Monday, December 28, 2009

Uttappam Or Bread Dosa

Anyone remember college gatherings back in India, also known as variety entertainment show?Due to various reasons government of Maharashtra had changed the rules and by the time I went to college, these programs had turned into one day watered down version of what it used to be. I was lucky enough to watch these when I was a school going kid. My father was a librarian in local college and we got opportunity to visit his college to watch these gatherings. We would take a bus to go college, visit the library, see books but unfortunately there were no books for us to read. My brother and I would play hide and seek by taking advantage of the big bookcases and the arrangement.

After going to other departments, watching the dead animals, looking at colorful rocks, we would then go to see the actual show we had come to see. I barely remember things from those shows with few exceptions. Then came the important part of the trip. We would then go to college canteen. We would sit in the family room, nothing but a room with curtains around so no one could see (at least not supposed to). I think my mom and I cherished these visits. It would remind her about her college days and time she spent with two of her best friends and for me it was one of the rare occasions to eat out. We rarely went to eat out so it was more fun. My mom would order her favorite tomato omelette and dad would order uttappam or dosa. I don't remember what they ordered for me or my brother. Since then tomato omelette was something I liked and uttappam was something I really loved.

I visited my aunt later when I was in college and she made these great uttappams for me. I came back with the recipe and making these ever since!




IMG_6764

1 cup Urad daal
1 cup Chana Daal
1 cup Thick Pohe
3 cups Rice *
1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp Cumin seeds
4-5 black peppercorns
Salt per taste
Diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, green chilies - as needed


IMG_6765

Preparation -

Wash daals and rice together and soak in enough water.
Add pohe, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns to the soaking ingredients.
Let it all soak for minimum 5-6 hours/
Remove the remaining water if any from the soaking grains and set it aside.
Grind the everything in the mixer using the water as needed. The batter should be fine and not too thin. Use as little water as possible. Consistency of the batter should be similar to idli batter and not like dosa batter.
Keep the batter in a warm place to ferment for 8-10 hours.
Heat griddle/flat tava on medium heat and spread a ladleful of batter to make a uttappam of diameter not more than 4-5 inches.
Spread chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chilies on the uttappam and let one side cook completely.
Flip the uttappam and cook the other side
Use very little oil if needed.
Serve warm with coconut or tomato chutney.

Tips -
* I have tried these with brown rice. It takes little longer to grind the batter and ferment. And it tastes wonderful but not as good looking as these white rice uttappams.

I like to make these mini ones as it looks nice and easier to flip.
These are also known as bread dosa in my family, may not be the real name for it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indian Cooking Challenge - Chegodilu

I was extremely busy when this month's challenge got announced and was not sure if I will get time to even try this once. I wanted to start on this project again as it will give another opportunity to learn a new recipe. We Maharashtrians have similar deep fried delight called 'Kadaboli' but made with mixed grain flour. It has been long time since I made any of these as I don't usually like to deep fry. I made an exception for this challenge as I was remembering my childhood when I used to help my grandma to roll these. My cousin and I would make various shapes. Grandma wouldn't mind as we would play with the dough for hours in stretch. I guess that gave grandma enough time to prepare rest of the things. These Chegpdilus reminded me of some of the greatest time. These came out really good and it was worth the effort!

Feel like participating in the next Indian Cooking Challenge? Read all about it here.

IMG_6407

Here is Srivalli's simple recipe for these savory rings -


You will need the following ingredients -

1 cup Rice flour
1 cup water
2 tbsp Mung daal
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Making the dough -

Soak moong dal in water for half hour.

In a deep bottom pan, boil water, then add salt, ghee and moong dal. Bring it to boil, simmer and slowly add the rice flour. Using a rolling pin or the ladle, mix the flour with water by stirring it well. When the flour is mixed and done, turn off the heat immediately. Cover with lid and keep aside for 10 to 15 mins.

Once the dough is cool, add chilli powder, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and mix well. Knead till you get a smooth dough. Adjust the salt and spice depending on your preference.


IMG_6405

Frying the Chokodi:

Heat a pan with oil, enough to fry 3 -4 at time, if you conscious of not using too much oil. Simmer once it gets hot. The temperature should not be smoking hot.

Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.

Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.



IMG_6408


Verdict -
Very easy to make and tasty too. I will add ajwain next time when I make them.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Vegan Crepes with Persimmon Filling

Its been unusually cold weather these days here and one feels like having something warm all the time even for the breakfast, cold cereals just don't cut it. We have this beautiful persimmon tree in the backyard with orange bulbs weighing down the branches and and when you cut open one, you can feel the crunch. These are extremely juicy and flavorful.




I, one day got few to share with my colleagues. All took one each but Tracey took a few and told me that she uses them for crepe filling! Obviously I got interested in knowing the recipe so she shared general idea and then I experimented just with filling and then with crepes. I had searched for vegan crepes in the past and had liked this recipe. I am hooked on these crepes and will be making it few more times until I have persimmons on the tree.

Persimmon filling -


2.5 cups Persimmons diced
1 tsp earth balance
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
pinch of nutmeg

Preparation -
Heat earth balance in a heavy bottom skillet and add diced persimmons. Add nutmeg, brown sugar and saute for couple of minutes. Make sure the persimmons are not over cooked.
Filling is ready.

Vegan Crepes - (adapted from http://vegweb.com)


1 cup Unbleached flour
1 and 2/3 cup Soy milk *
3 tsp Ener-G egg replacer powder + 4 tbsp water mixed together
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)

Preparation -
Mix Ener-G and 4 tbsp water together and set it aside.
Mix remaining ingredients together and add the egg replacer mix.
Mix it thoroughly with whisk.
Heat nonstick griddle on medium heat. Pour approximately 1/4 cup batter and spread it like dosa instead of moving the griddle. Let one side cook well and then flip and cook the other side.

Assembly -
Spread approximately 2-3 tbsp filling in the middle of the crepe and fold the sides. Pour maple syrup or agave syrup on top and serve warm.

Tips -
  1. You can add water, orange juice or almond milk to make the batter.
  2. You can add cinnamon but I find it overpowers the delicate flavor of cooked persimmons.
  3. Traditionally crepes are made by moving the griddle to spread the batter in a thin lacy crepe. I found its easier to make them like dosas.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Comfort food - Daal Tadka and Jeera Saffron rice

Vacation is a time when you enjoy visiting new places, eating new food. Once you are back, you feel like eating simple homemade food. Simple daal-rice is my choice when it comes to quick simple food. Each household has a favorite recipe to make daal as I have mine. But I try to make daals in different ways as I enjoy eating them as soups.
I remember seeing Daal-Tadka on a restaurant menu long time ago and still remember me not ordering it. Later jeera rice and daal-tadka became staple in restaurant outings. My brother who is a good cook and also likes to try out new recipes. Once after a restaurant outing with cousins we decided to make this for our parents who tend not to go out to eat and as expected they loved it. Later we both changed it to suit our individual tastes and both make it regularly.
Jeera saffron rice tastes great with this daal and is extremely easy to make.
Here is simple daal-tadka recipe -
Daal -
1/2 cup moong daal
1/4 cup toor daal
1 tomato
2 tsp aamchur powder or couple of aamsul pieces
small piece of jaggery or 1 tsp brown sugar
salt to taste
water as required

