Green Peas/Batani Usli



This is one such mouth-watering side dish often accompanied with pooris or chapattis in my household. At my place we used to prepare this dish only when fresh Green peas were available. I am not sure how they taste with dried peas, and I don’t think they taste as good as the fresh ones. In India that too especially in the South Kanara region sweet peas is not available all year round. I remember buying them sometime between late November thru March and the prices would be a bit too expensive. We all just loved the fresh peas and we used to make different varieties of dishes like aloo mattar, Batani/green peas Ambat etc. Here in US it’s available all year round and now its one of the must have’s in my freezer!!
Green pea’s sautéed in a simple seasoning and cooked till tender is just the thing. The sweetness of peas is incredible in this dish. Usli is usually dry and prepared using legumes like moong dal, chana dal etc. But this particular dish is not dry, adding good amount of water to cook and also retaining some of it will add up to its taste. The sweetness from peas and the spiciness from chillies complement very well and make this a yummy side dish with pooris or chapattis. We added a tsp of jaggery, believe me it really tastes good. I guess I add jaggery/brown sugar in most of my cooking. I guess a hint of sweetness brings out all the true flavors in a dish. Again just a hint does it all.If at all you don't like to add jaggery you can skipt it.
We all loved this dish and I must say who ever tried this combination just loved it. After my marriage I prepared this dish and everyone just got bowled with it.
So give a try and let me know.



Ingredients:

2 cups Frozen green peas
3 green chillies slit
1 red chilli (torn into pieces)
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cooking oil
5 curry leaves torn into pieces
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp coconut gratings
Salt to taste
2 tsp Jaggery/brown sugar.

Method:

1. Heat a kadai or a sauce pan and add oil. When heated through add mustard seeds, as it starts crackling follow it by adding green chillies, red chilli pieces, curry leaves and asafoetida & stir for a minute.

2. Add the frozen peas and fry further for a minute or two. Add about 1cup of water and cook till the peas are soft and tender. Now season with salt and jaggery/brown sugar and mix well.

3. Finally add coconut gratings and cover and cook further for about 2 minutes.The usli must be soupy. The sweet peas cooked water makes it more tasty and flavorful!!
Serve with hot chapattis or pooris.

Sungta/Shrimp Humman



Shrimp cooked in luscious coconut gravy to perfection is the best of its kind. Needless to say it is one of sea food lover’s favorites! This is a very popular dish among the GSB’s. Some call it Sungta Ghashi, but I was introduced to this dish as Humman so I will go by Humman.
In my household we never ate or prepared non-veg dishes. It is only after my marriage that I gave a try to prepare sea food dishes since hubby dear loves it, so it was really kind of other side of cooking when I plunged into it. I learnt most of the sea food dishes from a dear relative here in the US. I can say I started off my sea food cooking skills with this dish since it was easy and also not many ingredients to mess around with. So you cannot go wrong here!
It was effortless for me since the base for gravy is exactly that of Batate/Potato humman, except here we add shrimp instead of potato. And here in the US life is simplified so much that it was painless for me to deal with sea food which otherwise is very difficult to stand the smell for a pure vegetarian like me!! Here we get cleaned shrimps; fish etc with little or no cleaning work required and with hubby dear’s little help I was all set out to prepare this.

Recipe Follows:

Shrimp peeled, deveined and cleaned about 15 to 20(you can use medium sized shrimps)
Fresh coconut 1 cup
Fried red chillies preferably byadgi about 10 to 15(You can add more depending on the spiciness you desire)
Marble sized tamarind
Asafoetida ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
4 to 5 tsps Coconut oil or any cooking oil

Method:

1. Blend the coconut, red chillies and tamarind into very fine paste with little water.

2. In a saucepan add this grounded masala and add salt bring it to a boil.

3. Add shrimps and mix well and let it simmer on a medium flame for about 5 to 10 minutes. Shrimp cooks relatively faster so over cooking will make them tough and will loose the natural flavor.

