Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dudhi Muthiya

Tea time snacks are a big hit with me. I like having a little something to munch on with my cuppa. For as long as I remember, I have always dipped something in my tea.
Raise your hands of, as a  teenager or an adult you have downed an entire packet of Parle-G biscuits with your tea! I know I have.
For those who grew up in India ( and are in their late 20's 0r 30's) , they will identify with what I have to say.
As soon as 4 O'clock sets in ( and you do not have to look at the clock) most tea addicts will have what we call 'talab'( if I am not mistaken). As if on auto pilot, the lady or in some cases the man of the house will start making tea. While the tea brews,  the 'khau che dabbe' are pulled out and an assortment of biscuits ( or cookie as you might want to call them, I'll stick with biscuits), khari (made with  puff pastry ) or jeera butter (not butter- as in the spreadable one, this is different).
Dipping a biscuit or khari in tea and eating it was routine. 

My Mother and her siblings are all tea addicts! For them, it's tea-time, anytime! 'Chaha chalel' ( I don't mind a cup of tea) was a given when we visited each other. My Uncle would visit us late evenings, sometimes. He would come from Thane to Wadala on his motorbike and when he sat down and heaved a sigh, he would say, " Akki, chaha taak na!" (Akki/ Akka= elder sister, please make me a cuppa). After the refreshing cup of tea, he would take me for a big round on his bike much to my delight! 
My Aunts were no different! Nor am I.  
Often when I am at a friends home and she asks if I want tea, I rarely refuse and of course, if they are at mine, I will make ginger-tea.

Over the years, hot buttered toast, Marie biscuits and Parle G and many a times chivda have played kho-kho with each other. And now, we have a new contender. Muthiya! 

I had heard of Muthiya and seen packets in the frozen aisle, however, I never felt like picking one up, just to try.

Then one day, Sonali shared some with me and I loved it! I finished what she gave me and shamelessly asked for seconds.
Of course I asked for the recipe. And having tasted fresh Muthiya, I was not going for the frozen version. I wanted to make it at home.

I made these a couple of times, but they did not taste as good, something was not clicking. It did not taste as good as the one I had tasted at Sonali's. I was disappointed, thankfully I was not ready to give up.

I made very few changes and finally arrived at what worked for me. The result! Tasty Muthiya, as you can see.

You need: 

One Medium sized Bottle Gourd / Lauki/ Dudhi- peeled and grated (discard the spongy interior and seeds)
1 Cup Whole Wheat flour / Atta
1/2 Cup Besan /Chickpea Flour
1/4 Cup Rava/ Semolina ( coarse)
2-3 Green Chilies ( about 1 tsp) or less, if you prefer low heat
1 inch piece Ginger 
2 Tbs Sugar
3-4 Tbsp, Plain thick Yogurt ( start with 2-3 Tbs and go on adding the remaining as required)
Salt to taste
3-4 Tbs Oil
1 Tbs Baking Soda
2-3 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 tsp Turmeric / Haldi
1 tsp Red chili powder ( optional)

2 Tbs Oil
2 tsp Mustard seeds
Few Curry leaves - optional
2 tbs Sesame seeds ( I usually eyeball this ingredient. We like the crunch and so I am liberal in it's use)
Minced Cilantro to garnish.

Pulse the ginger and green chilies in the mixie and make a paste. Alternatively, use a mortar-pestle and pound it to a smooth paste. 

Slice off the top and bottom of the gourd. Peel the outer skin off. Grate the gourd/ lauki. Do Not  grate the spongy inside and the seeds. Set aside.

Mix the flours and semolina. Add the ginger-chilies paste and all the remaining ingredients (oil, sugar, yogurt, turmeric, lemon juice and red chili powder- if using) except the ENO fruit salt.
Squeeze the grated lauki /bottle gourd and add it to the above mix.

At this stage, set the steamer on the stove. Prep the steaming plate, grease with oil / cooking spray.  As the water comes to a boil,  add the baking soda to the mix above and bind in to a smooth dough. This will be sticky, scrape the dough off your hands, oil them if required and  knead it gently.

Make 4 equal sized portions and with oiled palms, make 'logs' of the dough and set them gently in the steamer. 
Cover and let them steam and cook for about 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool the logs and cut into rounds. I prefer making small bite size pieces (quartering every round). 

Heat 2 Tbs oil in a non-stick pan. Once the oil is hot ( not smoking) add the mustard seeds. As the seeds pop, add the sesame seeds and curry leaves. 

Add the Muthiya pieces and mix gently, coating the pieces with the seeds.

Let the Muthiya pieces sit in the pan for a minute or so until they have a golden brown color and a slight crunch on the outside.

Take off the heat and garnish with minced Cilantro and serve with a hot cup of tea.


- Muthiyas make an excellent snack on the go. They are filling and also a healthier option than chips! 

- Adjust the heat as per your liking.

- These can be frozen and eaten at a later date.

