Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Asparagus Desi style

Every time I would walk into an American grocery store and come across asparagus I used to wonder how it would taste but never had the courage to pick it up and use it. Then as I started watching the Food network frequently, I saw that it was used mostly as a veggie side dish or in Asian stir-fries alongwith sesame seeds.

So I somehow went ahead and bought it the next time I was grocery shopping . It is supposed to be very healthy and surprisingly very easy to chop and cook also. I have replaced the sesame seeds with flax seeds here too but if you do not have flax seeds on you you can always use sesame seeds in this recipe.


1 bunch fresh tender asparagus shoots. (Choose the asparagus with the tight purple heads).

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp urad dal/split black gram dal

asafoetida a pinch

1-2 tsp toasted flax/sesame seeds

salt to taste

1 tsp sambhar powder

oil for tempering


Wash the asparagus shoots well and discard the base.

Chop the rest of the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok and add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds to it.

When they crackle add the urad dal and asafoetida .

When the urad dal turns slightly golden in color add the flax/sesame seeds to it and also add the chopped asparagus to it.

Season it with salt and sambhar powder.

The asparagus cooks very fast . You can eat it while they are still lightly crunchy. They look and feel like beans but still have a unique flavour to it.

Serve it hot with any rice dish of your choice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peanut-Flax powder

My mother in law used to always keep a jar of Ellu podi handy in the house to be mixed with plain rice and eaten for those days when she cannot cook an elaborate meal . I did prepare that podi but while browsing through Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin book came across the recipe for Peanut powder and started making it in addition to the Ellu powder or Parruppu powder.
My husband and my sons are always more than happy to eat a simple meal of these powder rice with potato or colocassia roast(arvi) so I have to have it in my house at all times.
Once I tried out the recipe of Dosaimilagaipodi with a twist of flax seeds and it came out well I decided to use it in this recipe too.

2 cups Peanuts roasted and skinned
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
15 red chillies
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

Roast dry the sesame seeds and flax seeds.
Fry the red chillies in 2 tsp of oil alongwith the asafoetida powder.
Powder fine the red chillies and asafoetida along with the sesame flax seeds.
Finally add the roasted and lightly cooled peanuts and powder coarse adding salt as required.

This powder can be mixed in rice with ghee or sesame oil and served with chips/papad or veggies of your choice. It can also be sprinkled on buttered bread as a sandwich spread.Also the quantity of flax seeds or sesame seeds can be altered to suit your taste buds.

Dosaimilagaipodi with a Twist

Dosaipodi more commonly referred to by non South Indians as gunpowder for its fiery taste is a common item found in every South Indians kitchen pantry.Its a simple spicy powder which has a long shelf life and can be used with any kind of dosai, Idli or Adai. This is generally prepared with a mix of roasted lentils, dry red chillies and sesame seeds.
I kept reading a lot lately about the importance of omega -3's in our diets and its sources like flax seeds, walnuts etc and went ahead and brought a pack of the flax seeds to toast them and use them in cereals etc. But while toasting them I noticed that they popped the same way as the sesame seeds do and also that they have a same nutty taste to them I thought why not use them in place of sesame and reap their health benefits.

1 1/4 cups red chillies
1/2 cup black gram dal/urad dal
1/2 cup Bengal gram dal/chana dal
1/4 cup mixed sesame seeds and flax seeds.
(Mix the sesame seeds and flax seeds in such proportions that the 3/4 th of the 1/4 th cup is flax seeds and the rest is sesame seeds).
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tbsp jaggery powdered
marble-sized tamarind(optional)
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

Fry the red chillies in 2 tsp oil.
Roast dry the black gram dal, Bengal gram dal and asafoetida and keep aside.
Roast the sesame seeds and flax seeds till they start popping.
Mix all the ingredients and powder coarse and add salt as required.