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 🙂

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).💖

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.

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 😂😂😂. 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. 😂😂😂😂😂. 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 😂😂. 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 🤗. 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. 😀

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.

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

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.

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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Vegetarian dumplings aka Momos

img_1778Vegetarian dumplings is what we commonly know these as today. However these are locally referred to as momos by people in Tibet where this recipe originally comes from. Flow of good food across borders is very common, and so this great recipe has found its way into India. In the north eastern states, this is a staple diet and many times also made in non vegetarian tastes. We will today focus on the vegetarian ones.

 

These beauties are also very famous as street food in northern and west such as the national capital region, Himachal Pradesh etc. I have always loved the steamed momos, though another version is the fried momos. Today I am sharing the steamed momos. This recipe will make around 40 momos.

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Ingredients:

For the filling:

  1. 1 large onion finely chopped
  2. 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  3. 1 inch of ginger finely chopped
  4. 1/2 large yellow capsicum finely diced (it is ok to substitute with green or red bell pepper)
  5. 1 cup of finely chopped mixed vegetables (carrots, beans and cauliflower)
  6. 2 tablespoon oil
  7. 3 teaspoons of soya sauce
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the dough:

  1. 2 cups of maida (all purpose flour)
  2. salt to taste
  3. 1/2 cup of water + 2 tablespoon of water

Method:

I made the filling first. For the filling, take the oil in a skillet. When hot, add the chopped garlic and chopped ginger. Saute for 30-40 sec, and add all the remaining chopped vegetables. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and black pepper. Fry again for 1 minute. now add in the soy sauce. Keep stirring and fry again for a minute. Sometimes this mix can ooze out a little water. Fry to let this water evaporate but at the same time keeping care that the vegetables stay a bit crunchy and do not get mushy. Remove from flame and let this mixture cool.

img_1769On the other side, add the flour, salt and water

slowly and knead into a firm dough. Cover the dough and let it stand for 20 min.

When the dough is ready, divide it into approximately 40 portions. Roll each little portion into a thin circular shape, add 2 teaspoons of fried vegetable mixture and close the momos into crescent shaped moons as shown here.

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Boil a glass of water in a steamed pan. I have a large steamer so please adjust the water as per your steamer. When the steam is formed, add the momos to the steam pan, and steam momos until they become slightly translucent.  It usually takes around 5-6 minutes for each batch of momos. When ready, serve hot with the dumpling chutney or dumpling dip of your choice.

Paneer makhni

Paneer makhni literally would translate to Buttered cheese, and that is precisely what this dish is. One of the most famous dishes on any menu that you will find across all sorts of Indian restaurants around the world. 
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The catch many times is the taste. Most restaurants run by non-Indian or non-native Indian people are not able to do justice to this dish. Many others would fill it with a lot of cream to cover the taste even though that is not the traditional way of doing it. Traditionally butter is added or was added to this recipe however I tried taking that out to make a healthier version of this age old dish. So let us look right in on what is needed.

Ingredients: 

  1. Khada masala (Whole black cardamom 1, Whole green cardamom 1, Javitri stick 1, Cinnamon stick 1.5 cm long, Cloves 2, Bay leaves 2)
  2. Red chilli powder 1.5 teaspoon
  3. Dried coriander powder 1 teaspoon
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Garam masala 1 teaspoon
  6. Kasoori methi 2 teaspoons
  7. Cashews 3-4 tablespoons
  8. Ginger-garlic paste 2 teaspoons
  9. Finely chopped onion 3-4 tablespoons
  10. Fresh pureed tomato 6 serving spoons or 1 bowl
  11. Paneer – 150 gm
  12. Oil – 3 tablespoons
  13. Water – 1.5 bowl

Preparation:

  1. Soak the cashews in around 3 tablespoons of hot water and keep aside for 15 min
  2. Take oil in a skillet and let it heat up. When hot add all khada masala. You will get a good aroma in around 50 sec. Now add in the onions and half teaspoon salt. Saute the onion on medium heat until slightly brown.
  3. Now add the ginger garlic paste, and sauté until the raw smell is gone
  4. Now add the tomatoes and remaining salt. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the tomato starts to ooze oil on the sides. Make sure to stir the tomatoes in between to avoid it from burning. Best is to use a medium flame for this and you can prudently decide what strength works best for your burner.
  5. While the tomatoes are cooking puree the cashews and the water from step 1 to a fine paste.
  6. When the tomatoes are oozing out oil, add the cashews and stir well. Cook for 30 sec. and add water. Start with around a cup of water and add more if you like your gravy thinner.
  7. Now add in the red chilli powder, garam masala and kasoori methi. For those of you who are not familiar with kasoori methi, it is a dried form of fenugreek leaves which are widely used in Indian cooking. It is flavourful and have medicinal properties associated with reducing body pains. For regular readers, I had started exploring food that helps chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia almost a year back, and methi is a good ayurvedic herb to help combat pain. The trick to using this herb is to slightly crush it between your palms before adding to the gravy. Doing this helps the herb ooze out the amazing aroma and makes the dish very flavourful.
  8. Let this boil on low flame.
  9. When it starts boiling add in the paneer pieces and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for another minute and then switch off the flame.

