5 Desi Girl Dinner Ideas -Milagai Podi to The Rescue
Time to read 5 min
Time to read 5 min
‘Girl Dinner’ the word became a trend in recent times as women who cooked for themselves shared their low maintenance, no cooking dinners that they loved. A girl dinner means freedom from all kinds of mess in the kitchen, no dishes to wash, no counters to clean and a light and healthy dinner, minus that glass of wine if you added one on a whim. The term itself meant putting together an assortment of breads and fruits and cheese to eat what a medieval peasant might. While the western hemisphere shared its fromage, and fruit and fries as dinners in Instagram worthy colour coordination, I ended up stirring some desi recipes for a desi girl dinner.
All convenience kept aside, as a true blue Indian I cannot have bland cheese and fruit and call it dinner! I need spices, I need flavor and I need my carbs steamed and not baked in an air sealed bag. So I found the best remedy for those nights when you come back all spent from work and do not want to cook at home. Even when you are having a bad day or a lazy weekend these quick recipes with the Milagai Podi Masala or (as the North Indians call it) ‘gunpowder’ are life savers.
Podi loosely translates to powder in most southern Indian languages. In Tamil kitchens podi is the equivalent of masala. Just like the north Indian masalas, podi comes in varieties. There is a curry leaf podi and palli podi which is a peanut based masala powder and the kollu podi which is made of horsegram and a milieu of other spices. Though each lends a very specific flavor and has the nutty and earthy flavors lended by pulses blended with spices, not all of them are as versatile as the Milagai podi powder.
MiIagai podi, one of the more popular varieties than others, is mainly made of urad dal, chana dal, sesame seeds, red chilies, hing & salt. There are other spices like cumin added to some varieties but the traditional recipe measures the above in different proportions lending it its taste.
In the south people love the podi masala as a seasoning on dosas, uthappams, on thatte idli.
Podi masala elevates the taste of any simple recipe like curd rice, or plain rice and it also adds a zing to dishes like lemon rice and tomato rice. However, there are ways other than the traditional southern dishes in which you can infuse podi masala in your diet.
One of the reasons I prefer Milagai Podi over others, especially during the winters, is because of the healthy blend of good fats like sesame seeds. Another reason is that I find the taste quite universal in its appeal! So I have been able to blend this powder into a lot of my quick and easy recipes. They are flavourful, guilt free and give you all the freedom from cooking.
Most people believe that potatoes are an unhealthy starchy vegetable. Actually, it all depends on how you cook your potatoes. Most fitness gurus and diet experts recommend having boiled potatoes instead of the commonly available refined carbs! Though most food enthusiasts would agree that the spuds taste horrible boiled. The trick is to boil them and saute them for a more rich flavor. Flavor can also be added with some seasoning and chutneys.
So here is a quick Aloo chaat recipe that is both light on the calories and quick to make.
You need one to two medium sized potatoes or 8 to 10 baby potatoes -boiled, some lemon juice, a teaspoon of ghee or butter to fry and some podi masala. Dice the bigger potatoes or just half the baby potatoes, keep the peel if you like a little crunch though we recommend taking it off. Now take these boiled potatoes and add them to a pan or a skillet with the heated ghee. Stir fry, add some podi masala and if required more salt to taste.
Have this with some curd or alone with some sweet tamarind sauce.
Have some leftover rice from lunch? Make this quick and easy ghee rice recipe.
Just add some ghee to the pan and crackle some cumin seeds, add your rice, some salt and plate them once done. Add a little more ghee if you are not watching your weight and add the milagai podi masala on top. Mix these and savor the taste of this simple yet satisfying dish.
A little more effort and you can make some curd ride and have milagai podi with the comfort food.
One principle that most Indian households follow is never to waste food. Leftovers from your lunch can be turned into a wonderful dinner or pre-dinner snack.
If you have some leftover chapatis but don’t want to stir a curry or an accompanying gravy make this quick recipe. Break your chapati in small pieces. Add some cumin, chopped onion & bell peppers and a tomato, and make a saute’d mix. Add your chapatis to this and a heapful of podi masala and you are good to go.
Milagai Podi & Idli are a match made in heaven. A delightful breakfast in the south, this can also be repurposed as a quick dinner if you want to reheat your breakfast Idli and have it with nothing other than ghee and a blast of flavors. Personally I recommend using the mini idlis and coating with a hearty heapful of this masala in ghee. But it also tastes good when added over idlis like a seasoning.
Cruciferous vegetables are a part of every weight loss program. They are also pretty inedible without flavor. Unlike cucumbers and tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes cannot be eaten without a good seasoning. I also like adding protein to my vegetables and alternate between chicken and tofu or cottage cheese. Milagai Podi is an amazing salad seasoning. I have also tried making olive oil , lemon juice and Milagai podi dressing for my salads and the results were beyond expectations.
So all my ladies out there, don’t worry about those nights you don’t want to cook a meal. Just get Home Kouzina’s traditional milagai podi masala by chef Uma and make a ‘Desi Girl Dinner’ today!