Friday, February 25, 2011

instant besan ka halwa ... microwave recipe...







Someone has got a big sweet tooth here and after a root canal treatment , has come to a conclusion that halwa is therapeutic for teeth ..... The one tooth who suffered was because of halwa deprivation he claims...

Many halwas are made as an evening snack which leads to a 'glass of milk for dinner' or no dinner at all . Halwa is rich as it has quite a lot of ghee and if someone want a whole bowlful of it , i make a whole bowl full of it in the microwave....just one serving at a time.

Starting with 3/4 cup of besan  1/2 cup of fresh malai and chopped almonds...



Sugar to taste . Mix them all ... Reserve the almonds......shove into the microwave for 1 minute on high...


Mix to make a goo.....


 Mix again and shove into the oven for a minute , after two turns in the MW for a minute it looks like this...slightly dehydrated and lumpy....not gooyi any more...


Now add the chopped almonds , microwave again for a minute...repeat till the mixture is crumbly and a nice aroma fills the kitchen...


I made it for a late evening snack cum dinner and hence the pictures are a bit dark . But
the procedure is clear i hope...


The halwa has to be served hot , as soon as the desired consistency is achieved , the halwa is ready . It takes about 5 minutes to make it , taking intervals after every minute to stir the halwa.... If you count 2-3 minutes to chop the almonds and arrange the things for preparation , still the halwa is quick enough for a hungry halwa deprived soul....



Same way the halwa of sooji can also be made , or even with atta or daliya . the taste of the microwave halwa will different from the slow roasted in ghee halwa , but it is quite good and you will be hooked to it once you make it .. the convenience of it being quick , as well as being able to make a single serving at a time will be a great excuse to make the halwa this way...

The traditional kadai made halwa of besan is posted here on this blog....do try it that way if time permits ...that post attracts a lot of hits on this blog....picture quality is not a deterrent here...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Makki di roti te saron da saag (makki ki roti sarson ka saag) .... step by step recipe...



 Makki di rotti te saron da saag...There are so many photos of the saag preparation and a tutorial to make the makki di rotti , so no foodie blabber this time . Straight to business.

The first step is quite time consuming . It is advisable to wash and clean the leafy greens in advance , boil them with the needed things and freeze it for future use. Thereafter your job will be easier whenever you want this for lunch or dinner.

500gm of spinach , 250 gm of bathua , 250 gm of fenugreek greens, and a kilo of mustard greens . This much of greens you have to chop roughly and then boil with a cupful of chana daal , one chopped onion, 2 inch piece ginger chopped and a few green chillies. I prefer to pressure cook for 10 minutes after the first whistle. 


Blend this mixture . I prefer a coarse textured saag so i blend it coarsely , you can blend it smooth if you want the other way. After this the saag can be froze for later use , tempering with the tadka whenever required...


 For the tadka , heat mustard oil or ghee in a kadai and throw in some cumin seeds and coriander seeds (must use this), Then add some coarsely ground onion, ginger,garlic and green chillies...stir fry till cooked but no need to brown them.





Add the everyday curry powder , a generous pinch of garam masala and fry till the spices get aromatic. sprinkling some water to prevent the mixture from burning .





Make a coarse paste of fresh tomatoes and add to the frying mixture , add salt and fry till the tomatoes get cooked .



The cooked mixture looks like this...Add red chilly powder if you like it hot . I don't add red chilly powder normally. Some times i add boiled peas at this stage.


Now the coarse paste of the saag goes in , mix well and let it simmer for 5 minutes . A little bit of roasted and powdered kassori methi makes the saag very aromatic . Add it and let the saag be covered for a few miutes , off heat , before serving.



Topped with white butter , piping hot . Makki ki roti on the side , white butter melting teasingly. Many people can't imagine makki ki roti without butter , but i like it both ways , with butter or without it.


Another day , we had it with amul butter for dinner . The night picture is here.......
smoke et al...


As i said , and you all know for sure, making the makki ki roti is a matter of practice . With the right instructions , the task becomes workable though . So the instructions with my tips are here to follow...

I made just one roti for lunch one day just for myself. That day i decided to take pictures as there was ample time to indulge in taking pictures , washing hands , taking pictures , washing hands..... you understand what it means when we have only two hands...

1/2 cup of makki ka atta (corn meal) in a bowl , pour hot water over it (about 70 degree C)


Mix well using all fingers , knead with a rubbing motion so that the dough becomes soft . The corn dough has less pliability so it helps to rub it more so that the bindins is right . As you rub , adding more water if needed , it takes more water than wheat flour, the dough becomes smoother and softer.


Make a smooth ball...


