Tuesday, March 24, 2009

dhaniye wali mathhi | how to make mathhi or mathri

Mathhi or mathri used to be one of my most favourite tea time snack when I was younger and could eat whatever I wished. I used to fry mathhis by the kilo and always keep them handy. All types of spiced, herbed and plain or salted mathhis were made at the drop of a hat. Cookies were not my thing.

In fact this one is an all time favorite tea time snack of north Indians, it is definitely high on calories and made with refined flour and a lot of oil or ghee. But the taste is irresistible, you eat one with your tea and then you want one more after the tea. This is how Mathhi is.

Essentially a fried savoury short pastry, mathhi makes cookies run for their money.

Mathhi or mathri is a traditional savory snack and is available in many versions now a days in Banaras sweet shops and bakeries. Masala mathhi, methi mathhi, kali mirch mathhi and so on.

Earlier only plain mathhi was available, somehow we are getting more adventurous regarding food all over the world..

When I was younger I used to love  experimenting with food. Though I still experiment but when I was young it was considered very unusual in my family and friends as I used to come up with strange looking things. This dhaniye wali mathhi was one of those experiments.

Once while making mathhi I just thought that coriander would be a good flavor for mathhi.
Those days only methi (fenugreek) was the other flavor available and somehow I disliked the slightly bitter taste when more methi was used. There was no flavour at all when lesser quantity of methi was used. You know what I mean.

I am the person who throws in more color and flavor in the food and one day I decided to add crushed coriander seeds with a lot of coriander leaves into it and the mathhi turned out to be a winner...

maida or all purpose flour 1/2 kg
oil or ghee 1/2 cup for shortening and more for deep frying
salt 2 tsp
coriander seeds crushed 2 tbsp
coriander leaves chopped 1 cup
black pepper crushed 1 tbsp


Mix maida with salt and 1/2 cup ghee well till it resembles bread crumbs, add all the other ingredients and some water slowly while mixing with the other hand. The dough should be tight and not very smooth. This way the mathhi will have rough ends and be more crisp and layered.

After binding the dough make small portions of it to make small balls and flatten them with hands or with a rolling pin. Keep it thick like cookies. Make holes in them to prevent them from fluffing up like puris.

Make such roundels from all the dough and deep fry till pinkish brown and aromatic. Use a slotted spoon to fish out the fired mathhis from hot ghee and cool down.

Keep in airtight container when completely cool. Keeps well for a month.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

holi ki gujhia

Wishing a colorful holi to everyone. The eve of holi today and 'banaras ka khana' definitely owes you all a recipe of gujhia. Making these gujhias always reminds me of my early days when we all used to take leave and prepare these stuffed flaky pastry collectively at home. Today when I am caught up in so many other things and like most of other people feel like dropping the idea of making them at home, I am glad I manage to make at least some. It really takes you back in the memory lane and you get transported into your past, which is always beautiful.

Gujhia recipe

Despite all the hassles, I make sure the traditional recipes are made at home, this is my way of having a feel of the festival, celebrating it. Believe me I was so happy to do it all, and in the end when you get to taste the fruit of your labor, it is out of this world. I would always suggest to try and make the traditional foods during festivals, it makes you feel happy and contented without having to waste time and energy in synthetic colours, firecrackers etc. Even if you don't have people around to spend time with, the traditional foods bring them back in your memories.

These gujhias are exactly the way my mom used to make. A crispy crust and a crumbly mildly sweet stuffing. It is very addictive, you can't stop at one if you have a sweet tooth. These are calorie bombs though.....:D:D

My mom used to make us all sit and do the rolling, filling, sealing work in the day time, all the stuffed gujhias were kept covered by a moist cloth and in the evening. She used to fry all of them slowly over low heat and that was done after each gujhia was stuffed and covered neatly by moist cloth.