Tadka -
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp each cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida
2-3 dried red chilies
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp each julienned ginger and julienned garlic

Preparation -
Pressure cook both the daals together until soft.
Coarsely chop tomatoes.
Add enough water to cooked daal and start boiling it. Now add chopped tomatoes, salt, aamchur and jaggery. Let it boil.
Meanwhile heat oil in small kadai and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle for a minute or so. Now add curry leaves, red chilies, ginger and garlic and let it sizzle for few minutes until garlic becomes golden brown. Add turmeric powder and pinch of asofoetida at the end to prevent it from burning.
Pour this tadka over boiling daal and cover the lid. Switch off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Jeera Saffron Rice -
1 cup rice
2 cups water
salt per taste
5-6 saffron threads
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds

Preparation -
Cook rice as usual with salt. I usually cook this rice either on stove top or in rice cooker to make sure it does not become too soft. Rice should be fully cooked but grains should be separate and not lumpy.
Soak saffron in one tablespoon water for 10-12 min.
Heat oil in kadai. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
Spread cooked rice in large plate. Add soaked saffron and sizzled cumin seeds along with oil to the rice. Mix it well.
This comforting daal-rice is for MLLA-18 hosted by Srivalli and was started by Susan.

Tips -
  1. I usually use Sona masoori rice or Ponni rice and it still tastes great. You can try using basmati.
  2. I love the taste of aamchur in this daal than any other souring agent.
  3. I use small round red chilies but any red chilies will do.




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Versatile Apple

Fall is all about falling leaves, crisp weather and fruits like pears, persimmons and apples. While I can practically live on fruits, apples is something I used to avoid as much as I could. I stopped buying apples after seeing GIANT supermarket fruits. I eventually found out about the farmers market and started buying various varieties of apples along with other luscious fruits. But still apple is something that I used to ignore as much as I can. Then I found out about green apple raita that my friend Priya makes and and methapple that TC makes and apple crisp that ET makes. I make panhe by steaming fresh apples and making my own apple sauce for instant version. I also tried making this apple pie filling that my classmate from pottery class taught me but that is tad sweet for my palette.

Now coming back to the recipes, I am going to share a quick fix pickle and koshimbeer from varieties of apple.

Fuji Apple Pickle -

Apple Pickle


1 Apple
1 lime
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
salt per taste

Preparation -
Heat oil in a small kadhai, add mustard seeds and methi seeds. Mustard seeds will start spluttering in a minute or so. Turn off the heat and add turmeric and asafoetida. Let this tempering cool down to room temperature.
Meanwhile. core and chop the apple to small pieces. Immediately squeez lime juice to prevent the pieces from turning brown. Now add chili powder, salt and jaggery/brown sugar and mix it well.
Add cooled down tempering and mix it well. Adjust seasoning if needed and enjoy with simple daal rice or any elaborate meal.
This stays good for about 4-5 days in fridge.

Granny Smith Apple Koshimbir -
(Marathi Version of Koshimbeer)

Granny Smith Apple Salad

1 Granny Smith Apple
1 tbsp Peanut powder
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice/orange juice
salt and sugar per taste

Preparation -
Core apple and grate it. Squeeze lime juice or orange juice immediately to prevent from turning it brown. Now add peanut powder, salt, sugar and chopped cilantro. Mix it well. Serve immediately.


Tips -
  • Pickle or koshimbeer tastes great with any kind of apple. I just named what I tend to use more.
  • You can quarter cored apple and immerse in bowl of water and add tbsp of lime juice.
  • In koshimbeer, add orange juice instead of lime juice to make it more tastier.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Chane Pindiwale

It was about 10+ years ago when I tasted this. I was visiting my aunt in Mumbai and her neighbor who usually used to send almost everything that cooked at her place for taste. Very simple and tasty food. I was told that was Pindiwale Chane. I always thought pindiwale chane was a special dish from Ravalpindi! How ignorant! I tried to recreate that taste but never could get that exact flavor. I totally forgot about it in last few years. And it all came back recently. One of my colleague who is from Delhi got me a packet of Chole masala/chana masala from local market in Delhi. He told me that pind means small village and chane made in villages usually made with minimal ingredients so the name 'Pindiwale Chane'. And I am the last person to talk about the punjabi food so please pardon me if this is not true!

Chana Masala

I tasted the masala I got and I distinctly could taste coriander, cumin, black pepper, aamchur, bit of kala jira, black salt/rock salt and red pepper. It might have badi ilaichi. I have enough masala to go for a year, so I am not going to bother to recreate it so early ;)





1/2 cup black chane
1 tbsp Chole/chana masala
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies optional
salt per taste
few sprigs of chopped cilantro
water

Preparation -
Pick over and soak chane in warm water. Let them soak overnight.
Pressure cook soaked chane, salt in enough water until soft.
Drain the water and keep it aside.
Slit green chilies.
Heat oil in kadhai and add cumin seeds. Once cumin seeds start sizzling add green chilies and stir for few seconds.
Then add cooked chane and chana masala. Mix it well and on lower to medium heat cook it for 3-4 minutes. You can add couple of tablespoons of drained water and cover the pan.
Sprinkle chopped cilantro & mix it well. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve hot with roti or with daal-rice.

Tips -
  1. You can use store bought chole masala and add more aamchur.
  2. Add jaljira powder to drained water and that makes a nice drink on the side.


Monday, November 02, 2009

7 cup barfi

(7 cup barfi in Marathi)
This barfi is extremely rich in taste and makes a perfect sweet for Diwali. Recently a friend made it to distribute as a diwali treat for her colleagues. One of her colleague liked it so much that she wanted the recipe. So here is the recipe with some changes I made along the way -

7 cup barfi with carrots

1 cup Chick Pea Flour (Besan)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup milk
1/2 cup clarified butter
2 cups sugar (may be a bit more)
1 tsp cardamom powder
chopped almonds (optional)

Preparation -
Grease a cookie sheet with butter/oil and set it aside.
Heat a thick bottom saucepan on medium heat and add all the ingredients.
Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Mixture will start leaving sides of the pan in about 15-20 minutes. It should start forming ball in the middle of the pan.
Pour the mixture on greased cookie sheet and spread with spatula. Please avoid touching the mixture as it is extremely hot.
Using sharp knife cut 1 inch squares and let them cool.
Separate the barfis when its cooled down completely and store in an airtight container.
Can stay fresh up to a week.


Tips -
  1. You have to constantly stir the mixture to avoid getting it burnt. Also do not increase the heat as color will not be as pretty.
  2. Original recipe calls for 1 cup freshly grated coconut but I like the one with carrots.
  3. Original recipe calls for 3 cups sugar which makes it tad sweeter.
  4. Original recipe also calls for 1 cup of clarified butter but adding less doesn't change the taste.


