Monday, September 27, 2010

Dudhi Muthia

Dudhi Muthias are a healthy, tasty accompaniment to the afternoon Indian style chai. On rainy days, when one craves for tea and pakodas, try these muthias instead. I adapted these from Tarla Dalal's microwave cooking book.

Here's how I make them:

1 cup dudhi/bottlegourd - peeled and grated
1/4 cup onion - finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rava/semolina
1/4 cup gram flour
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1/8 tsp turmeric pwd
1/4 tsp garam masala pwd
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt per taste
1 tsp sugar
pinch of hing
few sprigs of cilantro chopped
1/4 tsp Eno Fruit Salt

For the tempering - 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, pinch of hing

Squeeze the grated dudhi to remove as much water as possible. (This water can be used in making dals etc.) Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl. You don't need to add any additional water. The mixture should come together well, without getting too soggy. With greased palms, you will be able to form small cylindrical muthias. Steam them for 10 mins. I arrange the muthias in a cooker container and steam in my pressure cooker without the whistle attachment.

Just before serving, make the tempering by heating the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering add the sesame seeds, hing and the muthias. Saute a couple of mins till they get lightly browned. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

These Dudhi Muthias go to the Only Low Oil/Low Cal event at Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes.

This event was started by Pari.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Umm Ali

One of the first few recipes that caught my eye when I stumbled onto the world of food blogs was a strangely named dessert called Umm Ali on Asha's Aroma Hope blog. I had book-marked it since then, but never mustered up the courage to try it until now. I halved the original recipe since I was making it for the first time. With the puff pastry, sweetened condensed milk and abundant use of nuts in this deliciously decadent dessert, a little portion certainly goes a long way.

Here's how I made it:

1 sheet Puff Pastry - thawed per package directions
2 tbsp each of pistachios, walnuts and almonds
2 tbsp of sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon pwd
1/2 tsp cardamon pwd
1/8 tsp nutmeg pwd
1/2 a 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk

Spread the puff pastry sheet on a foil covered baking sheet. Bake in a pre heated 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

When the puff pastry cools, cut it into small triangular shapes. Arrange half of the triangles in the bottom of an 6 inch X 8 inch oven proof glass dish. Sprinkle the nuts and coconunt flakes evenly over it. Arrange the rest of the puff pastry triangles.

Combine the sweetened condensed milk with the milk and heat in microwave for 1 mins. Add the cinnamon pwd., cardamon pwd. and nutmeg pwd. Pour over the puff pasty in the dish.

Cover with a foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 mins. Then uncover and continue baking for another 15 mins.

Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.

This Umm Ali desser goes to the AWED - Saudi Arabia festival at Kitchen Samraj.

This event was started by DK of Chef On You.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kidney Beans Soup with Tortilla Crisps

The Kidney Beans Soup recipe is adapted from Tarla Dalal's food magazine.

Here's how I made it:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onions - finely chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes - finely chopped
1 15.5oz can of kidney beans - drained & rinsed
1 clove garlic - finely chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp lemon juice
few drops of Tabasco sauce per taste
For garnish - finely chopped green onions & cilantro, sour cream, avocado pieces

Heat the oil and fry the onions till softened and beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook few minutes on medium low heat. Add the kidney beans, salt, sugar, cumin pwd and about 1 cup water. Boil for 5 mins till the kidney beans get soft. Take off heat and cool. Then blend half of the soup and mix it back with the rest. This gives it a good consistency. Check and adjust seasonings, heat the soup once more, add the lemon juice and hot sauce as desired. Serve hot garnished with the chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and avocado pieces.

This Kidney Beans Soup goes to the BSI - Kidney Beans event at Sandhya's Kitchen.

This event was started by My Bizzy Kitchen.

I served this Kidney Bean  Soup with Tortilla Crisps. I had some Whole Wheat Tortillas lying around for 2 weeks and neither my hubby nor my daughter seemed to like their taste very much. So I decided to turn them into these crisps to go with the soup. I spread some shredded Mexican style cheese on the tortillas and baked them in a pre-heated 400 F oven for 5 mins., then garnished with some chopped cilantro. Thats it...tasty, whole wheat tortilla crisps are ready. They were over in a jiffy...need I say more! You could also serve them with salsa.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vangi - Batatyachi Bhaji

This is a simple and tasty vegetable side dish for rotis. Here's how I make it:

2 cups eggplant - cubed
2 small red potatoes - cubed (I keep the skin on, you can peel if preferred)
1 small onion - chopped
1 tomato - chopped
For tempering - 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp asafotida, 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
Other spices - 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 1 tsp Goda Masala, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tbsp jaggery/gul
1/4 tsp tamarind paste
salt to taste

First make the tempering by heating the oil, then dropping the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the cumin seeds, asafotida and turmeric pwd.

