Monday, March 18, 2013


Khicchu is a Gujarati dish made with rice flour.  It is usually had with chai (tea).  At my mom’s house, they make Khicchu almost every Sunday morning to have with chai. This becomes our brunch.

Here is the recipe for Khicchu. (makes about 8, 3 inch diameter discs)

2 Cups Rice Flour,
4 Cups Water,
Salt to Taste,
4 Green Chills, Chopped Finely,
2 Teaspoon Ajwain (Caraway Seeds)
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds,
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda,

Add 4 cups water to a boiling pan. Add salt, cumin seeds and caraway seeds. Bring it to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to minimum and add the chills and baking soda and cover promptly.  Be sure to reduce the heat down and cover the pan immediately after adding the chills otherwise your house will smell like chilies, and you will be sneezing for a long time J.
Change the heat to medium high again and add the rice flour a little at a time stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or a wooden rolling pin. Once all the flour is incorporated turn the heat to medium-low again. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure that the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  After about 7 minutes all the water would be soaked up by the flour. At this point, switch off the stove and transfer the khicchu to a big shallow dish. Let it cool just enough so that you can handle it. Do not wait too long, otherwise the dough will start drying out and loose its elasticity.
Bring water to boil in a steamer. While the water comes to a boil, apply some oil to your palms. Take a tennis ball size portion of the dough in your hand. Roll between the palms to make a round ball. Gently press to make a disc. Now with the help of your thumb, make an indentation in the center. This will help to evenly cook the khicchu. Repeat the above steps and make discs from the rest of the dough. Apply some oil to your palms if the dough starts sticking to your hands. Transfer the discs to the steamer and steam on high heat for 10-12 minutes. Take off the stove.
Transfer the khicchu to a plate. Pour a teaspoon of oil to the center of the disc. Place some chili powder on the plate. Serve warm with chai.

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Bell Pepper and Potato Curry

Last weekend our friends had invited us and one more family to their house for dinner. My friend was going to make rice and daal, so I thought of making some subzi to go with it. I had a lot of bell peppers in the fridge, so I decided to make Bell Pepper Subzi. I didn't have Paneer or anything fancy to add in the curry, so I added sesame seeds, to make it look and taste a little better.

2 Green Bell Peppers, Seeds Removed and Thinly Sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeds Removed and Thinly Sliced
1/2 Onion, Thinly Sliced,
1 Medium Potato, Peeled and Thinly Sliced,
1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds, (Toasted Preferred),
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste,
2 Tablespoon Oil,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds, Coarsely Ground,
1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder, or to Taste
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1/4 Cup Loosely Packed Cilantro, Chopped
Salt to Taste
Water, As Desired

Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Turn the stove to medium. Once the cumin seeds stop crackling, add the sesame seeds. Wait for 5 seconds and then add onion and salt. Stir well to mix. Cover and cook for 30-40 seconds stirring occasionally. Make sure that the onions are not sticking to the pan. If needed, add a little water. Cover and cook until the onions start turning pink (a little translucent . At this point, add the tomato paste, crushed coriander seeds, turmeric powder, and chili powder. Stir to mix everything. Turn the stove to medium low. Cover and cook for  15-20 seconds. Now add the potatoes. Mix to cover the potatoes with the rest of the spices. Add about 1/4 cup water if needed. Cover and cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Check the potatoes. Once the potatoes start getting soft, add the bell peppers. stir well. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes or until the potatoes and bell peppers are done. The bell peppers shouldn't be too soft and mushy. They should still have a little bite to it.

Sorry, no pictures for this dish. I prepared the dish in a hurry.

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Brown Rice Dosa Batter

We have switched from using white Basmati rice to short grain brown rice for its obvious health reasons. Last week, I made batter with brown rice. The dosas came out perfect, and you can't even taste the difference. I don't have pictures of any plain dosas but you can see the pictures of spring dosa (here) made with the brown rice dosa batter.

A few notes for getting the batter to ferment. Living here in Pacific Northwest, I have had many problems with getting the batter to ferment. I have tried many ways, and  the method given below works the best for me.

1. Do NOT over wash the daal and rice, especially the daal. You just want to wash them twice maximum. Washing over and over gets rid of the beneficial bacteria which help in fermentation.

2. When grinding the daal and rice for batter , grind the separately. Grind them both to a very fine paste if you want to use the batter for dosas. For idly, grind the rice just a little coarse. You can still use the dosa batter for idly, but the coarse (but fine) batter gives the idly its unique texture and fluffiness.

3. If grinding with a regular mixer grinder (even an Indian grinder), always let the batter "rest". Grind for 10-15 seconds, then stop for a few seconds to let the batter cool down. Grinding constantly will create heat which will kill the bacteria.

4. Add baking soda to the batter during winter. This was a tip my mom's neighbor gave her. Baking soda aids in fermentation. Also, putting the batter in the oven and leaving the light on all night helps in fermentation during the cold winter time.

5. After grinding, mix both batters in a deep container. This allows for the batter to rise up for fermentation.

Ingredients: (will make about 20 dosas)
1 Cup Brown Rice,
1/3 Cup Urad daal,
1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds,
1 Tablespoon Flattened Rice (Thick Poha)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Salt to taste

Wash and soak the rice and poha in enough water for for 6-8 hours. Just about 2 hours before grinding the batter, wash and soak the daal along with the fenugreek seeds.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees F.  Once it reaches the temperature turn it off. Grind the rice and daal separately per the note mentioned above. Again always let the batter "rest" and cool down.

Mix both batters in a container. Now add the poha, salt and baking soda. Mix well with your hand. Do not stir or beat it. Just mix it gently. Cover the container with a lid and keep it in the warm oven. Turn on the light in the oven, which will provide constant heat for fermentation. Leave it  untouched for 12 hours (during summer) or 15-18 hours (during winter).

