Saturday, August 29, 2009

sattu ka paratha



This is truly banaras ka khana.sattu is a flour of roasted gram and it is available in banaras very easily. when I don't get it here in Delhi, I just powder some roasted gram in the spice grinder and use accordingly..

This paratha is a tasty and healthy food when served with tomato salsa or baingan ks bharta ....but most of the people like it as it is, may be with a bowl of dahi.

The recipe is simple. In a food processor or chopper it becomes easier but can be done manually too, chopping the onion garlic I mean...:)")


you need.........
one large onion
4-5 garlic cloves, an inch piece of ginger
and 2-3 green chillies and coriander leaves ( dint use cuz they are out of season) are processed to make a fine mince......
then mixed with 5-6 tbsp of sattu ( to make 4-5 parathas)
a tsp of ajwain seeds
2 tsp of aam ka achar spice mix ( straight from the achar jar)
2 tsp or more of lemon juice
and salt to taste

mix all these well and sprinkle some water to mix so that the stuffing mixture becomes the same consistency as that of the dough......

this mixture is stuffed into whole wheat dough , rolled to make a flat round paratha and fried on hot tawa with some ghee.......

ready to eat. .....suitable for a weekend breakfast with lassi or dahi .......or as a dinner with some...tomato salsa..........
babli of khanamasala and pari of foodilicious have passed me this kreative blogger award and i feel so embarrassed to get so late in posting the award here........i am delighted, honored and motivated by this award and thank both of them to consider me creative......

there is a tag attached to the award n i have to share these things with you all......

Answers to the tag :

1.what is your current obsession?


finding out about regional cuisines and tasting them


2. What are you wearing today?


a linen pajama and a cotton kurti

3. What’s for dinner?


mushroom manchurian with multigrain chapati


4. What’s the last thing you bought?


I don't remember when i last did shopping.....i go to walks and buy veggies n fruits though


5. What are you listening to right now?


rain songs of old hindi movies


6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

Pari comes across as a good human being ( as i read about her in one of her tags) and a passionate cook.

Babli is such a multitalented girl.....she does so many things with passion...khub bhalo meye..

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Arvind , my husband and me ...both want a house in a small hillside village...may be in himachal or in kerala..

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

lots of water , cottons and linens to wear and sunglasses when i go out.


9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

anywhere in the world with Arvind as we havn't beet out together for ages..


10. Which language do you want to learn?
too many.....i know 5 already

11. Who do you want to meet right now?

nobody


12. What is your favorite colour?

greens


13. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?

sarees designed by myself...hand printed chiffon and crepe' de chine......and since those are lying unused for years , my current favorites are the cotton kurtas..


14. What is your dream job?

being a painter....


15. What’s your favourite magazine?

RD , GH and femina . have subscribed these........

16. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

i'd buy something for Arvind...


17. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

not being comfortable in your own skin..


18. Who are your style icons?

i love the way priyanka gandhi carries herself.........


19. Describe your personal style?

Indian or western but essentially comfortable....i wouldn't be found dead in something which restricts my movements...or may be bending down...lol.


21. What are your favourite movies?

i do not watch movies but DDLJ i had watched during our dating days n is a favorite and i can't stop myself watching whenever Erin Brockowitch is on TV..

22. Give us three styling tips that always work for you?

comfortable clothes , nice comfortable shoes and good hair....minimal makeup..


23. Coffee or tea?

masala chai


24. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

i've been into it for years n i did so many things ....binging on foods, crying alone , staying up all night n all of that........


25. What is the meaning of your name?

something with music....one of my Thai friends used to call me 'musica'


26. Which other blogs you love visiting?

see the blogs i follow and many more i visit n comment profusely......

27. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

apart from chocolates , anything made with fruits or jaggery


28. Favorite Season?

winters

29.Which is your dream destination?

anywhere with Arvind as i told you ..it has been ages...........even karol bagh will be good.


30: Which is your favorite international cuisine ?

