Saturday, March 31, 2007

J is for...(Veg.) JALFRY & J is also for JFI !!!

Childhood is full of so many memories and so many of them connected to food.. I remember , it was always a treat to 'eat out' ! We went to restaurants near our home, within walking distance.. we had no car then. Our favourite places were 'Swagat' & 'Satkar'. I always had a fixed idea of what I was going to eat, Punjabi food and in that ... Chana Masala, Alu Palak (green vegetable), and Paratha or Naan, no variation to that. This meant my parents had to order those and another something for themselves. I remember trying to eat a whole naan(this was when I was in school class 3-4 when the appetite was not comparable to greed!)... stuffing it in and then groaning as I staggered home, to proud to admit I had overdone it!
Later when I started experimenting with other names on the menu card, my parents NEVER ordered the above mentioned veges.!!
After college, when I learnt a 'Punjabi vegetables course', I regretted it. I was the only one in my household who liked Punjabi vegetable preparations. My parents were not too keen ... they preferred the 'usual' for everyday meals.. and unfortunately, when I made anything, the quantities were strictly according to the recipe, which served 6 persons... and above!
One such vegetable I learnt was Jalfry... in fact the name itself was not too appealing to me then.... but I later came to know it is the same or similar as Jalfrazie!
All these years I kept the notes safe and now finally, when I blog, I have the opportunity to try them out.. on a rather unwilling guinea pig... I mean, subject... my dear Hubby! who wants nothing more than his 'Dal-rice' and *no spice*! ~snort~ Now, that was not so polite of me, was it?! But honestly, sometimes in a darker shade of mood, I tell him, " maybe you should have married a girl whose expertise was burning water!"
Anyway, moving on .. although the popular saying goes... dinner like a pauper.... we Indians are probably taking our time digesting that! Dinner is the only time when all of us get together and eat! And after a tiring day, of which a lot of energy, (temper), time is consumed in travelling (here I draw from my own past trials (read, horrors) of travelling in Mumbai), it is bliss to sit down to a hearty dinner.
Though we are spared of the horrors of travelling out here, the hearty dinner is a habit we cannot seem to shrug off!
So for tonight's dinner the vegetable gracing my table is JALFRY, which is also my contribution to Nupur's A-Z of Veges.
Another thing that makes this vegetable great is that, it does not use any spices, to get the taste! No Garam Masala! The Tomato & Tomato Ketchup, give it a nice tangy taste.

I would like to include this as my entry to JFI hosted by RP of My Workshop along with other tomato chutney recipes here and here which I have previously blogged ....(ek teer, do nishaan!!)
For the Jalfry :

100 gms. EACH, Carrots, French Beans and Peas (if u want a shortcut, use a can of mixed veges., like I did)
2 Potatoes
3 Spring Onions
1 tsp. Ginger chilly paste
2 Tomatoes Pureed
1/2 cup Tomato ketchup
1 tsp. Red Chilly Pwd.
1 tsp. Sugar
Salt to taste
3 tbsp. butter
Cilantro
Wash and cube the vegetables.
Steam the cubed vegetables(except the spring onion).
Chop the spring onions, do not discard the greens, keep them aside.
Heat butter, add the chopped spring onion and fry well.
Add the tomato puree
Add gin-chilly paste, chopped cilantro and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the ketchup, steamed vegetables, onion greens, salt , red chilly powder and half a cup of water.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Serve with Rotis / Parathas/ Naan

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Of lists and Tacos in a jiffy!



Of all the things to be picked up at the store, the Husband picks up a box of Taco Shells.. and in the process forgetting a few other items I 'really' needed...
Oh well..... Tacos it is then! The only hitch was, surprisingly, I have not eaten tacos here, so I was kinda foggy of what to fill them with... apart from that, I had the shell, what about the rest of the stuff? M 's solution was simply to say, "just add whatever you have"...
I liked this part.. for me it involved very little effort! What a wonderfully lazy way of fixing a meal!!

For me, eating Mexican food was, as I thought, the only 'eating out' option I had apart from Pizza hut and Subway, since I am a vegetarian.. and here, people look askance at me when I said No Meat and No Eggs please!But the fact is that this cuisine has spice, options for a limited selection eater like me and I love it!!

