This year the Ganpati festival was celebrated from the 25th to 29th August, we celebrate it for only five days at my place. Sharing with you all some pics from the festivity at home. It is the most happy time of the year for me, and it is a blessing to be able to celebrate the festival with all the traditional fanfare even when residing out of our home country.
I make all the prasad or Naivedyam for the Bappa at home, it is always a happy feeling to give homemade prasad to all the guests, friends, and visitors who visit our home for Bappas darshan during the five days. Also, it is a tradition in my house to eat food in banana leaves after the first day stapna and puja of the Bappa, this mother’s efforts to keep her kids connected to the traditions observed during the festivals.
Wishing you all have a blessed year. Ganpati Bappa Morya 🙂
Finally, after a very long Summer break, the schools here have reopened on the 10th of September. This reminded me to make this post of my regularly cooked recipe, the most preferred school lunch snacks/meals, read it as food that is readily welcomed by my fussy eater. To keep lunch box as healthy, nutritious and as well as filling, I always have preferred to pack different types of parathas or wraps or rolls as part of the afternoon meal, using the ingredient list that my kids like. Sharing today my Paneer Paratha recipe, one of the favorite food of my kids.
I use the fresh paneer for making the filling and the wholewheat flour dough for making the outer paratha coat. The parathas are made thin and medium-sized and ghee roasted to make them crisper. I don’t like very big and thicker parathas, keeping them medium and thin helps to control the portion size and one avoids eating in excess. One should use these simple and useful tips and watch the quantity intake of the food they eat at any given meal. It is a general tendency with all of us to eat in excess when one likes something or is eating a favorite food.
INGREDIENTS: For Paneer Filling:
Fresh Paneer (cottage cheese) : 300 gm
Onion: 1 Medium
Green chilies: 2-3 nos
Green Coriander: few leaves
Cumin : 1 Tsp
Salt & Pepper : To taste
Ghee/Cooking oil: As per taste preference
Dough: (Click the link for fulka to make the dough)
Wholewheat flour: 200 gm
Water: 100 ml (or as needed)
Note: Follow the above given recipe link to make the paratha dough.
Filling: Grate the paneer and keep in bowl. Finely chop the onion, green chilies and the coriander, and mix with paneer. Add the cumin as it is or use a coarsely, roasted powder. To make the cumin powder, dry roast the cumin and coarsely crush it using mortar and pestle or simply ground it using the rolling pin. Season the paneer with salt and pepper as per taste. One can also add chat masala powder if preferred.
Make the medium soft dough of the wheat flour, and use lemon-sized dough balls for making the parathas.
Roll the ball to make a small puri and fill 3 tbsp filling into this.
Hold the ends of the puri and giving a circular twist close it tightly and cut away the excess dough from top.
Dust this paneer-filled dough ball lightly in flour and then using a rolling pin roll it into a medium-to-thin paratha.
Heat a Tava or fry pan on the gas burner, put the paratha on the tava and cook on both sides.
Then using a tsp of ghee on both sides, roast it to make it crisp and golden. One can also use any cooking oil for roasting the parathas.
Serve the parathas as is or cut it into triangles using a pizza cutter and arrange on a plate as shown. Serve with any chutney or tomato ketchup as per preference.
Give this paratha a try in your kitchen to find out if you all like the taste. Happy cooking and eating homemade food.
The beauty of nature in my surroundings always draws me towards it and distracts me, I have to stop and capture it in my camera.
During my recent trip to Budapest, this Ivy creeper was seen covering most part of one of the buildings in the Buda Castle area, (not sure if it was History Museum).
The ever bright afternoon sun was giving a fantastic shine and shadow effect over the leaves. (the pictures may not do justice to the beautiful scenery I saw, but I still had to frame it in my camera.) 🙂
For this week’s photo challenge: Textures, I have selected the photographs from my recent travel to Vienna.
Can you guess the picture seen below??
These pictures were clicked in the Palm House Schoenbrunn, Vienna.