(Photo Courtesy: Priya)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Methi Mutter Malai

(Methi-Mutter-Malai in Marathi)
I am not a huge fan of restaurant kind of Punjabi food. I usually try to avoid going to these so called 'Indian' restaurants as the gravies of all the dishes tastes the same. There is hardly any indication if the dish is vegan or not. The whole staff is so careless at times that if you ask them, they might just say malai kofta is vegan ;). On the other hand, homemade daal makhani, alu matar, chole, rajma tastes so yummy that I can just live on that. I hear so many people talk about 'restaurant taste' and I feel sorry for them because they associate good food with restaurant. I remember an incident from my childhood. We had gone to one of our acquaintance's home and lady of the house had made nice upama. My mom complimented and their college going kid immediately said 'but it doesn't taste good like hotelwala's'. My mom got very angry and said 'why don't you start living in hostel so that you can eat hotel food everyday?'I am not sure if that kid learned any lesson but I surely did.

'Methi Mutter Malai' is one thing I can eat any time of the day. I veganized it about 5 years ago and with few changes, still make it to this day. Extremely simple recipe you can make even on a busy weeknight.

Methi Mutter Malai

1 big bunch Methi (Fenugreek)
1 cup Green Peas
4-5 Almonds
5-6 Cashews
1 large Onion
1 large Tomato
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt and Red Chili Powder - per taste
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Turmeric and asafoetida - pinch each

Preparation -
Soak almonds and cashews for an hour minimum.
Pluck methi leaves, wash and then chop. set it aside.
If you are using frozen peas, please thaw them before use.
Grind onion to make smooth paste. Also puree tomato separately and set aside. Please do not use water while making these pastes.
Heat oil in a think bottom pan and add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When cumin seeds start sizzling, add onion paste. Saute onion paste on a low flame until its fully cooked and onion smell is gone and oil starts to separate. It takes about 7-8 minutes minimum.
Now add tomato puree and cook for 3-4 minutes, add salt, red chili powder, garam masala and saute for couple of minutes.
Then add peas, cover and cook for couple of minutes.
Add chopped methi, mix it well. Cover the pan and let the methi and peas cook completely.
Meanwhile finely grind soaked nuts. Add the paste to cooked sabji and continue cooking for just a minute or too.
Serve warm with rotis/chapatis.

Tips -
  1. Its important to cook onion paste thoroughly. Partially cooked onion paste smells terrible. It takes about 5-7 minutes to cook medium size onion.
  2. I have tried this with Maharashtrian Goda masala once when I ran out of garam masala, that tastes great as well.
  3. I once tried ginger garlic paste but its bit stronger for the delicate flavors of peas, nuts and methi.






Saturday, October 17, 2009

दिन दिन दिवाळी

Mom's Karanjis

'दिनदिन दिवाळी गाई म्हशी ओवाळी' असे गाणे आम्ही पूर्वी दिवाळीत म्हणत असू. आता ते गाणे आठवत नाही पण त्यावेळची दिवाळी पण मनातून जात नाही. करंजी हा दिवाळीतला महत्वाचा पदार्थ जो इतरवेळी क्वचीतच केला जातो. एका वेगळ्याप्रकारच्या करंजीची रेसिपी मी मायबोलीच्या १० व्या दिवाळी अंकासाठी दिली. यानिमित्ताने पहिल्यांदा रेसिपी व्हिडीओशूट केली. हीच रेसिपी तुमच्या सर्वांसाठी इथे देखील देत आहे.

पिठाच्या करंज्या




आपल्या सर्वांना दिवाळीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा!

Happy Diwali

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick and Healthy Date Rolls

(Khajoor Laadoo in Marathi)
It was about 5 years ago I had started eating only raw food. I got bored eating just fruits as dessert and needed something that was bit sweeter and not 'fruity'. I always stocked different varieties of nuts and dates at the time. This was something I came up in a jiffy one day for a friend who came over for tea. Its been a staple at my place ever since. Instant gratification without any added sweetener, it can't go better than that!

I am sharing this quick simple and crowd-pleaser dessert for Diwali!

Khajoor Laddoo


1 cup mixed nuts (Almonds, cashews, walnuts)
1 cup Medjol dates
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
4 tbsp dried dessicated coconut (optional)



Procedure -
Roast poppy seeds on low flame. Powder roasted poppy seeds in grinder.
Coarsely powder mixed nuts in food processor. This should yield about one and half cup of powder. Set the powder aside.
Now remove seeds from the dates and coarsely grind them in the food processor.
When the ground dates start forming a ball, add powdered poppy seeds, dried coconut and powdered nuts. Start pulsing the food processor until the mixture starts looking like crumbles.
Remove the mixture from food processor and make a on1 inch thick long roll. Cut roll into one inch pieces and then roll each ball into a ball shape.
These stay fresh for more than a month.

Variations -
  1. You can use 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup dried figs and make date-fig rolls.
  2. Instead of adding dessicated coconut in the mixture, roll balls in the coconut powder.
  3. You can 5 tbsp add cocoa powder to the in the crumbled mixture and then roll balls in the cocoa powder and make chocolate truffles.
  4. You can add 1 tsp cardamom powder to the mixture.



Sunday, October 04, 2009

Patal Pohyancha Chivada

Diwali is just around the corner and it brings back lots and lots of memories from the past. This will be my 10th Diwali celebration away from 'home'. After every India trip I decide to go to India to celebrate the next Diwali and it has not happened yet, may be next year!


Chrysanthemum


I loved everything about Diwali except the firecrackers. I hated the noisy kind. The best thing about diwali was food and the magazines. My dad would order 'Kishor', 'Kumar' and 'Amrut' for me in Diwali. These were special editions magazines printed for Diwali. Reading them as soon as they arrive used to be highlight of Diwali. I remember one year I kept all my firecrackers till the last day as I was busy reading the magazines. On the last day of diwali I started lighting my share and without any of us realizing what happened, the whole box started bursting. My dad and mom were scared and they couldn't reach me and the whole show went on for at least for 15 minutes. I still don't remember how me and my brother survived. I think that incident changed our (my brother and I) view about firecrackers. We never bought big crackers, rockets ever again.

And of course there was food and lots of it. My mom used to sew and the word got out and all of a sudden she became very popular tailor in the neighborhood. And she becoming busy gave her very little time to make diwali faral. I always helped her in kitchen but helping her before diwali was inevitable. She is a excellent cook and she would pay attention to all the details when she cooked. And she would be all the more careful when she prepared chakali, chivada, karanji, laddoos and her specialty Chirote! Every year she would at least one new sweet and she would teach me every little thing she did! I hated it sometimes as I was more interested in reading. I now realize that I must have paid attention to all those finer details. I remember things out of no where when I am cooking. Its amazing! I also realize my mom's efforts to tell me everything, make me aware of things.

My mom and I would draw big rangolis in front yard and color them. She would decide a design a day before and would not repeat any color from the day before. I used to love making garland, painting the small clay lamps, and lighting them around the porch. That was real diwali for me.

This chivda is my brother's favorite chivada. Mummy prepares this every time he comes back from ship and at least one Kg packet of this chivada goes with him when he joins the ship. But this is not exactly how she prepares. I made some changes along the way and then one of my friend Priya told me her version and I incorporated some of it. The final product is something lot of my friends enjoy and I hope you like it too.






