Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chawli Methi Dhokla

This is my first successful attempt at making dhokla from SCRATCH. I have tried making dhokla several times while I was in college, but unfortunately they never came out soft and spongy. So I finally gave up and never tried making these from scratch for all these years since I got married. Last week I stumbled upon a dhokla recipe on Tarla Dalal's website which motivated me to give this yet another try. Mustering up courage, I finally made these dhoklas and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. That’s when I realized that probably the key to making good dhokla is using fresh fruit salt and baking soda (if the recipe calls for it) and not over mixing the batter after adding these ingredients.

The most common traditional dhokla is made from gram flour, but this unusual combination of chawli dal (black eyed peas), spinach and methi made these soft fluffy dhoklas very flavorful and unique tasting. I garnished the dhoklas with fresh grated coconut, finely chopped cilantro and a sweet and spicy vaghar ("Phodni" in marathi or "tempering" in English) which enhanced the flavor even more.

Ingredients -
1 cup chawli dal / dal of black eyed beans
½ cup chopped methi/ fenugreek leaves
½ cup chopped spinach leaves
3 green chillies
¼ teaspoon hing/ asafoetida
2 tablespoon yoghurt
¼ teaspoon haldi/ turmeric powder
2 teaspoon oil
2 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon fruit salt
salt to taste

For the tempering -
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 pinch hing
1 chopped green chilli
5-6 curry leaves
2 tsp sugar (optional)
2-3 teaspoons oil

For the garnish -
grated coconut
finely chopped cilantro

Method -
1. Soak the dal for 4 hours.
2. Grind the soaked dal with the green chillies, adding a little water.
3. Add the methi, spinach, hing, turmeric, yoghurt, oil and salt and mix well.
4. When you wish to steam the dhoklas add the fruit salt to the batter, sprinkle a little water over it and mix gently.
5. Pour into a greased thali or pressure cooker pans and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Insert the tip of the knife in the dhokla and if it comes out clean it is ready.
6. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
7. Prepare the tempering by heating the oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
8. Add the cumin seeds, sesame seeds, chopped green chilli, curry leaves and hing and remove from the flame. Pour 3-4 teaspoon of water into the oil once it has cooled and add some sugar to this. Pour the tempering over the dhoklas.
9. Cut into squares, garnish with the coconut and cilantro
10. Serve hot with green chutney.

Aloo Palak Paneer Paratha

With a 15 month old toddler in the house, I'm always looking for ideas to make simple yet flavorful meals on week nights. Sometimes, it’s so much easier to make vegetable parathas versus making separate vegetable curry and rotis/ chapatis.
I had half a bag of spinach left in my refrigerator which I wanted to use up before it went bad. For some reason, I was not in a mood to have any kind of spinach curry so I made these parathas which came out very soft and yummy. I used Tarla Dalal's "Aloo Palak Paratha" recipe for reference but these parathas turned out to be quite different as I started kneading the dough. Along with spinach, I also added grated boiled potatoes and grated paneer for some softness and added grated carrots to make these more nutritious. I served these with some carrot boondi raita and coconut peanut chutney. I'm definitely going to make these very often.

Ingredients -
2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup gram flour/ besan
1 grated boiled potato
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated/ crumbled paneer
2 tbsp ginger, garlic and green chillies coarse paste
2 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp sugar (optional)
4 tablespoons yoghurt
salt to taste

Method -
1. Mix all the ingredients along with 1 tbsp oil and make a dough.
2. Roll out the dough into small rotis with the help of a little flour.
3. Cook on a griddle/ tava on both sides with some oil.
4. Serve hot with boondi raita, pickle or simply serve with butter.