Monthly Archives: December 2016

Hara Chana Malvani style

Hara Chana (Green Chickpeas) Malvani Style
Hara Chana (Green Chickpeas) Malvani Style

The weekend brought with it a craving for the Konkani style of cooking, with fresh coconut and Kokum, hence decided to go and buy seafood but instead we ate a Jumbo Crab lunch at one of the Dubai Restaurants. But the craving for my style of cooking of the malvani curry was still lingering and hence I decided to cook this Hara Chana for dinner, it was supposed to be the next morning breakfast 🙂 .

Green Chickpea that I used is the dried Hirva Harbara/chana as it is called in Marathi. The fresh chana tastes sweet, but even the dried ones taste bit sweeter when compared with the black chana. For this preparation I used freshly grated coconut for the gravy masala, added Kokum for its typical sweetish yet tangy taste, and used my homemade garam masala powder that I grind weekly or fortnightly and keep ready for use. The ground garam masala has Cumin, Black Cardamom, Green cardamom, Star anise, Black Peppercorns, Bayleaf, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Caraway seeds and Cloves. I also used the dried coriander powder that has Cumin added to it while powdering it.

The coconut adds a rich creamy sweetish taste, the whole dried red chili/ red chili powder and the garam masala adds to the perfect hot and spicy taste and the Kokum imparts the necessary sourness that can be adjusted by adding the kokum pieces according to ones taste. This gravy is mouthwatering, very flavorful and yummy to those who love the Konkani or Goan cuisine, one of my favorites.

INGREDIENTS:

Hara Chana: 300 gm

Hara Chana or Green Chickpeas
Hara Chana or Green Chickpeas

Onion: 1 small

Freshly grated coconut: 3 Tbsp

Tomato: 1 Medium

Dried Red Chili: 2 no.

Ginger & Garlic paste: 1 Tbsp

Coriander powder: 2 Tsp

Red Chili Powder: 2 Tsp

Turmeric: 1/2 Tsp

Garam Masala powder: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste

Kokum: 5 pieces

Cooking oil: 2 Tbsp

Water: As needed for boiling the chana and also to add and adjust the thickness of the gravy.

METHOD: 

Wash the dried Hara chana and soak in water for 5-6 hours or overnight. Boil it for 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker.

Heat Kadai or fry-pan on the gas stove, add few drops of oil, then put the red chili, the chopped onion and saute, then add the chopped tomato and finally add the grated coconut and fry till this masala is cooked. Grind this to a fine paste once it is cool.

Hara Chana Gravy masala
Hara Chana Gravy masala

If the ginger garlic paste is not ready, then we can add a small piece of ginger and 4 garlic cloves to the above masala while grinding.

Heat another Kadai and add the remaining oil, put the ground masala paste and ginger garlic paste and cook till the oil separates and is seen at the edges of the kadai. Use little quantity of water, if required, to fry the masala as this prevents the masala from getting burnt. Then add the turmeric, red chili powder, kokum, salt and simmer for a minute or two and then add the boiled chana to this masala. Let it cook on slow flame for 10 minutes. This allows the masala to mix well with the boiled chana. Do add all the water that is in the boiled chana when it was kept for boiling.

Add the garam masala just before the gas is to be switched off. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.

ashuskitchen-Hara Chana Malvani style
ashuskitchen-Hara Chana Malvani style

SERVING OPTIONS: This can be served with Puri or Paratha or Roti, Dosa, set dosa or any bread of choice. I served it with whole wheatflour puris and some finely chopped onions. Rice and Hara chana gravy too can be another option.

ashuskitchen-Hara Chana Malvani style served with Puris
ashuskitchen-Hara Chana Malvani style served with Puris

NOTE: The home ground garam masala is fresh, stronger in flavor and hence very small quantity is required. If you are using outside store bought one then do adjust quantity as per the taste.

I enjoyed eating this yummy dish and feel happy to share it here with you all. Providing the links below to some other similar recipes that you might find interesting from ashuskitchen 🙂 .

For my other Chana post: click.

For similar healthy Cowpeas curry and salad recipes, click here and here.

Enjoy!

ashu

 

 

 

 

 

Bollywood Park Dubai Visit

ashusPhotograpy
ashusPhotograpy

Wow, who would have thought of ever getting to visit a place that has all things Bollywood outside of Mumbai! Well, this is Dubai, anything and everything is possible here.

