Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Avocado Peas Chakli

Chakli is one snack I love eating as much as I love making them. This savory snack makes a perfect accompaniment with evening coffee or chai. Last Sunday, I made these Avocado Peas Chaklis as I wanted to use avocados in some Indian dish. I had planned to make either a dosa, paratha or puri with avocados. However, before I could cook any of these dishes, I saw them posted by my other blogger friends. Few days back, I had come across a chakli recipe where boiled potato was used in place of butter/ ghee. So I thought why not add avocados in place of butter? That's how the plan of making these Avocado Peas Chaklis conceived. I added green peas just to give it some color.

These chaklis came out very crispy and crunchy. This is the first time I have made these without adding any ghee/ butter to the dough. The dough was a nice light green color, however, the chaklis turned out slightly golden brown when they were deep fried. So I would say that was the only disappointment. I was expecting the fried chaklis to be light green or creamish in color (like the store bought butter chaklis). Anyways, this was a successful experiment and I'm happy with the result. Will be surely making these very often.

Makes 16-17 chaklis
Ingredients -
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup peas
1 avocado
2-3 green chillies
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp carom seeds/ ajwain
1 tbsp black/ white sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method -
1. Take the wheat flour in a muslin cloth and tie a knot. Steam this flour bundle in the pressure cooker without putting the weight for 10 mins. You can also steam it outside over boiling water for 10mins.
2. In the meantime, scoop out the avocados and grind them along with the peas and green chillies into a very fine green paste. Add few drops of water only if needed.
3. Cool the flour bundle and make sure you break any lumps. Add ajwain, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, salt and mix well.
4. Add the green paste (@ 6 tbsps) and knead together to form a soft dough (like chapati dough). Add more green paste if needed. (I ended up using all of it, but quantity may vary based on the size of the avacados and the amount of water added while grinding).
5. Take a small portion of the dough and form a cylindrical shaped log and drop it in the chakli/ murukku press.
6. Heat oil in a deep frying pan/ kadhai.
7. Using your hands, press the chakli mold to form concentric circles on a plate. Also check out other convenient way of forming chaklis here.
8. Gently lift the chaklis and deep fry in hot oil on medium flame. Fry few chaklis at a time making sure you do not overcrowd the kadhai. Fry both sides till they turn golden and take them out on a clean paper towel or old newspaper to drain the excess oil.
9. Allow them to cool and store them in an airtight container.

Note –
* Make the chaklis immediately after making the dough to avoid the chaklis from absorbing too much oil.
* If making a big batch, work on small amounts of dough at a time.

I'm sending these Avocado Peas Chaklis to Priya Mitharwal's 'Vegetable/Fruit A Month' event with Avocado being the chosen fruit for the month of May 2010.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bharlelya Kandyachi Bhaji/ Stuffed Onion Curry

'Bharlelya Kandyachi Bhaji' is a traditional Maharashtrian dish in which small white onions are stuffed with a sweet and spicy coconut masala. The onions truly shine like a star on their own in this dish with coconut and the goda masala (Mahrashtrian garam masala) being the key ingredients. This extremely flavorful curry goes very well with bhakris, chapatis or even plain dal- rice. This masala can also be used to stuff other veggies such as baby eggplants, potatoes, okras or ivy gourds.

Ingredients -
4 small white onions
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp hing/ asafoetida
2 tbsps goda masala/ garam masala
1 tbsp grated jaggery
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Method -
1. Peel the onions and make one vertical and one horizontal slit in the onions taking care not to go all the way through as shown in the picture below.
2. In a bowl, take grated coconut, chopped cilantro, goda/ garam masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, jaggery and mix well.
3. Stuff the coconut masala very gently into the onions without breaking them. Save the remaining masala for the gravy.
4. Heat some oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
5. When the mustard seeds splutter, add hing/ asafoetida and turmeric.
6. Add the stuffed onions and mix gently. Cover the pan and cook the onions for 7-10 mins turning them occasionally.
7. Add about 3/4 cup of water and remaining masala. Cover and cook for sometime till onions are cooked well.

