July 31, 2009

Mixed Vegetable Saagu Recipe-Vegetable Sagu Recipe

I tried potato saagu a while back and loved it. However, I never knew it was a Karnataka / Mangalore dish. Ever since Sia announced her RCI event, its been nagging at the back of my head, constantly coming back during the weekend when I try to decide what to make. Finally, last weekend, I took the plunge and browsed through the blogs she had listed in her event announcement. The first one itself did not disappoint me. Ramya's Mane Adige is a chock full of awesome Karnataka recipes and I found just the one! I tweaked the recipe a little bit depending on the ingredients I had in hand.

Mixed Vegetable Saagu Recipe
Serves: 2
Recipe adapted from Mane Adige

What I Used:

1 cup chopped mixed vegetables (I used beans, carrots, peas and potatoes)
4 tbsp thick coconut milk
4 shallots, finely chopped (or use 1 small onion)
A generous pinch of hing /asafoetida / perungaayam
A pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste taste

For Masala:

2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
A 1" cinnamon stick
3 cloves
4 black peppercorn (or 1/2 tsp crushed pepper/pepper powder)
1 tsp grated ginger
2 shallots / small onions
2 tsp Pottukadalai / chana dahlia / split chickpeas
2 green chilies (adjust to taste)

For Tempering:

1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves

How I Made It:

1. Cook the vegetables in a closed pan until soft with very little water. Don't cook them too mushy.
2. Grind the ingredients listed under 'For Masala'.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add the ingredients listed under 'For Tempering'. When the mustard seed start spluttering, add the chopped shallots or onion. Fry until golden brown. Add turmeric powder and hing to this.
4. Next add the ground masala and fry for another minute or so before adding the cooked vegetables.
5. Add 1 cup water and let the curry simmer for about 5 mins. You can adjust the consistency at this stage by adjusting the water. Add salt.
6. Turn off heat and pour the coconut milk over the curry. Mix well.
Serve hot with poori, chapati, roti or rice.

Also check out:

July 29, 2009

Vegetable Spring Rolls - How to Make Veg Spring Rolls (Step by Step Recipe)

Vegetable spring rolls are a classic Indo-Chinese Recipe that is served in restaurants and coffee shops. A spiced up vegetable mixture is rolled into a spring roll casing and either deep fried or baked to get a crunchy, delicious, and addictive snack or appetizer (below pic updated on Dec 9th, '13). If you want to make baked vegetable spring rolls instead of fried, that's quite easy too. Please check notes below.

This Vegetable Spring Roll recipe has been in my drafts for the longest time. I had a few people email me asking me for the recipe for spring rolls and that's when I realised how long its been since I made them. In fact, after marriage, though I have tried many other snacks, spring rolls never featured anywhere. If you want to make a quick and easy snack with a twist, try this spring roll dosa recipe

I became lazy and bought the spring roll sheets from the supermarket which is probably not a bad thing after all. I have made these from scratch before, and while that's not hard to do, it is a bit more time-consuming. In fact, if you buy spring roll sheets, the whole process of making vegetable spring rolls at home is very quick. Also check 10 quick and easy snacks under 15 mins.

So here's a step by step look at how to make vegetable spring rolls:

July 27, 2009

Cabbage Rice | Cabbage Rice Recipe (South Indian Rice Recipes)

Cabbage rice recipe, South Indian style - I have no story to share this time, not even the minuscule amount I write usually. Just a good bowl of hot cabbage rice, garnished with Kerala banana chips (or benana chips, as TH calls them, to tease the Malayali accent that I supposedly have) and served with love (not so much for the afore-mentioned person though!)

This a quick and easy rice recipe if you are short on vegetables in hand and just want a mixed vegetable-added rice to serve for lunch or dinner. Cabbage adds a nice flavour to the rice and when cooked with the minimum ingredients in this recipe, this is a sure winner. It's also a good recipe to make use of cabbage since most of the time I end up buying a medium-sized cabbage and after making the usual cabbage poriyal and Kerala cabbage thoran recipe, I am still left with a good amount of it to make something else entirely. This is the perfect dish to make sure of that last bit of cabbage, I assure you. So with that, let's check out how to make cabbage rice, shall we?

