Bulgur pulao

Bulgur is my all time comfort food. These days with a toddler roaming around and mostly clinging onto my legs, it is rather challenging to cook lunch for self. And when I really want to treat myself good then bulgur is my goto recipe. The bonus point is that my 14 months old daughter loves it too.

Ingredients (enough for 1 adult):

  • 1/2 cup Fullcorn bulgur (I have added a picture of the one I use and this I can recommend)
  • 1/2 Onion – chopped finely
  • 1/2 tomato – chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup green peas
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1/4 tsp zeera powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method (medium heat cooking):

  1. Take oil in a pan and heat slightly. Add onions and stir fry until they start to become golden brown.
  2. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  3. Add green peas and corn. I use frozen peas and frozen corn so I let this cook until the peas and corn are soft (not like mushy) but must be soft.
  4. Add the spices and mix well.
  5. Add bulgur and mix well. Cook for 1 min.
  6. Add water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat. Cook until bulgur is completely cooked. You can choose to dry out the water completely or leave it a bit wet. I had left it slightly wet because then it is easier for a toddler to eat.

Enjoy with yoghurt on the side.

Moong dal samosas

Craving and lack of easy access – of what one is craving for – can together be a good thing. For past two days, I had been having serious craving for the moong daal (yellow lentils) samosas. It is difficult to find them in Sweden, so I decided to make them. Happy with the result πŸ™‚

Moong dal is not so common in European super markets however is easily available at an Asian grocery store. It is a staple in every Indian home and there would be rarely one who would not have this in their kitchen cupboard. Moong dal is considered a healthy lentil which is easy to digest. This mixed with few more condiments and spices gives a wonderful filling. In my recipe, I have made the samosas mildly spiced. If you like spicier food, you are welcome to increase the spice level. The filling can be tasted – and spice adjusted – before filling in the samosas. So it is easy to manage and get the correct taste that suits you.

Here is how I made these.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

1. Moong dal 100 gm

2. Cashews 20-25

3. Raisins 3-4 tbsp

4. Whole coriander seeds – 1.5 tbsp

5. Fennel seeds – 1.5 tbsp

6. Salt – to taste

7. Sugar – 2 tsps

8. Chat masala – 1 tsp

9. Garam masala – 1/4 tsp

10. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

11. Asofoetida – 1/8 tsp

12. Red chilli powder – 1/8 tsp (add more if you like spicy taste)

12. Water

13. Oil – 3.5 tbsp

For the pockets:

1. Whole purpose flour 250 gm

2. Ghee 60 gm

3. Water (around 8-10 tbsp)

Method:

Wash thoroughly the moong dal. Rinse out the water. Finally soak the daal in fresh water for 3.5 hours.

After 3.5 hours, the moong daal would have swollen a bit because it will absorb water. Take a lentil grain and try to break it in between your finger and thumb (kind of using your nail as a knife to cut through the grain). It should easily cut through. If not, soak the dal a little longer – another 1 hour.

Rinse away all water from the soaked moong dal and spread out the daal on a clean dry kitchen towel for drying. I live in a cold country so I dried the dal for approximately an hour. Post that I dry roasted the dal further in a pan to make it even drier. If you have good sun, you can sun dry too.

When the dal is dry, take it out on a plate and keep aside. Chop the cashews and raisins finely. A bite of approximately 0.5 cm is ok but avoid chopping too rough otherwise it might be tricky to fill in the samosas later. In a mortar and pestle, take the coriander and fennel seeds and lightly crush them.

Take a pan. Add 3.5 tbsp oil. Add asofoetida, coriander and fennel seeds (slightly crushed). Fry for a minute. Now add the cashews and raisins. Mix properly and fry for another minute. Now add in the dal, salt, sugar, chilli powder, garam masala and chat masala. Mix thoroughly and fry until the filling looks dry and nicely mixed.

Keep aside for cooling. At this stage, you have an opportunity to taste your filling and adjust salt, spices etc. A small tip is to check that the grain for moong dal is slightly raw. This gets further cooked with the samosa shells so it is good to have them slightly raw or else they might become mushy.

For the filling mix the dough and ghee. Mix thoroughly with your palms such that each grain is covered in ghee. The flour will become crumbly. Now add water little by little and bring the dough together. It is not needed to knead the dough. Rather it must come together and must be hard dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep for 30 min.

After 30 min, take a ball – approximately 1 inch diameter – and roll it out into a circular sheet. The thickness we need is around 0.3 cm thick sheet. Now take a sharp knife – preferably without teeth (so no tomato knives) – and slice the circular sheet into two half moons.

Make a samosa shell and make sure all edges are sealed tightly. Fill in the moong dal filling and seal tight.

For frying heat oil in a pan on medium high. Once the oil is hot, lower the flame to medium low and slide in the samosas carefully. Do not overcrowd when deep frying.

In case any samosa shell opens up in the oil – mine did 🀣 – then simply take this out and best to throw it away. Overcrowding increases the risk of samosas opening up while in the oil. Therefore good to avoid Overcrowding.

Fry on low-medium heat until the samosas are light golden in colour. At this stage, take them out on a kitchen towel. You can savour these warm if you like. Though traditionallly people make these and eat them cold with tea.

Methi malai mutter

A very delicious recipe for those who savour a soft, creamy textured gravy. Methi malai mutter – the name literally is a combination of the three main Ingredients of this recipe. literally translated to english it would read Fenugreek Cream Green-peas.