This goes to Healing Foods -Onions event hosted by Priya for the month of June and started by Siri of Siri's Corner. I'm also sending this to Think Spice - Think Garam Masala event hosted by Sara's Corner for the month of June and started by Sunita of Sunita's World.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oats Dosa

Knowing the health benefits of oats in our diet, I frequently buy instant oatmeal boxes from Costco that serves up a quick breakfast on some busy mornings when I don’t have time to prepare hot breakfast. However, we always finish up the flavored packets but the original ones invariably get left behind ..like we have both made up our minds to not eat those. I used a packet of the original oats in these Healthy Laddoos recently but still have few more packets left that I wanted to use up before the "Best If Used By" date.

Since I never get bored from eating dosas at home or even in restaurants, I thought of putting these oat packets to good use by making oats dosa for dinner last week. The inspiration for this dosa comes from this Blog but I made a few changes to the original recipe. I believe there is something in the oats that aids in the fermentation process because the batter fermented really well and the dosas were very light and crispy. Besides, the addition of oats makes these dosas very healthy. I actually made a masala oats dosa by spreading some potato masala on the dosa. Served it with this delicious Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney and Doodhi Methi sambar for an extremely satisfying weeknight dinner.

Ingredients -
1/2 cup regular rice
1/2 cup boiled rice/ ukda tandool
1/2 cup urad dal
4 instant oatmeal packets (@ 11/2 cups)
1 tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup cooked rice
salt to taste

Method -
1. Soak the rice and urad dal and methi seeds separately in water overnight or 5-6 hrs.
2. Soak oats in water @ 30 -40 mins  before grinding.
2. Grind everything to a smooth paste along with the cooked rice like regular dosa batter.
3. Mix the batter well and leave it in a warm place for fermentation. 
4. Add salt to the fermented batter.
5. Heat your dosa pan/ griddle and grease it with some oil when hot.
6. Pour the dosa batter on the pan with the help of your ladle and spread it in circular motion starting from the center to form a thin dosa.
7. Put some oil on and around the edges of the dosa and cook the dosa until golden brown.

This is another entry for Nupur's 'BB4- What's Lurking in the kitchen' event. I'm truly grateful to Nupur for hosting this great event. By participating in this event, I not only discovered some great blogs but also used up many ingredients lurking in my kitchen by trying out new recipes. Though I was only able to send in a few entries (that met all the requirements), I certainly used up quite a few ingredients from my pantry that were nearing the expiry date.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Microwave Doodhi Methi Sambar

This is my first attempt at cooking a complete dish in the microwave from start to finish. In the past, I have only used my microwave to warm up food or boil a potato in a jiffy. It is the splatter and clean up nightmares that have really scared me away from trying to cook anything in the microwave. So I have always avoided participating in microwave cooking events that I see on the blogosphere until now. However, last few weeks I have seen several of my blogger friends successfully cook dal in the microwave and that gave me some courage to give this a try.

It was my understanding that it is relatively quicker to cook anything in the microwave vs on a regular stove. So last week when I needed some sambar to go along with my masala dosas, I decided to try quickly making some sambar in the microwave. It took me about 30- 40 mins to cook the sambar in the microwave…about the same time as one would need to cook the dal in the pressure cooker and complete making the sambar on the stove top. Maybe toor dal takes a little longer to cook than some other lentils that might give a faster turn-around time in the microwave. Regardless, the sambar turned out really good and we loved the doodhi and methi combination very much. I'm actually quite thrilled that I was able to successfully overcome my fear of microwave cooking and pleasantly happy with the outcome!

