Moraiyo idli: Steamed, savoury barnyard millet cakes

Yesterday was the birthday of the person who has given me #careergoals and #leadershipgoals. Mr Ajay Umat is the editor of Navgujarat Samay, a Gujarati newspaper from the Times Group. He is one of the few celebrated journalists in Gujarat.

He is an example of how being a gentleman never goes out of style. Most of my friends in the media admire Mr. Umat for his journalistic

skills or aspire to be like him someday.  It’s his interpersonal networking skills that make him such an endearing personality. But what sets him apart as a leader is his ability to keep his team happy. I know a lot of his team members but am yet to come across a single person who is unhappy with his boss. And that’s some achievement for a boss in a world where most work environments are toxic and most employees are unsatisfied with their jobs.

For someone who follows a restrained diet, Mr. Umat comes across as a person who loves to talk about food. And today’s Indian recipe is dedicated to him because I heard about some healthy ingredients from him, long back. In spite of being born in Gujarat, I had never heard about Moraiyo (barnyard millet) till Mr. Umat mentioned to me about it (Although, I don’t remember the context). Low in calorie, Moraiyo has a lot of health benefits and is generally eaten in India during fasts.

Moraiyo Idli 
Savoury, steamed cakes made from barnyard millet


Processed with MOLDIV
Moraiyo Idli


1 cup Moraiyo, soaked for 2 hours
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Yogurt/Buttermilk
Salt to taste
1 tsp Baking powder


Grind the soaked moraiyo in a grinder with water to form a pancake batter-like consistency. Add baking powder, buttermilk and salt and leave it for 30 minutes to ferment. Pour the batter into a stove-top idli maker or a microwave idli maker and steam for 10 minutes. Serve with coconut chutney.

Note: These idlis may not be fluffy and white but they will definitely satisfy your idli cravings in a healthier way. They are diabetics-friendly and perfect as a Shraavan/Navratri fasting dish.


Simple, healthy Upma

I’ll eat some breakfast and then change the world!

It took me a long time in life to realize the importance of a good breakfast. And after that realization, I have been really good with planning my breakfast well in advance. So this morning, i decided to have the traditional South Indian breakfast–Upma or Upmaav as we call it in Kerala. Really quick and easy to make, Upma not only fills your appetite but is also highly nutritious. Whenever I have had a discussion about Upma (yes, i discuss Upma like other people discuss global issues :D), the most common question has been of how to make it soft without making it sticky. The answer lies in the method of making it in the traditional way, which you will find in my recipe below.

breakfast quote Upma

200 gms of Semolina: The hero of this dish, semolina or rava is a coarse flour made out of durum wheat
2 cups of Water
4-5 sliced Shallots or Madras Onion
2 slit Green Chillies
A small piece of ginger, chopped
Mustard seeds
1 tsp of urad dal (split, skinless black gram)
2 tbsp Coconut oil
Curry leaves
Half a cup of shredded coconut for garnish
Salt to taste

Processed with MOLDIV
Upma served in a coconut shell


Roast the semolina in a non stick pan, making sure that it doesn’t turn brown. Keep aside.
In a pan, heat the oil, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add urad dal and saute till they turn golden. Then add the sliced shallots, chopped ginger, curry leaves, green chillies and saute till the shallots turn translucent. Add water and salt. Now, the consistency of your upma will depend on how much water you add. Generally, the proportion of water is the same as that of semolina. So, if you are using one cup of semolina, then add one cup of water and so on.

Once the water boils, add the semolina slowly while stirring continuously with the other hand. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or till the water absorbs the semolina. Once cooked, add shredded coconut and stir the upma before you turn the stove off. Simple, isn’t it?


It’s Monday, honey!


Serving of toast with butter and marmalade
Sliced white toast with butter and honey with ginger-lemon on the side 

I like my new Monday mornings! I am sure I can never fall in love with Monday after my decade-old relationship with Sunday but it’s getting better.

So, this Monday morning there was no rush to be at the office early and I had a little time to experiment with my breakfast. And here’s what I made: Lemon-Ginger-Honey syrup with Buttered Toast.

My breakfast usually is a buttered toast with honey and a fruit/milk. Today, I added a twist to honey and came up with this recipe. And the twist was to lemon zest and lemon juice along with a small piece of shredded ginger added into a bowl of organic honey.

Dear Monday,

You may be thinking that if I worked a little harder on this recipe, it could have been a Marmalade but our friendship is new so just be happy with this post.

Yours truly



Muthia with beetroot and beet leaves


I love beetroots. While these taproots are packed with nutrition, what I love most about them is their ability to turn almost everything into  a shocking red. Recently, I ended up with a basket full of organic beets  with glossy purple-green leaves and usually when I buy beets or the leaves, they invariably end up in a Kerala recipe like a thoran, pachadi or an avial.

This time, however, I wanted to make something different from the beetroot and its leaves. For the last one week, I had been craving for a Gujarati recipe called muthia (spiced, seasoned and steamed dumplings). These are made with gram flour and/or wheat flour, to which usually one of the vegetables like bottlegourd, cabbage, carrot,  spinach or fenugreek leaves, is added. While steamed muthias are generally eaten as a snack, fried ones are mostly added to shaak (vegetable curry) like undhiyu.

I decided to substitute with the beet leaves and some shredded beetroot. Muthias remind me of my former colleagues at The Times of India, where between 4 and 5 pm every day, we would open our snack boxes and share each others’ food with the office chai. There would be so much variety, a little gossip and in the end, a lot of complaining about the weight gain because of these meetings. I believe that it was those chai and snack meetings that brought us close together and have kept me connected with some of them even after my taking up another job. Well, they say friendship comes in many unexpected ways. For me, it has come through food 🙂 Happy eating!

Muthia with beetroot and beet leaves beet2

Beet root, shredded-1 small
Beet leaves-a handful, washed, cleaned and chopped
Wheat flour (aata) – 2 tbsp
Gram flour (besan) – 4 tbsp
Semolina (sooji/rava) – 1 tbsp
Ginger-green chilli paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1 pinch
Oil – 2 tsp
Soda bicarb – 2 pinches
Hing (asafoetida) – 1 pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tsp
Salt to taste


In a vessel, combine the leaves, the shredded beet, the flours, semolina, ginger-green chilli paste, cumin seeds, soda bi-carb, sugar, salt, 1 tsp oil and knead into a very soft dough. Apply a little oil onto your palms and divide the dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a cylindrical roll approx. 150 mm. (6″) length and 25 mm. (1″) in diameter. Grease a plate and steam the rolls for about 15 minutes in a steamer, on a low flame. To check whether it is done, insert a fork or a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Remove, cool slightly and cut into 12 mm. slices and keep aside.
For tempering, heat the remaining oil in a deep pan, add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. When they crackle, add hing and sauté. Add the muthias and cook for five minutes till they are browned. If you like them crispy, then keep them on a low flame for about 10-12 more minutes.
Serve with green chutney or garlic chutney.