Thalipeeth (Maharashtrian Savory Pancakes)

Thalipeeth is a Maharashtrian breakfast or tea time snack. It is a very nutritious dish made with seven types of flours and fresh vegetables. Thalipeeth is usually served with fresh homemade butter, ghee, or thick yogurt. The recipe varies from region to region or even family to family and this is the recipe I have eaten. The flour for thalipeeth is called Bhajni. It is a mix of various flours. Even this differs from family to family. Some people add ragi and semolina while some leave out the bajra flour. I use the store bought bhajni flour which is easily available.

Thalipeeth

Even with the other ingredients, it differs from home to home. Traditionally it is just onions but you can add chopped spinach, chopped methi leaves, grated carrots or grated cabbage too. You can also add sesame seeds or coarsely ground peanuts. Rolling the thalipeeth can be a task. Since the dough has bajra flour and besan in it, it is not easy to roll with a rolling pin. If you cannot shape it with your palm like bajra rotis, you can put it between sheets of greased plastic and roll it. I used two sheets of butter paper and did not have to use the extra oil for greasing.

Thalipeeth

Thalipeeth is thicker than roti. Making holes in the thalipeeth and cooking it covered helps it to cook evenly. Thalipeeth is best eaten hot with homemade butter, ghee, or thick yogurt. I like it with garlic chutney and yogurt.

Thalipeeth

Ingredients

Makes 12 Thalipeeths

  • 3 cups Thalipeeth Bhajani flour
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water for kneading the dough
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • oil for cooking

Recipe

Mix the thalipeeth flour, onions, spinach, chillies, coriander leaves, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and oil. Add little warm water at a time and knead the mixture into stiff but pliable dough. Cover it and keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. Knead the dough again and divide it into number of thalipeeths you want to make. Roll each portion into circles. You can do this with your palms just like the like the bajra roti is made or place the dough ball in between two sheets of butter paper and roll it carefully. Make a small hole in the center of the thalipeeth. If you are making a big roti, bigger than 5 inches in diameter, you can make multiple holes. These holes are used to pour oil and cook the thalipeeth evenly.

Heat a tava and smear around 1/2 tsp oil on the tava. Peel the butter paper from the thalipeeth carefully and  place the thalipeeth on the tava. Pour some oil in the holes and around the thalipeeth. Cover and cook for around two minutes on medium heat. Flip and cook for two more minute. Serve hot with homemade butter, yogurt, or garlic chutney.

 

Thalipeeth Bhajni

To make the Thalipeeth flour at home, roast the following flours separately on low heat for 8-10 mins making sure you do not burn any of them. Once the flours are roasted and cooled completely, mix them and store in airtight container. This thalipeeth flour can be stored for 4-5 months.

  • 1 cup Bajra atta (Millet flour)
  • 1/2 cup Chawal ka atta (rice flour)
  • 1/2 cup Besan (split bengal gram flour)
  • 1/2 cup Jowar aata (sorghum flour) 1/3 cup urad dal aata (split black gram flour)
  • 1/2 cup gehu ka atta (wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup dhania powder (ground coriander seeds)

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

This is one of my oldest and best experiments so far. Right from my college days, this was (and still is) my go to dish whenever there was turai or brinjal for lunch at home. White or whole wheat bread filled with vegetables filling flavored with pav bhaji masala makes these sandwiches a complete and quick meal without any guilt. My siblings and I have always relished these quick and flavorful sandwiches.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

You can add finely chopped garlic along with onions if you like. You can also add vegetables like beans or sweetcorn. Do not overcook the veggies or they will lose the crunch. Cheese is optional. You can add a slice of cheese to the filling just before you grill it. I use olive oil to grill the sandwiches, you can use butter too. I grill my sandwiches on a tava; Sandwich maker should give the same results too.

You can prepare the filling in advance and grill the sandwiches just before eating. I pack these sandwiches for lunch sometimes and they taste good but I would still prefer them fresh and hot.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

Ingredients

Makes 10-12 sandwiches (depending on the size of the bread)

  • ½ cup onions
  • 1 cup carrot
  • ½ cup capsicum
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 20-22 slices of bread
  • Butter/olive oil as required

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or non stick pan. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes till they are translucent. Add capsicum and sauté for a minute. Add carrot and green peas and sauté for another minute. Add pav bhaji masala and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes mixing in between. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool slightly. Fill between two slices of bread and grill on tava or a sandwich maker using butter or olive oil. You can add cheese slice to the sandwich before grilling. Serve hot with ketchup.

