Saturday, September 21, 2019

South Indian Tiffin Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #012 | Gluten Free Thali


South Indian Tiffin Thali

Hi Supermoms,

What do you miss the most on weekends, when you move from South to North India and if you are an early riser! Well you guessed it right. The piping hot breakfast varieties - Soft and fluffy Idlis, Crispy fried Vadai, melt in the mouth Pongal and fresh Chtuney and Sambar to go along with...mmmm...mouth watering right πŸ˜‹ ?

When we used to live in Bangalore, weekend breakfast parcel from Veena Stores was a habit. I used love their Shevige Bath with coconut chutney. Even the masala dosai from CTR followed by a strong filter coffee was a favourite. 

Both my husband Raghu and myself crave for such breakfasts and last weekend  I decided to cook our favourite breakfast thali . 



If you have idli batter ready, it will be easy to re-create this platter. 
Usually rava kesari is a part of this breakfast but for variety and for a gluten free option, I created a new dish called Swarnam which brought more cheer to the platter. Pongal can be easily made in a pressure cooker and does not take time to cook. 

You can soak a small batch of urad dal for an hour and grind it in a food processor/mixie . 

Here are the recipe links to cook this meal :

- Idli


South Indian Tiffin Thali


We had this as our Sunday Brunch . I must say that it was indeed one of our most satisfying, nostalgic and delicious brunch experience. 

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom



Friday, September 20, 2019

The Vara Mahalakshmi Thali 2019 | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #011| Gluten Free Meal


The Vara Mahalakshmi Thali 2019 |

Hi Supermoms,

In our home, festival day means 'special dishes'. 

Food is the most exciting part of any festival. Every festival has a set menu designed by our ancestors. The menu differs from family to family. In fact for the same festival, the dishes that my mother prepares is slightly different from what my Mother-in-law would cook. 

For the Varamahalakshmi festival, the typical menu comprises of a minimum of two types of Kozhakattai/modak, Medhu Vadai, Appam , raw rice idli and payasam/kheer. This year, I was not geared to cook an elaborate spread. I made a small batch of kozhakattai/modaks and vadai. Poha Payasam is a quick dish to make and my better half Raghu made the panchamitram with ripe bananas and dates. 

Sambar sadam with appalam and a chutney completed the simple Vara Mahalakshmi Festival Thali.

The Vara Mahalakshmi Thali 2019 |

The Vara Mahalakshmi Thali 2019 

- Aval Payasam with Jaggery ( instead of rava use poha)

The Vara Mahalakshmi Thali 2019 |

I sincerely hope that my festival thali inspires you to cook yours with loads of enthusiasm. 

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom









Ridge Gourd Special Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #010 | Gluten Free and Vegan Meal


Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #010

Hi Supermoms,

Kitchen cleaning and maintenance is so important. We can be efficient in the kitchen only when we have all our ingredients organised, right? It is more easily said than done. Just like a factory, the work in the kitchen is a continuous process. From cleaning the kitchen counter after cooking to taking stock of the provisions , there is so much of work to do. 

This year, Diwali came early. I decided to change all my Plastic containers into glass jars. Indian cooking is so diverse. There are so many spices, spice powders, legumes, lentils. There are also ingredients that you will need, to cook other cuisines. This simply means that I need a lot of glass jarsπŸ˜€. Ordered them online and thankfully the jars got delivered in good condition. 

Of course, the kitchen looks so much cleaner now as transparent glass jars look more elegant and also saves space. But, I will keep you updated as to the maintenance and quality of the bottles. The reason I am sharing all this with you is that I have been cooking simple dishes so that I can focus on the kitchen maintenance.

I used up fresh ridge gourd - both the peel and the flesh to make two separate dishes. They taste so different and brought variety to the lunch. I also made a batch of Pesaru Manga/Instant Raw Mango pickle so that it can be part of our meal for the next few days. 

I have shared the ridge gourd thogayal recipe before and the colour of this thogayal then and now might puzzle you. Let me clarify. The colour difference is due to the chilli variety that I have used. Today, I used the guntur chilli ( used just 1 chilli as it was really hot) and hence the colour remained green. 

