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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sabudana Vada (Baked)

Sabudana wada is a very famous and tasty food that people all over India eat during fasts. Sabudana(sago), mixed with potatoes, roasted peanuts, and spices and deep fried until the outer layer is crispy and served hot. I don't know of anyone yet, who doesn't like sabudana wada.
Since I can't stop eating sabudana wada, and since it is fried, I decided to try to make it a little healthier way...bake it!!!, so that I don't feel bad eating a whole bunch of wadas. Surprisingly, baked wadas don't taste bad at all. In fact, the they taste as good as the fried ones(minus the oily taste).

Here is the recipe for sabudana wada

1/2 Cup Sabudana (Sago)
2 Medium Potatoes
1/2 Cup Peanuts
Salt to taste
3-4 Green Chilies, Finely Chopped
1 Teaspoon Ginger, Finely Chopped
2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Sugar(Optional)
1/4 Cup Ara lot or Rice flour

Method: Wash the sabudana and sock in a wide bottom container with just enough water to cover them. Soak for atleast 3 hours.
Pressure cook the potatoes for 5-6 whistles. Let them cool, then mash them.
Dry roast the peanuts on slow flame for 10-15 minutes. Grind into coarse powder.
Combine the soaked sabudana, mashed potatoes, coarsely ground peanuts, salt, chills  ginger, lemon and sugar.  Mix well without mashing sabudana. Taste the mixture for salt or chili pepper. Add more if needed. Make ping pong sized balls and lightly press them to flatten them. Flattening will help cook (bake) the wadas uniformly.
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread the ara lot of rice flour on a plate. Lightly coat both sides of wadas with the flour. The coating will help make them crispy on the outside.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Place the wadas on the tray. Spray the top side of the wadas with the cooking spray.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the underside of the wadas turn golden brown. Flip sides and bake again until the other side turns golden brown. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 5-7 more minutes. This will help get the wadas cook from inside too. Take out and serve hot with green chutney or sweet and sour chutney, or both.

Note: If you don't want to bake the wadas, then deep fry on medium flame until both sides have turned golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pani Puri or Gol Gappa

My 50th Post!!!!

Since it is my 50th post, I thought I would post about a dish that I really love, and can have anytime anywhere :)

Pani Puri or Gol Gappa is a very famous chaat eaten all over India. Crispy hollow semolina balls (puri), filled with potato and mung mixture, sweet and tangy dates and tamarind chutney, hot ragda mixture (you get this in Bombay) and very spicy chilled water…its just ummmm!!!! This is my most favorite chaat.

Sometimes its hard to find the puris here in the US, so I have given recipe for the puris too. But if you do get at the India stores near you, just buy the ready made puris; this will save a lot of cooking time.

Here are the ingredients:

Puri(s): This will make about 35-40
1/2 Cup Very Fine Semolina (Very Fine Rava)
1/8th Cup Whole Wheat Flour
Salt to taste

Stuffing:
2 Medium Potatoes, boiled and cut into small pieces
1/4th Cup Mung beans, Soaked Overnight
(Optional):1/4th Cup Dried White Peas (ragda ka chana), Soaked Overnight
Chat masala to taste
Salt to taste
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric powder

Khajur Imli Chutney (Sweet and Sour Chutney): Click here for the recipe.

Pani (Spicy Water):
1 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves (Phudina)
3-4 Green Chilies (or to taste)
1/4th Teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
1 Teaspoon Black Salt/Rock Salt (Sanchad/Sindhav Namak)
6 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
¼ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/8th Teaspoon Asafoetida
1/8th Cup Cilantro, Optional
1/4th Cup salted Bundi, (an Indian Snack), Optional-For Garnishing
6 Cups Water

Method:

Pani (Spicy Water): I am giving the method of making pani first because; pani is usually made a day in advance. This way the flavors will blend overnight, and give it a unique tangy-spicy taste. Combine all the ingredients except the water. Grind to a very fine and smooth paste. Add some water while grinding if needed. Strain this paste with the help of a muslin cloth. Add 6 cups water to the strained paste. Now tie the muslin cloth so that the leftover mixture doesn’t come out. Drop the cloth in the water. Stir once and taste for salt or lemon. Add more salt or lemon juice if needed (per your taste).

Don't add any chili unless you don't taste any chili at all. The water will get chili flavor overnight while the muslin cloth is dipped in the water.

If you don't have a muslin cloth, you can skip the straining step and add 6 cups of water directly to the paste. Let it sit overnight. The next day, strain it with fine mesh (tea strainer) before serving. If you have bundi, add it to the water a few minutes before serving.

For Puris:
Combine the two flours and salt together. Add a little water at a time and need dough out of it. Cover with a bowl or a wet cloth and let it sit for 25-30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, heat oil in a deep frying pan, kneed the flour once more, and roll into 1 to 1-1/2inch (max) thin rounds. Alternatively, you can roll a big 6-7 inch round and cut small rounds out of it with the help of a small lid of a narrow mouth jar (this saves some time). Make sure that the lid is no more than 1-1/2inch in diameter, as it will make big puris, which will be hard to put in your mouth without breaking:).

It is a little tricky to get set the oil temperature to get each puris perfectly puffed up. With my trials and errors, I have found that I can set my stove temperature at 4, with 1 being simmer and 10 being high, I get very well puffed (and not burnt) puris in each batch.

This is how I fry my puris: In the beginning, I set the oil temperature to High (10), once the oil temperature has reached (6-7 minutes); I turn it down to medium-low (4). Wait for 4-5 minutes, and then add one puri. As soon as it comes up, very lightly press with the frying spoon to get it puffed up. Once the puri has puffed up, turn it to the other side immediately, and add another puri. Fry on both sides to get golden brown color. Remove from the tava and let it drain on an absorbent paper. I fry 5-6 puris in one batch. You can change the quantity depending on the size of your frying pan (tava).

Some people fry all the puris at once, and cover them with a wet cloth. From my experience, I have found that its better to fry fresh puris (to get them puffed up) rather then rolling it all at once and covering them with wet cloth, but you can try either method. If you want to roll all the puris at once, and then make sure you cover them with wet cloth, and not let them dry out. If you want to roll fresh puris, then roll 8-10 at a time and put them in the hot oil. While they are frying you can roll the next batch.

The puris can be made in advance. For storing it, let it cool down completely and store in an airtight container. It should last atleast for 2-3 months.

