Tangy Cucumber Salad

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Making salads with cucumber is a very common practice in India. But usually all the salads call for sliced cucumbers and its most served without much seasoning/dressing.

I loved this salad coz of the tangyness that the lime juice was bringing to this dish. I made mint rice the other day and I didn’t know what would go well with it, as a side. I had some cucumber at home. I had other plans with the cucumber(basically to make sandwiches). But then I decided to make a salad with cucumber. And I am soo glad I made this. I am a person who gives importance to ‘combinations’ of food. I can’t eat random stuff with just another random stuff(for which DD calls me very picky :-P). But people who enjoy eating would understand where I am coming from πŸ˜‰ This combination of mint rice and cucumber salad is definitely something that I am having again!

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INGREDIENTS:

Cucumber – 1 no(s), diced
Onion – 1/4th of a small sized one, thinly sliced
Lime juice – of 1/2 a lime
Green chilli – 1 no, chopped
Salt – to taste( apprx. 1 tsp)
Coriander leaves – 2 strands, chopped

METHOD:

1. Mix diced cucumber, thinly sliced onion, chopped green chilli, lime juice and salt well.
2. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Enjoy with Mint rice or any flavored rice πŸ™‚

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Ulli chammandi(Dip made of shallots for Dosa)

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As I mentioned in my previous post, we used to have dosa almost daily as our breakfast. And if dosa was something that regular, there was its sibling which was equally popular or regular πŸ™‚ And that was Ulli chammandi. Ulli Chammandi is a side condiment made of shallots(translates to β€˜ulli’ or β€˜cheriya ulli’ in Malayalam) and goes very well with Dosa and Idli. I have seen most people include DD prefers to have dosa or idli with sambar and coconut chutney. Somehow, sambar and dosa or even, sambar and idli was not such a popular combination in our house. For us, dosa comes with ulli chammandi and coconut chutney.

The trick of getting this right is in the frying process. You should ensure not to burn the ingredients while frying and just lightly roast it. That would give the perfect taste to this side dip. I have got it wrong couple of times myself 😦 and I wasn’t very happy about it. I thought to myself, β€œCan I not get such a simple recipe right?” Anyway, all is well that ends well πŸ˜‰ We don’t use the tamarind mentioned in the ingredients section. I put it in there because last day mom mentioned that, that is also a variation although we don’t use it. So this time I made ulli chammandi using tamarind and it was pretty good. But since I am used to the β€˜tamarind-less’ version, I like that better πŸ˜›

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INGREDIENTS:

Note: This recipe yields only 2 servings

Shallots – 5-6
Garlic – 1-2 small pods
Dry red chilli – 1 nos
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind – A gooseberry seed sized ball(optional)
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)
Coconut oil – 1.5 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Heat 2 tsp of coconut oil in a pan. Fry red chilli, shallots(halves) and garlic till the raw smell goes off.
2. The dry red chilli should slightly brown and the shallots should turn pale(pink) and the garlic should turn light brown. Ensure that none of these ingredients burn.
3. Remove from heat and put red chilli powder, tamarind and salt. Let it cool down.
4. In a mixie/grinder, give it 4-5 pulses and make into a coarse paste. Before grinding, break the dry red chilli into small pieces. Don’t grind it till it becomes smooth, there should be small bites of shallots.
5. Transfer to a small bowl and pour remaining coconut oil and give a good mix.

Serve with Dosa or Idli πŸ™‚

Coconut chutney(for Dosa/Idli)

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Coconut chutney is such an integral part of any Kerala home. Specially in our home, dosa is like the most consumed breakfast. On an average, we used to have dosa as breakfast all 5 days of the week. There is a reason for it also. My mom’s dosa’s are perfect and absolutely marvellous. I have tried my hands on it, but have never come even close to hers.

Since dosa was like our daily breakfast, the side condiment with it also has to be good. You know how we like to complain about everything even though your only job is to sit and eat πŸ˜‰ Atleast as kids you can be really demanding. I would say, now that I know the pain of cooking everyday, I wouldn’t complain about food that is made by someone, considering the effort behind it πŸ™‚ Coming back to what I was saying, the side dip for dosa in our home was usually either ‘Ulli chammandi’ or ‘Coconut chutney’ or both.

I will post ulli chammandi(a dip made of shallots) some other day. Fact is that, I still haven’t got it right πŸ˜› So I will come to the easy one which is coconut chutney. Having said that, though easy, this chutney is really tasty and goes very well with dosa and idli. I remember my mom used to mix little curd(or yogurt) to this chutney to make it little sour and different for me. I used to love that version. Try it if your kids don’t like to have spicy chutney πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:

Grated Coconut – 1.5 cups
Shallots – 4-5 no(s)
Green chilli – 3 no(s)
Water – 1/2 cup
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilli – 2 no(s)
Curry leaves – 1 strand

METHOD:

1. In a mixie/grinder, grind grated coconut, shallots, green chilli and salt into a smooth paste. Use little water for grinding.
2. In a pan, heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add broken dry red chillies and curry leaves.
3. To this add the coconut ground paste and add little water to bring it to the desired consistency. If you want the chutney to be thick, then you need not add water.
4. Stir for 1 min and remove from heat.

