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!


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.

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