Tapioca Pearl and Sweet Potato Hash (Sabudana Khichdi)

Tapioca or Yucca or Cassava has become one important component of my diet these days since I am avoiding all grains and all other starches. I mostly just boil fresh yucca pieces (after peeling and chopping them) with sea salt. Or eat them with onion chutney. And they taste delicious! I also have been making the tapioca ‘rice’ or the steamed kappa Puttu which is a traditional Kerala breakfast item. And occasionally when I miss my rice, I tend to cook this hash using tapioca pearls.  Tapioca pearls are called ‘sabudana’ in both Hindi and Marathi and this savory hash recipe is called as ‘khichdi’, which just means a mish-mash of tapioca with potatoes or sweet potatoes. Traditionally in Marathi cuisine this ‘khichdi’ is eaten during religious fasting periods.  Doesn’t it seem like our ancestors were indeed very smart ? – Avoid grains and eat sabudana khichdi and only fresh fruits for the entire day- what better way to detox than this!

One slight drawback about this dish is that it does need a little bit of advance planning in that you need to soak the tapioca pearls in advance for at least 6-8 hours. Peanuts are what is used traditionally however I use walnuts nowadays since I seem to be having some reaction to peanuts. Also regular potatoes or sweet potatoes are used. However if using sweet potatoes, they have to be ‘white sweet potatoes’ or the Indian/Japanese variety of sweet potatoes with white flesh, which also are less sweet as compared to yellow sweet potatoes or yams.

This past week when I made this I paired it with a fresh kale and orange salad. Was so good and definitely filling!

Tapioca Pearl and Sweet Potato Hash (Sabudana Khichdi)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course, side dish
Cuisine: Indian, Maharashtrian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Tapioca pearls cooked with sweet potatoes and mild spices and mixed with roasted nuts and grated coconut
Ingredients
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls (soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours in water)
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts (or any other nuts)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen grated coconut that has been thawed)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds(skip for AIP)
  • 1 green chili (serrano chili) cut into 3-4 pieces (skip for AIP)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 4-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large sweet potato or potato (boiled, peeled and mashed)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or lime juice
Instructions
  1. Soak the tapioca pearls overnight in a large bowl with enough water on top (pearls will swell up). Drain them using a sieve or colander and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. Place the pearls in a mixing bowl. Add the nuts and the coconut to it and mix everything well together. Keep aside.
  3. Ina wok style pan or kadai, heat the oil. When hot add the cumin seeds and after 30 seconds add the green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Stop fry for 1 minute on medium heat.
  4. Next add the tapioca pearl mixture to this and turning heat to low, keep stirring mix continuously to prevent the pearls from clumping together too much. After they start becoming transparent (about 4-5 minutes or so), add the mashed sweet potato (or potato) to the pan and str everything together well.
  5. Add the cilantro and lime juice and stir well before serving.
Notes
For AIP compliant version, skip the nuts, cumin seeds and the green chillies. Use only white sweet potatoes if using sweet potatoes otherwise the dish will be too sweet.

 

Malvani Chicken Curry(Chicken curry with roasted coconut masala)

dsc_0230Born and raised in Mumbai by parents who were natives of Kerala, we grew up greatly influenced by both Keralan and Maharashtrian cultures. Our next door neighbor hailed from the Malvan region of Maharashtra which is also a coastal region just like Kerala. As a result there are lots of similarities in Kerala and Malvani cuisines like seafood specialties and the liberal use of coconut!

Our neighbor aunty used to make this lip smacking Malvani Chicken curry along with a doughnut shaped bread called as Kombdi vade.  Kombdi vadas are made with a mix of rice and different lentils and deep fried like puris. Oh the combination of this chicken curry with kombdi vadas are probably one of the most delicious culinary experience I have had.My mouth starts watering just thinking of the combination!  Whenever aunty made these, she would send over some to share with our family. And how we loved it!  We kids liked this chicken dish so much that we begged our mom to learn this recipe from our neighbor aunty and she gladly obliged by giving a cooking demo in her kitchen one time.  I was in college those days and had already developed an interest in cooking and so I took very good notes!  In the early years after my marriage after moving to the US, I made this curry a couple times. But after that somehow the craziness of work and kids made me forget this curry dish.

Anyways last year when my good friend Vaishali visited us and made Misal Paav for us, I was again reminded of this curry!  And ever since then I have been meaning to make this curry. I was hoping to make this with the kombdi vadas too. However, now that I am doing a Paleo diet, where grains are not allowed, I decided to pass the vadas for now. But I was still craving for the curry and so decided to just make the chicken curry. And I cheated by having the curry with some basmati rice :).  Was heavenly! So worth the little bit of extra effort of roasting the coconut and making the ground masala paste.

