Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tamarind Leaves Chutney

Yesterday, I plucked some more tamarind leaves. Winter will be here soon.  My beloved Tamarind plant will not survive the harsh winter. The perennial plant/tree of India is very much an annual plant in my neck of the woods. Sigh!!

Since I had already blogged about daal, I thought of making a simple chutney to go with Idlies. I didn't add any cilantro to retain that delicate green hue of the tamarind leaves.

Tamarind Leaves Chutney
1/2 cup tender tamarind leaves
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 cup puffed chana daal/Pandharpuri DaaLe
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
3-4 green chilies
Water as needed for grinding

1. Add all the ingredients in a blender.
2. Grind to a smooth paste.
3. Serve with idlies.

Note -
1. Use more green chilies if you prefer heat.
2. Tamarind leaves had enough tang so I didn't add any souring agent. Adjust per your liking.
3. I didn't add any tempering. But you can always temper the chutney by heating some oil and crackling some mustard seeds, asafetida and red chilies.

Idlis with Tamarind Leaves Chutney
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Kaju Chikki


 Lonavala and Chikki are synonyms in the world of Mumbaikars. I still remember the thrill of anticipating Maganlal chikki when we visited Pune or Lonavala. While cashew and shengdana were my most favorite chikkies, daliya(Pandharpuri Dale) chikki was my least favorite. The special thing about Cashew chikki was that it used to look sugary white unlike other caramel colored chikkies. I was told that it was due to the liquid glucose. I am neither familiar with liquid glucose as a cooking ingredient nor I have ever seen it in any Indian kitchen pantry within my family. So I decided to try my version of cashew chikki using plain sugar and cashews.

The result was delicious. But white sugar did turned into caramel color and the chikki eventually turned like all other chikkies. It was good nonetheless.

Kaju Chikki
काजूची चिक्की
Cashew Brittle
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup sugar

oil or ghee for greasing

0. Grease a marble surface or flat plate. Grease a rolling pin or back of a small ramekin/wati/katori. Keep it ready before starting the chikki process.
1. Halve or quarter the cashew pieces and roast them lightly. Make sure that they do not change the color.
2. Pour sugar in a heavy bottomed container.
3. Let it be on a medium heat.
4. In about 6-7 minutes, sugar will go through various stages from white to caramel sauce color.
5. When all the sugar as completely melted, add cashews quickly.
6. Mix well.
7. Pour the mixture quickly on the marble surface or plate.
8. Roll flat using rolling pin or the back of wati/ramekin.
9. Let it cool down completely.
10. Now, cashew brittle is ready. It can be broken easily with hand.

Note -
1. You can use a greased knife to mark squares or diamonds while spread mixture is still hot.
2. This chikki does not taste like white Lonavala style cashew chikki that is made with liquid glucose but it has a rich caramel flavor.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhaakri

Indian home-cook always cooks according to the season. The vegetables/fruit/grains used in daily cooking are always seasonal and hence, considered beneficial for health. Jwari or jowar or JondhaLa is used during summer time for its cooling properties and Bajri or Bajra is used during winter for its heat inducing properties. So what would an Indian home cook do, when weather is not too cold and not too hot? Bingo - Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri of course!!;-)

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri (Count 3 bhakris)
3/4 cups jwari/jowar/jondhala/sorghum flour
3/4 cup bajri/bajra/millet flour
warm water as needed

1. Mix both flours in a deep plate/paraat.
2. Add water as needed to make dough.
3. Make 3 uniform balls.
4. Pat one ball at a time, using your palm, dredging in dry flour as needed.
5. Place one bhakri at a time on a hot tawa.
6. Wet your hand and moisten the top of the bhakri.
7. Flip and let the other side cook.
8. Roast on the direct flame.

1. Knead the dough when you are ready to pat the bhakris.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Orange & Chocolate Muffins


One orange, one egg, one Chobani yogurt and some leftover oat flour (it measured to be 1/2 cup later!) were screaming for my attention. So I came up with this recipe. I was going to sprinkle some sugar on top before putting these muffins in the oven for baking, but I forgot about it. I decided to zest the orange before squeezing it. Then beautiful orange flavored chocolate from Sorrento, Italy caught my eye and I thought it would go beautifully with the recipe that was about to be made. All of this, resulted into a blog-worthy creation - Orange Chocolate Muffins.

Orange-Chocolate Muffins
1 cup All purpose Flour
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg
1/4 + 2 tbsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. orange zest
1/4 cup butter, melted
1, 5.3 oz Pineapple Chobani Yogurt (2 %)

Mix in
2 tbsp. Orange flavored chocolate, roughly chopped

0. Preheat oven 350F
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Whisk egg with all the ingredients till yogurt.
3. Mix dry and wet ingredients till they are incorporated.
4. Stir in roughly chopped chocolate.

5. Pour into 12 muffins tray.

6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or till it is baked well.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note -
1. I grate an orange using thick holes of the grater. Make sure that white part/pith of the orange is not grated as it would make the batter bitter!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tamarind Leaves Daal

Sometimes in life - especially during your impressionable age, you meet someone and their ideology stays with you for the rest of your life. It happened to me when I had gone with my maternal cousins to their paternal aunt's home. I know it sounds little tricky. But if you ponder, your maternal cousins' paternal family is not really your own family. They can be considered a part of extended family if you are in good touch.

