Category Archives: Rice, Pasta

Indian Food Odyssey : One state at a time

A recap of the 30 day Indian Food Odyssey. Click the link/picture to go the particular post.

Andhra Pradesh:

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Arunachal Pradesh: Thukpa

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Assam: Simple Lunch Platter

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Bihar : A mini lunch with Sattu ka Bharta 

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Chhattisgarh : Pancharatna Dal 

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Delhi: A glimpse of street food 

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A lunch platter from Goa

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Gujarat : Mini Thali

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Haryana : Halwa Poori Chhole

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Himachal Pradesh : Meetha rice, Madra, Khatta and sweet chhole

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Jammu and Kashmir : A mini platter

 

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Jharkhand: Chilka roti and chana dal ki chutney

       

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Karnataka Oota: Mini Meals

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Kerala : A traditional breakfast

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Madhya Pradesh : Indori Poha, Jalebi and Bhutte ki khees

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Maharashtra: Poori bhaji Thali

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Manipur : Mini meals

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Meghalaya:

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Mizoram: Cauliflower Stalk Bai

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Nagaland: Dal with phool gobi and Naga chutney

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Orissa: Odia thali 

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Pondicherry: Simple Meals

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Punjab da Khana

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The desert state of Rajasthan

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Sel roti from Sikkim

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Pongal meals from Tamil Nadu

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Tripura Khichuri Bhog

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Awadh Mini Thali from Uttar Pradesh

 

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Uttarakhand Mini Meals

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West Bengal: Luchi, Doi dharosh and Tok dal

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Uttar Pradesh : Awadh Mini Thali

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We have reached the fag-end of the state wise culinary journey and today, we are in Uttar Pradesh. Regular day-to-day lunch is the common dal-chawal-subzi-roti combination (Rice with dal, roti and veggies), so I thought I would turn to the capital city Lucknow’s rich Awadhi cuisine.

Just like how I turned to Vaishali’s space for the Gujarati thali and the Delhi food fare, her Awadhi Thali was the first thing to come to my mind once I finalized on the Lucknowi food.

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Awadh is the current Lucknow (and some surrounding regions) now and is known for its royal Nawabs and rich food fit for the kings. Dum style cooking (slow covered cooking over low fire) is what the place is most famous for.

This is what the wiki says: “The bawarchis and rakabdars of Awadh gave birth to the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which has become synonymous with Lucknow today. Their spread consisted of elaborate dishes like kebabskormasbiryani, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas. The richness of Awadh cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used like muttonpaneer, and rich spices including cardamom and saffron. “

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The thali here is a simple affair with a nawabi pulao that’s cooked in milk. Sultani dal is nothing but toor dal made rich with yogurt, cream and milk. Mattar ka nimona which is a green peas preparation. The bhindi is cooked in dum, though I couldn’t make out too much of taste difference.

Boondi ka raita is a simple yogurt prepared with ready made boondi(gram flour mini dumplings).

The lachha paratha is a favourite with my son. The rice too turned out to be good for my son since it was not spicy.

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Thali idea : Ribbons To Pastas

The Menu:

  • Nawabi Pulao : A simple pulao cooked in milk. I added the vegetables too at the time of cooking itself. This is then layered and baked later.
  • Sultani dal : A toor dal preparation made rich by the addition of yogurt, milk and cream
  • Dum Bhindi : Bhindi curry, cooked dum style
  • Mattar ka nimona : Green peas curry
  • Boondi raita : Gram flour dumplings (boondi) in yogurt. A simple raita
  • Lachha Paratha : A layer pattered paratha.
  • Salad : Onion rings and lemon wedges

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Tripura – Khichuri bhog

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Tripura was the last of the NE states I had to hunt recipes for and again, lack of on line recipes didn’t help much. Vegetarian options were next to nil and I had almost given up hope when I came across this article about Durga pooja in Tripura.

The article mentions about the bhog (community food) that will be served later, which comprises of various items from luchi to khichidi and many vegetable items.

And tada….my problem was solved…a simple kichidi bhog for Tripura! I wish I had made luchis as well..

