Friday, December 29, 2006

Layered Lentil Rice with Curry

Thumbs UpI found this wonderful cook book in the public library 'Indian, delicious authentic dishes'. The authors are Shehzad Hussain & Rafi Fernandez. This book has a large variety of dishes (Indian & Pakistani) with good illustrations.
After going thru (read, drooling over) all the vegetarian recipes, I finally picked one to make for dinner. I had all the ingredients on hand and time as well .... you see I drooled over the recipes all afternoon, so by early evening, I was all set to make this dish!
Firstly, making this dish does take up a bit of time, but the end result is the hubby rubbing his tummy and declaring it as"FANTASTICALLY YUMMY !"Terrific Thank You
Second... it cleared up a misconception I had. Now all these years I was under the impression that Bohri cuisine is 'only' non-veg. I had heard some of my friends wax eloquent on this particular cuisine, but being a vegetarian, it was all lost on me.Thirdly, I am firmly convinced, boy, these people can really cook!

I am reproducing the recipe as I got it, infact, quoting from the book ......
"Bohri Muslims in India have their own special style of cooking and have adapted many of the traditional dishes from other Indian communities.This rice and lentil dish is served with a gourd curry (Dudhi/ Lauki), which is prominently flavoured with Fenugreek and soured with dried mangosteen (kokum), lemon juice however, will provide the same effect."

2/3 cup Channa Daal (Bengal gram)
2 1/2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Turmeric
50 gm. Deep fried onion crushed
3 tbsp. green masala paste (few fresh mint leaves & cilantro leaves chooped & salt to taste)
I left the mint out entirely, I somehow dislike it (mint is toothpaste!! )
1 3/4 cups Basmati rice cooked
2 tbsp. ghee
A little water

4 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp. Fenugreek (methi dana) seeds
1/2 oz Dried Fenugreek leaves
2 cloves Garlic crushed
1tsp. ground cilantro
1tsp chili pwd. (less for those who prefer it mild)
1lb. Bottle gourd or zucchini, peeled, pith and seed removed, cut in bite size pieces
3/4 cup Tomato juice
6 dried mangosteen or juice of 2 lemons
4 tsp. Besan dissolved in 4-5 tsp water
Salt to taste

Cook rice and keep aside. Boil the bengal gram daal with water until the grains are tender, but not mushy. Drain and reserve the water for the curry. Toss the cooked daal with deep fried onions, green masala paste, chopped mint(opt.), cilantro leaves and salt.
Grease a heavy pan and place a layer of rice at the bottom. Add the daal mixture. Layer with the remaining rice. Place small cubes of butter/ ghee on top, sprinkle with a little water and gently heat until steam gathers in the pan.

To make the Curry:
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the Fenugreek seeds and leaves and garlic , until garlic turns golden brown.
Mix the ground cumin, cilantro and chilli powder with a little water. Add to the pan and simmer until all the water evaporates.
Add all the remaining ingredients and cook until the gourd is soft and transparent. Serve hot with the rice.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

JFI - Coconut : NARAL WADI

Now for those who are new to the blogger world, or let's say new to my blog (or any food blog for that matter) there is this monthly event called JFI. Whassat you say? oh okay! Read all about it here !! So now you can well imagine how all, we food / cooking lovers ,wait to cook something for this event every month! The best part is when someone else ( a non-blogger) gets interested in it and decides to participate!

This month, Ashwini of Food for Thought is the hostess and her ingredient is Coconut (Cocos nucifera). You see what a devilishly clever choice this is? That's right, used in sweets, savoury items, as garnish... Coconut water, remember all those hot summer days, when this has quenched your thirst? Or those strolls on sandy beaches, hand in hand, 'ek narial, do straw dena bhaiya'( one coconut with 2 straws), watching the blazing sun sink under the waves.....

OR, Think of all those times when your teacher or parent murmured " Oh God, your head is like a coconut! impossible to get anything into it!"

Or, zip back to an old, old television ad jingle.... "ek narial ped se tuta, gir ke hi woh beech se toota.....sek tap se use pakaya, khub kurkura use banaya, Brittania Coconut Crunchy"..

Right, you get the idea!! Hmmm, cut to my statement.... when non bloggers take an far my parents have only been reading my posts, giving me their opinion. But this time my Mother has gone that 'one' step further and made something for JFI!! I am to post it ofcourse, but the recipe, procedure and photography is all her work!
Here is what she has to say about making 'Naral Wadi'

1 measure shredded coconut
1 measure milk or half measure condensed milk (I have used plain milk)
1 1/4 measure sugar ( if you are using condensed milk use less sugar)
Cardamom powder,
Saffron srtands ,
1/2 spoon ghee

Add coconut, milk, saffron (optional) and sugar in a thick bottom kadhai and cook it on medium heat. Stir it continously and also cover the sides of the utensil to avoid burning. Stir it till it forms a lump and slightly dry from the sides. The consistency is imporatnt. Remove from fire. Add cardamom powder. Apply ghee to a plate. Pour the coconut fudge on the plate and flatten the surface with wet hand or a rolling pin (Apply ghee to the rolling pin).Make diamond shape wadis when it is hot. Let it cool down.It will come out unstuck from the plate easily when cooled down.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.

