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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

Cucumber Parsley Focaccia with spicy whipped Butter

Posted by vivnidhi on August 5, 2008

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Parsley & cucumber for bread

Yes, cucumber focaccia. Unusual, but delicious:). Focaccia (pronounced foe-ca-chia) is a popular flatbread which was originally made without a leavening agent but now some small amount of yeast is added to it. More history here.

Did you know that a full refrigerator actually cools more efficiently than an empty one. Here’s a link  that says so and I know it for sure:). 2 pickle cucumbers, for which I even paid more; froze in my fridge cause the refrigerator was full. It had hardly been a day that I bought them and I felt quite sad looking at them. I wanted to eat bread that day and this bread just happened but it tasted really great.

Pickle cucumbers are the normal ones in India but called pickling cucumbers in the USA. This is certainly among the best breads I have baked.

The Recipe:

For the Bread:

  • Cucumber puree 3/4 cup
  • Curly Parsley 1/2 bunch washed and minced (cut really small, I used my small food processor)
  • All Purpose Flour 1 cup
  • Whole wheat flour 1 cup
  • Instant dried yeast 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Honey 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp.
  • Oregano 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt 1 tsp.
  • Olive oil 3 Tbsp.

For the whipped Butter:

  • Butter 1/4 cup
  • Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
  • lime juice 1 tsp.
  • salt to taste

Peel and puree the cucumber.Do not throw the cucumber water away. Mince the cleaned and dried parsley. Keep cucumber and parsley aside.

In a big bowl, mix the flours together and make a well. In the well add yeast and honey.

Warm the cucumber a little more than lukewarm. Add the warm cucumber and the rest of the ingredients. Knead really well. The dough will be sticky in the beginning but keep working on it. It will dry up and become elastic. Remove the dough, oil the bowl with an extra tsp of oil , place the dough in  the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Keep in a dark draft free place for 1 hour. Let it rise till almost double in size.

Punch the dough after 1 hour. Prepare a round 9″ cake pan by spreading a Tbsp. of butter on it and then adding some dry flour on it. Spread the dough with your finger tips till covers the pan. Brush some olive oil on the top of the dough. Cover with cling wrap and leave it to rise again for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the ready cake pan into the oven and bake for 25-28 minutes till the top of the bread turns golden.

For the spicy butter, whip all the ingredients well. First taste without adding any salt if you are using salted butter and then adjust the salt per your liking.

Extremely fresh tasting and delicious cucumber focaccia is ready:)

Here’s a taste for the eyes:

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Cucumber Parsley Focaccia

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A small bite with spicy whipped Butter

My cucumber parsley focaccia is on its way to image Original Recipe organized by Culinarty .

And, my bread will be well packed for the picnic basket to image Waiter There’s Something in my……….Picnic hosted by Johanna of thepassionatecook. I love the name:)

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Posted in -All Purpose flour, -Cucumber, -Cumin seeds, -Oregano, -Parsley, -Whole wheat flour, Yeast | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Marbled Tea Eggs

Posted by vivnidhi on July 27, 2008

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Stained by Addiction: Marbled Tea Eggs

I am a big fan of Martin Yan, the celebrated chef of Chinese cuisine with his famous Yan Can Cook show on television. He taught me how to mince garlic and ginger in seconds. Anybody who visits me gets a performance by me:) . Yeah, yeah, I know I like to show off…….:). I used to love his show and I watched him so much that I actually learnt from him…..now that says a lot. A few days back I came across his book : Martin Yan Quick & Easy at the library. This book is a companion volume to his public television series. I couldn’t help but bring it home.

One recipe that I tried and liked a lot was marbled tea eggs. I had heard of tea eggs from my husband when he had an authentic Chinese meal at a friend’s place so I wanted to try it too.

In Taiwan, tea eggs are a fixture of convenience stores. Through 7-Eleven chains alone, an average of 40 million tea eggs are sold per year………….source Wikipedia

The best thing is that these hard boiled eggs keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It was great for breakfast when we were out of home. These are interesting addition to a salad or soup too or just as a snack.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Martin Yan’s Quick & Easy:

  • Eggs 4
  • Spring Onion coarsely chopped
  • Ginger 1″ piece. minced
  • Soya sauce 1/4 cup
  • Regular Black Tea 2 bags
  • Dark brown sugar 1 Tbsp.
  • Ground cinnamon a pinch
  • Ground star anise a pinch
  • Ground cloves a pinch
  • Ground fennel a pinch
  • Pepper a pinch
  • Cinnamon Stick 1

Chinese five spice powder can be used in the recipe instead of the ground spices if available. It can be purchased ready made from an Chinese grocery store. Since I did not have it, I used the ground spices.

Place the eggs with cold water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Drain the eggs and rinse them with cold water. When cool enough to handle, gently tap each egg all over with a spoon until hairline cracks cover the entire shell.

Return the eggs to the pan. Add all the rest of the ingredients and some water to cover the eggs completely. Place over low heat, cover and simmer for at least 15 minutes or for up to 1 hour for a more intense color. I like to simmer only for 30 minutes, otherwise the eggs tend to get too tough for my taste.

Remove from heat, let eggs cool in the liquid and then refrigerate, still in the liquid, at least overnight or for up to a week.

Peel them just before eating. I like them best with some mayonnaise mixed with soya sauce and balsamic vinegar. Another interesting recipe for tea eggs is here.

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All Cracked Up for CLICK…photography event hosted by Jugalbandi

These marbled eggs are also on their way to Happy Love Strawberry’s 18th Birthday Party and the theme is Welcome to Wonderland. Have fun, everyone!!

Posted in -Cinnamon, -cloves, -Ginger, -Spring Onions, -Star Anise, Eggs, Tea | Tagged: , , | 16 Comments »

Spicy Garlic Vegetarian Sausage Bread

Posted by vivnidhi on July 20, 2008

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Can’t wait… Pieces disappearing from behind : Spicy Garlic Vegetarian Sausage Bread

Necessity is the mother of invention and creativity becomes a necessity if resources are limited. This is especially true in my kitchen.

I have to have the plan of dinner in my mind by late afternoon otherwise things start falling apart:) . With a young boy and a baby together, often most other plans end up only being in my mind. Dinner, lunch…….cooking is the first plan I execute cause not only is food important for all of us, cooking is a big stress buster for me. Couple of days back, I went grocery shopping without the dinner cooked at home. Returned home late and with an unplanned impulsive buy…………

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Sesame Semolina Bread

Yes, artisan breads are a big weakness for the husband and me. We bought 2 loaves cause we shop at Sam’s Club:) . These breads do not have a lot of shelf life and best consumed the day you buy. One of them could be frozen but something had to be done the other one. So, what did I have at home? Boiled garbanzo beans (for hummus) and I couldn’t see much else. The refrigerator had tomatoes.

So, the freezer came to rescue. People avoiding boca burgers …convert! Out of the freezer came boca burgers and spinach. The daughter and husband had given me 35-40 mins for coming up with something after which they would both be tired of each other and …………so, I had to just start cooking:) .Finally, what I made had us licking our fingers, scratching the aluminum foil the bread was cooked on and……fighting for leftovers the next day.

Here it is …..The Recipe:

  • Hearty artisan bread sesame semolina /Italian/French loaf

For the spinach layer:

  • Chopped Frozen Spinach 1 cup/Fresh spinach 1 1/2 cups chopped
  • Garlic 2 big cloves minced
  • Olive oil  1 tsp.
  • Salt 1/8 tsp.

For the spicy sausage layer:

  • Frozen Boca Burger/ Garden Burger 2 cooked OR Nutrela granules soaked in hot water and drained.
  • Olive oil 2 tsp.
  • Cumin powder/Jeera powder 1 Tbsp.
  • Turmeric 1/2 tsp.
  • Dry coriander powder / Dhaniya 2 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala/ Curry powder 2 tsp.
  • Chhole masala 1 tsp. (optional)
  • Garlic 2 big cloves minced
  • Ginger 2″ piece minced
  • Tomato (big) 1 chopped small
  • Yogurt 1 Tbsp.
  • Garbanzo Beans/ Chickpeas 1 cup (soaked in water for 6 hours and boiled or from a can)
  • Salt to taste
  • Tomatoes 2 cut in slices

For the oil & vinegar :

  • Olive oil 1/4 cup
  • Balsamic Vinegar 1/4 cup
  • Garlic 1 minced
  • Sugar 1 tsp.
  • Basil 1/2 tsp.
  • Oregano 1/4 tsp.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and add 2 cloves minced garlic. Add spinach and saute for a minute on medium heat. When the spinach is wilted, remove from pan and set aside.

