31 July, 2007

Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita

We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience,
and live without heart;
We may live without friends;
we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.
-Owen Meredith, 'Lucile’

We are living in a modern busy world. World filled with busy people, busy families, busy work life with busy routine. We have everything we need or we want at our fingertips. Tired after long busy day at office? No worries, there are hundreds of restaurants or take-a-ways right next to the door. Feel like eating watermelon for Christmas? Just fetch one from local grocery store or supermarket who has them shipped from some exotic corner of the world. Did you say you like Chinese food? No worries, just pop into airport, catch the first plane to china to eat it fresh from the kitchen in few hours. Yes, almost everything is doable in this incredible, modern world. Almost everything… With everything looking incredibly simple can we make cooking as simple as possible? I am not talking about fast food here. I am talking about delicious, tasty, healthy home cooked food packed with nutrition.
I am a through and through “foodie” by heart. Although I love to cook, spending time in the kitchen isn’t always possible. At a same time I am not very fond of popping a pizza from freezer to oven or dialling nearest take-a-way. Eating out and convenience food may sound good for some time but at the same time they are expensive and packed with fats and calories. Having been a big foodie all my life, I have seen my Amma, Aunts and Atte prepare delicious, nutritious and healthy meals with little cooking time. They never compromised on the quality of the food cooked quickly. So express cooking doesn’t mean compromising on taste or quality of the food.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita


When Shaheen of Malabar Spices came with an idea of Express Summer Cooking I was overjoyed. Here not only I can share some of my favourite easy-peasy dishes which take very minimal preparation and less cooking time but also I will get to see and learn from fellow bloggers. At last when it started to feel like summer in my part of the world what more can I ask than collecting some recipes which don’t need me slogging in my kitchen for hours. I can think of lots of other activities for this summer than just sweating away in my tiny kitchen ;)
First dish which came to my mind with the word ‘Express’ was Moong Kichidi, a recipe I learnt from Archana who is a childhood friend of mine. It’s a simple dish which takes very little preparation and cooking time. Kichidi, medley of lentils and rice is a one pot dish cooked with different spices. Kichidi is not just a comfort food but also packed with nutrition. Serve hot Kichidi with thanda-thanda, cool-cool Raita and there is very less chance of you not falling in love with this simple and superb dish. If all these coaxing and cajoling did not excite you then what I am going to say next is surely going to sweep you off your feet. So listen to me carefully. Kichidi is one dish which will not just save your cooking time but also your partner’s time in cleaning the dish ;) So here comes my Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita for this Summer Express Cooking.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rice, Whole & Split Moong


Moong Kichidi
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
1½ cups Rice (I usually use Sona Masuri or Basmati)
½ cup Whole Moong Dal/Green Gram
¼ cup Split Moong Dal
1 large Onion, sliced
2-3 Green Chillies, split
1 inch Ginger, crushed and finely chopped
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
3 Cardamoms, crushed
2 Cloves
½ tsp Black Pepper Powder (Optional)
2 tbsp Oil/Ghee
3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely
Salt to taste

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita


Carrot Raita
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 1-2 mins (Tempering)
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
2 cups Yogurt, beaten
1 big Carrot, grated
1 small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 large Tomato, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Dry Red Chilli
1 tsp Oil
Few Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita

Method:
0 to 8 minutes:
Wash rice and lentils and soak them in water for 5-10 minutes till required.
Chop onions (one for raita and one for kichidi), coriander leaves and ginger finely.
Slit green chillies in center.
Lightly crush the cardamom and clove in pestle and mortar.
Heat oil/ghee in pressure cooker.
~Take a small break and refresh the Food Blog Desam and your Blogroll for new posts.~

8-15 minutes:
Add mustard, jeera and curry leaves and sauté.
When mustard starts to pop, usually with in 30-40 seconds, add finely chopped onion, ginger and green chilli and sauté it for 1 to 1½ minutes.
Now add the crushed spices and sauté it for another minute or so till onions turn translucent.
Drain water from rice and dal and add them with sautéed onion and spices.
To this add turmeric powder, salt to taste and about 6 to 6 ½ cups of water and mix well(add more water if you like it more mushy and soft).
Close the pressure cooker lid and put its weight on and reduce the gas flame to medium.