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Tripura has a lot of Bengal population and the Bengali cuisine is also popular there. The kichidi bhog here is a Bengali fare, but I guess it is just as popular in Tripura.

The begun bhaja is very simple dish, yet it tastes heavenly. The whole meal is easy to prepare. This food will be a great hit with kids and adults alike.

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The menu:

  • Khichuri : A one pot meal of rice and lentils. Cooked with veggies here.
  • Begun bhaja : Sliced eggplants, shallow fried here with minimum spices
  • Tomato chutney
  • Aloo sabzi : Pressure cook 3-4 potatoes, peel, dice and keep aside. Mash 1-2 potatoes. Take 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp coriander-cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala in a bowl. Add a little water and make a paste. Heat 2 tsp oil, add panch phoron (or jeera seeds and mustard seeds). Add the spice paste and cook for a minute. Add all the potatoes, one cup water and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, taste test and adjust seasoning.

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Tamil Nadu – Pongal Meals

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Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu, marks a lot of new beginnings. Houses get cleaned, new resolutions are made and there is a lot of festivity and lot of food all around.

For me, this year’s Pongal feast marked the culinary journey through the Indian states. This was the first post to be cooked, clicked and edited. It’s a different matter that it’s being scheduled to go live at the last-minute.

This meal impressed my son (and my man).The kid’s eyes lit up when he saw so many small katoris (bowls), each with a little colourful food inside. This was one platter over which I didn’t have to push,nag, plead or threaten with him over eating.

And that’s how the idea of more dishes in small quantities started. Some thali’s he was okay with, some he was not. But on the whole, it’s been fine.

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Coming back to Pongal, it is a four-day harvest festival celebrated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Though it’s ideally a farmer’s festival, the entire state irrespective of their livelihood method, celebrate it.

The celebrations start a couple of days ahead with cleaning of the house, discarding old stuff and even getting your house painted and all. The first day of Pongal, called Bhogi, is celebrated with burning off old stuff.

The burning /bon fire is no longer popular, but the cleaning and discarding stuff is still done.

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The second day is the main festival. Thai pongal. It’s the day we thank Lord Sun for his blessings and the harvest. Sweet pongal is made of the newly harvested rice and offered to the god.

Colourful rangolis adorn the door steps that day and the whole day has a brilliant festive feel to it.

The food is the traditional feast with lots of items, from deep fried vada to sweet payasam / pongal.

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The food featured here usually gets done on the third day. Maattu pongal. It’s the day farmers worship their cattle, for helping them with the harvest. Various ‘variety rice’ are made this day. Lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice, curd rice are the most common ones.

The fourth day is the winding up day and that’s when people visit each other to celebrate the occasion. Beaches in Chennai overflow with people on this day of ‘Kaanum Pongal’.

Here, I started off the day with venn pongal (South Indian style kichidi – rice cooked with moong dal and tempered with ghee, jeera and pepper corns) with an easy sambar and sweet pongal. I served it for lunch as well, along with the colourful rices (lemon, coconut and curd rice).

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The Menu:

  • Lemon Rice : Cooked rice flavoured with lemon juice. A regular South Indian lunch box recipe.
  • Coconut Rice : Cooked rice flavoured with grated coconut.
  • Cheppankizhangu Fry : Taro roots/ eddoe roots fried until crisp. Pairs well with all variety rices and even rasam rice.
  • Venn Pongal : Rice and lentils cooked together (like Kichidi). A popular South Indian breakfast recipe.
  • Chakkara Pongal : A jaggery based sweet rice preparation. Served as a dessert.
  • Curd Rice : Something South Indians cannot live without! The soothing, cooling combination of yogurt with rice. Every meal must end with this dish. The tadka here makes it all the more tastier.
  • Avasara sambar(quick sambar) : This is my MIL’s recipe. Soak a handful of toor dal (pigeon pea) and keep aside. The dal needs to be soaked for 20-30 minutes. Slice 2 big onions and 5-6 big tomatoes. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add the chopped onions. Saute till it’s pink. Add the tomatoes. Once it’s mushy, add 1-2 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp coriander powder and salt. Add a cup of water, this amount needs to be adjusted according to the consistency you require. By now, the dal must have soaked for some 20-30 minutes, grind it to a smooth paste and add it to the boiling sambar. The sambar will start to thicken now, taste test and adjust the seasoning. Serve with any of the tiffin items.
  • Vada: The one featured here is from our lovely neighbour.