Cook the burgers either in the microwave or on a griddle. I made a slit in the burger and cooked for 2 minutes, turned and cooked for 1 minute in the microwave.  Remove from the microwave and cut in very small pieces when cool enough to be handled. Nutrela can be substituted for this though the boca burger tastes great! I have heard there is something called boca sausage too, perhaps that can be substituted too.

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Chopped ginger, garlic, boca burger and cooked spinach and garlic

In the same saucepan, heat oil and add cumin seeds powder ,dry coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala. Once these get mixed with oil, add ginger and garlic. The ginger adds a lot of flavor. Next add the chopped tomatoes and yogurt. Mix well and keep stirring on medium heat till the mixture starts to dry out a little. Add garbanzo beans and the chopped boca burger. Add Chhole/ Chana masala at this point. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes on low heat.  Leftover Chhole would also taste good, I think. Mash the garbanzo bean, veggie sausage mixture a little and turn off the gas.

Mix the oil and vinegar ingredients and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the bread in half lengthwise and then five slices of each length. It helps to cut the bread in bite size pieces so it becomes easier to eat.

First layer the pieces with the spinach. Next comes the garbanzo sausage layer topped with sliced tomatoes. Lastly top the slices with the oil and vinegar mixture.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes till the sides become crisp. Out comes a very delicious bread. If one remotely likes curry, this is going to be a hit! These are very addictive too!!

I should mention the recipe which was the inspiration for this recipe. And that is Papa Felicos Garlic Sausage Bread from http://allrecipes.com/.

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Spicy Garlic Vegetarian Sausage Bread

This recipe is off to the wonderful Mother Daughter duo of Equal Opportunity Kitchen for their image Tried, Tested and True…Take Two event . Their event has an Organ Donation cause attached to it as well. There is spice in this recipe but its quite a healthy recipe full of protein and fiber and uses olive oil. This event is being judged by Christine Cushing , just the fact  that a professional chef will look at my recipe and photograph is making me jittery. But, anyway, this does please anyone who tastes it.

So, fellow bloggers, if you haven’t posted for this event, hurry up, bring your best recipe out , the deadline’s tomorrow!

Oh, I forgot………I better not, my two year old’s message to the readers is:

ZZZZZ1111         QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ222222222222

Please go ahead and interpret as you like:) .

Posted in - Turmeric, -Basil, -Coriander, -Cumin seeds, -Garbanzo Beans, -Garlic, -Ginger, -Oregano, -Spinach, -Tomato, -Yogurt | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

American Chop Suey

Posted by vivnidhi on July 14, 2008

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The “AMERICAN CHOP SUEY”

Almost all restaurants serving Chinese food in India boast of the “American Chop Suey”.

American Chop Suey (also American Goulash, Chili-Macaroni, Chili-Mac, Mac ‘n Beef, Macaroni and Beef, or simply Macaroni) is an American pasta dish. The preferred name and recipe varies by region, for example, the name American chop suey is most prevalent in New England. Commercial preparations of this dish are commonly marketed as Macaroni and Beef. Classic American chop suey consists of elbow macaroni and bits of cooked ground beef with sautéed onions and green peppers in a thick tomato-based sauce. Though this decidedly American comfort food is clearly influenced by Italian-American cuisine, it is known as a chop suey because it is a sometimes-haphazard hodgepodge of meat and vegetables.………….source Wikipedia

Food historians generally agree that chop suey as we know it was invented in the United States in the mid-1800’s, possibly by one of the Cantonese immigrants who flooded California searching for work. Constrained by the lack of Asian vegetables, and trying to produce a Chinese dish palatable to westerners, a Cantonese cook stir-fried whatever vegetables were handy, added some meat or chicken, and served the finished product on a plate of steamed rice. He christened his creation, chop suey, which is the English pronunciation of the Cantonese words “tsap seui” (“tsa-sui” in Mandarin) which means “mixed pieces”. …………source Chinesefood.about.com

Anyway, American chop suey is quite a favorite of a lot of people and its quite wholesome and delicious too.  Here is a recipe that I learnt from a professional cook Mrs. Minocha in Aurangabad , India.

The recipe:  (4 servings)

For the Noodles:

  • Maggi/Ramen/Mama noodles  2 Packs (200 grams)

For the Sauce:

  • Garlic 7 cloves (minced)
  • Tomato sauce/Ketchup 1 cup
  • Soya Sauce 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp.
  • oil 1 tsp.
  • Corn starch 1 Tbsp. (called corn flour in India)
  • salt to taste

For the Vegetables:

  • Onion 1 sliced lengthwise
  • Green Bell Pepper/Capsicum 1 sliced thin
  • Cauliflower 3 Flowerets chopped
  • Carrots 2 sliced like matchsticks
  • Green Beans 7-8 french cut(lengthwise)
  • Soya sauce 1 Tbsp.
  • Crushed Black Pepper 1/2 tsp.
  • Oil 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt to taste

The actual recipe called for Mama noodles first boiled in salted water and then deep fried. I used Maggi masala Atta (whole wheat) noodles (available in Indian grocery stores) . Ramen noodles can easily be substituted. I did not use the masala sachet i.e. the seasoning. I sprayed the noodles with oil spray and put them in a preheated oven. 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Make sure to keep moving them every 3-4 minutes to avoid them getting burnt.

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Noodles on the baking tray

For the Sauce: Heat the oil and fry the garlic for 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce, red chilli powder, salt , soya sauce and sugar. Add 1- 1/2 cups water. Let the whole thing come to a boil. Mix the corn starch with 1 Tbsp. cold water and add it to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 more minute. Orange color is added in Indian restaurants but I have never felt the need to do so.

For the vegetables: First par boil cauliflower in a little salted water. I used the microwave for 1 minute. Heat oil in a wok and fry onion for a minute. I use high flame for the vegetables. Next add the capsicum and cabbage. Next add carrot, green beans and cauliflower. Mix well. Next add salt, soya sauce and crushed black pepper . Mix well and turn off the heat. The key is to keep the vegetables quite crunchy.

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Baked noodles, sweet & sour sauce and Chop Suey Vegetables

To assemble: First make a layer of the vegetables. Add fried noodles on top and pour the hot sauce on top of the noodles. Indianized American Chop Suey is Ready!!

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Dinner’s ready. The crunchy noodles had to be hidden cause the son couldn’t keep his hands off them!

This Indian-Chinese “American Chop Suey” (Shouldn’t we be thankful it does not involve more countries;) ) is headed to DK of DK’s Culinary Bazaar for AWED Chinese. This is the main course……….a complete meal in itself. Hence it is also headed to Archana of Archana’s Kitchen for Monthly One dish Meal event. Enjoy!!

Preparation time for this would be about 20 minutes and cooking time would be 25 minutes.

Posted in -Cauliflower, -Garlic, -Green Beans, -Green Bell Pepper, -Onion, -Tomato Sauce, -Whole wheat flour | Tagged: , | 25 Comments »

Soya Aloo ki Sabji (Fresh Dill and Potatoes dry curry)

Posted by vivnidhi on July 11, 2008

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Soya Aloo ki Sabji

In Hindi, Dill is called soya.  Wonder why, huh. Anyway, fresh dill is quite a favorite with me. The most common preparation in my house is the one with potatoes as the picture says. Another great snack is when you mix dill with rice flour and coconut, make small flatbreads and pan fry. Sindhi Sai Bhaji needs Soya. Another most common use in north Indian homes is to knead it with whole wheat flour and make paranthas/flatbreads with it. And yes, it pairs pretty well with Methi/Fenugreek leaves too. The husband loves salmon with a side of dill dip.

