Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gul Poli

Gul Poli

Gul Poli is a traditional Maharashtrian sweet dish, made around the time of Makar Sankrant. 

It is a thin, crispy roti filled with jaggery (gul) and gram flour mix. I like it best when it is fresh and warm, served with a dollop of ghee.

I make it in 2 ways depending how crisp I want it. My dad can only eat soft foods, hence I make it as soft as I can for him.

Here's how I make Gul Poli (crispy version):

Stuffing - 1/2 cup grated jaggery (gul), 2 tbsp gram flour, 2  tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus), 1/2 tsp cardamon pwd, 1/2 tsp nutmeg pwd.

Microwave the poppy seeds at 30 sec intervals for 1 min. stirring in between.

Microwave the sesame seeds at 30 sec intervals for 2 mins, stirring in between.

Cool both, then grind coarsely.

Microwave the gram flour at 30 sec intervals for 2 to 3 mins stirring in between.

Microwave the gul for 1 min or so until melted.

Mix the melted gul, roasted gram flour, powdered sesame and poppy seeds and cardamon and nutmeg pwds. Use a few drops of milk and ghee to form into a lump. Divide into 6 balls.

Dough - 1/2 cup wheat flour, 2 tsp plain flour, pinch of salt. Mix well. Add enough water to form into a dough. The consistency of the dough should be same as that of the gul mixture. So if your gul mixture is slightly loose, make a softer dough. Let the dough rest for 1/2 hour, then divide into 6 balls.

Then roll out each dough ball into small puri. Place 1 gul mixture ball on it. Bring sides of the dough together and seal close. Flatten between palms. Roll into a thin roti, using flour (wheat or plain or rice flour) to dust liberally.

Roast on a non stick pan on medium heat until light brown spots appear on both sides.

To make softer version of Gul Poli:

Ingredients for the filling are same as above. Make sure the gul is finely grated. Do not microwave the gul. Just mix the grated gul with the roasted gram flour, ground sesame and poppy seeds and cardamon and nutmeg pwd.

The dough is also same as above. You can make 2 small thin rotis from the dough, spread the gul mix evenly over 1 roti, wet the edges with water, cover it with the other roti, press edges to seal and roll into a bigger roti dusting with flour. Roast per above method.


Alternatively, you can fill the dry gul mix in one small flattened dough, bring the edges together, seal, flatten between palms and roll into a bigger roti. I prefer this method as the gul mix spreads out evenly this way for me. Roast per above method. Be sure to serve this warm as it will crisp up as it cools.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Zucchini -Squash Stir Fry with Indian Spices

Zucchini-Squash Stir Fry with Indian Spices

This recipe is adapted from Manjula's Kitchen. In the middle of winter I was suddenly craving for this summery dish. Found decent zucchini and squash in the grocery store, so immediately set about making this.

Here's how I made Zucchini-Squash Stir Fry with Indian Spices:

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet or pan. Add 1 tsp panch phooran mix (ready made mix of 5 seeds - mustard, cumin, fennel, nigella and methi. Fry on medium heat for 2-3 mins until they start sizzling. Add 1 clove garlic, minced. Fry 2 mins. Add handful of onions - finely slit. Fry till softened. Add handful of slit red bell pepper, 1 chopped zucchini and 1 chopped yellow squash. (I chopped the zucchini and squash into thin semi circles). Add seasonings to taste - salt, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, little turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd, pinch of sugar. Stir gently so all the veggies are coated with the spices. Cover and cook on medium heat for 7-10 mins, stirring occasionally. The veggies should be cooked but firm. Finally sprinkle some amchur pwd on the veggies, toss to coat.

Serve this zucchini-squash stir fry with rotis or dal-chawal.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera
Here is a quick weeknight meal idea - Pasta Primavera - which I adapted from the Alouette Cheese website.

Here's how I made this creamy Pasta Primavera:

Handful of linguine - cook to al dente per package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Coat the pasta with 2 tsp olive oil. Set aside.

Sauce - Heat 1 tsp olive oil. Add handful of chopped green onions, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, handful of chopped baby carrots and handful of chopped tomatoes. Fry on medium heat for 5 mins. Ad reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of Alouette Cheese spread (I had Garlic and Herb flavor on hand). Add salt, pepper to taste and 2 tsp of Italian seasoning mix. Stir well and simmer on low till cheese melts.