Italian

31. My favorite Kitchen tool?

good knives ...i have too many.


ooohh...it was fun being narcissistic for a while....as if i am a celebrity.....this is the fun in blogging...

now about passing this award to other bloggers , everybody i know has bees awarded and i would like to pass this all the new bloggers who come here and see this....

thanks again to Pari and Babli for awarding me and to you all to patiently reading the crap about me..

Thursday, August 27, 2009

daal ke pakode hari chutny ke saath



this was our dinner on a weekend when it was raining heavily outside......rain is playing lukka chhippi here in delhi n i saw some of the heaviest rains this season as rain God is quite kanjoos for Delhi otherwise............so whenever our evening tea becomes late , it transforms into a dinner n how it went on that day.......i had soaked a mix of pulses for the pakode and Arvind got late from work n was wet n hungry ......i processed the pulses and made tea while he got fresh and we had a relaxed tea dinner.....



to make these daal ke pakode you need to soak a mix of red lentils , split chick peas or chana daal and mung daal in equal quantity for about two hours.....i used about 2 tbsp of each daal which becomes about 1.5 cup after soaking.

grind the soaked daals with a one inch piece of ginger , 2 garlic cloves and 3 green chillies in a chutny jar of your mixie......to make a course paste....add a tsp of turmeric powder and salt to taste


chop about half cup of curry leaves and a big onion finely and mix with the paste .

grease a MW safe plate and drop spoonfuls of the mixture on it till all the mixture is consumed , you may need to make another batch for this quantity....microwave for 3 minutes on high or till all the pakode are cooked through ( a tooth pick should come out clean when pricked with it)...


meanwhile heat vegetable oil in a kadhai to fry the pakode ....when the microwaving is done, take out the plate and tip in the microwaved pakode immediately into the hot oil.......this allows the pakode to brown quickly into the oil, reducing the frying time tremendously and very less amount of oil is consumed.....( tell me if you found the tip useful).

drain the pakode when browned and serve with hari chutny......every family has their own version of hari chutny or may be many versions according to availability of ingredients.........i made this using mint leaves and pickled green garlic chives ( recipe coming later)....



rains , masala chai and pakode does something very special to you.......enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

macaroni with chicken sauages




pasta is such a comfort food........any time meal and honestly sometimes it is a weekend brunch or an evening snack too.....the dinner gets delayed or is replaced by a fruit on such occasions...........

this is something the children like very much .....my husband is no less than a child when it comes to food.......he wants everything which does not look like roti subzi or daal chawal............:):)

i make this quite simple.........

boil the macaroni ( 1 cup) in salted water till al dante' .....and drain n keep aside...

boil a few chicken sausages in water ...........till cooked , drain and keep aside.....

chop 2 cloves of garlic and make a coarse paste of 1 onion and 2 tomatoes in mixie.......

heat a tsp of oil in a pan and tip in the garlic......after a minute throw in the onion and tomato paste , salt to taste and a tsp of red chilly flakes........mix n cook till everything gets mixed up n cooked nicely...........

meanwhile chop the boiled sausages into slanting slices and throw into the cooking mixture....

in goes the boiled macaroni and a few springs of chopped fresh basil......

ready to devour.......sprinkle cheese if you wish.........i skip it when i add chicken or some veggie..

Thursday, August 20, 2009

shahi tukda



i like to surprise my husband with these sweet treats.........he loves shahi tukda and sometimes i make rabri ( condensed milk without sugar) and keep in the fridge to surprise him in the evening........i have told earlier too that he wants something filling and tasty ( mostly sweet) when he comes back from office........when i fry the bread slices in the kitchen and he gets the aroma of bread being fried in ghee.......he comes to the kitchen ( which is rare otherwise) following the aroma and i tease him for that...........he gets the surprise........


this one i make mostly when my milk gets reduced accidentally......among other things i make mishti doi too with it..........yes we are in a habit to boil the milk for around 10 minutes on stove....cool n then store in the fridge.........n sometimes when i am busy somewhere else , the milk gets reduced n becomes rabdi.......no problem....it's treat time for the hubby.....he he..

the rabdi is already there.......otherwise you can reduce the milk by boiling it on low heat till a creamy n stringy consistency.......keeps well in the fridge for a fortnight.