Dust with flour...I used wheat flour as the corn meal we use is a bit coarse , not suited for dusting...


Use the rolling pin to roll the roti with soft hands , not a very smooth edge but that is fine..my mother used to make perfectly smooth rotis with makki ka atta...


This roti is a bit thicker than chapati , some people can make it very thin too , mine is a mediocre score...lifting up the roti from the rolling board can be tricky . Still no worries...lift the rolling board ( i have a light weight aluminum rolling board so it's easy for me , a stone rolling board will be difficult to lift and invert) ...invert it and take to roti on your other hand , now flip to the tawa/pan.


Let it brown lightly both sides , then bring it to naked flame and let it puff up..


Or a bit of ghee can be applied to the roti like we make parathas and that way too it is good . If i am planning to do that i normally add some methi leaves and salt to the dough and the methi wali makki ki roti is even more flavorful...


Serve hot with butter or without it...


Who says our traditional khana is not healthy...what can be more healthy that this...


This platter of makki ki roti and sarson ka saag has brought many complements to me , many emotional ones too , as this kinda food brings back memories , nostalgia and a pure sense of contentment .... making this at home is always like a great indulgence for me....

Friday, February 18, 2011

fruity citrus cake....




This is a very flavorful moist cake although the pictures don't do justice to the actual cake. In fact i made a large round cake for gifting someone and the leftover batter was poured into a loaf tin so a dwarf loaf was left with me and that one is posing for pictures here...The cake was made some 2 moths ago , the recipe was requested and here i am...

The cake has lot of fruit and less fat so the flavors are truly divine . I like adding some fruit or vegetable to my cakes for the added moisture specially when the cake is made low fat. I added finely grated apples and pineapples along with some pineapple juice and orange zest , the flavors were to die for..... i was planning to serve it with butterscotch or chocolate sauce but the thin slices vanished in one go ....

ingredients...
plain flour (maida) 2.5 cups
oil 3/4 cup
sugar 3/4 cup
Eggs 5 nos.
baking powder 1 tsp
soda bicarb 1/4 tsp
salt one scant pinch
finely grated apples 1 cup
finely grated or coarse paste of pineapples 1 cup
pineapple juice 1 cup or as required
orange zest 2 tbsp


preparation...

In a mixing bowl add the oil , sugar and eggs and mix well till creamy .

Add the coarse paste of apples and pineapple into it and mix again . I used my chopper to make a coarse paste of both apple and pineapple. A food processor can be used as per convenience.

Now add the maida and baking powder and soda bicarb to the batter and whip adding the pineapple juice and grated or chopped orange zest. Make a smooth flowing batter adding pineapple juice as required....

Pour in greased and dusted cake pan and bake at 180 degree for 40 minutes . Check by inserting a skewer , cool for a while and invert the cake by tapping the cake pan... the loaf tin here , i just cut the slices without taking it out and it vanished...


No one is going to believe the cake has apples as the citrus flavors dominate the cake . pineapple adds a very nice tart and sweet thing to the cake .Apples in this cake just help in making the cake moist and soft . Sugar can be adjusted to taste as this is a mild sweet cake and you can add a couple tablespoons more of sweetness to it....

I am imagining a citrus glaze over this cake right now...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines day wishes from banaras.......


Kuchh meetha khaane ka mann kar raha hai ..... When Arvind told me in the evening i started thinking of a quick idea .... I had no gajrela or brownie in the fridge .... not even kaaju katli........and then it struck me . I had tried it a few days back when i was home alone , all by myself . Now it was time to share this treasure...

There were just two butter cookies we had bought long time back and in most probability were going to be fed to the birds and squirrels in my garden....

I slathered them with the orange marmalade ( homemade with love) and microwaved them for 30 seconds.... the marmalade bubbled and spread covering the cookies like a leathery sheet .......... chewy and sticky ......the cookie turned soft and yummmm...

What say.... just apt for the day....

Wishing you all ..... all the love you can hold...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

shalgam aloo matar ki subzi ... turnips and peas curry with potatoes..



This is one of the simplest curries I make whenever I am pressed for time . This style of curry is inspired by the subzi sold by the kachori walas of Banaras a perfect accompaniment to pooris . The subzi of every kachori wala is different and yet all of them are equally yummy . There is one more similarity when it comes to the subzi of the kachori walas , all those subzis are made super fast with minimal spicing ...roughly chopped vegetables dunked in a smoky tempering of some hot and aromatic spices and cooked with water till they turn mushy .... I have actually watched them cooking . What to do i can't stop myself watching all of this stuff :)

This version of the curry is adapted for home cooking and hence the pressure cooker is put to use saving time big time....
ingredients...