Then add the onions and saute till softened. Add the potatoes and saute a couple minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook about 5 - 7 mins till potatoes are semi-cooked. Add the eggplant and another 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook another 5 mins on medium heat. Add the tomatoes, other spice pwds given above, salt and jaggery. You can also add a handful of frozen peas at this stage if desired. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup water to get desired consistency, cover and cook 5 mins till all the veggies are well cooked, but not mushy. Add the tamarind paste, stir well to well. Simmer couple of mins and take off heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Serve with rotis/polis/phulkas.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beetroot koshimbir

Beetroot koshimbir is my all time favorite kind of koshimbir. When I was working in Mumbai, this koshimbir would be in my lunch dabba every single day...I never tired of it. All my friends there would tease me about, but I kept bringing it every day.

Here's how I make it:

1 beetroot bulb - wash well, peel and grate
1 tbsp coarsely crushed peanuts
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
pinch of sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
cilantro for garnish
For tempering - 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafotida, 1 serrano pepper finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients together. Heat the oil for tempering, then add the cumin seeds, asafotida and chopped peppers. Fry 2 mins. Pour into the beetroot mix.

Makes a healthy accompaniment to roti/subji (poli/bhaji).

This event by started by Siri.

Bhindani Kadhi

This recipe is from Tarla Dalal's cookbook. It makes a tasty and quick accompaniment for plain rice, pulav, khichdi etc. Here's how I make it:

1 cup tender okra - pat & clean with a damp cloth, spread out to dry, then slit lenghtwise in half.
2 cups buttermilk (should be fairly thin consistency)
1 tbsp ghee or veg. oil
1 tsp grated ginger
2 dry red chillies or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tbsp gram flour
handful of chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt or to taste
2 tsp sugar or to taste

Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy bottom pan and fry the okra on low heat until tender, about 15 mins. In the meanwhile mix all the other ingredients together. Add to the okra and stirring continuously, bring it to a boil on medium high heat. Stirring continuously gives the kadhi good consistency. Then lower heat and simmer for 5 mins.  

Serve hot with rice.

This Bhindani Kadhi goes to the Flavors of Gujarat event at Simply Food.

Sabudana thalipeeth and Sabudana Kheer

Sabudana (Sago) is a popular item used in Maharashtrian cooking, especially during "upaas/vrat". I decided to use this to make one savory and one sweet dish for Nupur's Blog Bites - Iron Chef event.

The first dish is called Sabudana Thalipeeth. To me, this dish has all the good flavor of Sabudana Vadas, without the excess fat. The ingredients are pretty much the same, but the vadas are ofcourse deep fried whereas these thalipeeth are made flat and shallow-fried. I roast them on a non-stick pan with just a few drops of oil/ghee (clarified butter). These thalipeeth make for a good breakfast or snack item, in addition to being suitable for "upaas".

I pretty much followed Nupur's recipe for Sabudana Thalipeeth. The only change I made was to use red chilli powder instead of green chillies, so my daughter wouldn't bite into a chilli while eating it.

Here's how I made these Sabudana Thalipeeth:

1/2 cup sabudana - rinse in cold water 2/3 times, drain and keep aside for 1/2 hr
1 large russet potato - boiled, peeled and mashed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp crushed peanuts (unsalted)
1/4 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
Chopped cilantro

Mix all the ingredients well. Divide into about 8 large lemon sized balls. Flatten each on a plastic bag with your finger tips till you get a disc shape. Make a hope in the center. Transfer gently to a medium hot non-stick pan and roast with a few drops of oil or ghee till golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Coming to the sweet dish, I made Sabudana Kheer from this recipe from Aarti's Corner. I associate this dish with my mom's cooking, I have a memory of her standing over the stove stirring this kheer. This is the first time I made Sabudana kheer. The one change I made from Aarti's recipe was to use sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar, I like the consistency this gives to kheer and also I had some on hand that needed to be used up soon.

Here's how I made my Sabudana Kheer:

1 cup sabudana - rinse in cold water 2/3 times, drain and set aside for 1/2 hr
1 cup milk
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
few strands of saffron
big pinch of cardamon pwd
very small pinch of nutmeg pwd
chopped nuts to garnish - pistachios, almonds, cashews - roasted in the microwave for abt 2 mins.

Mix the milk and swwetened condensed milk in a heavy bottomed pan and heat in medium to a gentle boil. Add the sabudana and cook on medium low till they become transcluscent and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cardamon pwd, saffron strands, nutmeg pwd and heat another few minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the roasted nuts.

I like to eat this Sabudana Kheer quite hot, but it tastes good cold too. The kheer will thicken as it cools, so add a few tbsp warm milk later if desired.

