Bisisbele Bhath

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I love Bisibele Bhath and eat it very often when we eat out. But somehow, for a very long time I thought it was insanely difficult to make it at home. I wanted to check out the recipe but kept postponing it till finally it was made by my food hero – Venkatesh Bhat. When I saw his recipe and realized how easy it was to make it, I have been making it regularly for the past couple of months much to my husband’s dismay.

Apparently, Bisibele Bhath has been frequently confused with the Tamil dish of Sambhar Sadam (Sambhar Rice) and hence the feeling of complication. While the latter has lots of veggies in it, Bisibele Bhath is the celebration of rice, dal and spices. The real deal would of course be to make the spice mix at home too but as a first step, I decided to make the dish and then go for some backward integration.

Serves 3-4

Source – Samayal Samayal TV show by Venkatesh Bhat

WHAT WE NEED

Rice                                        1 cup

Tour Dal                                3/4 cup

Ghee                                       3 tbsp 

Mustard seeds                      1/2 tsp

Urad dal                                 1/2 tsp

Cloves                                    3-4

Cinnamon                            1″

Curry leaves                        10

Tamarind water                 100 ml

Jaggery                                  1-2 tbsp

Bisibele Bhat powder       1 tbsp

Cashewnuts, broken         8-10

Coriander leaves                 8-10

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Rinse the rice and dal thoroughly and cook in a pressure cooker with 3 times water
  • Switch off the pressure cooker after 6 whistles and set it aside for at least 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes, heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan
  • Once it is hot, add mustard seeds.
  • When te mustard seeds splutter, simmer the gas and add urad dal, cloves, cinnamon and curry leaves
  • Add the tamarind water and let it come to a boil. To make tamarind water, put a gooseberry sized piece of tamarind in 100ml of hot water and set aside for 30-40 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind thoroughly and discard. Use the water. If you are using tamarind paste, mix 1 tsp of the paste with lukewarm water and use immediately.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the jaggery and cook for a minute
  • Add the Bisibele Bhath powder and cook for a minute
  • Add the cooked rice and dal and salt and mix well.
  • If it is too dry, add some water and mix well.
  • Simmer for 5-7 minutes
  • In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee and fry the cashewnuts in it till golden brown
  • Add the cashewnuts to the rice and mix.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve with papad or onion raita or chips or all of them
  • Enjoy!


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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Karnataka Special Meals

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When we returned from Malaysia to Bangalore, we were provided accommodation by the husband’s company for a month or so. Thankfully, we were staying very close to an MTR restaurant and went there almost everyday for a meal. In that one month, we have eaten almost everything on their menu and some more than once, so much so that now we are tired of MTR and have decided to not venture anywhere close to it for a brief while.

When the theme of thali came up in the Blogging Marathon, my first thought was to recreate the MTR special meals that we had many times and enjoyed it immensely. I have left out a couple of items like one more sweet and beeda but otherwise this thali is a faithful remake of the special meal at MTR. The best part was that we would take two Thalis and comfortably share it amongst the three of us and still feel overfed. 

I took about 2 1/2 hours to make all of this except Sambhar and Rasam. I made the Sambhar and Rasam the previous day. It is also perfectly fine to make to payasa on the previous day and the vegetables for the palya and sagu can be cut and prepped the previous day. This would considerably reduce the time. 

What I learnt while researching for this thali was –

 Palya is stir fried vegetables mostly garnished with coconut. 

Sagu is a light gravy based side dish for roti, dosa or poori. I have eaten innumerable set Dosa with sagu and that is next on the agenda to make at home. 

Payasa is kheer or payasam. 

Bisibele Bhath is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat. I have successfully tried it a few times and once even for guests and everyone survived. Must have every week.

This Thali has –

Rice

Bisibele Bhath

Poori

Mixed Vegetable Sagu 

Beetroot Palya

Sambhar

Rasam

Curds

Payasa

Papad

Pickle

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This post is part of the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Thalis.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

French Toast

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French toast is one of the easiest and tastiest way to eat bread and egg. All you need is bread, eggs and some spices and you have a tasty breakfast in front of you. I make this regularly in order to get my daughter to eat eggs. She doesn’t like it scrambled or as an omelette. So I make french toast and she devours it happily.

French toast is usually on the sweet side of things but you can always skip the sugar and add some herbs and cheese and make a savory version of it. Here, I have made both versions because the daughter and the husband like it sweet while I prefer the savory way.

