Feb 28, 2013

Rajma Paneer

I am not particularly fond of rajma, but have started tolerating it these days, but only if it is well made. But I never thought of combining rajma and paneer, till I the recipe on a food group. The recipe for rajma too was simpler than the way I make it, and I wanted to see if it worked. Loved it even without the paneer, and loved it a bit more with it. The original recipe called for pinto beans, which I didn't have, so I just increased the amount of rajma- reproducing the original recipe here, though.

Soak 1.5 cups of rajma/Kidney beans overnight or 7-8 hrs and pressure cook with 1/2 cup of pinto beans , 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 1" ginger grated, 3 cloves garlic chopped, salt and 4 green chillies till soft n done...may discard the cooked green chillies later ....Heat oil...add finely chopped onions, 2 tsp garlic paste and cook till onion is golden......Blend/puree half this mixture and add it back in the saucepan......add cumin powder, haldi powder, chilli powder,kashmiri chilli powder, black pepper pdr, salt ,fresh tomato puree (2 tomatoes)and garam masala pdr(optional)...cook till oil separates....now add the cooked Rajma n pinto along with paneer cubes(which have been soaking in warm milk for 15 min). .....bring to a boil and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Banana-wholewheat muffins

This started as something, but ended up as something quite different, so I can't figure out what to call it. But it tasted great and got finished off real fast, which is what really matters.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 soggy banana
1 tsp baking powder

Mash the banana till smooth and keep aside
Sift the dry ingredients together, then add the rest of the ingredients, and mix together. Keep aside for about 5 minutes
Grease a paniyaram plate, pour the batter till 3/4 covered, and cook on low heat till the edges start to pull away. Turn over, and cook the other side.
Keep aside till cool.
Give it a name that will appeal to the kids, and serve.

Feb 27, 2013

Banana roti

Just a way to use up those bananas that have reached the "consume by" date, but which you don't have the heart to throw away.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 soggy banana
a pinch of salt
Water, if required
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Mash the bananas well. Add whole wheat flour and salt and knead well to get a thick dough. If the banana is not soggy enough, you might have to add a bit of water/ milk to make it easier to knead.
Divide the dough into balls, and roll them out after dusting with flour. When slightly flat, sprinkle sesame seeds on one side, and continue rolling.
Place on a pan, and cook till both sides are well done.

Mix the remaining sesame seeds with honey, for a great accompaniment.

Feb 26, 2013

Cabbage bake

My mother used to make this very often when I was growing up, and I really, really loved it. Though really simple to pull off, I don't make it as often as I could, but when I do, it gets polished off in no time at all.

1 cup cabbage cut into thin slices
1 cup onions cut into thin slices
1 cup gram flour/ besan
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp jeera pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd
salt to taste
1 tbsp sesame seeds or 1 tbsp mustard seeds for tempering

Mix all the ingredients (except sesame/ mustard seeds) to make a thick paste- you might have to take a little less of water, and add more if you need.
Grease a baking dish, and pour the batter evenly. If using sesame seeds, sprinkle it evenly on the top.
Bake in pre-heated oven till it turns brownish, or in microwave as per the recommended settings for a sponge cake.
Cool. Temper the mustard in a bit of butter/ oil, and pour on top. Cut into squares/ wedges.
Best with tomato ketchup.

Feb 25, 2013

No-fry dahi vada

My paniyaram pan was a few weeks old, and I had been using it to make paniyarams a couple of times a week. I had been making paniyarams to send as school lunch, when I was struck down by a sudden thought- what if I could use the paniyaram tray to make the vadas for dahi vada? Would that not save me the trouble of dealing with all that oil used in deep-frying, and will it not be much, much healthier than the original version? It was nothing short of a Eureka Moment for me.
I was surprised that nobody else had thought of it, and thought it wouldn't work. But when you are used to creating disasters in the kitchen, one more can't hurt too much, can it? I immediately soaked some urad dal, and tried it out within four hours. The result was almost as good as the original. Wonder why I hadn't thought of it before?

The vadas were lovely. I had discovered a way to have dahi vadas on call. Is this what Heaven looks like?

Soak 1 measure urad dal for 2- 8 hours ( I did for 4 hours).
With minimal water, grind the soaked urad dal, a 1/2 inch piece ginger and a green chilli till fine (the way to test if the dal is done is to drop a bit in water- if it starts floating right away, it is done).
Add salt to taste and mix well.
Using an appam tray, make vadas, the same way as you would paniyarams (a slightly watery batter works better than thick one).

