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Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to All!!!




Vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha
nirvighnam kurume deva sarva karyeshu sarvada

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!! May Lord Ganesh save us from all evils and be our guiding light forever !

Today's special is the Chuda Ghasa- Dalma combo, a popular breakfast option in Odisha. Its popularity can be gauged by the fact that it has even got still more localized versions like Chuda Kadamba-Dalma (Chandanpur) and Chuda Ghasa-Buta Dalma (Puri).


















Check the given links for the recipes -

Chuda Ghasa
Dalma 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Puran-Poli ( Ganesh Chaturthi special )

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi !!!

This is the last of the 'Ganesh Chaturthi special' series. Puran-poli is perhaps the most popular neivaidyan (offering) on Ganesh Chaturthi alongside the 'Modak' which is primarily consumed in Maharashtra. I was a little scared to attempt it at first but the valuable inputs that I got from my Andhra neighbours helped me get it right at one go.

Read on for the recipe -





Preparation Time - 1 hour plus

Ingredients -

For the puran (filling) -


  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 1 cup powdered jaggery
  • 2 green cardamoms (powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee


For the poli -


  • 3 cups all purpose flour or wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • salt to taste
  • water for kneading


Others -


  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Ghee for frying the puran poli



Preparation - Wash and soak the chana dal for 3-4 hours. Transfer to a pressure cooker along with 1 1/2 cups water and cook for 7-8 whistles.

Keep aside to allow steam to escape. Strain the dal and allow it to stand in the strainer for 1 hour or till all the water drains off.

Take the flour in a mixing bowl. Add salt and ghee. Mix in. Then add sufficient water to make a smooth yet firm dough. Rub a little ghee over the dough and cover it. Keep aside for 1 hour.

Cooking - Heat ghee in a pan. Add the cardamom powder and nutmeg powder.

Add the cooked chana dal after 10 seconds. One can add the powdered jaggery at the same time or at a later stage.Mix everything together and cook for 6-7 minutes or till you find that the mixture is turning powdery. Remove from flame and keep aside to cool down.














Transfer the cooled mixture to a mixie jar and buzz for a few seconds. It will become like a smooth dough.
Remove from the mixer jar and keep aside. Divide it into lemon sized balls.

Similarly, divide the dough into balls which are 25-30 percent larger than the chana dal balls. Lightly roll out each ball into a small circle. Place the puran ball at the center and close it by bringing the ends of the dough together.









Dust more flour on the working surface and roll out the puran-poli ball  into a thin circle.

Heat a tawa and sprinkle a little ghee. Place the puran-poli on it . Cook on one side till small brown spots begin to appear. Flip it over and cook it on the other side as well.






Once done on both sides, rub a little ghee over it. Remove from the tawa and keep aside.

Repeat the same process for the remaining dough and puran.

Serve hot/warm with milk (or even some ghee).


Note - Excuse me for the badly taken pics. Will change them as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gajar Alu Suva Bhaji

A simple stir fry with carrots, potatoes and suva greens, this one is loaded with nutrients and quite easy to prepare too!! The sweetness of the carrots and potatoes go beautifully with the sweet smelling herb. I have used the herb to flavour this stir-fry rather than as a core ingredient.

This recipe goes well with rotis and parathas. It is a good option for a 'lunch box/dabba' wala subzi as it is dry and can be made in a jiffy. Leave out the potato if you find it too starchy or if suffering from high blood sugar.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -



  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3-4 tbsp suva/dill leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 dry red chilis
  • 2 pinch cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 pinch coriander powder
  • a pinch of cumn powder
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste



Preparation - Wash and cook the potato and carrots for 1-2 whistles. Remove and keep aside till steam escapes. Remove their outer skin/peel. Cut into cubes.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok . Add  broken red chili and cumin seeds. Allow the seeds to splutter.

Add chopped onion and fry till translucent. Add all the powdered masalas along with the suva leaves and fry for 1-2 mins.

Add the boiled carrot and potato. Toss everything together. Remove from the flame.

Serve hot/warm with rotis/paratha.

Mooli ka Parantha ( Radish Paratha )

This North Indian specialty hardly needs an introduction. Flavorsome mooli paranthas accompanied with an achar are mostly consumed in the winter months.

While most folks usually cook the grated mooli with a whole lot of masalas before using it as a filling, I prefer to incorporate it directly into the dough. It is healthier and definitely lower in calories. Adding a little yogurt in this case also helps to mellow down the pungency of the radish (but do remember to squeeze out all the water before you add yogurt else the dough will turn soggy). Read on for the easy recipe -





Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup grated mooli (radish)
  • a fistful od finely shredded radish leaves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hung curd
  • 1/3 tsp chili powder (or finely chopped green chilis)
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • a pinch of roasted cumin powder
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • ghee/oil for cooking the paranthas



Preparation - Add salt to the grated radish and keep aside for 30 mins. Then squeeze out all the water from the radish.

Take in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except for the ghee. Mix everything into a dough. If it happens to be too sticky/wet , dust some more flour.

Divide the dough into 4-5 portions and shape each into a thick disc.

Dust a working surface with flour and roll out the disc into a thick circle.

Cooking - Heat a pan/tawa. Put the rolled out circle on it.

Wait for 20-30 seconds before flipping it over. Drizzle ghee from the sides and press down lightly with a spatula. Flip it over once again and add some more ghee on the sides.

Cook on both sides on a medium flame till small brown spots appear. Remove from pan/tawa and keep aside.

Repeat for the remaining discs.