This Sabudana Thalipeeth and Sabudana Kheer go to the Blog Bites Iron Chef event at One Hot Stove.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beetroot Halwa

I learnt this recipe ages ago when I took a summer vacation cooking class at Catering College in Dadar, Mumbai. With the gorgeous deep red beets, this halwa turns out as good as it looks (don't go by my picture). This time around, I made it slightly different from the recipe I have 'coz - a) I wanted to use up some ingredients I had on hand and b) these days I find I can never follow a recipe exactly (except in baking), I always eyeball the ingredients.

Anyway, here is the exact recipe from my Catering College class handout:

Beetroot 115 grams
Sugar 60 grams
Mawa/Khoya 60 grams
Ghee (Clarified butter) 30 grams
Cardamon - few
Pistachio 15 grams

Peel & grate the beetroot.
Heat the ghee and fry the beetroot. Add a little water and let it cook.
Add sugar and continue cooking.
When the mixture is almost dry, add mawa and powdered cardamon.
Cook till it forms balls when tested with fingers.
Remove and spread on a greased thali/plate.
Garnish with chopped nuts and vark, if desired.

Here's how I made it yesterday:
1 cup peeled and grated beetroot
3 tbsp ricotta cheese
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp ghee
A generous pinch of cardamon pwd
Almonds to garnish

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the beets and fry for 2 mins. Add the ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Mix and cook on medium heat for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cook till the mixture is almost dry. Add cardamon pwd. Mix well. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold, garnished with chopped nuts.

Either way you make it, the halwa tastes great.

This Beetroot Halwa goes to the Healing Foods - Beets event at Mharo Rajasthan. This event was started by Siri.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Daal Dhokli

Daal Dhokli is a delicious dish from Gujarat that is eaten by itself or as part of a meal. Having grown up in Mumbai with lots of Gujarati friends, I have had the pleasure of eating this dish in their houses, hence never felt the need to try making it myself. When I saw the Flavors of Gujarat event, this was the first dish that came to my mind. I haven't eaten it here in the US for the past 15 yrs, so I immediately decided to make it. I made my aunt (who is visiting me from Mumbai), call up her friend Hansa Ben and note down her recipe, which I proceeded to use promptly.

Here's how I made it:

Tur Daal - 1 cup - soak in water for 1/2 hr, then cook in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles.
Other ingredients for the daal-
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
Salt to taste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tomato - chopped
Handful of frozen peas
2 tbsp jaggery
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 spring of curry leaves
1 green chilli - chopped
1 tbsp ghee
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
few seeds of methi
pinch of asafotida

Ingredients for the Dhokli-
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 - 3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
pinch of turmeric pwd
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste

For garnish - chopped cilantro, lemon wedges

Procedure -

Add all the ingredients from turmeric pwd to green chilli listed above under igredients for daal to the cooked toor dal. Mix well and boil on medium high heat. Lower heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Make the tempering in a separate pan by heating the ghee, adding the mustard seeds first. When they stop crackling, add the other ingredients, fry 2 mins and pour into the simmering daal.

Take the wheat flour in a wide bowl, add enough oil so the flour gets a little sticky, then add the other ingredients for the dhokli. Use enough warm water to make a dough which should be a bit hard (as for puris). Roll out the dough (using oil to roll out) to a thin circle, cut into diamond shape (like shankarpalya) and when all the dhoklis are ready, gently drop then one by one into the simmering daal. Simmer for 5 mins and turn off the heat.

Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges. For me this is a meal in itself, requiring no other accompaniments.

This Daal Dhokli goes to the Flavors of Gujarat event at Simply Food.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Paneer - Chole Spinach Curry

This recipe is adapted from the Indian Cooking without fat book by Mridula Baljekar. I had borrowed it from the library and the moment I read the title of this recipe I fell for it - you can't go wrong with this wonderful combination of paneer, chole and spinach - all my favorites. Plus her way of pre-cooking the paneer to help it absorb the curry flavors really intrigued me and I have followed this method ever since with excellent results.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup cubed paneer - drop in boiling water and drain after 1 min.
1 can chole/garbanzo beans/chickpeas - drained and rinsed
1 cup roughly chopped spinach
1 onion - chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
2 tomatoes chopped
Salt & Sugar to taste
Other spices  - 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd., 1 tsp cumin pwd., 1 tsp coriander pwd., 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd, 1/4 tsp garam masala pwd.
1 tbsp oil

Heat the oil. Fry the onions for 5 -10 mins until soft. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry 2 mins. Add the tomatoes. Cook on low 5 - 10 mins until very soft. Cool slightly and grind to a puree. Return to the pot. Add the chole, paneer, spinach, salt, sugar and all the other spice pwds. Mix well. Simmer on medium low for 5 - 10 mins.

This goes well with any kind of Indian bread or rice dish.

This curry goes to the Letz Relish Paneer event at Taste Appetite.

This Paneer-Chole-Spinach curry also goes to the Show Me Your curry event at Divya's Dil-Se.

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