed. Ragi is a great source of protein, calcium and iron, hence very important for vegetarians and vegans. It has the highest percentage of protien when compared to other grains.It has a higher mineral content compared to all other cereals. It contains important amino acids that are not found in other cereals. It has the highest calcium  and potassium content in comparison with other cereals. It is also a great source of iron! It is also rich in B vitamins. It naturally is low in fat and high in dietary fiber due to the presence of it's bran. It is great alternative for rice and wheat for diabetics as it has a low glycemic index an therefore maintains the sugar levels stable for a longer period of time.Bottom-line, it is a very good food item that is beneficial for almost everyone!

The carrots in the bhaji are a great source of Vitamin A ( Beta carotene)  and a host of other powerful health benefits that include cancer prevention and anti-aging! One serving of carrots ( around 1 medium carrot or 1/2 cup chopped) will provide about 210% of the average daily recommended vitamin A, 10% of vitamin K, 6% of vitamin C and 2% of calcium!

The vegetables in the Sambhar contribute towards our daily required servings of vegetables and thereby the essential vitamins and minerals, not to mention the dietary fiber.

Garlic in the chutney is beneficial too as garlic has been purported to have several heart-healthy benefits, anti-cancer properties and supposedly helps in preventing arthritis.

Disclaimer:I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

Do try these other gluten-free dishes from Team DFT:
1. Sonal

2. Parvathy V Nair

3.Prachi Garg

4.Shailja Tomar Gonsalves

5. Anupama Nagarajakumar

6. Apsara Gopalarathnam

7. Suchitra Kamath-Bhat

8. Srividhya Gopalakrishnan

9. Swati NeerajGoyal

Food for thought:

What you are now comes from what you have been, and what you will be is what you do now. Gautama Buddha

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Haldi panna Patholi ( rice cake with sweet coconut filling steamed in turmeric leaves);a Gowri Ganesh Special.

For Gowri Pooja and Ganesh Chathurthi,  patholi is one of the traditional "must-prepare" items. Today, I bring to you haldi panna patholi which every konkani family in South Canara region of India prepares during this festival. It is a delicious dessert that is served with ghee( clarified butter).For this particular dish, a batter of rice is made which is then layered on the center of the turmeric leaf. A sweet filling made of jaggery and coconut is  spread on the center of the rice batter. The turmeric leaf is then folded and steamed. Haldi panna patholi is ready. It is usually served hot with a little ghee on top. Tastes absolutely delicious! Do try this traditional Mangalorean konkani recipe when you have a chance.I am bringing this unique dish to Angie's Fiesta Friday, where this weekend aunt Juju, I mean Judi@cookingwithauntjuju and Quinn@ Dad what's 4 dinner are co-hosts.

Servings: makes about 15-20 patholi.


Turmeric leaves: 15-20 medium sized.

For the batter:

Raw rice: 1 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Water : 1 cup, may not require all.

For the filling:

Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Jaggery, grated: 1/2 cup 


For the batter:

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak the raw rice in 3 cups water for at least 3-4 hours.

Grind the soaked raw rice to a fine batter that is not too runny or not too thick. Keep aside.

For the filling:

Mix the freshly grated coconut and the grated jaggery together, thoroughly. Keep aside.

Putting the patholi together:
Wash the turmeric leaves , tip the stalk off and keep aside.

Keep one turmeric leaf dark side up. Take one tablespoon of rice batter and spread it along the length of the center of the leaf. 

Now take 1/2 tbsp of the filling and place it lengthwise along the center of the rice batter.

Fold the turmeric leaf along the length of it's spine. Keep aside.

Heat 4 cups of water in a idli steamer( pedavane) or in a pressure pan/cooker( without the weight/whistle) until it comes to a boil.

Place all the prepared patholi on the steamer plate in the steamer/ pressure cooker. Close the lid and cook it on medium flame for 8-10 minutes. 

Turn off the flame and leave it closed for another 8-10 minutes.

Serve hot with ghee( clarified butter).


Cooking made easy:

The amount of batter and filling ratio can be varied as per individual taste. Some like a thick batter while others make it almost translucent. Some like a lot of sweet filling, while others like just a little. It is each person's individual preference.You can adjust it based on the level of sweetness that you desire.

