Monday, November 29, 2010

Ajwaini Aloo Gobi with Mustard flavor...Simplicity at its best!!

I can confidently say that this is the
BEST Gobi Sabzi I have ever had as it is loaded with simple but amazing burst of flavors.
Now let me tell you where I got the recipe from,during one of my usual morning walks with a neighbor,I told her that I m really bored of eating the same old regular gobi sabzi (as I was actually planning to make it for lunch)and asked her if she has anything interesting recipe with it.I was sure that she would be certainly having an interesting recipe with it as I had tasted her food before and loved it very much(did I say that,that lady is from punjab? and do I need to say anything about the punjabi's love for food?).She happily shared me this recipe and also mentioned the key points of the recipe which I found really interesting like "burning the mustard oil ","ajwain flavor","no onion,no garlic,no tomato","flavorful crispy gobi",'lots of coriander".Those were the words which were actually flickering in my mind after I finished my walk and decided to make it immediately following her words and recipe exactly.I must admit that this is the
best Gobi Sabzi I have ever had as it is loaded with simple but amazing burst of flavors.You might be wondering why I am boasting about such a simple recipe,you need to try this recipe to believe my words.Sometimes the simple sabzi's turn out better and tastier than a rich gravy based one's.I highly recommend you to try this once to believe my words.Now lemme stop my bla bla.. and share you the recipe which I was boasting upto now.

1 small phool gobi/cauliflower,cut into small florets
2 medium potatoes,peeled and sliced/diced to the size of gobi florets
1" ginger,finely chopped or grated
4 green chillies,finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp ajwain(compulsory)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard oil(compulsory)

  • Cut gobi and potato into equal size pieces.
  • Par boil potato cubes in salted water until half cooked.Remove them and keep aside.Blanch the gobi florets in the same water and keep it separately.I even added a pinch of turmeric powder in the water while boiling the vegetables.
  • Heat mustard oil in a thick narrow bottomed kadai until it really reaches the SMOKING point and you can see fumes coming out,the oil should literally burn to get the amazing and special flavor to this curry.This is the most important step while making this curry.
  • From now the real action begins you should be really quick in adding the ingredients to the hot oil.Keep the flame in medium now.
  • Add turmeric to the burning oil and immediately add ajwain and crackle it.Add finely chopped and grated ginger to it and quickly saute it.Do not burn any of the spices.
  • Add finely chopped green chillies and again saute for a minute.
  • Add the par boiled potatoes and fry them until you see the brown specs appear on them.You can do this part over the high flame.
  • Now add the cauliflower florets and continue frying it on medium to high flame until you see the brown specs appear on all the vegetables and are cooked and yet crispy.
  • Now add garam masala and chopped coriander to it and mix well.Mix in the lemon juice and remove it from stove.
Serve it hot and fresh to enjoy the flavors and the crispiness of the vegetables in it with roti/Naan/Kulcha/Rice.

You can make it only with cauliflower avoiding potatoes in the recipe.Even that turns too good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Whole Wheat Garlic and Herb Rolls...healthier version!!

Baking has become my latest passion and I made it a point to bake something at least once a week as both of us thoroughly enjoy freshly baked home breads.You all would have seen these garlic rolls in our friends' blogs and one among them is suhaina's space and successfully attempted by many others(I dont remember their spaces now).I have made these rolls for a couple of times following her recipe and was happy with the flavor and taste of them.This time I tried by substituting some portion of white flour with wheat flour(adapted this idea from this post of sharmis' space) and added extra herbs to the spread to make it extra more flavorful.I was really happy with the outcome of those rolls and found not much of difference in taste in spite of the addition of wheat flour.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup water
1 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil(EVOO)

for Extra touch:

1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp softened butter

for Garlic Spread filling:
2 tbsp softened butter(I used 1 tbsp butter + 1tbsp EVOO)
7-8 garlic cloves,finely chopped and crushed
2 green chilies,finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 tsp mixed Italian herbs

