Monday, March 02, 2015

Avalakki Dosa(Phova Dosa)

Dosa made with simple ingredients like Urad Daal and Rice is called Saada Dosa or Khaali Dosa. Saada dosa can be made in different ways, adding other ingredients like Phova(Avalakki/Beaten rice), Buttermilk, Cooked Rice, Charmuri(Puffed Rice) or even adding Popped Rice(Lhaayi/Aralu). Set dosa is also a form of saada dosa. Saada dosa is a healthy South Indian snack full of protein and carbs, easy on digestion and good to taste. Typical Mangaloreans like Khaali Dosa while Bangaloreans and Mysoreans love Saada Dosa or Set Dosa.

We GSBs make Mushti Dosa in which we add phova or charmuri as one of the agents to make the dosas fluffy. In restaurants they make fluffy crispy dosas without adding much urad daal because urad daal is expensive these days. Some people also can't withstand more of it due to protien intolerance. One can try various methods by which restaurants make these saada dosas.

While discussing about various dosas with a friend, Meena got a fantastic recipe which her friend named 'Avalakki Dosa'. This is not exactly mushti dosa as I mentioned above, but is more crispy and firm. Mushti dosa is spongy and soft. This recipe is very simple and making dosas is child's play. Yet the result is too good and these crisp and fluffy dosas can be relished with any chutney or curry. One can go on eating them without feeling heavy! From scratch to finished product, method is almost the same as any other saada dosa. Be ready with loads of chutney or curry, for you may need to soak these in generous quantity of them!
Dosa Rice - 2 and 1/2 Cups
Urad daal - 1/2 Cup
Avalakki/Phova/Beaten Rice - 1 Cup
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 Tsp
Salt - To taste
Oil or ghee for roasting dosas.

Wash and soak rice and urad daal with methi seeds and washed squeezed phova for 2-3 hours.
Grind to a smooth batter like you do for regular dosas.
Cover and keep overnight or for 10-12 hours for fermentation.
Heat dosa tawa and make thick or thin dosas with oil or ghee drizzled as per requirement.
Roast well on both the sides.
If you are making thin dosas, add little more water to the batter and make it thinner.
Serve with choice of chutney, potato bhaaji, sambar, saagu or curry.

Thick Dosa with Chutney
Thin Dosa with Chutney and Potato Bhaaji

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Kudla Food Corner - A Taste of Namma Kudla on Wheels

Since my childhood days, I have been watching the food habits of Tuluvas. I have many friends who hail from Mangalorean Bunt, Billava and other communities. One thing common among them all is their food habit. Being a foodie myself, I do relish most of the Tuluva cuisine like Kori Rotti, Sukkha and Pulimunchi. Local ingredients highlight the taste of country chicken which is cooked on slow fire to get the right flavour. Masalas should infiltrate the meat and make it more tasty the next day. Needless to mention that all this has to be cooked in earthen pots on charcoal or wood fire!

Modernisation of our city has snatched away authenticity of traditionally cooked food. I grew up in a household that used charcoal 'Sigri' for cooking till the early Sixties when we got our cooking gas connection. I have witnessed the traditional cooking of fish curry rice and fish fry on firewood at Hotel Narayana. I have seen Halwa, Theek Rotti, Tuppa Dosa and kaapi of Taj Mahal prepared on wood fire. I have seen many other restaurants cooking on charcoal fire.  Now this scene is rare but they all endeavour to bring the traditional delicacies with the best of flavour and taste to us. For that we should be thankful to them.

