Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When you are in a squeeze try Lemon Rice

This diminutive fruit wields great power and can transform many a dish. I love lemon rice, a traditional South Indian rice staple and is often made when you have surprise guests or in a time crunch or to make when traveling.

3 cups cooked white/brown or unpolished rice
Juice of 2 limes/lemons, reserved
2tbsp raw/roasted peanuts (optional)
1tbsp Urad dal
1 tbsp Chana dal
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp chopped green chilli
1/2 tsp hing/asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan, add urad dal, Chana dal, peanuts and allow them to brown, add mustard, hing, curry leaves, green chilli, turmeric and salt. Stir for a moment. Add lime juice and stir to mix ingredients. Add the rice and Stir on low flame till all ingredients are well mixed. Turn off, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chutney and raita/yoghurt.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Pinwheel Delight: Patra, Patarvelia or Alu Vadi

I don't like to spend hours on end in the Kitchen to cook up a meal. Ideally I like to spend no more than 30 minutes from start to finish! I'm usually asked how is it possible to put together an Indian meal comprising of Dal, Subji ( dry/gravy vegetable dish), salad, roti and rice in such little time. The trick is in planning ahead and breaking up the process and a trusty pressure cooker. While the rice and dal cook in the cooker, I chop up vegetables for the Subji, salad and the Dal seasoning, so it's quite easy to put a meal together!

You ask, how does a time and motion study work into this post....well it doesn't!
One of the few dishes I'm willing to spend more than half hour on, is the quintessential Gujarati snack time favorite, the Patra, Patarvelia or Alu Vadi. Oh how my better half loves this dish, so I make it once a month if I can find the Taro/colocassia leaves at the supermarket and make a double batch so that there is always some in the freezer.

For Patra stuffing

9-12 large patra leaves (colocasia leaves), about a foot long each
1/2 cup thick tamarind extract
2 cups gramflour (besan)
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp crushed ginger
2 tbsp crushed green chilli
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste

For seasoning
2-3 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp coconut grated fine
1/4 cup water

Clean, wash and wipe leaves. Cut thick veins on the leave using a paring knife taking care not to tear the leaf. Lightly roll with a rolling pin over the veins and set aside.

Mix all ingredients for stuffing and make a thick paste. Place the underside of the leaf facing up on a flat surface and apply a thinnish layer of the paste all over the leaf. Place another leaf over it. Create 2-3 layers of leaves/paste, with the final layer being that of paste. Now carefully fold 1 inch of the edge of the leaf towards the center on either side of the leaf. Then starting on the widest part of the leaf start rolling the leaves into a log similar to rolling a Swiss roll. Making sure that the roll is tightly rolled. Repeat steps with balance of leaves.

Heat a steamer pot and using either a Steamer basket/perforated tray or dhokla stand place the prepared rolls, cover and steam for 25-35 mins on a medium flame. Make sure to check water levels in the steamer pot occasionally. The rolls are done when you insert a knife into the roll and it comes out clean. Allow it to cool completely and cut into discs 1/2- 3/4 inch thick with a sharp knife in a gentle sawing motion, taking care not to tear the outer leaves. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan add mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Turn off the flame and add rest of the ingredients. Gently slide the discs and allow to brown. Serve warm or cold with green coriander chutney.