1 tsp red chili flakes

  • Microwave water for 30 seconds until it is luke warm to touch.Pour this into a wide bottomed bowl.
  • Dissolve in the sugar and yeast in it and mix thoroughly until dissolved.Leave this aside for 15-20 mins until the yeast mixture becomes frothy.This is the important step in proceeding further to the recipe.If the yeast does not proof throw it and start the process again from the scratch.
  • Stir in the olive oil and salt to the frothy yeast mixture and slowly add a cup of wheat flour and all purpose flour into it and mix well,I used a wire whisk for this purpose and mix until you get a lump of smooth dough.
  • Now put some flour on the broad white board or feel free to use the well cleaned and wiped kitchen platform(like I did) and take the lump in both hands and knead the bread towards you.
  • Follow the same method and knead it properly for 10 mins roughly until you get a non-sticky but still smooth dough.Add flour in between if required when the dough is sticky.Even you knead this for less time also it will still yield nice n fluffy buns.
  • Now grease your hands and a empty big bowl with oil and coat the dough with oil slightly and place it in the greased bowl.Cover with a clean kitchen towel and keep it in warm place until the dough doubles almost.It takes almost one to one-and-half hours depending on the climatic conditions.I preheated my microwave for 20 seconds and kept the bowl in it.
  • Cover this place of platform or the board with some cloth or paper as we need to use this place again for kneading.
  • After the first rise the dough would have doubled in size,take a knife and cut into two halves(divide one into slightly bigger one).
  • Now again knead the dough gently for 7-8 mins,this process is important as it assures of removing air bubbles formed in the dough.Repeat the process with the other portion as well.
  • Flatten one portion with a rolling pin to form a square of approx 1/2"thickness(say 8 or 9 inch square) and spread the garlic spread mixture in the center and roll it carefully to form a spiral.Cut into 4 portions to get 4 spirals.Repeat the process with the other portion to get 5 spirals.While rolling the dough with a rolling pin,if your dough is sticking to the rolling pin,feel free to smear the rolling pin and the dough with extra oil and try rolling.Even if you cannot acquire square shape it is fine,try making a round and apply the mixture and cut into lengthy strips and roll them.
  • Place the spirals in the greased square or round pan in the required order with the cut side up.
  • Keep them again in the warm place for 45 mins - 1 hour for the final rise.Mean while preheat the oven at 220 degrees for 10 mins when you are about to finish the rising time of bread.
  • Spread the remaining garlic spread mixture over it and brush the top of the spirals with milk very gently and sprinkle white sesame seeds over the nicely risen spirals and keep it in preheated oven and bake them at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins until the top portion of the bread turn slightly golden and the bread should sound hollow when tapped the crust with hand.If it is not,go ahead and bake for another 5-10 mins.By now your house would be filled with a very nice aroma of garlic and fresh bread.
  • Brush the top of the spirals with butter immediately after removing them from oven.This helps in giving the shine to the crust and also makes the crust softer and even the smell of the bread will be nice.
  • Run the knife around the edges and slowly remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on the wire rack.
Now pull your buns and enjoy them as a snack with a cup of coffee/tea or a whole meal with a hot bowl of soup.

  • Do not add the frothy yeast liquid at one go,keep some portion of the liquid aside and stir in the flour,if you feel the dough is getting harder add the remaining liquid portion little by little until you get a soft dough.Or if your dough is sticky add some extra flour.
  • While kneading the dough,you can add extra flour if you find the dough is very sticky.You can even smear your hand with oil and go ahead for kneading the dough.
  • While rolling the dough with a rolling pin,if your dough is sticking to the rolling pin,feel free to smear the rolling pin and the dough with extra oil and try rolling.Even if you cannot acquire square shape it is fine,try making a round and apply the mixture and cut into lengthy strips and roll them.
  • Using complete white flour instead of a 50:50 ratio of wheat and white flours will definitely yield softer,whiter buns.But I added in that proportion for the healthier side.But if you are trying for the first time I suggest you to try with the white flour only,as the wheat flour one's are slightly dense in texture compared to the white flour one's.
  • Keep an eye while you are baking them,do a toothpick test to confirm that the bread is done.If not bake it further for another 5-10 mins until done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oats Khara Pongal | Indian Oats Recipes

When I posted 'Savory Oats Porridge' previously many of you liked it and even tried at home and are happy with the results.Apart from that,I do a lot of savory versions of oats porridge's to give my family a healthy start of the day.Oats pongal is one among them which is very easy to make and is very tasty to eat.I prepare this in a way very much similar to our beloved south Indian style pongal and there is no compromise in taste as well.If you are looking for a healthy breakfast this recipe is for you,add this to your menu definitely.

