Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Palak Puri

Palak Puri is always a hit with the kids. Made these for lunch when my daughter had some friends over for a play date.

Here's how I make Palak Puris:

1 6oz bag of baby spinach (or equivalent qty of regular spinach)
upto 2 cups of whole wheat flour (I use Annapurna brand)
big pinch of ova/ajwain seeds
big pinch of sugar
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp cumin seed pwd
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste

Empty the spinach into a large microwave safe bowl and nuke for 2 mins. Let cool, then puree using 2 to 3 tbsp of water. Add the seasonings. 

Add the wheat flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead to form a dough, consistency should be harder than regular roti dough.

Add few drops of oil, knead till smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and rest for 1/2 hour. Then roll into small puris and deep dry.

This will make about 20 puris. I serve these with boondi raita, this makes a good combo. Since the puris are spiced, there is no need for any subji.

These puris also make good travel or picnic food.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Vari Upma

Yesterday was Ashadi Ekadashi - 1 of the few occasions hubby & me fast (upaas). We eat a limited variety of items - fruits, root veggies, sabudana, vari (samo), nuts etc. There is a saying in Marathi - Ekadashi, Duppat Khashi (Eat double on Ekadashi). I have to say, I have done that in the past. But this time I decided to restrict myself to cooking only 2 items - so we had Sabudana Khichadi for our AM faraal and this Vari Upma in the PM.

Vari Upma is a good one-pot meal/faraal item. Here's how I made it:

1 cup vari/samo (available in Indian stores)
3 cups hot boiling water
1.5 to 2 cup veggies - I used potatoes, bottle gourd (dudhi), red pumpkin (lal bhopla) and yam (suran)
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
1 small stick of cinnamon (abt 1 inch long)
2 green chillies - chopped
2 dry red chillies - broken
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tsp jaggery (gul)
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
pinch of clove pwd
pinch of cinnamon pwd
1/4 tsp red chilli pwd
1/4 cup roasted peanut pwd
fresh shredded coconut and chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a big wok and lightly saute the veggies. Drain & keep aside

Add the other tbsp of ghee. To this add the cumin seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon stick and the chillies. Fry till fragrant.

Add the vari. Roast on medium heat for about 5 mins till it get lightly browned.

Add the sauteed veggies. Gently add the boiling water. Add the seasonings (from salt to chilli pwd in the above list). Mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10-15 mins, stirring in between.

Just before taking off the heat, add the peanut pwd, coconut and cilantro. Mix well. Keep covered for 5 mins afer taking off heat.

Fluff gently and serve hot with a wedge of lemon or lime.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Strawberry Shrikhand

The idea of making Strawberry flavor Shrikhand was in the back of my mind ever since I made Strawberry Sheera. Finally made this yesterday, here's how:

1 32oz tub of yogurt ( I have used honey flavor Greek yogurt, plain will also do)
12 medium size strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamon pwd
handful of sliced almonds

Empty the yogurt into a clean cheesecloth, tie and hang it to drain for 4-5 hrs. The whey will drain off and what remains is called 'chakka' in Marathi.

Puree the strawberries without adding any liquid till it becomes very smooth. This is best done in a dry grinder, but if you have to add liquid, add a few drops of milk. My strawberry puree was very smooth so I have not strained it, but straining it is optional.

Mix the strawberry puree, chakka, sugar and cardamon pwd. Use a whip or hand blender to mix well to a smooth consistency. Garnish with sliced almonds and strawberry slices.

Tastes best when served cold with hot puris.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Spring Onion & Tomato Daal

This is my daughter's favorite kind of daal. Here's how I make it:

1/2 cup toor daal (I always mix a little mung daal and abt 1 tsp methi seeds) - wash well and cook with 1 cup water in pressure cooker for 4 whistles
Tempering - 2 tsp ghee, 1 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida (hing), 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
4 spring onions - chopped
1 tomato - chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
chopped cilantro to garnish

Heat the ghee, add cumin seeds, hing and turmeric pwd. Fry 2 mins. Add the chopped spring onions and tomatoes. Fry on medium heat for 5 mins till tomatoes soften. Add the boiled daal, salt and sugar. Adjust water to get consistency desired. Mix well and bring to a boil. Take off heat, squeeze in the lemon juice and garnish with the cilantro.

