Monday, November 30, 2009

daal puri UP style / poori stuffed with chana daal and green papaya masala stew



This is a very traditional recipe of bharwa poori from eastern Uttar Pradesh , made for festivals and on arrival of a new daughter in law in the family as that is seen as the arrival of laxmi too ( this is my guess as i am terrible regarding marraige traditions) , but one thing is for sure that this poori is considered auspicious and i remember this being made on the day of Anant chturdashi and Dussera.......so the Dussera recipe was waiting patiently in the drafts and comes to you now..........

This Dussera when my mom called me n asked what i was cooking for the special day , i was in a fix...what to tell her as it was a very dull day for me n i did not want to cook at all , Mithi's health issues had taken a toll and i was not thinking of food at all , just eating anything edible was the order those days , about a fortnight, knowing this my mom told me that she is making the traditional daal ki poori , kaddu ki subzi and kheer and she prompted me to cook this too.......needless to say....making this poori surely uplifted my mood that day and i took many pictures too for this special recipe..

This was the first time i made this bharwa poori this way as i had started making another version of a spicy filling which i will post in future for sure , the reason why i did not make this poori all this while , is that the filling used to be a bit dry and it scattered in the plate when you break the poori , thinking about the way i would like it to be , i changed the process of making the pooran (filling) while keeping the ingredients same ....the result was better than i expected and i told this change of process to my mom too..........:)

My mom used to boil the chana dal and discard the water ( to be used in a yummy soup) , grind the chana dal with tempering and then filling the almost powdery dal to the pooris.......i did not throw the water and blended it with dal with the help of a stick hand blender , tempered it and cooked for a while to make it dough like...
read on.......

Boil the chana dal with double the amount of water salt and turmeric powder till soft n mushy ( in a pressure cooker 8 minutes after a whistle) blend with a stick blender when it is still hot , you can do it in a mixie jar too but keep the lid covered with a towel as it may spill n splatter...



 Make a tempering by heating mustard oil , popping a tiny piece of asafoetida and some cumin seeds in it , add finely chopped garlic and green chillies to it and let them brown a bit...add this to the chana dal batter and cook till a soft dough like consistency is achieved , it takes about 4-5 minutes and keep it in fridge to become firm as it will be easier to fill it in the dough....




 A normal chapati dough is used to make this poori and you have to take care of the consistency of the dough......it's a tip i learned for my grandmother that if you keep the consistency of the dough and the filling same , it will be easier to stuff, roll and lift the stuffed poori  from the surface , the stuffing will be distributed equally throughout the poori and it will not get ruptured in frying oil........it works for me all the time .........so make a dough which is as consistent as the filling you made , and use freshly made dough for good results....i hope all the pictures showing the stuffing process will be useful as many people find it very tough ...the poori gets ruptured while frying n can't be used after that.....shallow frying using a tawa is the only option left then, but the texture becomes very different...tatse is similar so i do it sometimes to make it low oil.....flattening the poori after filling it helps in a uniform distribution of filling....as you see in these pictures.....

  Fry in hot oil to get fluffy n soft daal pooris....we enjoyed them with low oil green papaya masala stew as i did not have pumpkin that day which is the traditional pairing with this poori.....


 I am laughing at myself right now as i took so many pictures of the process but the finished poori did not get much chance with the photos....started eating as soon as it was finished..he he..

The poori tatses very good the next day too , so make it in good quantity as you may want the basi poori too......it's a winning recipe from simple ingredients and great flavors .........

finally the list of ingredients.....

chapati dough as required
chickpea skinned or chana dal 1 cup
salt to taste
turmeric powder 1 tsp
oil for deep frying ( mustard oil is used traditionally but is optional )

for the tempering...
 mustard oil 1 tsp
hing or asafoetida 1/8 tsp
whole cumin seeds 2 tsp
green chillies chopped 1 tbsp
garlic finely chopped 1 tbsp

 Puran pori is a sweet version of a chickpea stuffed poori , a maharashtrian- gujarati recipe , and i intend to post that too very soon ....enjoy the savory cousin till then ....

green papaya masala stew recipe...