1 1/4 cup quick cooking Oats
3/4 cup yellow moong dal
6-8 cashew nuts,broken
8-10 peppercorns,slightly crushed
1/2" ginger,finely chopped
3-4 green chillies,slit
8-10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of turmeric
1 tsp jeera
few pinches of hing
1 tbsp ghee
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

  • Heat ghee and oil in a thick bottomed pan or small pressure cooker.Add broken cashewnuts and fry until light golden in color and remove them from oil using a slotted spoon.
  • In the remaining oil,crackle mustard seeds,jeera and add slit green chillies,ginger and fry until they wilt.
  • Add curry leaves,hing and fry slightly.
  • Add yellow moong dal and fry until you get a nice aroma and is light golden brown in color.
  • Add four cups of water and cook until the moong dal is cooked and soft.If you are using pressure cooker,pressure cook it for 4 whistles.
  • Add enough salt,pinch of turmeric and oats and stir well.cover it and cook it on low flame for 8-10 mins until everything is well mixed.If you feel the consistency is slightly thicker add some milk or water at this stage to get the desired consistency.
  • Add the fried cashew nuts and mix well.
Serve it piping hot with Coconut chutney/Sambar/ Tamarind gojju with some extra ghee on top.Eat this right away and do not keep it for long as the oats starts becoming sticky later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guacamole...famous Mexican Dip!!

Guacamole is a famous Mexican dip/spread which is generally served with corn chips, Quesedilla's and many more Mexican varieties.Even though I use avocado in many recipes like milkshake,roti's etc,my husband never likes to take it as he does not like the buttery flavor of it and guacamole is the only form of avocado which he thoroughly enjoys without complaining.Guacamole is a versatile dip with tortilla chips/nachos/potato chips/match stick cut vegetables like cucumber,carrot,blanched peppers or you can even spread it on toast/garlic bread/sandwiches.Here comes the recipe.

1 big ripen avocado
2-3 small shallots,finely chopped

1 medium tomato,seeded and finely chopped

1 pod garlic,grated
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
1 green chili or Jalapeno chili,finely chopped

1-2 pickled jalapenos,finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt to taste

pepper to taste(optional)

  • Cut the avocado lengthwise and discard the big seed in between and scoop out the flesh using a spoon.Using a fork slightly mash it to get a slight chunky mixture.
  • Now add finely chopped shallots,tomato,coriander,green chili,jalapenos and grated garlic to it and mix.You can even blend them in whipper mode or you can leave it chunky.
  • Add salt,pepper and lemon and mix well.
  • Chill it in refrigerator for a couple of hours which helps the flavors to blend well.
Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips/nachos/potato chips/match stick cut vegetables like cucumber,carrot,blanched peppers or you can even spread it on toast/garlic bread/sandwiches.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dahi Bhalla...North Indian Street Food

I tasted this for the first time at my friend's place long back after my marriage and I just loved the taste instantly.From then I also started making it regularly at my place along with the south Indian style Dahi vada's.Even though the preparation process is quite similar to our beloved south Indian dahi vada,the additional spices and the spicy,tangy chutney's add a real distinct flavor and taste to it which is no less than any other our favorite street chaat's.This is a great party appetizer as it can be prepared well in advance and is quite soothing.If you are interested in south Indian dahi vada,check our my version here.
For Urad Fritters/Bhalla's:
1 cup whole white urad dal
15-20 raisins

salt to taste
oil to deep fry

for Dahi mix:
3 cups fresh curds
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp black salt/kala namak
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
a pinch of salt
a pinch of hing

