Friday, August 29, 2014

Coconut Modak

One of the simplest ways to make Modak or Laddoos is using Milkmaid. So for all those home cooks like me, who are pressed for time, and still want to make Naivedya for Ganapati Bappa, I am sharing today's recipe of Coconut Modak.

This recipe is derived from the coconut ladoo recipe in the Milkmaid recipe Booklet.
Coconut Modaks - Makes 21 big or 30 small Modaks
Indian Coconut Truffles
1 tin Milkmaid or Any sweetened condensed milk (14 oz. can)
2 cups unsweetened, desiccated/dry coconut
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

9 green cardamoms, peeled, powdered
Few threads of  saffron
1 very small piece of nutmeg, grated

1. Pour sweetened condensed milk in a nonstick kadhai.
2. Switch gas to low.
3. Pour a cup of coconut. Stir well.
4. Add another cup of coconut and ricotta cheese.
5. The mixture still has a lot of moisture at this stage.
5. Keep stirring on a medium heat till mixture thickens.
6. Add crushed cardamom, nutmeg and saffron. Keep stirring till all the moisture is evaporated.
7. Let it cool completely.
8. Grease modak moulds. Make modaks. Or using greased palms, roll into uniformly shaped ladoos.

Note -
1. Use charoli, almond slivers or pistachios slivers for garnish - if you like.
2. Above proportion gave me 21 small modaks and 9 small laddoos.

गणपती  बाप्पा मोरया 

Ganapati Bappa, Kensigton Market Area, Toronto, Canada

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ganesh Chaturthi special recipes

This post is my collection of some of the Ganesh Chaturthi special recipes that I have blogged so far or I may blog in near future.

Satyanarayanacha Shira

Ganesh Chaturthi Meals
(नैवेद्याचे  ताट )

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Rasawala Bataka (2) - Simple Potato Curry

I honestly feel that I can actually blog about Indian potato curry recipes for 365 days consecutively. There are so many permutations and combinations of this simple daily meal that each meal still will taste uniquely different... and to think about it, potato entered the Indian kitchens only in the 17th or 18thcentury.

I came across this curry at my husband's aunt's (aunt-in-law?) kitchen.

Rasawala Bataka (2)
Potato Curry with Gravy
4-5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, boiled, peeled, diced
salt to taste
1 tbsp. jaggery (adjust per your liking)
2 cups water
2 kokums or 1 tsp. tamarind pulp

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2-3 red chilies, halved
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
1 small piece of cinnamon

Mix and set aside
2 tbsp. chickpea flour/besan
2 tsp. coriander-cumin powder/dhana-jiru
1 tsp. Gujarati Garam Masala
1/2 tsp mild red chili powder
1/4 cup minced cilantro

Suggested Accompaniment
Thepla or Fulka
Pulao or Khichdi

1. Pressure cook potatoes. Let it cool down. Peel and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
2. Mix besan mixture as written above. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add spices. As they sizzle, add water.
4. Bring to boil. Add potatoes, jiggery, kokum or tamarind paste.
5. Add salt. Switch gas to low.
6. Add besan mixture. Keep stirring till the curry reaches thick consistency.
7. Switch off gas and serve with suggested accompaniments.

1. The above recipe can be changed to include onion/and or tomatoes and/or ginger-garlic paste.
2. Adjust jaggery per your own taste.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Black Bean Burger/Patties/Tikki

Black beans are, by far, my most favorite beans from the Americas. It is not as mushy as pinto beans and has a deliciously unique flavor as well as texture. There are frozen black beans burger available in the supermarkets. I took inspiration from those and decided to give my own Indian twist.

Black Bean Burger
1 cup dry black beans, soaked, pressure cooked
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed, drained
1 piece of red bell pepper, minced
1 piece of green bell pepper, minced
1 medium potato, pressure cooked

2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1 spring onion, minced (green and white part)
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste

1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. amchoor powder
1/2 tsp. chaat masala
salt to taste

1/4 cup rice flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt to taste

Oil for frying

1. Soak black beans overnight. Pressure cook. Let them cool down completely. Drain. Mash with a potato masher.
2. Thaw frozen yellow corn. Let it cool down. Drain.
3. Pressure cook potato. Peel and mash.
4. Mix mashed black beans, yellow corn, mashed potato, peppers, cilantro, spring onion, ginger garlic paste and all dry spice powder with salt.
5. Make 8 uniform balls. Flatten them. Keep in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.
6. Meanwhile, mix rice flour with garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
7. Heat pan for frying.
8. Grease the pan. Dredge each tikki/ burger into the rice flour mixture. Pan fry using oil as needed till it is uniformly browned from all sides. Use low-medium heat for uniform cooking.
9. Serve with a salad or sandwich between hamburger buns.

