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.

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.

    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