It is a very healthy and appropriate side dish with any kind of poori ( or chapati ) as it is very low on fat and makes the meal balanced regarding calorie consumption.....

You need 400 gm of raw , peeled and cubed papaya , 1 tsp of mustard oil , 1 tsp whole cumin seeds , 12 whole peppercorns , 1 black cardamom , 2 green cardamoms , 3-4 cloves and a small piece of cinnamon , a tbsp each of garlic , ginger and green chillies chopped , 1 whole red chilly , turmeric powder and salt to taste....

All you have to do is , heat oil in a pressure cooker pan and throw in all the spices and ginger garlic n green chillies together into it , followed by turmeric powder after a few seconds and then the papaya cubes and salt ... add 2 tbsp of water so tha steam can be formed and pressure cook til one whistle.......cool to release pressure and serve hot with or without garnish........

Again simple ingredients resulting into a yummy healthy stew....

Friday, November 27, 2009

drumstick flowers ... a curry and the pakoda gone flat


Drumstick flowers as a snack and as a curry.....

Drumstick is considered good for bones and has many health benefits as you can see here , interestingly this vegetable grows on a huge tree and the leaves and flowers are also edible , the flowers are small white , lightly scented and very rarely seen in the market . I was not aware of the flowers being eaten till i was married and my MIL used to make pakode from the flowers , i found that tasty and knowing about the health benefits used to experiment about more ways to cook it.

Last year in winters when i was buying raw turmeric tubers from the subziwala , a pink n fat punjabi aunty asked me what i'd do with the raw turmeric....i told her the ways i use it but in exchange , the same day i asked her how she cooks the drumstick flowers she was buying ....... like i had expected.........it was a true punju way...lots of pyaz - tamatar and dahi in a red gravy , but that was enough clue for me to make it into a yummy curry....thanks to that anoymous aunty ...she had such pink cheeks i wonder it was "swanjane ke phool" which made her pink in health in her late 50's .........:)

Drumstick is called swanjane in panjabi , sehjan in hindi , sojna shutti in bengali and sojan in rajasthan n haryana......i have a handsome drumstick tree in my garden and want to use as much i can of this wonderfully healthy veggie.....see the flowers drooping from the tree..........


the flowers and the buds are edible and a few tiny stalks may be allowed to cook.....cleaning them is not a problem as it has just to be plucked , washed n cooked.......


 i even use the baby drumsticks with the flowers as they are so soft.......for pakode i mix the flowers with some chopped onions , ginger garlic and green chilly paste n salt to taste , pinch of trmeric powder and besan or chickpea flourto bind...water is added to the mixture to make a thick batter.....

i make the pakode mostly on tawa for low oil cooking like this.......see another low oil pakoda here......


it's a nice snack with tea or a great breakfast .....


Even the subzi made with this is simple......just fry some onions into mustard oil , add powdered curry masala and turmeric , ginger garlic paste , red chilly powder and fry till aromatic...now add the tomatoes and cook till mashed , add salt and drumstick flowers and cook for 5 minutes , stirring in between...


add a lot of chopped coriander leaves in the last minute of cooking and cover to rest for a while after putting the heat off.......the curry will be a thick mash and it's so yummy that i was surprised to see how it vanished in no time..


.we had it with roti and daal and it is a satisfying curry for me......basically because these are very costly in the market n i get them for free and i am able to use them in a tasteful way.......

more drumstick and it's flower recipes are on the way....a yummier recipe using curds has become a favorite......stay tuned...

I welcome anybody giving me more ideas to cook this veggie and if they have any recipe , please give a link here , i especially want to know how it is cooked in the south of India as drumstick is used very frequently in almost all the southern states....ideas are welcome and i thank all of you in advance .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

matar ka nimona version 3 | tender green peas nimona recipe

I have posted a rustic and more robust version of matar ka nimona earlier and in that post I had promised to post this more delicate version of the dish....this version is made with the tender peas and the frozen ones are not suitable for this , the natural sweetness of peas takes the center stage here and the green pigment from peas is extracted in the ghee which floats on top , yummy dish with all the tenderness of early season peas
( incidentally peas are offensively costly right now , that is , Rs.100 a kilo )...rings a bell with pea lovers like my husband....

