Veg Uthappam

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Uthappam can be described as a pizza made of rice flour topped with your choice of toppings. It can be visualized as a savory pancake with some toppings too :-P. It is again a South Indian breakfast which is a popular item in all the tiffin type restaurants like Saravana bhawan, Uduppi etc. Uthappam is made using regular dosa batter. And though dosa was literally the breakfast in our home as far back as I can remember, Uthappam was never a part of our menu. We used to have it once in a while, during our road trips, when we make a stopover at one of those ‘thattu kadas’ (roadside fast food stalls) πŸ™‚

One summer break, we were in our native place at my uncle’s house. And one morning, for breakfast, my ammayi(aunt) presented ‘Mama special breakfast’. And that was the first time I had a homemade uthappam and it tasted pretty good. We all praised his cooking talents and saw how easily he was making the uthappams πŸ™‚ Well, after that, I have never had uthappams from restaurants. When I feel like having an uthappam, I make it at home πŸ˜€ The good part about uthappam is that you could customize it to your taste. That is, you could put the toppings of your choice. It could be just onions or onion and tomato uthappam. If you want to eat more vegetables with your uthappam, you could also try putting some grated carrots to your uthappam πŸ™‚ Doesn’t it sound very simple?? Believe me, it is as simple to make it as it sounds πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Dosa Batter –click for recipe – 3-4 cups
Onion – 1/2 of a small sized one, chopped
Tomato – 1/2 of a large sized one, chopped
Bell pepper/Capsicum – 1/4 of a medium sized one, chopped
Green chilli – 1 no, chopped
Coriander leaves – 4-5 stands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)
Oil – as needed

METHOD:

1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except, dosa batter and oil and give a good mix.
2. Heat the dosa tava/griddle. To check if your tava is at the right temperature, sprinkle some water drops on the tava and it should sizzle away and dry up immediately.
3. Grease the tava lightly with oil. Pour 1 ladle of dosa batter to the tava. Do not spread it like you would otherwise do for regular dosa. The dosa should be thick. Lightly spread it to look like a pancake.
4. Now, take a spoonful of the mixed vegetables and top it on the dosa so that it is spread out evenly. Gently press the toppings to the dosa.
5. Cover the dosa with a deep steel/glass lid/cover and cook in medium high flame till the dosa cooks through and it gets a light brown color at the bottom.
6. With an oil applicator, grease the top of the dosa and vegetables with little oil.
7. Turn the dosa over and let it cook for few seconds till the onions(and other veg) and dosa brown a little and get slightly crispy. This is why greasing the vegetables and the top portion of the dosa becomes important. If you do not grease it, the dosa will stick to the tava and the vegs won’t get the desired texture.

Serve with sambar and coconut chutney πŸ™‚

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Mini Idli ‘n Sambar

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Mini Idli and Sambar is a killer combination. I had never seen mini idlis till I came to US and went to Saravana Bhavan with my colleagues. As an appetizer they ordered the 14 piece mini idlis and I thought I wouldn’t like it. But to my surprise, I loved it. The small idlis looked so cute. And when served with a bowl of delicious sambar and ghee, wow..my mouth is watering already πŸ˜› Ever since, I have always ordered this appetizer when I go there.

Though I had bought idli plates, I had never used it. To be honest, I wasn’t a great fan of idli ever. I always thought it is to be eaten only when you are sick πŸ˜‰ But now, I wanted to buy mini idli plates. I went around all the Indian grocery stores and finally got what I wanted. Though I am not a fan of idli, I somehow like mini idlis πŸ™‚ But you should get your idlis right. It should be soft and fluffy. If it is hard, then it won’t taste good.

