Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Maroon Carrots

Peeled Maroon Carrots
Maroon Carrots (skins peeled)

Deep earthy maroon on the exterior and a brilliant red in the interior with an orangish-white center. Subdued sweetness, and lots of crunch.

That is how I would describe maroon carrots. In addition to looking unique, maroon carrots also have nutritional benefits - more beta-carotene than their orange counterparts, and they have antioxidants known as anthocyanins, according to Wise Geek.

This old-time variety is popular in north-Indian farmers markets and usually appears during winter and early spring seasons. They have also started to appear locally here in Seattle, thanks to the rejuvenated interest in all things ancient and natural. At Pike Place Market, they were priced at one dollar a bunch, and I bought one bunch. They still have roots attached, so I peeled the skin and cut with mandoline to thin rounds. They looked so pretty and fresh, within minutes half were gone. Crunch, crunch…

With the remaining half, I have prepared pappuchaaru for our meal today. Toor dal protein, maroon carrots and vine-ripe tomato, soured with tamarind, sweetened with jaggery and seasoned with hing tadka, the pappuchaaru had enough flavor to permit omission of rasam powder. Very mild, soothing to the stomach, chaaru tasted delicious.


Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots, Garnished with Haldiram’s Boondi

Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots:

Half cup - Toor dal (kandi pappu)
Half cup - Carrots, sliced to thin rounds
One - Ripe tomato, finely chopped
One - Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon each - tamarind pulp and crushed jaggery
½ teaspoon each - Turmeric and salt
¼ teaspoon - Red chilli powder

Hing tadka:
1 teaspoon - peanut oil
6 curry leaves
Pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon- hing (asafoetida/inguva)

Rinse toordal and take them in a pressure-cooker. Add about two cups of water. Cook to soft. With a wood masher, gently mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Once you are ready with the dal, start the chaaru preparation. In a vessel, heat peanut oil. Add and sauté curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds to fragrance. Add hing and toast for couple of seconds. Add onion, tomato and carrot. Sauté for about five minutes. Add the cooked toor dal, also tamarind, jaggery, turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Add about a cup of water. Mix. Partially cover with a lid, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes to wonderful aroma. (The carrots bleed and color the preparation to reddish-brown, but not too much like beetroots.)

To serve, add a spoonful of cooked rice to a cup. Pour about three to four ladlefuls of pappuchaaru. Mix with a spoon or your right hand. For a tasty crunch, add a papad, few chips or boondi. Enjoy.

(NP: Carbohydrates from rice, quality protein from toor dal, vegetable goodness from carrot and tomato, spices like turmeric and hing for well being.)

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A question for you, dear readers

I am more likely to prepare this recipe, if it has

Soup in title, because I think of only Soups as healthy.
Chaaru in title, because I value traditional goodness and age-old wisdom.
Good nutritional profile (NP). I pay more attention to the ingredients list than titles.

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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm- permalink)
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Chayote Curry (Bengaluru Vankaya Kura)

Chayote (Bengaluru Vankaya or Cho Cho)

Cho Cho, Christophen, Mirliton, Xuxu - the vegetable Chayote has more names than any other vegetable, I think. The name changes with ethnicity of grocery shop. In Nandyala, my hometown in India, chayote is sold as ‘Bengaluru Vankaya’. Our tiny town imports this vegetable from Bengaluru (Karnataka) region, so the name. The kind we get has more prominent ridges, unlike the very smooth surfaced ones that’s common here. Pale green and pleasantly sweet, chayotes are favored in curry and sambar preparations in our area.

Although available year round, this is the season, where you would see the prices come down for this vegetable here in US. We can buy 2, or sometimes 3 chayotes for a dollar. And 2 are needed to make a decent portioned curry to eat with chapatis for two people. Often I combine the chayotes with potatoes and carrots to make it more substantial and to last at least two meals for us.

Mild flavored chayotes dressed up in coconut-chilli seasoning and little bit of turmeric, together with potatoes and carrots make a delicious curry and a welcome addition to the meal at any time of the day.