Meetha(Imli) Chutney:
200 gm Tamarind
2 cups dried Dates(Kharjur),finely chopped

1 cup Jaggery
1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp
Garam masala
1 tsp Black salt
1 tbsp roasted cumin powder


Green chutney:
1 Bunch of Coriander leaves
1 Bunch of Mint leaves

10-12 green chillies

1" Ginger

Juice of 2 lemons

2-3 tbsp sugar
salt to taste

To garnish:
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chaat masala

1/4 cup very fine sev
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger or julienned

Imli chutney
Green chutney


Imli Chutney:
  • Clean the tamarind and soak in water for sometime(approx half an hour) and boil it for 10-12 mins until soft.
  • Cool the mixture and take the pulp out of it. Add Jaggery and Kharjoor to it and boil until it is soft and all the jaggery melts and forms a syrupy liquid.
  • Add black salt,red chilli powder,jeera powder and Garam masala to it and mix.
  • Cool the mixture and grind it a fine puree.
  • Strain it and store it in a bottle in refrigerator. It stays good for 6-8 months.
Green Chutney:
  • Wash coriander and mint leaves drain out the extra water and let it drain for 15-20 mins.
  • Wash Green chillies and pat dry it.
  • Grind Mint,coriander,green chillies,chopped ginger,salt,sugar and lemon juice to a fine paste.
  • Pour the mixture in the Ice cube tray and freeze it and remove the cubes from it and place them in a zip lock bag or in a big container in freezer .
  • Use it when required.Stays good for 3-4 months.
Bhalla's / Vada's and arranging them:
  • Soak urad dal overnight or atleast for 1 hr.Use the round white variety urad dal for this.
  • Strain the soaked urad dal and grind it to a fluffy mixture in the grinder(even a mixie also does the same job,but in grinder you get more fluffy batter which is apt for making vada's).Add water only if needed,do not add much water while grinding this.Try to beat this mixture with hands for two mins continuously which helps in yielding fluffier vada's.
  • Mix in the raisins and salt and mix well.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed kadai on medium heat and mean while grease your right palm(or wet your hands) and take a dollop of urad dal batter and slip it to the hot oil carefully and fry until golden brown on a medium flame.
  • Repeat the same process for the remaining mixture.Drop 4-5 at a time,do not drop in more or else they will stick to each other.
  • Meanwhile boil water in a big vessel until luke warm to medium hot.
  • Drop the urad dal fritters/bhalle's in the hot water and soak for a couple of minute.Take them out and squeeze carefully to form a shape of round.
  • Whisk the curds with black salt,sugar,red chilli powder,salt,hing,roasted cumin powder to get a smooth uniform mixture.
  • Pour a layer of the spiced dahi mixture in a wide flat bottomed bowl and arrange the bhalla's over it and pour the remaining dahi mixture over them until they are well covered.
  • Now decorate them with green and meetha chutney's.Sprinkle red chili powder,roasted jeera powder,chat masala in different patterns.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander,fine sev and finely chopped ginger.
  • Keep it in refrigerator until it is to be served.It tastes best when it is chilled.
This is going to participate in Pari's - 'Only Chaat' event .


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carrot Phirni......and Happy Diwali!!!!

Phirni is a very rich and creamy rice pudding and is a popular traditional dessert in India.It is very simple to make when it is made bit carefully otherwise one can even mess up with this simple dessert.Phirni is more versatile and is more open to the flavors like kesar phirni,carrot phirni,Badam phirni,peach phirni,strawberry phirni,apple phirni,mango phirni etc etc.Even though kesar phirni is quite common at my place,the very first time I saw madhu's 'carrot phirni' I was really bowled with its lovely color and I wanted to make it immediately very badly.Since then carrot phirni also joined my dessert menu and now I would like to share with you.