See my post on Idli to get those perfect soft idlis. I have seen, with idli and dosa batter, many people use many variations to get it right. I also had to go through some experiments, to finally get my perfect batter. Whatever method you follow, as long as it works for you, thats all that matters πŸ˜‰

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INGREDIENTS:

Idli Batter – as needed
(click for Idli batter recipe)
Sambar – as needed
(click for Sambar recipe / click for Palakkadan Sambar recipe )
Ghee – 1 tsp

METHOD:

1. In steamer, keep some water for boiling.
2. Grease the mini idli plates with oil.
3. Using a spoon, pour/drop the idli batter into the moulds. Stack the plates.
4. Once the water boils, lower the idli plates into the steamer and steam it for 4-5 mins.
5. Once ready, let the idli cool down a little. Using a knife or sharp spoon, scoop out the idlis into a plate.
6. In a bowl, take hot sambar and add ghee into it.
7. Before serving, put the mini idlis into the sambar bowl.

Serve hot!

Idli – Steamed rice cake

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Idli – Though this is a very typical South Indian breakfast, it is no longer made only in South Indian homes. Like Dosa, Idli is also world famous πŸ˜› I know couple of my non-Indian friends who make Idli at home!! Well, having said that, most people typically buy the idli batter that is available in stores. I also used to do the same. Afterall, it saves so much time and preparation. That is what I used to think till I made my first perfect batch of Idli batter. The first time I tried making Idli batter, I was soo disappointed. My idli wasn’t fluffy or soft. It was hard and sticky. I realized that my urad dal was the culprit. Please make sure that the urad dal you use for the batter is of good quality and fresh.

I was ready with my second batch of batter. But this time, the idli was not fluffy. Thats when I realized that you shouldn’t stir your batter much after it is fermented. This makes a huge difference in the way your idli comes out. By mixing your fermented batter, you let all the air escape. The third time I made, my idlis were perfect. Third time charm, huh!!! πŸ˜€ Well, now I don’t necessarily have to buy dosa/idli batter from the store anymore! There are days, when I don’t even want to enter the kitchen after work. And then when you know that you have some idli batter in the refrigerator, it is such a relief πŸ™‚ It takes 10 mins overall to get idlis on the plate. Usually, I make dry coconut chutney with idli, but you could just have it with some podi/pickle too.. That’s why I like idli so much these days; its so easy to make ’em πŸ˜‰

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Whole Urad Dal/Black gram – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 2.5 cups
Parboiled Rice – 1.5 cups
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil/Ghee – as required

METHOD:

1. Soak rice and urad dal for 4-5 hours in separate bowls. Put fenugreek seeds also along with urad dal.
2. In a wet grinder, mixie or blender grind urad dal into a smooth paste using very little water. Use the same water in which you soaked urad dal.
3. Grind rice also into a fine paste. The batter should be very smooth, it should not have grains.
4. Mix ground urad dal batter and rice batter well. Add salt to the batter.
5. Keep the batter in a warm place overnight(or 8-10 hours) for fermenting. During winter it could take longer for fermentation. The batter should rise well or ferment well to get good idli/dosa.
6. Once the batter rises, take the top portion of the fermented batter and use it for making idlis. Keep the remaining batter in the refrigerator.
Note: I asked specifically to use the top portion for idli, because, I use the same batter for both idli and dosa. It works perfectly for me. As the batter sits longer, it gets more sourness. Then you could use it for dosa.
Do not stir the batter too much once it is fermented. That will prevent the idlis to become soft and fluffy.

For making Idlis:-

1. In steamer, keep some water for boiling.
2. Grease the idli plates with oil.
3. Using a laddle, pour the idli batter into the moulds. Stack the plates.
4. Once the water boils, lower the idli plates into the steamer and steam it for 7-8 mins.
5. Once ready, let the idli cool down a little. Using a knife or sharp spoon, scoop out the idlis into a plate.

Serve with coconut chutney or sambar(Recipes found here: Sambar or Palakkadan Sambar(with coconut) πŸ™‚

Oats Puttu

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Puttu is one of the traditional breakfast items in Kerala. I haven’t heard of any other place which makes this dish. It is usually made of rice flour and can be briefly described as Steamed rice cake. But this recipe uses oats to replace the traditional rice puttu. Keeping the health benefits of oats in mind, this is a good option to make for breakfast. I got introduced to Oats puttu, when my friend told me about it. She told me it is very easy to make and is very tasty with Kadala curry. I was tempted to try it. And voila! She was right!! πŸ™‚ Thank you Moneesha for sharing the idea πŸ˜‰