2 large turnips cut roughly into cubes
1 medium sized potato cut into cubes ( i prefer to keep the skin on )
a cup of fresh green peas ( frozen will be good too but anyways turnips and peas are available fresh in the same season )
1 large tomato chopped roughly
1 tbsp of everyday curry powder ( or coriander,cumin and pepper powders in 2:1:1 ratio plus a couple of bay leaves )
1 tsp dry ginger powder or 2 tsp of grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp or more red chilly powder
a pinch of asafoetida
2 tsp of mustard oil
salt to taste

The ingredient list looks long but it is very convenient to throw them into the cooker one by one and just cover the lid to cook...

procedure....

Heat oil in the pressure cooker pan and throw in the asafoetida . Just as the hings becomes frothy add the *everyday curry powder*  and turmeric n red chilly powders and put the flame off if you feel the heat could burn the powders . It is actually better to let the oil smoke then take the pan off the heat and then add the powders...

Add the dry or fresh ginger as per your choice . I grate a chunk of dry ginger over the pan and it's super quick , no running to fridge , peeling and grating the ginger and the flavors are better than the store bought dry ginger powder .

Put the pan back to heat . Add all the chopped vegetables and peas , toss them to coat well , add salt and enough water to make a mushy curry . Cover the pressure cooker and cook till the first whistle blows up . Let the pressure escape on it's own , open the lid and stir the curry lightly with a ladle so that cooked turnips and tomatoes get mushed up. You may like a dash of amchoor powder added at this stage , check seasonings and add amchoor if you feel like .

serve hot with chapatis  parathas or hot pooris for a Sunday breakfast .


The only masala used in the curry is my ever so useful everyday curry powder . This curry powder has been named as a magic curry powder by a friend and has been adopted by many of my real life friends . The spice mix has a nice earthy and citrus y blend of flavors and the bay leaves added to it add an extra touch . Very versatile especially for the north Indian stir fries and curries .

The lovely blogger couple Sarah and Brad of naughty taste buds have adopted this curry powder and have posted about it too with pictures better than mine.....they are using it so creatively for their daily food..see here.....

This simple curry which reminds you that yummy meals can be quick and convenient at the same time . I make a similar curry with halved parvals ( pointed guards ) and that is a nice and light summer time curry without the peas . That parval curry is a regular for dinner with chapatis , an ideal summer dinner ........

The thought of summer makes me uncomfortable as the winters days are dwindling fast . Posting a series of turnip curries is my achievements in the season as i have been so preoccupied to come to my blogs........ but still there is some time to enjoy turnips before they vanish under the scorching sun...

shalgam bhein matar ki subzi...turnips with lotus stem with peas ...



A quick sabzi if you have a skill or help for chopping vegetables really fast . As soon as the veggies are chopped this curry is very quick and i love the mixed flavors of green coriander leaves , green peas and turnips together . Potatoes and lotus stem remain neutral against these flavorful and aromatic ingredients and balance the curry with nutrition and off course taste wise too ...
 

Once you are done with this chopping it's a matter of 5 minutes if you have ginger garlic paste and fresh tomato puree . I make these fresh and takes me another 5 minutes ...

ingredients...

2 large turnips
1 large fat lotus stem
1 medium sized potato
1 cup of green peas ( preferably fresh )
2 large red tomatoes ( preferably desi or heirloom )
1 inch piece of ginger
2-3 garlic cloves
2-3 green chillies
1 tbsp of everyday curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tbsp of chopped green coriander leaves
1 tbsp of mustard oil
1 tsp of cumin seeds
salt to taste

procedure...

Make a paste of ginger garlic and green chillies and later in the same mixie jar make a coarse paste of tomatoes . Chop the vegetables as shown in the picture...


Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pan and throw in the cumin seeds . Wait as the cumin seeds pop and get aromatic , add the ginger garlic paste , turmeric powder and curry powder in quick succession . Add salt and keep tossing the pan to fry the spice mix till it gets aromatic ....




Add the potatoes , lotus stem and turnips to the frying mix and toss again to coat the pieces .. keep tossing the vegetables for a couple of minutes for a quick searing .




Add the green peas and enough water to cover the veggies ...
Close the lid and let it pressure cook just till the first whistle blows .
Let the pressure escape and add the chopped coriander leaves immediately after opening the lid , cover the lid again for a couple of minutes and serve hot with chapatis or plain parathas...


This is a curry with thin soupy gravy and the flavors come from the green coriander , peas , tomatoes and fresh turnips........ the winter goodness of all the fresh veggies.