now fry bread pieces ( white bread is the usual ingredient but i use brown as i don't purchase the white one)....stale bread is better as it soaks less ghee........yes you need ghee to fry it......loads of calories........run that extra mile to burn it....or develop a faster metabolism......................sounds simple na!!!

while frying the breads you need to boil a cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of water to make a syrup ...just like gulabjamun syrup...slightly thick....and keep it on the side..

soak fried pieces in the syrup for a minute........drain and arrange on a plate.......

top with loads of rabdi........and some chopped nuts if you wish...and some saffron if you want it the shahi way........


dig into the bliss that is shahi tukda and skip your next meal.......eat loads of leafy salads instead......he he...

Monday, August 17, 2009

curries and the spices | therapeutic properties of spices and a few basic curries UP style..

Being a homemaker and a work from home mother from India , I believe in simple, uncomplicated cooking with basic unprocessed ingredients , want to tell my friends that home cooking is not that difficult , just a bit of planned grocery shopping and a little advanced planning can deliver you good , nutritious meals within the comforts of your home. Also I think that if you are cooking yourself, you should not over exhaust yourself so that you can enjoy the meal with your loved ones...after all meal time is the most precious family bonding time . I have been a microbial biotechnology researcher , being full time at home came with loads of responsibilities , taking care of my ailing (with a retrogressive neurological condition) daughter as her full time nurse maid has not deterred me from being away from the kitchen and having a good nutritious meal everyday. I just want to convey that , it is possible to cook a hearty and nutritious meal for your family everyday , however busy you are , you have to work intelligently though.

I belong to the land of curries , the spicy gravies which we all find delectable and is so versatile that it can be fused with almost any cuisine.....yes , fusion curries are the new way of adapting the curry to your own individual palate. Talking about curries, I must tell you, that curries are considered therapeutic, thanks to the blend of spices used in it and each spice has it's own medicinal value....according to Ayurveda , spices can be hot, cool, astringent or cleansing......and different types of spices are prescribed for different seasons . Believe me, the Ayurvedic way of incorporating different spices for different seasons is so effective that once you are hooked to it, you are with it for life. This way of eating keeps your body detoxified and nourished and your energy levels high.

What else we want from our food.

Food can heal your body and can improve your immune system , you just need to pick your ingredients carefully , and I can assure you that your food need not be boring and monotonous to be healthy and healing. For me food is an enjoyable experience right from picking up the veggies from the store , processing it, cooking it and serving it , this way my food heals me spiritually too.....may be it's not that easy to understand.....you will, once you fall in love with what you decide to eat......

The curries of India are as diverse as it's people and it's landscape...the Kashmiri curry , the Awadhi curry , the Bengali curry and the curries of Tamilnadu , Andhra Pradesh , Karnataka and Kerala are very different from each other....all of these curries developed in those particular regions according to the climate and locally available ingredients. Each of these curries are delectable and very different from each other. These curries are considered therapeutic but most people do not know how they benefit our system, although there is much awareness about the medicinal properties of the spices used in the curries, it has been a sort of absentmindedness regarding it's therapeutic uses.  

All I say, is that cooking a curry confirms to the procedures of Ayurveda . In Ayurvedic procedures a herb is boiled with water till reduced slightly in quantity and is called a ' kwaath' or decoction ....like if you boil a handful of Tulsi (Indian holy basil) leaves in 500 ml water till it reduces to 400 ml , the liquid extract is called a 'kwaath' which is digestive , antipyretic , mild analgesic , astringent and much more.....when you cook a curry with spices, the extracts of spices come to the food.....simple......some spice extracts are water soluble and some are fat soluble , so the curry provides a better extraction with a ghee frying of spices first and boiling with water later during cooking. Ghee is considered a good vehicle for herb extracts , it nourishes the tissues and cleanses the intestines.

Apart from ghee , mustard oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil are used for making different curries and cooking in general.

