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Friday, October 5, 2012

Pav Bhaji (Bread with mashed veggies)

If you have ever been to Bombay..oops.. Mumbai, especially if you have wandered on the chowpatties or streets with roadside food vendors, you must have noticed a guy with a big masher mashing away something on a huge flat round griddle or Tava. On the same tava he is frying some crisp pav or bread. You got it right my dear foodies, I am talking about Pav bhaji, Mumbai's favorite street side food.
Pav Bhaji literally means 'Bread with vegetables'. A spicy magical concoction of veggies like - potatoes, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, onions, capsicum -  all of them mashed until they lose their individual identity. A Pav (in Marathi for bread) crisp fried with Amul butter is served alongside. Sides and garnishes include slice of lemon or chopped onions or raita or cucumber and onion slices; every vendor has his own style.
But one thing that no one forgets is the blob of butter on top of bhaji...yummm.

Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji - Recipe
Onions - 1 + 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 cups, finely chopped (substitution : tomato paste)
Capsicum / Green Pepper - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Potatoes - 2-3 medium sized
Cauliflower - 1 cup
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 3-4 cloves (substitution : garlic paste - 1 teaspoon)
Red chilli powder - 2 teaspoons
Pav Bhaji Masala - 2 tablespoons
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander leaves - handful, chopped
Lemon - 3-4 wedges
Salt - As per taste
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Butter - 4-5 tablespoons
Pav (Substitution : regular sandwich bread)

1. Boil cauliflower, peas and potatoes. Peel the potatoes and mash all these veggies and set aside.
2. Make a paste of the garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder.
3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan and add the above (garlic and red chilli) paste and turmeric powder.
4. Add 1 cup of finely chopped onions and saute' until the onions are soft.
5. Add finely chopped tomatoes and capsicum. Saute' until everything is soft and well cooked.
6. Add rest of the red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and salt and mix well.
7. Add the mixture of mashed veggies and mix well.
8. Add a cup of water, cover and cook.
9. Mash the bhaji with the potato masher and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
10. Adjust salt and chilli or masala.
11. Slice the pav and butter it on all sides. Fry it on a tava / griddle until lightly browned and crisp on all sides.
12. Take the rest of 1/4 cup of finely chopped onions. Sprinkle a little salt, red chilli powder and salt on these. This masala onion can be served alongside bhaji or as garnish.
13. Garnish the bhaji with chopped coriander leaves and 2 teaspoons of amul butter or more ;-).
14. Serve along with a wedge of lemon and the masala onion and the crisp buttered pav.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thai Chicken Massaman Curry

Situation - You receive a phone call saying your husband's Uncles and Aunts are visiting for a couple of days. Sometime back, your knowledge base was updated that they love trying out different cuisines, provided the food is spicy. Alright, so here's your chance to impress them.

Solution - To your rescue... comes Thai cuisine....hot and spicy just like we Indians love, yet a distinct flavour, easy to make and hence easy to impress ;-).

But let's play safe...the closest cousin of Indian Chicken curry is the Thai Chicken Massaman Curry. Massaman is just an old word for Muslim, cause that's where the origins of this curry are. This curry is heavy on spices and just like other Thai curries uses coconut milk to tone it down. Chicken can be substituted with beef, mutton, lamb or tofu. Spices like - Red chillies, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, black peppercorns is what makes this curry hot and spicy. Now you will say, 'That is exactly what we use in Indian curries'. But wait, there are some Thai cuisine - specific ingredients like Galangal, Fish sauce, Lemongrass, Cassia leaves and shrimp paste that sets this curry apart from the Indian curries.

Thai Chicken Massaman Curry
Thai Chicken Massaman Curry


Thai Chicken Massaman Curry - Recipe
Chicken - 1/2 Kg. (I used boneless here)
Potato - 1 medium sized, cubed
Onions - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
Roasted peanuts - handful
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Cassia leaves - 2-3 (Substitution : Bay leaves)
Coconut Milk - 1 and 1/2 - 2 cups
Paprika - 1/4 teaspoon
Fish sauce - 1/8 teaspoon (Substitution : soy sauce)
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Massaman curry paste - store bought or homemade - see the recipe below.

