Category Archives: Maharashatrian Dishes

TILGUL LADDU

ashus recipe-TilGul Laddu
ashus recipe-TilGul Laddu

Each January month the Hindus celebrate the festival of Sankranti. In Maharashtra the new crop harvested is worshiped before the Sun god, mother used to keep the Sugarcane cubes, the red Ber, the Mutter ki Phalli (peas in the pod), carrots, Tilgul, and some whole wheat.  The haldikumkum is also performed in the Maharashtrian houses, a function where the married ladies are invited at home, haldi (Turmeric) and Kumkum (Vermilion) is applied to the forehead, a ritual that I too do every year since my marriage.  Also flowers and a handful of five of these foodstuff is given as part of the ‘Oti’-wheat, Sugarcane cubes, Green peas, Carrot cubes and Ber along with the TilGul (Sweet made of Sesame seed and Jaggery) and a small gift. These were the things I grew up seeing my mother offer to the invited ladies for the function. It is not always possible to get/gather all the five things that form as part of the ‘Oti’ for me since living here in the UAE. I try giving it only when I can otherwise only the flowers, sweet and the gift is given for the Sankranti Haldikumkum to the invited ladies.

Sankranti Haldikumkum tray
Sankranti Haldikumkum tray

It is customary to wear a black Sari during this Sankranti haldikumkum, and I loved wearing my Black Chanderi Sari and my most favorite (and heirloom) jewelry-my mother’s wedding Nath and hubby’s grandmothers Ekdani (the gold & black beaded necklace). Both were gifts given to me by these elders, and I love wearing them for this special function.

The Tilgul that I make during Sankranti and offer is in the form of Laddu. I have been fond of the taste of Laddus that my mother makes and hence continued to follow her simple recipe each year. It is a blessing to carry forward the traditions set by the elders and I enjoy each and every moment of it. With the many Job changes over the years, we have moved to many different places and the numerous friends at every place we stayed have always loved these laddus and hence I have decided to share it here on the blog.

My stay in Vadodara has seen us enjoying this Uttarayan festival as it is called in Gujarat with the whole day flying kites and enjoying the special dish-Undhiyo and sweets Jalebi. It is so much fun, the whole city and state is in the festive spirits with loud speakers blaring loud music on each terrace, and the whole day spent with family and friends flying the hundreds of kites that are kept ready and stacked to last the whole day of 14th January. I learnt to make Undhiyo from my Gujarati neighbors and since then every year I make this dish in my kitchen in January. I have to hunt the local markets for the numerous vegetables and other ingredients that are needed for this dish, but the trouble is worth it. Most times my family members have packed the special papdis and Tur dana that goes into the dish for me and gave them to me if I happened to travel to India in the December holidays. Unfortunately I am yet to get all the ingredients needed and have yet to make it this January, but hopefully soon.

The most delicious sweets are always very simple to make at home, one needs a little effort and inclination to prepare and the whole family can continue to enjoy the innumerable traditional and tasty Indian recipes.

TILGUL LADDU:

INGREDIENTS:

Til (Sesame seeds): 300 gms

Jaggery: 250 gms

Desiccated coconut: 2 Tbsp

Cardamom Powder: 2 Tsp

METHOD: (Makes 15-18 Laddus depending on the size.)

Dry roast the Sesame seeds so that the raw taste is removed as they get roasted and acquire a slight brown color. Take care that you should not brown the seeds too much, this results in a burnt taste of the powder that we will make of the roasted seeds.

ashuskitchen-Roasted Sesame seeds
ashuskitchen-Roasted Sesame seeds

Powder the roasted Sesame seeds in a mixer pot. Grinding to almost a fine powder does not require addition of few drops of milk to set the laddus.

Powder the roasted Sesame seeds
Powder the roasted Sesame seeds

Grate the Jaggery using a fine grater. I have used the solid Kholapur gur, it is easy to grate and mix.

Grate the Jaggery
Grate the Jaggery

Mix the grated Jaggery, Sesame powder, the desiccated coconut, and the powdered green Cardamom together. Care should be taken to ensure the thorough mixing of the Jaggery with the powder, this helps prevent lumps being formed. One can use a few drops of milk to bind if the mixture is too dry and cannot be formed into laddu shape.

Taking a small amount of the mixture shape into small laddus and keep in airtight box. The ladoos can be enjoyed for long as they have a longer shelf life.

ashuskitchen-TilGul Laddu
ashuskitchen-TilGul Laddu

They are so yummy that one tends to eat quite a few, but one need to take care and avoid overeating as it might result in an upset tummy 🙂 .

I did the haldikumkum at my place last week and since then have been trying to post the Laddu draft post that I had kept ready, and today finally it is time to publish the post 🙂 .

Happy Makar Sankranti to all of you my blogging friends and readers 🙂 .

Enjoy!

ashu

 

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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

 

Alu Vadi

It is the awesome weather days here in the UAE,  perfect wintry mornings to start the day sipping  piping hot masala chai . As I water my balcony plants and enjoy the reflection of the sun rays  from the glass pane of a multi-storey building across the street falling on our balcony plants and was admiring this calm moment being in midst of nature, these Colocasia leaves spread out in all directions catches the eye.

Colocasia leaves
Colocasia leaves

This potted plant was brought home from our friend’s garden, they live in a big power-plant township and have a beautiful house with gardening patch on all sides of the house. The front garden has all the fragrant flower plants, the sides have Papaya trees and Colocasia plants, and in the backyard is the vegetable patch where she plants all the seasonal veggies. I get some supply of home-grown vegetables from them whenever anyone of us is visiting each other. The leaves, as seen in the picture, were growing big and so I made use of them to make this famous Maharashtrian recipe. ”Thank you” Naina (if you happen to read this) for giving us the plant and the joy of enjoying the fresh garden leaves Alu Vadis :).

This is also a popular recipe of Gujarat state of India, where it is known by the name Patra/Paatra.

ashus-Alu Vadi/Paatra
ashus-Alu Vadi/Paatra

INGREDIENTS:

Alu leaves/Colocasia leaves: 10-15 nu.

chickpeas Flour/Besan: 200 gm

Tamarind : 20 gm

Sesame seeds: 1 Tbsp

Ajwain/Carom Seeds: 1 Tsp

Red Chili Powder: 2 Tsp

Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp

Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 Tsp

Salt : To Taste

Water: 200 ml (As needed to make a medium thick batter).

Cooking Oil: 200 ml ( for deep-frying)

Note: I have used medium-to-small leaves.

Alu Vadi ingredients
Alu Vadi ingredients

METHOD:

Wash and clean the leaves, and dry using the kitchen towel/tissue. Soak the tamarind in 50 ml water/half katori water. Use this tamarind pulp, but sieve it before use.

Take the besan in a bowl, add all the spices, 1 Tbsp oil, Sesame and Carom seeds, tamarind pulp and mix. Add only as much water as required to make a medium thick batter.

Apply this chickpeas flour batter to the underside of each leaf, then place another leaf on top and apply the batter, and then again place the next leaf on top and continue the layers.

