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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Methi Sagaa Kharada (Stir fried Fenugreek leaves)

Methi or Fenugreek leaves are great for diabetics and people suffering from high cholesterol levels. Additionally, regular consumption of methi leaves also benefits skin and hair. These bitter but fragrant leaves can be a little overwhelming when consumed on its own. But they lend their aroma and taste when cooked in combination with other vegetables or even made into delicious methi parathas/rotis.

While the North Indian style preparations of methi call for use of garam masalas and tomatoes, people in Odisha prefer to savour its original taste. Usually only a little amount of a vegetable like aubergine or ridge gourd is combined with it and made into a stir fry. But I have added some potatoes as well to reduce the bitterness and make it palatable for my kid. Read on for the recipe -






Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -


2 cups fenugreek/methi leaves (cleaned and chopped into small pieces)
1 cup aubergine (chopped into medium sized cubes)
1 medium sized potato (boiled, peeled and cubed)
1 medium sized onion (chopped into thin long pieces)
1-2 dry red chillis
1/2 tsp panch phoran/pancha phutana
2-3 garlic cloves (crushed)
2-3 tsp oil
salt to taste
a pinch of turmeric


Cooking - Heat oil in the wok. Add broken red chillis and pancha phutana. When the seeds start spluttering, add the onions and garlic. Fry till translucent.

Add the methi leaves and fry on medium to high for 2-3 minutes.

Add the potato and aubergine cubes along with salt and turmeric. Cook covered while stirring at regular intervals.

Remove from the flame after 6-7 minutes or once the methi leaves and aubergine are cooked through.

Serve hot with rotis or rice.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gobi and Chenna Paratha

When the kids start school, one invariably runs out of options for the tiffin/lunchbox sooner or later. With time being a constraint and junk not a healthy option, a variety of parathas/upmas and sandwiches are the best alternatives available to working mothers. This is one such 'Paratha' that is filled with the goodness of cauliflower and chenna(panner). Best part is that it takes very less time to make and can also be made in the microwave (Just brush on some oil on the rolled out paratha and place it in the microwave for 2 mins) .

Read on for the easy recipe-






Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients -

  • Whole wheat flour ( 1 1/2 cups)
  • chenna ( 1/3 cup )
  • cauliflower florets (1/2 cup)
  • onion ( 1 small, chopped )
  • coriander leaves ( 1 tbs, chopped )
  • cumin powder ( 1/5 tsp )
  • red chilli powder ( 1/5 tsp )
  • salt to taste
  • oil/ghee ( 2 tsp )
  • warm ghee ( 1/2 tsp ).


Preparation - Boil water in a saucepan. Add salt and a little turmeric. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 3-4 mins. Drain and transfer to a bowl containing cold water. Allow to stand for 2 -3 mins. Darin excess water. Buzz in a hand blender/food processor for 1 minute along with the chenna to get a coarse mix.

Take the flour in a plate. Rub in the warm ghee.

Add the chopped onion, chenna, cauliflower paste, cumin powder, red chilli powder, coriander and salt. Mix well. Add water little by little to get a stiff dough as the chenna and cauliflower also have quite a bit of moisture. Cover with moist cloth and keep aside for 15 mins.

Make 4-5 balls out of the dough. Roll out the balls into parathas/circles.

Cooking- Heat a tawa. Put one paratha and cook on one side for 1 minute. Flip and add oil/ghee. Cook on both sides till done.

Repeat for the other parathas as well.



















Note - Skip the chenna or replace with some grated silken tofu for a vegan version.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Paan Kulfi

A must try for all those who love their 'Meetha Paan', this one is a sheer delight for the senses. Read on for the recipe -







Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -



  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup khoya
  • 5-6 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Gulkand
  • 1/3 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1 big betel leaf (sweet/mild variety)
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour + 2 tbsp cold milk (optional)


Preparation - Grind the betel leaf and fennel seeds with a little milk. Do not make a very fine paste.

Dissolve the cornflour in cold milk and keep aside.

Cooking - Bring the milk to boil in a thick bottomed saucepan. Dissolve the sugar in it.