Fenugreek is one of my absolutely favourite leafy vegetables. Though all this time, I never really could find fenugreek outside India. Until the last Friday when my husband came home with a bunch (must have been like 100 gm or so).πŸ’–

So today was methi malai mutter cooking in my kitchen. And it came out very nice therefore I am penning it down.

Ingredients:

1. Fenugreek leaves – 100 gm

2. Onion – two large

3. Tomato – one large

4. Cream – 1.5 dl

5. Almonds – 10

6. Cashews – 10

7. Salt

8. Bay leaf – 1

9. Black pepper corns – 5-6

10. Green cardamom – 1

11. Cinnamon stick – 1 (approx. inch long)

12. Oil

13. Green peas – 1 bowl

14. Sugar – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Pluck the leaves of fenugreek off the hard stem. All hard stem is to be removed and thrown away. Wash thoroughly in water and keep in a bowl. Now sprinkle around 1/2 tbsp salt on the leaves. Mix a little and let the leaves stand for 15 min.

2. Slice up the onions length wise into thin slices. Take oil in a pan for frying and fry the onion pieces until almost brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.

3. Puree the tomato.

4. Soak almonds and cashews in half a bowl of hot water for 20-25 min.

5. Squeeze out all water from the fenugreek (methi) leaves. Discard the water. Chop up the leaves into small bits.

6. Take 2 tbsp oil in a pan and place on medium-high heat. Add the chopped leaves and stir fry for two minutes. Remove the leaves in a bowl and keep aside.

7. Take 3 tbsp oil in the same pan that we used for frying the leaves. Place it on medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom, black pepper corns and stir fry until you start to get a nice aroma (this will take like 1 min). Now add the tomato puree and stir fry until tomato starts to leave oil.

8. In the meantime, puree the fried onions. I added about 2 tbsp water in my grinder to help with the grinding.

9. When the tomatoes have oozed out oil, add the pureed fried onions. Mix well and stir fry for another minute.

10. Now add the fried fenugreek (methi) and green peas. Mix well. Reduce the flame and let this simmer for a minute. (I used frozen peas that were already soft). If you are using fresh peas, then par boil them before.

11. Puree the almonds cashew mix to a smooth paste.

12. Add the almonds and cashews paste to the pan where our tomato, onion, peas and fenugreek is cooking. Also add in the cream.

16. Finally add salt, sugar and a little water if you find the gravy to be too thick. A slightly thick gravy is good though.

17. Mix well. Simmer for a few minutes and methi malai mutter is good to eat.

This recipe pairs well with bread (roti, parantha, naan) or with rice.

Coconut barfi

This is perhaps the easiest indian sweet (read dessert) that one can make at home. Coconut barfi is absolutely delicious and kids love this more than anyone else.

Ingredients:

1. Sweetened condensed milk 397 gm

2. Unsweetened Dessicated coconut or coconut powder approx. 250 gm

3. Green Cardomom powder 1/2 tsp

4. Salt 1 pinch

5. Ghee 2 tsp

6. Pistacios 8 chopped into small pieces roughly

7. Cashews 8-10 chopped into small pieces roughly

Method:

Heat a non stick pan on low flame. Add condensed milk, coconut powder, salt, 1 tsp ghee, green cardamom powder and cashews. Stir nicely so that everything is nicely blended. Stir this mixture until it is not flowy anymore. It approximately takes 5 min to reach the right consistency.

Now grease a plate or a baking tray with another tsp of ghee. Transfer the mixture into the tray. Pat so that it is evenly spread out (refer to the picture). Now sprinkle pistacios on top and pat them a little so that they stick on to the surface.

Keep this in the refrigerator for an hour. After an hour, you can cut out the coconut barfi in your favorite shape. My favorite shape is a diamond barfi.

Store in air tight container, refrigerated for upto a week.

Raw food – Energy balls vegan

I ain’t so much of a raw food fan myself but after having a little baby, time has become a constraint and also the energy. So I need something that I can just pop into my mouth and also gain healthy energy.

So here is my first try at making energy bites. I used another chefs recipe to make this, with a slight variation at my end. They have come out fine. Not too sweet yet enough tasty.

Recipe credit: Original recipe Ruchiskitchen.

  • Ingredients:
    1. Almonds (soaked and peeled) – 2 cups
      Deseeded Dates (not the dry ones) – 1 cup
      Dessicated coconut – 1 cup

    Method:

    Soak the almonds overnight and peel off their skin the morning. Or soak the almonds in boiling water for 15-20 min and then peel off the skin. Keep aside.

    Now remove the seeds from all dates. Keep aside. (I am cutting down on sugar so I have only used dates in this recipe for the slight sweet touch). In case you want more sugar, you can follow the original recipe from Ruchi.

    Finally one cup of Dessicated coconut.

    Add all the Ingredients to a food processor and crush until the whole mixture blends together. The mix must be slightly sticky. If not, add dates or honey.

    Make small balls out of the mixture. Roll over each ball in dessicated coconut and keep aside.

    Keep the energy bites in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

    Besan laddoo

    It all started with a simple conversation when my husband and I were hitting bed in the night. He said, “it is Dusshera tomorrow”. I said, “Yes, Do you want to do something special?”

    And therefore it came to my mind to prepare something so that we could have some feel of festivities at home. Well, no plan is a plan with a little baby but I went to bed hoping the day after would be a good day and I can possibly prepare some sweet and some good food.

    And it was. So first came the besan laddoos.

