September 30, 2008

Celebrating Fall with Apple Rice!

apple rice

One of the unexpected advantages of moving to the new place has been an apple tree in front of the house. For the first few days we were debating if it was edible. But it wasn't too long before we bit into one of them. These green apples are tart and sour with hints of sweetness. But never sweet enough to eat it plain. Almost each branch of the tree has been laden with fruit and we began thinking of ways to use these apples.

It was then my mother in law decided to make apple rice. We weren't sure how it would turn out. Will it be mushy? or will it make the rice too sour? With all these questions, we decided to give it a try. In fact, the apple rice was delicious and flavorful. With the sweet and sour notes of apple mixed with crunchy cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chiles and basmati rice, it made a delicious lunch with raw banana cutlets.

apple rice-3

1 green apple- grated
1 cup basmati rice
1 small onion - chopped
1 small tomato - chopped
1 tspoon lemon juice
1" ginger - grated
2 green chiles - grated
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1/2 tspoon urad dhal
4-5 curry leaves
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon coriander powder
1/4 tspoon cumin seeds powder
1/4 tspoon red chile powder
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbspoon oil

Soak the rice and keep it aside. Soak the grated apples in lemon juice Microwave the apples for 3-4 minutes till it is semi cooked.

Then heat oil in saucepan and temper it with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal, green chiles, grated ginger and curry leaves. Then add the onions and saute it for a couple of minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and cook it on medium heat till it turns soft.

Add grated apples now and saute it for a couple of minutes. Then add the turmeric powder, cumin seeds powder, coriander powder, red chile powder and salt mixing it well with the apples. Then add the rice and mix it for another couple of minutes.

Add the 2 cup water (water is double the rice) and let it all cook together closed lid on medium heat for 15-20 minutes till the rice is completely cooked and the water has evaporated completely.

apple rice-2

Serve it warm with raita, chips or raw banana cutlets :)

This homemade apple recipe is an entry for Grow Your Own hosted this month by Chez Us. This is going to Scott at Real Epicurean who is hosting ITB September: Fruits and Nuts.
(Thanks Bee, saw the ITB September announcement on your blog.)

September 24, 2008

Weeknight Dinner: Masoor Dal & Raita

dal raita

When I mentioned to the mothers that I want to post recipes from this dinner, they both expressed surprise. "This, but this is regular dinner!" It is exactly for this reason that I want to blog about this. But I can tell you this, it was great. A simple dinner after a long day is relaxing and calming.

I have not had a dal like this in so long. I had this growing up all the time and used to be a favorite. Eating this brought back memories, almost in the same vein as Ratatouille critic's reaction ;) The lightness of the masoor dal combined with the caramelized onion, sweet tomato, the spiciness from ginger and green chile and the freshness of cilantro made this dal hearty and a great comfort food. It was so good, I took some to work the next day to drink as quick soup.

The raita on the other hand had the great pepper taste and the combination of red and green pepper made this delicious side dish with the sabzi and dal.

Here are the recipes:

Masoor Dal

masoor dal

1 cup masoor dal
1 small onion - chopped
1" inch ginger - grated
1 small tomato - chopped
2 green chiles - slit
5-6 strands cilantro - chopped
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon panch phoron
salt to taste
1 tspoon oil

Boil the dal with salt and turmeric powder. In a saucepan, heat oil and temper it with panch phoron, green chiles, and grated ginger. Saute and then add onion. Saute it for a couple of minutes. Then add tomatoes and let it cook till it turns soft. Add the boiled dal and let it cook together for another 4-5 minutes.

Garnish it with cilantro and serve warm.

Bell Pepper Raita

pepper raita

1 cup yogurt (we make yogurt with 1% milk)
1/3 red pepper - chopped
1/3 green pepper - chopped

For tempering
1/4 tspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tspoon urad dal
1/4 tspoon methi seeds
1/4 tspoon red chile powder
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with all the masala. Then add the peppers in and let it cook with closed lid till they turn soft. I like it a little crunchy so we semi-cooked it. Take it off the heat and cool.

Beat the yogurt (add 1 -2 tbspoon water if needed) till it becomes smooth. Add the peppers, mix well and serve.

September 19, 2008

Cracked Wheat Vegetable Cutlets


When my parents came this summer, along with homemade several delicious goodies like laddus, pickles, masalas, also got some organic cracked wheat handmilled by our neighbor. Of course daliya or porridge was a regular choice, but I decided to broaden my horizon and look for other innovative recipes. That's when my mother-in-law mentioned Cracked Wheat Vegetable Cutlets from one of her cookbooks. It sounded hearty and wholesome. And we decided to give it a try.