The textures seen on this log of wood that was lying on the floor in one of the sections of the Palm house caught my eye and I had to click this beautiful image. The bark of the tree with areas covered with moss, the growing Mushroom, the dried and decayed part of the log, and the pebbles made it too fascinating to click and here I am sharing it with you all.
For me traveling to different places necessarily also includes tasting the local cuisine and getting to know the names of their food dishes. During my recent Budapest visit, one of the days we ate at the local street food restaurant and the sight and taste of their flatbread totally made me think of our very own Bhaturas. They called it Lángos, it is the Hungarian street food that is a deep-fried flat bread made using refined flour, yeast, water or milk. They also use potato and sour cream or yogurt to make this and the name changes accordingly.
Through this post I wished to highlight the similarities of the breads that go by different names in two different countries, which are geographically far away from each other. In North India we have our Bhaturas that are made using refined flour and yogurt (I make use of this). I have been observing this very fascinating food fact about breads in different countries that I have traveled so far. The basic ingredients of the breads is very much common around most parts. (You can check out my older post about the Georgian breadhere.)
Sharing my Bhatura recipe and also the pictures of the Hungarian street food from my recent travels.
Refined Flour: 250 gm
Sour curd: 100 ml
Ajwain/Carom seeds: 1 Tsp
Water: 100 ml
Salt: 1 Tsp
Cooking oil: for frying
Take the refined flour and add the salt and Ajwain to it and mix. Add the curd and mix well, we get a lumpy flour mix.
Using the water make a loose dough, it will be sticky. Use some oil to prevent it from sticking to the palm and make a round ball and keep this in the bowl and cover with kitchen towel. Keep this bowl in a warm place for 2-3 hours. For these bhaturas I do not keep the dough in warm place over night. I prefer the taste and flavor of the bhaturas with short leavening time. (had seen a north Indian friend keep the dough overnight and then made the bhaturas).
Note: (I prefer to make them a bit smaller than the regular bhaturas seen in restaurants as then I do not need to pour too much oil in the Kadai for frying. It is not a healthy habit to keep the leftover heated oil for reuse)
Heat cooking oil in a Kadai and deep fry the rolled out bhaturas until they become puffed up golden on both side. Pressing them with the fry ladle skimmer while frying in oil helps to puff them up.
These were served hot with spicy masala chole.
Sharing below pictures that I clicked of the Hungarian Lángos displayed in the restaurant in Budapest.
This plate of the bread with the chicken goulash was very tasty, very close to my cooking style and taste preference. We enjoyed tasting this new dish and loved our dinner at this Budapest restaurant that evening.
I hope you all liked this post as much as I loved cooking the bhaturas and writing and sharing the pictures with you all here.
Enjoy home cooking and eating with the family at the dinning table and create memories 🙂
This morning I made these quesadillas for breakfast and as it is a much liked recipe in my house, I thought of sharing it here with you all. A few basic ingredients are a must to make this at home. We need ready Basil pesto and mushroom filling to make this. I have already shared my recipes of the Basil pesto (click here) and Mushroom filling (click here), check them as previous posts .
I first tasted quesadilla in Chili’s Restaurant in Dubai, something which I would love to eat regularly was the thought that came instantly to mind after the first bite. New food or menus that I loved eating outside first time always end up being tried in my kitchen and getting included in my regular cooking/menus. Like in most Indian houses, I too make fulkas or chapatis or parathas on a daily basis, and hence I prefer to make use of these instead of the Tortillas that I would need to buy from the supermarket for making this recipe. I prefer our regular whole wheat flour to make them. Chapati (without oil) that I make is just a bigger size of the regular Fulkas that I make for our daily meals. (You can check my Fulka recipe here).
Before we start the recipe I would like to share that I prefer the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses more in my cooking over other cheese used by the specific recipes. I stock on the Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, whichever I find available in the supermarkets. I have used the cheese that were stocked in my fridge.
Cheddar Cheese slices : 6-8 slices (or you can use freshly shredded as per availability or requirement)
Parmesan Cheese: as per preference
Cooking Oil: 4 Tsp (use more if preferred)
Take 2 chapatis at a time and apply the basil pesto on both of them on one side each.
