Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Daal Puri for MLLA- 51

Puran poli was a delicacy. It was prepared or ordered only for special occasions like, Ganpati / Diwali. If you  had told me that there is a savory puran poli, say 5-7 years ago, I'd have laughed in your face and reached out for one more soft, sweet puran poli.
If you would have hinted that I would make one, one day, I'd have snorted in disbelief and continued eating.

That was until blogging  opened up so many options for me.

I first came across this version when I read dear Cynthia's post. I knew I *had * to make it.  She also has this awesome slideshow which is perfect for those who are intimidated by the process.
The only Dal-puri I knew of was  this.I do not deep fry much, it is an addiction I try to steer clear of! 
And therefore, this 'paratha' version is  the solution. This, dear readers, is the savory puran poli! 

This dal-roti/puri was introduced in the Mauritius and Caribbean by Bihari immigrants and now is very popular. It is , I believe a popular street food option.

Dal-puri can be eaten as is or served with a vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry. I enjoy mine as is and warm! 

The real dal puri is thin. I have yet to master the thin version, the rest is under control. That maybe because my filling is not smooth enough and I do like to over stuff  my parathas. But I can tell you this much, they are soft and melt in your mouth quality. 

Adapted from: Here 

You need:

For the Filling: ( read notes for changes made)

2/3 cup Chana Daal ( dried yellow peas)

1/2 tsp ground Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne powder or to taste
1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Salt or to taste.

For the Dough:

1 2/3 cup All purpose flour

3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
approx 2/3 cup lukewarm Water
2 tsp oil

To make the dough, sift the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl, add the sugar, water and oil  and knead into a soft dough. Cover and set aside for anywhere between 30 mins to 3 hours.

Wash the peas in 3-4 changes of water ( until the water runs clear).

The author has a stove top cooking method detailed, however, I rarely if ever use that, I pressure cook my peas.

I bought one like this out of sheer desperation after my 'desi' cooker started giving me trouble. I haven't quite figured the perfect timings, but I guess I let the peas cook for about 15 mins.  you might argue that stove top method will take about the same time, maybe it will, but I like to let them cook unsupervised. 

The peas must be cooked but firm, this is very important

Once cooked, drain the peas in a colander and allow to cool. The drained water can be used in daal, curries or soup.

Place the cooled peas and spices in a food processor and pulse until very fine.

Stir in 2 t. oil and set aside.

To make dal puri, re-knead the dough for a minute or so before starting to roll.

Heat a skillet on medium high.

Take a small portion of the dough and roll into a disk.

Spoon the filling on to the disk and carefully pull up the sides and seal well to make a 'ball'. 

Dust with flour and applying gentle pressure, roll into a flat bread.

Gently but deftly lift and transfer the flat bread onto the hot skillet.

Drizzle a few drops of oil along the edges.

Cook the flat bread/ puri on both sides but take care not to brown the puri. 

Brown spots will make the daal puri hard. 

Serve warm, with or without a curry.


- The spices mentioned above make a very mild stuffing. I use a bit more to suit my taste buds. 

- I use Badshah Rajwadi Garam Masala

- Some versions of daal -puri use garlic and fresh red chilies.

- Whole wheat flour can be substituted for all purpose flour, however, I have never tried it and cannot vouch for the success.

-If you have  food chopper / mixie- chutney attachment, use that instead of food processor, it makes the filling very fine and easier to roll. I have a large food processor (14 cup) and the filling is not so much!

- Do not cook till brown spots appear on the daal-puri, that makes it hard and not enjoyable. 

Sending this as my (late)  entry to MLLA-51, hosted by Jaya of DesisoccerMom fame and the event started by The well-Seasoned Cook.

On a different note, my image on  the Dal-puri post ( RCI-Bihar) has been copied and used here, of course without permission. Not that the picture s great, but it is my work. I wish people would stop doing this. I have complained, hope some action will be taken. 

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Kid approved Vegetable Cutlet

Saturdays were special. I had half day school. oh! it was a curse getting up early in the first place. 
You have to understand, my regular school timings (Mon-Fri) were 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays, 7:45 am-12:30 pm. so you can guess how annoying it was to wake up very early.
But early dismissal meant at least one good thing, going to meet Mommy! 
My Mother worked for the RBI. They had half day working on Saturdays too!
Sometimes I'd go to meet her at her office and then we would go shopping, Crawford market, Fashion street, Khau Galli were some of our stops. 
Our meeting spot was always the same. V.T Station ( now called CST Station), platform number 1, wait by the weighing scale ( *near* the scale, not on it, that would be embarrassing! ). 
I would come home from school, dump my bag, fling off my shoes, hastily change in to a 'good' outfit, grab money that was kept for me in a purse and race off to the station to get my 'return' ticket. 
I'd walk past the book stall on the station and glance at the 'headlines' on Mid-Day, look at all the glossies with glamorous film stars staring haughtily at me in their garish make up, which at that time (late 80-90's ) looked fine! and decide between 'Chandamama' or 'Tinkle' comic book, buy it with the spare money and settle down to read it before the train came. 