It was a full day's work of making them (in huge amounts of course). Now I don't spend so much time on gujhias, I keep frying them at very low flame and at the same time keep rolling and stuffing them on the kitchen platform itself. Earlier all of used used to sit on the floor to do all this because there was a large quantity being made always.

Frying on very low flame results in better taste and texture, and by the time one batch of gujhia is fried, the next batch is ready after all the artistry done over them. I do the sealing and making pattern by hands. Somehow I feel that when we use the mould to make gujhias they loose their charm, hand carved gujhias have a better look and feel.

Anyway here is the recipe. I make the khoya stuffing in the morning and do all the stuffing and frying in the evening.


khoya or reduced milk 500 gm ( I use instant khoya made using milk powder)
sugar powdered 250 gm or more to taste
poppy seeds (dry roasted) 1/2 cup
dessicated coconut dry roasted 1/4 cup or more
suji or cream of wheat 1/4 cup (optional, I skip it always but it helps when the khoya is moist)
almonds chopped 1/2 cup
cashew chopped 1/2 cup
raisins chopped 1/2 cup

procedure to make the filling or stuffing

Roast the khoya in a pan till dry and deep pink in color.

Meanwhile roast the suji in microwave for 2 minutes, turning twice in between. Then tip in the suji into the khoya pan along with all the ingredients except sugar and cook, stirring continuously till a nice aroma comes out and the mixture is dry, crumbly and deep pink in color.

Take off the flame and mix well with sugar and rest till completely cool to proceed, this is how the finished filling looks like...

Gujhia recipe

ingredients for the shell

maida or all purpose flour about 800 gm
ghee or clarified butter about 200 gm
water to knead the dough
sunflower or peanut oil or ghee to fry

Gujhia recipe


Rub in the ghee into the flour till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. The flour and ghee ratio may vary because I do it by instinct and never measure them.

Now make a stiff dough using water and let the dough rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.

Take a marble sized portion of the dough and roll a thin roundel, place a spoonful of the filling into it, fold it like a book, and seal the edges by pinching and folding the edge, applying pressure (flour n water solution can be used to seal if doing it for the first time. It has to be sealed properly as if it opens while frying it will mess up everything.

Make sure that the filling is properly secured, repeat the process to make more gujhias.

tip : if you prick each guzia with a pin 2-3 times, it will not split during frying.

Now slip them into hot oil,10- 12 at a time, and fry at lowest possible flame, turning them while frying, may be once.

It takes around 20 minutes for a batch of 10 gujhias to cook, time may vary but you can understand when they become pink n crisp.

Gujhia recipe

Let them cool and keep in airtight containers. The gujhias keep well for a fortnight in the spring time north India temperatures.

There are a few more versions of Gujhia stuffing in Banaras, that I will share sometime soon.

Make some Gujhia now and enjoy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

mithi bundiya

in some temples of banaras you get this bundiya as prasad after evening aarti, sometimes it is made at home during some festivals or puja....these are small fried balls of gram flour, filled with sugar syrup............when i was a kid i used to wonder how the syrup is injected in each of these small bundis..................when we were in chandigarh, a slightly bigger version of bundis were available there ,(those were made of maida , but the procedure to make is the same), especially on teusdays , when we kids used to read hanuman chalisa and offering the bhog of these bundis........to be honest i would read the hanuman chalisa only to get this bundi........and then after doing the puja i would enjoy this sinful syrupy bundis.........actually i used to prick each bundi , slurp the syrup from it , then eat the rest of it...........don't laugh.........it use dot be a lot of fun..................
later when i saw them being made, i laughed at my ignorence........though the process of making it is a bit tricky, it is worth all the hard work................but you know this time i am cheating ......these bundiya have come from banaras and i just could not stop myself from clicking its pics ( ever since i started blogging i feel like clicking all the food we eat, of course with my humble cell phone camera) ..........i am giving the recipe to make it.....i have made it several times but now a days i am on low cal diet n thes are calorie bombs.....better to say calorie splinters.........ohhhh........this language of mine is aweful.........

