Brinjal upkari or GuLLa Upkari



This is yet another simple yet flavorsome dish. Very much like any other stir fry dish but a little liquid is left to make it tastier and delish. This is prepared along with drumsticks, so the taste is merrier. I used the green little brinjals/eggplants this dish.
Back in our house hold and I am sure in most of the Amchigele speaking world this dish is called gulla(brinjal) gal gal upkari. I have no idea what the word Gal Gal means, but so to say I wonder since there is a little liquid retained in the upkari may be its called gal gal upkari.
If anybody has a more specific reason then the one I know then please let me know.
We prepared so many different varieties of dishes using brinjal/eggplant and each one tasted invariably great!
Looks like a brinjal marathon here with me posting Eggplant recipes one after the other!

Recipe follows

Ingredients:

8 green brinjals (eggplants) diced into small cubes
8 drumstick pieces
1 tbsp Coconut gratings
Salt to taste
1 jaggery
1 to 1½ cups of water to cook

For seasoning/tadka:

4 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
2 to 3 red chillies torn into pieces
¼ tsp asafoetida

Method:

1. Firstly chop the brinjals into small cubes and leave it in cold water which is salted (1 to 2 tsp) for about 15 mins or so. When ready to cook rinse it well, drain and set it aside

2. Heat oil in a kadai/skillet, when heated through add mustard seeds, when they start to pop add curry leaves, red chillies and fry for a minute on a medium heat.

3. Add in the chopped brinjal and drumstick, asafoetida and stir fry for about a minute or two. Now add in the water, cover & cook.

4. When almost half done add the salt, jaggery and coconut gratings and mix again and cover further till done. Make sure you retain some water at then end, the water has more flavor. Serve as a side dish along side rice, dal and pappads.

Fried Eggplant



This is a very simple recipe wherein just the minimum spices are used to coat the eggplants, then covered with semolina or corn meal and fried till crisp which makes a succulent & tasty fry. The sweet & creamy flesh of the eggplant complements well with the spicy and crusty outside. In total it’s a satiating experience. Growing up we had fresh eggplants right from our kitchen garden and they tasted so good without any harsh fertilizer etc.
Everyone in my household loved this fry especially my grandpa, I remember him plucking the right and firm eggplants from the garden and my mom used to prepare this fry right away. The freshness of the eggplant made it more tasty! And my mom used to coat them with spices and set it aside for sometime till it absorbs all the spices. And just before frying she would sprinkle some rice powder and once again toss lightly and then deep fry. They were just too good and heavenly.
Now coming to this recipe, I don’t deep fry them, but the over all recipe ingredients are same except that I use corn meal or semolina for the encrusting/breading part, and since I shallow fry it I guess semolina or corn meal does a neat job giving it a nice crunchy and golden outside.



Recipe follows:

10 slices of Purple eggplant (cut into 1 cm thick slices)
1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust the chill powder accordingly)
½ tsp dhania/coriander powder
¼ tsp asafoetida/hing powder
Salt to taste
Few drops of luke warm water
½ cup of corn meal or semolina (for breading)
Oil for frying




Method:

1. Cut the eggplants into 1 cm thick slices and place them in cold & salted water. (Add about 1 tsp salt) for about 30 minutes. Salt helps to pull out all the bitterness from the eggplant.

2. Rinse the eggplants in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. In a small bowl, add red chilli powder, coriander/dhania powder, asafoetida, salt and add few drops of Luke warm water and make a thick paste.

4. Take a wide mixing bowl, put in the eggplants and coat it with the thick paste thoroughly till they are completely coated all through. Set this aside for about 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Heat a tava/ griddle (I use a cast iron griddle which works great for shallow frying).
Drizzle few tsp of oil and coat it all through the griddle/tava.

6. Bread the eggplants evenly and place on the tava/griddle, drizzle 2 to 3 tsp of oil on top and fry on a medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip carefully and fry the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes. (Fry on a medium to medium low heat and cooking time may vary) The eggplant has to be completely cooked through until it’s soft. Only then it will taste moist and creamy!

