Monday, September 28, 2009

Raw Onion Chutney

DSC04541This is one chutney that can be made instantly in a jiffy. Was regularly made by my mom and grand mother in my childhood and college days, whenever we made idlis made at home.

I quickly adapted this after my marriage because of the ease of making it. There is no frying ingredients before or no tempering required after grinding. Its ready in just five minutes. Just peel the onions, chop them, throw in other ingredients that go into it, press the button to grind, and there you go..its ready.

But since its raw onion you get best results if the chutney sits for a while in the fridge, till all the pungent nature of the onion is gone, The cumin, dried red chillies, tamarind and sugar really transform the onion into a flavourful chutney.

Raw onion chutney is the best side dish, for Uthappam, Idlis, Pesarattu. It is a perfect combo with one other Tamil speciality called Adai. A pancake made with the batter of different ground dhals mixed with spices..Hope to blog about it sometime.

For now into the recipe of Raw onion chutney.
Ingredients :
To Grind:
2 Medium sized Onions chopped into pieces
2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
5-6 red chillies cracked
1 big marble size tamarind ball
1 Tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
Enough water to grind these into a smooth paste

In a chutney grinder, put all the ingredients in the grinding list and grind them thoroughly to a smooth paste/chutney.
Transfer to a serving bowl

DSC04539 Serve with hot idlis, dosas, Uthappam, Pesarattu, Adai etc..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Idli with Coconut Chutney - A Humble Combo, A bond indeed

DSC04516 The relationship of a south Indian with Idli and coconut chutney so intense that we can write pages about it. This is one break fast that we South Indians grew up on back home.
I call it a humble combo because every household can afford to make it at home or even to take out from the near by breakfast restaurant or get from small street side stalls. I grew up in a joint family along with grand mothers, uncles and aunts. Idli is one easy breezy breakfast to feed large families. At my house back home it was a staple breakfast 2 to 3 times a week. Though I was not so fond of it those days and never use to eat more than 1 or 2, I very much long for Idly and coconut chutney in this part of the world. Obviously we know the value of things when we can't get them so readily. With very few South Indian restaurants in Toronto you got no option then to enjoy home made idlis and chutney. And I do prefer it than store bought..Though the preparation takes a few long steps, and involves using lot of equipments like wet grinder, Idli moulds and pressure cooker, scooper’s all worth to go through the process and enjoy it at least in the weekend. All the more when the whole family including my 3 year old loves it.

DSC04512 Idli is prepared mainly in two different ways. Though there are many other variations and varieties of Idlies. In Tamil Nadu they use whole rice and Urad dhal(White Lentils with Black husk on them usually called black gram) and in Andhra(at least in my home, I don't know in other parts) we use Rice Rava(Cream of Rice) and Urad dhal and also the proportion of rice or rice rava and urad dhal differs.

For a Tamil Nadu style idly I use 1 cup urad dhal to 3 to 4 cups rice( par boiled or combo of par boiled and raw rice or the Tamil nadu special idly rice), soak them separately and grind them separately. Usually the urad dhal is grinded to very fine batter and the rice is grinded to hold rava constituency, then both are mixed together with salt and allowed to ferment overnight, where by morning the batter almost rises to double or triple, so that you get that soft fluffy idlis.

With Andhra Style, I use 1 cup urad dhal to 2 to 3 cups rice rava(usually call Idli rava), soak them separately and then urad dhal is grinded to very fine batter and the rice rava is squeezed from all water and added to the ground urad dhal then both are mixed together with salt and allowed to ferment overnight. Unlike the batter made with whole ground rice, this one doesn't rice so much , but is good enough to make delicious idlies.. I find this method is easy we need to grind the urad dhal only and add it to the already made rice rava.

Though home made idlis and chutney are tasty and hygenic..I still long for that street side idli and coconut chutney..I still remember those days even in a good restaurant a plate idli use to be only 1 rupee 25 ps with unlimited chutney. Just the smell of this combo was a simple pleasure. Mini idlies soaked in hot sambar topped with ghee is a frequent site for breakfast or lunch in Chennai restaurants.