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                     8

Eggs                                                   2

Milk                                                   2 tbsp

Butter to toast the bread slices

If you are making the sweet version

Cinnamon                                       1/4 tsp

Sugar                                                2 tsp

If you are making the savory version

Mixed herbs / thyme                    1/4 tsp

Grated cheddar cheese                 2 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the bread slices diagonally into 2 triangles each
  • Beat the eggs and keep them in a wide mouthed vessel
  • Add the milk
  • Add sugar and cinnamon or herbs, cheese and salt as per your preference and mix well
  • Heat butter in a tava / pan
  • Place 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture and let it soak the mixture for 30 seconds on each side
  • Lift the slices and let the excess mixture drain out to the vessel
  • Place the slices on the buttered tava and toast till golden brown on both sides
  • Repeat the procedure for the other slices
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

 

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Indo Continental Breakfast

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Like I said before, I love breakfast spreads and it is a perfect way to ensure the rest of your day goes well – begin with a hearty breakfast. Usually when we travel, most hotels provide a combination of bed and breakfast. In the past two years during all our travels, the husband and I ensured we ate the breakfast lavishly because we were never sure of how our next vegetarian meal would be. Not to mention, I did typical mom things of stashing fruits and bread into my ever expanding handbag for the rest of my daughter’s meals for that day.

Though this is not my husband’s favorite breakfast (like that is surprising!), I love every bit of it. So this thali consists of popular breakfast dishes from Britain and USA that are generally bracketed under ‘Continental’ in most Indian hotels. If you asked for the continental breakfast this is what you would get.

Again, I discovered that making Thalis is not such a difficult affair. It is all about planning and executing the plan well. I took about an hour and a half to get all of it ready and we took a day and a half finishing it all up. The best part of this thali theme is the confidence I gained about preparing multiple dishes for a meal and better multi tasking skills. What a fun ride this week has been!

So this thali contains –

I am feeling full seeing this, aren’t you?

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This is my post for this month’s Blogging Marathon under the theme – Thalis.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

Pongal

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One of the easiest, simplest and hearty breakfast is Pongal. It hardly needs you to be around while it hets ready. You can put it in the pressure cooker and disappear for a while and saunter in once its done and add a few finishing touches and voila! Healthy breakfast ready.

This is usually my choice of breakfast when I know we will be going out for lunch but the timing can be variable, like weddings or movies. Pongal keeps us feeling fuller for longer and thereby gives me some bandwidth to organise lunch for the daughter and husband.

This recipe from my mother in law who is a Pongal perfectionist and therefore I never make it while she is here. Why risk?

Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Rice                                            1 cup

Split skinless mooṅg dal     1/4 cup

Ginger                                       1″

Pepper                                      8-10

Cumin seeds                          1/2 tsp

Ghee                                        2 tbsp

Cashew nuts, broken         6-8

Water                                      3 1/2 cup

Salt


WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the rice and dal in 3 1/2 cups of water in the pressure cooker. The rhumb rule is to use 3/4 to 1 cup more water than what you normally use to cook rice.
  • Wait for 3 whistles and then simmer for 5-7 minutes and then turn off the gas.
  • Once you are able to open the cooker,(should take around 10-12 minutes) remove the rice and dal, mash well and set aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the pepper, cumin seeds and cashew nuts.
  • Once the cashew starts turning brown and the pepper and cumin seeds start to spurt, turn off the heat and pour them along with the ghee on to the rice mixture.
  • The cashews are optional and can be missed if you don’t like them.
  • Grate the ginger and add it to the rice
  • Add requisite salt and mix well.
  • If the rice is too sticky, heat another teaspoon of ghee and mix with the rice.
  • Serve with sambhar and / or chutney
  • Enjoy!

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Tamil Breakfast Thali

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I am a breakfast person. I love elaborate breakfast spreads. The variety of dishes with so many sides and drink to wash it all down with is food heaven for me and that is also my favourite part about Tamil cuisine. It lends itself beautifully to breakfast spreads and combo menus. The range of dishes and sambhars and chutneys  are mind blowing and not to forget the filter coffee which is the absolute icing on top.

My grandma was a huge filter coffee fan and my cousins and me inherited it from her. The family joke is that if our veins are cut there wont be blood but coffee decoction. Such is the family.

This week I am making three different thalis for the Blogging Marathon. The first of this is the Tamil Breakfast Thali inspired from the husband and my innumerable trips to Adayar Ananda Bhavan during weekends long ago. This is both a dedication and a nostalgic meal for me to make.

But the best part of making this thali is that I realised it wasn’t all that hard or time consuming as one would think. Items like idli, pongal and kesari can be made at one go. The sambhar and chutneys can be made the previous day and stored in the refrigerator. You can even make the kesari on the previous day or you can atleast dry roast the rava for the kesari on the previous day which reduces the time to make the kesari. Only the dosai and vadai have to be made individually but they can be done without too much difficulty because you would need only 1-2 per person because there are so many items on the menu. You need to have the idli and dosai batter ready.

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Today’s thali has –

Idli

Dosai

Medu Vadai

Pongal

Rava Kesari

Sambhar

Coconut chutney

Coriander stalk chutney

Filter coffee

Sounds heavenly doesn’t it?