Serve as an appetizer or along side rice and dal!

Vaali or Spinach ambat & An Ode to MEME



The picture above was taken by me, since the leaves were not so picture perfect I thought of posting a much clearer picture that I found on the web which is below.




Picture courtesy: www.hormel.com

This is one of my favorites. Vaali(in Konkani)or Spinach cooked in a coconut sauce and seasoned with sautéed onions makes the perfect dish. Back in my home I remember we adding raw papaya pieces to this dish.
Since I am not able find the raw papaya around here I just prepared it with spinach alone and that too the Indian spinach or it’s also known as Malabar spinach or Ceylon spinach, they have thick stems and big leaves as compared to the regular spinach.. They have a slimy texture while chopped and has got a good earthy flavor & are packed with vitamins & minerals.I have saved all the thick stems intending of planting them in a big pot.
This dish very easy and simple, cooked toor dal is added to give a nice body and consistency to the dish and it is finished with a onion seasoning which makes the whole dish flavorsome & fragrant.




Recipe follows

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped Spinach (cleaned and washed)
2 tbsp onions roughly chopped
½ to ¾ cups of toor dal
Salt to taste

For Masala:

¾ cups of grated coconut
5 to 6 red chillies (fried) [Ambat is made spicy, so you can add more depending on how spicy you want]
Marble size tamarind or ¼ to ½ tsp tamarind concentrate.

For Seasoning:

1 cups onions finely chopped
1 tbsp cooking oil


Method:

1. Wash toor dal in 2 to 3 changes of water & cook both dal and spinach till done. Add salt and combine.

2. While the spinach & dal is cooking, in a blender add in the masala ingredients and add little water to grind it to a fine paste.

3. Now add in the masala to the cooked dal along with spinach and mix well till it’s well incorporated. Adjust everything at this point. The consistency should be like gravy, not too thick not too thin.

4. Heat oil in a small pan & add onions, sauté onions till golden brown. Finally add this sautéed onion to the curry and mix well and cover immediately.

Serve with rice.





Fellow blogger Lakshmi Of Taste of Mysore tagged for a MeMe, Thanks Lakshmi.

And with much ado I now give you 7 random facts about me and me alone!

Go on readers...

1. I am an archetypal Aquarian and possess all the personalities of an Aquarian.

2. I love cooking & entertaining; that's one of the reasons this blog exists.

3. I love gardening, and ended up having over 20 plant pots (most are foliage) in my apartment! I just enjoy watching them grow. I believe indoor garden lifts the spirit and makes the home come alive.

4. I love paper bags and I must admit that I collect all of them, they are cute aren’t they!?

5. I must say I love toiletries & fragrances and have a whole bunch of them and end up not using half of it!

6. I love watching British comedies As time goes by & Keeping up appearances. They are real entertainers to me.

7. And being a foodie I love watching Food Network shows!

That’s about it…with this I conclude and tag Arundati & Nirmala.Also food bloggers out there who would like to get into the MeMe loop can please take over.

Spicy Coconut Chutney



Coconut chutney or chutni is a simple dish made with coconut, chillies and tempered to perfection and served along side Indian pancakes or Dosas or idlis. People love chutney, and there are so many different varities of recipes for this infamous side dish.It’s an indispensable dish especially along side dosas or idlis without which the meal/breakfast would be incomplete!This is a very simple recipe, I am sure this is not a new recipe that I am blogging, even then I just felt like blogging it because one of my good friend asked me the recipe for chutney. So I just thought whoever is a novice to cooking can always look into it and learn this authentic Konkani Hinga chutney or Asafoetida chutney. In Konkani we call asafoetida hing like that in Hindi. I remember my bapma (grandma) & mom frying the hing/asafoetida in a tsp of oil and then grind it along with coconut, chillies etc., Back then and I am sure even today hing is available in a hard form or more like a lumpy form and looked yellowish in color. When hing/asafoetida is fried it till it’s sizzling and then blended along with coconut and chillies it gave a unique flavor and taste to the chutney, since I get it in a powdered form I add it in the seasoning instead. It still works fine. If you find the hing/asafoetida in hard form you can very well try it. Also you can substitute red chillies with green chillies and they taste just great!

