Friday, August 26, 2011

Gelato Siciliano - Pistachio Ice Cream from Sicily

According to Gudiya, I am a picky eater. Wasn't there a time when mothers used to complain about it? ;-) Anyways, Gudiya's complaint is mainly about my pickiness about her most favorite food - Ice-Cream! It's true. I am extremely fastidious about ice-cream. I generally check the ingredients and if it contains eggs, it just puts me off. My favorite ice-cream is still Naturals, Mumbai and Indian Kulfi. I do not like too artificial flavors.

In America, I love Gelattos - Italian ice-creams. They have different flavors like lavender & rose. My most favorite ice-cream shop is Ferrara in NYC. They serve the best pistachio ice-cream ever. Now, I do not know if they add eggs or not. But I do like it. Ferrara is located in the little italy - Italian neighborhood. You hear the servers speaking Italian - Bon Giorno! They have an ice-cream cart right outside their equally famous bakery and restaurant. They serve many different flavors. But pistachio is my most favorite. Hence, whenever I spot a Pistachio ice-cream recipe, I immediately try it. I have tried Ms. Gourmet's Pistachio Rose icecream  when Nupur  had blogged about it.

I bought Saveur Magazine Desserts booklet for 10 cents at a garage sale because it had a recipe of pistachio gelatto - with a note that southern Italian gelatto ice-creams are lighter than its more eggy northern Italian counterparts. So they do not have eggs in it. Hurray! Now, that's what I like.

Pistachio Gelatto
4 cups milk (preferably organic whole milk)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios, finely ground in a spice mill or food processor

1. Bring 3 cups of the milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, combine remaining milk with sugar and corn starch in a bowl. Stir into hot milk
3. Return the saucepan to heat and cook, stirring till the mixture thickens slightly  about 8 - 10 minutes
4. Add pistachio powder to hot milk mixture. Stir. Allow to cool. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing ground pistachios with the back of a wooden spoon.
6. Process the sieved custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Enjoy!

Note -
1. The magazine says to discard the pistachios which remain in the sieve. I have frozen them and will reuse them later.
2. Use unsalted pistachios for this recipe.
3. Since this recipe does not have heavy cream or eggs, do use whole milk.


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cluster Beans from my kitchen garden

Cluster Beans flowers

I just want to share my excitement of harvesting my cluster beans from my kitchen garden. Cluster beans which we call gavar in Marathi is used for making guar gum in the United States.

I noticed that no bugs ate this plant of mine - may be because it was too exotic for the American bugs?

Since the stems of the plant resemble the cluster beans, you may miss picking some beans during harvesting. I got a big harvest of cluster beans this year. :-D

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

GooL Pohe - Sweetened poha for Shri Krishna

Today is Janmashtami. It is birthday of Lord Krishna. In Mumbai, we have dahi Handi - human pyramid to break "handi".

I told Gudiya story of Sudama and his fistful of pohe. As a kid, it was one of my favorite Krishna stories. After my grandfather's story telling, my grandmother used to sing several Krishna songs for us on this day.

"Sangta vastrayan, ayka diunu kaan
kara Devale smaran tummi....." (A Konkani song)

"Krishna mhane maatela, amhi jato vanat Yamunela,
Kahitari de khayala, laadu athava kanavala" (A Marathi Song)

"Bharjaricha peetambar deela fadun, Draupadi si bandhu shobhe Narayan....
 (A Marathi Song)

"Kurkure kaanha, gayi mhash gyelyo raana...." (A Konkani song/lullaby)
and this fun filled evening would end after devouring my grandmother's delicious meal. She would make panchakadaya, kallya undo, gul pohe & swet yogurt for naivedya. Somehow, all these dishes taste the best on these festival days.

GooL Pohe
Jaggery with pohe
2 cups thin pohe
1/2 cup grated jaggery or jaggery powder
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
A pinch of salt
4-5 cardamoms, peeled & crushed to powder
1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee/toop

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Keep kneading till the warmth of your hand melts the jaggery and the mixture comes together. It still should not be a mush.

1. Use thin pohe for this recipe.
2. You need to use plenty of sajook toop/clarified butter and fresh coconut to moisten the thin pohe. These pohe are not meant to be washed with water.
3. Use more or less jaggery per taste.
4. If pohe is not fresh, you can lightly roast it. But make sure they have cooled down completely before mixing.

