Tenga Sambar

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BM# 98: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Dish for each meal

Planning a day to day menu doesn’t come easily for me, yet it’s a quality that comes naturally to many. I tend to repeat recipes I like and many a day, it’s a combination of rice, sambar and a vegetable on the side. I have started switching rice with quinoa a lot. The kind of sambar and the veggies also keep changing, but the structure of the meal is essentially the same.

Funny fact is that despite the heavy rotation, these recipes are our favorites – What one could call comfort food. I prefer dal sambar over all else, so does my husband, but today I am going to introduce you to one of my mother’s oft repeated recipe.

Back at my house, we have coconut trees in our yard and so our cuisine uses it heavily. Combine it with the fact that my dad doesn’t like dals (he claims it gives him gas), coconut based gravies are the way you to go. I guess my mother gave up her preference of dal sambar to accommodate my dad’s wishes and also to save her from cooking different dishes for everyone.

To make a coconut based sambar, usually the spice mix is prepared fresh. You have to roast coriander seeds and red chilies first and then grind with roasted or plain coconut to make a paste. This paste is the flavor imparting base. My mother had developed a short cut, she would grind the coconut and her homemade sambar powder to make the paste. Her point was sambar powder is already made at home, why make another tiny batch just for one dish?! Well, I agree with her. It may not taste exactly like the freshly made paste, but this one is tasty as well and extremely easy to make. That’s definitely a bonus for anyone who likes to cut out extra work 😬

Read on for the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon sambar powder
  • 4-5 small eggplant or another vegetable of your choice, diced into big chunks
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 diced tomato, optional
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 3-4 pearl onions

Grind half cup grated coconut with one tablespoon of sambar powder to make a smooth paste. You might have to add a little water to help with the grinding.
Heat 3 cups of water in a thick pan. Add 4-5 diced small eggplants and a teaspoon of tamarind paste to it. Let the egg plants cook completely. Now add the ground coconut paste with salt as needed (I add a little less than a teaspoon). Bring it to a boil.


If preferred, add a chopped tomato as well to the sambar. let it simmer and keep cooking until its a little thick. If the sambar is too thin, you can make a lumpfree paste of rice flour or wheat flour with a little water (1 heaped tablespoon flour to 4 tablespoons of water would do) and add it to the sambar. let it come to a boil and cook off the raw flour. Taste test and turn off the heat. For the tadka, heat a teaspoon of coconut oil. Add half a teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1-2 dried red chillies. once the mustard crackles, add 3-4 diced pearl onions. Saute until its cooked.

 
Add the tadka to the sambar. Add some freshly chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything well and serve hot with rice and a vegetable on the side.

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Baingan Mutter Makhini

mymy k

I can not believe that my small break has (again) turned into a major vacation from my blog. Given the fact that I do this at least once in two years, I won’t say I am surprised by this behavior now.

With the overdose of information from social media, I find that I need a break more frequently than before. Now my everyday food is mostly from simpler sources like books and recipes from friends. I will be back to the blogging scenario, but right now I am taking it slow.

While we are on the topic of recipe from books, this one is also from Raghavan Iyer’s 660 curries. It’s a book that I really like and this recipe was also a success like the other ones I tried. It’s similar in some ways to baingan Bharta but with fresh cream and cashews involved :-). Read on for the recipe and stepwise pictures.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 big eggplant
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cashews or blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2″ long piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tomato chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt as needed

Method:

Rub one teaspoon of oil all over the eggplant. Poke holes all over it using a fork and microwave it for about 8 minutes until its cooked. Take out keep aside until its cool enough to handle.

Peel the eggplants and discard the stem. Mash using a fork or roughly chop using a knife. Add this into a bowl and mix in 2 cups (fresh or frozen) peas, 1/2 cup coriander leaves, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt. Set this aside while we prepare the gravy.

In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil. Add one medium sliced onion, 1/4 cup blanched almonds (or cashews), 2 tablespoons raisins, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 2″ piece of chopped ginger. Cover and let this cook until the onion is caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Add one chopped medium tomato half way through and let it also cook without mixing it in too much.

Once the mix is cooked through, let it cool a bit and grind into a paste, adding a little water if needed.

Clean the skillet and heat it now with one tablespoon of ghee. Add the eggplant and peas mixture and let it cook uncovered until all the moisture has been absorbed. Stir in between to prevent browning. This might take about 10 minutes. Add the onion paste to the cooked eggplant.

Add half cup of cream to the mixer jar to dislodge any remaining onion paste stuck to the jar. Pour the cream to the curry. Mix everything and cook for another 5 minutes, taste testing and adjusting the seasonings if needed. Serve with some ghee on top if preferred.

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Coconut Oatmeal Raisin cookies

I was planning on a complete different set of recipes for this week’s theme of US based recipes. But one look at my drafts folder convinced me that I was done with the theme before I even started. A well stocked drafts folder (magic folder) is definitely helpful ;-). 

Cookies are a big part of US food scene. My son loves chocolate chip cookies but my favorite is the oatmeal raisin cookies. Last year one of our friends gifted us a batch of her oatmeal cookies. It was made with whole wheat and it had coconut in them. Oatmeal with coconut was an unexpected but delicious combination. 

I got the recipe from her and promptly lost it when I switched phones. Finally I ended up looking online for an alternative recipe and that’s when I came across the one at Allrecipes.com. I replaced the chocolate chip in the recipe with raisins  and reduced the sugar a tiny bit but didn’t make any other changes. This is not a whole wheat recipe either but I prefer plain flour for treats and desserts anyway. 

 Read on for the recipe and enjoy the treat. 


Makes 2.5 dozen cookies, depending on the size 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (226 grams)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 
  • 2 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1-2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Method:

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature. Beat it in a stand mixer with the two sugars until it’s soft and light. Add eggs one at a time and keep beating until well combined. Add in the vanilla extract, milk, baking soda and beat it in. 
  2. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour in batches. Follow it up with the oats and coconut in batches. The crushed nuts and raisins go in after that until everything is uniformly distributed. 
  3. Drop Tablespoon full of dough in a parchement lined baking tray leaving space between cookies to expand. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Take off the oven and let it cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Store in airtight containers once completely cool. 


BM # 82: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : USA
Recipe: oatmeal raisin cookies with coconut

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Creamy mushroom soup


We have come to the end of a month long blogging marathon and this is the last recipe of the day. It’s adapted a little from All recipes site

The recipe is very simple – cook the mushrooms and onions, make a roux with flour and milk, and cook everything together. Usually cream is used for this recipe, but I decided to go lighter and used milk instead. I also didn’t want a really thick soup, so decreased the amount of flour a bit and increased the liquids. I usually add cooked white beans or black beans to my soups to up the filling factor. Here it would have helped with increasing the protein also, but I had to skip it since I didn’t have any that day. 

Read on for the recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chopped white mushrooms 
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoon butter in a pan. Sauté onions until it’s a little pink. Add the mushrooms and cook until it changes color. 
  2. Add one cup of vegetable broth or water and let the mushrooms cook completely. Take off the heat and once cool, purée in a blender, keeping a little aside for adding on top at the time of serving. 
  3. Heat the rest of the butter in a pan. Add the flour and mix it for a few seconds. Add the milk, seasonings and the puréed mushroom mix. Cook everything stirring frequently to avoid lumps. Add one cup of water or broth (or more) if the soup is too thick. 
  4. Take off the heat and serve with a piece of bread. 

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