After boiling, the cracked wheat take on a pearly texture which makes it delicious and chewy. The cutlets had a crunchy exterior and the inside was nice and soft filled with delicious spices. Here is how we made it.


1 cup Cracked Wheat
1/2 cup Carrots, Peas (or any vegetable)
1 tspoon ginger garlic paste
1 onion - chopped
1 red chilli
1 tspoon curry leaves - chopped
1 tspoon cilantro - chopped
1 tspoon garam masala
1/4 tspoon chickpeas powder (roast chickpeas and grind it to a powder)
2 tspoon oil
salt to taste

Fry the broken wheat in a pan till you smell the wheat. Then boil it in 1/4 cup water. Add mor if needed. When the wheat is about half cooked, add cut vegetable, salt and let it all cook completely.

Cook the mix and then mash it. In a thick bottomed pan, heat 1 tspoon oil and add ginger garlic paste and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add chopped onions, red chilli, wheat and vegetable mix, curry leaves, cilantro, chickpeas powder, garam masala and cook for 3-4 minutes till it all mixes well.

Make flat cutlets using your palms and keep it aside.

Heat the rest of the oil and shallow fry the cutlets in a pan till each side becomes crisp and golden brown.

Serve with chutney or ketchup.


This is going to Suganya at Tasty Palettes who is hosting JFI:Whole Grains this month. What an innovative idea! Thanks for hosting.

September 15, 2008

Spicy Stuffed Eggplant


I must confess I have always been wary of this recipe. That is partly because I have heard countless times that the eggplant has to be really fresh for the recipe. Otherwise, it turns bitter. So when I found really firm, juicy baby eggplants at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market, I couldn't resist trying it. So I requested both moms to make it :) and here it is. After I have tasted it, I have become a convert. I totally agree now that eggplants make all the difference!

eggplant -raw

5-6 small eggplants
Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
2 tbspoons Oil

For Grinding
1 medium onion
2 medium tomatoes
2 tbsppon grated coconut
2 tspoon red chilli powder
1 tspoon coriander powder
1" ginger cube
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 clove
1 green cardamom

Slit the eggplants into four starting from the base up keeping the stem intact.

Grind all the masala together with curry leaves and salt without adding any water. Then roast the masala till it loses some of the water. Let it cool. Then, stuff the eggplant with the masala.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed non stick pan and add eggplants to it. Cook on low flame with closed lid till the eggplants turn tender. Open the lid every 4-5 minutes and turn the eggplants as one side gets done.


Serve warm with roti, chappati or even pulao.

NOTE: You may have noticed the photos have disappeared from posts. I am trying to correct the problem. I am hoping they will be back soon.

September 10, 2008

Radish & Onion Paratha with Cabbage Carrot Bhaji

My mother and my mother-in-law are visiting us these days. And the best part of it is that they both get along well in the kitchen. :) As a result we get interesting combinations for lunch and dinner. Since they both know about this food blog, our conversations inevitably revolve around food. "Do you have this recipe on your blog?" is a frequent question. They pore over recipe books and decide which recipe to try.

For instance, tonight's dinner. We had mooli (radish) paratha with carrot cabbage bhaji and bell pepper raita. Now who can refuse such a delicious combination! One cooked the parathas while the other made the bhaji and raita.

Mooli (Radish) & Onion Paratha

mooli paratha

2 cups red radish - peeled and grated
1 medium onion - chopped thinly
1 tspoon fresh grated ginger
2 green chillies - finely chopped
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Golden Temple atta)
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tbspoon fresh cilantro- chopped thinly
salt to taste
Oil to fry

In a pan, heat oil and add the chopped onion, ginger and green chillies. Then add the grated radish, salt and turmeric powder and let it cook till the water is absorbed a little. Then add chopped cilantro and mix it well and keep it aside to cool.

In the flour add about 1 tbsp oil and slightly watery radish mix to make a soft dough. You probably won't need any extra water. Knead well and let it rest for 30 mins to 1 hour.

Roll out small balls of radish dough. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Dust liberally with more flour as you are rolling.

Heat a thick bottomed pan roast the parathas (dusting the excess flour off). Fry one side for 1 -2 minute and then turn over and brush with a little oil. When the second side is done and golden brown, flip and cook the other side.