Tip for healthy living:

Always try to use jaggery for sweetness instead of sugar. Jaggery is much healthier than sugar. It is more complex than sugar and is digested more slowly than sugar. It is apparently a great source of iron too. It also contains calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Jaggery also apparently aids in digestion as it breaks down and becomes alkaline in the digestive system. Last but not the least, it is also ecofriendly.

Food for thought:

Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star. W.Clement Stone

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mallige Idli ( Steamed rice and lentil cakes); Meatless Monday

Idlis are a staple in my home. Either every weekend or at least every other  weekend I make it. If I have house-guests, then one breakfast is guaranteed to be idli-sambar. And the idli batter has a pretty permanent place in my refrigerator. This is not because I am a South Indian. Well, yes,partly because I am a South Indian, but mostly because everyone at home likes idlis. My husband likes it with Sambhar, I like it with chutney and my kids like it with butter and honey. I like my idlis with some texture. I have spoken at length about the idli texture in my previous idli post.You can find it here. But my kids prefer the super-soft idlis that the Tamilians ( people from the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu) make. These idlis are made differently from the way we Mangaloreans make them. The lentil-ratio is different in that they use more rice and less lentil. They grind the rice to a fine paste while we use rice rawa ( cream of rice).They also use cooked rice and fenugreek seeds in their batter. The result is a homogenous batter that has a very fine puréed texture that results in idlis smooth, soft & fluffy. Now since my kids like it I make this version more often. After all, it is all about the kids!Every now and then I sneak in my version of idlis. :)

This recipe is courtesy my Tamilian friend Vasundhara Rajan, who is more like a mother to me in this country so far away from home.

Servings: makes around 20 idlis


Urad dal( split matpe bean): 1/2 cup
White rice/ Idli rice: 1 1/2 cups
Cooked rice: 1/2 cup
Methi seeds: 1/2 tsp
Water:  for soaking, grinding and steaming as needed.
Salt: 1/2 tsp ( can adjust as per individual taste)


Separately soak urad dal in 2 cups water and rice, methi seeds together in 3 cups water for at least 3-4 hours. I usually soak at night and grind in the morning or soak in the morning before leaving for work and grind in the evening.

Grind urad dal with 1- 1 1/2 cups water until fluffy . Take it in a big bowl .

Separately grind the rice and methi seeds with 1.5-cups water to a fine paste. You can add a little more water if needed.

Now add the cooked rice to this and grind until well mixed. Add this to the bowl with the urad dal.

 Add salt and mix the batter well. The batter has to be thick. It cannot be runny.Allow it to ferment for 6-8 hours.

Grease the idli mold with oil, fill it with batter until 2/3 full and steam in the idli steamer / pressure cooker ( without using the weight) for 8-10 minutes on medium- high flame.

Turn off the heat and let it cool down in the steamer for another 10 minutes before taking them out of the mold.

Idli served with cranberry chutney.

Serve hot with sambar/ chutney or both.

Idli served with sambhar.

Cooking made easy:

Grinding the urad dal in a stone grinder makes it more fluffier as opposed to grinding it in the blender/mixer. It also gives greater yield and requires lesser water to grind.

Grinding urad dal with ice cold water gives better results.

Tip for healthy living:

If dandruff bothers you, try applying a juice of one whole lemon, keep it for 30 mins and then rinse as usual. This when done regularly for at least a month, will reduce the dandruff significantly.

Food for thought:

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. Og Mandino

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bisibelebath ( Rice,lentils and vegetables cooked together and seasoned with spices in a tamarind sauce); Diabetes Friendly Thursday.

Bisibelebath is a traditional dish of the state of Karnataka in India. It is similar to the khichidi that is popular in the northern states of India and Pongal of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Basically these are all one-pot meal in which  dal( lentil), rice and vegetables are cooked together and then tempered with some kind of seasoning. Each region/State has it's own variation with varying amounts of lentils, kind of lentil used, the presence or absence of vegetables, the kind of vegetable used and most importantly the kind of spices used in tempering. All this gives each of these dishes it's own unique taste and therefore an unique identity.In bisibelebath, split pigeon peas or toor dal is used in conjunction with rice and a variety of vegetables. Usually, vegetables that are leftover in the fridge and are not enough to make a simple dish are used for this. Any kind of vegetable can be used. The cooked mixture of lentil, rice and vegetables is then seasoned with tamarind pulp, spice mixture and peanuts. It is traditionally served with a dollop of ghee ( clarified butter) on top.