The picture above shows my homemade puris:)

For the Stuffing:
Drain the mung beans and save water. Heat a tava (pan); add 1 teaspoon oil (optional). Once the oil/tava is hot, add the mung beans, salt, 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder and very little water. Turn the flame to low and cook covered. Keep checking the water, and as little at a time when needed. We want the mungs to be cooked in such a way that each grain should be separate at the end, so low temperature is necessary for cooking. Don’t make it soggy by adding a lot of water at once.

If you want to make the ragda, then while the mungs are getting cooked, pressure cook the white peas with salt and 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder in 1 cup water. Also, put 4-5 dates (for chutney) in a separate dish in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.

If you don’t want to make the ragda, then just boil the dates in enough water instead of pressure cooking. When the peas are cooked, take out, add some water if its too dry and cook for 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.

In the boiled and cut potatoes, add salt and chaat masala to taste; mix well and set aside.

Serving:

I don’t think I need to explain any Indian about the serving method, but for those of you who don’t know, here is how to eat Pani Puri. Carefully tap/crack the thin layer side of the puri to make a hole in this layer. Stuff a few pieces of potatoes and about 1/2 teaspoon mung through this hole. Add 1/2 teaspoon hot ragda mixture. Then add the sweet chutney per your taste. Now dip the puri in the pani (spicy water) OR add some pani to the puri and put the whole puri in your mouth!!! :) Enjoy.

Note: Adjust the amount of stuffing in puri per your taste.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dudhi Chana Ni Daal nu Shaak


This is one of my favorite Gujarati dishes. I don’t like dudhi (bottle gourd), but when it is cooked along with chana daal, I think anyone can eat it:)

Here is what you will need to make this curry:

½ Cup Chana daal (soaked in water atleast for 3 hours)
1 Small Tender Dudhi/bottle gourd (apprx 500 gms), peeled and cut into medium size pieces
1 Cup Water
Salt to Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Gud/Jaggery (Optional)
1-1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder, or to taste
1-1/2 Teaspoon Dhaniya Jeera Powder
½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garam Masala (Optional)
2 Teaspoon Oil
¼ Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
¼ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
A Pinch Asafoetida

Method:
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackling, add the jeera seeds. When the jeera seeds stop crackling, add the asafoetida. Cook for half a minute, then add the cut dudhi and cover immediately and cook for a minute. Now add salt, stir and cook covered for 2 minutes. Now add ½ cup water and the jaggery. Turn the heat to medium and cook covered until the dudhi is almost done (about 7-10 minutes). Keep stirring occasionally. Add water if needed. Once the dudhi is almost done, add the soaked and drained chana dal. Add more water if needed and cook covered until the daal is almost done. Now add the chili powder, turmeric powder, dhaniya-jeera powder, and garam masala if using, and mix well. Turn the heat to low, and cook covered until the dal is done. Make sure that the daals don’t break in the whole process of making this subzi.

Serve hot with roti or paratha.

Note/Tip: I drain the daal before I start making the subzi and save the water. I use this water to make the subzi.



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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Capsicum and Potato Subzi (Shimla Mirch aur Aloo ki Subzi)

It feels like a capsicum week at my house. I made a stuffed capsicum curry a few days ago. Then on Tuesday some guests were going to come over, and I had to find options for a Jain subzi, so I made Jain Capsicum and Paneer subzi. A few capsicums were left unused on Tuesday, so I made a capsicum potato subzi. I am not going to cook anything with capsicum for sure for the next few weeks.:). I used Green and Red Capsicums (bell peppers) for the Jain Paneer and Capsicum Subzi. I don’t have any picture for the Jain Paneer Capsicum subzi, but let me tell you, it looked as good as it tasted:)
Anyways here is the recipe for the Capsicum and Aloo ki Subzi.

Ingredients: (Makes for 2-3 People)
2 Big Capsicums (I used Green, but any color should work).
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds (Til)
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1 Teaspoon Oil
½ Teaspoon Asafoetida (hing), Optional
Salt to Taste
2 Teaspoon Tomato Ketchup (I used Heinz)
1/4th Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (or to taste)
1 Teaspoon Coriander and Cumin Powder (Dhaniya Jeera Powder)
1/4th Water (We will use as little as we can)

Method:

Remove seeds from the peppers, and cut the peppers and potatoes in medium size pieces. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, reduce the flame and add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the sesame seeds. Cook for a minute on slow flame, and then add the peppers, ketchup and some salt. Stir and mix well so that the peppers are well coated with the oil and ketchup. Turn the flame to medium. Cover with a lid to cook the peppers with steam. Stir occasionally making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. After 5 minutes or so, when you can see the peppers have started to cook, add the potatoes and mix well. Turn the flame to medium high, add a little water if potatoes start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook stirring occasionally. When the potatoes are almost done, add all the garam masala, turmeric powder, chili powder, and dhaniya jeera powder. Turn the flame to low, add some water if need, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. This will help blend the spices well with the peppers and potatoes, while they are almost cooked. When you see that all the masala has well coated the capsicums and potatoes, remove from the flame. Serve with paratha, roti or naan.

PS: If you are like me, who likes spicy and dry curries, you will definitely like this dish. Enjoy!!

I did it again....I forgot to take a picture of the subzi. I will upload a picture next time I make this subzi:)
Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Jain Paneer Capsicum Curry

I had invited some of my friends for dinner at our house, for whom, I had to prepare Jain food. (No onion, garlic, carrot, ginger, potatoes...basically no root vegetables). So I decided to cook a Paneer dish, with different colored bell peppers in it. I used Red and Green peppers to give the dish some color. Though I didn’t use onion, garlic or ginger, or (my favorite) potatoes, the curry turned out pretty good.

Here is the recipe for a Jain Paneer Capsicum Subzi

Ingredients:
3 Medium Sized Green Bell Peppers
2 Medium Sized Red Bell Peppers
½ kg Paneer Cut in Medium Size Cubes
1/4th Teaspoon Cardamom Powder (or 6-7 Cardamom Seeds)
1 Bay Leaf
1” Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Cloves
½ Cup Cashews
5 Medium Tomatoes
Water as needed
Salt per Taste
2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Powder (or per taste)
2 Teaspoon Coriander Cumin Powder (Dhaniya Jeera Powder)
½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder (Dried Mango Powder), Optional
1/4th Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder, Optional
2 Teaspoon Ghee/Butter (or Oil)

Method:

Put the tomatoes and cashews together in blender, and grind to a smooth paste. Heat Ghee/butter or oil in a pan. Add the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then add the tomato-cashew puree, salt, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Cook half covered on low-medium flame. Stir occasionally to make sure that the cashew paste doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

While the gravy is cooking, cut the capsicums (bell peppers), in thin -1 inch long slices and add to the curry. Add some water to get the curry of your desired consistency. Add more salt if needed, and cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers are almost cooked. Don’t forget to stir after every few minutes to uniformly cook the peppers.

