Monthly Archives: July 2015

Fulkas/Roti or Indian Flat Bread

Puffed up Fulka or Roti,

Puffed up Fulka or Roti,

Fulka or Roti is the Indian flat bread made up of wholewheat flour. There are many types or variety of Indian breads like Chappatis, Parathas, many types of Naans & Puris, Kulchas etc. Most of the curries and Indian vegetable preparations go well with the Fulkas. I prefer this type of roti for my meals, I mentioned and posted picture in my previous post of Prawn curry (click for recipe).

In most of our Indian households the main meal of the day includes Roti, Vegetables, Rice, and Dal (Pulses), along with salads, assortment of Chutneys & Raita and Papads. Different states and regions have different staple food and most of the meals will have a set menu along with regular accompaniments. I have always found our Indian menus to be balanced diets, as they include all the required dietary components. I find the combination of Rice and Dal as the best. When on tours, away from home and eating  restaurant food than this is the one homemade food that we all crave for. Though it is the simplest form of cooked food item, but it also happens to be the most loved one by all of us. ( I will be including my favorite Dal preparations as future posts.)

Coming back to Fulkas, these are best when freshly made, direct on the plate from the stove. Oh, it is so difficult to control the urge to eat more than the daily quota of rotis when they are served hot. If a favorite curry is made than one could end up eating unlimited number of fulkas, a personal experience from my school days!  I have observed previous generation relatives having a big appetite and they would eat quite a number of chappatis, off course the size and thickness of the roti would not be the same as I have shown in this post. This could be attributed to the type of work they did, but it is a different story nowadays for the sedentary folks. Changing lifestyle, sedentary work habits, and ever evolving food habits have resulted in quite less consumption of rotis on a daily basis.  We never ate outside food in hotels or restaurants so frequently as compared to my kids. Those days the outings were extremely rare treats that were given only on some special occasion.

In my cooking, I use the Fulkas as base for a variety of Wraps that I roll up for the kids. The inside filling of the Wrap is changed each time, the taste is maintained, and those eating the Wraps have no complaints, so this mom’s mission of giving them something nutritious, healthy is also accomplished.  No need to buy the ready-made Tortillas!

For a first timer those many years ago, it was a difficult and different experience of roti making. If too much water gets added to the dough it becomes gooey and rotis cannot be rolled out without sticking to the rolling-pin. If less water is added and dough is not kneaded well then soft rotis cannot be made. But with patience and proper follow of the basic steps, the whole roti making process is easier.

I have to post some recipes using the rotis that will follow shortly and hence the need for starting with the basic roti-making post. For all the first timers, for making the roti, wish you have fun trying out the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

wholewheat flour: 200 gm

Water: 1 Glass

Oil: 1 Tsp or less

Optional: Salt and Oil.

Note:

  1. To keep the salt and oil intake minimum, I do not add salt and oil to the wheat dough while making roti or fulkas. I use few drops of oil just to knead the dough and make it soft. Kneading properly results in soft and puffed up Fulkas.

  2. The quantity of water required depends upon the quality of wheat flour used, so do use your own discretion for adding water to make the dough.

METHOD:

Take the wholewheat flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour water into the flour. Mix with each addition of water and form a medium soft dough. Keep it covered for 10-15 min.

Wholewheat flour and water to make the flour dough.
Wholewheat flour and water to make the flour dough.

Drop few drops of oil on the dough and knead it well so that it becomes soft.

Soft wheat flour dough for making roti.
Soft wheat flour dough for making roti.

Divide dough into small lemon-sized balls and dust the rolling board and using some flour roll out thin circular shaped rotis.

The rolled out circular-shaped dough ball.
The rolled out circular-shaped dough ball.

Heat a Tava or pan on the gas stove and put the roti onto the hot pan. Cook for few seconds and turn over so the other side gets cooked. Now lift the roti and turn and put it on the gas flame directly so that it gets puffed up. Once the roti puffs up over the flame, remove and store into airtight hot pot casseroles wrapped in kitchen towel or serve directly on to plates.

The steps after putting rolled flour dough on the Tava.
The steps after putting rolled flour dough on the Tava.

One could add ghee to the fulkas and keep, it tastes very good.