For Massaman Curry paste: (Or just get a packet of Massaman Curry paste from store)
Dry red chillies - 2-3
Black Peppercorns - 2-3
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Coriander seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Coriander stalks - 1-2
Lemon grass - 1 stalk
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Shallots - 1 small
Mace - 1 small piece (Hindi : Javitri)
Shrimp paste - 1/4 teaspoon (Can be found in Asian supermarkets)
    Dry roast peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, red chillies, cumin seeds, mace and coriander seeds. Ground these spices. Make a paste of these powdered spices, ginger, coriander stalks, garlic, shallots, lemon grass and shrimp paste. This paste can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add Cinnamon and Cassia/ Bay leaves.
2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the Massaman Curry Paste and saute' until fragrant.
3. Add cubed chicken pieces and mix well with the paste. Cover and cook for a minute.
4. Add Coconut milk and Paprika and mix well. Add half a cup of water and cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add onions, potatoes and roasted peanuts. Add fish sauce. Fish sauce is for Thai cuisine, what soy sauce is for Chinese. But you can always substitute it for soy sauce or salt, if you don't find one in the stores.
6. Add sugar and water and let simmer until the oil separates or chicken is cooked.

Serve hot with the fragrant Jasmine rice. (Substitution : Basmati rice)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)

'Hmm, is that cream or is that cashews?', 'That's Kasuri methi, isn't it?', 'I get a hint of a taste of ginger'. These are some of the dialogues that my hubby hears every time we eat out. He calls it 'verbal deconstruction' of recipes. But, I mean, come on, don't we all ladies do it? I am sure each one of us has committed the crime at least once in their lifetime, especially when it comes to our favorite dishes.
I love recreating restaurant style dishes at home, especially those Punjabi style creamy dishes. And this recipe of Matar Paneer was one such inspiration. It has a thick creamy restaurant style gravy with peas and paneer. Sop it up with a roti or chapati or ladle it on some rice, it is equally delicious and easy to prepare exotic gravy.

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)
Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)



Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry) - Recipe
Green Peas (Matar) - 2 cups
Paneer (Cottage cheese) - 1 packet of 100 grams / 1 and half cups of cubed paneer
Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes - 1 and half cups chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch small stick
Dry red chillies - 2
Kasuri Methi - 1-2 pinches
Cashews - handful
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fresh Cream - 1/4 cup
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Salt and oil

1. Soak green peas in hot water with a pinch of salt for at least half an hour.
2. In a separate small bowl, soak a handful of cashews and poppy seeds in water for an hour and make a paste.
3. Heat a couple of spoons of oil in a pan and fry the cubes of Paneer on a low flame, until lightly browned.
4. Remove the paneer from the pan and keep aside.
5. In the same pan, add some more oil, heat it and temper with clove, cinnamon, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and the dry red chillies.
6. Add chopped onions and saute' until golden brown. Add Kasuri Methi and ginger garlic paste and saute'. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute' until soft.
7. Here comes a bit of a twist to get that restaurant style creamy gravy...Get this mixture out of the pan and put it in a blender. Let it cool down a little bit and then blend it. To this add the paste of cashews and poppy seeds. You can leave the whole mixture chunky if you want or blend it into a creamy mixture.
8. Now for the final time, use the same pan to heat a couple of spoons of oil. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the hot oil. Immediately add the blended mixture, stir and mix well.
9. Drain and add the peas to the pan. Add paneer cubes, salt and mix well. Cover and cook until the peas are soft and paneer has soaked up some flavour.
10. Beat the fresh cream and add it to the gravy. This give nice exotic flavour to this delicious creamy curry. Simmer for a minute and your restaurant style Matar Paneer is ready.
Relish with Roti or Rice.

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)
Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)



Monday, September 17, 2012

Mango Lassi (Indian Mango Smoothie)


A tall glass full of cool creamy sweet drink garnished with a generous amount of pistachios, so thick and full of 'malai' (cream) that you might need a spoon to eat it, rather than drink it.
Well, that's my memory of Lassi I had at a street side vendor in Delhi, some 5 years back. Ever since I have been on a hunt for similar lassi in various other cities, but in vain. Some lack the creaminess, some lack the right amount of sweetness, and some others the generosity of the quantity and pistachios. Nonetheless, we always have our own kitchen. So summer or not, having a nice creamy lassi loaded with pistachios and cream, at home is always a treat.

Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi - Recipe
Yogurt - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Fresh Cream - 1/2 cup
Mango pulp - 1 and 1/2 cups (or 1 cup of chopped mangoes)
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Pistachios - 1-2 teaspoons chopped
Saffron - a pinch of crushed saffron

1. Blend Yogurt, Milk, Cream, Mango Pulp, Sugar and Cardamom powder all together in a blender.
2. Garnish with crushed saffron and pistachios.
3. Chill and serve.



Event Participations:
1. Spicing your life's 'Kids Delight Potluck'

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rajma / Red Kidney Beans Curry

Wow, I can't believe, it's been a month I haven't blogged. Now that I am back, I can almost hear my heart singing in joy. I know, I know, that's just an exaggeration of a happy heart, a foodie soul and the effect of a hectic and insanely busy month.
Someone truly said, when you go away from something you like, that's when you realize how much you love that thing. That's exactly what happened, the past whole month I have realized how much I love blogging and I mean all aspects of it, the writing, cooking, photography, my blogger friends, their comments, events, the awards and the list goes on and on.
Alright, so here I am with a simple, hearty Punjabi style Rajma / Red Kidney Beans curry. After a long long time, I went for grocery shopping yesterday and I guess I might have gone a little overboard. I almost made that guy at the checkout counter cry, and I don't even want to think about those furious looks of people behind me. So, anyways, I bought these wonderful nutritious dried red kidney beans to make the famous North Indian Rajma Chawal. This Rajma curry along with some rice aka Rajma Chawal made a fulfilling and a comforting meal at the end of a long insane month.

Rajma  / Red Kidney Beans Curry
Rajma  / Red Kidney Beans Curry


Rajma Curry - Recipe
Rajma or red kidney beans (dried) - 1 cup
Rajma Beans (Dry and Boiled)
Rajma Beans (Dry and Boiled)

Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes - 1 cup chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon (Homemade or store bought)
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Kasuri Methi - couple of pinches
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Bay leaves - 1-2
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - couple of pinches
Salt
Oil


1. Soak red kidney beans for almost 7-8 hours or overnight.
2. Cook Rajma in pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and a pinch of asafoetida for 3-4 whistles. Don't throw any leftover water or the rajma stock. The same can be added to the curry later.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add a clove, a 1/2 inch small stick of cinnamon and a couple of bay leaves.
4. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder.
5. Add chopped onions and saute' until golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and tomatoes and saute' until soft.
6. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and garam masala powder. Crush some kasuri methi in your palm and add that too.
7. Saute' and add the boiled red kidney beans. Mix well.
8. Add salt, 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and the leftover rajma stock. Also, add a cup of water. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
9. Garnish with some more kasuri methi and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice or roti, if you prefer.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chicken Curry (CKP style Chicken Rassa)

I had received around 2-3 requests for a chicken curry recipe since last month, some through emails and some personal. So I made this traditional CKP style Chicken Curry right away and believe me, I had been meaning to post it since a long time. But I was absolutely not happy with that picture and taking another better picture would have required some more patience and hunger control, which I had lost after making this elaborate recipe. 'Cause believe me, though the recipe seems a little time consuming, the aroma and the taste of this traditional style CKP Chicken Rassa is phenomenal and certainly pays for all those efforts.

Chicken Curry (CKP style Chicken Rassa)
Chicken Curry (CKP style Chicken Rassa) 
Chicken Curry - Recipe
Chicken - 1/2 Kg.
Onions - 2 medium
Tomato - 1
Ginger - small 1/4 inch piece
Garlic - 5-6 cloves
Green chillies - 2
Coriander leaves - few sprigs
Yogurt - 1-2 teaspoons
Coconut - 1 - 2 tablespoons (grated or scraped)
Cloves - 1-2
Cinnamon - small 1/4 inch piece
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 1 teaspoon
Caraway seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Dry red chillies - 2
Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Black Pepper (whole) - 3-4
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1-2 teaspoons
Salt and Oil
For Tempering:
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - small 1/4 inch piece
Bay leaves - 1-2
Asafoetida powder - 1-2 pinches

