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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Vazhakka MorKuzhambu lunch

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Simple everyday thali

Green plantains (vazhakka) and yogurt based mor kuzhambu is one of the favorite combinations for my husband. My mother in law used to prepare this at least a couple of times in a month. Mor kuzhambu also pairs well with parippu usili. That’s a favorite with my husband as well. For today’s thali, I had only the South Indian part of the meal planned. I had some cooked black eyed peas in the fridge so at the last minute I added the roti and curry also to the thali.

On days when I make rice and roti, my son will eat only the roti. Rice is for the days when he has no other choice. Well, I am not complaining much since I wasn’t a fan of many South Indian dishes at his age. Since he eats rice, I will take that for the time being.

I was able to cook with a lot of enthusiasm when I was started preparing the thalis. I have just four more to do now and somehow I am not finding that energy to get it done. I keep finding some or the other reason to keep postponing it. I guess for the last week of the marathon, I will end up cooking and posting on the same day. It’s the shopping that I have been postponing. Hopefully I will get it done soon!

Read on for the recipes and pictures.

The thali has

  1. Rice
  2. Mor kuzhambu
  3. Vazhakka
  4. Lobia curry
  5. Roti
  6. Cucumber slices

Vazhakka:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Once it pops, add 2 cloves of minced garlic. When it changes color a little, add two peeled and diced green plantains.
  • Now add the spice powders – 1 teaspoon each of red chili powder and coriander powder. Add salt as needed and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder too. Sprinkle a little water, mix everything carefully. Cover and cook, removing the lid to mix in between to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the plantains are cooked, turn off the heat. Serve with rice and any yogurt based gravy.

Mor kuzhambu

  1. Soak 1 tablespoon each of rice and toor dal in a small bowl for at least 20-30 minutes. Drain and grind along with 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds, 2 green chilies and 1” piece of peeled ginger. Make a smooth paste of this adding water as needed. Keep aside.
  2. In a pan, add a teaspoon of oil. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds. Once it pops, Add the vegetable of your choice for the mor kuzhambu. You can use ladies finger, ash gourd, plantains, yam etc. Add half teaspoon of turmeric powder and Let the vegetables cook. Once it’s cooked, add the ground paste and half cup of water.
  3. Now blend 1 cup of yogurt in the blender jar for a couple of minutes. Add this to the pan. Lower the heat and let it cook. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. This is to ensure that the heat doesn’t curdle the yogurt. Serve with rice and vazhakka.

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Pudina Lachha paratha

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 6
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

For the last day of flatbread week, I have a simple thali with pudina paratha. A google search for pudina paratha showed me that’s it’s mostly served as layered paratha (lachha paratha), so I also did the same. I love making lachha paratha, though it’s been a long time I made it. The thali here is a very simple one, the parathas are served with a simple dal and dal makhani. Dal makhani is one of my go to dishes when we have guests coming or to take for a pot luck. Rajma and chole are the other two favorites. When cooking with beans, the biggest advantage is that you can cater to more people without having to cut too many vegetables.

Though I enjoyed making the paratha thalis a lot, I made those back to back. As a result, at the end of the week, I was feeling bloated and heavy after eating such rich food for a week. At my age, you kind of need a little break between two thalis :-))! Next time I will plan better and spread these out over few days. That’s the reason why I decided to make a simple thali for the last post under this theme.

Scroll down for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Pudina paratha
  2. Dal makhani
  3. Moong dal tadka
  4. Green garlic chutney
  5. Yogurt
  6. Gulab jamun (readymade)
  7. Lemon Pickle

Pudina paratha:

  • 2 cups wheat flour/atta
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • Salt as needed
  • water to knead into a dough

Method:

  1. Wash, clean and mince the mint leaves. Add it to a mixing bowl along with the wheat flour, chili powder, oil and salt. Add water in 1/4 cupfuls and knead it into a soft smooth dough. Keep aside for 15 minutes to rest.
  2. Divide the dough into 6-8 balls. I usually make 3 chapatis from one cup of flour. Roll out into plain chapatis or if you want the lacha paratha layers, refer to the original post here for stepwise pictures.
  3. Cook on a heated tawa and repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve hot with a curry of your choice or with yogurt and pickle or chutney.

