Friday, November 30, 2007

Tamarind Rice

Little sour, little spicy and little nutty - and definitely a comfort food in the plate - that's how I describe this Tamarind Rice. Read more about Puliyogre or Puliodarai here.

Tamarind Rice (Serves 4)
Ingredients
3 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp tamarind pulp + 2 tbsp water
salt to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted and powdered

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
11 curry leaves
A generous pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp chana daal/bengal gram
2 tsp urad daal
3 red chilies, halved
1 tbsp raw peanuts

Garnish
1 tsp ghee/clarified butter

Method
1. Heat oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
2. As the mustard seeds splutter, add tamarind water and salt.
3. Bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix roasted sesame seeds powder to the cooked rice.
5. Add rice mixture to the simmering tamarind liquid.
6. Stir well. Add ghee.
7. Serve hot.

Note -
Check out some other authentic Tamarind rice recipes at -
Simple Indian food
Priya's Kitchen
One bite at a time
Spicy Chily

Khajoor Paak

I wanted to make something for Chandrika's "A fruit a month" event with dates. I kept thinking about it all the time. I had two recipes Khajoor Kheer and Khajoor poli (like puran poli). But both the recipes were quite elaborate. I was looking forward to something simple and nutritious. Finally, I came up with something of my own. और यूही तुक्का लग गया!


I used this cute mould to shape these balls. I bought this mould last year after reading Anupama's post here.

Khajoor Paak (Makes 12 to 15 balls)
Ingredients
1 cup dates, pitted/seedless
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup pistachios
1/2 cup dry milk powder
5 cardamoms

1/2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter

Garnish
few pistachio slivers

Method
1. In a heavy duty grinder like Sumeet, grind dates, almonds, pistachios, cardamom seeds and milk powder.
2. Take the ground powder out. Drizzle ghee. Knead for a minute.
3. Using the mould like this, shape the dough in the balls.
4. Garnish with pistachio slivers.

Note -
1. I did not add any sugar because I thought that the dates were sweet enough. If you prefer sweeter taste, you can certainly add more sugar to suit your taste.
2. Heavy duty grinder is required because no water is added or dates are not soaked.
I am sending this post to Chandrika's "A fruit a month" event with dates.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Daalichi Amti

Amma - My maternal grandmom, who was from South Canara married my grandpa, who was a Maharashtrian Vegetarian. Both grew up with entirely different cuisines of their own. I can't imagine the chaotic confusion that could have happened, after all we are talking about two generations back here. But Annapoorna, that Amma was, she mastered this new cuisine using Goda Masala. In spite of being a strict vegetarian himself, grandpa too encouraged Amma to enjoy her own seafood dominated cuisine. Amma's kitchen had a perfect equilibrium of Maharashtrian "Swayampak" and Konkani "Randap". Lucky us, that we got to devour best of both worlds!

For Maharashtrian Amti, Goda Masala is a must. If you want to make it yourself, read Anita's post here. You can use Goda masala in many Maharashtrian curries and subzis. If you are from Mumbai, here are some of the shops that sell pretty decent Goda Masala. Of course, you can never beat anything homemade, but the goda masala available in any of these shops, comes pretty close.
Sathe's Vijay Stores, Vileparle (East)
Godbole Stores, Dadar (West)
Vanita Samaj, Dadar
Sarvodaya Stores, Dadar

Here's how we make Dalichi Amti -

Daalichi Amti (Serves 4)
आमटी
Ingredients
1 cup Toor daal
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 1/2 tsp Goda Masala - it's a must!
1 tsp jaggery
2 green chilies, halved

1 tsp tamarind pulp or 2-3 kokums
Salt to taste

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 curry leaves with stems

Garnish
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped

Method
1. Pressure cook toor daal with turmeric powder, asafoetida adding 1 1/2 cups water.
2. Mash the cooked daal with daal masher adding 1/2 cup water.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add fenugreek seeds - if using, mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, green chilies and curry leaves along with stems.
4. Now add goda masala, and stir fry for few seconds, making sure that masala does not burn.
5. Now add mashed daal, salt, jaggery, tamarind pulp/kokum. Add more water to get desired consistency. It should not be too thick or too thin.
6. Bring to boil. Let it simmer for about 11 minutes.
7. Add coconut and cilantro. Cover with the lid. Switch off the gas.