1. Make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chillies and a handful of coriander leaves.
2. Marinate chicken pieces with this paste along with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, some salt and yogurt. Keep aside for at least an hour.
3. Slice one onion and finely chop the second one. Finely chop the tomatoes.
4. Add a teaspoon of oil to a pan or a Tawa. Add the sliced onions and saute' on a low flame until the onion turns golden brown.
5. Remove the onion from pan and keep aside. Add the scraped/grated coconut to the pan and roast on low flame until light brown. Remove and make a paste of this onion and coconut with the help of water.
6. On the same pan, add the spices - Cloves, cinnamon, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper and dry red chillies. Dry roast these spices on a low flame until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Grind them into powder when cool.
7. Heat oil in a pan. Temper with Clove, cinnamon, bay leaves and asafoetida powder.
8. Add the chopped onion and saute'. Then, add finely chopped tomatoes and saute'.
9. Add the dry roasted spice powder. You can add all of it or half of it and then adjust the spice level later.
10. Add marinated chicken. Mix everything well and cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
11. Add the coconut - onion paste, salt and a cup of water. Cover and cook the chicken. Adjust the red chilli powder, spices and salt.
12. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chapati, roti or rice.


Chicken Curry (CKP style Chicken Rassa)
Chicken Curry (CKP style Chicken Rassa) 
Some variations:
1. Add coconut milk instead of scraped coconut.
2. You can use the same recipe for boneless chicken


Monday, July 16, 2012

Matar Usal (Green Peas Curry)

The other day, I was going through this wonderful website called 'WHFoods.org', that lists all the health foods in the world and was pleasantly surprised to find green peas there. The website says, that the peas have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and a good amount of Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Manganese.

Matar Usal (Peas Curry)
Matar Usal (Peas Curry)


Alright, so that gives me a good reason to make this simple, quick traditional Maharashtrian style 'Matar Usal' (Peas curry). The recipe version that I have mentioned here is the simplest, quickest way to end a long day. Of course, there is an eleborate recipe for the same, where you can make a paste of green chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and scraped or grated coconut. You can add a few more temperings like clove, cinnamon and curry leaves. Or can even add some more masalas like Maharashtrian goda masala or garam masala. But, if you want to make peas curry in a jiffy, go for this one.

Matar Usal (Peas Curry)
Matar Usal (Peas Curry)

Matar Usal (Peas Curry) - Recipe
Peas - 2 cups (Fresh or frozen)
Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes - 1 cup chopped
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 - 2 teaspoons
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Salt and oil

Ingredients for Matar Usal / Peas curry
Ingredients for Matar Usal / Peas curry
1. Heat oil in a pan / kadhai. Temper with mustard seeds and asafoetida powder.
2. Add chopped onions and saute' on medium heat.
3. Add chopped tomatoes, when the onions are soft and light brown.

Saute' onions and tomatoes
Saute' onions and tomatoes

4. Add turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder and ginger garlic paste and saute'.
5. Add peas and half a cup of water. Cover and cook. Add some more water if necessary.

Add peas and saute'
Add peas and saute'

6. When the peas are almost cooked, add coconut milk, salt and water if necessary.

Serve hot with chapati, puri or rice. And what's better way to finish up that bread in the pantry, than to relish it with this curry.

Matar Usal (Peas Curry)
Matar Usal (Peas Curry)


Some variations:
The Recipe for Matar Usal / Peas curry that I have mentioned here is a very mild and simple one. It can be made spicy as well. Some more additions or changes that can be made are as follows:
1. Temper with a clove and a small piece of cinnamon.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of Maharashtrian Goda Masala / Garam Masala
3. Add half a cup of Coconut paste, instead of coconut milk.
4. Add a paste of green chillies, ginger, garlic and coriander leaves, instead of ginger garlic paste.


Matar Usal (Peas Curry)
Matar Usal (Peas Curry)


Friday, July 13, 2012

Thalipith Flour(Bhajani)

Here's a Recipe for Thalipith Flour (Bhajani) for Thalipith (Multigrain pancake) as promised.

Traditional Method:
Thalipith Flour (Bhajani) - Recipe
Rice - 1 cup
Jowar (Sorghum)- 1 cup
Bajra (Pearl Millet) - 1 cup
Wheat - 1/4 cup
Urad dal (black lentil) - 1/2 cup
Chana dal - 1/2 cup
Coriander seeds - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 cup

1. Roast each ingredient separately on a low flame till it gets fragrant.
2. When cool, grind this in a flour mill and store in an airtight container.