Cost of living has risen sky high following modernisation of the city. So, if we want authentic Tuluva preparations made with pure natural ingredients using mostly local ingredients and no frills like cheese, cream and artificial colours flavours and sauces, we should go to remote rural places where shacks and small eateries cook traditional food in authentic Tuluva style. Another option is to find one of those mobile canteens that do brisk business in the evenings. Some years ago there were a few of them around KSRTC Bus Stand area in Bejai lined up till the gateway to Kasturba Medical College, but after MESCOM setup the station, they all vanished. One near Lady Hill Bus Stop that existed for a couple of years also vanished following DC's strict orders to stop street food outlets those days in the mid 2000's. Now we get to see mostly Chinese food carts all over Mangalore and very few mobile canteens serving local food.
Few days ago, as I came out of our colony in Chilimbi, opposite Sony Center I spotted a big pantry van with a bright illuminated board on its side that seemed to loudly announce that 'Kudla Food Corner' is here! I also was fascinated to see the Kambala Sport picture highlighted on a banner atop the cabin of the van. Yet, I waited for some foodie to taste the food there and give me an honest report or writeup about that online. I was disappointed not to get any feedback. So, like most of the joints we try in cities other than Mangalore such as Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, I decided to explore the van and see what all stuff they cater there. I went there and was greeted by a young enterprising lad Harish with a broad smile, asking me what I'd like to have. I observed a few youngsters sitting on plastic stools eating Kori Rotti, Idli Pulimunchi and Neeru Dosa, Chicken Gravy with Chicken Kebab or Chicken Chilli. 

I told him that I just came there to see what kind of setup they have and what all they prepare and sell, so that I can highlight about the van in my blog to enlighten people on eating out authentic Namma Kudla food. He gave me the handbill on which very few items were listed with a foot note "And many more items". I saw Chicken Pulimunchi, Chilli, Idli, Neeru Dosa, Kebab and some egg preparations they offered. They said, Mutton items are also made but they were sold out. Chicken Sukkha is also made in limited quantity on alternate days. I decided to try Pulimunchi and idlis with Chicken Gravy(Not Chicken Masala or Curry as we usually get) first and then take other items the next day if I found them OK. I also didn't forget to get one portion packed for Uma Shenoi, our good friend and well wisher who is also  foodie, who gives us the right feedback on any food.
Not bad at all. Pulimunchi had fleshy curry size bits of chicken with skin. Now some people may wonder why they add chicken with skin! In authentic Tuluva cooking, whole country chicken is normally dressed with skin intact, cleaned and then baked on a fire and is cut along with skin before cooking with the masalas. This enhances the taste of the dish. Here, they use broiler chicken and not country chicken. Country chicken is way too expensive and nobody prepares curry with it commercially or at parties! So pulimunchi passed the test and also the soft spongy idlis.

Chicken gravy was spicy, tangy and aromatic with heavy use of pepper and coriander seeds typical in authentic Tuluva masalas. Though the gravy was a bit greasy, it was tasty. Extra fat came from the bits and pieces of chicken with the skin that they cook with the masalas to make the gravy. This gravy is also served with Kori Rotti and Neeru dosas to those who seek plated food. Plated meal has different combinations that you can ask for, and is priced according to the combo served.
The next day I got Chicken Kebab and Chicken Chilli. Kebabs lack the flavour of ginger-garlic and garam masala like we get in typical kebabs sold in restaurants or on street carts. Taste was spicy and tangy with a few curry leaves sticking on to the deep fried crisp coating. Chicken is well cooked and tastes soft and juicy. Chicken Chilli is typical Mangalorean style saucy curry with chicken pieces cooked in a red chilli, ginger, garlic, tamarind and capsicum based thick gravy. It has garlicky flavour predominant with a hint of capsicum flavour. Goes well with idlis neeru dosas and bread. Chicken is properly cooked. So my experience for the first and second time was overall good. Food is clean, properly covered, properly packed and the pantry is well maintained on the outset.

