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CHONKHA MATAR

These days frozen peas are available in many houses as they are indeed time savers. They come in handy to make dishes in a jiffy.  I too use frozen peas quite often. They save you the time spent in cleaning and shelling them as well.

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Green Peas Spicy Gravy, Green Peas Masala, and  Green Peas Red Gravy.

Today's recipe is for an easy to make side dish from Uttar Pradesh called Chonkha Matar which I have adapted from Khaana Khazana by MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor.

As we don't use onions or garlic in making this dish, this can be one more saatvik dish in your collection. 

You can garnish this dish with ginger juliennes but I have not done that.

I tried out this dish and we enjoyed it very much.




Ingredients:-
  • Frozen Green Peas, 2 cups
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Ginger, chopped, 1 " piece
  • Green Chillies, chopped, 1
  • Red Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tsp
  • Kitchen King Masala, 1/4/ to 1/2 tsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped, 2 tbsp
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

Wash the frozen peas and keep aside
Heat oil in a thick- bottomed non-stick pan and on medium heat add the cumin seeds and when they sizzle, add the chopped ginger and green chillies and saute.
Next add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and mix well and saute for 1/2 minute, taking care that the powders don't get burnt 
Now add the frozen green peas and mix well 
Cook till they get done
Add salt and Kitchen King Masala and mix well
Finally add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves 
Serve hot



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KHARBUJA PAANAKA

In the summer months, anything cool is most welcome. In the South of India, we make a drink which we call "Paanaka" which is usually made with lemon.

Today's paanaka is made using muskmelon, which is a fruit most commonly available in the summer. We call muskmelon "Kharbuja" in Kannada so today's drink is called "Kharbuja Paanaka." You can make this as thick or dilute depending upon your preference. I, for one, would opt for the thicker version.

It is advisable to blend the pulp first and later add the water in a separate vessel as adding the water in the blender itself may not be feasible. Once you add water, you can bring it to the consistency you desire. After adding water, it is better to check for sweetness before you serve the paanaka because the taste would also depend on the sweetness of the muskmelon.



Ingredients:-
  • Muskmelon, 500 gms
  • Jaggery, grated, 1/2 cup, or to taste
  • Salt, a large pinch
  • Black Pepper Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder, made from 1-2 Cardamom/Elachi Pods
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tsp
  • Water, 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups

Method:- 

Wash and cut the muskmelon into two halves.
 Remove and discard the core and seeds. Remove the muskmelon pulp using a scoop or a spoon and keep aside.
In a mixer jar, blend together the muskmelon pulp along with the grated jaggery, a pinch of salt, black pepper powder and cardamom powder
Transfer to a vessel, to this add 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of water and mix well
(The amount of water you add will depend on the consistency you desire)
Check for sweetness
Lastly, add the lemon juice and mix well again
Serve chilled


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MURUNGAKKAI KARA KUZHAMBU

It is that time of the year when drumsticks are available in plenty. I make a number of dishes using drumsticks, which as you would know are called : Mashingasaang in my mother tongue, Konkani; Shevgyacha Shenga in Marathi, Sahajan in Hindi, Murungakkai in Tamil, and Nuggekkai in Kannada. 

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Potato & Drumsticks Upkari, and Magge Mashingasaang Koddel, which are popular dishes in our GSB Konkani cuisine and Shevgyachya Shenganche Pithla from Maharashtrian cuisine.

My friend, Sandhya N. Kamath pointed out a recipe from Tamilnadu called Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu which I tried out and we liked very much. This is adapted from Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu by Hema Subramanian of Home Cooking.

The recipe called for the use of gingelly oil but since I don't ordinarily use it, I used my regular Saffola cooking oil.