While the peppers are getting cooked, heat some ghee/oil in a pan and add the paneer cubes to the pan. Cook on low flame until the cubes are coated until the paneer has turned golden brown on the outside. Be careful with paneer, as it has a tendency to stick to the pan if it is not stirred frequently. Once the paneer pieces have turned golden brown, remove them from the heat.

Now check the gravy. If the peppers are almost cooked then add the paneer pieces to the curry. Now add all the dry spices such as pepper powder, garam masala, amchur powder, turmeric powder, and coriander cumin powder. Stir and mix well. Cook covered on low flame for 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and serve hot with roti, naan, paratha or rice.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the dish, but you can imagine it was colorful with green and red peppers, and golden brown paneer pieces. Oh ya, and it was very tasty. Wish I had a picture to put up here.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stuffed Capsicum (bell pepper)Curry

I went to a lot of Diwali dinners this year, with different sets of friends, and in some local community dinner. At one of the dinners, we had a stuffed vegetable curry, which was awsome. They used three vegetables such as cucumber, tomato and capsicum, which were sutffed with spicy potato stuffing. Since then I wanted to try making it at home. I personally didn't like stuffed cucumber and tomatoes, so I made my version only with stuffed capsicums.

Here is what I used to make the subzi:

3 Small Capsicums (Bell Pepper, any color should work, I used Green).
Salt to taste
Water
½ teaspoon Butter or Ghee

Stuffing
2 medium Potatoes
Salt to taste
½ Cup Mixed Vegetable (Corn Kernels, Peas, Carrots)
1/8th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
4 Green Chilies (finely chopped)
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala (or less per your taste preference)
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder
½ Teaspoon Jeera
1 Teaspoon Oil
½ Medium size Onion (Finely Chopped)

Gravy
2 Teaspoon Oil
1 Small or 1/2 Medium size Onion
3 Medium Tomatoes
1/4th Cup Cashews
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Cloves
½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Powder
2 Teaspoon Dhaniya Jeera Powder
1/8th Teaspoon Cardamom Powder, or 5-7 Cardamom Seeds
1/8th Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder (optional)
1/2 Cup Water or More as Required

Before making the subzi, I should let you know that this is a very filling dish. If you are using small or medium sized capsicum, count one per person. If you are using big capsicums, count ½ capsicum per person.

Method:
Pressure cook the potatoes for 5-6 whistles and let it cool. Meanwhile, wash and clean the capsicums. Carefully cut the stem and remove seeds. Do not throw away the tops; instead remove the stem and chop the tops into small pieces. We will use them in our curry.

Fill a deep bowl with water, add some salt, add the capsicums and boil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the capsicum skin becomes a little soft. Do not over boil the capsicum. It should retain its shape after boiling. Take off the heat, remove from water. Drain all the water that might have entered the hollow portion and keep aside.

Stuffing: Now mash the potatoes and keep aside. Heat some oil in a kadai (pan), add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the chopped onion and some salt. Cook until the onion turns translucent. Then add the frozen veggies, garam masala, and turmeric powder. Cook for 5-6 minutes then add to the potato mixture. Now add the amchur powder and chopped green chilies and mix well.

Carefully stuff the capsicums with the potato stuffing making sure not to break it.

Heat a non stick pan on low flame. Melt some butter and cook the capsicum rotating the sides, until all sides are cooked to golden brown color.


Now for the Gravy:

Grind the onion and cashews to a smooth paste. Now separately grind the tomatoes to a smooth paste.

Heat some oil in a kadai. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook for a minute. Now add the onion and cashew paste and cook on low flame until the paste looses its pink color and starts turning slightly brown. Now add the pureed tomatoes, salt, garam masala, dhaniya jeera powder, red pepper powder, and turmeric powder. Add water to get the consistency of your preference. Cover with a splatter (mesh) and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional). The gravy is ready.

There are two ways you can serve this subzi.

1. Add the cooked capsicum to the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with roti, naan or paratha.

2. (My preference). Put a stuffed pepper in the center of a dish. Pour the gravy over it and serve hot with roti, naan or paratha.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dabeli or Doube Roti


Dabeli is a Kutchhi dish. It is made by placing spicy potato mixture in the center of a "pav", which is similar to dinner rolls or burger buns sold here in the US. The potato mixture is garnished with spicy peanuts, pomegranate kernels, grapes, chopped coriander leaves, chopped onion, shredded carrot, and sometimes shredded beetroot. (Atleast that’s what I have seen in Bombay, I am not sure if just like everything else this is a Bambaiya version of the traditional Dabeli).

Dabeli is also called double roti in Bombay. I think Dabeli might be the second popular fast food sold after vada pav in Bombay. If you get a chance to go to Bombay, you should definitely try Dabeli there.

Usually at home Dabeli is made by using a special masala called Dabeli masala, which is available in grocery stores in India. I haven't had any luck finding any Dabeli masala at any desi stores here in the U.S.

This weekend I decided to make Dabeli, but wasn’t sure if the masala I had at home would be enough, so I made my own Dabeli masala. I won’t lie, the home made Dabeli masala doesn’t taste exactly like the store bought ones, but still gets pretty close.

Dabeli and Vada pav remind me of my college days, when I used to eat street food quiet often. I haven’t been to India for past 3-1/2 years, which makes me think more and more of all the wonderful street food you get there:). I can’t wait to go to India this December and eat as much street food as I can:). But till then, all I can do is think of all the bambaiya food and enjoy it by making it at home:)


Here is the recipe for making Dabeli Masala at home
3 Teaspoon Fennel seeds
4 Teaspoon Cumin (Jeera)
1-1/2 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds (dry Dhaniya)
4 Bay Leaves
1 Clove
3 Pepper Corns
7-8 Dried Red Chilis
A 2” long Cinnamon Stick
1/8th Teaspoon Ginger Powder
½ Teaspoon Turmeric
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder
4 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Star Anise
Seeds from one Black Cardamom (kali Elaichi)

Note: I didn’t have black cardamom and star anise at home, so I skipped these two ingredients.

Method:: Dry Roast all the above ingredients at low flame except the ginger powder, amchur powder, turmeric powder, and sugar. Let it cool for a few minutes. Then combine the remaining ingredients and grind to a fine powder. Add more sugar/salt if needed.