Kudla Food Corner is managed by the youngster Harish who is enthusiastic to serve Mangalorean authentic local traditional dishes. He said it is a hobby, a passion that made him get into that line. The main hand in cooking is extended by the strong, tall, firm and friendly looking middle aged guy Dinesh, who prepares the food on pantry van. There are four cooks who prepare the food at the catering kitchen, pack them in big vessels with properly closed lids and kebab pieces are marinated with the masala. Hot Kebabs are prepared by frying as and when people order them. Street food like Charmuri, Egg Omelet, Egg Bhurji, Egg Stumbler and Egg Chilli are also prepared instantly as per order. Bottled soft drinks are stocked in an ice bucket to quench the thirst of the foodies who relish the spicy stuff. Mutton preparations include Mutton Dry fry and Mutton Soup. The pantry van is fitted with a plastic overhead water tank and gas stove inside. It is a neatly decorated Matador van with one side opening as counter, where food stuff is arranged in a line of vessels covered with lids. They have proper food vendor's license from the City Corporation authorities.
By 7:00PM the van was swarmed by many people who came for eating out as well as for take away. I surprisingly met someone who is an ardent follower of Kudpira's Garam Tawa, a young woman who was overheard talking to Harish, asking him if he had seen the mention on their food by Garam Tawa on Facebook! I spoke to her and introduced myself. She looked excited to meet me and talked at length, while she sat on a stool by the sidewalk and relished her chicken sukkha and idlis. She said, she's coming there for the 6th time already and she can authenticate the cleanliness and taste of the food. She also spoke about various restaurants including Hotel Narayana, Giri Manja's and Hindu Military Hotel, saying she's a regular at those places as well! However, she didn't want to disclose her identity and preferred to remain anonymous. Uma Shenoi also called me personally and gave her opinion that she relished the food and it tasted like authentic Tuluva preparation

"We haven't started making seafood delicacies as yet. We will start it very soon" said Harish. He emphasised that they don't want to rush up things, announce many items at a go and spoil the show. 'Slow and steady wins the race', he seems to believe in that adage. 

Try Kudla Food Corner if you are a seeker of traditional authentic Mangalorean food. You may not get Chinese or North Indian stuff here, but they are good enough to make you proud about 'Namma Kudla'. Their preparations are hygienic, their presentation is clean, their packing is good, service is a bit slow but it's worth a try, looking at the hard work sincerely put in by the owners and the team. 

One thing is sure, Kudla Food Corner has value for money.
Name of the Mobile Canteen: Kudla Food Corner
Location: Opposite Sony Center, near MORE Retail Chilimbi, Urva Mangalore.
Open on: Monday through Saturday
Weekly off: Sunday
Contact mobile phone no.: 9731564015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Angoori Chutney(Spicy Grape Chutney)

I bought seedless purple grapes recently and they were very sour. So, I asked opinions from a few online foodie friends about what we can prepare with that. Some suggested jam, juice and some others suggested grape chutney. The idea of grape chutney appealed to me. One friend even gave her recipe but I could not prepare the chutney immediately owing to my other commitments.
Days rolled by, the grapes were resting in the fridge for over 3 weeks, they got dehydrated and lost almost 80% of the moisture. Yet, they remained clean and unspoilt. So, I tried making grape chutney, invariably lost the recipe given by my online friend and googled for a good recipe. I found one which looked palatable and I used that recipe of course with my own changes. This recipe will be definitely liked by our followers. You can preserve this in a fridge for many days. Make it today, keep at room temperature for 24-48 hours and then shift to a fridge.

The original recipe adapted from has 3 different variety of grapes with many more added ingredients including sugar, but I added jaggery, at the same time avoided some ingredients and added more chillies. Since grapes blend well with ginger, I didn't try to add asafotoeda that I originally had in mind. Besides, fennel seeds have a different aroma that goes well with ginger and other spices listed below.

Angoori Chutney can be eaten as a pickle or it can be served with baked chicken and pan roast fish fillet. You can also have it as a stuffing in sandwiches. I can find many uses for it, as I am a lover of spicy chutneys and pickles. Amaze your guests with this chutney when you throw a party!
Seedless Purple Grapes - 500 Gms
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Black Peppercorns - 1 Tsp
Fennel Seeds - 2 Tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 Tsp
Byadgi or Kashmiri Red Chillies - 10
Turmeric Powder -1/4 Tsp
Ginger - 2" piece sliced
Salt - 1 Tsp or to taste
Powdered Jaggery - 1/2 Cup
Oil - 4 Tsp

