Tofu Vegetable Cutlet / How to make Tofu Cutlet

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According to wiki, The word cutlet is originally from french word cotelette which literally translate a small piece of meat. It is a dish which generally uses a mashed vegetable or minced meat , then dipped in egg like mixture, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The one and only appetizer which took many avatar in almost all cuisines.

But today, we are going to shallow fry the cutlet instead of deep frying it. Though we shallow fry it, the outer layer is very crispy but inside is soft and yummy. This typical street food can easily prepared by the ingredients available at home and today's version is completely vegan, If you do not get tofu, you can substitute it with paneer. Instead of breadcrumbs, rava or coarsely powdered oats can be used for rolling the cutlet.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 12

Ingredients:
Tofu - 1 and 1/2 cup, crumbled
Potato - 1 medium size
Carrot - 3/4 cup, grated
Green Capsicum - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds powder - 1/2 tsp
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp
Amchoor powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Pressure cook the potato for 3 to 5 whistles. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and capsicum, grate the carrot.
2) Once the potato is pressure cooked, peel the skin and mash it without lumps.
3) Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and saute till it becomes soft.
4) Add ginger garlic paste. Mix well for few seconds.
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5) Add capsicum, grated carrot and crumbled tofu. I used extra firm tofu, squeezed out the excess water and crumbled it. Mix well and let it cook well in a low to medium flame.
6) Once the vegetables and tofu cooked well, add all the masalas. Increase the spicy level according to your personal preference.
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7) Continue cooking the mix till the raw smell of masala goes off. Now added boiled potato. continue to mix till it forms like a dough. Make sure to add the potato when the vegetables and tofu are cooked well and dry.
8) Turn off the flame and cool down the mixture. Once it is cool down, knead it well so we get a smooth dough.
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9) From the dough, pinch a lemon size ball and form a patty. Repeat the same steps with rest of the dough.
10) Now, mix the all purpose flour with the approx. 1/2 cup of water. This mixture should be thin. Instead of all purpose flour, one can use the wheat flour as well.
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11) Immediately place the patty in breadcrumbs, roll it over, so that it coats over the patty.
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12) Place this patty in a hot tawa, sprinkle oil, cook till it becomes golden brown. flip to cook the other side.
13) As we have already cooked the tofu and vegetables, it is enough to cook the patty tilll the outer layer becomes crisp and golden brown.
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14) Serve hot with ketchup and green chutney.

Serving Suggestions:
1) Serve it as an appetizer with green chutney or tomato ketchup.
2) It serves as an after school snack and it can also be packed as a snack box or lunchbox for kids.
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Notes:
1) Instead of tofu, one can use paneer as well.
2) Addition and choice of vegetable is your choice. Increase or decrease the quantity according to the personal preference.
3) Add potato as a last step and it act as a binding ingredient. if you still not able to form a dough, add corn flour or all purpose flour to make it like a dough. If you add corn flour or all purpose flour, then make sure to shallow fry the patties for longer time in low flame took additionally added flour.
4)  Instead of round shape, the shape can be changed according to the personal preference. For example, heart shape, triangle, globe, cylinder shapes can be used.
5) Instead of shallow frying, you can also deep fry it. 

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Arisi Paruppu Sadam / South Indian Dhal Rice

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I just realized that there are some recipes which I prepare very often, are not uploaded in my blog space. Arisi paruppu sadam is one such recipe. It is easy to make, one pot recipe and needs very usual ingredients which would be available in every south indian household. This Coimbatore style arisi paruppu sadam makes it's appearance in my kitchen whenever I run out of vegetables during weekends. My family members fondly calls this as 'paruppu biriyani' and loves to eat it when it hot and served fresh.

It is a kongu nadu specialty which goes very well with a dollop of ghee. I personally like it to eat it with lime pickle whereas my husband prefers it with fried onion vadam or appalam and my kids likes it with curd. Interestingly this south Indian dhal rice goes very well with all of these. When I introduced rice for my kids when she was a baby, I used to make it without dry red chilli and sambar powder and mash it slightly and feed her just after mixing it with ghee. She loves this rice that time.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes including soaking time
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Dry red chillies – 3
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic cloves - 4
Onion – 1 medium size
Tomato – 1
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Sambar Masala – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Rice – 1 cup
Toor Dal – 1/3 cup
Water – 3 cups
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step picture:

1) In a bowl, take both rice and water together. Wash well three or four times or until the water runs clear. Soak it for 15 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, slice onion and tomato. Heat a pressure cooker . Add a tbsp of oil. When it is hot,add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let it crackle.
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3) Add dry red chillies and a sprig of curry leaves.
4) Add chopped garlic and let it fry for few seconds.
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5) Add sliced onion and saute till it becomes soft and translucent. Add tomato and let it becomes soft and mushy.
6) Add turmeric powder, sambar masala and salt to taste. Mix well and cook till the raw smell of the masala goes off.
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7) Add soaked rice after draining the water. Add 3 cups of water. I usually use 2 and 1/2 cup water for 1 cup of rice. So, both rice and dal together, I added 3 cups of water. Generally It is enough to add the water required to cook the rice.
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8) Added a tablespoon of coriander leaves and close the cooker using the lid.
9) Pressure cook it for 3 whistles on a high flame. Wait for the pressure to release from the cooker automatically.
10) Once the pressure is released, open the lid and fluff it off.