I can say I loved writing this post, even though I had a few interval breaks, at one stage the scare whether the incomplete draft got published by click of the button, and finally now when I sat to complete it I could not locate my saved draft. Well indeed quite a memorable post of mine so far in terms of writing and posting experience, and before I wrongly hit the delete button I should get this published. Happy reading!

Enjoy the roti making experience,  different country maps being rolled out on the board as a first time experience! Have fun all of you who stopped by to read my post and reached this last line.

ashu

 

Amrakhand/Mango Shrikhand or Dessert

Summer months bring with them this yellow/ green fruit- Mango, also called as the king of all fruits in my homeland, India. Ripened mangoes are delicious, wonderfully sweet in taste, delight in each bite. There are a lot of varieties available in the market depending upon the region where it is grown. Childhood memories are filled with scenes of the vegetable markets that sold bullock-cart loads of the local variety of small mangoes, they had lot of fibrous pulp, we would drink the juice from the fruit, some very sour while some very sweet in taste. During the mango season basket-full of these would be bought and we kids had quite a joyful time eating more than one at one go. Mom would always warn of the boils that one would end up getting after eating lot of mangoes. Today, upon reflecting back, those were the best times that I enjoyed eating this fruit.  Now, I see the same love for the fruit in my kiddos at home. Shifting residence from one place to another resulted in new mango varieties being sought after, usually the ones that are available in the market is bought, and thus they are more fond of the  Hapus or Alphonso variety. The Ratnagiri and Konkan belt is famous for the Alphonso mangoes, a saffron-colored, very sweet and delicious variety. But having lived in Gujarat, my personal favorite now is the Junagadh Kesar variety that is grown in the Junagadh region of the state.

Living in this part of the world now so I get to see Mango varieties from all over the world, but I still prefer the fruit coming from my homeland. Fortnight back, during my vegetable market visit, I found my favorite Kesar variety in the shop, and was able to use this mango for preparation of this Shrikhand.  Although this homemade Amrakhand is made using hung yogurt and pulp of the Kesar mangoes, but one could use pulp of any mango variety  depending on  the choice or availability . If one wants a more creamier taste than cream can be added. One could also use tinned Alphonso mango pulp for making this. I buy yogurt and hang it in a thin cloth so that all the water drips away. Usually I hang the Yogurt overnight so I can make Amrakhand for lunch time.

INGREDIENTS:

Yogurt: 1 Kg

Sugar: 100 gm ( or more, as per the preferred sweetness)

Ripe Mangoes: 1/2 kg (Alphonso or Junaghad Kesar)

Cardamon: 2 nu.(Powdered)

Note: The sugar quantity varies depending upon the sweetness of the mango used. I normally choose the sweetest variety so as to avoid adding additional sugar or add very little quantity.

METHOD:

Empty the yogurt tub into the Muslin cloth, tie it, and hang this some place high so that all the water in the yogurt drips away.

Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.
Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.

Beat the hung yogurt to make it a smooth consistency, pass it through sieve or use a hand mixer for this.  Then add the mango pulp and powdered sugar and beat with the hand mixer so all ingredients get evenly mixed, we should get a smooth consistency.

Add powdered cardamom to the Amrakhand.

Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand
Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand

SERVING TIP: Serve it cold as a dessert after meal or as sweet dish of a vegetarian meal along with steaming hot puris.

One could use ready-made hung yogurt, if available, but freshly made one gives this dish a more delicious taste. We love eating this sweet dish, do give it a try and find out if you too like it as much as us.  Do leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on my homemade yummy preparation.

Wishing you all a good day. Happy cooking homemade meals.

ashu

 

 

 

 

 

Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut

Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut
Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut

In continuation of this months Goan Special seafood curry, I am posting my Prawn Curry recipe that uses fresh coconut.

For a seafood lover, the local fish market here is a delight, with an array of local and from abroad varieties of all types of seafood available for purchase in a single market. The display is so clean with all different fishes stacked neatly in the rows of shops/stalls that are numbered. The visit is always mind-boggling, difficult  to decide on what variety to purchase, and most visits end up in huge amount of seafood purchases. The family has no complains as long as they are getting to eat different dishes with interesting recipes.

For this recipe I always use either the small or big-sized prawns. The size of the prawns decides the ingredients added to the gravy, hence the preference. The small prawns are more sweetish in taste, hence the choice. It is a simple gravy, addition of just few ingredients makes it so delicious, a perfect blend of all the different flavors.The prawns and fresh coconut add the sweet taste, the Kokum adds the sour taste to the dish, and the chilies add the spice.