Note -
1. You can also add drumsticks/shevgyachya shenga/saragawa to this daal. You can pressure cook them with toor daal.
2. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for Goda masala. The whole essence of this Amti is Goda Masala. This is my humble opinion anyway! :-)
3. Goda masala can be used to make amti, rassa-bhaji (gravy vegetables), masale bhat and usal. Generally kokum and jaggery need to be added to the curries to get the fine balance between spicy, sour and sweetish tastes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Malvani Chicken

Though I refer to my aaji's cooking as Malvani style, this is not her recipe. She never ate chicken. I mean, she used to eat seafood but not chicken, mutton or even eggs. Actually both my grandmothers had this regimen of eating only seafood but no other meat. Why seafood is ok and not any other meat? Here's a short story/legend/folktale - something I don't remember anyone telling me, but I just know it. :-)

Long ago, on the banks of the river Sarswati, lived many sages who were devotees of Goddess Sarswati. and hence they were called Sarswats. Then there was a terrible famine and life was about to come to an abrupt stop. That time, Godess Sarswati appeared and advised her devotees to eat seafood which by her grace was still ample in the river Sarswati. So the sages started eating seafood and thus survived the horrible famine. And hence the Sarswats still eat only seafood but not other meats. Well, the times have changed and everybody is free to do whatever they prefer. It was just a short story. Please read it with a touch of salt. I do not claim anything as I , by no means, am any archaeologist. :-)

Anyway, back to the Malvani chicken recipe. Though there are numerous spices in this recipe, the result is very good. Try it!!
Malvani Chicken Masala
Ingredients
Chicken 1 Kg, cleaned and cut
¼ Kg Tomatoes, chopped
3 tsp paprika or kashmiri chili powder
1/2 cup plain curds
1 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Grind to fine paste 1 –
1 1/2" Ginger
1 small bunch Coriander Leaves/cilantro
5 Green Chilies
5 Garlic cloves
Grind to fine paste 2 –
2 Green Chilies
1/4 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
1/2" Ginger
3 Garlic cloves
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 small Onion, sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds/Badishep/variyali
Grind to fine paste 3 –
1/3 cup dry coconut
2 cloves
2-3 Cinnamon
2 Cardamoms
1 tsp Coriander seeds
6 pepper corns
1-tsp. poppy seeds
4 Almonds
12 Cashews
Tempering
4 tbsp Oil
A generous pinch of asafoetida
2 Bay leaves/tamlpatra/tejpatta
3-5 cloves
1" cinnamon
2-3 Onions (Medium), sliced
Garnish
2 tbsp coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
Method
1. Grind three masala pastes separately. Before grinding the third paste, dry roast all spices,coconut and onions one after the other. You may need to use a spoonful of oil for roasting the onions.
2. Marinate the chicken with paste1, curds, turmeric powder, lemon juice. Refrigerate till ready to use.
3. Heat oil. Add asafetida.
4. Add bayleaves, cloves, cinnamon, and sliced onions. Stir fry till the onions are uniformly reddish brown.
5. Now add tomatoes and fry well till the tomatoes are mushy.
6. Now add paste 2, paprika and salt
7. Add marinated chicken and paste 3
8. Add enough water. Cover with a lid
9. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or till chicken is cooked.
10. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top.
11. Serve hot with Malvani puris called Vade.
Note -
1. I generally use pressure cooker to cook the chicken. It saves time and energy.
2. This chicken tastes even better the next day.

Tirphal from Goa


Above is a picture of Tirphal. From top, tirphal with stems, tirphal, tirphal seeds- ready for planting.

Methiwali Makke Di Roti



Makke di roti and Sarson da saag is a well known Punjabi comfort food. Since I had some fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) at hand, I added them to the roti today. The result was delicious methiwali makke di roti.

I recommend using Masa Harina for making Makke Di Rotis.
Here's what I did -
 
Methiwali Makke di Roti
(Makes 12 rotis)
Ingredients
2 cups Masa Harina [I used Bob's Red Mill Brand]
1 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, roughly chopped
1 small onion, finely minced (optional)
1/2 tsp roasted cumin seed powder
salt to taste

1 1/2 cups hot water
oil for shallow frying

Suggested Accompaniment (non-vegan)
Homemade White Butter or Amul Butter
Method
1. Take all the ingredients except oil and water in a big plate ("Paraat")
2. Swirl a fork in the dry ingredients so all the ingredients are nicely mixed.
3. Slowly add hot water as needed to knead a soft dough. The dough should not be sticky. Keep kneading till it reaches not dry and not sticky consistency.
4. Cover and keep aside for 1/2 hour.
5. Heat a griddle or tawa.
6. Take two parchment papers. Keep a ball of dough between them and roll a rolling pin or pat with your hands till you get a uniformly thick disc.
7. Take off the parchment paper and place on the hot griddle. Flip on the other side after about 2 minutes. Let it cook till  brown spots appear.
8. Serve with a freshly made white homemade butter for the real taste of Punjab! Just simple Amul butter would taste equally amazing!! ;-D
Note -
1. I have started using Masa Harina (which is the corn flour Mexican cooks use to make corn tortillas. This gives the most amazing Makke di Rotis.
2. You can use a tortilla press for making these roties.