Cabbage Rice | Cabbage Rice Recipe

Cabbage Rice Recipe

1.5 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup green peas
1 small onion, chopped small (optional)
3 green chilies, sliced (adjust to taste)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera / jeerakam
2 tbsp coriander powder / malli podi
1 tsp channa dal / kadala paruppu
A pinch turmeric powder
A few curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

How to make Cabbage Rice:

1. Transfer the chopped cabbage, a pinch of salt, green peas and turmeric powder to a vessel. Sprinkle some water. Keep on low fire and cook closed until the cabbage is soft.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and channa dal.
3. When the jeera starts spluttering and the dal turns a light brown, add the green chilies, curry leaves and onion. Fry until the onions turn a light brown. (If using onions, of course)
4. To this, add the coriander powder and the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for 1-2 mins.
5. Now add the cooked cabbage and peas to the above. Add salt. Mix and combine well.
6. Remove from fire and combine the rice with the mixture.

Cabbage Rice | Cabbage Rice Recipe
Serve cabbage rice hot with papad and any salad or raita.

July 24, 2009

The NTUC 3-Day Diet Program

NTUC is National Trades Union Congress, a labour union that has a bunch of services under its wing in Singapore. A couple of years back, NTUC Fairprice, the Supermarket chain, introduced the NTUC 3-day diet program. It was a detox-cum-weight-loss aimed diet that listed out the exact food you can have during a period of 3 days.

Since this was a trend a few years back, I hadn't heard of it until a Singaporean colleague told me about it at lunch one day. She forwarded me the list of stuff we can eat and three things caught my attention, making me want to try it - peanut butter, vanilla ice cream and average weight loss of 2kg in 3 days.

I am sharing the list here in case any of you want to try it.

Disclaimer: Diet police and people who feel this is unhealthy/shouldn't be shared/is polluting minds of healthy people, may choose not to read the rest of the post. Its each person's personal choice whether they want to try it or not. I am not for or against this, just sharing something I came across and tried myself.

Here's the shopping list, stuff you'll need to buy the day before you start.
1 grapefruit
2 bananas
2 small apples
long beans
200 gms beetroot
100 gms broccoli
50 gms carrot
100 gms cauliflower
3 chicken sausages
200 gms tuna
100 gms cottage cheese
10 Ritz biscuits
300 gms vanilla ice cream
Cheddar cheese slices
1/4 honeydew
The total list cost me about 28 SGD. These items are very easily available in Singapore and I am hoping its not an issue in India. The diet is not very substitution-friendly so you may see varying results if you do too much swapping. Note that cottage cheese here doesn't mean paneer but if you can make your own paneer from low fat milk, then that should work too.

Here's the meal schedule.
Black tea/coffee
1 grapefruit
1 slice toast
2 tsps peanut butter

Black tea/coffee
4 oz (100g) tuna
1 slice toast

1 chicken sausage
1 cup (50g) long beans
4 oz (100g) beetroot
4 oz (100g) ice-cream
1 small apple

Black tea/coffee
1 egg boiled/poached
1 slice toast
Half a banana

Black tea/coffee
4 oz (100g) cottage cheese
5 Ritz biscuits

2 chicken sausages
4 oz (100g) broccoli
2 oz (50g) carrots
Half a banana
4 oz (100g) ice-cream

Black tea/coffee
1 egg hard boiled
1 slice toast

Black tea/coffee
1 slice cheddar cheese
5 Ritz biscuits
1 small apple

4 oz (100g) tuna
4 oz (100g) beetroot
4 oz (100g) cauliflower
1/4 honeydew
4 oz (100g) ice-cream

Important Notes:

Do not vary or substitute any of the above foods. Salt and pepper to be used and not other seasoning. Where no quantity is given, there are no restrictions other than common sense. Toast is to be dry - no butter or margarine. Tuna, string beans and beetroot can be frozen. Ice-cream is to be vanilla flavour only.