Ingredients -
1/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup chopped bottle gourd/ Doodhi
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fenugreek / methi leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsps oil
1/4 tsp asafoetida/ hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 chopped green chilli
3-4 tiny dried red chillies (1 large dried red chilli pieces)
1 tbsp sambar masala powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsps tamarind pulp/ to taste
2 tbsps jaggery

Method -
1. Wash the toor dal and soak in hot water for about ½ hour. Drain the dal, add bottle gourd pieces and 2 cups of water to the dal and microwave for about 15 mins in a microwave safe bowl. Use a relatively large bowl so the dal doesn’t boil and overflow.
2. Add chopped tomato pieces and microwave for another 10 mins. Check to see if the dal is cooked. If not, add some water and cook the dal for few more minutes/ until cooked.
3. In another bowl, heat oil for 1 min in the microwave. Add mustard seeds and microwave for 1 min. Then add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies, dried red chillies and turmeric and microwave for another minute.
4. Add fenugreek leaves and cilantro to the oil and microwave for another minute.
5. Add this to the cooked dal and also add salt, tamarind pulp, jaggery and sambar masala powder and mix well. Microwave for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with dosas or rice.

This goes to 'MEC- Delicious Dals' event hosted by Kamalika for the month of June and originally started by Srivalli.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney

These days I have been saving vegetable peels, stalks and even leaves hoping to make edibile and delicious dishes from them. I have heard many a times from different people that vegetable and fruit peels, stalks and leaves have lots of nutrients in them. I agree, we can easily transform some of these veggie wastes which we usually toss in the bin into tasty delicious dishes. One such dish that I often make with vegetable peels is this Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney. I served this chutney with the Masala Dosas I made for dinner sometime last week. This chutney tastes just as good as regular coconut chutney and one wont be able to guess that it was made from peels that usually get thrown away!

Ingredients -
3 cups ridge gourd peels
3 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger
1 tbsp crushed peanuts
2 tbsps fresh grated coconut
1/2 cup grated raw mango (or tamarind to taste)
1 handful cilantro leaves
1/4 cup jaggery
Salt to taste
2 tbsps oil
1/4 tsp asafoetida/ hing

Method -
1.Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the green chillies and ridge gourd peels till they turn slightly brown and crisp.
2.Transfer this to the blender and add the remaining ingredients such as ginger, crushed peanuts, coconut, raw mango, cilantro, tamarind, jaggery, salt and some water. Blend this into a fine paste by adding some water as needed.
3.In a small kadai, heat a tbsp of oil and add hing. Pour this oil on the chutney and mix well.

This goes to Nithu's 'Best Out Of Waste' event.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kandyachi Bhakri/ Onion Bhakri

Bhakri is a traditional Maharashtrian flat bread which is mostly made from jowar flour, bajra flour, nachni/ ragi flour, rice flour or even wheat flour and is a staple diet in rural Maharashtra. Typically, the dough for this bhakri is made by adding the basic ingredients such as salt and water to the flour. In Maharashtra, the pitla bhakri and junka bhakri combo is very popular. It is also common to serve them with a red/ green chilli thecha (thick red or green chillies are fire roasted and pounded in the mortar pestle into a coarse paste) , garlic chutney and raw onions.

One such bhakri variety which I grew up eating is this Kandyachi Bhakri/ Onion Bhakri. My mom made this quite often at home particularly when she was out of veggies and I loved eating these with her spicy peanut chutney. This bhakri is basically seasoned with finely chopped onions, green chillies, cilantro and fresh grated coconut. For soft thin bhakris I usually steam the dough (see procedure below). But if the rice flour is very fresh, you can directly make the dough in warm water. Traditionally you spread the bhakri into a round circle with the help of your palm and fingers. I use the fast and fool proof ziploc method where in I place a medium sized ball of dough inside a greased ziploc bag and roll it into a round bhakri using my rolling pin. This method never fails and yields thin and even bhakris every single time. We love these bhakris with this quick potato bharta. All you do is mix together some peanut chutney, yogurt, finely chopped onions and chopped/ mashed boiled potatoes and serve it with warm bhakris for a traditional maharashtrian meal.

