Friday, March 21, 2008

Brunching, Munching

The quest for whole-grain breakfasts continues as I travel around the blogs learning some new recipes, tips and tricks.

First stop- Tasty Palettes: Quinoa Upma

It took a long time for quinoa to become part of my pantry for the simple reason that it takes me some effort to make space for new foods! Going by the old saying, "When in doubt, make upma", I followed Suganya's recipe to the T. Again, I can't let my breakfasts get too healthy, can I? So I balanced the utterly nutritious upma with some spicy mixture on the side. Quinoa has a wonderful flavor; to me it tastes more like corn than anything else. It would be just wonderful in a soup, like in this recipe, or in a salad or these croquettes. If you have tried and liked quinoa, would you care to tell me your favorite way to cook it?

Second stop- Holy Cow: Golden Delicious Adai

Vaishali, you had me at "golden"! Again, I used brown rice for this recipe but otherwise followed it closely. A couple of hours of soaking the dals and rice, and then I used the food processor to grind the batter for this adai, which made it very easy to blitz some cabbage leaves, ginger and curry leaves into the batter in the last few seconds of grinding. This nutritious adai made for a quick and light supper. Guess who loved this adai and kept begging for more? Dale, that's who! He seems to have guessed that the recipe came from the kind, animal-loving Vaishali.

Third stop- Mane Adige: Oil/Butter/Ghee-Free Aloo Paratha

Most paratha recipes call for a good amount of fat in the dough and for cooking the paratha on a griddle; this Sanjeev Kapoor recipe adds a bit of milk and yogurt to the dough and makes it possible to cook the parathas with no more fat at all. I made the dough as directed, and used low-fat versions of both milk and yogurt. This time around, I used lightly spiced purple potatoes for the filling.

While the purple potato parathas looked pretty enough, it was not such a great idea after all! I found that purple potatoes are quite mealy and I did not really like the way they tasted in the paratha (too powdery, somehow). I will sticky to waxy potatoes for paratha filling in the future.

But the exciting thing is that the oil-free business works like a charm. I used the rest of the dough to make plain phulkas- they browned beautifully without a drop of oil, and puffed up on the cast-iron skillet with no coaxing at all. This one stayed puffy for several minutes while I abandoned it to go find the camera and record it for posterity!

And for dessert- Jugalbandi: Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cake

Their post made me weak in the knees and I became quite obsessed with trying out this recipe. Finally, on Monday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn and starting pulling out baking ingredients from the shelves like a woman possessed. Baking (and eating) chocolate cake on a Monday morning- am I living on the edge or what? :D
It is a wonderful recipe, and I finally got to use my stash of whole-wheat pastry flour. The frosting is to die for! I had two minor gripes with the way I made this cake (I made a 8x8 sheet cake instead of cupcakes). First, I think using the apple cider vinegar that I used had too strong a taste of its own, because I could taste it faintly in the batter. Next time, I will use white vinegar instead. Also, I over-baked the cake just a tad, and it became quite crumbly as a result. But all in all, this recipe is a keeper.

*** *** ***

Dale is almost back to his normal energetic self these days. I never thought I would be so happy and relieved about being dragged unceremoniously through the neighborhood again. The first item on his agenda every day: a visit to his buddy Tony, who runs the newspaper stand on the corner. Tony has a big heart and a deep love for the four-legged denizens of the neighborhood, and the dogs love him right back. Dale has this hilarious habit of jumping up at the counter to say hello to Tony...

...and he proceeds to beg for demand treats. Tony keeps a few different kinds of treats at hand, and Dale is not shy about pointing (I kid you not) to the fanciest ones!

*** *** ***

I'll leave you with a feast for the eyes: A beautiful photo-essay from A Life (Time) of Cooking, on eating off banana leaves in India.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hey Nupur,

    I just left a message here and don't know if it got saved... anyway, lovely breakfast spread. :-)

    And I totally relate to the baking in the morning thing... S wonders about my urge to bake at "odd" hours.

