Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fenugreek - Methi leaves Poori (Vendhaya Keerai Poori)

What is with kids and deep fried stuff? The DDs beg grandma to make pooris and she indulges them. When I suggested adding some methi leaves to the mix my mom was not too eager but she reluctantly agreed. Methi leaves have a bitter taste and grandma did not want her grand daughters to not like the pooris. Anyway I persisted and added some methi leaves to the dough.

It was a good decision, everyone enjoyed the taste and the aroma that methi leaves gives the pooris is second to none. DD mentioned that it was a fresher tasting version of the methi parathas that I usually keep in the freezer for a quick snack in the evening when the kids get home from school.

Few months ago I noticed frozen methi leaves cubes in the freezer section of the Indian grocery store. I bought some and now they have become a regular purchase. Sure they are not the same as fresh leaves but in a pinch they come in handy like they did when I wanted to make methi pooris.

Take the wheat flour, salt curd, along with the chopped methi leaves. Add water and mix to a fairly stiff dough with just the minimum amount of water.
Make small lime sized balls and using the poori press or rolling pin roll and add to the hot oil.

Fenugreek - Methi leaves Poori (Vendhaya Keerai Poori)
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat or atta flour
  2. 2 cubes of frozen methi leaves or 2 cups of packed fresh methi leaves
  3. salt to taste
  4. 1 tbsp of curd/yogurt
  5. 2 tsp of oil (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp of semolina (white ravai)
  7. 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water
  8. oil for deep frying

  1. Add 2 tbsp of water to the semolina and let it sit for about 20 minutes or so.
  2. Run the methi leaves through the blender so the leaves are chopped (do not make it into a liquid)
  3. In a wide mouthed bowl add all the ingredients except the oil. Using the tip of the fingers mix the flour with the methi leaves into a stiff dough with as little water as possible. Sprinkle water as you are mixing and add just enough to form a stiff dough. To the dough add the oil and set it aside. Do not let the dough rest for too long. Make it as close to the cooking time as possible.
  4. Set the oil for deep frying to heat till you see small bubbles form in the bottom.
  5. Make small lime sized balls of dough. Use the poori press to press the dough to small circle or use a rolling pin.
  6. Gently add it to the heated oil. Gently press on the poori with the slotted spoon and you will see it rise. Flip and cook on the other side.
  7. Remove with the slotted spoon on to a paper towel.
  8. Eat immediately with poori masala or side dish of choice while still hot.

Click, for how to use the poori press and recipe for the the poori masala.

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Blue Corn, Purple and Red Rice Dosai - Makka Cholam Dosai

This recipe is a variation of the ever popular kongu recipe chola paniyaram which uses sorghum. When my mom said that maize is also used in making paniyaram I was willing to give it a try. Since we added purple and red rice both of which have a sticky texture we also added about 2 cups of old idli batter just before cooking so that the dosai will come out good. But the recipe below is for making the batter with idli rice to get the right consistency and texture.

Start with soaked blue corn and when it is half way through grinding add the rice and lentils.
Mix with salt and let it ferment. The picture on the right is after 8 hours. It would not rise like idli batter does but will turn slightly sour.

The color was amazing and the taste fantastic.

Blue Corn, Purple and Red Rice Dosai - Makka Cholam Dosai
Preparation Time:30 minutes + overnight soaking and fermenting
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
    For the batter
  1. 2 cups of blue corn
  2. 1/2 cup of Thai Purple rice
  3. 1/2 cup of Bhutan Red Rice
  4. 1 cup of idli rice (if you do not want the 2 rice mentioned above use 2 cups of idli rice)
  5. 2 tbsp of urad dal + 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds
  6. salt to taste
  7. 1/2 onion + few curry leaves + 2 tsp cumin seeds + 1 tbsp grated ginger
  8. Wash and soak the corn, rice and lentils separately, overnight.
  9. Using a wet grinder start blending the corn first and when it half way through, add the rice, lentils and fenugreek seeds. Blend to a fairly smooth batter with addition of just enough water to make a pourable batter.
  10. Add salt and let it ferment overnight or in warm weather about 8 hours should do it. Once fermented refrigerate till ready to use.
  1. Use a food processor or blender and mince the onions, curry leaves and cumin seeds coarsely and add it to the batter along with the ginger. Mix everything together.
  2. Heat the dosai pan pour a laddle of the batter, spread the batter using a circular motion. Cook on one side, flip and cook on the other till it nice and crisp.
  3. Serve with coconut chutney or any side dish of choice.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grain of the Week - 29 - Blue Corn

Blue Corn the pretty grain is the star for this week. While is not that much different from the regular yellow corn you will all agree it is much prettier. Blue Corn is a novelty for me but it has been used by the Indians here in the US as far back as the sixteenth century. The other very good thing about blue corn is it is not as commercialized as the yellow corn. Perhaps Monsanto hasn't gotten to it yet. Moreover while 80% of yellow and white corn are GMO and perhaps almost impossible to find non-GMO varieties of those it might be slightly easier to find non-GMO blue corn. Blue corn's protein content is higher than that of yellow or white corn. source.

Blue Corn has antioxidant properties that other blue fruits and vegetables like blueberries, grapes also have. Blue corn is still used for making tortillas in Mexico and blue corn flour is increasingly getting popular but apparently the flour spoils much quicker than yellow/white corn flour. The reason that it is not more commonly available.

Corn is high carbohydrate food and hence overeating them is not a good thing. Corn is gluten free. They can eaten grilled, boiled, roasted and of course the flour can be made into bread. The reason I picked up this corn for this week is because it is beautiful to look at. I am till thinking of what I can make with it.

One thing we have to studiously have in mind is the fact that corn is the basis for most of the junk food and highly processed foods we are marketed to andt the reason for the health crisis we have today. While eating corn as a whole grains is beneficial it is in our best interests to avoid the other processed forms of corn starting form that difficult to avoid - the morning cup of cereal!

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