The Bollywood Park is the first of its kind, a new addition to the list of theme parks that opened last month to the public. It is one of the three theme parks of the Dubai parks and Resorts. On 2nd December the UAE celebrates it’s National day, this year it was the 45th. The day is declared a national holiday and a lot of events and activities are scheduled/planned at this time. The Malls too offer some discounts as part of the celebration. This park too had a special ticket rate offered, but it was sold out fast and we did meet few visitors inside the park who had to purchase the normal rate tickets for entry to the park. As it was a long weekend for us here in the UAE, it was a good time for family outings and friends meet ups, and a crowded park with long waiting queues 🙂 . The attractions to the park are the huge film sets and movie hoardings and banners, the cafes and retail shops apart from the different stages and the big and grand Theater.

Directors chair, Lights, Camera, Action...
Directors chair, Lights, Camera, Action…
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai

The Attractions to the park include: Don: The chase,  Lagaan: Champaner Cricket Carnival, Sholay: The hunt for Gabbar Singh, Dabangg: Stunt Spectacular show, Krrish: Hero’s Flight, RA.One: Unleashed, CinemaMagic featuring: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Crossroads stage, Mumbai express stage, Rangmanch stage, Stars on step stage, Cinema Circle stage, and the grand Rajmahal Theater.

Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai

The parks open around noon, and by the time we could park and wade our way through the large gathered crowds it was almost an hour past. Even though I have grown up viewing Bollywood movies and seen the movie locations in Mumbai, the moment one enters the park one is awe-struck with the grandeur and magnificence of the sets, the set ups, the buildings, the movie star hoardings, the director’s camera & chair square, the structure of hands with different mudras, the Indian train Bogey that is placed and transformed into a cafe, the Jambo cafe at the Linking road marked inside the park, Bollywood film studios, the hand rickshaw outside the Lagaan set, the well, water tank and famous Tonga cart outside the Sholay set, the huge ammunition boxes and Jeep outside the Dabangg sets, it was all very exciting and fun to move around from one set to another. This park is the place for those who like things Bollywood, may not be too exciting for those who expect lot of different rides and attractions.

Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai

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Sholay set at Bollywood Park, Dubai
Sholay set at Bollywood Park, Dubai

Dabangg Set at Bollywood Park, Dubai

After grabbing a light snack at the Victoria cafe and sitting inside the AC train compartment that was the sitting area of the cafe, we started exploring each sets and that was the start of my test of patience, waiting in the long queues for the rides in the park. There are simulation rides, stunt shows, music and dance shows, and dancers performing at the different stages, and an absolutely thrilling and must watch Broadway style Bollywood musical Jaan-e-Jigar show that is being premiered tomorrow 9th December at the Rajmahal Theater, we were shown a 20 minute sneak peak. Loved all parts of this preview shown, the opulent set, the wonderfully choreographed dances , the drama and costumes, a truly magical experience.

Rajmahal at Bollywood Park, Dubai
Rajmahal at Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai

My patience wore out while standing in queue to see the Krrish a Hero’s flight. As I have seen some amazing theme parks and this rather long line wait, a roomful of people in long queues going along the rows and rows that were inside the hall, and had to pass three such rooms to finally reach the hall to enjoy the ride. Having stood in line for more than an hour  it was senseless to leave midway, so we followed the queue. This was the time to glimpse human nature, elderly, young as well as kids and toddlers to teens all where inside the hall in line standing and patiently or some impatiently waiting for their turn. The total wait stretched to nearly three hours and by then we had made up our mind that this would be our last visit ever to any theme or amusement park. But after the ride all had already forgotten the irritation before entering the room. Well, these parks are designed in such way that no matter what age you are, one gets a good experience and sure has some fun time in the daily hectic life routines, so after the ride I did feel better and we finally did see and do most of the park rides. It was already dark by the time we walked out, had entered the hall when it was still a bright and sunny afternoon.

The Lagaan set had good decor, the clay pots, the rickshaw, the woven baskets, the commentary screen with Aamir Khan’s video telling about the Lagaan Thrill of Victory ride, and finally the ride experience.

The Dabangg set had a live stunt show with dancers, hero, heroine, the fight scenes and the blowing up of ammunition that we see in the movies, all in front of our eyes live on the set. The stage artists performed the dance and stunts well.

The Lagaan set at Bollywood Park, Dubai
The Lagaan set at Bollywood Park, Dubai

The cinema magic had the behind-the-scene set up of one of my favorite movie-Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. I liked this section of the park, got to witness and experience the magic of film making. Few visitors were the volunteers who played three scenes from the movie that were shot and later showed to us, we all were part of that small clip. The scenes were shot in the two Stage rooms, and in the final Stage room the music was added and the final clip was shown to us. It was fascinating to understand the amount of hard work, efforts and excellence required to come up with the final movie that we get to see. The Purse shown in the movie ”Bagwati” was also kept on display inside along with few other things related to the movie.

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After dark the park had a beautiful ambiance when the lights were switched on, the fountains with colored lights, the palm trees all lit up, the cool winter breeze, the garam masala chai and hot Vada Pavs, the kulfi corners and the other snack corners, and it felt like a perfect evening.

