Monday, October 31, 2011

GuL Papadichya Vadya

As I have shared in my previous post, I did make few vegan sweets this year for Diwali. I have been making at least one vegan sweet for Diwali for past few years. And every year I have tried new sweet and consistently gotten great results with exceptions of super flops. I do note down things somewhere so that I can revisit if it goes wrong and I can tweak things when I re-visit that recipe. That habit paid off this year as I was able to make multiple sweets very successfully this year. And I want to document the recipes so I can throw away my post-its.

This particular recipe is my aunts. I have eaten this barfi every time I visited her in Mumbai. Ingredients are readily available in almost all the Indian households. It is very simple to make and taste is to die for.  I learned this from her few years ago and have made it but then forgot about it altogether. My aunts visit in the summer reminded me of her best preparations and this was first on the list.

Here is this very simple recipe -

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Jaggery
3-4 tbsp Walnut oil (Aunt uses Ghee of course)
3-4 Green Cardamoms
2 tsp Poppy seeds (optional)
Few Walnuts or Almonds
2 tbsp Water

(1/2 bowl water to test the syrup consistency.)

Procedure -
Grease a plate which you want to spread the barfi.
Remove seeds from Cardamom and pound using mortar pestle.
Chop nuts and set aside.
Grate jaggery and set aside, it should not have pieces larger than peas.
Start roasting the flour on low to medium heat and slowly add walnut oil one tbsp at a time.The flour will change color in 5-6 minutes. Roast for another minute and add nuts, poppy seeds and cardamom mix well.
Remove the mixture in a plate and set aside.
Add grated jaggery and water in a heavy bottom utensil. Jaggery will melt into syrup. Take about 1/2 cup of tap water in a bowl. We will use this to test the thickness of jaggery syrup.
Once the Jaggery is boiled, drop one drop it in the cold water bowl. If it forms a candy like ball then the syrup is ready. If not, boil it further till the drop is converted into a *hard candy ball. (Takes about 5-7 minutes on low-medium heat)
Remove syrup from the flame and quickly add roasted flour.
Mix thoroughly but as quickly as possible.
Pour in the greased plate, cut with sharp knife while its hot into 1"x1" pieces.
Let it cool down and separate the pieces. Store in airtight container.

Tips -
  • *Approximate hard candy stage for jaggery is 265-270F. I have rarely used candy thermometer while making these kind of syrups. But if you have one use it.
  • This stage of syrup is also called as 'two thread' or don taaree paak
  • Best way to practice the syrup consistency is making rice crispy brittle or peanut brittle. I learned it with churmure/murmure ladoo. 
  • Traditionally this vadi/barfi is made for kids when they are teething. 
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Almost Vegan Diwali: And Chakali without Bhajani ...

This year I had planned to vegan sweets for diwali. I have been making couple of things vegan for diwali for past 5-6 years. It is not difficult at all. This year's special I wanted to make more sweets and push myself to make them all vegan. I succeeded! Well almost! My husband loved Besan ladoos and I did not have time to try vegan versions before diwali so I made those for him with ghee. I will share recipes one by one soon.

Another big step for me to make Chakali without my mom's supervision. I have been helping my mom make chakalis for years now. I know most of the details of her way of making these diwali special treats. I do not like deep frying so I have not made these in past 8+ years. This year my husband said he will fry them if I decide to make. But it needs bhajani. Bhajani is mixed grain and lentil flour made specially by washing, drying, roasting and grinding. Everyone has their special proportions and way of making these. I did not have any! I remembered noting down a microwave bhajani recipe from a friend. Her mom combined all the needed flours and roasted them in microwave. I decided to use her basic proportions and make little changes of my own and give it a try. It worked perfectly! As soon as my attempt was successful, another friend of mine decided to try it and it worked for her too!!!

So here is Kolekar kaku's special bhajani recipe with my changes -

Flours - 
1 cup Rice flour
1/2 cup Chick Pea Flour (Besan)
1/4 cup Urad Flour

Spices - 
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Poppy seeds
1/2 tsp Ova/Ajwain/Bishop's weed
2-3 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Salt (or per taste)

Other -
Warm water as needed
Oil for deep frying
Special equipment - Chakali press

Preparation -
Mix all the flours from 'Flours' section in a baking dish. Start oven at 350F and bake the mixed flours for about 25-30 minutes. The oven does not have to be preheated.
Remove the baking dish and let it cool down. Add all the spices and make a well in the middle of the flour.
Heat 1/4 cup oil. Drop a pinch of dry flour, it should sizzle immediately. Now pour this hot oil in the well you made in the flour. cover the oil with remaining dry flour from the side and let it cool down a bit. Mix well with spoon.
Now mix everything properly, adjust salt and chili powder per your taste.
Pour enough oil in a pan to deep fry 2-3 chakalis at a time.
With very little warm water, make the dough. It should just come together and not too soft.
Now take a portion of the dough enough to fill one chakali press. Little water at a time, make it bit softer. It should NOT be as soft as chapati dough but harder.
Fill chakali press, carefully make round chakalis in a plate or on parchment paper.
Once the oil is hot enough lower the heat to medium carefully slide chakalis in oil. Fry 2-3 chakalis at a time till golden brown on both the sides. Repeat for remaining dough.