Credits
http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php?recipe=662

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quinoa Khichadi

I have been reading a lot about this new grain -Quinoa ("keen-wa")! I wanted to try it in my cuisine. So when I went to the whole foods last time, I finally brought quinoa home. Since Whole foods have those food bins from where you can choose the desired quantity, I was not stuck with a big sack!
After coming home, I thought what if I combine it with moog daal and make the ultimate comforting Khichdi? After heavy eating during Diwali and Thanksgiving, this simple food was definitely a welcome change.
Here's what I did.
Quinoa Khichdi
Ingredients
1 cup Qunioa
1 cup Moog daal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste
1 tsp coriander-cumin seed powder
2 cloves
5 black peppercorns
2 baadiya/star anise
Method
1. Soak Quinoa and daal mixture in a pressure cooker container with 3 cups water for at least 2 hours.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Give a stir.
3. About half an hour before serving, pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.
4. Let the pressure drop. Open the Khichadi.
5. Serve hot with ghee or yogurt.
Verdict
Though it's not as comforting as rice/moog daal khichadi, it's not bad either! I am happy I could include this grain in our daily cooking.
More information about Quinoa, click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lucky's Biryani

Few years back, Times of India (the city supplement, Bombay times to be precise!) ran the series "Your Speciality". The readers used to request their favorite restaurant recipe and the owner/chef of that restaurant would oblige with their signature recipe. I had clipped all those recipes. I was still studying then, and I couldn't try any of those recipes. Today, while going through that collection, I decided to try these recipes that now make me nostalgic of my city - Mumbai.

Bandra's Lucky restaurant is famous for its Chicken/Mutton Biryani. Lucky restaurant is situated at S.V. Road near Bandra Station and is a landmark. Their biryani is really to die for.

As per my collection of Bombay Times recipes, the proprietor of Lucky, Mr. Mohsin Hussaini has shared this recipe.

Lucky's Chicken Biryani
Ingredients
1 kg Chicken
1 kg Rice
1/4 kg Yogurt
1/4 kg oil
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
6 cloves
1" Cinnamon
6 cardamoms
1/4 kg onion, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Grind to fine paste
1 1/2 " ginger
5-9 green chilies

Grind to fine powder
1" Cinnamon
6 cardamoms
6 cloves
Method
1. Heat oil. Brown onions.
2. Mix browned onions with garam masala powder, green paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt, and whisked yogurt.
3. Add chicken pieces. Mix well. Marinate overnight.
4. Boil rice adding little salt and whole spices. Drain.
5. In a deep bottomed vessel, first place marinated chicken. Then layer a rice on top. Put some oil over it. And allow it to be cooked "Dum Pukht" way. for an hour.

Tips -
1. Gas should be on the lowest possible number
2. Ideally, heat should not be direct. So first place a tawa on the burner and then put the vessel. Keep turning the vessel at short intervals.
3. Leave the vessel untouched for another one hour, before opening. (after cooking for an hour)
4. Serve hot with curd raita.
Note -
1. The proportions were given in gm like 5 gm cloves etc. I changed them to suit our taste.
2. If I remember correctly, Lucky's Biryani also used to have big chunks of potatoes. I added them along with chicken for marination.
For more information about Lucky restaurant, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Feast

When I came to United States, I had not heard of Thanksgiving. But I really liked the concept of giving thanks and celebrating. After all, it's all about family gatherings and food. I had to work hard on my taste buds to get adjusted to many of the American foods including mac n' cheese, pizza (too much cheese!!), baked potato, mashed potato! But turkey? I really try hard, but I just can't seem to gobble it. :-)

Since last year, I have started a tradition of our own. I like to use all typical Thanksgiving vegetables and meats (the ones which we eat, anyway!) and create a meal using Indian recipes. I thought of this tradition as a tribute to my natural motherland and adopted motherland.

So last weekend, I made sure that I have bought all the required vegetables & fruits - Pumpkin, sweet potato, potatoes, green beans, cranberries. But I kept thinking hard about Turkey! What's Thanksgiving without Turkey? So I chose to use Turkey Kheema or minced Turkey. I don't think I can actually roast that big turkey ever in my life. But boneless Turkey Kheema was ok.

