Ragi Shavige Uppittu

we will need,

Ragi vermicelli 1 package
Peanut oil 2-3 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous dash
Urad dal 2 tsp
Channa dal 2 tsp
Curry Leaves a handful
Green Chilli 5-6 (as per taste)
Coconut grated 1/4 cup
Salt and lemon juice to taste

Method:

  • Prepare the ragi vermicelli as per the instruction on the package. Sticking to the package instruction is very critical, experimentations can go awry. Mine did and I onced endded up with a puddle of ragi flour. Once the vermicelli is ready, set it aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok.Throw in mustard seeds, jeera,hing, curry leaves. Once the spices crackle, throw in the urad and channa dal. Saute it briefly and follow it with green chilli.
  • Once the chillies are fragrant, throw in the grated coconut. Cook it for a few minutes, stirring all the time. 
  • Gentle toss the ragi vermicelli, adjust salt and lemon juice and serve immediately.

Food fads are fleeting. But some of them can actually be good and doable like ‘millets’. Millets are the latest darlings out there. Move over oats (or am I too early on oats!), super buddy ‘Mr. Millet’ is here. My ancestors had been consuming millets till Ms.Indira Gandhi decided to feed them surplus wheat thanks to green revolution in the more advanced countries. My mother does not remember eating wheat as a young child. As an older child she remembers occasional ‘chapati’ made out of pounded wheat flour that resulted in tough chapati. They consumed Navane, Sajje, Ragi and Rice, most of the grains her family cultivated. As time went by the family abanndoned cultivating millets in favor of high yielding rice. Public distribution system also skewed the family’s food habit in favor of rice and wheat.
Now the tables have turned. Superbuddy Mr.Millet is back and everyone wants a piece of him. We are no exception. The other day I saw this package of ragi shavige and had to try. It turned out to be delicious. Some brands need the vermicelli to be steamed before use. But this brand needs a quick dip in boiling hot water and its ready for the dressing up

Published
Categorized as My Blog

Bananti Uppittu

Babies bring joy to the world but to new mothers babies not only bring joy, they also bring anxiety, worry and a bunch of other emotions. New mothers without much support are no doubt lost and find it hard to take care of the baby while taking care of themselves. This is a quick breakfast recipe for new mothers. A friend recently had a baby and I made this for her.
New mothers are supposed to eat well and rest very well. Many new mothers refuse to rest, with so much going, they have a bunch of things to take care of all the time, more so if they already have a child. But, though new mothers might feel they are energetic, healthy enough to go about their tasks, but it might not be a good idea. A scientist friend found out her blood pressure spiking every time she walked around the housing doing very light house work. Body might just not be ready to handle much right after child birth. Mothers and grandmothers know best here! We cannot beat their experience. They have had way too many more babies than us.

So here is a warm, soft savory porridge kind of Uppittu

We will need,

Rice rawa 3/4 C
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Black Pepper 3/4 tsp
Bydagi chilli 1 broken
Carrots 1 fine chopped (cooked)
Dill leaves /Sapsigesoppu 1 cup chopped (loosely packed)
Salt to taste

Method:

  • Toast the rawa on a medium hot kadai till the rawa is hot to touch. Keep stirring it while toasting. Keep it aside.
  • Crush the Jeera and black pepper coarsely and keep it aside.
  • Heat ghee and throw in the mustard seeds. Once they pop, throw in the broken red chilli.
  • Once they sizzle, throw in the Jeera and pepper. Saute for a few seconds. 
  • Throw in the cooked carrots and dill. Cook till the moisture from the dill evaporates.
  • Add 2 1/4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Adjust salt.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and slowly add the toasted rawa by the spoon fulls. Stir continuously so that there are no lumps. Cover and cook for a few minutes till the rawa is soft. 
  • Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir and serve it immediately.
Published
Categorized as My Blog

Ugadi Playbook – How to put together a traditional Ugadi feast without the fuss

Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous Kannada new year. I rarely ever end up wishing my readers on festivals. Ugadi for instance, I had grand plans of wishing my readers but turns out that I was busy cooking, eating and merry making with friends. It is good in a way that my actual life takes precedence over virtual life. But then I did really love to do a post right on time someday.

Putting together Ugadi feast is like putting together the Thanksgiving feast. The difference is probably in the calorific value of the meals though. An average Thanksgiving meal is supposed to contain about 3,000 to 4,500 calories but Ugadi meal will probably be around half the calories with a potential to trim more without anyone noticing. Looking at the number of items cooked on a day like Ugadi, putting together the feast might look very intimidating, especially for newbies. So I thought of putting together a plan – a play book to help busy folks plan and put together a traditional Ugadi meal. It is also a good time to have little hands help out here. So enlist your children and assign simple tasks.

Traditionally, Ugadi meals consists of Holige , holige Saaru , cucumber kosambari , hesaru kosambari , green beans palya , mango chitranna , a variety of payasa, papads, bhajjis/pakodas , pickles along with white rice and fresh yogurt. Dishes are added or removed depending on preferences. But this essentially is the template. I start on the weekend before Ugadi, prepare my shopping list and make sure I have all ingredients. So here comes the shopping list.

Weekend before Ugadi, shop for all necessary ingredients. If there is no time constraints or if it is possible to shops two days before Ugadi, that should also do. We will need the following ingredients to cook a meal for vegetable loving 2 adults 2 kids.