The way I remember distinctive tastes of different curries is by remembering the unique combination of spices used. For this curry, it is cumin and garlic that stands out along with star anise and dagad phool.  Dagad Phool whose literal translation means ‘rock flower’ is a spice that is a lichen and has an earthy , musk like smell.  Here’s a picture to those who are not familiar with this spice. Its botanical name is paramecia prelate and this is one of the ingredients of the Maharashtrian Goda masala.

Dagad Phool (Black Stone flower)

There is no coriander (seeds or powder) used in this curry. Also dried coconut or Khopra is used traditionally in this curry however I used fresh coconut which is fine too.

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Malvani Chicken Curry(Chicken curry with roasted coconut masala)

  • Servings: Makes about 4-6 servings with rice
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients:

2 lbs whole chicken (1kg ) cut into bite size pieces

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For the ground masala:

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut or khopra(or fresh frozen grated coconut that has been thawed)
  • 2 medium onion, sliced long
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 4 garlic pods
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup warm water

For dry grinding:

  • 2 star anise
  • 1-2 dagad phool
  • 4 about 1 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 8-10 whole black peppercorns

2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp garam masala powder

1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)

1 tsp salt (or as needed)

2 cups water

Method:

Clean the chicken and pat dry with towels. Add the salt, chill powder and turmeric and rub the mixture well into the chicken pieces. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes.

In a non stick frying pan, add the sliced onions and fry them on medium heat stirring frequently until they turn reddish brown.( about 3-4 minutes). Take them out of the pan and transfer to a blender. Next add the fresh coconut (or khopra) and roast that stirring frequently until they start turning brown (about 6-7 minutes). Towards the end add the cumin and garlic pods. Stir for 1 more minute and transfer this coconut mixture also to the blender. Add the water and grind to a fine paste.

Dry grind the whole spices using a spice grinder. Keep aside.

Heat a wide bottomed cooking pot. Add the 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the chicken pieces in batches and lightly fry them (no need to cook fully) just to get a nice sear on the outside. Transfer to a plate.

To the same oil in the pot, add the chopped onions and the ginger and garlic. Lightly fry them until the onions are golden brown. Now add the ground masala to this and add the dry spice blend (ground earlier) along with salt, red chili powder and garam masala. Keep stirring the masala continuously for 4-5 minutes until the oil starts separating out (This is an important step)

Finally add the lightly fried chicken pieces back into the pot.  Add the 2 cups water. Check for seasoning and add salt or more red chili powder as needed.

Turn heat to low and Cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking of chicken pieces to the bottom.

Serve chicken curry hot with plain white rice or chapatis!

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Steamed Swiss Chard Roll ups (Alu Wadi using Swiss Chard leaves)

dsc_0237 dsc_0247One of the best things I love about food blogging is the chance to come across so many different food bloggers and their recipes. One such blogger, Archana (who blogs at Ministry of Curry )and her recipe attracted me a few weeks ago when she posted the recipe for the traditional Maharashtrian delicacy of Alu wadi using Swiss Chard leaves.  I was so excited to see that since ‘Alu Wadi’ is traditionally made using Colocasia leaves and they are available in our Indian grocers only seasonally plus they are usually not of good quality. Plus Colocasia leaves have to be carefully picked otherwise they can cause itchiness in the throat. That happened to me once when I bought the leaves once to make all wadi in the early days of our marriage and after that I never again experimented with them 🙂

Alu wadi using swiss chard leavesGujarati cuisine also has a similar dish and it is called as patra however I always liked the Maharashtrian version better since the Gujarati version is a little too sweet for my palate.

So anyways, seeing Archana’s post made me want to try this recipe once again since Swiss Chard is so readily available here plus there is no issue of choosing the leaves carefully! Plus Archana did such a fabulous job of showing the detailed steps pictorially.  Archana blogs at Ministry of Curry and judging by her lovely and detailed recipes, she definitely can be called an authority in Maharashtrian cuisine as well as in other Indian cuisines as well. Thank you Archana for this wonderful idea. I am going to be making Alu wadi ..oops Swiss chard wadi quite often now!

I made a couple variations to the batter mainly because of my health issues. Since I am going light on legumes, I used Bajra flour (millet flour) for the batter mainly adding only a little bit of besan (chickpea flour). And replaced the tamarind (as that’s a big no for my arthritis) with lemon juice.  And oh yes, replaced the jaggery with some maple syrup.  The end result was so good…the kids and the Mr. loved it a lot. Since I had made a small ‘experimental batch’ it was all over too soon! Now that’s what I call a ‘super duper hit’ recipe!

