Archive for category There goes my evening

vegetable salna (diluted curry)

If you happen to travel to the southern most states of India such as Kerala and Tamil nadu, one cannot miss the sight of fast food shops on street, one after the other, some sell fried rice and noodles, some ‘parotta and salna’. These street side shops are a life-saver for the working class.  It’s a quick 10 minute fast-food that you can grab and go and it’s pretty delicious.

vegetable salna and parotta

I tried making the parotta (yes,  from scratch) to go with this curry, but there’s definitely lot of room for improvement, hence I shall save that for a later post.   If you are interested, you can find tons of recipes online to make it from scratch.  Coming back to the highlight of the post, ‘salna’, which is a diluted form of curry cooked with pieces of meat such as chicken or lamb or just some veggies.

you will need:

  1. ½ red onion or 4-5 pearl onions chopped coarsely
  2. 2 tomatoes chopped coarsely
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 4 cloves
  5. 1 stick of cinnamon
  6. 2 tsp of fennel seeds
  7. 1 tsp of poppy seeds
  8. 1 tsp of black pepper corns
  9. 4-5 garlic cloves
  10. 1” piece of ginger
  11. ½ cup shredded coconut
  12. 4 cashewnuts
  13. 1-2 tsp of red chilli powder
  14. 1 tsp of coriander powder
  15. ¼ tsp of turmeric
  16. 1 cup of veggies (peas, carrot and cauliflower)
  17. salt to taste

make it:

to grind:

* In a wide pan, add 2 tsp of oil, and add items 1- 11 and fry them for 5-7 minutes until the onion and tomatoes get partially cooked.

* Add the chilli + coriander + turmeric powder, mix well and let it cool for 10 minutes.  Add the cashews to the mix, and grind everything to a coarse paste by adding ½ a cup of water

for the curry:

* If you have a pressure cooker pan, that is ideal, else, a wide non-stick pan is sufficient.

* Add 3 tsp of oil, once the oil is heated, add the vegetables of your choice, sauté for 4-5 minutes.  If you like chunks of tomatoes and onions in the curry, you can add like 1/2 of chopped red onions and 1 tomato and fry them with the vegetable for 3-4 minutes (they really don’t need to get too soft)

* Add the ground curry paste, add 2 cups of water, salt to taste and let it come to a boil (should take about 7-8 mins)

* Close the cooker and let it pressure cook for 1 whistle or pressure release.  If using a pan, let it cook for 15- 20 minutes, until vegetables get cooked and you can see a layer of oil forming on the surface of the curry.    Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with Parotta, Idli or Dosa.

Note:  This curry is supposed to be liquid and runny than the usual consistency of curries, so you might not see it thickening that much, as we added at least 2 cups of water.  However, due to the cashews and coconut from the ground paste, it will tend to thicken a bit


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Spelt Dinner rolls

After a few no so proud attempts of no knead breads, I am back to making rolls using some kneading strength.

Mix 1 cup spelt flour + ½ cup bread flour + ¾ cup water + 1tsp of yeast + 1 tbsp sugar together in a wide bowl, roughly and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours or ever 24 hours.

Final Dough:
When ready to make the final dough, add the sponge + 1 to 1/2 cup of bread flour (adjust)+ ½ cup of whole wheat flour + 2tbps of non-fat milk powder + 4 tbsp of honey + 1 tsp of salt + 5tbps of flax meal + 3 tbsp of butter. Mix everything together until the dough comes together from the sides of the bowl. The water from the sponge was enough, hence I did not add more water. If your sponge does not have enough liquid for the final dough, add milk/water accordingly.

Total flour used: 3 – 3.5 cups (bread + spelt + whole wheat flours)

Note: I did not add any additional yeast to the final dough.

On a floured surface knead the dough for good 5 minutes, let it rest for 2 minutes,, and knead for another for 5-8 minutes until it comes to a soft ball, and place it in a well oiled bowl for first rising.