The little effort I had to put in was towards making Salsa.. which is practically effortless.The lettuce mix was in the fridge (practically untouched, I may add!)

First came making the salsa..I took,

2 big Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion (as it was big)
1 Green Chilly
1 Tbsp. Cilantro
1/2 Lemon
Salt to taste
Pepper powder
1 tsp. Olive oil
(the quantity is for making about 6 -7 tacos, so please reduce the quantities accordingly)

Slice the tomatoes. De seed them. Cut into small cubes.
Chop the onion.
De seed and chop the green chilly
Chop the Cilantro
Mix the onion, tomatoes, chilly and cilantro.
Add lemon juice.
Add Olive oil, salt and pepper ( I sprayed the salsa with olive oil...)
Your Salsa is now ready


TO Fill the Tacos:

Canned Red Kidney beans / Pinto beans
Shredded Lettuce
Grated carrot, red cabbage
Guacamole (optional)
Cheese shredded
Ranch dressing


Firstly, I used Pinto beans as I did not have Kidney beans.
Also these were canned, so no prior soaking and cooking was involved.
Secondly, I like my lettuce with dressing, plain is boring... like a cow chewing cud! So I Always add a dash of Ranch dressing or (Wishbone) Italian seasoning to give it a much needed zing!

ASSEMBLY
Heat the tacos as per instructions.
In the shell, first put some beans. Top with salsa. Add guacamole / sour cream/ taco sauce. seasoning... as per your wish....
Add the lettuce. Top with cheese (I opted out... diet :( )
Eat!!

If you are open to mixing and matching the filling, this is a great meal... yes, we made a meal out of this! 2 tacos like this will keep you going for a long time!!
You can also add Taco seasoning, taco sauce, sour cream. I did not have these , but the end result was not at all disappointing.
The next time however, I am going all the way!!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

HAPPY GUDI PADWA!!!


Hope I don't get into trouble for using this pic!!

And a Potluck Lunch with Friends!!
All thanks to A, we got together to spend time together and enjoy a wonderful lunch!! A , is a mother of 2, and the baby is nearly 4 months and yet manages to organize a Pot luck! Hats off to her!!
Here is a peek at the spread...
A made Rice, Puri and Shrikhand (home made!!) which was very tasty and full of rich creamy goodness with lashings of saffron and cardamom! Bliss!!
M, made potato subzi which is a wonderful accompaniment to the puri
S, made Panchratna Daal ( talk about a ton of protein!! and delectable taste!!)
Now, all because of my absent mindedness.... my apologies .... I could not click snaps of the FULL spread...
K, made Boondi Raita, a classic to go with the jeera rice
M, made yummy green tomato chutney and 'vatleli daal'- a Maharashtrian speciality.
My own contribution was 'gulpagdi and kaayrass' or 'Appey' and bell pepper gravy to go with the appey and Tortilla / Jahtpat Samosa , Trupti, you angel!!! I love these samosas!! (again, no snaps as they were finished and ~grrr~ I forgot to carry my camera.....

Here is a look at the gulpangdi and Kaayrass:


To make Gulpangdi:
Use Idli Batter ( I use the no-fuss-no-grind method)
1 cup Urad flour
1 1/2 cup Idli rava
Mix and allow to ferment. Before making, add 3/4 tsp.cumin seeds , 1-2 Finely chopped Green Chilies, 1tbsp. chopped Cilantro, Salt to taste

This requires a special 'Tawa', which looks like this


Put a drop of oil in each slot and add batter. Cover and cook on a Medium flame/ heat. turn (it comes with a pointed wooden spatula) and cook on the other side. Serve with chutney, kaayras

For the Kayrass:

1 1/2 Bell Pepper (deseeded & fine chopped into small cubes)
Oil to temper
1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
Pinch Asafetida
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 -2 green chillies (slit lengthwise)
Few curry leaves
4 tbsp Roasted Peanut Powder
1 tbsp. Roasted Sesame/ Til powder
2 tsp. Dessicated Coconut Powder
1/2 tsp Tamarind pulp ( I use concentrate, which is a bit strong)
Jaggery( double as that of tamarind)
Salt to taste
Little Water to make a gravy