Alu leaves and besan batter
Colocasia leaves and chickpeas flour batter
Apply the prepared batter to the leaf

After a few leaves, fold the tops parts of the leaves and bring to the center, then fold the lower part and form a bundle-shape. Apply another coat of batter on the top of the bundle. Start applying batter to the remaining leaves and form another bundle if any leaves were remaining.

Grease the cooker basket/plate to place in the cooker to steam these Colocasia bundles.

Colocasia leaves coated with chickpeas flour batter

Steam the leaves for 15-20 min in the steamer or pressure cooker (without whistle).

Steamed Colocasia pinwheels

When cool then cut the steamed roll into thin slices, and deep fry until crisp in hot oil. One can also shallow fry them using little oil, if one does not like deep-fried foods.

Fried Alu Vadi/ Paatra
Fried Alu Vadi/ Paatra

Serving:

  1. Serve the crispy fried pinwheels with tomato ketchup or mint yogurt dip. It is served as part of a Maharashtrian thali meal too. It is usually cooked on occasion of festival and served as fried item of the special menu.
  2. The steamed pinwheels are also used to add to a spicy gravy or can be cut and made into a dry sabji as my mother used to make, it was one of my favorites. I will have to wait for the next batch of leaves to make the dry sabji post :).

This is also a favorite snack in Gujarat. During my stay in the state, I would see it as a snack item sold in Farsan shops, a fasting selling item that would get sold out within an hour or so in the shop near my residence. In Gujarat they do add a little |sugar to the ingredients list, but I have never used sugar. The tamarind is used to avoid itchy discomfort in the throat that it causes, an irritant in the leaves causes it, to some people after eating. Lemon juice can also be used, but I feel the tamarind pulp gives the batter the perfect taste.

I enjoyed sharing another of my Maharashtrian recipe with you all, looking forward to hear your thoughts.

Have a great weekend, Happy Sunday. For us, in this part of the world, it is the start of another week tomorrow.  Enjoy 🙂 .

ashu

Kothimbir Vadi-2

ashu's-Kothimbir Vadi, easy method.
ashu’s-Kothimbir Vadi, easy method.

Kothimbir wadi is a popular Maharashtrian snack dish. It is served as a part of the Maharashtrian Thali meal too, a favorite in the festive season. We see it being sold in many snack shops in Pune and Mumbai, cities of Maharashtra state in India.

For me the winter months are nostalgic with childhood memories when mom used to make these vadis frequently, the season when coriander was in  abundance. We nowadays see the coriander being available all year round. With changing times, the season no longer dominates the food cooked in the house, more so with me residing away from my motherland, though I would still prefer the Kothimbir vadi that is made using the coriander when in season than to the coriander that I buy at any given time of the year. I had tasted this particular kind of Kothimbir vadi in thali meals, during puja lunches, but I never made it at home until this week. I have always enjoyed Kothimbir Vadi preparation that my mother made, click here for that recipe.

Kothimbir Vadi or Coriander Roll.
Kothimbir Vadi or Coriander Roll.

It is a compulsion with me and I cannot let go of the urge to try out any new dish that I get to taste outside and like, I almost always end up making it in my kitchen. Lately I had been getting opportunity to eat this particular type of vadi on a number of occasions and the constant reminder from self to give it a try in my kitchen was always nagging the mind, finally I tried it this week. I had to invite my friends for lunch this week, planned a Maharashtrian meal menu, and hence this was the perfect starter to add to the thali menu was my thought. I tried making it in small portion on one morning and after perfecting the recipe to my taste made it for my party lunch, and the friends loved it. I was asked for my recipe and with this post I am sharing here my method of the recipe. I matched the ingredients to the taste of the Kothimbir Vadi that I had recently tasted at a Puja lunch, at my friend’s house where the food was from a local restaurant here.

This easy method recipe is my way of making it, may not be similar to traditional recipe, but tastes perfect and yum. I have now uploaded both methods of making Kothimbir wadi, and this one can be called an easy-to-make recipe, as the time required is less and almost always all the ingredients are available in the house. Do give it a try and let me know what you all think about this recipe.

Kothimbir Vadi- Easy Method

INGREDIENTS:

Coriander: 1 Bowl (finely chopped)

Chickpea Flour/Besan: 1 Bowl

Rice Flour: 1/2 Bowl

Semolina: 2 Tbsp (Optional)

GingerGarlic paste: 1 Tbsp

Curd: 2 Tbsp

Sesame seeds: 50 gms

Ajwain/ Carom seeds: 1 Tsp

Baking Soda: 1/2 Tsp

Chili Powder: 1 Tsp

Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp

Cooking Oil: 1 Tbsp (for batter)

Sugar: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste

Cooking oil: 200 ml for frying

METHOD:

Clean, wash, dry and then finely chop the green Coriander. Make a paste of the ginger and garlic, taking equal amount. I add green chili also to it.

Assemble all the ingredients before starting the procedure to make this Vadi. (Pic below is for illustration, not the actual measurements used in this recipe)

IMG_6315

In a big bowl or deep plate take the finely chopped coriander. Add the gingergarlic & chili paste, the sesame seeds, ajwain, salt, chili powder, garam masala, sugar, curds, and 1 Tbsp oil. Mix well.

Take 1 bowl chickpea flour, 1/2 bowl rice flour, and 2 Tbsp Semolina in another bowl and add 1/2 tsp baking soda to it and mix all the ingredients well.

Add the mixed flours to the coriander mixture, and mix all the ingredients well. Use little water if required to make a medium consistency wet dough that is easily spreadable with hand on a vessel, or tray or plate, and is not runny or loose.

We need to grease the plate or tray or vessel with oil in which we are going to steam the vadi. Evenly spread the dough in the greased tray or plate or vessel, pressing it well with fingers for spreading evenly, as we want same thickness when we cut the vadi.

IMG_6329

Steam this for 15- 20 minutes in a pressure cooker without whistle or a steamer, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool the steamed cooked dough, and then cut into small bite-sized pieces.

We can either shallow fry the vadi or deep fry in hot oil till the outer side is crispy. Deep frying gives it a more crispier look as well as taste.

Pan fried with little oil
Pan fried with little oil
Deep fried in hot oil till crispy
Deep fried in hot oil till crispy

Serve it with green chutney or chili sauce or tomato sauce. I did not make a green chutney, served here in the picture above is with green chili sauce.

NOTE: The bowl measurement is given for reference for the flour quantity, one can use any bowl-a steel wati or soup bowl. I used a ceramic soup bowl and topped it tightly with finely chopped coriander, it tastes better when lot of coriander is used. Semolina is optional, I prefer the texture it adds to the bite, but can be avoided altogether if not preferred. All the spices, ginger garlic and chili paste add to the taste, and adding a little sugar enhances all the flavors giving it a perfect sweetish ting. It tastes best with a green chutney, a coriander mint one, my preference :).

