We invited readers to share some of their favourite recipes with us. As part of a continuing series, we publish five of these lip-smacking recipes we've received so far:
First up, here is R Kesavan's Upma Kozhukatai (Steamed Upma Dumplings) preparation:
Cuisine: South Indian
Preparation time: 25 minutes
- 1 tsp Sunflower oil
- 2 cups rice flour (ground coarsely)
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 onion
- 4 green chillies
- 10 gms roasted groundnuts
- A few curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- Shallow-fry two cups of ground rice flour (without oil) for a minute (you can also purchase coarsely ground rice flour from any South Indian store) and keep it aside.
- Dice onions and chillies into small pieces.
- Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds till they start crackling and add curry leaves.
- Add diced onions and chillies and fry for a minute or so.
- Boil 6 cups of water (the thumb rule being for every one cup of rice flour, use three cups of water).
- Add the two cups of fried rice flour to the water and stir gradually so that there are no lumps formed.
- The mixture will start thickening. Keep stirring until it attains upma-like consistency.
- Let the mixture cool down.
- Take out idli stands from your idli cooker (you can also use idli stands in a pressure cooker, if they fit in). Slightly grease the moulds with a drop of oil.
- Make small balls out of the cooled upma and place them on the idli stand. One mould in the stand can usually accommodate two balls.
- Steam the balls in the idli cooker/pressure cooker for about 10 minutes.
- Serve the upma dumplings with mint chutnry/ chillie sauce/ ketchup.
Health quotient: The recipe uses very little oil and since the upma balls are steamed and not fried, it makes this dish healthy.
Rana Sinha Ray sent in two recipes. Here is his first for Vegetarian Pizza:
Preparation time: 2 hours
For the base:
- 2 cups maida (or whole-wheat flour for the health-conscious)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 packet of dried yeast
- Lukewarm milk
- Lukewarm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- Oil to brush (1 tbsp)
For the sauce:
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped finely
- 1/2 packet tomato puree (Dabur or homemade small packets)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 green chillie, chopped finely
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp oil (Olive oil if possible, else any vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp dried herb mixture (basil, oregano)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp red chillie powder
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup (or Maggi Hot & Sweet)
- Salt and sugar to taste
For the toppings:
- Blanched spinach leaves in turmeric and salt water
- Shallow fried thin brinjal slices
- Thinly sliced capsicum
- Thinly sliced boiled potatoes
- Thinly sliced parboiled carrots
- Pretty much most veggies can go in if they are parboiled and shallow fried or sauteed.
For the garnish:
- 200 gms mozarella cheese cut into thin strips
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
For the base:
- Mix the salt and maida.
- Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm milk mixture.
- Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk mix and keep aside for 2-3 minutes.
- Once the milk starts frothing, make the dough using the milk first, and adding warm water as needed.
- The dough should be soft and pliable, and reasonably elastic -- bit like the dough for naans.
- Cover the dough with oil and a wet cloth. Leave it in a dark place for two hours.
- After two hours, it should have swelled to twice the size. Punch it down to its original size and again cover it with the wet cloth, leaving it to 'prove'.
For the sauce:
- Put oil in a non-stick pan; add the garlic, onion and green chillies while the oil is cold itself.
- Once the oil gets heated up and the garlic/ onion/ chillies start spitting/ sputtering, add the chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar, chillie powder, herbs.
- Keep cooking on low/ medium heat until tomatoes have reduced to half.
- Add the remaining ingredients and reduce further.
- At the end of the cooking, the sauce should be thick, and dark red. The chopped tomatoes should have 'dissolved' into a paste.
Making the pizza:
- Take a tray and add flour the base of the tray.
- Spread the dough thinly and evenly on the tray with your hands/fingers, and make sure there are no holes.
- Taking a fork and tap all over to make tiny pores. Spread the tomato sauce evenly.
- Add the veggies and cheese till the pizza is covered.