8 cups Thin Pohe
1/4 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup Daale (puffed chana daal)
4-5 green chilies (per taste)
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 cup curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
salt per taste
red chili powder if needed
1tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder

Procedure -
Line a 8"x8" baking dish with paper towel. Spread 2-3 cups of pohe in the baking dish. Microwave it for about 45 seconds to a minute. Spread microwaved pohe on newspaper immediately. Repeat the procedure for remaining pohe.
Chop green chilies in small pieces.
Heat oil in a large thick bottom vessel. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds to the oil. Let the seeds splutter.
Add chopped green chilies and curry leaves and saute for 3-4 minutes or until it changes color to light brown.
Now Add cashew halves, daale and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add roasted peanuts and raisins and saute for few more minutes, until the cashews turn light brown.
Just before turning the heat off, add turmeric powder and mix it well. If you are using coiled stove, remove the pot off the surface as well.
Add half of pohe, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and then add remaining pohe in the vessel. Mix it thoroughly.
Start the heat again and constantly mix the contents, making sure everything is mixed and heated evenly. Keep roasting till the pohe become crispy, up to 6-7 minutes.
Take the vessel off the heat. Add sugar after 5 minutes and mix well.

Please do not transfer it to another container until is cooled thoroughly.

Tips -
  1. Roasting pohe in microwave is important, that take out excess moisture and makes chivda crispy.
  2. You can combine 6 cups of thin pohe and 2 cups of churmure/puffed rice.
  3. Priya adds 1/4 tsp of citric acid in the oil to give it a tangy flavor. Adding more cumin seeds is also her idea that give good flavor.
  4. You can add 1 tsp of ghee at the end to give it a nice flavor but then the dish will not be vegan.





Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ragada Patties

'Ragada Patties' is one of my favorite fast food. We used to go to this road side vendor near Mahalaxmi Temple (precisely near Vidyapeeth Highschool) when I was studying in Kolhapur. Ragada Pattice, Aloo tikki, Samosa Chat were few items that I remember eating there. He had a very small cart with a big aluminum plate filled with ragada constantly boiling over small kerosene stove, warm samosas and kachories in separate plates, sweet tamarind chutney, green mint chutney and yogurt stainless steel containers lined up on his right hand side giving him easy access to the content. You will always see at least 10-12 people sanding around his cart at any given moment. He would remember everyone's order and with maximum 10-15 minutes wait you will get a plate in your hand, warm ragada either samosa, aaloo tikki, or kachori, sweet and green chutneys, fine sev and chopped cilantro. He would add yogurt in the chats but not in ragada pattice.

As we were staying in hostel, we were always on tight budget, so this was something that we would enjoy once a month or so. I still remember the routine we had on the weekends, get up late, watch some TV, get ready, have lunch and take nap or study. In the evening, few of us would get ready and head to the market by bus. go to the temple, go to Shetkari Bazar to buy essential grocery items and then head towards the book store nearby. Then around 6pm either go to the Rajabhau's Bhel Stand or to the Vidyapeeth's chat place, eat till your heart's content and head back to the hostel. Life was totally different back then, staying in hostel, staying on budget, taking care of everything by yourself was something I enjoyed and still think I learned lot of things. I can go on and on about the time spent in Kolhapur, but I should move to the recipe which brings back all those memories.

Ragada Patties

Chutneys -

Recipes for green and sweet chutney can be found here.

Ingredients -
Patties -
4 small Potatoes (I use yellow yukon gold)
2 slices of bread
salt and cumin seeds

Ragada -
1 cup dried white peas
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp pani puri masala (optional)
Salt
1-2 green chilies
small piece ginger
Water - as needed
Salt per taste

Other ingredients -
Few sprigs of cilantro
Farsan mixture or fine sev

Preparation -
1. Pressure cook potatoes and dried peas for 20-25 minutes in separate vessels. Peas should be very soft, almost disintegrating.
2. Grind green chilies and ginger together.
3. When pressure cooker is cooled down, heat a thick bottom pan and pour cooked peas in it. Add salt, garam masala, green chili paste, pani puri masala, cumin powder to the mixture. Let the mixture boil. Consistency is similar to the thick lentil soup/Daal/Amati. Add water if necessary.
Adjust seasoning if needed and garnish with cilantro and set aside. Ragada is ready!
4. Peel and mash the potatoes. Add crushed bread slices, salt and cumin seeds to it and knead the mixture well. Divide the potato mixture in 12 equal portions and then make patties (about 1.5" diameter).
Arrange all the patties on a hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Patties are ready!


Ragada patties, Chutneys and Jaljira

Assembly -
In a shallow plate, pasta plates work the best, add about a ladle full of ragada and arrange three patties in that bowl. Now sprinkle green and sweet chutneys, chopped cilantro and some farsan/sev. Enjoy with cup of tea or coffee.

Tips -
  1. You can use split green peas or garbanzo beans instead of dried white peas.
  2. If you think, peas don't get soft after cooking, please soak them overnight before cooking.


I am sending this to Sia of Monsoon Spice for MLLA-15, event started by Well Seasoned Cook - Susan.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Three Versions Of Banana Bread

Banana is one of my least favorite fruit. I can still eat a small bananas that we get in India but the one we get here are so huge that I can't even finish half of it. Then again it has to be ripe just enough, not too soft or not too raw. I do not even touch the brown ones. Recently we bought five different types of fruits, including bananas, to offer Ganesh during Pooja. As we had so many other fruits at home, bananas were sitting on the kitchen counter for really long time making them all brown and mushy. This happened to me around 4-5 months back as well. That time I searched for various banana breads and decided to try this one. Then I also tried Vaishali's vesrion of banana cake.

These days I started buying bananas just to have an excuse to make either one of these. I have tried Vaishali's version with almonds, walnut and pecans. I loved one with walnuts the most.

Vaishali's Banana Cake with Walnuts

Texture of Banana Cake from Group Recipes was more like bread than cake, so I started making it as a loaf. I have tried this recipe with various combination of nuts and other dried fruits. I ran out of brown sugar once and had to make it for a friend so decided to use grated jaggery instead. The texture was similar, and was as tasty as the original version of brown sugar.

Here is how I make it regularly -

Banana Bread with Jaggery



3 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Grated Jaggery
1 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Ener-G Replacer + 2 tbsp warm water (equal to one egg)
1 tsp Cardamom powder
1/8 tsp Nutmeg Powder
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (King Arther)
1/2 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Non Sulfured Dried Blueberries


Preparation -
Preheat oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Puree bananas, oil and jaggery together in a food processor.
Mix Ener-G egg replacer according to instructions on the package. Add the egg replacer and salt to the mixture and mix it thoroughly.
Now add baking powder, baking soda and mix well.
Add half of the flour and mix well. Add rest and make sure the batter is soft enough to move in the food processor. If necessary add 2-3 tbsp water and mix well.
Grease a 8x4 loaf pan with oil and dust it with all purpose flour.
Now gently fold chopped walnuts and blueberries.
Pour batter in the greased pan and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.
Let it cool completely before cutting it in slices.

Here is how it looks with brown sugar, vanilla, walnuts and blueberries.

Banana Bread with Brown Sugar

Tips -
1. I would suggest trying the one with brown sugar first just to get an idea about the texture and flavor.
2. I have not tried chocolate chips as I rarely have them handy.