Ingredients :-


  • Murungakkai (Drumsticks), 2, cut into pieces
  • Chana Dal, ( Bengal Gram),  1 tsp
  • Urad Dal, ( Black Gram Dal) , 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 3
  • Asafoetida, 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic Cloves, 7-8 
  • Baby Onions/ Shallots, peeled, 1 cup 
  • Curry Leaves, a sprig
  • Medium-sized Tomato, chopped, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • MTR Sambar Powder, 3 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind Puree, 1/2 cup  
  • Water, 1 and 1/2 cups 


  • Method:-

    Wash and cut the drumsticks, without peeling them, into pieces of about 1 and 1/2 inches
    In a thick bottomed kadhai, heat oil and on medium heat add the chana dal and urad dal, followed by  mustard seeds, then cumin seeds, red chillies, asafoetida, and fenugreek seeds
    When the mustard seeds splutter add the garlic cloves and saute 
    Reduce the flame and add shallots and curry leaves and mix well
    Next add the chopped tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes till they become soft 
    To this, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, sambar powder and salt
    Now add the drumstick pieces, the tamarind puree and water and bring to a boil 
    Lower the flame, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or till the drumsticks get done and the oil separates
    Transfer to a serving bowl
    Serve hot with steamed rice




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    BERAKE ROTTI

    Usually for breakfast, we make the more common items like idli, dosa, upma etc. In my home state of Karnataka, we also make Akki Rotti etc for breakfast.

    In Kannada, "Berake" means "mixed" therefore today's easy to make breakfast dish is called Berake Rotti as it is made using different flours that are mixed together.

    The measurements shown below yielded me with 11 Berake Rottis which we enjoyed for a hearty breakfast with garlic chutney

    This recipe is adapted from "Berake Rotti" from the popular website Shetty's Kitchen which I came across in Facebook.




    Ingredients:-
    • Wheat Flour, (Atta), 1/2 cup + some for dusting 
    • Besan ( Gram Flour), 1/2 cup
    • Rice Flour, 1/2 cup
    • Small Rava, 1/2 cup
    • Small- sized Onion, finely chopped, 1 * optional 
    • Green Chillies, finely chopped, 2-3 
    • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, 1/3 cup
    • White Sesame, 2 tsp
    • Cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp
    • Carom seeds, 1/4 tsp
    • Salt, to taste
    • Ghee/Oil, as required to make the rottis 

    Method:-

    In a large bowl, mix well together all the above ingredients ( except the ghee/oil)
    To this, add water as required and knead well to make a soft dough 
    Keep aside and allow the dough to rest for 15 -20 minutes
    After that, knead the dough once again
    Divide the dough so as to make equal sized balls for making the rottis
    Dust each of the balls with wheat flour and roll the balls to form circular discs (rottis)
    Heat a tawa and on medium heat roast each of the rottis one by one, first on one side then when they
    are done, drizzle ghee/oil and flip to roast the other side
    Serve the Berake Rotti with chutney of your choice



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    BABY ONION SALAN

    Once in a while, I like to make dishes using Baby Onions, which are commonly known as Sambar Onions in South India. These cute onions enhance the aroma and flavour of the dish. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Shallot Sambar, from the South of India, and Pyaz ki Subzi, from the North of India.

    These days we get baby onions in a peeled and packed state. However, if you have bought them as they are you would need to peel them first. This can be quite tedious but I can assure you that this tasty dish is well worth the effort.

    Today's recipe is from Hyderabadi cuisine and is adapted from Pyaz ka Salan by Yummy Tummy. Salan is a side dish made with a masala made from groundnuts, sesame seeds, coconut and spices.

    We had this as a side dish with rotis and it tasted quite delicious.



    Ingredients:-
    • Baby Onions (Sambar Onions),  200 grams
    • Chilli Powder, 2 tsp
    • Coriander Powder, 1 tbsp
    • Cumin Powder, 1 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
    • Kitchen King Masala, 1/4 tsp -1/2 tsp
    • Jaggery, grated, 1 tbsp 
    • Tamarind, size of small gooseberry 
    • Salt, to taste
    For Roasting & Grinding: 
    • Groundnuts, 1 and 1/2  tbsp 
    • White Sesame Seeds, 1 and 1/2  tbsp  
    • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 2 tbsp
    For Seasoning : 
    • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
    • Fennel Seeds, 1/2 tsp
    • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
    • Cinnamon, 1 " stick
    • Curry Leaves, a few 
    • Oil, 2 tbsp 
    Method:

    Peel the baby onions and keep aside
    Soak the tamarind in a little warm water, extract the pulp and keep this aside
    In a pan, dry roast the groundnuts till they change colour, then add the white sesame seeds and coconut gratings and roast for a few minutes till the sesame seeds pop
    Transfer to a small blender jar and grind this to a smooth paste adding just the required amount of water. Keep aside.
    In the same pan, heat oil and on medium heat add the mustard seeds, when they splutter add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds, when they sizzle add the cinnamon stick and lastly the curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.
    To this, add the baby onions and saute for a couple of minutes till they become translucent
    Next add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and Kitchen King Masala and salt. Mix well.
    Add a little water and the prepared groundnut-sesame-coconut paste
    Now add the tamarind extract and jaggery. Mix well and bring to a boil
    Reduce the heat and let it simmer till the oil separates
    Transfer to serving bowl
    Serve hot with rotis



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    SHEPU CHA DOSA

    Dill Leaves, called Shepu in Konkani and Marathi and Sabsigge Soppu in Kannada, have a smell and flavour of their own. In my experience, dill leaves triggers two reactions from people. Some love the flavour and smell while others don't ! There is seldom a neutral reaction.

    I love dill leaves and use them in dishes whenever I can. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes like Moong Dal with Dill Leaves, Nuchina Unde, and Lobia Suva Bhaji Subzi which make use of dill leaves.

    Today's recipe is a dosa called Shepu cha Dosa, from Maharashtrian cuisine which has dill leaves and jaggery too. While the jaggery adds sweetness to the dosa, please note that too much of jaggery will make it difficult to make the dosas.

    Do try it out. I am sure you will love it - if , like me, you are one of those who enjoy the flavour of dill leaves.

    You can use ghee or oil to make these dosas. Ghee enhances the taste but you can use oil depending on your preference and what you are used to.

    This recipe has been adapted from Shepu cha Dosa, by Kalpana Talpade of Kalpana's Kitchen.




    Ingredients:-

    • Shepu (Dill Leaves), A bunch -  to yield 1 cup  
    • Rice, 1 cup
    • Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds), 1/2 tsp
    • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 1/3 cup
    • Jaggery, grated, 1/3 cup
    • Water, for grinding the batter, 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup for adjusting the batter consistency 
    • Ghee/Oil, as required to make dosas
    • Salt, to taste

    Method:-

    Remove the shepu leaves from their stems, discard the stems and wash the shepu leaves thoroughly 
    Wash and soak the rice along with the fenugreek seeds in a bowl for about 4-5 hours
    After 4-5 hours, discard the excess water
    In a mixer jar, add the soaked rice and fenugreek seeds, fresh coconut gratings, grated jaggery and salt along with 1/3 cup of water
    When the grinding is half done, add the shepu leaves and grind once again till it forms a smooth batter
    Transfer to a vessel, keep it covered and allow it to ferment overnight or for 8-10 hours
    Next morning, add 1/3 cup of water to adjust the consistency of the dosa batter
    The batter should be slightly thick
    Heat the dosa tawa and when it is hot enough, sprinkle some water to check the heat and pour the batter to make a thickish dosa
    Add ghee/oil on top and on the sides of the dosa
    Cover and cook on medium heat till one side gets done
    Next flip and cook the other side adding more ghee/oil as required
    Wipe the tawa with clean tissue paper after you make each dosa


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    INSTANT MOONG DAL HALWA

    There are some dates that stay firmly planted in your memory. March 21 is one such for me! I am so pleased to share that this blog completes 6 years today. It was on March 21, 2013 that I posted my first dish.

    It is with quiet satisfaction that I see that since then there have been 677 posts which have received over 2.5 million hits. The Facebook Page for Cooking With Shobana has over 16,000 likes and the blog continues to feature in the Top 100 Indian Food Blogs and Websites.

    I am grateful to God, and to you, my family and friends for your encouragement and support over the years.

    To celebrate the occasion, today I have made a sweet dish called Moong Dal Halwa, which is popular all over India. This is the Instant version which is easier to make. It has been adapted from Instant Moong Dal Halwa by one of my favourite cookery experts, Nisha Madhulikaji.