Creating Recipes with a Cause!

I am a proud DFT blogger. 

To learn about DFT, read this link

To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

This week the diabetes friendly Thursday team is going easy and cooking a one-pot meal for you. Bisibelebath is my contribution for those days when you are seeking comfort food but don't want to do a lot of chopping or dish washing. Cook this meal and serve it piping hot! I have made this dish diabetes-friendly by making a few alterations in the traditional recipe. Traditionally, for bisibelebath toor dal and rice is use in the proportion of 1:2. I have altered this ratio to 1:1 thereby reducing the amount of carbohydrate consumed and at the same time increasing the protein content of the meal. Rice has a higher glycemic index as compared to lentils. I have used parboiled basmati rice instead of the regular white rice or the regular basmati rice as again parboiled rice and parboiled basmati rice in particular has the lowest glycemic index among rices.  I have also loaded the dish with a lot of vegetables thereby making it even healthier and balanced. I have used coconut oil instead of clarified butter ( ghee) for seasoning.  So go ahead, try this dish at home and enjoy it! It is perfect for any meal of the day: breakfast, lunch or dinner! I am bringing this amazing one-pot meal to my favorite party Fiesta Friday! Angie, I know I haven't been at the Fiesta for the past few weeks as I was in India on vacation. I am back now and intend to mingle more now. Kaila @GF 24/7 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes are the co-hosts this week.

Servings: 3-4 ( 2 cups per person)

Ingredients :

Toor dal ( split pigeon peas): 1/2 cup
Parboiled basmati rice: 1/2 cup
Broccoli : 1 small head
Carrot: 2 medium-sized
Green beans: 10-12
Water: 12 cups
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves ( cilantro), chopped: 1 tbsp for garnishing.

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Asofoetida: a pinch
Peanut halves: 1 tbsp ( optional). Can use cashew halves instead.
Sambar powder: 1 tbsp ( any sambar powder can be used. I used MDH brand).
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp dissolved in 1/2 cup water
Jaggery or raw sugar:1/2 tsp


Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 30 mins.

Separate the broccoli florets and keep aside. Separate the hard parts of the stem. Dice the remaining part of the stem. Keep aside.

Scrape the carrots and dice them. Keep aside.

Chop the green beans into 1.5 cms pieces.

Wash toor dal thoroughly and cook it with 6 cups water, salt and turmeric powder  in a pressure cooker until half-cooked ( around 15 mins or 2-3 whistles).

Open the pressure cooker, once the pressure has eased off. Add the washed rice and the chopped vegetables to the cooker with 6 more cups of water and cook until tender without putting on the whistle ( around 15-20 mins).

If you choose to use the whistle on the pressure cooker, just cook until you hear one whistle.

Switch off the flame and keep aside.


Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds to it.

Once they splutter, add curry leaves, peanut halves and sauté until peanut halves are roasted.

Now add hing, sambhar powder and fry for 10 seconds. 

Add the tamarind pulp mixture, jaggery/ brown sugar and bring it to a boil.

Add this to the cooked rice-lentil-vegetable mixture. Mix well.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot. It is usually served with papad on the side. I have served it with onion vodi that have been microwave-fried and cucumber slices .

Note: This dish thickens considerably upon cooling. Therefore add more water while cooking if you find that it is already very thick.

Cooking made easy:

Soaking the rice is not essential. I soaked the rice because it makes the grains longer.

The easiest way to make this dish is to just add the rice, toor dal and vegetables together into the cooker with the required amount of water, salt, haldi and cook it for 20 minutes. Take it out and do the tempering as described above. The only thing is you will not be able to appreciate the individual rice grains and the vegetables may be overcooked. That is why I chose to cook it in stages.

Any vegetable that is left in your refrigerator/pantry can be used. This is a great way to clean out your fridge!

Footnotes(Tip for healthy living):

Parboiled rice has a lower glycemic index than regular rice. Basmati rice has a lower GI than other white rices. Therefore, parboiled basmati rice is one of the best rice options for diabetics next to brown rice.

Toor dal is a great source of protein for vegetarians.

All the vegetables used in this dish: carrots, broccoli and green beans are all non-starchy vegetables with a high dietary fiber content, low GI and therefore a better option for diabetics. They also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals to the body.

Disclaimer:I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

Do try these other one-pot dishes from Team DFT:

Food for thought:

A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day. Andre Maurois