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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)