Choyate cut to half, seed removed and diced to cubes
Choyate cut to half, seed discarded and diced to cubes

Recipe:

2 each - chayotes, small red potatoes and carrots - lightly peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces. I usually remove and discard the seed from chayote (see the photo above) following the traditional method. Reason given by elders is that seeds are not good for health. I am not sure how true that saying is but still I follow.

1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and 6 small green chillies - grind finely in a spice grinder or in a mortar.

½ cup of fresh green chickpeas (green garbanzos/Hara chana or Choleye)
½ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric

popu or tadka ingredients - 1 tsp each - peanut oil, cumin, mustard seeds and 4-6 curry leaves.

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In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil on medium heat. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and then mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump around, add the green chickpeas. Saut? them for few minutes.

Add the chayote, potato and carrot cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Just when they are getting tender, stir in the green chilli - coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix thoroughly and cook for few more minutes, covered until the vegetables reach the tenderness you desire. Chayote releases water on cooking and this water helps to tenderize the potatoes and carrots.

Serve warm with chapatis or with naans.


Chayote curry wrapped in chapatis with a cup of yogurt on the side ~ Our afternoon meal

Fresh, green chickpeas purchased from - Indian grocery & and also at Trader Joe?s Frozen section.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Baby Potatoes, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 3, 2007 at 2:02 pm- permalink)
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Colorful Idly with Carrots & Chana Dal

Back home, a breakfast is still a breakfast. It is not brunch, lunch or supper. Breakfast items are few, and everyday one of them is prepared and eaten by 9 AM. My mother never uttered the words - “I’m not feeling well today and not making any breakfast for you”. As a grown up, living in a silent world with plenty of time to reflect back, now I realise, my mother like me, must had several reasons to slack off, if she wanted to. But she never did. I am sure many of you can relate to what I am talking about. That kind of devotion was given to us when we were children. This is the reason why I often mention ‘amma (mother)’ as recipe source. If I have the courtesy to write a cookbook author’s name as recipe source for a blogged recipe, why shouldn’t I return the same courtesy to amma, from whom I learned most of my cooking from.

Colorful idly with carrots and chana dal aka masala idly is one of her recipes. Finely grated carrots and chana dal along with green chillies and cumin etc. are added to the leftover idly batter for a next day morning breakfast. Imagine the taste of upma, and these idlies almost taste like that. Steam cooked in round shape, they are a pleasure when served hot with chutney and sambar. Though they are a breakfast item back home, here I often make them on a weekend for brunch, lunch or for supper.

Idly plates filled with idly batter - ready for steaming

Recipe:
This is same as idly preparation except that we add bunch of other ingredients and change the lilly white, cloud like plain idlies into colorful, somewhat dense masala idlies.

(for 16 idlies)
3 cups of Idly batter
(urad dal and rice ravva(cream of rice) in 1:2 ratio, soaked, grind into smooth batter and kept overnight for fermentation)
Ingredients to add to idly batter
1 cup of grated carrot (1 big carrot)
¼ cup of chana dal (soaked in water for atleast an hour)
¼ cup of coarsely crushed, roasted peanuts or cashews
¼ cup of finely chopped cilantro
2 to 4 finely chopped or minced green chillies
1 teaspoon of cumin and few curry leaves
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

Mix the ingredients with idly batter thoroughly. Fill the round impressions of idly plates with this batter. Place the idly stand in an idly cooker and steam cook them for about 20 minutes or until the batter sets completely. Remove the idly stand from the cooker, run a spoon under each impression and separate the cooked idlies from the impressions. Serve them hot with peanut or coconut chutney and sambhar.

Idlies with veggies, served with peanut chutney, and shallot sambhar
Masala idlies with peanut chutney and shallot sambhar

For more detailed recipe of idly, about idly stand, idly plates and idly cooker etc., - click here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Chana Dal, Urad Dal (Washed), Rice Ravva (Cream of Rice) (Tuesday April 11, 2006 at 1:54 pm- permalink)
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Ridge Gourd,Potato & Carrot Curry

Ridge gourd, potato and carrot - this is a veggie match, made in an Indian kitchen. Their flavors compliment each other and when combined with some onion, green chillies, coconut, they make a fresh, satisfying side dish.

