Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mysore Sambar

The specialty of this sambar is the fact that it will be made out of a fresh, homemade ground spice mix and not a store bought one!


10 methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds)Mysore Sambar Podi
2 tbspn coriander seeds (or 1 tbspn coriander powder)
10 curry leaves
15-20 dried red chilies
1 tspn cumin seeds
½ cup fresh coconut
5 tablespoons oil or more
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
6-10 curry leaves
1/4 cup juice of imli (tamarind)
1/8 tsp Asafetida (ing)
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery dissolved in warm water or 1 tsp sugar (optional)

Add any or all of the following vegetables (up to two cups):
1 cup chopped/diced brinjal (eggplant)
1 cup dudhi (Indian squash)
1 cup finely diced potatoes
1/2 cup finely sliced carrots
1 -1 1/2 cup tomatoes cut into about 1 inch chunks

1. Soak 1/5 block dry tamarind in warm water until step 4
2. Boil 1 cup dhal in 2 cups water until dal is soft, but not pasty
3. Dry fry cumin/methi separately, dry fry chili/coriander separately. Alternatively, if it is sunny, you can keep the spices on a plate out in the sun for 8-10 hours to sundry as the spices photographed in this article were.
Grind these seeds into a powder using a mortar or coffee grinder.
4. Put this spice mix in water and grind in blender with coconut for 15 minutes or until it's puddling-like.
5. Add boiled toor dhal into the blender and blend into a paste. Set this aside. (I believe mashing or grinding the dhal into a paste gives it the thick consistency typical of Udipi style cooking found in Karnataka state, India.)
6. Heat 2-3 tsp vegetable oil in a large pot (5-6 cups capacity). Add 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp mustard seeds (MS) in the oil, when MS pop, add cut vegetables add 1/4 tsp turmeric and curry leaves. Fry this mix for 10 min.
7. Strain tamarind water, place in pan with two cups of water along with the vegetables. Boil until vegetables are soft.
8. Add one tsp jaggery dissolved in warm water or 1 tsp sugar if desired.
9. Add blended dhal and spice mix and boil on medium for an hour or until tastes mesh.
10. Add salt as per taste.
11. Previous to serving, garnish with coriander.

Eat with rice, idli, dosai, pongal etc.
Makes 10-15 servings.

Note: Because the dhal is blended as a paste, this sambar will become thicker as it cools. If kept in the fridge over night, water may need to be added the next day to make it a stew consistency. To avoid this if you think you will need to store it, do not blend dhal and only cook dhal until it is done and not over boiled.

**Sambar is a type of South Indian vegetarian stew with lentils, a mix of spices (masala) and vegetables).

Updated July 22, 2008
Original posting date January 26, 2008

Amol has showcased the photo of the sambar masala seeds in his posts here and here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quinoa Upma

By: Jennifer KumarQuinoa Upma

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1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tspn oil (vegetable or olive)
pinch mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2-3 green chilies sliced in half lengthwise
1/8 cup finely diced onion
15-20 cashew pieces as per taste (optional)
1/8 cup each -corn kernels, peas, edamame
to taste salt

1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add mustard seeds.
3. When seeds pop add curry leaves, green chilies, onions and cashews. Stir until onions become translucent or cashews brown.
4. Add 1/2 cup water and add in veggies. I used frozen vegetables so I steamed them in this mixture until soft.
5. Add quinoa and 1 cup water. (Quinoa is cooked with twice the water as quinoa, but the extra water already added softened the veggies and cashews.)
6. Add salt to taste and keep stirring and cooking. Quinoa grains separate after cooking for some time, this means they have been cooked. Keep cooking and stirring until water has evaporated. Upma should be a dry stir fry mixture. Do not leave mixture alone, it should not burn and could easily burn if not watched and stirred continuously.

Serves 3-5.

Upma is the name of a variety of dishes with a similar consistency. Salt or uppa is the main ingredient. From our most educated guess upma comes from combining the (Tamil/Malayalam) words uppa (salt) and maavu (batter/mixture). There are different varieties of upma, and by the title of upma you know the main ingredient. In this case, it is quinoa. I have made the most famous upma with sooji (rava), in addition to vermicelli, bread and Buggani (Puffed Rice Upma). The other varieties are very similar except in how to prepare the main ingredient for the upma. I am sure there are other varieties, but I have yet to be introduced to them!

Notes on Quinoa: "Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans." (source: Wikipedia)

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tags: quinoa, grains, upma, "upma varities", breakfast, "Indian breakfast", "south Indian breakfast"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Picture Perfect Paneer

In a follow up to the initial post on Homemade Paneer, here is some evidence that it's still being done by me!!

Since I have learned the art of making paneer, it has kind of been like riding a bike. What I mean is that even if I go weeks or months without making it, I can do it again like I did it when I enthusiastically wrote the intial recipe blog.

More Paneer Photos.... (All Photos taken by blog author, Jennifer Kumar.)

**Paneer is a homemade cheese more popular in North India. This cheese can be fried in hot oil. The characteristic of this cheese is that it doesn't melt!

Use Panner to make Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani. This is the fried paneer smothered in thick, cream and butter spiced gravy.

Delicious Living Magazine - How to Make Cheese in Less than One Hour