So if you feel like having a curry for your indigestion , you may think of using a pinch of asafoetida , some cumin n black pepper and a liberal dose of ginger into a light curry made with a watery (like guards or squashes) vegetable. In winters you can opt for the hot spices like dry ginger, black pepper, red chilly peppers, nutmeg, cloves, black cardamom and ajwain (bishop's seeds) etc. while fennel seeds, cumin , coriander , fenugreek etc. are cooling spices. Once you make friends with the spices they will tell you how to choose them for your daily cooking and for different moods. I hope I could make it more understandable and common knowledge for everyone that the curries can cure, if you choose the spices judiciously.


Apart from all these spices , turmeric is an integral part of curry cooking and is considered to prevent cancer , arthritis and even Alzheimer's.....it has antiseptic and healing properties.


I like making my own curry powders and never use any store bought spice mixes , as when you make them at home they are good quality and you can make every curry taste different by using the different spice powders each time.........

Here are the recipes of two of my curry powders which can be used individually for some curries and together for some more complex curries....

Everyday curry powder

It has only 4 ingredients and I call it everyday curry powder because I use them for daily cooking ..... for dry stir-fries, as well as for soupy curries which are light.


coriander seeds 250 gm
black pepper corns 100 gm
cumin seeds 100 gm
a handful of scissor cut bay leaves



dry the spices completely under sun or using your oven ( do not roast them) and grind together to make a fine powder.



Special garam masala powder
This is a more complex and aromatic powder which lends a rich feel to the recipe. Use of this powder is occasional in summers but it is used almost daily in winter months and for non vegetarian curries.



black cardamoms 50 gm
green cardamoms 20 gm
cloves 30 gm
star anise 30 gm

cinnamon 50 gm
one whole nutmeg

mace 4-5 flowers
shahi jeera 10 gm
kababchini (allspice) 5 gm





these spices are to be dried like the previous ones and ground in the spice grinder , the color is a deep dark brown which is so aromatic you will fall in love with.


black cumin or shahi jeera and cubeb or kababchini are two very aromatic spices which are used for making special mughlai curies and biryanis , I keep them in the kitchen whole and use them as required.

there are many more spice mixes like kashmiri masala and pav bhaji masala which keep well for months in airtight containers and are used for making different curries.

using the garam masala , you can make vegetarian or meat curries which may sound complex , but when you have these spice powders ready , it's just the cooking time which matters.

I am telling you about matar paneer , which is a vegetarian curry very popular in the northern part of the country and a lamb masala curry , also cooked in a northern style.

As this post is intended to be a sort of tutorial for north Indian curries, I would write about a dry stir fry, which is sukke aaloo, a medium hot curry which is matar paneer and a hot n spicy mutton curry ............three very different types of curries , each one of these can be adapted with other veggies and meats.......

sukke aaloo



ingredients

boiled potatoes with skin and cooled to room temperature 200 gm
everyday curry powder 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp
amchoor powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
mustard oil 1 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp

procedure

peel and cube the potatoes.

heat oil in a pan and throw in the cumin seeds n let them splutter.

throw in the cubed potatoes with salt and turmeric powder and stir fry on medium heat till they turn golden brown.

throw in the curry powder and fry some more till it becomes aromatic, sprinkle amchoor powder... mix well and it's ready....

serve it with rotis, parathas, stuffed in a sandwich or like a side dish.......it's yummy..

matar paneer

this curry can be made with any green veggies like cauliflowers, turnips, wax guards (parval), plantains or chickpeas and spinach.....just with anything ....you just need to saute' the veggies to make them absorb more flavors from the curry..


ingredients

paneer or Indian cottage cheese 200 gm ( cubed and fried in ghee)
green peas or matar 100 gm
coarse onion paste 1/2 cup
ginger paste 1 tbsp
garlic paste 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
everyday curry powder mentioned above 1.5 tbsp
special garam masala powder 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp
red chilly powder 1-2 tsp (depending on how hot you want it)
cumin seeds 1 tsp
salt to taste
freshly made tomato puree 1/4 cup ( canned can be used)
ghee 2 tbsp ( paneer has to be fried in the same ghee)
a handful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish
a tbsp of fresh cream to finish ( optional)

procedure

heat ghee in a pan and fry the paneer cubes with a little salt so that ghee does not splutter during frying....drain and reserve the ghee for further cooking ...keep the paneer aside sprinkled with 1/2 tsp of the garam masala.