The microwaved appalam is such a blessing on days you do not want to deep fry. It was such a great accompaniment to the rice. 

Overall, it was such a satisfying and delicious meal .


Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #010

Here are the recipe links to re-create the Ridge Gourd Special Thali :


Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #010

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Beet Broccoli Pulav | Weekday Lunch Idea | Gluten Free Recipe


Beet Broccoli Pulav

Hi Supermoms,

I had my mid-week blues today and did not feel like cooking anything elaborate. Variety rice with a vegetable side dish was in my mind when I started cooking. I steamed broccoli florets and chopped beetroot. In parallel I had kept rice to cook. 

At that moment I thought of making a simple yet flavourful pulav without onions, garlic or ginger. Yes, you heard me right. This pulav has delicate flavours that come from garam masala infused ghee/clarified butter. No ground masalas. Just perfect for a weekday lunch and great as a lunch box/tiffin box dish. 

I know that many of you avoid using garlic and onions during this month and this recipe will be just perfect fit for you. You can always substitute white rice with brown rice, broken wheat or millets. 

You can also use left over rice to make this pulav. Once you steam the beets and broccoli, it takes less than 10 minutes to make this dish. I am sure you are tempted to try immediately πŸ˜‹.


Beet Broccoli Pulav

Beet Broccoli Pulav :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves : 3-4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients : 

1 broccoli ( cut them into florets)
1 large beetroot ( peeled and chopped)
2 cups  cooked rice ( You can use basmati or sona masoori rice)

For tempering :

2 teaspoons sesame oil ( you can also use ghee or coconut oil )
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli powder ( adjust) 
1-2 dry red chillies ( whole) ( I used Guntur chillies)
salt to taste

For infused ghee :

1 tablespoon ghee/ clarified butter 
1 small bay leaf
2 cloves
1 large black cardamom
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2" cinnamon stick
4-5 black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon stone flower/kalpasi

Method :

1. Steam the beetroot and broccoli till they are cooked but firm.
Chef tip : Do not over steam them .
2. Heat a kadai or a wide pan with oil over low flame and add dry red chilli, chilli powder and  turmeric powder .
3. Mix and immediately add the steamed vegetables.
4. Add salt and fry over medium high heat by stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.
5. Switch off and set it aside.
6. Spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl.
7. Heat a small pan or a large ladle with ghee and add all the ingredients given under 'infused ghee'.


8. Once the ghee heats up and you can smell the aroma of the spices, pour the ghee into the rice.


9. Mix well so that the rice is well coated with the infused ghee.
Chef tip : If you are packing this for small children, you can remove the whole spices after mixing . 
10. Now add the beet and broccoli mixture and mix well.
You can watch how I mix the rice here.

Your delicious Beet broccoli Pulav is now ready !! 

Beet Broccoli Pulav

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom


Monday, September 16, 2019

The Picnic Thali | Aadi Perukku 2019 Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #009 | Gluten Free Meal

 Indian Thali Ideas

Hi Supermoms,

Festival foods are so special. The 'Aadi Perukku' is a South Indian festival that is celebrated in the Tamil month of 'Aadi' . It is a monsoon festival and is celebrated as a 'Thanks Giving' to   Water sources like rivers and lakes. People pay their gratitute to nature by cooking food , packing them and visiting the near by lakes to offer their gratitute and then sit and enjoy the food near the river beds. It is like a fun filled day out - a picnic with the family. 

Typically, variety rice dishes like the Puliodarai, lemon rice, coconut rice with appalams are cooked as they are so convenient to carry . 

Being away from home, food is the only thing that connects us to our roots. I made a simple Aadi perukku thali this year to celebrate the occasion .

 Indian Thali Ideas

Sharing the recipe links below for you to re-create this meal .


Aadi Perukku 2019 Thali

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom


Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Comfort Thali | Indian Thali Ideas by Masterchefmom #008 | Gluten Free Meal

Indian Thali Ideas by Masterchefmom #008

Hi Supermoms,

Comfort food is Soul food. Cooking and serving simple dishes that you have grown up with, gives so much happiness. It also amazes me how the food is naturally gluten free and also filled with so many healthy ingredients . 