Take 2 tbsp mushroom filling and spread it on one of the chapatis, cut the cheese slices in smaller pieces and spread over the filling, grate the Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese as per preference and cover it with the other chapati with pesto facing side and press firmly.
Heat a tava or pan and put these chapatis on it and press firmly with a wooden spatula so that both sides get roasted crispy, melting the cheese inside. We can make use of 1 tsp oil to make them crisper.
Remove them from the pan once both sides are reddish and crispy. Cut them into fours and serve hot with more of the Basil pesto or they can be eaten as it is.
We can even dry roast them and avoid using oil if we want, I did make some without using oil.
You can make the rest of the quesadillas in this way, with or without using oil. Apply the pesto, mushroom filling, and cheese as per own taste and enjoy these healthy and delicious Quesadillas for any meal of the day.
Tip: You can even make use of any leftover chapati or plain parathas to make the quesadilla with any filling of choice.
I enjoyed writing this post and sharing my simple homemade recipes with you all, hope you enjoy trying it out.
Greetings to all my fellow bloggers and my readers. I am very happy to thank all the new followers of my blog and the visitors whose daily visits to the blog bring on the cheer in my day to day life. It has been quite a while that I have posted my recipes.
The Summer has been quite disappointing and sad in terms of my personal dream and goal that left me disinterested in anything for a while, but one has to move on and keep dreaming. These past months have been busy with family as well, and I have just returned from a European Holiday. Mid July was spent travelling through Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, & Budapest. The travel diaries post will follow soon as and when I start writing them, but until then will post a couple food recipes that I wish to share this month.
Sharing below my recipe of the Basil pesto, the method I use to make this recipe.
Basil: 1 Bunch (small potted plant as sold here)
Pistachio slices: 2 Tbsp
Green Chili: 1 (small or medium as per choice, I used a small hot chili)
Garlic clove: 1
Olive Oil: 2-3 Tbsp (I prefer more hence add 3 tbsp)
Salt: To taste
Wash and towel dry the basil leaves, and assemble all the ingredients together.
Transfer the roughly chopped Basil leaves, green chili, garlic clove and pistachio slices in a mixer/grinder pot and grind to make a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and oil to help grind the paste to smooth consistency. It is totally acceptable if a very smooth paste is not achieved, little rough nutty bite of the paste works fine. Adjust the salt and lemony taste to own preference, add more lemon juice if required.
We do not add too much of the green chili and garlic as the distinct delicate basil flavor is desired, the little lemon juice adds the required zing and perfect tang to tickle the taste buds. It is a favorite pesto of mine and I absolutely love to mix it with Italian Olive oil and drizzle my homemade pizzas and calzones 🙂
I also use this chutney/pesto for bread Sandwiches, Wraps, Quesadillas, stuffed Parathas, as well as dip for a variety of fritters, momos etc.
Note: Check out the Archives for recipes mentioned above for which I use this dip.
Eat healthy, homemade and stay happy and smiling always 🙂
For this weekly photo challenge I found this picture that I had tried capturing in my iPhone camera, but was not very happy with the result as it was not very clear. I was trying to focus the Bee Hive that was formed on one of the young tree in my friend’s garden, but with the bees flying in all directions and me avoiding being stung, it was difficult to go more closer for better focus.
But I was happy clicking this picture as it sure is very fascinating to see the bees working on the hive and to see it grow this closely, a rare sight for city dwellers 🙂 .
My entry for this Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting.
The pictures are from the Kundala Dam Lake area in Munnar, Kerala, India. I found it to be a very beautiful spot that instantly charmed this city dweller who got drawn to this serene, peaceful place and felt the perfect nature’s paradise. I wished we could stay longer and explore the area, do the boating, but we could not. The boating was closed and we could not enjoy the water more. The extremely tall Nilgiri (Eucalyptus) trees all around, and the thick forest with different variety of trees some with colored leaves (we had visited Kerala in March month) reflecting in the water below, it was a very silent and soothing time for me, perfect escape from bustling madness and traffic chaos of the place where I live.
