Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cooking Classes with Indian Mother in Law

There are benefits of having an Indian mother in law. She can teach you how to cook delicious Indian food :)

During our last few days in India, Anil's mother taught me how to make dosas, idlies, lemon rice, coconut chutney and sambar. I was also able to successfully make those dishes after we came back to the US, so I guess that makes her a good teacher and me a good student :)

Below are six recipes that Anil's mother wrote down for me:
  1. Lemon Rice
  2. Rava Dosa
  3. Coconut Chutney
  4. Dosa
  5. Idly
  6. Sambar

      Lemon Rice

      • 5 tbsp tamarind extract (soak tamarind in warm water for 1h, use water later in the recipe)
      • 2 cups rice
      • 1/2 tsp turmeric
      • 1 tbsp urad dal
      • 1 tbsp chana dal
      • fistful ground nuts or cashew nuts
      • fistful curry leaves
      • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
      • pinch hing
      • 3-4 tbsp oil
      Cook rice. It should be slightly harder than usual and should not be sticky. In a pan heat oil and when hot add dals and nuts. After 1 minute add mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves. After 1 minute add tamarind extract, mix and reduce heat to low. After around 2 minutes (when most of the liquid evaporated) add this mixture to hot rice. Add turmeric (to make it yellow) and salt to taste and mix well. Tamarind Rice (Puli Hara) should be eaten cold and can be stored outside a fridge for up to 2 days. Lemon juice can be used instead of tamarind extract. In that case it is added directly to rice, not spices in a pan.

      Rava Dosa

      Rava dosa is a quick alternative to "real" dosa. It is super-easy to make and it takes almost no time to prepare.

      • 1 small cup rava
      • 1/3-1/4 cup of curd
      • 2 cups maida (all purpose flower)
      • water
      • salt
      • finely chopped onions and green chillies
      Mix all ingredients (except onions and chillies) and keep them aside for 5 to 10 minutes so that they become soft. Make dosas on a non-stick pan on medium high heat. Dosas should be very light brown on both sides. If you want to add onions or chillies, do it before dough is dry.  

      Coconut Chutney

      • 1/2 cup of roasted chana dal
      • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
      • salt
      • 1/2 green chilli
      • grated ginger
      Grind all the ingredients together. Done! (Anil and I sometimes add a little bit of lemon juice to make it a bit more tangy.)  


      • 1 cup urad dal
      • 3 cups rice (old rice)
      • salt
      Soak urad dal and rice separately for around 5h to overnight. Grind rice with very little water. Remove rice paste from the grinder and then grind urad dal with 1 cup of water. It should become very fine. Mix rice and urad dal together in a big bowl and add salt. Keep the dough outside until it becomes slightly sour (from overnight to a day, depending on a climate). Make dosas on a non-stick pan.  


      Idly dough has the same ingredients as dosa, but they should be slightly less well grounded. To make idlies one needs a special idly pot. I will post a picture of it at some other occasion.  


      • 1 cup Toor dal
      • 1 tsp sambar powder
      • fistful coriander leaves
      • 1 tbsp brown sugar
      • 3 tbsp tamarind extract
      • vegetables - all can be used; you should use either onions or drumsticks
      Cook toor dal and keep it aside. Cook all vegetables together, add tamarind extract, coriander leaves, brown sugar and sambar powder. Boil together for around 5-6 minutes. Add mashed dal and again boil on slow heat for 2 minutes.