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Anything Goes Burger

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There are days when you need to make something but don’t have the ingredients. This recipe is for those days. Want a burger but don’t have much to make a patty? Pick anything and everything in your fridge and pantry and ta da! Your burger is ready. My original plan was to make a lentil burger but I used up part of the lentils for another dish and I did not have enough to make this one. So I improvised and pulled out stuff that needed to be used and got this one ready.

This burger has some one eyed peas, boiled potato leftover from my potato burger, cornflour paste from my paneer burger, deep fried papad because only one was left and it would otherwise create a fight in the house as to who would have it, boiled carrots leftover from what I made for my daughter, one bread slice, leftover coriander and chilly paste. I am sure most or similar items would be available at home all the time. Trust me these make a good combination. So here goes –

Makes 1 Burger

WHAT WE NEED

One eyed peas, soaked and boiled                               4 tbsp

Potato, medium sized, boiled                                       1

Carrot, small, boiled                                                        1/2 -1

Deep fried papad                                                               1

Cornflour paste                                                                1 tsp

Red chilly powder                                                             1/4 tsp

Coriander leaves-green chilly paste                          1/2 tsp

Powdered oats                                                                   1 tbsp

Bread slice, powdered                                                     1

Burger bun                                                                         1

Salt

Tomato slices                                                                    1-2

Onion slices                                                                       1

Mayonnaise                                                                       1-2 tbsp

Oil for shallow frying

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mash the peas and potato nicely so as to ensure no lumps are left
  • Crush the papad into smallest bits so that it is easy to mix with the rest of the ingredients
  • Mix all the ingredients, except for the burger bun and oil to make a patty dough
  • Shape the dough to form a patty as wide as the palm of your hand and set aside
  • Heat a pan and add some oil
  • Once the oil is hot, add the patty and fry till both sides are golden brown
  • Slice the burger bun horizontally into two and toast it, if you like
  • Spread the mayonnaise over the lower half of the bun
  • Place the patty over it and then place the tomato and onion slices on top of the patty
  • Place the top half of the bun over the onion slices
  • Serve with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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Potato Burger

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After the yummy paneer burger, I have a more classic version today which is a vegetarian’s go-to option – Potato Burger or as McD calls it here Aloo Tikki Burger. I have made the patty for this one countless times but never as a burger style. Usually we make it as aloo tikki and have it with chutney or ketchup as an evening snack. I figured I could put this into a bun and make it a delicious burger with some mayonnaise and cheese.

I am no fan of lettuce and I so I have avoided it in my recipes but you can add it if you like. I am probably one of the few people who likes to eat capsicum raw. So, for some green, I have included a slice of capsicum in this burger instead of an onion. If you leave it out, I will totally understand. This patty recipe is from my mom and a family favorite. So here goes –

Makes 2 burgers

Potatoes, large, boiled                            2

Bread slices                                                2

Chilly powder                                             1/2 -1 tsp

Garam masala                                            1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves, finely chopped        2-3 tsp

Salt

Oil for shallow frying

Burger buns                                                2

Mayonnaise                                                2 tbsp

Tomato slices                                             2-3

Capsicum slices                                         2

Cheese slices                                              2

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the potatoes and mash them to ensure no lumps are left
  • Take some water in a plate and soak the bread slices in the water, one by one
  • Squeeze out the water and add the bread slices to the mashed potatoes and mix well
  • Add the chilly powder, coriander leaves, garam masala and salt and mix well to form a patty dough
  • Divide the dough into two and shape each part into a patty the size of your palm
  • Heat some oil in a pan
  • Place the patties on the oil and fry them till both sides are golden brown
  • Remove from the pan and set aside
  • Cut the burger buns horizontally into two and toast them lightly, if you like
  • Apply some mayonnaise on the lower half of the bun and place the patty over it
  • Top the patty with tomato and capsicum slices and place a cheese slice on top
  • Cover the cheese slice with the top half of the bun
  • Serve with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Burgers.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

McD style Paneer Burger

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Saying that I love paneer is similar to saying that the earth is round. Known undisputed fact. I include it in most dishes I make and it only turns out better. Ever since McD introduced the paneer burger, it is the only thing I order when we eat there. So when I picked the burger theme for this month’s Blogging Marathon, my first thought was the amazing paneer burger which has been on the cards for a while now. The only problem I have with the McD version is that it is too spicy for my taste. So I modified that part and made a fabulous mildly spicy version. I made this while the husband was on tour and so enjoyed it all on my own in dairy heaven.

I made this burger from scratch including baking the burger buns and making paneer at home. Totally worth the effort! I will post the burger buns recipe soon. This recipe is only for making the paneer patty and assembling the burger. So here goes –

Recipe adapted from here.