Serving Suggestion:
1) Serve hot with ghee for lunch. It pairs well with any spicy pickle and appalam.
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Lunchbox Idea:
I packed this rice with Mushroom masala, kale stirfry, Seasoned curd and grapes. For more lunchbox ideas please check my instagram account.
Notes:
1) Adjust the water quantity according to the rice you use. The final cooked rice should be grains separated.
2) Instead of sambar masala, you can use red chilli powder and adjust the quantity according to the personal preference.
3) I usually soak rice for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking and followed the same procedure here. Make sure to tweak it according to the rice you use.
4) Instead of oil, you can use ghee for seasoning.
5) I used ponni boiled rice for making this recipe. You can use any rice variety that you use it in your daily cooking like sona masuri or par boiled rice.

Vazhakkai Kola Urundai / Raw Banana Kola Urundai

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When We say kola urundai, one could immediately remember the mutton version. Mutton kola urundai is quite popular in the region of chettinad and its surroundings. but, as far as I have remembered, Kola urundais are first made with raw banana before the mutton version gets popular. I first ever tasted the kola urundai in Maplai restaurent, chennai. luckily, they mentioned a short description about how it was made. based on it, I created my version.

It is deep fried in oil. However, you can shallow fry it as well using an appe pan. I have tried both and taste wise there was no difference but the deep fried version stayed crisp for longer time than the shallow fried one. Make sure to choose the firm, fresh raw banana for making this recipe.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20 kola urundai

Ingredients:

Raw Banana – 1
Ginger -  3 cloves, chopped
Garlic – 1 inch, chopped
Green Chillies –  2
Small Onion – 10
Coconut – ½ cup
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Gram Flour – ¼ cup
Rice flour – ¼ cup
Salt – to taste
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – for deep frying

Video Recipe:
Method with Step by Step pictures:

1) Cut the raw banana into three pieces and pressure cook it for 2 whistles. Increase the whistle based on the banana variety you use.
2) Once cooked, cool down the banana, peel the skin of it. Grate it or chopped into slices.
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3) Add this cooled, chopped (or grated) banana into a mixer jar. Add ginger, garlic, small onion, green chillies coconut and coriander leaves. Blend it to mix well.
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4) Transfer the blended mixture to a bowl. Add gram flour, rice flour, fennel seeds and salt. Mix well and knead it till it forms a smooth lump. The mixture would be initially very sticky but forms a smooth dough kind of lump when we start kneading it. Use oil if needed for smooth dough.
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5) Apply oil in both the hands, pinch an amla size balls and make a smooth round shape as soft as possible. Repeat it for the rest of the dough. Do not press the balls too much.
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6) Heat oil in pan. When it is hot, add 5 or 7 balls(based on the quantity of oil) and deep fry it.
7) Make sure the flame is in medium to high for even cooking. Deep fry till the balls become golden brown.
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8) Once done, drain the excess oil using paper towel.

Serving Suggestion:
1) Raw banana kola urundai is a great appetizer. It can be served as a side dish during the main course lunch.
2) It can also be served as a snack for evening or as an after school snack.
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Lunchbox Idea:
Lunchbox Idea from this recipe is below. I packed it with little Millet bisibelebath, Stir fried amaranth leaves, Raw banana kola urundai, Curd and applam.
rawbanana-kola-urundai-lunchbox
Notes:
1) You can skip the coconut if you want.
2) Increase or decrease the rice flour and gram flour just enough to make a dough. it acts as a binding agent.
3) Make sure not to miss the fennel seeds which plays a major role in this dish. 

Watermelon Rind Dal \ How to make Watermelon Rind Dal

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When there is a watermelon in season, there is a dal recipe using it's rind in our household. There are many ways of using this rind in cooking, but in our household we use it in more kulambu and dal frequently. The raita made using this rind also tastes good. So, after eating the red juicy flesh part of watermelon, do not throw it's outer skin. Instead, remove the green part and cut into cubes, use it in this comfort dal based gravy.

