Friday, June 30, 2006

MLA Pesarattu

Dear Foodies,
Pesarattu-Upma or MLA pesarattu is a Andhra delicacy. It is a tiffin item and is very filling. It is similar to Masala Dosa where a dollop of aloo curry is hidden right at the center of the dosa. The Upma served with pesarattu is also very deliciously made and generous amounts of ghee are added to it for that comforting aroma and taste. The MLA pesarattu genearally pairs with coconut chutney,sambhar and ginger chutney :-)
I just googled for pesarattu on the net and found that the Andhra Pradesh govt has been trying to put our MLA pesarattu on the culinary map of India. Read more..
"The nomenclature comes from the unique brunch that combines a pesarattu dosai with uppma and a potato curry. This, I am told, was the invention of a chef in Hyderabad, who wished to eliminate mealtime delays that would eat into the busy schedule of law-makers!" >>

Unlike idli-sambar or masala-dosa or Uttappams, which also follow the same 'soak dal-make batter' rule the main difference with pesarattu is the batter does not need to ferment. That makes it a very easy breakfast. All it needs is a little planning to soak the lentils in water the previous night.

For the batter:
  • 4 cups - Pesalu/Green gram/Moong Dal (whole)
  • 4-5 nos - Green Chillies
  • 1 inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
Extra additions to the batter:
  • Coriander leaves
  • Finely chopped onions
  1. Wash and soak the pesalu in water overnight or for around 6-8 hrs.
  2. Grind all the batter ingredients to a smooth paste. The batter shud not be runny, it should be of the same consistency like dosa or idli batter.
  3. You can add finely chopped onions and coriander leaves to the batter to add to the taste of the pesarattu.
  4. Heat a flat pan, and add few drops of oil. *Spread the oil using a wedge of potato or half onion. This seasons the pan and makes the dosa leave the pan easily when cooked, without clinging onto the pan. *
  5. To check if the pan is ready, sprinkle a few drops pf water, if you hear a sizzling sound the pan is ready for the batter.
  6. Nicely spread the batter on the pan moving from center to the corners in either clockwise/counter clockwise movement. Oil the corners and let the pesarattu cook for 1-2 mins. When you see the sides leaving the pan, flip the pesarattu and cook for a 1 min.
  7. serve with a dollop of upma neatly rolled inside the pesarattu with some ginger chutney and sambar on the side. :-)
MLA Pesarattu is my entry for Sailu's Jihva for DAL and Nandita's 'Weekend Breakfast Blogging'
  • *For crisp pesarattu, add some atukulu (poha) soaked in water for a few minutes, to the dal while making the batter.*
  • The Pesarattu combo was a team event in my apartment with me taking care of the pesarattu and my roommates came up with upma and tomato pappu (both of them are experts in their dishes and recipes will be coming soon :D )
Other Entries for Jihva for DAL:
*Tips from Mom

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kakarakaya Pitla/ Bitter Gourd and Lentil Medley

Dear Foodies,

Ingredients:Roast in a little Oil:

  • 2 Tbsp - Chana Dal
  • 1 Tbsp - Toor Dal
  • 2 Tbsp - Dhania seeds
  • 1 tsp - Menthulu (Fenugreek)
  • 8 nos - Red chillies
  • 4 Tbsp - Coconut (grated)
  • 1 pinch - Asafoetida
  • Few Curry leaves
Other Ingredients:
  • 150 gms - Kakaraya/Bitter Gourd Boiled
  • 2 cups - Toor dal boiled
  • key lime sized ball of tamarind
  • Salt to taste
For seasoning:
  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1-2 nos - Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp - Coconut (grated)
  • 3-4 nos - Curry leaves

  1. Roast the ingredients listed above and let them cool. Grind it to paste by adding sufficient water.
  2. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the pulp. Cut small pieces of the bitter gourd and and it to the tamarind extract along with some salt. Boil the above for around 3 mins.
  3. Add this paste to the boiling tamarind water and continue to boil for 5 mins.
  4. Mash the boiled dal and add 1 cup of water. Add this to the boiling tamarind water and continue boiling for 5 mins or till the dal blends well with the spices.
  5. The pitla is now ready, season it with mustard, green chillies and grated coconut (optional) and curry leaves. Serve hot with rice :-)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Menthula Pulusu/ Fenugreek seeds in Tamarind sauce

