Mint tomato rice thali

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 6
Theme : Simple everyday thali

It’s been awhile since I made tomato rice at home. So when I saw it in Narmada’s space, it reminded me to prepare it again. We usually serve it with yogurt/raita and/or with potato fry and chips, if we have it at home. At some point, I started adding a handful of mint leaves to tomato rice and I love that combination.

My son likes the curd rice- potato fry combination. He also likes curd rice with pomegranate seeds in it. So I added that too to our lunch menu.

This is a simple meal, easy to put together especially if you have some cooked rice ready. Tomato rice can be made in different ways and mine includes sautéing onions and tomatoes with all the masalas and then adding cooked rice to it. Sometimes I use sambar powder in place of all the spice powders. Adding mint leaves add its own taste, one which I like a lot.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Tomato and mint rice
  2. Onion raita
  3. Potato fry
  4. Curd rice with pomegranate seeds
  5. Omelette
  6. Potato Chips

Tomato rice with mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 big tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions along with chopped green chilies and ginger. Sauté until onions are done.
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook, stirring in between to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it’s dry, add a little water. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and soft. Now add the chopped mint leaves. Mix and let it cook for a minute or two. Add the cooked rice and carefully mix to evenly distribute the tomato mix. Turn off the heat and serve with raita.

Omelette:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of herb of your choice, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilies
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, add the eggs along with herbs, onions, green chilies, salt and pepper. Beat well to mix evenly.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the egg mixture and let it cook. When the bottom is done, Flip and cook the top as well. Take off the heat and serve as a side to rice.

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South Indian veggie meal

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 4
Theme : Simple everyday thali

The thali here is from my drafts. We were visiting my brother in law last Christmas. I had a little bit of this and that in the fridge that I wanted to finish before we went on our vacation. I didn’t want to come back to really sorry looking veggies in the fridge.

Like I mentioned in the last post, when there is a bit of this and that left in the fridge, I always make a poricha kuzhambu. But this time I had more than a bit. So I made a thali specifically to finish off everything. That’s why the dishes there aren’t exactly traditional. I mean, you won’t find mushrooms in a South Indian thali. I had made rasam also to pair with the dry sautés, but forgot to add in the picture.

Thogayal is kind of a thick chutney that you can pair with plain rice and also as a side dish to curd rice. My mother in law makes podi kathirikkai (brinjal with a prepared masala powder) from scratch but I sometimes take a shortcut and use idli milagai podi as a substitute for the masala powder.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Rice
  2. Vangi bath / Brinjal rice
  3. Potato fry
  4. Green gram sundal
  5. Podi Kathirikkai (Brinjal with masala powder)
  6. Pepper mushrooms
  7. Coriander thogayal
  8. Yogurt
  9. Rasam (not in picture)

Green gram Sundal:

  1. Pressure cook 1 cup whole green gram for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep aside. If possible, prepare this a day ahead. The green gram should be cooked completely but not mushy.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and once it crackles, add the cooked and drained green gram.
  3. In a blender jar, make a coarse paste of 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 3 green chilies, 2 pods of garlic and 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
  4. Add the prepared paste to the green gram. Add salt as needed and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix in carefully.
  5. Let it cook for a couple of minutes for flavors to mingle. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Potato fry

  1. Pressure cook 3 big potatoes for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally and once it’s cool enough to touch, peel, dice and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add 2 teaspoons of sambar powder and salt as needed to the oil. Give a quick stir and add the diced potatoes. Mix carefully as to not break the potatoes. If it’s still really hot, it might- like mine did.
  3. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, mixing in between. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat.

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Taco platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 5
Theme : Platters

It’s only recently that we have started making tacos at home. For a vegetarian, it makes sense to make it at home as there aren’t a lot of vegetarian options to choose from. For this platter, I have made a simple lime cilantro rice and refried beans as fillings. Mexican rice, scrambled soya, black beans with salsa are some other excellent choices we have tried.

This was another platter I plan on repeating often. It’s so easy to serve yourself when all the options are laid in front of you. Even otherwise this is how we serve tacos, everything will be in a bowl and all in one place, but in platter is a lot more neater and easier to serve oneself. It would be tough to do this for a bigger crowd, but for the three of us, it would be a good choice.