Then I chose following menu with this American cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. It was truly fusion cooking today. The recipes were entirely based on their roots as shown in the brackets below. Click on the links to go to the recipes.


Pumpkin - Pumpkin Thepla [Gujarat]


Sweet Potato - Mergol [South Canara]



Cranberry - Cranberry Methamba[Maharashtrian]



Green Beans - Farsabichi Koshimbeer [Maharashtra]



Potato - Batatya Gojju [South Canara]


Turkey - Turkey Kheema Matar [Punjab]

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!

This is how we celebrated the Thanksgiving today - mixing old and new recipes and ingredients and creating some new traditions. I would like to send this post to Meeta's Traditional Feast Monthly Mingle event.

Batatya Gojju

It's a potato salad - South Canara side. It takes less than 5 minutes to put together if potatoes are already cooked.
Here's my Amma's recipe -
Amma's Batatya Gojju (Serves 4)
Ingredients
4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 green chilies
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt, whisked
1 small onion, finely chopped (Optional)
Salt to taste
Tempering
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 red chili, halved
5-7 fresh curry leaves
Garnish
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut
Method
1. Pressure cook potatoes. Peel and dice them.
2. Mix salt, chilies, yogurt. Stir in potato cubes.
3. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add mustard, cumin seeds, asafoetida, red chili, curry leaves.
4. Drizzle the tempered oil over the salad. Stir well.
5. Garnish with coconut.
Note -
1. If you like the flavor, use coconut oil for tempering for the authentic flavor.

Turkey Kheema Matar



Today is Thanksgiving. I wanted to keep"Turkey" on today's dinner table. But baking a giant turkey is not my cup of tea. So finally I thought I can use ground turkey to make "Turkey Kheema". I think turkey is pretty bland compared to chicken. So for our Indian palette, I marinated it overnight with green masala of ginger, garlic, cilantro, green chilies. And next day, made kheema. It tasted really nice.

Here's what I did.

Turkey Kheema Matar
Ingredients
Marinate
1 lb Ground turkey breast
1/4 cup yogurt
Half of green paste
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
5 black peppercorns
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
1" cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin seeds
*Remaining Half of Green Paste
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
 
*Grind to fine paste
1 bunch cilantro/coriander leaves
3-5 green chilies
1" ginger
5 garlic cloves
 
You will also need
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1 cup frozen peas
1 lemon
Salt to taste

Garnish
Handful of cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped

Method
1. Grind green masala paste. Add half of the paste to whisked yogurt and turmeric powder. Marinate turkey with this yogurt mixture. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
2. Heat oil in a Pressure cooker. Add whole spices. As they change color one shade darker, add remaining half of the paste. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add onions.
3. Add tomatoes, after onions are evenly browned. Stir fry tomatoes for about 7 minutes, till the tomatoes are mushy.
4. Add marinated kheema. Stir fry. Add  garam masala, paprika. Pressure cook for 5-7 whistles.
5. Open the lid. Add frozen peas and salt.
6. Simmer till peas are cooked. Switch off the gas.
7. Squeeze lemon. Mix. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
 
Note -
1. You can use ground chicken/mutton instead of turkey.

Cranberry Methamba (It's a relish!)


I kept thinking of making something from the fresh cranberries. I had made cranberry teacake before. But after making/eating so many sweets for Diwali, I am done with sweets for this year. Our local newspaper had given a recipe for cranberry-pear chutney. But I was not sure, how it will taste and if it will be enjoyed by my family. Finally, I ate one of that tart cranberry and thought of making Methamba!
The only bad thing was that I just couldn't capture that beautiful color of that cranberry relish with my camera. It looked as beautiful as it tasted. But for some reason, I just couldn't get the good picture. Oh well!
Here's what I did.
Cranberry Methamba
Ingredients
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup jaggery (More or less to suit your palette)
1 tsp paprika
Salt to taste
Method
1. Rinse and dry the cranberries. Pulse them in a food processor till you see the bits of the berries. It should not be a complete mush!
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder.
3. As the seeds start spluttering, add crushed cranberries. Stir. Cover with a lid.
4. Cook for about 9 minutes stirring in between, on a low flame.
5. Add salt, paprika and jaggery.
6. Jaggery will melt and it will be a little watery. Cook till all the liquid evaporates.
7. As it cools down, pour it in a mason jar. Refrigerate.

