Archive for January, 2007

Jihva For Ginger ~ Ginger Rasam With Dosakai

charu ingredients
ingredients for ginger rasam, clockwise from bottom: fresh young ginger, tamarind ball, powdered toor dal, cumin-coriander powder with pepper and turmeric, jaggery

dosakai (dosakaya, vellarika, yellow cucumber)
dosakai, halved – smells sweet like ripe melon but tastes tart

dosakai cooked with turmeric
diced dosakai cooked with turmeric

Do you ever bite off more than you can chew?

Over the past week I have done this. I went to the Indian grocery after so long, and found this gorgeous dosakai/dosakaya/vellarika. I just *had* to cook it. I had ordered Cooking At Home With Pedatha, and it arrived day before yesterday. I just *had* to cook something from it. I wanted to contribute to Jihva for Ginger. I just *had* to cook something gingery. And I do not love ginger!

All of these thoughts, with ingredients and recipes at my disposal, and I couldn’t think of a thing to cook.

Sometimes when I am overloaded like this, I walk away. I did this last night. I walked away from the kitchen and sat down to read my new cookbook. It was enlightening, and it settled me. Cooking At Home With Pedatha is a wonderful book (click here to read the review!). Full of simple, beautiful photographs, it conveys the wisdom and instinct of a woman who reminds me very much of my own nana. When I returned to the kitchen, instead of facing a quandry, I was inspired. I fiddled a little with one of Pedatha’s recipes, and came up with this. In the end, it served all three purposes.

pedatha’s recipe
a page from Cooking At Home With Pedatha

Ginger Rasam with Dosakaya
based on Sweet Rasam (Theeyati Charu) from Cooking At Home With Pedatha

1/2 fresh ripe dosakai, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/4 cup young fresh ginger pieces, peeled and lightly crushed
1 small lime-size chunk tamarind, pressed into a ball

2 TB jaggery
1 TB cumin-coriander powder
1 TB toor dal, ground to a powder
2 tsp fresh roasted pepper, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric

6 cups water

1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch asafoetida

salt to taste
fresh cilantro and minced young ginger to garnish


Put dosakai in a small saucepan with enough water to cover and a pinch each of salt and turmeric. Boil 10-15 minutes until translucent. Drain and set aside.

Place crushed ginger in a medium pot with six cups fresh, cold water and heat over medium heat. When nearly boiling, add tamarind ball, jaggery, cumin-coriander powder, toor dal powder, pepper and turmeric. Stir well and adjust heat to keep at a simmer — cook about 20-30 minutes.

When the liquid begins to take on a reddish brown color, stir it up well, allow to settle, and remove solids with a slotted spoon. Don’t use a fine sieve — with the slotted spoon some of the little ginger, tamarind, and dal bits will remain to give the charu its character. Add the reserved dosakai now and keep the pot just below a simmer.

Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add mustard and asafoetida — when mustard pops and hing has browned lightly, add the tadka to the simmering rasam. Stir once, test for salt and add fresh cilantro and minced ginger for garnish.

Serve at once.

ginger rasam with dosakai
tangy and sweet ~ ginger rasam with dosakai

This is my entry to Jihva for Ginger, hosted graciously by Rosie of What’s The Recipe Today, Jim? — even in the midst of moving! Hats off to you, Rosie, and thanks 🙂

See other recipes with dosakai:

Indianadoc’s Vellarikka Pulingurry

Sailaja’s Dosa Avakai – Andhra Yellow Cucumber Pickle

Shilpa’s Gajbaje Randayi and Sweet Dosa Goda Polo

And last but certainly not least, you can find Inji’s Cucumber Kichadi/Pachadi (and lots of other goodies!) cached, if you scroll down here.


Comments (15)

Simple Sunday Supper ~ Aloo Methi

japanese eggplant, fresh okra, gorgeous ginger

very fresh veggies: asian eggplant, okra and ginger, all in a new kadai!

It was a nice easy weekend. The temperature was a little warmer than it had been during the week; 30 degrees felt like a heat wave. There wasn’t too much racing around in the child-taxi, so I had time on Saturday to make a leisurely trip to my two favorite Indian grocery stores. I came home with some gorgeous ginger, beautiful brinjals, and a few other treats.

shopping trip finds
fun finds from saturday shopping

The best of all was my bargain kadai. Brand new, cast iron, perfectly sized, and all mine for the princely sum of $3. It was even pre-seasoned… yippee!

I have wanted a kadai for so long, and was so excited about this one, that I completely forgot to take a photo of the lovely fresh methi I bought. I cooked it with potato tonight for my own simple version of aloo methi.

Aloo Methi

1 medium potato, peeled and diced (about 8 oz)
1 bunch fresh methi leaves, washed and chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1 big or 2-3 small green chiles, slit

spritz of oil
1 tsp ghee

salt to taste


Heat your brand new kadai on medium-high heat and spritz with very little oil. Add onions, potatoes, and chile(s). Stir-fry until vegetables begin to brown. Reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another ten minutes or so, until potato is cooked through but not mushy. Remove to a plate.