1/4 cup fragrant basmati rice
1/2 litre full cream milk

3 big carrots,peeled and steamed/boiled

1/2 cup sugar
few strands of saffron

3 tbsp chopped cashewnuts
3 cardamoms,extract seeds and pound in mortar and pestle
a pinch of nutmeg powder

2 tsp ghee
4-5 pistachios,slivered
4-5 almonds,slivered

  • Soak saffron in 2 tbsp warm milk for half an hour.
  • Soak basmati rice in water for half an hour.Drain the rice and grind to a slight coarse paste.Add boiled carrots and grind to a smooth paste.Do not make into a very smooth paste,a slight coarse paste works best in giving a nice texture to the dessert.
  • Heat ghee in a small pan and roast the cashew nuts until they turn light golden in color.
  • Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan when it starts bubbling,simmer the flame and slowly add the rice-carrot mixture and sugar and stir continuously until it forms a thick mixture.It takes approximately 8-10 mins.This step is most critical as you might end up with lumpy solution if you don't stir it continuously.If you end up having lumps,do not panic strain the mixture into another vessel and press the lumps in the strainer with the help of back of the laddle.Again keep the mixture back on the stove and continue cooking.
  • Add saffron milk,cardamom powder,nutmeg powder and fried cashewnuts and mix well.Once the mixture is thick turn off the stove.
  • Pour the mixture into the individual moulds/earthern pots and garnish with slivered/flaked almonds,pistachios and saffron strands.
Allow them to cool and keep in refrigerator for 2-3 hrs and serve chilled.This can be eaten warm,but the chilled one tastes better.This stay for 3-4 days if refrigerated.

  • Kesar Phirni: Just avoid carrots in the above recipe and follow the same procedure.
  • Apple Phirni: Make kesar phirni as above and let it cool and before it gets set,add grated apples and mix and then let it sit.
  • Strawberry Phirni:Make kesar phirni as above and let it cool a bit,before it gets set add finely chopped fresh strawberries and mix and then let it sit.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tangy Tamarind Shavige/ Tangy Tamarind Rice Noodles

Tamarind rice noodles is a nice twist to the regular lemon based or coconut based rice noodles and tastes similar to the puliyogare/pulihora but is quite different in texture .This is an ideal food even on a festival day as no onion and garlic are used in preparing this recipe.The tangyness from tamarind is well balanced by the sweetness from the jaggery,where as the sesame seeds and coconut gives a nice nutty texture and hing adds a nice zing flavor to the noodles.All I can say is this is a completely packed with flavors and a well balanced meal.

1 small pack rice noodles or 4 cups freshly pressed rice hoppers
1 big lemon size tamarind
3-4 tbsp groundnuts
4-5 cashewnuts,chopped
2 tbsp grated jaggery
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
4-5 dry red chillies,broken
3-4 green chillies,slit
a pinch of turmeric/haldi(optional)
2 generous pinches of hing
a sprig of curry leaves
2 tbsp oil(normal cooking oil what ever you use)
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt to taste

To roast and grind:
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp grated dry coconut
1/4 tsp methi seeds/fenugreek
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

for garnish:
2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
1 tbsp chopped coriander

  • Boil the rice noodles with some salt and oil in a big pot of water until they are cooked.Drain and keep it aside to cool.Spread on a wide plate in order to retain noodle strands separately.You can even use freshly pressed rice string hoppers which ofcourse gives you better taste than the ready made one's.
  • Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup of water for 10-15 mins or microwave the mixture for 1 min.Microwave method is quite quick when u have lack of time.After it is cooled add grated jaggery and mix well until it is melted completely.
  • Dry roast mustard,fenugreek seeds separately.Dry roast sesame seeds until they pop up.Cool them completely and grind all the roasted seeds along with grated coconut to a fine powder.
  • In a kadai heat normal oil and sesame oil and crackle the mustard seeds,add groundnuts and cashewnuts and fry until they turn red.Add chana dal,urad dal,red chillies,green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes until done.
  • Add curry leaves,hing and turmeric powder and fry for a minute and then add tamarind pulp mixture and mix until the mixture thickens completely.Add enough salt to it and mix.
  • Now remove it from the stove and let it cool a bit and reserve some mixture and pour the remaining mixture over the cooled rice noodles and also add the powder (ground) and mix properly until everything is well blended.Now check the taste of it and add more tamarind mixture or salt according to your taste.
  • Garnish with coriander and grated fresh coconut and serve.
Serve with salad and raitha.

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