boil the green peas with salt or microwave them and keep aside.....you can add a pinch or soda bicarb to keep the peas green....I did not use any.

now in the remaining ghee, throw in the cumin seeds and let it splutter ....add the onion paste and little salt (keeping in mind that paneer and peas have been cooked with salt already) and fry till the color changes to pink....add the ginger and garlic paste and fry till ghee separates....

throw in the turmeric and everyday curry powders and about a tbsp of water to prevent the masala from getting charred....after about 2 minutes add the garam masala powder and red chilly powders ......this is added later because the aromatic oils in these oils are more volatile and will be lost if added early during cooking....mix properly , add a little water
( depending how much gravy you want) , boiled peas and fried paneer , cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

add tomato puree and cook covered for another couple of minutes.

finish with fresh cream , if using ( fresh cream can be used as much as you want...it makes the heat of the curry little subtle)....if you find the curry too hot you know what to do....add some more fresh cream...:)

garnish with green coriander leaves and serve with ant Indian flat bread.


lamb (mutton) masala curry



this is a hot curry made with freshly ground spices and you can make it even if you do not have the above mentioned powders.....so this is an attempt to tell you friends that a curry can be made even if you do not have any Indian curry powders in your pantry.....you just need the whole spices and go ahead, make the curry.

ingredients

mutton or lamb meat 500 gm
(boil the meat in a pressure cooker till done with salt , 1 tsp of pepper and 2 cloves of garlic and 3-4 bay leaves) using about 500 ml water.

this curry can be made with chicken , fowl or any mature fish but in that case you do not need to boil the meat...

finely chopped onions 2 cups

spices to be dry roasted lightly...

coriander seeds 1 tbsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tbsp
black pepper corns 1 tsp
a flower of star anise

other spices needed

2 inch piece of cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
6 cloves
2 cubebs
1/2 tsp of shahi jeera or black cumin

and some more

ginger 1 inch piece and another inch piece julienne
garlic cloves 4-5 nos.
whole dry red chilies 4-5 ( as required)

poppy seeds 3 tbsp (soaked for 10 minutes and ground to make a fine paste)

ghee 3 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp


procedure

you have already done the preliminary preparations .....is it too many things needed??
and now is the time for actual cooking...

first of all separate the cooked meat pieces and reserve the stock for later use....discard the bay leaves.

heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and throw in the cumin seeds...let it splutter and then add the chopped onions and fry with a little salt till lightly browned.

add the boiled meat pieces n fry on low flame till the skin gets seared...it takes about 10 minutes.

in the meantime grind all the roasted spices , other spices and ginger,garlic n red chillies together in a sturdy grinder ....first without water and then with some water so that it makes a fine paste...

now add the masala paste to the frying meat and mix well....cover and keep turning n tossing in between....till the ghee separates .

pour in the meat stock , cover and cook for 10 minutes on very low flame....add the poppy seed paste , mix well , cover and cook again for 5 minutes.

garnish with ginger julienne and some coriander leaves if using and serve with any Indian flat bread or with plain boiled rice.

enjoy having Indian curries made freshly in the comfort of your own sweet home as now you have an insight in the curry making.

love from India.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

mishti doi.....made healthy



this is a bengali delicacy and you will forget any frozen yogurt or ice cream after having this.....though the frozen yogurt is healthy with the inclusion of fruits and even i like them but mishti doi has a rich n creamy taste which is definitely healthier that ice creams........

if you make this mishti doi at home , you can control the fat content and be safe ..........as i have eaten the best of mishti doi in Calcutta n i know that it is definitely fat laden.....some of the store bought mishti doi even has fat form a non milk source....i hope you understand what i mean........

any way i am a homemade freak n made this many times to recreate the taste of the best mishti doi i had back then.........i succeeded and found that it was always better at home....the fresh ingredients, no added fat and color n sweetness just as much you want.........


initially i used to make this using condensed milk as the perfect dark color of mishti doi came from it...but then it got too sweet........then i tried reducing the milk at home n found the best results........