This diet is to be used for 3 days at a time. In the three days you will lose 2 kg* (avg weight). After 3 days of dieting you can eat normally. Remember, not to overdo it. You can try this program up to twice a month.

My Notes:

Any kind of diet is a torture for me, simply because I hate restrictions in food. I like to eat what I please, when I please and I trust myself to practise some restraint and not go overboard on most days. I tried this because it was just 3 days and I had immense curiosity to see if I would lose the promised 2kg. I actually lost 2.5 kg in three days and gained back the .5kg in the next 3 days. The 2kg weight loss stuck even though I have returned to my normal food habits now.

The long gap between lunch and dinner is hard. I did this Monday - Wednesday since being at work makes it easier for me to control food and forget hunger to a large extend. Some prefer weekends so its up to you.

The smell of canned tuna was obnoxious, so I simply skipped it without substituting with anything else.

There are no vegetarian alternatives to the diet and I may not be the best person to come up with one. If you have any thoughts on that, please do share in the comments section.

Will I do this again? I am not sure. As of now, the answer is no. I can't take that level of hunger. I get cranky. Its not hard, its just hard for me :)

If you try it, I'd love to hear from you.

July 20, 2009

Chilli Soya Chunks / Meal Maker Recipe

TH loves soya chunks. After paneer and mushrooms, this is probably his next favourite thing. Although I used to dislike the bland taste when I was younger, I have acquired a taste for it now. So I am always on the look out for new soy chunks recipes even though I tend to stick with my tried and tested Soy chunks masala recipe most of the time. More Soya Chunks Recipes.

The moment I saw the chilli soy chunks recipe in Soma's eCurry, I knew I'd be trying it very soon. The ingredients were mostly every-day stuff and I always have some soy chunks (or meal maker, as TH calls it) in the house.

It was really really good, to say the least. We had it with chapatis but am sure it goes much better with fried rice.
Chilli Soya Chunks
Serves: 3 to 4
Source: eCurry

1 cup uncooked Soya Chunks/Meal Maker
1 onion, chopped into rough squares
1 large tomato, pureed
2 green chillies (I used Thai chilli padi)
1 small capsicum, cut into squares
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (I used freshly minced ginger and garlic)
6 dry red chillies (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup/hot and sweet sauce
2 tbsp oil
Spring onions or scallions for garnishing
Salt to taste


1. Boil about 4 cups of water and add about 1/2 tsp salt and the soya chunks to it. Keep closed and let it soak for 30 mins.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the dry red chillies. To this, add the onions, capsicum, green chillies and ginger-garlic mixture. Fry for 2-3 mins on medium heat until the red chillies turn brown and the onions get transparent.

3. Drain the soaked chunks and reserve the water. Squeeze them gently to remove excess water and add to the pan. Add salt and toss well, letting it cook for about 5 mins and until well combined.

4. In the reserved water (adjust to get 1.5 cups water, adding more plain water if required), add the soya sauce, pureed tomato and tomato sauce. Mix well.

5. Turn the heat to high and add this to the pan with the soya nuggets. Mix well on high for 30 seconds and then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook closed for 8-10 mins.

6. Garnish with the spring onions, scallions and serve with rice or roti.
Note: The quantity of sauce in this recipe can be varied according to personal choice. Since I serve it with chapatis, I wanted more gravy than normal. Make sure you adjust water accordingly because as you keep this dish longer, the soya nuggets will absord more and more water making the dish drier than you may wish it to be.

If you find the gravy too watery, mix 1 tsp corn flour with some water and add to the dish heating it through before removing it from fire. 