Soya Aloo ki Sabji: (2 servings)

  • Potatoes 1 large or two medium chopped
  • Fresh Dill/soya 1/2 bunch cut fine
  • Ginger 1/2 ” piece minced or grated
  • Green chilli 1 cut fine
  • Oil 1 tsp.
  • Asafoetida 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/ Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder/ haldi 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp.
  • Coriander powder/Dhaniya 1/2 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/ amchur 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala 1/4 tsp.

A cast iron skillet is great to cook potatoes in. It gives the potatoes a great crust which makes the dish delicious, so use it to cook the potatoes in if you can. Heat the skillet and add oil. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the oil.

When you hear the sizzling sound, add the green chilli and ginger. Saute briefly for 30 seconds and then add the potatoes and the dill. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet. Let it cook like that for 15-20 minutes till the potatoes look like they are done. You can stir a couple of times in between.

Lastly add dry mango powder and the garam masala. Mix well with a light hand. And soya aloo ki sabji is ready. This makes a fabulous side dish, whether with lentil soup or even a spicy curry. Its delicious to just snack on them too:). Tastes great with rotis, paranthas or even rice.

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Simple lunch: Soya Aloo ki sabji, daal, yogurt and rotis

I forgot to mention that we lost power for almost 34 hours last week. It was a nightmare, I had to heat milk on a candle for my son in my apartment. After 2 meals outside, we were tired of eating out and guess what, we fired our charcoal grill for an impromptu BBQ on 3rd July. The son was craving regular roti sabji………….so I realized I could cook up an entire Indian meal on our small grill. It was just fantastic……tandoori rotis and Rajma………..and potatoes with dill:).

Just mix all  the ingredients listed above in an aluminum foil. Make a sort of a pocket which holds all the ingredients and close it. Put it directly among the coals. In 15 -20 minutes, the potatoes are ready! You will open up to an aroma of asafoetida when you open the packet. Some may not like that but in a few minutes, the smell reduces and then the potatoes taste really good. This is on its way to Joelen’s Culinary adventures Grilled recipes.

This is also on its way to Sweetnick’s ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday cause this is certainly antioxidant rich:).

Posted in - Dill, -Cumin seeds, -Ginger, -Potatoes | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Imli ke Bade (Lentil Fritters in Tamarind Sauce)

Posted by vivnidhi on July 1, 2008

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Imli ke Bade

Barely any time to say anything. Coming steaming hot from an American kitchen which has roots in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The Recipe:

For the Fritters: (Makes 18 medium size badas)

  • Black Gram lentils/Urad daal 1/2 cup
  • Ginger 1″ piece
  • Green chillies 2
  • Oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • Tamarind concentrate 1 Tbsp.
  • Jaggery / Gud 2/3 cup
  • Fat free Yogurt 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt 1/2 tsp.
  • Oil 2 tsp.
  • Asafoetida powder/heeng 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/Jeera 1/4 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds/ rai 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder/Haldi 1/2 tsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds/ methi 1/4 tsp.
  • Fennel seeds/ saunf 1/4 tsp.
  • Green chilli 1 minced
  • Ginger 1 ” piece minced or grated
  • Cilantro to garnish

1.Wash and soak black gram lentils in water for 2-4 hours.

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Black gram lentils before and after soaking.

2. Drain the water from the lentils completely. Grind with ginger and green chillies. Start with no water and keep adding 2 Tbsp. of water till you can grind very fine. Keep grinding and cream if possible. To test that the lentils are ground properly, take a cup full of water. Make a small ball of the ground lentils and drop in  the water. If it floats, the lentils are ground well. If the ball of lentils sinks to the bottom, the fritters are going to hard, so grind more, maybe add a little more water to facilitate grinding. Grinding the lentils properly is the most important step.

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Lentil ball floating in water: the lentils are ground well.

3. Now heat the oil to high in a saucepan. When the oil is ready, lower the heat to medium high and fry the fritters. Let them turn golden brown.

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Fried lentil fritters

4. Mix 1 tsp. of tamarind concentrate with 2 cups water. Remove the fried fritters on a paper towel and put them in the tamarind water. Let them soak for a while till they have softened. Remove them when soft and press lightly with your hands to remove the water. This just helps further soften the badas. These can be refrigerated like this for a couple of days. This can be done ahead and kept.

5. Soak jaggery in 2/3 cups of water for 10-15 minutes. Press with your hands, and mix jaggery well with the water. Strain the water so that no dirt comes in the sauce. Blend this jaggery water with yogurt. Mix well.

6. Heat the saucepan again and add the  2 tsp oil. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds.  When all this sizzling, add ginger and green chillies. To this add the jaggery yogurt mixture and 2 cups water. The water used to soak the badas is ideal. Add salt and stir well initially. Cook for 5- 10 minutes on medium heat till the whole thing comes to a rolling boil.  Put the gas off, add the badas and cover. In 10 minutes the Imli ke bade are ready!  Adjust the salt, chilli, jaggery as per your liking. Add red chilli powder and roasted cumin seeds powder if you want it hotter and spicier. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Tastes best with rice, even though Rotis are always made along with it in my house. It can also be eaten like a snack.

The Imli ke Bade are rushing to Sig hosting the JFI – Tamarind this month which was started by Indira of Mahanandi. I hope I make it in time. Huff, puff, bye everyone!

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Deliciously sweet & sour : Imli ke Bade

Posted in -Cumin seeds, -Fennel seeds, -Fenugreek seeds, -Ginger, -Tamarind, -Urad daal/ black gram, -Yogurt | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Choode Matar ki Tehri (Beaten rice, peas pilaf)

Posted by vivnidhi on June 30, 2008

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Choode Matar ki Tehri

Chooda or poha in Hindi or beaten rice, flattened rice is eaten all over India. It is widely available at Indian stores in the US. It comes in two varieties..thick and thin. Kande pohe (onion beaten rice) is a very popular snack in Maharashtra, India. Choode matar ki tehri is more like a delicacy eaten in Uttar Pradesh(Benares or Varanasi region to be more specific) when the fresh peas are harvested. It is similar to poha yet has a very distinct Uttar Pradeshi stamp on it:). One should use thick poha to make the Maharashtrian version. In Uttar Pradesh, the thinner kind was more widely available, hence even thin beaten rice can be used to make this but one has to be very careful with the thinner ones as they tend to stick to each other. So, anybody trying this for the first time should go for the thicker poha.

The Recipe:

  • Beaten Rice/Poha/chooda : 2 cups
  • Milk 1 cup
  • oil 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/ Heeng powdered 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/ Jeera 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder 2 tsp.
  • Red Chili powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Rai / mustard seeds 1/2 tsp.
  • Ginger 2″ piece minced or grated
  • Green chilies 2 minced (can be adjusted as per taste)
  • Green peas 1-1/2 cups
  • salt to taste
  • Garam masala 2 tsps.
  • Fresh Cilantro leaves/ Dhaniya 1/2 cup chopped
  • Lime juice 2 tsps.

Soak the beaten rice in 3/4 cup of milk for 10 minutes. Keep fluffing every 2-3 minutes to avoid them sticking together.

Heat oil in a saucepan and add asafoetida, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When you hear the mustard seeds popping and cumin seeds sizzling, add half the ginger and the green chillies.

Saute briefly and then add the green peas.  Cover the pan and lower the heat. Add half the salt. Frozen peas are ideal as they tend to be really fresh. Contrary to popular belief, frozen peas are actually better than supermarket peas in the pod. If you grow your own or buy fresh from a farmer, its a different story. But, in general, peas tend to lose the fresh flavor quite quickly , the companies which freeze the peas, do it quite quickly to retain the flavor. Hence, the frozen peas are quite fresh, in general. So, stop feeling guilty when opening the freezer pack:).

When the peas have turned to a fresh green color, add the soaked beaten rice and sprinkle turmeric, red chili powder and rest of the salt on top. Mix well, with a light hand, making sure that not a lot of beaten rice is broken. If the mixture looks too dry, sprinkle some milk on it and cover again. Work on a low flame. In about 5 minutes, the tehri is ready.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and half the ginger that we saved. Sprinkle the garam masala on top. I like to cover the pan again for 5 minutes after putting the gas off for the flavors to mingle. The ginger added in the end and the cilantro adds a lot of flavor to the dish.