A lot that goes into the platter are ready to eat toppings like cheese and sour cream or toppings that don’t need a lot of time to prepare. It takes only a couple of minutes to make guacamole and salsa. The corn also takes very little time to prepare. I usually make a corn salsa, but after giving this mayo recipe a try, this is going to be my go to recipe now onwards. If you have cooked beans and rice ready, even refried beans and lime rice take really little time to put together. Initially I was planning on the soya filling and a roasted vegetable filling too, but I decided against it to keep it really simple.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The platter has

  1. Soft tortillas
  2. Hard taco shells
  3. Readymade hot sauce
  4. Sour cream
  5. Guacamole
  6. Fresh tomato salsa
  7. Cilantro
  8. Street style corn topping
  9. Shredded cheese
  10. Lemon wedges
  11. Serrano pepper/jalapeños
  12. Cilantro lime rice
  13. Refried beans

Refried beans :

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Sauté one medium onions and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste) and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Mix it in.
  2. Add 3 cups of cooked pinto beans and 1/2 cups of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove lid and mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher until it comes to the consistency you like. Add salt as needed. If it’s too thick add a little more water to bring it to the right consistency. Turn off the heat, add a handful of chopped cilantro leaves (about 2 tablespoons) and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste test, adjust seasonings if needed.

Cilantro rice

  1. Cook one cup of rice with 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon butter and salt as needed. I do this in a pressure cooker / instant pot.
  2. At the time of serving, add half cup chopped cilantro leaves and juice from half of a small lemon. Taste test and add more lemon juice if needed.

Street style corn: I used frozen corn for this recipe. Thaw 1.5 cups of frozen corn in the microwave. Drain the water. I sautéed this in a pan with a little butter for a few minutes. Transfer this into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chili powder and salt as needed. Stir to combine and add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.

Fresh tomato salsa: In a bowl, add 2-3 finely chopped tomatoes, 1/2 of a medium onion – finely chopped, 1-2 green chilies – minced , juice of half a lime, handful of cilantro leaves and salt as needed. Mix well, taste test and add more lemon juice or other seasonings if needed. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

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Pongal thali

BM #116 : Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Regional Thali

Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu and is a really big festival there. Its traditional to prepare colorful variety rices on the third day of Pongal. I have done a post before detailing the festival here, you can read about it there if you are interested.

This is part of the meal I prepared during Pongal time, so this one is from my drafts :-). I wasn’t planning to take a picture of this thali, but I got a little time before our guests arrived for lunch. So I grabbed a plate and filled it with whatever dishes I could, kept it on the floor and clicked a few pictures. Our guests had reached before I was done and so there is no elaborate pictures or even the picture of the complete meal that we enjoyed. I didn’t add the vegetables or papadam and some other side dishes too in the picture. I was literally holding the plate in my hand when they arrived :D! Since we met right after Pongal, I skipped the traditional sweet Pongal and venpongal. We all had it at our respective houses on the actual day of Pongal.

Traditional South Indian feasts more or less feature the same basic dishes like sambar, rasam, avial and porial. So for Pongal, I like to prepare the variety rice thali if we have someone coming over. This was the last time I prepared a vada at home, because I found out about the frozen vadas soon after this. I love the taste of homemade vada, but I like it that you can defrost and have a single vada whenever you want as opposed to making one whole batch and having to finish it in a day or two.

The plate has

  1. Plain rice
  2. Sambar
  3. Vada
  4. Curd rice with pomegranate
  5. Coconut rice
  6. Lemon rice
  7. Tamarind rice
  8. Semiya payasam
  9. Rasam

Recipe source for Masala Vada : Madras Samayal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Chana dal soaked for 4 hours
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1” piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 green chilies or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced curry leaves
  • Salt as needed
  • Oil to deep fry

Method:

  1. Soak washed and clean Chana dal in water for at least 3-4 hours. Drain completely.
  2. In a mixie jar, pulse the garlic, ginger, green chilies and fennel a couple of times to crush it a little bit. Now add the drained Chana dal and pulse it a couple of times to get a coarse paste. Do not make a smooth purée out of the dal, it needs to be a rougher, coarse paste.
  3. Transfer the dal mix into a bowl and add the chopped onions, coriander leaves, curry leaves and salt. Mix everything well with your hands.
  4. Take a golf ball sized ball of the mixture and press it between your palms to get the shape of a vada. Repeat with the rest of the paste.
  5. Deep fry in batches in low to medium heat until the vada cooks inside and the outside turns golden brown. Do not crowd the pan with too many vadas at the same time for deep frying.
  6. Take off the heat and drain on a kitchen towel. Eat with a hot cup of coffee or tea or as a part of the meal.

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