Note -
1. Depending on the tartness of the cranberries, adjust the amount of jaggery to your taste.
With a simple (& ready made!) bow on top, I would like to send this post to Zlamushka's "A spoonful of Christmas" event.

Farasabichi Koshimbeer




An all American feast is incomplete without green beans casserole. Here's mine in its Desi avatar!


Farasbichi Koshimbeer
Ingredients
1 lb. fresh, tender green beans/Shravan Ghevda/Farasbi/Fansi, both ends removed, chopped
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp coconut, freshly grated (optional)
1/2 lemon


Tempering
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 chilies, cut into rounds (Adjust per required heat level)


Method
1. Steam green beans in the pressure cooker. Do not use the weight. You can also put the chopped green beans in a colander. Pour water in a saucepan. Place the colander on the saucepan, making sure that it doesn't touch the water. Steam, covered for 7 - 10 minutes. Make sure that green beans are not over cooked. So keep an eye accordingly.
2. Crush peanuts coarsely in a blender or food processor.
3. When the green beans have cooled down, stir in crushed peanuts, salt, sugar and coconut - if using. Squeeze  lemon generously.
4. In a small saucepan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and chillies.
5. As the chilies turn color, pour the tempered oil in the green beans mixture.
6. Mix well. Keep covered for at least one hour before serving.

Note -
1. This salad is generally served as a part of simple Maharashtrian meal.
2. Choose tender green beans for best result.

Mergol : Sweet Potato Pudding

When I see sweet potato, I always think of Mergol. It's a South Canara delicacy using just 4-5 basic ingredients. It tastes divine. I thought this dessert will be a nice change for everyone.

Sweet Potato Mergol
Ingredients
1 big sweet potato
1 can coconut milk
2-4 tbsp jaggery
9 cardamoms, peeled/crushed
2-3 threads of saffron (Optional)

Method
1. Pressure cook sweet potato. Peel and grate it.
2. Mix jaggery with coconut milk.
3. Add grated sweet potato, crushed cardamoms. Mix well.
4. Garnish with saffron, if using.
5. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Note -
1. You can use "light" coconut milk
2. Traditionally, sweet potato is cubed and not grated.
3. I love cardamom taste in this mergol. However, if you find it too overpowering, reduce the quantity of the cardamoms.

Pumpkin Thepla



I have not eaten red pumpkin thepla. But I wanted to use pumpkin in today's Thanksgiving feast. I could have made bhoplyacha rassa - Maharashtrian style red pumpkin curry or Bhoplyache Gharge - Maharashtrian style sweet pumpkin puris. But I was already making kheema, chicken etc, so another curry would have been too much. We have been gorging on too much sweet and deep fried food in the name of Diwali, and holidays in general. So I thought it's better if I don't make gharge. Finally I remembered about Gujarati Dudhi na Thepla. So instead of grated dudhi or bottle gourd, I decided to use red pumpkin.

Here's what I did.

Pumpkin Thepla - 12 count
Ingredients
1/2 small red pumpkin, peeled, grated
2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dhana-jeera powder/coriander-cumin powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp carrom seeds/thymol seeds/Ajwain/Owa/Ajmo
1 tsp ginger-green chli paste
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Water as needed
Oil for shallow frying
Wheat flour for dusting

Method
1. Knead dough using all the ingredients. Use water sparingly.
2. Cover and let the dough sit for about 1/2 hour. The dough looks like below.
3. Make small balls and roll into rotis or theplas.
4. Shallow fry on the pan drizzling very little oil.
5. Wrap in a clean kitchen napkin till ready to use.

Note -
1. To simplify my life, I used my food processor's "shred" blade to grate the pumpkin. A grater can be used too.
2. Based on the thickness and circumference for each thepla, the count may change.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sweets Mould

When I read Anupama's (of food-n-more) wonderful post about "Food fit for Gods", I couldn't stop ogling at the sweet mould. So next time, when I went to India, I immediately bought it. The label called it - "मुदाल" .

Frankly, I had not heard this name in Marathi before. But more I thought of it, it kind of made sense. When you serve rice especially for Naivedya or weddings, it is generally served by moulding in a small katori. It is called "भाताची मूद" - rice mould. So something which helps you make the mood must be moodala?

Anyways, this small gadget is really helpful in moulding shira or any other mithai. I used this mould to make Khajoor Paak.