Both me and DD don’t like puttu. I used to hate those days when mom would make puttu. I used to feel its soo dry that it won’t go down my throat. Though I never thought I would β€˜ever’ make puttu in my entire life, coming from Kerala, I had the Puttu maker handy, just in case πŸ˜› Ya, that’s right, you need a special mould for making puttu. Even if you don’t have the traditional pot for it, you should atleast have the cylindrical mould. And you could place it on top of a cooker. Am glad I had it handy. Coz after making this oats puttu, I know for sure that my Puttu maker is not going to be unused πŸ˜‰

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Oats – 2.5 cups
Water – 1/2 cup apprx.
Salt – to taste(apprx. 3/4 tsp)
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Shredded coconut – 6 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Pulse the oats in a blender to coarsely grind it.
2. In a bowl, mix oats, salt and cardamom powder well. Sprinkle water little by little over the oats mix and mix well with hands. When you add water, note the below point.
Note: The amount of water added to the oats mix is very important for the puttu to come out well. Extra water would make the puttu very sticky and hard. Less water will not let the puttu to hold together. When you make a ball with the oats mix, the ball should retain its shape. So add only as much water as is required for the oats mix to hold together. The mix should be moist.
3. To make puttu, boil some water in the puttu pot. Meanwhile, layer the puttu kutti(cylindrical shaped mould). Put the perforated disc on the mould and add 1 tbsp grated coconut, then put the oats mix till the puttu kutti is half full. Add another tbsp of grated coconut. Fill the puttu kutti again with the oats mix. Again put a layer of grated coconut.
4. Close the lid of the puttu mould and fix it on the pot of boiling water. Since the water is already boiling, steam it only for 3-4 minutes. When you see the steam coming out from the lid of the mould, you know that your puttu is ready.
5. Open the lid and slowly slide the puttu onto a plate by pushing it with a skewer or something.

Serve with Kadala(Whole Bengal gram) curry or banana.

Potato Stuffed Poori

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Potato stuffed poori- I had only heard of aloo paratha until recently when my friend mentioned about stuffed poori. She asked me if I have ever made Aloo Poori. Never having heard of it before, I gave her a confused look πŸ˜› Then she explained that just like you make aloo paratha, they make aloo poori in their place.

Yesterday I had some leftover Red curry from Banana leaf. I wanted something nice to go with it. I settled for poori. But I realized the curry is too less. So I wanted to make something more filling. I checked my pantry and found potatoes. That’s when I remembered my friend mentioning ‘Potato Stuffed Poori’ and I knew that’s what I am making for dinner.

Both DD and me love poori and aloo paratha. And so this was a super combination of both. Totally loved it!!! Thanks to my friend for introducing this dish to me πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Oil(for frying) – 2 cups

For Poori :-
Aata – 2 cups
Ajwain/Carom seeds – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp

For filling :-
Potato – 2 no. medium sized, boiled
Onion – 1 no. small sized, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos, chopped
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Coriander leaves – 3 strands, chopped
Green onion – 2 nos, chopped(optional)
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil – 2 tbsp

METHOD:
1. Make the poori dough using the ingredients mentioned under ‘For Poori’ section. Keep it covered and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling using the ingredients mentioned under ‘For filling’ section. Start by boiling the potatoes and peeling the skin off.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onion, salt, green chilli and ginger garlic paste. Cook till onions turn pink.
4. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala and saute for a minute or so.
5. Add boiled potato and mash it well using a spoon. Mix it well so that the spices spread evenly.
6. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped coriander or green onion and mix well(I used green onion since I had it avaiable).

Preparing stuffed poori:
1. This process is similar to making Aloo paratha. Make lime sized balls with the poori dough.
2. Roll it out a little and put a spoonful of filling in the center of the rolled out dough.
3. Cover the filling from all sides with the sides of dough and roll it out in the shape of a small circle.
4. Repeat the process for the remaining batch of poori dough and filling.
5. Heat oil in a Kadai/deep pan. To check if the oil is hot, drop a small piece of dough to the oil and it should rise to the top immediately.
6. Slowly immerse the rolled out pooris into the oil. Fry both sides till it becomes light brown.
7. Remove the poori from oil and place on kitchen towel to drain extra oil.
8. Repeat the process for all the rolled out pooris.