Wishing you all a great September month, will be posting some yummier recipe posts as it is the Ganpati festivity month. I welcome Ganpati Bappa morya at my humble home on the 5th of this month :), it is five days of festivity with yummy Prasad and Modak offerings.

ashu.

 

 

 

 

Dill Sabji

IMG_5951

Dill Sabji

Dill, a green leafy vegetable that can be used as vegetable or a herb , it has a typical flavor that is strong, is aromatic, and was something that I had never tasted in my mother’s house before marriage. My dad never liked the strong flavor of this vegetable and hence mom never made it in our home. I got introduced to this leafy bundle after my marriage, my mother-in-law used to make it perfectly, and I have adapted this recipe from what I have tasted when she cooked it. Both my kids love these greens, and this recipe is the most preferred method of the two that I use to prepare these Dill greens. We can prepare the greens using soaked Mung dal too. I usually do not like to see oil oozing out on to the plate from any sabji that I cook  for the day, but for this one I usually add a little extra oil.

Until last month I had eaten Dill leaves in this particular sabji form only, never cooked or tasted its different recipes. But during my recent Georgia travel, I got to taste some amazing recipes using the herb Dill. It is used extensively in other cuisines too, and I loved the versatile uses of it. It was used in soups, salads, as well as rice, and some unique chicken and mutton recipes. I loved the use of it in soups, it enhanced the flavor of the vegetables and chicken so perfectly, the taste still lingers on my tongue. I hope to try out some of these below recipes in my kitchen soon.

These couple food picture below that I am sharing are from my Georgian travel, the soups and Chicken salad that used dill as a herb, it imparted a perfect flavor to these simple recipes.

IMG_5616 IMG_4174 IMG_4767

Now let us get on with the preparation to make the Dill sabji. It is also called as Shepuchi bhaji in Maharashtra in India.

DILL SABJI/SHEPUCHI BHAJI

INGREDIENTS:

Dill greens: 2 Bundles

Green chilies: 2 long ones

Onion: 2 Medium

Tomato: 1 Medium

Garlic: 2-3 Cloves

Oil: 3 Tbsp

Turmeric: 1 Tsp

Cumin: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste

METHOD:

Clean the leafy bundle by separating the tender stems and leaves. Wash and towel dry the Dill greens.

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Slice the garlic cloves. Finely chop the green chilies, onions,  and tomato.

Heat a Kadai on the gas stove. Add the oil to it, once it gets hot then add the cumin.

Next add the chopped green chilies and garlic. Saute, then add the finely chopped onions. Cook till the onion become pinkish, then add the chopped tomato. Cook till it gets soft and we see oil at the sides. Then add the turmeric and salt.

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Then add the chopped Dill greens. Cover with lid for 5 min, and then remove the lid. We cover it for only few minutes because we just want to ensure the tender stalks get cooked but without changing the color of the leaves. If we cover with lid for long, it adds water to the sabji and gives it a dull color, and also the taste is compromised.

ashus-Dill Sabji
ashus-Dill Sabji

Cooking the greens does not take much time, and hence try and be near the stove while it is getting done.  Dry up any liquid from the sabji and put off the flame from the stove, and empty the sabji on to a serving plate or bowl.

IMG_5963

I had made a simple bottle gourd Dal to go with this sabji, a freshly made cucumber salad, fulka and some red groundnut chutney. This was my simple dinner menu the other day. I have one roasted papad too on the plate.

ashusrecipe-Dill Sabji

ashusrecipe-Dill Sabji

I will try and make a post of my other Dill greens recipe that I make adding the Mung dal sometime sooner.

This is a simple vegetarian sabji that I make in my kitchen, and am happy to share with you all here on the blog. Hope you like this easy-to-make Maharashtrian recipe.

Enjoy 🙂

ashu

 

 

AamRas and Kurudi Papad

ashuskitchen- Aamras & Kurudi Papad.
ashuskitchen- Aamras & Kurudi Papad.

The food available during the season decides the menu for most festivals in Indian homes. For us summer is the mango season, the market is flooded with lots of varieties of mangoes. The fruit starts appearing first in the market as the suns intensity increases from end of February to early March. March  month sees the Badam variety of mango starting to appear on the fruit stalls. The taste of the mangoes is best as the summer heat peaks up. In today’s times many fruit sellers resort to methods to quickly ripen the fruits, but that alters the taste.  With the market flooded with mangoes, the different dishes or recipes of mangoes dominate the dining table menu :). The summer months also is time for school vacations, and it was the best time during my childhood to enjoy as many varieties of mangoes. Too much or over excess of mango eating results in the boils appearing overnight , but still one would not care as it was vacation time. Also we had many local varieties of the fruit available brought directly from the farms, something that is greatly missed now as an adult, something that my kids have never even got to taste, as we reside out and here the supermarkets have fruits supply coming from many countries.  Still I  try to make the dishes with whichever variety of mango is available in this region.

Aamras is the sweet dish made up of ripe mangoes. It is just mango pulp, sugar and little milk or water added to get a thinner consistency. It is part of the meals as a sweet dish. When the aamras is made, then the kurudi or papad are also deep fried to eat along with the Aamras. Also, boiled homemade Sevai or Vermicelli is eaten along with the Aamras. This becomes a part of the whole vegetarian meal or thali. It is a popular and delicious sweet dish. The many different varieties of mangoes can be used to make Aamras. The best taste would be from Alphonso variety of mangoes, but I equally prefer the Junagad Kesar variety of mango that I used to buy when I was residing in Gujarat, India. The Kesar mango that we get is Gujarat is my personal favorite.

Currently I reside in the UAE, and the supermarket or vegetable vendors have mangoes from many countries being sold here. As I visited my home country in the month of May I was able to relish the fresh mango produce of Alphonso mangoes and also the Aamras.  This weekend I got the Chaunsa variety of mango, a produce of Pakistan from the supermarket, and decided to make the Aamras for this post. The taste of this Aamras is definitely different, but when Alphonso mangoes are not around then this or whichever variety is available would do if one craves for the Aamras, right?! 🙂

AAMRAS & KURUDI PAPAD

INGREDIENTS: 

Ripe Mangoes : 500 gms

Sugar: 25 gms

Milk: 100 gms

METHOD:

Chaunsa variety of Mango.
Chaunsa variety of Mango.

Wash and dry the ripened mangoes. Remove the skin using a sharp knife and cut the mango into small pieces and throw away the seed.

Mango chopped in small pieces
Mango chopped in small pieces

Take mixer pot and put the cut mango pulp and sugar into it and whisk the mixer on high speed so that we get a smooth paste. Add milk to it and get the thinner consistency as desired.

ashuskitchen -Aamras
ashuskitchen -Aamras
Kurudi papad, a type of papad made of soaked wheat .
Kurudi papad, a type of papad made of soaked wheat .

The kurudi papad is deep fried in oil and served with Aamras.

ashuskitchen-Aamras & Kurudi papad
ashuskitchen-Aamras & Kurudi papad

NOTE: The amount of sugar used depends upon the sweetness of the mangoes.