    Ingredients:

    1. 2.5 cup of gram flour or besan

    2. 1.25 cup of powedered white sugar

    3. 2/3 cup ghee

    4. 6-7 cardomom crushed finely

    5. 6-7 almonds crushed to a powder (optional)

    6. 6-7 cashew nuts crushed to a powder (optional)

    Method:

    The trick and hard work behind besan laddoos is in the roasting of besan. The best is to dry roast the besan first and then add ghee. Doing so saves time and also energy.

    So, I dry roasted the gram flour on low-medium heat until it changed colour and started to give a slight nutty fragrance. This took me at least 25 min. It is very important to stir continuously to avoid uneven roasting of the flour. Then I added in the ghee and continued to roast the mixture further. Initially it felt like that the ghee was too much because the mix became flowy. However as I roasted and mixed the ghee with the dry roasted besan all ghee got absorbed into the besan. However this is not where we stop. It is very important to roast ghee and besan until one gets a strong nutty fragrance and the besan starts to ooze out ghee. Then we are done.

    Once the besan and ghee was roasted, I switched off the heat and removed the pan from the burner.

    At this stage, I added the sugar, cardamom and powedered nuts; and mixed everything well so that no lumps are formed. (Tip: Do not lose heart if there are some lumps. You can crush all the lumps before binding the laddoos). Also my recommendation is to add the nuts powder. Of course you can leave it out if you would wish to do so, but the taste gets enhanced with the nuts.

    Finally it is time to let this mixture cool down to room temperature. Once cooled down, take around two table spoons of mixture in between your palm(s) and bind into round laddoos.

    Mathri

    This had been long overdue. The draft for this post is from 2014 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Finally after five years I am penning this down. And the reason is that until now, neither had I stumbled across the perfect recipe nor had so much fun making these yummy snack. Yesterday both these factors came alive. And so I thought to pen down the story of these mathris.

    So, first things first, for those of you who are not familiar with a mathri, it is a small deep fried crispy snack made out of whole purpose flour and some basic condiments. I believe that this is a popular tea time snack pan-India but the recipe starts to vary slightly as one moves from one state to the next. This is full of calories and fat, and hence is usually eaten in small quantities. Most popular way is to eat them as a tea time snack.

    Then, about me. I come from a north Indian state called Uttar Pradesh (with quite a big part of my family from the adjacent state of Uttaranchal. Uttaranchal was earlier part of Uttar Pradesh). In my state, mostly mathris are made mixing all purpose flour and semolina with some condiments and clarified butter or ghee. I am married to a Punjabi guy. I have realised that in the state of Punjab, mathris are made purely out of whole purpose flour. So we tried the Punjabi version yesterday.

    One of my neighbors and a good friend is also Punjabi. So I asked her to check with her mom on the recipe that she uses. In this age and time of whatsapp, she sent the query to her family group (which includes her brother, sisters and mom). And within minutes her brother responded. Mix a little flour with a little extra ghee and that’s it. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. We had such a hearty laughter on his response.

    Finally we did got hold of the correct recipe from her mom. And gave it a go. The mathris turned out very nice and crisp.

    Ingredients:

    1. 500 ml all purpose flour (maida)

    2. 110 ml molten ghee

    3. 1.5 tsp salt

    4. 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi)

    5. Whole black pepper

    6. Oil for deep frying

    7. 6-7 tbsp luke warm water

    Method:

    Sieve the all purpose flour in a big bowl. Add the salt. Now take the fenugreek leaves and crush them between your palms. Add these to the flour and salt mix. Mix well. Now add the ghee (2 tbsp at a time) and mix well into the flour rubbing the flour between your fingers and thumb. For those of you who are into baking, this is kind of similar to the process used for making a cookie dough. The aim is to make sure that every grain of the flour is equally covered and mixed with the fat.

    You could choose to add the whole ghee at once. My experience is that it helps to add a little at a time and mix thoroughly and then repeat. Once you have added all the ghee into the flour mix, you will find that the flour mixture looks even and uniform. (Tip: take a little flour mixture in your palm and squeeze it between your fingers and palm. It should hold its shape when you open your palm. At the same time, it should also easily crumble when you apply slight pressure. This suggests that the flour mix is ready. Don’t get bothered about this tip in case you do not get the hang of it. You can just follow the measurements and you will be fine).

    Now is the time to convert this into a dough. Again, my suggestion is to add little (around 2 tbsp) water at a time and mix it into the flour mixture. Again rubbing between fingers and thumb. We do not knead mathri dough so much. Just mix water and bring the dough together. Normally 6-7 tbsp should be enough water for our dough. If you will add all the water at one go, then you will feel that the water is not enough. And adding more water would make the final product hard. So add little by little. Adding another 1-2 tbsp of water wouldn’t make a big difference though and you can add a little more water in case the dough does not come together.

    The final result will be a dough ball, quite cracky (don’t know if that is a word πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I mean the dough would not look smooth like a pizza dough). Leave this standing, covered with a dry kitchen towel, for 30 min.

    Post 30 min, it is time to roll the mathris and fry them. Pinch a little ball of dough from the bigger ball, and roll into a medium thickness (around 0.6 cm thick) mathri.

