Total Pageviews

Monday, April 18, 2011

29 years!

29 years ago, this day, 18 April, 1982, Ganesh and I were married inthe hindu brahmin style. After six years of courtship, Ganesh finally told his dad (who was unaware of our relationship in a way -well that's a long story and some day it will come out here) that he wanted to marry this Parsi girl! His dad was furious and could not believe what he was hearing. Here was a son, his only son, his only child for God's sake, telling him he wanted to marry a girl not only of his own choice, but one from a religion he did not know existed! Those were tense moments and like everything else, time (lesser than I thought) ironed out the problems.

After the wedding as I began adapting to the new culture and a new set of parents, there came a mutual sense of appreciation and acceptance on either sides. I thought and so did my in-laws, that I was 'fitting in' quite well. I loved the new culture of rangoli, lemon rice, sambar, veggies, dosas, idlis, oil baths, puja, sarees, bindis, long hair adorned with jasmine flowers, as much as I did my 'new' husband (he was my boyfriend before ha ha).

My new life also started a process of learning new things, including 'helping in the kitchen'. I was not trained by my mom to cook, and the only thing I was good at in the kitchen, was making chapaties and okra or bhindi subji. I had watched my mom and sometimes my dad chop onions very fine and was able to this quite expertly. Although my in-laws enjoyed my chapati making, I was not trusted with the other palyas, sambars, rasam and stuff like that. Over a few years, I was able to cook some of the dishes, but it all had my distinct taste that was not as good as "his mom's". I was considered a bad cook and that was that.

Today, I will share with you the recipe that I learned to make in my in-laws house. Akki Roti or Rice Roti is
my fav breakfast dish and hope you'll like it too!

Akki or Rice Roti

Rice roti, or akki roti, is very popular in Karnataka as a breakfast dish. If you have an allergic reaction to the gluten found in wheat, enjoy akki rotis instead.


Makes around 8 to 10 rotis.

Rice flour

2 cups


as required

Onions, finely chopped

1 cup

Dill, fresh, finely chopped

1 cup

Cumin seeds

2 tsp

Green chilies, finely chopped (optional)

to taste

Coriander leaves, finely chopped

½ cup

Coconut, freshly and cut into small pieces

½ cup


to taste


for the pan


Mix onions, dill, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, green chilies, coconut, and salt thoroughly with your hand to ensure proper distribution of all ingredients. Add rice flour and mix again. Add enough water to make thick, firm dough. Thereafter, whilst handling the batter, wet your fingers and palms in a bowl of water each time, and also while spreading it onto the pan.

Place a ball of dough slightly larger than a golf ball on the center of an unheated, lightly greased nonstick pan or cookie sheet. With wet fingers, spread the dough evenly onto the pan into a thin pancake-like roti. If using a cookie sheet, invert the roti on the cookie sheet over a heated pan and gently peal the sheet away. Add a few drops of oil around and on top of the roti and cover with a lid. Cook on a high flame for 2 minutes then remove the lid. When you notice the roti getting golden brown, flip it and cook for one more minute. Serve hot and crisp, with the chutney of your choice.


Since the dough needs to be spread on a cool pan, I suggest that you use two pans, so that one cools off whilst you are cooking the roti on the other. In an emergency, cool the inverted pan under cold water with caution, as very hot nonstick pans tend to warp when put under the tap.

Dip your fingers into a bowl of water while patting the roti onto the pan to avoid your fingers from sticking to the dough. Having a bowl of water nearby is essential.

You can experiment by adding shredded carrots, finely chopped green peppers, or cooked sweet peas into the batter. You may also substitute dill with coriander leaves or finely chopped spinach.

Ragi* roti is made in exactly the same way, except that you substitute the rice flour with ragi flour. You can even make this roti with whole wheat flour or buckwheat flour.

* Ragi, or African millet, is grown mainly in the southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is the cheapest millet available in India. People make ragi porridge or ragi balls with ragi. Because they are inexpensive yet nutritious, ragi balls form the staple of most farmers’ and peasants’ diet in these states.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rava Idli & Coconut Chutney

Ganesh and i met when we were 16. Our home cultures were incomparable. He was from a stauch hindu brahmin family and I a Parsi Zoroastrian. The only common factor was that both of us were human beings and perhaps our cultural differences was the attrating force. After severl years into our courtship, when I moved to Bangalore and lived in a hostel run by the missionary nuns, food became the biggest problem. Food served by them was bad and it is difficult for me to describe how bad… I was constantly hungry and tired of eating dosas and idlis (the cheapest veg food) from restaurants. Ganesh lived with his parents and was lucky to eat a sumptious breakfast and carry a tiffin box with vegetables and chapatis or akki rotis with chutney, tomato rice or lemon rice and all the yummy home stuff that gets cooked in a south indian brahmin kitchen! He was a sweetheart and would give me his lunch box every day so I could eat one good clean meal, while he enjoyed the restaurant dosas.

