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By Suvir Saran
What role do they play in your Indian kitchen?
Do you use it in other dishes you prepare? Maybe even outside of the Indian food realm.
Do you find it easy to find Cilantro?
What parts of cilantro do you use?
How do you keep it fresh?
Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian.
So here are some of the things I might make:
1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
2. Cheela/ Pudla
3. Masala toast
4. Indian Omelette
5. Handwo piece
7. Vaghareli rotli
8. Dhokla chutney
9. Idli sambhar
10. Leftover sabji
1. Kande Pohe:
The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time.
Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture.
You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety.
1 cup dry poha per person
1 medium onion sliced
1/2 jalapeno deseeded
1 sprig curry leaves
2 small garlic cloves
1/4 t cumin seeds
1/8 t asafoetida
1/4 t turmeric
small handful of cilantro leaves
1T fresh grated coconut
2 T Peanut oil
salt to taste
sugar to taste
In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions.
Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside.
Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig.
Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance.
Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Finger licking good!!
Now when I make this next I will post a picture.
Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal.
2. Cheela/ Pudla
These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style.
1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour.
Water to form a thin batter
1T plain yogurt
1/2 t ginger garlic paste
1/4 or less green chili crushed
2 t heated oil *
salt to taste
chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency.
Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible.
On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy.
In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess!
3. Masala Toast :
1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
1/2 small red onion minced
1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
cilantro (few leaves)
1/8 t cumin (optional)
1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
1 inch cube paneer
1 T peanut oil
pinch turmeric (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it.
I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat.
This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish. Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
1 green chili, slit
1 dried red chili
1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it.
For the balchao paste you will need:
> 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
> 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
> 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
> 1/2 tsk turmeric powder
> 1 tsp peppercorn
> 6 garlic cloves
> 1/2 tsp cloves
> 1 inch cinnamon stick
First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
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