Matar ka nimona is a fairly unheard of recipe which is purely a banarasi recipe , made in some parts of eastern UP too....I make this recipe in three versions depending on how tender the peas are as when they are the tender most , they need to be kept simple in seasoning and that is when they are the best  ...



Other two recipes are here , you can try any version according to the spice level you want and the type of peas you get , or the meal you want to make it for....it can be a main course or a side dish ......and the version i am giving now can be had for fasting days too as it is devoid of onion garlic and is made in ghee ( most banaras people do fast on Mondays for Shiv ji and eat kadhi chawal , or nimona chawal for dinner after a day long fruits only diet )....I made it quite hot with green chillies and ginger but it can be adjusted to personal taste..........

ingredients ...

tender peas 1.5 cup
ginger 1.5 inch piece chopped
green chilies 3-4 or more chopped
coriander seeds 1tsp, cumin 3/4 tsp and black pepper 3/4 tsp powdered with 1 bay leaf
( all this can be wet ground in the mixie ..i used my everyday curry masala made with same proportions of the spices)
green coriander leaves chopped with stems 3/4 cup ( stems are to be kept separately)
salt to taste
ghee 1 tbsp ( no substitutes)
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp

procedure... 

make a coarse paste of ginger n green chillies in a mixie jar and in the same jar put all the peas and grind till a coarse paste is made...some peas can remain whole too...


heat ghee in a kadai and throw in the cumin seeds n let the splutter...put off the heat and throw in the spice powders and mix well....


after this add the peas paste and mix.....start coking on medium heat , stirring frequently.....


 fry for a while...for 2 minutes on medium heat it should become glossy after frying well.....


pour 1.5 cup of water in it and the chopped stems of coriander leaves and  let boil for 2 minutes....it has been half cooked already and just needs to get the flavors of spices n coriander stems......


i used less ghee than is used traditionally so the ghee does not come on top after boiling...but as soon as the cooking is done (coriander leaves will be added in the last minute) and you cover the kadai and rest it for  while, you can see the ghee floating on top with a lovely green color....this is the indication of most fragrant and flavorful curry made with simple ingredients....


we enjoyed it with chapatis for dinner and it was a treat for the senses ...literally...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

making rasgulle step by step



Somebody asked me if i have rasgulla on my blog ... i told that i have a picture ready n will post it soon...........but when he started asking about the procedure and the syrup proportion etc. i thought i need to make it again and take pictures of all the steps ....more so because i have been using andaza ( approximate) measurements regarding the sugar syrup . I wanted to give exact measurements of the sugar and water ratio for the recipe ..........but i failed miserably regarding calculating an exact syrup consistency....................i feel there is nothing like an exact syrup consistency for making rasgulla...some people like it thin n some other like it a bit sweeter......so adjusting the sweetness is the key*.......the only thing important for a good rasgulla is great paneer ...freshly made softest paneer , no substitutes...and once you make that perfect paneer you can never go wrong with a rasgulla.....

I took pictures of making paneer as that is the most important step of making rasgulla the other step is just like eating the rasgulla ..he he....the pictures are not very good as i made these in night but i feel it is enough to make the process clear...........

Let's get started with the procedure as i can't wait for a good rasgulla......and can't eat a bad rasgulla for that matter, especially the ones available in Delhi........

Ingredients needed are 500ml milk and about 200- 250 gm sugar
you also need juice of half a lemon or 1/4 cup curds to curdle the milk 

Firstly heat the milk in a saucepan and wait till a layer of fat comes on top and you see the wrinkles ( as you might have seen just before boiling starts) , i wanted to take a picture of this stage but my cell phone camera would have been a dud at this .............so this is the time when you have to put the heat off and start adding the lemon juice or curds .....i used fresh lemon juice this time as a plump n fresh lemon was sitting on the counter already ( from my garden)....if it is lemon juice you have to add drop by drop and if it is curds you can go spoon by spoonful.....stiring while adding.......the milk should curdle slowly after each addition ....repeat adding the juice till the whey becomes transparent ..juice of half a lemon or about 15 ml will be enough and if you see that still the whey has not separated it means you need to heat the milk a little......heat some more while stirring and it will curdle............you have to keep a large bowl of hot water ready for washing the paneer........