Breakfast for Ganesh is the most important meal of the day and we plan the previous night (or 24 hours ahead in case of idlis and dosas) what should go on the table for breakfast next morning. Yesterday, we had rava idlis with coconut chutney and the idlis turned out fluffy and soft like never before! We ate some rava idlis again at tea time and Manju saved some for dinner!

Try this simple recipe and do let me know how it turned out.

Rava Idli (Serves 4-5)

Rava or semolina (medium size) 2 cups
Sour curd 1 cup
Water 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Green chilies chopped 2 or more as per taste
Pepper corns 10
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Chana daal 1/2 tsp
Hing or asafoeteda a pinch
Coriander leaves finely chopped 2 tbsp
Eno's Fruit salt 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp

Heat the oil and add mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Add green chilies, pepper corns, cumin seeds, chana dal and fry until daal turns golden. Add hing and give a quick stir. Add the semolina and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Transfer these ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add salt and sour curd and mix well. Add water until the mix becomes a thick batter. Now add the Eno's fruit salt and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and let the mix stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the idli stand and the steamer/cooker. Add around 2 cups of water to the steamer, cover the lid and heat on high flame to generate steam. Grease the idli moulds with oil or ghee, fill the idli mix in the moulds and steam. Take extreme care to ensure that you turn down the flame before opening the steamer to put in the idli stand or plates. Steam burns can be really nasty. Steam the idlis for around 10 minutes and turn off the flame. Open the steamer after a few minutes and scoop out the idlis. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Rava or semolina is available in different particle sizes. The very fine variety is used to make dough for pastry outers. The medium sized rava is used extensively in upma/khara bhath, rava idli, kesari bhath preparations. The large and granular rava is known as bansi rava and makes excellent khara bhath.

Coconut Chutney (serves 4-5)

Coconut grated or pieces 1 cup
Fried gram (optional) 1/4 cup
Garlic (optional) 4 cloves
Ginger 1/4 inch piece
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Tamarind 1 inch piece
Green chilies 2 or as per taste
Salt 1/2 tsp or to taste
Water for blending

Blend all the ingredients into a rough paste. Serve with idlis, dosas, chapatis and poories.

I have seasoned the chutney with some mustard seeds, urad daal and hing (instead of garlic).

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I am a new blogger.
I ask myself why blog.
The answers I gave myself:
- because i have something to say
- because i want to share
- because i want to learn
- because i seek attention (more attention ;))
- because i have nothing better to do
- because... because... heck whatever...
It is spring in my part of the world and the trees are beautiful with their tender green leaves. The Jacaranda with their lovely mauve flowers, the aakaash mallige's sweet perfume, the yellow and red Gulmohur are in full bloom giving the city a brand new look for Yugadi the new year of Southern Deccan India.
Festival = Oota or Food
We had lunch on Yugadi day on banana leaves, freshly cut from our garden. Bele holige, home made mango pickle, carrot kosumbari, beans palya, mavinkai chitranna, masala vadas, moolangi huLi with white rice, tomato rasam and curd.
Our newly wedded daughter and son-in-law gave us a surprise visit and made the festival all the more enjoyable.
Here's the recipe for the very tasty mavinkai chitranna that my daughter once taught me. She got the recipe from the internet. I love it this way.

Ingredients (for 2):
ooked white rice 2 cups
skinned and grated raw mango 1 cup
coconut grated 1/4 cup
green chillies 3 or more as per taste
mustard seeds 1 1/2 tbs + 1/4 tsp
oil (i use rice bran oil) 3 tbs
curry leaves 2 sprigs
chana daal 1 tsp
urad daal 1 tsp
hing a pinch or more
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

peanuts raw a handful
coriander leaves finely chopped 2 tbs
salt to taste

Blend the grated coconut along with 1 1/ 2 tablespoon of mustard seeds. Add very little water to ensure the mustard gets ground. Keep this aside.
Heat the oil in a wok and fry the peanuts until they turn reddish brown in colour. Lower the flame and lift off the peanuts and keep them aside for garnish.
In the same oil, add mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add curry leaves, chana daal and urad daal and fry on medium flame until the daals turn golden. Add hing and quickly stir in the raw grated mango. Cook the mango for a minute and add turmeric powder, ground coconut and mustard paste and salt. Cook this paste while stirring for a couple of minutes and add finely chopped coriander leaves. Turn off the flame.

Mix the above mixture (a couple of tablespoons at first) with white rice. Add more mango mix if you like it stronger. Garnish with fried peanuts and serve.

Hope you enjoy spring this year. Dont miss the watermelons, jackfruits, oranges and of course wait a bit for the king of fruits - Mango!