Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shaak Ma Dhokli, Surati Fansi Dhokli

Shak ma dhokli is a Gujarati dish. This particular version I am posting here is a typical Surati dish. My husband's family is originally from Surat. So, my MIL makes typical surati food. This is one of my husband's and his parents' favorite dishes. When I tasted it first time, I didnt like it, because of the very liquidy gravy. In Surat, people eat this dish as is, but I think that the very liquidy gravy needs roti/rice to go with it. The second time I tried this dish, I made some rice to go with it. It didn't taste too bad then:).

I made this last night because we received a lot of green beans in my weekly fruit/veggie container from Full Circle farm. I didn't have other surati green beans to add to the dish, so I added 3/4 cup of frech lentils. The lentils blended well with the dish, and didn't take away the very "Gujarati Taste" from this dish.

Serves about 4
Gravy with Beans
Green Beans (Fansi) 1 lb, Chopped
1 Cup Mixed Surati Greens of Your Choice (Valor, Tuver, Papdi)
1 Teaspoon Oil
5 Cups Water
1 Teaspoon Carom Seeds (Ajwain),
1 Pinch Asafoetida,
Salt to Taste
1 Teaspoon Soda Bicarbonate, or ENO
5 Green Chilies, Finley Chopped,
1 Inch Ginger, Finley Chopped,
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1 Teaspoon Coriander-Cumin Powder
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Crushed Garlic, Optional

Dhokli (Makes 8-10)
1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour,
1 Cup Fresh Fenugreek Leaves (Chopped), OR 3 Tablespoon Kasuri Methi
Salt to Taste,
1 Teaspoon Sugar,
1 Teaspoon Oil,
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder,
1 Teaspoon Coriander-Cumin Powder,
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1 Cup Water,
2 Pinches Asafoetida

2 Teaspoon Chopped Cilantro, for Garnishing

Combine all ingredients for the beans gravy, except the garlic in a wide and deep cooking pan. Cook on medium high flame.
While the beans are getting cooked make the dhokli. Combine all dry ingredients required to make dhikli. Add oil and mix well. Now add little water at a time to make dough. The dough should be a bit "loose" in consistency, but you should be able to make small balls out of it. Depending on the brand of the wheat flour, you will need 3/4 to 1 cup of water to make dough. Once the gravy mixture comes to a boil, we will drop the dhokli in the gravy. Since the dough is not very stiff, we wont be able to make the dhokli in advance.

Apply some oil on your palms. Take some dough in your hand, and make ping pong sized ball from it. Drop it in the gravy. Do the same with the rest of the dough. You will be able to make 8-10 dhoklis from the dough. Make sure that the dhoklis don't touch each other in the gravy.

Cover and cook at medium high flame for 20-25 minutes, then check the dhoklis with the help of a knife. If the knife comes out clean, the dhoklis are cooked. Check the rest of the veggies too. If the dhoklis and veggies are cooked, then turn the stove down to low heat. Add the garlic. Stir once with a wooden spoon making sure not to break the dhoklis. Cover and cook for further 10 minutes.
Take off the heat, garnish with cilantro and sever hot.

Note: As mentioned above, this is a typical Surati dish. My husband, and his parents like to eat this dish as is. I on the other hand, like to have this with rice. Try it as is, and try it with rice/roti, and serve accordingly.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Daal Fry with Rainbow Chard

I have signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) from a local farm named Full Circle Farm here in WA. I received my first box this week. There were some familiar fruits and vegetables in the basket such as green beans, potatoes, kiwis, apples, pears etc, but there were some unfamiliar vegetables too. This includes Rainbow Chard and Turnips. I have never cooked with Rainbow Chard and Turnip before.
When I had signed up for another CSA program (from Tiny's organic) over the summer, I had received Collard Greens once. That was the first time I had cooked with collard greens. I had made mung dal with collard greens. It turned out pretty good. So as soon as I saw Rainbow Chard in the basket, the first thought I had in my mind was, cook it with daal. This requires very less time, which is a good thing for me. I can either go to gym or spend some more time with my almost one year old (Srishti). Srishti loves to eat daal and rice too, so I am always looking for some ways of incorporating different vegetables in her meal.

