Saturday, June 12, 2010

besan ki katli | savory cakes made using chickpeas paste



Besan ki katli or chana daal ki katli is something I have been craving for very long, that too in it's purest form as I have worked on a healthier version of this dish in the past 4-5 years (it's a shame that i haven't posted even that one as yet)...        

Before I move to the recipe of this very traditional UP dish I want to tell you a very funny incident, I was watching the TV show 'highway on my plate' hosted by Rocky n Mayur. I love this show not just for the yummy traditional food they showcase but for the friendly leg pulling both the hosts do with each other as well as with their hosts sometimes. In this particular episode they were visiting Reewa and were being hosted by some prince (belonging to the royal family of the state). Among the other traditional vegetarian dishes they were served this dish called 'Indrahar' ( meaning the food of Indra, the king of all the Hindu gods). Indrahar was made with a mixture of all the lentils in a similar way this besan ki katli is made.

The prince of Reewa estate described this dish in a very interesting way. He told that this is a very healthy meat substitute and the members of his family have been eating this for generations. In his own words...my grandfather, my father and myself have been eating this indrahaar, and see how strong we have been :) Telling all of this with his swollen chest to show the strength, I wonder how he was going on and on about the health and vigor of the male members of the family only. As if the ladies of the family did not need any healthy food, or as if healthy food was made for the male members only. The way he was telling and the way Rocky and Mayur were mimicking him was hilariously funny.

But it frustrates me even today whenever I think of it. No, I am not a feminist that way but do get frustrated when there is a bias at this level.

Now coming to the recipe of this healthy dish, as healthy as you can think of.

It can be made with besan (gramflour or chickpea flour) or with split chickpeas (chana dal) or with any other daal for that matter or with a mixture of daals as it is done in indrahar :)

If you make it with besan the texture of the katli will be very smooth, I like it a bit grainy so I use chana daal, soaked overnight and ground to paste. It is actually a lentil dumpling or lentil cake which can be very very versatile. It can be a fat free snack, a fried or shallow fried snack or can be curried in different types of gravies.

ingredients...

chana daal 2 cups soaked overnight
garlic cloves 4 nos
ginger 1 inch piece
green chilies 3-4 nos.
whole cumin 2 tsp
black pepper corns 2 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp ( optional ) I did not use this time
garam masala 1 tsp (optional  I do not use
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
oil 1 tsp for the kadai n 1/2 tsp to grease a thali

procedure....

Grind everything together except oil into a paste, the consistency should be like a cake or idli batter so water can be added wile grinding for convenience.

Now heat oil in a thick base kadai and pour the paste into it and start stirring, it needs constant stirring but do not worry as it's not going to make your arms fall off. After all eating Indrahar makes you stronger :-)

The mixture gets curdled first, and then within a couple of minutes of heating, it starts sticking to the kadai. Keep scraping and turning for about 5 minutes and you will see that it cooks to become a cohesive, sticky ball of dough. By this time a lovely cooked aroma indicates that it's done.

Keep a greased thali ready, dunk the ball of cooked daal dough into the greased thali......


Now with wet hands pat this dough to make it flat on the thali , like this....


Let it rest for about 10 minutes or till it is cooler, then cut in diamonds or squares ...

It can be made into small balls, especially if you intend to make a kofta style curry with it, for that you don't need to spread it on a greased thali and can proceed right from the kadai......make balls and do whatever you want :))

They can be had like a tea time snack without frying when they are warm and fresh, they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and in the freezer for months. If using from the fridge you need to shallow fry them for a tea time snack ....


This is a real healthy tea time snack .

Besan ki katli, as it is called in my family is a childhood favorite of mine and I am glad that Arvind loves it too. I make a spinach version of this dumpling snack in microwave and will post that very soon

It is an eastern UP specialty and I have seen some bihari families making it too, a friend of mine told that it is called 'khadahara' in her family. The bengali version is called 'dhokar dalna', a bit different in taste and in appearance of the dumplings.

I have posted a recipe of this  besan katli in mustard gravy but it can be prepared with any kind of gravy which suits your taste.

Enjoy....

Friday, June 4, 2010

grilled chicken ...... tikka style


There are times when you want to eat against the weather ..............hot n spicy grilled chicken in this summer heat , that too being grilled in my cubicle kitchen . It happens when we need to spice the mood and the spirit .....cooling mint chutny is always a great companion to this hot n hot tikka....

Every family has a favorite recipe for tikka ....chicken tikka or otherwise........paneer , gobi , broccoli , mushrooms and even the potatoes...............turn just any firm thing into a tikka and dunk it into a cooling zesty tangy mint chutny .....something chilled to drink and the hot weather is suddenly pleasant .

Oven is a painful thought in summer months , and the prevailing temperatures suggest all things cold and chilled and frozen.....what if you need a hot spice ....something aromatic after you have refreshed yourself with a chilled mango shake in the evening .

I find grilling the tikka easier than making a proper dinner , yes it is a dinner for us by itself , no accompaniments....just a few thin slices of onions , a couple of wedges of lime and the tangy cool mint chutny.

Easier because i just have to marinade the chicken for a while , then arrange it on the rack and grill , checking and turning 3-4 times for even browning and thorough cooking...the grilling time is sure to invigorate your hunger by the lovely aroma.

The seasoning for a tikka is mostly chosen by  a whim , what kind of a flavor is needed a the time and how it is going to be gobbled up.............if you want to have it all by itself , a dryish tikka is fine with chutny n onions but if you want to have it inside a kathi roll or with a naan kinda bread , it has to be more succulent n soft ...with butter and more butter for basting ......i made it dry , sans butter ( just a bit of cream in the marinade) and enjoyed every bite with a dollop of green mint chutny ..i like it this way , the overly buttery tikka is not my type.............

ingredients...

chicken cut in 12 pieces ( 1 kg)....boneless chicken is good too
fresh curds 1 cup ( use store bought or hang it to make it thick)
ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp or more
black pepper corns crushed frshly 1 tbsp
fresh cream 1 tbsp
salt to taste
aromatic garam masala 1 tsp ( home made)

procedure...

Mix everything together and keep in the fridge for about 2 hrs....or overnight or for a day in the freezer .


Defrost at the time of grilling , or just take out of the fridge and preheat the oven at 250 degree C .

Arrange the pieces on the grill rack and grill for about 30 minute turning the pieces and checking for the done sign.


The surface should get wrinkled and it should pull away from the bones , crisp n chewy on the outside and moist and succulent inside.....prick a toothpick and check if it is done.

Serve hot with mint chutny , lime wedges and thin slices of onion............it's so tempting when it's done n ready to eat that i forgot to take the pictures with chutny and onion rings .......that would have been spectacular , i regret that now.....There is always a next time  , it's a convenient thought in itself...:)

The freshly crushed black pepper corns work like magic for this tikka , as much as i want a few pepper corns in each bite .....in each mouthful .......mint chutny , not to say , is the balancing factor in every sense.

Every bite dunked into the cooling mint chutny and topped with a lemon soaked onion rings..........perfect accompaniments...........nothing else is needed actually......they make good starters for a nice chatty get together....it's a favorite at our place for such occasions n i never get to think of any photographs on such occasions too.

We like to have it for a cozy laid back dinner ......the leftovers can always make great toppings for an Indian pizza ........i did not take pictures this time of the pizza dinner made with the leftovers next day.......that is something ordinary to rustle up but great for the taste buds...

enjoy...