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Rajasthani Mini Thali

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Rajasthan, the desert land, is a beautiful state with a colourful history behind it. It is the land of ‘Rajas(kings)’ (Raja-sthan) and there are many palaces and fortresses there, reflecting the state’s rich royal heritage.

Travelling to Rajasthan was a dream and we did travel to Jaipur and Jaisalmer 8 years back. It’s still an experience I relive and relish, especially the Jaisalmer fort. If possible, I would love to go there again…and again….and again

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Not just the palaces, Rajasthani food is also famous. Their cooking style is a bit different. They bank on pulses and dried vegetables more than fresh veggies, since the desert is no ideal place to grow vegetables. It’s all different with advanced irrigation techniques and easy transportation now a days.

Yet you will find extensive use of pulses in Rajasthani cooking.

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We had been to Choki Dhani,  a Rajasthani village resort which showcases food and art culture from Rajasthan. We went as a group and so had fun. The place was over crowded and the waiting time for each and everything was long, but since we were a big group, the waiting time was yacking time and hence a happy time as well :-).

My son enjoyed the trip a lot (‘a lot’ is really less to describe his happiness) and surprisingly, loved the food also a lot.

He finished almost everything on his plate, without much fuss. He was hungry and the food was tasty.

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The menu I have here is a bit on the lines of what we had in Choki dhani. They served us phulka, puri and bajra roti…all of which my son loved. I have replaced the puri with missi roti.

They started off with churma and brought the dal and baati. Then came the kadi and gatte ki sabzi. I skipped the last one, it deserves a separate post on its own :-). There was palak paneer and an aloo ki sabzi to go with the rotis. Some 3-4 varieties of pickles and chutneys were served.

Kichidi came later and it was served with sugar. Keeping the Chennai crowd in mind, they have included rasam, sambar rice and curd rice in the menu as well.

So here I have 3 bread varieties, an aloo curry and a mixed veg curry to go with it. Kichuri, dal and kadhi with 2 types of pickle/chutney as well.

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The Menu:

  • Khichuri/Kichidi : Rice and moong dal cooked together with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Vegetables can also be added to make it healthier.
  • Bajre ki roti  : A whole grain roti made of millet flour. It’s usually made as a single thick roti, saving cooking time. The dough is crumbly because of the absence of gluten, so thick roti is the way to go.
  • Missi roti : Roti made with chick pea flour (besan). Has many versions and this is one of them.
  • Phulka : Thin whole wheat roti  which is cooked in the flame directly for puffing up. No oil is used.
  • Sabz Jaipuri : A mixed vegetable preparation from the city of Jaipur.
  • Atte ki kadhi : A yogurt based preparation which uses whole wheat as the thickening agent instead of the usual chickpea flour (besan)
  • Aloo ki sabzi : A simple potato preparation that goes all around India.
  • Dal : My friend’s preparation :-). Here is a the recipe for Pancharatna dal, which is very popular in Rajasthan as well.
  • Malai Mirch : Chopped green chillies, fried in ghee and then cooked with cream. YUM!
  • Lehsun Chutney : Garlic chutney, pairs well with the breads
  • Pyaz, Nimbu, Mirch : Raw onions, lemon wedges and green chillies. The green chillies can be fried in ghee/oil.

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Punjabi Thali – Palak Paneer, Dal Tadka, Chole, Aloo Paratha, Jeera rice

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What are the dishes that come to your mind when you think about an Indian thali?

Paneer butter masala? Palak Paneer? Paneer Tikka masala? Dal Makni? Rajma? Chole? Parathas? Naan? Dal fry?