The Sweet year that was !!! Couples

I celebrated my first wedding anniversary a few days ago..... The first thought I had in the morning was; this time last year, I was, at 6:00 am, having a 'last' look at my 'maika'.. oh no! no waterworks for me please!
Since then one full year has gone by, in the wink of an eye! Seems like yesterday that my mother was at her wits end trying to convince me to choose a guy to get married to.. all those endless lectures... my frivolous retorts...pooh poohing the proposals....
And then one fine happened! The wild, carefree (and careless), don't-care colt was tamed..... Horse
Today when I look back, I feel very happy about my decision,Proposal very content with the life I lead (but that in no way assuages my desire to shop- my one undying passion!) and proud of my husband and thankful to God for giving me such a loving, caring family. (Touch wood!)
Now I wanted to make a spread to mark this wonderful day, but M had other plans... the sly devil! he never told me... but what a glorious dinner plan he had made!! But I insisted on making the sweet of the day! Well, that too had to be a shortcut he said.
Ok, as you wish! so I whipped out a ready mix pack of Gulab Jamun and made them as per the instructions on the pack. No, I won't put up a recipe for the little effort that went into making this delectable sweet, just the pic to show how well they turned out, but yes, one of these days, I am going to make gulab jamuns from scratch and proudly post them here!

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Indian 'Burger' !! Garma garam batata wada !!!

When my friend S said she wanted to eat Batata Wada... the popular Mumbai street food snack.. I was more than happy to make it! I was loathe to make it for myself (the guilt is overwhelming!).
Having spent all my teenage years and a large part of my BSchool days 'surviving' on Wada Pav and cutting chai... I miss eating this item and that too on the streets!
Almost every street in Mumbai has a 'thela'(cart) which sells wada-pav. But there are some vendors who are particularly famous! I remember particularly one which is very famous, one the way from Mumbai to Pune, via train, there is a station Karjat, which has 'the best' wada pav ! That was one reason why I liked travelling to Pune in a train (which is otherwise accessible by road and a faster route!) ! The other I particularly recall is during my first year at college, my friends and I had travelled to an area in Mumbai, Lalbagh, where there was a guy who called himself 'Graduate Wada pav walla'... when there was a dearth of jobs, he decided to sell wadapav to make his living and was he GOOD at it!
Going back to B School days.... my best friend and I would sit for hours in the college canteen and our breakfast, lunch & tea would be the wada pav and cutting chai served by Mama (the canteen owner). We were like permanent fixtures there and after a few days there was no need to go and place an order... upon sighting us, he would automatically call for 'garam wada ani cutting' aahhhh.. how I miss those days!

For the Wadas you need:

4 Boiled Potatoes
1 tbsp. Oil for tempering
1/2 spn. Mustard seeds
4 Green chilies chopped ( +/ - according to individual taste)
A few curry leaves
1/2 spn. Turmeric
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2/ spn. ginger grated
Salte to taste
1-2 spns. finely chopped Cilantro
ForCovering :
2 Pinch Turmeric
1/2 spn. red chilly pwd.
Salt (only so much that the covering does not taste bland)
1/4 spn baking soda
water to make a batter

Mash the boiled potatoes.. or chop them..your wish.
In a kadhai, heat oil, add mustard seeds,after they sputter, add green chilies and curry leaves, ginger-garlic, turmeric. Saute a while. Add mashed potatoes, salt. Add chopped cilantro.

To make the batter for covering, mix all ingredients listed above. Mix well to ensure that there are no lumps. Careful with the water, the batter mustn't be too runny nor too thick. Like pancake batter.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Make balls of the potato vege. Dip the ball in the batter and deep fry in oil till it turns a nice golden brown. Drain on a tissue.
Serve hot with garlic chutney, fries green chilly and Pav.

*P.S : try drinking hot tea with this... woohaahhhaaaaa.... :D

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mast Dosa.. learning from my Blogger Friends!!

I like to give M some variety in his lunch box..... so I prowled around for recipes that were easy and quick to make. And where else can I find a large variety than my Blogger Friends!! So after looking at a few quick recipes (which I have bookmarked to make later) I finally settled for Masti Dosa from Shilpa's Blog.

I made the dosa as per her recipe ( so if you want to make it, click on the link above for the ingredients), the only tweaking I did was, I spread MTR Chutney powder on the inside of the dosa, and for some, I made masala (potato vege. typically filled in a masala dosa).