The Houseboat stay and ride through the backwaters in Alleppey in Kerala too was thoroughly enjoyed, calming and soothing with fantastic view all around, a must include.
I would highly recommend a tour of Kerala, rightfully called as Gods own Country, if you have not yet visited it.
This picture is from my most recent India visit, returned home just last week. This was clicked when visiting my dad’s village near the banks of the river Wainganga, around noon with the summer temperature being above 43+ deg C. The huge tree provided the must needed shade when we got down from the AC cars and took shelter under the tree. Most were unawares of the danger lurking around with the creepy crawling creatures moving nearby, my eyes caught this little fellow changing color and I quickly captured the picture.
(Can you all spot the Chameleon in the picture ?!) 🙂
For this weekly photo challenge I have decided to share some pictures from God’s Own Country 🙂 , yes our Kerala tour, capturing nature’s bounty of some of the dense fruits and flowers that were seen around the cities in Kerala, India.
I am extremely happy to see this notification from yesterday that informs me that my blog now has 200 + followers.
I am ever so grateful to you my fellow bloggers and readers and take this opportunity to Thank each and every follower of my blog, all the readers who stop by and read my posts, to all who give me the Thumbs up by clicking the Like button, and to every one of you who cares to leave a valued comment after the posts. Thank you my fellow bloggers, love and appreciate this gesture.
These small happy moments add on and make this journey a really wonderful experience. Appreciate your presence and interaction on this platform.
ashu’s new recipe– PRAWNS POTLI- my tribute for my elder brother.
The flow of life is ever changing, making us drift along with it, sweeping us through its different waves and giving us the moments, emotions, and experiences that one may not always be ready to accept or deal with. But one does learn to sail through if we allow ourselves to accept and adapt. It is in our hands how we handle each and every moment that we have to face on a day-to-day basis.
This post is made in memory of and as my fond remembrance of my eldest sibling whom we lost this month. The loss of our loved ones leaves a huge vacuum and fills us with grief, I have been dealing with my share of this emotion. But it would be wrong to let grief overtake the memories and good times that were shared, one should be celebrating the sibling bond and the strength it imparts. As I look back and lovingly cherish the journey I shared as his younger sibling, remembering all the positives that I got to learn from him, I decided to cook a new recipe in his honor as my tribute and respect towards him.
He was a big time foodie, and as I reflect back to my childhood days, he was the influence I think that might have pushed me to this hobby of cooking and learning new recipes. He was the connoisseur of food of our family, loved different cuisines, and introduced us siblings to restaurant foods and knew the best food joints/places in the home town while we were growing up and later too, and also at the same time was the most dreaded critic of our cooking, the cooks of the house, even until the recent days. He was a perfect event manager, menu planner for any functions or marriages that happened in the household.
It is this foodie nature of his that I want to cherish forever and sharing a part of him with you all by the above writing about him. As he loved non-vegetarian food, hence I decided to try something new using Prawns.
For The Dough:
Refined Flour: 200 gm
Fine Semolina: 100 gm
Salt: 1 pinch
Water: 100 ml ( or as much-needed to make soft dough)
For The Filling/Stuffing:
Prawns: 500 gm
Onion: 1 Medium-to-small
Green Chilies: 2 (or add as per personal taste)
Green Coriander: 2 Tbsp (few sprigs)
Cumin: 1 Tsp
Salt & Pepper: as per taste for seasoning.
Cooking Oil- As required for Frying
Put the refined flour, semolina and a pinch of salt in a glass bowl or any bowl and mix together. Adding water to this mix make a soft dough and keep it covered until we prepare the prawns filling. Before using the dough we should knead it well.
Clean and devein the prawns, wash and pat them completely dry with a napkin or kitchen tissue roll.