This is distinct from the regular poha we make cause 1) it is soaked in milk instead of water. 2) Traditionally it does not use onion or potato. 3) The main flavors are that of asafoetida and garam masala and a lot of peas are used. 4) no curry leaves are used.

Do try this version. Even though I love the quick regular poha, this is a delicious change and loved by all at home. When you would want to reheat (if there are any leftovers) use 2-3 tsps. of milk before heating so that it doesn’t taste dry.

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Enjoy!

I couldn’t miss the SWC- Uttar Pradesh, hence, here’s my entry on the final day. This is also my entry to WBB -Express Breakfasts……heading to Raaga in an express…………

Posted in -Beaten Rice, -Cilantro, -Green Beans, -Peas, Milk | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Baked Rice Wrapper Rolls with Peanut Wasabi Sauce

Posted by vivnidhi on June 24, 2008

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Baked Rice Wrapper Rolls with Peanut Wasabi Sauce

No, I have not told you the entire recipe in the title:). More to it;) , I am telling you…..you will have to read the whole post for the recipe. OK, on to the topic, fresh spring roll wrappers are widely available at Oriental stores. These are predominantly Vietnamese & Thai, I believe. These use the rice based wrapper (Banh Trang: Vietnamese) and it is served fresh and generally not fried. There is a tapioca variety as well and well! I ended up with one which had both rice and tapioca starch:). So these rice wrappers do not need a lot of cooking , just slip in hot water and they are ready. 2 good recipes I found for them are Vegetarian and with shrimp. BUT, in our house, the husband is not particularly fond of the fresh ones.

So, now I had rice wrappers AND Wasabi paste ( about to expire in August, cause I got it at Thanksgiving;) ) and I had to make something before all of this went waste…………I KNOW. Then Kay announced Think Spice, think Wasabi event, brainchild of Sunita. I knew I was going to make something sooner than later. My first stint with wasabi were the wasabi peas which I fell in love with. Then I first used them in these won tons…………of course mine were filled with Tofu and the Husband’s were imitation crabmeat.

I have not had the courage to make sushi yet……..looking forward to some great ideas at the Think spice event. So, to make full use of the stock in my pantry, I baked the rice wrapper rolls and made a sauce with wasabi.They turned out deliciously crunchy , heavenly with the peanut wasabi sauce.

The Recipe:

For the Rice Wrapper Rolls:

  • Rice wrappers 25 sheets
  • Nutrela granules 1 cup, soaked in salted water and drained
  • Garlic 2 cloves minced
  • Ginger 1″ piece minced
  • Green beans 1/2 cup french cut or julienned
  • Carrot 1 cut lengthwise matchsticks
  • Red bell pepper 1 julienned
  • Napa cabbage 1/4 cup sliced thin
  • Cilantro/ coriander leaves 1/4 cup
  • Oil 2 tsp.
  • Soya sauce 1 Tbsp.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar 1 Tbsp.
  • Black pepper powder 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste

For the Wasabi Peanut Sauce:

  • Garlic 2 cloves minced
  • Peanut butter 2 Tbsp.
  • Soya Sauce 3 Tbsp.
  • Sugar 1 tsp.
  • Wasabi 2 tsp.
  • Sambal Oelek/ red chili paste 1 tsp.
  • Water 2 Tbsp.

Since I made this recipe up, the vegetables can be varied as per one’s liking.  Heat the oil in a wok and add ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds and then add the carrot, green beans and bell pepper. Saute further for a couple of minutes and then add cabbage. Stir fry further for a minute and then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Preheat the oven to  400 degrees F.

Heat 2 cups of water in  pan and put off the heat. When the water temperature becomes tolerable, dip each rice wrapper in it , turn and dip the side you were holding and spread it on a plate.

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Then put  about 1 Tbsp of filling and fold and roll as shown below.

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Spray a little oil on aluminum foil and place the rolls on them. Spray some oil on the rolls as well and they all go in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes and then broil for another 2-3 minutes. When they are crisp all over , take them out of the oven.

Mix all the sauce ingredients and the peanut wasabi sauce is ready. Tastes great with the rolls. In fact, the sauce is so good, tastes great on plain rice noodles or even boiled eggs.

This recipe is on its way to Sangeeth for the eat healthy….. protein rich event as well. Rice vermicelli could also be used in  the rolls but I chose nutrela cause it’s full of protein and delicious too.

Posted in -Cabbage, -Carrot, -Cilantro, -Garlic, -Ginger, -Green Beans, -Red Bell Pepper, -Wasabi, Rice | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Peethi ki Paronthi (Lentil filled Flatbread)

Posted by vivnidhi on June 4, 2008

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Peethi ki Paronthi & Aam ka Achar (Mango Pickle)

Paronthi is the Parantha’s younger sister OR………. who knows………. maybe Parantha is the husband and Paronthi, the wife. Well, the relationship is quite hazy here. But, as the wise have said……….”Don’t go where you are not required to go” All I can tell you is that the Paronthi is smaller and thinner than the parantha, (may I add , a little more delicate there;) ).

Peethi is a filling made with Urad Daal (Black gram lentils). I have heard that there was a time when people in Northern India would only eat Pooris and Kachoris at every meal. For the longest time, my husband’s Grandmother ate Poori or Kachori, she was not a Roti, Phulka liking person. She was a fabulous cook and would work very very hard to cook good food. I have been fortunate enough to taste her handmade Mungodis which absolutely melted in one’s mouth when cooked. I am mentioning Kachori several times cause a very similar filling is used in traditional North Indian Kachori. But for the faint of heart like me, making a paronthi with peethi is good enough. It’s made very rarely at our place and it is such a treat, that we all end up eating way more than we should.

The Recipe: (For 18-20 paronthis)

For the Dough:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups water

For Filling (Peethi):

  • Urad daal/ split black lentils without skin 1 cup
  • Ginger 2″ piece chopped fine or grated
  • Oil 2 tsp.
  • Green chili 2 chopped fine
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • fennel seeds/saunf 1 Tbsp.
  • cumin seeds/jeera 2 tsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds/methi 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala 1 tsp.
  • coriander powder/dry cilantro powder/dhaniya 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1/2 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/Amchur 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt to taste

Make a dough with whole wheat flour and water. More about the dough can be found in my post here.

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In the plate (clockwise) green chili, red chili powder, fennel seeds,cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, Garam masala, coriander powder, asafoetida powder, dry mango powder, ginger minced and salt in center. Soaked and ground black gram also in picture.

To prepare the peethi for the filling, soak urad daal overnight or at least 4-6 hours. Grind it coarse in a grinder the next morning. In a wok or sauce pan (preferably non-stick), heat 2 tsp. oil and add the rest of ingredients except salt and dry mango powder. Add the ground urad daal and fry a little till it dries. Next add salt and dry mango powder. Mix well.

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Peethi is ready!

Make balls of the whole wheat dough of the size shown below.

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Whole wheat balls with dry flour for dusting

Flatten the dough balls with a rolling pin and fill the peethi as shown below.100_1640

Whole wheat dough flats and the filling

Pull the whole wheat edges and form a ball again. Dust a little flour and roll out the Paronthi. Heat a cast iron griddle. Oil the griddle a wee bit and then put the rolled out paronthi on the griddle. Make sure you put the paronthi only when the griddle is sizzling hot, that is you should be able to throw some drops of water and they should first sizzle and then evaporate. If they evaporate right away, the griddle is too hot. Turn the paronthi over when you start seeing tiny bubbles on the surface. Spread a little oil on the surface of the paronthi and apply a little pressure with a spatula to ensure uniform cooking. Turn it over once more and apply pressure gain. A well made paronthi will puff up on all sides.

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Peethi ki paronthi on the griddle

A paronthi well cooked should not have doughy edges and should be uniformly cooked. Peethi ki paronthi tastes fabulous with achar, dried potato curry or my all time favorite Masaledaar Aloo ki Sabji.

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Have a bite!!

Peethi ki Paronthi is off to Srivalli for the Roti Mela. Looking forward to a variegated collection of flatbreads there.