Mangalore Rasam (South Indian Lentil Soup)

Rasam

Rasam is a south Indian soup which can be served as a part of meals or as an appetizer. This thin consistency lentil soup is usually tamarind based and the seasoning differs from region to region or rather home to home. There are dozens of types of Rasam. This is the Mangalore rasam which is one of the best recipes of my sister-in-law.  A very simple and flavorful companion for our sambar rice lunches on Sundays.

Rasam Ingredients

The base of this rasam is not tamarind. You can use tamarind too if you like. Fresher the ingredients, better the flavor of rasam. Especially fresh curry leaves and coriander add to the freshness of this lentil soup. Crush or tear the curry leaves before adding to the tadka.

Rasam is usually a part of south Indian meal and is served along with sambar and curd. Rasam can be prepared ahead of time and tastes best piping hot with rice and ghee.

Mangalore Rasam

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • ½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas) cooked and mashed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2tbsp rasam powder
  • Lime juice to taste (I used 3 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 1 tomato chopped

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, urad dal and asafetida. Add curry leaves, green chillies, and ginger. Sauté for few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes, little salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add rasam powder and mix well. Add little water (around 2-3 tbsp) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked dal, 2 cups of water, lime juice, and salt. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with rice and ghee.

Ras No Fajeto (Mango Kadhi)

Ras No Fajeto

Fajeto or ras to fajeto as it is addressed is a mango flavored Gujarati kadhi. Yogurt whisked with mango pulp and gram flour is tempered with spices like cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves etc and served with hot puris. Mango season in Gujarati homes means mangoes for lunch breakfast and dinner and may be in between for snacks too. When I first heard of this dish, I was very skeptical ( I hate sweet flavors in main course, especially with rice) but the taste won me over. Mango kadhi might not sound appetizing if you are not a mango lover but if you like Gujarati food, this dish is worth a try.

The richer the aroma of mangoes, the flavorful fajeto you will have. Ratnagiri or alphonso are the best choices for this kadhi.if you want to add more flavor you can replace the water in buttermilk with the water from mangoes (from peels and stone). You can adjust the sugar in this dish depending on the sweetness of mango pulp and as per taste. You can even replace sugar with jaggery. For the pulp, I would recommend a thick and strained pulp.

The dry spices especially ginger powder (saunth) complements the mango flavor very well. Try not leaving that out if you are short of ingredients. You can use oil instead of ghee for the tempering. Some people roast and powder the cinnamon, cloves, and dry ginger, but I like the taste with whole spices (I can take them out once I have the desired flavor).

While fajeto can be eaten with rice too, I love it with hot puris.

Mango Kadhi

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 5 cup butter milk (1/2cup yogurt+1 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsb gram flour (besan) besan
  • 1/4 cup mango pulp
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ¼ tsp mustard and cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated

Recipe

Combine the ingredients for fajeta in a bowl and whisk well. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

Heat ghee in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, dry red chilli, green chilli, cloves, cinnamon, ginger powder, and grated ginger. Sauté for 5-10 seconds. Add the yogurt mix and continue stirring till the mixture comes to a boil. You can do this on high flame too. Once the fajeta comes to boil, reduce the flame and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with puri or rice.

Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)

Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)

What Childaa or Chilva is to Rajasthan and North Indian, Pesarattu is to Andhra Pradesh and South India. It is a crepe or dosa like snack made with split green grams (called Pesar Pappu in Telugu; thus the name Pesarattu).  It is a very filling and healthy breakfast.  It also has a variation called MLA Pesarattu which is made by filling the pesarattu with a layer of upma.

You can make the pesarattus thin and crispy or slightly thicker. To make the pesarattu thicker, keep the batter coarse. The consistency of batter should be like dosa batter. You can add asafetida, garlic, fresh coriander to the batter while grinding it but it is optional.

In North India, it is filled with grated paneer and in south its eaten plain or filled with a layer of upma or chopped onions. You can also add grated carrots to the filling if you like. This tastes best with coconut chutney or garlic chutney.

Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)

Ingredients

Makes 12-15

  • 1 cup split green gram (moong dal) soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup grated paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil/ghee/butter for cooking

Recipe

Wash the moong dal and soak in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water and grind the moong dal, chillies, ginger, and salt to a smooth paste.  Add little water if required. The consistency of the batter should be like of a dosa batter.

Heat a flat griddle (tava). Spray or smear some ghee/oil and wipe it. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it thin on the griddle. Top it with grated paneer and onions. Spray or drizzle oil/ghee/butter around the pesarattu. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Turnover and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato chutney.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Bisibele bath is a dish from Karnataka but also popular in Hyderabad. It’s a spicy and sour mix of rice and lentils.  My mom uses left over rice and dal to make excellent instant bisi bele bath. It’s a quick makeover to the left over dal rice. Just add some mixed vegetables, spices and you have an interesting and delicious breakfast/lunch dish ready.

Hyderabad has numerous restaurants which serve a dish called sambar rice with veggies. This recipe of my mom comes closest to it. My mom uses the khatti dal that we prepare at home. You can use any toor (split pigeon pea) based dal. I haven’t tried this dish with other lentils yet. If you are using a dal which is not sour, add tamarind water while cooking.

You can use any vegetables you like for this dish but I prefer carrots, beans and peas. The main ingredients for this dish are sambar powder and the karampodi. They take this simple dal rice mix to another level. You can add or reduce the karampodi as per your preference of spice in food.  Bisibele bath can be served a breakfast or lunch. It tastes best when it is hot.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ¼ cup mixed vegetables chopped (carrot, beans, peas)
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • ½ tbsp sambar powder
  • 1 tbsp karam podi (gun powder served with idlis or south Indian meals)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup dal (I used the khatti dal my mom prepares at home)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind water (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Heat oil in a pressure cooker.  Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add dry red chillies, asafetida, and curry leaves.

Add onions and vegetables and sauté for 1-2 mins. Add tomatoes and cook for 30-40 seconds. Add sambar powder, karam podi, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well. Add dal and 1 cup water.  Close the cooker and cook till the pressure is released once (one whistle). Switch off the gas after one whistle. Once the cooker is cooled, open and add rice and mix well. Close the cooker again and cook on slow flame till you get two more whistles. Open the cooker once it is cooled completely. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with papad and lime pickle.

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables

Pita pockets filled with stir fried veggies. This is one of my experiments gone right and my favourite food for make ahead meals. This healthy meals is an excellent combo of multi grain pita pockets filled with fresh stir fried vegetables with a hint of pesto. These pita pockets are quite filling and can be had as a meal itself.

I put all my favourite veggies in this one. You can choose the ones you like. It helps to steam the carrots, beans, and broccoli ahead. Cook the filling on high heat throughout and it will be a good mix of crunchy bell peppers and soft steamed veggies. You can also experiment with the sauce. I like the pesto flavour for this one but the Chinese flavour (chilli, soya, and vinegar) works great too. This filling works well with a wrap or bread too.

Pita pockets are a part of Lebanese food but they are very versatile and can be enjoyed with variety of fillings. I prefer the multigrain pita pockets but you can go for the whole wheat or plain pita pockets too. You can toast the pita bread ahead and warm them up just before eating.

This is one of my best bets for healthy make ahead meals and can be had as dinner combined with a dip and may be some hot soup.

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables

Ingredients

Makes 10 Pita Pockets

  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic chopped
  • ¼ cup onion cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup bell peppers julienned
  • 2/3 cup broccoli steamed
  • ½ cup green beans cut lengthwise and steamed
  • ½ cup carrots cut lengthwise and steamed
  • ½ tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 ½ – 2 slices of cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 pita breads

Recipe

Grind the basil and garlic coarsely with 1 tsp olive oil. Keep it aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add oregano, chilli flakes, and onions and sauté. Add bell peppers and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add green beans, carrots, and broccoli and sauté. Add the salt, pepper, and the basil garlic paste. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cheese slices and switch off the gas. Once the cheese melts, mix the filling well and keep aside.

Heat a tava or griddle and lightly toast the pita breads on both sides. Once the bread is lightly toasted from both sides, cut the pita bread into two. You should have two pita pockets now. Divide the filling into 10 portions. Fill one portion in each pita pocket and serve warm. You can serve it with tomato ketchup or a honey mustard dip too.