15-22 minutes:
Peel and grate carrot.
Chop a tomato very finely.
Take yogurt in a mixing bowl and beat it with a whisk for around 30 seconds.
Mix grated carrot, coriander leaves, chopped onions and tomatoes to the yogurt.
Add salt to taste and mix well.
Heat oil in a tadka pan and add mustard, curry leaves and halved dry red chilli.
When mustard starts to pop n splutter transfer the tadka/tempering to raita and mix well.
Keep the raita in fridge to chill.

22-25 minutes:
~Hit refresh button again on your laptop and flick the TV channels~
~Drag your hubby from couch to clean the cutting board and knife and to clear the worktop~
~Meanwhile, set the dinner table~

25-30 minutes:
Switch off the gas after 10-15 minutes or 3-4 whistles.
Don’t rush to open the pressure cooker right away or you will end up with modern art in your kitchen with few nasty burns on your body.
Let it cool down for few minutes before releasing the pressure and open the lid.

After 30 minutes:
Add finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
Serve hot Kichidi immediately with super cool Carrot Raita and enjoy this wholesome meal. (Err… Taking picture and eating time is excluded in this Summer Express Cooking right???? ;)


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Moong Kichidi with Carrot Raita

27 July, 2007

Dal Makhani

Bombay-Goa highway, few hungry students, time well past the lunch hours, speeding bikes at 100 kms per hour, hot and sizzling afternoon… With few ten rupees notes stuck in our pocket we obviously didn’t dare to enter some plush and expensive restaurants with swanky ambience and attentive maitre d’ to greet us with fake smile plasttered. We took a detour to one of the small eat-out joints where you can’t expect to see cushioned chairs and tables in an air conditioned room with soothing music playing in the background. There you will hear blaring sound of Bhangra music and see one small shed which is a cooking area with tandoor (earthen oven half buried in ground) in one corner and huge gas burners cooking creamy and delicious Punjabi food in big metal pots. In an open air, the coir woven wooden cots and a big wooden plank served as a seating and table arrangements. Then came our maitre d’, a small boy in a blue checks knickers and vest who greeted us by slapping a big steel tumbler of water on the rickety table. When we asked for the menu, the little boy started rattling off without pausing for breath… Dal-makhani Dal-fry Aloo-gobi Palak-paneer Matar-paneer Mushroom-masala... With some training the boy surely could give Shankar Mahadevan run for his money with his own album called ‘Dhaba Breathless’ ;) With in few minutes we were served Roties, red onion and green chilli in a big Thali and array of curries filled in generous sized bowls. It didn’t take very long for us to lick the plate clean while the Daler Mehendi sang away ‘Bolo Ta Ra Ra’ in the background.

Yes my friends, I am talking about a Dhaba, which is a small road side restaurant offering quick service to truck drivers and people like me who can go on and on with my love affair with Dhaba food. Originally located on major highways, where they were supposed to cater to truck drivers on long distance travels, these dhabas have now become a popular option with students, professionals and even families. For students like us Dhaba was a god sent gift which not only served delicious food but also at very reasonable cost.

This month’s RCI did took me down the memory lane and I have been cooking Punjabi delicacies one after the other. One Punjabi food I always loved is Dal Makhani. The whole Urad dal and Red Kidney beans simmered in creamy gravy of butter, onion, tomatoes and spices with a liberal dose of cream is something to die for. Butter, spices and cream??? Oh!!! Did I hear some grumblings from my weight conscious friends? You can substitute the cream with yogurt and reduce the amount of Butter to make equally delicious healthier version of Dal Makhani. But I do love to indulge in luxury of rich Indian food once in a while and forget about my expanding waistline ;)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dal Makhani with Poori