Serve with chicken curry or side dish of your choice.

Note: 1. If the oil isn’t heated well, the poori will absorb a lot of oil. So ensure that the oil is hot.
2. Also, don’t make the dough very soft by adding more water. Extra moisture in the dough will also cause poori to absorb more oil while frying.

Dosa

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GoldenSecretRecipes has completed one year in the blog world. It has been a great journey thus far and I would like to thank all of you for supporting me, visiting my blog and trying out ‘Golden Secret’ recipes πŸ™‚ I was thinking hard as to, what should be my post on this occasion and what ‘new’ idea can I implement this year.

Some of you might think its crazy or boring if I tell you that we used to have dosa for breakfast almost all days of the week. On an average, I can say for sure that we had dosa 5 days a week πŸ˜› As much as it sounds ‘boring’, I have to admit that we never got bored of eating dosas. Because my mom’s dosas are simply the best!!! Everyday she would make these amazing dosas with a little bit of ghee. They would be so thin and crisp, that I could eat 4-5 of these Ghee roast easily ;-). An year ago, I published this blog on my parents anniversary and it was a small token of my love for them. So I thought I should post Dosa recipe ‘coz probably Dosa is still an integral part of their everyday life πŸ™‚

Regarding the new idea that I have come up with – I have decided to include some short video clips for some of the key cooking processes. Some of my friends asked me to do this ‘coz they thought they would find it useful. With my limited resources, I consider this a humble beginning πŸ˜›

Now coming to the recipe.. As easy as it is for those who know how to make perfect dosas, I feel it is as difficult for those who don’t know the art of making it. I am saying from my own experience. Though I had dosa almost everyday of my life, I was pathetic at making one, in the beginning 😦 But I am glad that I had few failed attempts, ‘coz that gives me a better insight on ‘what not to do’ or ‘what could go wrong’ while making dosas :-D. I am going to include some tips which will be helpful to arrive to that perfect Dosa batter/Dosa recipe of yours πŸ™‚

TIPS:-
-If your dosa comes out too brittle or dry, probably it is because of Urad dal. It is important that you use good and whole urad dal. I made dosa batter so many times and it would never come good. I tried all possible proportions. But finally when I changed the urad dal, I got the perfect dosa batter!! Also, check the batter consistency. If your batter is too thick, even then the dosa will not come good.
– If your dosa batter is not fermenting well, then try adding fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds help in the fermentation of the batter and also gives a nice brown color and texture to the dosa. Also use your hands to mix the batter well. Body temperature helps the fermentation process.
– If your batter isn’t fermenting when you keep it overnight, then place the batter inside the conventional oven with the oven light on. Keep the batter uncovered so that it gets the heat from the light. This will help the batter to rise.
– When you make thin dosas, it is important that the dosa is crisp yet have that right amount of softness. The ratio of rice is what determines that factor. If you use only raw rice, your dosa can get too crisp/ dry. The parboiled rice adds softness to dosa.
– If you are not getting crispiness in your dosa, then it is probably because of too much parboiled rice. In that case, decrease the proportion of parboiled rice and increase the amount of raw rice.
– Using non-stick griddle helps if you are new to dosa making process. As you make dosas a few times, you will get the speed needed to spread the batter evenly to get thin dosas! Your griddle should be hot before you pour the batter to it. If you drizzle few droplets of water, it should sizzle away immediately. The pan/griddle shouldn’t to overheated also. If yours is not a non-stick pan, you can pour a handful of water to the griddle and cool it down. But if you do the same to your non-stick griddle, it will spoil your griddle(the non-stick coating will come off in a short period).
– If your batter is sticking together or forming lumps when you try to spread it, it is due to the pan. Either your pan needs to be greased well or it shouldn’t be! Strangely, I could get rid of this problem by NOT greasing the griddle before pouring the batter. My non-stick griddle is new and so if I grease it with oil, my batter would form lumps and stick together when I try to spread it.
– If you are find it difficult to take out the dosa from the pan once its ready or in other words, if your dosa is getting stuck to the pan, one way you can avoid it, is by rubbing some raw onion to the pan before pouring the batter. This gives a non-sticky effect to the pan!

