March 31, 2008
Balanced Breakfast-Ragi Idiappam and Ishtu...
Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day for me..so important that I have no patience in cooking elaborate breakfasts on an empty stomach. But weekends are special and breakfast is a lazy affair over lots of chatter and cups of tea. So I fortify myself on cereal and get cooking. But by the time I get the food ready, it inevitably becomes brunch.
This is my entry to the Weekend Breakfast Blogging hosted by Manasi this month. So how to have a balanced breakfast? Mansi wants whole grains, fruits/vegetables and protein in the breakfast. Whole wheat square cereal topped with nuts and dried fruits and milk would be an ideal entry but wouldn't fly by the rest of the household.:) So this is one of the preferred alternatives to the standard bread and egg combination.
Why "Ragi" or finger millet idiappam? They call it idiappam, we call it nool puttu( puttu in string form).Well, ragi is a great source of plant protein as well as calcium, fiber and minerals. In India, finger millet or ragi is mostly grown and consumed in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. According to wiki, ground Ragi flour is made into ragi munda, dosa and roti. Ragi grain is malted and flour from the malted grain is consumed after mixing with Milk/Boiled water/Yoghurt.
It used to be considered the poor man's food and was not common in my house while growing up, but in this new era of "healthy living", "high Fiber", "whole grain" food, it is making a come back in different forms. I had written about ragi puttu earlier and now here is idiappam which is also delicious if u like the whole grain taste.
I just follow Anita's excellent recipe as it is for making idiappam. This time though I replaced more than half of the rice flour with ragi flour to make the idiappam healthier. You could make it with full ragi flour but it might be too coarse then. Use ragi flour as available in Indian stores.
I don't like supporting any brands as the powders you get in the Indian stores here vary in freshness based on the traffic through the store. Some batches of entire rice/flour etc will be stale tasting and some will be good. Of the lot, I found Eastern ragi and rice four to be of relatively good quality. Still do check the date!! And don't blame me if you don't like the taste.
You will need:
Fine Rice Flour - 1 cup
Fine ragi flour- 1 cup
Water - approx 2 cups or less
Salt - 1/2 teas spoon
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Thick Coconut milk - 1 tsp (Optional)
Heat water with the salt in a pan till boiling point. Pour the hot boiling water to the ragi-rice flour and stir thoroughly to avoid lumps. Keep the flour closed for 3-5 minutes to cool it down and mix with a spoon to a smooth even consistency. Lightly grease the idiappam mold and fill it to three quarters full.
I used to make this in the Idli mold so that each of them comes out nice and pretty but when you are in a hurry, its just as tasty to make it into big plate sized idiappams which you can cut before serving. Another short cut I use is the pasta cooker's steamer basket. For ease of removing the idiappam, I line it with a fresh paper towel and place a layer of coconut on it. Then the idiappam is squeezed out on to it and steamed.
Either way, grease the slotted tray or idli mold, whichever you are using and squeeze out the noodles onto the tray in a circular motion. I use the sev/mixture plate in the murukku mold. If the noodles are breaking up as they come out, it means there is too much water in the dough. Garnish with lots of coconut and cover and steam for 5-7 minutes. After it cools, serve with ishtu. Or it tastes yummier with fresh coconut milk and sugar.
Ishtu/ Potato stew with coconut milk
By now, the blogging world must have made everyone aware that "Ishtu" is a corruption of the word "Stew", and takes many forms with or without meat/fish in it.
This is the simplest form of it, almost as a base for all the other versions.
You Will need:
2 potatoes diced
1 onion sliced
4-5 green chilies
1 piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves and 2 cardamom
Some curry leaves
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, coarse
salt to taste
1 cup of coconut milk.
Heat 1-2 teaspoon of oil in a pan. Add the whole spices and onions and then the green chilies. Sauté only for 3 to 5 minutes till the onions gets transparent. Add the potatoes, 1 cup of water and salt. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes on medium heat or till the potatoes get cooked. When they are cooked, mash some of the potatoes lightly. Add the coconut milk and pepper. Garnish with curry leaves and keep covered for a minute or so.