Dal Makhani
Prep Time: 10-15 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 30-45 mins
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
1 cup whole Urad Dal/Black Lentils
½ cup Rajma/Red Kidney Beans
2 medium Onions, chopped very finely
2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
2 Green Chillies, slit
2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
½ tsp Anaar Daana Powder/Amchur Powder (optional)
½ tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi(optional)
2-3 tbsp Butter
½ cup Cream/1 cup Yogurt, beaten
Salt to taste
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Dal Makhani

Method:
Soak whole Urad dal and rajma in 3 cups of water overnight.
Next day pressure cook the soaked lentils in 3 cups of water with salt, turmeric powder for about 2 whistles or 15 minutes(approx). Cooked dal should feel soft to touch.
Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening the lid. Stain the water and keep it aside. Now lightly mash the cooked dal with a ladle or masher and keep it aside.
Melt about 1 tbsp of butter in a pan and to this add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add slit green chillies, kasuri methi and ginger-garlic paste and sauté it for around 30 seconds.
Now add finely chopped onions and sauté them over a medium heat for around 2-3 minutes till they turn golden yellow.
Mix in finely chopped tomatoes and sauté it for around 3 minutes.
Add coriander powder, kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala and sauté it for a minute or so till you get nice aroma.
Mix the cooked dal with about one and half cup of water (use the reserved dal water also). Add remaining butter, amchur/anaar daana powder and mix well.
Cover the pan and cook on a medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes till the gravy starts to thicken. I have found that the more time you cook the dal, tastier it is to eat. Adjust the seasoning as per your preference.
Mix in the cream or yogurt and cook again for another 5 minutes in a low heat. Garnish with finely chopped coriander and serve hot with Roties or Rice or Poories(puffed Indian bread) as I did.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Dal Makhani

Did You Know?
The Vedic and Epic period was socially and culturally prolific in the Punjab. During this period, the Hindu scriptures, the Rig Veda and the Upanishads, were composed in the Punjab.
Tradition maintains that the sage Valmiki composed the Ramayana near the present location of Amritsar.
In legend, Krishna delivered the divine message of the Bhagavad Gita at Kurukshetra.
Eighteen principal Puranas were written in the region. The authors of Vishnu Purana and the Shiva Purana belonged to Central Punjab.
Ancient Punjabi Culture during the period of the Indus valley civilization is one of high sophistication and many world firsts, such as the world's first planned cities. Ancient Punjabi Culture is a counterpart of ancient Chinese culture, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and of ancient Greece.
(Source: Wikipedia)

21 July, 2007

Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti & Spiced Butter Milk

Well, well… I never knew my blogger friends had patience to read my bragging all these days until I was tagged for 7 & 8 Random Facts MeMe by Bee, Arundathi, Richa and Priyanka. Thanks ladies for tagging me :) Initially I thought all I have been doing these days were talk about my memories, me and everyone who is connected to my life in one way or the other. Looks like you smart people want me to talk more about myself and talking is what I am exactly gonna do ~smiles wickedly~ Don’t blame me if you fall asleep in middle and start to have second thoughts as why you asked me to write this MeMe. I am just a simple human being who is fulfilling my friend’s wish ;) Those who are not interested in reading all this bragging can scroll down (a lot) and read the delicious Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti and Spiced Butter Milk. Those who still want to test their patience level are welcome to read my 8 Random Facts about me, me and only me :)

1. For the first few months of our married life, Krish and I both survived with just 2 ancient vessels to cook and 2 mismatching plates from his student life. Along with those two vessels and plates we were the proud owners of few mismatching coffee mugs and an ancient gas burner and refrigerator which made enough ice in freezer to cover our backyard. It was after few months we received a big parcel from India which contained a pressure cooker and mixer grinder along with full batch of different masalas and pickle jars and a cook book. Thinking about those days and looking at our over flowing kitchen cabinets with different gadgets and cooking ingredients I don’t know how we managed to cook and survive all those days.