The Chaunsa mangoes that I have used were extremely sweet and I had to add very little quantity of sugar for the mango pulp/cubes used to make the Aamras. Do use the sugar quantity as needed depending on the mangoes used and also the sweetness preferred.

Any traditional Vegetarian Maharashtrian or Indian meal for that matter is served in a thali form , a big steel plate with all the dishes for the day served in small portions along with the sweets that form as the dessert and served to the guests. It consists of two to three types of vegetables, curry, pickles, chutneys, papads, roti, rice & dal with ghee, and the sweets. When you serve the Aamras with the Kurudi, the meal served becomes a feast, the guests too are happy. This was the way we ate our meals in childhood, but now mostly only on festival days or special days, as any regular day it is usually not so elaborate but simple and more of regular kind of food.

Nowadays one mostly prefers to make mango milk shakes or smoothies, but do give this dish a try and serve it as part of a vegetarian meal or thali meal and enjoy the different flavors in your meal.

Wishing you all a good day.

ashu 🙂

 

 

Ragda Patties

ashu's- Ragda Patties

ashu’s- Ragda Patties

I returned last week from Mumbai, few hectic/busy days in my motherland, spent in the company of my mother and siblings, attending a family function, zooming around the neighborhood on a two-wheeler, and yup clicking loads of pictures too!  And I also relished the Pani Puris, an all time favorite street food.  As I just returned from Maharashtra, a state in India, so today I bring to you all the Maharashtrian dish called Ragda Patties. This is a wholesome dish that could be a breakfast, or a weekend brunch, or a light & bit different dinner menu. I made it this weekend as our Friday morning brunch menu, yeah, we have a Friday/Saturday weekend here in the UAE, with Sunday being the first day of the week.

Ragda Patties is enjoyed by the kids and hence always makes it to the table as a weekend menu when all members of the family are relaxed and the mood is happy with fun and laughter around the household. This dish is a two in one snack, one is the potato pattie and the other is the Ragda, the legume curry, and together they make what we call as the Ragda Patties. It requires a little pre-preparation, the legume that is used for curry needs to be soaked for 6-8 hrs before they are boiled to make the Ragda.

It also happens to be a favorite Indian street food too, sold on the road side food joints that dole out the piping hot potato patties on the big tava right in front of us, with us drooling till the vendor serves it to us. When one makes it at home, the taste sure differs, the freshness of the ingredients and the love of the person making it contributes to make the dish something that is always welcomed. I am a more particular healthy foodie and hence my cooking uses far less quantity of cooking oil as compared to the general Indian family standards back home. I also try and give the recipe a healthy twist incorporating new ingredients, but at the same time taking care not to change the taste of the recipe as far as possible.

This ashu’s recipe of Ragda Patties uses cooking oats along with the boiled potatoes to make the crisp tikkis or patties that forms one part of the dish. The rest of the ingredients used remain the same. I prefer to use either Canola oil or Extra virgin olive oil in my cooking, but you could use any cooking oil that you use at home.

INGREDIENTS:

For Patties:

Potatoes: 4 Medium

Cooking Oats: 3 tbsp

Breadcrumbs: 50 gm

Salt & Chili Powder : As per taste

Turmeric: 1/2 tsp

Green Chili: 1 (finely chopped)

Chopped green Coriander: 1 Tbsp

Oil: 2 Tbsp

For Ragda:

Dried White peas : 250 gm

Cumin: 1 Tsp

Onion: 1 Big

Tomatoes: 2 Medium

Olive oil: 2 Tbsp

Ginger & Garlic paste: 1 tsp each

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Chili Powder: 2 Tsp (As per taste)

Coriander powder: 1 Tbsp

Garam masala powder: 1 Tsp

Dry Mango Powder: 1 Tsp

Toppings:

Green chutney

Sweet Tamarind chutney

Barik (fine) Sev

Finely chopped onion

Finely chopped coriander

METHOD:

Soak the dried white peas in enough water so as to cover them overnight. Pressure cook the soaked legumes to three whistles, this cooks them to soft and mushy consistency.

Boil the potatoes and remove the skin and mash them to smooth texture.

Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, green chili and green coriander.

For making the patties, take the mashed potatoes in a bowl, add the cooking oats, the chopped green chili, green coriander, salt, and mix well. We can also add a pinch of dry mango powder to it.

Patties mixture
Patties mixture

Take breadcrumbs in a plate. Give shape to the mixture to form patties, coat them with the breadcrumbs. We can either make round ones by hand or use the mould to make heart-shaped ones, as I have done here. Dust away the excess breadcrumbs.

Heart shaped Potato pattie
Heart shaped Potato pattie
Potato patties
Potato patties

Keep a fry pan on the gas stove and heat, put 1 Tbsp oil and heat. Cook the patties in the fry pan, turning over and cooking evenly on both sides. Remove them when they are cooked on both sides and crisp. Do keep the gas flame from medium-to-slow to ensure that the outer covering does not get over cooked and burnt while the inside remains uncooked. Use more oil if required to make them crisper. Remove and keep the patties on a serving plate once they are done.

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TO MAKE THE RAGDA:

Heat a karahi or round bottom pan on the gas stove. Heat the oil in it and then add the cumin, then the chopped onions and fry. When the onion turn pinkish then add the ginger garlic paste, saute and then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes and then add the turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder, and salt. Then add the boiled white peas and mix thoroughly. Add a glass of water, or as required, to make it in a curry consistency. The peas usually dry up the water when boiled, we want the ragda curry with medium thick gravy and hence adjust the water to add. Let this gravy simmer for 10 minutes, then sprinkle the garam masala powder on top and the chopped coriander and cover the pot with the lid and switch off the gas flame. Our Ragda is ready to be used.

(I do not have any pictures to upload as I never took them when I was making the Ragda,  I will click and re-upload them on a later date when I again make the Ragda :))

SERVING: Take a deep dish, put 2-3 ladles of the Ragda curry, then place the pattie in the center. To get a sweet and sour taste we can put teaspoonfuls of the green chutney and the tamarind chutney. Sprinkle on top finely chopped onions, fine gram flour Sev and green coriander leaves.

ashu's-Ragda Patties
ashu’s-Ragda Patties

One could also use lemon juice instead of the tamarind chutney, if one does not wish to make it sweet but want it to be tangy.  The quantity of toppings used depends on personal preference, hence I have not mentioned the quantity in the ingredients list.

The chutneys add more or enhance the flavors of the dish, making it a Chaat recipe and one usually enjoys it more by adding lots of Sev on top.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT: Legumes are a good source of vegetarian proteins and rich in fiber. The potatoes form the carbohydrate part but when we add the oats we increase the fiber content of the Potato patties and make it a more healthy version.

Hope you all enjoyed going through the recipe, do give it a go to find out if your taste buds get tickled by the combination of flavors used.