Makes @ 7-8 bhakris
Ingredients -
1 cup water
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 green chillies – slit in the middle and chopped into medium pieces
Handful of cilantro leaves – finely chopped
3 tbsps fresh grated coconut
1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil as needed

Method -
1. Boil a cup of water in a pan and add salt and 1 tsp oil to it.
2. Switch off the stove and add rice flour to the hot water little at a time and constantly stir the mixture. Cover it and let it cool down before you add the other ingredients.
3. When the dough it slightly warm, add the onions, green chillies, cilantro, coconut and sugar.
4. Knead the mixture to form a soft dough and apply some oil to your palm to help with kneading the dough. You may need to add little more rice flour if the dough is very sticky.
5. Adjust the salt according to your taste. Let the dough rest for half hour.
6. Heat a skillet while you prepare the bhakris.
7. Take a medium size ziplock bag and cut it open on 2 sides. Place the Ziploc on the rolling board/ polpat. Apply some oil on the inside of the bag and place a medium size ball of the dough on it. Cover the dough ball with the ziploc and roll it with your rolling pin into a round bhakri just like chapattis.
8. Slowly lift the bhakri and roast them on the hot skillet on both sides. Drizzle few drops of oil on each side and fry for some more time, till they turn slightly golden brown.
9. Serve hot. Goes well with peanut chutney or potato bharta.

This goes to Healing Foods -Onions event hosted by Priya for the month of June and started by Siri of Siri's Corner.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bhajaniche Vade

'Bhajani' which is a flour of mixed roasted pulses and some spices is typically used to make 'Thalipeeths', a famous snack item from Maharashtra, India. This delicious flavored flatbread is traditionally served with a dollop of home-made butter and an accompaniment of either chutney, raita, pickle or any other relish. Every year my mom makes big batches of this bhajani flour for me along with home made cumin powder, coriander powder, goda masala, upvasachi bhajani (for vrats/ fasts), pickles, chundas etc that I bring back with me during my India trips. 

Last year, for some reason I didn’t get a chance to make thalipeeths that often and therefore have some flour left from last year along with my fresh batch that I brought back with me during my last India trip in December 2009. I wanted to quickly use up the old bhajani, so that I could start using my fresh batch of bhajani for making thalipeeths. While searching for some new recipes that call for this bhajani flour, I came across these bhajani vades on this Blog. I think this is an excellent way of using the leftover flour before it loses all its flavor. I made a few changes to the original recipe. The vades were delicious, puffed up beautifully and went really well with this simple Batatyache Bhareeth (Potato Bharta).

Ingredients -
1 cup Bhajani Flour
2 tbsps wheat flour
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp green chilli paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp sesame seeds
salt to taste
1-2 tbsps hot oil
Oil for deep frying

Method -
1. In a bowl, take the bhajani flour and add wheat flour, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, green chilli paste, cilantro, cumin powder, coriander powder, sesame seeds and mix well.
2. Add the hot oil and with some warm water form a medium dough (like puri dough). Cover and set the dough aside for 15-20 mins. In the meantime, heat oil for deep frying.
3. Form medium sized balls @ 8- 10. Lightly grease a plastic sheet or cut open a Ziploc bag and grease the inside. Place the ball of dough on the greased side and with help of your fingers and palm flatten it into a round puri. Deep fry the vadas in the hot oil on medium heat until done. Fry on both sides.

Batatyache Bhareeth (Potato Bharta) 

Ingredients -
1 cup chopped boiled potatoes
1 finely chopped green chilli
1/2 cup chopped onions
4-5 curry leaves roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing/ asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Method -
1. Heat some oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies, hing/ asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and mix well. Make sure you don't burn the spices. I usually turn off the stove, after I add the cumin seeds and then add the other seasonings to the oil.
2. Add the onions and cook for couple of minutes. You want the onions to have some crunch.
3. Take the pan off the stove and add potatoes, salt, sugar and mix together.
4. Let this mixture cool down and then add some beaten yogurt and mix well.
5. Add chopped cilantro and serve it at room temperature.