When I reached V.T station ( the last stop) I'd get down and dutifully wait next to the weighing scale. My Mom would hurry in at the appointed time and we would happily start our afternoon. Many a times, I'd just rush from home, without eating anything and in those cases, I'd be hungry as a hunter! I would make a beeline for a small booth that sold greasy food packaged by Railway Canteen. I always picked the cutlet. Teardrop shaped and brown colored. I liked these cutlets. Packed with a slice of bread, nestled on a small paper plate. I wonder if they still sell these cutlets... 

It's been about 2 decades  that I have not tasted those cutlets or stood next to the weighing scale in anticipation of an afternoon of fun and shopping, but those memories linger and today, I was inspired by those cutlets, tasted so many, many years ago.

My version is  Panko coated and pan fried and has vegetables peeking out here and there, unlike the deep brown deep fried version at the Railway snack booth. but I believe mine is healthier.

You need:

3 medium Potatoes  (I used the white skinned ones)
1/2 cup green Peas ( frozen)
~ 8 Baby Carrots, grated
1/2 cup Corn ( frozen)
2 Green chilies ( adjust to suit your tolerance)
1/4 cup Cilantro
1/2 tsp - 3/4 tsp Jeera / Cumin seeds
1 inch Fresh Ginger
2 cloves Garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Amchur powder (optional)
2-3 hefty pinches Garam Masala ( I used Badshah Rajwadi Garam Masala)
2 slices Bread (stale works best)
Panko Bread Crumbs to coat
Oil to shallow fry

Boil/pressure cook the potatoes. Cool, peel and mash.

In a mixie (chutney jar) or chopper, pulse the green chilies, ginger, garlic, cumin.

Pulse the bread slices, if using, and make them into crumbs. Add it to the mashed potato

Grate the carrot and place in a microwave safe glass bowl, add 2 Tbsp. water and microwave for approx. 2 mins to soften the carrot. 

Add the green peas, corn kernel and carrot (ensure that you drain any water left over after microwaving) to the potato and bread mash and mix well. 

Heat oil in a wok, add the pulsed green chilies, cumin, ginger & garlic and saute for 30 seconds (the garlic should not smell raw).

Add the potato- vegetable medley and mix well to distribute the spices.

Season with salt and amchoor ( dry mango) powder.

Sprinkle in the garam masala. Mix everything evenly and cook until the mixture is dry-ish. That is  there is no moisture in the mix.

Last, add the chopped cilantro. mix well and set aside to cool.

In a shallow plate, add the panko crumbs.

Set a pan/ cast iron skillet on on the stove ( medium heat)

Scoop a part of the mixture and shape it into a tear drop or round shape (whatever ou like, go on, shape them like hearts! ) 

Coat with Panko crumbs.  Spray or drizzle some oil on the skillet and gently place the patty on the hot skillet

Repeat the procedure for remaining patties. 

Do not over crowd the skillet when shallow frying the patties.

After a couple of minutes, flip the patties and cook on the other side. When cutlets are golden brown on both sides, remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with ketchup or cilantro chutney 

My little one enjoyed these and made me the happiest Mommy on earth! Point to note, he is fussy and would not eat if he could spy vegetables, but he polished off this cutlet! 


You can substitute with vegetables of your choice,for ex: cauliflower, beans, cabbage 

If you like, add a tbsp of chopped mint leaves along with the cilantro. 

I have used white skinned potatoes, these mash easily and are a tad sticky and therefore I added a couple of slices of bread. If you use red potatoes or russet, you may not need the slices, use your judgement.

Slap the cutlet between  hamburger buns, add chutney, lettuce leaves, tomato and cucumber slices, cheese slice and your Vege. burger is ready! 

If you do not have panko bread crumbs, use fine rava/ semolina instead.

These freeze well. 
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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tari dar Aloo Kofta

The best thing about potatoes, you will agree with me, is that they are so 'adaptive'. much like your typical Indian 'bahu' (daughter-in-law) as portrayed in many Bollywood movies. 
But deep fry them taters in hot oil and they are transformed, they take on a glamorous avatar and dazzle you, think from a versatile Meena Kumari  to a sizzling 'item' like Katrina. 

The thing is, potato ( in it's deep fried glory) dunked in any sauce, was un-thinkable, where I was concerned.
Here's why.. many, many years ago, somewhere in a restaurant in Mumbai, I walked past many tables to go to an empty one on a busy day (as always, in Mumbai). of course, I  glanced, casually, here and there.. not intentionally, you have to understand, but  the eyes flicked casually over passing tables and I saw a sight, that shocked me and a memory, to this day that confuses me. A man sat at a table enjoying, batata wada in (gulp!) sambar.