Here’s my version of the recipe. Since Archana has posted step wise photos, I suggest you go to her post if you need detailed directions.

Steamed Swiss Chard Roll ups (Alu Wadi using Swiss Chard leaves)

  • Servings: Makes about 12-14 pieces
  • Time: 30 minutes preparation time and 25 minutes cooking time
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients:

10-12 Swiss Chard leaves

For the batter:

  • 5 tbsp basra flour (millet flour)
  • 2 tbsp Besan flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • about 1/4 cup water

Olive oil for light frying

sesame seeds for topping

Method:

Clean the swiss chard leaves and cut the stems off.  Fold each leaf vertically in the center and trim off the bulging vein in the center slightly. This will help in rolling the leaves

Pat dry the leaves using paper towels and keep aside.

Mix all the batter ingredients together adding the water slowly to form a thick paste – it should have  a spreadable consistency but should not be too thin.

Now take the leaves one at a time and spread a thick layer of the batter (paste) on each leaf. Place a second leaf on top and repeat the same thing until you have a stack of 5-6 leaves. Now roll the stack of leaves as you would roll a towel rolling tightly as you go.

Repeat with the remaining leaves so that you have two rolled stacks.

Place a steamer on the stove to heat (Or you can make a steamer using a large cooking pot and a dish on the bottom. Fill this large pot with a little water. And place a small pan on top of the dish.)

Once the steamer is ready, place the rolled up stacks on the steamer (or in the small pan inside the large pot).  Cover the steamer and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat once the water in the steamer starts boiling. Turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes before taking the rolls out and cutting them into 1/2 inch rolls.

Finally, place a frying pan on the stove with a little bit of oil (about 2 tbsp ).  Top the cut rolls with sesame seeds and carefully place them sesame seed side down one by one in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until crispy on the bottom.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on the top and then turn the rolls to cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.  carefully take them out on paper towels to catch the excess oil.  Serve the rolls warm!

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Green Chilli Thecha (Mirchi Cha Thecha)


DSC_0195The first time I heard the word ‘thecha’ was from my dear friend Manisha who is from Nagpur and is an awesome cook. Her authentic Maharashtrian dishes are all fiery and simply spectacular just like her 🙂 I like to call her a Pataka….a firecracker! Lovingly, of course 🙂

Thecha is Marathi for ‘smashed or pounded’.And in Maharashtrian cuisine, it refers to a spicy relish/chutney made with chillies and garlic mainly along with some other ingredients. For example, there is red chili thecha and green chili thecha. Peanuts are also added sometimes. Having made so many different kinds of chutneys over the years, I appreciate the good old pounding method. As Manisha says, for some reason, a thecha won’t be a thecha if you make it in a food processor. The pounding works to release all flavors in a way that a food processor is unable to. And the consistency of the chutney – the coarse texture can only be achieved by pounding. So you absolutely need to bring out your mortar and pestle for this one. Or at least use a chopper so that you get a coarse consistency.

IMG_1765Now that I am following a diet restricting all sour foods, I yearn for my ‘pickle’ jar during meals. That’s when I thought of Manisha’s thecha. I needed something to spice up my meals even if I couldn’t eat any pickles or sour chutneys. And Manisha, the kind soul that she is, was quick to share her recipe. Oh the joys of ‘whatsapping’! She uses lime juice too in the end to kick it up a notch further but for me this was perfect even without the lime.

DSC_0194Mind you, this is one fiery chutney…definitely not for the ‘faint hearted’. Actually, ‘thechas’ are meant as a relish and just a tiny bit in your tongue can get your tastebuds to go on a mad frenzy! The pleasure is so intense that you could also sob. yeah…this one can bring tears!  So here is the recipe – Try it at your own risk! Keep a glass of cool milk or yoghurt by your side!

Green Chilli Thecha (Mirchi Cha Thecha)

  • Servings: makes about 1/2 cup
  • Time: about 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp light olive oil (or peanut oil)
  • 8 green serrano chillies (use less for less hot)
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, washed and pat dried
  • about 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

For tadka:

  • 1 tsp olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)

Method:

In a frying pan add the oil and when hot add the green chillies, garlic and the jeera. Roast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Turn heat off and transfer the mixture to a mortar and pestle. Add the cilantro leaves. Pound with pestle until you get a coarsely ground mixture. Add the salt and mix. Transfer to a serving bowl/container.

In a small tadka pan, add the oil and then add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the hing powder and turn heat off. Pour this oil mixture over the pounded chutney.

Serve with chapatis/bhakris /dosas or rice and daal.