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bombay Spring Dosa

This Indo-Chinese version of dosas is sold on the streets of Mumbai. Instead of the authentic potato filling, this dosa has a filling of stir fried veggies and sometimes Hakka noodles. In addition to the stir fried veggies, this dosa also has red and spicy szechuan sauce. Below is the recipe for spring dosa (without the noodles).

2 Cups Dosa Batter,
2 Tablespoon Melted Butter or Oil, Per Your Preference,

1 Tablespoon Oil,
Salt To Taste
1/2 Cup Cabbage, Thinly Sliced,
1 Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced,
1 Sweet Bell Pepper (Any Color),
1 Carrot, Thinly Sliced or Grated using the Largest Setting of the Grater,
1 Small Onion, Thinly Sliced,
2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce,
1 Tablespoon Vinegar,
1 Teaspoon Freshly Crushed Black Pepper,

1/2 Cup Szechuan Sauce, or as desired
1/4 Cup Beet(Raw), Thinly Sliced

Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the onion, Bell Pepper and Carrots. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Now add the cabbage. Cook for one more minute stiffing constantly. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and black pepper. Stir again and cook until the veggies just start to turn soft. The vegetables shouldn't be soft and mushy. They should be able to withhold their shape. Remove from the pan to stop additional cooking and add to a mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the Szechuan sauce to the mix and stir well. (addition of the sauce to the veggies is optional.)

Heat a cast iron griddle on the stove. When hot, sprinkle some water on the skillet and wipe right away with a clean cloth. (Note: The water should sizzle immedietly when sprinkled on the skillet.) Take a ladle-full of the batter. Drop it in the center of the hot skillet and immedietly spread it outwards in circular motion. Do not go over the same area twice. The repeat motion will fill out the natural "tiny holes" you get on the dosa.

Spread a teaspoon of butter on the outside edge of the dosa. This will make your dosa crispy. Spread some butter on top of the dosa too. Turn the heat to medium.

Spread about 1 teaspoon the Szechuan sauce on the dosa. Now is the time for the stuffing. I am not giving the exact amount to be added to the dosa, because everyone's preferences might be different. Spread the grated beet on one half of the dosa (amount per your liking). Now spread the vegetable stuffing on the same half. Cook for 30 seconds, or until the underside of the dosa turns golden brown, or until the side area of the dosa stars peeling off of the pan. With a flat spatula, gently peel off the the non-stuffing side of the dosa from the griddle. Fold it over the stuffing. Now gently slide the spatula under the stuffing potion of the dosa and take it off of the griddle.

To make another dosa, sprinkle some water on the griddle again. (Again, it should sizzle). Wipe it off with a clean cloth in circular motion, and follow the above steps for making dosa.

Note: If you want to add noodles to the stuffing, break 1/2 cups of Hakka noddles in 1 inch pieces. Cook per the package instructions. Add to the vegetables about 1 minute before taking it off of the stove. Mix well and follow the above introductions to make dosas.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Avocado Roti Or Paratha

We almost always have Avocado at my house. All of us love them. My husband and daughter like the guacamole I make at home. I serve it as a side to my daughter to encourage her to eat more roti/paratha. She just dips her roti in the guacamole. I know it sounds a little weird  but my two years old will eat roti/paratha if I give her guacamole on side.

Last week, I saw that I had a bowl full of guacamole in the fridge, and there were 3 more ripe avocados on my kitchen counter. I needed to use them soon. So, I came up with the idea of adding the avocados in the dough while making roti for my daughter. I knew it would make the roti green (one more perk for my toddler to eat her roti:)), but I was amazed at how fluffy and soft the roti was. Also, it didn't have a strong avocado taste. It tasted like the regular roti.
I also didn't have to add any oil to flour while kneading the dough. The fat from the avocado was good enough to make the rotis soft and fluffy. Even my husband really liked them. Here is the recipe

Ingredients: (makes about 5-6 Rotis)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Medium Avocado, Pitted and Mashed,
A pinch of Salt, (Optional if making roti)
Water as needed
2-3 drops oil
Ghee as needed (optional)

Dough: Combine the flour, avocado and salt (if using) in a deep bowl. Mix well. Add a little water at a time to form soft dough. Knead to make the dough smooth. Apply the oil to your palms and knead one last time. Cover with a plastic wrap or with an inverted bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle on the stove. While it is heating up, divide the dough into 5-6 equal parts and roll each portion between your palms to make balls. Lightly press the ball between your palms to flatten it. Using a rolling pin, roll into a  thin 6 inch circle.

Place the roti on the tava and turn the flame to low. Cook for 10-15 seconds, or until the underside starts to turn golden brown. Flip the roti, change the flame to high. Cook again for 10-15 minutes or until the underside turns golden brown. Take off the tava from the heat and place the roti  (top side down) directly over the flame. It will fluff up into a ball. Take off the stove and apply ghee (optional) and repeat the same process for the rest of the rotis. Serve hot with any subzi, or pickles.

Paratha: If you are making parathas, make the dough a little firm. It doesn't need to be as soft as roti. Follow the same steps for making dough and rolling into 6 inch circles. The parathas are generally a little thicker than rotis, so roll into a thick disc.

Heat a griddle on the stove. Place the paratha. Turn the flame to medium high. Cook for 10-15 seconds, then flip. Apply some ghee on the cooked side and lightly press with spatula. Let the other side cook for 10-15 seconds and flip again. Apply some ghee and cook for 10 more seconds  Flip one more time. Cook for 10 seconds and take off the heat. Serve hot with raita or pickle.

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