Iskcon Temple, Juhu, Mumbai

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

taro talasani

Taro roots are also known as arvi/arbi. This is a simple stir fry using Taro roots. If you plant these bulbs, you can also grow your own taro/colcalsia/ALu leaves.

Taro Talasani
Taro Roots Stir fry
3-4  medium taro roots, scrubbed, scraped, chopped into shoe strings
salt to taste

1 tbsp oil (preferably coconut oil)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
2-3 red chilies, halved

1 tbsp freshly scraped coconut

1. Heat oil preferably in iron kadhai/wok.  Add all the ingredients for tempering.
2. As they splutter, add chopped root vegetables.
3. Stir fry for 15 - 20 minutes till cooked and crispy.
4. Add salt to taste.
5. Garnish with coconut

Note -
1. Taro roots can be slippery while peeling or chopping. Be careful!
2. Traditionally, turmeric powder is not used for talasani. But you can use it if you like.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GuruKripa's Sev Barfi

Guru Kripa is synonymous with their legendary samosas. It's a wonderful Sindhi restaurant in Sion, Mumbai. But today I am featuring their equally delicious Sev Barfi - moist, sweet and droolworthy!

I don't have a recipe for this one. I will not even attempt it. :-D

Swamy Vallabhdas Road, Sion West, Sion
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Ribbon Cake

Ribbon cake transports me back to my childhood in Mumbai. Venus bakery used to have this delicious cake. Looking back, I think it was their version of Napolitan Cake. But I loved the name ribbon cake even better. It was a simple sponge cake with layers of pink, brown and white cake batter.

To celebrate team India's cricket victory on April 2nd, I had made this ribbon cake but I used orange, green and white colors instead. [Of course, that victory seems to be a distant dream now especially after that no-show in England right now!:-(

In order to celebrate the Independence day of India, I am posting the recipe of my ribbon - tricolor cake.

Ribbon Cake
1 packet Betty Crocker White cake mix
(use eggs, oil, water as written on the back of the box)

Orange & Green food color drops or
chocolate powder and strawberry powder (Nesquick)

1. Prepare the batter per the instructions on the back of the box.
2. Divide the batter into three uniform parts.
3. Add orange and green [ or chocolate & strawberry powders] in two parts.
4. Grease a loaf pan.
5. Layer with orange , then white and then green. When taking out, orange will be the first layer. With the help of a wooden skewer or knife, swirl the batter to create marble effect.
6. Preheat and bake per the instructions given on the back of the cake mix.

Note -
1. Use chocolate and strawberry powders to create the "real" ribbon cake or follow this recipe.

Happy Independence Day, India!

Venus Bakery
Near Mount Carmel church/St Aloysius School
Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Narali Quinoa - Sweet Coconut Quinoa

Today is Narali Pournima - coconut festival of Maharashtra. The fishermen folks of Mumbai offer coconuts to the Sea God on this day. Fresh coconut has a special siginifciance on this day. My family makes sweet coconut rice - Narali Bhaat on this day. I still have the lingering taste of clarified butter - sajook toop, cloves & fresh coconut  in this festive rice.

In my kitchen in the United States, I use Quinoa more than I use rice. So this time, I decided to use quinoa instead of rice for making Narali Quinoa. For the authentic taste, you can replace quinoa with the equal quantity of Basmati or Ambemohor Rice.

NaraLi Quinoa (serves 4 as a dessert)
Sweetened Coconut Rice
2 cups cooked quinoa (or basmati /ambemhor rice)
3/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
3/4 - 1 cup sugar

1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee/sajook toop - preferably homemade
3-4 cloves

3-4 cardamoms, peeled & crushed
A pinch of nutmeg powder
Few strands of saffron
2 tbsp almond slivers

1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed wok/kadai.
2. Add cloves. Saute till they are fried well.
3. Now add cooked quinoa. Stir till ghee coats the quinoa.
4. Add coconut & sugar. Stir till sugar melts.
5. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, almond slivers and saffron.
6. Cover and let it cook for 2 minutes. Switch off the gas.
7. Keep covered for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1. For the authentic flavor, use cooked basmati or ambemohor rice.
2. I cook quinoa by adding double amount of water. Follow the instructions on the back of the quinoa packet.
3. For this recipe, I am using already cooked quinoa.
4. For getting the maximum flavor/color of saffron, heat saffron in a spoon quickly . Mix in with a spoonful of milk and stir it in the rice.
5. Increase or decrease the amount of sugar per your personal preference. You can even use jaggery which will give a different and rustic flavor.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Stuffed Sprouts "Only Paratha"