    Ingredients:-
    • Moong Dal, (Yellow Split Gram), 1 cup
    • Sugar, 1 cup
    • Ghee, 1/2 cup, 
    • Full Cream Milk, 1/2 litre + additional 1 cup (optional-instead of water) 
    • Cashews, chopped, 10-15
    • Almonds, finely chopped, 10-15
    • Raisins, 1 tbsp
    • Pistachios, 10-15
    • Powdered Green Cardamom, from 6-7 pods

    Method:-

    Heat a little ghee in a pan and add the cashewnuts, almonds, and raisins. Roast them for a few minutes and keep aside.
    Peel and powder the Green Cardamom and keep aside
    Clean the moong dal, removing the powder if any
    In a thick-bottomed pan, dry roast the moong dal for about 5 minutes on medium flame stirring continuously till it gives off a good aroma and turns a golden brown
    Ensure that the moong dal doesn't get burnt
    Transfer to a plate and allow the roasted moong dal to cool
    In a mixer jar, grind the roasted moong dal in pulse mode to a coarse powder. Keep aside
    Heat 4 tbsp of ghee in the pan and on medium heat roast the coarsely ground moong dal for about 5 minutes till it gives off a good aroma and turns a golden brown
    Lower the flame and add 500 ml milk and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed
    Add another 1 cup of milk (or water) and cook on medium flame stirring continuously till it forms a thick mass
    Next add the sugar and some of the roasted dry fruits (keeping aside some for garnish) and cook for some more time as the sugar added leaves water
    Add the remaining ghee and keep stirring till it gets well blended and more thick
    Add the powdered cardamom and cook the halwa for 1-2 minutes more 
    Transfer to a plate and garnish with the remaining roasted dry fruits and pistachios





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    CULINARY WALKING TOUR IN SAN FRANCISCO'S MISSION DISTRICT

    The Mission District is considered one of the most interesting localities in San Francisco, California having been established hundreds of years ago. Avril Tours has this interesting initiative for those interested in local culture and food. In the course of this conducted tour, we walk about the district for a few hours stopping at select restaurants to sample their speciality cuisine.

    My husband and I signed up for one of these tours during our recent trip to San Francisco. Our group that day comprised 3 journalists from France, their tour guide, their interpreter, and the two of us. We were fortunate to have a young lady called Margherita, who was enthusiastic and efficient, as our guide from Avril for this walking tour.


    The meeting place, or shall I say rendezvous as there were French people with us, was the iconic Womens' Building in the Mission District. One can't possibly miss this because of the many colourful murals painted on its walls.


    We introduced ourselves, spoke of the kinds of food we liked and were briefed about the tour. Then we set off for our first port of call, Craftsman and Wolves for the first of the appetizers. We had the Carrot and Chocolate Muffin paired with Dry Cider while the others had the Rebel Within, a cheese and sausage muffin. Margherita explained the origins of the restaurant and told us about Chef William Werner and his creations.







    We then dropped in at Mission Cheese for the second appetizer. This chic cheese cafe is famous for serving and selling only cheese made in the United States. We were surprised to know that so many different types of cheese were made in the US. We were asked to guess the cheese as we tasted the samples along with locally brewed ale. Of all the cheeses that we sampled, we liked the Gouda the most.



    For the main course or entree we went to Gracias Madre, well known for being the first Mexican vegan restaurant. Here we loved the Quesadilla with Cheese and Sweet Potatoes which was truly delicious.



    Dessert was the Salted Caramel Ice Cream, considered one of the top five desserts in America at the famous Bi Rite Creamery in Dolores Park. This was awesome!!


    Overall, it was a most enjoyable tour where we tasted what for us was a variety of new dishes.
    Fortunately, the weather gods were kind to us that day. It did not rain at all for the duration of our tour  which made it easy for us to walk from one restaurant to the other.

    If you are visiting San Francisco, you may like to add this tour to your plans. For details of the tour, do contact Avital Tours. I am sure you will enjoy the experience.