- Gently press the topping into the base.
- Put in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and starts browning.
- Take out the pizza, sprinkle some dried herbs and pepper powder.
- Serve hot.
Health quotient: High on vegetables, low on oil and oven-baked.
Here is Rana's second recipe (learned from his mother) for Mutton Kassa:
Preparation time: 2 hours
- 1 kg mutton, preferably front 'raan'
- 1/2 kg onions, thinly sliced
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 50 gms ginger
- 75 gms garlic
- 50 gms curd
- 3 green chillies
- 2 tsp jeera powder
- 1 tsp dhania powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp red chillie powder
- 2 whole cloves and cardamoms
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole jeera
- 1 tsp black pepper corns
- Hot water
- 4 tbsp oil, preferably mustard oil
1 tbsp desi ghee
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt to taste
- Wash, clean and dry the mutton.
- Make a paste of the quartered onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and curd.
- Then take 1 tbsp mustard oil and mix the jeera, dhania, turmeric, chillie powder into a thick paste.
- Apply half of the two pastes to the mutton. Leave for an hour.
- Heat a pan and roast clove, cardamom, cinnamon, whole jeera and peppercorns till the jeera starts turning brown. Grind it into a dry powder.
- Take a kadai, add the remaining oil and heat to smoking.
- Add the sliced onions, and fry till brown.
- Reduce heat add the remaining pastes from above, bay leaf and sugar.
- Fry on low heat till oil starts leaving the mixture, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes. Increase the heat, and add the marinated mutton little by little, coating the pieces with the masala paste in the kadai.
- Once all the mutton is added, mix thoroughly and keep stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom.
- After about 25-30 minutes, the oil will start leaving the sides of the kadai. Add salt to taste.
- At this stage, one can add hot water periodically, reduce the flame, and cook covered till the mutton is tender (about 20 minutes), or pressure-cook in 2 cups of hot water (2 whistles at low heat usually, for medium size pieces).
- Once the mutton is tender, add the powdered masala, the desi ghee and give it a good mix. The consistency should be semi-dry.
- Garnish with fried onions (if needed).
Health quotient: Not so sure.
Next is how to cook up Pepper Spinach Chicken by Aloke S Roy -- he learned it from a friend:
Preparation time: 2 hours, including the marinating
- 1 kg chicken pieces
- 1 kg onion
- 1 full garlic bulb, minced
- 1 dried chillie
- 2 big lemons
- 2 tbsp olive oil/white oil
- 30 gms home-ground pepper (or as desired)
- 300 gms spinach
- Marinate the chicken with ground pepper and lemon juice for 2 hours.
- Boil the spinach leaves. Drain the water. Keep the spinach in ready mode.
- Chop the onions and garlic separately.
- Heat the oil, fry the garlic along with dried chillie for a minute.Add the onions and put it on a low flame. Cook till onions have become translucent.
- Add the chicken and mix and cook for about 45 minutes or till the onions have become a paste on the chicken. Stir all the the time.
- Add the spinach and stir for another 10 minutes.The chicken should darken in colour but not burn.
Health quotient: It does not use any spice other than pepper, which has medicinal value.
And finally, we have D J Patil's mother's recipe for Meethi Tomato Chutney:
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup methi leaves
- 1 cup tomato (chopped)
- Green chillies as per taste
- 1/2 tbsp red chillie powder
- 2 tbsps refined oil
- 2 tbsps mustard seeds
- 2 tbsps hing (asafoetida)
- Heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds till they pop.
- Next, add onions and fry till brown. Then add a pinch of hing, followed by methi leaves and fry till they become soft (say about 5 minutes on a high flame).
- Add tomatoes, followed by salt, chillies (both red and green) and a pinch of haldi. Keep mixing the ingredients for awhile. Tasteas it is or mix in a blender. The chutney goes well with hot rice.
Health quotient: Green leaves are a source of Vitamin A and it lowers cholestrol.