the paneer is sticky n sticks to the spoon which was used to stir.....now immediately pass it through a steel sieve ( no need to line it with muslin) and wait for two minutes.........toss the paneer to gather it in the center ...

now immediately dunk it into hot water which you have kept ready........also, this is the time you have to put the water and sugar to boil so that it's boiling properly when the balls are ready.....


and wash it properly by pressing it with spoon to the sides of the bowl several times.....the water gets milky..


pass it through the sieve again and press with fingers ti drain any excess water....no need to press hard...it doesn't take any water from the dip........take out from the sieve and mash with fingers till a smooth dough is formed.....no muscle is needed for a small quantity like this , just make it smooth ....earlier i used to do this step in the mixie n this time a power cut off led me to do it with fingers and i found it was much easier as i didn't have to wash the mixie jar afterward........you can use the base of your hands but it's quick........see in the picture it does not look really smooth but the thing to keep in mind is...it should be cohesive and soft ....should bind together and not be crumbly and dry....if the paneer is not good it is crumbly and if you find that your paneer mash is crumbly n dry at this point ...stop making rasgulla....as they will disintegrate in the syrup....do something else with the paneer....make kababs with them instead....


make balls with small portions of this dough ... i made 15 small rasgullas using 500 ml milk ....8 regular sized rasgullas will be made otherwise....


 i put the first ball into the boiling syrup till other balls were made and see how it looks swelled up within 2-3 minutes when i dunked all the balls into the syrup.......


place the cooker lid and wait till the first whistle blows...lower heat and let cook for 8-10 minutes....cool till the pressure releases ...open the lid to see mouth watering rasgullas ......did you notice the amount of syrup in the first picture and the later one.....it's lesser in the later...i do a trick with the sugar syrup....read on...


i used 130 ml of sugar with 700 ml of water to cook the rasgullas in the cooker...thin syrup because a lot of syrup is needed to cook the rasgullas to allow maximum expansion....they expand about 3 times the original volume........after they are cooked i remove most of the syrup ( which can be used for something else later) and keep just to keep the rasgullas floating...add more sugar to taste ...............yes i taste the syrup and add as much sugar as is needed and give it a boil........

Now comes the test of rasgulla....when you keep the rasgullas cramped in a bowl like this....


it takes the shape of a penta- , hexa- , or a septagon as the sides are pressed against each other.....and if you press a rasgulla between two spoons it becomes flat and does not break...and when you put it back into the syrup , floating freely , it will become round again........


the perfect rasgulla with a soft cushion like spongy texture.........

points to note ....
-washing the paneer is an important step to make whiter and softer rasgullas as galactose from the paneer needs to be washed away immediately after it is made , before it settles down in the clotted paneer......

- check out when you are making the balls...the mashed paneer should be cohesive and should not be crumbly ...it should be easily shaped into a ball , if it takes effort to bind it means it will make hard rasgulla n most probably disintegrate into the syrup.

- i used amul full cream milk and it was good enough ... ideally cow's milk is considered best for making rasgullas.

it has become  quite a long post as i wanted to make the finer points clear....many a times i have heard that they did not expand in the syrup or disintegrated....actually one of my friend who is in UK asked me the recipe n i told her over the phone...later she told me that rasgullas were a bit hard......so it is for her and for the gentleman who inquired for the recipe......but be assured ...it took me less time to make the rasgullas that writing this post.......really!!




make some rasgulle today and be happy.......

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

khandvi ...step by step...


A couple of years back i was watching a cookery show by Madhur Jaffery where she was covering gujrati cuisine , she was calling the khandwi a kind of pasta dish .... it was startling for me as i had never thought of a similarity between the two earlier , but yes the way it is made, it surely is a counterpart of a pasta ......

Interestingly another cookery show i watched recently by Ritu Dalmia where she cooked a pasta more like a khandwi.....i mean the dough was more like batter which was cooked to make a sticky mass ....spread on a plate in a thin layer and then cut into strips....into wedges ( to be fried later n had with sauce) actually and that was a pasta by some other name......she called this a pakoda like pasta but i think the way a batter is cooked till sticky n lumpy , then spread onto a greased surface , cut into pieces.........it was more like making a khandwi.....and incidentally khandwi and pakoda , though made with a set of similar ingredients, are way too different from each other......