2. First dish I ever cooked was Gobi Manchurian when I was in my early teens. I remember coming home after school and had serious craving for Gobi Manchurian. Mom was not at home and I had no clue as what goes into the recipe. Just going with my instincts I mixed some ingredients and voila!!! It was ready within half an hour. Although it was not the proper recipe for making Manchurian it did taste very close to Manchurian. After my first venture and adventure I started cooking Indo-Chinese once in blue moon without necessarily following any recipe or instructions. Even today I am not sure if my family loved eating what I cooked or ‘pretended’ to eat ;)

3. From my early teens to till I got married I lived in hostel and hardly entered kitchen during my semester holidays. I didn’t know the difference between one dal to other when I came here after marriage. I remember using toor dal instead of channa dal for tempering/tadka and using masoor dal in place of toor dal. According to me cooking was not a big deal and all I needed was to chop few onions and tomatoes and cook some vegetable with ginger-garlic paste and garam masala for any north Indian food and cook few chunks of vegetables with dal and sambar/rasam powder and season it with mustard curry leaves tempering for south Indian food. I give all credits to 3 important people in my life, my Amma, Atte and Krish, who made me realise cooking is not just a chore but an art. It was my husband who taught me to cook sambar and rasam and then slowly I picked up some basic recipes from my MIL and Amma. They were my 24X7 helpline for the 1st few months (even now) and thanks to them now I have found whole new meaning and respect to cooking.

4. Spice Corner was born out of my boredom and home sickness. Although I had another general blog where I used to pen down all my rants I thought of having another blog to jot down all the recipes given by my Amma and Atte. It was easier to write down the recipe in blog than in a piece of paper which I would keep some where and loose. It was much later when I realised there are whole bunch of food blogs in blog-sphere while googling for few recipes. First blog I stumbled was Anita’s My Treasure and My Pleasure and since then it’s history. I never ever thought of making friends in this cyber space and even today I feel I am still dreaming. For a person who usually gets bored of everything after some period and loves change, I have surprised myself with sticking to Spice Corner all these months. Eventually I might get bored with food blogging but for now I am enjoying what I am doing.

5. Unlike my Amma and MIL who have beautiful garden, I don’t have green thumb. Last year was the first time I tried my hand in vegetable gardening and it was a complete disaster. It was our first gardening experience and we did what most people do, ignore the instructions in seeds pack. We did get few crops of carrots, tomatoes but I didn’t have a heart to cook them after watching them grow everyday. This year we started our very ambitious vegetable gardening but unfortunately weather seems to be not on our side. Will wait and see what happens in the coming year.

6. I am a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic Classical singer. I started my classical dance training when I was just 6 years old and continued it till I joined my degree class. After that I kind of completely lost touch with it. During my school and college days there was not a single annual day where I did not perform on stage. I loved the lights, stage, music and performing in front of hundreds of people. I do regret sometimes for not continuing my passion for dance. Now I do different kind of performance, giving presentations and seminars ;)

7. I am a hoarder. I can’t stop buying things for kitchen and home. Every time we go out for shopping I end up buying few more kilos of rice or dals or pickles or any such things which I can hoard for months. With the items we have in our pantry we can survive for 2 months without spending a penny on any items. My hoarding issue doesn’t limit to cooking items. I still have got big box filled with the entire greeting cards I received from family and friends on special occasions and all the letters from my parents and friends I collected till date. I treasure each and every small item which for me is the most precious things than any expensive metals or stones. I can’t let things go so easily and like Bee pointed I still have many single earing whose pair is lost some where, long time ago;)

8. I am a big movie buff. I can watch even the most boring movie till ‘The End’ sign pops up on the screen. Same thing applies when it comes to reading. Once I start reading a book I will make it a point to finish it in one sit even if the author bores me to death. I don’t understand my obsession with finishing any thing which I have started and may be that’s the reason I have read hundreds of M&B’s in spite of same kind of stories and very predictable ‘they lived happily ever after’ endings. Back in my school days I remember reading comics and story books hidden in between text books during class hours. I love to watch cartoons and at any given chance, I prefer animated movies to dishum-dishum violent types. I guess my kid will be the luckiest one because I am the happiest kid when I am watching my favourite Tom and Jerry show or The Simpsons (I have already taken a leave from office to watch the first day first show of The Simpsons movie ;) or any cartoon shows.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8… Yayyyyy… I did it! If you are still awake after reading my almost never ending bragging let us talk about food. OK, I will not take long. So stop yawning there!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti & Spiced Butter Milk