I thought of making daal fry, instead of just plain daal this time. Here is the recipe

1 Cup Toor Daal,
1/2 Cup Mung Daal,
1 Bunch Rainbow Chard, (you can use any greens you like), Greens and Stalk Chopped
Salt to Taste,
1 Small Onion, Finley Chopped,
2 Medium Tomatoes, Finley Chopped,
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1-1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder,
1-1/2 Teaspoon Amchur Powder or 2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice,
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala,
2 Teaspoon Ghee
1/4 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds,
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
1/4 Teaspoon Nigella Seeds (Kalunji),
1/4 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds

Wash the daals in running water until the water runs clean. Mix with 4 cups of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Let it cooker cool down completely before opening the lid. Take out the daals and churn just a bit to break some lentils.
In a cooking pan, head the ghee. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once the seeds stop crackling, turn the heat to medium low and add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds. Stir for 30 seconds. Now add the onion. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the onion turns translucent, stirring if required. Now add the tomatoes. Then add the greens and stalks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes start to break up and the greens have wilted. Add 1-1/2 cup of water. Then add the churned lentils, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and amchur powder(if using). Cook for 10 minutes or until the chard stalk is tender. Take off the stove. Add the lemon juice if you are not using the amchur powder. Stir once to mix everything together. Serve hot with plain or jeea rice.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Poolish Focaccia Bread

Here is my second attempt at making bread. This time it was Focaccia bread.
I love Speciality Cafe and Bakery's Carese Sandwich with focaccia bread. Every time I have their sandwich, I tell myself, I should try to make this bread at home. Well, I had been looking for a good and easy to follow recipe for this bread and found one on Lolo's blog:
The instructions were very easy to follow, with a picture accompanying each step in making this bread. I followed the exact same recipe, except that I cut it in half.

I was not disciplined enough to take pictures at each step. I used my phone for taking pictures and sometimes I didn't have it with me while I was preparing the bread. Please follow the direction in this post, or visit Lolo's blog for detailed pictures if you get stuck somewhere:)

Poolish is made the night before making the bread. This needs to be fermented overnight.

Herb oil can be made the night before too. This will help get flavors of herb in the oil. You can use any choice of herbs you like. I used fresh basil leaves, and a teaspoon of dried Italian herb seasoning.
Here are the ingredients making the bread and the herb oil.

1-1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour (Do NOT use self raising flour)
3/4 cups Luke Warm Water
1/8th Teaspoon Instant Yeast

Herb Oil
1/4 Cup Herb Oil
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Dried Italian Herb Seasoning

Poolish Focaccia Bread:
1-1/3 Cups (12 oz) All Purpose Flour
1Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Teaspoon Instant Yeast
1/3 Cup + 2 Tablespoon Lukewarm Water
3 Tablespoon (3 0z) Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Herb Oil

Method for Poolish:

This is what Poolish looks like when you mix everything together
Dissolve the yeast in water. Set aside for 5-7 minutes. Now add the flour and mix well. The mixture should resemble thick pancake batter. Cover and set it in a warm place overnight.

Method for Herb Oil:
Heat the oil in a pot at medium-high flame for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the stove. Add the herbs to the oil. Stir well. Let it cool. Cover and set aside.

Method for Focaccia Bread:
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Now add the water, oil and poolish. Mix well. Now stir it with a wooden spoon rigorously for 10 minutes. I got tired after just a few minutes, and used my hand to do the same thing. I found it easier than working with a wooden/plastic spoon. The flour is done when it stops sticking the the side of the pan, is very sticky and smooth.