Very healthy and delicious . All those who do not appreciate turnips fort their smell ( i am not one of them ) will be delighted with this curry as the turnips almost taste like potatoes in this one .... very unlike the gogji nadir where the turnips take a center stage of flavors....


Another curry with turnips and potatoes is lined up cooked with a different procedure ... a quicker version than this 1 minute wonder .... minus the chopping time if you are slow :)

Check out the next milder and mushy curry which prompts even the turnip haters to have second helpings...

gogji nadir | turnips and lotus stem in a soupy curry ......... straight from kashmir...



Gogji nadir is turnips and lotus stem if translated. Turnips are the one seasonal outburst of goodness I enjoy along with our red juicy desi gajar ( heirloom carrots?) . These two root vegetables are so much looked forward to as they are used so frequently for my raw salads .

I love the sweetish aroma of cooked turnips and make many low fat curries with this fresh and juicy vegetable. A few of my turnip curries are being posted in a series this time . 

This gogji nadir is an authentic kashmiri recipe i found here on Anita's blog . I have been making a curry of both these vegetables together thinking it is a kashmiri curry but as i saw this recipe on Anita's blog i knew the original thing was something different than i had thought . The first trial was not very encouraging as i had used lesser mustard oil and had cooked under pressure for 8-10 minutes as instructed , but i found the lotus stem too mushy for my taste and the curry turned out a bit bland for me ... At the same time i knew the curry could be better and when i tried the next time it was an awesome flavorful curry .

This time around i used a bit more mustard oil and cooked it in a thick base handi pan , the result was great and the curry has been repeated a few more time since then . Arvind didn't like the curry much as he doesn't like these vegetables but it was an okay kind of curry for him which he can eat once in a while for a change ...

The vegetables are cut in a specific manner , lotus stems scraped lightly and cut in slanting slices , turnips unpeeled and cut haphazardly , green chillies broken into two. I wanted a more pronounced flavor of chillies in this curry without the heat and used the bigger n milder chillies 3-4 of them ( the variety is called Bangalore Torpedo ).


As there are just these three ingredients in this curry and mustard oil infused with asafoetida makes the base flavor , balancing the flavors may be difficult as happens in most of the simple curries like nenua ki subzi . Just like this nenua ki subzi ( sponge gaurd curry ), you need to love turnips to like this curry as the flavors of turnips are enhanced by stir frying them till they turn brown at the edges. A sweetish caramelized flavor which is balanced with a pungency of mustard oil and asafoetida and a sharp hit of green chillies . Lotus roots provide a nice texture to bite in . The combination is superbly healthy .

The procedure is simple but you need to keep in mind that the steps of cooking are followed rightly to bring out the desired flavors .... I did a mistake of using very less mustard oil , not stir frying enough and too much pressure cooking the first time myself....The right procedure for me goes like this...


Two tablespoons of mustard oil is heated till it smokes , a generous pinch of asafoetida is added and it quickly goes frothy . 

Add the chopped turnips and lotus stems and stir fry till the edges of turnips start browning . This step is crucial as it gives a different aroma to the finished curry .

Add water and salt to taste and let it boil and then simmer on low heat , covered. 

When the turnips turn soft , add the broken chillies and cover and cook again for a couple of minutes. That's it , the turnips turn mushy and lotus stems are well cooked but firm . 

Two large turnips and one large and thick lotus stem was used for the recipe .

If you like hot chillies you can add 2-3 green chillies but as i like the aroma of chillies more , i used the longer n milder chillies , 3-4 chillies resulted in larger amount as they are huge sized . Also , Anita cooks it in the pressure cooker and you can do that if you find it suitable , for me the pressure cooking resulted in overdone lotus stems and pan cooking was just as i wanted . If you are pressure cooking , i think try putting off the flame as soon as the first whistle blows up .



One more quick curry with simple flavors in my repertoire , even made it without lotus stem and found it interesting that the curry tastes the same , just the texture of the lotus stem is missing and the curry is much lighter....

Kashmiris eat this curry ( gogji nadir ) with rice and lots of fresh curds as Anita has mentioned . I tried it both with rotis and rice along with fresh curds , i personally liked it more with rotis .... with rice it was okay for me . A big bowl of fresh curds or a light raita is a great combination with gogji nadir , whether you are having it with rice or roti ......

I have been getting a few requests for posting curry recipes with turnips as there were no recipes with this vegetable apart from my multi grain soup and another turnip and tomato  soup . One of my friends' husband loves the flavor of turnip and i had promised her a few light curries i make ...... I am late as always but to make up for the delay i am posting a series of turnip curries in different combinations ... entirely different flavors of turnip will be unfolded in the next few posts....

Stay tuned....