Monday, May 24, 2010

Dhokla from Scratch

I remember eating dhokla first time when I was 5 years old. We had a Gujarati neighbors and my mom had learned to make it from that lady. I think it was Sunday morning and we had at for breakfast. Later that afternoon when my mom was serving lunch she told my father not to give anymore dhokala to me as I have had enough already. As soon as I heard it, I went to hide behind the door as I was mad. I wanted to eat more dhokla and mom was not giving it to me so I did not want to eat lunch. My father started calling me to lunch I did not budge. He finally started looking around and found me crying. He asked me the reason and I told him I want Thokala (ठोकळा - a wooden block in Marathi). I had a nice wooden block set I used to play with all the time and my father got the box to me. I refused it and kept on asking and I kept on saying 'I want Thokala'! It went on for few more minutes and my mom interrupted us. She immediately came to know that it was about dhokla and not thokla when she heard the arguments!! My parents still remember the incident whenever my mom makes dhokla. And to this day, I love dhokla as much as I did that first time. Here is my mom's version of it


1 cup Chana Daal
1 tsp Citric Acid
1 tbsp Grated Ginger
2-3 Green Chilies
1 tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt per taste

For tempering -
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
10-15 curry leaves

Chopped cilantro for garnish
Water as needed


Procedure -
Pick over, wash and soak Chana Daal for 3-4 hours. Drain the daal before using.
Add 1 liter water in steamer or pressure cooker and let it boil. Oil a small vessel that fits in the steamer and set it aside.
In a food processor or wet grinder grind ginger, green chilies and soaked daal. Scrape the sides of frequently while grinding. Use about little bit of water as necessary. You may need to use about 1/4 cup water.
Add salt, sugar, turmeric and citric acid and grind it once more. Consistency should be like idli batter.
Now add Eno fruit salt and grind quickly. It should mix thoroughly but avoid over beating.
Pour this batter in the oiled vessel and keep the vessel in steamer.
Steam it on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. If you are planning to use pressure cooker, do not keep the weight/whistle on.
Meanwhile, heat oil in small kadhai and make tempering as usual and set it aside.
Once the dhokla is steamed, remove it promptly and let it cool down completely before making pieces.
Pour half of the tempering over and some chopped cilantro. Gently flip the pieces out in a plate and pour remaining tempering and cilantro.
Serve warm.

Tips -
  1. You can make the dhokla using mix of chana, toor and mung daal or any individual daals.
  2. You can make dhoklas using idli moulds as well. These look beautiful and easy to serve.
  3. You can garnish with fresh coconut as well, I prefer it without coconut.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage-Potato Paratha

Last weekend we spent the whole day in the backyard, planting, cleaning, weeding. And result was empty fridge with half head of red cabbage, few potatoes, chilies and cilantro. That was it. I really did not have energy to go for going grocery shopping. I wanted to make these cutlets. It is one delicious recipe of cutlets. I have made it various times in the past. But today I needed something filling for dinner. So I decided to make stuffing using similar combination for stuffed paratha. The result was amazing. It was one healthy and satisfying meal. And most importantly, everything was done in 30 minutes!!! Its a keeper recipe.

The Stuffing
Stuffing -
1/2 Head of Red Cabbage (about 3 cups shredded)
1 Large Potato
2 Green Chilies (or per taste)
Salt per taste

Cover -
2 cups Wheat Flour
2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt per taste
1 tbsp cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp Oil
Water as needed

Preparation -
Cover -
Mix everything except water. Knead together using little water at a time. Dough should be like chapati dough.
Set it aside for at least 15-20 minutes.

Stuffing -
Microwave potato and peel. Mash it and keep aside.
Remove the core of the cabbage and chop it into big pieces. Add these pieces in a food processor. Add green chilies and salt. Pulse it to shred. Set it aside for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze shredded cabbage to remove as much water as you can. This water can be used for soups or rice.
Now add mashed potato to the cabbage and mix well. Stuffing is ready.

Making Paratha -
Heat tava on medium heat. Make about 8-9 golf ball sized balls of the stuffing. Make 8-9 balls of dough. Using bit of flour, make a cup out of dough. Put the stuffing in that cup and close it slowly sealing the stuffing. Lightly roll the paratha lightly flouring it if needed. Make the paratha as think as you prefer. Make sure the stuffing doesn't come out while you are rolling. Transfer it to hot tava and cook both the sides properly. Use little oil to roast the paratha if you wish.
Serve warm with either with chutney, koshimbeer or pickle.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Niloufer's Pomelo Salad

She raved about Niloufer's book 'My Bombay Kitchen', even wrote a post about it. After hearing so much I had to borrow the book and after reading it, I had own it. Niloufer's writing style is very casual but very informative at the same time. I am very much interested in the food habits of people and their culture. This books satisfies both my interests. Parsis traditions, their festivals and the kind of food they eat is so interesting to read.

Pomelo Salad and Book

Another interesting thing about this book is illustrations. Illustrations of everyday kitchen objects like tortoise shaped coconut grater to wooden flour sieve took me down the memory lane instantaneously. The best illustration from the book is of Parsi Food Pyramid!!!

I wanted to try something from the book for so long but was not able to settle on anything. Recently a friend told me about easy pomelo(called papanas in marathi) peeling technique from the book. I love pomelos but they are pain to peel. As a kid it used to be my job to remove seeds from pomegranates or getting flesh out of pomelos or removing orange segments. And believe me it is a most dreadful thing to do! But Niloufer's technique is so easy and best of all it works like a charm!!

