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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fire Roasted Onion Bell Pepper Chutney

Last week we did some impromptu BBQ. We had friends over for coffee after dinner on Friday evening. One of them loves bhutta (fire roasted corn on the cob). So we got some corns and started the fire. It was bit cooler and breezy that night, perfect for campfire. Instead of sitting inside sipping coffee we all enjoyed the warm bhuttas around the barbecue pit. At the end everyone was super full with bhuttas, orange cake and banana cake. The fire was still burning. We roasted some potatoes, onions and lone red bell pepper. I just removed top later of onion, washed the bell pepper and dropped in on the coals directly. We removed coal ash with damp cloth before storing. Everyone was so full that I had to keep the roasted veggies in the fridge.

Next when I called my mom, I asked recipe of amati my grandma used to make with fire roasted onions. Instead she told me this chutney recipe that grandma used to make. Its super simple and tastes great with idlis and dosa.

Roasted Onion

2 Fire Roasted Onions - medium size
1 Fire Roasted red Bell Pepper - small size
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Jaggery
1 tbsp tamarind
1 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste)
Salt per taste

Before Grinding


Preparation -
Peel the roasted bell pepper and de-seed.
Peel top 2 layers of roasted onion.
Dump everything to grinder jar.
Finely grind it and adjust the seasoning.
Keep aside for 30-40 minutes before serving.

Tips -
  • If you do not have BBQ pit, you can broil the veggies for 25-30 minutes turning couple of times.
  • You can just use onions and omit the bell pepper if you cant get one.


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leftover Magic: Breadchi Bhaji

Mummy rarely bought bread loaf on regular basis. Once a month or may be even more than that sometimes. We had very few good bakeries and getting a good bread was difficult. Few times we got bread was usually eaten as sandwiches or with butter and chili pickle. That was my favorite combination with bread. Once in a while, it was used in cutlets or eaten with some kind of usal. And most savored dish made out of day old bread - bread chi bhaji!!! Once in a while we would tell mummy to buy bread just to make this bhaji. It was something we all loved.

I used to visit some of our relatives in Kolhapur and they would buy the bread just to make this bhaji for breakfast. My mom used to just make uneven pieces and make the upma but in Kolhapur, it was always cut using knife. And I loved the way it looked. Of course both types tasted equally great. On the other hand my sister-in-law makes fine crumbs and then makes it upma style. And that tastes great too.

After coming to US, I made it once using the white sandwich bread. And people who have used it know how soft it is. And the bhaji turned out horrible. It stuck in the mouth, onion and oil did not cover the bread pieces. And I never tried to make it again until recently. Only thing I changed this time was used Sourdough bread. I had got some nice sourdough bread from farmers market. I used few pieces and rest was sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. Saturday after morning walk I decided to use it to make much wanted breadchi bhaji.

Bread Bhaji

5-6 Large slices of Sourdough Bread
3-4 Green Chilies
1 large onion
10-15 peanuts (optional)
Salt per taste
Pinch of Sugar
Chopped Cilantro
For Tempering - 2 tbsp Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, pinch of turmeric, few curry leaves

Cubed Sourdough Bread


Preparation -

>Chop onion, chilies and cilantro.
Cube the bread 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat oil in large thick bottom pan.
Make phodni as usual using mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric.
Add chopped chilies and fry for a minute. Add peanuts and fry until golden brown.
Now add onion and saute until golden brown.
Add half of chopped bread. Add little bit salt and pinch of sugar. Add rest of the bread.
Mix very well to make sure all the bread pieces are covered with tempering.
Cover for few minutes. Add chipped cilantro and mix thoroughly.
Eat while its warm.

Tips -
  • Please do not use wheat/white bread if you are in U.
  • You will need some sturdy bread for this.
  • You can use roasted peanut powder instead of whole peanuts.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deep Fried Love: RataLyachya Gharya

This post by Vaishali reminded me of 'RataLyachya Gharya' my grandma used to make very often. My mom would tell us stories of her childhood, the food she ate and helped her mom make. These puris made with sweet potatoes was one the things she always mentioned. Just before my previous visit to India, I was thinking about things that I wanted to eat in India. I casually mentioned it to my mom that I wanted to eat gharis. And as all moms would do for the kids, she had the dabba full of gharis ready the moment I entered home. These reminded me of my childhood. My grandma used to live in the same town and she would send us anything special she made. And these gharya were staple in their household. Mummy rarely made them as she would always get it from her mom. We would get one each as a snack after we come back from school. Soft (In Marathi we call it लुसलुशित) and dripping with oil :). Unfortunately they absorb so much much oil that I hesitate to make them. But recently I made them on Mother's day as a tribute to my grandma. The recipe is from my mom and its same as grandma's.

