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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Kale Kala Chana Stew

In Recipes on 15 February 2019 at 8:00 pm

I had a pound of kale fresh from the farmers’ market.  I was very hungry and had to go to a meeting, so was wondering what I could make quickly.  Now recently I have noticed that people are making kale salads which are downright delicious, so I thought, why don’t I figure out how to do that?  It requires no cooking and that way I can have an instant meal … as soon as I figure out how to tame this kale.  

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Bel Air loves idli-dosa batter

In Field Notes, Recipes on 8 January 2019 at 2:07 am

Idli-dosa batter is like a hidden treasure that we can produce from scratch any time. A special bit of fun about being a South Indian outside of South India is the way you can win people over with the most staple of staple foods, idli and dosa. And for the truly smitten (and aren’t they all?), idli-dosa batter.

Idli plates are filled with freshly ground batter.

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Tofu Pea Carrot Kura

In Recipes on 1 December 2018 at 1:00 pm

A trusty combination that goes well with millet or rice, this colorful dish will satisfy the whole family and fetch compliments at potlucks.

Sizzling spices liven up chopped vegetables every time.  If you find peas and carrots too sweet to eat as a main dish, try it this way, with some tofu, ginger and the South Indian spice combination known as tiragamuta. Read the rest of this entry »

Milling Wheat, part 1

In How, Recipes on 21 October 2018 at 12:00 am

Well the happy thing is that I need not live another day without freshly milled flour.  My sister mills.  I have friends who mill at home.  The women who work in our house and neighborhood in Mumbai don’t buy flour.  They take their grains to the shop to have them freshly milled.  The corner shop mills grain every day and sells it in bulk, but many of the middle class consumers prefer to buy brand name flour in packages, even though it may be several weeks old.

In the US you cannot find a corner shop that will mill grain for you, but you can buy a family size mill for home use.  A friend of mine bought one several years ago.  She has gone back to school now.  With that plus two kids, she isn’t milling like she used to.  She mentioned that if I wanted, I could try it out sometime.

Reader, I borrowed it. Read the rest of this entry »

Ragi Makes the World Go Round

In Recipes on 3 February 2017 at 8:00 pm

In between sessions at the Human Rights in Childbirth conference a young woman approached me and said, “Are you Amma?”  Not quite believing my ears I looked startled.  “From Ask Amma?” she continued.  Turns out, she learned to make ragi porridge right here on Ask Amma and her daughter enjoys it to this day.  What music to my heart!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fneha.chopra%2Fvideos%2F10157909990610538%2F&show_text=0&width=560

When it comes to ragi, our enthusiasm knows no bounds!

10-grain idlis

In Recipes on 19 March 2016 at 9:34 am

We’ve made idlis and dosas with little millet, kodo millet, proso millet, pearl millet, foxtail millet, finger millet and even made them with teff, which it turns out, is also a kind of millet. Oh, and of course we have made them with paddy rice.  (Our millet-farming friends insist on calling what generally goes by the name of rice, “paddy rice” to distinguish it from some of the millets which in the local language are actually called varieties of rice, e.g. సామ బీయ్యము or वरी चावल (little millet rice),  కొర్ర బీయ్యము (foxtail millet rice), सामक चावल (barnyard millet rice).  In this case the term “rice” is used not as a name for the grain but for the whole form of the grain, as opposed to cracked grain (ravva), flattened grain (poha) or flour (atta).

I made idlis using all 11 of these ingredients - 10 grains plus 1 legume.

I decided to make idlis using all 11 of these ingredients – 10 grains plus 1 legume.

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Teff Idli and Dosa!

In Recipes on 13 February 2016 at 3:11 am

Sometimes our millet dosas remind us of injera, a traditional Ethiopian dish we ate a few years ago when visiting friends in Boston.  Khiyali and her friends enjoyed chanting, “eat the plate!  eat the plate!”   The injera was the edible plate on which the various toppings were served.  After tearing off pieces of injera and scooping up the steamed and stir-fried vegetables, the rest of the plate, which had absorbed some of the flavors from the toppings, was fun to eat up all by itself.

Out of curiosity I bought a bag of teff at David’s Natural Market when I was in Maryland but did not get around to finding out how to make anything with it.  By the time I left for India the bag was still unopened so I brought it along with me.  When I searched for recipes for injera it seemed I needed teff flour and not whole teff.  Of course this grain is so tiny it is almost like flour but anyway that gave me the free pass to try using it like all the other grains in my collection – to make dosas!  How different could they be?

Teff and Urad

Teff and Urad, ready to get soaked.

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Ragi Idli and Dosa, Take 3

In Recipes on 30 January 2016 at 9:44 am

Tri-Millet Idli - made of Ragi, Sama and Proso millet along with Urad (Black Gram).

Tri-Millet Idli – made of Ragi, Sama and Proso millet along with Urad (Black Gram).

In Ragi Idli and Dosa, Take 1, I tried using whole ragi (finger millet) to make the batter used for idli and dosa.  Since I’d never done nor seen any one do it before, I used part ragi and part rice along with the urad (black gram).   Pleased with the results, I tried using only ragi and urad in my next attempt, Ragi Idli and Dosa Take 2.  To my pleasant surprise, this batter also rose well and produced tasty idlis, albeit heavier than even my usual idlis which, being always whole grain, tend to be denser than white idlis, just as whole wheat bread is less airy than white bread.

Now that I have made idlis and dosas using  just about every kind of millet I have been able to get my hands on – little millet (sama), kodo millet (arikalu), proso (varigalu), pearl millet (bajra) and finger (ragi), I thought, why not mix them up? Read the rest of this entry »

Whole Ragi Idli and Dosa, Take 2

In Recipes on 14 January 2016 at 5:20 pm

¡Si se puede!  I exclaimed when I saw the dough the morning after grinding it.  It had risen.  At last I could report to the naysayers, who thought that whole ragi and whole urad couldn’t be trusted to make a good idli, oh yes they can!

ragi idli with sambar

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Ragi Idli and Dosa, Take 1

In Recipes on 8 January 2016 at 12:03 pm

Mix 1 part sprouted ragi flour and 2 parts water, bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Video

Ragi: Not only for porridge. (Video)

Soon after I arrived in India, I visited Balaji in Chennai and met the folks of the Tamil Nadu Science Forum which took Balaji by storm (or was it the other way around?)  There I heard Ambarigi, Shanthi and other workers talk about the value of sattamavu, or ragi, sprouted and ground and easy to make into porridge. They focussed on encouraging parents to prepare it for young children and asked us and other well-wishers to help promote it by sponsoring a year’s worth of sattemavu for a family in need.  This Ravi and I did and later started a program to distribute ragi in Srikakulam as well.  It was not until six months after our daughter was born that we bought the stuff to make and eat ourselves.

As it turned out ragi porridge was an instant hit and we have been making it ever since.  I didn’t venture further in the millet department until a couple of years ago when I started using every variety of millet I could find.  Ragi, or finger millet was a regular part of our diet in the form of porridge.  What to do with the other kinds?  I tried them out in idli and dosa batter and they were great.  Soon I was making idlis and dosas out of Proso MilletKodo MilletLittle Millet and Pearl Millet (bajra).  I also made pulihara out of Foxtail Millet.

But what about Finger Millet?   Read the rest of this entry »

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