Here is my contribution to this month’s RCI-Punjab which celebrates the cuisines from different regions of India. Regional Cuisines of India is a brainchild of Lakshmi and this month it is guest hosted by our lovely Richa. Around seventy percent of the menu in most of the North Indian restaurants is from Punjab-the land of five rivers. When ever I think of Punjab I think of Bhangra (lively folk dance), legendry Punjabi Kisse (folk tales of love and honour), golden mustard fields and Punjabi food. Think about those lovely paronthes (Indian stuffed bread) smeared with desi ghee and dipped in Mah Di Dal and Sarson KA Saag. Then you have big glass of Ganne ki juice (sugarcane juice) or Lassi (sweetened Yogurt). Who can resist this kind of temptation? Not a mere mortal like me. Just the thought of food is enough to make all your senses come alive.
I went to make my all time favourite Rajma and realised I didn’t have enough Rajma to Serve four hungry people. Then ended up adding mushrooms to Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) and every one seemed quite happy with the end product as I had empty vessel and nicely licked plate to deal with. The refreshing Mint Roti with Mushroom Rajma Masala and a big glass of Spiced Butter Milk was the perfect meal to serve.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mushroom-Rajma Curry


Mushroom Rajma Masala
Prep Time: 15 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
1 canned Rajma/Red Kidney Beans or 1 cup of Rajma soaked in water overnight
2 cups Mushrooms, quartered
1 large Onion, chopped roughly
2 large Tomatoes, quartered
2 Green Chillies, slit
1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Amchur(Dried Mango Powder)/Anar daana(Pomegranate Powder)
½ tbsp Garam Masala
½ tbsp Kitchen King Masala
5-6 Cashew Nuts
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely
½ + ½ tbsp Ghee/Oil
Salt to taste

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti

Method:
Drain the water from canned kidney beans and keep aside. If you are using a dried beans then soak them in enough water over night and pressure cook for 10 minutes or 1 whistle.
Heat ½ tbsp of ghee/oil in a pan and add chopped onion. Sauté this onion for about 3-5 minutes in a medium flame till it becomes transparent.
Now add ginger-garlic paste and sauté it for a minute or so till its raw smell is gone.
Transfer this mixture to a food processor and add tomatoes, cashew nuts, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, amchur/anar daana powder, garam masala and kitchen king masala. Grind it to a smooth paste without adding any water and keep aside.
Heat ½ tbsp of ghee/oil in a pan and add jeera. When cumin seeds starts to sizzle and pop add mushrooms and slit green chillies. Sauté the mushrooms in a high heat for 2-3 minutes till they starts to leave little water.
Now add the ground mixture and mix well. Reduce the heat and keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes.
Add cooked or canned rajma, salt to taste, sugar and about ½ cup of water.
Simmer and cook covered for another 5 minutes till all flavours blend well stirring in between so that the gravy don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
If you feel the gravy is too thick add little more water to get the required consistency. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with roties or rice.