Sunday, August 30, 2009

UkaDiche Modak - Indian cooking Challenge - Ganesh Chaturthi Special

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated bit differently in Maharashtra. Its celebrated at home as well as as community. Lokamanya Tilak transformed that into a community based event. Most of the time a group of people come together and form a committee and decide on the agenda, decoration and programs through out 10 days of the celebration. A pandal is hoisted and decorated with colorful fabric, lights, flowers. Some community decides to decorate the pandal with a theme from Mahabharat or Ramayan or choose a topic from current events. These days some communities even started using eco-friendly methods to celebrate and spread importance of making ecologically smart choices in day-to-day life. Some communities have daily programs in the evening that showcase local talent.

Here in US, we try to do as much celebration we used to do in India. We bring Ganesha home, decorate as much as we can, make garlands, draw rangoli. And of course for every festival there has to be some special food. For Maharashtrians its Modak! We believe that Lord Ganesha loves Modak, sweet coconut filled dumplings either steamed or deep fried. Almost everyone make some kind of Modak to offer as naivedya. Srivalli decided to have full set of Ganesh Chaturthi food for August challenge and I shared two recipes from Maharashtra for the challenge. But her idea was to try special food from some other region, so I tried from Andhra/Tamilnadu. I made Kudumulu and sesame laddos using Srivalli's recipes. I also made specialty from my region.

Here are the pictures and recipes -

Modak -

21 Ukadiche Modaks

Stuffing -
2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
one pinch nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp water (mom uses milk)

Cover -
1 cup rice flour
1.25 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil

Preparation for Stuffing -
Roast poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down. Grind it coarsely and keep it aside.
In a heavy bottom kadhai mix all the ingredients for stuffing except poppy seed powder and let it sit for 15 min. Now start heating the mixture over medium heat. In about 10-12 minutes, the mixture starts boiling and stuffing will turn yellowish brown and will be sticky. Take the kadhai off the heat, add poppy seeds powder and mix well. Set it aside to cool down.


Preparation for cover -
Take vessel that has tight fitting cover. Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil. When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowly add rice flour. Please do now dump everything at once. Start mixing vigorously with a heavy spoon. Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat. Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so. Then with wet hands, mix the dough properly. It will warm so be careful and use cold water to keep your hands from burning but do not use too much water. if you think the dough is little sticky, I will suggest add 1-2 tbsp maida to it and make the dough.

Making Modak (Final Product) -
Start boiling water in a large vessel that can fit a steamer. I use a stainless steel steamer that fits on a pressure cooker and water doesn't touch the steamer and use stainless steel plate to cover it. Oil the steamer and set it aside.
Make about 20 balls of the dough and 20 parts of the stuffing. Start making small puri with the dough ball on a oiled paper/aluminum foil. Keep one part of stuffing in the middle of the puri and gather the puri gently to make shape like modak. You can see the picture here - http://www.hotelshreyas.in/photo/modak.jpg. You will have to handle the dough very gently. Follow the step to make remaining modaks. Now dip each modak in cold water and put it in the steamer. Put the steamer on boiling water and cover it. Let the modaks steam for 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing modak from steamer.


Close up of Rice Flour Modak
Traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.

Nugul-untallu (Sesame Laddoo) -

Sesame Laddoo


Sesame Laddoos tastes out of the world. This one of the traditional sweets that Amma makes. I managed to prepare them this time. This is traditionally prepare with the black seeds with the skin on. Wash them well and dry them under sun.

Dry roast them in a tawa and let them cool. Once they are cool, take about 2 - 3tbsp of grated or powdered jaggary and run in a mixie. The amount of jaggary normally depends on the formation of laddoo. When you make a laddoo, it should stay in shape. Then you know the amount is enough. Also it depends on the fineness of the sesame powder. When you run in mixie, it becomes little oily which will help in holding the laddoo shape.

Kudumulu -



Ingredients
Rice Flour - 1 & 1/2 cup
Water - 3 cups.
salt to taste

Filling

Grated coconut - 3 tbsp
Jaggary - 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder a pinch.

Preparation -

In a bowl, take the flour and make a smooth paste with enough water. This is to ensure, you don't get lumps when you cook the flour. Boil the rest of the water in a pan with salt. Once it starts boiling, add the rice flour mix. and cook. Making sure there are no lumps.

Add 1 tsp of oil and keep stirring. You can remove when it forms as solid with the sides leaving. Remove and cover with a damp cloth so that it remains hot.

For the filling, grate coconut. and mix jaggary. Cook in a pan to get an thick texture. Divide into required shapes

For the kudumulu, smear your hands with oil so that rice flour doesn't stick to your hands. Take a ball size of lemon, press in middle so that in middle it is thick and fill with fillings. Close the dough and make it shaped as drop.

Once everything is done, stream it for 10 mins.

Panchakhadya -


Ingredients -
1 cup grated dry coconut
4-5 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
4-5 dried dates (Maharashtrians call it kharik)
1/2 tbsp cardamom powder
4-5 tbsp coarsely powdered mixed nuts (almonds,cashews, pistachios)
pinch of nutmeg powder

Procedure -
Dry roast grated coconut on a very light heat and set aside. Dry roast poppy seeds and grind them coarsely after cooling them for 5 minutes. Take the seeds off the dried dates and grind them coarsely as well. Mix all these ingredients and nuts powder, cardamom, nutmeg, powdered sugar together and offer to Ganesha as prasad.

I did not get time for Churma Laddoos and Boorelu, Kudaalu.
Verdict -
1. For Kudumulu 3tbsp coconut was not enough for me :). May be I am used to more filling in Modak.
2. Sesame laddoos were the easiest thing to make.

And as the title suggests, the recipes are for August edition of Indian Cooking Challenge-Festival Food.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Awards!

Here is a fruit bouquet to celebrate the lovely award by Jaya and Vaishali. Thank you both for sharing the award with me.

Fruit Bouquet For Celebration


Here are some (non)interesting things about me -

1. As a child I was extremely slow and would take at least an hour to finish my lunch or dinner. My mom would get mad at me almost daily (make that multiple times). A classmate from 4th grade who knew that 'slow' me, met me in grad school. After observing me for couple of days, she said just because I know only one girl with that name, I have to believe its you otherwise you have changed drastically!

2. My mom once made dhokla and she did not give me more than one piece as it would have upset my stomach. I still remember the corner of the house where I sat crying and saying 'I want Thokla (means block in Marathi)' and my father gave me wooden blocks of alphabets and I refused is saying not this Thokla, the eating kind! I guess my love for dhokla started back then when I was not even 4 years old.

3. You can call me jack of all trades but master of none! I love to learn things may that be embroidery, painting, knitting, crocheting, pottery or any art. I still love to spend hours playing with needle and thread or mud.

4. I worked as a faculty in a Computer Science department where my students were just a year younger to me. I really had a blast. There were times when students from other department treated me as one of them unknowingly and then apologized later for being rude.

5. I love pets. As a kid I wanted to have a cat as pet and I got one from a friend. My mom immediately asked me to return it because we were too young to take care of it. Later we owned 3 dogs. My dad was against paying money to get a purebred dog so our dogs were some stray dogs that we adopted at early age.

6. I rarely watch new bollywood movies. But Chupke Chupke is my favorite one and can watch that any day and any number of times.

7. I got interested in cooking at a very early age. My mom, all my grandmas and aunts are really good cooks. I have been making bhakri since I was 12 years old. And I rally cant name one single dish as my favorite dish. I am always ready to try any vegan/partial vegetarian food and will try recreate it.