Before folding
Prepare a work surface by spreading some flour on it. Now take out the flour on the work surface. Sprinkle with flour. Pat it to spread into a rectangular shape. There should be enough flour to spread the dough into rectangular shape. Patting with remove the excess. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Not so good First fold
Now comes the tricky part. You will be folding the dough into three folds. Pull a side of the rectangle, streth it and quickly fold it. It will be a bit difficult to stretch the dough and fold at at the same time, since the dough is very sticky. Try the best you can. Do the same thing on the opposite side. You want to make sure that you are stretching the dough and folding it, which will retain the original rectangular shape of the dough. You don't want the pocket to become smaller and smaller with each fold. Spray the top of the dough with oil. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. we will be folding the dough again.

After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough again. This time, fold the other sides, which were not folded last time. For example, if you folded the two sides from left and right in the previous folds, fold the top and bottom this time. Keep in mind that we don't want to make smaller pouch each time. We want to keep the same size of the rectangle, so stretch and fold the dough. Spray with oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 more minutes. We will be folding the dough one more time.

Second Fold
After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough again. This time we will be folding the same sides we started with when we started to fold. Spray with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour this time.

In this hour, the dough will rise, but not necessarily double in size. Prepare a baking sheet (the one with sides) by spraying with cooking spray, and dusting with some flour.

Transfer the dough quickly and carefully onto the baking dish. Now pour half the herb oil on the top surface of the dough. Using your fingertips only, punch the dough and spread the oil all over the dough. Make sure to cover the entire top surface of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours. This will be the final time we will let the dough rise.

At the end of the rise, heat the oven to 500 degrees F, and then turn it down to 450 degrees F. After two hours, you will see a lot of bubbles in the dough. Pour the rest of the herb oil on the dough, and punch down the dough and burst as many bubbles you can with the help of your fingertips. You want to make sure that the oil is spread evenly on the dough. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. If you don't have coarse salt, you can use the regular granulated salt.

Transfer the baking dish into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rotate the tray once for even baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes more. Take out of the oven. Let it cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Enjoy as is, or in a caprese sandwich, as I always do:).

cooling on my makeshift rack
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lemon Rice

I love rice and like to try different rice dishes all the time. My husband on the other hand, doesnt like rice in general. One of my favourite rice dishes is lemon rice, and luckily, my husband likes it too. So we make lemon rice quiet often; especially when we are out of veggies, and when we need to cook something quickly.

A couple of things to keep in mind while making this rice.
The rice is cooked separately without any spices except the turmeric and salt. The tadka (tempering) is the one which gives spicy flavor to the rice, so make sure to use enough amount of chili per your taste. the lemon juice is added at the end of the preparation to prevent the dish from turning bitter.

1 Cup Uncooked Basmati Rice
2 Cups Water
Salt to Taste,
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder

1.5 Tabslepsoon Oil,
2 Teaspoon Peanuts
1 Teaspoon Chana Dal (Split Gram)
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
6-7 Green Chilies, Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
3-4 Dried Red Chilies, Broken in Halves
1/8th Teaspoon Asafoetida
3-4 Curry Leaves
Freshly Sqeezed Juice from about 3/4 Lemon

Wash the rice in running water until the water runs clear. Add 2 cups water to a cooking pan, add the rice and cook on high flame until water starts boiling. Stir once. Turn the flame to low (such that the flame just touches the cooking pan). Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid before 20 minutes, and do not stir at all. After 20 minutes, open the lid. The cooked rice on top surface should be in "standing position"; i.e the grain is in vertical direction. Turn off the stove and fluff it up with fork. Now spread the rice on a plate.
Now the tempering. Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Once it is hot, add the peanuts and cook briefly until the peanuts turn light brown. Then, take out of the pan with the help of a slotted spoon. Now add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. After that, add the cumin seeds, green chilies, and chana daal. Turn the heat to medium low in order to not burn the dal. Cook for a minute or two until the dal turns light brown in color. Now add the red chilies and currly leaves. Turn the heat to medium high and cook for 20-30 seconds. Take off of the stove and spread on the cooked rice. Pour the lemon juice on top and mix well with the help of a fork making sure not to break the rice. Taste for salt and lemon juice once. and serve hot with curd on side.

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