Tips - 

  • Kolekar Kaku uses soaked and fine ground Urad dal instead of urad flour and uses that to make the dough and water if needed. 
  • You can roast flours in microwave per your judgement. 
  • If you make the dough too soft them the chakali will not look spiky enough and can get softer. 
  • Deep fry chakalis on a medium to low heat as they need to be cooked thoroughly. 

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Diwali Special Photo Feature - Chirote

"Stop playing in the mud, clean up yourself and get the diyas ready for the evening."
"But mummy, we are almost done! We are just finishing with the fountain..."
"Come inside now, both of you. S you start preparing for diyas. Minu, you start with rangoli I will come and see... "
"But ... but ..."
"I said NOW... we have to finish making chirote tonight for tomorrow's faral ..."

My brother and I could never win an argument with her so when she said stop, with little to no resistance we would do what was told. She would finish make all diwali delicacies with our help in 3-4 days. I love everything she makes for Diwali but her chirote are the best! She used to make these for Diwali every year. These days she waits until all of us around to eat. This puff pastry like delicacy is very time consuming and needs skillful hands like my mom. In the past, I have helped her make these under her supervision. Last year I decided to take pictures while she and my sister-in-law were making it.

"Minu, sieve rava, maida properly"
"Yes mummy! It is done. Shall I heat oil?"
"Make nice well in the flour and pour the hot oil in there carefully. Did u add salt and sugar?"
"Use very little water, make the dough stiff."
"USE VERY LITTLE WATER!!! Make a nice ball and cover with wet towel and leave it aside."

Fast forward couple of hours ...

"Pound the dough nicely ..."
"Why cant we use more water and make the dough soft... this is too hard to pound... can I stop now?"
"Is the dough soft like chapati dough?"
"Then keep on going!!!"
"Ok.. done!!!"

Even the stone mortar and pestle look tired to me ...


"Now divide the dough in same size balls... you should make balls in multiples of 3. Cover the rest of the balls while you are rolling the first one..."
"Make the very thin chapati ... as thin as possible ... it should be almost paper thin ..."

"Slightly flour these and carefully fold and set them aside ..."


"Okay, this is the last chapati, now start spreading oil and fine rice flour alternately. Spread uniformly..."
"How much oil should I use? I remember you used to whip homemade butter and rice flour in the past."
"Yes!! Traditionally you beat sweet butter until fluffy, add rice flour and mix well. I used to spread this mixture between the chapatis. But recently I decided to give it a try with oil. It comes out great too with oil."
"Approximately how much oil do you use?"
"About 1 tablespoon oil and little less rice flour than that for 10-12 inch chapati."
"How much butter if someone wants to use it?"
"Approximately same amount."


"Now carefully spread 2nd chapati over it and repeat oil-rice flour layer"


"Repeat with 3rd chapati ..."


"Now make nice roll. Very carefully press every fold, and the folds should stick to each other. The roll should not be loose."


"Press the roll..."

"Repeat these steps with remaining chapatis. Cover all the rolls with wet towel."


"Now cut one roll. Make each piece approximately 1" thick"


"Press one piece vertically so that all the layers of the roll look like a rose."

Stand up

"Roll the piece lightly into a rose"


"Make one chirota at a time ..."

Ready for deep frying

"Fry it before making the next one ..."


"Press in the middle, make sure the center is covered with oil. Center should be fried thoroughly. Use medium hot oil so it stays golden brown and center is gets fried properly.."


"Each layer should be nicely separated and crisp ..."


"Sprinkle powdered sugar ... and enjoy"

1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup Fine Semolina (Rava/Suji)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
3 tbsp hot Oil
Water as needed
Oil for spreading and deep frying
Powdered/confectioners sugar to sprinkle

Tips -
  • Given measurements should yield 10-12 chirote.
  • Some people make thick sugar syrup and dip deep fried chirote immediately to make 'Pakatale chirote'. We like sprinkled more than syrupy.
  • You can use one food color and make alternate colored chitore. 

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ambat Chuka Or Green Sorrel Bhaji

(Link to Marathi Recipe)

I love all the leafy greens we get in India green sorrel, red sorrel, amaranth, fenugreek to name a few. There are various vegetables I know by Marathi names but haven't had time to find English names like Chakvat. I make sure I eat them as much as I can in my India trip. The bhaji I am going to share today is my most favorite. I love it for its sour taste as well as the bright green color. My mom's versions is my most favorite.