Bollywood Park, Dubai

The last part of our day was the 20-minute preview of the Jaan-e-Jigar, a Broadway-style Bollywood Musical in the Rajmahal Theater, a grand structure true to the name that looked like a palace . Entering it I did feel that I have entered a palace kinda place, the majestic feel it had, the mahal wall had a huge elephant painting, very very beautiful. I could just stand and keep gazing at the painting.

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It was 10 pm by the time we walked out of the theater, and finally it was time to call it a day. I did stop and clicked couple selfies, couple family pictures and some random shots of the location. We ate Chinese food and then walked out of the park towards our car in the parking lot. My long and tiring day at the Bollywood park ended, the mixed feelings of impatience, irritation and tiredness  eventually changed and I ended up enjoying my time and getting lost in the magic of the Bollywood Park.

Bollywood Park, Dubai

Bollywood cinema is very popular here and other Nationalities apart from Indians too are seen as part of the Hindi movie audience. This park is definitely a place for those who love everything Bollywood, lot of fun and drama, perfect location to click pictures posing along famous scenes and sets of this Industry.

Bollywood Park, Dubai
Bollywood Park, Dubai

ashu

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: RELAX

My entry for this week’s photo challenge: Relax are a few photographs from my visit to the beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai, UAE.

I enjoy and always look forward to visiting the beach. Just standing on the beach in the sand near the waves that are lashing the feet, the feet sinking further into the sand with me completely engrossed  looking out ahead at the vast stretches of the sea and the distant horizon, totally lost to the world around, the perfect moments that make me happy and totally relaxed. Dubai and also some other places in the UAE have  amazing beaches and parks to visit to.

For this entry I have selected pictures from my visit to the open beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, one of the most famous Dubai landmarks. It also has a long jogging track, a fantastic place to visit for walking or jogging on weekends or on any other day for that matter 🙂 if one stays nearby.

Beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai
Open beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai.
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Relaxing moments at the beach.
Open Beach near the Burj AL Arab hotel, Dubai
Open Beach near the Burj AL Arab hotel, Dubai

 

ashu

 

WPC: Time Of The Year Without…

My entry for the WPC-It’s not this time of the year without…

As I thought about the things that matter so much during this festive time, the November & December time of the year, so many things came to mind to post about without which it can never be this season of the year. Selecting just a couple of them for this post.

It will never be Diwali festivity without the oil Diyas, the floating candles, the fresh Marigold and Mango leaves garland to hang on the entrance door of the house, the rangolis, the Diwali faral/snacks etc. etc. and my list would go on and on 🙂 .

Diwali time means Rangoli and Diyas
Diwali time means Rangoli and Diyas
Diwali time decor of floating Tea Lights

Maharashtrian Diwali Faral/snacks can never be complete without this goodie-Anarsa on the plate.

For recipe click here.

ashus Anarsa Recipe

ashus Anarsa Recipe

The winter season brings with it the seasons best fruits and vegetables, the holidays would not be complete without these fresh and sweet juicy Nagpur Oranges, the Nasik Guavas, and the Singadas. The taste of these delicious fruits is so badly missed every winter if I am not visiting India.

Singadas

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Checkout my Singada /Water Chestnut post here.

Finally, the December month brings to mind the memories of the house filled with divine & heavenly aroma of my homemade freshly baked cakes, the Christmas time would not be complete without the special Dry fruit soaked Cake.

ashus Christmas special Dry fruit Cake.
ashus Christmas special Dry fruit Cake.
Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf
Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf

For recipe of the Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf click here. Do checkout ashus other cakes and muffin recipes in the archives.

Just writing this post makes me want to bake something right away , but I know I will have to wait as I have other plans for today :), it is the 45th UAE National day today here in the UAE 🙂 .

ashu

 

 

 

 

 

Anarsa

ashus Anarsa Recipe
ashus Anarsa Recipe

The memory goes back to the days during Diwali time when early mornings Mom would restrict our entry into the kitchen. It was quite intriguing as when one was not allowed to enter the Kitchen that was the time when the urgency to get something from the kitchen would surface. Every Diwali on the Narak Chaturthi day, the early morning bath day was how the day is remembered as, my mother would make these Anarsas, a Maharashtrian sweet that is made of rice and sugar. It is one of my favorites, and the preparation involves a very tedious/elaborate method, I had never attempted it in my kitchen until last year. Whenever I visit my mom’s house she has always made this for me and always packs this sweet for me to bring home. This was another reason to never attempt it before. But there always was the nagging reminder by my ever eager mind to start making it in my kitchen, finally this happened from last Diwali. Last April mom had visited me here in the UAE and she had made the Anarsa at home and explained me all the details of its preparation. Finally I think I now know how to make them, and hence posting this here to document it for anyone interested to learn and also for my own future reference 🙂 as well.