I'm sending these vadas to Nupur's BB4 event as it uses ingredients lurking in my kitchen and the recipe is inspired by another blogger.

Thalipeeth Bhajani

'Bhajani' which is a flour of mixed roasted pulses and some spices is typically used to make 'Thalipeeths', a famous snack item from Maharashtra, India. This delicious flavored flatbread is traditionally served with a dollop of home-made butter and an accompaniment of either chutney, raita, pickle or any other relish.  This is my mom's recipe of Bhajani.

Ingredients -
1 kg raw rice
1/2 kg bajra
1/2 kg jowar
1/4 kg green gram/ moong
1/4 kg urad dal
1/4 kg chana dal
1/4 kg kulith/ horsegram
100 gms wheat
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds

Method -
1. Wash the rice and dry it by spreading the rice on a piece of cloth.
2. In a pan, roast each of the above ingredients separately.
3. Mix everything together and grind it into a fine powder.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dark Chocolate Walnut Bars

Though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, every once in a while I like to indulge in something sweet specially after a hot and spicy meal. I had a big bag of walnuts that I bought around Christmas time last year. Since I saved them in the refrigerator they are still very fresh and I wanted to bake something using these nuts. These days, my go to baking book is this 'The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking' book by Carole Clements that I bought from Amazon few years back. Every single item that I have baked from this book so far has turned out really good and I'm always confident baking anything from this book. While browsing through this book, these Chocolate Walnut Bars caught my attention. This seemed like a perfect recipe to use up some of the walnuts and also the Hershey's dark cocoa powder I bought few months back to make this Zebra Cake. These bars were easy to make and were delicious. They had just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy anyone's craving. Though the original recipe called for regular cocoa powder, I used dark cocoa powder and both D and I thought the dark chocolate made the bars even more delicious!

Makes 24
Ingredients -
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour, sifted
6 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed Hershey's dark cocoa powder)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Method -
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 8 -inch square baking pan.
2. Grind the walnuts with a few tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor, blender or nut grinder.
3. In a bowl, combine the ground walnuts, remaining sugar and flour. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Alternatively, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Pat the walnut mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, for the topping, melt the butter with the water. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until blended.
6. Pour the topping over the crust when baked.
7. Return to the oven and bake until set, about 20 mins. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into 21/2 X 1 inch bars and dust with confectioners sugar. Store in the refrigerator.

I'm sending these to Sugar High Friday - Edition # 67 hosted by The Well Seasoned Cook, where the theme is Bar Cookies.
I'm also sending these to Champa's Baking from the Book event hosted by Suma for the month of June.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Pani Puri/ Gol Gappa/ Phuchka

I'm a huge CHAAT fan and can skip many a meals for any chaat item, though pani puri happens to be by far my most favorite!! Pani Puri also known as 'Gol Gappa' in Northern India or 'Phuchka' in West Bengal is a very popular street snack from India. It comprises of a crisp hollow semolina puri filled with sprouts or hot ragda, boiled potato stuffing, tamarind chutney and chilled mint flavored water.

I have 2 favorite 'panipuriwallah's' in Mumbai, one very close to where my parents live and another one in Central Matunga. Every time I go to India, I make sure I indulge in these panipuris every opportunity I get at both these locations. The standard serving in 1 plate is about 5-6 puris but I easily finish 2-3 plates and crave for yet some more! When the chaat wallah bhaiya is serving me these sweet, spicy and tangy puris one after the other, I just go on eating and the only thing I say as I'm eating my pani puri is "Pet bhar gaya par ji nahi bhara" :-)

