Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mysore Sambar

This is another recipe I tried from 'Dakshin'. It does not look ezzackly like the picture in the book.. but it sure packs in a punch!
I had never really considered trying out any 'different' versions of sambar, to me sambar is the one you make with MTR Sambar masala and for some time now, I make my own Sambar powder at home. Leafing thru 'Dakshin' , the sheer variety boggled my mind, I didn't even know SO many sambars existed! (Ah, blogging! so much to learn! )

What was different about this sambar (to me) was that it did not taste like the 'typical' sambar ! So those who try this recipe, be prepared for something different, but yes, an explosion of flavor!
This is one thing however, you do not want to combine with idli or dosa, that, is for sure! Tastes great with rice and some ghee drizzled on it (the ghee is again a personal preference)

The recipes in Dakshin, to me, are slightly lengthy in procedure and I like to take a few shortcuts, wherever possible! For example, the recipe calls for boiling the daal in a saucepan till cooked, me, I prefer using my pressure cooker to save time and fuel. Cooking the vegetables in the microwave is faster as well!

3/4 cup Toor Daal
3 cups Water
1 cup Beans chopped
1 Potato peeled and chopped
2 tbsp Green Peas
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 fresh coconut grated
1 tsp. Brown Mustard seeds
1 tbsp uncooked long grain Rice
6 red Chillies
a little water

2 tsp oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds & Cumin seeds EACH
1 Red Chilli halved
Few curry leaves

Wash the daal in 2-3 changes of water and cook.

Place all the ingredients under PASTE in a blender and grind to a smooth paste. I ground them in my spice grinder and then added water to make a paste. Set aside

Chop the beans and potato in 1 inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, with the peas , add water to just cover the vegetables and cook till tender. Add the daal, turmeric and salt and the ground paste . Simmer gently until well blended
Heat 2 tsp oil , add the mustard seeds, add the cumin seeds, halved red chilli, Curry leaves. When the mustard seeds sputter add this to the sambar. Stir thoroughly. Serve hot with rice.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Protein Patties- Necessity, the Mother of Invention!!

About three weeks ago I underwent some blood tests and the results were... well, unflattering. No, no, I'm not about to hand in my dinner pail or anything like that! Just that the results put a TOTAL dampner on everything and to put it kindly, I wasn't doing things right... not eating right.
Not eating right with all the GOOD food I cook! Huh! but the black and white did not change, not a bit.. so I decided to go about setting things right. Eat right.

Whaddya eat for protein? They asked me...
Well, lentils, beans.. sometimes..
And??? they urged me on.. And WOT? I retorted!
They shook their heads, gravely, clicked their tongue half a dozen times and looked mournfully at me. I knew it, right then I knew it! I saw it coming...
No fish? No.
Eh.. chicken? Oh no!
Err, I take it , you eat eggs? Well, if you conceal them in cakes ( see,I do eat eggs)
Well, you are OFF cakes! (both parties frown) Then I do NOT eat eggs.
Well, looks like your only option is Tofu.
Oh, I don't eat Tofu either.......... now they frown and goggle their eyes at me in disbelief.... but.. I can try.
They smile, bleakly, but they see a ray of sunshine! That settles it , TOFU ,TOFU and more TOFU.
Now I know how people who are sentenced to a life sentence feel like.
And so I embraced Tofu. I snuck into Albertsons and snuck out with a packet of Extra Firm Tofu, snuck home and bunged it on the dining table and stared at it, long and hard. Like that really helped! Hah!
For some time after that I made scrambles tried replacing tofu for paneer kind of recipes, but nothing was appealing. I would eat the food half heartedly, chew it and chew it and chew it.. well, they say you need to chew a morsel 32 times to digest it fully.. Well people, I broke that record!My eyes lost their twinkle, I played with my food, looked wistfully at M's dinner and eyed him with envy as he plowed into 'his food' with relish and shot me a look of pity. I dangled a bit of tofu between my thumb and finger shook it a few times hoping for god-knows-what!
The only upside was I lost weight in these 3- 4 weeks!

But one cannot even rejoice in the upside when tofu stares at you, insolently, at every meal. I had to find my way out! If I had to live with Tofu, then I HAD TO make it edible for me.
And with M rubbing it in with his remarks... that was the last straw ! I was thumbing thru a cook book silently drooling over all the lovely, edible food when he sneaks behind me, peers over my shoulder and asks" whatcha lookin' at?".. " Food" I answered testily... He sniggers and... and .. " Tofu par guzara kar rahi hai, yeh sab chod" ( you are living off tofu, forget all these) .
I'd be mad as a wet hen, if a wave of self pity had not consumed me! Poor me !
That did not last long, he foodie in me emerged, stronger, I had an .. after having consumed some frozen variety of soy patties (and found them blah!) I thought why not tofu+ something patties? Problem was, I fond myself clueless .. plus what? Nothing tastes good with tofu ( I know, I know, one track mind) and then I had it! beans!! Garbanzo! I like those.
Just to be on the safe side I toured blogosphere, I saw these and these .. so I was sure I would not go wrong!

So here I am with a recipe that I liked and enjoyed!
Makes approx: 4 big size patties.
You need:
1 cup cooked Garbanzo Beans ( Canned beans are fine, quicker!)
3/4 cup Tofu ( I used extra firm)
2 tbsp. Finely chopped Onion
1 Green chili
Fistful of Cilantro leaves (roughly 2 tbsp. minced cilantro)
1 inch Ginger
2 med. Garlic cloves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1tsp Shaan Tikki- Kebab Masala
Rinse the garbanzo beans ( if using canned) or, soak dry beans overnight and pressure cook. Squeeze out the water from the Tofu .
I used my chopper to grind the ginger, garlic, cilantro and cumin. To that I simply added the beans and tofu and whizzed it again. Easy-peasy.
To the mix, add salt, lime juice and tikki masala (or any other spice you want eg: garam masala). Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30- 45 mins.Shape into patties and shallow fry with a little oil on a skillet till brown on both sides.
To assemble: place the patty between a burger bun with the usual fixins' or like me make it light.. lightly toast a slice (or 2 , I kept it an open face sandwich) of whole wheat bread, apply a cilantro chutney (optional), a slice of cheese, top with the patty.

Other garnishing :lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber slices. Serve with Ketchup, chips, fries.

Verdict: YUMMY! No taste of Tofu!

None of the spices/ flavors over power the other ! Filling and tasty and a definite keeper!!

Mr. Smartypants agrees!
Points to note: I made a patty as soon as I made the mix, but it did not 'hold' together, broke in half when I turned it on the skillet, but was better after the stint in the cooler. I might play around with the garbanzo-tofu proportion a bit more to see if that changes the equation.
And now a word of Thanks!
Bee- Jai I basically adapted from your kidney bean burger recipe! thanks a TON! Those burgers are next on my list!!

Nupur's recipe for chavli curry was heaven sent! I used to HATE the typical way in which chavli was made at home and NEVER touched it, but now I love it!!

Another soup I kept a safe distance from was spinach, till I tried the recipe from Adhi Potoba. I liked it!

And finally, a non-blogger, but a personal friend, B, I call her Busy B! She was the one who urged me to go on and blog about this recipe. Thank U Sweety! This one is for you!!!
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