Add the khoya and condensed milk. Keep stirring till khoya completely dissolves.

Check if the milk has thickened sufficiently. If not add the cornflour slurry. Stir continuously on a medium flame till the mixture has thickened. Switch off the burner.

Add the gulkand and the betel leaf-fennel mixture into it. Mix well.

Strain the mixture to remove any coarse particles. (Though this is optional, I wanted this kulfi to have a melt-in-the-mouth texture)

Allow to cool down and them pour into kulfi molds.

Screw on the tops and then put in the fridge for 6-7 hours.

Remove from the fridge and dip in water. Now rub the mold between your palms and take off the lid. Turn it over a plate and tap gently to remove the kulfi fom the mold. (If it is not coming out, use a sharp object to ease it out)

Serve immediately.




Note: Immerse the molds in water before pouring in the kulfi. This will help to remove it easily.

Lobiya Usal (Black Eyed Beans curry)

Have been experimenting with 'Lobiya'/'Chawli' or Black eyed beans in recent times. This Maharashtrian Usal recipe was one of them which proved to be a big hit with the family. Had it with some bread (did not have pav in stock).

Read on for the recipe:


















Preparation Time - 40 mins

Ingredients-

1 cup black eyed beans
1 medium + 1 small sized onion
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)
1/3 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 tsp coriander seeds
1 medium sized tomato
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Use more if you like, it is a spicy curry)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 Kashmiri red chilli
3 tsp oil
salt to taste


Preparation - Wash and soak the black eyed beans overnight.

Cut the medium sized onion into thin long pieces. Roughly chop the small one.

Cooking - Transfer the beans to a pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cups water with salt and turmeric. Cook for 2 whistles on high and then on a medium flame for 5-6 mins.

Allow steam to escape before opening lid. Check if the beans are soft and can be easily crushed between the thumb and forefinger. If not, cook for another whistle.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok. Add the broken red chilli followed by the roughly chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Fry on medium flame for 3 minutes. Add coriander and fennel seeds. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add the coconut and fry till it turns brown. Remove and keep aside to cool. Grind into a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add the onion pieces and fry till light  brown. Add the masala paste and fry for 3-4 mins.

Add the chopped tomato along with the masala powders and salt. Cook till the tomato is mushy.

Add the boiled beans along with 1 1/2 cup water. Cook with lid covered for 7-8 mins. If it is still watery, cook uncovered on high flame for 2 minutes to get desired consistency.

Serve hot with a dash of lime and some coriander leaves. (I served it with toasted bread.)



















Note - I used only about 1 tsp of fresh coconut but since it is a Maharashtrian dish the coconut is an integral part of it. It adds another dimension ( somewhat like sweetness but not exactly ) to this recipe. With more coconut and more onions in the masala paste, the gravy also tends to be richer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roasted Rice Kheer (Bhaja Chaula Khiri)

On my last trip to Odisha, I had prepared Kheer which turned out to be a hit. But when one of the guests who sampled it asked me whether I had roasted the rice before making the dish, I was stumped. So I called up my Mom and asked if she knew the recipe for 'Bhaja Chaula kheeri'. Turned out that she was aware of it even though she never made it that way. Not much different from my usual method, this just required roasting the rice for a few minutes before adding it to the milk. But it gives a different taste and the rice grains remain a bit more chewy/firm in this version. (Check out the other version : Here)

Have used khoya and condensed milk to reduce cooking time. But you can actually use reduced milk or best cook the rice grains with milk till it reduces to about 1/4 th of the original. Read on for the recipe:





Preparation Time - 45-50 mins

Ingredients -

1/2 liter milk
1/3 cup soaked rice ( i used Jeera rice but you can also use Basmati)
3/4 cup khoya
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp sugar ( I prefer medium sweet, but you can add a little more )
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup raisins
1-2 whole cardamoms
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp ghee

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the crushed cardamoms and soaked rice. Stir fry for 5-6 minutes.

Add the sugar and stir at intervals. Allow it to just start caramelizing (check pic below) so that we get a lovely buff colored kheer.

