    It is ok to have rough edges. The size of each mathri is approximately 1.5 to 2 inches diameter. Prick the mathri using a fork on both sides. This is done to make sure that the mathri wouldn’t puff up when fried. Finally place a whole black pepper in the centre and hit it with the head of your rolling pin so that it breaks a bit and also gets integrated into the poori. If you do not do this, there is a risk that the black pepper balls will loosen out of the mathri when the latter is fried. At the same time, sometimes the pepper ball can pop open in the hot oil, increasing the risk of oil splashing onto you. So to avoid that this “hitting with the roller pin head” step is done. No more science behind that.

    This whole black pepper thing is optional and you can skip it if you like. Though this does give that extra taste to this snack.

    Finally time to fry. Frying the mathris is an art in itself. It is important that the mathri get cooked all the way to the inside and yet must not be in the oil too long otherwise they will become very hard. Start with a medium-high oil. Add the mathri in it. As soon as you do that bubbles will start to form and the mathris will start to float a bit. At this stage lower the flame to medium-low and let the mathri cook and float all the way to the top. Gently turn them upside down without breaking them. Cook for another 2-3 min. Finally again increase the flame to medium-high and let the mathri get a slight brown colour. No need to make them totally brown. Take them out on a kitchen towel and leave for 20 min. Their colour will change to slightly more brown while they are cooling down on the kitchen towel.

    Do the frying in small batches. If you would try to fry too many at the same go, then mathris might break in the oil. So patience is the key while frying.

    (Tip: Almost all cooking ranges are different. To make sure that you get the best result, my suggestion is to fry 2-3 mathris first and let them cool down for 20 min. Then try to break them with your hand. It should be easy to break, flaky and well cooked all the way to the core. Then you are fine, and can continue to fry the mathri on your personalised setting. Good luck πŸ€—. In any case, the technique is still the same and if you follow my technique you will get a good result.)

    Have fun and enjoy these with mango pickle and some indian tea. 🌸

    Sabo dane ki tikki (Tapioca pearls’ snacks)

    I tried this for the first time today and tried on a friend. And she loved it. πŸ˜€

    And the second round was tried on my husband when he came home after work. And that went well too. Mission successful 🌸🌸🌸

    Ingredients:

    1. One boiled purple sweet potato (this is optional)

    2. Two boiled normal potatoes (medium to large size)

    3. Green onions (take only the green part of two green onions – finely chopped)

    4. Garlic clove (1, finely chopped)

    5. One green chilli (finely chopped)

    6. Coriander leaves (1-2 tbsp)

    7. One bowl of sabo dana (Tapioca pearls) – 100 gram – soaked in equal amount of water

    8. Salt to taste

    9. Zeera (Cumin) seeds – 1 tsp

    10. Chat masala (optional)

    11. Oil for frying

    Method:

    1. Take the soaked sabo dana and try to crush one or two sabo dana with your fingers. If it does it crush easily then let it soak more. In my case, I microwave the sabo dana for two minutes to make sure that all the sabo dana was properly soaked and soft. This should give you a kind of sticky starchy mixture. If there is excess water left then throw away the extra water and keep back the sabo dana mix. Now add mashed Potatoes, mashed sweet potato, zeera, onion green, garlic, salt, coriander, chilli and chat masala.

    Basically everything is to be mixed together.

    Mix the whole thing nicely.

    Take a little oil (approx. 2-3 tbsp) in a flat non stick pan. Put some oil on your palm. Take approx. 1.5 tbsp of mixture and shape it into a ball. Now gently press the ball and make it a bit flat. Do the same for the remaining mixture.

    Carefully arrange these flattered balls (or tikki) in the pan. Keep the flame on low-medium. Cover and cook one side for 10 min. Now remove the cover and turn the tikki upside down.

    Cook the other side under a cover for 5 min. Then take off the cover and cook this same side for another 5 min. This will make sure that the tikki is thoroughly cooked. Now increase the heat and roast the two sides until they are crispy brown. Take out the crispy tikki on a kitchen towel.

    Serve with a dip of your choice.

    Carrot and Kale soup

    Simple, tasty and elegant are the three words that come to my mind when I think about this soup. It was again a creative elaboration from what was available in my refrigerator that day. And it turned out good.

    Ingredients:

    1. 10-11 carrots (peeled and chopped into pieces of approximately 1 cm)

    2. 2 Kale leaves – roughly chopped

    3. 1 yellow onion – finely sliced

    4. 2 garlic cloves – finely chopped

    5. 3 twigs of thyme

    6. Olive oil and salt

    7. Water

    8. Pumpkin seeds roasted (optional)

    9. Black pepper (optional)

    10. Vegetable bulliong (1 tablet).

    Method:

    Wash and prepare all the vegetables as per the Ingredients list. Take a big wok. Add around 2 tbsp of olive oil. Now add onions and garlic and fry until they are translucent. Now add carrots and Kale. Add thyme twigs. Add water to cover the vegetables and let this boil on medium heat until carrots are soft. Add the buillong along with the cooking vegetables. Add more water if needed. Add salt either after boiling or already while boiling.

    When the carrots are softened, remove the thyme twigs and let this cool for a while.

    In the meantime toast some bread to serve on the side. Put some salt on the toasted bread and keep aside for serving.

    Take a grinder and grind the vegetables and water to a smooth soup.

    Pour the soup into deep bowls and top up with roasted pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle black pepper on the top if you like it.

    That’s it. Ready to serve.

    Enjoy. Hugs. ❀️

    Priyanka

    Eggless banana cake

    Sometimes when one tries to make something out of whatever is lying around at home, amazing things happen. One such thing happened today with this banana cake. And my husband, who is very honest about food (annoying sometimes), ate a big piece without even me offering it. So bingo! This worked and tasted super nice.

