Monday, April 18, 2016

Filter Coffee & Nostalgia

All this sunshine in Oregon is making me nostalgic and miss my hometown. The stomach feels queasy and you want to go back in time to those oh so fun days. It brings back memories of my favorite things -  mangoes, oh so soft idlis, bondas, filter coffee, walking at the towers park, evening sunsets from my terrace and reading lots of Danielle Steele novels.

Filter Cofee with podi idlis
In 2009, I  quit working as a software engineer to work for my parents business. It was one of the best decisions I had taken. I enjoyed the challenges of working with parents, and also enjoyed its benefits. One of the biggest benefits was drinking hot filter coffee. My dad would take us to New Woodlands the drive in for hot hot filter coffee and bonda :). I have two important rules when it comes to drinking good filter coffee. It should be frothy, and the color should be rich.

Living here in the US it is not easy to get the taste of the filter coffee from back home but I have experimented and tried out many coffees to finally make some thick delicious filter coffee. I buy the Narasu's filter coffee powder available at the Indian store, if in case you want to buy locally roasted coffee then make sure it is ground finely - turkish ground.

You will need a south indian filter coffee maker to make it the authentic and traditional way. There is a upper container, lower container, perforated distributor and a lid. Coffee powder goes in the upper container, using the perforated distributor press down on the coffee gently so that it is packed firmly.  Keep the perforated distributor on top and add boiling water. I usually add around 1/4 cup water to around 3-4 tbsp packed coffee powder which generally gives a nice thick decoction. This process might take anywhere from 5 - 15 mins depending on your filter and coffee powder.

I generally like to use whole milk to make coffee as it tastes more delicious and thick with it. Pour the decoction in your cup and then add the milk. If your pour your milk slowly it tends to froth and creates a creamy frothy texture. In the south we drink our coffee in a davala set .  For people like me thats the best as I can cool the coffee to drinkable temp and enjoy it !

If your day starts with great coffee, nothing else can go wrong ! :) I am off now to make my afternoon coffee :) I hope you enjoy yours. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Healthy Moong Dal Dahi Vada

Moong dal dahi vada
The story of the moong dal vadas. When I was back in India last year this time, my mom made some amazingly soft vadas and made buffalo milk yoghurt. If you haven had buffalo milk, it is thick more creamier and richer than cow's milk, so obviously the yoghurt will be thick and creamy. That dahi vada was the best I have ever had. Fast forward to May , I tried making the vadas at home and they turn out hard as ever. Turns out I was using the wrong type of moong dal, the yellow split moong dal without the skin is the right one to make the vadas. This time round the vadas were super soft and tasted delicious. I hate deep frying because of the fear of hot oil, so i used an appe pan to shallow fry the vadas and they turned out great. 


1 cup Moong Dal
1 cup Dahi 
4-5 pepper corns
ginger grated approx 1 tsp 

To garnish:
Roasted & Coarsely crushed jeera
Pomegranate seeds
Chopped coriander
Chili powder


* Soak the moong dal for 3-4 hours or preferably overnight. Drain the water and in a blender / wet grinder grind the dal till it is soft and smooth. Do not use any water. Add the pepper corns , grated ginger and salt as it is grinding. I used a wet grinder to grind the daal smoothly and get a batter which will yield fluffy vadas. It should take around 15-20 mins for the daal to grind smoothly and fluff up using a wet grinder.

* Heat the appe pan and add oil to the moulds. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the moulds.
To help the vadas cook evenly close light with a lid. Check to see if one side is done then flip the vadas.

* Once the vadas are done soak them immediately in warm water for a few minutes. They will absorb the water and swell up.

* In the meanwhile beat the dahi with a large spoon, add salt. Squeeze out as much water as you can and add the vadas to the seasoned dahi.

* Add crushed jeera, chili powder, pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander. Chili in the fridge and serve.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lentil curry with Butternut Squash ( Butternut squash sambhar)

Fall, the season for soups and squash. I always used to associate butternut squash with something sweet, until I tried this sambhar at a friends place. Butternut squash is hard to chop, so if you can buy it already cut it saves you half the time. This sambhar is very easy to make does not require any fancy ingredients. I hope you enjoy it with some hot steaming rice and potatoes , dont forget to add a dollop of ghee .

Butternut squash sambhar 


1/2 cup Toor daal (split pigeon peas)
Butternut squash chopped into cubes about 1 cup
2 Green chili's slit into half
1/2 Onion chopped finely
1-2 Tomatoes diced
1 small piece of tamarind
1 to 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sambhar powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
pinch of asafoetida (hing).
1 tsp Cooking Oil
few curry leaves

Cilantro to garnish .


Soak the toor dal and tamarind in separate bowls of  water for around 15-30 mins. This helps soften the dal and cook faster.

Cook the dal in a pressure cooker at medium flame for three whistles. Smash the dal once it is cool and keep it aside.

Use a heavy bottomed pan, keep it on a medium flame add oil, once the oil is warm, add urad dal and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds will splutter, then add asafoetida, curry leaves, green chilis and onions. Let the onions cook until they turn pink.

Add the tomatoes and butternut squash, stir and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Add the sambhar powder, turmeric and salt. The sambhar powder cook for 2-3 mins again before you add the tamarind water.

Let the whole mixture boil for a good 5 -8 mins. Once this is done add the smashed dal. If your sambhar looks very thick add some water and adjust for consistency. Let the sambhar come together by letting it boil for another 5-8 mins. The butternut squash should be nice and tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with hot rice and ghee :).

Butternut squash sambhar