and now what i do .......whenever i forget the milk on the gas stove.....he he......(what so many Indian homemakers do is boil the milk on the stove first and then keep it in the fridge)............the milk reduces in quantity and becomes a lovely shade of pinkish beige with a lovely milky aroma , i do this.......mishti doi.........arvind loves this as a surprise.............

so you have to reduce the milk at home or use the condensed milk...or when in hurry use milk powder to thicken the milk but you don't get a pink beige color with powder milk...( addition of caremalised sugar gives a nice color to mishti doi...i recently saw it on a blog...i forgot which one)...


you can use

1 cup of condensed milk with 1.5 cups of milk
or
1 cup of milk powder n 2 cups of milk with sugar to taste
or
1 liter or whole milk boiled till 1/4 it's quantity and sugar to taste

any of these give good results and as i said if you want the color....caramelize 2 tbsp of sugar n add to the milk mixture.........mix with it a tbsp of yogurt culture when it's warm and keep covered in a warm place till set....

enjoy with chopped nuts as a topping .


keeps well in the fridge for a week.

i love this kind of desserts........enjoy.....with about 15 gms of fat per serving...( if you use whole milk (6% fat) and make 4 servings out of 1 liter milk....it make 4 large servings though..

it is fairly healthy ...... na!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

samose....VT waale


what do you like in a samosa??
the outer pastry or the inner aaloo stuffing.....or both....

i remember the college days when i actually started having samosas.....we were not allowed any outside food in our childhood and samosas were a rare sight in our house........the college canteen served the yummiest samosas i had tasted till then.........and then when i joined the Department of Botany in BHU , i was introduced to the samosas made by the VT guys ( anybody from Banaras would know what i am talking about....VT is the Vishvanath temple inside the university campus and there are many snacks shops there....bihari ka samosa is phenomenal).....

whenever we got there for tea....samosas were a natural accompaniment....though sometimes we settled for the crispy patties, idlis or vadas or even dosas....but samosa was an all time favorite........while the guys ( n most gals too) were busy gossiping or may be preening themselves, i used to watch how the samosa wala guys rolled the samosa pastry, made the masala, stuffed it n fried it........they used to sprinkle black salt over the samosas as soon as the samosas were out of oil.......i am drooling right now.......i got my samosa lessons from there...day after day.......fo almost 7 yrs......yes i did my PG and research and learn samosas on the side....lolz.......

but.......i had never tried making samosas at home till i got married....( though i used to cook earlier)........i knew that Arvind is also brought up on those yummy samosas ( he is born n brought up in the same campus) and he'd like it....made it for the first time n it turned out perfect.........after that , whenever we wanted to have samosas i made them at home n we were never able to appreciate any other samosa..

as time passed ( now after 10 yrs)...we started avoiding fried food but i still make this samosa ....the pastry is a little less crispy cuz i use less ghee for shortening now.....but the taste remains the same.......as both of us like the inner aaloo stuffing more..........lolz..........so if you like the outer pastry more ...you know what you need to do...add more shortening to the pastry dough n you'll get crispy shell which breaks as you hold it to your mouth.....aaah....


so the ingredients...as i watched all those years ..are.......

for the outer shell (pastry)
maida or all purpose flour 200 gm( i make thin shell of the samosa, if you like a thicker shell, you may need more maida)
salt to taste
ajwain seeds 1/2 tsp
ghee 1 tbsp or more if you like crisp shell
water to make a stiff dough

for the stuffing
potatoes boiled , peeled and cubed ..about 1 1/2 cup
mustard oil 1 tsp
asafoetida 1 pinch
methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds) 1 tsp...you can omit this if you don't like bitter
cumin seeds 1 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp or more
turmeric powder 1 tsp
coriander powder 1 tsp
black pepper powder 1/2 tsp
cumin powder 1 tsp
amchoor powder 1 tsp
salt to taste

oil to fry

procedure

heat oil in a pan and throw in asafoetida , methi n cumin seeds in that order...let them splutter and then throw in the powder masalas quickly n stir with a tbsp of water to prevent burning.....add the cubed potatoes and mix well ...cooking while mashing the potatoes....add salt and amchoor powder n it's ready within 2-3 minutes.

