Friday, September 27, 2013

Kale Paneer

Kale Paneer with salad, tomato methamba and aloo kulcha
Kale is considered one of the healthiest leafy greens. I gave it an Indian - Punjabi to be more specific, - makeover.

Kale Paneer
Kale with Indian Cottage Cheese
16 oz frozen Kale, thawed, pressure cooked

salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
1/2 tbsp Punjabi Garam Masala
1/2 tsp chile powder

1 cup paneer cubes

2 tbsp oil
2" piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
1 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1. Pressure cook thawed kale, adding adequate water. Let it cool down. Grind to a fine paste. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadai or wok. Add spices. Saute for 1 minute. Add ginger-garlic paste. Saute for 2 minutes. Add onions, saute till it is soft. Now, add tomatoes. Saute till tomatoes are mushy.
3. Add coriander-cumin powder, garam masala and chile powder.
4. Add kale paste and salt to taste. Add water if needed but the curry should have thick consistency.
5. Add paneer cubes. Simmer for 15 minutes on low flame.

Suggested Accompaniment
Kulcha or Rumali Roti
Lemon wedges

1. For richer taste, deep or shallow fry paneer cubes before adding to the curry. I do not bother to dry paneer.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sev-Ganthiya ni Chutney

This chutney may intrigued you but Gujarati farsan like sev and ganthiya are incorporated in this chutney. Go figure!
Sev-Ganthiya ni chutney
Indian Fried Noodles Chutney
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
3-4 green chilies
2" ginger, peeled & chopped
salt to taste
A generous pinch of black pepper - freshly ground
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup sev
1/2 cup ganthiya
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Grind all the ingredients adding little water if needed.
2. Serve as an accompaniment with Gujarati Farsan like Paatra, Khandvi or Khaman.
Note -
1. Sev and ganthiya already has salt in it so adjust salt for this chutney accordingly.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Dudhi-Paneer Halwa

I had planned to make Dudhi Halwa yesterday. I forgot to check one essential item - Khoya/Mawa/Khava or at least ricotta cheese. I didn't even have my mom's to go item "milk powder" for making halwa. But I noticed a chunk of paneer slab. I thought of using it to make Dudhi-Paneer Halwa. Now, my not-so-picky family did enjoy this halwa, but I must tell you that, this substitution does not make Dudhi halwa as homogeneous as it results when khoya is used. Having said that, I do feel that it tastes good of its own and you will probably enjoy it if you love paneer.

Dudhi Paneer Halwa
Bottlegourd with Indian Cottage Cheese sweet
1 big bottlegourd, peeled, seeded and grated - about 6-7 cups
1/2 cup milk

2 cups grated/crumbled paneer/Indian cottage cheese
1 1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter (optional)

7 green cardamoms, peeled & powdered
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1. Pressure cook grated bottle gourd with milk. Set aside.
2. Place the cooked bottle gourd along with milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
3. Add paneer and sugar.
4. Keep stirring till all the moisture is evaporated.
5. If using, drizzle ghee/clarified butter now.
6. Garnish with cardamom and nutmeg powders.
7. Serve warm or chilled.

1. Try to use whole cardamoms/nutmeg and powder them instead of using pre-made cardamom/nutmeg powders.

Bottle Gourd

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

(My not so authentic version of) Kolhapuri Goli-Bhaat

I was chatting with my friend who is from Kolhapur. She mentioned about Kolhapuri Goli Bhaat which sounded like a Kofta Pulao. The authentic version contains "golies" made from kheema (mutton mince). I thought of using the small nutrella chunks from my pantry. My version is not exactly authentic. But we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Kolhapuri GoLi- Bhaat (My vegetarian version)
Soya chunks rice
1 cup small Nutrella Chunks, soaked in warm water for 2 hours
salt to taste
1/2 tsp Kolhapuri Masala/chutney
1 tsp garam masala
3 1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

Rinse and drain
1 1/2 cup Basmati Rice

Grind to a smooth paste
1/3 cup cilantro
3 green chilies (use less or more per your personal preference)
5 cloves of garlic
1" ginger, peeled

1 tbsp oil
4-5 black peppercorn
3 cloves
1 piece cinnamon (about 2" length)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp minced cilantro

1. Soak Nutrella chunks in warm water for about 2 hours. Drain. Mix with 1/2 of green paste.
2. Pressure cook nutrella chunks along with green paste marinade and 1/4 cup water. Set aside.
Pressure cooked Nutella Chunks

3. Rinse and drain Basmati Rice.
4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
5. Add whole spices for tempering. As they sizzle, add onion and turmeric powder.
6. Saute till onion is soft. Add 1/2 of remaining green paste. Saute for 5 minutes.
7. Add drained Basmati Rice. Saute for 5 minutes.
8. Add 3 1/2 cup hot water, salt to taste, Kolhapuri masala and garam masala.
9. Bring to boil. Switch gas to low. Cover with a lid. Let it cook for about 15 minutes on a low flame.
10. Open the lid. Now add cooked Nutrella chunks and green peas in a single layer over the rice.
11. Place the lid back. Cook again for 10-15 more minutes on a low flame.
12. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1.This is not the authentic version of Kolhapuri GoLi Bhaat.
2. This pulao is not very spicy. Serve it with some spicy curry for accompaniment.