Hope you find the tips useful. Also watch this 2-minute video guide for making thin, crisp and PERFECT dosa πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Measurement of the cup used, 1 cup = 120 ml

Whole Urad Dal – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 2.5 cups
Parboiled Rice – 1.5 cups
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil/Ghee – as required

METHOD:

1. Soak rice and urad dal for 4-5 hours in separate bowls. Put fenugreek seeds also along with urad dal.
2. In a wet grinder, mixie or blender grind urad dal into a smooth paste using very little water. Use the same water in which you soaked urad dal.
3. Grind rice also into a fine paste. The batter should be very smooth, it should not have grains.
4. Mix ground urad dal batter and rice batter well.
5. Keep the batter in a warm place overnight(or 8-10 hours) for fermenting.
6. Once the batter rises, add salt to the batter.
7. Heat a flat skillet/non-stick dosa pan. Lightly grease the pan with oil.
8. Pour a ladle of batter onto the center of the pan. Using the ladle, spread the batter in a circular motion spreading it from the center to the sides of the pan.
9. Let dosa cook in medium high flame for about a minute(or lesser). When it starts to turn light brown, pour few drops of oil or ghee.
10. After few seconds, the edges of the dosa will start to come off from the pan(if using a non-stick pan). When the dosa turns brown, fold it over in half or roll it and serve immediately(for the best taste).

Serve this crispy dosa with sambar, coconut chutney or ulli chammandi πŸ™‚

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Upma

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Upma is one of the most common breakfast that one gets in hostels(atleast in South India). People can have different stories of upma to tell. I know some folks who hate upma, simply because they used to get only upma for breakfast all four years of college/hostel life πŸ™‚ Yet there are some, who like it inspite of all odds like DD and me πŸ˜›

I make upma regularly on Saturday mornings. First and foremost reason being, its easy to make. When you wake up on a Saturday morning and feel hungry, and you don’t want to do any special preparation work for cooking or waste any time in cooking, upma comes as a solution! Secondly, me and DD look forward to having upma each week, because both of us like it a lot. Usually, I make just as much is required. And whenever its upma, we both are left wanting for more! I remember this same feeling during my childhood also. My mom would also make just the right amount of upma for all. And each time, I would go to the kitchen to check if there’s anything left. May be that’s why I always wait for upma to be made next time πŸ˜›

There are many variations of making upma like you could add some veggies to the upma to make it wholesome. But I have included the basic recipe as of now. I took some time to perfect it. Basically, the amount of water and the way you let the rava cook after adding it to the water determines the texture and look of your upma!

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INGREDIENTS:

Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Rava/Semolina – 200 gms/8 ounces/1.5 cups
Onion – 1/2 no, chopped
Green chilli – 2-3 nos, chopped
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece, chopped
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 1 strand
Coriander leaves – 3 strands
Water – 3 cups
Salt – to taste(apprx. 3/4 tsp)
Oil – 4 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Heat a pan and roast rava till it turns light brown. Alternatively, you can roast/warm it up in the microwave for 2-3 mins, giving it a stir at half time. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and put mustard. Once it splutters, add urad dal. Once the urad dal becomes light brown, add broken dry red chillies and curry leaves.
3. After it splutters, add chopped ginger and green chillies. Saute for few seconds till the raw smell goes off.
4. Add chopped onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook in medium high flame and saute occasionally.
5. Once the onions turn pink, add water and remaining salt.
6. Let the water boil. Stirring continuously, add roasted rava slowly. Stirring prevents rava from forming lumps.
7. Ensure that all part of rava absorbs water or is soaked by water. Be careful because the water/rava starts bubbling at this point.
8. Give a good mix and cook covered in medium flame for few mins.
9. When it starts to become dry, keep sauteing. When the rava cooks through, remove from heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with pickle or sugar(for kids and some adults like DD πŸ˜‰ )