Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Takatla Saboodana - Sago in buttermilk

This is another ubiquitous "upwas/farali" food from the Maharashtrian kitchens. Make sure to use fresh, sweetish buttermilk for this recipe.
Taakatla Saboodana
ताकातला  साबूदाणा 
Sago in buttermilk
1 cup sago, cleaned, rinsed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup daaNyache kooT/roasted unsalted peanut powder
salt to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. ghee/clarified butter
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2-3 green chilies, chopped
1/2 tbsp. grated ginger
 1 tbsp. minced cilantro
1 cup buttermilk
1. Rinse sago after cleaning for any impurities. Soak in the buttermilk for at least 2 hours.
2.Heat ghee in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds, chilies and ginger. Sauté for a minute.
3. Add soaked sago, salt, sugar and peanut powder.
4. Keep stirring till it is mixed.
5. Cover and cook on a medium flame till sago seems to be cooked.
6. Add more buttermilk and cilantro.
7. Mix well before serving.
Note -
1. Do not use sour buttermilk for this recipe.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Surti Amchoor wali Daal

Surti Amchoor Daal
Daily Daal with Dried Mango Powder
1 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed coarsely
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery
1 tsp Aamchoor powder/dried mango powder or to taste
1 tbsp. ghee/clarified butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 sprigs curry leaves
3-4 green chilies, slit
1/2 cup minced onion
1. Pressure cook toor daal using double amount of water. Mash lightly and set aside.
2. Heat ghee in a saucepan.
3. Add the spices & curry leaves. As they splutter, add onion. Sauté till onion is soft.
4. Add mashed daal and 1/3 cup water. Bring to boil.
5. Switch gas to low. Add salt, jiggery and amchoor powder.
6. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
7. Serve with plain rice or jeera rice.
Note -
1. Let this daal have thick consistency.
2. Ghee or clarified butter gives a distinct flavor in this daal. You can most certainly use oil if that's what you prefer.
3. If you like, add more green chilies for a kick. You can also add some garlic cloves in tempering.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Shevgyachya Paanancha ZuNka/Pithale

Technically speaking, ZuNka and Pithale are not the same. At least in my family, we refer to ZuNka as the drier version of besan/chickpea flour and a vegetable combo where as Pithale has almost semi-set pudding like consistency. Shevgyacha paala or Drumsticks leaves is a rare delicacy. We use it in ZuNka as well as Pithale.
Generally, you see this tree in abundance in India. As a result, these leafy greens are not exactly considered exotic. However, at $8 per lb, they are pretty steep here. But then again, the leafy greens don't weigh that much so just a handful would be enough and one doesn't have to buy them by pound.
Shevgychya Paanancha ZuNka/Pithale
शेवग्याच्या  पानांचा  झुणका 
Drumsticks leaves with chickpea flour
1 1/2 cup drumstick leaves, rinsed, chopped
salt to taste
1 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1. Clean and roughly chop the leaves. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in an iron or nonstick kadhai.
3. Add the spices and onion. Sauté for 1 minute.
4. Add chopped leaves. Sauté till onion is soft and leaves appear to be cooked.
5. Now add salt and chili powder.
6. Mix well, Sprinkle besan/chickpea flour. Keep stirring.
7. If needed, add more oil. Keep sautéing
Variation -
1. For making pithale, whisk besan with 1 cup water and set aside.
2. Follow the steps till 5 and then add 1/4 cup water.
3. As water comes to boil, add lump free besan-water mixture.
4. Keep on stirring on a low flame till, semi-set yogurt or pudding consistency is achieved.
Drumsticks leaves/shevgyachi paane

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ina Garten's Deeply Chocolate Gelato

Today, I am sharing a chocolate lover's dream come true! Just follow this link to go to the chocolate heaven!!:-)

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Poi na Thepla

Poi means Malabar Spinach in Gujarati (MayaLu in Marathi, VaaLi in Konkani). My mother in law uses poi to make bhujiya/fritters or paatra. My beautiful plant encouraged me to try something different. So I made delicious flatbread using this poi.

Poi na Thepla
Malabar Spinach Flatbread
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cups shredded, fresh Malabar Spinach
1/2 tsp ajmo/owa/ajwain
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger-green chili paste (optional)
1 tsp mild chili powder
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
salt to taste
water as needed
 1 tsp oil

Rice flour for dredging
Oil for roasting

Suggested Accompaniment

1. Mix flours with all the dry ingredients and Malabar spinach. Knead to a soft dough, adding water as needed.
2. Smear spoonful of oil and knead again. Set aside for 1/2 hr.
3. Heat a pan or tawa. Make 12 uniform balls.
4. Dredge each ball in rice flour and roll into a disc, one at a time.
5. Roast on a hot tawa or cast iron griddle, so brown spots appear on both the sides. Use oil as needed for roasting.
6. Place in an aluminum foil or a clean cotton napkin till ready to use.
7. Serve with chhundo/sweet & spicy grated mango pickle.