Gujarati Daal


I don't know about this daal just because I got married in the Gujarati family. Actually, here's the scoop. One of my grandmom's sisters - married in the Gujju family. And in the next generation, my maushi - mom's sister, married in the Gujju family as well. then how can the third generation be left behind? Hey, I get the full credit for that!! :-)

Growing up, as a very close-knit family who lived in the same neighborhood, we went to each other's houses very often - almost daily. My aunt & grand aunt both are exceptionally good cooks who brought the flavors of their Gujarati cuisine to our palettes. and so a new flavor got wonderfully blended in our Maharashtrian-Malvani-South Canara family. And Gujarati food became my comfort food too - one of the foods that I grew up with, long before my marriage.
Back to the Gujarati daal - just like most of the Gujarati food, it's very flavorful with a fine balance of all the tastes - sweet from jaggery, sour from tamarind, spicy from chilies, bitter from fenugreek seeds and nutty from peanuts। It's amazingly good.

Here's how we make it।
Gujarati Daal (Serves 4)
Ingredients
1 cup Toor Daal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 cup raw peanuts
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp jaggery
salt to taste
1 tsp ginger-green chili paste

Tempering
1 tsp oil
1 tsp ghee
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
7-9 fresh curry leaves

Garnish
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped (Optional)

Method
1. Pressure cook daal with turmeric powder, asafoetida, peanuts, adding 1 1/2 cup water.
2. Transfer cooked daal mixture in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water.
3. Add salt, jaggery, ginger-chili paste, tamarind pulp. Bring to boil. Simmer for 7 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil and ghee in a small saucepan. Add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
5. As the mustard seeds start to splutter, pour the tempered oil in the daal.
6. Add chopped coriander leaves, if using. Cover with the lid.
7. Serve hot with plain rice.

Note -
1. In Gujarati households, this daal is always served with a dollop of homemade ghee and a wedge of lemon.
2. I have substantially reduced the quantity of the ghee in the tempering. Actually a big dollop of ghee is used for tempering this wonderful daal.

DaaliTauy

DaaLi tauy is a daily daal from South Canara. It is meant to be eaten with plain rice (sheetha in Konkani), upkari, nonche & happal. If you want to go all the way traditional, make sure that you cook the rice in plenty of water and then get rid of water - like you would do for pasta.


Daali Tauy (Serves 4)
Daily Daal from South Canara
Ingredients
1/2 cup toor daal
1" ginger, grated
1 green chili, halved
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste

Tempering
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida
7-9 fresh curry leaves
2 red chilies, halved

Garnish
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut
Suggested Accompaniment
Plain rice
Nonche
Upkari
Roasted red chili papad/happal

Method
1. Pressure cook daal along with asafoetida, tomato, ginger and green chili.
2. Transfer daal to a saucepan. Mash it lightly with wooden daal masher or butter churner.
3. Add salt and water. Bring to boil.
4. Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilies. As the mustard seeds start to splutter, add immediately to daal. Cover with the lid. Switch off the gas.
5. Garnish with coconut.

Note -
1. If you do not want to use coconut oil, you can substitute any other oil. However, for the authentic taste, coconut oil is a must.
2. Traditionally, turmeric powder is not added to daalitauy so the color of this daal is light yellow. But for the anti-oxidant benefits of the turmeric, or if you just can't think of a daal without turmeric, you can add it without any hesitation.

Varan



Varan is the simplest Maharashtrian Daal. It's the first course accompaniment with plain rice. If there is any daal that can be prepared with just 5 basic ingredients, Varan is one of them.

Here's how we make it.
Varan (Serves 4)
वरण
Ingredients
1 cup toor daal
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp jaggery

salt to taste
Method
1. Pressure cook toor daal adding asafoetida and turmeric powder with 1 1/2 cups water.
2. Mash daal using wooden daal masher or butter churner.
3. Add 1/2 cup water. Transfer to a saucepan.
4. Bring to boil. Add salt and jaggery.
5. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Cover with plain rice, a wedge of lemon and few drops of homemade ghee.

Note -
1. If there is any leftovers, you can add tempered oil of your choice and make a delicious daal.

Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING: From my world to yours!!

Microwave Akuri/Akoori

 
Akuri/Akoori is a Parsi style scrambled egg or burji. You can most certainly cook it on the stove top, but it can easily be prepared in the microwave too.

Akuri/Akoori (Serves 2)
Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp tomato, finely chopped (Optional)

4 eggs, whisked
a pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp coriander-cumin seed powder or garam masala
salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method
1. Place oil and butter in a microwave-safe container with a lid
2. Add cumin seeds. Cover the container with a lid. Microwave for 1 minute.
3. Add chopped onion. Microwave for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 1 minute. If onion looks reddish brown, take it out else microwave for another 30 sec.
4. Add tomatoes - if using, and ginger garlic paste with 1 tsp of water. Cover. Microwave for 1 minute. Let it stand for 1 minute.