    Preparation time: around 15 min

    Cook time: 30-35 min

    Measure: use the same cup (whatever you like to use) for the whole recipe. You would not go wrong. I used a simple tea-cup for measurements

    Ingredients:

    1. Three ripe banana (puried into a smooth paste). This was around 2.5 cups of puree

    2. Sugar – 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (tbsp) more

    3. Vanilla- sugar – 1 tbsp (If you don’t have this simply replace with normal sugar)

    4. Vanilla essence – 1 tbsp

    5. Molten butter – 1/2 cup

    6. All purpose flour (maida) – 1.5 cups

    7. Baking powder – 3/4 teaspoon (tsp)

    8. Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

    9. A pinch of salt

    10. Milk – 1.5 tbsp

    11. A little butter for greasing

    12. Chopped almonds – 4 tbsp

    Method:

    Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree centigrade for around 10-15 min.

    Sieve the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and keep aside. Let us call this the flour-mix.

    Take the banana puree in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar and mix well until all is blended together. Now add in the vanilla essence and mix well. Finally add the molten butter and mix well.

    Now add half of the sieved flour-mix and mix well gently. Don’t be too bothered if it starts to lump a bit. Keep mixing. Now add the remaining flour-mix and again mix well. Now add the milk and start folding the batter over itself. Do this until all the lumps are gone.

    Take a little batter and try to pour it into the bowl from above. It should fold like chocolate or more like silk cloth folding on top of itself. If this is not happening add a little more milk (around 1 tbsp more). The batter must not be too flowy either.

    Now add half the almonds and mix well.

    Grease a baking- form with some butter. Pour the mixture in it and tap gently so that it is evenly spread all the way. Finally top up with the remaining almonds.

    Bake the cake by placing the baking- form in the middle of the oven on a baking mesh or baking oven-tray. Check after 25 min – insert a toothpick in the centre of the cake. The toothpick should come out clean.

    If not, bake more. My cake took around 35 min to bake.

    When done, take the cake out of the oven and let it cool down for another 10-15 min. Carefully take the cake out of the baking form and cut into pieces.

    You are ready. Enjoy.

    Hugs❀️

    Priyanka

    Khasta kachori

    Khasta kachori reminds me of those childhood shopping trips. Almost every month we went shopping for home. And every month we got a treat – khasta kachori and aaloo sabzee (potato curry). And it is absolute yum.

    Ingredients:

    1. 4 cups of maida (all purpose flour)

    2. 1/2 cup of molten desi ghee

    3. Around 3/4 cup of water

    4. Salt around 1 tsp

    5. Around 3/4 cup of dhuli moong daal soaked in water for 2 hours

    6. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

    7. Coriander seeds – crushed slightly – 1 tsp

    8. Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

    9. Grated ginger – 1 tbsp

    10. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

    11. Dried coriander powder – 2 tsp

    12. Garam masala – 1 tsp

    13. Dried mango powder – 1 tsp

    14. Salt – to taste

    15. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

    16. Oil

    17. Besan (gram flour) – 4-5 tbsp

    Method:

    Mix the ghee, and 1 tsp salt in the all purpose flour. Mix well. Now slowly start adding the water and fold the flour into a soft smooth flour. Keep aside covered with a dry kitchen towel.

    For the filling, remove all water from the soaked lentils. Put this into a blender and crush very lightly just so the lentil grains break a bit. Don’t overgrind lest it would become a paste. Now heat around 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the Cumin seeds, lightly crushed coriander seeds and fennel seeds (also lightly crushed if you like). Let the seeds crackle and reduce the flame. Now add the red chilli powder, dried coriander powder and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Add in the ginger and again stir fry for a few seconds. Now add in the besan and roast on low flame until the besan (gram flour) starts to give a nice aroma.

    Now add the crushed lentils and mix well. Finally add the dried mango and mix well. Take the mixture out in an open plate and let it cool down.

    We are now ready with the ingredients and can start to roll the kachoris. It takes quite a while to fry these so I normally also start to heat the oil for frying. Keep this at a low-medium flame. All frying must be done at low medium flame otherwise the kachoris will not be crispy.

    While the oil is heating, take the dough – approx. the size of a tennis ball – and make a small ball. Roll this boll into a circle of around 2-3 inch diameter. Now take this in your hand and fill in a little ball (approx. 1 inch diameter) of the lentil mixture. Pinch and close the dough onto the lentil ball. Now roll this again gently to upto 2 inch diameter. And that’s it the kachori is ready to be fried.

    My frying pan is big enough to accomodate around 4-5 of such kachoris. So I fried these in small batches of 4-5. The oil must be on low-medium heat. Better to be on lower heat side. Now gently slide the kachoris into the oil. No need to turn them immediately and you can let them fry. The kachoris will slowly start to float in the oil. Now gently turn them upside down in the oil. They will puff up. Fry on low heat until lightly brown.

    When ready take them out on a napkin to remove excess oil.

    Ready to be eaten πŸ™‚ πŸ€—

    You can eat this with potato curry or simply chutney.

    Masala rawa idli

    Idli literally meaning rice cakes are a staple food in the Southern parts of my country of birth India. Traditionally these are made using a fermented mixture of rice and lentils. I however make them using coarse semolina (mota rawa/sooji). My husband is fond of spicy food because he comes from the northern state of Punjab. I come from Uttar Pradesh and do not have a very spicy palate.