After 1.5 hours, it would double, punch down, and roll into small balls and placed in a cake pan lined with parchment paper and oiled mildly. Place the rolls about ½ inch apart giving them room to grow, and set it in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled, and preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 25 – 27 minutes, and once it is done, set it on a rack to cool and run warm butter over the top, to soften the crust.

I just love how much the magic of kneading does to bread, my next goal is to make this recipe as a sandwich loaf. Its chewy and soft all it needs some warm butter smothered over it.

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tofu vegetable saute with schezwan seasoning

Besides meat and eggs, I try to maintain my protein intake by eating tofu at least twice a week. However I am short on new tofu recipes, but this one is an all time staple and seldom a failure.

You will need:
1) 1 pack of extra firm cubed tofu (if you buy uncubed, cube them into 0.5 inch cubes)
2) 1 cup of mixed vegetables of broccoli, beans, snow peas, carrots, bell pepper
3) 1 pack of schezwan sauce mix
4) 2 tbsp of soy sauce
5) 1/4 cup water
6) 1/2 tsp of sugar (depending on desired sweetness)

Make it:

1) In a bowl, mix items 3 – 6 and set aside (The sauce mix has corn-starch, hence no need to add any starch separately)
2) In a wide skillet, add 2 tbsp of oil, and lay out the cubes of tofu in a single layer and brown the sides for about 2-3 mins each side on medium flame. Set aside
3) Add 2 tbsp of oil, turn up the heat, add all the mixed vegetables, and saute them for 4-7 mins on medium -high heat until they are crunchy and almost 3/4 cooked
4) Now add the sauce mix, the fried tofu, gently mix it all together and simmer for 5 to 7 mins until the sauce thickens. Serve hot with Jasmine rice.

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cracked wheat upma

My recent trip to visit some of my friends got me reminded of ‘upma’. Back home, not many are fond of this dish growing up; reason being, the simplicity of the dish could demand less focus, and hence the result of a so simple recipe could easily be messed up. But growing up I have enjoyed every bite of some of the most delicious upma in my home as well as my aunt’s. This is usually made for dinner/breakfast as an alternative to rice with either sooji or with cracked wheat.


You will need:
* 1 cup of chopped beans + carrots + 1 potato (optional)
* 4 green chillies slit lengthwise
* 1 medium onion sliced lengthwise
* 1/2 inch of ginger finely chopped
* 1 medium tomato finely chopped
* 1 cup of cracked wheat lightly roasted
* 2 tbsp of ghee

Make it:
1) In a wide pan, add 3 tbsp of oil + jeera + mustard seeds
2) Once they splutter, add the chillies + onion + ginger, fry for 2 minutes and add the chopped veggies, followed by tomatoes and salt and stir it all together and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes get mushy
3) Add 2 cups of water, adjust the salt and let it come to a boil
4) Soon after the water starts to boil, add the cracked wheat and mix everything together and simmer the heat for about 10 – 12 minutes; once all the water is evaporated, add the ghee and serve hot

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a tasty bite… fried rice

Some of the days a feeling of nothing encroaches you more than you think… though I have everything I wanted I feel my friend here knocking on my door.  These are the days, when I find strength to not to focus on it and indulge in activities that give me my daily dose of energy.   Okay, let me stop my rant, and jump to the recipe that I love to make any day, come what may…




You will need:
* 1 cup jasmine rice; rinse and let it cook with 1.5 cups of water, at high to start and simmer for 20 mins after the water comes to a boil.  Check whether the rice is cooked, and spread it on a plate with a fork, so grains come apart
* 1 cup of bean sprouts (if you are using a canned, rinse it thoroughly)
* 1 cup of mixed vegetables of your choice ( broccoli + carrots + beans + snow peas)
* 2 tbps of light soy sauce
* 1/2 tsp of chilli powder + 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (according to your desired spiciness)
* 1/2 tsp of salt

Make it:
1) In a wok, add a tsp of oil, and fry the veggies for about 5 mins in medium high flame (don’t overcook, let it retain the crunchiness)
2) Add the chilli powder followed by rice + soy sauce + chilli flakes + salt + sprouts;  mix well and serve hot

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