Pomelo Salad

Here is simple pomelo salad from this book -
1 Pomelo
1 Avocado
1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro
Pinch of Salt
1 Green Chili (optional)

Procedure -
Remove the thick outer layer of the pomelo and keep white membrane intact. Let it sit for few hours or overnight. Then remove the segments by peeling the white membranes off. The segments can be removed in one piece.
Remove pit from avocado and chop it in big chunks.
Very gently mix everything together. Enjoy it with anything. I had it bowl full for lunch. It is so refreshing for summer.

Tips -
  1. The book also has a version with coconut which I have not tried yet. But I am sure it tastes as good as this one.
  2. It can be eaten as snack too.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Khandeshi Style Methichi Bhaji

In last few days, I am receiving packets from my friends from Maayboli. There packages of some wonderful books and painting I wanted to have for a very long time, there are multiple packets of different seeds from various friends and then there is a friend who gave me bag full of vaal beans and another one gave me nice and shiny food grade silver leaf called varkh to be used on barfis and all. These are a bunch of wonderful friends who make me laugh, encourage me, make me think and make me understand various issues. And they are avid readers.
And there is another group of friends with whom I can constantly talk about food. We have spent hours and hours talking about food, cooking methods and various cookbooks. They share their knowledge and listen to my constant chatter. These are on my 'go to' people's list when it comes to trying a new technic or recipe. And they love to read too!

I wanted to share something that I created myself that can be used as long as they want. I decided to make some bookmarks. I am taking drawing class these days and have to practice weekly. Once I get bitten arts and crafts bug, I keep on going for a while before moving onto something else. It is not possible to draw/paint anything big on daily basis so I chose to create these bookmarks using watercolor papers and watercolors. I enjoyed making them and I hope you will enjoy using them.

Here are some that I made recently -

Bookmarks -2

Now lets come to today's recipe, Khandeshi style methichi bhaji. It is a mouthwatering combination of daal, fenugreek and peanuts. Here is how it is made -

Dane lavun Methichi Bhaji

1 bunch of Methi (fenugreek)
1/2 cup Toor Daal
1/2 cup Peanuts
5-6 Spicy Green Chilies (or use per taste)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Coriander Powder (optional)
1 tsp Garam Masala (optional)
Salt per taste
2-3 cup Water
For tempering - 3-4 tbsp oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2tsp mustard seeds, pinch of hing, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Preparation -
Pluck methi leaves. Wash thoroughly and chop. You should have about 3-4 cups of chopped methi leaves.
Wash toor daal, add chopped methi and enough water to cook (about 1 cup) in a pressure cooker. Cook it for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
Meanwhile, dry roast peanuts, green chilies separately.
Grind peanuts, garlic, chilies, coriander powder, garam masala to fine paste using very little water.
Heat oil in a thick bottom vessel. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let it splutter. Then add hing and turmeric powder. Gently pour ground peanut-masala paste. Roast it thoroughly on low-medium heat. At the end you will notice the oil starts separating from masala.
Add cooked daal-methi. Add salt per taste. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes.
Enjoy it with chapati or cooked quinoa or rice.

I am sending this to Susan for MLLA-23 hosted by the event creator.

Tips -
  1. If you do not have fresh methi, you can use frozen methi. If you like bitterness of methi seeds, you can use it instead of methi leaves.
  2. Green tomatoes can be used instead of methi.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Blog Bites - Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes

It was about 6-7 years ago when I discovered wonderful flavor of hazelnuts. It was my first visit to Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco. Their menu was full of all vegan choices and very creative names for all they offered. 'I Am Lusciously Awake' was the smoothie that had all my favorites - Hazelnut milk, Raw chocolate and Raw espresso. They make their coffee decoction using a very special equipment that does not use hot water. As you can imagine I just loved visiting that cafe every so often.
My friends took me to this same cafe for my birthday dinner couple of years ago. The dinner was amazing as usual. But then they told the waitress about the special occasion and they offered a raw chocolate brownie and guess what was in it? Yes!!! Same wonderful hazelnuts! After that I started looking for hazelnuts in the chocolate based dessert.


I saw vendors selling hazelnuts in various flavors in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. And I had to buy it. I got raw, toasted and maple sugar coated varieties. They all are to die for. I stored the raw nuts in freezer to keep them fresh. I wanted to use them in chocolate cake. My search for a perfect hazelnut chocolate cake recipe began immediately but somehow tapered down as I got more and more busy with day today chores. Then few days ago, I had to bake something for my friend's son as we were planning to visit them. I made The cooker's basic chocolate cake for him and that's when it struck to to use that recipe tweaking it to use hazelnut meal! Hurray. I made a loaf next week and then the cupcakes in few more weeks. My coworkers enjoyed the loaf cake and my friend's daughter enjoyed the cupcakes.

Hazelnut Chocolate MiniCupcakes

Here is the tweaked recipe -

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
0.5 Cup Toasted Hazelnut Meal (see note below)
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brewed Coffee (1 cup warm water + 1tbsp instant coffee)
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar

Preparation -
Preheat oven for 375F.
Line the mini muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking soda, salt. Make sure everything is mixed well.
Now add oil, brewed coffee, vanilla extract together. Mix well using food processor or whisk.
Add the mixed dry ingredients to the mixed oil-coffee mixture in two batches. Make sure everything is mixed well.
Add vinegar and mix quickly. Avoid over beating.
Fill the cupcake liners. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
It makes around 30 mini cupcakes or about 12-15 normal sized cupcakes.

Note - Layer 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and keep it in the oven for 15 minutes at 250F. Turn it in 7-8 minutes. Cool it for few minutes and pulse it in grinder to make hazelnut meal.

Nupur, what do you think about this as a dessert for your Blog Bites - Adaptation party?

It is also going to Champa's Bake Off!!

Tips -
  1. You can use almond, walnuts instead of hazelnuts.
  2. If you do not want to use coffee, just use plain water.

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