Wishing you all a happy Wednesday 🙂

ashu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Wheatflour Thalipeeth

Ashu's-Baked wholewheat flour Thalipeeth
Ashu’s-Baked wholewheat flour Thalipeeth

Thalipeeth is a flat bread made of a mix of multigrain flours, mixed with dry spices and onion and cooked on the gas stove in a frying pan. It is one of the most loved Maharashtrian breakfast recipes. This multigrain flour mix called as Thalipeeth Bhajani is sold in some grocery stores and also some people make it at home by mixing the pulses and wheat and getting it ground in any nearby flour mill. Most often I do not have this flour readily available at home to use and hence I always make this baked version using only wholewheat flour. We can add Gram flour and rice flour too along with the wheat flour, but for making this thalipeeth I always use only wholewheat flour, it is always readily available and I prefer this taste.

This thalipeeth is the baked version and the dough is made medium soft. Instead of making plain wheat flour fulkas and sabji, one can make this as a wholesome meal alternative.

This is a nutritious and healthy recipe, I have added ingredients to make it one. Using wholegrain and nuts increases the fiber content in the diet. The sesame, and groundnut and flaxseed chutney also adds the nutty taste. The flaxseeds are also good source of fiber and also has the Omega -3s. The fiber or roughage in diet is the undigested part of the plant food that helps with proper bowel movements, forms the bulk of the stools, absorbs water and softens it. It aids to relieve constipation.  The caraway seeds too aid in digestion. I have added freshly ground paste of green coriander, green chilies and garlic, and added chopped onions and also greens of spring onions. Yogurt is also added that has milk proteins as well as calcium.

Ingredients to make baked atta thalipeeth
Ingredients to make baked atta thalipeeth

BAKED WHOLEWHEAT FLOUR THALIPEETH

INGREDIENTS:

Wholewheat flour: 350 gm

Onion: 1 big

Spring onions: 1 Bunch (small)

Green coriander + Garlic + Green chili paste: 1 1/2 Tbsp

Curd: 2 Tbsp

Carom seeds: 1 Tsp

Sesame Seeds: 1 Tbsp

Ground Groundnut + Flaxseeds chutney: 1 Tbsp

Red Chili Flakes: 1 Tbsp (optional)

Dried Thyme: 1 Tsp

Water: 200 ml (use as required)

Oil: 50 ml

Turmeric: 1 Tsp

Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp

Salt: To taste

METHOD:

Using few coriander leaves, 1-2 green chilies, and 1-2 garlic cloves make a roughly ground paste. You can add roasted groundnut and flaxseeds to this mix while grinding. I keep groundnut and flaxseed chutney ready in my house.

Chop the onion and spring onion greens finely. Assemble all the ingredients required for making the dough.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Grease a round pie dish with oil and sprinkle with the dried thyme herb and groundnut chutney.

Greased pie dish for making baked thalipeeth.
Greased pie dish for making baked thalipeeth.

Mix the wholewheat flour with all the ingredients shown in the pic, add the turmeric, salt, 1 Tbsp oil and using water make a medium soft dough.

Ingredients to make Baked Wholewheat flour thalipeeth
Ingredients to make Baked Wholewheat flour thalipeeth

Spread the dough on the pie dish and press firmly so that we get an even flat thalipeeth. I have shared this recipe using a square oven tin, click here to check that recipe.

Ashu's-Baked Thalipeeth

Ashu’s-Baked Thalipeeth

Bake this in the preheated oven at 200 deg C for 40 min or until the Thalipeeth is cooked and the sides appear crusty. (Note: Oven used in houses are different, hence the oven timing may be a little less or more, use self-discretion).

Apply a coat of oil on top once it is half cooked.
Apply a coat of oil on top once it is half cooked.

Mid way remove the pan from the oven and apply a coat of oil on top. This gives a shine, does not make the top dry, and also makes it crusty.

Ashu's-Baked wholewheat flour Thalipeeth
Ashu’s-Baked wholewheat flour Thalipeeth

This is how it should be after it is removed from the oven. Serve it with a dip of choice or with the parsley pesto as seen in the picture.

Ashu's- Baked Wholewheat flour Thalipeeth served with Parsley Pesto.
Ashu’s- Baked Wholewheat flour Thalipeeth served with Parsley Pesto.

Click here for the Parsley Pesto recipe. You can also search the archives for my Tomato dip recipe.

I added Tandoori mushrooms and Baked mashed potatoes to the menu to make it a complete meal keeping in view the demand for mashed potatoes from my Jr.

Ashu's-Baked mashed potatoes, tandoori mushrooms and baked Thalipeeth dinner menu.
Ashu’s-Baked mashed potatoes, tandoori mushrooms and baked Thalipeeth dinner menu.

One could also add vegetable or Chicken soup to the above menu. This is one of the baked dinner menus made last week and the family enjoyed it. The freshly made parsley pesto dip added a more enhanced, tangy & herby flavor to the thalipeeth.

Go ahead and try making this ashu’s baked version of the  Maharashtrian recipe of Thalipeeth, and have a happy baking time in your kitchen :).

Enjoy.

ashu.

Cowpeas Curry or Chavli Usal

ashuskitchen: Cowpeas Curry or Chavli Usal
ashuskitchen: Cowpeas Curry or Chavli Usal

We all know the importance of food in our lives. It is a medium that also helps us to connect with one another. One easily gets connected with like minded foodies through the food that they love, and now with the help of social media through the pictures that  one shares. For me the food journey has seen bringing the people together, and one can see the influence of Indian food, its spices and curries spread to so many countries across the globe. It gives great happiness and a fascinating feeling to see the love of Indian cuisine shared by so many non-Indians.

I have always enjoyed this bond that is created by the food I cook. Travelling to places makes us aware of the different landscapes, but also brings us closer to the community or people in that place. This incident happened with me during a sightseeing visit to Cologne, Germany, when I was on a short visit to Frankfurt couple years back. We were visiting the Chocolate Museum in Cologne and during lunch time were seated and had just opened the home packed lunch, an elderly lady stopped by, started talking with us and so we offered and shared our food with her. She was telling us how she loved the Indian food and was so happy to eat with us, and it was this same Cowpea curry that we were eating that noon. Every time I cook this legume, I am fondly reminded of that total stranger who shared the food with us that day. It was the food that had connected us at that moment, and though I am not aware where she must be at this moment but I always get this warmth thinking about that afternoon.

Most Indian families makes use of Lentils and Legumes in their daily food. Most of the legumes are sprouted before use to make them more nutritious, and also for fast cooking and better absorption. The sprouts increase the nutritive value of the legumes. Legumes are a source of good dietary fiber in our diet and also are a good vegetarian protein source. The legumes cooked in the form of usal or curry are eaten with pav, parathas or roti and can be eaten as a breakfast food or main meal and it as well adds as a curry component of the regular vegetarian meal served in hotels or canteens etc.

The cowpeas are usually preferred as a weekend breakfast dish in my house. It is easy and fast to cook, and does not matter even if one forgets to soak them the previous night.  All the ingredients required are always present in the house, and hence one does not need any planning to make this dish.