  2. Isn't dale so sweet.
    Your pulka have just blown up so good, when ever i majke them it doens't.

  3. Purple potatoes??? Haven't come across that yet....
    Love the pic of the puffed up phulka.

  4. Great dishes there, N! Love the non-fat parathas and can't believe the non-fat phulkas puffed up so well! And Dale- what a handsome dog he is! I love him! And adorable with his antics too! Love his pix there! :)

  5. Those are such sweet pictures of Dale.


  6. The eating of upma with sev is so gujju. We even add sev to sabzis. The purple potatoes look really lovely. I usually put my phulkas over the open flame for a second or two and that usually does the trick.I read somewhere that the acid in yoghurt softens protein in the roti.
    happy cooking!

  7. Yay for Dale. I'm glad he is back spreading sunshine.

    That phulka is a beauty.

  8. Love the recipes. My parents are visiting over the summer so I love the idea of the upma and adai. My husband and I just have a fruit smoothie with flax seed for breakfast but I think my parents would prefer something more traditional. Love the idea of making indian recipes with whole grains and less fat. Bw I love your blog.. its a wonderful resource.

    - Priya ( the one who recommends books:))

  9. Nupur, when I was little, I used to call the puffy breads like phulkas 'magic breads' because of the way they poofed up. I had no idea they were cooked on a skillet.

    Dale's a cutie, that's for sure.

  10. looks wonderful. lovely pictures. great feast to the eyes as well as stomach.

  11. What adorable pics of Dale! Too cute :-) The adai looks yummy, I must make it one of these days..

  12. Awesome, I love to read about the recipes that you have tried from other blogs. I know then for sure that I have to try them as well. The Quinoa Upma and Chocolate cake is a must try. My fulka dough is now going to have some milk + curd in it as well :-)

    Thanks Nupur, Meghana

  13. now that beautifully puffed roti is captured forever ;)

  14. love al of them..yes waxy or red potatoes taste very very good than baking potates like idaho

  15. Hi Nupur,

    Lovely looking phulka. I too like quinoa a lot. I was just thinking about grinding it into flour and adding to the thalipeet dough the next time. Although I havent tried it out yet, but I think it would taste good and needless to say, very very nutritious.

  16. Nupur, So happy you tried out the adai, and using brown rice is a great idea. I have been a little wary about using brown rice in short-soak dosa batters, but your adai looks great, and you've inspired me to give it a try.
    Dale makes me smile. I am happy but not surprised he liked the adai because my dogs love it too- in fact, I consider it a little victory for veganism each time they lap up my cooking! :)

  17. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! Dale is BACK!!! He looks soooooooooooo good! Take care buddy and keep the tail a-waggin'!!!! I am very happy for u and V!!

    I have yet to try Quinoa... looks a bit like sabudana.... hehe!
    Adai is on my weekend b'fast list!
    Those parathas with milk and yogurt are good! I too use the left over dough for fulkas and yes they always puff up! Fugga!!!
    Oh for the cake!! ummm!

  18. dale always makes my day. he's gorgeous and so expressive.

  19. looks wonderful.... love those phulkas...

  20. So glad to know that Dale is feeling better! And thank you for the wonderful selection of new foods to try. I'm having fun with quinoa in my pantry -- it's a relatively new addition, so I'm looking for recipes, too.

  21. Isn't quinoa lovely? I love its nuttiness and texture.

  22. Hi Nupur,

    I love quinoa too - haven't tried upma yet. But my favorite way to eat it (so far) is in a salad with avocados and tomatoes with homemade garlic-lemon dressing. I got the recipe on a blog called - Trembom (the english version). It is so simple, quick, fresh, tasty and nutritious. Made it so many times. Mmmmmm..... My family loves it too. Hope you can try it out sometime.

  23. Raaga, "urge to bake" said it :) your earlier message seems to be lost in cyberspace. sorry :(

    Happy Cook, my phuklas are never guaranteed to puff either, it is just that somehow with this batch, it just happened. magic :)

    Jayashree, yes, purple potatoes (I think they originated in Peru) are pretty, right?

    Vani, I can't believe the phuklas puffed up so well, either :D
    Dale says thanks, Vani!

    Mamatha, thank you! I was lucky to get them in focus...he was wagging his tail so furiously :D

    Ms, this time around I did not need to put the phuklas on an open flame to get them to puff. They puffed up right on the skillet itself.

