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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Oilfree, Quick and Easy Chhole

After my 10th grade exams, I had visited my uncle in Mumbai and their neighbor was Punjabi family. Neighbor aunty always shared whatever she cooked that day with us. That was my first introduction to home made Punjabi food. I don't even remember if we had any Punjabi restaurants in our town at the time. So I did not have any taste references to any of the things I had during that stay. I remembering eating chhole, rajma, maa-ki-daal. And that was the first time I had chana daal as made as daal. For Maharastrian me, that was non-heard of! We always made toor daal and chana daal was used for puran poli or kairichi daal etc. I returned home from that vacation armed with rajma, chhole and few more recipes.

Chhole was the first Punjabi 'dish' I cooked. I remember I was so particular about the amount of tomatoes, onion, garlic etc. I had gone to various shops to get aamchur powder as I wanted it come out perfect! We did not have tea bag at home so I wanted to buy 'Wah! Taj tea bags' just for making chhole. My mom asked me to use loose tea powder tied in small muslin cloth! I was not very happy with that but I could not argue with my mom. Long story short, my first attempt to make chhole was successful, of course my mom's cooking skills made the whole thing go smoothly and we could eat on time that night.

Later when I actually started cooking regularly, I realized making chhole is one of the most easiest thing to do! I followed various recipes just to perfect mine. And then I settled with one that did not have any tomatoes and just aamchur. That was my go to recipe for the longest time. But things changed when I saw this recipe. It was so simple and oil free, so I had to try it immediately. And I am glad, I did! It is one of the most easy recipe I have seen and it tastes awesome! Couple of months ago TC shared very flavorful home made Punjabi Garam Masala with me and ET shared pack of Chhole masala that she had gotten from exhibition in India. I used both to make these chhole. It was one best batch of chhole I made, if I say so myself :) Anyway, here is the recipe which is just a translated version of original recipe. All the credit goes to original post. 

Easy Chhole

1 cup Dry Garbanzo Beans
1 Large onion 
1 Large Tomato 
2-3 Green Chilies
1" Blob of Ginger
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Chhole Masala
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Aamchur (use less if you do not like sour taste)
Salt per taste
Water as needed

Preparation -
Soak garbanzo beans in warm water. Keep it overnight or at least 5-6 hours. 
Pressure cook soaked garbanzo beans with little bit of salt until done. 
Dice tomato and onion add to a thick bottom utensil. Also add slit green chilies.
Julienne ginger and add it in the tomato-onion mixture. 
Now mix aamchur, garam masala, chhole masala, cumin powder,  salt (if needed) in 1 cup of water. 
Mix masala paste with onion-tomato mixture. Mix cooked garbanzo beans in masala-tomato-onion mixture.
Let it cook on low flame until everything is cooked, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Mash little while cooking and add more water as needed, consistency of these chhole is very similar to the Paav Bhaji.
Enjoy with Kulcha as suggested in original recipe or nice parathas as I did.

Tips -
  1. I have used canned chhole once but I liked the soaked chhole version more. 
  2. Make sure everything is thoroughly cooked because partially cooked onions taste terrible. 
I am sending this flavorful easy recipe to 'My Legume Love Affair' originally started by Susan, now managed by Lisa and hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shepuchi Bhaji: Dill - Pumpkin Leaves Bhaji

(Link to Marathi Recipe)

My mom makes this bhaji on 3rd day of Ganesh Utsav (Ganesh Chaturth) to celebrate arrival of  Goddess Gauri. It is believed that you offer simple light meal on the first day of Gauri puja and make full meal of Puran Poli, batata Bhaji, Varan-Bhat, Koshimbeer on the second day of Gauri's arrival. Third and the last day, my mom usually makes simple dahi-bhat (yogurt rice) for the offering.

Shepuchi Bhaji

Here is very simple recipe from my mom -

1 bunch of Dill
4-5 Tender Pumpkin Leaves
2-3 Green Chillies (Adjust according to taste)
3-4 cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Oil
2-3 tbsp Toor Daal
2-3 tbsp Rice
Salt per taste 

Preparation -
Clean dill, take only tender leaves and stems. Wash thoroughly and chop into fine dice.
Remove veins from back of pumpkin leaves, wash and chop into fine dice.
Grind garlic and chilies together.
Mix toor daal and rice together in a big enough vessel that can fit in the pressure cooker. Wash and drain all the water.
Add half of chopped greens over daal-rice.Add 1 tsp salt, chili-garlic paste, cumin seeds on it. Now cover with remaining chopped greens. Add about 1/4 cup water.
Cook in pressure cooker for 10-15 minutes. Rice and Daal should be cooked well.
Let the pressure cooker cools down, remove and mash with back of spoon. Add more salt if needed.
At this point add more oil if you want. Heat over low flame if you want but its not needed.
Enjoy warm with fresh Jowar Roti.

Shepuchi Bhaji With Bhakri

Tips -
  1. My grandma makes the same bhaji with spring onion/green onion. 
  2. Sometimes you get whole bunch of pumpkin leaves, use just 3-4 in this bhaji as you need those just for the consistency.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Makyachya KaNasacha Upama

Fresh Corn Upama

Almost all of us have memory of eating fire roasted corn, bhutta, during monsoon season. Perfectly roasted corn seasoned with right amount of chili powder, salt and lime juice makes it must have for almost everyone! Surprisingly, we did not have street vendors selling these snacks in our town. Everyone roasted their own whenever fresh corn is available. I remember my mom used to roast them on the gas stove for me and my brother as after school snack. She used to use butter or ghee with salt and little bit of chili powder to coat the corn. Ah! the aroma and flavor!!

The recipe I am going to share today is called makyachya kaNasacha chivada (fresh corn chivda) at my place. It is because of the firmer texture of grain of Indian corn. It is not as sweet as American corn either,  that makes this dish look very much like chivada. American corn is very creamy so the texture changes and becomes more like porridge so I started calling it upama. I love both the versions. It is made exactly same way -

Makyachya KaNasacha Upama

3-4 Fresh Corns on the cob (or 3-4 cups of frozen corn)
2-3 Green Chilies
1 small Onion
Salt Per Taste
½ tsp Sugar (optional)
Fistful of Chopped Cilantro
2 tbsp Peanut powder
Juice From Half Lemon
2 tbsp Oil
For Tempering - 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, Few Curry leaves, pinch of Turmeric


Preparation -
Husk the corn, and remove all the silk threads. Carefully grate the corn, reserve all the juice. If you are using frozen corn, coarsely grind it in food processor.
Cut onion into fine dice. Slit green chilies.
Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and let them splutter. Add curry leaves and green chilies. Let them sizzle for a minute or two.
Now add chopped onion, saute until light brown.
Now add corn with all its juice. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Lower the heat, cover and let the corn cook. Stir once or twice so that it does not stick to the bottom.
Add peanut powder and sugar once corn is completely cooked. Add chopped cilantro and squeeze lemon and mix.
Enjoy while its hot. You can serve it with little bit of sev.

Tips - 
  1. Adding peanut powder is my friend, Meghana's idea. I loved the little crunch it gives to the dish. 
  2. If you have fresh corn cobs and do not want to grate it, you can slice off the kernels from the cob just as shown in this video.Then you can grind the kernels in the food processor.

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