Modern day alternative:
Flour mills are not easily accessible these days. And if you are in a big city or outside India, then 'Forget-about-it'. So this is the alternative method you can go for.

Rice flour - 1 cup
Jowar (sorghum) flour - 1 cup
Bajra (millet) flour - 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour - 1 cup
Besan (Chickpea / gram) flour - 1/2 cup
Urad (black lentil) flour - 1/2 cup (I have rarely seen this in the grocery stores, in that case you can skip this.)
Coriander powder - 1/2 cup
Cumin powder - 1/2 cup

1. Mix all the flours and powders well.
2. Store them in a airtight container (don't refrigerate) and you can use the flour as and when required.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)

Thalipith is Maharashtra's answer to healthy multigrain pancake. Various grains and spices are roasted and then ground to make multigrain flour, called as 'Bhajani' in marathi. This flour can be stored for a year, after which it starts losing it's potency. When making thalipith, all you do is mix required amount of this flour with salt, some spices, or green chillies, onions and coriander leaves and prepare the dough with the help of water. This is the most traditional way to prepare thalipith but it can easily be experimented with boiled cauliflower, cabbage or chopped spring onions like I did this time. A very special technique is used when making thalipith. Palm and fingers are used to flatten the dough and then fried on pan. But if it sounds tricky, using a rolling pin never hurt. 
Thalipith with homemade melting butter (or 'loni' as we call it in Marathi) on the top is a treat to all the senses. Alternatively, one can relish it with ghee, yogurt, chutney or pickle. It makes a rustic dinner or even a fulfilling tasty breakfast.
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)



Spring Onion Thalipith - Recipe
Thalipith Flour (Bhajani) - 2 cups (Storebought or homemade)
**If you stay in Maharashtra, you can easily find this flour in any food store. For those outside the state, I will post a recipe to make this flour soon.
Jowar flour - 1 cup (The reason I add jowar flour is to make the dough more pliable and thus easy to pat down the thalipith)
Spring onions / green onions / scallions - 2 cups chopped
Turmeric powder - 2 teaspoons
Red chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander - Cumin powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt - as per taste
Oil
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Ingredients for Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
1. Mix Thalipith flour, jowar flour, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, Coriander and cumin powder and chopped spring onions in a large bowl. 
2. Bind these ingredients into dough (just like parathas) with the help of water. 
Dough for Thalipith
Dough for Thalipith
3. Take a plastic ziploc bag or any clean plastic bag and grease one side of it with oil. Grease your hands with oil, take a handful of the dough and roll it into a ball.
4. Put this ball on the plastic bag and with the help of greased palm and fingers, pat it to make a nice round thalipith. Keep in mind that thalipith is much thicker than rotis or parathas, else they become hard like papads. 
Pat down thalipith with palm and fingers
Pat down thalipith with palm and fingers
5. Put some oil on griddle or tava or pan and carefully put the thalipith on the pan. Spoon a little oil on the top of the thalipith and on the sides.
Thalipith on hot Tava
Thalipith on hot Tava
6. Cover the pan / tava with a lid, so that the thalipith cooks evenly and keeps the smoke in the house to minimum. This step is optional. If you prefer cooking without lid, that's fine too. My fear of making the smoke alarm angry, makes me do this.
Thalipith on hot Tava
Thalipith on hot Tava
7. Cook the other side of thalipith in the same way until both the sides get golden brown.

Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Serve thalipith with homemade butter (or storebought) or ghee, yogurt or pickle and enjoy this lipsmacking rustic treat.


Some Variations:
1. Add green chillies and coriander leaves of you want.
2. Add onions as well along with it. 
3. Add ajwain (carom seeds) to the dough.

Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)
Spring Onion Thalipith (Multigrain pancake with green onions)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake)

Chikoo also known as Sapota or Sapodilla, is a very common brown colored sweet fruit found in India, Asia, Mexico etc. It is a tropical fruit with black seeds in the center.
I am and have always been a chikoo lover. But sadly my kid hates them. Being born and brought up in US until now, today was the first time she saw chikoo. Her first reaction began with, 'Mama, why are you giving me a potato to eat'. When I peeled and began to cut one, she screamed at the sight of it's black seeds (like most of the girls do at the sight of a cockroach). Yep, you guessed it, that's what she thought and said, 'Mama, there's a cockroach inside this fruit'. That gave us a reason to have a good laugh and then hubby had to take her out of the kitchen, so that I could blend these yummy chikoos in her milkshake. I added nutella to this shake to make it look like a chocolate milk and to enhance the flavor of the shake. The flavor combination of chikoos and nutella was simply divine and fulfilling. And just one more way to use that leftover nutella in your refrigerator.
Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake)
Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake)

Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake) - Recipe
Milk - 1 glass (preferably cold / chilled)
Chikoos - 3
Nutella - 1 tablespoon
Sugar - 1 tablespoon (Adjust this as per your taste)
Cocoa Powder - for Garnishing (optional)
Ingredients for Chikoo Nutella Milkshake
Ingredients for Chikoo Nutella Milkshake
1. Blend chikoos, nutella and sugar in a blender.
2. Add in some milk to it and blend well.
3. Serve chilled with some dusted cocoa powder on the top.

Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake)
Chikoo Nutella Milkshake (Sapota / Sapodilla Nutella Milkshake)
Some Variations:
1. Add almonds, pistachios or any other nuts.
2. Add couple of pinches of cocoa Powder to the shake.
3. Adding peanut butter can give it a whole new dimension.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils)

I became a Mom a few years back and the way I looked at food and cooking completely changed, especially when my kid started eating solids. Since then I have found myself sneaking in veggies, fruits, nuts and all the nutritious stuff in everything she eats. Dal or Lentil curry is one such easy dish to hide the vegetables in. This Spinach Carrot Dal helps me add carrots, spinach and tomatoes without anyone realising. Moreover I have used 4 kinds of lentils here, that raises the nutrition quotient of this dish further more. It also serves a nutritious comfort food when served hot with rice.

Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils)
Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils)
Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils) - Recipe
Mixed Lentils - 1 and half cups (I used Toor dal, Moong dal, Masoor dal and Chana dal)
Mixed Lentils for spinach Carrot Dal
Mixed Lentils for Spinach Carrot Dal
Carrots - 1 cup peeled and grated 
Spinach - 1 cup finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup finely chopped
Veggies for spinach Carrot Dal
Veggies for Spinach Carrot Dal

Ginger - 1/4 inch piece, grated
Turmeric powder - 1/2 - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cloves - 1
Cinnamon - 1/4 inch
Jaggery - 2 teaspoons 
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Salt
Oil 
Ghee 

1. Wash all the mixed lentils and keep aside
2. Heat oil / ghee in a pan. Temper with a pinch of asafoetida powder.
3. Add all the veggies (grated carrots, chopped spinach, chopped tomatoes) and grated ginger to the oil and saute'. 
4. Add the mixed lentils and turmeric powder and saute'. Add 3 cups of water.
5. Cook this mixture in a pressure cooker or pan for 3-4 whistles or 15 minutes.
6. Mash the lentil and veggies mixture.
7. Heat oil / ghee in a pan or a kadhai, add cloves and cinnamon.
8. Temper with dry red chillies, cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida powder.
9. Add the mashed lentil and veggies mixture, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt, jaggery and a cup or 2 of water. Let the Dal boil.
10. When dal is done, add couple of teaspoons of hot ghee on top. This enhances the flavor.
Serve hot with rice or chapati.

Some variations:
1. You can add chopped onion or grated garlic or garam masala.
2. Take any combination of lentils you want. Udid dal can be another interesting addition.
3. Add any other veggies you like - methi, red chard, squash, cabbage, peas etc. 

Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils)
Spinach Carrot Dal (Spinach and Carrots in Mixed Lentils)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with cottage cheese)

Methi Malai Matar (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with Peas)  is one of the favorites in my house. It serves as a wonderful treat to the palates, whenever we are bored of eating the curries with red chilli powder and all the regular spices.  This time I had all the ingredients for the dish but was running out of peas, so decided to substitute it with paneer (cottage cheese). And voila`, it was rather a double treat. The creaminess of the paneer plus the creaminess of this curry works wonders. But don't be deceived by its white creamy look. The green chillies, ginger and all the other spices gives enough heat and spice to it, to make this Methi Malai Paneer flavorful.

Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with Cottage Cheese)
Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with Cottage Cheese)

Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with cottage cheese) - Recipe
Methi (Fenugreek leaves) - 1 bunch / 2 cups
Paneer (Cottage cheese) - 1 packet of 100 grams / 1 and half cups
Fresh Cream -  1 cup
Yogurt - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 large
Cashews - handful
Poppy seeds (Khuskhus) - 1 teaspoon
Sugar - 2 teaspoons
Green chillies - 4-5
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Cloves - 2-3
Cardamom - 1 (deseeded)
Ghee / Oil - 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Salt
Ingredients for Methi Malai Paneer
Ingredients for Methi Malai Paneer

1. Blanch methi (fenugreek) leaves in hot salted water for 10 mins. Then drain them well and chop them finely.
2. Meanwhile soak cashews and poppy seeds in half a cup of water.
3. Chop onions roughly. Make a paste of onions, soaked cashews, poppy seeds, green chillies, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, sugar and yogurt. You can use the same water to make the paste that was used to soak the poppy seeds and cashews. The paste must be very smooth and creamy.
4. Chop Paneer into small cubes. Heat oil in a pan and lightly shallow fry these cubes and keep aside.
5. In the same pan, add some more oil and temper with asafoetida powder.
6. Add the paste and saute' on a medium flame until the raw smell of the onion vanishes. (Approximately 7-10 minutes)
7. Add the chopped methi leaves and paneer cubes, mix well and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Since the methi leaves were blanched earlier, it doesn't take too long to cook.
8. Add salt and the cream and mix well. Let it boil for couple of minutes.

Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fengreek leaves with cottage cheese)
Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fengreek leaves with cottage cheese)

Serve hot with roti or rice. Jeera rice or ghee rice goes very well this creamy flavorful curry.

Some variations:
1. You can add peas and paneer both for more flavorful curry.
2. Reduce the quantity of cream, if you want to make it a healthy one.
3. Substitute methi with spinach leaves or paneer with tofu.

Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with Cottage Cheese)
Methi Malai Paneer (Creamy Fenugreek leaves with Cottage Cheese)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

The word 'Pachadi' has different meanings and recipes depending on which State of India you are in or referring to. In Maharashtra, it generally means a salad made out of Cabbage or Carrots or Beetroots. The ingredient, doesn't matter whether it is beetroots or anything else, it is first grated, mixed with lemon, salt and sugar and then tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves. The ghee boosts the flavor, but if you don't have ghee in your pantry, butter can be used instead. Apart from being healthy, this dish hardly takes 10 -15 minutes to prepare.

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) - Recipe
Beetroots - 2 medium sized
Lemon - 1/4 slice
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 8-10 leaves
Coriander leaves - handful
Salt - As per your taste
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Ghee (Clarified butter) - 1-2 teaspoons
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) Ingredients
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) Ingredients
1. Peel and grate the beetroots. Chop coriander leaves.
2. Mix grated beets, chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice of 1/4 slice of a lemon, salt and sugar in a bowl.
3. Heat ghee in a tadka /small  pan, temper with mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start crackling, add asafoetida powder and curry leaves.
4. Remove the pan from heat and pour this hot ghee tempering on the beetroot mixture and mix well.
 Serve this healthy pachadi / salad as a side with Parathas/ Curries / Spicy rice pilaf. It tastes amazing with this Masoor Pulao / Pilaf.

Some variations:
1. You can add crushed peanuts for crunch.
2. Add a tablespoon of grated coconut to the mixture for added flavor.
3. Add 1 chopped green chilly if you want some heat.


Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

Misal is a famous moth beans chaat from Maharashtra. But it has 2 versions - one from Pune called 'Puneri Misal' and another from Kolhapur called 'Kolhapuri Misal'. In both kinds, the main part of the dish is the moth beans curry. Puneri Misal is a milder version and uses 'Pohe' or 'chivda' as one of the elements of the chaat. Kolhapuri Misal, on the other hand, is a spicier version that uses 'kat' (pronounciation similar to cut) that is a spicy curry kind element, along with 'farsaan' that is a spicy Indian mixture or Internationally recognised as Bombay mixture. The 'Kat' (spicy curry) is used to adjust the spiciness of the dish. It is usually served on the side so that each person can help himself with the level of spice he / she enjoys. Both kinds of chaat are enjoyed with bread.