I am not going to nominate anyone as all of you are really great bloggers and creative in a way that is very unique. I have learned something from each of you. So here is to you all -





Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tomato, Bell Pepper and Garlic Chutney

I recently got few heirloom tomatoes, couple of Fresno chilies, few tiny bell peppers. I was hoping for well growing healthy plants which would yield giant bell peppers and tons of fresnos when I planted my vegetable garden this spring. Creatures that own 'our' backyard had some other plans! squirrel ate all the pepper plants leaving just hard stems, birdies ate cilantro, basil, fenugreek and whatever they could. The only plants survived were tomato plants and mint. Later we built frames with wire net to keep these creatures out of my vegetable patch. Finally we started getting few tiny bell peppers, few stems of cilantro, garlic leaves, tomatoes! This year I decided not to harvest the almonds from trees in the backyard because I wanted save my vegetable patch for myself and let them eat the fresh nuts as many as they want. Something for me and something for me. I am happy and I hope they are happy too.



Tomatoes-bell peppers-garlic

Even though the name of the post is mouthful, the recipe is as simple as it can get -

Chutney

1 Bell pepper
1 Large tomato
4-5 Sprigs of garlic leaves
2 Small chilies (or per taste)
3-4 Cashews
10-12 Peanuts
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt per taste

Procedure -
Chop tomatoes, bell peppers and chilies in chunks. Chop garlic leaves in 1 inch pieces.
Heat oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic leaves let them wilt and add chopped peppers. Roast them on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Now add nuts and salt and roast for couple more minutes. Then add tomatoes and roast it till water evaporates almost completely.
Let the mixture cool down and grind coarsely. Adjust salt and enjoy with Adai, Idli, Pasarattu or with simple bread.

Tips -
  1. I prefer using red bell pepper as I like that flavor the most. Even though the picture shows pieces of green pepper, the variety actually yields red peppers.
  2. This is not very spicy chutney.
  3. You can use almonds/pine nuts/sunflower seeds instead of cashews ad peanuts.
  4. If you do not have garlic leaves you can use garlic chives or even a small clove of garlic.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kacchi Dabeli Sandwich

'Dabeli' was something that I ate very late in life but I am glad that I did. It is very different than any other quick meals that you get. Its not deep fried and does not have tons of butter, or may be it does and I did not notice. I still remember I had it first near 'HongKong Lane' Pune. Those who know Pune, very well know what lane I am talking about. There was this small book store at the end of the lane and then there was a Dabeliwala with his bicycle. He would warm the potato mixture spoon it on the paav and then generously apply green and tamarind chutneys, sprinkle shev, masala peanuts and pomegranate seeds and voila! the dabeli was ready to enjoy. It was fun to watch him do the whole process and the dabeli was definitely one of the better tasting ones.

In recent India visit I saw a vendor was selling 'Amul butter Dabeli' in Bombay and I kept on wondering why would someone want to add butter on such a tasty filling. But I guess there are people who like that as well that is why he is selling it.

My friend Priya got me a packet of Dabeli masala from India and I am still using it and another blogger shared some from her stash so I had plenty of reasons to share my version of recipe.

Kacchi Dabeli Sandwich

I started making sandwiches instead of making traditional style dabeli as its easier to carry it for picnics or lunches.

Potato Filling -
2-3 medium potatoes boiled
1 tbsp dabeli masala
salt and red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp oil


Green Chutney -
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup mint leaves
1-2 green chilies
salt, sugar and lime juice - per taste

Sweet Chutney -
3 tbsp tamarind pulp (as thick as possible)
6-7 pitted dates
2-3 tbsp jaggery
salt, red chili powder - per taste
pinch of cumin powder (optional)

Masala Peanuts -
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
salt, red chili powder - per taste

Other ingredients -
8 slices of bread (I use whole wheat bread)
Chopped cilantro
Few cut grapes
Finely chopped onion (optional)
Garlic chutney


Preparation -

  1. Potato filling - Skin the potatoes and mash them. Heat oil in skillet and add 1/4 tbsp dabeli masala to it. Add mashed potatoes, remaining masala, salt, red chili powder and mix it well. Add couple tbsp of water to the mixture if needed. Cover it for couple of minutes and turn off the gas. Make 4 portions of the filling.
  2. Chutneys - Grind all the ingredients of green chutney and set it aside. Also grind all the ingredients of sweet chutney and set it aside.
  3. Masala Peanuts - in a small skillet, heat oil and add roasted peanuts. Saute till nuts turn golden brown. Add salt and chili powder after taking it off the heat and set that aside as well. Let them cool down so you can handle them.
  4. Apply green chutney on 4 slices of bread. Apply potato filling on these four slices of bread evenly. Apply sweet chutney over the potato filling and sprinkle 4-5 peanuts on. Now sprinkle garlic chutney, chopped onion, cilantro, grapes. Cover with remaining four slices.
  5. Using the sandwich maker make the sandwiches as usual. If you do not have sandwich maker then heat a tava/skillet. Apply few drops of oil to the skillet and set the bread slices down. Let them turn brown on one side then turn and then cook the other side till golden brown. Serve warm with ketchup or prepared green and sweet chutney.
Tips -
  1. All the things can be prepared in advance and make the sandwiches as and when needed.
  2. The potato feeling can be used for stuffed parathas, it tastes yummm :)





Saturday, August 08, 2009

अडाई (Adai)

मी अडाई पहिल्यांदा खाल्ली त्याला बरीच वर्षे झाली. मग अचानक विसरून गेले. मग अचानक एका मैत्रिणीकडे खिसलेले गाजर आणि कोबी घातलेले अडाई खाल्ले टोमॅटोच्या चटणीबरोबर आणि मला ते खूपच आवडले. हे तिला सांगितल्यावर अमचे एकदम साटेलोटे ठरले, मी तिला पालक डाळ करुन द्यायची आणि तिने मला अडाई पीठ करुन द्यायचे. हे वर्षभर नीट चालले पण मग ती देशात निघुन गेली आणि मग तिला माझी पालक डाळ मिळेनाशी झाली आणि मला अडाई. मग रेसिपी एक्स्चेंज झाले मी ब्लॉगवर पालक डाळ तिच्यासाठी लिहिली आणि तिने इमेलमधे मला अडाईची रेसिपी पाठवली :) तर तिची ही मस्त रेसिपी लिहुन ठेवायची तर ब्लॉगवरच का नको? म्हणुन मग मी जरा त२-३ वेळा करुन पहिल्यानंतर लिहितेय -

Adai Rolls
१ भाग हरभरा डाळ (चणा डाळ)
१ भाग मूग डाळ (शक्यतो साल असलेली)
१ भाग उडीद डाळ (शक्यतो साल असलेली)
१ भाग तूर डाळ
१ भाग तांदूळ (मी ब्राउन राईस वापरला)
४ लाल सुक्या मिरच्या
२-३ पाकळ्या लसूण
चवीप्रमाणे मीठ
२ टेबल्स्पून खोबरे (सुके/ओले कोणतेही चालेल)

कृती -
सर्व डाळी आणि तांदूळ नीट निवडून धुवुन पाण्यात कमीतकमी ६-७ भिजत ठेवावे. भिजवतानाच त्यात लाल मिरची आणि लसूण घालावा. ६-७ तासानंतर त्यातले पाणी बाजुला काढुन घ्यावे आणि भिजवलेली धान्ये मिक्सरमधे / फूडप्रोसेसरमधे बारीक करावीत. शक्यतो जितके बारीक करता येईल तितके करावे. त्यात गरज लागेल तसे ते धान्य भिजवलेले पाणीच घालावे. शेवटी मीठ आणि खोबरे घालावे. पीठची कन्सिस्टंसी साधारण डोश्याच्या पिठासारखी असते. गरम नॉनस्टिक तव्यावर नेहेमीच्या डोस्यासारखे डोसे करावेत. अडाई नेहेमीच्या डोस्यापेक्षा थोडे जाडसर असतात. चटणीबरोबर खायला द्यावेत.