For making the Potato Mixer you will need:
4 medium Sized Potatoes
Salt to Taste
Kernels Separated from a Pomegranate
1/8th Cup Shredded Carrots
1/8th Cup Shredded
1/4th Cup Grapes (Halved)
1/8th Cup Finley Chopped Coriander Leaves

Now For the Spicy Peanuts:
1 Cup Peanuts
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (or more per your taste preference)
Salt to Taste
1/4th Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Oil

Method for Making Spicy Peanuts:

Dry roast the peanuts on slow flame until it turns crunchy. (I heat the oven to 175 degrees F and roast them for 15-20 minutes). Let it cool. Then rub them between your hands to remove as much peanut skin as you can. Add all the ingredients required to make spicy peanuts. Mix and keep aside.

Garlic Chutney and Khajur Imli Ki Chutney:

Click here for the Garlic and Khajur Imli ki Chutney (sweet and sour chutney) recipe.

To assemble a Dabeli, you will also need “laadi pav” or dinner rolls/French rolls/burger bun. I use French rolls and cut in half to make two Dabelis out of bread.

Method for making Potato Mixture

Pressure cook the potatoes until done (5-6 whistles). Cool, then peel and mesh. Add salt to taste and blend well. Heat 2 Teaspoon oil in a kadai, when hot; add 2-1/2 teaspoons of Dabeli Masala. Cook for a minute, and then add the mashed potatoes. Stir and cook for2-3 minutes. Add some more masala if needed. Take off of the heat. Add half of the pomegranate kernels, spicy peanuts, and chopped onion and mix well. Spread the mixture on a wide but deep plate. Now spread the shredded carrots, shredded beets, coriander leaves, halved grapes, some pomegranate kernels, and some peanuts over the mixture.

Method for Making Dabeli:

If you are using French rolls, cut them in half (lengthwise) such that you can make two Dabelis out of one roll. Make a slit in the middle of the bread keeping the bottom 1/4th part intact. Now apply the garlic chutney and khajur imli ki chutney per taste. (I don’t apply khajur imli ki chutney on mine, because my Dabeli wala [in Kandivali:)] never applied mithi [sweet] chutney on Dabeli). Then place a big spoonful of potato mixture in the center of the bread. Now add some pomegranate kernels, some spicy peanut and some onion. Make 4-5 Dabelis at a time, so that they can all be cooked together. Heat a griddle, and melt some butter on it. Now place the stuffed breads on the griddle and cook at low-medium flame. Apply some more butter on the upper surface of the breads and carefully flip to cook both sides evenly. Cook until both sides are crunchy and golden brown in color. Serve Hot.!!!


Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mysore Masala Dosa

I have been looking for a recipe for Mysore masala dosa (Bombay Style), which is very different than the original mysore masala dosa. It is spicy and the stuffing (potato curry) is almost beet red in color. I still haven't found a recipe for that, so I just decided to make the regular Mysore masala dosa that you get here in restaurants.

Here are the ingredients for crispy dosa.

Dosa Batter
3 Cups long grain rice (basmati rice should not be used for making dosas)
1 Cup Urad Dal
2 Tablespoon Chana Daal (Optional, this makes dosa light golden, just like the ones in restaurants)
1/2 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
Water
Salt to taste

Potato Curry
3 Medium Potatoes
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
Salt to taste
3 Green Chilies, Slit
1/4 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
2 Teaspoon Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds

Red Chutney:
1/2 Teaspoon Chana Dal
1/2 Teaspoon Urad Dal
6-7 Dried Red Chilies
Salt to taste
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder

Method for Dosa Batter
Clean and wash the rice and daal seperately. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad daal. Add chana daal to the rice. Soak in enough water for atleast for 6-7 hours. The water level should be at least 2-3 inches above the rice and dal level. After soaking, drain and keep the water aside. Transfer the daal to a mixer grinder jar. Grind into a smooth paste on slow speed. You can add the soaked water while grinding if needed, but make sure to use as little as you can. Transfer the ground daal to a container. Now grind the rice to a smooth paste at slow speed. Make sure to maintain slow speed. I grind for 20-30 seconds max each time and then scrape the batter off the jar wall and grind again for 20-30 seconds I follow these steps so that my batter never heats up. The consistency of the batter should be such that a spoon dipped in the batter comes out thickly coated.
Batter


Let the batter ferment for 10-12 hours. For cold climates, you can turn on the oven to 170 degrees F for five minutes. Switch off the oven and put the batter covered with a lid in the oven overnight.

Or

If you don't want to turn on the oven for just 5 minutes, then just keep the batter in the oven and turn on the light. Keep the light on all night.
Batter After Fermantation

Method for Potato Curry
Pressure cook the potatoes, cool and cut into very small pieces. Heat some oil in a kadai. Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the slit green chilies and finley chopped onion, turmeric powder and some salt. Cook until the onion starts turning transparent.  Then add the potatoes. Mix and stir well. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then take off the heat. The potato curry is ready.

Method for Red Chutney:
Dry roast the daals on low flame for about 7 to 10 minutes. Let it cool aside. Peel the garlic and cut into big pieces. Now combine the daals, garlic, red chilies, salt and cumin powder together and grind into a fine paste using very little water.

Method for making dosas:
Add salt to the batter and mix well. Also, add a little water to the batter if the batter has thickened is no longer of pouring consistency.
Heat a griddle/non stick pan. Pour a teaspoon oil in the center of the pan. Then pour a ladle-full of the batter and spread it around in circular motion with the help of the ladle.

Cook for a minute, or until the top surface of the batter starts drying out. Carefully spread the red chutney on the dosa.

Now spread the potato in the center portion of the dosa.

Cook for another minute or until the sides of the dosa start peeling away from the griddle. Fold the sides over the potato curry and take off of the griddle.

The griddle's temperature needs to be brought down to make and spread another dosa. To do this, sprinkle some cold water over the griddle, and immediate wipe it off with a clean paper towel. Then spread a teaspoon of oil on the griddle and repeat the procedure for making dosas. Spreading some oil on the griddle before pouring the batter makes dosas more crispier. Serve the hot and crispy dosas immediately after taking off of the heat. Serve with coconut chutney and/or Sambhar.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Savory Oatmeal Pancakes or Oatmeal Dosa

I don't like milk and I don't like oatmeal. So having oatmeal with milk as breakfast in the morning is not an option for me:). I have tried a few different ways to cook oatmeal, one of the better way was making dosa out of it. Trust me it tastes good.