Dear Foodies,

Menthula Pulusu is one of the many varieties of pulusu's that Andhra food is graced with. As the name suggests, the main ingredient here is Menthulu or Methi seeds. They add a light tangy flavor to the recipe. But care should be taken in adding them too many can give a bitter taste ! This Pulusu is very simple to make, unlike sambar it does not need any cooked dal and can be made in a jiffy.

  • 2 Tbsp - Menthulu/Methi Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp - Toor Dal
  • 2 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • 2 nos - Red Chillies
  • 2 Tbsp - Kachikaya/Manathakkali Vathal
  • 1 Tbsp - Oil
  • Lime sized ball of Tamarind
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak the Tamarind in some warm water. If using a microwave, place the tamarind and water in the microwave for about 1 min and let it cool. Extract the pulp and set aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil and add the rest of the ingredients and saute till the toor dal and methi seeds turn a slight red color.
  3. Now add the tamarind extract and salt. Let the mixture boil till the raw smell of tamarind vanishes.
  4. Now add enough water to dilute the strong tamarind taste and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  5. If you want the pulusu to be thick in consistency then add a spoon of flour to it and let the whole mixture come to a boil.


  • When adding the flour, take the flour in a small cup, add water to it and mix well to get rid of the lumps and then add it to the Pulusu. Any kind of flour can be used: Rice/Wheat/Maida/Corn flour
  • You can also add Bhendakaya/Bhendi instead of kachikaya or plainly skip both. The main taste of the pulusu is due to the Menthulu and these are extra add-ons.
  • I have used Kachikaya in this recipe but any kind of vathal (dried vegetables) like Sundakai etc can also be used. I am not sure if everyone is aware of this ingredient(kachikaya) . Its the dried form of a fruit. The fruits look like tiny versions of tomatoes. They are called Manathakkali vathal in Tamil. My mother used to fry these in a little bit of ghee and mix it with plain rice for us when we had complains of mouth ulcer or stomach aches. Will try posting more on this ingredient soon.

Kandipappu Oorupindi/ Toor Dal Chutney

Kandipappu oorupindi and Menthula pulusu is as good a combo as pesarattu-upma or channa bhatura. One always accompanied the other in my mom's cooking. I dont know if anyone else uses the word 'oorupindi' for such a preparation. None of my friends recognise the word, but thats the way this dish has been called in our house. Well, I tried making this combo today and it turned out pretty good. The chutney takes just a few minutes to make. By the time the ingredients cooled down and were ready to blend I made aloo fry and menthula pulusu to accompany them. The best way to eat this chutney is to mix rice and chutney and eat it with the pulusu on the side. The chutney+pulusu combo goes really well with curd rice too. Do try it out and let me know how you guys like it.


  • 1 cup - Toor dal
  • 2 nos - Red chillies
  • 5 nos - black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste

  1. In a pan, heat the oil and roast the dal till it turns a dark red color and transfer to a dish. Be careful not to burn the dal.
  2. Next add the red chillies and black pepper corns and roast till the chillies turn a darker shade.
  3. Cool the all the ingredients and add little water to soak the dal. This is to make the dal soft so it can be made into a smooth paste.
  4. Once the dal has become slightly soft, blend all the ingredients with salt added. The mixture need not be very smooth in texture.