The recipe follows

Ingredients:

½ cups grated coconut
3 to 4 red chillies fried in a tsp of oil till crisp
¼ tsp tamarind concentrate (optional) or you can add ½ tsp of lime juice
Salt to taste

For seasoning:

3 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves/kadi patta
¼ tsp asafoetida

Method:

1. In a blender jar add in the coconut, fried red chillies, tamarind/lime juice, & salt and grind it to a fine paste using water. Pour it in a bowl.

2. Heat oil in a tadka pan and add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter add curry leaves and asafoetida and fry till the curry leaves are crisp and the asafoetida is also fried well, may be 1 or 2 minutes on a medium flame.

3. Add the seasoning on the chutney and mix well and serve alongside dosas or idlis.

Yumm yumm crispy Dosa



Dosas are nothing but Indian pancakes, prepared very thin or thick and served along side a spicy and savory coconut chutney. You can read more about dosas here.
This recipe uses the lentil or urad dal and the all purpose flour (refined wheat flour) unlike the usual lentil rice combination and its known as Udid Maida Pollo in konkani or urad dal maida Dosa.Pollo in konkani means Dosa
There are so many varieties of Dosas and yet again this specific recipe is also very popular in the South kanara region and often called “Tuppa Dosa”. Tuppa in Kannada means Ghee.Liberal amonut of ghee is used to fry these dosas and that's the reason its so yumilicious and to die for! Growing up we had these dosas at least once a week and mom used to make spicy hinga/asafoetida chutney. It’s a regular at my place too since hubby dear loves it!
Another most important thing about making this dosa is its not instant meaning the Maida/all purpose flour batter has to sit for a good 3 to 4 hours minimum before mixing with urad dal batter because once you mix it in the water the Maida/flour has to settle down and then only you can mix it with the urad dal batter. So if you intend to make this dosa for breakfast you have to mix in the maida/all purpose flour in the water the previous night so that the flour is separated from the water and then discard all the water and pour it into the urad dal batter. They are paper thin and very crispy and golden like the way they serve at the restaurants!

So here’s a list of ingredients that goes into making crispy thin dosas!




Ingredients:

Urad dal or black lentil ½ cup
Fenugreek or methi seeds ¼ tsp
Asafoetida or hing 1/2 tsp
All purpose flour/Maida(refined wheat flour) 1 cup
Oil/ ghee for frying (ghee preferred)

Method:

1. Firstly wash urad dal very well until the water is clear. (at least 4 to 5 changes of water)

2. In a big bowl soak the washed urad dal and methi seeds for about 4 to 5 hours.

3. Before grinding the ingredients wash the dal and methi seeds once again and drain the water and blend the ingredients to a smooth fine batter. Pour the batter in a bowl.Set it aside.The batter need not be fermented too much, it can be kept outside for about 3 to 4 hours and then store it in the Refrigerator.

4. In a separate deep & wide bowl add the all purpose flour and to this add good amount of water and mix it till you won’t see any lumps. Pour more water up to the rim and mix well again till it’s smooth and silky batter. Let it sit overnight and this helps the flour to settle down in the bottom.

5. Before making dosas slowly discard all the water from the all purpose flour and add it to the urad dal batter and mix well. Add salt and asafoetida and mix again. The consistency of the batter should not be very watery or very thick.

6. Heat up a tava/griddle to smoking hot and with a wet paper towel/tissue wipe off the tava.(If there is grease/oil there are chances of batter to be lumpy and won’t come out thin dosas)Pour a ladleful of batter on the tava and start spreading the batter to form a round and thin dosa. Drizzle a tsp of oil/ghee and cook it for about 1 to 2 minutes on a medium hot flame. Flip on the other side and cook further for about another 1 minute or 2 or till its crisp and golden.