Heat Oil. Add cumin seeds.
Add the Chillies and curry leaves
Add asafetida and turmeric.
Add bell pepper and cook till the pepper is well cooked.
Add water, tamarind pulp, jaggery and bring to a boil.
Add roasted peanut and sesame powder and dessicated coconut.
Add salt.
Let it boil for a good 3-4 minutes. The idea is to let it thicken so that it reaches a chutney like consistency (however, do not mash the bell pepper chunks)

Serve with gulpangdi.
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Sunday, March 18, 2007

MBP March-Rolling!! Gobi Parathas..

pic: Google search

Hey, that's not me!! This is the Theme for this month's MBP!!! And my prowling around took me here ! First off, I must admit, I am a huge fan of One Hot Stove! Apart from the wonderful dishes she makes, her ideas are also awesome and *must try this* variety!
Coming to rolling.... I love parathas.. in fact I like all Indian breads and like to include rotis in my everyday meals. M however, is not too fond of rotis (etc.) and proudly says that before we got married, he had successfully avoided eating any for many years! Not anymore... and twists his face into a comic-tragic look ... how cute!! But seriously, making parathas is not that easy... I mean, one can make parathas out of any stuffing, but the skill lies in the 'rolling' part! I still have trouble at times... rolling the dough (with the filling) into a round shape and uniform all over without the stuffing poking out!Whew!!

My addiction (yes, I will call it that) for Parathas started when I started visiting my best friend L in Delhi. Her Mom made the bestest (?!?!) parathas! Aaaah, I can still taste those awesome breakfasts!!! Served with a dollop of butter, yogurt and pickle.. it's a complete meal!
Soon enough, I too started making parathas, after seeing Auntie make them and also with the aid of a cookery class I attended. My parents also liked this variation from the daily roti- subzi, which is a staple in most Maharashtrian-Kanadiga homes.

I tweaked the recipe a bit... the original recipe is:

1. Make the dough: Mix 2 cups atta (see recipe introduction), 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add enough water to make a soft dough and knead it for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp towel and set aside in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.
2. Make the filling: This is easily done while the dough is resting. You need 2 cups of finely minced or grated cauliflower, one minced fresh green chili and 1 tsp minced fresh ginger. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, chili and ginger and stir until fragrant (few seconds). Add the grated cauliflower, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds, optional), salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Cook on low heat, uncovered, until the cauliflower is tender. You want the mixture to be very dry.
3. To make the parathas, knead the dough again for two minutes and then divide it into five portions.
In the skillet, divide the filling roughly into five portions too.
Take a portion of the dough and roll it out into a fat circle (try and make the edges of the circle thinner than the center). Place one portion of the stuffing in the middle and pull up the edges to cover the filling. Press down flat and roll it out gently into a flat evenly-thick circle. Fry the paratha in a hot griddle, using a few drops of olive oil to fry each side until it is golden and well-cooked.

My variation :To the dough I added 1/2 spoon of Ajwain.
Instead of Olive oil, I used Canola, which I had,for the dough and making the stuffing.
In the filling, I added a bit of dhania & jeera (coriander and cumin) powder.
And finally, I shallow fried these in butter not olive oil

End Result: The Parathas were awesome!! I had a bit of a problem with the stuffing, which was dry, but still managed to poke out of the dough cover! I served these with thick creamy yogurt and 'Shan' Mixed Hyderabadi Pickle.. I mention this particular brand and variety because it is tooooo good! The pickle contains Fennel (Saunf) and Ajwain which go very well with the paratha (and with everything else too!!)
Rooma, many thanks for hosting this event!


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Friday, March 16, 2007

H is for....... Hara Bhara Kabab!!