Well, almost all of these are from the state of Punjab. Punjabi food has become synonymous with Indian food.

And with a good reason. It’s absolutely fantastically tasty!

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The flip side is that it’s rich. A lot of fat in the form of butter or ghee go into these dishes and it cannot be had on an everyday basis.

On an everyday basis, it can be roti or low fat parathas with simple side dishes.

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This mini thali here is a balance of rich food and the simple ones. The parathas have been treated with ghee, but there isn’t much that’s gone into the side dishes. The dal is simple and plain and so is the chole. The salad provides a refreshing experience, so does the onion with lemon wedges. I have never tried eating the chillies (fried or not), so can’t comment on that!

Palak paneer is also not too rich, yet maintaining that oomph factor. You can dress it up a bit more by adding some cream.

Jeera rice is a good side for this meal. It’s mildly flavoured, so it can be enjoyed with curries without having a clash of flavours.

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The Menu:

  • Palak Paneer: Puréed spinach with cottage cheese curry
  • Dal Tadka  : A simple and easy moong dal preparation
  • Chole: Chickpea cooked in a tomato based sauce. Pairs well with the Indian breads.
  • Aloo paratha : Potato and onion stuffed whole wheat Indian bread.
  • Jeera rice : Rice with a simple tadka of cumin seeds and some spices.
  • Raita : Chopped onions and green chillies in yogurt. Decorated with a pinch of chilli powder
  • Onions, chillies, lemon wedges : on the side

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Oriya Mini Thali

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Orissa, or Odisha as its known now, is a state in the Eastern part of India. For me, Odisha is Orissa. And Orissa, to me,  will always mean the magnificent Konark Sun temple and the beautiful Puri Jagannath temple.

The Puri temple pulls tens of thousands of worshippers everyday and the kitchens here work to feed them. The simple prasadam and the meal there, apparently tastes divine.

The wiki says that :The kitchen of the famous Jagannath Temple, Puri in Puri is reputed to be the largest in the world, with a thousand chefs, working around 752 wood-burning clay hearths called chulas, to feed over 10,000 people each day.

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I had always associated Rasgolla with Bengal and it was a surprise that it originated in Orissa. And so did the rice kheer (payasam). I never knew that.

There is a good balance of vegetarian and non vegetarian food in the state.

Here in this post, I have put together a thali, inspired from The Turmeric Kitchen.  I skipped the kheer and added a beans and potato stir fry.

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Tomato khatta was the most common recipe I could find in all the Oriya thalis I came across. The common version is sweet based, which uses tomatoes and dates.

I looked around for a spicy version of the dish and finally found one. Scroll down for the recipe link.

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Dahi baingan is also a bit tangy, because of the yogurt. This was a simple dish to prepare and it tasted good as well. The best of the lot was the chana dal prepared with potatoes.

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Thali Idea from The Turmeric Kitchen

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Maharashtra Puri Bhaji Thali

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This was one of the earliest posts I did. The state of Maharashtra. This was one of the easiest one as well, since I blindly followed Pradnya’s post, combining it with her rural Maharashtra thali and changing a thing or two here and there.

In India, you are not a mom, if you can’t make pooris. And in my case, it’s not as a mom I have been failing, but as a wife. My son doesn’t like poori, but it’s the man’s favourite food.

And with this thali, the pooris came out brilliant for a change. So the man was indeed happy!

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Pradnya had made a sweetish dal with the thali. I went for a different version, a simple non sweet basic dal.

Varan-bhath (rice with dal) is a meal combination all over India and this is just one version.

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Masale bhath is a spicy flavoured rice. Coconuts, cashew nuts, gherkins all go into this dish. This, apparently, is a regular item in the wedding feast menu.

I found these two write ups about food from Maharashtra quite interesting, A Cook at heart and Food For Thought.