Here are the ingredients for making oatmeal dosa (pudla) or panckake

1 Cup quick cooking rolled oats (not the instant variety you get for breakfast)
1/4 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup Suji (rawa)
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon chili ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala or amchur powder (dried mango powder)
1/8th teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup water

Method:

Heat a non stick pan. Dry roast the oatmeal on low-medium heat until it looses its white color and starts turning pink/golden brown. Keep stirring while roasting the oatmeal. When you are done roasting, let it cool, then grind to a coarse powder.

Dry roasting the oatmeal will get rid of its sticky texture.

Combine  the oatmeal powder with all the above ingredients to make thick batter(pancake batter consistency). Add more water if needed. Keep aside for atleast an hour before making dosa.
Heat a griddle or a non stick pan. Pour, and spread a ladlefull of batter, and cook until the bottom side is golden brown. Flip over and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with catchup or green chutney. Please note that the dosa/pudla made with oatmeal flour will not be as thin and crispy as normal dosas.

Ps: I will upload a picture as soon as I take one:)

Enjoy.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Diwali


Happy Diwali to Everyone


I have been very busy with dance practices for my performance on the 25th of this month. Also, I had organized a fund raising event for (antakshari) for Association for India's Development (AID) so haven't had chance to update this blog at all. I had also been thinking of making rangoli for diwali (as usually do), but didn't find any time for that either:(


Finally, today I found some time, so I did a rangoli in a jiffy. I didn't even have enough colors, but I knew that if I waited for me to go to the store and get the colors some other day, I wouldn't finish my rangoli before diwali, so I just used whatever I had on hands to have a rangoli done one time for the Diwali.


For the chiroti (white color), I have used suji, since I didn't have white color at all.


I see some improvement in my rangoli compared to what I had done last year. Hopefully next year I will see some improvement.


Here is the picture of my this year's Rangoli.





and here it is from last year's.




I have a lot more things to write about such as my plants, some new recipes that I have tried, some diwali sweets etc. I will try to update this blog as soon as I can.


Hope you all have a happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rasiya Muthiya (Rice Dumplings in Gravy)

Ever wondered what to do with left over rice? Usually I make "Vagharelo bhat" or "Fodni Rice" with any leftover rice I might have, but today I just remembered that my mom used to make Rasiya muthiya, (which I really liked ) when we were in India. I hadn't had it for the past 10 or so years, and ofcourse I had never made it, but I still wanted to give it a try. So today I made rasiya muthiya. It turned out pretty good.

The muthiyas are made with rice, besan (Gram flour), and some spices. The "raso" or gravy is made with buttermilk (chhash), and spices.

Here is the recipe for making rasiya muthiya
Muthiya (Dumplings):
1 Cup leftover rice
1/2 Cup Besan (Gram flour)
1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

Gravy or "Raso"
3 Cups buttermilk, or "Chhash" (1 cup yogurt & 2 Cups water...mixed well)
1/8th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (optional)
1/8th Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
Salt to taste (Remember that the muthiyas have salt too)
1/4 Teaspoon Ginger (Grated)
Tempering
1 Teaspoon Oil
1/4th Teaspoon Musterd Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2-3 Curry Leaves
1 Slit Green Chili
1/8th Teaspoon Asafoetida

Method
Mash the rice and combine all the ingrdients needed for muthiya. Make small dumplings as shown in the picture below and keep aside.. You should not require any water to form the dough for the muthiya. Just in case you think that the dough is too dry, first of all make sure that the rice is mashed well, and if needed add 1-2 Teaspoon water and make the dumplings.

In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackling  reduce the flame and add the cumin seeds, slit green chili, ginger and curry leaves.
Cook for about a minute, then turn the flame to medium high. Add the buttermilk, salt, chili powder, and (optional) turmeric powder. Partly cover and bring it to a boil. Then add the dumplings one by one, while stirring slowly.
Cook for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Chhole


Yesterday, I made chhole chana based on Sanjeev Kapoor’s Recipe. It turned out pretty good. I did make some changes to suit my taste, but the majority ingredients/measurements are still the same.
To make thick gravy, the recipe calls out for grinding some onions and tomatoes along with some coriander leaves, and mashing a few chana. The recipe is very much recommended
Here is what you will need.
1 Cup Chole Chana (Garbanzo beans)
2 Medium onions (I used yellow, because that’s what had at home)
2 medium or 3 small Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
½ Teaspoon Ginger Paste or grated
1-1/2 Tbsp Coriander leaves (Cilantro)
½ inch stick of cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon black pepper powder (or per taste)
1 Teaspoon Red Chili powder (or to taste)-
Salt to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder (optional)
Juice of a ½ lemon
1 Dipping tea bag or 1 Tbsp of loose tea leaves
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp Ghee/butter or Oil
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 green chili, split
2 Cloves
1/4th teaspoon Garam Masala (I used Badshah Rajwadi garam masala)
1/4th teaspoon asafoetida

Method:
Wash chana (garbanzo beans) and add 3 cups of water. Soak overnight or atleast for 7 hours. Drain and remove most of the water keeping about half a cup of water with the chana. Save the drained water for making gravy. If you are using loose tea laves, tie them in a muslin cloth, and add to the chana, otherwise add a tea bag, and then add the bay leaves. Pressure cook until done (for 5-6 whistles), and let it cool completely.
While the chana is getting ready, cut an onion and a tomato in big pieces and put them in a mixer grinder. Add 1 Tbsp of coriander leaves, add some of the drained water if required and grind into a thick paste.. Keep aside.
Finely chop the remaining onion and tomatoes. Heat ½ tbsp ghee in a pan, when hot, add the cumin seeds. When the seed start to splutter, add the onion, add some salt to speed up the cooking process. Add half the cinnamon stick and a clove. Cook uncovered at low-medium flame until the onion starts turning transparent. Now add the tomatoes, ginger and garlic. Continue cooking at low-medium flame, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, mash them in the cooking pan. (this is optional…I did this to get a consistent texture). Add the drained water to get the consistency of the gravy you want. ( I didn’t add any)
Add the ground onion tomato paste to the pan. Discard the tea bag or muslin cloth, mash 1 tbsp of the cooked chana and add to the pan. Now add the chili powder, salt, garam masala, black pepper powder and turmeric powder to the pan. Cook uncovered at medium high heat. I used a splatter proof net to cover the pan, to avoid any mess. Cook until the gravy starts to thicken and the oil starts separating on sides. Stir occasionally for uniform cooking.
Now add the chana and cook for 5-7 minutes and take off the heat.
Just before serving, heat the remaining ghee in a small pan. Add the remaining cinnamon stick, clove and the split green chili. Cook for 1-2 minutes at high heat. Take off the heat and immediately add asafoetida and the remaining chopped coriander leaves. Add to the chana. Add the lemon juice and serve hot with naan, paratha or rice.