4. To end with put in asafoetida and drizzle the oil, mix one last time and close the lid and also switch off the heat. Don’t cook once you have added the oil.
Serve hot with rice.

Potato Gozzu/Gojju



Potatoes are so versatile to cook and very delectable in its any form be it curried, deep fried, stir fried, sautéed etc. Potatoes are easy to cook and also contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals. But they are best known for their carbohydrate content. It is a regular vegetable in my household and also one of my favorite.
This is a simple dish subtle in taste yet got a unique kick in every spoonful! It is often served along with rice & rasam/daal in our household which makes a blissful combination.
I usually prepare this whenever I have extra boiled potatoes on hand and can be fixed in a jiffy. During one of those busy and hectic days this dish comes out very handy and also the meal can be so tasty yet satisfied! There are many versions prepared in my household itself. I guess every household has their own variations in the recipe and method. There were many signature dishes that my grand mother cooked and this was one among them. The one she prepared was so yummy and good.Adding coconut oil will add to its authenticity in terms of flavor.Also some season it with mustard seeds and curry leaves/kadi patta, that also works perfect.
In the other version the whole chillies are replaced with red chilli powder; the color will be reddish and again vibrant! And there was yet another one with yogurt.
Each version is mouth watering in its own way!

Recipe follows:

Potatoes boiled 2
Green chillies chopped 2(depending on spiciness)
Salt to taste
Asafoetida ¼ tsp
Water
Amchur powder ¼ tsp or lemon juice ½ tsp
Coconut or any other cooking oil to drizzle about 2 tsp.



Method:

1. In a mortar add the green chilli pieces & salt. Roughly crush both.

2. In a bowl take the boiled potatoes and mash them with the help of a fork very well.

3. Add water, the chilli mixture, hing/asafoetida amchur powder or lemon juice and mix well. You can add about ½ to ¾ cups of water and make a thick consistency.

4. Lastly drizzle the oil and mix again. You can use chopped coriander leaves for garnishing which is optional.

Kulta Sannan/Ramdhan



This is one such hearty breakfast often cooked in the South Kanara region. It’s very much like the traditional idly but made with Kulith or horse gram. Horse gram gives it a totally different earthy flavor and it’s very tasty. In my household this was made at least once in a month or may be more than that. We steamed it in plantain leaves. The plantain leaves give their subtle flavor and aroma to the idlis. Here in US I hardly find it available so I prepare it without them but yet the taste is equally good. This is often poured and steamed into a wide pan rather than idly moulds. But I guess you can try them in idly moulds as well. We served the Ramdhan/idlis with a little coconut oil drizzled on top along side coconut chutney. It's just wonderful and hearty breakfast.
In the below recipe I have used idly rava, you can use rice too just like the way you make the regular idlis.



Recipe follows

½ cup black lentils/ urad dal
1 handful of horse gram (picked)
¼ tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
1 cup idly rava/cream of rice.
1 tsp cooking oil
Salt to taste.



Method:

1. Wash & soak urad dal, methi/fenugreek seeds and the horse gram together.Let it soak for at least 6 hours as horse gram will need more time to soak and become soft.

2. In a blender grind the above ingredients and blend to a fine & frothy paste.

3. Take a bowl add the idly rava/cream of rice and wash it in 3 to 4 changes of water, and then soak the rava for about 15-20 minutes. This will help in making softer idlis.

4. Finally drain out the water out of idly rava & mix this into the urad dal batter.Mix well. Add salt at this point and check the consistency. Again just like idly batter.Let the batter ferment over night.

5. Take a wide steal pan/tray which has edges (like the one used to steam Dhoklas) and grease it with oil. Pour in the idly batter and steam for about 20 minutes or till done. (Cooking time is more here)Easier way to know would be to insert a fork or knife. If it comes out clean then it’s cooked.

Serve hot with coconut chutney.