1 Bunch of Green Sorrel
1/8 cup Chana Daal (or toor+Chana daal mixed together)
1/8 cup Peanuts
1-2 tbsp Roasted Peanut Powder
Small piece of Jaggery
Kanda Lasun Masala (or Goda Masala + red Chili Powder)
Salt per taste
2-3 large cloves of Garlic
2-3 tbsp Dried Coconut
For Tempering - 2tbsp Oil, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, Pinch of Turmeric, Pinch of Hing, Few Curry leaves
Water as needed

Ambat Chuka 2

Preparation -
Pluck leaves and tender stems of the greens. Wash thoroughly, drain and chop.
Mix daal and peanuts, wash thoroughly in a pressure cooker that can hold chopped greens and daal together.
Add chopped vegetable. add about 1/2 cup of water.
Pressure cook until done.
Once pressure cooker is cooled down, whisk the vegetable and daal thoroughly.
Grind garlic and coconut.
Make tempering as usual in a tall utensil.
Add coconut-garlic paste, saute for few seconds. Do not burn it.
Add daal vegetable mix, salt, kanda lasun masala, jaggery.
Add more water if needed. Boil it over low heat.
Mix in peanut powder just before shutting the heat off.
Enjoy with chapati, jowar roti or rice.

Tips -
  1. It is a very sour vegetable so it s mixed with Taro leaves to make sabji like I have shared here. 
  2. Please boil on lower heat and try to make it in a taller pot as it splutters while boiling.

आंबट चुक्याची पातळ भाजी (Green Sorrel Maharashtrian Style)

(Link to English Recipe)

भारतात गेले कि वेगवेगळ्या पालेभाज्या खाणे हा एक मोठा कार्यक्रम असतो. इथे खूप नवीन भाज्या मिळता असल्या तरी लहानपणापासून खाल्लेल्या भाज्यांची चव जिभेवरून हलणे शक्य नाही. तिकडे गेले कि सकाळ संध्याकाळ घरीच जेवणे हा माझा मुख्य कार्यक्रम असतो. त्यातलीच हि एक आंबट चुक्याची भाजी. मम्मीने केलेली असेल तर अगदी स्वर्गसुख! 

अंबटचुक्याची एक पेंडी
मुठभर हरबरा डाळ (किंवा तुरीची आणि हरबर्‍याची निम्मी निम्मी)
मुठभर शेंगदाणे
१-२ लहान चमचे दाण्याचे कूट
लहान खडा गूळ
लाल तिखट
गोडा मसाला
२ पाकळ्या लसूण + २ टेबलस्पून खोबर्याचा छोटा गोळा एकत्र वाटून (वगळण्यास हरकत नाही)
फोडणीसाठी - तेल, कढीपत्ता, हिंग, जिरे, मोहरी, हळद, हिंग
पाणी लागेल तसे

Ambat Chuka 2

कृती -

भाजी निवडून, धुवुन, चिरुन घ्यावी.
डाळ आणि दाणे धुवुन घ्यावेत.
कुकरला डाळ(किंवा डाळी), दाणे, भाजी आणि थोडे पाणी घालून शिजवुन घ्यावे.
शिजलेली भाजी नीट घोटुन घ्यावी.
उभ्या पातेल्यात तेलाची फोडणी करुन घ्यावी. त्यात लसुण खोबर्‍याचा गोळा घालावा. लगेच वरुन घोटलेली भाजी घालावी.
मीठ, तिखट, मसाला आणि थोडे पाणी मस्त उकळी काढावी.
शेवटी गूळ आणि दाण्याचा कुट घालून एक उकळी आणून गरम असताना वाटीत घेउन मस्त ओरपावी.
भाकरी, चपाती, भात कशाहीबरोबर मस्तच लागते.


  • ही भाजी नावाप्रमाणे अंबट असते. पाने कडक आणि गोलसर असतात. देठदेखील बरेच मौ सतात. भाजीचे एखादेच पान किडके असते. आणलेल्या जुडीतले अगदी कमी वाया जाते.
  • याला मस्त बेझिलसारखे पण लालसर दिसणारे तुरे येतात. याच्या बिया देखील शेवरीच्या कापसासारख्या असतात.
  • चुका आणि आळूची एकत्र भाजी करतात कारण आळूमधला खाजरेपणा चुक्यातल्या अंबटपणामुळे जातो. ती भाजी अशी करतात -
  • चुका-चाकवत देखील एकत्र भाजी मस्तच लागते.
  • शिजवलेला चुका एकदम मस्त मिळून येतो.
  • भाजी शक्यतो मोठ्या उभ्या पातेल्यात करवी कारण खुप उडते भाजी ही :)

भाजीचे सांडगे

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