I was making paper fans for my son and he was scribbling on them. A few minutes later he comes to me & asks me to make a paper AC this time……….ha. I could only look at him in astonishment! Now, if we could all make paper AC’s , wouldn’t that solve India’s energy problems!  I asked my son to grow up and do something about alternative energy as I have little hope from myself. That certainly left him content with paper fans………..for now.

Posted in -Cumin seeds, -Fennel seeds, -Fenugreek seeds, -Ginger, -Urad daal/ black gram, -Whole wheat flour, Daal, Flours, Spices | Tagged: , | 15 Comments »

Here’s Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by vivnidhi on May 31, 2008

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This is a big favorite in  the house with “Indian Chinese” food. So, here’s a soup- Chinese but completely Desi. Credit for this recipe goes to Mrs. Minocha of Aurangabad, India who taught us to cook Indian Chinese food. A lot of my friends and I have learnt some good cooking from her.

The Recipe:

  • Green Bell Pepper 1 chopped coarse
  • Cabbage 1/2 cup chopped thin
  • carrots 2 cut into cubes
  • Green Beans chopped into 2 ” lengths 1/2 cup
  • cauliflower 2 flowerets broken into smaller pieces
  • garlic 6-8 cloves minced
  • Soya Sauce 4 Tbsp.
  • Vinegar 1 Tbsp.
  • sugar 1 tsp.
  • Black pepper powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Cornstarch 3 Tbsp.
  • Vegetable Oil 1 tsp.
  • Spring onions 1 bunch chopped fine
  • Boiled egg whites 2 chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste

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Getting ready for the soup

Heat the oil and fry garlic for a minute.

Add cauliflower, french beans and carrots. Fry a little more till they soften a wee bit.

Add red chili powder and 6 cups of water. Let the water come to a boil and then add soya sauce, sugar, vinegar, bell peppers and cabbage. Boil the soup for a couple of minutes more.

Lastly add spring onion and black pepper powder. Make a paste of cornstarch in cold water and and add to the soup. Taste for salt and vinegar. Add more if desired and serve hot.

Bow when you are praised;)

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The soup’s hot!!

I would like to send this as an entry to Eat Healthy – Fiber Rich, an event hosted by Sangeeth.

And yes, this is also my entry to Fortune Cooking Contest hosted by Nithu & Shriya. It is dedicated to my mother whose sun sign is cancer, hence she qualifies with the cauliflower entry and she loves the soup too.

Now, are there any other events missing my entries??

Posted in -Cabbage, -Carrot, -Cauliflower, -Garlic, -Green Beans, -Green Bell Pepper, -Spring Onions, -Tofu, Eggs | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Indian Chinese Menu for the JIHVA

Posted by vivnidhi on May 31, 2008

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Bell Peppers, Tofu and a budding cook’s hand

In everyday Hindi, Jihva means tongue. This week, my jihva has been devoid of taste, thanks to a lingering cold. So, the jihva needed something really spicy to perk it up. And, this month’s VOW-JFI hosted by Pooja of The Creative Ideas calls for bell peppers. This is my entry for the two year completion of Jihva started by Indira of Mahanandi.

Excuse for me to cook up something Chinese (only in the US, I realized that there is an authentic Chinese also;) , otherwise our Desi Chinese was Chinese food to me:) ) I can’t think of “Indian Chinese” food without capsicums (bell peppers, got carried away to India again) So, tonight’s menu is Hot and sour soup, Chilli Tofu Fry and Rice!

Here’s Chili Tofu Fry for you. Well, I know you sort of make it too, but try this too……….oh please try it. Its good you know, its been experimented upon, its the best……….it is ………..try it please.

now what do you want me to beg…………

OK, people , try it if you feel like:)

The Recipe:

  • Tofu Extra Firm 3 slabs chopped in cubes
  • Green Bell Peppers 2 chopped lengthwise thin
  • Garlic 6 cloves minced
  • Spring Onions 4 chopped fine
  • Vegetable Oil 1 tsp.
  • Soya Sauce 4 Tbsp.
  • Black Pepper Powder 1/2 tsp.
  • sugar 1 Tbsp.
  • Cornstarch 1 Tbsp.

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All chopped up

Place the tofu pieces on a greased baking sheet and spray some on the tofu as well. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Turn over and bake for 10 minutes more.

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Baked Tofu

Spread the julienned bell pepper on the baking tray and spray some oil on it too. Bake at 400 degrees F till they are crisp on the sides.

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Crispy bell pepper

Heat the oil and fry garlic till it turns light brown. I had to run around my son as he ran away with the spoon. So, mine were dark brown but that was fine too:)

Add 1-1/2 cups of water and increase the heat to high. Once the water starts boiling add soya sauce, sugar and tofu pieces. Next add bell peppers, spring onions and black pepper powder.

Make a solution of cold water and cornstarch.  Add to the tofu chilli fry and its ready! Best served immediately. OR the sauce can be made ready and then add the tofu and bell pepper and heat just before serving.

Tastes great with rice , though my son ate it with roti as his mother refused to make any other curry. The Husband was pleased, now what else do I want in life, huh?

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Tofu Chilli Fry is ready….now, will you try it…….please….

Posted in -Garlic, -Green Bell Pepper, -Spring Onions, -Tofu | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Tofu, Chhole Aloo aur Dhaniya ki Dandiyan (Tofu, Chickpeas, potato and Cilantro stems)

Posted by vivnidhi on May 28, 2008

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Tofu, Chhole Aloo garnished with onions

There are numerous things that I want to post about, but boy! have I been busy!! Yes, my mother left for India a few days back and now its only me with two young kids……………:(. How do people manage twins…………I’d go nuts. On the positive side, my older son does manage to entertain my little one so that I can finish the daily chores. But that’s about it (even that is an achievement some days). One day as I was busy with my younger one, the son wanted me to do something else as well……..and I just couldn’t help saying ” I have only two hands”. Just then, the son remembered of Brahmaji (an Indian deity having 4 arms and 4 heads) His reply was ” You should be like Brahma, then you would have four hands” Now do you think , I could hide my smile.

Fresh Cilantro (Coriander leaves) are the best and most essential garnish in North Indian cuisine. The fresh leaves just really enhance the flavor in spicy curries. In order to keep these leaves fresher longer, I like to remove the leaves from the stems and save them either in a paper bag or the leftover boxes of berries which also have holes to breathe. So, that’s a reuse tip. Honest confession is that my kitchen pantry is full of plastic boxes that came with something else and are saved up to keep something else. I just can’t throw them in trash without thinking of me adding further plastic garbage.I know one day all this will be thrown but at least after being  reused several times. Now, a PHD student’s wife also saves money on containers this way too;).

So, I got 4 bunches of cilantro and saved the leaves. I was left with really tender cilantro stems. Mom suggested I use them and when they were added to the curry, they just made the curry taste so very delicious, I could lick the bowl.

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Fresh Cilantro stems and soaked and boiled chickpeas

Its quite a medley but delicious combination.

The Recipe:

  • 2 slabs extra firm tofu cut into cubes
  • 1 cup soaked and boiled chickpeas
  • 1 small potato cut into cubes
  • 2 onions chopped very fine
  • 1 tomato chopped fine
  • 1 tomato cut into cubes
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2″ piece of ginger minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder (Haldi)
  • 2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Coriander powder (Dhaniya)
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1-1/2 bunches cilantro stems chopped fine

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Star of the show: finely chopped cilantro stems

Heat oil in a saucepan and add cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Fry finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic well till they change color to brown.

Add finely chopped tomatoes till they have almost melted in the onions.

Add the yogurt, mix well and fry for 2 more minutes stirring continuously.

Next add the potato, tomato, tofu ,chickpeas and salt. Add 1/2 a cup of water and cover.

When the vegetables have softened enough, check for gravy, add more water if need be.Add Garam masala and cilantro stems.Cover for 5 more minutes till the stems have mixed well in the gravy. This curry is very fragrant on its own. Even the kitchen starts smelling wonderful. Tastes great with paranthas or rice.

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Tofu Aloo Chhole with paranthas and Coleslaw

I am sending this recipe to Wandering Chopsticks, guest host of Weekend Herb Blogging which is a creation of Kalyn.