    TheCooker, he is back making mischief, more like it :)
    A ballooning phulka can make your day like nothing else can!

    Hi Priya :) see, I also overwhelmingly prefer Indian-style savory breakfasts to smoothies and cereal. And it has really been fun to find variations of these that are more healthful. Glad you like the upma and adai :)

    Mari, LOL magic breads. Well, Mari, when a non-expert like me makes them, it really does feel like a miracle when they obligingly puff up :)
    If you get hold of cahapti flour (atta) from an Indian store, these puffy breads are fun to make at home.

    Uma, thank you :)

    Priti, thanks! Yes, the adai is totally worth making. It is delicious!

    Meghana, I love trying recipes from other blogs too...most of my favorites come from there rather than from books or cooking shows :)

    Richa, yes, in case I never get puffy rotis in the future, I can look at this one and be happy :D

    Kalva, I do like these starchy baking potatoes too (like the purple ones) but I like them roasted and baked! I guess I should use the right potato for the right purpose :)

    Sapna, quinoa flour is a wonderful idea! I know that quinoa flour is available in the market too; and I have seen it being used in a variety of recipes. I am sure you will come up with delicious ways to use it.

    Vaishali, I did end up soaking the rice for 4-5 hours, but the brown rice worked just fine. Thanks for your tasty recipe. I love the addition of cabbage to it! What is it with adai and dogs?! :)

    Manasi, Dale sends you his love :) try the quinoa and adai for sure...very healthful to eat these whole-grain b'fasts.

    Bee, he sure is expressive. Right now he is strongly expressing the sentiment that I should get off the chair and take him to the dog park :D

    Sandhya, thanks!

    Lydia, yes, this Indian twist on quinoa is very interesting (and so easy to make)!

    Suganya, yes, it really has great texture.

    Prashanti, oh my goodness...that salad sounds absolutely wonderful...something like a salsa or guacamole with quinoa! Thanks for sharing that little recipe. You can be sure it is the first thing I will make when fresh tomatoes hit the market.

  24. What a fantastic post. I want to try each and every recipe you have made here, especially the quinoa. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare it. I recently made a simple quinoa side dish with sun dried tomatoes that I will be making again for sure. Thanks for the link to my soup. It's long been one of my all time favorite quinoa recipes.

  25. How funny that we both wrote about quinoa on the same day! I love quinoa!

  26. Great breakfasts! Thanks for sharing! :)

  27. I wish I were TONY :D Dale looks pretty happy to b at the stand!
    *Shonulya give me shake-hands too* -for Dale :)

    The phulka looks great..I shall try this out..cake frm B -yum..Quinoa- Latin to me..don't think its available here! Ur upma looks tempting enough! Tks for sharing ur 'Abhipraya'!!

  28. That phulka picture is BEAUTIFUL! And quite a tasty display of brunching-munching :). And you have a whole array of flavors there. I particularly love how you mixed the spicy mixture with upma (that mixture is my favorite, with all the dane) :).

    Dale seems to be enjoying a great time. He's a darling. Woof to him :).

  29. that's a wonderful spread Nupur! wish we could stick to those forever! I haven't tried quinoa either:) this post is totally in sync with my WBB-Balanced Breakfasts theme!!:)

  30. Yum - I must try that golden adai! Now that I've been cooking Indian food at home, I haven't been frequenting my local buffet like I once did. I was thinking about adai recently - they always had them on the buffet and I haven't eaten one in sooo long! Anyway, can't wait to try the recipe! The pictures of Dale are so cute! That is one of the great things with dogs - they seem to acquire their own little circle of people friends. Highly unlikely with cats :)

  31. So u have been quite busy...i tried out the oil free parathas too and loved it

  32. Nupur, what a lovely feast. I love the way you cook from other blogs. It is important that we do that.

  33. Hi Nupur, thanks for linking to the banana leaf post at A (Life) Time of Cooking. I am so pleased that you liked it!

    I love your recipe roundup, especially the purple potato! And how wonderful to have a dog with such personality. Sounds like he is at the centre of your life.

  34. mm..the quinoa upma looks delicious!! I like to make quinoa pilaf with peas, carrots, cashews and apricots, just like a rice pulao.