Meanwhile, prepare the dahi- beat dahi with salt, roasted jeera powder till smooth.
Keep half aside, and in the other half, add enough water to make it almost the same consistency as buttermilk.

Put the hot vadas in the dahi, and let it soak.

After all the vadas are done, and the dahi has soaked in well, pour the rest of the dahi over the vadas. (If you are serving dahi-vadas, keep some more of the dahi aside)

Garnish with chilli powder, zeera powder and dhania powder.

Feb 23, 2013

Aloo Palya

Aloo palya is what the Udupi restaurants call the aloo subji that they serve with pooris. Have always loved it, and no trip to the South is complete without at least one plate of poori- aloo. Got this recipe from a friend, and despite using a few baby potatoes instead of all real ones, it tasted almost authentic.
3 large potatoes boiled
1 medium onion chopped fine
8-10 pieces of cashewnuts
1 tbsp besan
1 green chillie
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp channa dal
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp haldi powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

Heat the oil, and temper mustard seeds, channa dal, green chillies and curry leaves.
Add chopped onions and fry on low heat till onions turn transparent. Add cashew nuts, salt and haldi and stir for about a minute.
In the meantime, cut half the potatoes into eighth's and mash the rest of the potatoes.
Add the potatoes, and about 1/2 cup water. Once the water boils, lower the heat, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
Make a paste with the besan, add to the curry, and let it cook for a minute.

Serve with piping hot pooris (or with dosas, as I did).

Coconut chutney- not the way my mother makes it

My mother's way of making coconut chutney has always worked for me, but I wanted to try something different, and this came out pretty well. Am likely to now alternate between the two versions. Come to think of it, you can't go too wrong if you have the right ingredients, can you?

Grate a coconut (I used only half, because I wasn't sure, but have given the proportions for a full coconut)
Grind together grated coconut, 1 green chilli, 1 tbsp channa dal (soaked for about 10 mins in warm water) and the juice of an inch piece of ginger (recipe called for ginger, but I decided to play safe), with sufficient water to get a smooth consistency. Add salt to taste, and 1 tbsp lemon juice and mix well.
Temper with 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1 sprig curry leaves and 1 red chilli (which I left out).

Feb 22, 2013

Odiya Doi Begun

My friend, MP grew up in Orissa, and of the Odiya dishes she's shared, the one I most wanted to make was this one. I finally got down to making it today, and loved it. 
Made a couple of changes from the original- no tempering (because nobody is too fond of it in any case), and I beat the curds with powdered, roasted jeera, the juice of an inch piece of ginger and salt.

Wash and pat the baingan dry and apply a bit of chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.
Deep fry the baingan and keep aside
Now beat dahi well with salt and keep aside
Heat oil. Put a tadka of the following
- mustard seeds
- curry leaves
- heeng (is not there in the original dish or my mom's version but I add because I like it)
- finely chopped ginger (some people put garlic, my mom puts ginger and I like the flavour of ginger in this dish)
- dry red chillies
- some broken green chillies if you want it more spicy

Now put the deep fried baingan in the dish. Pour dahi on top and then pour the tadka on top of everything. Before serving put some roast jeera powder on top if you wish. Remember no heating or cooking the dahi.

Grape-Sprout Salad- a little bit of goodness wipes out bad memories

"It is not bitter at all", I heard them say, and fool that I am, I believed them. You know what bitter means only after you sprout fenugreek seeds, and plonk a bit in your mouth thinking it can't be much worse than soaked fenugreek seeks- they are. Much worse.
I tried adding salt, then vinegar. Nothing killed the bitterness, or even masked it. But when I found myself thinking along the lines of dousing it in cream and honey, I decided that if Mamma's dictum of "never waste food" extended to fenugreek sprouts, it was because she had never tasted them herself. 
I did the only sensible thing I could- washed off all the salt and vinegar, and threw the seeds into an empty pot. Watch this space for further adventures of the fenugreek sapling kind.

The entire experience left a very bitter taste in the mouth- literally, and I needed to do something drastic to make things better. Luckily, I had a handful of moong sprouts handy.

Cut about 10-12 grapes into quarters.
Mix well with a handful of moong sprouts and 1 tsp vinegar.
Drizzle brown sugar (I used 1 tsp, but use more if you prefer).

Curl up on a comfy sofa and indulge.