Note -
1. Add spoonful of yogurt or cream (and hence less water while kneading) to get softer theplas.
2. Check out how to grow Malabar Spinach here.

Red Stemmed Malabar Spinach

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Kelphoolachi Bhaaji(2) - Banana Blossom Stir Fry

Kelphool and Kala Vatana make a classic combination in Malvani cuisine. I have already posted the first version. Today, I am sharing a slightly different version. Hope you all like it.
Kelphoolachi Bhaaji(2)
Banana Blossoms Stir Fry
1 can banana blossom (20oz), soak, rinsed, chopped
1/3 cup boiled kale vatane sprouts
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery or to taste
Grind to a coarse paste
1/2 cup fresh coconut
3 green chilies
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted
4-5 black peppercorn, roasted
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup minced onion
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed, leaving each clove whole
1. Soak banana blossom in water for about an hour to remove any "can" taste. Rinse and drain. Chop finely and set aside.
2. Grind coconut coarsely with roasted spices. Make sure that the spices are ground finely but coconut remains little coarse.
3. Heat oil in a kadhai. Add garlic cloves and onion. Add turmeric powder. Saute for few minutes till onion is soft.
4. Add chopped banana blossoms, ground coconut paste. Sprinkle some water if needed.
5. Cover and let it cook for 10-12 minutes.
6. Add salt and jaggery.
Note -
1. Since I am using canned banana blossom, it doesn't take too long to cook.
Banana Blossom

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vegetable Manchurian or Asian Veggie Meatballs

We call this dish "Vegetable Manchurian". My American friend refers to it as Asian Vegetable Meatballs. What's in name, after all? This is one of the most beloved Indo-Chinese dish.

Vegetable Manchurian or Asian Veggie Meatballs

For the balls
1 small green cabbage, finely shredded about 4 cups
1 carrot, peeled & finely shredded about 1 cup
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
A dash of chili-garlic sauce [I used Maggie brand]
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
water as needed

Whisk till no lumps
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
Few drops of soy sauce
salt to taste
1 1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
A dash of white or rice vinegar

2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
2 tbsp green onions/scallions, white part

1 tbsp diagonally cut green onions/scallions, green part

1. Mix all the ingredients for the "meat" balls. Add water gingerly to make about 20 small sized balls/spheres. Using cooking spray as needed, fry them in appe pan. If you want, you can always deep fry for better taste. Set aside on a clean kitchen napkin to cool down.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Stir fry ginger, garlic and green onions. Saute till they are a shade darker.
3. Add whisked cornstarch mixture. Bring to boil. The mixture will thicken.
4. Place cooked meatballs in a single layer.
5. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
6. Garnish with greens of scallions.

Note -
1. Although not authentic, I am known to add besan instead of all purpose flour for making the veggie balls.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

RasLimboo - Maharashtrian Lemon Juice Pickle

I was under the weather few weeks back, that's when I thought of RasLimboo - A Maharashtrian Lemon Juice pickle. I was craving for some simple varaN-bhaat and RasLimboo. Of course I survived eating Ramen noodles lovingly made by my family, but as soon as I was a-ok, I headed straight to the kitchen to make a very small batch of Ras Limboo. You see, if you translate literally, then it means Juice Lemon!! But this is not a Lemonade or Neembu Paani. It's actually a pickle. You may call it a sauce since it has sauce like consistency. But at the end of the day, it is made using sugar syrup. So I wanted a small batch as I don't want to overeat sugar!

Ras Limboo
रस लिंबू 
Lemon Juice Pickle
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. water
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

salt to taste
1/2 tsp paprika or Kashmiri chili powder for color
1/2 tsp chili powder for heat
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder

1. Pour sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir well while cooking on a medium heat till sugar has completely dissolved.
2. Add lemon juice. Switch gas to low. Let it cook for about 12 minutes while stirring continuously.
3. Switch off the gas. Do not cover with a lid.
4. Let it cool down to the room temperature. After cooling, the mixture will thicken up.
5. Add remaining ingredients.
6. Store in an airtight glass container.

Note -
1. I made a very small batch to last about a week.
2. Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice.
3. Generally this pickle is made by making sugar paak/syrup where sugar is taken in double amount compared to the lemon juice. You can adjust based on the tartness of lemons.