1. Make sure to drain all the liquid from cooked beans and corn.
2. Boiled potato is used as a binder here and it worked beautifully. There was no need for adding any corn starch or soaked bread slice or even egg.
3. I did not use food processor or blender to mash the beans as I wanted to retain the texture.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Berrylicious Trifle Pudding

Gudiya wanted to bake a sheet cake for the American Independence Day. I didn't want anything too sweet to remain in the refrigerator. Too much sugar in sight only prompts everyone to eat more sugar. So I wanted to go light. I suggested this berrylicious pudding. Gudiya was thrilled to know that she can assemble the whole thing without any help from me.

Berrylicious Trifle Pudding
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
1 Angel Food Cake (loaf or half tube cake)
1 tub CoolWhip

1. In a big container or bowl, arrange in all the ingredients in layers.
2. Garnish with remaining CoolWhip and berries on top.
3. Cover and refrigerate.
4. Serve chilled.

Note -
1. Any fruit of your choice can be used.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spinach & Yellow Corn Soup

This recipe is based on my mom's vegetable soup. She always keeps one vegetable whole in the soup of other mashed vegetables. It adds texture as well as color contrast. Here, I used green spinach puree with whole yellow corn.

Spinach and Yellow Corn Soup
1 lb frozen spinach
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled, roughly chopped
salt to taste
A generous pinch of Garam masala

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 bay leaf
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
1 small onion, peeled & roughly chopped

1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Add bay leaf. Sauté for 15 seconds.
3. Add garlic and onion. Sauté till it's golden.
4. Add frozen spinach. Continue stirring till all the icicles are thawed. Add 1/2 cup water.
5. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Let it come to the room temperature. Grind in a mixer/blender, adding potato and removing bay leaf.
7. Pour the ground paste back in the saucepan. Add water to get the desired consistency.
8. Add salt and pinch of Garam masala.
9. Switch on the heat. Let it come to boil.
10. Add frozen yellow corn.
11. Simmer till corn is soft.
12. Serve hot soup garnished with freshly ground black pepper.

Note -
1. I do not thaw the frozen vegetables.
2. Needless to say, but this soup can also be made with fresh spinach & corn. If using fresh, pressure cook the vegetables.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kheema Puffs

 With readymade puff pastry sheet, making kheema puffs is a breeze.

Kheema Puffs
Mince Meat Mini Pies
1 cup kheema
1 puff pastry sheet

8 baking cups
Oil spray

1 egg white
1 tbsp. water

1. Let the kheema be at room temperature. Remove any whole spices.
2. Thaw the puff pastry sheet per package directions.
3.  Punch 8 big and 8 small circles onto the pastry sheet using vati/katories of big and small sizes.
4. Spray some oil onto the baking cups.
5. Place big puff pastry circle.
6. Spoon in some kheema.
7. Cover with the small puff pastry circle.
8. Pinch around the circumference to enclose and seal.
9. Prick 3-4 holes using a fork.
10. Brush with egg white and water mixture.
11. Bake in 350F preheated oven for about 15-17 minutes or till the kheema puffs are uniformly brown.
12. Serve with Tomato Ketchup.

Note -
1. Mumbai bakeries use minced meat (goat meat) for this recipe. You may choose your own filling (chicken/turkey/soy granules)

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Narangi ni Basundi

This is a simple Gujarati dessert. I have tasted four different types of fruity basundis - Orange Basundi, Pineapple Basundi, Strawberry Basundi and Dry Fruit Basundi. Each basundi adds a unique flavor of the fruit du jour. It's delicious. Just make sure to serve it chilled.
This is how I make it -

Narangi ni Basundi (Serves 6- 8)
1 litre whole milk (Preferably organic)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom powder
few threads of saffron + 1 tbsp milk
1 ripe orange
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp orange essence (Optional)
few almond / pistachio slivers

1. Boil milk. Lower the flame, let it simmer for about half an hour.
2. Add condensed milk, evaporated milk. Simmer.
3. Keep saffron threads in a spoon and roast them quickly on a low flame . Put roasted saffron in 1 tbsp milk to get a vibrant yellow color. Add the saffron milk in the basundi.
4. Add cardamom. Switch off the gas. Let the basundi cool down completely.
5. Meanwhile, peel the orange. Remove the pith, seeds. We will use only inside orange segments. Chop them. Add the sugar. Keep it in the fridge covered.
6. Add Basundi to a serving bowl. Keep in the fridge. Make sure it's completely chilled.
7. Just before serving, add chopped oranges, orange essence - if using, almonds and pistachios.

Note -
Do not add orange in hot basundi, else the milk will curdle. This basundi has to be completely chilled. After putting orange basundi in a serving bowl, remember to serve immediately.

Happy Independence Day, India!
जय जय जय , जय हे

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Masala Peanut Chaat

Today's recipe is inspired by "Masala Peanut" served at "The Guru Fine Indian Cuisine" in Canada.

