Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cooking with Microwave: Kanda Poha or Batata Poha

Batata poha or kanda poha is one of the easy and healthy Indian snacks that you can make in less than 30 minutes or in less than 10 minutes if you are using your microwave to make it.

As you all know, my kitchen is not very much functional these days since we are remodeling it. There is no sink, no stove, and no counter top, which leaves me only with a microwave which is temporarily moved to my entertainment room. It’s been about a month since I cooked something at home. I have been eating out or getting ready made tiffin, which makes me crave for some healthy and warm homemade food.

Usually on weekends, we try to make fresh and warm breakfast at home and enjoy our morning, which hasn’t been happening in a long time now. So this Saturday, I thought of making kanda poha in the microwave. I didn’t have potatoes at home, so I cooked kanda poha. You can add potatoes cut into small pieces in the recipe and convert it to batata poha.

Kanda poha is a Maharashtrian dish which is a slight variation of the Gujarati style batata poha.

Here is what you will need to make kanda poha in microwave.

2 Cups Poha, Flattend rice
½ Cup Onion, Finley Chopped
3-4 Green Chilies, Finley Chopped
1/4th Cup Frozen Peas
1/4th Cup Frozen Corn Kernels
1 Teaspoon Sugar, or to Taste
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice, or to Taste
Salt to Taste
½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2 Teaspoon Oil,
½ Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds

Wash the poha under running water until water runs almost clean. Soak for 10 minutes it in a flat bottom vessel with just barely water to cover the poha . You don’t want to add too much water, or the poha will turn very soggy and mushy.

While the poha is absorbing the water, take a microwave safe bowl, glass preferable, and the corn and peas and enough water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until both the peas and the corn are almost cooked. The cooking time may vary for your microwave. Take it out, and keep aside. Do not drain the water yet. The hot water will allow it to cook further even after you take it out of the microwave.

Now in big microwave safe container, glass preferable again, add the oil, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute. Now add the onion, chili and the turmeric powder to it. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the onion turns translucent.

Drain the water from corn and peas, and add them to the onion mixture. Drain the water from the poha. Add the salt, sugar and lemon to the poha and mix with light hands making sure not to break the poha. Add the poha to the onion mixture and mix well. Put it back in the microwave and cook for another minute to heat the poha thoroughly. Depending on your microwave, you might have to head it for 30 more seconds or so. 1 minute worked fine for me.
Take out of the microwave, and serve hot topped with thin sev with hot chai on side. I didn’t have sev at home, so I had it as is.

Note: If you are adding potatoes, add them before adding onions to the oil. Cook them for 3-4 minutes, or until tender, then add the onions and follow the rest of the steps.

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Cooking with Microwave: Sev Mamra or Kurmura

This is yet another addition to my cooking with microwave series. There are still 2 more weeks remaining for my kitchen to be fully functional.
Sev-mamra is one of my favorite snacks. I love to have it with chai. It is a non fried, crunchy and salty mixture of mildly spiced puffed rice. We keep sev mamra mixture at our house year around. It is also called murmura, mudi or kurmura in some other Indian languages.
I think each house/family has their own version of the sev mamra mixture. You can add/remove many ingredients to make it taste the way you like it.

Here is how I made sev mamra mixture at home using the microwave.
2 Teaspoon Ghee or Oil, (I used Ghee as I couldn’t find oil in the packed boxes:))
½ Cup Peanuts
½ Cup Roasted Split Gram (Daria Daal)
Salt to Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Or to Taste
½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
500 Grams Mamra (Puffed Rice)
2.5 Cups Thin Sev
1 Teaspoon Sugar, Optional (I don’t use it)
4-5 Roasted Papad, Broken into Tiny Pieces, Optional
½ Cup Puri Used for Making Sev Puri, Broken into Tiny Pieces, Optional
1 Cup Namkin Mixture, eg. Khatta Mitha or Cashew Mixture by Haldiram, Optional

In a small microwave safe bowl, add the ghee and the peanuts, and cook for a minute. Take out of the microwave, add the roasted split gram and stir. Cook for another minute or until the peanuts and split gram turn crunchy. Make sure not to burn it. Start with 1 minute, and go with 30 seconds increments until the peanuts and daria are almost roasted. Take out of the microwave, and add the salt, turmeric powder and chili powder. Stir and mix well and cook for 30 more seconds. Take out and set it aside. Now in a big microwave safe container combine the mamra with the peanut mixture. Stir and mix well so that most of the mamra is coated with the spice mixture. Transfer the bowl to the microwave and cook for 40-50 seconds, or until the mamra turns crunchy.
Take this mixture out of the microwave and add sugar when the mamra is still warm. Mix thoroughly. Now add the sev, papad, puri spicy mixture etc. and mix well. Let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
You can serve this mixture as is with hot chai.
You can also add chopped onion, tomatoes, green chili and some lemon juice before serving. This mixture can also be used as a base for making bhel puri.

Note: As said earlier, you can add/remove as many ingredients as you like to make it taste the way you want it. My neighbors add broken khakhra pieces. I also have seen some people adding fried or roasted corn flakes. Some people add fried poha (flattened rice). Sometimes I add roasted soy beans to give it an additional crunch. I also add leftover namkins to this mixture to give it a different taste.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cooking with Microwave: Plain Rice

As mentioned in the previous post we are remodeling our kitchen. All the appliances are disassembled and moved out for adding tiles on the floor and painting the walls.

I have been eating out everyday for the past few weeks. Sometimes, I have some leftover from the previous night’s dinner and don’t feel like wasting it, so I decided to cook rice in the microwave.
I usually keep the use of the microwave to a minimum i.e. to warm up food, but lately since I can’t use the stove at all, I have started using microwave for some dishes.