The Husband called up to inform me that he was going to be late.....
Me: " how late is late?"
He: "umm, a bit..."
Me:" but it is already 8 pm, later than usual..."
He: " yes, just a bit more..."
Me: "ok, lekin jaldi ana.."
He: " hunh?.. acha, ok...."
After an hour I called up to check the status...
He: " 'Lo (sounding cross)"
Me :" Main hun (it's me).. (now he won't sound cross!!)"
He : "hmm.... what?"
Me:"Ghar kab aoge? (when will you come home?)"
He: clicked his tongue in an exasperated manner... " I will come home, sooner or later"
Me : " how sooner ... or later?"
He: "If you don't disturb me, sooner... otherwise later"
There you are! Whatever happened to the... "damn the office, I wish I could be with you".. ~sighhhhh~

Now that I had plenty of time on my hands, what better to do than potter around in the kitchen?
Apart from that, for a few days now, I was wondering what dish to make starting with H..... for Nupur's A-Z of Vegetables.
The first thing that came to mind was Harbhare and Hirve Watane, the former which I could not find in the market and the latter which I assiduously avoid and when not possible,try to make their presence as inconspicuous as possible!!
And then I remembered Hara Bhara Kebab! This appetizer scores high on the list in any menu card at any restaurant. Made up of the versatile Potato also has a good amount tof vegetables in it. What an appetizing way to sneak in those greens! The kebab gets it name from the colour it has when spinach and green peas are added to mashed potatoes.
The recipe is simple and easy and not very time consuming to say nothing of lip-smacking! A sure hit when you have a dinner party!

For Hara bhara Kabab you need :
3 Large Boiled potatoes
Half cup Boiled green peas ( this is the least i added, you may want to add more if you love peas!!)
100 gms Boiled spinach

2 tbsps Chopped cilantro
1 tbsp Chopped green chili
1 tbsp Chopped / grated ginger
1 tsp Chaat masala
2 tbsps Cornflour
Oil for deep frying
Salt As per taste

Peel and grate boiled potatoes.
Mash boiled green peas.
Squeeze out excess water (very important) of spinach and chop finely or run thru' blender.
Mix grated potatoes, peas and spinach. Add chopped green chilies, chopped green coriander, chopped ginger, chaat masala and salt. Add cornflour for binding.
Divide the mixture into equal portions. Shape them into a ball and then press it in between your palms to flatten it. These are now called tikkis.
Heat oil in a Kadhai. Deep-fry the tikkis in hot oil for 3-4 minutes.
Serve hot with sauce / mint chutney.

Tip: You may also shallow-fry the Hara Bhara Kabab on a griddle plate or a Tavaa as I did , but nothing beats deep frying these!!



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Thursday, March 08, 2007

What do U say?

I was thinking of changing the look of the blog these few weeks....finally today I decided, Nothing Venture - Nothing Gain! So I went right ahead and got this new template..... so whaddya think? Pin It

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

KOKI

Early mornings sometimes begin with a groan on my side! Getting up.. well.. no option there!! but getting the Hubby to wake up (on time) for work is ... well.. what can I say??... how he loves to cling on (and on... and on..) to those 'last 5 minutes' of sleep! Making tea, cooking and packing his lunchbox and the 'tata' are the busiest moments of my day..the rest of it seems like a week end!!
After the 'busy hour' when tranquility has made its temporary nest in my home,I start my 'cleaning up' the 'unbelievable mess 2 people can make in just a short span of a few hours'. This done and having taken up loads of time (also leaving me wondering how fast it is to mess it up!!)I saunter into the kitchen, to clean up there. On some days that I feel I need to rearrange things a bit, I usually eat lunch at the time when people have their cup of tea, at such times I prefer something quick. I usually fall back on making a paratha. M is not really a roti person. Give him his daal-rice and he is content, but I like rotis , parathas, so today after cleaning up, arranging, re- arranging stuff I made Koki for my lunch and as an evening snack for M, when he comes home, famished, after work.

Koki, is a paratha made by Sindhis (a community in India), this is a great addition to lunch boxes. It can be eaten just as it is, or with yogurt or sauce or pickles. Apart from that it is easy to make!

All you need is:

2 cups Wheat flour (atta)
3 tbsp. Oil
1 Onion grated
2 Green chillies finely chopped (+/- to taste)
2 tbsp. Grated Raw mango OR 1 tbsp. Anardana powder (pomegranate seeds powdered)
1 tbsp. Sesame
1 tbsp.chopped Cilantro
1 pinch turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilly powder (+/- to taste)
Ghee/ Butter

Mix all the ingredients from Wheat Flour to red chilly pwd. and bind into a smooth dough.
Roll out parathas and shallow fry in ghee / butter.
There now, that's all that there is to it!!