    So we normally find a middle ground. And this is our version of masala rawa idli or spiced semolina puff cakes.

    Ingredients:

    1 cup coarse semolina

    1.5 table spoon cooking oil

    1 tsp Mustard seeds (raee)

    1 tsp Chana daal

    2 tsp grated ginger

    1 chopped green chilli

    2 table spoons of chopped coriander

    6-7 curry leaves

    1 tsp salt

    1 cup yoghurt

    1 cup of water

    A pinch of aoesofotida (heeng)

    Method:

    Take oil in a pan and heat it on medium low flame. Add the Mustard seeds and aoesofotida. When the seeds start to crackle add the Chana daal and toast until the daal starts to look just slight brown. (See how the lentils have become brown). Slightly less done lentils are fine but if they get burnt it is better to start over again.

    Now add the ginger, chili and curry leaves. Stir for a minute.

    (apology for a poor picture there)

    Now add in the rawa or semolina and roast it nicely until it becomes slight brown and gives a nice aroma.

    Again the rawa must not be burnt. So when it starts to look brown then take it off the flame. Now add the coriander, salt and yoghurt, and water.

    Let this mix stand for at least 15 min. The mixture will rise and you will most likely need to add another two or three table spoons of water depending on if you will make the idli in a microwave oven or on flame. Normally the microwave Method, which is what I use, need a slightly more water.

    The final mixture has a smooth consistency and would be almost as fluid as a smoothie.

    Now time to pour the mix into the idli cooker and microwave for 10 min on 800 watts. You might need to adjust this as per your equipment.

    The final result should be well cooked puffed up cakes.

    Happy cooking!

    Mangold recipe

    Another super food is Mangold leaves. Widely used in mediterranian cooking, this leaf is not so common in the northern parts of India where I come from. Nonetheless I gave it a try and totally loved the final result. Simple, easy and quick – this is the best recipe to prepare right after work and ensure a healthy diet.

    Ingredients:

    4-5 mangold leaves with stems washed and chopped into small pieces

    4 Potatoes chopped into small vibes

    2-3 table spoon cooking oil

    1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

    1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

    2-3 whole black pepper

    Salt to taste

    1/2 tsp red chilli powder

    1/2 tsp Turmeric

    1 tsp dried coriander powder

    1/2 tsp black salt

    Preparation:

    Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin and mustard. Also add the black pepper. Give it a few seconds till they start to crack and add potatoes. Fry on medium-high flame and when the potatoes start to become a bit brown add in the chopped leaves. Stir and let it cook for a minute. Now stir again, add all the spices and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook until the potatoes and the stems of the Mangold are completely cooked.

    Serve hot with rice or chapati.

    Amaranth recipe

    Amaranth is called the superfood of India. It is a very nutritious plant with a lot of protein, iron and calcium. And I have loving friends who have grown amaranth and then gifted some to me. I made a simple recipe today and I loved it. And so did my better half which usually is an indication that the dish is indeed tasty.

    Ingredients:

    Amaranth – around 400 gm finely chopped

    Onions – 2 medium finely chopped

    Potatoes – 4 chopped into thin (approx 0.5 cm thickness) pieces

    Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

    Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

    Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

    Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

    Dried coriander powder – 1/2 tsp

    Salt – to taste

    Garam masala – 1/4 tsp

    Fresh lime juice – 2 tbsp

    Preparation (cooking time: 30 min):

    Take 2-3 tbsp cooking oil in a skillet and add the Cumin and Mustard seeds. When they have cracked, add Onions and a punch of Salt. Fry until onions start to turn brown. At this stage add Potatoes and let it fry together with the onions. When the potato wedges start to become brown, add the amaranth leaves and stir well. Now add in all the spices. The leaves will start to lose water and start to wrap around the Potatoes. Fry for around 5 min. Finally add the lemon juice. Mix well and fry for another minute.

    And we are ready.

    Karela (bitter gourd)


    Bitter gourd or Karela (in Hindi) is a very special vegetable. It is very bitter and almost impalatable if eaten without proper cooking technique. But everything that is difficult to eat is usually bursting with health benefits. And so is karela. It is supposed to be very good for cleaning the blood, which leads to beautiful skin, better blood circulation and digestion and even used by diabetic patients. 

    As a kid I always used to run away from karela. Somehow even the slight bitter taste would be enough repelling for me. Now when I am all grown up, I love this. Though I have to admit my sister loves this and have loved it ever since she was a kid. So I guess it is kid-to-kid that something would be appealing or not.

    Ingredients:

    6-7 bottle gourd each around 4-5 inches long

    4-5 medium sized onion chopped into broad long slices

    Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

    Cumin seeds – 1/3rd tsp

    Oil – 7-8 tbsp

    Turmeric (Haldi) – 1/3rd tsp

    Red chili powder – 1 tsp

    Salt to taste

    Dried coriander powder – 1 tsp

    Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

    Method:

    To get the bitterness out of the gourd it is important to treat it with salt. Here is how I do it. I first scratch off the pointy skin of the gourds and cut them into thin round slices. Don’t wash them yet. If the seeds are yellow or brown I normally remove them. Now I add 3-4 tsp salt and mix it well with the sliced bitter gourd. Then I transfer them to a bowl and cover with a lid. I left them standing for 6 hours though I don’t think 6 hours are really needed. 3 hours would do as well.

