Thotakota Fry/ Amaranth Leaves Fry

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I have enjoyed amaranth since I started eating them in 2011 when my Mother-In-Law brought them back from a trip to her home village in Seesilee, Andhra Pradesh, India. They were fresh and organically grown at her parent’s farm in the middle of the “rice bowl”. So, I usually post photos of my recipes made but I am currently missing my camera’s memory card. The above photo is from Google Images and it is of amaranth leaves. I encourage all who eat this to use a bit more oil than normally would use in leaves to impart the flavor when cooked. You can use amaranth leaves in salads raw as well. This recipe is my Mother-In-Laws and she is a Telugu lady who really enjoys hot food (karaam), but adjusted this recipe for me. I hope you enjoy and make amaranth leaves apart of your weekly diet!

Amaranth is also enjoyed by the Greeks and they have several recipes. I have not tried any, but someday when I get to make some homemade goat cheese and make a Greek amaranth fry, I will certainly post it!

4-5 bushels of amaranth leaves trimmed and chopped

1/2 onion chopped

1 sliced and chopped green chili pepper

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 diced tomato

3 Tbs of oil- I prefer Olive Oil or Sesame Oil

4 Curry Leaves

2 garlic cloves pressed and pealed

1/2 Tsp of salt- to taste

In a wok heat oil and add garlic for 25 seconds then onion and green chili pepper and fry for 1 min. Add turmeric, curry leaf and tomato and cook for 3-4 min. Add the amaranth leaves and stir ingredients together slowly, add salt. Cook until the greens are wilted yet a bright green color, about 5-6 minutes. Turn off stove, let sit for 1/2 hour and serve with Chapathi or Pulka.

The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

Variations of this recipe I have found:

http://homemadetelugurecipes.blogspot.in/2011/02/thotakura-amaranth-leaves-fry.html

http://www.sailusfood.com/2010/01/20/thotakura-vepudu-amaranth-leaves-stir-fry-3/

 

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Awesomely Easy Grape Juice

ImageIt’s that time of year in India where we have tons of grapes available. When I first came here I had no idea of  the variety of crops that Indians grew and to my surprise grapes were in large abundance here! I have every kind of grape I want and my favorite grapes in India, so far, are called Bagalore Blue Grapes. To celebrate my fondness of these grapes I began making grape juice for my daughter instead of buying it. You may or may not need sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of the grapes when you cook them. Be careful if you use seeded grapes as I do because if you crush the seeds it will make your juice bitter. I choose seeded grapes as they have better mineral and vitamin content than hybrid ones. One interesting fact about grapes is the hazy white coating you see on them is not a pesticide or herbicide but the grape’s own defense against bacterias, bugs and molds. Make sure you wash your grapes well, I always wash my fruits and vegetables with 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 liter of water, then rinse.

The Recipe: Serves approx. 8 glasses of grape juice

2 Kgs of Seed Bangalore Blue Grapes or Concord Grapes—any blue/black/purple grape with seeds. (approx 4 1/2lbs)

2 Cups of Water

2 Large pots

1 Fine Sieve/Cheesecloth

Instructions:

After removing and cleaning all the grapes from the stems place into a plastic Ziploc or plastic cover and take a rolling pin and gently mash the grapes without crushing seeds. Put the crushed grapes into a large pot and simmer on med for 10-15 minutes slowly adding water and stirring and mushing grapes occasionally not letting the grapes stick to bottom of pan or crushing seeds. Once cooked, take sieve or cheesecloth and put over another large pot and ladle the grape mixture into the sieve/cheesecloth and gently crush the mixture and extract the juices- Please remember that cheesecloth will soak up some of your juice so I prefer to use a fine sieve. Cover and let sit for 1-2 hours. Discard or use the grape pomace in anyway you choose and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze in portions up to 5 months. It can be watered down because it is very concentrated or you can add to carbonated water etc. Only add sugar if you think it needs it. There will be some sediment at the bottom, but I usually stir it up as it adds more nutrition to your drink! Enjoy!

Chai For Two

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  • 4-5 teaspoons of Assam Black Tea Powder or any black tea loose
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 TBS Sugar, Jaggery or Coconut Palm Sugar

In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Boil on low for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Do NOT stir when you are boiling it, just let it do it’s thing!

Chai is traditionally served in small cups or glasses depending on locality. Indians do not drink a large mug of tea like in the Western countries. about 300 grams (4.5 oz) is all they need. Chai is regularly served when anyone comes to the home in India! If no visitors for the day then regular tea-time is at after 4 and if your outside you can enjoy all day! When visitors come, we ALWAYS offer a drink and some kind of food item. Chai and biscuits (or cookies in Western World) are usually the best visitor snack as it is quick and easy to prepare and allows for time to converse!

Happy Tea Time!!

 

Jenna’s Vegetable Raita

I have been trying to adapt myself to a whole new World of vegetables and fruits here in India that I am not too familiar with. I have found that here in South India rice is a staple food, and quite frankly that doesn’t work for my body for some reason. I gain massive amounts of weight and I don’t want that anymore than the next person. So, I have been trying to work with ingredients and find new ways to eat healthier. This following recipe is a favorite of mine because it has lots of veggies and its very good with dosa, chapathi, parota, roti, naan you name it. I just don’t eat with rice often.