Edit: August 8’08 : I mention in my post that its a good idea to keep the cilantro leaves in a plastic box which has holes to let the leaves breathe. This is a great idea if one has a lot of cilantro………like I did, 4 bunches. Soon, the leaves in the box will dry out and they can be used later. Keeping them in the box saves them from rotting. If there is a very small quantity of cilantro like a bunch which you know will be used in a week or so, it is best to keep the cilantro leaves in a brown paper bag. It will help the leaves from drying out. Cilantro stems are best in the crisper in a plastic bag.

Posted in -Cilantro, -Garbanzo Beans, -Potatoes, -Tofu, Dried Beans, Herbs | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Dressing up the Dulha……….Bhara hua Daal ka Dulha Series……….Round 2

Posted by vivnidhi on May 9, 2008

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Peethi Bhara Daal Ka Dulha

Ok, so we are onto filling no. 2 for our daal ka dulha. Peethi bhara daal ka dulha means ground black gram (peethi) filled whole wheat pastas. I could have easily listed the types of fillings for daal ka dulha but I wanted to chronicle the procedure as well. Please refer to my earlier posts Daal Ka Dulha and Dressing up  the Dulha………… if I seem to be talking Greek (or khadi boli (that’s village Hindi) for that matter;))

Peethi means soaked and ground Urad daal/Black gram. This dish is like pasta with spicy lentil filling in lentil soup. Sounds strange but tastes quite good;).

The Recipe:

Initial tempering:

  • Oil 1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds/Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • turmeric powder/Haldi 1 tsp.

For Daal:

  • Toor Daal/Arhar daal/split yellow pigeon peas 2 cups
  • Water 6 cups
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • salt to taste

For Dulha:(This is the ratio for making roti dough.About 1/10th is used to make the dulhas in the daal given)

  • Whole wheat flour 4 cups
  • Water 1 3/4 cups
  • Salt (optional)

For Filling:

  • Urad daal/ split black lentils without skin 1/4 cup
  • Ginger 1″ piece chopped fine or grated
  • Oil 2 tsp.
  • Green chili 1 chopped fine
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • fennel seeds/saunf 2 tsp.
  • cumin seeds/jeera 2 tsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds/methi 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala 1 tsp.
  • coriander powder/dry cilantro powder/dhaniya 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1/2 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/Amchur 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt to taste

Final tempering:

  • Oil (preferably ghee) 2 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp .
  • Red chilli powder 2 tsp.

We begin as usual by making the daal or lentil soup in a pressure cooker. Heat oil and add the initial tempering. Once the cumin seeds are crackling, add the ingredients listed under daal and close the pressure cooker. Further details on making the daal can be found in my post Everyday daal.

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In the plate (clockwise) green chili, red chili powder, fennel seeds,cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, Garam masala, coriander powder, asafoetida powder, dry mango powder, ginger minced and salt in center. Soaked and ground black gram also in picture.

The most important part is our Dulha (filled pasta). Dulhas can be prepared while the daal is cooking. To prepare the peethi for the filling, soak urad daal overnight or at least 4-6 hours. Grind it well in a grinder the next morning. In a wok or sauce pan (preferably non-stick), heat 2 tsp. oil and add the rest of ingredients except salt and dry mango powder. Add the ground urad daal and fry a little till it dries. Next add salt and dry mango powder. Mix well.

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Fried urad daal along with spices ………peethi is ready:)

Take a small ball from  the whole wheat dough. Make a thin flat round of the ball. A drop of oil can be spread on the fingers and the dough while making the flat. Keep the filling (peethi) in the flat and close it. Use the palm of the hand to flatten the filled round of the dough. Make as many dulhas as required.

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Peethi filling and wheat dough flats

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Flattened uncooked dulhas

Heat the daal if made earlier. Make sure that the daal is hot when the dulhas are added to it in the pressure cooker. Give two more whistles to the cooker or let it simmer for at least half an hour if one is not using a pressure cooker. Make the final tempering in a separate pan. When the cumin seeds start crackling, add it to the daal.

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Daal ka dulha and final tempering (chhaunka in Hindi)

Peethi (ground urad daal) filled daal ka dulha is ready to be served. It does not soften up as much as plain daal ka dulha or the potato filled one but this is really delicious too. It can be eaten alone or with roti and some vegetables also.

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Here’s the authentic rustic peethi bhara daal ka dulha

Posted in -Arhar (Toor) Dal, -Ginger, -Urad daal/ black gram, -Whole wheat flour, Daal, Spices | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Dressing up the Dulha……….Bhara hua Daal ka Dulha Series…….Round 1:

Posted by vivnidhi on May 4, 2008

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Aloo Bhara Daal Ka Dulha

Our dulha is coming of age in my house (the daal ka dulha is being made so often). So, we thought we start dressing it up in various forms we know of and then decide the winning costume for our dear dulha:). Credit goes to my mother for all these recipes.

The first filling is of the evergreen potato. This dish is like spicy pierogies in lentil soup. This truly is a delicious combination. Our dear rustic dulha too can stand among the finest raviolis and pastas of the world when dressed up;)

The Recipe:

Initial tempering:

  • Oil 1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds/Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • turmeric powder/Haldi 1 tsp.

For Daal:

  • Toor Daal/Arhar daal/split yellow pigeon peas 2 cups
  • Water 6 cups
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • salt to taste

For Dulha:(This is the ratio for making roti dough.About 1/10th is used to make the dulhas in the daal given)

  • Whole wheat flour 4 cups
  • Water 1 3/4 cups
  • Salt (optional)

For Filling:

  • Potatoes 2 boiled and mashed
  • Ginger 1″ piece chopped fine or grated
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves a handful chopped fine
  • Green chili 1 chopped fine
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • Garam masala 1 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/Amchur 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Onion 1/2 finely chopped (optional)
  • Garlic 1 clove finely chopped (optional)

Final tempering:

  • Oil (preferably ghee) 2 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp .
  • Red chilli powder 2 tsp.

We begin as usual by making the daal or lentil soup in a pressure cooker. Heat oil and add the initial tempering. Once the cumin seeds are crackling, add the ingredients listed under daal and close the pressure cooker. Further details on making the daal can be found in my post Everyday daal.

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Filling Ingredients clockwise……potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, asafoetida, red chili powder,dry mango powder, Garam masala, green chilies and salt………missing is cilantro leaves…

The most important part is our Dulha. Dulhas can be prepared while the daal is cooking. To prepare the potato for the filling, I like to pierce the potato with a fork, wet the potato well and bake it in the microwave.Boiling the potatoes in water causes them to get watery at times. Mix all the ingredients listed under filling and make small balls of the filling. Onions and garlic are optional, I like them, but the original recipe as made by our elders did not have onions or garlic. Make a thin flat round of the wheat dough. A drop of oil can be spread on the fingers and the dough while making the flat. Keep the filling in the flat and close it. Use the palm of the hand to flatten the filled round of the dough. Make as many dulhas as required.

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Potato filling and wheat dough balls

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Flattened uncooked dulhas

Heat the daal if made earlier. Make sure that the daal is hot when the dulhas are added to it in the pressure cooker. Give two more whistles to the cooker or let it simmer for at least half an hour if one is not using a pressure cooker. Make the final tempering in a separate pan. When the cumin seeds start crackling, add it to the daal. Aloo (potato) bhara daal ka dulha is ready to be served. It can be eaten alone or with roti and some vegetables also.

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So, how does the bhara hua daal ka dulha look?

Posted in -Arhar (Toor) Dal, -Garlic, -Ginger, -Onion, -Potatoes, -Whole wheat flour, Daal, Flours, Spices | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Masala Coffee Cake

Posted by vivnidhi on April 25, 2008

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Masala Coffee Cake

Flour, Eggs, Sugar and Spice……….a tasty cake that’s low on cholesterol too………..isn’t that nice.