This is the kind of veg-medley I love to make when I’m short on time. A pleasing, sweet-spicy taste that pairs well with rice and dal or with chapatis and corn tortillas. Tasty and flexible, lot of curry in less time - what more one could want in a recipe?

Ridge Gourd, Carrot, Potato, Red Onion, Dried Peas soaking in Water, Green Chillies and garlic

Recipe:

2 fresh looking ridge gourds (turai, beera kaya): First peel/or scrape the ridges on outside, wash the veggie, then cut it into bite sized pieces.
1 medium sized potato and carrot - peeled, then cut into bite sized cubes
1 onion - finely chopped
5 green chillies and 1 tbs of coconut powder - made into smooth paste
Salt to taste and pinch of turmeric
1 fistful of fresh or dried peas - I used dried peas (soaked overnight in water)
Popu ingredients - 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic and curry leaves

It’s just like regular curry preparation, only thing you have to keep in mind is - first cook potatoes and carrots, add ridge gourd later, as it cooks faster, compared to potatoes and carrots.

Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a big pan. Add popu ingredients. When they start to splutter, add onions, saute for few minutes. Stir in peas, potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook them in their own moisture, for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

When they are little bit softened, stir in ridge gourd pieces, salt, turmeric and green chilli-coconut paste. Cover again and cook them, stirring in-between, till they reach the texture/softness you desire.

Serve hot with chapati/paratha or with rice and dal combination.

Beerakaya kura and paratha
Ridge gourd curry and paratha ~ Our lunch.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Carrots, Indian Vegetables, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd) (Wednesday January 18, 2006 at 4:16 pm- permalink)
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Beetroots & Carrots ~ Steamed

Simply prepared and deliciously seasoned baby beets and carrots is one of my favorite light meals/snack.
Baby Beets and Carrots in a Steamer Basket
What you need:
5 to 6 small sized beetroots
10 to 15 baby carrots
A saucepan fitted with steamer basket to cook them
1 tsp of ghee, salt and pepper to season

Put enough water in a saucepan so that it doesn’t touch the steamer basket when placed. Bring water to boil. Place washed and whole beetroots and carrots in a single layer in the steamer. Place this steamer in pan and cover it tightly with a lid so that steam won’t escape. Steam them until tender for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot and let stand until cool enough to handle, then peel the beetroots and cut them into quarters.

In a pan, melt one tsp of ghee on medium heat. To it add the quartered beetroots and carrots. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and toss them once to combine. Remove from heat, squeeze some limejuice and serve immediately.

Baby Beets and Carrots Coated with Ghee, Salt and Pepper

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Beetroot (Tuesday September 13, 2005 at 9:05 am- permalink)
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Carrot Cake

Carrots and bananas - what happens when you put the two together, you get a deliciously rich and different dessert that’s the best of both. The recipe is my own - out with the pineapple, cloves, all-spice and eggs - in goes the bananas and cardamom. They give the cake a wonderful, fruity, honeyed fragrance. The recipe is somewhat different but tastes as good, I might say, even better than the traditional carrot cake.

Recipe: Cardamom, Coconut, Golden raisins, Walnuts, Carrots and banana
2 cups of Betty Crocker pancake flour
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp of baking soda
Mix all of the above in a big bowl.

5 cardamom pods- peel and powder the seeds inside
2 big ripe bananas- peel, mash and beat until fluffy
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup of brown sugar- (your wish)
In another big bowl, mix them well.

I used the pancake flour only because I want to finish off the BIG packet, purchased at Costco last winter. You can always substitute that with all-purpose flour. You can purchase dry unsweetened coconut, golden raisins and cardamom at low prices in an Indian grocery shop.

Now back to cake making - Preheat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly but not hard. Add some milk and combine again if the batter is too tight. Pour this mixture into a big round buttered cake pan. Bake the cake at 350 F, for about 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool it before applying frosting or decorating. The topping on the carrot cake is walnut-coconut caramel (see the post below for the recipe)

Carrot Cake with Walnut-Coconut Caramel Topping

Comparable to an Indian version of carrot sweet called carrot halwa, this carrot cake is simply moist, rich and delicious.

Slice of Carrot Cake

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Carrots, Bananas, Golden Raisins (Tuesday June 14, 2005 at 10:23 am- permalink)
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