Oct 23, 2014

Chivada- Diwali special

I had this really amazing chivda in office the other day, which I liked so much, I had to get the recipe. It turned out to be absolutely yummy, and I can't understand why everyone wouldn't want to make it every day.

2 cups chivda (pressed rice)
1/3 cups peanuts
2 green chillis, sliced
1/2 tsp haldi powder
a pinch of hing
Salt and sugar to taste
1 tsp oil

Dry roast the chivda till it becomes absolutely crisp. Keep aside.
Heat oil, and fry the peanuts till they start browning. Add hing, haldi powder and green chillis. Saute for 1-2 minutes, than add the roasted chivda.
Mix well. Turn off the flame, Add salt and sugar to taste and mix well.
Cool well before storing in an airtight container.

Kala Channa Masala

It was one of those days when I had a housefull of people to feed, and no vegetables in the fridge. Since the vegetable vendor comes only after 7, I decided to make rajma or channa, but found only kala channa at home. I first soaked it, then looked for a recipe more substantial than the one that I normally make. It turned out tasting much better than anticipated.

1 cup dry kala chana
1 bay leaf
1 piece cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1 badi elaichi
2 large onions
2 large tomatoes
2 green chillis
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp saung
1/2 tsp jeera
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
A pinch of hing
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste


Wash the kala chana and soak it for 4- 6 hours (or overnight)
Pressure cook with bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, elaichi, and sufficient water till the chana is cooked (I reduce the flame after the first whistle and cook for 20 minutes). Discard the spices.
Cut one onion in large chunks, and the other finely. Chop tomatoes into large chunks.
Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and saute onion chunks until light brown, allow to cool and grind with green chili, cumin seeds, fennel seeds with little water into fine paste. Puree tomato and keep aside.
Heat remaining oil, add chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste and saute until golden brown.
Add hing and onion paste and saute until oil starts to separate. Add chilli, dhania powder, turmeric powders and mix well, saute for a minute.
Add puree tomato and mix well, cook in medium to slow until oil separates. Add cooked chana along with water, salt and bring it to boil.
Add amchur powder and simmer for 10 minutes or until gravy thick.
Garnish with dhania patta and/ or chopped onions and serve.

Oct 22, 2014

French lentil and vegetable soup

It was the second day of the Diwali vacation, and the maid had taken off. With two hungry kids (and a grandmother) to feed, I decided to try out a recipe I had seen and liked a very long time back. Since I trust SpiceRoots like I trust few other blogs, I presumed the recipe would work, and didn't worry too much about making a few changes. Needless to say, I skipped the wine, and served it as a regular "dal" to my mother, but it was absolutely fantastic.

1/2 cup masoor dal, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 bunch spring onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp dhania powder
2 carrots, diced
4 cups water
2 tablespoons dry red wine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Salt and pepper as per taste

Rinse the masoor dal, and pressure cook it for 20 minutes with 2 cups water.
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic, spring onions, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the carrots, and jeera and dhania powder, and cook until the carrots begin to soften.
Add the two cups of water and the cooked dal, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add the grated cheese, and let it bubble for half a minute till the cheese melts in with the soup.
Add in the wine, stir and cook half a minute.
Serve with garlic bread.

Maharashtrian Amti

I am always looking for new dal recipes to try out, so when I saw a packet of goda masala in the store, I picked it up, and then looked for a recipe that I could try out. This dal was a major hit, and it is definitely going to be my "go to" dal in future.

1 measure green moong dal
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp goda masala
½ tbsp powdered jaggery/gur or as required
½ tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania
salt to taste

For tempering:
½ tsp mustard seeds/rai
1 sprig curry leaves
1 to 2 green chilies
¼ tsp haldi powder
a pinch of hing
1 to 1.5 tbsp oil or ghee

Wash the dal, and pressure cook it with water and a pinch of haldi till soft. Mash the dal.
Heat the oil, add mustard seeds, and after it stops crackling, add the haldi powder and hing.
Add curry leaves and green chilies, stir for a few seconds, then add the dal and stir.
Add sufficient water to get a good consistency.
Season with goda masala, jaggery, tamarind pulp, and salt. Simmer for 10-12 minutes on a low flame with frequent stirring (so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the cooker) till the desired consistency is reached.
Check the taste and add more salt, jaggery or goda masala if required.
Serve with rice.

Oct 21, 2014

Fennel Pumpkin Curry with Webbed Dosa

Many months back, I saw Vikas Khanna making Webbed Dosa with Pumpkin curry on TV, and took down the recipe on my iphone. The phone got lost, but the recipe was saved on the Cloud and turned up on my new phone. By the time I got down to making it, I had completely forgotten what the original recipe looked like, so recreated it using my imagination.
Verdict- the pumpkin curry was good, but I am not sure the webbed dosa is worth the trouble.

250 gms pumpkin
1 large tomato
4-6 pods garlic
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Cooking oil
Salt to taste

For the dosa
1 cup rajma, cooked
1 cup maida
1 egg
oil for drizzling
salt to taste

Puree the rajma, mix well with maida and beaten egg. Add salt to taste and keep aside.

Peel the pumpkin slice, and cut it into chunks. Boil till it is slightly soft.
Heat the oil, add garlic (crushed), curry leaves and chopped tomatoes and saute till tomato turns mushy.
Add the chilli flakes and fennel seeds, and saute for a minute
Add the boiled pumpkin, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes

Lightly grease a tawa with oil and heat over high flame till smoky. Reduce heat to medium and carefully wipe off excess oil with a tissue. Using the squeezie bottle or Roti Jala mould, drizzle the kidney bean batter onto the griddle to create a web. Drizzle over with ½ teaspoon oil. As batter sets and turns golden, carefully flip the web over, taking care not to break. Drizzle over ½ teaspoon oil and allow to cook till almost crisp.