My parents didn’t quite approve of us eating from the street vendors when we were kids and so my mom made pani puri quite often at home to satisfy our cravings. She usually bought puris from the 'ChaneWallah' and made the other preparations at home. I have also been making pani puri for the last several years since I got married but I have never tried making puris at home. I always buy them from the local Indian stores. So I was really excited when Srivalli chose Pani Puri for this months ICC Challenge as this would be an excellent opportunity to try making puris from scratch at home. I followed my regular recipe for the mint water which tasted great. For the puris and the sweet chutney, I followed the recipe provided to us with minimal changes. I made puris with a cup of semolina and had about 65- 70% success at perfect puffed puris. We had enough puffed puris for the 2 of us, so no complaints. The ones that didn’t puff will make excellent Sev Batata Puri. I think the extra efforts put into making these puris at home is well worth the trouble. These  Gol Gappas were truly divine with fresh home made puris!!

Ingredients -
For Puris
1 cup rava/ sooji/ semolina
1 tbsp all purpose flour/ maida
Salt to taste
Oil for Frying

For Spicy Mint Water
1 bunch cilantro/ coriander leaves
1 cup mint/ pudina leaves
5 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger
4 green chillies/ to taste
1 tbsp black salt/ kala namak
1/2 tsp freshly roasted cumin powder
1 pinch salt
juice of 1 lime
6 cups water

For Potato Filling
Boiled potatoes - finely chopped/ mashed and mixed with a pinch each of salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder

For Lentil Filling
White peas/ vatana
Green gram/ whole moong
Soak the lentils in water overnight and cook in pressure cooker. Drain any excess water and add a pinch each of salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder

For Red Tamarind Chutney
1 cup brown tamarind
1/2 cup jaggery
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dry roasted cumin powder
1 tsp dry roasted coriander powder
2 cloves
2 cups warm water
Salt to taste

Method -
For Puris
1. In a bowl take semolina, salt and add some water and mix together. The semolina will absorb all the water
2. Now add all purpose flour and knead well to form a stiff dough like regular puri dough.
3. Add a tsp of oil and knead some more. Cover the dough either with a wet muslin cloth or cling wrap and let it rest for 15-20 mins.
4. Then take a medium sized ball, apply some oil on the rolling surface and roll into a very thin chapati. Using some round cutter (I used small pickle katori)cut into several small round puris.
5. In the meantime, heat oil in a deep pan for deep frying the puris. Once oil is hot, deep fry puris until crisp and golden brown color. Remove the puris with the help of a slotted spoon on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
6. Allow the puris to completely cool and store them in an airtight container.

For Spicy Mint Water
1. Clean the cilantro by discarding all the large stems and only using the tender leaves and stem.
2. Grind the cilantro, mint leaves, garlic, ginger and green chillies into a fine paste adding some water.
3. Transfer this to a bowl and add 6 cups for water to this. Also add lime juice, salt, cumin powder, black salt and mix well.
4. Refrigerate the water for few hours and strain the water through a fine siever before use.

For Red Tamarind Chutney
1. Extract the pulp from tamarind.
2. Dry roast the cumin seeds and the cloves in a pan and pound them into coarse powder.
3. Add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, cloves and salt to the tamarind pulp. Also add some water.
4. Heat this mixture for a few minutes and let it cool down. Add some more warm water if the chutney thickens up.

Assembling the Pani Puri / Gol Gappa
1. Assemble few puris in a plate. Poke a small hole in the center of the puris
2. Add some potato filling and lentil filling inside the puri.
3. Add some red tamarind Chutney and pour some spicy mint water in the puri. Stuff the whole puri in your mouth.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Avacado Pineapple Smoothie

This past weekend kept us very busy with house cleaning and yard work. I didn’t have time to cook an elaborate breakfast. So I went ahead and made this quick avocado pineapple smoothie which made a healthy and delicious breakfast.

Serves 2
Ingredients –
1 ripe avocado
½ cup crushed pineapple (I used canned crushed pineapple)
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup orange juice
1 tbsp honey

Method -
1. Cut the avocado, remove the pit and scoop out the avocado into the blender.
2. Add the other ingredients inthe blender and puree into a smooth paste.
3. Add some ice cubes and blend again. Serve chilled.