Coarsely grind the onion, green chili, coriander, cumin, and the Prawns in a mixer pot or food processor pot. Add the salt and crushed peppercorns. We do not want the prawn flesh to become gooey, but remain smaller chunks. (For the initial Potli’s I had used this uncooked raw filling, but the wet content leaked and oil spluttered. )
Heat a fry pan/Kadai and add 1 tsp oil (just to avoid food sticking) and then add this ground mix and saute so that the prawns get slightly cooked and all extra liquid if any gets completely dried away. This will be our filling for the Potli.
Knead the flour dough well to get a softer dough. We can use a drop or two of oil to avoid the dough from sticking to our palm.
Make small round balls of the dough and roll out thin circular discs as seen in the picture below. Place little amount of filling and bring the ends closer, twisting and tightening together towards the center. Make sure to seal it in center and leave the ends free so that it resembles a Potli.
Once the Potli’s are ready, heat a thick bottomed pan or Kadai and pour oil in it for frying. As the oil heats, slowly we slide the Potli’s into the hot oil and deep fry first keeping the flame of the stove on high and later making it to medium heat. The Potli’s should be fried to golden brown, reducing the heat ensures the ends become crispy .
The frying part needs our attention and demands more patience from us. If any water from the prawns makes the filling wet, and if the ends are not properly sealed then the liquid oozes out into the hot oil, making it splutter and also burns the oil. Hence try to avoid any water/liquid in the filling. Initially I had not used cooked filling, but the raw coarsely ground prawns and the water from the onion and prawns made the oil splutter and hence I pan dried the water. Avoid cooking the filling for long, Prawn flesh is delicate and we do not want to make it rubber textured.
As you can see my potli’s are of different shapes and sizes, more patience required in future I guess 🙂 .
We can make all the round discs first, later fill the filling and seal the ends, and thus make and keep the potlis to fry together. Or one could make it in batches of 3-4 and simultaneously fry while making. Do as per your convenience 🙂 .
I preferred to keep the prawn filling simple. The sweetness of the prawns, the heat from the green chili, the fresh herb taste and dash of the cumin and freshly ground peppercorns, perfect taste with each bite of the potli. Also note, it is better we make the potli’s smaller in size, they puff up a bit while frying and we can get perfectly sized ones to hold and which can be finished up in a bite or two. We need to fry them to perfection so that the outer ends are crispy and the bottom part is medium soft to bite into.
Serving Options: I used store-bought Tomato and Chili sauces as dips to serve with the Prawns Potli. We could also serve it with a hot and tangy green chutney.
I am feeling happy as I share this recipe that I made with love and affection for my brother, in his memory and in the process doing my bit to carry on the legacy of introducing new foods and recipes with the folks who are part of my life and also with those who cross my path.
Enjoy and stay content doing whatever that makes you happy 🙂 .
Ashu wishes you all a very Happy Gudi Padwa / Ugadi. A happy Chaitra Navratri too.
Gudi Padwa is a festival celebrated in Maharashtra on the first day of the Chaitra month, it marks the beginning of the new year of the Hindu calender. It is the time to welcome the mango season 🙂 . Ugadi is celebrated in Andhra as the first day of the new year.
The rituals followed for this auspicious day are making colourful rangolis on the front entrance of the house, tying a marigold flowers and mango leaves toran at the entrance door. A gudi is setup and worshipped and an elaborate vegetarian meal is cooked and offered as Naivedyam. A Shrikhand Puri, or Amrakhand or Puran Poli sweet is made. Pachadi too is made in some houses, it is a neem leaves, tamarind and jaggery mixed liquidy dish. I do not make this, never learnt it, though my mother used to make it. Raw mango dishes too are made.
Sharing couple pictures from today. I have not made many a dishes like the masale bhath and raw mango daal etc, made puran poli for sweet though I got Alpohsnso mangoes for the Amrakhand that I did not make 🙂 , will make it for the weekend menu! I made Bharli Vangi, mixed daal vadas/pakode, alu vadis, varan baath and mattha and fulkas. Even though I skipped some dishes but this itself was a heavy lunch, couldn’t stop with only one puran poli😀.