This Dosa was a hit! It is very easy to make, and turns out very crispy. I was not very happy with the Chutney powder I got, but somehow it tasted real good spread inside this dosa! Next time I will make green (cilantro) chutney and see how that tastes!!
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sabudana Wada (and Mango smoothie)

What tastes good on a winter afternoon? (Ok, so it is not 'so ' cold here)... but late afternoons can turn real cosy if you have a plate of hot sabudana wadas and friends to share them with!
Typically eaten when fasting, this snack is otherwise also widely popular.But then, most deep fried snacks are! Practically everything tastes good when deep fried! It's just the calories that one thinks of ... later (or atleast in my case)!!!

Lately, I and my friends have formed this habit of ganging up at one apartment and spending time .. talking... gossiping, exchanging views about our whimsical partners!.. it starts with one topic and goes in all possible directions till one common topic, snacks , unites us again.
Now, my dear friend S, mentioned one afternoon how much she liked Sabudana Wada... and ofcourse I wanted to make some for her... this snack being my fav too. So yesterday afternoon I made wadas... This one is for you, S!!

Once again I have approximates... 'nazar ka andaaz'.... no fixed measurements... I made around 15 wadas (patty sized)

Sabudana / Sago soaked overnight*(water level about 1 centimeter above the sago)
Powdered roasted Peanuts
1 Large Boiled Potato
Salt to taste
Sugar (about 1 1/2 spn.)
1/2 spn. Jeera / Cumin seeds
2-3 finely chopped green chilies ( more or less to your taste)
Chopped cilantro
Oil for deep frying

*soaking the sago overnight ensures that it is completely soft and also not sticky. other option is to soak it for a good 5 + hrs.

Mash the boiled potato. Mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the yogurt.
Make a homogenous mixture and form medium sized patties.
Heat oil in a kadhai. Deep fry the wadas till golden brown on a Med- High flame, this makes them very crisp. Drain on tissue before serving.
Beat the yogurt lightly, add a couple of pinches of salt and sugar, mix well. sprinkle a pinch of cumin powder on top and serve with sabudana wadas.

I made Mango Smoothie to go with the Wadas.... I had a can of mango pulp handy)

For 1 glass :
1/4 glass Mango pulp (or 1 mango diced if you have the fruit)
2 spoons PlainYogurt
Sugar (optional)

Blend all the above and serve chilled.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Gajar ka Halwa !!

What is it that first comes to your mind when you think of gajar ka halwa? Sweet? Calorie rich? Wonderful dessert? YUmmmmmm.... ? Can do with another helping! ?
What comes to my mind is a scene from a long ago movie.. I cannot recollect the name ... however, it went like this, the hero (yesteryear actor Biswajeet) comes home after a long time, after his return and ' Maa ki aakon mein khushi ke aansu'(tears of joy in the Mother's eyes) she tells him to go freshen up as she has made gajar ka halwa for the special ocassion, and he says, " Ma, tumhe kaise pata, mujhe gajar ka halwa pasand hai?"(Mom, how do you know I like gajar ka halwa?) Hello.... she is your Mother, she raised you remember!! Anyway, this sweet has long been the favourite of all heros in movies... and is vastly popular among the rest (the normal guy, who has never fought off a gang of 20 villans single handedly, has never had a bevy of beatuies swarming around him, who does not sing songs in the rain, running around trees...)..the calorie conscious female lead takes a back seat here, but hey, I'm far from that, which means I can i-n-d-u-l-g-e in this sweet!
More importantly, the carrots were lying in the fridge for a week now, and I would catch it if M laid his eyes on them lying untouched ! So I finally rolled my sleeves in the afternoon and got down to grating the carrots .. quite a workout I tell you !
Now, grating carrots can become such a task - after the first 2 carrots, that I don't know how many I used (seemed like 100's!) I even contempleted putting them thru the blender, but then rejected the idea thinking that it may not look and taste as good....
So roughly I took

2 1/2 katori (cup) grated carrots
3 tbsp ghee
2 katori milk
1/2 katori sugar (take a couple of tbsp. off the top)
A few strands saffron
Nuts to garnish
Cardamom powder

In a heavy bottom pan, heat the ghee, add the grated carrot and cook till tender. If u feel the carrot is sticking to the bottom, add a bit of water. Once the carrot is tender, add in the milk, stir well and cook on a med-high flame. Stir ocassionally otherwise the halwa gets stuck to the bottom and burns. Have patience... slowly the milk will thicken, add the saffron ( I just popped it in the milk). Once the mix looks solid enough, add the sugar. Mix it well and cook.
Once done, add the cardamom powder and garnish with nuts.

* Adding milk and cooking the carrot in it makes the halwa a bit sludgy, but tastes very nice. If you prefer the dryish kind of halwa, khoya needs to be used.

This is my entry for 'Festive food fair' event at Anna's morsels and musings .

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