When we were in Mumbai, we went  to "Only Parathas" at Linking Rd. The names says it all. It's a restaurant famous for the parathas. Their paratha options truly intrigued me. I had not seen these many permutations and combinations for the paratha stuffings. We decided to order 4 parathas and share quarters each.It was just too much. I think we should have requested them to use less oil because the parathas were almost deep fried. I was full to the brim, eating just one quarter. However, I absolutely loved their concept of stuffing anything and everything.

I have used this fantastic concept to make my own sprouts parathas - only parathas way. I tried to use less oil. This is just my version.

Sprouts stuffed Only Paratha (4 - 5 counts)
2 cups wheat flour
salt to taste
2 tbsp kasoori methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled with hand
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp owa/ajmo/ajwain
1 tsp mild chili powder/paprika
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp oil
water as needed

For the Stuffing

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp amchoor powder/dry mango powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chaat masala
salt to taste
2 cups moong sprouts
2 tbsp minced cilantro

Suggested accompaniment

1. Mix all the ingredients for dough except oil and water. Knead adding water gingerly. As the dough comes to a ball, keep kneading so it is elastic. Add spoonful of oil. Keep kneading till it is smooth. Cover and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok or kadai. Add the ingredients for tempering. As they splutter, add moong sprouts. Saute. Add spoonful of water. Keep a lid on top. Pour water on the lid. Keep cooking till moong are soft. If needed add more water to the moong but do not make it too watery.
3. As moong sprouts are cooked, add salt, garam masala, chaat masala and amchoor powder.
4. Stir in cilantro. Let it cool down completely. Set aside.
5. Now, heat a tawa/frying pan/griddle. Make 8 or 10 balls of dough. (we need an even number!)
6. Using wheat or rice flour, roll a ball of dough into a thick disc. Keep aside on a plate.
7. Take another ball and roll into a thick disc of preferably same size/circumference and thickness.
8. Spread cooled down moong on the rolled disc leaving some space around the circumference.
9. Place already rolled disc on top. Press both the flatbreads around the outer edges.
10. Using a fork, press around the outer edge.
11. Now carefully lift the stuffed paratha and place on a hot pan. Add some oil as desired.
12. Flip and cook on both sides till brown spots appear.
13. Once ready, place it in a clean kitchen napkin - covered.
14.Repeat steps 6 - 13 till all the dough balls are used up.

Note -
1. Moong stuffing has to be completely dry. It should be cooled down as well.
2. While serving, I like to cut it into 4 parts using a pizza cutter and serve with mirchi cha dahi and salad & pickle.

Only Parathas,
355, Linking Rd,
Khar(W), Mumbai 400052

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marcha Vengan nu Shaak

I recently ate this "shaak" at my in-laws place. I usually make marcha batakanu shaak but addition of eggplant made it even better.

Marcha Vengan nu Shaak
Bell peppers with eggplants
1/2 red bell pepper, stem/seeds removed, sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, stem/seeds removed, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, stem/seeds removed, sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, stem/seeds removed, sliced
2 -3 small or 1/2 big eggplant, sliced
1/2 red onion, peeled & sliced

1/2 tsp Gujarati Garam Masala
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander-cumin powder/dhana jiru
2 tsp jaggery

salt to taste

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida

1. Heat oil in a nonstick kadai/wok. Add the tempering ingredients
2. As the seeds splutter, add onion, peppers and eggplant slices. Keep on sauteing till they are soft.
3. Add salt, jaggery, chili powder, garam masala and coriander-cumin powder.
4. Keep on sauteing till  veggies are coated with the masala.
5. serve with hot fulkas/rotlis/chapatis

1. This recipe is a variation of Marcha bataka nu shaak and Baingan Simla Mirch Subzi. So you can also add potato slices if you like.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gavhalyanchi Kheer

As I mentioned here, "Gavhale" can be considered as Indian Orzo pasta. They are shaped as Basmati grains and dried under sun. Later, these gavhales are used to make kheer or sweet bhaat.