I usually prepare this and keep it covered for an hour or two before serving. This allows the aromas to blend it completely and also the paneer soaks in the spices.

Serve hot with naan bread.

Fruit cream

Quick and easy dessert for any occasion. This is the simplest and the quickest dessert ever, filled with the richness of the cream and fruits to your liking. I also adore to take this as a gift to friends when we are invited over to spend an evening together. Kids usually love this dessert.

Ingredients:

1. Puréed mango pulp – approximately 600 ml (you can adjust the mango if you like. I usually just take the whole mango and use the whole of it)

2. Vanilla fruit cream – 1000 ml

3. Fruit pieces to your liking – 3 cups (I used canned oranges and canned pieces of pineapple)

Preparation

Mix the cream and mango pulp. Stir nicely. Then add all the fruits. Mix well. Refrigerate for around 2.5 hours before consumption. Store in a refrigerator. 

Kadhai paneer

Spices are back in my life. I recently tried this wonderful recipe of kadhai paneer and adjusted it to my tastebuds. It is fast and easy to cook, does not have much of a fat content and is in fact a very good and delicious source of proteins. I experiment with food but my husband likes a very traditional taste. So this one is for him.
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Ingredients:

1. Cubed paneer 150 gm – I substitute paneer with Snällost which is easily available in Sweden and it tastes just like paneer

2. Small cubes of capsicum – half of a small bowl (approx. 4 table spoons)

3. Finely chopped onion – half of a small bowl (approx. 4 table spoons)

4. Finely chopped tomato – 1.5 bowl (approx. 12 table spoons)

 

5. Pureed tomato – half a bowl

6. Finely chopped garlic – 2-3 cloves

7. Cashewnuts – 2 table spoons (approx. 10-12)

8. Whole coriander seeds – 1 table spoon

9. Dried whole red chilli (deseeded) – 2

10. Garam masala – 1 teaspoon

11. Kasuri methi – 2 teaspoons

12. Salt – to taste

13. Water

14. Oil for cooking

 

Method:

  1. Soak the cashews in 3-4 table spoons of warm water and keep aside
  2. Dry roast the whole coriander seeds and broken red chillies on medium heat. You will get a nice aroma of the spices and the seeds will turn brownish. Take this mixture off heat and transfer onto a plate for cooling. When cooled grind this mixture to a fine spice powder. Keep aside.
  3. Take two table spoons of oil in a skillet. Add the chopped onions and add a pinch of salt. Let the onions fry and become just about brown. Now add in the chopped garlic and sauté until the raw smell is gone. Now add the spice mixture from step 2 and sauté this with the spice for another 30 sec.
  4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 2-3 tea spoons (as per your taste) of salt. Cook the tomatoes till they are soft.
  5. When the tomatoes start to leave a little oil add in the pureed tomato and cook for another minute.
  6. Add in the garam masala and kasuri methi and cook for 30 sec.
  7. Now add in a bowl of water to the gravy and bring it to a boil.
  8. Its now time to add the capsicum. Cook for 3-4 minutes – make sure that the capsicum pieces are just about cooked but not completely mushy.
  9. Now add the cubed pieces of paneer and let this simmer for a minute or until it comes to a boil.
  10. In the meantime, grind the cashews and the water that they were soaked in into a fine paste. Add this paste to the recipe, mix well and adjust water if needed to get the consistency that you want. The best is not to make kadhai paneer gravy very thin – but it is ok to adjust slightly as per your taste.
  11. Switch off the flame and cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then it is ready to serve.

 

Food pairing:

Kadhai Paneer is best paired with Naan, Roti or Parantha.

 

Turnip potato (Shalgam aaloo)

Lately I have not been able to stand even the smell of spices. Body changes, age, climate, excessive acidity – there could be more than one reason for it but I have been constantly on a lookout for low or very low spiced yet tasty food. Being married to a Punjabi guy has brought in some challenges but as usual my Maa came to the rescue

Here is a new dish that I tried around 3-4 days back. It is super easy to cook and tastes and smells awesome. Hope you will love it too.