next time when i make them i will post a step by step picture of it.......but it can be tried without that too.......it is simple if you have fried pakodas etc.

just take a cup of besan and a pinch of soda bi carb.......sieve them together to mix ......a pinch of synthetic yellow color can be added , though i never do it, instead i use a few strands of saffron in the sugar syrup .

make a batter of besan with almost equal quantity of water so that it becomes a batter of pouring consistency...............now you need a wide ladle with holes in it , called a jharna in banaras.......the holes are the size of red lentils...........somebody had gifted me a ladle made with coconut shell with small holes in it ......i use that often when i make it in small quantity.

firstly make syrup of sugar by heating it with water ( equal quantities again ) .....when syrup starts boiling check by sticking it between the thumb n the index finger......it should form a thread when streched ......let off the flame and add a few saffron strands to give a nice color n a subtle aroma of saffron......

next, you have to heat ghee in a wide skillet, keep the jharna over the skillet and pour half a cup of besan batter on the jharna...and tap it with the back of the cup so that all the batter rains down into the hot oil........with the coconut shell ladle i just pour the batter in it n tap it against the skillet...........small droplets of batter fall into the hot oil n get fried...it has to be done at medium heat........stir the droplets into the oil n keep frying till they sound hollow n crisp.........take out and throw them into the cooled sugar syrup of one thread consistency.....repeat till all the batter is consumed and dip all the bundis into the syrup..............after a while drain any extra syrup from the bundis as all the bundis soak syrup n there should be no syrup outside the bundis........

garnish with flakes of nuts if desired......and a few cardamoms, crushed.

we like the bundi with curds n call it dahi bundiya......it makes a nice dessert...try it..........tastes awesome.............but the curd should be at room temperature cuz the ghee in the bundiya makes it hard when fridge cold curd is used ..........this bundiya can be made in any refined oil also n then it can be had with cold curds.........or with cream...........depends how sinful you wanna be....


Thursday, March 5, 2009

baati chokha

first of all i regret the poor picture quality as i made this baati chokha for dinner , so it is night time clicking, secondly i always click pics with my cellphone cam..............:D:D:D

i am really very exited to post this recipe on the blog........already regretting why i didn't post it right when i cooked it........it's only last week i made this exotic baati chokha n have been trying to post but......due to some or the other reason it got stalled..............now when i am ready to write about it................it gives me the taste of baati again.........i can smell it again.........

this is a famous and much in demand eastern utter pradesh dish, which i got to taste when we went for a picnic at sarnath.........i remember we were recently tranfered to banaras from chandigarh n we kids were unaware of this strange looking delicacy...........thpse were the days when friends n family used to go for picnic almost every sunday...........in chandigarh rose garden was the sunday venue but in banaras there were not many places where a good picnic can be arranged........my dad was still so enthusiastic about picnics that he used ti arrange them in sarnath, which was a far away place from our home.............but one very special thing about sarnath was that this baati chokha was the favorite picnic food there, and people used to prepare this on the spot.........yes , that was new for us kids, we had ony saw our parents packing homemade food baskets n carrying to rose garden or rock garden in chandigarh.............we didn't have any idea then that food can be prepared on the spot.............so i was telling that sarnath had this unique thing and one could get all the paraphernalia of baati making there .........the dungcakes to light up fire (to bake the baatis on fire), the brinjals , potatoes n all the ginger garlic etc. needed for the chokha..........also the atta , ghee , sattu , achar n what not..........even you could get helpers ( men n women both) who would light the fire n make everything in front of your eyes............of course they would charge for thier labour and expect generous tip ........but it was an awesome experience.........it was only then we kids were introduced to baati or litti as it is called there...............we came to know that when it is being prepared, the aroma of sattu being mixed n baati being baked was enough to make anybody hungry...............we used to eat enormous amount of these littis......