now take out lemon sized balls from the dough....i make smaller samosas so that they need less oil in the kadhai to be fried...( i avoid reused oil so it's better to use minimal oil while frying every time).......roll it into a circle...cut to make 2 semicircles.....make cone from each semicircle and fill the cooled aaloo filling in each cone and seal with a moist hand.........make all the samosas like this .......the filling may be more or little ..as you like it....i like more filling in each samosa.......


fry the samosas in medium hot oil for the first 3-4 minutes...turning them now n then............and finally on very low flame till they get crispy........it takes about 15 minutes on low flame n this is the secret of crisp samosas even if you use less shortening in the pastry dough........( tip of the day)..

drain.....and don't wait......

and don't forget to sprinkle kaala namak n a green chutny....or no chutny...doesn't matter.

enjoy with garam chai.........masale wali....

wanna have it now.......

Saturday, August 8, 2009

meetha cheela with laal rabdi



this is a very old traditional pancake of Uttar Pradesh, served as a quick and healthy breakfast.....the use of whole wheat flour, ghee and sugar or jaggery makes it healthy and tasty too.....generally it is served with a mixture of jaggery and ghee , sweet n sour mango pickle called khattmittha or guramma......it has been a favorite childhood breakfast for me and my husband alike....he is born and brought up in banaras , has a mojor sweet tooth, so this breakfast is his favorite...

sometimes i serve it with some jams or khoya rabdi etc also and he likes it that way( for me plain curds is a good accompaniment as i don't like a sweet breakfast and curd makes it almost bland).
this time i served it with a bowl of melted 'laal peda' ( a famous sweet of banaras) which had come all the way from banaras long back and was lying in the fridge neglected, i made a good use of it, finger licking husband is a good sight in the morning.....:D.

ingredients and procedure
it is the simplest one.....i have posted a similar cheela with mango chhunda and the procedure is almost same.......take a cup of whole wheat flour, 2 tbsp ( or more if desired) of sugar or jaggery , 1 tbsp of whole fennel seeds and make a batter by mixing in enough milk ....around 1.5 cups....a little suji or semolina can be added to make it thicker .....i add 2 tbsp of semolina too.....

now spread 1 tbsp of ghee in a flat bottom pan or tawa or griddle .....heat on medium flame , pour a ladle full of batter on the tawa and spread evenly like a dosa....in a thin layer( thickness is optional)......when the pore appear on top of the pancake ...flip it and cook on the other side too....fold and serve hot with a preferred accompaniment.......

to make the laal rabdi I crushed 5 laal pedas , mixed with 1/4 cup of milk and microwave for 2 minutes...till bubbling......any rabdi or condensed milk can be a good substitute....or any khoya mithai can be melted like laal peda.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

kaali daal makhni and chapatis...



this is a typical punjabi lunch, especially in winter days........kaali dal is actually black lentils and the spicy curry made with whole black lentils is called kaali daal itself...........the way it is made , that is, with butter and hence the name makhni ( makkhan is butter in hindi n punjabi).....there is another version called daal makhni which is made using a mix of different kinds of whole and split lentils and that is different from this recipe.

Brad from naughty tastebud had posted a tortilla and blackbean pie some time back and since i like black beans in any form, i was curious.....i found a few north Indian elements in this recipe as it reminded me of kaali daal makhni.....i promised him that i'll post it here and i am horribly late.....actually it is not a summer food and summer has been killing this year.....i made it as soon as the weather got better and here it is...

this daal is a traditional punjaabi recipe and you can get it at many highway dhabas ( rustic and budget eateries) topped with lots of butter...( i skip the butter though n the daal becomes a non makhni...lol).........also in the traditional cooking method the daal is cooked on a very low heat ( in a wood fired oven) for almost 6-8 hours or overnight......off course in large quantities.....and the various spices and condiments are added during cooking, and unlike other punjabi daal recipes there is no tadka
( final step of spice tempering ) ......slow cooking gives this daal a different and earthy flavor....

