Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bollywood Cooking - Rawa Idli and Coconut Chutney

I returned from my soujourn to India last year with many things. One of which was a love for Bollywood films (as I blogged here). So you can imagine my excitement when THIS came to a cinema near me.

I saw the shorts for it when I was in India and I was so sad I was going to miss it. So I tootled along to see it ASAP. It's an awesome action adventure flick staring from left to right - Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan. All huge Bollywood stars. It was FANTASTIC!! It was just like being back in India. It was just me and a few friends in a cinema full of Indian families. All laughing and just having a great time. How could you not love jetskis flying about in the middle of the desert and cycle rickshaws of death. You just can't help but have fun in Bollywood!!!

I just wanted to rush off and jump on a plane back to India. That being out of the question, the next best thing was to indulge in some delicious Indian food. As it happened, the theme chosen for this month's Monthly Mingle over at What's For Lunch Honey is Bollywood Cooking.

How about that!! It's like everything just came together as the perfect time to make my favourites - rawa idlis and coconut chutney. Although, I'm not sure how well this fits into the Mingle criteria of glitter and gloss. This is more like comfy home baking snack making. Oh well.

I learned these recipes in a cooking class I did with Kurma Dasa, a famous vegetarian chef here in Australia. As I understand it, this is a traditional Southern Indian dish. I make no claim for authenticity.

I love these dishes. Rawa idli breads are small steamed breads made with coarse semolina (top) and split urad dal (bottom).

This recipe adds mustard seeds and cashews. You can also add chopped chilies as well, if you like some heat.

They are made in special idli moulds that stack up into trees, as you can see in this photo. I bought mine in a local Indian grocery for $5.

You will end up with these. Once you've got all the necessary bits and pieces together, they really are easy to make. And oh so, so tasty.

One of the most important things is to grease the moulds well, otherwise you will end up with a bunch of stuck and broken idlis. They will still taste great, but won't look so pretty.

As for the coconut chutney, well it could not be easier. I use frozen fresh coconut that I buy in little packets from a local asian grocery. There's a little bit of frying. But really it's all about mixing. It's lovely and refreshing. So good!!

Here you have it the complete meal. I could sit and eat this all day!!!!!

Rawa Idli studded with Cashews
(adapted from Kurma Dasa)

2 tbspn split urad dal, soaked in warm water for 2 hours
2 tbspn cashews, chopped
1 1/2 tbspn black mustard seeds
1 tbspn ghee
1 1/4 cups coarse semolina
3/4 tspn baking powder
2 tspn salt
1 tspn baking soda
1 1/4 cups yoghurt
1/2 - 1 cup warm water
ghee to grease the moulds

Heat the ghee, add the mustard seeds and fry until they commence popping. Add the drained dal and cashews (and chopped chilies if you wish). Fry until the mixture darkens. Set aside.

Heavily grease the idli moulds. Add about 5cm of water to a tightly lidded saucepan and place over a high heat.

Combine the semolina, baking soda and salt and mix well.

Stir in the yoghurt. Add enough water to form a smooth batter than falls easily from the spoon, but is not too runny. Stir in the fried mixture.

Spoon the mixture into each compartment of the moulds.

Lift the idli tree inside, drape a tea towel over the top of the saucapan and replace the lid. Steam for 7-10 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove the tree and cool for 2 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop the idlis from their moulds. Place in a tea towel ensuring that the idlis do not touch (they are likely to stick). Eat while still hot with coconut chutney. They can be reheated in the microwave or by steaming.

Coconut Chutney
(adapted from Kurma Dasa)

1 1/2 cups shredded fresh, frozen or dried coconut
1 1/2 cups yoghurt
1/2 cups cold water
1 tbspn minced ginger
minced green chiles or crumbled dried chiles to taste
1/4 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn vegetable oil
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tspn split urad dal
10-12 curry leaves, fresh or dried
1/4 tspn yellow asafetida powder

Combine the coconut, yoghurt, water, ginger, chilies, pepper and salt.

Heat the oil. Drop in the mustard seeds and fry until they crackle. Add the urad dal and fry it until it turns golden. Toss in the curry leaves and stir until they soften.

Add the asafetida and then immediately remove from the heat. Mix the spices into the bowl of yoghurt and coconut.

Serve at room temperature. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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At 12:23 am, Blogger Deborah said...

I am not really familiar with Indian food, but from the looks of this - I need to get familiar! It all looks so tasty!

At 12:25 am, Blogger Meeta K said...

KJ this is awesome, when i was in Dubai in April I saw the ads for the film too - but i was disappointed i'd be missing it. BOOHOO! i love saif and akshay and knowing you have rave comments about it i have to see if i can get it on the net.
As for this dish!!!! what can i say i have never ventured in making idlis before and am impressed at these here. That chutney looks spectacular too! Perfect in every way!

At 10:49 am, Blogger Cindy said...

I have repeatedly tried to order idlis from the cheap and cheerful Indian restaurants here but they are always unavailable! Maybe I need to make some of my own.

At 7:01 pm, Blogger grace said...

this is totally new to me, and i'm intrigued! i'm always surprised by how many foods i haven't tried yet. the list is long (and gets longer every day), but i'm slowly chipping away at it!

At 8:20 pm, Blogger Dharm said...

KJ, what can I say? I am SO impressed! Indian Food hey! Ya know, Ive never even made Idli myself so Yaay for you!! So proud of you. And what about Kareena Kapoor huh... she is such a honey! :)

At 9:43 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Deborah, it really is!

Hi Meeta, thanks. They were both great in this movie. Akshay is kinda like an Indian Jackie Chan.

Hi Cindy, they are really easy. you should go for it.

Hi Grace, I feel the same way!!

Hi Dharm, thanks. I have to say I prefer Kunal Kapoor myself!!!

At 11:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm learning so much about Indian cooking from blogs like yours, thanks. Fascinating cuisine and I love seeing all these interesting dishes. This looks wonderful!

At 12:59 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so tempted to make this! What is urad dhal if I may ask? i've got the similar mould my friend sent me from Indonesia. I think I can use that.

At 12:36 am, Blogger Laura Paterson said...

Wow - these look really impressive - well done!!

At 12:25 am, Blogger Julie said...

This sounds terrific, I think I will give it a try.

At 7:32 pm, Blogger jenny b said...

what is urad dhal? Where can i buy it and is there an alternative?


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