I was clear in my mind about one thing, Batata wada= Mumbai, Sambar= Madrasi ( no offense, but 25 or so years ago, anything South Indian was Madrasi, even though my roots lie in Karnataka, it was Madrasi). Mixing this wada or indeed any kind of potato dumpling with that sambar, ayyo! 
I never dunked my batata wada in anything other than the fiery red garlic chutney ( and occasionally in green cilantro  chutney and a tamarind-jaggery chutney) they serve on a piece of old news paper at any road side. I cannot imagine anyone doing anything else. I am rigid on that count. 

And then I find this recipe, that changes my perspective ( and no, still not going to dunk my batata wada in sambar, but about a dumpling in a sauce).

If you think these are batata vadas, you are mistaken and if you say they are koftas, I'll just say, " smart, you read the post title". I just went on and on about the batata wada to confuse you ;), that and the fact that I have a batata wada fixation.

Not that these dumplings are any less addictive.
The curry base is also fantastic, compliments the  koftas very well. 

Source:660 curries 

For the dumplings:
1 pound Russet/ Yukon gold potatoes 
1/2 cup firmly packed Cilantro 
4-5 fresh green Chilies
6 medium sized cloves, Garlic
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 cup Chickpea / besan flour sifted
1/4 tsp  Turmeric powder
Oil for deep frying

For the sauce base:
2 Tbsp Ghee (or oil) 
1 medium red Onion, roughly chopped
2 ( inch long x 1 inch wide) pieces of Ginger, chopped
1/2 cup Raw Cashew nuts
1/4 cup Golden Raisins
1 (15 oz) can Tomato Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped, to garnish

Pressure cook the potatoes, peel and mash. (the author has a different procedure, he suggests, peel and cube potatoes and cook them on the stove top until tender, mash. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water) 

In a mixie (chutney attachment /jar) or food processor, pulse the cilantro, chilies and garlic. 
Mix this in the mashed potatoes, add 1 tsp salt and garam masala.. Mix thoroughly. form small vadas /dumplings/ patties

Combine turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and chickpea flour in a bowl. add warm water to make a thick batter ( like for pancakes)

Heat oil in a kadhai / wok. Line a plate with paper towels. Once the oil is hot (350 F) take a patty, dip it in the  batter and gently slide it in the hot oil ( deep fry up to 4 patties at a time) and fry them to a beautiful  yellowish brown color. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat for the rest of the patties.

Make the sauce:
Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium high. 
Add onions, ginger, cashew and raisins and stir fry till the onion turns light brown around the edges, the nuts are brown in places and  raisins, plump.
Pour in the tomato sauce and scrape the bottom of the pan releasing any browned bits of onion . 
Reduce the heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion has softened.
Transfer the sauce to a blender  and puree. 
Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and add the reserved cup of 'potato water' . 
If you have pressure cooked the potatoes, there won't be any starchy water, add regular tap water.
Add salt and stir. Gently heat the sauce.

Lower the koftas in the sauce and  cover them with the sauce.
Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not stir or the koftas will fall apart.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

660 curries is the Chowhound Cookbok of the month ! Check out what others are cooking and read all about their experiences with the delightful recipes in this fantastic cookbook!

A few weeks ago, I got a very pleasant surprise, from a very close friend. She and I  talk over the phone, e-mail and discuss anything and everything!
Like many friendships in blogworld, ours is also a virtual friendship. We have never met.. yet it feels like we have known each other for ever so long. M-one day after he saw I was glued to the phone for a long time, talking, laughing- he wondered out loud, which of my Indian friends was up so early ( at dawn) to talk SO energetically with me, that too about food and kids. All I can say is, his face was a picture when he heard I was talking to a person I have never met, except thru our logs! hehehehehe!
Coming back to my surprise parcel! The first thing I want to talk about is a packet of chivda. For those who read the blog and know me are aware that I *love* chivda.
I got the parcel just as we were heading out and without any ceremony we opened it in the car and started munching! What was left ( because both , M and I, were being polite by leaving the last spoonful or two for the other) is the only proof I have of this tasty, finger licking good chivda!

This is the only picture I have of the left over chivda, which I was able to share  thru Instagram after a lot of fiddling ( I realized after this experience, that I have much to learn and retain where all this picture sharing etc. is concerned and more importantly, passwords to remember!) 
The other surprise was a a silicone mold ( sea shell shape), currently in the possession of the little one, who has taken a fancy to it ( but of course, Mommy needs it and therefore it is just has to be in his hands!). The mold was to make these awesome Lotion Bars
Ash has me hooked to making soap and lotion bars at home!She also sent me a sample bar and I knew I had to make them at home. It is easy and doable for a person , like me, who has no craft gene! I used the sea shell mold to make bars and I was lucky, I got a chance to send a few back home ( in India) for my Mother! Picture of these cute bars will be updated when I make my next batch (and rescue my mold which is currently used as a home for colorful erasers- It's just perfect, in S's words... yeah , yeah, sure! )

Thank you, Ash! I hope one day, we meet, in person and talk and eat and laugh, just like over the phone!  I am so glad I *met* you and really look forward to *really meeting* you and your family members! 
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