    After 6 hours:

    Wash the salt-treated bitter gourd with fresh water and throw away all the juices that the bitter gourd has oozed out by this time. Strain away all the water and keep the washed gourd aside.

    Take oil in a skillet and let it heat up. When hot add cumin and fennel seeds. Let them crackle for 1 min and then add the onions. Fry the onions until they are slightly translucent. Now add the washed gourd pieces into the onions and let them fry together with the onions until the onions are all brown and the gourd is nicely cooked.

    At this stage add all the remaining spices and mix well. 

    Finally add the fresh lemon juice and mix again.

    The vegetable is ready and usually goes well with roti or paranthas. 

    This is really a healthy treat for the body! 

    Dum aaloo without tomatoes

    You know food is one of the best things in the world. It connects, it rejoices and adds love to life. So today I experimented with my Dum Aaloo recipe yet again. This is more of less the same recipe minus the tomatoes.

    Why did I take out the tomatoes – to try! And my husband is Pubjabi so thought to try out the Pubjabi Dum aaloo today.

    Ingredients:

    Fried small potatoes – 4 cups

    Chopped onion – 2 large

    Black cardamom (badi elaichi) -2

    Green cardamom (Choti elaichi) – 4

    Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

    Javitri – 1 stick ca. 1 inch 

    Whole black pepper – 4

    Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tsp

    Crushed ginger – 1.5 tbsp

    Crushed garlic – 1 tbsp

    Oil for frying the potatoes and for cooking

    Cashew – 5 tablespoons

    Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

    Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

    Red chili powder – 1/4 tsp

    Garam masala –  1/3 tsp

    Kasoori methi crushed – 1 tsp

    Water 

    Method: I half boiled the potatoes and pricked them with a fork. Then I deep fried them on medium flame until they had a nice golden brown crust. This step took around 30 min of preparation to end. When done remove the potatoes on a tray.

    Now take 4 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan. Add black cardamom, green cardamom, javitri, cinnamon, black pepper and jeera. When the spices are fried, then add the thin long chopped onion. Fry until the onions are dark brown. Add this stage add the ginger and garlic paste. Stir and fry for 30 sec.

    Now add the turmeric, coriander, red chili, garam masala and stir for 30 sec. Switch off the flame and let the masala mixture cool.

    In the meantime soak the cashew in hot water for 5 min and grind to a fine paste.

    When the masala mixture is cool, grind it to a fine paste and sieve through a sieve to remove the threads from cardomom and other whole spices.

    Now take the pan again and pour in the sieved masala mixture. Add water and bring to a boil. Then add the potatoes and let it stay for 30 sec. Now add the salt to taste and kassoori methi. Finally add the cashew paste with a bit more water and stir to mix well.

    At this stage I lower the burner to the least and cover the pan with a lid. Let this cook at simmering heat for another 5-10 min. Then switch off the flame. 

    Dum aaloo is ready! We loved it with zeera rice. 

    Pindi chole

    White chickpeas (kabuli chana): 2 small cups

    Baking soda: 1 tsp

    Spices for boiling:

    Cinnamon stick: 1.5 inch long

    Bay leaves: 2

    Black tea leaves: 2 tbsp

    Green cardomom: 2

    Black cardomom: 1

    Spices for final dish:

    Turmeric (Haldi): 0.5 tsp

    Red chili powder: 1 tsp

    Dried coriander powder: 2 tbsp

    Pomegranate powder: 1 tbsp

    Dried mango powder: 1 tsp

    Salt: to taste

    Black salt: 1 tsp

    Kasoori methi: 1 tbsp 

    For the tadka (sizzling):

    Oil: 3 tbsp

    Carrom seeds (ajwain): 1 tbsp

    Ginger finely chopped: 4 tbsp

    Green chilies slit into two halves: 2

    Garlic crushed: 2 cloves

    Method:

    I soaked the chickpeas in normal water for around 7-8 hours. Most people leave them soaked overnight. Then I take them in a pressure cooker, add soda and salt to taste. Then I took the rest of the spices used for boiling and packed them in a little muslin cloth bag. If you don’t have a cloth, then you can susbtitute the tea with a tea sachet (remove the paper label) and then place the spices directly to the peas. I normally use Lipton black tea if I need to do this. The purpose of the tea is to balance the acidity from soda. Then an added advantage is the colour that it gives which is a signature need for pindi chole. Then pressure cook the peas for 7-8 whistles. The peas should be cooked until they are absolutely soft and crush easily between the fingers. 

    Once boiled, drain out the peas but don’t throw the water. Keep the water aside. Spread the peas in a pan and then add all the spices for final dish in the order that has been mentioned in the ingredient list. Just sprinkle each spice all over the surface without mixing.

    For the final sizzling, take oil in a pan and heat it. Add carom seeds, ginger, chili and garlic and sautΓ© until the ginger is slightly brown. Make sure that this doesn’t burn. Pour the hot oil tempering uniformly over the spiced chickpeas that we prepared just before this step. 

    That’s it!! Pindi chole are ready. If you have coriander garnish with that. And some might like to garnish with finely chopped onion and lemon. I usually make a mixture of onion and lemon and keep it separately if someone wants it.

    You can enjoy pindi chole with poori, paranthas, kachauri or rice πŸ™‚ it is yum! 

