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.
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.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and once it crackles, add the cooked and drained green gram.
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.
Add the prepared paste to the green gram. Add salt as needed and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix in carefully.
Let it cook for a couple of minutes for flavors to mingle. Remove from heat and serve with rice.
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.
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.
Let it cook for about 5 minutes, mixing in between. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat.
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.
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.
I had a teatime platter with Indian snacks in my mind for this theme. But I decided against it since most of it involves deep frying, which I am not very fond of. I have improved enough to do deep fry decently, but the desire to do it is just not there. Deep frying is a hazard for someone like me who washes their hands 150 times a minute and then goes back straight to hot oil with water dripping from hands :D…
I have consciously cut down this hand washing habit when I am cooking, it has also weaned because of the cold weather that remains for a good portion of the year here. Still it happens often that I catch myself dripping water into pans while cooking – Never a good idea when handling hot oil ! So I have never been a good fan of deep frying – it’s hazardous for me :-D
Anyway for the platter here, I shelved the Indian snacks idea for another day and decided to use all the snacks I have at home. I added a couple of sandwiches too as a more filling meal. For the eggplant sandwiches, I used leftover sautéed eggplant from lunch. I would have made a couple more sandwiches, but I was out of bread. I just realized that the tea time platter has coffee instead of tea :-)), well my husband prefers coffee, so this works better for us.
Scroll down for the recipes and more pictures.
The platter has
Crumble two tablespoons of paneer in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons each of very finely chopped carrots and cucumber. Add one chopped green chili. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of sriracha or any hot sauce of your choice. Stir everything together and use as filling on toasted bread.
Heat oil in a pan. Sauté one small onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add one small chopped tomato along with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as needed. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add two medium diced eggplants. Cover and cook, stirring in between, until the eggplants are done. Serve as a filling inside toasted bread.