2 small very ripe red tomatoes diced

2 stalks of green onion/spring onion chopped

1/2 cup of dry roasted peanuts (no fat added or salt)

2 green bell peppers/capsicum 1 diced and 1 sliced into strips to dip with

4 carrots: 1 carrot diced thin and 1 sliced into strips to dip with.

Optional: 1/4 cup cabbage; some kind of roti or Indian bread; the veggie sticks I always eat because we could all use more veggies!

2 cups of Indian Curd or Greek Yogurt

1 tsp salt

a dash of black pepper

Combine all ingredients diced together, salt and pepper, curd/yogurt well.

Ready to eat with Bell Pepper & Carrot strips on top of cabbage

Total Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Amma’s Chicken Curry

Amma’s Chicken Curry
This is my recipe. I make it for my Husband all the time and he loves it. He actually taught me how to make it the way he likes it. This recipe calls for tomato which not all curries have. It makes a nice thick gravy which my Husband enjoys with his rice.

1 kg (2lbs) of Chicken with bones cut into 1 inch pieces *leaving the bones on.
4 large onions diced
5 green chilies diced with seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 TBS of Turmeric Powder
1/4 TBS of cumin powder
1 TBS Coriander seed powder
3-4 TBS Red Chili Powder (no less than 3 tablespoons, add more if want hotter)
1 inch of cinnamon bark broke into small pieces
6-8 whole cloves
1 tsp of Hing
3 TBS Sunflower oil or Peanut Oil
3 TBS of salt to taste
1 cup water
3 deep red ripe tomato chopped or a can of chopped tomato
1 bunch of washed coriander (in USA it is called cilantro or chinese parsley)

In a large bottom vessel heat oil. Add onion and green chili. On a medium heat get onions to a translucent color dont over cook. Add tomato, and dry mixture of spices (coriander, clove, cinnamon, cumin, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, black pepper and hing) and mix well. add 1/2 cup water and cook on high stirring often to keep from sticking or burning ingredients until the tomatoes are half cooked. Now add the chicken and mix together evenly coating all the chicken. on medium high heat cook chicken for 7 minutes stirring every 2 minutes to keep from burning gravy, covered. add 1/2 cup water once the mixture has evaporated a bit and stir well. Cook chicken for about 25 minutes. Chop up fresh coriander and sprinkle on top of chicken when done and cover. Serve with rice or roti.

Dondakaya Fry

dondakaya fry

Dondakaya Fry

This is a traditional recipe that my Atthayya (Mother-In-Law) has taught me. It is traditional in Andhra Pradesh where my Husband’s family is from. Dondakaya is a gourd from the ivy gourd. It is also called Tindora/Tindoora. A good substitute is fresh gherkins. This is so easy yet so tasty! Ireally like the crispiness that my Atthayya gets and she salts them quite a bit as they make the dish taste more like a fresh pickle. Most of Andhran food is eaten with rice unless I specify otherwise and since this is a fry we normally eat this with Rasaam or Dal

1/2 kg (1pound) of fresh Dondakaya cut into rounds
1/2 TBS Red Chili Powder (I prefer to take dried red chili and grind it up into a powder, then add dried garlic cloves with skin on into the powder and store no longer than four months)
3 1/2 TBS Salt
3 Cups water
1 TBS oil

Soak the dondakaya in a brine mixture of the salt and water for 1-2 hours or even overnight in fridge but use less salt if so. Drain and get as much water off of them. In a pan heat oil and then add the dondakaya with the salt and chili powder. Fry the rounds stirring every minute or so for 10-15 minutes until dark brown and crispy.

Other variations: add peanuts (groundnuts) and split yellow lentils into 2 TBS oil and fry for 3-5 minutes until the nuts and lentils are just slightly light brown then add dondakaya, salt and chili powder.

Fried Gram Chutney Recipe

Most Americans do not know what fried gram is and will have difficulty finding exactly what they need in a regular store. That is why I always suggest going to ethnic markets. You can also buy online and get better deals and save some time. You can either buy roasted/fried gram/dal or make it yourself in a hot wok with no oil and do not make them brown or black. I have been looking for a vendor in USA for them online with zero luck, so if anyone has any info on that please email me.

In South India, finding roasted/fried gram/dal is very easy. This recipe is not a traditional one in my household and the reason I included it was because chutney’s are very important in India. We use them with many different fried foods and breads. My favorite dip to this chutney is bonda/mysore buji balls (please excuse my Hindi as I rarely use it as Telugu is the language more common to me in Hyder)

Fried Gram Chutney

1/2 of a coconut grated
curry leaves 5-8
fried gram- 50 g
5 Green chilies
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
10 g of tamarind

Directions:
Grinding: together grated coconut,fried gram,green chillies,tamarind and salt into a fine paste.
Tempering: heat oil in a pan. add mustard seeds.when they splutter, add curry leaves.pour the chutney paste into it and stir well. remove from fire.
Serve with masala dosas,idlis or chapatis.