Archive for August, 2006

Bhakricha Kala(Spiced Jowar/Sorghum Roti with curd)

Jowar Bahkri together with Curd (yoghurt) makes for a zesty combination. This is a fast and easy,nutritious and filling breakfast recipe. The prerequisite to this recipe is that the Bhakri should not be fresh! Freshly made Bhakri, tends to get too soggy when combined with curd. It taste’s best with the leftover Bahkri from previous night. In fact, I make 2-3 extra Bhakris the previous night, to make this recipe the next morning.

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            This recipe finds its origin in rural parts of Maharashtra, mainly the farming community.I relish most of these typical desi type of recipes. A good substantial breakfast of Dahi- Bhakri (Curd and Bhakri) helps them to keep up the energy levels for hard work in the fields, till lunch. 

You may not find this recipe on the menu cards in Indian Restaurants. My father always jokes about it that if this recipe is served in a 5 star Restaurant with some exotic name it will sell like hot cakes!

For the Bhakricha kala you need:

2 Bhakris

1 cup fresh curd (Smoothen to remove lumps)

1 small onion chopped

½ tsp sugar

salt as per taste

For the tempering(tadka):

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp jeera seeds

2 slit green chillies

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1tsp oil

Tear the Bahkri with your hands. (cutting does not give it the same taste)..So tear it with your hands and make fine pieces.

Add the chopped onion. (Adding onion is optional. You can do without the onion if you don’t like the taste of raw onions)

Add curd, sugar and salt and mix well.

In a small pan, heat oil. Add the mustards seeds…Once they crackle add the cumene seeds….then the slit green chillies and finally the turmeric powder. Add this tadka to the Bhakri curd mixture. Mix nicely.

Serve immediately.

Bhakricha kala has to be eaten immediately. Don’t keep it for long.I don’t have to say that…taste it…and it will disappear in minutes.

Bhakricha kala – my entry for JFI#5-Milk and Milk products hosted by Vineela of Vineela’s cooking and  also for Weekend Breakfast Blogging #4 hosted by Pavani of Cook’s Hideout.

August 30, 2006 at 10:58 am 6 comments

Bhakri (Flat bread made from Sorghum/White Millet flour).

I might sound like a grandmother when I say that the art of making Bhakri is disappearing with the new generation.

I learnt making Bhakri from my mom when I was still in college. I was made to learn! My Mom would ask me to make atleast 1 Bhakri whenever we had Bhakri -mostly for dinner. That time I was not quite happy about it. Now I realise that it was part of my culinary training. Thank God for that!

Jowar Bhakri is nutritious and high in protein content. It is also very easy to digest. Doctors and nutritionists now-a-days recommend Bhakri to be included in your diet. All the more reason for you to learn to make them!!!

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To make 3-4 Jowar Bhakris you need 

3 cups Fresh Jowar Flour. (The flour has to be very fresh or else the Bhakri will crack and won’t be soft. Also the flour if stored for a long time, turns bitter)

Salt as per taste(Optional)

Water to knead.

 Make your first Bhakri like this:

Make dough for one Bhakri at a time.Don’t knead the entire dough.So for your first Bhakri take about a cup of Jowar flour and add salt to it. (Salt is optional).

Gradually add water and knead it into a soft pliable dough. This process of kneading the dough is quite important. Bhakris will be soft if the dough is well knead.So using your hand and knuckles knead it nicely for 8-10 minutes.

Take a golf sized round ball from the dough and flatten it with both your hands.

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On a flat surface sprinkle some dry jowar flour, keep the flat ball on it, apply some Jowar flour to your hand and with the palm of your hand spread the dough into a thin circle. Take care that the dough does not stick at the bottom and should move freely with your hands.

Carefully lift this dough with both your hands and place it on a hot iron griddle (tava).

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Spread a little water with your hands on the surface of the Bhakri and then turn the Bhakri to the other side. Cook on high flame till some brown spots appear on the lower surface of the Bhakri.

Remove it from the tava , turn it upside down and gently put it directly on the flame.It should blow like a balloon.

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Remove from flame and serve hot.

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Add more dry jowar flour to the remaining kneaded dough and knead well. Repeat the above procedure to make another Bhakri.Once you have mastered the art of making Bhakri,you can save time by kneading the dough for the next Bhari while still roasting the first !