No one can find it out that the watermelon rind is been used in this dal unless you say it explicitly. You may also use this rind to make kootu, which is slightly vary from the dal recipe given here. The rind is good source of amino acid and reduces the blood pressure. So buy the fruit and use it fully except the green peel and enjoy.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Tie: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For Dal:

Watermelon rind – 1 cup, chopped
Moong dal – ½ cup
Onion – ½ cup, chopped
Tomato – ½ cup, chopped
Green chilli – 1, chopped
Garlic cloves – 3, chopped
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste
Water – 1 and ½ cup  (or as required)

For Seasoning:

Oil – 3 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Dry red chillies – 2, crushed
Asafoetida – a pinch

Video Recipe:

Recipe with step by step pictures:
1) Clean and remove the green and pink portion of the water melon rind. Chop it into small pieces.
2) Wash and soak dal for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop onion, tomato and green chilli.
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3) In a pressure pan, add moong dal and 1 and 1/2 cup of water. Start cooking in medium flame.
4) After 5-7 minutes, you can see the foam forming on the surface of the water. Remove it using a ladle. This is nothing but the fat from dal.
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5) Now, add chopped watermelon rind, onion, tomato, garlic and green chilli.
6) Add cumin seeds and turmeric powder. Mix well and cover it using the lid. Cook for 3 whistles.
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7) Wait for some time to release the steam from pressure cooker.
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8) Once the lid is opened, mix the dal using the ladle and slightly mash it. Add salt to taste and mix well.
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9) In another pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies. Fry few seconds.
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10) Add this seasoning to the dal. Add asafoetida. Mix well. Yummy, easy and comforting dal ready!

Serving Suggestions:

1) Serve this dal with hot steamed rice for lunch.
2) This rice and dal combinations goes well with pickle or any spicy subzi or southindian style poriyal/stirfries.
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Lunchbox Idea:
I packed this dal with plain rice, cauliflower masala, baby carrots and green grapes.

watermelon-rind-dal-lunchbox
Notes:
1) Use fresh watermelon rind for making this dal. Before adding the rind to the dal, taste it and check it is not giving any bitter taste.
2) Adjust the water consistency according to your personal preference. The given water quantity works well t get the correct consistency, however it is better to adjust according to the moong dal quality we use.
3) with three whistles, this dal cooks well. however, adjust it according to the moong dal brand and the thickness of the watermelon rind you use. 

Chicken Gravy for Idly and Dosa / Kozhi Kulambu for Idly and Dosa

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I don’t usually make idly for dinner but due to the onset of summer it took just few hours to ferment the batter instead of the usual 10 to 15 long hours. So the freshly fermented batter tempted me to make idlies for dinner.

As it was Sunday, I cooked chicken gravy to go with it. This recipe for chicken gravy is by MIL and she used to make it every Sunday or when we visit her for breakfast and the leftover would be served with lunch. But this recipe works great with idly/dosa.

Basic Information:
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:

For Chicken Gravy:

Oil – 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Star anise - 1
Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – 2 inch
Onion - 1 cup, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 and ½ tbsp
Tomato – 1 cup, chopped
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste
Chicken – ½ kg Water – ¾ cup to 1 cup
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, for garnishing

For Grinding:

Coconut – ¼ cup
Rice flour – 1 tbsp
Water – ¼ cup

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:

1) Cut the chicken into pieces and wash it well. chop onion, tomato and prepare ginger garlic paste.
2) Heat oil in the pressure cooker. Add all the spices (fennel seeds, bay leaf, star anise, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon) one by one. Allow the spices to splutter.
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3) Add onion and saute till the onion becomes soft and translucent.
4) Add the ginger garlic paste. Saute it well.
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5) Add the tomato and cook till it becomes mushy.
6) Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder one by one. Stir well and let it be in low flame till the oil oozes out of the gravy.
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7) Then, add the chicken pieces, salt to taste and 3/4 cup of water. Mix well and cover it using a lid.
8) Pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Wait for the steam to suppress completely and then open the lid.
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9) Grind coconut and rice flour together with 1/4 cup of water into a smooth paste.
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10) Add this paste to the gravy. Mix well and allow it to boil.
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11) Boil till the desired consistency is reached. Adjust water according to your personal preference.
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12) Towards the end, garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestion:
1) Best to be served with idly and dosa for breakfast/dinner as a sidedish.
2) It can also be served for rice for lunch as a side dish.
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Notes:
1) Increase or decrease the water quantity based on your personal preference.
2) Use only fresh coconut and ginger garlic paste for the perfect taste, flavor and texture.
3) Rice flour act as a thickening agent and due to this, the gravy tend to become thick when it cools down. so, choose the consistency accordingly.
4) Both Chicken with bone and without bone work well for this recipe.

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