Mother Sathya Sai

In The Kitchen with SSSEWWT

July 2018

  • As is the food, so is the mind.
    As is the mind, so are the thoughts
    As are the thoughts, so is the conduct
    As is the conduct, so is the health
  • Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

One of the simplest, highly nutritious and yet easy to cook breakfasts served to Swami, especially in the early years, were Pesarattus. These are delicious, thin crepes, made from ground whole green mung and rice. Served with an appetising peanut chutney, Pesarattus make for a healthy, very satisfying, breakfast.

Considered to be the most important meal of the day, breakfast must essentially include healthy and nutritious food that helps us sustain our energy through the day. With that in mind, we include here, recipes for 3 wholesome breakfast dishes, frequently served in India. Apart from the Pesarattus mentioned above, included here, are the recipes for two all-time favourites; the Vegetable Upma and Kesari Bhath.

Vegetable Upma is a savoury preparation made from Semolina or Cream of Wheat. The semolina is roasted well on a little oil or ghee, tempered with mustard seeds, ginger and curry leaves and then combined with onions, beans and other vegetables to make a soft, nutritive and savoury breakfast dish. Served with Yoghurt, it makes a complete meal.

Kesari Bhath gets it’s name from ‘Kesar,’ or Saffron, which imparts it’s heavenly aroma and colour to this delectable dish. Often offered as ‘Prasad’ (food offered to the deity during pujas or ritualistic prayers), this is a rich, flavourful, sweet dish made with semolina, ghee, milk, sugar and mashed fruit. Simple to cook, this delicious dish not only provides a sumptuous breakfast, but can also be served as dessert.

 

Pesarattu (Crepes of Green Mung)

(Makes 12-15 crepes)

  • 1 ½ Cups whole green mung
  • 1/3rd Cup raw rice
  • 1/2" Piece of fresh ginger
  • 1-2 Green chillies
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking the crepes
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (optional)

For the Tempering:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • A few curry leaves

Method

Combine the green mung and rice in a large bowl, wash and soak them overnight, in 5-6 cups of water. Drain well the next day, add the ginger, coriander leaves and green chillies and blend to a smooth paste – adding water as required. Add salt and more water to make a medium thick batter. To add the tempering, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves, stir for a few seconds, pour on to the prepared batter and mix well. Now lightly grease and heat a non-stick crepe pan, pour approximately 1 medium ladle of batter on the pan and spread it evenly clockwise (using a ladle) starting from the centre and moving outwards, to form a thin crepe. Add a few drops of oil on the crepe and a few chopped onions. Allow the bottom side of the crepe to turn golden brown. These crepes need not be flipped over as they are thin and cook quickly. Fold over and serve immediately with peanut chutney. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the batter; makes about 12-15 medium sized crepes.

Peanut Chutney

  • 1 cup roasted and peeled peanuts
  • 2 dry red or fresh green chillies
  • 1/2" piece of tamarind (seedless)
    OR A few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. minced onions (opt)

Method

Soak the Tamarind in 1/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes. Heat the oil and roast the red chillies on medium heat till crisp. If using fresh green chillies, roast these till lightly coloured. Combine all the ingredients and grind them till smooth and creamy. Adjust the taste and consistency by adding water and salt as required. Stir in the minced onions and serve with the Pesarattus.

Note: This chutney can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. However, add the onions just before serving.

 

Vegetable Upma (Savoury cream of wheat)

(Serves – 4)

  • I cup medium semolina
  • 1 small carrot peeled, cubed and blanched
  • 8 French beans sliced diagonally and blanched
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1/2" piece of ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp. cashew split
  • 1/3rd cup oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • A pinch of powdered asoefatida
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 green chilly chopped into medium bits
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt and lemon juice to taste
  • 2 ½ cups water

For the garnish

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated or desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

Method

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a wok or a frying pan and gently fry the cashew (on low heat), to a golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Now add the semolina to the same oil and lightly roast it for a few minutes till it smells well roasted. Do not allow the semolina to colour.

Heat the rest of the oil in another wok or sauce pan (on medium heat) and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, lower the heat and quickly add the asoefatida, turmeric, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger. Stir for a few seconds and add the onions. Sauté till the onions turn translucent and add the tomatoes. Continue to stir fry for a minute and then add the water, carrots, beans half of the cashews and salt. Allow the water to boil and then sprinkle in the semolina, stirring as you do so, to avoid lumps. Mix well and allow the semolina mixture to thicken and cook to a smooth, creamy consistency. Take off the fire and adjust seasoning. Add lemon juice if preferred. Cover and rest for a few minutes. Garnish the upma with the reserved cashew, coconut and coriander and serve immediately, with some plain yoghurt.

Recipe from ‘Sai Delights – Part I,’ Published by the Sathya Sai Organisation of South Africa

 

Kesari Bhath (Semolina pudding)

(Serves – 4)

  • I cup medium semolina
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 banana
  • A few strands of saffron

Method

Combine the milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil; stir well and set aside. Gently heat the strands of saffron in a (dry) frying pan, on very low heat, for a few seconds. Remove, cool and then powder in a mortar and pestle. Soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons of warm milk and set aside. Heat the ghee in a wok and add the semolina. Roast the semolina on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it smells well roasted. Slowly add the milk to the semolina, stirring constantly as you do so. Mash the banana and add that too. Continue to stir and cook the mixture till it thickens and most of the liquid is absorbed. Take off the fire and stir in the saffron. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Best served hot.

Note: You can add up to 3/4th – 1 cup of ghee to this recipe for a richer taste, and grainier texture - especially when cooked for special occasions.

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