in a modern kitchen slow cooking is not possible, so the cooking is done in phases.....in the first step, when you soak the lentils, give them a gentle boil and leave it for 3-4 hours....then add the salt and a boil again lightly and let it rest on the gas stove itself....after it comes to room temperature again it can be cooked till done on low flame.....

coming to the ingredients .....

black lentils whole 250 gm.
ginger garlic paste , freshly made ..1.5 tbsp
red chilly powder 1 tbsp or less if you want less heat
bay leaves 2 nos.
salt to taste


spices to be lightly roasted and powdered freshly

black cardamon 1 no.
green cardamom 2 nos.
cloves 5 nos.
cinnamon stick 1 inch
black pepper corns 20 nos.
cumin seeds 2 tsp

to make the powder i just microwave the spices in microwave on low for a minute and grind them when cool, can be done in a mortar n pestle....

finishing ingredients

amchoor powder ( dried mango powder) 2 tsp ( can be substituted with tomato puree 1/2 cup)
a dash of grated nutmeg
fresh cream 2 tbsp or more
a handful of chopped coriander leaves

to proceed ...as we make it for a lunch, i just soaked and boiled the lentils once when i got up in the morning.....just add 3 cups of water to the lentils in a pressure cooker pan and give it gentle boil or simmer and put the flame off ...let it rest on the gas stove itself so that it is warm till longer time........after may be 3 hrs i boiled it again adding salt this time and put off the flame again for a while.....though you can proceed the cooking this time too , i started cooking after an hour or so.......

now throw in the bay leaves , ginger garlic paste, red chilly powder and simmer on low heat till the lentils get mushy........it takes about an hour and half when cooked without the lid ...so i quickened it a bit by covering the pressure cooker with whistle on , but cooked it on low heat..this way less pressure is build and there is no whistle while cooking.........needs to be cooked for 20 minutes...til the daal gets mushy ............and there is till some water left....



open the cooker n transfer the daal to a wide pan like kadhai, and throw in the powdered masalas and cook covered on low flame for 15 minutes.....throw in the amchoor powder and keep stirring in between and mashing the daal with the spatula.......



finish with grated nutmeg , cream and chopped coriander ( i did not use green coriander as it is not available in the market these days.....the ones available are suspiciously green or smelly , so i better avoid it).....


mix well n it's ready to serve.........usually, it is served with a dollop of butter but i have skipped it...you can try if you like.........it is delicious that way.......

also...the daal can be cooked in one single step...pressure cook everything together , except the finishing masala and then proceed to finish and enjoy....there is a slight difference but the quick version is delicious too ...if not authentic........i make it mostly the quick way but wanted to give this semi authentic version for you....

i served it with roti , tomato salsa , and a potato and lobiya stirfry ( stir fried with just salt, turmeric powder and garlic and green chilly paste )..


and as i love it as a wrap.........



with salsa.........


and now a quick tutorial on making the roti...........i like it a little thicker with kaali daal.....the thinner version of a roti can be called a phulka or chapati...it's the same anyway...

you just need whole wheat flour and make a dough by adding just enough water and kneading with your fingers or use a food processor.

i have mixed a little soy paste so the edges of the rotis are not very smooth, with just the whole wheat flour it's smooth......

you have to take a ping pong ball sized portion of the dough and make a smooth ball of it......roll it with a rolling pin on a floured surface, lift on your palm and spread it gently over a hot tawa or griddle....


wait till the color of the roti changes a bit and small bubbles appear like the pic.....then flip over the roti.....( in the mean time we can roll the next roti...you can learn it with a little practice..)..


now wait till the roti gets brown specks on the other side......takes about 30 secs...
pull the tawa or griddle away from flame and with the help of tongs , hold the roti and place it over the gas flame....take care to keep the less specked side down....it will fluff up like this.......


remove from flame and keep covered inside the folds of a cloth napkin to keep it soft....serve hot or warm ...ask me if there is any doubt please.......
my Indian friends do not need this...it is for the uninitiated...lol.

tomato salsa is chopped tomatoes, onions and green chillies with salt pepper n a dash of mustard or extra virgin olive oil.....it's quick this time , you can add leaves or coriander , mint or chives .....anything available...

this is one hearty satisfying meal...

enjoy..