Thursday, February 26, 2009

banana pancakes with makoy berry sauce n cream




banana malpua is very common in banaras and it's made during holi and some other festivals ...it is served with sugar syrup and rabdi over it...........i am drooling right now...though i am not very fond of sweets.....but some memories make you nostalgic.........

my husband arvind likes these malpuas but i want to make them as healthy as possible ....so i fashioned them as pancakes and served it in a fancy manner.........he polished off the plate just after clicking the photo.........and it didn't have any refined sugar or flour...........healthy na!

it is simple too.......read on........

ingredients for the pancake

whole wheat flour 1 cup
one big ripe banana
milk 3/4 cup ( i used soya milk)

ingredients for the sauce or coulis

makoy or rasbhari berries 1 cup (see pic)



jaggery 4 tbsp (more jaggery if the rasbharis are sour)

fresh cream to serve as topping

procedure

chop the berries ..mix with crumbled jaggery and microwave on high for 3 minutes.....more if you want a thicker sauce...my sauce looks like this...


mix chopped banana, flour n milk and blend with a handblender to make a batter of pouring consistency.....adjusting the amount of milk being used.......no sugar is needed for this.......so healthy...

grease a nonstick pan with 1/2 tsp of butter and heat on medium flame.....pour the batter over hot pan ........i made small ones to masquerade like puas ....see the pic..



and when the pores appear like this ....flip the pancakes to brown on the other side .......like this....



wait for a minute and remove from pan .......arrange them on a plate to serve....pour the sauce over it like this.....


this can be served as it is ....i like it this way for a healthy breakfast....or it can be served with fresh cream.........like this.....



blink and this will disappear from your table....

palak puri

poori is a common breakfast in banaras and as i have mentioned earlier many versions of poori n kachoris are available in the morning time..... all the localities have their own kachori walas.......
it is a fried breakfast but not as unhealthy as it sounds cuz the subzi served with it is a light mix of 3-4 veggies which is mildly spiced ........if a controlled portion is consumed , even the fried poories are ok once in a while.........
people like me who want it healthier make it at home and make variations to suite the needs......

this palak poori is rich in fiber with all the goodness of palak and is served with a very low oil subzi.......when i made it this time we had it with my garlic amla chutny and plain curds.....the subzi mentioned here is also a fav combination in my home.........



ingredients for poori

whole wheat flour 1 cup or more
spinach leaves or palak 300 gm ( with all the stems)
salt to taste
ajwain seeds 1 tsp

procedure

chop spinach leaves and steam them ( i microwaved for 2 minutes)....let it cool and make a paste in a blender without adding water.......now mix all the ingredients and make a dough without adding water, more flour may be needed to make a medium soft pliable dough.........

divide the dough in small balls and roll them on a chakla belan (with a rolling pin) and fry them in hot oil....turning the poori once in hot oil to cook both sides........repear till all the pooris are done.......serve with raitas, chutnys, plain curds or pumpkin subzi as mentioned here....

recipe of the subzi is here......

Monday, February 23, 2009

pancakes with caramel-cream bananas n honey


this is not banaras ka khana but it surely has the elements of banaras ka khana......banaras people are known to consume a lot of milk n cream , also they are very fond of anything sweet..........do you know banaras has so many sweet shops doing brisk business, and all of them are run by local people and selling high quality traditional fair.........due to these highly competetive sweets business the so called mithai barrons......haldiram's , bikanerwala etc. have still not been able to establish themselves in banaras........

at the same time banaras is an international tourism destination and all kinds of cuisines can be found here..........these high end continental eateries can be found in the most oblivious , hidden places.........once i saw in a show on discovery (not been in banaras for a long time....:) ), a very swanky restaurant serving authentic lebanese and italian cuisines, placed somewhere in the lanes of assi ghat........amazing........clearly banaras can serve multicuisine fair..............only you have to know where to go...........i am not counting all the star hotels in the city ........

how pancakes have an element from banaras.........i have tasted a banana pancake called malpua , dipped in sugar syrup in my friend's place and that was pretty close to it..............i have many such recipes which are made in different ways in different cuisines , of course with different ingredients or treatments, but there is a common thread in all of them.................like the dumplings or wantons.........or the puffs or the guzhias............cheesecakes or bhapa sondesh............list is endless and there is more to come on this blog.......

so i made this pancake for my brother who wanted an all american breakfast that day and he wanted maple syrup with it.......i said to try honey instead with this banana topping..............served it with scrambled eggs, the american way..............but then he said he was missing the sausages.......(how heavy breakfast americans take...:) ).......

recipe is simple............read on........use as much honey as you want...........or maple syrup.....

ingredients for the pancake

all purpose flour ( maida) 1.5 cup
milk 1 cup
eggs 2nos.
sugar 1/4 cup or less
baking powder 1 tsp
salt a pinch
vanilla essence 1 tsp
butter to shallow fry the pancakes ( 1/2 tsp for each pancake)

procedure

blend the milk eggs and sugar with a hand blender or using an egg beater............mix baking powder to the flour and add slowly to the beating milk n egg mixture....add salt n vanilla essence and make a batter of pouring consistency........using more or less flour..........

heat a nonstick flat pan and grease with butter........pour a ladleful of the batter in the center of the pan and let it spread by itself.........don't spread like a dosa.........let it set over the pan.......over medium heat..........when some pores appear on top it means it has to be flipped over.......let it brown on the other side too......serve straight from the pan topped with your choice of topping.... repeat procedure, making more pancakes........the first pancake doesn't brown evenly like this one....