Add the cooked pasta. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Heat for 2 mins. Serve warm.

We had this with a spinach salad for a satisfying super quick weeknight meal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vangyache Bharith (with yogurt)

Vangyache bharit (Eggplant yogurt dip)

I've posted couple types of Baingan Bharta earlier - one with tomatoes and another with pumpkin. Today's recipe is a third variation of this.

Here's how I make Vangyache Bharith (with yogurt):

Wash and dry 1 big eggplant. Apply 1 tsp oil to coat it evenly. Make 3 to 4 lengthwise slits in the eggplant and insert 1 clove of garlic (peeled) in each slit. Bake in 450F oven for 1 hour, turning around every 15-20 mins. It will soften nicely by then. Cool slightly and peel the skin off. Discard the garlic. Mash eggplant (without skin) with fork.

Tempering - Heat 2 tsp ghee, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of hing, few torn curry leaves, 2 green chillies (finely chopped) and 2 cloves garlic. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 mins.

Pour over mashed eggplant. Add 1 tsp salt or to taste and pinch of sugar. Add 1 tbsp peanuts pwd or roughly chopped peanuts. Add sufficient yogurt to make into thick sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve at room temperature or cold with roti, rice or as a dip with chips.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chickpea Minestrone

Chickpea Minestrone
This recipe is adapted from the Vegetarian Times magazine. It was really easy to put together and made for a very satisfying warm bowl of comfort during this winter season.

Here's how I made Chickpea Minestrone:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 cup mixed frozen veggies (I used Trader Joes vegetable melange)
1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup small pasta (I used whole grain shell pasta)
Seasonings - 1 tsp salt or to taste, pinch of sugar, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried sage, 1/2 tsp dried basil
Garnish - red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onions on medium heat for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and saute 2-3 mins. Add the frozen mixed veggies and frozen spinach. Save 1/4 cup each of the tomatoes and chickpeas. Add the rest to the pot along with the broth and the seasonings.

Blend the reserved tomatoes and chickpeas roughly and add to the pot. Mix well and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and cook for 10 mins stirring occasionally. Add more broth or water if needed to get consistency desired

Serve hot garnished with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese if desired.

This bowl of Chickpea Minestrone goes to the MLLA # 79 event at Lisa's Kitchen. This event was started by Susan.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pistachio Shortbread

Pistachio Shortbread
This recipe is adapted from Relish magazine that occasionally comes with our newspaper.

Here's how I made these Pistachio Shortbread:

1 stick butter thawed
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 large lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup chopped toasted shelled pistachio
handful of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Microwave butter for 30 sec. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk vigorously for 5 mins until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence, salt and lemon zest. Mix well. Add the flour, pistachios and chocolate chips. 

Mix gently until just combined, do not over mix.

Roll out into 1/4 inch thick disc. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheet.


Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 20 to 25 mins until edges turn slightly brown.


I had made these shortbread cookies over the 2 week winter break for the first time. Today I made them again for my daughter and took the above pictures.

Sending this recipe to Kid's delight hosted my My Cooking Journey.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry

Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry
This is the first recipe I tried in my new crockpot. It can ofcourse be made in a regular pot on the stove top, but slow cooking this flavorful curry in the crockpot for 4 hours spread an amazing aroma that made the mouth water right on entering home.

Here's how I made this Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry:

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped potatoes
1/2 cup cauliflower flowerets
1/2 cut chopped carrots
1/2 cup chickpeas (I used the canned ones, well drained and rinsed)
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 cup frozen peas (added after 3.5 hrs)
Seasonings added at the beginning - 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp garam masala pwd, 1 tsp kitchen king masala, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd, 1 tbsp crushed kasuri methi
Seasoning added at the end - 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

I threw in all the ingredients (except those marked as added later) at 2:30 PM, set the slow cooker on high and tried very hard to resist the temptation to open the pot for the next 2 hrs. Thereafter I did give the curry a stir or 2.

I added the peas at around 6 PM

By 6:30 PM the curry was ready. I added the soy sauce and lemon juice at that time. We had it with Dhakai Paratha and also with rice.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Vegetable Upma

Vegetable Upma
Upma is a breakfast staple - quick to make and well loved.