Wash the grapes thoroughly, drain and chop into small bits.
You should be able to collect 2 cups of the chopped grapes.
Heat 1/2 Tsp oil in a thick bottomed pan, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
Add cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds and roast for a few seconds.
Add broken red chillies and turmeric powder and roast for 30 secs.
Add sliced ginger and fry till the pieces get dehyrdrated.
Remove the masala spices from the pan and allow them to cool down.
Powder the roasted ingredients in a mill coarsely.
Heat remaining oil in the pan and add the chopped grapes, salt and powdered jaggery.
Saute for 1-2 minute and allow the grapes to become mushy.
Add the masala powder and mix well.
Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Don't allow the mass to get charred. Keep sprinkling little water if you find the mass too dry.
When the masala blends well with the grapes, switch off the flame and allow the chutney to cool down to room temperature.
Store in air tight jar and keep at room temperature for another 24-48 hours.
Transfer to a fridge and use as and when required.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Khichdi Pulao

'Khichdi' - The name sounds funny because often we get to hear the word in Hindi films when someone goofs up things! In India, Khichdi or hotchpotch is a delicious meal consisting of Moong Daal and Rice cooked with spices. This is famous staple of North Indians, especially Maharastrians and Gujaratis. Khichdi is a bland dish that can be savoured even by people recovering from illness, for it provides nutrition and energy, at the same time is easily digestible.
Meena was slightly under the weather, was recovering since 2 days and I was wondering what to prepare for lunch for her. I suddenly remembered the life saver meal khichdi that she often used to make for me when I was down with some illness. Yet, I wanted her to get better nutrition and vitamin supplements. I also kept in mind how she drooled over the take away mutton biryani from Danish Food Court that I gobbled up two consecutive days when she was confined to gruel and simple vegetable fry! So I decided to make something in lines of the Royal Khichdi that we made a few years ago, but adding vegetables this time. I had very little time on my hands, as it was almost past 1:30pm as I started to prepare the veggies for the Khichdi. 

So, I skipped searching for the the authentic Royal Khichdi and went by my own formula to make this wonderful delicious non spicy tasty wholesome Khichdi Pulao. This fusion of two most popular North Indian rice dishes, has no whole spices to annoy you while enjoying the meal and kids will simply love this. 

One word about the rice you use. Better choose short grain rice, as it absorbs the masalas better and also blends well with the added Moong Daal. So, I chose Jeerak Samba rice and avoided using Basmati. If inevitable, go for Basmati. As regards adding butter, I always felt some kind of lightness in rice dishes if we add butter instead of ghee. Roasting Moong daal with oil and then adding butter retains moisture in the rice and doesn't char the other ingredients. You may just think in terms of butter fried boiled vegetables that we often try in good restaurants as a starter.
You may add extra ginger-garlic paste, pepper and garam masala if you want to make this more spicy. Also add couple of slit green chillies and a bay leaf for altogether different feel. Please follow the instructions about maintaining the right heat during various frying processes, as the fine dining depends on fine cooking.It is not my prerogative to pat my own back. Try and make this yourself to find out if this is good enough for your and your family's tastes! I guarantee you, you won't be disappointed with my formula. Please leave a feedback/suggestion about the dish, as I would love to improve on my own recipes anytime. Our followers are out guides.

Jeerak Samba Rice - 1 cup
Moong Daal - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 and 1/4 cups
Salt - 1 Tsp
Chopped vegetables(French Beans, carrots, cauliflower) - 1 cup
Shelled fresh or frozen peas - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Chopped Coriander leaves - A handful
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 Tsp
Crushed Black Pepper - 2 Tsp
Cumin powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 Tsp
Refined vegetable oil - 1 Tsp
Butter - 50 Gms
Wash and soak rice in water at room temperature for 15 mins.
Drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan.
Fry moong daal till a nice aroma emanates and daal turns golden brown.
Simmer the flame, collect the fried daal at the periphery of the pan, make a crater in the center and drop the butter in the crater.
As butter melts, add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 min on medium flame.
Raise the flame to high, add the chopped veggies except peas, tomatoes and coriander leaves.
Fry for another 2 mins.
Now add the chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powder.
Mix gently for 1 min.
Add the peas and chopped coriander leaves, 3 and 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Check for salt and add little more pepper if you want.
Add the soaked drained rice.
As the water starts to boil again, simmer and cover the pan.
Keep on low flame for 15-20 mins.
Switch off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

If you skip adding rice and follow the method till adding peas and chopped coriander leaves, you can make an excellent vegetable-lentil shorba or soup! 
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