Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sabudana Kitchadi

Sabudana Kitchadi

Sabudana is derived from the sago palm, Metroxylon sagu, which is found in tropical lowland forests and freshwater swamps across Southeast Asia and New Guinea. It is widely used in India.

This recipe for Sabudana Kitchadi is from my aunt Sumitra . It is a flavorful dish with plenty of cilantro and has a unique blend of ingredients giving it a texture that is at once crunchy and soft. It makes a wholesome meal for lunch or breakfast and an interesting addition to my list of favorite things to dish out with little effort.
Preparation time - 20 minutes (excluding time to soak the Sabudana)
Serves - 4
Category – Dish for breakfast or light lunch.


Sabudana – 1 cup
Cumin seeds - ½ tspn
Onion (Medium) - 1
Green chilies - 2
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Olive oil – 2 tbspns
Salt – ½ tspn (adjust to taste)
Peanuts Dry Roasted – ½ cup
Coriander leaves (Cilantro) chopped - 1 cup
Yogurt (smoothed) - ¾ cup
Salt - ¼ tspn and adjust to taste

Soak one cup of sabudana in 3 cups of water . Set aside for 2 hours. Drain the water in a colander.

Finely chop the onions, and green chilies.

Using a dry grinder, crush the peanuts to crunchy pieces taking care not to grind them to a soft powder.

Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes. Cook in water until soft. Drain and set aside.

In a deep pan, add the olive oil and Cumin seeds. Heat for about 2 minutes until the flavor of roasted cumin seeds comes through. Add the onions and green chilies, turmeric powder and fry until onions are soft. Add the potatoes, stir in and continue to heat until they are mildly roasted.

Add the drained sabudana, salt, and thoroughly mix in heating at low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overheat. Add the crushed peanuts and mix in thoroughly. Serve hot.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Akola's Aviyal

Akola's Aviyal

Aviyal is a classic South Indian dish and because of its richness it is generally reserved for festive occasions such as weddings, festivals or special family get-togethers. The Aviyal I make has the same fundamental recipe but with many changes to accommodate the lack of tropical vegetables such as drumstick and yam, and fresh coconut oil whose signature aroma defines this dish. Mine has a different flavor, consistency, and plenty of fresh vegetables available locally with a generous amount of potatoes mixed in. The purist may not acknowledge that this is the right look and feel for Aviyal but it a favorite dish of my children especially my first daughter.

Preparation time - 40 minutes
Serves - 8
Category - Side dish or stew generally served with rice.


Fresh green beans - 15 - 20
Green peas fresh or frozen - 1/3 cup
Potatoes (Medium) - 2
Green pepper - 1/2
Egg plant (Italian) - 1/2
Fresh carrot - 1
Coconut flakes - 3 Tbspns
Green Chilies - 6 – 7
(Optional) Jalapeño pepper - 1
Fresh Curry leaves chopped - 1 Tbspn
Yogurt (smoothed) - ¾ cup
Salt - ¼ tspn and adjust to taste

Wash, peel the potatoes and carrots and chop all vegetables with the exception of green chilies to approximately the same length and thickness.

In a deep pot or dutch oven, add the chopped vegetables. Cover them with enough water so that the vegetables are well immersed. Add salt .Bring to a boil and heat in medium heat until the vegetables are cooked but firm. Avoid overcooking to prevent the vegetables from becoming mushy.

In a blender, add the coconut flakes, cumin seeds, and green chilies and half a cup of water. Blend until to a smooth paste adding additional water if needed.

Add the paste to the cooked vegetables. Stir and mix in thoroughly. Heat at medium heat until the mixture of the paste and vegetables come to a boil. Continue to heat at low heat for two more minutes. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

Add the chopped curry leaves and yogurt. Avoid adding the yogurt when it is too hot. Stir and mix in.
Serve with hot rice.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aromatic Asparagus with Herbs and Spices

Aromatic Asparagus with Herbs and Spices 

It was a Friday evening on a mild spring day. What can be better than relaxing with a glass of Chardonnay and a spicy starter to go with it? I looked around in the fridge and found a bunch of fresh asparagus. The garden had Thai and Italian basil waiting to be harvested. There was a packet of hot Chili flakes staying around in the pantry that I did not seem to know what to do with. Well, it was time to put them to use and may be get a bit creative.

What turned out was a delicate but spicy starter. My family loved it and I have made this several times since then. I think this dish will make a nice starter or a side dish to just about any meal, Indian, western, sea food, pasta or rice. And yes, it does go well with wine!

Cooking time - 20 minutes
Serves - 4
Category - Starter or side


Fresh Asparagus Spears -                  20 spears approximately
Cumin Seeds  -                                    ¼ Tspn
Olive Oil  -                                             1 Tbspn
Salt -                                                     ¼ Tspn recommended (adjust to taste)
Red Pepper Flakes  -                          ½ Tbspn for medium hot or 1 tbspn for extra hot
Basil Leaves chopped -                       2 to 3 Tbspns
Lemon Juice -                                      ½ Tspn

Wash the asparagus and cut off about 2 inches of the stems. In a pot or a deep pan add salt, asparagus and cover with about 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and continue heating in medium heat. (Total heating time is about 10 minutes). Let stand for about 3 minutes and strain the water off.

In a pan, add the olive oil and heat at medium heat for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and heat until the flavor of roasted cumin seeds come through. Stir in the basil leaves for about 30 seconds and add the asparagus spears. Add the salt and sprinkle the red pepper flakes and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes at low heat. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve immediately.