Kolhapuri GoLi Bhaat with Egg Kolhapuri

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shepu chi Bhaaji(2)

Dillweed or Shepu as we call in Marathi is a delicacy. It has a flavor that is hard to describe. It is either loved or hated by many. So it may be an acquired taste. My grandmother's this simple bhaaji tastes best with chapati or paper-thin rice flatbread/tandlachi bhaakri.

Shepu chi bhaaji(2) - KaLa VataNa Ghalun
Dillweed with Sprouts
1 bunch fresh Dill/Shepu, cleaned, rinsed, roughly chopped
1/3 cup KaLa VataNa sprouts, pressure cooked
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar/jaggery powder

1/2 tbsp oil
9-10 Garlic cloves, peeled & smashed but each clove remains in tact
2 red chilies, halved
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/4 tsp black pepper powder

1. Clean, rinse and chop dill or shepu roughly. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok or kadhai.
3. Add garlic cloves, chilies and turmeric powder. As garlic cloves turn a shade darker, add onion.
4. Saute till onion is soft.
5. Now add shepu. Fry for 5 minutes and add cooked kala vatana sprouts.
6. Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle water in between.
7. Add sugar, salt, coconut - black pepper mixture.

Note -
1. The exact quantity for dill or shepu may vary depending on how much quantity 1 bunch may have. Adjust seasoning and sprouts accordingly.
2. Kala Vatana is very tough. Always pressure cook it before adding to the bhaaji. This is neither black beans or black whole urad. This is a special bean grown in Maharashtra.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vilayati Fanasachi Bhaaji - Breadfruit Stir Fry

Mashinga pallya bhutti, Breadfruit stir fry and chapati

The new Indian stores that I discovered recently, has delicacies from Kerala, but those also were delicacies from my own roots.  I found some forgotten vegetables like breadfruit and drumsticks leaves.  After finding the breadfruit, I had to call Kaku, to get her recipe for the bhaaji. I couldn't believe that the recipe was this simple.

Kaku's Vilayati Fanasachi Bhaaji
Breadfruit Stir Fry
1 packet (16 oz) frozen Vilayati Fanas/Breadfruit - Daily Delight Brand
salt to taste

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 green chilies, chopped
2 red chilies, halved

1/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)

1. Heat oil in a nonstick kadhai/wok.
2. Add the ingredients for tempering.
3. As they sizzle, add breadfruit pieces.
4. Cover and place some water on the lid. Do not add any water in the kadhai, for cooking.
5. Stir in between.
6. Let it cook for about 25 minutes. Add salt, coconut and black pepper powder - if using.
7. Let it cook for 5 more minutes without the lid.

Note -
1. This bhaaji is quite starchy.
2. I used "Daily Delight" brand.
3. Breadfruit is known as "Vilayati Fanas" in Marathi or "Jeev Kadgi" in Konkani

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mashinga Pallya Bhutti - Drumsticks leaves Curry

There are many Indian stores in my town. Pretty much each store has their own brand identity. Mostly, they represent the delicacies from their owners' home state in India. I love visiting Indian stores because I get to see some unique items. I went to this particular Indian stores for the first time. They specialize in the food from Kerala. I gasped in disbelief when I saw drumsticks leaves there. The owner told me that they arrive from Hawaii. I never thought I would ever come across  Mashinga Pallo or shevgyacha paala - right here in U S of A. I was all set to make my grandmother's Mashingya Pallya Bhutti.

Mashinga Pallya Bhutti
Drumsticks Leaves Curry
2 cups Drumsticks leaves, rinsed, roughly chopped
7 pieces of drumsticks

salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery (optional)

Grind to a coarse paste
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
5-6 byadgi chilies, roasted in a drop of coconut oil
1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted in coconut oil
1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds

1. Pressure cook roughly chopped drumstick leaves and drumsticks using adequate water.
2. Grind coconut, chilies and coriander seeds with tamarind paste. Use water as needed for grinding.
3. Place cooked drumstick leaves and drumsticks in a saucepan.
4. Add ground paste and bring to boil.
5. Add salt and jaggery - if using. Let the water evaporate.
6. Heat a small saucepan for tempering. Add onion and coriander seeds. Saute till onion is golden.
7. Drizzle over the curry. Switch off the gas. Cover with a lid. This curry should be very thick and not watery.