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

I had this 'Kolhapuri Misal' at my mom's friend's place, who is from Kolhapur and is a wonderful cook. The recipe might seem a little elaborate or lengthy for some, but the end result is just amazing. I have tried to simplify it in different steps. So if you are up for an authentic Kolhapuri Misal, this is it.

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat) - Recipe

STEP I : Spice Powder:
Coriander seeds - 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Sesame seeds - 1 teaspoon
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Whole black pepper - 5-6
Cinnamon  - 1/4 inch
Cloves - 2-3
Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillies- 2-3
Ingredients for spice powder for misal
Ingredients for spice powder for misal
Dry roast all the above ingredients on a low flame. When cool, grind these in a grinder to make the spice powder and keep aside.
This powder can stay in pantry for a week, so this can be made ahead of time.
Spice powder for Misal
Spice powder for Misal
STEP II : Coconut-Onion paste:
Onion - 1 medium sliced
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Coconut - 2-3 tablespoons (fresh grated)
Dry red chilli - 1
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Coconut-Onion Paste for Misal
Coconut-Onion Paste for Misal

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan / tawa, add sliced onions and fry them until golden brown.
2. Add chopped garlic, ginger, red chilli and grated coconut and fry for 2-3 minutes.
3. Make a paste of all these in a blender with the help of water.

STEP III : Spicy Kat (Spicy Curry) 
Oil - 2 - 3 teaspoons
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Kokum - 2 pieces (You can substitute this with tamarind - 1/4 teaspoon)
       (For more on Kokum - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_indica)
Salt
Spice powder made in step 1
Coconut - Onion paste made in step 2

1.  Heat oil in a pan and temper with asafoetida powder.
2. Add Turmeric powder, red chilii powder and kokum.
3. Then add almost 3/4 of the spice powder made in step 1 and saute for a minute.
4. Add 3/4 of the coconut - onion paste made in step 2 and saute.
Spicy Kat for Misal in making
Spicy Kat for Misal in making
5. Add almost 2 - 3 cups of water and salt to taste and let the 'kat' boil. The final consistency of the 'kat' should be soupy.
Spicy 'kat' for Kolhapuri Misal
Spicy 'kat' for Kolhapuri Misal

STEP IV : For Moth beans curry (matki usal):
Sprouted moth beans (matki)- 2 cups
Sprouted moth beans (matki)
Sprouted moth beans (matki)
Onion - 1 medium chopped
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Potato - 1 small peeled and chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Kokum - 1 (or Tamarind - 1/4 teaspoon)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 10-12 leaves
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Spice powder made in step 1
Coconut - onion paste made in step 2
Salt and Oil

1. Soak the moth beans for 7-8 hours. Then drain the water and let the moth beans sprout. This can take anytime between 3 and 7 hours depending upon the weather outside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds and asafoetida powder.
3. Add curry leaves, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. 
4. Add chopped onions and saute until golden brown.
5. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until soft.
6. Add chopped potatoes and saute.
Matki usal for misal in making
Matki usal for misal in making
7. Add sprouted moth beans (matki) and saute.
Matki usal for misal in making
Matki usal for misal in making
8. Add the rest of the spice powder and coconut - onion paste, salt, kokum / tamarind and water. Cover and cook.
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) for Misal
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) for Misal
To Serve:
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Tomato - 1 finely chopped
Lemon - 1 sliced
Corainder leaves - finely chopped
Farsan (spicy Bombay Mixture)
Kat (Spicy curry) - Made in step 3
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) - Made in step 4
Bread 

In a bowl, add matki usal (Moth beans curry), Ladle some Kat (Spicy curry), Add some farsan (Bombay Mixture) on top, sprinkle chopped onions, chopped tomatoes and chopped coriander leaves. Serve some kat, lemon and bread on side. Enjoy..
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Note : The quantities of all the spices I have stated here make a spicy Misal. So please adjust those quantities according to your taste. You can always make a milder version of any spicy dish. :)



Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)