Oct 18, 2014

Maharashtrian inspired Dry Chicken

One of the side effects of having a dog in the family is the fact that you often have chicken in the freezer. This was something I invented as a top up dish.

500 gms chicken
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp Maharashtrian Goud masala
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 red chillis
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Splutter the mustard seeds, add onions, red chilli and curry leaves and saute till the onions turn transparent.
Add chicken, and fry on high heat to fix the juices.
Remove the onions, and reserve them. Add sesame seeds, masala and salt to taste, mix well, cover and let the chicken cook. When almost done, return the onions, and fry for another minute or two.
Serve with rotis and dal.

Oct 7, 2014

Chena payash- poornima special

I made Chena payash for Sharad Poornima last year, and decided to make it again this year. I improvised slightly, and all of us really loved it.
1 litre milk

1/3 cup sugar
Few drops kewra essence

Make paneer out of 1/2 litre of milk (paneer recipe here).
While the paneer is draining, take the rest of the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, and reduce it on a low flame till it is about half the original volume.
Break the paneer into the milk, add the sugar, and cook on a low flame till you achieve the desired consistency.
Add the essence and well.
Chill before serving.

Oct 4, 2014

Buttery Pepper Chicken

Some dishes grab you. This Buttery-pepper chicken recipe was one of them. When it actually came to making it, I found I didn't have coriander leaves, so I substituted it with kasoori methi, and I think it came out really well. One of those keepers.

900 grams - 4 whole chicken legs, each cut into two pieces 
125 grams butter
2 tablespoons oil
2½ tablespoons black pepper, ground to a coarse texture
2 tbsp kasoori methi
¼ teaspoon salt (optional) 

Heat butter and oil in a thick bottomed vessel on a medium-low flame. 
Add the chicken pieces and fry the chicken until it turns brown. 
Add the ground pepper and salt (optional) and stir well.
Reduce heat to low and cook till water from the chicken evaporates. 
Add 1 cup water and cook till chicken is tender. 
Add the kasoori methi and stir fry for a minute.
Serve as a side dish.

Polemo salad

I bought a big fat polemo, and after eating half of it as a fruit, wanted to do something different with the rest. This is adapted from a Vietnemese recipe, and is absolutely lovely. While the original recipe called for shrimps, I dropped it completely and was satisfied with the result.

1/2 polemo peeled and desegmented
1 cucumber chopped into fine pieces
1/3 cup peanuts, roasted and crushed slightly

2 tbsp mint leaves, crushed
3 pods garlic crushed
2 tbsp fish sauce/ soya sauce
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chilli sauce
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Mix the fish/ soya sauce, lime juice, chilli sauce, sugar, garlic and mint leaves. Add a little water, if required so the sugar dissolves
Toss the polemo segments and cucumber, add the dressing, and mix well.
Let it refrigerate for1 hour. Add salt to taste, and mix well.
Add the roasted peanuts before serving.

Oct 2, 2014

Ashtami spread

Ashtami always meant sooji halwa, poori and kala channa, and this year too, I stuck to the tradition I set last year and made that for lunch. This, however, was a slightly different take on the regular sooji halwa, and I for one liked it much more.

1 cup sooji
1/3 cup besan
3 tbsp ghee
1/3 cup sugar
cardamon powder (to taste)
1 tbsp khus khus seeds
1 tbs melon seeds

Dry roast the sooji till it starts to turn brown.
Add the ghee, mix well, then add besan, and fry on a low flame for 2-3 minutes
Add the sugar, khus khus and melon seeds, mix well, and dry roast for a minute.
Add about 1/2 cup water, mix well, cover, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot.

Ashtami spread- sprouted kala channa

I wanted to make something slightly different for Ashtami this year, so instead of regular kala channa, made it with sprouted kala channa instead. The taste was very different from what it normally is (who would have guessed the act of sprouting will change the taste so much), but what it lacked in regular taste, it made up for in the health quotient.

1 Cup Kala Chana Sprouted
1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin)
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin) -Roasted and Powdered
1 and 1/2 Tsp – Kala Namak (Balck Salt)
Curry leaves
1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Pressure cook the kala channa sprouts for about 10 minutes. 
Heat oil in a kadhai and add cumin seeds and curry leaves to it. Once the seeds start crackling add the drained chick peas (You can use the water from chick peas for kneading the poori dough). 
Now add the black salt, the red chilli powder and Jeera powder and mix thoroughly. 
Keep it on simmer for 2-3 minutes and after that take it off fire and add 1 tsp lemon juice to it.

Sprouts and apple salad

Now that I have started working full time, I am constantly on the look out for things that will keep the mid day hunger pangs at bay. Sprouts are a perennial favourite. This is a variation on a salad I tried out first about two years back, and I like it enough to make it again.

1 cup sprouted chana
1 apple, chopped into small pieces (reserve a few slices for garnish)
1 tbsp vinegar
Salt to taste

Bring 2 cups water to boil, add the vinegar and salt, and dissolve so it mixes well.
Add the sprouted channa to the water, and let it soak for 15 minutes.
Drain well, add the apple, mix, and serve.

Oct 1, 2014

Radish salad

This is adapted from something my mother has made a couple of times when I was a child.

1 large radish, grated
1 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
3-4 tbsp peanuts
Red chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, splutter the jeera seeds. Add peanuts and fry on a low flame.
Pour over the grated radish, season with red chilli powder and salt, and mix well.
Serve chilled.