Now if I don't get to some serious recipe time, I will never go out of my ranting.
For cream of the Rice (Rice rava)Idlis:

Ingredients :
1 cup urad dhal
2 to 3 cups Rice rava(Idli rava),
Salt to taste
Water enough to grind and mix
2 Tbsp Yeast (if desired) I usually don't use

1.Wash thoroughly and soak urad dhal for althea 3 hours.
2.Simultaneously soak rice rava separately.
3. Wet Grind urad dhal to very smooth batter, keep aside.
4. Now squeeze rice rava from all water with palms and added to the ground urad dhal. 5. Then add salt and enough water and mix thoroughly till all the rice rava and ground urad dhal combine well and mix into each other.
6. Allow this mixture to ferment overnight.
Tips : In cold places fermentation is a challenge. So I usually follow these steps. Always use thick steel vessel to ferment the batter. Heat up the oven for a few seconds, turn off and then place the steel vessel on the oven rac. Let it stay in the oven overnight isolated by the colder temperatures outside. You can repeat that process a few times for better results, if the temperature outside is too cold. Remember to place the steel vessel with batter on a wider plate when placing in the times the batter ferments and rises so much that it overflows on the oven rac..
7. After the overnight fermentation when the you are ready to make idlis, mix the raised batter, adjust salt if necessary keep aside.
8. Fill 2-3 cups water in the Idli Steamer depending upon the size of the cooker and heat up till the water starts to boil.
9. Meanwhile grease the idli moulds with oil or ghee and add a ladle full of idli batter into each single mould, taking care that the batter does not overflow the mould.
10. Now insert the idli mould plates into the idli steamer and steam on high first and then medium heat, for 15 - 20 minutes depending on the size and the number of idlis.
11. Once the time elapses, check to see if the idlis are done and then remove from heat.
12. Sprinkle cold water on the hot idly mould plates and use a special idly scooping spoon to separate the idlis from each mould.
13. Serve hot and fresh with choice of chutneys, podi/powders or gravies.

Coconut Chutney :

DSC04515 Though Idli can be eaten with various accompaniments like, chutneys, podis, curried gravies like fish, chicken, lamb; one best combo for Idli always rules..that is Idli with Coconut chutney.
Like variations in Idlis making, Coconut chutney is also prepared in a number of varieties..and different combination of ingredients.

1. Coconut with roasted gram with green chillies, yogurt based
2. Just with Plain Coconut
3 Coconut with roasted gram with red chillies
4. Coconut with peanuts & green or red chillies
5. Coconut with Coriander/mint leaves and green chillies

Here let's see the making of first variety mentioned above.
Coconut with roasted gram with green chillies, yogurt based:
Ingredients :

To Grind:1 cup grated fresh/frozen coconut
1 cup roasted gram/vepina chenaga pappu/varutha kadala parippu
1/2 cup sour yogurt
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
4 green chillies (increase or decrease accordingly)
1 marble size tamarind ball
Salt to taste
Enough water to grind these into a smooth paste

For Tempering/Tamlinpu:
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dhal
2-3 red chillies cracked
8-10 curry leaves
1 pinch of Asafoetida/Hing/Inguva/Perumgayam

In a chutney grinder, put all the ingredients in the grinding list and grind them thoroughly to a smooth paste/chutney.
Transfer to a serving container.
Heat up the small tempering vessel add oil, after the oil is hot, allow mustard to splutter and add the rest of ingredients one by one ending with Asafoetida, fry for a few seconds and spread on the prepared chutney.

DSC04506Serve with hot idlis, dosas etc..

Now that we made both Idli and Coconut chutney lets enjoy this combo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chutney with Ridge Gourd Skin/Beerapottu pachadi

BR2 As I shared in my last post, ridge gourd is one vegetable which can be used both in and out. A Delicious curry with the body and yet another yummy spicy chutney with the skin.

B12 Growing up this was one of my favourite chutney/pachadi..My granny knew how much i cherished this chutney , so she use to preserve the skin and make the chutney for enjoy it with plain hot rice and ghee/oil and the best accompaniment for this is a piece of raw onion. A first serve of rice will be done in a jiffy..

BP1 Ingredients :
Skin of 2 or 3 Ridge gourds /Beerapottu (cut into small pieces)
1 tbsp - oil
1 tbsp - Channa dhal
1 tbsp - Urad dhal
1 tsp - Cumin seeds
1 tsp - Coriander seeds
3-5 - Red chillies
4 -5 Garlic pods
Tamarind - A big marble size soaked in little water to soften.
Salt to taste
Water enough to grind into chutney.

Procedure :
Stir Fry the ridge gourd pieces in oil for 2 - 3 mins and keep aside.
BP2 In the same vessel, now fry the all the remaining dry ingredients.
Remove from heat and let cool. BPT1 Once the fried ingredients are cooled grind them to a coarse powder.
Now add the ridge gourd skin, soaked tamarind, salt and enough water and grind thoroughly till all the ingredients mix well and chutney is almost smooth.
BPC2 Adjust salt.
Serve with either plain rice or have it as a side for rice with sambar.