Serve with pickle and raita.

Cabbage and Carrot Bhaji

cabbage carrot bhaji

Cabbage – 2 cups cut
3 medium Carrots - cut
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tbspoon oil

For tempering
1 tspoon mustard seeds
1 tspoon urad dal
pinch of asafoetida
1 dry red chilli

Cook the carrot pieces with a little water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Keep it aside.
In a pan, heat oil and temper it with mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, red chilli. Saute till the urad dal starts turning brown.

Add the carrots and cook for a minute, before adding cabbage. Add turmeric powder and salt. Cook on medium heat on closed lid for 10-12 minutes till the cabbage and carrots are fully cooked.

Serve warm with chapati or dal and rice.

September 09, 2008

A-2 Farmer's Market #6

This summer, the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market has become a integral part of our weekly shopping ritual. We go there practically every week and it has been interesting to see what new vegetables have come to the market and which one is gone for the season.

It's fun to be a part of the crowd as we go from vendor to vendor looking at the different vegetables, fruits, and herbs on display, touching them with your hands and eyes, and comparing them mentally with each other.

This week, as I mentioned before, we picked up peaches, plums and blueberries along with veggies. I also occasionally pick up fresh flower bouquets which last up to 2 weeks.


We came back with zucchini (made aloo Zucchini), eggplant, radish (ate mooli paratha after ages!), potato, beans, peaches, blueberries and tomatoes.

I also picked up some fresh ground buckwheat flour (not in the picture) from a vendor who had a variety of stone ground flours like whole wheat, spelt. It also came with a recipe sheet and I will be posting our weekend recipe soon.

September 04, 2008

Celebrating plums with rasam & thokku

I have been going to Farmer's Market regularly, but haven't been as regular about posting pictures. I will be more regular as we go into Fall. During this past week, there were some wonderful fruits at the Farmer's Market that I couldn't resist. We picked up juicy plums, blueberries that I intend on freezing for the winter, and tart plums.

The plums weren't an impulsive buy though. You see, my mother-in-law has brought several recipes from India, and one of them (
Aval Vikatan, a supplement of Tamil magazine) mentions plum rasam and plum thokku. The plum rasam with masoor dal (instead of toor) sounded intriguing and so did the plum thokku. So we picked up some fresh, tart plums from the Farmer's Market and tried it over the long weekend. They both turned out delicious.

Here are the recipes as we tried it.

Plum Rasam


The plum rasam had a different rasam powder (with coriander seeds and toor dal) which we ground just enough for the rasam as we weren't sure of the results. But our fears were misguided. With fresh plums and masoor dal, the rasam had a delicious earthiness to it. One thing to keep in mind is that the proportion of dal and plums has to be equal.

1/2 cup plums chopped
1/2 cup masoor dal
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon asafoetida
Salt to taste

For Rasam Powder
3 tspoons coriander seeds
1 tspoon toor dal
1 tspoon chana dal
1 tspoon black pepper
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
4 medium size dry red chilli
1/2 tspoon oil

For Tempering
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1/2 tspoon oil
3-4 curry leaves
cilantro - chopped for garnish

Roast and grind the rasam powder finely. Boil masoor dal with turmeric powder. Keep it aside. Then boil the chopped plums seperately in 2 cups water with salt. To the plums mixture, add asafoetida, rasam powder and the masoor dal.

In a separate pan, temper mustard seeds and curry leaves and add it to the rasam. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

plum ras

Serve hot with rice.
This is going to Eating with the Seasons being hosted by Maninas at Maninas: Food Matters. Thanks for hosting.

Plum Thokku

After the rasam, we had a few plums left. So we decided to try plum thokku. The thokku was nice and tart almost like a palate cleanser with hints of jaggery and I love the tempering with mustard seeds. This will last a week without refrigeration and up to 2-3 weeks with refrigeration.


1 cup tart plums - chopped
1 tspoon chilli powder
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
lemon sized jaggery (adjust it with the tartness of plums. Ours were really tart!)
1 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tspoon asafoetida
Salt to taste

In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil and temper with mustard seeds and asafoetida. To this, add the chopped plums and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Once the plums are soft, add chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Let it cook on medium heat till the water evaporates.

Once it is cooked well and the mixture is thick, add jaggery and keep stirring till the oil separates out.


Serve with idlis, or rice, dosa. I like it in my chapati roll. :) This is going to Long Live the Shelf event being hosted by Roma at Roma's Space. Thanks for hosting.


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