There is going to be a new addition to my blog, my Mother will also be posting recipes here. She is equipped with all the the great recipes and a wonderful camera to do justice to her cooking. And so I declare myself the loser, no competitions here ;-) hehe

Jihva for ingredients

Monday, June 26, 2006

Maida Biscuits

Priya, another blogger who hosts Sugar and Spices, posted the recipe for Namakparas, the recipe looked soo simple and inviting that I could not wait to try it. Last night I got back home and made a tiny batch of these.
I modified the recipe to suit the ingredients I had. I dint have Nigella seeds and used Ajwain powder and some Jeera (Cumin seeds) instead. And a little extra oil went into the dough making as I failed to balance the oil can ;-), this changed the texture of the biscuits a bit. They were a bit crumbly, but the taste was good. Lots of room for improvement though :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao is one of the 'Savior' dishes in many kitchens. If your tired/ in a hurry/ falling short of ingredients for other dishes, you can always make this one. It gives way to a lot of room for innovation. You can use either one or any number of vegetables, make it spicy or mild easily moulding it to suit your mood for the day. :-)

My mom made this on Sundays combining it with Bagara Baingan (brinjals in gravy) sometimes. I dont eat brinjals and so she used to add tomatoes to it just so I would eat ;-) We call it fried rice at our home. I am not sure what it should be called, but one thing I know is that it tastes great :-)

Well, last weekend a group of friends and me decided to go on a trip to Niagara Falls. (Pictures will follow soon). We had planned to start at around 1:00 in the afternoon and we had to finish our lunch before we hit the road. Pulao came to our rescue as it is a wonderful stand-alone dish . It took me just 20 mins to get it ready for the cooker. I wasn't in the mood of adding potatoes, but they gel well with this dish. (My dad is always teasing me that after coming to the US potatoes have become our staple food..!!!)

  • 1 cup - Carrots
  • 1 cup - Cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup - Green peas
  • 1 cup - Green bell peppers
  • 1 nos - Onion
  • 2 nos - Bay leaves ( biryani leaves)
  • 7-8 nos - Cloves
  • 2 nos - Cinnamon sticks (1 inch each)
  • 3 nos - Cardamom ( Elaichi)
  • 3 nos - Garlic pods
  • 1 Tbsp - Mint leaves ( dried)
  • 3 nos - Mace
  • 1 inch Ginger piece sliced
Other Ingredients:
  • 5 cups - Rice
  • 3 Tbsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash and soak the rice before you start with the vegetables, this makes the rice nice n fluffy and the rice gets cooked faster.
  2. Chop onions and the other vegetables. I used frozen carrots, cauliflower, peas and fresh capsicum. Thaw the forzen vegetables and reserve.
  3. Heat some oil in a wide saucepan and add the all the spices. Ones the raw smell vanishes, add the onions and saute.
  4. When the onions are done add the peas and capsicum and continue to saute till they are cooked. I add the peas in this step, as I like them to turn a little crisp on the outer skin.
  5. Now add the rest of the vegetables and salt. Cover the sauepan and let them cook for about 5-7 mins.
  6. Drain and add the soaked rice and mix till the rice and vegetables blend well.
  7. Transfer the whole to a electric cooker and add water for the rice and veggies. If you added salt in Step 5 then taste and add salt accordingly. The pulao tastes best when the rice grains are fluffy and separate.
  8. Garnish with Cilantro leaves and serve hot with raita or any north Indian gravy.


  • Any combination of vegetables and spices can be tried. Adding cashews and raisins will make the pulao rich and definitely tasty ;-).
  • If using a pressure cooker, the whole procedure can be done in the cooker pan and water can be added once the rice and vegetables mix well.
  • Instead of oil, you can use equal measures of ghee and oil. This gives a mild, comforting taste. Ghee can be added to the cooker aong with the water.
This is my entry for Paz's 'From My Rasoi #6 - For the Love of Rice' event.

Green Plantain Chips

This is one of the most easiest dishes I have tried. I had read a lot of recipes for chips from other bloggers and also about the use of oven to make them. So when I found raw plantains in our grocery store I was eager to try some chips. I found that naking them not only saves you from using soo much oil but the chips also stay crisp for a longer time and hold the seasoning better.