COWPEA CURRY:

INGREDIENTS:

Cowpeas: 250 gm

Onion: 2 Medium

Tomatoes: 1 Big

Ginger Garlic paste: 1 Tbsp

Oil: 2 Tbsp

Chilli Powder: 1 Tbsp

Turmeric: 1Tsp

Coriander Cumin Powder: 1 Tbsp

Salt: To Taste

Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp

Green Coriander: 2 Tbsp finely chopped

Water: 1 Glass

METHOD:

Boil the Cowpeas/Lobia/Chavli in a pressure cooker  upto 2-3 whistle.

Finely chop the onions and tomatoes. Make the ginger garlic paste using 3-4 garlic cloves and small piece of ginger. Finely chop the green coriander that would be used for garnishing after the dish is prepared.

Heat a Kadai or pot and add the oil.  Then add the finely chopped onions and sauté till they are pinkish. Then add the ginger garlic paste, and after it is cooked for 1-2 minutes add the tomatoes and cook well till all are completely mashed. Then add all the spices and chili powder and salt and stir, and as soon as we see oil separate from the masala in the pan then add the boiled cowpeas.

Mix everything, add some water and let it cook on slow flame. Once it is boiled and all the masala is mixed evenly and a curry is formed, switch off the flame. Adjust adding the water quantity according to the thickness of the curry required.

Then lastly add the garam masala and finely chopped green coriander and keep it covered for sometime.

 ashu's Chavli Usal/Cowpeas Curry
ashu’s Chavli Usal/Cowpeas Curry

TIP: Serve this along with Roti, Paratha, Bread or Pav, or one could also eat this with steaming white rice at lunch time.

This was one more of my favorite foods that I loved sharing with you all. Hope you would try it out someday. Till then enjoy the goodness of eating nutritious, yummy homemade food :). Have a wonderful day friends.

ashu

 

Makar Sankranti Special: TilGul Satorya

Satorya- A Marathi recipe made on occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is puri with TilGul (Sesame seeds and Jaggery) filling.
Satorya- A Marathi recipe made on occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is puri with TilGul (Sesame seeds and Jaggery) filling.

We all know that January  is the first month of the English calendar, a month when all of us are geared up to bring in the new year with new goals, resolutions and lots of plans for the rest of the year.

In the Hindu calendar it is the month of Paush and it brings with it an auspicious harvest festival-Makar Sankranti. Different parts of India celebrates this harvest festival with different names, in Punjab it is called Lohri, in Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal, in Gujrat it is called Uttarayana, in Maharashtra it is called Markar sankranti etc.  It is celebrated on the 14th of January, but this year it happens to be celebrated on the 15th. It is the harvest festival and all the new harvest crops are worshipped and shared.  In Maharashtra, sesame seeds or Til and Jaggery or Gul that is made of the sugarcane is offered to the gods and shared with others in the form of sweets made of it. TilGul is given to all the family members and also distributed. The other harvest crops worshipped include green peas, carrots, sugarcane, ber, wheat, beans etc. In my house I have seen mother keeping all these crops along with tilgul as offerings or Prasad to the gods. Maharashtrian households do Makar Sankranti Haldi kumkum, a custom to invite married ladies and distribute these goods as ‘oti’ along with TilGul. The tilgul ladoo or laddu is very yum and it is very difficult to stop oneself from eating more than one. Both the til and gur are good for consumption in the winter season. Til is a good source of protein, and also rich in fibre , calcium, and iron. It is also used to make chutneys so that one can consume Til in our diet on a daily basis.

I have grown up eating tilgul delicacies that my mother made, she is an expert cook and a great foodie. I salute her enthusiastic spirit, is always lively, energetic, and ever ready to feed us her delicacies. Today on the occasion of Makar Sankranti I am sharing one of my aai’s (mother) recipe that I have grown up eating, always loved these puris, a grab it and munch along food relished so fondly Continue reading Makar Sankranti Special: TilGul Satorya

Diwali 2015

Last week we celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali. It is the big festival that brings with it an excitement all around with lot of preparations, lot of household work from cleaning to painting the walls, shopping for gifts, new clothes, some utensil or silverware and/or gold, lot of festive cooking of meals, as well as the traditionally associated snacks that one is so fond of eating. A Diwali without the traditional savory and sweet snacks and loads of Mithais and ladoos would be incomplete.

I grew up with fond Diwali memories of the customary rituals followed by my mother, her homemade snacks, the fire crackers, the new clothes, the visiting relatives and the good food being served to all. It was a time with lot of activities and family gatherings. I have tried to continue the rituals that I grew up following, and thus every year Diwali is a busy time, occasion that brings with it lot of festive mood and celebrations. The past week was thus family time, with diyas being lit, handmade rangolis done on the floor and colored, tried making first time a sweet that I like a lot but had never tried making in my kitchen. Yeah, this was my first try of making Anarsa, a sweet that is made of rice flour and sugar. I was under the impression that it involved a lengthy process and needed perfection to make and hence had never tried making it ever. But, this time I tried and they turned out just the way I like them.

Sharing here some snaps from my Diwali this year.

Anarsa: A sweet made from rice that is soaked for 3 days, then wiped dry and finely ground to flour. Sugar is added to the flour and a tight dough ball is made and Anarsa is made from this dough. It is deep-fried on slow flame. The frying takes a bit of patience and expertise and technique, but nothing that a beginner cannot follow. I was able to get the perfect shape, so anyone who knows how to fry them can do it. I have used fine Semolina coating, a change from the regular recipe ingredients.

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Ashu wishes you all Happy Diwali.
Ashu wishes you all Happy Diwali.
Homemade Diwali snacks.
Homemade Diwali snacks.

Traditional snacks for Diwali include Chakli, Chivda, Sweet and salty Sankerpala, Besan Sev,  Mathri, Anarsa, Karanji or Gujjia, Ladoos, and Barfis. Above are some of the snacks that I made this Diwali.

It is a different type of Chakli I made this Diwali, a family recipe that uses rice flour and sesame seeds and are shaped by hand. I have started making this type of Chakli since last two months, a never tried recipe before that is getting mastered with frequent attempts. This rice Chakli making is a bit tedious process, but a favorite of my daughter and hubby and hence the extra efforts to master it.

Rice Chakli, a family recipe that is being mastered with frequent attempts of making it, since September’15.

They are shaped by hand, made on cloth and later deep fried.
They are shaped by hand, made on cloth and later deep-fried.

The handmade décor of rangoli design at the door during the festival, a ritual followed by making this Rangoli. The design is inspired from internet images.

Handmade rangoli that is colored using colored rangoli.
Handmade rangoli that is colored using colored rangoli.

The Laxmi Puja day Prasad:

Diwali puja prasad
Diwali puja Prasad

Diwali festivities have now come to end. It was a week of food indulgence, lot of tasty snacks and yummy and rich food eaten, both at home and at parties. Now, with the end of the festival, it is time to start the fitness regimen and go for walks with friends. Yup, the weather is turning out perfect for outdoor activities and hence no excuses.

ashu

 

Sweet Pongal Rice

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Sweet Pongal, a sweet dish introduced to me for the first time by a person who is as sweet as the dish itself, my Tamilian friend, Raji. She holds a special place in my heart.