The balance of taste, the right addition of proteins, carbohydrates and fats and also the variety that our ancestors have given us only makes me feel grateful. 

Eating in a banana leaf doubles the taste and also the chlorophyll in them is so good for our health. Eco-friendly by nature, it is another habit that we should try and inculcate. 

The most special part of this meal is the fresh turkey berry that I got from Chennai . I do not get fresh turkey berries here. I only use the 'vathal',  sun dried berries. 

So, cooking with fresh green turkey berries was so satisfying. If you use fresh berries in the recipe ( in the given link below) , you have to first crush the berries in a mortar and pestle and then use them. Do you know that turkey berries are full of medicinal properties ?

Indian Thali Ideas by Masterchefmom #008

Here are the recipe links to re-create this  Comfort Thali :

-Carrot Kosumalli ( I used green moong sprouts )

Indian Thali Ideas by Masterchefmom #008


This was a super delicious meal . It can be a great weekend menu. I fried some appalam and that completed the meal. 

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom





Swarnam | Red Bell Pepper Poha Kesari | Bell pepper Beaten Rice Kesari | Gluten Free Recipe

Red Bell Pepper Kesari

Hi Supermoms,

I am always excited to share a new recipe with you. Yesterday, was the weekly, fridge/refrigerator cleaning day and among various vegetables there was a whole red bell pepper and a small carrot. Usually, I make a salad with them. Instead, I thought of a sweet dish that could be made without any hassle and in minimum time. 

The weekend also called for a dessert!

For those who follow me on instagram and facebook, I had posted a #foodquiz asking about the main ingredient behind the bright colour of the Kesari. There were more than 200 responses but not a single person guessed it right 😁. 

The colour of the kesari inspired me to name it 'Swarnam' as it looks like the Golden Sun. Swarnam can be made with just six ingredients - beaten rice , sugar, bell pepper-carrot puree, ghee and cardamom . 

Simple and delicious !

Swarnam | Red Bell Pepper Poha Kesari

Swarnam | Red Bell Pepper Poha Kesari :

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
1 cup = 250 ml cup 
Serves : 3-4 

Ingredients :

1 red bell pepper ( de-seeded, roughly chopped)( you can also use yellow bell pepper)
1 small carrot ( roughly chopped)
3-4 cardamom pods ( powdered)
1/4 cup ghee/clarified butter
1 cup poha/aval/beaten rice ( thin variety)
2/3 cup sugar ( adjust according to your preference)

For garnish :

1 teaspoon ghee/clarified butter
5-6 cashew nuts
1 teaspoon chironji ( or dry fruits of your choice)

Method :

1. Grind the bell pepper and carrot into a smooth puree using 1/4 cup water. 
Chef tip : Grind it into a smooth paste . Add few more drops of water if required. This is an important step to get great texture to your kesari. 
2. Soak the poha  in water for 5 minutes and squeeze the excess water and set it aside. 
3. Heat a pan or kadai with ghee and toast the cashews and chironji ( or the dry fruit you are using)till they are golden brown and transfer it to a plate or small bowl. 

4. Place the kadai/pan back on low flame , add 1 tablespoon ghee and the vegetable puree.


5. Keep stirring for 5 minutes or till the time the raw smell evaporates and then add the sugar. 

6. Once sugar dissolves completely , add the crushed cardamom. 
Chef tip : Remove the green cover of cardamom and powder finely if you want a smooth texture. Also, add more cardamom if you want to mask the strong aroma of bell pepper. Instead of refined sugar, you can also use powdered jaggery or palm sugar. 


7. Now, add the soaked and drained poha. 













8. Add the remaining ghee and keep mashing and stirring the kesari so that they all come together. 
Chef tip : The more you mash , the taste of the kesari will be greater. Also, add more ghee if required. 














9. Once the kesari comes together without sticking in the pan, add the roasted dry fruits, mix and switch off. 













Your super delicious 'Swarnam' aka Red Bell pepper Kesari is now ready . 