Add 1/3 cup water, half of the milk and cashews to the cooker. Close lid and cook for 3-4 whistles. Remove from flame.

Open the lid as soon as the steam escapes. Use a heavy spoon to whisk the contents and try to break down the rice grains( Else use a good quality hand blender for this step). We need to do this when the mixture is very hot so be careful not to splash any liquid onto ones hands.

Add the remaining milk to the pressure cooker along with 1/4 cup water. Close lid and cook for another 2-3 whistles. Remove from flame.

Allow steam to escape. Open the lid and put it back on the flame.

Add the crumbled khoya ( i used store bought one), condensed milk, raisins and cardamom. Stir continuously till the khoya dissolves and mixture reaches desired thickness. (Took 7-8 mins for me)

Switch off the flame.


















Note - Instead of using the khoya and condensed milk, one can prepare this kheer with about 2 litres of whole milk. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Andhra Style Mango Dal (Mamidikaya Pappu)

Another recipe which has been lying in the draft for very long time. This tangy and easy to do mango dal is an Andhra recipe that I got from a teammate a few years back. Perfect comfort food with hot white rice and some fries/papad. Read on -







Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

1 cup toor dal
1 small green mango (peeled and chopped)
1 small onion ( cut into medium sized pieces)
2-3 cloves garlic (crushed lightly)
1/2 inch ginger (cut into juliennes)
1-2 green chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

For tempering -

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 red chillis
1 sprig curry leaves
2 pinch asafoetida
1 1/2 tsp oil
coriander leaves for garnishing (optional).

Cooking - Wash and transfer the dal into a pressure cooker. Add about 2 1/4 cups water along with the remaining ingredients (except those for tempering).

Close lid and cook for 2-3 whistles. Allow steam to escape before opening lid. Mash lightly with a heavy spoon.

Heat the oil in a wok/tadka pan. Add the mustard seeds and red chillis. When it starts spluttering, add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Once the leaves wilt /turn brown, pour the mixture over the contents of the pressure cooker. Stir in.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.



















Note - Excuse the badly clicked pics. Will provide a replacement at the earliest.

Banana and walnut muffins

Made these easy muffins last week with a couple of over-ripe bananas. Came out very soft,dense and moist. Read on for the recipe-



















Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -

  • All purpose flour ( 3/4 cup)
  • Butter ( 1/2 cup )
  • Demerara sugar ( 1/2 cup, powdered )
  • Ripe bananas ( 2 nos, small ones )
  • Egg ( 1 no)
  • Chopped raisins ( 10-14 nos)
  • Chopped walnuts ( 5-6 nos )
  • Baking powder ( 1/2 level tsp )
  • Vanilla essence ( 3-4 drops)


Preparation - Break the egg into a bowl. Beat for 2-3 minutes. Add the demerara sugar and vanilla essence. Beat till light and fluffy.

Sift in the flour and baking powder little by little. Gently fold in (do it in one direction only).

Peel and take the bananas in a separate mixing bowl. Mash them very well.

Add the butter to the mixing bowl containing banana. Mix well.

Add banana-butter mixture to the flour batter. Fold in gently, moving in a unidirectional manner. Stir in the nuts and raisins, keeping aside a few to sprinkle on top.

Grease a non-stick muffin tray. Pour into the molds till 2/3 full. Sprinkle chopped raisins on top.

Cooking - Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Put the tray inside and turn down heat to 160 degrees after 5 minutes. Bake for another 10-15 mins ( since these muffins contain fruit, they take longer to bake and are a little more dense in texture ).

Insert a toothpick at the center of muffin and check if it comes out clean. Else bake for another 2-3 mins.

Remove from oven and keep on a cooling rack. Overturn the tray to remove the muffins while still warm (easy to come out).

Serve immediately or store in a airtight container for 1-2 days when completely cool.

As they tend to spoil early, hence better to have them on the same day or the next day at the most.
.



















Note - Roll the raisins/nuts in a little all-purpose flour before sprinkling on top. This prevents them from sinking into the muffins