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Thursday, March 01, 2007

JFI - BATATA, ALOO, POTATO, Pomme De Terre’.....

List of Potato items I consume regularly :
Potato bhaji,Sukha bhaji (with variations) ,Rassa bhaji,Pav bhaji,Chips,Fries and Burgers, Wedges, Alu paratha, Alu raita,Veges cooked with Potato, Samosa,Chaat items, Batata Wada
Potato sandwich,Tikkis...............

Have I forgotten anything else, must've... there are another 100 things that have skipped my mind!
I remember in my childhood, we used to have a 'summer holiday Bhatukli' (a session where I and my pint size friends would cook a meal). This was the REAL thing... each one of us would bring 1 potato each, half a cup of rice, daal and atta (wheat flour) , oil each, some sugar, enthusiastic mother's would sometimes give a bottle of pickle or jam. The menu was standard, rice and plain daal, potato subzi and pickle and puri (rotis were impossible, nobody wanted to study geography in the holidays!!) The vegetable was fixed too, had to be, age 6- 10 cannot do more!!
It was fun to have these cooking sessions, but unfortunately a HUGE problem for our Mum's!!! We usually held this activity in my home or any of my friend's whose Mother's were working for the obvious reason, no interference!
The world was shocked by the destruction caused by 'Katrina', the expression on their face was one I saw on my Mother's face all thru my childhood.... unfortunately the only help she got in cleaning up was from Dad, and that took so much time, that we always went out for dinner!
This childhood activity(not the going out for dinner!! :D) was probably what sparked my interest in cooking! Then came a time when I and my friends made patties (we could not make ragda) but the patties were easy to make. I liked them so much that the very same evening I made some more for my family... well, a lot more, come to think of it! I had no idea of 'andaaz' (sense of proportion) so I mixed everything, and finally the potato mixture was of a quantity that could probably have fed an army!!! My family, neighbors and my parents office friends got the benefit of my culinary (mis)adventures!
Years later I joined a cookery day-class and learnt a lot more. I still have those recipes and they are amazing! It was there, that I made my first successful Stuff Paratha!! That is my first contribution to JFI.

You need:

5 Potatoes
1 inch Ginger
2-3 green chilies
1 Tsp Cilantro
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Corriander powder
1/4 tsp Chaat powder
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (maida)
1 cup Wheat flour
1/4 tsp Ajwain (optional)
Ghee/oil to shallow fry


Boil, peel and mash potatoes.
Grind the ginger, chilly to a fine paste.
Add to mashed potatoes, add cilantro.
Add salt, cumin-corriander and chaat powder.
Mix the flours, add oil, salt,ajwain, water and knead into a dough.
Take a small portion of the dough.
Roll into a puri, add the stuffing (do not over fill /stuff)
Seal by bringing up the corners and make a ball.
Roll into a thickish paratha, shallow fry in ghee/oil.




I also made Aloo Tikkis. These are my absolute favs for an evening snack when we decide to have a few friends over . This is my 2nd. 'peshkash'

You need:

1/2 kg Potatoes ( roughly 6 med. size )
1 inch Ginger
6 flakes Garlic
2 Green chillies
1/4 cup Bread crumbs
Salt to taste
Fine Farina/ rawa/ sooji

For the CHUTNEY
8-10 Dates
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/2 green chilly
1 tsp Cilantro
Salt
Tamarind


Pressure cook the potatoes and dates (separately!).
Take the cooked dates (remove the seed) mix all ingredients listed under Chutney and grind to a paste. If you are using tamarind concentrate use about 1/4 tsp as it is strong)
Peel and mash the potatoes.
Grind to a paste ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Add the paste, bread crumbs , salt to the mashed potatoes.
Knead it to a firm dough.
Take a portion of this dough and make a ball of it. Flatten it on the palm and make a well of the potato mix.
Fill with the date chutney. Bring together the edges an seal.
Shape like a patty.
Pat the patty (!!) in the farina and shallow fry.
Serve hot with ketchup





Vaishali , is our hostess for this month's JFI... who by the way is going to have a tough time with the round up!! All the best to you,Vaishali!!! And many thanx for the wonderful choice of ingredient. Pin It
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