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    RAW BANANA STIR FRY KERALA STYLE

    Raw/Green Bananas are known to be rich in fibre and potassium. They are often used in dishes made in the South Indian states of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. In Malayalam and Tamil, raw/green bananas are called Vazhakka. In Kannada, they are known as Balekayi.

    Being good for health, I make dishes using raw/green bananas from time to time. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Vazhakkai Poriyal, Raw/Green Banana Roast, and our own Kele Koddel from Konkani cuisine.

    Today's recipe uses coconut oil for the authentic Kerala touch. This dish has been adapted from Vazhakka Mezhukkupuratti in the well known website Padhu's Kitchen.

    It is served as a side dish and accompaniment to the main meal.



    Ingredients:-
    • Raw/Green Bananas, 2
    • Baby Onions, 10
    • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
    • Pepper Powder, 1/4 tsp
    • Garlic Cloves, 2
    • Byadgi Red Chillies, 2 
    • Coconut Oil, 2 tsp
    • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
    • Curry Leaves, a few
    Method:

    Wash, peel and cube the raw bananas. Soak them in water to avoid discolouration
    Heat water in a pan, add the cubed raw bananas along with turmeric powder and salt
    Cook the raw bananas till they get done, taking care that they do not get overcooked as bananas get cooked quite fast
    Drain the excess water and keep aside the cooked raw bananas

    Peel the baby onions and garlic cloves
    In a small mixer jar, coarsely grind the baby onions, garlic cloves and red chillies without adding any water. Keep aside

    Heat coconut oil in a pan and on medium heat add the mustard seeds
    When they splutter add the curry leaves and saute for a few seconds
    Next add the prepared onion-chilli-garlic paste
    Mix well and saute till the baby onions become translucent and the raw smell goes

    To this, add the cooked bananas, pepper powder and salt as required
    Cook on medium heat for a few minutes till the bananas get well blended with the spices
    Switch off the gas and transfer the RawBanana Stir Fry to a serving bowl




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    DRUMSTICK IGURU

    In the summer months, Drumsticks are one of the commonly available vegetables. In my house, we are all fond of drumsticks, which we call "Mashingasaang" in my mother tongue, Konkani. They are called Nuggekayi in Kannada, Muringakkai in Tamil, and Shevage in Marathi.

    Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for dishes made with drumsticks such as Potato & Drumsticks Upkari,  Drumstick Tomato Curry, and Drumsticks Pithla.

    Today's recipe is for a dish from Andhra cuisine. It is called Iguru and is a thick gravy usually served as an accompaniment for hot rice. This is adapted from the YouTube Video for Drumsticks Igru by Subbu's Kitchen.

    We enjoyed this dish and I hope you will like it as much as we did.




    Ingredients:-
    • Drumsticks, 2
    • Onions, finely chopped, 2
    • Green Chillies, slit, 2
    • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp
    • Tomatoes, finely chopped, 2
    • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
    • Salt, to taste
    • Oil, 2 tbsp
    To Grind To A Paste:-
    • Poppy Seeds, (Khus Khus), 1/4 cup
    • Coriander Seeds, 2 tsp
    • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
    • Garlic Cloves, 6
    Method:-

    Wash and chop the drumsticks into 2 " pieces, peel them and keep aside. I prefer to peel them but you can use them without peeling them too.
    In a mixer, grind together the poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and garlic cloves adding water a little by little to a smooth paste. Keep aside
    Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and when it gets hot add the chopped onions and a little salt and saute for 4-5 minutes
    Now add the drumstick pieces, slit green chillies and turmeric powder
    Cover the pan and cook the drumsticks on low flame without adding any water ( the drumsticks and onions should get cooked in their own juices)
    Stir occasionally and cook till the drumsticks get done
    To this add the ground paste prepared earlier and mix well
    Add the chilli powder, the finely chopped tomatoes, salt and mix well
    Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes become soft and the raw smell of the ground paste goes
    Cover and cook for another 10 minutes till the Iguru becomes thick
    Add a little water to adjust the consistency 
    Transfer to serving bowl and serve the Drumsticks Iguru with rice







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