 
5. Meanwhile, whisk eggs adding salt, turmeric powder, paprika and garam masala/coriander-cumin seed powder.
6. Now add the whisked eggs mixture in the container. Cover. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring in between so eggs get scrambled. Let it stand for 1 minute. If you notice any rawness of eggs, microwave again for another minute or so.
 
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves. Serve immediately with bread, Paratha or Chapati.

Note -
1. Microwave times do vary. So use your own judgment while cooking. Make sure that the containers that you are using have a label "Microwave safe". Do not microwave in the plastic containers. Read more here.
2. Make sure that eggs are thoroughly cooked before serving.
3. I prefer cooking in microwave-safe bowls by Pyrex or corning ware.
4. Never place a whole raw egg in the microwave. It may explode.
 

Malvani Style Daalichi Amti

I remember slurping this daal with rice & ghee (Yeah! ghee!! But when you are a kid, your metabolism is so high, that nothing shows up, you know!!). This is a simple Malvani style preparation. Actually Malvani cooking varies from home to home, just like any other cuisine. But just to differentiate the unique cooking styles of both of my grandmoms, I decided to categorize Malvani and South Canara cuisines. By Malvan, I mean Konkan side of Maharashtra. Had I said just Konkani style, it would have been difficult to differentiate between Konkani from Konkan, Maharashra and Konkani from Mangalore, Karnataka. I am writing my aaji's malvani recipes - the way food is cooked in GSB housholds in Konkan, Maharashtra - unless otherwise mentioned.
Anyway, here's a simple Malvani style Daal.
Malvani Daalichi Amti (Serves 4)
Ingredients
1/2 cup toor daal
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 green chili, halved
5-7 pieces of drumsticks/Saragawa/Shevgyachya Shenga (Optional)
4 kokum, washed
1 small tomato, chopped (Optional)
1 tsp jaggery
Salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1/2 of remaining onion
4-5 black peppercorns

Tempering
2 tsp oil
7-9 fresh curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Method
1. Pressure cook toor daal with turmeric powder, onion, green chili, asafoetida & drumsticks.
2. Grind the coconut masala to a fine paste.
3. Transfer cooked daal mixture in a saucepan. Add ground coconut masala and about 1 cup water.
4. Add salt, jaggery, tomato - if using, & kokum. Bring to boil. Simmer for about 7 minutes.
5. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.
6. Add the tempered oil to the daal. Stir well.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Note -
1. If you do not have kokum, you can use about 1 tsp tamarind pulp.
2. If some fresh, homemade ghee is added to this daal - even it is just one drop - it tastes, divine!

I am planning to send this post as my entry to Jihva: for Toor Daal hosted by Linda of Out of Garden.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kalya Vatanyache Pohe

Kalya Vatanyache Pohe
Ingredients

4 fistful raw pohe
3/4 cup black vatana sprouts
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chilies, slit
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
7-9 curry leaves
1 small onion, finely chopped

Garnish
2 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh coconut, grated
4 wedges of lemon

Method
1. Clean pohe, wash and drain them in a colander.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a a big wok or kadhai. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, chilies, curry leaves and onion.
3. As onion starts to change color, add black peas sprouts.
4. Sprinkle about 1 tsp water, lower the gas, cover. Let it cook till sprouts are cooked. It may take about 20 - 30 minutes.
5. Add pohe, salt and sugar. Stir well. Sprinkle another spoonful of water. Cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Ladle into 4 individual serving plates. Garnish with coconut and cilantro. Serve with one lemon wedge per plate.

Note
1. Black peas sprouts are quite tough and hence takes a little bit longer too cook.
2. For batate pohe, click here.
3. For Soybean pohe, click here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tirphal Plant

Tirphal or Teppal plant - From my kitchen garden.

My very precious serendipity! Just like any Konkani person, I too love this incredible spice - Tirphal or teppal. But whenever I use it in my curries, I feel anxious that it will soon get over. So I threw the inedible seeds in the soil, and voila! out came the tirphal plant. Will it bear the berries? Only time will tell!
Read more about Tirphal at Ashiwini's blog.

Curry Leaves Plant


Curry Leaves -Kadipatta - Limda - From my kitchen garden.

I longed for this plant for a long time. Finally, after constantly nagging my local Indian stores owner, found this baby last spring! It's still growing. I have seen tall curry plants in India, hopefully mine will grow too.