Swarnam | Red Bell Pepper Poha Kesari


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom









Friday, September 13, 2019

Friendship Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #007 | Gluten Free Meal


Friendship Thali

Hi Supermoms,


This thali that I cooked recently was special. It was for my friend Kishi . 
When you cook for friends especially the ones who love food, you find so much energy and enthusiasm. There were many hurdles for me to cook this meal that day. 

A trip to the vegetable market the previous evening was disappointing. The market closed early due to some technical glitch which had never happened earlier. I thought that I will step out the  next morning to get vegetables.

Unfortunately, I had stomach flu that night and was so tired and exhausted in the morning. So, getting out for vegetables was NOT an option anymore. 

I ordered some vegetables that my could be delivered within a few minutes by a small vegetable vendor inside our apartment. He had cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and ladies finger. Though I was not happy with the vegetables , I was in no shape to go out. 

I thought that I will make a simple meal with these ingredients. At that point of time, it was a daunting task for me as my tummy was not behaving πŸ˜…. 



Thankfully I had some fresh coconut and so decided to add a thogayal/chutney to the menu. Also, as she was coming home for the first time, I thought that I will make a sweet dish/dessert and dalia sweet pongal was on my mind. 

I was really happy that I could make coconut thogayal that day as my friend liked it the most. I was so thrilled to see Kishi make my thogayal recipe the very next day. 


Friendship Thali

Here are the recipe links to re-create this thali.

- Sambar ( I used onions instead of radish)
- Dalia Sweet Pongal ( used Dalia instead of red rice)
- Cauliflower Bhajji/Pakoda ( inside of onions used cauliflower)

The taste of food doubles when we share it with friends, right?

Happy Cooking!

With love,

Masterchefmom



Thursday, September 12, 2019

Baingan Bharta | Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe | Roasted Aubergine Mash | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe | Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe | Masala Aubergine Mash | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe


Baingan Bharta | Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe |

Hi Supermoms,

My better half, Raghu loves Brinjal/Aubergine/Eggplant . So, I cook this vegetable very often. Gutti Vankaya Koora is his favourite brinjal dish. But, you need baby brinjal to cook that dish. Whenever I get baby brinjal from the market, the first option is to make Gutti Vankaya. 

I get some amazing quality large eggplants here in Delhi ( locally it is called Bharta wala Baingan). The brinjal is so famous for making Bharta ( means 'mash'). Baingan means 'Brinjal' in Hindi language.

As the name suggests, the brinjal is first greased with oil and roasted over fire till the skin wilts and the brinjal gets cooked inside. The peel is removed and the mashed brinjal is added to the onion tomato mixture. 

The recipe is easy for anyone to try. All you need is the larger variety of Brinjal which does not have much seeds. The Bharta is semi dry and can be enjoyed along with any flat bread. 

The roasted brinjal gives this dish a unique taste. Sometimes I  even fire roast garlic , onions and tomatoes to give even more flavour to the dish.

You can make this side dish within minutes. Perfect for a quick weekday dinner. 

Baingan Bharta | Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 3
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1 large Brinjal/Aubergine 
2 large tomatoes ( finely chopped)
2 large onions ( finely chopped)
2 green chillies ( finely chopped)
4-5 garlic cloves ( finely chopped)
1/2" ginger ( finely chopped or grated)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli powder ( optional)
salt to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil 

For garnish :

handful cilantro leaves ( roughly chopped)( optional)

Method :

1. Wash the whole brinjal and wipe them with a kitchen towel. 
2. Grease the brinjal with oil and place it on a wire rack.
3. Let the brinjal roast under low flame.
Chef tip : Keep tossing the brinjal so that all the sides roast uniformly.
4. Once they cook, allow them to cool down.
5. You can carefully remove the skin of the brinjal.
6. Mash the pulp using a fork and set it aside.
7. Heat a kadai/pan with oil and add the green chillies, ginger and garlic.
8. Once they brown, add onions and tomatoes.

9. Add turmeric and salt.
10. Allow the tomatoes to become mushy.
Chef tip : You can add a few drops of water .
11. Now add the mashed brinjal.
12. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes over low flame , garnish and switch off.

Your delicious Baingan Bharta is ready to be served along with Chapatti/phulkas or parathas

Baingan Bharta | Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe |

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom








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