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Meal Idea : The Pumpkin Farm

Read some sweet write ups about food @ A Cook at heart and Food For Thought

  • Puri                 :  Deep fried whole wheat bread
  • Batata Bhaji :  A simple potato preparation, semi-gravy style that goes along with poori or roti
  • Shrikhand    :  Sweetened thick yogurt preparation
  • Varan Bhat  : Plain rice and dal (lentil) combination
  • Masale Bhat : Spiced rice with ivy gourd and nuts, a regular wedding menu item
  • Capsicum Zunka : Capsicum cooked with gramflour, quick and easy recipe
  • Mattha           :  Spiced butter milk

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Himachal Pradesh Lunch Thali

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It’s great when you try some new recipe and it turns out well. But when it doesn’t, you know what happens? You have to finish off an entire thali by yourself. And it’s almost a punishment.

After being used to either sweet stuff alone or spicy stuff alone, my taste buds have become stiff and doesn’t like the combination of two in a single dish. The combination of rice and sugar as a dry dish also didn’t suit my palate.

May be I didn’t prepare it the way it’s meant to be. I will really have to try the authentic version before I judge the dish :-).

But until then, I don’t think I will be making meetha rice again.

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The good news is that madri and khatta were good. Both were easy to prepare. Khatta means sour. And this dish IS sour. It was a shock initially, but you learn to like it as you go. It tasted fantastic with curd rice (oh, come on! We have to have curd rice even if it is a Pahari thali :D).

Khatta is topped off with some boondi (ready made, of course) before serving.

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Madra is a yogurt based dish. It’s prepared with chick peas usually. But the recipe I zeroed down finally had potatoes in it. Since I was preparing a chickpea based curry (with dates), I went ahead with the potato madra.

Like Kerala feast is called Sadya, Himachali feast food (for weddings and all) is called Dham. You can read a bit here in this link about Dham.

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The Menu:

  • Khatta : The dish lives up to its name. It’s really khatta (sour). This aamchur (dry mango powder) based curry is sprinkled with boondi and served
  • Meetha Bhaat( recipe in the comments section) : This is a dessert. Rice cooked with sugar, milk and dry fruits.
  • Himachali Madra : A yogurt based chickpea curry. The one I zeroed down was the potato version.
  • Chhole Mithas Liye : Chickpea in a sweet date gravy. I personally didn’t like it.
  • Plain rice

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Gujarati Thali – Mini Gujarathi thali

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When we are talking about Gujarat, the first thing that comes to my mind is our BM 25 meet. It was three days of absolute masti. Thanks to Vaishali, she saw to it that we were well settled, well taken care off and well fed!

So it’s only natural that when it came to Gujarat, I was browsing Vaishali’s space for recipes and ideas. Then I remembered this post from my friend (old room-mate) Roshni of Roshni’s Kitchen. She had actually put up a thali with Vaishali’s help. So I based mine on that one and modified it a little bit.

I wanted to make the chaas, the salad and the chutney as well like Roshni’s thali, but ….errrrr…forgot about it.

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Going through Vaishali’s space, I came across this very different combination of beans, peas and cooked whole wheat discs(dhokli). I included that in the thali and it turned out to be a good decision.

The kid loved the atta (whole wheat) discs.

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I had made a Gujarati thali before as well.  There Vaishali had mentioned that Gujarati kadhi doesn’t have turmeric in it. So this time I went right into her space and followed her instructions. In the same post of hers, she has the recipe for the potato curry as well. Scroll down for the recipe.

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The menu:

  • Tindora Nu Shaak : Ivy gourd/kovakka/tindora cooked with minimal spices and served as a side dish to rice
  • Dingiri Batata Nu Shaak : Potatoes cooked with onions and tomatoes.
  • Fansi Dhokli : Beans, peas and whole wheat atta discs with some masalas create the magic here.
  • Gujarati Kadhi : The whitish yogurt based preparation. No turmeric is used in this recipe.
  • Gujarati Dal : Simple dal. Skipped the sugar to stick to the spicy version.
  • Rotli : Very thin, soft roti-like rolls. Maida (all purpose flour)  is used for rolling out the dough.
  • Rice : Plain rice, pairs well with all the curries
  • Ready made Choondo pickle and Garkari pickle

 


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