Ok, lame attempt at rhyming. I baked a cake that can be called as my recipe for the first time. I have baked several cakes following other recipes ( and following them to a ‘T’) but this time, I tried to bake a cake as I please……………and succeeded:).   Hurray  !! Ok, let me not brag too much………..I admit the idea was my Mom’s but …………..Mummy had baked a cake with strong clove flavor which was in turn inspired by masala coffee. To me, Mummy’s masala coffee was a revelation too :))

I made a smaller cake (I was experimenting;), not sure, it would turn out this good! )

The recipe: Ideal for 9″ round pan or even a 9″x 5″ loaf pan

  • cloves ground 1 Tbsp/ 10 cloves of cloves ground fine
  • nutmeg  ground 1/2 Tbsp.
  • ginger ground 1 tsp./fresh grated ginger 1/2 tsp.
  • instant coffee 2 Tbsp.
  • sugar 6 Tbsp.
  • milk 1 Tbsp.
  • water 1 Tbsp.
  • egg whites 4
  • margarine/ butter 1/3 cup
  • sugar 2/3 cup
  • vanilla extract 1/2 tsp.
  • all purpose flour 2/3 cup
  • whole wheat flour 1/3 cup
  • baking powder 1 Tbsp.
  • baking soda 1/2 tsp.
  • cashews, raisins and chocolate chips for garnish

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Instant coffee, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves ready to be ground in my shining mortar and pestle

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the pan by greasing the pan and coating it with flour.

Mix the cloves, nutmeg and ginger with water and heat in the microwave. Add milk, sugar and coffee to the hot spices. I whipped the coffee really well to make it quite foamy. It changed its color from very dark brown to very pale brown. I even earned myself a blister in trying too hard:).

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Spice mix with water and coffee

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Coffee well beaten up!!

Beat the egg whites till soft peaks form. Set it aside. Beat margarine and sugar well. Add vanilla extract and beat again. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and baking soda. To the flour mixture, add the beaten margarine, sugar mix. Next, fold in the egg whites and the beaten coffee. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.One could add the dry fruits in this batter as well, but I added the garnish after the cake was kept in the oven for 20 minutes.

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Here’s my cake batter………..

And, voila……….spicy masala coffee cake is ready!!

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…………And here’s my delicious masala coffee cake……….Enjoy!!

This is my entry to Sunita’s Think spice…Think cloves event hosted by  Canela & Comino ……….author of wonderful Peruvian food blog.

Posted in -All Purpose flour, -Cashews, -cloves, -Ginger, -Nutmeg, -Raisins, -Whole wheat flour, Chocolate, Coffee, Eggs, Flours, Nuts, Spices, Sweets | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Rainy Day Pyaaz ki Sabji……for Jihva for Ingredients……Onions

Posted by vivnidhi on February 1, 2008

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Finally made it to writing another post. Just in time for Jihva for Ingredients hosted by radhiskitchen AND talking about rainy days in the middle of winter!

Goes way back to my childhood days when frozen vegetables were completely unheard of. Buying fresh vegetables from a sabjiwala/sabjiwali was the norm in India. Those days a household could be out of vegetables after a heavy rain or just because all the sabjiwala gang was out watching an Amitabh Bachchan  movie the previous night. That was indeed a rainy day!!

Ok, so no fresh vegetables at home, so? Mom had to think of something quick. I distinctly remember this happening to my mother and she prepared a delightful dry sabji from just small onions. This is a quick delicious recipe and I am so glad that I could reproduce it as my mother had made. My parents have tried my version here and since they found it good too, I am quite confident that it will be liked by people who try this one with such few ingredients.

The Recipe: (For 3 people, 1 serving)

  • Oil 2 tsp.
  • Shallots/small onions are preferable  10-12 peeled and halved
  • Ginger 1″ piece minced or grated
  • Tomato 1/2 chopped fine or 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
  • Yogurt 1 Tbsp.
  • Turmeric 2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1 tsp.
  • Coriander( Dhaniya) powder 1 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala 2 tsp.
  • Amchur( Dry Mango)  Powder 1 tsp.
  • salt  to taste

The list looks big but this one is really quick.

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Shallots

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Shallots all cleaned up and ready to be dressed with ginger and masalas

Heat the oil in a wok or pan.  Add the shallots and saute them on medium heat till they start to change color to light pink.  Take the shallots out of the pan. Add all the other ingredients other than the amchur powder and fry them in  the residual oil of the pan. When the masalas start to dry a little, add the shallots. Reduce the flame to low medium and cover the pan.  Add a Tbsp. of water if the sabji seems too dry. When the shallots have become tender, add amchur powder. The sabji is ready!

This is really a delightful, easy and spicy curry. It requires a curry with gravy or daal to accompany it. Tastes great with Paranthas, rotis or rice.

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Delicious Lunch: Rotis, Pyaaz ki sabji and Daal

Mentioned in IndiWo which is a highly addicting e-magazine.

Posted in -Ginger, -Onion, Shallots | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Quick Thai Yellow curry

Posted by vivnidhi on January 9, 2008

My last entry for food during pregnancy hosted by simpeindianfood. I think the readers would just get tired. But if there are any pregnant women reading this………please keep an eye on this blog cause most of the stuff I write here is going to be food for pregnant women. I am in my last trimester and soon there will be common and not so common recipes eaten postpartum:).

I love Thai food and the curries come out as delicious as the restaurant even at home. The secret ingredient is the readymade curry pastes I get from my Chinese or Oriental stores. Readymade pastes are extremely convenient as one does have to worry about having galangal and kaafir lime leaves etc. at home all the time and one one can churn out delicious curries when one desires. It is also a delicious way of incorporating tofu in the diet. Since I am a vegetarian I am always looking ways to eat tofu and eggs these days.

Yellow curry is the least favorite of mine but a big fav with hubby dear(its closest in taste to Indian curries, according to him) . And since, yellow curry paste was the only one I had on hand yesterday night……..we had yellow curry and rice for dinner.

The Recipe:

  • Oil 1 tsp.
  • Yellow curry paste 1 Tbsp.
  • Soya sauce 1 Tbsp.
  • Coconut milk 1/2 cup if using full fat or 3/4 cup if using lite
  • Potato 1 chopped
  • Shallots 2 (Red onion can be substituted) chopped coarse and big
  • Tofu Extra firm 2 slabs cut in blocks
  • Fresh basil 1 Tbsp.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the curry paste lightly. Add soya sauce and coconut milk. Add the potato, shallots and tofu and cover the wok. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer. The curry is done when the potatoes have softened (in about 10 -15 min’s). One can add vegetables of choice in this curry though we like it plain with potato and onions. Check the salt in the curry, if desired, add more soya sauce at this stage. Add fresh basil if you have them on hand. Sometimes, I even like a tsp. of lime juice in the curry but that’s completely on the kind of taste a person has. Quick spicy yellow curry is ready! Goes best with jasmine rice although nothing beats steaming basmati rice in my house:).

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Yellow Curry, Rice and Sambal Oelek………spicy dinner in minutes:)

Posted in -Onion, -Potatoes, -Tofu, Thai | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Moong Ki Daal

Posted by vivnidhi on January 9, 2008

Another addition to my staple meals. Washed Moong ki daal or Split green gram without skin was always sick peoples food for me as I was growing up. I wanted arhar/toor/pigeon pea lentils on my plate every afternoon. How boring can that be. Ah, but my Mother would make all varieties of lentils nevertheless and I had to eat or go hungry. Wonder when but I really started liking her version of moong daal by the time I was a teenager.

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Moong daal (washed), tomato and Coriander leaves

Very simple to make. This is my second entry to food during pregnancy hosted by simpeindianfood. Just hearsay maybe but after my son was born, I had eaten a lot of moong dal , just like soup to aid lactation. More than anything, it would help fill me up with something nutritious as I would be always hungry those days:).

The recipe:

  • Moong Daal 1 cup
  • Oil 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/ Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric/Haldi 1/2 tsp.
  • Tomato 1 big chopped small
  • water 3 cups
  • Salt to taste

Tempering:

  • Asafoetida 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 2 tsp.
  • Chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Oil/Ghee 2 tsp.