I met "Kaku" for the first time. She was an old lady compared to my mom. I was under 10 for sure. I followed her everywhere, especially in and around her kitchen. Her huge house on Maharashtra border was a novelty for me. One day, Kaku said that she would make Matkichi Usal. But I observed something totally different. She washed Matki in the backyard above some soil. Then I observed, she would rinse any grain/beans in the backyard. I was totally intrigued. She had a kitchen sink. Why would she go all the way to the backyard to rinse the daily grains/beans. I asked her so. She replied,"They're seeds of life. However much care I take to rinse, some of them fall down. If they are washed in kitchen sinks, they are wasted in the drain. When I wash it in the backyard, even if they fall, they go to the soil. They would grow. I am not wasting them."

I didn't meet Kaku very often later. She is no more. But that thought stayed with me. Even today, whenever possible, if I come across any seeds, I throw it in the soil. I feel it's better than throwing in the trash can. I live where it snows. So not necessarily every seed turns into huge plants/trees. But they grow. So when I get tamarind, I always throw the seeds in the soil. They give me fresh, tender tamarind leaves for making daal and chutneys.

Today's tamarind leaves daal is inspired by Andhra Pradesh's Gongura Daal. Since I had Andhra's Guntur Chilies, I used them. Please substitute any dry, red chilies you have in your pantry.

I looked up this name and found that it's called Chinta Chiguru Pappu. (Thanks to Sailu's Food)

Chinta Chiguru Pappu
Tamarind Leaves Daal
3/4 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida

1 cup tender tamarind leaves, torn from sprigs (I didn't chop them)
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
1/ 2 tsp mustard seeds
2 Guntur chilies, whole
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced

Suggested Accompaniment
Plain Rice
Gongura Pickle

1. Pressure cook toor daal adding turmeric powder, asafetida and adequate water.
2. Mash lightly and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan.
4. Add mustard seeds, chilies and garlic cloves.
5. Sauté till garlic aroma wafts through the kitchen
6. Add tender tamarind leaves.
7. Sauté quickly till they are wilted.
8. Add mashed daal and 1/2 cup water.
9. Add salt and bring to boil.
10. Simmer till the daal thickens a bit.
11. Serve with plain rice and Gongura pickle.

Note -
1. If you like, you can add more water and serve as a soup with broth.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shahi Mukhwas - Indian Mouth Freshner

Shahi Mukhwas

Shahi Mukhwas is an Indian mouth freshener. Since it has saffron - the most expensive spice in the whole wide world - it's probably called "Shahi" or royal.

Shahi Mukhwas
Mouth Freshener
1 cup Lucknow Fennel Seeds/Badishep/Variyali/Saunf
1 cup Roasted Dhana Daal
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Magaj Tare/Magaj bee/Magaj Seeds/Watermelon seeds
2 tbsp. silver coated cardamom seeds
Few strands of saffron

1. Pick all the ingredients for impurities.
2. Roast Lucknow Fennel Seeds on a low flame. Pour in a flat plate.
Lucknow Fennel Seeds
3. Roast dhana daal on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
Dhana Daal
4. Roast white sesame seeds on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
5. Roast magaj bee/peeled watermelon seeds on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
Magaj Tare/Magaj Bee/Watermelon Seeds

6. Mix all the roasted ingredients with silver coated cardamoms and saffron.
7. Let it cool down completely.
8. Store in an airtight container for after meal accompaniment.

Note -
1. Regular fennel seeds are thick. Use Lucknow Fennel seeds variety.
2. Roasted Dhana daal is readily available at most of the Indian stores.
3. If you can't find Magaj Tare/Magaj Bee, substitute with peeled pumpkin seeds.
4. Some people also add desiccated coconut in this recipe. If using, roast it separately before adding. Also note that the coconut may turn rancid soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy New Year - Vikram Samvat 2071

Image Courtesy -

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Diwali

Image Courtesy -

Happy Diwali!!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Makhne Ki Kheer - Exotic Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding

Phool Makhne ki Kheer - Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding!

Makhna or Phool Makhna is puffed lotus seeds. They are considered quite nutritious. I bought this packet simply out of curiosity. Traditionally, I am not familiar with this food. I have added these puffed lotus seeds to the Kormas and Curries. But I always wanted to make "Kheer" where they are used as the main ingredient. I looked up my two food Gurus for the inspiration - Tarla Dalal and Sanjeev Kapoor. I , then decided to make my changes and created my own recipe as below.

Makhne Ki Kheer
Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding
1 cup Puffed Lotus Seeds/Makhna/Phool Makhna
1 tsp. clarified butter/ghee

3 cups milk - preferably whole or 2% milk
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup ricotta cheese or mava/khoya/khava
2 tbsp. MTR Badam Milk Masala

Crush to powder
3-4 green cardamoms, peeled
1 very small piece of nutmeg

Few threads of saffron

1. Heat a spoonful of ghee. Roast puffed lotus seeds/Makhna. Set aside.
2. Heat milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk. Keep stirring from time to time. When it comes to boil, lower the gas and let it simmer for few minutes. Add ricotta cheese. Mix well.
3. Add roasted makhna, MTR Badam Milk Masala and crushed cardamoms and nutmeg.
4. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with saffron before serving.

Exotic Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding

Note -
1. Sugar can be used instead of sweetened condensed milk.
2. I served this kheer in Kulhads - Indian earthen pots.

Tarla Dalal
Sanjeev Kapoor

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