we all so used to love it that we demanded it being made in the home............my mother then started making fried baatis at home ............and when our home was being constructed........we found a lot of open space and wood shavings to light up fire............my grandmother was so efficient at lighting up a fire suitable for this........she used to make awesome baatis.........as these ball shaped baatis have to be cooked in such a way that they don't get burnt and become hard.......not everybody can make soft n perfectly baked baatis........that taste is still in my memory n it has become kind of a comfort food for me.......now i make it in a more healthy n convenient way..........

i have done a lot of hit n trials to perfect my baati making and now i have become famous for my microwave baatis.......they are easier to make n healthier as i use least amount of ghee.....

it is worth mentioning that i have been in the state of jharkhnd after marriage for 6-7 years and this baati is thier cuisine too.........so i learnt a lot of things there about it's masala n all.........a boiled version of baati also i learnt there............

i made the boiled as well as microwaved baati this time with chokha which is a classic accompaniment to baati........usually brinjals and potatoes are roasted over fire or grilled in ovens for making the chokha , but i ususally make it by boiling the veggies..............a little difference of taste is there but it is light n tasty in it's own way.........

ingredients for baati

whole wheat flour
water to make a dough
ghee for rubbing in the dough ( i didn't use any ghee, it is optional)

ingredients for the masala filling

sattu ( roasted gramflour) 2 cups
masala from mango pickle 2 tbsp
ajwain seeds ( bishops wed) 1 tsp
nigella seeds 1 tsp
salt to taste
onions finely chopped 2 nos.
ginger 2 inch piece chopped finely
garlic 20 cloves chopped finely
green chillies 10 nos. chopped finely
coriander leaves chopped finely 1/2 cup

all these ingredients in bold are to be taken in equal quantities for the chokha also

apart from these( for chokha)
brinjals medium sized 2 nos.
potatoes medium sized 2-3 nos.
tomatoes large sized
1 tsp of mustard oil
salt to taste


1. a stiff dough has to be prepared by mixing wheat flour and water........traditionally ghee is also rubbed into the dough to get soft baatis but i don't use ghee as these come out soft even without ghee when cooked in microwave..........the dough will rest for about 1/2 an hour.

2. a mixture of the sattu is prepared by mixing all the ingredients for it, rubbing it by palms , so that a homogenous crumbly texture is formed......traditionally mustard oil is rubbed into this mixture too but i don't do that.......alter natively i add 1/2 a cup of water and rub it with hands to amke a crumbly mix........this mixture or masala can be stored into the fridge for 3-4 days and can be used in several ways..............like i mix it with other boiled veggies to make instant kababs.....

3. make small portions of the dough and stuff equal amounts of the sattu masala into each portion and shape like a round ball......it can be flattened for convenience ..........make stuffed balls from all the mixture and arrange 10-12 balls on a greased ceramic plate and microwave on high for 6 minutes.......this is for the roasted version........just after taking them out from the microwave, roast them on direct gas flame like this....

actually the batis are cooked in microwave and the roasting is to spot them n bring that roasted aroma.........after this apply ghee on each baati n serve immediately....

for making the boiled version water is boiled in a large pan and all the stuffed batis are thrown into the boiling water...........they will come on the top ( float) when cooked .......just keep moving them lightly untill they float on the water.........take out and proceed for a tadka..............heat ghee in a pan.......it can be 1 tbsp to a cup of ghee.........throw in some asafoetida and cumin seeds n let them crackle........now slowly slip all the boiled batis into it and keep turning till all of them are coated with jeera flavor.........if more ghee is used it can be made crisp by frying till pinkish brown........as required..........these pics demonstrate the process....these are boiled batis frying in the pan.....

and now the finished batis with cumin seeds .........

for making the chokha just boil the brinjal, potatoes and tomatoes in a pressure cooker together............remove the peels n mash them all together with chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves............season with salt and a dash of raw mustard oil n it is ready to serve....