    Samosas

    Today is New Years!! 2017 couldn’t have been a more confusing year for us emotionally as a family where while we suffered many loses while at the same time we were blessed with a new little person. So morning after morning I wake up and think of my son up in the clouds. My child who is not in my arms anymore, not in the human shape and form. But as they say life keeps going on. But really!!! How can life be moving on? Sometimes such questions bother me, but then the next second I come to the wise words of someone who said, “Despite what may, the courage lies in saying YES to life”

    So this morning we woke up, and the very first instinct was to eat Samosas and Jalebi. This is a typical breakfast menu, though definitely not the lightest or the healthiest menu. However all that is not so healthy is super yum. Well so we enjoyed the morning today and have retorted to lighter meals during the rest of the day.

    Today I am penning down the recipe for Samosa’s which was a mixed effort from my husband, mother in law and me. Well why not take help from experience of my mother in law. She is an awesome cook so we followed her tips.

    For the filling:

    1. 6-7 boiled potatoes – chopped into small pieces
    2. 1/2 cup of steamed peas
    3. 2 tbsp cooking oil
    4. 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds (split into halves)
    5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
    6. a pinch of asafoetida
    7. Salt to taste
    8. 2 tbsp dried ground coriander
    9. 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
    10. 1 tsp garam masala
    11. 1.5 tsp dried mango powder
    12. 1 tsp black rock salt
    13. 2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh coriander

    For the shells:

    1. 225 gm of all purpose flour (i.e. maida in hindi)
    2. 3.5 tbsp ghee
    3. 0.5 tsp carom seeds
    4. 1 tsp salt
    5. Less than half a cup of cold water

     

    Method:

    Mix the flour, ghee, carom seeds and salt. Mix the flour well rubbing between your fingers such that all the ghee is nicely soaked and mixed with the flour. To check if the ghee is sufficient, take a lump of mixed flour in your palm and close your fingers. The flour should slightly stick together. If this is so then the ghee is sufficient. If not add another tbsp of ghee and mix well using your fingers.

    Next add the water little by little and make a tight dough. Too much water is not needed otherwise the samosa shells will not become crispy. I usually give the final task to my husband who then takes the flour and kneads it nicely until it is soft and smooth. The surface of the dough will become smooth and not have cracks.

    Now for the filling, take the oil in a pan. When hot, add the split coriander seeds, asafoetida, cumin seeds. Once they crackle add the potatoes and mix. Now add all the spices and mix well. Finally add the peas and let this mixture get roasted for around 3 minutes on medium flame. Stir once in a while. Finally switch off the flame, garnish with freshly chopped green coriander and mix well. Let the mixture cool down before filling into the samosas.


    For the final step, divide the dough making small portions of the size of a golf ball. Take each little ‘golf ball’ portion and roll it into a thin round circular shape. Now carefully slit this circular flour base into two halves. Take one of the halves, add just enough filling and apply little cold water on the sides with your finger. The water in this case is used to glue the samosa together. Make all the samosas. Finally deep fry them on low-medium flame until golden brown.





    Serve hot with your favourite chutney.

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    Salad

    This is super simple and tasty.

    Salad leaves 1 cup

    Baby tomatoes 1 cup

    Two avocado cut into pieces

    Cucumber 1/2 a cup

    Lemon juice 2 tbsp

    Salt to taste

    Preparation:

    Mix everything well in a bowl. And it is ready to serve. 

    Dum aalooΒ 

    This is a lovely dish, and is relished by many people. It is simple and yet royal. I made it from my stomach feeling today – experimenting a bit with the spices and it came out just lovely. My husband who is very keen on traditional tastes approved it, so I can now share the recipe.

    Ingredients:

    Potatoes – large cubes – around 4-5 cups

    Water

    Oil

    1 large onion – chopped into big pieces

    1 large tomato – chopped into big pieces

    2 cardamon green

    1 stick of javitri

    1 bay leaf

    1 dried red whole chilli

    2 cloves

    1 teaspoon of ginger garlic paste

    1/2 teaspoon of red chill powder

    1/2 teaspoon of deggi mirch

    1/3 teaspoon of garam masala

    2 tablespoon of cashew nuts soaked in three tablespoons of hot water

    salt to taste

    2 teaspoons of crushed kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

    1 teaspoon of finely chopped coriander (dhaniya)

    Method:

    Prick the potato cubes with a fork. Heat water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Boil the potatoes in it for approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove the par-boiled potatoes onto a kitchen towel and let it dry. Do not throw the water.

    In the same boiling water, add onions, cloves, cardamoms, javitri blade and red chilli (with seeds removed). Boil this for approximately 2-3 minutes. Now filter the onion and spices and throw the water out.

    Take the blanched mixture of onions and spices in a blender. Add in the tomatoes. Crush the onion, spices and tomato to a smooth paste.

    Now take oil in a skillet and deep fry the potatoes until they are light golden brown. Remove the potatoes on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.

    Remove the excess oil in a dish until you have approximately 3 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add bay leaves. Saute for 10 sec. Now add ginger garlic paste. Saute for 30 sec. Now add the blended mix of onion, spices and tomatoes. Fry until this mixture oozes oil on the side. This mixture splutters a lot so i normally cover it and stir from time to time.

    On the side, blend the cashews into a fine paste.

    When the onion tomato mix starts leaving oil, add cashew paste and stir for a minute. Now add around 1.5 cups of water. You can add more water if needed.

    Now add salt, red chilli powder, degi mirch, garam masala, methi and dhaniya. Stir and add the potatoes. Cover and simmer on very low flame for at least 30 min. Always crush the methi in between your palm before adding.

    Serve hot with rice or bread of your liking.