Garnish:

  • Cilantro/Coriander/Dhaniya leaves 1/2 a bunch chopped fine

I always like to temper my daals before I put the daal in the pan. So first heat the 1/2  tsp. oil  in a pan and add cumin seeds and turmeric. Once they start to to brown a little, add the moong daal and 3 cups of water. Add the tomato and salt. Now cook the daal without covering for 30-40 min’s on medium flame. Keep stirring in between to avoid the daal from settling at the bottom and getting burnt. The idea is not to mush the daal too much and that is why its not covered. Daal when ready, is tender but not mashed and consistency is thin. In case the daal thickens, please add some water. This moong ki daal tastes great when it is of watery consistency.

The main thing is the final tempering. Heat oil or ghee (ah! if you can indulge;) ) and add 2 tsp. cumin seeds, chilli powder and asafoetida. Add it to the hot daal and cover the daal for a couple of minutes so that the vapors stay in the daal. Add coriander leaves and enjoy! Cilantro adds a lot of flavor to this daal.

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Moong ki Daal

Very simple to make but tastes really good. Moong ki daal goes best with hot fresh rotis and also with rice.

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Moong ki daal, mixed vegetables and roti……tasty, simple meal

This is the only way I enjoyed eating Moong ki daal until I came across Indira’s beerakayapesara-pappu-kootu. This is a very different taste of moong daal but delicious. So, go ahead and enjoy moong ki daal.

Posted in -Moong Daal, -Tomato, The staple | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

New Year Shots and Rassedaar Lauki

Posted by vivnidhi on January 1, 2008

Its difficult to live in Michigan and not fall in love with nature. When we moved from the bay area in California to Michigan , it was scary. Most other students who were then leaving this beautiful University town would say that they are glad to leave the snow behind as they had grown tired of it. But three winters here and I still look forward to the ground turning pure white…….as if defining the color white for me. The trees still, frozen, laden with white. Let me not start poetry and prose here……..but its difficult you see……..

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A lot of people can complain that so much snow isn’t really conducive to driving around and partying all night. But, we enjoyed a fantastic home made 6 course meal, good music and just being us in this lovely weather…..yay:)!!

Anyway…why am I digressing…………mine is a food blog! So, yesterday’s efforts at cooking left me a little exhausted today. Well! third trimester of pregnancy is certainly slowing me down a little now. So, this morning, I decided to indulge in easy, quick, pure comfort food for me………Rassedaar Lauki. The humble Opu (as called here in the USA) or bottle gourd does not get its due most often. We usually don’t make it for company……unless we make koftas out it and dress it in so much masala that lauki/ghiya gets lost somewhere. I have an unusual memory of Lauki, different from most people…….I think. My father has always been careful about what he ate and so rassedaar lauki would be made at least 2 times a week in my house. My mother would also find it very easy to cook when she would return from work. I would really get tired of eating it. Why is it that masala, onion, garlic is used so sparingly in my house……why is it like a Sunday treat. Today, I am grateful to my parents for helping me eat right. Now, I crave the same simple food after every heavy meal.

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The humble Lauki/ Opu/Bottle Gourd

This is my first entry to food-during-pregnancy-event hosted by simpleindianfood. I think its quite an interesting concept……….specially for me, right. Everything I make should be included……..right:)) ? Bottle gourd is also good for pregnant women because of its high water and fiber content. It also helps in relieving constipation.

The Recipe:

  • Lauki/Bottle gourd/Opu 1 medium
  • Tomatoes 2 medium
  • Ginger root  1/2 tsp. minced (optional)
  • Oil 1/4 tsp.
  • Asafetida/Heeng 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp.
  • red chilli powder 1/4 tsp.
  • salt to taste.
  • Coriander/Cilantro leaves for garnish 1/2 bunch

Oh! What would I do without a pressure cooker? Ok, I can’t do much, I accept. This can be made in a wok/kadhai also but it would take a little longer to cook. In case, you have to use the wok, add tomatoes after the bottle gourd has softened.

Chop the opu and tomatoes. Heat the pressure cooker and add the oil to it. Add heeng, jeera, turmeric, red chilli powder and ginger. Let the cumin seeds pop a little and then add the chopped vegetables. Add salt to taste and two cups of water. Close the pressure cooker and let it work while you catch up on another food blog:). After two whistles, the bottle gourd is ready. Let the pressure cooker cool and then garnish the bottle gourd with lots of chopped cilantro leaves. You could adjust the amount of liquid in this stew to your liking but traditionally it has a fair amount of rassa (liquid). Its this easy to make it but the taste is really delicious. Traditionally, it goes best with hot paranthas but I like it with roti, rice or even plain.

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Rassedaar Lauki

Edit July 15 2008:
I tried but I could not get bottle gourd this month. I am submitting this posted recipe to Vegetable of the week-Bottle Gourd hosted by Pooja of My Creative Ideas. Thanks for the opportunity to resubmit Pooja.

Posted in -bottle gourd/Opu, -Tomato, Posted again, The staple | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Corn Flakes Bhelpuri

Posted by vivnidhi on December 24, 2007

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I am almost always late to enter the kitchen on Sunday mornings. And , I also like breakfast to be something else but whole wheat slices, sprouts and coffee. It was easier for my Mom , I think, our Sunday breakfasts were always great………samosas, kachoris, fresh mathris……….I can’t keep frying something great each weekend:(.

So, this Sunday morning I wondered what to make and saw Cornflakes. Had no time to waste, chopped a lot of stuff, mixed with masalas, in went chutneys and lo……..cornflakes bhelpuri was ready! Added a piping hot cuppa coffee, and there couldn’t have been a better breakfast on this cold snowy morning.

The Recipe:

  • Cornflakes 2 cups
  • Puffed rice 1 cup
  • Onion 1
  • Tomato 1/2 (as I just had half a tomato left, you could add more,if you want)
  • Tomatillos 2
  • Cucumber 1/2 (of a large one )
  • Cilantro/ Coriander leaves 1/2 cup
  • Potato 1 (scrubbed well & boiled)
  • Peanuts 3/4 cup
  • Salt 2 tsp.
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • Chaat Masala 1 Tbsp.
  • Green Chutney (cilantro/mint/tomatillo……..any would do as long as its tart and fiery) 2 Tbsp.
  • Sweet Tamarind chutney (sonth in Hindi) 2 Tbsp. (These are available readymade in Indian stores or can  be made as I explain in the note and kept for months in the refrigerator.)

Again the list is long here, but the recipe is really versatile. One can adjust as per what one has on hand. The real quick method of making is here:

1. First fork a well scrubbed potato, wet it well or place it in a microwave container with 2 Tbsp. of water and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Microwave times may vary but this is real quick.

2. Meanwhile chop fine all the rest of the veges…..tomato, tomatillo, cucumber, cilantro. Take the potato out and chop it as well. Add to a large container cause these tend to take more space.

3. Peanuts are roasted in the microwave as well. Keep microwaving for a minute at a time and checking continuously till you get them brown per your preference.

4. Puffed rice also goes in the microwave for a minute or more if you need but a minute at a time is the best idea. Its good to have it spread in a plate where you can check it easier. When it gets really crisp, its ready.

5. Let the puffed rice cool for a minute and then add it to the chopped vegetables. Add salt, red chili powder, chaat masala, green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney to the vegetables.  Add the cornflakes and peanuts. Mix really well. Check salt and spice level and adjust according to your taste. You may add lime juice, I didn’t find the need.

And you are ready to serve!! Its difficult for anyone to NOT like this sweet and spicy chaat.

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Note: Sweet Tamarind Chutney/ Imli ki meethi Chutney/ Sonth is quite easy to make with tamarind concentrates available in Indian grocery stores in the U.S.

Mix 4 Tbsp. tamarind concentrate with with about 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup sugar to it. Mix it well and check if the sugar level is as desired. It actually is quite sweet in taste. It should also be quite thick like honey. Heat a Tbsp. of oil and add 1/4 tsp. asafetida, 1 tsp. red chili powder and 2 Tbsp. cumin powder. You could also add a handful of golden raisins. Put it in a bottle and keeps well in the refrigerator for months. If using fresh, you could also add finely chopped banana to it but do not add it and refrigerate. Lip smacking meethi chutney is ready which can be used on almost all kinds of chaat.

Posted in -Cucumber, -Green Chutney, -Onion, -Peanuts, -Potatoes, -Puffed Rice, -Sweet Tamarind Chutney, -Tomatillo, -Tomato, Corn Flakes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »