Tag Archives: coconut

Coconut Grater

Could anything be simpler or quicker for the purpose?

I am eternally grateful to my sister in law Vasanti for introducing me to this cool little implement. Shri has now mastered the art of using it too, and makes quick work of grating both halves of a fresh coconut as he watches television or talks to the girls.

Pitlai Podi

Indira loves to hang around the kitchen when I make a batch of this podi, because its’ preparation involves one of her favorite culinary processes – the roasting and grinding of coriander seeds.

The quantities mentioned here will make enough podi to fill a little pot or jar and which will keep well for a couple of months in the refrigerator.

Pitlai Podi

6 tablespoons of coriander seeds

2 tablespoons of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils)

4 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut

1/4 teaspoon of asofetida

1 large dry red chilli (optional)

In a frying pan, roast the coriander seeds at a medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently so that the seeds don’t go too brown or burn.

Take the seeds out in to a bowl and in the same pan, roast the red chilli and daal (till the latter turns a light brown) in a teaspoon of sunflower oil.

Remove the lentils in to the same bowl as the seeds.  Now roast the coconut in the same frying pan till it turns a golden brown color.

When they have cooled, grind all the ingredients together in to a powder – it  doesn’t have to have too fine a texture – and store in an air-tight bottle or jar.

Khamang Kakdi – Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and Coconut

This is of the same family as the carrot salad that wins hearts all the time !

Indira likes it better than that one, especially if I add fresh, green coriander.

Khamang Kakdi/Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and Coconut

1 large cucumber

3-4 tbsp fresh, finely grated (or dessicated) coconut

3-4 tbsp ground peanuts(koot)

2 tsp sunflower oil

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

salt, to taste

2 teaspoons each of sugar and lime juice, or to taste (you could replace the sugar and lime juice with thick jaggery paste and tamarind juice)

1-2 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander leaves

Peel, wash and finely dice the cucumber. Heat the oil in a small pan, then add the mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Move the pan off the fire (this keeps the ingredients that you will be adding next from getting burned) and quickly add the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir for a few seconds then pour this tempering over the cucumber. Now add the coconut and peanuts, the salt, sugar, lime juice, and coriander, and toss everything well before serving.

If you want to make this a few hours ahead, then add the tempering to the cucumber earlier but mix in the rest of the ingredients just before serving, otherwise the salad can become quite soggy.

Use freshly grated coconut whenever you can, for a much nicer taste. And IMO, this salad is so much tastier with tamarind and jaggery instead of with lime juice and sugar.

Green Beans with Coconut or Beans Poriyal

I once passed off – successfully so – this very Indian subzi as a salad.

Either way, it is really fresh and light and  just great to eat in the summer.  And while it does take some time to dice the beans, the cooking part is so easy that it makes up for the longer prep time.

I love to eat it with sambhar and rice, or with phulkas and yoghurt. Or just mixed in to plain, hot rice, as Indira likes it too.

The recipe here is based on my memory of eating it in the homes of Tamilian friends and of watching one of them cook a similar dish once with very finely sliced cabbage. I believe vegetables cooked in this way are called poriyals.

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Green Beans with Coconut

400 grams of fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed and diced quite small

1-2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

salt to taste

1 large dry red chili, broken in to two parts (optional though this spice adds a great flavor)

a pinch of asofetida (optional)

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

5-6 curry leaves

1/2 a teaspoon of coriander powder

2-4 tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut

2 tablespoons of chana (yellow split peas or black gram) dal though this too is optional

In a frying pan, heat the oil to a moderate temperature, then add the asofetida and the mustard seeds and fry till the seeds start to crackle and pop. Add the curry leaves and the red chili and fry for a few seconds. Now add the beans and mix well with the other ingredients. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes, turning over the beans a couple of times, then add  1/4 of a cup of water -maybe a little less, maybe a little more, depending on how fresh and soft or tough the beans are – and salt. Cover the pan and cook the beans on a moderate heat till they are tender. Towards the end, mix in the coriander powder. Just before you take the pan off the burner, add the grated coconut and mix well.

When I am using dal, I  soaked it for about an hour or two (I forgot to soak it today so decided to skip it)  then drain it thoroughly. I add it after the curry leaves, and fry it till it turns a very light brown color and acquires quite a soft but still crunchy texture.  After this, it cooks with the beans and is soft enough to eat by the time the beans are done.

This is another tout simple dish to make . And if you don’t count the coconut you could always use less, though along with the chana dal it is really what makes this dish the treat that it is – it has fairly little oil which is a plus too.

Dhokla – A very quick recipe

I have never been able to make good idlis, and so  had never tried to make dhokla either, since typically that would use the same technique of steaming, which I never had much success with.

Until, that is, my friend Pooja gave me this recipe a couple of weeks ago for making dhokla in the microwave. The preparation time is only about 5 minutes, and the cooking time is only about that as well.

The results were good enough that I have made dhokla more than once since and the girls have really taken to it which is great.