Dal makhani

  • 3/4 cup whole black urad dal
  • 1/4 cup Rajma
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and soak both the dals together overnight or at least for 5 hours. Drain, rinse and pressure cook with about 3 cups of water. You need enough water so that the dal is completely submerged and there is about an inch of water above the dals. I cook for 25 minutes in Manual mode in instant pot (Pot in Pot method). Let the pressure release naturally.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan. Add the finely minced onions. Sauté until it’s done and add finely chopped tomatoes. You can add puréed tomatoes too. Add the spice powders, salt and ginger garlic paste. Mix well and cook until the tomatoes are done.
  3. Once the tomatoes are cooked and mushy and the oil floats on top, add the dal along with the water it’s cooked in.
  4. Add 1 cup of water (or more) to bring it to the consistency you prefer. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes in low heat. Keep stirring in between to prevent the dal sticking to the bottom of the pan. The longer it cooks, tastier it would be. You might have to add more water if it starts getting too thick.
  5. Add the cream and mix it in. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in a tablespoon more of cream at the time of serving.

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Paneer paratha thali

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

Like I had mentioned in an earlier post, paneer was not something we grew up eating. Dishes like paneer butter masala and palak paneer were alien until I was in college. Eating at restaurants was also not a thing to do at the time. It was not only because of financial constraints, but also because of the belief that hotel food was not prepared with the high levels of hygiene that we maintain at home. It all changed around the time we started college, when better hotels started coming up, the younger generation started eating out and the buying power went up because of IT jobs.

Well, all I was trying to say was growing up paneer dishes was not common in our house. EXCEPT for this chapati. Though we call it paneer chapati, it’s actually a paratha. My mother used to make this paneer stuffed chapati every once in a while. She would make paneer from scratch and Use the leftover whey to prepare the chapati. Paneer would then be processed with a little coriander leaves, green chilies and salt to get a coarse mix that looks more white than a completely green paste. That’s the filling she used to make this paneer chapati. I always end up using more coriander than needed and end up with a green paste with no white to be seen anywhere 🙄!

I prepare this chapati once in a while and whenever I make it, I feel nostalgic. This really doesn’t need any side dish, not even yogurt and pickle. But amma always used to serve some curry, so for the thali here, I paired it with Chana dal with lauki and a tindora curry. I had some leftover rice which I made into onion rice. I keep making tomato rice or coconut rice or onion rice with leftover rice. It’s an easy way to bring some variety without too much of work involved. The rice doesn’t need any side dish but definitely pairs well with both the Curries and yogurt or chutney. We finished the meal with some readymade gulab jamun.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The paneer paratha thali has

  1. Paneer paratha
  2. Green chutney
  3. Sautéed onion rice
  4. Tindora (Ivy gourd) curry
  5. Lauki Chana Dal
  6. Yogurt
  7. Salad
  8. Gulab jamun (readymade)

Paneer paratha :

  • For the dough :
    • Mix water and a little salt to 1 cup wheat flour and knead into a soft smooth dough. Set aside to rest.
  • For filling :
    • Process 1/2 cup of paneer with 2-3 green chilies, 1/4 cup packed coriander leaves and salt as needed in a food processor to get a very coarse mix.
  • To make parathas :
    • Take a lime sized ball of the dough and roll it out into a small circle. Keep a tablespoon of filling inside. Bring the sides to the center to close the filling inside the dough. Roll out into a paratha using flour to help with the rolling. Cook on a heated tawa and add a teaspoon of ghee to it. Cook both sides of the paratha and repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve with a curry of your choice.

Sautéed onion rice :

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil or ghee in a pan. Add one big onion sliced lengthwise along with 2 green chilies sliced lengthwise into two pieces. Sauté until the onions are soft and cooked. Add salt as needed.
  • Add 1 cup of leftover cooked (and preferably cooled) rice and carefully mix. Turn off the heat once everything is combined well and the rice is heated through. Serve with any curry of your choice or on its own too.

Lauki Chana dal :

  • Pressure cook 3/4 cup chana dal with 2 cups of diced and seeded lauki (bottle gourd) and water as needed. I cooked for 8 minutes in instant pot. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Heat a spoon of oil or ghee in a pan. Add one teaspoon of mustard seeds and once it crackles, add a medium chopped onion. Sauté it until it turns pink. Now add a chopped tomato, 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and 1 teaspoon chili powder. You can add a teaspoon each of garam masala and coriander powder too. Once the tomatoes are cooked and mushy, add the cooked Chana dal with the water it’s cooked. Add more water if needed and bring everything to a boil. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves. Keep covered until the time of serving.

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