Chow for the critters in the gut!

A yummy and a popular salad in our home, made with home sprouted green gram, onions, garlic, coriander, green chillies and seasoned with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, salt and lemon juice.

This is a traditional South Indian salad recipe. The green gram (dried green mung beans) are first washed and soaked in water to allow them to sprout. Now, Melbourne winters are tricky so I soak them in warm water and leave them to sprout over a couple of days. Next, heat a wok, in a teaspoon of sesame seed oil, add mustard seeds until they splutter, add chopped green chillies, curry leaves, chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions just turn translucent. Now add the sprouted green gram and steam for about 5 minutes. The sprouts need to retain their crunch but be cooked (this decreases the flatus and bloat in sensitive stomachs). Take off the heat, add salt and lime juice to taste, garnish with chopped coriander. A great snack for diabetics, PCOS and weight reduction.

Steamed green gram sprouts salad

Kosambri using bananas, another traditional food!

I have lovely memories of bananas growing near the washing stone in the backyard of our traditional house. We called the house ‘Mishin Mane’, a Kannada word for Machine House. My cousin would wash clothes in bucketloads and throw the water to the bananas, which grew profusely.
My mother makes Kosambri with ripe bananas, kosambri in Kannada is for salad, and in Marathi we call it Koshambir.
This is an easy snack and flavoured with lemon and salt. The seasoning of mustard, cumin seeds, black gram (urad dal), yellow split gram (chana dal), chopped green chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves adds the piquant flavour to the dish. Freshly grated coconut garnish is a must, evoking the taste of the tropics. In Melbourne, I buy frozen grated coconut from the Indian or Sri Lankan grocer.
Just chop the ripe bananas into rounds, mix with lemon juice and salt to taste. In a small saucepan or a kadai, heat a spoonful (up to 2 tsp) of oil (I use sesame oil), add mustard and cumin seeds to splutter, add the grams, chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves. Now add this seasoning to the bananas with chopped coriander and fresh coconut as a garnish.

Steamed rice dumplings

Steamed rice dumplings

Now that my Mum is here, we are revisiting traditional Indian recipes. Being plant-based, it is more fun to batch cook, saves us time and energy over the week. These are our version of Kolakattais or steamed rice dumplings. A great idea for school snacks.

You will need 2 cups of coarse rice flour; 1/2 red onion finely chopped; 1 green chilly finely chopped; 1/2 cup packed chopped coriander; 1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut; 2 tsp white sesame seeds; 1tsp cumin seeds and salt to taste. Now mix the flour with these seasonings and add 1/2 cup of buttermilk to resemble breadcrumbs. Add 1/2 cup of water (slowly, a tablespoon at a time) to gather into a ball. The dough must be moist but not wet. Now, make small oval dumplings, lay them on a steel plate and steam in the cooker for about 10-12 minutes.

In Melbourne, I use ‘Puttu Podi’ which is available in any Indian or Sri Lankan grocery. Steaming can be done in a bamboo basket or a vegetable steamer, just make sure no water touches the dumplings, while steaming.