I'm sending this to Divya's 'Show Me Your Smoothie!' event and Priya's 'Vegetable/Fruit A Month' event with Avacado being the chosen fruit for the month of May 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kulith / Horsegram Dosa

These last few days I haven’t really done any grocery shopping except buying basic ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, peppers etc. Inspired by Nupur's BB4 event, I'm forcing myself to come up with tasty dishes with ingredients I have in my pantry. I have already made a list of ingredients that have been sitting in my pantry and refrigerator for months/ years and plan to cook as many dishes as I can using these ingredients.

I found some Kulith/ Horsegram in the refrigerator which is as old as my daughter 'Swara,' who is 18 months old now. My mom got these from India when she came here to help me out after Swara's birth. This is a kind of legume which is generally used as cattle feed. Since it is rich in iron and a good source of protein and calcium, it is considered to be good for new moms. My mom made Kulith usal for me a couple of times but I didn't like it very much. So they were neatly stored in a Ziploc bag in my refrigerator and have been undisturbed for more than a year or so. I don’t like to throw anything my mom has specially carried for me all the way from India. So I was really thrilled to find this Kulith/ Horsegram dosa on Shilpa's blog. I followed her recipe with the addition of few more ingredients like methi seeds and some cooked rice which I usually add for good fermentation. I didn’t have time to make a special chutney or sambar to go along with these. So I made these more like uttapams by sprinkling some finely chopped onions, cilantro, green chillies and spicy peanut chutney right after spreading the dosa batter on the skillet. The dosas were very crisp and delicious. They tasted slightly different than the regular dosas and are much healthier with the addition of kulith. I think the kulith gave the dosas a lovely golden brown color and also made them very crispy. I was really happy to see my little Swara enjoy these as much as we did. I might have to buy more kulith to make these dosas specially for her :-)

Ingredients -
1/2 cup regular rice
1/2 cup boiled rice / ukde tandul
1/2 cup urad dal
1/2 cup kulith/ horsegram
1/4 cup chana dal
1 tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup cooked rice
salt to taste

Optional -
finely chopped onions
finely chopped green chillies
finely chopped cilantro
peanut chutney/ any chutney powder

Method -
1. Soak the rice, urad dal, horsegram, chana dal and methi seeds separately in water overnight or 5-6 hrs.
2. Grind everything to a smooth paste along with the cooked rice like regular dosa batter.
3. Leave the batter in a warm place for fermentation. 
4. Add salt to the fermented batter.
5. Heat your dosa pan/ griddle and grease it with some oil when hot.
6. In a bowl, mix together finely chopped onions, green chillies and cilantro
7. Pour the dosa batter on the pan with the help of your ladle and spread it in circular motion starting from the center to form a thin dosa.
8.Immediately sprinkle the onion, green chilli and cilantro mixture on the dosa. Also sprinkle some chutney powder on it.
9. Put some oil on and around the edges of the dosa and cook the dosa until golden brown. Serve hot with your favorite chutney.

This is a perfect entry for Nupur's BB4 event as it uses ingredients lurking in my kitchen and the recipe is inspired by another blogger.
I'm also sending these to Helen and Sarah's 'Breakfast Club # 1 - Asian' event.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Potato Masala N Sesame Toast - French Toast Indian Style

Last memorial day weekend, my nephew was in town and spent the weekend with us. I treated him with all his favorite Indian food from chicken kadhai to shrimp balchao and masala vada to masala dosa. As a result, I had plenty of leftovers and didn’t have to cook much last week. Sometimes we are not in a mood to have the same food for 2-3 consecutive meals and I love to transform the leftovers into innovative tasty dishes. I had some leftover potato masala and coconut chutney that I made for the masala dosa and decided to make this Indian style French toast for a quick evening snack last week. This 'Potato Masala N Sesame Toast' was delicious and would make an excellent breakfast. I guess you can use any leftover curry (that goes well with egg) for the stuffing and make delicious French toast (Indian Ishtyle) with ingredients you have on hand.

