Food Blog and more …

Just another weblog

Malabar spinach – Another andhra delicacy

When I was preparing this dish today, it suddenly occurred to me why I had not blogged about this recipe.. It is in the top 5 of Ravi’s favourites and a typical andhra preparation. These days I dont cook much for myself. Its either kichdi with some veggies or soup and veggies as I am trying to get on a diet.  I am not forcing Ravi to do the diet thing with me – its a sheer torture for him given his work load and study load. I added a handful of spinach to my soup for lunch and prepared bachalakoora for him for dinner.

Greens are little heavier on the digestive system so at my home in India “No greens for dinner “. I dont remember my mother ever serving any kind of greens for dinner.  Naturally even now I refrain from eating greens at night. 

This spinach preparation is very interesting. Usually the tamarind added to any curries is ripe ones but for this dish raw tamarind juice is added. Raw tamarind unlike the ripe ones cannot be deshelled.  So it is crushed with the shell and made into a coarse paste with salt and stored.  Just before using a tablespoon of the paste is diluted in water and the extracted juice is strained of any shells and added to the spinach curry.

Malabar spinach is the indian variety of spinach – very different from the actual spinach we get here in US. Its leaves are broader, thicker and slimy. The berries of malabar spinach are violet/indigo in color – we used to crush the berries and use it for April fools’ day –

See here for the image and more information

Three cups chopped malabar spinach
Four green chillies chopped
half an onion chopped
Juice of one tablespoon raw tamarind paste (Optionally use regular tamarind paste )
Oil – 2 tbl
half cup – Boiled channa dal ( half boiled )
Turmeric half tsp
chilli powder two tsps
For seasoning – Mustard, cumin – half teaspoon each

Heat oil and when the oil is hot add mustard.
When the mustard splutters add cumin, green chillies and onions.
Saute for a few minutes.
Add chopped spinach and saute for 5 minutes. Spinach cooks in its own water.
Seperately boil half cup channa dal for 5 minutes
Strain the water from the channa dal and add the dal to the sauteing spinach
Add juice from the tamarind
Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder
Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed.

Raw tamarind

Raw tamarind paste

Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach with Channa dal


February 12, 2008 Posted by | Andhra Cooking, Everyday food, High Fibre | 1 Comment

Fish in Banana leaves

Ever since I saw this grilled Trout I wanted to have it with the side salad. However I dont have a grill. I had to rely on the conventional oven but then cooking fish does not take a lot of time. The fish I used was Canadian Mackerel – It was very fleshy. I had 2 fish – Used 2 different types of rubs to suit our individual tastes.Thank you Sig for the recipe !


1 long green chilli – chopped
5 curry leaves,
3 slices of onion
2 slices of lemon

Rub the outside of the fish with a thick paste of red chilli, turmeric, salt and lemon and stuff with all under stuffing.I rubbed another fish with pepper powder, cumin powder, salt and lemon and the same stuffing except the chillies

Wrapped them in banana leaves and enclosed in aluminium wraps just like Sig blogged. Left the fish packets for an hour to marinate before popping them inside the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then opened the packet and broiled it for 4 minutes to crisp up the skin. I served with a simple garden salad with corn with a home made yoghurt dressing.

It was very filling – I think it would make a good lunch than a dinner because it felt a little heavy.

We finished the salad with a sorakai halwa ( Duddhi, Bottlegourd ). Grate 1 bottlegourd and saute with one teaspoon of ghee until most of the water is evaporated. Use a low heat. Add 2 and half tablespoon of sugar and keep sauteing until more of the water evaporates. Add another 2 teaspoon of ghee and keep sauteing until all the water evaporates. The whole halwa will roll like a ball without sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of cardamom powder. Serve with crushed almonds.
The taste was very very good. But I might not do it often because for one bottlegourd it took almost 3 tablespoon of sugar. Ravi and I shared it.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Everyday food, High Fibre, Low cholesterol, Weight-loss | 8 Comments

Multigrain Idly – Ragi idly

Inji was right. After not blogging for a longg time, now when I sit to do a post, I am at a complete loss.. dont know what to type other than the recipe. Really BLANK !!!! OK. I am not going to try much – so straight to the recipe in pics.One cup ragi & one cup idly rice – Soaked for 4 to 6 hours
One cup ural dal – Soaked for 4 to 6 hours

Ragi other names : Fingermillet, kezhvaragu

Soak cup of rice & cup of ragi ( and a cup of urad dal separately )
Grind rice & ragi to a smooth batter. Grind urad dal to butter consistency and add to the rice and ragi batter . Mix well with hands

Store the batter in a dark place for 6 hours. Store in a dark warm place. ( I place the batter in my conventional oven after pre heating). The batter ferments and rises

Add a tablespoon of salt to the fermented batter, mix well and pour in idly moulds

Idlys – steamed for 10 mins

Ragi idly with coconut chutney and banana with honeySee more idly making tips here…I use ravi brand idly rice. Idly rice is parboiled rice that is boiled with the kernel intact. This process of boiling rice not only imparts flavour to the rice but also much of the nutrients of the kernel is absorbed by the rice.

Comparing to regular idly, ragi idlys ferment quicker and are fluffier. Tastewise I found no difference.
You can also make dosais with the same batter – again no difference tastewise.

See also :
Ragi koozhu

December 13, 2007 Posted by | High Fibre, Low cholesterol | 20 Comments