Bendakaya Vepudu (Bhindi Fry or Oka Stir Fry)

Bendakaya Vepudu or Okra Stir Fry or Bhindi Fry
Bendakaya Vepudu or Okra Stir Fry or Bhindi Fry

Bendakaya Vepudu is a very easy to make koora that is ready in a jiffy and an absolute delight as a side-dish for pappu pulusu annam, sambhar rice, or simple curd rice.

Ingredients

  1. Bendakaya/Bhindi/Okra – 1/2 Kg
  2. Oil – 1 tbsp
  3. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Wash and dry the bendakaya.
  2. Chop of the ends.
  3. Cut the bhindi into 1/4″pieces.
  4. In a wok/kadai, heat the oil.
  5. Add the bendakaya pieces and mix well.
  6. Turn the heat to medium heat.
  7. Fry the bendakaya till the edges just start to turn brown.
  8. Stir every 2 mins or so.
  9. After the bendakaya is cooked, add the salt and mix well.
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. Add the red chilli powder and mix well.
  12. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tips

  • Do not cover the bhindi while cooking. If you do, it will turn all sticky.
  • You could add onion to this koora. If you do then, add the onion pieces after the bendakaya is half-fried. This is because the onion cooks faster than the bendakaya. So, if fry the onion before the bendakaya, it will get charred.
  • Fry the bendakaya over medium heat. Do not turn the heat to high as then the bendakaya pieces will char but not cook.
  • Stir the bendakaya pieces constantly.

Rava Idli (Suji Idli, Semolina Dumplings)

Rava Idli-Semolina Dumplings
Rava Idli-Semolina Dumplings

While I love idlis, I sometimes run out of batter. This is where Rava Idlis come in. They are a quick and easy to make and are also a bit more spicier than Idlis.

Rava Idlis are especially handy in winter or the monsoon when the idli batter simply refuses to ferment!

or

When you have unexpected guests!

Ingredients

  1. Rava/Semolina/Suji – 1 Cup
  2. Curd – 1 Cup
  3. Grated Coconut – 1 tbsp
  4. Udad Dal – 1 tsp
  5. Chana Dal – 1 tsp
  6. Rai/Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  7. Cashew Nuts – 3 or 4
  8. Green chillies – 2 or 3
  9. Oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Soda Bi-Carb – 2 pinches
  11. Turmeric (optional) – a pinch
  12. Salt to Taste
  13. Curry Leaves – A few

Method

  1. On medium heat, in a kadai/wok, roast rava till it starts to turn light brown.
  2. Set aside the roasted rava to cool.
  3. Add curd, salt, finely chopped green chillies, grated coconut, and turmeric.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add a more water or curd, if required. The consistency should be like that of regular idli batter.
  6. Heat the oil.
  7. Add mustard seeds to it.
  8. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the udad dal and chana dal.
  9. Fry till light brown.
  10. Break and add cashew nuts.
  11. Fry for a few seconds.
  12. Add the fried dals to the rava-curd mix.
  13. Mix well and set aside for 30 mins.
  14. Add soda and mix well.
  15. Add a more water or more curd, if required. The consistency should be like that of regular idli batter.
  16. Make rava idlis as you would make regular idlis.
  17. Serve hot with fresh Coconut Chutney, Sambhar, or Chutney Powder!

Tips

  • Use sour curd if you can. That way you can reduce the quantity of soda.
  • You can make the idlis without soda. In this case, add more curd (sour, if available) and also 1 tbsp oil.
  • The batter must rest for 30 mins for the rava to soften. Otherwise the idlis will be dense and gritty.

Vangi Bhaat (Vankaya Annam or Aubergine/Brinjal/Eggplant Rice)

Vangi Bhaat or Vankaya Annam
Vangi Bhaat or Vankaya Annam

Vangi Bhaat is one of those classic dishes that is popular at Maharashtrian weddings and religious functions. I have always loved its mild flavour and am tempted to make it every time I see small plump brinjals (vangi = brinjals in Marathi) in the market.

Adding the star anise segment is a secret that one of my Maharashtrian friends told me about and I love the fragrance that star anise lends to the dish!

Ingredients for the Vangi Bhaat Masala

  1. Red Chillies – 3 or 4
  2. Udad Dal – 2 tsp
  3. Chana Dal – 2 tsp
  4. Cinnamon – 2″ pieces
  5. Cloves – 4 or 5
  6. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  7. Star Anise – 1 Segment
  8. Oil – 2 tsp

Ingredients for the Rice

  1. Rice – 1.5 Cups
  2. Small/Baby Brinjals – 8 to 10
  3. Onion – 1 Medium sized (optional)
  4. Cashew Nuts – 8 to 10
  5. Peanuts – 2 tbsp
  6. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  7. Tamarind Pulp – 1/2 tsp
  8. Jaggery – 1/4 tsp (Optional)
  9. Oil – 2 tbsp
  10. Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  11. Curry Leaves – A Few
  12. Salt to Taste

Method for Making Vangi Bhaat Masala

  1. Heat the oil.
  2. Fry udad dal and chana dal till golden brown.
  3. Add the cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a minute.
  4. Add coriander seeds, star anise segment, and red chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Grind to a fine powder.

Method for Making the Vangi Bhaat

  1. Pressure cook the rice with 2.5 Cups of water.
  2. Spread on a plate to cool.
  3. Cut the brinjals into quarters.
  4. Chop the onion finely.
  5. In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  7. Add the split cashew nuts and peanuts.
  8. Fry for about 2 minutes or till the peanuts start to pop.
  9. Add the red chillies and fry for a minute.
  10. Add the onion and fry till it is transparent.
  11. Add the brinjal pieces and fry till cooked.
  12. Add the Vangi Bhaat masala and fry for about a minute.
  13. Add the tamarind pulp and jaggery.
  14. Cook till the jaggery melts.
  15. Add the curry leaves.
  16. Add the rice and mix well.
  17. Add salt and mix well.
  18. Serve hot with papad, vadiyalu or vadams.

Tips

  • You can add about 2 tbsp of copra or freshly grated coconut to the Vangi Bhaat masala.
  • You can add about 1/4 tsp of turmeric to the step 12 when making the rice.
  • You know the brinjal is cooked when you can cut it with the spoon or ladle.
  • You could add a splash of water in step 11 to make the brinjals cook faster.

 

Cheesy Garlicky Sandwich

Here is one way I use the Shengdana Chatni that I am very fond of. This cheesy garlicky sandwich is soul food for me and can lighten up my day in a jiffy! 🙂

Ingredients

  1. Bread Slices – 2
  2. Cheese Slice – 1
  3. Shengdana Chatni – 1 tsp
  4. Butter – 1/2 tsp

Method

  1. Lightly butter one side of each bread slice.
  2. On the non-buttered side of one slice of bread, place the cheese slice.
  3. Sprinkle the Shengdana Chatni all over the cheese slice.
  4. Cover with the other bread slice such that the buttered side is on the outside.
  5. Heat a tava.
  6. Place the sandwich on the tava.
  7. Wait till the bread is lightly toasted.
  8. Flip the sandwich over and toast the other side.
  9. Serve hot.

Tip

  • You can grill the sandwich instead of using the tava or griddle.

Tondli Bhaat (Dondakaya Annam/Rice with Ivy Gourd)

Having lived in Maharashtra all my life, I love Maharashtrian food. Tondli Bhaat is a classic Maharashtrian dish that is simple to make and a nice way to use Tondli (Dondakaya/Ivy Gourd).

This is also a dish that is very quick and easy to make. Have it with some raita or just simple plain dahi and it is a complete meal in itself.

I love the lovely aroma of star anise used in this recipe! 🙂

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 1.5 Cups
  2. Tondli/Dondakaya/Ivy Gourd – 1/4 Kg
  3. Clove – 4
  4. Cinnamon – 1″ stick
  5. Pepper Corns – 4
  6. Star Anise – 1 segment
  7. Grated Coconut – 1/2 Cup
  8. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  11. Grated Jaggery (Optional) – 1/4 tsp
  12. Oil – 2 tbsp
  13. Salt to Taste

To make the masala:

  1. In a kadai/wok, heat 1/2 tsp of oil.
  2. Add the cloves and cinnamon.
  3. Fry for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the grated coconut and saute till the coconut turns light brown.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Grind the cooled ingredients into a fine powder without any water.

To make the tondli bhaat:

  1. Cook rice as usual.
  2. Spread the rice onto a plate to dry out the excess moisture.
  3. Cut off the ends of the tondli and then cut into four pieces vertically.
  4. In a kadai/wok, heat the remaining oil.
  5. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  6. Add the tondli pieces and fry till done.
  7. Add red chilli powder, turmeric, jaggery, and masala powder.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Add the rice and salt.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Serve hot with dahi or raita.

Tips

  • Be careful about the amount of star anise you add. Too much star anise tends to overpower all other flavours. I use just one segment or “petal” of a star anise.
  • You could use Kopra/desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut. If you do this, do not fry the coconut.