Dhokla

Besan (chickpea flour) 1 cup ( or a mixture of besan and suji i.e. semolina in equal or varying proportions)

125 ml of whisked yogurt

some (about 1/4 cup) water

3/4 tsp of grated ginger

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

2  tbsp of sunflower oil

lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Eno fruit salt – 1 tsp

salt to taste

1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and 4-5 curry leaves (chopped) for tempering

1  tbsp grated (fresh or desiccated) coconut and 2 tsp of chopped green coriander for garnish

Mix the yogurt, the water, the salt, the ginger , the oil and the turmeric powder in to the besan till the batter has a smooth consistency that is easy to pour(but not too runny). Stir in the fruit salt at the end, and pour the mixture immediately in to a microwave bowl after oiling its sides lightly.

Cover the bowl with an airtight lid and cook the mixture for about 4-5 minutes (at about an 800 W setting).  Check, by inserting a knife in the middle if the dhokla is done else cook for another minute. Leave the bowl in the microwave for half a minute before taking it out.

In a small pan, heat a tbsp of oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves and fry till the mustard seeds crackle. Pour this mixture over the dhokla, spread the coconut and coriander evenly,  then cut the dhokla after a few minutes in to pieces as big or small as you like.

With some coriander chutney, this is just a delicious treat.

Thank you, Pooja !!


Rainy days are here again-Tomato Soup with coconut milk

Today has been one of those lazy days, when I have not wanted to do much of anything.

I was up until quite late last night, working, and managed to finish something that I had set for myself as a target for yesterday. That sort of makes me feel I can take things easier today.

So lunch for Shri and Noor today was just a sandwich (Actually, quite a yummy kind – built up with salad leaves, layered over with slices of tomato and mozzarella cheese, and a slathering of pesto on top, all packed in to a baguette or some nice olive bread that has been sliced through and has had some olive oil sprinkled over the insides), instead of the more effort/time intensive upma or poha that Noor would have liked.

When I opened the fridge to take out the cheese, I noticed that there were only 4 tomatoes left and so on impulse I decided that I’d make soup for dinner, one that uses coconut milk, and use those 4 tomatoes up before I bring a fresh lot tomorrow. Fortunately there is a little bit of the vegetable pasta salad left over from last night’s dinner, and a pizza in the freezer, so the soup will go nicely will all of that.

The rain that the colder weather and winds of the last 2 days presaged has started to come down in earnest during the afternoon, so they are  going to be quite happy to eat soup for dinner, I think, especially since it is one that they like.

Tomato soup with Coconut milk

4 large tomatoes

60 ml of coconut milk

1/2 tsp of grated ginger

2 tsp of sunflower oil

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

Wash the tomatoes boil the tomatoes (whole) in a saucepan with 200 ml of water till they go quite soft.

After they cool down, take the skins off, and blend the tomatoes. Strain the puree through a sieve.

In another saucepan, warm the oil and add the ginger. Once it starts to turn pink (don’t let it brown/burn), add the cumin seeds, wait till their aroma is released, then add the strained puree. Season with salt, and let the puree boil for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, a pinch of sugar if the taste is too sour and keep the mixture on the heat for only another couple of minutes.

Voila ! Doesn’t that seem quite simply done? And it is, really.

Carrot Koshimbir

Not just the four of us, but most everyone who has ever tasted this salad loves it.

I first found this recipe 8 years ago, when I invested in a book that has since become my cooking bible -Kaumudi Marathe’s “A Family Treasury”, a great collection on Maharashtrian cuisine.

My mother-in-law was a Maharashtrian, so my husband has grown up on varan, puran poli and salads such as the one I am going to write about today.

I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Ma after I got married, though I did learn to make poha, puran poli, and varan her way. But since then, I have learned to cook many of my husband’s other favorite foods chiefly from this book. Thank you, Ms. Marathe !!

As to the salad – it is the form in which my kids like carrots best. And I have to agree with them, it is the nicest way I have ever eaten this vegetable too, barring my own mother’s-and grandmother’s- gajar ka halwa.

Carrot Salad

4 large carrots

3 tbsp fresh grated (or dessicated) coconut

3 tbsp ground peanuts(the koot I have mentioned earlier)

2 tsp sunflower oil

a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of asofetida

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

salt, sugar, and lime juice- to taste

1-2 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Peel, wash and grate the carrots. Heat the oil in a small pan, then add the mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Move the pan off the fire (this keeps the ingredients that you will be adding next from getting burnt) and quickly add the asofetida, turmeric,cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir them for a few seconds then pour this tempering over the carrots. Now add the coconut and peanuts, the salt, sugar, lime juice, and coriander, and toss everything well before serving.

If you want to make this a few hours ahead, then add the tempering to the carrots earlier but mix in the rest of the ingredients just before serving, otherwise the salad can become somewhat soggy, sometimes.

Also, while you can use dessicated coconut to save time, use freshly grated coconut if you can – this takes the taste to another level 🙂