Serve hot with rice.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chocolate covered strawberries

Simple, elegant and loved by everyone - that's chocolate covered strawberries. These were specially requested by the b'day girl - N - yesterday.

I use Wiltons or Nestle dark chocolate candies/morsels and melt them for about 1 min., stirring after every 20 secs. Make sure the strawberries are clean and dry ( I do this atleast 2 hrs beforehand when making in bulk). Dip them one-by-one in the chocolate, holding by their leaves or stems. Gently place each on wax paper, it will dry in 2 mins.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roasted Kurmure (Puffed Rice) Snack


This is a great snack item to have on hand for between-meal hunger pangs. It is easy to prep, tasty, low cal and has a good shelf life.

Here's how I make it:

1/2 lb puffed rice (available in Indian grocery stores)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp badishoap seeds (fennel seeds)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
few curry leaves - torn
Handful of nuts - cashew and peanuts
Seasonings - salt, sugar, little turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, amchoor pwd, methkut pwd, badishoap pwd, goda masala pwd

Make the tempering by heating the oil in a large wok (use the largest and flatten wok you have). Drop the mustard seeds, after they stop spluttering add the cumin seeds, hing, badishoap seeds and curry leaves. Fry 2-3 mins. Add the nuts and fry another 2-3 mins. In the meanwhile mix all the seasoning items in a little bowl. Add this mix to the oil. Fry 1-2 mins on low heat. Add the puffed rice (kurmure). Mix well so they are coated with the seasonings. Roast on low heat for 10-15 mins, stirring frequently so that all the kurmure get crispened up.

It is important to keep the cooking area and utensils absolutely dry when making this roasted kurmure. When the kurmure cools to room temperature, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

This snack can be eaten as is or garnished with a variety of items per your taste for an instant chaat or dry bhel. In the picture below, I have added chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, thawed frozen corn and sprouted moong. Other good choices would be - chopped tomatoes, chopped boiled potatoes, pinch of chaat masala, shev, dash of lemon juice...choices are really endless.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Alu Gobhi (Potato - Cauliflower Dry Subji)

Alu Gobhi is a popular side dish for roti/rice and found in many restaurants. Here's my home-made version of it.

1 cup cubed potatoes (I have used red potatoes & left the skin on in the above pic)
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper pwd

Toss the potaotes and cauliflower with the oil, salt and pepper. Broil in oven for 10-12 mins, stirring in between, till slightly browned. The potatoes and cauliflower should be almost cooked by this time.

In the meanwhile, heat 1 to 2 tsp oil in a large wok. Fry 1 tsp cumin seeds. Add 1/2 cup chopped onions and saute till transluscent. Then add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 tsp ginger paste and 1/2 tsp garlic paste. Cook on medium low heat for 5 mins. Add the broiled potatoes and cauliflower at this stage. Add seasonings per taste - salt, sugar, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala pwd, kitchen king pwd, and crushed kasuri methi. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well to coat the potatoes and cauliflower with the spices. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 5 to 10 mins.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rotis or rice.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fruit Pizza

The other day, hubby wanted fruit salad, but my regular way to make this seemed kinda blah to me, so came up with this Fruit Pizza. I turned out so yummy - everybody was happy & gobbled it up!

Here's how I made it:

For the pizza base - I used store bought frozen pie crust. After thawing for 1.5 hours, I pressed it into a 10 inch round baking pan and baked at 450 F for 10 mins.

 For the pizza sauce - I made a custard sauce. For this, bring 1 cup milk to a boil. In the meanwhile, mix 3 tbsp custard pwd with 1/4 cup cold milk. Add this to the boiling mix. Keep stirring constantly on medium heat till thickens. Add 1/2 cup sugar or to taste and cook some more till the mixture resembles a thickish sauce. Take off heat and add 1 tsp vanilla essence and 1 tsp cardamom pwd. Chill this mixture well.

Pizza toppings - I used mangoes, strawberries and blueberries. Additional good choices would be apples, bananas, kiwis, rasberries, chikoo, grapes etc.

To assemble - spread the chilled custard sauce on the cooled pizza base, top with fruits. My daughter & her friends had a blast topping the pizza.

Slice and serve immediately or keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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