टीप -
१. अडाई पीठ तयार केल्या केल्या लगेचच करता येतात किंवा पुढे २ दिवसात कधीही करता येतात.
२. पीठ अंबवले नाहीतरी हरकत नाही. पण पीठात खिसलेल्या भाज्या वगैरे घालणार असाल तर मात्र पीठ खुप दिवस ठेवु नये.




Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Orange Coconut Barfi

Priya, had this amazing orange barfi on her recent visit to India and told me all about it. The combination was really interesting. I have heard about Haldiram's Santrabarfi but I am sure it has Khoya/Mava but I did not ask her. Then I remember seeing Nupur's version of Orange Basundee by Sandeepa. Looking at all these things I wanted to make something sweet with home grown oranges but did not want to use any milk product. I have tried orange rice and that also tastes great and I have blogged about it here. Then decided to try only with fresh coconut and orange juice avoiding any milk products. And result was amazing. This was special treat for Rakhi/Narali Pournima this year and I have got 'farmaish' for more!




Here is how I made it -

2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup orange juice
1.25 cup sugar (can add some more if needed)
1 tsp cardamom powder
2-3 threads of saffron
10-12 pistachios (optional)
1 tbsp orange zest (optional)

Preparation -
Start heating coconut and orange juice in a heavy bottom kadhai on a medium heat. While stirring constantly, let the orange juice evaporate almost completely before adding sugar (approx 10+ minutes).
Add sugar, saffron and orange zest to the mixture and start stirring it constantly. Meanwhile grease a plate generously and keep it ready.
The mixture will start thickening and start leaving the sides of the pan. Add cardamom powder. Let it cook for 2-3 more minutes stirring vigorously. Turn the heat off and stir the mixture before spreading the mixture in the greased plate. Spread it evenly and decorate with chopped nuts and cut the pieces in diamond or square shape.
Let the plate cool down completely before removing barfis from the plate and serving.

Tips -
  • You can use store bought orange juice or like me squeeze it fresh.
  • I used almond oil to grease the pan you can use coconut oil or earth balance.
  • You can add chopped nuts inside the mixture.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Visit to farmers market and three pepper salad

Farmers markets give me a feeling of going to Mandai/Sabji Mandi in India. I went to mandai with my mom since I was baby. My mom remembers couple of times I just disappeared in the market while she was paying the vendor. We both laugh at the memories now but, although I do not remember much, I can imagine it must have been a very scary moment for both of us. After a while I learnt to go to mandai alone. Vendors would recognize me by face and give special treatment as any girls of my age would rarely go to the mandai alone. I really enjoyed bargaining for the price while picking best possible tomatoes, okra, carrots and all the favorite sabjis. I used to be a weekly chore that I enjoyed. Later my brother started going too and then we would go alternate weekends and compare prices :)

I had been planning a trip to San Francisco Farmers Market for a while now and recently managed to go and spend entire morning there. I love the ferry plaza area, love watching people jogging, tourists taking pictures. One can easily spend few hours just watching old piers, Bay Bridge, Seagulls. Farmers market was an added attraction. I got some lovely pictures of various vegetables, fruits and flowers and picked up heirloom yellow eyed beans from Rancho Gordo, fresh berries, fresh garlic and also squeezed in a visit to Sur La Table, although I did not buy anything ;)

Here are couple of pictures -

Ferry Building

A vendor was selling variety of peppers and rhubarb. I bought all the varieties of bell peppers and sweet peppers he had. Here are some of them -

Colored peppers

Lets move on to this simple recipe -

Three pepper salad

1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 purple bell pepper
1 mango
1 small avocado (optional)
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 lemon
1 tsp Chat Masala
salt and sugar - per taste

Preparation -
Soak the garbanzo beans for 6-7 hours. Add pinch of salt to the beans and pressure cook them just enough, do not overcook. Add salt while cooking the beans. Let the cooked beans cool down to room temperature.
Wash and halve the peppers, remove seeds and dice them in 1/2" pieces. Peel mango and cube the flesh in 1/2" pieces. Dice Avocado in 1/2" pieces as well if you are planning to use it. Squeeze few drops of lemon juice on diced avocado to prevent it from turning brown.
In a large bowl, mix diced peppers, mango, garbanzo beans, avocado. Add remaining lemon juice, salt, sugar, chat masala and mix it together.
Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Salad in my favorite bowl


Tips -
  1. Watch the following link to see how to cut avocado - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAAMx_R523o&NR=1
  2. This salad can be partially prepared ahead of time. Mix everything except mango and avocado few hours or even a day in advance. Add mango and avocado at the last moment.
  3. You can use any other fruit like apple, pear, peach, plum instead of mango.
  4. You can use canned garbanzo beans but drain and rinse them before adding to the salad.


Friday, July 31, 2009

वांग्याची रस्सा भाजी (Eggplant Rassa Bhaji)

(Link to English Recipe)

कृष्णाकाठाला राहिल्यामुळे वांग्याचे बरेच प्रकार घरी केले जायचे. साधारण मार्चनंतर मंडईमधे खुप भाज्या मिळत नसत. वांगी मात्र मुबलक मिळत. प्रत्येकवेळी भरलेली वांगीच केली जात असे नाही ती कारण खुप मसालेदार होतात. डाळवांगे, वांग्याची रस्सा भाजी कधीतरी भरित. वांगीभात असे प्रकार बरेचदा अलटुन पालटुन करावे लागत. वेगवेगळ्या उसळी, यातली एखादी भाजी असेच बरेचद जेवण असे टोमॅटो वगैरे चांगले मिळाले की कोशिंबीर. आता परिस्थिती बरीच बदललेली आहे. कोबी, फ्लॉवर, मटार बरेच दिवस मिळतात असे ऐकुन आहे. कृष्णाकाठची गर्द जांभळी काटेदार वांगी म्हणजे अगदी स्वर्गसुखच :) कोल्हापुर सांगलीकडे हिरवी वांगी मिळतात त्याची पण चव चांगली असते. तशीच हिरवी वांगी खानदेशकडेपण मिळतात. पण जांभळ्या वांग्याचीच चव अप्रतीम असे माझे प्रामाणीक मत आहे! इथे देखील जापनीज वांगी मिळतात ती पण अशीच दिसायला एक्दम गर्द जांभळी पण गोल नसतात. लांबुडकी हिरव्या दांड्याची कमी काट्याची अशी ही वांगी पण चविला मस्त असतात. थाई प्रकारची पांढरी वांगीपण बरेचदाफार्मर्स मार्केटमधे दिसतात.