Dhokla is another recipe made with similar ingredients but how different is that from a khandwi......while the one holds all the sweet n sour n hot syrup inside the air pockets , the other is rolled over the same flavors with a nutty texture of sesame to flaunt........both are delight to have ...and that is for sure!!

Now we realize why all those weird shapes of pasta are different from each other....some are made to hold the cheesy sauce inside the tubes, some are meant to entangle with a salad like textured vegetable sauce , while some of them are just made for floating gleefully in a hot steaming soup ....aaah !! Some even hold the cheese n veggies inside their tummy too......:):)


After all this gyan ( is it?) , i must tell you that the khandwi is an easy snack , believe me ....many of my friends think that i make them because i can make so many other difficult things with ease.......but i want to make them understand that this is an easy and healthy snack.........i am posting this recipe on request of some friends and also to show them that this is an easy one........you just need to understand the consistency of the batter and work quickly.......within a time of 10 minutes you see yourself cutting the strips and rolling them...believe me..

see how it goes.......
  
the first step is to make the tempering as it will be easier to assemble the khandvi when it's ready.....sometimes the tempering is poured over rolled up khandvi and the insides of the rolls are not stuffed , i like the tempering layered inside the rolls and make the tempering in very less quantity of oil.....

ingredients for tempering.. 
 oil 1 tbsp
asafoetida 1 pinch
rai or small grain mustard seeds 1 tsp
finely chopped green chillies 1 tbsp or more
sesame seeds 1 tsp
finely chopped curry patta 1/2 cup
( i chop them because i like stuffing them into the rolls and it is more flavorful this way)
water 1/2 cup
sugar1 tbsp or more if you like it sweeter
lemon juice 2 tbsp
shredded coconut 2-3 tbsp

 To make the tempering ...... heat oil in a small pan...throw in asafoetida and rai grains...wait till it crackles and then throw in sesame seeds and the finely chopped green chillies ...as the oil is less you may need to stir the mixture while cooking........now out all the chopped curry patta in it and roast slowly on low flame ( as it will get burnt in very less oil ).......pour 1/2 cup of water n let it boil...add 1 tbsp of sugar and let it dissolve......take off the flame and add the lemon juice and keep aside till needed.

ingredients for khandvi ..


besan or chickpea flour 200 gm
buttermilk 300 gm ( you may need some more or less depending on the consistency of buttermilk)
salt to taste
turmeric powder 2 tsp

To make the khandvi , first of all take care to make the batter in a large measuring cup .....take the besan in it and pour the buttermilk over it to make a thin batter.......see the consistency.........


if the buttermilk is too thin you may need lesser amount of it , season with salt and turmeric powder ( you may add pepper n chilly too but i like these to be in the tempering)........once you pour the batter in the kadai on flame , stir constantly as the batter thickens to become sticky.......for about 5 minutes .......

One thing to take care is that ...it is better to make the sticky paste in two batches , as it will be easier to spread the paste on greased surface evenly n quickly....so i do it in two batches for this quantity......make the batter , pour half of it into the kadai for first batch...spread it on the greased surface ....then again proceed to cook the next batch of paste into the kadai......spread it and proceed to cut stripes and the next step......you get perfect thin khandvis this way.......



Test to see if it is done by looking for the bubbles ...more like blisters....which appear from the base of kadai into the cooked besan mass and releases steam as it bursts........stop cooking at this point and quickly empty the contents on a greased surface and spread it like you spread butter on toast....as thin as possible to make a large sheet..........


 now cut strips 1 inch wide and 3-4 inch long into it.........


spread the tempering mixture over this evenly ...........


sprinkle finely grated coconut and start rolling the strips into neat rolls, repeat till all the strips have been rolled and serve immediately......sprinkling some of the leftover tempering and some grated coconut on top............


 It will take 15 minutes from start but your hands should move quickly while stirring the batter and spreading it.........


Try this sweet n sour n hot snack with your evening tea and tell me how it was.........