Neem flowers (for bevu bella)
roasted chickpeas (kadale pappu for bevu bella)
Kopra (also for bevu bella)
Mango leaves (for torana)

Carrots 1 large
Green beans 1lb
Cucumber 2-3 medium
Coconut 1 whole
Green Chillies 1/4 lb
Curry leaves
Coriander
Tomatoes 2
Milk (optional, if making milk based payasa)

Rice 2 cups
Toor dal 2 cups (makes 15 medium size holige)
Jaggery 1 lb
Maida about 2 cups
Sugar (if called for in the payasa recipe , else Jaggery should do)
Peanut oil
Mustard seeds
Jeera
Hing
Dry red chillies
Salt
Peanuts
Ghee
Vermicelli/ sabodana/sooji/ channa dal/ moong dal as needed for Payasa
Choice of papad

Other optional ingredients:
Pulioggare mix for pulioggare
Mango pulp, fresh ripe mangoes for Seekarane
Chickpea flour for Bhajji or split chickpeas for vada

Once the ingredients are handy prepping will be a breeze.

One day before Ugadi:

  • Prepare the hoorana filling for the¬†Holige.¬† Clean the kitchen after the sticky mess of hoorana filling.
  • String the beans, wash, chop it for Palya and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the chitranna gojju and store it in the fridge
  • Grate carrots for kosambari and store it in the fridge.
  • Grate coconut if using a whole coconut. If using frozen coconut, thaw the package in the refrigerator overnight.

On the morning of Ugadi, typically we do not have breakfast, we just go ahead with a brunch. It took me two hours to put together the meal below. I had the hoorana filling prepared the previous evening. Sunny boy helped me chop the cucumber and green beans. Other kid friendly tasks include mixing the Chitranna /pulioggare, chopping coriander. I find it sad when kids raised here in the States do not like to eat Indian food. I hope that enlisting their help would make them feel the spirit of the festival also encourage them to try and eat Indian food.

  • First get the rice going. We need the rice to cool down to be able to mix chitranna/ pulioggare
  • Make the kanaka dough for holige and set it aside.It needs time to rest.
  • Make the payasa.
  • Meantime, kids work on chopping cucumbers etc.
  • Start the beans palya.
  • Next work on the Holige saaru
  • Prepare the oggarane for the kosambaris all in one batch. 
  • Assemble the kosambaris and divide the oggarane between the two types of kosambaris. 
  • Mix the pulioggare if making
  • By this time most of the dishes are done. So start on making the holige. 
  • Once the holiges are ready prepare papads/ vadas/bhajji
  • Just before the family is ready to eat, add salt and lemon juice to the kosambaris.  Mix the chitranna gojju with rice. 

Bingo the meal is ready.


Published
Categorized as My Blog

Rasayana

Wishing you all a very Happy Mahashivratri. Shivratri is said to be the day on which Lord Shiva in order to save the world consumed the poison that emerged from Samudramanthana. Alarmed Parvati then choked Shiva hoping to stop the poison from entering his body. The poison then was held at his throat turning it blue giving them the name ‘Neela Kantha’ or ‘Vishakantha’. Essentially like most Hindu myths this one too is the victory of good over evil, victory of Amrutha over Halahala. So we are supposed to contemplate of the negativity in our lives and try to get rid of it today. Devote fast, meditate, keep vigil through the night. Keeping up through the night is a tall order for me, so is meditation. But fasting is fine. Thankfully there is no one way to celebrate festivals in the Hindu pantheon. It is just a balance between celebrating life and mindful living that is at the core of these celebrations. So this one is fasting before Ugadi brings feasting with it.

As I explained to Sunny boy the significance of Mahashivratri, he got all excited and wanted to fast the whole day. I had to convince him that fasting was for adults and that kids need to eat well. The promise of allowing him to fast once he reaches high school brought me momentary truce. The next complaint was that his school did not declare holiday for Hindu festivals except Diwali. He held the temple calendar in his hands and started examining the number of Hindu holidays. With so many of them, he wishfully said ‘had school closed on all Hindu festivals we did pretty much have no school. That would have been fun’. Excited at his discovery, he left for school have a great deal to share with his friends for the day.

Today, since it is the day on contemplation, I sit here wondering how time flew. This blog is a decade old, Sunny boy just a tad younger than that. I am that much older. Many family members who found their way into my stories on this blog are long gone. Most cricketers in the Indian ODI team are younger than me. Grand slam winners are decades younger than me. The software that inspired awe in a younger me are no longer around. Shops where we frequented are no longer around. It is just time, it waits for none. Then I look at folks in my family who are in their eighties. Every time I meet them, I thank my stars for this chance. They might be gone the next time around. Or the other way around. I wonder if it is mid life that makes you acutely aware of your own mortality.
Then I wonder how it must be of the older folks in the family. Most of their peers are gone. Life as they knew has changed beyond their wildest dreams. But they all know their family makes them the happiest.
Here is to family, fasting and feasting. Rasayana is a version of fruit salad. During my visit to Puri earlier this year, we got to taste a Rasayana like dish.It had sweet but savory overtones as well and it was delicious.I have tried to recreate it here.

We will need,

Ripe but firm Bananas 3
Pomegranate seeds 1 cup
Coconut shredded 1/4 cup
Cilantro /fresh coriander chopped 1 tbsp
Lemon juice to taste
Black Pepper ground to taste
Chat Masala (optional to taste)

Method:

  • Place the Pomegranate seeds in a mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and diced them. Toss the diced bananas into the bowl with the Pomegranate seeds
  • Toss the rest of the ingredients together. Serve immediately. 

Note: Many people do not consumer salt while fasting. Chat masala can be skipped if that case. Also Sendha Namak  can be used in lieu of salt if that is acceptable. 

Published
Categorized as My Blog