 
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jugalbandi: Allium

A Friend of mine (Roossy), takes very good pictures, and submits them for various competetions. One of them is Jugalbandi.
Although my pictures are no way close to her's, this time I decided to take part in Jugalbandi's click event.


For this month, the theme is Allium. Here is my entry for the August Click event.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tri Color Vegetarian Lasagna

I don't like to eat Italian food at any restaurant, because I find it very bland. But I do cook it at home, so that I can adjust the amount of spices and make it the way I like it:)

I try to make lasagna as healthy as I can by adding as much vegetables, and spinach without sacrificing the taste.

Here is the recipe for making lasagna.

Ingredients:
12 Lasagna Strips
1 lb Spinach
2 teaspoon Red chili flakes (or to taste)
3 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
Salt to taste
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 Bottle Ragu's Garden Vegetable Sauce
2 -1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 cup shreded mozzarella cheese
10-15 Fresh Basil leaves
3 Cloves Garlic.
4 tablespoon Olive oil
1 Cup mixed vegetables(frozen)

Method:
In a wide bottom pan boil enough water to immerse the lasagna noodles, add salt to it. Once the water starts boiling add the lasagna noodles and cook for 7-8 minutes. While the noodles are boiling, boil the spinach in a separate pan and bring it to boil. Also, heat Ragu's sauce in another pan. Add a little salt to it. Add 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning to it. Bring it to boil.

Once the noodles are done, drain them, and run cold water through it.

Keep aside. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese to the sauce. stir well and keep aside.

Drain the spinach, add to a grinder. add 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, salt, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper and olive oil. Grind to a thick paste.

Microwave the vegetables in enough water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and add 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, salt, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and grind into a coarse thick paste.

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F.In a deep oven safe pan, spread half cup tomato sauce. Then place a single layer of the noodles on them. Cover the noodles with the tomato sauce (keep some aside). Spread a layer Parmesan cheese, sprinkle some Italian seasoning, and also a little crushed pepper if you like. Now cover this with another layer of lasagna noodles. Now spread a thick layer the spinach paste. Now put the basil leaves at 2-3 inches distance. Again make a layer of the Parmesan cheese. Spread the seasoning and red crushed pepper (this step is optional). Arrange a third layer of the noodles, then spread the vegetable mixture and Parmesan cheese. Again sprinkle some Italian seasoning and red pepper (optional). Now arrange a last layer of the noodles, and cover them with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle cover with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Broil on low for 1-2 minutes to get a brown haze on the top cheese layer. Serve hot and enjoy.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

Eggless Molten Center Chocolate Cup Cake

The first time I had a molten center chocolate cake was at Denny's. The cake was warm and was topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was yummmmmmmmmmmmmy. Since then I was looking for the recipe of this cake and tried to bake it in many different ways. Finally, few days ago I was able to replicate their cake.

Here is the recipe for Molten Center Chocolate Cake.

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour (Maida)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 Cup Warm Milk (you might not require all of it)
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoon Sugar
A Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Vinegar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey's)

For the "Lava" (Molten Center)
2 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4-5 Tablespoon Sugar
Water

Method:
Cake: Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except the milk and vinegar mix well. Now add a little milk at a time (as required) to form thick but pourable batter. Then add the vinegar.
Pour the batter into small cup cakes/muffin molds. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


When done, take out of the oven and let it cool completely. This is very important, let it cool completely before taking it out of the molds.
Now comes the fun part. We will core-out the cakes so that we can pour our chocolate paste in it.
Carefully make circular cut on the top of the cake (as shown in the picture below). The knife should only reach until the center of the cake. Do not cut through the bottom of the cake. Now with the help of a spoon, core out the cut area.















Lava (Molten Center):
Combine the cocoa powder and sugar together. Add water to form thin paste (catchup consistency).

Pour the chocolate paste in each cake and put the top back on. (As shown in the pictures below).


Let it freeze in the freezer for atleast 4 hours. You can make these cakes in advance and freeze them for the upcoming parties too:)

Before serving, microwave the cake for 10-15 seconds. (this will melt the center of the cakes) Top it up with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream (or any other flavour you would like). Pour some chocolate sauce and serve warm.

Enjoy!!!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

An Update on My Pea Plants

The latest picture is shown above

My Pea Plants are happy and doing just fine outdoors. I am posting some pictures here with dates when they were taken to show how fast they grow.



The above two pictures where taken on March 20th.

These two pictures were taken today (April 10th).

The plants have grown taller, and have started developing long tendrils to look for support. I am really excited and waiting for the plants to flower soon and set out some pea pods:) I will update this post with new pictures as soon as I start seeing some flower development.

To support the plants, I have created a fence like structure using some bamboo sticks. You can get these sticks at any garden center.

I am going to use these bamboo sticks to support my tomato plant too. I have already put my tomato plant out in the garden, but I think it was not a good idea. It is still a little cold here in Bellevue, Wa for tomato plants. Hopefully my tomato plant survives the fluctuation in temperature here for one more month.:)

Here is the new update: The plants are doing great. They are already about 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall. The picture shown below was taken on June 2nd.
One problem I see is, my plants are too close to each other, and therfore too dense. This was my first time so I learned my lesson:) Next time I will plant them in raws.

More update: This was quick!!!

I saw a bud on my plants on Wednesday. Today (Friday) there are many flowers and many new buds. I hadn't expected this so quick!!!, though I am very excited about it. New flowers means I will get some peas pretty soon:)

In the picture below, you can see new buds and flowers on my plants. One thing that surprised me when I saw the flowers was, I had read and heard that pea plants grow 5-6 feet before they set out flowers. Mine are only 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall. Hopefully my plants will set out some fruits.

Here is a picture of a beautiful pea flower.
One more showing how the flowers grow in bell shape. (Its like little bells hanging off of the plants:)


June 8th 09: New update
The plants have started to set out some tender pods. Here are some pictures. In the picture below you can see how a pod is froming from the pea flower.
Here is a picture of a tender pod. You can see clearly see some peas forming inside this pod.