Lemon Tree

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stuffed Shells

 This recipe is inspired by the Costco Connection issue. I didn't use any meat to suit to out palette.
Jumbo Stuffed Shells
15-16 Jumbo shells
1 jar marinara sauce (readymade ok)
For stuffing
2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. minced onions
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. minced fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley
Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Thaw spinach and squeeze out all the moisture. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, onion, garlic. Sauté till onion is soft.
3. Add spinach and sauté for few minutes till it is cooked. Switch off the gas. Set aside to cool down.
4. Mix ricotta cheese with egg, salt and pepper.
5. Add cooled spinach mixture. Mix well. This is your stuffing.
6. Meanwhile, cook jumbo pasta according to the packet instructions.
7. Stuff each pasta shell with ricotta-spinach mixture.
8. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of a deep baking tray - I use Pyrex glass baking tray.
9. Place stuffed shells on top.
10. Spread remaining marinara sauce on top.
11. Preheat oven 350 F.
12. Cover baking tray with Aluminum foil. Bake for about 40 minutes.
13. Garnish with basil and parsley.
14. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese if desired.
Note -
1. I like Mur Glenn brand Marinara sauce.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

MoTla - Turmeric Leaf wrapped Indian Mackerel

I grow my own turmeric just to enjoy some wonderful delicacies from my roots. Today, I am presenting a delicious recipe of mackerel wrapped in turmeric leaves, but still it's totally different than Parsi Paatra ni machchi.

Mackerel wrapped in turmeric leaves
3-4 Indian mackerels, cleaned, halved
salt to taste
1/2 tsp asafeotida
3/4 tsp turmeric powder

Grind to a coarse paste
1 cup fresh coconut
10-12 byadgi chilies, roasted
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds, roasted
5-6 black peppercorns, roasted
1 tsp tamarind pulp

1 tbsp. coconut oil

You will also need
Around 9-10 fresh turmeric leaves, washed and dried.

1. Clean fresh mackerels. Make gashes and cut into halves.
2. Apply salt, turmeric powder and asafetida to marinate.
3. Roast coriander seeds, red chilies, peppercorn, one after the other.
4. Grind coconut with roasted spices and tamarind pulp, using as less oil as possible.
5. Apply this spice paste to the mackerel pieces. Set aside for 1/2 hour.
6. Keep turmeric leaves on top of each other to make a flower shaped design as below.
7. Place the marinated mackerels along with spice paste in the center. Drizzle coconut oil over the paste.

8. Fold the ends of the turmeric leaves using toothpicks as shown below.

9. Make a sealed packet.
10. Place in a hot cast iron pan.
11. Cover and let it cook on lowest heat for 1/2 hour.

12. After 1/2 hour, flip the packet carefully as below. You will notice that the leaves have black spots.
13. Let it cook on the other side for another 1/2 hour. Make sure that the gas is at its lowest.
14. Switch off the gas. Keep it covered for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
15. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. This is a very dry dish. Do not add water while grinding the coconut paste.
2. This dish is meant to be fiery hot. Use chilies per your own heat preference.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai Basil plant comes back after deadly winter. Generally the plant dies but it sows its seeds. As spring arrives, tiny seedlings start sprouting out. I love the sweetish, fennel like flavor of the Thai basil. A nearby Thai restaurant serves delicious Thai Basil Fried Rice. Whenever I experiment with any recipe, I take liberties to make a healthier version that suits our lifestyle. Though we eat seafood, I am not particularly fond of the fish sauce which is a common ingredient in Thai cooking. I also add some turmeric powder to get the beneficial antioxidants. I throw in quite a bit of vegetables. So my experimental recipe almost always results in my own zany version, that differs substantially from the authentic one.

Thai Basil Fried Rice
1 cup Jasmine rice, cooked according to the instructions
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used a frozen packet containing green peas, carrots, green beans, corn etc.)
3/4 cup Tofu - bite sized chunks
salt to taste

1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp oil
A pinch of turmeric powder
A handful of Thai basil leaves

3-4 Fresh Thai Basil leaves

1. Cook Jasmine rice according to the instructions. Spread on a flat plate to cool down completely.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan or wok. Add turmeric powder and Thai basil leaves.
3. Add the vegetables. Sauté for 5 minutes.
4. Add cooled and cooked rice, vinegar mixture and salt. Sauté.
5. Add tofu chunks. Mix well without letting them break.
6. Garnish with Thai Basil leaves.

Note -
1. Use only Thai Basil leaves for this recipe, as they lend their signature aroma/flavor to this dish. Italian basil will surely change the taste.
2. Use only rice vinegar for this recipe.
3. If you prefer a spicier version, use Sriracha sauce in the vinegar mixture or add crushed red pepper flakes.

Thai Basil blooms

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