Friends, have you ever felt connected with a person in an instant? Some people are just meant to be in our lives and hence the pathways of our lives get crossed so that we can form a bond, a connection that would remain in spite of moving away from the place where the friendship started. Yes, those who are meant to be in our lives do walk into it somehow, we just need to connect and make an everlasting friendship with them. There is always a lot to learn from each other.

I met Raji a couple of years back when I had shifted to a new residential colony in Delhi, and was on my way to the pre-nursery school to inquire about admission procedure for my son. I could see a gal, short in stature, with the same aged boy as my son, walking from the opposite end of the road. We saw each other and smiled,  introduced each other and it happened that her son was going to the same pre-nursery school that I was walking to. She lived in one of the neighboring buildings, so our daily to and fro walks to drop our sons made us get to know each other more. Thus our friendship started and her house happened to be the most frequented or knocked at place during my stay in that colony. We went for our daily morning or evening walks, sometimes grocery shopping, sometimes mall shopping, sharing the new dishes cooked at our homes with each making extra portions for the other. I have always found a liveliness and enthusiasm in her and her bubbly laughter, infectious. We sure had our laughter moments; on reminiscing, now, as I think, of those moments we sure giggled like school girls. I had never made vegetable biryani or used beetroot in rice preparations, it was she who introduced me to some of the yummy recipes. One auspicious day she made the sweet pongal as prasad and got a bowl for me. I fell in love with that prasad, she made sure to add extra ghee to the bowl that she brought for me, yeah making me gain more calories (he he 🙂 ), but I would always finish the whole bowl at one go, it was the best, always has been the best Pongal that I got to eat. I have tried making this dish as prasad on couple of occasions over the years, but I would say hers was the best and I can never ever recreate that same very dish in my kitchen; her love is always missing in my pongal!

We moved countries from our Delhi days, kids have grown up, we kept in touch as and when, sometimes no contact for months to years, but every-time I am reminded of her, I instantly feel the warmth of the friendship and a sense of happiness. She has since then moved back to India and lives in Tamil Nadu, and now we are more in contact, more calls, and are there for each other at the buzz of the app, yeah Whatsapp!

It is a wonder how sometimes the small meet-ups, talks or chance encounters stay with us over the passage of time, always fresh as if they had occurred in the present day. I cherish these connections of mine, the individuals who have made an impact on me, whose simple and humble natures left an imprint that has remained fixed somewhere in the mind. I feel one needs to give time and make efforts to keep these warm relations the source of our daily happiness. I am thankful for few wonderful people who have crossed my path and are part of my life.

Now moving to making the Sweet Pongal. This is the way I make this dish in my kitchen, the recipe might not be the exact traditional way of cooking, but its my style of making Pongal. I generally like less sweet and hence I add less sugar or jaggery, hence do increase the quantity of these ingredients as per your taste.

INGREDIENTS:

Rice: 1/2 Katori

Water: 2-2 1/2 Katori

Jaggery: 70-100 gm (Use self discretion for the preferred sweetness and increase the quantity)

Cashewnut: 25 gm

Raisins: 25 gm

Freshly Grated Coconut: 2 Tbsp

Almond Slices: For Garnish

Green Cardamon powder: 1 Tsp.

Ghee: 2 Tbsp

Milk: 1/2 cup. (one could cook the rice in milk)

METHOD:

Wash and soak the rice in water for 10-15 min.

Pressure cook the rice adding double the amount of water in ratio to the rice. For half a katori of rice add 2 1/2 katoris. Cook to 3-4 whistle of the pressure cooker so that the rice is cooked soft.

Heat pan and mix the rice and milk, with continuously stirring this so that milk gets mixed and dries.

In a Kadai or pan heat the ghee, fry the cashews and raisins, taking care not to burn. The cashew nut should be lightly golden in colour. Keep them in plate.

Add the jaggery to the ghee in kadai, and with continuous stirring melt the jaggery, care should be taken that it should not burn. It should not be cooked for long or it would become thick and hard. Add the cooked rice and mix so the jaggery gets mixed evenly with the rice.

Add the fresh coconut and cardamom powder and mix. Then add the fried cashew nuts and raisins.

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Remove in a serving bowl and garnish with sliced almonds.

This is the picture of the prasad that I made today. I used the jaggery that was little dark in color, and hence the darker color of the rice.

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I made this prasad today on the occasion on Vijayadashmi/ Dussehra, a Hindu festival of India. My mother would always make another sweet called Basundi, my favorite on this special day of mine, which is made by evaporating milk. I made Basundi just a couple of days ago.

Basundi, a Maharashtrian sweet dish, from ashuskitchen.
Basundi, a Maharashtrian sweet dish, from ashuskitchen.
I enjoyed writing my thoughts about the dish Sweet Pongal Rice, and I am the only one in the house who loves eating this!!

Tomorrow is the weekend in this part of the world. You all too have an awesome weekend, friends.

ashu

Gilki Bhajji Or Sponge Gourd Fritters/Pakodas

A new month starts, I am on my next blog post that I am writing from my hometown in my motherland. Yes folks, I am back in India, currently visiting my hometown and then moving on to other cities.

After a couple of days of shopping for the home tour and finishing other errands, I took my exit from the hot and extremely humid Summer weather of the Middle East and landed in my hometown and got welcomed with heavy rain downpour. The first step out of the aircraft brought a big cheer on our faces when we saw it was pouring heavily outside. It is so amazing to think about how I experienced different weathers in different countries on the same day.

When I started writing the post I was at my sister’s place, and now finishing this incomplete post from another city. Both my sister and Brother-in-law have always pampered me with their love and affection, and it has always been a joy to spend time at their place, not to forget the yummy tasty food that my sister makes and I love hogging on.

Reaching the hometown, the Scooter ride becomes the fun and adventure part of all trips. I ventured out on a two-wheeler to breathe the air of my city, a rainy day, sometimes drizzling with intermittent rain or other times a heavy downpour. At one stretch of the road the rain is heavy and by the time we are at the end of the road the rain is scant. One has to experience the exhilaration of coming back to the hometown after living away for a long time to understand how one feels. I loved each minute of the scooter drive, the erratic traffic, the overtaking of other vehicles, the constant honks, the hands used to give direction for turning to left or right, the sheer sense of back to old style driving, zipping through, zigzagging or make way through vehicles was simply thrilling, all this is missed when one is driving a car. The drive around the familiar roads, seeing the familiar road side stalls, the fruit vendors, the vegetable vendors, the drizzle and sometimes heavy downpour and maneuvering the scooter around brought back fond memories. I am happy to be in my city.

I stopped at the vegetable vendors during my scooter jaunt and purchased few vegetables that I do not get to see in my place of residence in the Middle East. These fresh looking Sponge Gourd ended up in my purchased vegetable bag and the accompanying rain resulted in these Pakodas being fried in my sister’s kitchen.