Our neighborhood "Sprouts" market sells delicious chili peanuts. They are quite spicy. I decided to use them for this delicious snack.

Masala Peanut Chaat
1 cup Chili Peanuts
2 tbsp. finely minced red onion
2 tbsp. finely minced cilantro
1 - 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
A pinch of chaat masala
1 tbsp. finely minced raw mango (optional)

1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. Serve immediately.

1. Do not make this chaat too much in advance.
2. If you like spicier version, add minced green chili.
3. I use Sprouts brand chili peanuts for this recipe.
4. Skip raw mango if not readily available.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Mixed Daal Appe

I recently came to know from my aunt that these appes are made especially on the Varadlakshmi vrat day on a specific Shravan Friday. So I decided to make them.

Mixed Daal Appe - Count 40
1 1/2 cup urad daal
1/2 cup chana daal

salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 green chilies, minced (optional)
1/2" ginger, peeled & grated or minced
3 sprigs curry leaves, torn

Oil for frying

1. Soak both daals after rinsing for 6 hours.
2. Drain and grind to a paste using minimal water.
3. Add salt and cover. Set aside for 6 hours.
4. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except oil
5. Heat appe paatra/kayili. Add oil as needed.
6. Pour a spoonful of batter in all the cavities of the pan. Cover.
7. Cook on a medium low flame for about 5 minutes. Drizzle oil as needed.
8. Flip and cook again without covering with the lid.
9. Serve with chutney of your choice.

Note -
1. Fry/roast appe patiently. If high flame is used for cooking, the outer layer will be burnt and the batter will still be raw inside. Use low/medium flame for cooking.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Club Sandwich


Club Sandwich is a toasted/grilled sandwich but what makes it special is the use of three bread slices instead of the usual two. I love to order this sandwich along with a cup of tea or coffee. You can also request the whole wheat bread (which goes by brown bread in Mumbai). That's what I generally do when I have it at one of my favorite places - Tea Center at Resham Bhavan.

Here's my version :-

Club Sandwich - Serves 2
6 slices of bread
1 boiled potato, peeled & cut into thin circles
1 red but very firm tomato, cut into thin circles (Make sure to remove seeds)
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into thin circles
1 small green bell pepper, cored, cut into thin circles
1 small sweet onion, cut into thin slices
4 tbsp. shredded cheese

A pinch of chaat masala.

butter/oil as needed

1. Butter the bread slices.
2. Spread some chutney on inner side of a slice
3. Add onion and potatoes. Sprinkle some chaat masala on the potato pieces.
4. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. cheese.
5. Add buttered bread slice. Add more chutney if desired.
6. Now place tomatoes and green bell peppers.
7. Place third bread on top. Spread some butter on the outer side. Use chutney on the inner slice if desired.
8. Toast in the sandwich maker/Panini grill press till ready.
9. Cut the sandwich into two halves/triangles.
10. Serve with a tooth pick holding the sandwich along with tomato ketchup and hot cup of tea or coffee

Note -
1. In United States, I use Pepperidge Farm's very thin bread slices to make this sandwich. If using those, make sure that tomatoes are very firm otherwise it will make the sandwich soggy.
2. You can spread green chutney on all the breads to make it spicy or do not use green chutney to make it mild.
3. Gudiya prefers her sandwich with basil pesto or hot & sweet mustard instead of chutney.
4. Use any other sandwich-friendly veggies of your choice like shredded cabbage or shredded carrots.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shevyacha Upma


This is my American Desi version. Instead of using freshly homemade shevya, I used thin rice sticks/noodles that are readily available in the Asian Markets. Generally, the recipe calls for soaking these dried rice sticks/noodles for 10 minutes in hot water. But I feel it still keeps the rice sticks too chewy to be used in the upma. So I add additional water to let them cook and turn soft.

Shevvyacha Upma
Rice Noodles Stir Fry
1 packet thin rice sticks
Salt to taste

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp urad daal
1/2 tsp asafetida
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
2-3 red chilies, halved

1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
Few drops of coconut oil

1. Soak rice sticks in hot water for about 10 minutes per packet instructions.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the ingredients for tempering.
3. As they sizzle and urad daal turns reddish, add drained noodles/sticks. Mix gently.
4. Add 1 cup water and salt to taste.
5. Let it cook till water is completely absorbed and noodles are soft but not mushy.
6. Garnish with coconut.
7. Drizzle a few drops of coconut oil. Mix well.
8. Serve immediately.

Note -
1. Traditionally this upma is made in coconut oil. If you decide to make it in coconut oil, skip step #7.
2. These rice sticks also make instant shevya/shirvalya to be accompanied by rosu/ras/ghaTle.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mirchi Ka Salan

Zee TV was launched somewhere in 1992 - 1993 and Sanjeev Kapoor with his "Khana Khazana" took many kitchens by storm. I was still attending college then. But I watched every episode avidly.