Serve with dosa or idli.

Coriander-Mint chutney(Green chutney for chats)

This spicy coriander chutney can be used with any chats. You can also serve this chutney as a side dip for vada, bonda, tikki or pakodas.

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INGREDIENTS:

Coriander leaves – a small bunch
Mint leaves(optional) – 10 leaves
Green chilli – 2-3 nos
Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Onion(optional) – 1/4 of a small sized one
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Blend all the above mentioned ingredients in a blender/mixie using little water.
2. Transfer to a bowl and serve as dip/spread.

Note: I didn’t use the mint leaves in my chutney. I personally like it without mint.

Pesto Sauce

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I was introduced to pesto flavor only few months back. The reason why it took me so long to try out pesto, is my aversion from anything ‘green’ alias ‘healthy’ πŸ˜€ Though I had heard that pesto flavor is good and would be liked by any Desi, I had my own reservations because I know Palak Paneer is one of the favorites of most Desis. And I know how much I dislike Palak Paneer. But for one of our lunch meetings, I had no choice but to eat a Pesto Chicken Pizza and voila! I loved it πŸ™‚ Then I thought why not give it a try. And it turned out good. It goes really well with any sandwich or can replace your pizza sauce!

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh basil leaves – 2 cups
Pine nuts or Walnuts(chopped) – 1/4 cup
Garlic – 3 cloves
Parmesan cheese/Romano cheese(grated) – 1/4 cup
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Lime juice – 1 tsp(optional)
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a food processor, pulse together the basil, pine nuts/walnuts, garlic, lime juice, cheese and salt.
2. Slowly pour in the olive oil. Pulse a few more times.

Easy Sandwich using Cilantro/Coriander spread

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Looking for something healthy, easy and tasty to make for snack? Whenever I come back home after work, I get so hungry. I would remember the good old days, when I would come back home after school and tempting snacks would be waiting for you. Samosas, puffs, vadas, bajjis and what not. Sigh!!! 😦 Well, then to comfort myself, I would think that anyway those snacks are not healthy. So why bother to make them πŸ˜‰ So I remembered some sandwich I had once had at a friends place. All I knew was that it had a spread made of coriander leaves, mint leaves and there was some amount of mayonnaise in it.

So I thought of giving it a try. It came out pretty well. Now, there are some advantages to this snack. 1. You can make this spread and store in the refrigerator and it stays fresh for a week. 2. It is healthier than other Indian snacks you could possibly think of. 3. It is very easy to make. 4. Most of the times you would have a packet of bread and some coriander leaves at home. So no extra shopping required for making this spread πŸ™‚ I hope I have given enough reasons to try this out. This has become one of my favorite snacks and easy to make recipe. Pack it as lunch or grab it when you rush to work in the morning or serve it when you come home tired. It is very refreshing to have any time of the day.

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INGREDIENTS:

Coriander leaves – a handful/bunch(approx 30-35 strands)
Green chilli – 2 nos
Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1/2 nos
Mayonnaise – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a blender, put all the ingredients mentioned above expect Mayonnaise. Blend it into a smooth paste.
2. Add the Mayonnaise and mix well.
3. On a slice of bread, spread about 2 tsp of the spread and make it a sandwich by placing on it, another slice of bread.

And the tasty and healthy sandwich is ready for a bite πŸ™‚

Guacamole

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I got introduced to Mexican cuisine after I landed in the US. Like most other Indians, one of my favorites during initial time was Burrito from Chipotle πŸ™‚ However, I never enjoyed Guacamole. I had never understood, why would people need to pay extra to get guacamole. Few months back, I happened to go to a home style Mexican restaurant and guacamole was a part of my order. Until that day, I hadn’t realized that guacamole can taste so good.

Another thing I realized is that there are many food items, the taste for which, you have to acquire. Avocado was one such thing for me. Since I was never exposed to it all my life, I had to acquire a taste for it. Now I like to have guacamole with chips and quesadilla. When you make it at home, you can always make it more specific to your liking. If you want to make it more spicy or tangy. It upto you and this is one of the most simplest things to make. Hardly takes 5-10 mins πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:

Avocado(ripe) – 2 nos
Tomato – 1 nos small sized
Garlic – 1 pod
Serrano pepper – 2 nos
Onion – 1/4 of a medium sized
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 4 strands
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Peel and de-seed the avocado. De-seed the tomato and serrano peppers.
2. Put all the ingredients except tomato to a food processor/grinder and grind for few seconds. Note that it should not become a very smooth paste. Small chunks of avocado here and there adds more taste to guacamole.
3. Now add the tomatoes and pulse the processor 3-4 times. The idea is to have small bits of tomatoes to be seen. The tomato shouldn’t grind completely and mix to the guacamole.

There you have your delicious guacamole. Serve with chips or wrap burritos or relish with quesadilla πŸ™‚