Serve with hinga/asafoetida chutney.

Gulla Sagle/brinjal in coconut sauce



Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal all are same. Though they come in different shapes, sizes and colors as well, like Green, purple and White! I don’t know if there are any more colors.You can read more about it here.
This special variety that I have used in this recipe is the small green brinjals that I found in the local Indian store. I had come across this few years back in a Chinese store and bought it but they were full of seeds unlike the one available in the Udupi dist area called Matti gulla.Even then when I saw this vegetable again I couldn’t stop myself to buy these little brinjals. The first crop of Brinjal size weighs over a kilo and the last crops come in small sizes like the one in this picture.
They were so tasty and in our house it was prepared in some form either in sambhar, deep fried, or gulla bajji/gozzu, sagle, bharta, talasane or stir fry etc., every single day from the first day it’s in the market to the very last day!!! Growing up we used to hate it after the first few days of its arrival, but now I really want them so badly. All the things which we hated then are the most loved things now especially food related things. In this particular dish brinjals & drumsticks are cooked in a thick coconut sauce along with other spices; they form a very good combination in this particular recipe.
But sometimes the brinjals can be bitter with too many seeds in them. It’s ideal to soak the chopped brinjals in salted water to let it sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour and then drain out all the water. This process helps in removing the bitterness.



For preparing the sagle you will need

7 small green eggplants chopped into small cubes (you can use the purple ones as well)
10 Drumstick pieces
¼ tsp jaggery
4 tsp Cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
Salt to taste

For masala/paste:

½ cup coconut gratings
5 to 6 fried red chillies
¼ tsp tamarind concentrate

To be fried:
¼ tsp fenugreek/ methi seeds
1 tsp coriander/dhania seeds
1 tsp cooking oil

Method:

1. Firstly trim the stem and clean the brinjals and cube them. Soak the brinjals in salted water (about ½ tsp salt) for about 30 minutes. Drain the water and wash again in 2 or 3 changes of water.

2. Heat a small tadka pan and add 1 tsp cooking oil, add the fenugreek/methi and coriander/dhania seeds and fry on a medium heat till you smell the aromas.Set it aside.

3. In a blender take coconut gratings, tamarind, red chillies and the fried fenugreek and coriander seeds. Add little water and make a fine paste.

4. Heat oil a kadai or a deep sauté pan and add the mustard seeds, when they start sizzling add curry leaves. Now add the brinjals and drumsticks and fry on high for about a minute.
Add water about 1 cups to cook the brinjals, cover and cook till they are soft. Add salt, jaggery and mix well. (Check in between and add more water to cook)

5. Lastly add the grounded masala/paste and mix well. Adjust the consistency by adding little water to make a thick gravy. Mix well and adjust the salt and cover and cook for one last time for about 6 to 8 minutes so that the masala cooks well and gets combined with the brinjals.

6. Serve hot with rice or chapathis.


Soothing Sāmbhar



Sāmbhar is a south Indian dish made with red gram or Toor dal, Tamarind & assorted vegetables like potatoes, drumsticks, carrots, pearl onions, raddish, brinjals and so on! It is accompanied usually with Idlis, vada, dosa and steamed rice.
There are so many different ways of preparing it. It’s an easy and very popular recipe. You can find endless recipes for Sāmbhar and also there are ready made Sāmbhar powder mixes available.
I myself have over 5 different variations of Sāmbhar recipe with me. Sāmbhar is my favorite dish since I was a little kid. I remember telling my mom when I was a kid to prepare Sāmbhar very often!! I usually make my own home made powder or paste, its fresh and also doesn’t take much time to prepare from scratch. This recipe is very easy and also tasty.I learnt this version from my sister few years back. She is a fantastic cook herself! This recipe involves frying the Sāmbhar ingredients freshly, so the final result of Sāmbhar is fresh, fragrant and comforting. My mom used to make a similar recipe but she used to add about 1 tbsp of coconut while frying. Since I was not successful frying the coconut till the perfect brown I just gave up on it because if the coconut is not fried well the Sāmbhar doesn’t taste very good.