  • 2 nos - Green Plantains

  • 2 tsp - Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • 2 Tbsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste

  1. Scrape the thick outer skin of the plantains and slice them using a mandoline or you can do it with a knife too but make sure the slices are crisp.
  2. Preheat the oven to about 300deg C .
  3. Now toss the slices with oil, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and neatly arrange them on a baking dish.
  4. Place this in the oven. Check on them every 1 min after the initial 5 mins to see if they are done on one side. Take the baking dish out and flip the chips to cook them on both sides.
  5. Be sure to use gloves and dont forget that the chips are going to be hot too, not just the baking dish.
  6. Enjoy your chips :-)

  • The oven I used is a very old one and so I am not sure if the cooking time I have given can be used blindly. Feel free to modifythem as per your expereince
  • You can add some Asafoetida in the seasoning too.
  • Any kind of vegetable that can be made as chips can be prepared this way. eg: potatoes, bitter gourd, yam.
  • I used the same method for bitter gourd chips and they were very tasty. Only difference was I added some garlic salt in the seasoning.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Green Beans Patoli/Usli

Sorry for the long delay in getting this post out. I wanted to have my blog template set before I could start posting.
The first recipe is going to be ‘Green Beans Usli’. The beans I have used are fresh ones. I got them from my recent visit to Jungle Jims, an International Market. It is a huge store, and will eat away half of your shopping day, but you can be sure to find all that you need. The first dish that popped out of my friends’ mind when he saw the beans was ‘Usli’. Usli I thnk is one of the few dishes part of any cuisine in India. All my friends found the dish familiar the first time I made it. The only difference was the name by which they called it. The recipe might sound too complicated but trust me its very easy and worth the extra effort
  • Green Beans

For the Usli:
  • 1 cup - Channa dal or Toor dal ( I used equal portions of both)
  • 3 or 4 nos - Red Chillis
  • 1 sprig - Curry Leaves
  • Salt to taste

For popu/tadka
  • 1 Tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1 Tsp - Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tsp - Urad Dal
  • 4 Tsp - Oil
  1. Soak the Channa dal/Toor dal along with the red chillies & Curry leaves for about 30-40 mins.
  2. Wash and de-string the beans if necessary. Chop them into tiny half cm pieces. If using frozen beans, thaw and keep them aside. ( and ofcourse you can skip the cutting part, or the purpose of buying frozen beans is defeated ;-) )
  3. In a wide pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds. Once u hear them popping add the cumin seeds and Urad dal.
  4. Once the dals start to turn red add the beans( Take care not to burn the tadka ). Mix well and cover the pan with a lid and let the beans cook on a low flame till they turn soft. You might not have to add water separately as the beans have enough moisture stored in them, but do check. If you feel they are burning, sprinkle a little water.
  5. Now grind the soaked Usli ingredients with enough salt and add water to form a coarse paste. Do not add too much water as the next step is to steam cook them.
  6. You can make idli-like patties of the dal paste and use a idli stand to steam them or you can just layer the paste on a shallow vessel that fits in you cooker. Steam cook for abt 10-15 mins. ( To check if the dal mixture is cooked, dig a knife into it. If it comes clean without any of the grains sticking onto it, the mixture is cooked else steam cook it for some more time )
  7. Once the steamed dal idlies cool down crumble them. Heat some oil in a pan and add this crumble, saute till all the moisture is lost. This might take 4-5 tablespoons of oil. An alternative method is to use the oven. Take the mixture in a baking dish and cook it in a oven at 300 deg C for about 8-10 mins or till you feel all the moisture has left. This step adds crunch to the Usli.
  8. By now your beans should be ready, dont forget to check on them at regular intervals. Once the beans are soft add the Usli mixture and mix well. Check to see if there is enough salt.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves.

  • You can add some baking soda to the green beans while cooking them if you wish the retain the green color.
  • Using the oven for removing the moisture from the Usli can avoid the use of oil making the recipe low cal.
  • You can increase the Usli ingredient measure and store the Usli in air-tight containers in your freezer. It stay good for a couple of weeks. The mixture can be used with veggies like Cabbage, banana flower, raw banana (boiled & grated)
  • This dish is dry and so goes best with liquid-based dishes like Sambar, Tamarind based Pulusu/Kozhambu, Majiga pulusu/Mor Kozhambu.
Jihva for ingredients
Blogging tips