Gavhalyanchi Kheer
गव्हल्यांची  खीर
Indian Orzo Pudding
1 cup Gavhale
2 tsp pure ghee/clarified butter/toop

31/2 - 4 cups milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar

4-5 green cardamoms, peeled & crushed
A pinch of nutmeg powder
few strands of saffron
2 tbsp almond slivers

1. Melt ghee/toop/clarified butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add Gavhale and roast on low heat till they are pinkish. Please pay attention so they are not burnt.
2. Now add milk and bring to boil on medium flame.
3. As it boils, add sugar & almond slivers. Simmer. Make sure that gavhale are cooked by pressing one with a spoon or between your fingers. They should be soft.
4. Add cardamoms, nutmeg powders and saffron strands.
5. Serve warm.

Note -
1. Take utmost care not to overcook gavhale. They should not be burnt while roasting.
2. If you like your puddings extremely sweet, use 1 cup sugar for 1 cup gavhale.
3. For getting the maximum saffron flavor, place few strands of saffron on a spoon. Hold it over a gas flame for few seconds. Place it in a ramekin. Add spoonful of warm milk. Mix together and add it to the simmering kheer.
4. Use full fat milk for richer flavor and taste.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gavhale from Mumbai

Gavhale is made by making a dough and then shaping it like basmati grains. It is then dried under hot, blazing sun. It's a painstakingly tedious process. I wonder if anyone really makes it at home anymore? I am sure there are home cooks who have preserved this art. I got mine from Mumbai.  You can call it as Indian Orzo.

We make two sweet recipes -
1. Gavhalyanchi Kheer
2. Gavhale Bhaat

As of now, I do not know how the dough for the "gavhale" is made. I wonder if they use wheat flour or rava/semolina made from wheat. But this is just a guess. I will update this post if I find more information. I guessed wheat because wheat flour is known as "Gavhache Peeth" in Marathi and it sounds similar to Gavhale.

I got my gavhale from Mahim, Mumbai. Here's the address -
Thakur & Mandali
T.H.Kataria Marg
L.J.Rd and T.H.K Junction,
Mahim, Mumbai 400016.

You can also reach this place by getting off Matunga Railway station(West).

This shop is near Kashi Vishweshwar Temple and has lots of Maharashtrian delicacies.


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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paka KeLa na Bhujiya - Banana Fritters

Addition of ripe yet not overripe bananas to the spicy dishes covers the entire gamut of the taste buds. Gujarati home cooks excel in this tongue tickling magic. If you are not sure of the result, you can always play safe and substitute raw banana. But for savoring the flavors of Gujarat, do try these unique fritters.

Paaka KeLa na Bhujiya
Banana Fritters
1 ripe banana (not over ripe)
salt to taste

1/4 cup besan/chickpea flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp ginger-green chili paste
1 tsp hot oil or a pinch of baking soda

Vegetable oil for frying

1. Peel and cut bananas in circles.
2. Whisk chickpea flour with all the ingredients except vegetable oil for frying.
3. Add water to make a thick batter - of pancake batter consistency. It should coat the banana roundels evenly.
4. Heat oil for deep frying. Pour a spoonful in the batter or add a pinch of baking soda.
5. Deep fry banana fritters turning over to get fried uniformly.

1. Banana should be ripe but not over-ripe for this recipe.
2. Since this could be an acquired taste, you can substitute raw banana instead of ripe one if you are not sure of the outcome.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Bhinda Vadi nu Shaak

I like my MIL's addition of "vadis" in the simple stir fries. It provides good proteins to the overall meal.

Bhinda-Vadi nu Shaak
Stir Fried Okra
2 cups chopped okra
1/4 cup vadies

1 tsp mild chili powder
2 tsp coriander - cumin seed powder/dhana jiru
1 tsp sugar or to taste
salt to taste

1 tsp oil for frying vadies

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Fry vadies in spoonful of oil. Put immediately in a bowlful of water to soak.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai/pan/wok. Add tempering ingredients.
3. As they splutter, add cut okra. Cover with a lid and let it cook.
4. As okra becomes soft, add salt, sugar, mild chili powder and coriander-cumin powder.
5. Add soaked vadies without adding water.
6. Cover and let it cook for  5- 7 minutes
7. Drizzle lemon juice.

1. Instead of covering, you can add more water and make the okra crispy.
2. You can add vadies made from yellow moong daal or chora ni daal or both.

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