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. 🌸

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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.