Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spicy Dosa + Easy Chutney and Memories of Nimona

Hello All! It's been a while since I posted anything. I was in a semi-comatose state.. kinda. The new year did not start off as well as I hoped it would, what with all of us down with bad colds and temperatures, our home was a nest of grumpy bears!
The grumpiness continues, an occasional sniffle, headache..YUCK!
My brain went into a deep freeze and I just could not come out of the lethargic state.
Things did look up over the weekend, we visited my childhood friend. A warm welcome, loads of memories and good food.
Remember 'Nimona' that I mentioned here, well, I finally got a taste of it, after all these years!

Vandana & I go back to our school days. We lived in the same colony (office quarters) and were in the same school and would walk back home after school , often sharing a chana-shengdana pudi (roasted salty peanuts and chickpeas served in a paper cone by a street side vendor) and gossiping the way teens will. I was always at home with her family and I adore her Mother. Kind, humorous and above all a sterling cook! She can weave magic into food. There was always an extra plate laid out for me and she piled food lovingly and smiled at the obvious satisfaction I derived with every bite ! It was no wonder I overate every single time.
No surprise that I wanted Nimona when I visited Vandu.
Now a busy career woman and a mother, she has but little time and Vandu has an easier and quicker version ( the version I have tasted is a very elaborate method and hence time consuming) told to her by her cousin ( Ms. Sarika Singh).
Nimona simmering in the pot
To make Nimona:
2 Cups Green Peas
1 Med. size Onion
1 med. Potato ( peeled and cubed)
3-4 Green chile's ( Thai or Serrano)
10-12 Peppercorns
1 inch Ginger
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp. Dhania / coriander Powder
Salt to taste

Grind the peas , set aside ( you can puree the peas to a smooth paste or leave them a little chunky)
Peel and cube the potato and immerse in cold water till you need to use it
Heat oil ( this is the important part- in case you noticed, I have not mentioned quantity of oil in the ingredient list), don't skimp on this, pour oil generously, enough to ensure that the bottom of the pot / sauce pan you use is coated with oil
Add the pureed peas and cook for 30 mins. on medium- high heat, stirring intermittently
Once the peas are done, remove and set aside. In the same pan add a dash of oil (the peas would have soaked up the oil), add onion and cook till brown and cooked
Cool the onions and puree
In a mortar-pestle pound the peppercorns, chile's, cumin and ginger
Transfer the pounded spice paste to a bowl, add coriander powder, garam masala and 1/2 cup water.
Using the same pot/ pan and adding a tbs. or so of oil, add the spice slurry
As the spice cooks and the aroma wafts , add the potato and cook till tender, add onion and peas puree, add salt to taste
Cover and cook till the mix comes to a rolling boil
Serve with roti/ paratha/ poori/ Jeera rice

After tucking into large quantities of Nimona I got into a sort of state one sees in a well fed python after its mid day meal. :)

And to go on from Benaras to South of India where the much loved dosa makes a great breakfast. And when you do not have dosa batter fermenting, you make an instant (well almost) dosa.
I made Kara Dosai or simply put, Spicy Dosa and paired it with the simplest possible chutney, the kind you get in Udipi restaurants in Mumbai.
I love that chutney and my Mother-in-law taught me this version when she visited us last.
Her version is simpler than the restaurant one and IMHO, tastier!
For the Dosai: 1 cup long grained rice
1/2 cup Toor Daal
3 cups Water
1/2 Coconut, grated or 1/2 cup flaked coconut
6 Red chile's
1/2 tsp. Asafetida powder
Salt to taste Oil for making Dosa
Water ( a little extra)

Soak Rice and Daal in 3 cups water for 2 hours
Drain completely
Grind rice-daal , coconut, red chiles, asafetida and salt and grind to a fine paste, adding water IF required
Heat a griddle / tava
Pour /ladle about 1/4 cup batter and working quickly, spread the batter with the back of a serving spoon into a circle.
Increase heat and cook for a couple of mins. till the side is golden brown.
Flip and cook on the other side for a minute ( most people cook the dosa on one side only, I
prefer cooking it on both sides)
Serve hot with chutney

And now for the super quick, super easy and super tasty chutney!

All u need is
Dalia ( Roasted split Bengal Gram gram )
Green chiles
a couple springs of Cilantro
Salt to taste
Yogurt (optional)

The beauty of this chutney is you can eyeball the ingredients! It is a very forgiving recipe.
I usually start with 1 cup Dalia, 3-4 green chiles ( you can reduce or increase the number of chiles to suit your preference, since I have wimpy taste buds, I keep it to about 3), 2 sprigs of Cilantro, 1 to 1 1/2 inch Ginger piece, salt and 1 tbsp. Yogurt ( I add this to give the chutney a nice texture, but it is optional)
Add 1/2 cup (or more) of water and grind to a fine paste.
Almost, you need to add the tempering.
1 tbs oil
1 tsp. EACH Mustard and Cumin seeds
1 tsp Urad daal
1 Tsp Chana Daal
1 red chile halved
1/4 tsp Asafetida
a few curry leaves

Heat oil, add the urad daal, chana daal and mustard seeds
After the mustard seeds pop,lower the heat, add the cumin and asafetida, curry leaves and the halved red chile.
Pour the tempring over the chutney, stir and serve with Dosa (or idli)

* Note: I have often used only Mustard seeds and asafetida for the tempering ( heat oil, add mustard seeds, after they pop, switch off the heat, sprinkle with asafetida) and add to chutney. When pressed for time or you do not have certain ingredients on hand, this works well.

The restaurant version uses fresh coconut,however since the Hubby has a psychological allergy to coconut, I make this version and we both love it!

Whew! This is a long post. But it feels great to be back on the blogging scene, shaking off the lethargy. I hope I can keep it that way! ;)
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