1. Drumsticks leaves weigh very less. So when buying make sure that you are buying enough.
Drumsticks Leaves

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Khandvi - It's different!

People assume "Khandvi" is the yellow colored spiral rolls. But there exists another "Khandvi". You see, the yellow colored Khandvi is a Gujarati name which goes by "SuraLichya VaDya" in Maharashtra & Maharashtrian Khandvi is actually a sweet made from rice, jaggery and coconut.  Have I confused you enough?;-)

Rice-Jaggery Sweet from Maharashtra
1/2 cup basmati rice or any rice with fragrance like ambemohor
1 cup water

1/2 tbsp sajook toop/ghee/clarified butter

1 fresh turmeric leaf - tied into a knot
A pinch of salt

1/2 cup Jaggery
1/2 cup Freshly scraped coconut
2-3 cardamoms, peeled and crushed

Ghee for greasing the plate

1. Wash rice and spread on a clean kitchen clot to air dry completely.
2. Grind to a coarse paste that resembles rawa/semolina.
3. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom wok.
4. Roast rawa on a low heat.
5. Add water, turmeric leaf, salt.
6. Cook till done.
7. Add jaggery, coconut and cardamom powder.
8. Cook again till the mixture is thick.
9. Grease a steel plate or cooker container with ghee/toop.
10. Spread coconut-jaggery-rice mixture uniformly. Steam for about 10 minutes without putting pressure.
11. Let it cool down.
12. Cut into diamonds or squares
13. This is served with a dollop of ghee/toop.

Note -
1. Adjust the amount of jaggery per personal preference.
2. This sweet is traditionally served with ghee/toop.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Panchamrut (2) - Nuts Chutney

Panchamrut is a simple accompaniment/chutney made with nuts and coconut. It is served along with daily meal.

Panchamrut - 2
1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashew pieces, soaked for 2 hours
2 tbsp raw, unsalted peanuts, soaked for 2 hours

1/4 cup fresh coconut slices
salt to taste

1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1/4 cup jaggery powder
1 tbsp goda masala
1/2 tsp chile powder

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp white sesame seeds

1. Soak peanuts and cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and sesame seeds.
3. As they splutter, add drained nuts and coconut slices. Saute for 2 minutes. Lower the heat. Cover with a lid. Pour some water over the lid. Let it cook till done.
4. Add tamarind-jaggery mixture and salt to taste.
5. Bring to boil. Let it simmer till it appears like a thick gravy.

Note -
1. I used frozen coconut slices.
2. Serve as an accompaniment with daily meal. This acts like a chutney or salad on the side.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Ricotta Cheese "Mawa" Modak

I have already blogged about the recipe of "Bhugga" using ricotta cheese. I used the same concept and made "khavyache"/Mawa Modak for this Ganesh Chaturthi.

Use full fat/whole milk ricotta cheese for richer flavor.

Ricotta Cheese "Mawa" Modak - (Count 12)
Ricotta Cheese Sweet
1 box whole or part skim ricotta cheese (15 oz)

1/2  - 3/4 cup sugar

4-5 Green cardamoms, peeled  & powdered
Few strands of saffron + 1 tbsp warm milk

1. Pour ricotta cheese in a nonstick wok/kadhai.
2. Roast on a medium flame. Keep an eye and keep stirring to avoid any cheese sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. The cheese will bubble first.

4. Keep roasting till moisture is completely evaporated. This stage may take about 45 minutes to 1 hour of roasting time.

5. Now add sugar. This step will add some moisture to the cheese.

6. So keep on roasting for another 10-12 minutes till it gets dryish.

7. Add saffron + milk and cardamom powder. Mix well.
8. Switch off the gas. Let it cool down.
9. Spray a cooking spray on a small Modak mould.
10. Stuff the ricotta mixture inside the mould to get the perfect Modak shape.
11. Repeat step 10 till all the mixture is used. Use spray if necessary.

Note -
1. Above proportion gave me a dozen small Modaks.
2. Adjust sugar per your preference.

Ganapati Bappa Morya!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Beetroot" Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have often thought of using beetroot in baking. First of all, it's so sweet that even sugar is made from it and is readily available in the supermarkets. Secondly, in India beetroot halwa is made. While I was mulling over the recipe, I spotted a "Red Velvet Cupcake" recipe while waiting for my dentist to show up. It sure was a Eureka moment for me!

