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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Idli Fry

I love Idlis and I do make them often, sometimes from scratch and sometimes from the store bought batter. And whenever I have just couple of leftover idlis then I enjoy them with nice and spicy Green Chili-Lemon pickle. That combination is to die for! And back in India I used to add dollop of home churned butter to it and that is for me heaven on the plate!

Another way to use up lots of leftover idlis is to make idly fry! No I am not going to tell  you to 'dip perfectly good idli in perfectly good pakoda batter and deep fry' technic! This is my mom's recipe and I only like idli fry prepared this way, simple, tasty and without fuss! I have eaten idli upama, idly fry with some podis etc. but those are not for me!

Idli Fry is ready to eat!

This recipe is as simple as it can get.

8-10 Leftover Idlis
2-4 Green Chilies (More or less according to your taste)
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp Cumin Seeds
2-3 tbsp Oil

Preparation - 
Cube idlis into 1/2" square.
Grind green chilies, salt and cumin seeds to coarse paste. Do not use water to grind chilies.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan. Once oil is hot enough, add ground chili mixture. Quickly give a stir without burning the chilies.
Now add cubed idli pieces. Mix thoroughly, and saute until idli pieces are coated with oil and chili mixture.
Now lower the heat and cover. Let it cook/steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove cover and mix once or twice.
Adjust salt if needed. Make sure idli are not cold, if not cover and cook for few more minutes!
Enjoy while its warm.

Cubed leftover Idlis Ground Chilies and cumin seeds

Tips - 
  1. We rarely add any other phodani/tempering items to this dish. 
  2. I prefer getting leftover idlis to room temperature before making idly fry. 
  3. I like it spicy and enjoy with hot cup of tea.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rice Noodles Salad

It has been about 3-4 years I have been learning painting from one my friend and teacher. She is one awesome teacher. When I joined I told her that I wanted to learn all the mediums beginning with pencil shading and gradually working towards water color. I am still learning to use all the mediums but watercolor has become my favorite. Let me tell you one thing, watercolor is hard! It takes lot of practice and patience. My teacher had told me that when I started so I am prepared! I recently finished recreating a fascinating painting by Georgia O'Keeffe's : 'Leaves of a Plant' with watercolors. I enjoyed painting it even though it took me longer than expected. There are lots of mistakes which I should have avoided but its a learning process one painting at a time! I hope to do better next time. Here it is for you to see -

Watercolor reproduction of Georgia O'Keeffe's 'leaves of a plant'

Now let's jump to our recipe for the day. Simple salads that feature fresh produce are my favorites in summer. I love salads but I feel hungry much faster. So I am always in search of recipes that can incorporate carbs as well as protein. I recently had one such salad that was a perfect combination of flavors of fresh herbs, fresh vegetables, rice noodles and peanuts. After I tasted it, I had to recreate it at home. It was fun to make it and now has become my favorite! Let's see how to put this all together -

Serves: 4

2 portions of Vermicelli Rice Noodles
1 Red Bell Pepper (Yellow or Orange work well too)
6-7 sprigs of Green Onions
6-7 sprigs of Cilantro
1 sprig (6-7 leaves) Mint (optional)
1 small Cucumber
1 small Tomato
1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts (preferably unsalted and dry roasted)
Salt per taste
1 Lime
1 tsp Oil

Rice Noodles Salad

Preparation - 
Cook noodles according to instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and immediately put in cold water to stop them from cooking further. Drain again and put in a serving bowl, sprinkle with oil and mix well. This will help noodles from sticking.
De-seed bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Cut all these vegetables in 1/2" dice and add to the noodles.
Clean the green onions and chop in 1/2" dice. Finely chop cilantro. Add both these to the noodles too.
Coarsely grind peanuts add to noodles.
Squeeze lime juice and add salt to noodles and mix thoroughly. Remember you will need salt for all the vegetables so please add accordingly. Mix well.
Let it sit for at least 30-45 minutes before serving.

Tips - 
  1. Tomatoes and cucumber seeds loose too much water when mixed with salt. That is the reason I remove seeds.
  2. Ideally, you can make everything ready ahead of time and mix just 30 minutes before serving.
  3. You can add small pieces of tofu if you wish. 
  4. I noticed that green onions have to be tender or use less quantity as it overpowers everything. 

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