  35. hi nupur,i havent master the art of making paratha and its like .wish i could

  36. Lisa, I did make a version of your quinoa soup last was delicious! I will write about it soon.

    Stef, I will have to try your sweet and spicy version very soon! :)

    Kalai, glad you like them :)

    Purnima, how sweet you are! Actually, Tony has been trying to get Dale to shake hands for a while now...but you know what they say: can't teach an old dog new tricks :D
    You might be able to find quinoa in international markets there. It is becoming increasingly popular!

    Musical, I sneak in some spicy mixture into the bowl every time I eat poha or upma :D yes, I think the crunchy peanuts are my favorite thing about it.

    Mansi Desai, quinoa is totally worth a try! Very nutritious addition to the diet :)

    Cathy, oooh, that buffet must be been quite special...I don't remember seeing dishes like adai on any buffet I have eaten. The recipe is super-easy if you have these dals (and some rice) on hand. Best of all, the batter can be stored in the fridge (for 2-3 days) and you can make piping hot adais whenever you feel like it, for any meal really.
    You are so right- Dale has his own circle of friends and admirers. Often, we are out walking and someone will come up and say, hi dale...and then awkwardly greet me too :D

    Easycrafts, yes, it is a nice recipe, isn't it?

    Zlamushka, I love cooking from other way to find "keeper" recipes :)

    Vegeyum, I loved your photo-essay. Written with such love and respect. Yes, dogs do become the center of our lives; they are babies forever and need to be cared for constantly :)

    Nehaj, your quinoa pilaf sounds completely delicious. Must try that soon!

    Mama, I haven't mastered it either :) that is going to take a few more years!

  37. just curious, do u dream abt food? the note abt waking up to bake made me think of that. i have to try the oil free parantha. the roti photo is pure food porn.

  38. Hi Nupur, this is like a wonderful novella, beautifully illustrated! I'm glad you made the purple potato parathas once, if only to see how awesome they look! I've never tried that veggie. And the low-fat dough is a real find -- I can aspire to a phulka that would puff like that! The upma and adai look great too -- I haven't had much success with adai but this makes me want to try again. Love the dessert, too :)

    Happy to hear Dale is feeling better -- he looks so adorable jumping up to say 'hello' :)

    And wow, this is now a novella comment, too, oops! Have a great week yourself :)

  39. Nothing like baking in the morning, says she who woke up at 6 am this Easter Sunday and baked bread!

    I love the quinoa upma (never tasted quinoa though) and how it resembles sabudana poha...

    The purple potato filling looked so lovely,was disappointed to hear that it doesnt taste as good...and don't these left over doughs taste great when used otherwise - i used the dough I had made for baked ghugras to make aloo parathas and it tasted so delicious!

  40. hey, all lovely dishes out there.... you actually had the patience to try click pictures of all those dishes??!?!! Glad you liked the oil-free paratha idea :)

  41. Hi Nupur,

    I often visit ur One Hot Stove website and I love ur recipes.. thanks for ur effort writing those down and uploading..

    I couldn't help myself not telling u that I also live in St. Louis, and I don't know if u know this but we have Marathi Manadal in St. Louis . Just wanted to let u know there is Gudi Padwa celebration (marathi Drama - Karti Premat Padali) on coming Saturday (29th March)if u r interested.

    See u there!


  42. Mallugirl, I never remember my dreams once I wake up, but I certainly day-dream about food :) The oil free paratha is definitely worth a try.

    Linda, purple potatoes are certainly worth a try (just not in parathas!). My favorite way is to make oven-roasted fries! Now that you have a nice mixie, the adai should be a breeze ;) I needed to adjust the consistency of the batter a little bit (adding water a little at a time) to get to a point where it was makng adais of the perfect thickness (thinness?). Good luck!

    Miri, your bread looks so good! I'll trade this stuff for a bite of your pickle bread ;)

    Ramya, loved that idea...thanks for sharing it :)

    Pradnya, I'm glad you like this blog :) thanks so much for leaving a note! I'm not sure that I will be able to make it for the celebrations on Saturday, but I sure appreciate you taking the time to tell me about it :)


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.