Here is my attempt at cooking rice in microwave. I actually cooked the rice at work, because I didn’t have time to cook it at home before I left for work.

You will need a microwave safe bowl, preferably a glass bowl to cook rice in the microwave. The quantity of the rice to water is 1:2. i.e. 1 part rice to two parts plus a little extra water.

½ Cup Rice
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoon Water
Salt to Taste (Optional, I didn’t add it)

Take out the rice in a microwave safe bowl. Make sure to use deep enough bowl because the water will rice while the rice is getting cooked. If the container is not deep enough than the water will flow out of the container, and there won’t be enough water for the rice to get cooked. Wash it 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Add 1 cup + 2 tablespoon water to the rice and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Add salt, and cook uncovered for 9 minutes. The microwave here at my work has power settings, so I set the power to 8, and cooked the rice for 9minutes. The cooking time might differ per your microwave’s power settings. Once the rice gets cooked, open the microwave and immediately cover the container with a loose lid. Close the microwave door and let the rice sit for the next 10 minutes. This way the rice will get cooked uniformly. Take off the lid after 10 minutes, fluff up the rice with the help of a fork and serve hot.

A few things to keep in mind while cooking rice in the microwave
-- No need to cover the rice while cooking. If you absolutely want to put a lid on, DO NOT shut the lid tight on the container. Heat might build up in the container and it might explode.
-- Do not stir the rice while it is getting cooked.
-- Once it is cooked, cover with a lid and let it sit for 10 minutes

PS: These pictures were taken at work using my cell phone, so they are not as clear as I would like them to be, but hopefully they are good enough for the illustration purpose.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cooking with Microwave: Khatta Dhokla or Safed Dhokla

I haven’t been blogging lately, because I haven’t been cooking anything!!. We are remodeling our kitchen. We are replacing the current wooden floor with tiles, changing cabinets, adding back splash etc etc, so no more cooking for one more month.

There are many things I want to make at home and eat, but I guess all I can do is wait for the kitchen work to be finished. I have been craving all fermented things I can make because the weather here is hot, which is perfect for fermenting food overnight. I want to make Khatta dhokla (safed dhokla), handvo, idly, dosa etc, which all require the batter to be fermented overnight.

Since we don’t use microwave to cook anything in our house, it didn’t occur to me until this morning that I can make dhokla, Poha Chivda, Sev Mamara (Puffed rice with spicy fried noodles made from gram flour) etc.

The first dish I will try is Khatta dhokla. I am going to soak the rice/daals tonight. Grind it tomorrow morning, and let it ferment for the whole day tomorrow (and also the whole night if needed), so that I can have dhoklas the day after.

This will be the first time I will be making dhoklas in microwave, so I am a little bit nervous. I am not sure if they will come out as moist and fluffy was when I make them by steaming them.

I will update the post once I make them. Wish me good luck!!:)

An update

Ok, so first, a little clarification. Usually, when I make dhoklas, I combine coarse rice flour (cream of rice) with coarse urad dal flour, add curd and water to it, and let it ferment.

Since, the kitchen is being remodeled, and everything has been packed away in cartons, I bought rice and urad dal from the store, soaked them overnight, ground them the next day, and added water and curd to let it ferment.

The rice to daal proportion is 2:1. i.e. for every two cups rice, combine 1 cup daal.

The yogurt used for making the batter should be sour. I take the required amount the yogurt out of the fridge in the morning before I leave for my work. In the evening, when I combine the rice and daal flour/whole rice and daal to grind, I add the sour yogurt to it.

1 Cup Rice, or Coarse Rice Flour (Cream of Rice)
½ cup Urad Daal, or Coarse Urad Daal Flour
2 Tablespoons Sour Yogurt (Taken out of the fridge for atleast 6 hours)
Salt to taste
½ Teaspoon Ginger Chili Paste
½ Teaspoon Eno Fruit Salt
A Pinch Red Chili Powder, or Black Pepper Powder, Optional

If you are using cream of rice and coarse urad daal flour, combine 1 cup rice and ½ cup urad daal flour in a container. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoon of sour yogurt and ½ cup water to this mixture. Mix with hands to make sure that no lumps form. Depending on the brand of the cream of rice you use, you might require more or less water. The consistency of the batter should be thick, but pourable. Cover and let it ferment. In the mild Seattle weather, it takes 24 hours to ferment.

Alternatively, if you are using whole rice and daal, take 1 cup rice and ½ cup urad daal. Wash it clean, and soak overnight with enough water. The next day, grind the rice and daal together to a slightly coarse paste. Use as little water as you can while grinding, to get a coarse paste. Add 2 tablespoons of sour yogurt and ½ cup water to this paste. Again, depending on the type of the rice you use, the quantity of water required might change. The paste should be thick but pourable. It took 24 hours to ferment.

For making the dhoklas in microwave, take a flat microwave safe container, preferably glass. I used an 8in x 8in Pyrex glass baking pan. Grease the pan and set aside.

Add the chili ginger paste, and salt to the batter and stir well. Mix 1/4th teaspoon Eno fruit salt and 2 tablespoon water in a container. Add two big ladles full of the batter to the Eno mixture and stir. Immediately pour the batter in the glass container. Make sure you leave some room in the glass container for the dhoklas to rise. Sprinkle some red chili powder or black pepper powder on the batter. Microwave for 10 minutes, then check for doneness by inserting a knife. If the knife comes out clean the dhoklas are done. Close the microwave door and let it sit for 2 minutes.

Take out, cut into desired size pieces and serve with green chutney.

Alternatively if you want to steam the dhokla, follow the same steps. Instead of microwaving the batter pour it into a steaming tray and steam for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool, cut into desired size pieces and serve hot with green chutney.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.