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Green Chili Thecha(Mirchi Thecha)

 

 

 

Mumbai Vada Paav with home made Paav


Mumbai Vada PaavOne of my favorite street foods in Mumbai is the  ‘Vada Paav’ or the poor man’s burger which is made with potatoes and chick pea flour.  Vada Paav is as basic to Mumbai as cheese burger is to America.  It is the most ubiquitous street food in Mumbai and you can find it almost at every street corner, at railway stations, near temples, next to parks and of course outside schools and colleges and offices. I am sure every Mumbai-ite will have a favorite joint that they solemnly swear by that makes the best ones in town! I do too! Whenever I visit Mumbai, I absolutely have got to have the vada paav from our  local street corner  vendor in the suburb of Chembur whose dry garlic chutney powder is the ultimate – the bomb! My dad indulges me by going out to get a parcel (vadapaav wrapped in newspaper) for me !

Thankfully I am married to a Mumbai-ite too who shares my passion for Vada paav and so we end up making it quite often in our kitchen:) This time I went one step ahead and decided to make the Paav (bread rolls) also at home. Omg! The home made rolls came out so perfect – very much like the freshly baked Paav you get in the streets of Mumbai.

Eggless PaavSo much better than the store bought burger buns or dinner rolls. Nothing like having hot potato vadas stuffed inside freshly baked rolls! And with the 3 different chutneys – red chili garlic chutney, green coriander chutney and tamarind date chutney slathered generously on them – I was in heaven!

Vada Paav

Linking to Throwback Thursdays. Also Linking to Fiesta Friday where 2 of my favorite co-bloggers – Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Apsara @ Eating Well Diary are co-hosting this week. Cheers!

Mumbai Vada Paav

  • Servings: Makes about 12 patties and 20 bread rolls
  • Time: about 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 4-5 small green chillies, chopped fine (use less for mild hot)
  • 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 large potatoes (or 5-6 medium), boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves chopped finely
  • 1 tsp lime juice

For the chick pea coating:

  • 1 cup chick pea flour or gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • pinch baking soda
  • about 1 cup water

Method:

Heat a wok style pan or kadai and add the oil. When hot add the cumin, onions, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Stir fry for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat or until the onions are browned. Add salt and turmeric and stir well. Add the mashed potatoes and stir to incorporate the onion mixture with the potatoes. Add the cilantro and the lime juice.  Turn heat off and let this stuffing cool for about 15-20 minutes.

Take the cooled stuffing and make patties / balls.  Set them aside on a plate.

Heat a deep frying pan with oil.

Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients listed under batter except the water in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the water little bit at a time to get a smooth mixture without lumps. Batter should be thick to get a thick coating on the patty.

When the oil is hot, dip each patty in the batter to coat evenly and deep fry until golden on both sides. Drain well on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Home made Bread Rolls or Paav recipe (makes 20 rolls):

Adapted from thebakerupstairs

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (I used active dry yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used cane sugar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
about 4 cups flour, more or less as needed
3 tablespoons ice cold water, for brushing on top

Method:

In a stand mixer bowl, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Leave covered for 5 minutes until foamy. Then add 3 cups of flour, the salt and the oil. Start the mixer to bring the dough together. Continue adding little bit more flour at a time about 1/4 cup until you get a sticky dough. The dough should be formed but its should be sticky to touch. That’s when you stop adding the flour. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F ( 200 deg C)

Then punch the dough (the dough would have risen by now) and break into about 20 pieces. Line a baking tray (13 by 9 inches) with parchment paper. Place the rolls in the tray and keep aside for  an additional 15 minutes at room temperature to rise.

Brush the rolls with ice cold water and place the tray in the oven and bake at 400 Deg F for about 12-15 minutes (check after 12 minutes) until the tops are golden brown.

For assembling the Vada Paavs:

Take a bread roll and spread with green chutney on one side and tamarind chutney on the other side. Place the potato patty in between and top the patty with the dry garlic chutney. (See recipes for all 3 chutneys given below)

Home made PaavEggless Paav batata vada

IMG_2767Recipe for green chutney:

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp peanuts (or roasted chana dal)
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Add all ingredients to food processor and blend to get smooth paste.

Recipe for dry garlic chutney:

  • 8-10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut grated
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp peanuts, roasted
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tiny (penny size ) piece of tamarind
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Dry roast separately the garlic, the coconut and the sesame seeds until brown.

Transfer all ingredients to a food processor/dry grinder and blend till coarse.

Recipe for tamarind date chutney:

  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • quarter size piece of tamarind (pit removed) soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get a smooth puree

 

Mumbai Vada Paav