ही भाजी आहे माझ्या बागेत लावलेल्या वांग्यांची. जापनीज वांग्यांची ६ झाडे लावली आहेत. खुप वाढली नाहीत पण वांगी मात्र मिळतात. वांग्यांचा काढलेला फोटो चुकुन डिलीट केला गेला. पुढचा बहर आला की तेव्हा काढेन परत. आता वांगेपुराण बास करुन रेसिपी लिहीते -


Eggplant Rassa Bhaji


भारतातली वांगी असतील तर ४, जापनीज, चायनीज वांगी असतील तर २-३, इटालियन असतील तर मोठे १ पुरेल
१ मोठा कांदा
गोडा मसाला
लाल तिखट
धने जिरे पावडर १ टीस्पून (वेगवेगळी असेल तर प्रत्येकी १/२ टीस्पून)
चिंच गूळ आवडीप्रमाणे (खूप आवडत नसेल तर वगळावे)
एखादी लसणाची पाकळी (आवडत असेल तर जस्तीचे घालायला हरकत नाही)
१ टेबलस्पून खोबरे (ओले, सुके कोणतेही)
चवीप्रमाणे मीठ
२ टेबलस्पून दाण्याचे कूट
फोडणीचे साहित्य - २-३ टेबलस्पून तेल, जिरे, मोहरी, हिंग, हळद, कढीपत्ता
थोडी चिरलेली कोथिंबीर

कृती-
वांगी धुवुन देठे काढुन साधारण १ इंच इतक्या आकाराच्या फोडी करुन पाण्यात टाकाव्यात. कांदा मध्यम चिरावा (खूप बारीक नको). चिंचेत गरम पाणी घालून कोळ करुन घ्यावा. लसुण, खोबरे आणि थोडीशी कोथिंबीर एकत्र वाटुन घ्यावे (खलबत्यात घेतल्यास उत्तम पण मिक्सरवर केले तरी हरकत नाही). जाड बुडाच्या पातेल्यात तेलाची नेहेमीप्रमाणे फोडणी करावी आणि त्यात कांदा परतावा. कांदा तांबुस लाल झाल्यावर त्यात वाटलेला लसुण-खोबर्‍यचा गोळा घालावा वरुन लगेच वांग्याच्या फोडी निथळून घालाव्यात. वांगी नीट परतावीत त्यावर लाल तिखट, मीठ, गोडा मसाला, धने जिरे पावडर घालावे. नीट मिसळावे. १ कप पाणी घालावे. वरुन झाकण घालुन गॅस बारीक करुन वांगी नीट शिजु द्यावीत. वांगी शिजल्यावर चिंच, गूळ, दाण्याचे कुट, थोडी कोथंबीर घालुन एक उकळी आणावी.

टीप -
वांगी न खाणायांसाठी एखादा बटाटा घालायला हरकत नाही. भाजी थोडीशी रसदार असते. पण अगदी आमटीइतकी पातळ नसते. मी कांदा लसुण मसाला घालुन पण ही भाजी करते पण ती थोडी जास्त मसालेदार होते असे वाटते पण चालणार असेल तर घालायला हरकत नाही.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

पडवळाची भाजी (Snakegourd Bhaji)

पडवळाची भाजी मम्मी श्रावणातल्या शुक्रवारी करत असे. पुरणाच्या दिवे, पुरणपोळी, भात, वरण, टोमॅटोची कोशिंबीर आणि पडवळाची भाजी असा दर शुक्रवारचा मेनु असे. पुरणाचे दिवे लावुन मम्मी मला आणि सुबोधला ओवाळत असे. ते दिवे रात्री खायला मिळत. तो तुपाचा, पुरणचा जळका वास मला अत्यंत आवडायचा. गेले कित्येक वर्षे घेतला नाही तरीही अजुनही जाणवणारा. तर त्या नैवेद्यातली ही पडवळाची भाजी. मम्मीची अगदी मस्त होते. साधी पण अगदी चविष्ट ...


Snakegourd bhaji


१ पडवळ (साधारण पाव किलो)
१/४ कप हरबरा डाळ
१ टेबलस्पून काळा/गोडा मसाला
मीठ, लाल तिखट गुळ चविप्रमाणे
२ टेबलस्पून तेल
फोडणीचे सामान - जिरे, मोहरी, हळद, कढीपत्ता, हिंग
१-२ चमचे दाण्याचे कुट

कृती-
डाळ तासभर तरी कोमट पाण्यात भिजत घालावी. पडवळ मधोमध उभे चिरावे बिया जुन असतील तर काढुन टाकाव्यात आणि चकत्या कराव्यात. अर्धचंद्राकृती चकत्या होतील. कढईत तेल तापवून नेहमीप्रमाणे फोडणी करावी. डाळीतले पाणी काढुन टाकावे. पडवळाचे तुकडे, डाळ घालून तेलावर नीट परतावे. गरज असेल तर किंचीत पाणी शिंपडावे आणि झाकण ठेवुन अर्धवट शिजवून घ्यावी. त्यावर काळा मसाला, तिखट, मीठ, गूळ, दाण्याचे कूट घालून पूर्ण शिजवावे. वरुन चिरलेली कोथिंबीर घालून वाढावी.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh Summer!

Weather is really hot these days here. Temperatures are consistently in 80+ and no signs of cooling down in the evening either. Its getting impossible to eat any kind of spicy-hot food. We tend to eat salads, fresh rolls, different kinds of fruit drinks weekend lunches/dinner whenever we are home. Farmers market is packed with fresh stone fruits, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, corns. All the ingredients are just inviting. Simple salads are just chop chop chop vegetables and/or fruits, squeeze fresh lemon/lime juice salt and ready to eat. Sometimes I feel like adding some protein or carbohydrates and add cooked pasta, couscous, quinoa. Then it becomes nice fulfilling lunch.

Israeli couscous salad -

Israeli Couscous Salad

1 cup Israeli couscous
7-8 cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber
2 plums
1 nectarine
1 small shallot
few basil leaves
1/2 lemon
sugar salt and pepper per taste

Preparation -

Cook couscous per directions on the package and let it cool for half n hour. Cut all the fruits in bite size pieces. Cut tomatoes in two pieces. Peel the cucumber and the chop in bit size pieces. Chop basil and shallot. Mix all chopped ingredients and couscous in a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice, add sugar, salt and pepper. Let it sit for 15 minutes preferably in fridge for 15 minutes before serving.

Virgin Blueberry Daiquiri -
I have been using this recipe for strawberry daiquiri for a while now. And use it with any berry available in the season. Personally I like blueberry version more so here it is -
Blueberry Daiquiri

1/2 cup washed blueberries
Juice from 1/4 lemon
2-3 tbsp sugar (or per taste)
3-4 ice cubes

Preparation -

Blend all the ingredients together in a jar. Adjust sugar and enjoy the drink in a chilled glass.

Tips -
  1. You can use any berries in daiquiri.
  2. You can substitute any small pasta or quinoa in the salad.

भाजीचे सांडगे

महाराष्ट्रात खूप प्रकारची वाळवणे करण्याच्या पद्धती आहेत. त्यामागचा मुख्य उद्देश पदार्थ टिकवून गरजेवेळी वापरणे. यात सगळ्याप्रकाराचे पापड, कु...