Fresh Gilki or Sponge Gourd
Fresh Gilki or Sponge Gourd

INGREDIENTS:

Sponge Gourd: 2 nu.

Bengal Gram flour: 250 gm

Green Coriander: 1 Tbsp (Finely chopped)

Red Chili Powder: 2 Tsp

Carom Seeds: 1 Tsp

Sesame Seeds: 1 Tsp

Salt: To Taste

Oil: For Frying

Ingredients for making the Gilki Bhajji or Pakoda
Ingredients for making the Gilki Bhajji or Pakoda

METHOD:

Wash the Sponge Gourd, wipe it dry, and then cut into medium thin rounds.

Heat a Kadai and put oil and heat the oil on high setting of the gas stove.

Take gram flour in a bowl, add the chili powder, Carom and Sesame seeds, and salt and using half to three fourth glass of water make a medium thick batter. Add the finely chopped coriander. Add 1-2 Tsp drops of hot oil and then beat the batter smooth.

Gram flour batter for dipping the medium thick roundels of Gilki.
Gram flour batter for dipping the medium thick roundels of Gilki.

Dip the roundels of the Sponge Gourd into this batter and then put in the hot oil and deep fry till crispy and golden brown in color. Remove them and drain on a kitchen tissue roll, serve hot with Tomato Ketchup or any favorite sauce. I like them plain without any sauce or dips.

This Sponge Gourd pakoda or bhajji was the first dish that I made on my home tour using the local seasonal vegetables. It was nice to have my sister around to watch me when I was busy with my recipe and clicking different angle photos for posting as my next blog post.

Friends, here is one more of the Maharashtrian recipes that I enjoy eating. Happy trying out these crispy Bhajjis in your kitchen.

Do visit again for my next blogpost- a Corn recipe, another seasonal favorite.

ashu.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Kothimbir Vadi or Coriander Roll

Kothimbir Wadi or Sambar Vadi: We call it Sambar Vadi in my household. All of those who are familiar with this snack would know how tasty it is and eating one wadi is never enough, we always eat more than one. I remember mother used to buy 1-2 kgs of the green coriander, patiently clean the bundles, wash the leaves, dry them and then finely chop them. The dry coconut needed to be grated. The onions needed to be finely chopped. Uff, that was too much of work to do. These were my thoughts in childhood  and I had made up plans then that I will never ever attempt to make this, I never ate the inside coriander filling during childhood so it was beyond me to understand the trouble mom undertook to make this. But things do change over a period of time as we grow, the eating preferences to some extent for me. A foodie does go the extra length to satiate the taste buds, provided it is something that one likes a lot. I am sure you all would agree that the taste of the food cooked by mothers always stays with us forever.

Growing up in a big family with specific recipes associated with particular festivals, time or season remain as fond memories. With ever shrinking family size, one might not indulge making certain dishes. The company of elders make us relive those eating moments, mom’s visit allowed me this privilege. The month gave me the opportunity to not only be under her loving care but also allowed me to meet the woman she is, whom I have always admired. The experiences and rigors of life transforms lives and make them what they become. It was overwhelming to see my mom, even at age 77, so full of enthusiasm and abundance of energy to enjoy each days moments. Her zeal for adventure, the spirit to explore and learn, to still keep caring and loving and giving, even now, when she should be the one receiving it, to still be so positive in spite of the situations and above all to lead a life that still makes a difference in other people’s lives makes me salute her, and I feel it is a blessing to be her daughter. Her strong persona gives strength in life’s weak moments. I loved each moment being with this amazing woman, my mother. I just wonder whether at her age I would be that active and zealous, I know not. But I would do my best because Yeah, I owe it to her.

Now it is time to start cooking this yummy snack from the state of Maharashtra in India. Reading the recipe you would come to know that it is not an instant dish, but does need some pre-preparation and a bit of efforts to make. But trust me, it is definitely worth trying and eating. We do get this ready-made in snack shops, on menus in hotels, but I can say the homemade ones are always the best. Though I make this every winter season or even otherwise when the taste buds crave, but I have to mention that my mom’s Sambar Vadi is the best for me. I have tried to make it as much like hers, but due to unavailability of some essential ingredient I have not added that. The post is essentially posted with the intent that the recipe needs to be saved for the next generation kids of my family. Happy cooking 😃!!!

KOTHIMBIR VADI:

INGRIEDIENTS:

Green Coriander: 400 gm (in weight after cleaning and chopping)

Onion: 1 Big

Green chilies: 4-5 nu. (finely chopped)

Fresh Coconut (grated): 1/2 to 3/4 of a fresh one or 150-200 g if dried one used. (one could use the dry grated coconut too instead of fresh)

Cumin: 1 Tsp.

Carom Seeds: 1 Tsp

Garam Masala: 1 Tbsp

Gram Flour: 250 gm

Rice powder: 1 Tbsp

Oil: For frying

Turmeric: 1 Tsp

Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp

Salt: To taste

METHOD: Prepare the ingredients. Clean the coriander bunch, wash thoroughly, then dry the leaves and then finely chop the green coriander. Grate the coconut and keep ready for use. Chop the chilies, onion and keep ready.

Cleaned, washed, dried and then finely chopped green coriander.
Cleaned, washed, dried and then finely chopped green coriander.

Heat the pan, put half the quantity of the chopped coriander and give it toss or two and remove from the pan and keep in a bowl. This is just done for a minute or so, to remove the raw taste.

lightly tossed coriander.
lightly tossed coriander.

In the heated pan add 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then add cumin, chopped chilies and fry. Then add the chopped onion and cook till they are pinkish in color and are cooked. Once done then empty it on a plate and let it cool.

Fried in little oil until cooked.
Fried in little oil until cooked.

Once the heated coriander cools, add to it the remaining chopped coriander that is raw. Add the cooked onion and chili to this mix. Add the turmeric, grated coconut, salt, and 2 Tsp of garam masala powder. Mix all these ingredients well so that the spices are evenly coated. (For more spice one can add red chili powder as per taste) This mixture is the filling.

The coriander filling
The coriander filling.

In a bowl take the gram flour, 1 tbsp rice powder, add salt as per taste, carom seeds, 1 Tsp red chili powder, and 2 Tsp oil and add water to make a tight or stiff dough. Cover and keep it for sometime and then knead well. Make even- sized small balls and roll out puri’s. Apply garam masala paste (mix the garam masala powder with little water) on the puri and then put 1-2 Tbsp of filling in the center. Fold the sides and seal the ends. Little water can use used to seal the sides, if required. The ends should not open while frying in oil.

Make the puris and place the coriander filling.
Make the puris and place the coriander filling.

Heat oil for frying in karahi. Fry the rolls until they become crisp and then remove and drain on a tissue roll. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

Kothimbir Vadi or Coriander Roll.
Kothimbir Vadi or Coriander Roll.

These were the only pictures that I could click, the wadis had a very crispy outer coat (adding more oil to the gram flour results in the outer coating becoming very crisp), but mom liked them. I wish you all to give it a try if you are fond of making something new.

Enjoy! Happy Wednesday.

ashu.