Beetroot Red Velvet Cupcakes - Count 15
Recipe from Sunset Magazine
1 lb red beetroots (3 medium), pressure cooked, peeled

2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Beet Puree
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pressure cook beetroots. Let it cool down. Peel and grind to a fine puree. It should measure up to 1 1/4 cup. Preheat oven 350F
2. Sift cake flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder and cocoa powder. If you do not have cake flour, refer to the note below.
3. Whisk beat puree with sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla - using a handheld electric mixer.
4. Mix flour to the beet mixture.
5. Spoon into 12 muffin cups.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
7. Let them cool down for 10 minutes. Frost the cupcake if you wish using the link below.

Note -
1. If you don't have cake flour and don't have any intention of buying a new pack, here's what to do. I found this trick while surfing the Internet. For each cup cake flour, take 1 cup all purpose flour and remove 2 tbsp all purpose flour from it. or after removing 2 tbsp all purpose flour, add 2 tbsp corn starch to it. Since I had corn starch handy and I needed 2 cups cake flour for this recipe, I used 1/4 cup corn starch and 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour.
2. Refer to the original recipe below for frosting. Also note that the original recipe recommends baking the beets but I pressure cooked them. Cocoa powder was also my addition.

Recipe Credits

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Monday, September 2, 2013

MayaLuchi Bhuji - Malabar Spinach Fritters

I still remember the day when I got introduced to these "loving" fritters. I was at Kaku's place after school. She  had made these unusual bhujies, which totally intrigued me. I knew that these are not spinach leaves. Kaku said that these are "Mayalu leaves"! I had never heard about these leaves and the only meaning of the word "Mayalu", I knew that time was - loving - in Marathi. Kaku had a hearty laugh of my interpretation of those loving fritters. She took me to her terrace garden and showed me the vine that was creeping by the stakes. She even gave me the black beadlike seeds and told me to plant them to get my own "mayaLu". I loved those leaves and their quaint name. I brought those seeds home. Dad helped me plant them into our flower-bed. Mom said that these are "MayaLu" which also go by the name "VaaLi" in Konkani. Very soon, we got the vine and mom made these delicious homegrown MayaLu fritters.

I planted my own plant this summer. Read about that experiment here -

MayaLuchi Bhuji/Poi ni bhujiya
मायाळूची  भजी 
Malabar Spinach Fritters
12 Malabar Spinach Leaves, washed & dried

Whisk till there are no lumps
3/4 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp asafeotida
salt to taste
1 tsp hot oil

Oil for deep frying

Optional Garnish
A generous pinch of salt or chaat masala

1. Rinse the leaves so there are no impurities. Pat them dry completely.
2. Heat oil - preferably peanut oil in a wok or kadhai.
3. Whisk chickpea flour with remaining ingredients to make a thick batter. Add water carefully. The batter should be able to coat the leaves. Add a spoonful of hot oil from the kadhai.
4. Coat each leaf with the besan batter and place carefully in the hot oil.
5. Deep fry on both the sides.
6. Take off on a kitchen absorbent paper.
7. Sprinkle some salt or chaat masala if using. This is completely optional. Our traditional recipe does not need this step.
8. Serve hot bhujiyas with tomato ketchup or as an accompaniment with the daily meal.

Note -
1. American cooks often sprinkle some salt on the deep fried fritters right after they come out from the fryer. That's why I too suggested to sprinkle some salt or chaat masala. But as mentioned, this is not traditional.
2.  If any chickpea batter is left, you can slice any other vegetables like potatoes and make quick bhujiyas to use any leftover batter.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

How I grew my Malabar Spinach this summer

Malabar Spinach goes by three names in my family. Depending on the person with whom I am talking, I call the same Malabar Spinach as "MayaLu" (Marathi), "VaaLi" (Konkani) or "Poi" (Gujarati). My favorite Vietnamese farmer sells Red stemmed Malabar Spinach at our local Farmers Market and our Indian stores has recently started carrying green stemmed - the one I am familiar with - Malabar Spinach.

If you want to grow your own Malabar spinach from scratch, here are the steps.

1. Get some healthy stems of Malabar Spinach from your local Indian or Farmers' market. The stems don't need to be too long, but just make sure that they are not bruised or broken.
2. You can use the leaves for cooking, but save the stems in a glass full of water.

3. In about a week or so, you will notice that the stem now has roots. Let it grow some strong roots in water.

4. Now, plant the stem in a container or your veggie patch.
5. Very soon, the plant will grow and will have its own black seeds.
6. Sun dry those seeds and use them to plant next year!

7. Happy Gardening!

Note -
I use this same method (forcing the stems to root in the water and then plant them in soil) to grow my own mint and lemongrass.

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