Anarsa, is one of the sweet items of the Diwali Faral or snacks in the Maharastrian menu. The ingredients used are rice, sugar, poppy seeds, and ghee or oil for deep frying. Anarsa when fried in ghee tastes very delicious, though one could also use oil. I have modified my mom’s original recipe a bit here. As the use of poppy seeds is banned here, I have substituted it with Semolina.

We have to soak the rice for three days, change the rice water every day, then drain it away after three days, pat dry the rice and powder it. The powdered rice is sieved to ensure we get very fine rice powder. This rice powder is then mixed with the powdered sugar, and the mixture is given a round ball shape and kept in an airtight container or box in the cupboard. We leave this for at least  a day or more before making the Anarsa out of it, this mixture lasts for many days without getting spoilt. One can refrigerate this mix to last for a month or two too, but must be kept in airtight box.

INGREDIENTS:

Rice: 2 Bowl /Katori (200gm)

Sugar: 1 &3/4th Bowl (175gm)

Semolina: 2-3 Tbsp

Ghee/Oil: 250 gm

Milk: 1 Tbsp

METHOD:

Wash the rice and soak it in water for three days. Daily change the water of the soaked rice.

Drain the water at the end of the third day and dry the rice with a kitchen towel or tissue roll.

Grind this rice in a mixer to get fine powder, use the finest sieve to get fine rice powder.

Grind the sugar too to get a fine powder.

Mix the rice and sugar powders, use 1-2 drops of milk, only if required, to form a tight ball shape of this mixture. The milk is used just to bind the two powders together. One might not even require the milk as the rice powder is bit damp, hence use self discretion to decide whether to use milk.

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Keep this powder dough ball in an air-tight container or box. Keep this for at least a day before using it to make the Anarsa. This mix would last for many days to months too if refrigerated and kept airtight.

Anarsa dough ball
Anarsa dough ball

After a day or two take out the powdered rice ball and break it in a bowl or plate. Mix it well, add 1 tbsp milk to it and make a stiff dough. Knead it well, use only few drops of milk at first and go on adding more drops only if required, but the dough should not be too soft. It will be sticky, use ghee to prevent it from sticking to hands.

Break this Anarsa dough ball
Break this Anarsa dough ball
Using drops of milk knead a stiff dough
Using drops of milk knead a stiff dough

Roll out the dough and cut equal sized portions of it and give them round shape.

Cut equal-sized small dough portions from the Anarsa dough roll.
Cut equal-sized small dough portions from the Anarsa dough roll.

Take each round ball and press it on semolina giving it a round shape.

Keep the dough on the Semolina and give it shape.
Keep the dough on the Semolina and give it shape.
Forming the perfect round-shaped Anarsa
Forming the perfect round-shaped Anarsa

Heat the ghee in Kadai on medium flame. Picking up the round-shaped Anarsa slip it semolina side up into the Kadai for frying.

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We give support to the shape by holding a sieve type frying spoon under the Anarsa and by pushing the ghee over it using another frying spoon. This ensures the even color and cooking of the Anarsa. If the dough is bit loose then the shape is not retained while frying in the oil and the whole dough disintegrates, the spoon gives it support until it becomes firm and cooked. Keep the gas flame from medium-to-low while frying the anarsa, for the even cooking and color.

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Fry the Anarsa till it is cooked and an even reddish color is attained.

ashuskitchen- Anarsa Recipe
ashuskitchen- Anarsa Recipe

Drain the fried anarsa on a kitchen tissue so that all the excess ghee/oil is soaked on it. Keep these fried goodies in airtight box and enjoy them as and when you wish to eat.

This recipe is learnt from my mother, have modified it according to the ingredients that are available for making it here. This is prepared as a Diwali sweet so it sure holds a special place in the Faral plate that we serve to family and guests. I had always felt my Diwali snacks as being incomplete until last year, as my favorite Anarsa would not be seen in the plate, but not anymore 🙂 .

ashus Diwali Faral/snacks
ashus Diwali Faral/snacks 2015
ashus Diwali Faral 2016
ashus Diwali Faral 2016
ashus Anarsa recipe
ashus Anarsa recipe
ashus homemade Diwali snacks

These were the snacks that I had served to my friends during this Diwali, last month 🙂 . It includes Chivda, Besan Ladoo, Andhra rice chakli, mom’s special chakli, savory and sweet types of Shankarpale, Besan sev.

It feels good to share this Anarsa recipe with you all. Looking forward to hear your thoughts on the post.

Enjoy!

ashu