Monday, April 18, 2011

the mystery snack i loved .....from chennai into my kitchen ...


I bought these from Ananda adyar bhavan , Chennai and did not know the name of this beauty. I saw the tiny specks of sesame , some daal and pepper corns and i knew i would love them and immediately bought a packet. Later i realized i should have bought at least four. But the mistake had been done. I had to fend for myself when this flavor was reminded ...

I decided to take the plunge and started guessing the ingredients. This was very different from the Mathhi we make in the north as it was quite hard and chewy. I liked this bite , partly because i like chewing on something whenever my migraine strikes. The spicy taste was another thing i wanted to achieve.

I could guess rice flour and mung daal and the spices and made a small batch . I was so happy to get the exact spice blend , but the texture was very very different ...it was more crisp as it soaked more oil while frying . I made them in square shapes and the difference can be seen clearly...


I call all my blogger friends from Chennai who happen to see this post , please help me with this recipe , and the name of this wonderful snack.


The spice mix i used was a blend of cumin , black pepper and sesame seeds in 1:1:2 ratio . Some half boiled yellow mung daal was kneaded with rice flour and this spice blend without any shortening . Rolled out dough was cut into squares and fried in hot oil.


While everybody liked my homemade version , because it was more crisp and all of us North Indians are so used to our crisp matthhis , i wanted the same hard chewy texture of the original snack....please enlighten me with the name .


Also , my home made savories were a bit darker in color . Mostly because the spices should have been very coarse , but i wanted them to be a bit mixed up , the spicing part was perfect.... I guess it should have had some roasted chana flour too. What say ?

I will make a baked version with the same spices as i loved the spices in it . The most awesome find of this experiment was this spice blend as i used some of the leftover coarse powder for my vegetable stir fries and it was great . We learn with every small step we take..


Anybody there ? Tell me please the name .... and the recipe if you are a generous soul :)

Solve the mystery for me ....

Friday, April 8, 2011

sweet potato salad with grapefruit segments and pepitas | vrat ka khana...




Sweet potatoes are healthy as they a packed with the choicest of nutrients, a bit high on calories, carbohydrates to be precis , but the carbohydrates are all complex. This salad makes the sweet potatoes even more healthy by adding a cits fruit and some pumpkin seeds n it. A filling hearty meal for your fasting days, or any day as I do.

I had made this salad in winters when my grapefruit tree was loaded with heavy fruits. Did I tell you that I had sweet potatoes too in my garden ?

This one is from market but I got quite a few sweet potatoes to enjoy from my own patch.

I enjoyed many variations of this salad and one of them is here for you...

Microwave the sweet potatoes in a covered bowl. Cool down till easy to handle, peel off the skin and chop in bite sized pieces.

Add chopped green coriander liberally, salt n pepper to taste (sendha namak for fasting), and some separated segments of grapefruit as I used here, or oranges or even mosambi, any sweet and sour citrus fruit will be gorgeous with this salad.

Shave or grate some jaggery over it, or use brown sugar. I sprinkled some red chilly powder too, do that if you like some heat .

Add any chopped nuts or seeds, I used pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Go for the nuts as and how you like them, roasted or raw, add some raisins if you feel like, add a tbsp or two of orange juice .... addition of lemon juice is optional, depending on what citrus fruit you are using...


I liked this salad on room temperature , you can have it cold or chilled if you like. And I have not listed the ingredients but they are typed in bold letters. I hope that will be fine for yol. After all this recipe is such an easy thing to toss up, why make it sound complicated :)

As I told I make many salads from sweet potatoes and a few of them use raw sweet potatoes too. Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw too and you can make the use of this power (nutrient) packed wonder food for your fasting days...


In this salad the microwave cooked sweet potatoes become a bit dry and porous ... and they absorb the juices or lemon and oranges or grapefruit deliciously.... you can imagine those bits of orange juice infused sweet potatoes, spiced up with black pepper and red chilly powder...need I say more ?

Enjoy the salad till I come with another...stay tuned...



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

sama ke chawal ki kheer ... vrat ka khana..



This sama ka chawal is also known as samyak ke chawal or parsai ke chawal. A reader enlightened me about the English name and that is Barnyard millet. What a wonderful exotic name to a beautiful little pseudo grain.  Pictures and another savory recipe of this grain is posted earlier on this blog and here comes a sweet pudding made with it . Sama ke chawal ki kheer is a delicacy of UP . I remember my dad used to like it very much and we learned about this grain just for the love of this kheer . Later on when i started experimenting with my food , the other recipes were worked upon...more sama ke chawal recipes coming on this space hopefully..

We are not fasting the Navratris but I decided to make this kheer just to celebrate in our own way. I miss the joys of fasting the nine days of Navaratri , making all new types of phalahaar food and being excited about it. The enthusiasm and excitement has mellowed down certainly , and the sense of inner harmony , which is so required for a nine day fasting is lacking too ... for reasons very obvious. Hopefully we will again be enjoying our fasting feasts in the coming years.... cooking a few phalahaar recipes and feasting on them once or twice during the fasting season is the way to bring myself closer to that sense of contentment i guess...this kheer made us feel really good when it was needed....

The recipe is very simple, actually easier than the rice kheer we make. Usually I used to make this kheer by cooking the grains directly in milk, but this time i decided to soak the grains overnight and this made the cooking time really shortened....also, the texture of the kheer was better this way.

A cup of sama ke chawal was soaked in water overnight. In the morning it was added to a liter of boiling milk . Using full cream milk will be good as the kheer will be creamy and rich that way. Although skimmed milk can also be used with fairly good results. The boiling kheer is cooked on low flame, stirring a couple of times in between . We were having our morning tea, with stretched out news papers all around... when the kheer was cooking and i just stirred it once after mixing the sama ke chawal in the boiling milk. Thick base of the pan and really low flame will be helpful if you are not around in the kitchen all the while. That is the reason i said it is easier than the rice kheer as that needs frequent stirring for longer duration...this kheer will be ready, creamy and rich within 25-30 minutes of cooking ...



Add sugar to taste, we like very light sugar in this kheer, try less sugar first and add more if you need so. Add some chopped nuts of choice, I added slivered almonds...


The kheer thickens when cooled down, and tastes great even then. Consistency can be adjusted according to preference.

I call my dad whenever I make something he used to like when we were kids, and he was free of sugar restrictions, otherwise I am not a frequent caller, yes that is the way I am.

 And now I am reminded of another call that I have to make and leaving you all to enjoy this kheer for your fasting ...or otherwise , like we did...