Before the colonial rule our ancestors used to serve classic refreshments like Ayurvedic lemonade (panakam), buttermilk, spiced-milk, elixir, etc. to their guests. Later it became a tradition to serve beverages like tea or coffee to our guests. Nowadays tea breaks have become the order of a day in every institution across India. Every conversation, whether an important official discussion or a trivial gossip, begins with a sip of refreshing cardamom ginger tea or masala chai. Apparently tea shops turn out to be a place for making friends, discussing international, national and local news and also a place for finding solutions for social issues.
Naan is a traditional flatbread made using the dough enriched with ghee (clarified butter) & curd (yogurt) and cooked at a high temperature inside a clay oven called tandoor. Lately, naan dough is prepared just like any other bread dough using leavening agents such as yeast, baking soda, or baking powder and baked like pizza over a hot stone kept inside the oven. Here I have added turmeric powder to make my naan bread bright & beautiful.
The search for perfect curry powder began in my family when we caught the whiff of mouth-watering parotta salna (flaky flat breads with spicy curry) emanating from the “parotta shop” on our way back home from school. After several trials of various curry powders available in the local market, my brother found Karunanidhi curry masala closely racing behind the one used in parotta shops. It came handy to elevate my mother’s biryani, vegetable kurma, etc. to a whole new level. I still remember the aroma of this curry powder in her kitchen while preparing savoury dishes.
Baking bread at home is actually not as exhausting as making roti/ chapathi. It is just a time consuming preparation and hence it just requires a planning well ahead of our meal. Nevertheless, it is truly a rewarding experience to bake the bread at home with the flours and spices of our choice and also to serve oven-fresh flavorful fluffy bread to our family for breakfast. Here I have used equal portions of whole wheat flour & plain flour (maida), neutral oil in place of butter and caraway seeds (omam/ ajwain) for its wonderful aroma and medicinal properties, and baked an egg-free pav bread at home.
Crispy Masala Dosa was the only Indian food appeared in the list of World’s Best 50 foods compiled based on the online poll conducted worldwide by CNN Travel in 2017. Dosa is a savory south Indian crepe generally prepared for breakfast or dinner. It can be prepared thin & crispy (paper roast) or soft & spongy (uttapam). Although there are numerous varieties of dosa prepared in South India, masala dosa is the most popular dosa as savory potato filling is stuffed inside the crispy dosa.
Idli, an ancient South Indian delicacy, is now gaining popularity all over the world as a gut-friendly breakfast. Various studies conducted by renowned institutions across the globe state in unison that idli is one of the best breakfasts. Idli is a soft spongy steamed cake made using naturally fermented rice & lentil batter, and it is the most common breakfast in South India.
At the mere sight of a canister filled with idli-dosa batter inside my refrigerator I feel totally relaxed as it helps my meal planning easier. With this multi-purpose batter I can make simple podi dosa when I feel lazy, or treat ourselves with a sumptuous feast, or give a traditional twist to overcome our meal monotony. It is needless to say that this batter is the quintessential stock inside the refrigerator in every South Indian’s home across the globe.
Aloo paratha, an Indian bread stuffed with spicy potato, is a hearty meal that can be packed for children’s lunch box. We can serve hot aloo paratha for breakfast or dinner along with spicy garlic-tomato dip (instead of pickle) & refreshing onion raita.
Sambar is the most popular side dish for idli, or dosa typically prepared by south Indians, others used to feel that their sambar is not as delicious as the one prepared by south Indians. Here I have shared a fail-safe recipe for making delicious sambar which is a perfect accompaniment for idli, masal dosa, vennpongal, kichadi, or medhu vadai.
If you are keen to reduce the intake of carbs and rice is your staple food, then here is the cooking method that you can follow to reduce the carbs in rice by 40%. I have used a special cooking pot with a perforated locking lid. We just need to boil the rice in this cooking pot and then drain the starch by closing the pot with its lid. Since the pot is locked with its lid, we can safely keep the pot tilted allowing it to drain out the starch. You can check out other similar rice cooking vessel here.