Ingredients: 

2 big turnips (shalgam) – peeled and cut into dices

2 big potatoes – peeled and cut into dices

1 large onion – peeled and chopped finely length wise

2 large tomatoes – cut into small cubes

Green peas – 2 handful

Oil – 4-5 tablespoons 

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric – 1 teaspoon

Dried coriander – 1 teaspoon

Fennel powder – 1/2 a teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Method:

Take oil in a pressure cooker and shallow fry the diced turnips. When slightly brown take these out on a kitchen towel. Repeat the shallow fry process for potatoes and also take them out.

Note that the potatoes might stick slightly to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Do not bother so much about that and just ensure that they are not burnt by stirring them occasionally. 


This is how they will look.

Now in the same oil, add in cumin seeds. When the cumin starts to crackle, add onions and fry until golden brown. Now add the tomatoes and fry until the mixture leaves oil. Now add the remaining spices, salt and green peas. Stir and leave for 1 min.

Now add the shallow fried veggies, stir and pressure cook on medium flame for 1 whistle.

(Depending on your pressure cooker and flame settings you might need to use a low flame just to ensure that nothing burns. Mine worked at low to medium flame)

When the pressure cooker gives one whistle, remove from the flame and let the pressure ease out. Now open the lid – you will find that veggies have oozed out a lot of water. Place  the cooker on the flame again and fry until all water is evaporated. Keep stirring to avoid veggies from burning.

That’s just it 🙂 Super simple, quick and easy recipe. Enjoy with chapatis, paranthas or rice.


Keep cooking! Stay happy and positive. Hugs from Scandinavia! 

Stuffed tomatoes (bharwa tamatar)

Stuffed tomatoes reminds me of my mother’s kitchen, and the aromatic senses that engulfed our whole house when this delicacy was ready. The first time I ever tried to make this on my own (of course under my mom’s supervision) was around 10 years back. And I clearly remember that it took me 4 hours to make this recipe from start to the end. The time it took so many years ago etched a memory in my brain and I scarcely picked up this old recipe again. Though I must admit faintly I had always wished that from some where Maa would turn up with ready stuffed tomatoes and then we can have a sumptuous meal.

Finally yesterday, the craving to eat this delicious meal just took over all my laziness, and I made it again. It took me just half the time I had thought. Yes!! thats right. I was done in 2 or may be even 1.5 hours and I loved it.

Since I got fibromyalgia, working too long and continuous hours has been tough so I was extremely pleased with the ease and seamlessness this recipe kind of cooked itself for me yesterday. Second, I have been trying to turn vegan and this is yet another feather in the hat for vegan eating. Who says vegan is boring! Try this and you will never go down any other road again.

So here is what we need.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  1. 4 large boiled and mashed potatoes
  2. 1 large onion chopped finely
  3. 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  4. Salt to taste (I used approx. 1 tsp)
  5. Red chilli powder – approx. 1/2 tsp
  6. Garam masala powder – approx. 1/3 tsp

For the tomato shells:

  1. 6 large and firm tomatoes – washed, dried and with the inside scooped out carefully (save the inside of the tomatoes for the gravy)
  2. Oil for deep frying – approx. 2 cups

For the gravy:

  1. 1-2 large onion chopped
  2. 1 tomato chopped fine
  3. inside of 6 large and firm tomatoes chopped fine
  4. Shahi jeera (Royal cumin seeds) – 1.5 tsp
  5. Saunf (Fennel seeds) – 1/4 tsp
  6. Mangrel or Kalunji seeds – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  7. Bay leaves – 3
  8. Whole black pepper – 7
  9. Cooking oil – 6 tbsp
  10. Salt to taste (I used approx. 2 tsp)
  11. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  12. Degi mrich powder – 1/3 tsp
  13. Garam masala – 2 tsp (reduce to half if you don’t want the dish very spicy)

 Method:

First start with the filling. Mash the boiled potatoes and keep aside. Take oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Fry until the onions are brown (but not burnt). At this stage, add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Add all the spices and mix well. Roast this mix on the frying pan slightly and then let the mixture cool down slightly.