INGREDIENTS:

Small Prawns: 500 Gm

Fresh Coconut: 1/2 coconut (1 Katori grated coconut)

Onion: 1 Small

Red Kashmiri Chili: 3-4

Kokum: 3 pieces

Garlic: 4-5 cloves

Cumin: 1 Tsp

Red Chili Powder: 2 Tsp

Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp

Garam Masala: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste.

Cooking Oil: 2 Tbsp

Ingredients for Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut
Ingredients for Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut

METHOD:

Soak the Kokum and Kashmiri red chilies in hot water for 10 min.

Wash, clean, peel and devein the prawns. Apply pinch of turmeric and salt to the clean and towel dried prawns and keep them in the fridge.

Kokum and Red Chilli soaked in water.
Kokum and Red Chilli soaked in water.

Grind the soaked chilies, fresh coconut, onion, garlic, cumin to a fine paste, add water if required to get a fine paste of the masala.

Heat a kadai or pan on the gas stove and add the cooking oil. Then add the paste of the masala and fry till it is cooked. The add the turmeric, red chili powder, and salt and cook till the oil is seen at the edge of the kadai.

Fry the masala till the oil is seen on the edges and then add the prawns to the pan.
Fry the masala till the oil is seen on the edges and then add the prawns to the pan.

Add the prawns and mix with the masala and cook with a lid covering the pan for 5-7 minutes. Then add the soaked Kokum and little water, the quantity added depends on the thickness of the gravy that is desired. Half a glass water would be sufficient to get a thick gravy. Use your judgment to add the required amount of water.

If more water is added to the masala then let the water in gravy boil so the masala gets mixed properly and the gravy consistency is not too thin. Do not keep the gravy boiling on the stove for too long as the prawns tend to become hard and rubbery if cooked for long.

Sprinkle the Garam masala on the gravy and then empty the contents in a serving bowl. Garnish with finely chopped green coriander.

Serving Options: The Prawn Curry can be served with roti/fulkas, hot steamed white rice, or Malvani vade.

Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut served with hot fulkas/roti and Kokum Kadi and roasted papad, with helpings of steamed rice, my Malvani special weekend Lunch menu.
Prawn Curry with Fresh Coconut served with hot fulkas/roti and Kokum Kadi and roasted papad, with helpings of steamed rice, my Malvani special weekend Lunch menu.

Ashu’s Malvani Special Weekend Lunch menu, the picture above, also includes fried fish either Surmai (click for-Kingfish Fry) or any other variety.

Click here for finding out how to roll roasted papad.

Click here for other prawn recipe on this blog.

I always enjoy meals that include this Prawn curry, sharing here gives me the opportunity to give you all the same experience. Happy cooking and enjoying your hand cooked meals, friends.

Wishing you all a pleasant day.

ashu.

Prawn Balchao, a spicy Goan Temptation

Monsoon in India bring forth pictures of a Goan trip to the mind. The vacation that is reminiscent of fresh salty sea breeze that awaken the nostrils the moment your foot touches this mesmerizing place. The tall, lean swaying coconut trees lining the roads, lush greenery, with the heavy monsoon rains transforming the landscape and the freshly grilled seafood on your platter, what more could a foodie ask? It definitely is the place to be in for a relaxing time away from the bustling cities, and if you have never visited than it is high time you include that in your bucket list. The other attraction that I simply love about the place is the bikes and two wheelers that one can rent out and zoom off on the roads with no set destination in mind, just soaking in the view of the tall coconut trees, rice fields on both sides of the road, farm workers busy in their fields, just breathing the fresh air and being lost in the moment.