but after this you get even browning ....like this one........


ingredients for caramel cream bananas
medium sized bananas 4 nos. ( for 4 pancakes)
fresh cream 3/4 cup
sugar 1/4 cup

procedure

heat the sugar with a tablespon of water till it caramalises ......... add the cream and heat till the mixture starts bubbling...............chop the bananas in whatever way you like and throw them into the bubbling mixture......turn off the heat after this and stir to coat all the banana pieces..........place a portion on each pancake ...............and then pour honey over it generously.......serve hot.......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

sahjan ki sabzi or drumstick curry

i have a handsome drumstick tree in my garden and it flowers twice a year so drumsticks are available almost throughout the year but i don't make it very often.....the reason is, it is so difficult to pluck those sticks from the high branches...............recently i coaxed and cajoled my gardener to pluck some for me and he obliged ......here is how i made the curry.

ingredients

drumsticks cleaned and cut in 2-3 inch pieces.....about 10 sticks
potatoes cut in wedges 3 nos.
tomatoes made into paste 2 nos.
onions made into paste 1 no.
ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp
green chilly paste 1 tbsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp
curry powder 2 tbsp
salt to taste mustard oil 4 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
coriander leaves 2 tbsp



preparation

heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure pan and trow in the drumsticks and potato wedges and fry them for a while..........keep tossing to fry them evenly....little braising like this enables the veggies to absorb the masala flavors......when they become pinkish brown take them out and pour in the remaining 2 tbsp of mustard oil into the pan(more oil can be used to make it a rich gravy, i used less to minimize oil)...............throw in the cumin seeds, crackle them and then put in the onion paste and ginger garlic paste......stir fry until oil separates.........now add the powder masalas and fry till fragrant......then add the tomato paste n salt and cook covered till oil separates....now throw in the veggies and 2 cups of water( more or less according to thin or thick gravy required)......fix the lid on the cooker and cook till 2 whistles.........coll down to release pressure.......open the pan and garnish with coriander leaves.........serve hot with plain steamed rice.


Friday, February 20, 2009

besan katli ki sabzi UP style



Besan ki katli is a chickpea flour savory cake that is shallow fried and then curried in a mustard gravy. This besan ki katli curry is often called dhoka subzi as it masquerades as a fish curry for vegetarians, there is a Bengali version of this curry called Dhoka'r dalna which mean the same. The besan or chickpea flour cakes resemble fish steaks in appearance and have a meaty texture, hence a special dish for vegetarians during festivals or family get-togethers. This is one of my favorite vegetarian recipes too. The pungency of mustard is balanced well by tomatoes and generous helping of coriander greens and the chickpeas cakes absorb every bit of it. 

The bengali version of this curry, dhokar dalna is quite a yummy curry with a slight sweetness to it, but this curry is a UP version, eastern UP to be precise. I feel the curry is influenced by Bihar and Bengal with minor changes, only had got a bit more pungent, hot and sour in this version. But a really good balance of flavors as besan ki katli soaks up flavours of mustard and chillies etc magically.

ingredients for the katli
besan 1 cup
water 1.5 cup
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
cumin seeds 1 tsp
asafoetida a pinch
garam masala powder 1tsp
mustard oil 1 tbsp


procedure

Mix everything together to make a batter. Pour it all into a non stick pan or an iron kadhai and start cooking while stirring the mixture continuously. The mixture thickens and dries up within 7-8 minutes of cooking and forms a lump. This the an indication of it being ready, remove the pan from the stove.

Quickly grease a flat plate with oil and spread this mixture over the plate, patting it down using the spatula or a large flat knife. Spread it as thick as you like, make the edges smooth and let it cool down. Cut in diamond shapes when perfectly set. These diamond shaped chickpea flour cakes are called besan ki katli and will be shallow fried before currying.

Shallow fry the katlis in a flat base frying pan, browning them  lightly on both the sides. Reserve for currying or have them as a tea time snack if you wish.

ingredients for the gravy

yellow mustard seeds 2 tbsp
coriander powder 1 tsp
black pepper powder 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
green chilies 4 nos
red chilly powder 1 tsp
garlic 10 cloves
tomatoes 2 nos.
mustard oil 2 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp 
fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp
a generous handful of coriander leaves to garnish

procedure

Soak the mustard seeds in a little water for 10 minutes and make a fine paste of it along with all the powdered spices and garlic in the mixer. Keep aside.

Now heat oil in a pan and throw in the cumin and fenugreek seeds, let them both crackle a bit before pouring in the mustard paste into it. Add salt and cook stirring it all for 3-4 minutes or till the spices become aromatic.

Add 1.5 cups of water, slip in the besan ki katlis and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Add slit green chilies and quartered tomatoes in the last 5 minutes of simmering. Finish with coriander greens and serve with plain boiled rice and raita, kachumber salad etc.

You can add brinjals or even shallow fried okra to the same curry to include some vegetables in it too.


You can make a curry of the besan ki katli in a tamatar pyaz ka masala as well. I normally add a few makhana or green peas whenever I make besan ki katli subzi in tamatar pyaz ka bhuna masala.


One made, the besan ki katli can be frozen in the steamed form and then can be thawed, shallow fried and curried whenever required. A healthy curry will be ready with minimal effort if you have bhuna masala in the freezer too.

These katlis can be added to kadhi as well. But they usually don't last long once you make them. Most of it gets over in snacking with chai.