2 bread slices
1 egg
2 tbsps milk
1 cup Potato Masala/ Bhaji
2 tbsps Coconut Chutney
2 tsps tomato ketchup
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
1 pinch pepper
Sesame seeds

Method -
1. Mash the potato masala to form a smooth mixture and add some chopped cilantro to it. Reserve a tbsp of cilantro for the egg batter.
2. Mix the tomato ketchup with the coconut chutney
3. Beat the egg and add the milk, salt, pepper, remaining chopped cilantro and mix well
4. Heat your skillet/ pan while you prepare the bread slices.
5. Spread some butter on the bread slices on one side followed by the chutney- ketchup mixture.
6. Now spread the potato stuffing on the bread to form a thin layer
7. Dip the bread slices in the egg batter and place them on the hot skillet with the stuffing side up. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the bread. Fry both the sides by drizzling some melted butter around the bread slices. Fry till they turn golden brown.
8. Serve them hot with ketchup or chutney.

I'm sending these to Priya's Global Kadai - Indianized French Toast event and Helen and Sarah's 'Breakfast Club # 1 - Asian' event.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chawli Vada/ Black- Eyed Pea Fritters

I keep a decent stock of dried peas/pulses in my pantry and use them regularly in my cooking. However, Chawli or Black- Eyed Peas is one of the pulses that I had not cooked with until last year. Although these peas are used in many traditional Indian dishes, the red peas were more popular at my mom's place and were widely used in several dishes. These red peas are called 'Alsande' and are similar in shape and size to the black eyed peas. I believe they are only available during a particular season in certain regions in India. My mom usually buys these in bulk during her trips to Goa.

Anyways, coming back to the black eyed peas, I came across a recipe for the black eyed peas vada on Indira's blog almost a year back and immediately bought these peas to try these vadas at home. However, my plan to make these vadas never materialized and I ended up using them to make this Chawli Methi Dhokla, definitely a healthier option to the deep fried vadas. Since then, I have made these dhoklas a few times but never got to making the vadas. When I read about Nupur's BB4 event and was looking through my pantry, I found some black eyed peas in a canister. I immediately soaked them overnight in water and finally made these delicious vadas for dinner last week. I used the regular procedure I follow to make any other dal vada batter and shaped them like medu vadas. These vadas tasted really good and from what I understand are usually served with non- vegetarian chicken or mutton curries. However, I served them with some coconut chutney and sambhar and they go very well with these too!

Ingredients -
1 cup black- eyed peas/ Chawli
2 cinnamon sticks (or 5-6 small pieces)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2-3 green chillies finely chopped
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
6-8 curry leaves roughly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Method -
1. Soak the black eyed peas in sufficient water overnight or 6-8 hrs.
2. Drain the peas and grind them along with the cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds into a coarse paste in your food processor or blender. The batter should be such that if you form a round with it, it must hold its shape. Do not add water while grinding as there's enough moisture in the soaked peas.
3. Remove the batter in a bowl. Add chopped curry leaves, green chillies, fennel seeds, onions, cilantro, sugar and salt and mix well.
4. Heat oil in a pan or kadai. The vadas can be formed on the palm of your hand or on a Ziploc bag whichever is convenient for you. With clean dry hand, take a small ball of the batter and put it on your palm. Then lightly flatten it and make a hole in the center like doughnuts or medu vada.
5. Gently drop the vadas into the hot oil and deep fry the vadas on both sides till golden brown. Several vadas can be fried at a time.
6. Serve hot with sambar or chutney of your choice.

I'm sending this to -
Nupur's 'BB4: Whats Lurking in the kitchen' event
Susan's 'My Legume Love Affair (MLLA)' event hosted by Diana for the month of June
Though we had these vadas for dinner, they would make an excellent breakfast. So, I'm also sending these to Helen and Sarah's 'Breakfast Club # 1 - Asian' event.