The small villages that one can stop over while zooming off on the road trip gives us an exposure to experience the local life at close quarters. The friendly Goan people, the fishing folks, the smartly dressed fisherwoman selling the fresh catch at the local markets, the down-to-earth and merrier nature of the local life can be best experienced thus, not to forget the music. The local dressing of these fisher woman with fresh flowers adorning the neatly done hair leaves us with awe, the whole attire including the beautiful gold jewellery. The numerous different beaches lining the Goan sea-coast are worth the visit. I have visited this wonderful land only twice in the span of a decade, but both the trips were very dear and have given me the opportunity to taste some authentic Goan style cooking that have become part of my cooking style. Anything new is always fascinating and worth trying out. The Goan Kokum (Garcinia Indica, the English name as per Wikipedia) is a must have in my kitchen cabinet/fridge, cooking seafood becomes incomplete without addition of this ingredient. Fresh coconut is another which I cannot do without for cooking Prawns or Crabs. These two ingredients brings out the best and compliments the sweetish delicate flesh of these food variety.

The best food memory of my first Goan visit was of the food eaten at my husbands uncle’s house, folks who are dear to me. Driving through the Goan roads on a motorbike, our unforgettable journey almost a decade back, we had stopped for lunch at Martin’s Corner, a famous restaurant. Going over the menu card I had ordered a dish named Prawn Balchao, I had never heard nor tasted this dish ever before. It was such a fiery spicy gravy that I could not enjoy it even though I loved the taste. I can never forget that lunch meal. The dish got registered in my mind from that moment, and I always carried the thought of making it someday. Fast forward to end of last month, me and my girlfriends visited a restaurant here and the menu card listed this dish and this was the second time I ate this fiery prawn dish, though this time requested the chef for a little mild preparation. And finally the day dawned and my thought of preparing this was realised  with the first attempt in my kitchen this week. I do wish that every prawn lover should give this dish at least one attempt to make and taste this. Let the dish tickle your taste buds at least once!!😂

INGREDIENTS:

Prawns: 600 gms (cleaned, deveined)

Onion: 2 Big (250-300 gm)

Kashmiri Red Chillies: 10-12 (Add couple more if you like it very hot and spicy)

Ginger: 2” piece

Garlic: 6 cloves

Cumin: 2 Tsp

Green Chillies: 3

Curry Leaves: few springs

Cooking Oil: 75 ml (a more would also do, depends on preference)

Vinegar: 1 &1/2 Tbsp

Turmeric: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste.

METHOD:

Soak the red Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 10-15 min. This makes them soft and hence easy to grind.

Wash, clean, peel and devein the prawns.

Grind the red and green chillies with ginger, garlic and cumin in a grinder to get a fine paste. Use vinegar or little water if required to get the fine paste.This is our red masala that gives the fiery red colour to the dish. The number of red chillies can be increased if one prefers a very hot gravy.

Grind together soaked red chillies, ginger, garlic, cumin.
Grind together soaked red chillies, ginger, garlic, cumin.
The red chilli paste
The red chilli paste

Chop the onions very finely. Slit the green chillies thin. Finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Cut fine Julienne of a 1/2” ginger piece.

Heat a Kadai on the gas stove and add cooking oil to it. Add the green chillies, ginger, garlic, curry leaves to it. Then add the finely chopped onions and sauté on slow flame till the onions are golden brown in colour and nicely done.

Fry the ginger, garlic, curry leaves, onion in the oil.
Fry the ginger, garlic, curry leaves, onion in the oil.

While the onions are getting done, heat a frying pan with little oil and saute the prawns for couple of minutes till they turn reddish orange in colour and then remove in a plate.

Sauté the prawns till they change colour
Sauté the prawns till they change colour

Then add the red chilli paste, salt and turmeric to the onions and let the masala cook evenly till the sides leave oil.

Onion and red chilli masala
Onion and red chilli masala

Then add the lightly sautéed prawns to this gravy and let it simmer for 10-15 min so the prawns are evenly coated with the gravy.

Then add 1 Tbsp of vinegar to the gravy, mix and cook for another 5 min on slow flame and then remove from the stove into a serving bowl and garnish with finely chopped green chillies and fresh green coriander.

SERVING OPTIONS: This dish can be served with a bowl of steaming white rice and/or choicest Indian breads that you make at home. In my house we eat with piping hot fulkas (a type of Indian flat bread, recipe soon on the blog), and not to forget glasses of water for me😉!

Prawn Balchao from ashu's
Prawn Balchao from ashu’s

Note: This is the recipe I tried making that best resembled to what I had tasted last month in the restaurant.

Trust you all enjoyed going through the post as much as I enjoyed sharing my experience here. Keeping working out and enjoy all foods that tickle your taste buds. Happy Cooking.

ashu.