The Korean salad that Wasn't

I started out intending to make a Korean salad, but after making up my mind to do so, found that I didn't have most of the ingredients that I needed. So did the next best thing, and improvised- not too bad, really.

Throw a handful of moong sprouts into boiled water. Keep for a minute, then strain.
Add 1 small chopped tomato, and sprinkle chilli flakes and salt, and toss with a dressing of vinegar in which mint and garlic have been infused.

Feb 21, 2013

Grape raita

With grapes flooding the market, this has become one of my go-to dishes. Though I have made this several times and refined the technique, I am posting it only now, because I never thought to take a picture before this.

Blend about 15-20 grapes (you can use up all those squishy-squashy grapes that nobody wants) in the mixer, and strain well (this is necessary, because the ground skin doesn't taste good- you can, however, eat the strained part- it is lovely).
Add to 1 cup curds, and beat well with rock salt to taste, and 1 tsp of honey.

When will mixed, quarter 5-8 grapes and mix well with the curd-grapes mixture.

Tastes really good even as a stand alone dish.

Khichdi- my "comfort" way

Khichdi is one of my favourite comfort foods, one that I make it as often as I can get away with. Hubby and kids are not particularly fond of it, but as long as it is sufficiently runny and has lots of ghee, they don't mind having it, so it gets made at least once every fortnight. This may not be the authentic version, but it is my favourite version.

2 measures rice (I use a small cup as a measure)
1 measure masoor dal
1 measure dhuli moong dal
Mixed veggies cut into bite sizes (I use carrots, beans, cauliflowers, peas in various proporitons) - 1 cup
1 or two potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 onions sliced fine
1 inch piece of ginger
2 green chillis (more or less according to taste)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp jeera 
salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil

Dry roast the dals, and keep aside
Heat the cooking oil, temper with jeera. Add onions and ginger when the jeera stops spluttering, and fry on low heat till onions start turning transparent.
Put all the ingredients in a pressure cooker, add water (two parts water for every part of rice and dal), and pressure cook for two whistles (first whistle on high heat, second on low heat).
Put a dollop of ghee, and stir well before serving (you can also throw a red chillie in heated ghee, and temper before serving).

Feb 20, 2013

Potato Chutney

Something I made up using my mother's basic chutney recipe. Tasted so good it all got polished off in one sitting.

Heat oil in a kadhai, fry 1 green chilli, 1 inch piece of ginger chopped fine and 1 tbsp channa dal for 2-3 minutes.
Peel two boiled potatoes, add to the mixture and stir a couple of times.
Add kokum paste, take off the flame and let it cool.
Blend it all in the mixture.
Pour into a mixer, add salt to taste, and grind till all the potatoes are are pureed and the dals are coarsely ground.
Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Tastes best when cold.

Kofta curry

When I was a kid we had a grove of papaya trees in the backyard, so I grew up on kofta curry. Now that raw papayas are no longer plenty, my mother uses lauki instead. This is her recipe- perfectly tailored to our tastes (or were our tastes tailored to meet her recipe). My only contribution is in making it "healthier"- I don't deep fry the koftas- a tip I picked up from Gauri Shirke.
For the kofta
One medium lauki, peeled, de-seeded and grated
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 cup besan
Red chilli powder to taste

For the gravy
2 medium onions chopped
1 large tomato chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp curd

Fry the onions in 2 tsp oil till light brown, add tomatos and ginger-garlic paste, dry masalas and fry on very low flame till onions turn dark brown.
Cook for 2 minutes, add curd and water till desired consistency.
Cook for another minute, take off the flame.

Grate the lauki, keep aside for about 10 minutes and squeeze out the water.
Add ginger-garlic paste, salt and besan. Knead well.
Make small balls, press them to flatten.
On a non-stick frying pan, sprinkle 1 tsp water, and shallow fry koftas on a low flame till brown.

Add koftas to the curry, and bring to boil once.

Feb 18, 2013

Coffee Panna Cotta

This is another winner from MM's Kitchen Bites. I've never been too confident of pulling off complicated puddings that are required to set, but this recipes seemed so easy, and the instructions seemed so precise that I gave it a try, and it came out perfect. 
Wish I hadn't halved the quantities, as I had done.

1/2 cup whole milk, ( I used double toned , since that is one we get)
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 235+ 115 = 350 ( used Amul cream)

3 heaping teaspoons instant espresso powder (Nescafe instant) 
1/4 cup sugar
A pinch salt

Chocolate or nuts for garnishing

Place the milk in a heavy, small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves, but the milk does not boil, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Stir over low heat, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the cream mixture into 2 martini glasses, dividing equally. Cover and refrigerate, stirring every 20 minutes during the first hour. Chill until set, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
Garnish and serve

Feb 16, 2013

Chicken Biryani

Everyone in the family (me included) loves chicken biryani, but we have been singularly unlucky in finding a place where they serve "good" chicken biryani. Most places are either too spicy, or too dry, or just don't have enough chicken. Once, and only once, I attempted to make it using a ready made mix, but the less said about that experience, the better.
My hubby swears by the biryani that his father's maid makes, and on my recent trip to Delhi, I made her teach me how she does it. It seemed easy enough, but I was always too scared to try. And then, finally, I took the plunge. And I am glad I did!

Soak 2 measures of rice with black cardamon, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks for 15 minutes, then cook till 75% done. Drain and keep aside.
In a hard bottomed kadhai, fry 2 chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste till the raw smell goes. Add 3 chopped tomatoes, and 1 tsp each of dhania pwd, jeera pwd, red chilli pwd and garam masala pwd. Fry on a low flame till the tomatoes get squashy.
Add 1 kg chicken (curry cut will be best, but I had only legs) and salt to taste, stir till all the chicken is coated with the masala, cover the kadhai and let it cook in its own heat till the chicken is almost done (gravy should be thick, but present).
While it is cooking, chop one onion lengthwise, and fry in ghee till well browned. Keep aside.
Grease a container with ghee, arrange a layer of rice, sprinkle some browned onions, squeeze about 1/2 tsp lemon juice, arrange one layer of chicken pieces, drizzle with gravy. Repeat. Finish by placing a last layer of rice, browned onions and lemon juice.
Cover with a tight lid (leaving a small vent so the pressure doesn't build up), and zap it on the microwave for 2 1/2 mins (you can also cook it for 15 minutes on the stove, but giving it indirect heat by placing on a tawa).

Serve piping hot. And don't be caught unawares when you are asked to make it again soon!

Honey Mustard Chicken

I drooled when I saw the photograph on MM's blog. The drool only got droolier when when I read the recipe and found that it was simplicity itself. There was no way anyone, not even me, could mess this up! I made it with chicken legs, and threw in a few baby potatoes (scrubbed and peeled) and substituted light soy sauce with dark soy sauce.
Unfortunately, neither the hubby, nor the only kid who was not vegetarian liked it much, so this might well be the only time I make it. Though it might be a good one to dig out if I want to impress someone with my culinary skills.

Chicken legs, 4
Honey, 3 tbsp
Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp
Light soy sauce, 2 tbsp
Lemon juice, 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves, crushed, 3-4
Black pepper, crushed, 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil, 1 tsp

Mix honey, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic ,pepper, salt and oil in an oven proof dish. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours.
Bring it back to room temperature before baking it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30-40 minutes, till the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.
Toss in a few additional cloves of garlic with skin on when baking, if you want.

(Recipe copied from MM's Kitchen Bites)

Feb 15, 2013

Pav bhaaji

The first time I made pav bhaaji, it was a hit and miss effort. I used to like some of the pav bhaaji's you got in Bombay, but not all of them, and was pleasantly surprised when I got it right the first time. The trick, I am certain, was in the Pav Bhaaji masala- because I might vary all the other proportions, but as long as I get that right, it works out great.
Luckily for me, the kids love it too, so I end up making it on most days when the kids are home for lunch.

Pressure cook 3 large potatoes (I chop them into eight parts, before putting them in the cooker, so they take the same time to get done as the rest of the vegetables), AND
Pressure cook 1 carrot (diced), 4-6 florets of cauliflower, 15-20 beans, a handful of shelled peas
Heat some oil in a pan, temper with jeera. When jeera starts spluttering, add 1 chopped onion and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, and fry on low heat till onions start turning transparent.
Add 1 chopped tomato, salt to taste, red chilli powder and (Everest) pav bhaaji masala, and stir till tomatoes get done.
Throw in the vegetables and the (peeled) potatoes, and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes, mashing with the back of the spoon as you do so. Add 1 cap full of vinegar and a blob of butter (optional). Stir and take off the flame.

Serve with chopped onions, and pav fried in butter*

* - Slit the pavs in half, put a huge blob of butter on the tava, and fry both sides till brown.

Feb 14, 2013

Spiced Chocolate

When I saw this recipe in the newspaper, I nearly gagged. Chocolate and chilli flakes- how could they. But when something sounds as counter intuitive as that combination does, it pays to check it out. Made it first on Monday, and have made it once a day, every day after that. I better start looking for a slightly lower calorie version- this cannot be good for me in this quantity!

Place 1 cinnamon stick and the leaves of one sprig mint in a mug of milk, and bring it to boil. Remove from heat, and let it stand for 5 to 10 mins. Strain out the cinnamon and mint, return to the fire, and add 50 gms of chocolate (I used CDM) broken into small pieces. Stir on a low flame till the chocolate melts completely (recipe called for making it really frothy, but it is better otherwise). Serve garnished with one tsp chilli flakes.

Feb 13, 2013

Methi malai muttar

I made this once in Delhi about six years back, after getting the recipe from an Aunty. Loved it, but for some strange reason, never made it again. Till I was reminded of the dish when I had it at a wedding recently. Wasn't sure if I remembered it correctly, but google helped me get it right, and here it is.

Pluck the leaves of one big bunch of methi (1 C), wash and chop into pieces. Blanche, by dropping the leaves into boiled water for 2-3 minutes; drain and let it dry.
Fry 2 small onions sliced, 1 inch piece of ginger grated, and 1 green chilli in a bit of oil till onion turns transparent. Let it cool, then blend it along with 7-8 cashewnuts till smooth.
Heat about 1 tbsp oil, throw in 1 tsp jeera, 2-3 tej patta and 1 inch piece of cinnamon. When the jeera changes colour, add the blanched methi leaves and 1 cup shelled peas, and cook on low heat till the methi leaves start releasing water. Cover, and cook till the peas are almost done. Add the onion paste, salt to taste, and fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat, add 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk, and heat with constant stirring till it starts boiling. Turn off heat, cover, and let it cook in its own steam for a few minutes.

- You can add kasuri methi, but I didn't yesterday.
- The first time I made it, I used 1 C milk, but wanted to make it with cream this time.
- Don't skip the cashewnuts, because that keeps the milk from curdling/ breaking
- tomatoes and garam masala make an appearance in some recipes, but not in this one.

Feb 12, 2013

Quick trifle

Always loved trifle puddings - and my mother makes the best ones- but rarely make it myself. But when I saw a packet of sliced cake going stale, and a whole bunch of strawberries going very squashy, I thought of throwing together an improvised trifle. Kids helped, in making it, and in finishing it off. Best way to use up all that stuff that was going bad.

Cut slice cake pieces into quarters, and line the bottom of a dish.
Cut, slice, mash the strawberries- basically do whatever the strawberry lets you do, and place a layer on the cake slices.
Make slightly, but not to runny, custard (1 tbsp custard powder for 1 cup milk worked for me), and pour it over the cake and fruit.
Let it set in the fridge. Drizzle chocolate sauce on it before serving.

Feb 11, 2013

Red lentil Soup, with a touch of the Konkan

Started out making a conventional red lentil soup, but got creative and ended up making something quite different. Tasted almost Thai, though the mix of ingredients could as well be from the Konkan coast. It tasted so good as a soup, I put a bit aside to have with roti at night, and one of these days, am serving it as a regular dal.

Pressure cook -
1 measure dhuli masoor dal
1 onion chopped
1/2 inch ginger grated
2-4 pieces of kokum

Fry/ dry roast 2 tbsp grated coconut, and 1 red chilli and temper the dal with it.

Add salt to taste and blend till it attains a smooth consistency.

Feb 10, 2013

Angoor ka chutney

I did have a bunch of "iffy" grapes which I was thinking of mashing into curds and having. But since the idea got planted in my mind, decided to adapt my strawberry chutney recipe for grapes. At the last moment, googled to see if I could find any recipes, and found a few that required onions and mustard seeds.
Grapes and onions!!!! The combination seemed absolutely counter intuitive, so I had to try it out. Turned out to be quite different from what I thought a grape chutney should, but lovely all the same.

1 cup grapes quartered (half and half of green and red grapes was recommended, but I used a mixture of all the grapes that for various reasons get left uneaten)
1 medium onion chopped small
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 inch ginger grated
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar (less if grapes are sour)
1 1/2 tsp pepper powder
3 tsp sugar
salt to taste
cooking oil

Heat oil, temper with mustard seeds, and fry onions till they turn transparent.
Add grapes, ginger, vinegar and pepper powder, and cook for about 10 minutes.
Add salt and sugar, stir well, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes till most of the water released by the grapes evaporates.

