Friday, October 21, 2011

Bisi Bele Bath

I have never been fond of sambhar but love bisi bele bath even though the ingredients are similar. I know it is totally weird!! My mother exploited my preference and made bisi bele bath very often just so tamarind would be part of my regular diet.

Bisi bele bath is a dish that originates from Karnataka. As the name suggests it is a hot (bisi) mixture (bath) of dal (bele), rice and vegetables. 

We were each busy with some or the other work last Sunday and making lunch was definitely not on our minds. But when your stomach is growling constantly it is very hard to continue working. At about 3 in the afternoon I asked my mom what we were going to do for lunch. She asked me to chop vegetables so she could make bisi bele bath. What started as a mere helping turned out to be full-fledged cooking. I ended up making the whole dish since my mother was multi-tasking and I just did not have the heart to pull her out of her chores. It was almost 6 by the time we had our "lunch" but it was well worth the wait. I am really happy that my mom's cooking skills have rubbed off on me, at least a little ;)

Rice - 2 cups
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Assorted vegetables - 1 cup
Onion and tomato - 2 tbsp each, chopped finely

Jeera - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp

Tamarind paste - 1 cup
Sambhar powder - 1 tbsp, heaped
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil as required
Water - 6 to 8 cups

To be ground to a paste:
Channa dal - 1 tbsp
Dhania - 1 tbsp
Red chilies - 4
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Fry the above in a little oil until golden brown and grind along with 1/2 cup of grated coconut and little water to make a paste.

For Garnishing:
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts - few, broken
Jeera - 1/2 tsp

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and pop the jeera and mustard. Fry the onion and tomato. Add other vegetables and saute for few minutes.
2. Add sambhar powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add washed and cleaned rice and dal. Pour the tamarind pasted. Add more than sufficient water.
3. Pressure cook and allow upto 4 whistles.
4. Once the cooker is ready to open, add the ground paste and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Finally heat ghee and pop jeera. Fry the cashew nuts untill golden brown. Pour this mixture over the bisi bele bath.

Raitha and boondhi make for a great accompaniment to this dish which is served piping hot.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegetable Hakka Noodles

Mention Chinese food to me and a mouth-watering, slightly oily and extremely colorful image of noodles springs to my mind. The noodles you get in the various Chinese restraunts around Bangalore are fine but dont really excite me. The noodles dished out by the local eatries spread all over Bangalore are simply mind-blowing as they make it spicy to suit the Indian taste bud. It has been several years since I had gobi manchurian and noodles in one of those eating joints - attribute it to having moved away from Bangalore for a few years and a sort of embarrassment about eating in a road-side eatry that is not so fussed about hygiene. But I must admit none of the so-called hygeniec restaurants around Bangalore can match the lip-smacking, finger-licking yummy hakka noodles that these eatries can dish out in flat two minutes. I decided to make some at home today and was extremely pleased with myself. I added tomatoes to give the noodles a more tangy taste. I did not have any spring onions but finely chopped spring onion leaves can be used to garnish the noodles and give it a crunchy feel.

This is what I used:
Boiled noodles - 2 cups
Vegetables (Carrot, Onion, Capsicum, Cabbage, Beans, Tomato) - 1 cup, sliced into thin long pieces
Red Chillies - 5
Green Chilli paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Dark Soy sauce - 1 1/2 tbsp
Plain vinegar - 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste


This is how to make it:
Heat the oil in a pan and fry broken red chillies, green chilli paste and garlic paste for 1 minute.
Add the vegetables along with a pinch of salt and saute for 5 to 8 minutes.
Toss in the boiled, drained and cooled noodles.
Add soy sauce, vinegar, pepper powder and salt. Stir well on a high flame and serve hot with tomato ketchup.