Those were the days when I followed each and every recipe, every step in great detail. But life was different then. I surely was a pampered chef. Our bai - domestic help- would chop vegetables for me, and I would just cook without worrying about the cleaning process.

Fast forward to several years later, in the United States, where I shop, chop, cook and clean. As a result, the recipes get shortened as multiple steps are combined into one giant leap! Today's Mirchi Ka Salan has its origin in Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khazana but it's probably a very quick and abbreviated version.

Mirchi Ka Salan
Anaheim Chilies Curry
5-6 Anaheim Chiles, halved or cut into 3 parts if too big
salt to taste

Roast one after the other
1 tbsp. white sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanuts, unsalted, peeled
2 tbsp. dessicated coconut
2 garlic cloves
1 small piece of ginger
2-3 Guntur Chilies * (See note below)
4 sprigs curry leaves, torn

Grind together
Roasted ingredients from above
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp tamarind pulp

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. Heat oil  and add tempering ingredients.
2. As they sizzle, add chilies in a single layer.
3. Cook on medium flame till they are uniformly blistered.
4. Add ground masala and 1/2 cup water.
5. Cook till chilies are soft. Add salt to taste.
6. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Note -
1. You can add a little jaggery if your prefer sweetish taste.
2. I happened to have spicy Guntur chilies in my pantry so I used them. Any chilies of your choice and per your heat preference can be used.
3. I use Anaheim chilies for this recipe since they are readily available here.


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chia Roti/Chapati

After seeing Chia seeds tortilla at the local Trader Joe's, I decided to make Chia Chapati. If you like, you can add some spices like turmeric powder, green chili paste, salt, cumin seeds etc to make Chia Thepla.

Chia Roti/Chapati
Chia Seeds Flatbread
1 cup wheat flour from Indian stores
Approx 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. chia seeds (Use more or less per personal preference)
1 tsp oil

Rice flour for dredging
Ghee/oil for smearing on the fulkas

1. Take flour in the paraat. Mix in chia seeds.
2. Add water gingerly to make the dough. Add oil and keep kneading till the dough is not sticky anymore.
3. Cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
4. Make 9 uniform balls. Make sure that they have smooth edges and there are no crevices. This is very important to achieve the perfect circles.
5. Heat a cast iron/iron griddle or pan.
6. Dredge one ball in the rice flour which you will place in the side of the paraat. Flatten the ball with your fingers. Make sure that the ball is covered with rice flour on both the sides.
7. Roll into a thin flatbread. It's extremely important that the flatbread has uniform thickness from all the sides. Sometimes center gets thin while edges remain thick or vice versa. While you are rolling, the disc below also should roll in a circular motion.
8. By now your griddle/pan must be hot enough to start roasting. Switch the gas to low.
9. Place your flatbread on the pan. Do not disturb for at least 30 seconds.
10. When you see small bubbles, flip the roti. Switch the gas to high immediately.
11. Now, roast till brown spots appear on the side which is at the bottom.
12. Take the pan off the heat. With the help of a tongue, flip and roast it directly on the flame till roti puffs up like a football. Remember, you are putting the side which has no brown spots.
13. Take off the heat. Place in your container.
14. If you choose, smear ghee/toop - which is a traditional method.
15. Serve hot and puffed roti from pan to plate.

Note -
1. You can add salt to taste while kneading the dough, if you like.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Valore Lilva nu Shaak

Lilva basically means those fresh beans from the pods of string beans. Based on which string beans you choose, you get Valore Lilva, Vaal Lilva, Surti Lilva and so on. I generally keep at least one "lilva" packet it the fridge. It comes very handy to make this quick side dish when I am faced with the dreaded "what to cook today" dilemma!

Valore Lilva nu Shaak
Fresh Beans Stir Fry
1 1/2 cup frozen fresh valore lilva
4 baby potatoes, quartered
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp Gujarati garam masala
1 cup water
salt to taste
1/2  tbsp jaggery

Grind to a paste
1/2" ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro/coriander leaves
1 green chili (or per taste)

2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp owa/ajmo/ajwain/carrom seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida

1 tbsp coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped

1. Pressure cook lilva and potatoes. Set aside. Do not overcook.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add carrom seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. as they splutter, add green paste. Saute for 1 minute.
3. Add tomatoes & Gujarati Garam Masala. Saute for 2 minutes.
4. Add cooked beans, potatoes, water, salt & jaggery.
5. Bring to boil. Let it simmer till the water is evaporated.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves.

1. You can leave the water to get the gravy of the desired consistency.
2. I used the valore lilva from the frozen section of the Indian stores.

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