Here's how I make Vegetable Upma:

Tempering - 2 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp udad dal, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch hing (asafoetida), 1 green chilli - chopped, 1 red chilli - broken, 1tsp grated ginger, few curry leaves, handful of peanuts

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup roasted upma rava

3 cups water

1 tsp ghee

2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Lemon slices, shredded coconut and cilantro for garnish

Make the tempering by heating oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the other ingredients and fry 2 mins. Then add the onions and fry till softened. Add the peas, carrots and tomatoes. Cook 5 mins. Add 3 cups water, increase heat to medium high. Add salt and sugar. Mix well. When the water starts boiling, reduce heat to medium and slowly add the rava, stirring with one hand. Mix the rava well, cover and cook on medium low heat for about 5 mins. Add 1 tsp ghee, mix well and cook another 5 mins.

Serve Upma garnished with shredded fresh coconut and cilantro, with a wedge of lemon on the side.

This Vegetable Upma goes to the Breakfast Event at Cooking 4 all Seasons.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mushroom Pulav

Mushroom Pulav

Mushroom Pulav is a mild rice variety in which mushrooms are well sauteed and minimum seasonings are used to bring out the fragrance and richness of mushrooms. I usually use baby bella mushrooms.

Here's how I make Mushroom Pulav:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup roughly chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked rice (I have used brown rice+quinoa mix)
Seasonings - Salt and pepper
Handful of frozen peas
1 -2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions and mushrooms.

Saute on medium high heat, stirring often till mushrooms become dry and well brown. Then reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Saute 2 mins.

Add the cooked rice, salt, pepper and peas. Mix gently. Let it heat thru.

Take off heat, squeeze lemon juice and again mix gently. Serve warm. This Mushroom Pulav does not need any accompaniments.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pineapple Raita

Pineapple Raita
This Pineapple Raita is a little sweet, little spicy, little tangy and a whole lot delicious...if you like pineapple.

Here's how I make Pineapple Raita:

1 cup canned Pineapple tidbits (drain completely)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
Big pinch of red chilli pwd
Big pinch of chaat masala
Small pinch of cumin pwd
few springs of cilantro - chopped

Just mix everything in a bowl. Serve this cool Pineapple Raita with spicy biryani or paratha or curry.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Linguine with seared cauliflower

Linguine with seared Cauliflower
 I adapted this recipe from Costco magazine. Addition of cauliflower to pasta was unique for me. Also the cauliflower stays nice and crunchy, not mushy.

Here's how I made Linguine with Seared Cauliflower:

1 big handful of linguine - cook per package instructions, drain (reserve 1/4 cup water), toss with 1 tsp olive oil and keep aside

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet, Fry handful of thinly sliced red onions for 5 mins on medium heat. Add 1 cup cauliflower flowerets, increase heat to medium high and fry 5 mins till lightly browned.  Now reduce heat back to medium, add 1 clove garlic (finely chopped), handful of sliced carrots and saute 5 mins. Add 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 1 tbsp basil paste, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, the reserved pasta water, 1 tbsp soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and take off heat.

Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle some shredded mozarella cheese and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve warm.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Instant Dosa

Instant Dosa - Rice Flour, Rava and Oats

This Instant Dosa works well for me since I rarely like to/remember to soak the ingredients before hand, grind them, ferment them etc.

Here's how I make Instant Dosa:
1 cup rice flour
1 cup fine rava (semolina)
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup yogurt (slightly sour if available)
Salt to taste
few curry leaves
1 or 2 green chillies

Grind all the ingredients together with about 2 cups water. Check salt and adjust as needed. You can also add finely chopped onions to the batter.

Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat. Pour a ladleful of batter and spread into a circle. Spread thinly for crisp dosa, slightly thicker for softer dosa.

Drizzle little oil and cook till golden brown on both sides

Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sambar.

This Instant Dosa goes to the Breakfast event at Cooking 4 All Seasons.

Leftover Instant Dosa batter can be given a new avatar the next day by using it to make Masala Toast:

For this, add finely chopped veggies of your choice to the batter - I use onions, grated carrots, bell peppers. Add little more salt, red chilli pwd, ginger paste and cilantro. Dip bread slices in the batter or spoon some batter on one side of a bread slice. Cook that side on the non-stick skillet with little oil. Spread batter on the other side, flip over and cook till both sides are nicely browned.

Serve hot with ketchup.
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