To prepare this delicious home-made Sāmbhar you will require

Toor daal ½ to ¾ cups( adding more dal will thicken the sambhar which is good)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Vegetables like carrots, French beans, drumstick pieces, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, about 1 ½ cups
Tamarind paste ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

For Sāmbhar Powder/paste:

½ tsp urad dal
½ tsp chana dal
¼ tsp cumin /jeera seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
4 tsp Coriander/dhania seeds
Red chillies about 6 to 7(add more if you like spicy and adjust everything accordingly)
¼ tsp asafoetida/hing powder
A pinch turmeric powder
2 to 3 tsp Cooking oil for frying

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves 7 to 8
3 tsp Ghee or cooking oil for seasoning



Method:

1. Wash toor daal in 2 to 3 changes of water or until clear. Cook toor daal along with turmeric powder till soft and mushy.

2. Clean & chop vegetables into chunks and cook them in a saucepan till tender.

3. Mean while heat oil in a small tadka pan and fry the Sāmbhar powder/paste ingredients in order mentioned separately till you feel the aromas. When cool blend it into fine powder. You can add water and make a fine paste as well. I add water and make a fine paste, which works fine for me.

4. Now in a heavy bottomed vessel combine both the dal and vegetables and mix well. Add salt and bring it to boil.

5. Add the grounded paste/powder and mix well. To this add tamarind paste, a bit jaggery and mix it well. Let it come to a good rolling boil.
Adjust everything at this point.

6. Finally in a tadka pan heat oil/ghee, follow it by mustard seeds when they start crackling add curry leaves and fry for a minute. You can add asafoetida at this point.

7. Finish it by garnishing coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice along side pappads!

Spicy flattened rice mixed with coconut



Poha chutney or flattened rice mixed with coconut and spices is a simple dish/snack prepared with flattened rice and savory coconut chutney. When both mixed together to combine well, it makes an utterly delicious comforting & tasty snack!For those who are new to flattened rice lick here
This is a very popular recipe made in the south kanara region and is often served along side Upma/upittu. In my household we made this for breakfast or for a evening snack. My mom used to make this so very often and she used to prepare in 2 variations. One with fried red chillies which will make the poha chutney masala look red and the other with fresh green chillies which makes the chutney light creamish color with green chilli traces, which indeed is so delish!




Method:

2 cups thin flattened rice

For the masala or chutney:

4 to 5 green chillies or fried red chillies about 4 to 5(add more or less as per your desired spice level)
¾ cup freshly shredded coconut
¼ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds or jeera
1 tbsp coriander seeds or dhania
3 Curry leaves or kadi patta
1 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
¼ to ½ cup Jaggery or brown sugar (I chop them roughly which makes it easier to work with) Jaggery is preferred and I like mine poha chutney sweet & spicy so suit it to taste your taste buds.


For tadka: (optional)

1 tsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves or kadi patta

Method:

1. First of all heat a small tadka pan add oil, when heated through add mustard seeds when they start to crackle, add cumin seeds followed by coriander seeds , curry leaves and fry till you feel the aromas.

2. In a blender or if using a mortar and pestle take the above fried ingredients, coconut, salt, jaggery, green chillies/red chillies and crush to a dry coarse paste. Do not add water at all. If you own a food processor good for you & it works great to make this.

3. In a wide bowl add the chutney and add poha little by little and use your hands to do the mixing job. Mix thoroughly and if you think it’s more spicy or sweet add a little poha and mix again.

(This is optional)
4. Heat oil in a tadka pan when hot add mustard seeds, when they begin to crackle add curry leaves. Pour this on the mixed poha. If you don’t add the tadka it won’t affect the taste. I don’t follow this step but some people give a final tempering which is fine.

P.S: We served this along with finely chopped onions, tastes really good.