Melt the ghee in your new kadai. Take a moment to savor the aroma — it’s somehow different because of that kadai 😉 Add the chopped methi leaves and cook just a minute or two. Add the potato mixture, stir everything together and let it heat through.

Salt to taste and serve hot.

aloo methi
ok, I admit I wiped out the kadai for the pic — but isn’t it a great little pan!

That’s it! Simple Sunday supper after stupendous Saturday shopping. Who could ask for anything more 🙂

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What Shall I Cook?

veggie find!


Comments (6)

Leftover Surprise 5 ~ Dill Dal Dish

leftover surprise

quick and easy leftover surprise

A weekday dinner ready in a flash; healthy and delicious thanks to Dilip’s dill dal.

Dill Dal Dish

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 slit green chiles
1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1/2 c chopped onion
2 c chopped cabbage
1 carrot grated
1 c leftover cooked rice
1 c leftover Dilip’s dill dal

salt to taste


Heat oil and splutter the mustard. Add cumin and cook a minute, then add green chiles and ginger-garlic paste. Cook 2 minutes on medium heat, then add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add cabbage and carrots, stir well and sprinkle with 1-2 TB water. Cover the pan and cook until cabbage is tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in leftover rice and dal, and heat through. Salt to taste, and serve hot with crunchy papads.

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Coffee’s MBP ~ Dilip’s Dill Dal and Nandita’s Kaala Chana

kaala chana and clementine

kala chana (black chickpeas) and fresh clementine

fresh dill and moong dal

fresh dill and moong dal

I’m trying to keep up with all the new blogs, recipes, and events I’ve discovered in the past few weeks. My list of must-try dishes was already long… now I’m adding to it faster than I can cook and eat!

Recently I happened upon Coffee’s blog and her lovely idea, a Monthly Blog Patrol Event. This is all about trolling for recipes, then cooking and blogging about them. Perfect! I do this all the time — easy to send an entry or two for this 😉

This week I made Dilip’s Moong Dal with Dill and Nandita’s Kaala Chana — two dishes with completely contrasting tastes, but equally delicious!

bright and summery moong dal with dill

Dilip’s Moong Dal with Dill

Dilip’s Moong Dal with Dill is reminiscent of summer with its beautiful sunny colors; while the bright flavor and fragrance of fresh dill permeates the dish.
It makes a lovely light lunch or supper that will leave you craving more.

rich and savory kaala chana

Nandita’s Kaala Chana Curry (with clementines)

Nandita’s Kaala Chana is a heavenly dish on a cold day; infused with the dark, smoky taste of kala jeera, black cardamom, and carmelized onions. Try it with a fresh clementine for a real winter taste treat.

dilip’s moong dal with dill

Delicious Dill Dal!

nandita’s kala chana

Comforting Kaala Chana!

Thank you Coffee, Dilip, and Nandita!

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Holiday Weekend Cooking

I have always loved cooking new foods… searching out the most authentic ingredients and methods, and along the way, inevitably learning about the countries and cultures from whence they come. In all my culinary exploration, however, never have I found myself adopting a cuisine. Over the holiday break, I missed the healthy way I’ve been cooking and eating for nearly a year now. I missed simple, yet complex dishes like dal with rice and a little spoonful of ghee. I missed making my own yogurt — a food I never loved before. I missed mustard seed, cumin, and curry leaves. I missed heat. I marveled at the thought that I have learned the difference between mellow, warm heat from dried red chiles, and searing, hot heat from fresh green ones. All in all, I missed Indian food. I didn’t realise, until I left it for a time, how much it has become my own.

That said, what better way to get the new year off to a good start than by cooking up a storm! I decided to try a few things I’ve been drooling over.

Last night I made Asha’s pearl onion theeyal and IndoSunGod’s kathrikkai mor kozhambu. For a sweet, I tried my hand at Menu Today’s puran poli. I love knowing that I can have all these good things in their time, and still be eating well.

indosungod’s mor kozhambu
indosungod’s mor kozhambu with brinjal ~
rich and tangy

mt’s puran poli, ready to seal
getting mt’s poli ready to cook ~ I was not prepared for the bright yellow dough, as I had only added a pinch of turmeric

mt’s puran poli, brown and crispy outside
hardly round, but looking pretty crispy outside…

I put the fork there to encourage the kids to try the “sweet bread”

The polis turned out wonderfully, if not as thin as they should be. I only made half the recipe, and now do have some leftover filling in the fridge.