Now coming to my own creation…Tadaa…. Here is my Mint Roties or Chapattis, whatever you wish to call. Tasted great with Mushroom Rajma Curry with little hint of minty taste. I am happy with the way they puffed and looked. After my unsuccessful attempt at making puffed chapattis I had almost given up making them at home. Last month I got a bag of Pillsbury Atta and now I know the problem was with the Atta I used before not with the way I kneaded it. The below recipe will make around 8 good sized chapattis.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti


Minty Chapattis
Prep Time: 15-20 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
3 cups Atta/Wheat Flour (I used Pillsbury) and little more for dusting
1 tbsp Mint Paste
¾ tsp Salt
½ cup Warm Milk
Little warm Water
Ghee for smearing the surface of each chapatti

Method:
Place flour in a bowl and add salt, mint paste and milk to it and start kneading well.
Knead well for 5-6 minutes by adding little water at a time so that you get soft dough.
Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes or so and knead a little again.
Make a golf ball sized balls and roll it using rolling pin by dusting each ball with little atta so that it don’t stick to the surface.
Chapatti should be rolled from centre out so that the surface has equal thickness and usually the sides of the chapatti should be little thinner than the center. This way the chapatti nicely puffs like poories when cooked.
Place the rolled chapatti on hot griddle and turn it over when you see a few blisters on the surface. Cook the other side same way.
Pick the chapatti with tongs and transfer it on the direct flame (medium flame) or in a grill. Move it around continuously so that it doesn’t get burnt.
Transfer it to the serving plate and smear its surface with ghee which will keep them soft for long time. Serve hot chapattis with any curry of your choice.

The Punjabi meal will be incomplete without a big glass of Lassi (sweetened Yogurt) or Chas (Buttermilk). So my hubby dear was ready with a chilled Spiced Buttermilk and here is his recipe.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mushroom-Rajma Curry with Mint Chapatti & Spiced Butter Milk


Spiced ButterMilk
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
2 cups Yogurt, little sour one is better
½ inch Ginger, grated or chopped very finely
1-2 Green Chillies, chopped very finely
2 tbsp Lime Juice
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Cold Water

Method:
Place yogurt, salt, lemon juice, ginger and water in a food processor and whiz it for 15 seconds or so till u get a bubbled drink.
Mix in finely chopped green chillies and coriander leaves and chill it in fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.

16 July, 2007

Watermelon Rind Dosa with Ginger-Coconut Chuteny

Watermelon, watermelon,
On the vine, on the vine,

Green and ripe and juicy,

Green and ripe and juicy

Please be mine,

Please be mine.


Summer and watermelons… Like many (grown up;) kids, I too have fond memories of eating a big crescent of watermelon greedily after playing outside in blazing hot sun, just plain or sprinkled with little salt or dipped in honey. It was dad’s department when it came to buying a huuuuuuuuge watermelon and cut it into big equal sized slices so that we kids don’t get any chance to argue as who got the big chunk of watermelon :) Red and juicy watermelon dotted with slippery and oval black seeds covered with green and white striped skin was one among favourite fruits of mine. Who can forget seed-spitting competition as who would spit the seeds as far as we could and the fear and panic when our elders would tease us saying swallowing these seeds would result in a watermelon plant growing in our tummy:)
When it comes to food, I have one more fond watermelon memory. Once we kids had our fill of watermelon my dad would cut the watermelon into small pieces and store it in refrigerator for late morning snacking and mom would collect all thick skin to make delicious Dosa. My sister and brother preferred sweet watermelon dosa prepared adding grated jaggery ground with rice and white part of watermelon pieces. The spicy version of dosa prepared adding dry red chillies and aromatic cumin and coriander seeds were my and my dad’s favourite.
When Bee and Jai chose Watermelon for this month’s AFAM which is a brainchild of Maheshwari, I knew what I wanted to contribute without any hitch and hesitation or confusion which I usually have whenever I participate in food events. Watermelon Dosa might sound bit unusual to most of readers but you have to try it to know how tasty and delicious it is and how quick and simple it is to make. Unlike many dosa recipes, water melon dosa doesn’t need any fermentation process. Addition of coriander and cumin seeds with dry red chillies takes it to another level of taste. The peel left after eating the red part of watermelon is used to make this dosa. The outermost green part is peeled and only the remaining white part is used to make this dosa. Cut these white parts into small pieces and grind them with rice and other spices to make batter.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Watermelon Rind Dosa with Ginger-Coconut Chuteny and Watermelon Lemonade



