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.

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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

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


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.


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

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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