And here is today’s cooking, it all its flavorful glory. A week’s worth of lunches, and a good supper to boot!

spinach dal with kala jeera
spinach dal with smoky kala jeera

Kala jeera with spinach dal? I wasn’t sure, but Bhargavi used it in her spinach pulao … and I was nearly out of cumin seeds, so I gave it a try. I made a regular spinach dal with toor dal, but in place of cumin I used kala jeera for the seasoning. It gave the dish a whole new dimension.

ingredients for carrot-celery sambhar
carrots, tender celery heart, masoor dal, onion and tomato

Last week I went by a little store which is part Indian grocery and part lunch-counter. Along with my bay leaves, I took a cup of delicious sambhar back to work. I wanted to replicate it at home. The only vegetable visible was one, count’em, one, slice of carrot. It was rather thin, but had a rich flavor I had not tasted in sambhar before. Today I made a simple carrot and celery sambhar with masoor dal in place of toor. Not quite my little lunch-counter dish, but it came out rather well!

Some time ago, I bought a package of moong dal vadas. They were low in fat. They looked user-friendly. However, none of my internet nor cookbook searches held any clue as to their proper use. The package simply said “cook before eating”. I soaked them in boiling water, browned them in Pam, and plopped them into the sambhar. I’m sure someone out there knows where they really belong… please send help 🙂

moong dal vadas ~ where do they belong?
moong dal vadas back left: as packaged; back right: soaked in boiling water; front: browned. cute little things, aren’t they…

carrot and celery sambhar with brinjal-spinach fry
the carrot-celery sambhar with masoor dal — to go with it I made a simple stir-fry of two baby brinjals and a sliced garlic clove, with a handful of spinach tossed in at the end, all sprinkled with garam masala

Thanks Asha, ISG, and Menu Today for the great recipes!

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Lazy Sunday

slate-colored (northern) junco
northern junco — usually they eat from the ground but this one likes the hanging feeder

lazy daisy
daisy watching the bird-show

Thanks to the long weekend, today has been an exceptionally lazy Sunday spent watching the cats and watching the birds.

I did rouse myself long enough to make a pot of rice, and Asha’s fabulously spicy pearl onion theeyal to eat with it. Yum!

asha’s awesome pearl onion theeyal
spicy and rich — asha’s awesome pearl onion theeyal

Comments (3)

Tofu Green Curry

ingredients for spice paste
fresh green chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, curry leaves and fresh spices

Happy New Year to all you lovely bloggers!

Thank you for the wonderful holiday wishes in my last post — they made me feel happy and of course I wish you all the same. 🙂

Well, a few weeks away and didn’t realise how much I would miss sitting here rambling along about recipes. I have REALLY missed reading everyone else’s! I can see I will have alot of catching up to do — first reading, then cooking.

Over the holiday break I visited a friend and brought along some Thai curry from a local restaruant. It’s always delicious there, but I’m sure only good for a once-a-year splurge. Why not cook it at home, though? I could cut back on the fat that way. Last night I found myself thinking that thought until I could think it no more, and had to act.

I was lacking some of the traditional seasonings for a Thai curry, but I had plenty of Indian! So I gave it a whirl and got this surprisingly good sort of hybrid dish. It was even better today for lunch. A little late for Ashwini’s Jihva Round-up (wow, can’t wait to read that!) but it’s coconutty anyway 😉

Tofu Green Curry

1/2 block firm tofu, cubed
3-4 c mixed veggies of your choice
spice paste (below)
ground spices (below)
1 tsp oil or ghee
1 can light coconut milk
1 2/3 c fresh coconut milk
small lump jaggery

Saute the tofu in Pam or a small amount of oil until lightly brown.

Wash and cut the veggies. I used potato, bottle gourd, and carrots (blanched in the microwave), with some frozen green peas for color. I also added some canned baby corn, just because I love it.

Make a paste of:

5-6 baby onions (shallots)
5-6 big green chilies, seeded
2 TB garlic paste
1 TB ginger paste
1 tsp salt
small handful curry leaves

Roast and grind:

1 TB coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
few black peppercorns

Add the roasted, ground spices to the paste.

bottle gourd, potato, carrots, peas and baby corn
veggies, tofu, and spice paste ready to go

Heat the oil or ghee in a medium saucepan. Add 2-3 TB spice paste and saute until fragrant. Add 3/4 of the can of coconut milk (I know, I know… fresh would be better but I’m on a diet and the canned is “lite” 😉 ).

Stir gently and cook over medium heat a few minutes until the oil begins to rise. Add the rest of the coconut milk, the veggies and tofu. Cover, reduce heat a little and simmer about 15 minutes, until the veggies are tender but not mushy.

Remove the cover and crush a small lump of jaggery into the curry. If it is very thick, add a little water. Mix well and bring it all to a rolling boil — then turn off the heat and serve piping hot with plain rice.

tofu green curry
steaming hot tofu green curry!

Recipe modified from Temple Of Thai site.

Also check out Krithika’s Vegetarian Thai Green Curry which looks so delicious!

Comments (9)

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