Now lets create the tomato shells. Take 6 firm tomatoes, and wash them nicely. Then pat them dry. Now carefully chop the head like a cap, and don’t throw it off (for reference see the picture of finished dish. you will see that the head cap of the tomatoes is still on). Now take a knief and carefully scoop out the tomato inners. It will be slightly hard because we have chosen firm tomatoes, so be careful. If you don’t like to use the knief, you can use a spoon instead. Try not to cut through the shell, though slight (one or two) punctures through the wall are not a disaster. You are doing fine!

Now take the tomato shells and stuff them tightly with the filling. Cover with a cap. Now we shall fry these tomatoes. Do not leave the tomatoes in the oil. That will create a mess. So don’t do that.

  

Instead, do like this. First heat the oil in a frying wok. Take a slotted spoon (reference picture) and place a filled tomato (upside down) on the slotted spoon. Now hold this slotted spoon over the hot oil. Take a ladle in your other hand, and pour hot oil over the tomato. This will cook the tomato nicely on the outside. Keep pouring the oil until the skin comes out. Be careful and once the tomato is fried place it aside on a kitchen cloth. Do the same for all the 6 tomatoes.remove the fried skin off the tomato shells.

Finally it is gravy time. Take around 5-6 tbsp oil in a wok. when the oil is hot, add shahi zeera, saunf, bay leaves, black pepper seeds and mangrel. Then add the chopped onions and fry until the onions are golden brown. Now it is time to add the tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes look all mushy and start to leave a little oil on the sides. Then add all the spices except half of the garam masala. Mix well. Cook another 1-2 min and now transfer the tomato shells carefully into the gravy. Sprinkle the remaining garam masala on top and cover with a tight lid.

Slow cook the tomatoes on a very very low flame for approx. 20 min, and then switch off the flame. Let the tomatoes cook in the steam for another hour.

Bharwa tomatoes are ready, and can be relished with chapatis, paranthas, rice. 🙂

Fibromyalgia food

This is a rolling blog……

I have set out on a path to discover foods that can help me alleviate the pain.  Fibromyalgia is a condition characterised with widespread body pain and I have been suffering with it for last 7 months only to be diagnosed a week ago. My aim is to make a list of foods that are working for my body to get over this or at least have bearable pain each day.

I wish you or anyone don’t have to go throw this but if you are here and reading this blog to get help and ideas, then just  be mindful that the things I mention below have worked for me and you must be your own judge to find out if it works for you too. Gentle hugs and  best wishes. Here is what is working for me:

1. Flaxseed – I take at least 1 tsp each day. I have bought the crushed flax seeds and I sprinkle them on quite many foods that I eat. I even added a tsp to my morning sandwich

2. Cucumber I love shredded cucumber and curd raita. However I have heard that it is best to go vegan when dealing with fibromyalgia. I have not gone vegan yet. Cucumber helps – my experience says eat whole cucumber without juicing it. If you’re are not able to eat 1 each day then smoothie it in a green juice

3. Mushrooms Mushrooms are anti-inflammatory food and I like them.

4. Massage with olive oil  I do not know why this works but it helps relax my muscles.

5. Turmeric – I eat turmeric every day of my life. I am Indian, and have eaten turmeric in food always. Like always! It is tough for me to say how much to eat but I really think that turmeric helps with a lot of things.

6.

I am on a journey to find a good life with this condition and if you have some tips for me, I will love to hear them.

Vegetable rice, pulao, tahri

This is one of the evergreen recipes from my mom’s kitchen. I loved it as a kid and 34 years into life I adore it still. I can it this in any meal – yes even for breakfast. All I need is a nice raita (natural curd with shredded cucumber is my favorite).

Preparation time: 20 min 

Ingredients:

1 chopped onion – chopped in long pieces 

1 chopped tomato

1 peeled and cubed potato 

1 cup of green peas

1 cup of basmati rice 

1.5 cup water

1 Bay leaf 

1 pinch of coarsely ground black pepper 

1 pinch of coarsely ground white pepper

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Turmeric 

1/2 tsp Red chilli powder 

1 tsp coriander powder (dhaniya)

1/4  tsp garam masala

1.5 tsp Salt – adjust to taste 

3 tbsp cooking oil (don’t take  olive oil, use raps oils or sunflower oil)

Special utensils: Indian pressure cooker

Method:

Heat oil in the pressure cooker on high heat. When hot add Bay leaf, black pepper, white pepper and Cumin seeds. Stir and add onions. Stir fry until onions are brown. Now add tomatoes, potatoes and peas.  Stir. Now add rest of the spices and rice and water. Stir carefully without breaking rice. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Remove from flame and keep aside. Open when the steam inside the cooker is finished. 

Serve hot with raita.