Edited to add tips from Reema and Soma:

- To remove the 'stink' present in soya chunks which some of you may not like, add some minced garlic and boil in water for 5 mins. Cool, squeeze out extra water and use as above.

- Soak those nuggets in a bowl of hot water, along with 3-4 spoons of milk - that takes away the raw soya taste and leaves the soya nuggets creamy and smooth.

Please feel free to share how you go about prepating the soya chunks before cooking.

July 15, 2009

Egg & Soya Bean Sprouts Fried Rice Recipe

Fried rice using egg and bean sprouts - Egg Fried Rice Recipe. 

If TH makes rice, there is always some leftover. The left-over quantity is always in-between. Not enough for 2 of us the next day and a bit too much for one person to have. This has made me something of an expert in leftover rice recipes. I make all kinds of pulao, fried rice and what not with this bowl of cold, refrigerated rice.

This recipe is also one such leftover rice recipe. But before I go into the details of that, I have to talk about soya bean sprouts.

{Also check out my Indian-style egg fried rice recipe}

Remember these bean sprouts from the stir-fried broccoli mushroom recipe? These are moong sprouts. Smaller, daintier, very crunchy with a nutty aftertaste. Its very popular in Asian cooking and available all over in Singapore.

July 13, 2009

Broad Beans / Avarakka / Avarakkai Thoran Recipe

There is a vegetable stall in Little India, Singapore, which I absolutely adore. It has all the "Indian" vegetables that I sorely miss and crave for after weeks of eating dishes cooked with just French beans and carrots and broccoli. This stall usually has purple brinjal, drumstick, drumstick leaves, fresh bunches of methi and pudina and kothamalli.. ahh.. its a true delight to go there every now and then. Once, I saw some fresh avarakka (avarakkai in Tamil) and I had to buy them!

I made a simple thoran with it, nothing fancy and we both loved it with some rasam and rice!

July 10, 2009

Recipe for Tofu in Peanut Butter Sauce

This Tofu in Peanut Sauce is probably the easiest dish I have tried out in the recent past. It requires no grinding, no chopping (unless you count cubing tofus as 'chopping'), no frying, its ultra super simple and you end up with a creamy side dish for your roti or rice in no time.

Recipe for Tofu in Peanut Butter Sauce
I made this for dinner a couple of weeks back, which explains the extra 'warm' pictures under artificial lighting. I wasn't sure if TH would like it since he doesn't like peanut sauces and gravies like they use in gado-gado much (but loves peanut butter, yeah, men are weird no?).

He ended up saying "this is not bad at all" so I guess if you like peanuts then this one will be a winner for you too.

July 8, 2009

Easy Apple Crumble with Vanilla Custard Sauce- Step by Step Recipe

Before I even start talking about this deliciously simple recipe, I want to apologize for not sharing this earlier. The first time I made this was when I was about 16 or 17. My athamma got me this book from Salem since I was quite crazy about baking and Mallika Badrinath was quite the rage back then.

Easy Apple Crumble with Vanilla Custard Sauce- Step by Step RecipeActually, I lie. This is not the same book. I got this from Chennai this April when we were there because I lose the original one athamma gave me. And with it went the recipe of this super-crazy-easy Apple Crumble Recipe! I had been searching for the book online ever since and finally found it on a road-side second hand book stall in Pondi Bazaar. Such is life :)

July 1, 2009

Sri Lankan Palak Dal Recipe (Spinach Dal Recipe)

How to make Palak Dal (Spinach Dal)

Ever since Siri hosted AWED Sri Lanka Recipes event, I got hooked to the cuisine. I had borrowed a book and this is the third recipe I tried from it. A simple palak dal recipe (lentils and spinach) but enhanced in true Sri Lankan way not to mention the addition of the ever-present coconut milk.

Fresh Green Spinach

The book I had only mentioned dal and I wasn't sure which dal they were referring to. So I used toor dal. You could also try this with moong dal and get a totally different flavour. Yummy either ways, I am sure.

Soaked Toor Dal for Palak Dal