Watermelon Rind Dosa
Prep Time: 10-15 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
1 cup Rice
3-4 cups Watermelon rind, chopped-only the white part as mentioned above
½ cup Fresh/frozen Coconut
3-4 Dry Red Chillies, according to taste
½ tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 small Onion, chopped finely
2 Green Chillies, chopped finely
2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped
Few Curry Leaves, chopped
Salt to taste

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Watermelon Rind Dosa with Ginger-Coconut Chuteny

Method:
Soak rice in warm water for at least 2 hours and drain water completely.
Grind coconut, rice, red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, salt to taste and about 3 cups of chopped watermelon rinds without adding any water. If the batter is too thick add little more watermelon rinds and grind. The batter should be little thinner than Idli batter consistency.
Now add finely chopped onion, green chilli, coriander and curry leaves to the batter and mix well. Keep this aside for about 15 minutes so that all the flavours blend well.
Heat tawa/griddle and pour a ladle full of batter in the centre. Using back of ladle spread this into thick circle.
Cook both the sides in medium-low heat till they turn golden brown by applying little oil or ghee if desired.
Serve hot with Chutney or Sambar or with honey.

I love my plate of watermelon dosa with honey and Ginger-Coconut Chutney. Here is the simple recipe for making Ginger-Coconut Chutney.


Ginger-Coconut Chutney
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
1 cup Fresh/Frozen Coconut
¾ inch Ginger
2 Green Chillies
1 marble sized Tamarind
Salt to taste

Method:
Grind all the above ingredients adding little water (about ¾ cups of water) at a time to a smooth paste and serve with Dosas or Idlies.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Watermelon Rind Dosa with Ginger-Coconut Chuteny



Did You Know?
Every part of a watermelon is edible, even the seeds and rinds.
Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide.
In China and Japan watermelon is a popular gift to bring a host.
In Israel and Egypt, the sweet taste of watermelon is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.
Watermelon is 92% water.
Watermelon's official name is Citrullus lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitacae and it is a vegetable! It is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
A watermelon was once thrown at Roman Governor Demosthenes during a political debate. Placing the watermelon upon his head, he thanked the thrower for providing him with a helmet to wear as he fought Philip of Macedonia.
Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn't contain any fat or cholesterol, is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C, and contains fiber and potassium.
The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
The word "watermelon" first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615.
(Source: www.mrspohlmeyerskinderpage.com)


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Watermelon Rind Dosa

06 July, 2007

The hills are alive with the sound of music...

The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
that rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Yes, the hills were alive with sound of music… I was skeptical when K said he will take me to Switzerland to celebrate my birthday. Being a Bollywood movie buff for so many years I had seen enough of snow, mountains and valleys in numerous movies where hero and heroine never get tired of singing and dancing around the trees. And more than that, the trip was more expensive than any other European country. I would be lying if I say it did not cross my mind about getting a return trip ticket to India.

Everything changed suddenly once we landed in Zurich on Saturday morning. Just one look at the captivating landscape with numerous springs and hill-sides covered with trees, I got lost in the world of fairy tales and fantasy land. Every place we went, we were surrounded by breath taking beauty - blessed with tall trees, snow-capped mountains, lush green fields, gently flowing rivers, clean water, moderate climate and bountiful flower gardens. At one moment I was like Maria singing and dancing in the valley and next moment I was Heidi yodeling with my Peter :) Before I go on and on let me share with you all some of the snaps we clicked during our stay. I must tell you friends that these pictures can not do justice to the real breath taking beauty of this wonderful part of the world.






Climb ev'ry mountain
Search high and low
Follow ev'ry by-way
Every path you know

Climb ev'ry mountain
Ford ev'ry stream
Follow ev'ry rainbow
'Till you find your dream

A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Everyday of your life
For as long as you live

Climb ev'ry mountain
Ford ev'ry stream
Follow ev'ry rainbow
'Till you find your dream

A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Everyday of your life
For as long as you live

Climb ev'ry mountain
Ford ev'ry stream
Follow ev'ry rainbow
'Till you find your dream
Blogging tips