Kashmiri Chilies


From seeds to seedlings to plant - From my kitchen garden.

Kashmiri chilies are my most favorite chilies for giving the vibrant red colors to the curries without the heat, so Gudiya, my 3 1/2 year old too enjoys every bit of the home cooked Indian food. Whenever I use these chilies, just like tirphal, I feel nervous that soon, my stock will be over. So I planted them. No chilies yet! But I haven't given up hope! Now, can anyone tell me how to grow kokum? :-)

Mint the money!

Mint or Pudina : From my kitchen garden.

I really cringe when I see the prices for mint (or any herb, for that matter!). My aunt N, has a green thumb. She takes the mint stems from the carton (kept in the refrigerated vegetable section), just sticks them in the soil and she actually grows mint. "It's a wild plant, it's very hardy. Try it!" - she said. Well, I tried it. My mint stems just wilted and disappeared. Then I decided that these shortcuts won't work for me as I don't have Aunt N's green thumb. So I planted the mint seeds in the Spring and with lots of patience, finally got the mint plant, that I can call my own!!

Update - Summer 2010
Here's how I planted mint this year. Early spring, I got mint from farmers market. I used the leaves and kept the stalks in a vase filled with water. In about 2-3 days, the stalks got the roots. I planted those stalks with roots in the soil. and as my aunt N says, mint is a wild plant, indeed! In no time, it flourished.

Turmeric Plant

I got the fresh turmeric roots at the Indian stores. They are used to make pickle along with mango-ginger (ambe halad). I potted these turmeric roots in the soil.
I was not sure then, that it would really sprout.
It actually did, and so I re-potted, hoping to get turmeric leaves.

Turmeric or Halad plant - From my kitchen Garden



Turmeric leaves are used for making -
1. Patoli
4. Turmeric leaves wrapped Fish
6. Modak
7. Turmeric flavored the ghee/clarified butter/toop

Bay Leaves


My Bay leaves plant (Tamalpatra, Tejpatta), basking in the sun : From my kitchen garden

Chickpeas

 Chickpeas or Harbhara leaves - From my kitchen garden.

The tender leaves of chickpeas plant are perfectly edible. Just throw some brown or green chickpeas from the pantry in the soil and see them grow. If you do not harvest the leaves, the plants will bear tender chickpeas in pods. However by then, the leaves may be too rough to be used.

Recipes to try -
(1) Harbharyachi Paale Bhaji
(2) Harbharyachya palyacha zunka
(3) Harbharyacha palyachi gola bhaji

Jalapeno


A random jalepeno seed, landed in my pot of soil. I hadn't planted it. In no time, it grew big. Kudos to that survival instinct! - From my kitchen garden

Dill Deke Dekho!



Dill or Suwa or Shepu: From my kitchen garden

 

Methi Plant

Fresh Methi waiting to be harvested - From my kitchen Garden.

Some Methi Recipes from this blog -
Methi na Muthiya
Multi-grain Methi Thepla
Methiwali Makke Di Roti
Methi Paratha ver. 1.0
Methi Paratha ver. 2.0

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kela Parotha: Banana Flatbread

There were two overripe bananas sitting in my fruit bowl since last two days. My first thought was to just discard them in the trashcan. But then suddenly I thought of my mom. She never ever throws anything like that. Had she been here right now, she would have made kela parotha or maybe banana cake using rawa (semolina). I called her to confirm her easy recipe of kela paratha. They really taste great by dunking in a cup of tea.

Here's the recipe.

Kelyache Parothe (makes 9)
Ingredients
2 overripe American bananas, peeled & mashed, approx = 1 1/2 cup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground flax seeds (optional)
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp oil

Oil for shallow frying
Wheat flour for dredging

Method
1. Mash the bananas with a fork. Mix salt and wheat flour. Knead well. As the dough is being formed, add 1 tsp oil. Knead again.
2. Heat a griddle or pan.
3. Make 9 balls. Roll each ball in a circle, dusting flour if necessary. Fold it twice to make a triangle.
4. Roll out the triangle to the desired thickness.
5. Shallow fry on a low flame brushing very little oil.
6. As brown spots start to appear on both the sides, take them off the heat.
7. Serve with hot tea.

Note -
1. Do not use any water. The bananas have enough moisture to bind the dough.
2. You can add some sugar if you prefer sweeter parothas.
3. These parothas are thicker than usual chapatis. Make sure that they have uniform thickness around.
4. American bananas are generally bigger than Indian counterpart.
5. Do not set the dough aside for a long time else it will turn blackish due to the bananas.

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