3 cups Besan (chickpea flour)
1 cup Curd
2 tsp Oil
Lemon juice
1 tsp Green Chilies paste
2 " Ginger - finely grated
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Eno Fruit salt

For seasoning:
Few Curry Leaves
2 tsp Grated Coconut
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
6 - 8 Green Chilies - slit length wise
1 Green Pepper - slit length wise

Sieve besan 2 times to loosen up the flour. In a bowl mix together besan, salt, turmeric, green chili paste, grated ginger with curd and then using water as required in small amounts. It should have a pan cake batter consistency (not too thick neither too watery). Set aside for 4 to 5 hours to ferment.

Grease a large pressure cooker insert vessel, (place a round parchment at the bottom of the vessel for easy removal) or grease well with oil. Keep  this ready and put the pressure cooker on fire and let the water boil.

In a small bowl add lemon juice, oil, cooking soda and mix well and pour it into the the batter. Keep mixing and now add eno fruit salt. Immediately you see will the batter raise with bubbles, fold well into the batter quickly and pour the batter in the greased vessel. Pour enough water in the pressure cooker and cook on steam without the weight(like idli) for 12min on high flame and 3 min on low flame. Test with a tooth pick before removing to be sure.

Do not remove dhokla from the vessel immediately, let sit on the counter for a few minutes before removing. Grease a plate and turn the vessel on it, using a sharp knife cut diagonally into pieces.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a small skillet add mustard seeds and let splutter, then  add slit green chilies, slit green peppers, sesame seeds, grated coconut, fry for a few minutes and then add 2 tsp of water and turn off the flame. The water in the thadka will help spread the tempering evenly.

Garnish dhokla with coriander leaves and the above tempering. Serve hot with mint or coriander chutney.

Kakarakaye : Agakarakaye Fry - Karela

Kakarakaye and agakarakaye both belong to the gourd family. But kakarakaye is the bitter gourd and agakarakaye is not bitter at all. I like to compare them to fingers of the same palm that are so different from each other.
Agakarakaye is rare and expensive, but thanks to the frozen food, available in abundance in the Indian grocery stories in the freezer section. I have eaten more agakarakaye in US than in India. Comes in handy for a quick fry right from the freezer.

Kakarakaye and Onion Fry.

Agakarakaye and Onion Fry.
1 lb Karela {Bitter gourd or Agakarakaye}
3 Onions

Chop karela in circles, transfer them into a bowl, add tsp of salt and let sit for half hr. Then squeeze with fingers and discard the juice (Actually this juice is good for diabetes, but the excess salt in it is the bad part, so reduce salt, if desired to drink the juice.) By removing the juice, karela will not be so bitter anymore. Chop onions.

When using agakarakaye, cut into 4 pieces and add to oil in a skillet.

I normally do not discard the seeds unless they are ripe/red. They give a certain crunchy taste to the fry.

Take 3 -4 tsp of oil in a skillet and heat it. Once oil is hot add the chopped karela and fry for a few minutes on medium flame. Then add chopped onions and fry for a few more minutes and add salt.

Once the vegetables are crunchy or completely cooked add red chili powder and remove from flame. Serve hot with rice when the vegetable is crispy and crunchy.

Or completely fry the vegetable; do not add red chili powder. Just before serving add a tsp of oil and fry on high flame, add red chili powder and serve hot.

Vegetables that are good for frying are: Potatoes, Plantain (Aritikaye), French-cut beans, Ladies finger (Benadakaye), Karela - Indian bitter gourd, Agakarakaye (another variety in bitter gourd- only this not so bitter), Tindora (Dondakaye).

Thotakura majiga pulusu - Amaranth leaves

This is a perfect recipe for those days when you have sour curd left is the refrigerator.

1 bunch Amaranth leaves - Thotakura
Few Ladies fingers - Bendakaya - Optional
2 Tomatoes - Optional
4 cups Sour Curd
2- 3 Green Chilies
1" Ginger
Few Curry Leaves
2 tsp Grated coconut
1 tsp Sambar Powder

Wash and chop thotakura. Cut bendakaye and tomatoes into any desired shape and size.

In a steel vessel thin the curd using a “Kavam” or by using a ladle into buttermilk adding enough water. Take 3 tsp of besan in a bowl and add enough water and mix well. Add this mix to the butter milk and mix well. Then place it on a medium flame and keep stirring till the buttermilk boils. Remove from flame and keep aside.

In a non stick low bottom vessel take 2 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of ghee and make tadka with ¼ tsp jeera, ¼ tsp mustard seeds, ¼ tsp vammu, few fenugreek seeds, hing and red chili. Then add chopped green chilies, ginger, grated coconut, few curry leaves and chopped bendakaye and salt. Fry for a few minutes and add chopped thotakura, tomatoes fry for a few minutes (or thotakura can be cooked in a pressure cooked with salt) add enough water and cook till the vegetables are soft. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables or they will lose their shape.

Once the vegetables are soft add the cooked buttermilk, a tsp of sambar powder and turmeric and bring to boil. Taste for salt and seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Magiga pulusu is a good side dish with rice. One of good combinations is mudda pappu (toor dal) rice and magiga pulusu or in kandi podi and rice.