- They  have great shelf life and make a good 'picnic/ traveling' food option
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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Aloo Paratha with a hint of Fennel

"Aaarrgh! I'm not well. My stomach hurts, something terrible " I groaned. 
"Come out in 2 mins., it will stop hurting", my Father would say.
knock...knock...knock.... my Mother would rap on the bathroom door
I refused to open the door and kept groaning, loudly.
" It's 7:45, come on, hurry up!"
"Noooooo...aaaaa, ouch!"
This drama would continue for another 5-8 minutes, until it was 'safe'. 
Around 8:00 I'd step out and weakly totter to the bed and curl up with a comic book, fully aware that it was too late to be sent to school.

I went to a school which started at 11:00 a.m, except on Saturdays, when we had to reach school at 8:00 a.m.

I liked the part where I could wake up at 7:30 am, do a bit of left over homework, get ready and walk to school with my group of friends. 
Come Saturday, I would transform from a happy-go-lucky child to a whiner, clinging on to my sheets like my life depended on it and bleary eyed, droopy faced, petulant child. One whom, I am sure, the parents wanted to pick up and dunk in a pool of ice cold water or at least slap on the head with a sock full of wet sand.
I would whine, crawl and creep  in to the bathroom and refuse to come out. I would, every Saturday, complain of a severe stomach upset which would cripple me and refuse to budge until I was allowed to stay home. My parents had no choice, we lived in apartment (office quarters) and had just one bathroom.
Of course, I was not allowed to stay home every Saturday, but believe me, I got away with quite a few! But I always wonder how they put up with all that, especially when I compare it to how angelic my son is. 
With a proper school routine, things have sort of fallen into place. We wake up early, Little S wakes up without a fuss, which I must admit is very surprising for me. 

With this routine, lunch boxes also come into play and I have to make something that he likes. This does not mean he will eat it all, un-unn! A week down the line, he comes home with a half-eaten lunch box and saying that he does not have time enough to finish it.
2 breaks, lunch and snack and my boy does not get time to finish the small portions. Well! He'd have time if he ate more and talked less!

Last week, I made these Aloo Parathas, with a small twist. The thing about Aloo Parathas is, there are SO many versions! I make this version often and it has always been well received. This new variation is also approved by M, Little S and my friends too.
Why is this version different? It has a hint of fennel seed. That is what makes it different! 

2 large Russet Potatoes ( boil, peel and mash / grate)
2-3 Green Chilies
1 tsp Fennel seeds / Badishep
Ginger, a small knob (grated, 1 tsp or a little more)
Salt to taste
1- 1.25 tsp Cumin Powder
1-1.25 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1-2 tsp Lemon juice ( I used the ready to use and used about 2 big squirts- please adjust sourness to taste)
Salt, to taste
2 hefty pinches Kasuri Methi
2 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
Butter /Ghee
Dough for cover

For the Dough:
2  cups Whole Wheat flour ( Atta)
dash of salt
1- 1.5 tsp Bishop's weed /Ajwain

Make the dough. If using a food processor, add the dough, salt, ajwain to the bowl and set it on the 'dough' setting. Slowly add water thru the feed tube and make a soft and pliable dough.

If you are making a dough without a food processor, place the dough, salt and ajwain in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center, slowly add water and knead into a soft and supple dough ball.

Cover and set aside.

Make the stuffing.
Grind the green chilies, ginger root and fennel seeds with a pinch of salt to make a paste.
Add the paste to the mashed potatoes along with the rest of the spices mentioned above (up to cilantro) and mix well.
Taste and check for flavor and salt. Add  salt or spice if required.

Set the griddle on Medium- High and  prepare to make parathas.
there are two ways you can make these Parathas.

Method 1. Take a lemon sized ball of dough and roll it out into a 4 inch  flat-bread, add a heaping of the potato mixture ( roughly the same size as that of the dough).
Pull up the sides of the dough and close them around the potato mixture. Remove any excess dough on top and flatten it, like a patty. Dust with flour and roll out a flat bread about 6 inch in diameter.
Transfer this paratha to the hot griddle and shallow fry in ghee/ butter or oil until golden brown spots appear on both sides.
Do not skip the ghee/ butter or oil.

Method 2. - simpler, IHO.
Take 2 key lime sized balls of dough. dust with flour and roll out circles ( 4 inch diameter).
Dust with  bit of flour and take one circle, place potato mixture on it and spread it out, ever so gently,now place the second rolled out circle on top.
Seal the edges, firmly with your fingers and sprinkle some flour on top and roll the paratha, gently.This will ensure that the potato mixture spreads out evenly

Transfer to a hot griddle and shallow fry in ghee/ butter or oil.

Serve hot with pickles/ yogurt.


- I prefer the second method, though slightly labor intensive. This ensures that the outer cover is thin and the filling spreads evenly (this sometimes is a problem with method 1, I am left with just dough in the middle and the mixture spreads to the outer ends.)

- Method 2 is also useful when the potato mixture is very soft - this is seen when a particular variety is very soft and pasty ( ex. red potatoes)

- This is a very forgiving recipe, you need not measure the spices , you can eyeball- as long as it is a reasonable amount, and still get delicious results.

- Sneaky Mom tip: I add a pat of butter in the potato filling and then cover it up and roll it in t a paratha for my son. This keeps the paratha super soft - specially in lunch boxes, and adds to the taste.
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