Aubergine bake

Adapted by mixing a bunch of recipes, including Mona's eggplant-keema, which I still intend trying out soon.

Take -
1 large eggplant
Cut into circles, sprinkle salt and keep it for 30 mins for the water to come out. Drizzle olive oil and grill for 2-3 mins.

Take -
1 large tomato chopped
1/2 medium onion chopped
4-6 pods garlic crushed
1 tsp oil
Cook the above with oregano, chilli pwd, salt (amount as per taste), till it becomes soft.
Add- 1 cup cooked soya nuggets, stir, and keep aside.

Arrange the grilled eggplant on a greased baking dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper, put a layer of soya mixture, sprinkle dried basil and parsley, grate cheese. Repeat with a second layer of eggplant slices.

I had some soya mixture left over, so coated a few fresh oregano leaves with oil, placed it on the dish, layered the soya mixture and cheese.

Pop it in the oven and bake till the cheese starts melting.

Best had with garlic bread.

Feb 8, 2013

Mint-yoghurt chutney (with strawberries)

My classic mint chutney, with a few strawberries thrown in for variety.

1 bunch mint leaves (discard the stems)
2 green chillies
2 tbsp curds
4-5 strawberries
rock salt to taste
1 tsp jeera

Dry roast the jeera, and powder it
Chop mint leaves, strawberries and green chillies
Blend mint leaves, strawberries, green chilli and curds till smooth.
Add rock salt and powdered jeera.

Can be stored for a week in the fridge. Tastes great with kebabs.

Tokku with haldi

When I buy mango-ginger (ma-inji), I expect the neatly wrapped packet to contain ma-inji. But when tear it open, and start scrapping the skin off, the confusion starts. The thing is orange, and smells like fresh turmeric. When I find yellow stains on my fingers, I know I have been duped, and don't even need to taste a tiny piece to know that what I have in my hands is fresh haldi, not ma-inji.
Not one to admit defeat, I used it to make the same tokku I was planning to make with ma-inji. Not quite the same thing, but close enough.

100 gms fresh turmeric, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 green chillies
1 lemon sized ball of tamarind

For tempering-
1 tbsp channa dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds/ rai
a few curry leaves
1/2 tsp methi seeds

Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

Soak the tamarind in warm water, and press lightly to remove the pulp
Place the turmeric pieces, green chillies and tamarind pulp in a mixer and run it till most of the turmeric gets grated.
Heat oil in a kadhai, and put the stuff for tempering. When the channa dal turns brown, add the turmeric+chillies+tamarind, and cook on low heat till the raw smell goes.

Can be had with dosas, or with curds/ curd rice.

Bengali Cholar dal

I've always loved the Bengali Cholar dal. I made it today after a very, very, very long time, and just had to post it here.

1 measure channa dal
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ghee
2 red chillies
1 tsp jeera
1 tbsp grated coconut
Salt and sugar to taste

Pressure cook the channa dal with bay leaves, cinnamon stick, haldi powder and red chilli powder, till the dal is soft.
Heat the ghee, add jeera, and when it starts spluttering, add the whole red chillies and the coconut and roast lightly till the coconut starts turning brown.
Pour the cooked dal into the pan, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.
Ideally, it should be had with hot luchis, but rotis will do in a pinch.

Unlike most Indian dals, this one should not be too runny. You can also add raisins with the coconut, but I don’t because nobody in the family likes it much.

Cinnamon Punch

After a few days of excesses, the body gets used to 'drinks'. This was a good way to start weaning it back to normal.

Bring 2 litres of water to boil.
Put 2 green tea bags (plain green tea, not flavoured) and 6 sticks of cinnamon, and let it brew for about 5 minutes.
Remove and discard the tea bags and the cinnamon sticks. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon, and about 3 tbsps honey.
Serve cold.

Bread maki

I was looking for something to rustle up for lunch, and found a recipe for "bread maki" by Sanjivni Yatin. Got the proportions all mixed up,so it doesn't look nicely rolled up like hers did, but this is healthier, because it has more carrots.

3 slices white bread
1 medium carrot, grated
green mint chutney

Remove the edges of the bread, and roll over with a rolling pin, to flatten it.
Spread a layer of mint chutney, arrange a layer of grated carrots (with salt to taste), and roll it tightly
Cut each roll into three pieces.

You can also sprinkle the leftover carrots and some sev on top like I did before eating.