Gharage-fried
You will need -

Sweet Potatoes *
Grated Jaggery
Wheat Flour
Rice Flour
3-4 Cardamom Pods
1 tsp Ginger Powder
Oil for deep frying

Procedure -
Wash the sweet potatoes. Bake then either in microwave or in oven until soft.
Discard all the skin and mash the sweet potatoes removing all the lumps.
Now measure the pulp. You will need equal measure of grated jaggery (If you have 1 cup of pulp, you will need 1 cup off jaggery).
Pound cardamom seeds with mortar and pestle. Add cardamom powder, ginger powder, jaggery and mashed sweet potatoes together. Make sure there are no big chunks of jaggery.
Let it sit for at least half an hour.
Now mix with hands and add wheat flour and rice flour little bit at a time. Dough should be bit softer than chapati dough.
Heat oil in deep kadhai. Take a small golf size ball of dough . Carefully spread the dough ball to make a puri on a small sheet of plastic or aluminum foil using bit of oil. These puris are thicker than the normal puris we make. Gently remove it from foil fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Remove it and let it sit on paper towel sheet to cool down and to absorb excess oil.
These stay good for at least 8 days.

Tips -
Gharage-roasted
  • Shallow frying - If you are like me who do not like to deep fry, you can roast them on non stick pan like chapati/paratha. These also taste good and you feel less guilty eating them.
  • 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potatoes yield about 10 puris/gharya.
  • You can use only wheat flour if you dont want to use rice flour.
  • You can use Yams as well but they then to be less sweet than one with sweet potatoes but the color comes out very bright and nice orange.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

ChandanBatawa Thalipeeth

Chuka, Chakwat, Chandan Batawa!! This is actually not a word game but names of some leafy vegetables available in India. Of course these are Marathi names for those vegetables. I tell my mom to get these whenever I visit India.

Here are some characteristics of these vegetables -

Chuka
-
Ambat Chuka 2
Also known as Ambat chuka. As the name suggest it is extremely sour leafy green vegetable. Round, thick leaves. Light green in color and very easy to cook. It is often cooked with taro leaves as it helps dissolve the oxalic acid crystals from taro leaves. Also it helps the texture of the prepared vegetable. It is also known as green sorrel.

Chakwat - (Sorry I dont have picture of these greens) Leaves are thick and dark green with purplish shades and are triangular shaped. Thick leaves hold lot of moisture so when you hold this bunch it feels heavy. It cooks fast and best way to make it is make a kadhi like bhaji with buttermilk.

Chandan batwa -
Chandan Batwa

I just love this name, it literally means small sandalwood sachet. The leaves are thick and has powdery deposits. It has dentate leaves. This vegetable doesn't blend together after cooking so you have to use more daal or besan to stop that. It is usually made into nice daal with toor daal. Its called bathua in Hindi.

My mom always made sure we eat all the vegetables we get in the season. She tried to make it various ways so we eat it every time. Sometimes she used to make all greens mixed together. Our favorite preparation was daal like bhaji and we would finish almost everything with rice. I will share those other recipes some other time.

Today I am going to share the nice and rustic thalipeeth made with chandan batwa. It was a quick fix dinner over the weekend. Here is how I made it -

Chandan Batwa Thalipeeth

3 Cups Chopped Chandan Batwa
2 Cups Thalipeeth Bhajani
2 Cloves of Garlic
Small Piece of Ginger
2-3 green chilies (or per taste)
Pinch of Turmeric
Salt per taste
Water as needed

Preparation -
Wash and chop greens.
Grind cloves, ginger, and green chilies together.
Mix together vegetable, ginger-garlic-chili paste, salt and turmeric.
Make a dough using little water at a time. Dough should be bit softer than chapati dough.
Make 5 portions of the prepared dough.
Heat flat griddle on medium heat.
Pat one ball on the wet handkerchief or on a thick plastic to make small chapati. Make 4-5 holes in it.
Transfer it on the hot griddle upside down and remove the the cloth or plastic slowly.
Add few drops of oil through the holes made.
Cook both the sides. Make all five thalipeeths. Enjoy with chutney, koshimbeer, pickle while they are hot.

Tips -
  • If you do not have thalipeeth bhajani, mix all the flours you have to get you about 2 cups.
  • Wash the greens thoroughly before chopping.


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