Serve hot with pickle.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Uppu Undrallu ( Ganesh Chaturthi Special )

Another popular offering on Ganesh Chaturthi is the Uppu undrallu or salted and steamed rice balls. Spiced with some cumin (jeera) and black pepper, these are easy to make and quite healthy too. They are very popular in Andhra and one can find lot many versions/variations over the net (some sweet ones too )!!!

Read on for the easy recipe -






Preparation Time - 20 mins ( plus 10 mins standby )

Ingredients -


  • 1 cup jeera rice 
  • 2 tbsp chana dal
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 7-8 peppercorns (coarsely ground)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ghee


Preparation - Wash the rice and soak for 5 mins. Drain off the water and spread on a cloth to dry.

Once it has dried, grind into a coarse paste.

Wash and allow the chana dal to soak for 2-3 hours.

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a wok. Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter.

Add 2 cups of water to the wok along with the soaked chana dal. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil.

Add the rice flour and cook on medium heat till it forms a dough like mass. This takes about 5-6 mins.

Keep aside to cool it is bearable to touch. Pinch small portions out of the dough and roll into balls.

Steam the balls for 7-8 mins in a idli cooker.

Serve warm.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Sarson da Saag ( Mustard Greens)

Punjabi food conjures up images of sweet succulent chicken pieces dumped in a sea of red. Or even fiery char-grilled chicken legs/thighs oozing/dripping fat. For the vegetarians, it would be luscious Paneer pieces simmering in a creamy gravy accompanied by Tandoori Rotis dripping butter. Not to forget the smooth as velvet Dal Makhani. While these restaurant style recipes have a hell lot of mass appeal, the recipes that I hold close to my heart are the ones closer to home and hearth. Recipes that a loving mother/aunt or even a grandmother would have prepared by investing hours ( and patience ) to get it to the right texture and consistency. These are recipes that have the proverbial 'miiti ki kushboo' associated with them.

Today I am sharing one such recipe which is very close to my heart. The 'Sarson da saag' which never fails to transport me to the lush yellow-green mustard fields of Punjab. Doesn't it remind you of  DDLJ and SRK-Kajol singing 'Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam'. That song remains a favorite till date. Read on for the very earthy recipe -






Preparation Time - 25-30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 bunch mustard leaves
  • 1 bunch spinach (palak) leaves
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 medium onion
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilis
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • extra butter for final garnish



Preparation - Wash and clean the greens by immersing them in warm salt water for 1-2 hours. Drain the water and replace with fresh water. Repeat 2-3 times. This will remove all the insects, mud and sand.

Chop up the greens into small pieces. Peel and dice one of the onions. Roughly chop up the tomato ginger and garlic flakes. Transfer everything to a pressure cooker along with 1/4 cup water. Add turmeric and salt to taste.

Finely chop up the remaining onion.

Cooking - Cook for 3-4 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.

Use a hand blender to grind the cooked greens into a coarse paste.

Heat the ghee in a wok. Add the broken chilis and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to pop, add the chopped onions. Fry till they start to brown at the edges.

Add the coarse paste and bring to a boil. Then turn down flame and simmer for 3-4 mins before removing from the flame.

Serve hot with makki ki roti or just normal rotis.


















Note - One can also add some methi/fenugreek greens to this recipe. It adds a different flavour and makes it still healthier. 

Sweet Appams

With Ganesh Chaturthi around the corner, cleaning the house in in full swing. Replacing/washing the sofa covers/curtains/bed-sheets, dusting, removing the cow-webs, throwing out/giving away the old clothes/toys and cleaning out my pantry is what I plan do achieve by Wednesday. That would give me ample time to make the sweets/delicacies for the big day, i.e., 29th August (friday). People from Odisha do not celebrate the Gowri-Ganesh puju that is being observed on Thursday by folks from down South.

Unlike Maharashtra and some of the other states where it is a ten day long festival, Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Odisha is a comparatively low key affair. Mandaps/Pandals of varying sizes come up in most schools, colleges, offices and market places. The most common prasad distributed at such Pandals is the 'Chuda Ghasa' and 'Khaee ukhuda' ( scroll down to the bottom of this post for more recipes ). In western Odisha, the harvest festival of 'Nua khai' is observed on the following day. It also heralds the beginning of the festive season in  Odisha. It is closely followed by festivals like Vishwakarma Puja, Dwitibahana Osa, Durgashtami, Kumar Purnima/Lakshmi Puja and Diwali/Kali Puja, and the holy Odia months of Karthik and Margasira.

Sweet appams happen to be one of the important offerings/Neivaidyam made to Lord Ganesh in Southern India. While it is traditionally made from rice flour, I have made these with store bought batter. Saves time and the taste is also preferred by toddlers/kids. Read on for the easy recipe -


















Preparation Time - 10-15 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 cup idli/dosa batter (should be thick)
  • 1 tbsp wheat flour
  • 1 ripe banana (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 pinch cardamom powder
  • 1/3 cup jaggery powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • oil/ghee for deep frying



Preparation - Take all the ingredients (except for oil/ghee) in a mixing bowl. Blend into a uniform mixture using a hand blender. Allow to stand aside for 20 mins.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil. Take 4-5 teaspoons at a time. Deep fry on both sides to a light brown. ( Alternately cook in a nonstick appam pan or even a tawa. It tastes as good and absorbs much less oil )

Remove from wok and keep aside to drain on a paper towel.

Repeat for the remaining batter.

Serve hot/warm.


















Note - If you wish to make the appams with rice flour, use about 1 cup water for about 1 1/3 cups of rice flour.

Other popular Ganesh Chaturthi recipes -

Chuda Ghasa
Chuda Kadamba (avalakki laddoo)
Paal Undrallu ( Attakali )
Modak (Manda pitha)
Pal Payasam
Channa Sundal