I am very excited. Can't wait to pick the pods and enjoy some homegrown peas:)

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Trirangi Dhokla (Triple Layer Dhokla)


Two types of Gujarati Dhoklas combined together make trirangi (tri-color)dhokla. Here is the recipe of tri rangi dhokla.

For white Dhokla:
2 cups corase rice flour (this is sometimes called creme of rice or idly rava)
1 cup corase urad dal flour
1/2 cup sour curd
2 tablespoons green chilli-ginger paste
3/4 teaspoon ENO fruitsalt or Soda-bi-Carb
3 tablespoons oil
salt to taste

Soaking overnight:
Mix the rice and urad dal flour. Add yogurt to form a batter (a little thicker than pancake's)and let it ferment overnight. Here in Seattle, sometimes I have to let it ferment for 24 hours, which gives some time for the batter to rise.

For Khaman Dhokla (Yellow Dhokla):
Chana Daal 2 Cups
Chili -Ginger paste 1 teaspoon
Hing or Asafoetida one pinch
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 Cup Yogurt
Salt as per taste
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1/2 Cup Green Coriander Choppef finely
4 Curry Leves
Oil as per need
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda ( Soda Bi Carb) or Eno
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Green Chillies 2 finely chopped

Soaking overnight:
Soak the Chana Dal a container for 6 hours. Grind to a fine paste with the help of the yogurt and water, and leave it overnight.

Green Paste:
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/2tsp jeera
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp chili-ginger paste
Water as needed.

Combine all ingredients and grind to a thick and fine paste.

Garnishing:
2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water

White Dhokla:
Add the oil, ENO or Soda-bi-carb, green chilli-ginger paste and salt and mix well. Pour enough batter so as to fill half the height of a baking tray and steam ( make sure you use a small baking tray or steel plate which can fit in the steaming vessel) Take a big stock pot or pressure cooker and add some water in it. Put the baking tray filled with the mixture in the water ( keep the level of the water below it ). Steam for about 5-7 minutes.

Green Paste: Take the thali off of the stove, and spread the green paste over the dhoklas. The layer of the paste should be very thin, as shown in the picture above. Put the plate back in the steaming vessel and steam for 2-3 minutes.

Yellow Dhokla:
Add the ginger chili paste, soda-bi-carb (or ENO) and salt and sugar to the batter. Pour over the green paste and steam again for about 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Garnishing: Heat 2 Tablespoon oil and add mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackeling, add the cuming seeds. Take off the heat, pour 1/4th cup water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar to eat. Spread this over the yellow dhoklas. Sprinkle chopped coriander. Let the dhoklas cool, cut into small pieces and serve with green chutney.



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Friday, May 29, 2009

Upma

Upma is a quick and easy Indian breakfast dish. Here I am providing a recipe for vegetable upma.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Sooji or Upma rava
3 Cups water
3 Teaspoon Yogurt (optional)
salt to taste
2 Slit Green Chilies
1 Teaspoon Urad Dal
2-3 Curry Leaves
1/4 Cup Chopped Mixed Vegetables (e.g. Carrots, Green Beans, Peas etc)
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Teaspoon Oil
1/4th Teaspoon Mustard Seeds

Method:
Dry roast the sooji (or rava) until lightly golden brown. Instead of roasting it in a tawa (pan), I usually spread it on a flat plate and roast in the oven at 170 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
While its getting roasted in the oven, heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add the curry leaves, urad dal and slit green chilies. Cook for a few minutes, then add the onion and cook till it turns transparent.
If you are using yogurt, then combine the yogurt and 3 cups of water and churn thoroughly then add to the pan. Then add salt. If you are not using yogurt, then directly add water to the pan. Bring to a boil, let the vegetables get cooked completely. Lower the flame and slowly add the rava to the boiling water. While adding rava, make sure to keep on stirring in order to eliminate lump formation. Mix thoroughly to combine. Garnish with coriander leaves.


Serve with hot tea.
Enjoy!!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Simple and Tasty Khichdi


Khichdi is a comfort food, that contains rice and lentils that is cooked till mushy. Anytime when I don't feel like cooking anything, or even eating anything very spicy, I cook Khichdi and have it with Kadhi.

Khichdi can be made spicy by adding whole spices to it, but I usually make it without adding any spice. I think it tastes better.

At my house, whenever anyone is sick, we make khichdi. It is a tasty, light and nutritional dish, which everyone enjoys. This recipe is submitted to "Comfort Food For Illness Event" at http://recipecenterforall.blogspot.com/2009/04/announcing-comfort-food-for-illness.html

Here is the recipe for Saadi(Plain) Gujarati Khichdi.
1/2 Cup split mung daal, with or without skin
1 cup rice (preferably not Baasmati)
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 cups water.

Method: Wash and drain the rice and daal thoroughly. Combine with 5 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.

Pour a teaspoon of ghee on warm khichdi and serve with Gujarati Kadhi and Ringana no Olo.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kheer

Kheer is a traditional Indian dessert, made by boiling rice with milk and sugar. It is a creamy (Indian)rice pudding flavoured with cardamom and saffron and garnished with chopped almonds.

I had to make kheer for a pooja (worship) at my house. This was my first time making kheer on my own. It turned out good.

Here is the recipe for making kheer.
1 Cup rice
5 Cup Milk(I used 2%, but Full fat is preferable)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/8th cup Almonds, blanched and slivered
4-5 strands of Saffron
1 Spoon crushed cardamom (or cardamom powder)
1/8th cup Yellow raisin (kismis)

Recipe:
Heat 2 tablespoon milk in a small pan for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and add the saffron strands. Gently press the saffron strands with your thumb and a finger so that the milk starts turning orange (yellowish).

Wash and drain the rice and mix it with the cardamom powder and 5 cups of with milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer at slow-medium heat. Keep stirring to ensure that the rice doesn't stick to the base of the pan. Cook until the rice is done, starts breaking and the milk has thickened. Take off the heat. Now add sugar, saffron-milk, almond and kismis (if using), and stir to mix thoroughly. Garnish with few more strands of saffron and almonds. Serve warm or chilled.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Aloo Gobhi


Aloo Gobhi ( a dry curry made with potatoes and cauliflower) is a simple a quick subzi. Many people (like me), don't like gobhi (cauliflower),but they do like aloo gobhi ki subzi.

Here is the recipe for Aloo Gobhi
1 medium size cauliflower
2 medium potatoes, cut into big (2 inch) squares.
2 small tomatoes, cut into small pieces (optional)
1 medium or 2 small onions, cut into small pieces
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala,
2 teaspoon red chili powder,
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder,
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder)--- optional
1 teaspoon coarsely ground Dhaniya (coriander) powder,
2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon Jeera (cumin seeds)
2 small green chilies
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
a few strands of coriander (cilantro) cut into small pieces, leaves separated.

Method:
Cut the cauliflower florets (about 2 inch long), wash and drain. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, let it crackle. Now add the onion and cook until they turn translucent. Now add green chilies, ginger, garlic and the cilantro strands. Let it cook for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, amchur powder,red chili powder and dhaniya powder. Cook until the tomatoes are done. Now add the cauliflower florets and the potato cubes and cook until both the vegetables are done. Stir occasionally, making sure not to break the florets.Add a little water while cooking if needed. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot with paratha, naan or chapati.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Variyali (Saunf or Fennel) Sharbat


My grandmother used to make this sharbat in India during summer time. Its a cool and refreshing drink. I had been wanting to make this for a while now, but didn't know of the exact recipe for it. So, I just made my own...well kind of:) I remember a few of the ingredients that my grandmother used to add into this sharbat, and I added some more which I thought might go well:)

Here is the recipe for making Variyali sharbat.
2 Tablespoon variyali (Fennel or Saunf)
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1-2 no. black pepper
1 clove
1 teaspoon khus khus (Poppy seeds)
1 1/2 cup water

Method: Mix and grind all the above dry ingredients into a fine powder. Soak in 1-1/2 cup water overnight. On the next day, drain the liquid and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours. Serve Cold.

I bet you will love it. It is sweet, and refreshing with fennel flavour, and also with just a little hint of black pepper which makes you wonder hummmm what is it!!! :)
Enjoy.

P.S: If any one has a recipe for the "original" fennel sharbat, please let me know. I would love to make it the way my grandmother used to make it.

Now a note about my garden: I have heard that Fennel plants attract butterflies, so I planted fennel in a small pot about 15 days ago. I just put some store bought fennel (fennel seeds)in a pot filled with potting soil. Now, my plants are already 2 inches tall. Warm weather in last weeks have helped my plants grow quickly.

If you plan to plant fennel, plant them in pots. Fennel plants are invasive. If you plant them in your outdoor garden, your garden will be covered with these plants in no time. Also don't plant fennel in the same pot where coriander (cilantro) or tomatoes are planted.

Transfer the pot outdoors when its warm and sunny outside. Enjoy some colorful butterflies, and sweet fennel in your yard:)

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Chili Pepper Plants

As you know from my previous posts, this is my first year gardening, so I try different methods to find out what works best for the plants I want to grow.

Along with methi and English peas, I am also trying to grow some other plants, such as Kala Chana (Black Gram), Sweet peas, Grape Tomatoes, Chili Pepper, Spinach, Green Beans, Water Melon, Cucumber, Honey Dew, Okra, Fennel (to attract butterflies), and Sweet Basil. I also have some store bought plants like Meyers Lemon, Mint and Aloe Vera.

I have been a little successful so far with some of the plants listed above. Some others have just germinated, and a few don't show any sign of germination at all.

I had always wanted to grow chili pepper plants. While researching online, I found that they are a little difficult to grow, especially in a place like Seattle, where the summer season is shorter when compared to some other parts of the country. The Chili plants require warm temperatures (60F-70F) to germinate and to continue to grow, and takes about 90 days(minimum) to produce fruits.

My seeds took almost a month to germinate. The picture below shows the seeds germinating in my little homemade greenhouse.

Its been almost about months now since I planted the seeds, my plants are just 2-3 inches tall. I have been successful at getting the seeds to germinate and grow into small plants, but not sure whether they will set out any fruits, since the growth is too slow.

Since the plants require warm temperature for longer period of time, I created a cheap greenhouse from a 2 litre soda bottle. This seems to have worked for me. Since the bottle has a very narrow opening, it limits air circulation to an extent. Also, the plastic keeps the temperature inside the bottle about 5-10 degrees F higher than the outside temperature.

Here's is how I made the greenhouse.
1. Take a 2 litre soda bottle. Wash and clean it thoroughly.
2. With a sharp knife, make a small cut near the rim where the bottle thickness changes (3-4 inches from the bottom of the bottle).
3. Know you can use a pair of scissors or the same knife to cut all the way around the bottle to divide it into two pieces.
4. Drill 3 to 4 small holes in the bottom portion of the bottle which you just separated from the long upper portion of the bottle.
5. Fill it up with potting soil. Water thoroughly.
6. Spread chili pepper seeds (or any other seeds you like) on the top of the soil and cover very lightly (1/4 cm) with potting soil. Spray water to keep it moist.
7. Now assemble the top portion of the bottle by pressing it in such that the wall of the top portion is inserted into the diameter of the bottom portion.
8. Seal with a masking tape, so that no air can go in.

You can remove the cap or leave it on...its totally up to you.

Here is a picture taken on April 2nd (a month and a half after planting).

and here is the picture of the greenhouse.
I sow my seeds in late February, and kept the bottle indoor. I sprayed water on the soil on alternate days to keep it moist but not wet. From what I read from some websites and from some gardening books, the pepper plants are drought tolerant but they don't like wet soil. (The soil should be moist but not wet). Provide good drainage for better growth.
I have an organic gardening book which suggests to put a match stick near the seedlings once they start to emerge, since the plants require sulfur for better growth.

Here is the latest picture of my plants. I will update this post as far as my plants survive:) and produce some fruits.

Update: I have been a little lazy lately, and haven’t updated my blog for a long time. Anyways, here is the good news, for those who were following this particular posting. I did have some chili pepper growing on my chili plant. Here is a picture. It has been about a month since I took this picture. It is still growing new fruits in October!!!!


I don’t take any additional care of the plant, other than watering it everyday or when the soil seems dry. I haven’t even added any fertilizer to the soil. I am using store bought potting soil. As mentioned earlier in this entry, my research showed that the plants should be kept at above 70F from germination to fruiting period, but from my experience I can say that even if the seedlings see temperatures below 50 degrees F for a few weeks, they will still bloom and they will still GIVE you some fruits.

When I set the seeds for sprouting, the temperature here was in high 40s to low 50s. My seeds sprouted below 70F. The only thing I did to ensure sprouting (or to prevent my plants from freezing) was build a cheap little green house, and set the seeds in the green house for sprouting. Now I am enjyoing my home grown peppers:) I am surely going to grow some more next season.



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