Makes 1 burger

WHAT WE NEED

Paneer slice                                   1 * 50 gms

Quick cooking oats                      3 tbsp

Chilly powder                                1/2 tsp

Cornflour paste                             2 tbsp                   

Mayonnaise                                     1 tbsp

Chilly sauce                                      1 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Tomato slice                                       1-2

Onion slice                                          1

Salt

Burger bun, lightly toasted             1

WHAT TO DO

  • Take the quick cooking oats in a blender jar and blend it to a powder.
  • Mix the oats powder with salt and chilly powder and keep it in a flat plate or bowl
  • For the cornflour paste, mix 2 tbsp of cornflour with 1-2 tsp water to make a paste that can be coated on the paneer
  • Heat the oil 
  • Take the paneer slice and coat it with the cornflour paste
  • Once it is fully coated, put the paneer in the plate of oats and coat it on all sides thoroughly 
  • Slip the paneer slice into the hot oil and fry till turns golden brown
  • Take it of the oil and set aside

Assembling the burger

  • Cut the burger bun horizontally and toast it, if you like it that way
  • Else, simply cut the burger bun and place the two slices side by side
  • On the lower half, place the paneer patty and top it with tomato and onion slices
  • Mix the mayonnaise with the chilly sauce and add it on top of the onion slice
  • Place the top half of the burger on the mayo 
  • Serve with tomato ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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Notes –

  1. For a more spicy version, add tobasco sauce with the mayo and increase the chilly powder to 1 tsp while mixing it with the oats powder
  2. For a more authentic taste, you can add cayenne pepper powder instead of chilly powder
  3. I am not a fan of lettuce and so I usually avoid it. You can place the lettuce on the burger bun and place the paneer patty on it if you like.

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Dahi ke Tikki

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I think it is pretty obvious by now that I am a die-hard fan of Venkatesh Bhat, the chef at Accord in Chennai. His cooking show ‘Samayal Samayal” is the only show I watch without fail. The best part about his show is that he makes most dishes seem easily achievable and cooking a pleasure rather than a chore it usually becomes. Another amazing aspect is that his recipes work so well. I have tried quite a few of them and had amazing results.

This recipe was shared on his program last year and I had bookmarked it for a very long time. The main ingredient for this tikki is hung curd which was not easily achievable during my Malaysian days. Once I got full fat milk in Bangalore, I was reminded of this dish and got to it at once. I used the curd set from full fat milk (Nandini Gold) and the results were yummy and soft tikkis, almost melt in your mouth. I would urge you to make smaller tikkis than I did because it is quite filling and tough to eat one entire tikki of this size at one go. I made 6 tikkis but I am guessing 8 or 9 would have been more manageable. So here goes –

Makes 8-9 medium sized tikkis

WHAT WE NEED

Hung curd                         250 gms

Paneer                                100 gms

Roasted gram                   150 gms

Ginger garlic paste          1-2 tsp

Green chillies                    1-2

Coriander leaves              small bunch

Almonds                             6-8

Cashew                               5-6

Raisins                                6-8

Salt

Ground pepper

Cornflour for dusting

Ghee for shallow frying

WHAT TO DO

  • To get hung curd, take 900 ml or 1 litre full fat curd in a cheesecloth, tie it up and let it hang in a vessel overnight or 6-7 hours in the refrigerator. The entire water content of the curd needs to drip out and the remaining curd in the cheesecloth is the hung curd and should be around 250 gms.
  • Use a blender or mixer and reduce the roasted gram to a fine powder
  • Grate or crumble the paneer till it has no large or small pieces and can be easily mixed into a dough
  • Combine all three of the above ingredients with ginger garlic paste and salt and make it into a fine dough.
  • Add freshly ground pepper and mix it again
  • Set the mixture aside for 10-15 minutes
  • Finely chop green chillies and coriander leaves
  • Add the almonds, cashews and raisins to the blender and make them into a coarse mixture
  • Mix the dry fruits with the chillies and coriander leaves
  • To save time, you can add the chillies and coriander leaves to the blender with the dry fruits and make it to a coarse paste
  • Dust your hands with cornflour and divide the curd mixture into 8 or 9 parts
  • Dust each part with a little cornflour. Make a small depression in the middle and add some of the dry fruit mixture into it and seal it shut
  • Pat it on both sides to make a circular flat tikki
  • Repeat the process till you have 8-9 stuffed tikkis ready for frying
  • Heat 2-3 tbsp ghee in a pan and then simmer the gas
  • Add the tikkis and fry them in batches or all at once depending on the size of your pan
  • After a minute or so, use a spatula and lift the tikki off the pan to ensure it does not stick on it
  • Turn the tikki over after 3-4 minutes and fry the other side. Take the tikki from the pan once both sides are golden brown in colour
  • Serve with some mint chutney
  • Enjoy!

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

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