Serve hot – Hot Bhakri topped with some homemade butter …..mmmmmm : )

For variation Bajra or even Rice flour can be used to make Bhakri.

Bhakri is usually served with Pithla (Curry made from gram flour), Thecha (spicy green and garlic chilly chutney) or any leafy green vegetable.

 

August 30, 2006 at 10:34 am 6 comments

Ukadiche Modak (Sweet stuffed Rice Flour Dumplings)

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Ganapati festival feast is synonymous with Modak. Lord Ganesha’s favourite food…Taste it and you know why!!!

Majority of the households in Maharashtra make these beautifully shaped (the shape can only be called as-Modak shape, no other shape describes it better!!) mouthwatering Modak during Ganesh festival

I have very fond memories associated with Modak. When I was at my mom’s place ,on Ganesh Chaturthi (first day of Ganesh festival) my Mom would make the dough for the Modaks and since it has to be shaped and filled when hot, we all -my father, brother and myself- would help her make the Modaks.It was a fun family activity! I have this beautifal picture embedded in my memory forever!

To make about 10-12 Modaks:(Recipe source…obviously my Mom)

Ingredients:

For the cover:

1 cup fine , fresh Rice flour

1 cup water

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp oil

For the filling:

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1 cup freshly scrapped Coconut-only the white portion

1 cup crushed jaggery

2 tsp Khuskhus (poppy seeds) roasted

Method:

 First make the Stuffing. Put the Coconut and jaggery in a heavy bottom pan and cook on medium flame, stiriing in between. Cook till the jaggery melts and the mixture becomes homogenous. Add the roasted poppy seeds and cook for few more minutes.Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

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(You can also add raisins, saffron and cardamom to the mixture if you like.)

Now make the rice flour cover.The cover has to be made a bit carefully. So keep aside all your other jobs and take 1 cup water in a pan and boil it. Once it boils add salt and oil to it . Add the rice flour immediately with one hand and stirring the mixture continuously with the other.Take care that no lumps are formed in the mixture.Cover for 1-2 minutes. Remove the dough on a flat surface and knead well with your hands while still hot…You can apply a little oil  to your hands to avoid the dough from sticking.

This is a very important step. You have to knead the dough properly to avoid the cover from cracking. Now take a small lemon sized ball from the dough and keep the remaining dough covered with a cotton cloth in the pan.(The remaining dough should not be allowed to cool)…This is where extra help is welcome…

Flatten the small ball shaped dough with both your hands like a puri.Don’t make it too thin. Now hold the flat dough in your left hand and add the coconut stuffing.Apply little oil to your right hand and pinch the edges of the flattened dough at 4-5 places,like this:

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Bring them together to join them at the centre of the Modak. Shape resembles that of garlic bulb from top(I am not supposed to say garlic,especially since the Modaks are made for God…but I couldn’t find any other analogy!!)

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Repeat this prpcess for the remaining dough and make more Modaks before the dough cools down. If you are alone you can guess how fast you have to make it!!!

After all the Modaks have been made steam them.Take a steel sieve.Grease it with oil. Keep the Modaks one by one in it taking care that they do not stick to each other.

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Keep this sieve on a steamer(You can use a deep vessel with 1/3rd water.) Cover the Modaks and cook for about 12-13 minutes.

Congrats..You have just made one of the most delicious ,traditional Maharashtrian Sweet!

Top each hot steaming Modak with Ghee generously ( You will need the ghee after all the hard work.) Offer them to God….and don’t waste any time putting the entire Modak in your mouth…Blissful isn’t it…Worth the effort??? Of course it is!!!

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August 27, 2006 at 6:28 pm 40 comments

Ganapati Bappa Moraya!!

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                 Ganapati Bappa Moraya!!!

 Ganpati Utsav as it is called in Maharashtra, is just 2 days away now and all of us are waiting for the festivities to begin. Shops (some makeshift shops also, just for this occasion) are flooded with colorful Ganesh idols in different sizes and lots and lots of colorful, glittering decorative items, tempting you to buy them!!

Hey, before you are tempted to buy all that eye-catching, glittering stuff…..a word of caution….

These beautifully decorated idols are made of plaster of Paris which is not easily dissolved in water. Many of the items used for decoration are made from Thermacol or plastic which is not biodegradable.

These idols along with the decorations will be immersed in water on the last day of the festival.Think of the amount of pollution – kilos n kilos of POP, Plastic, Thermacol, flowers etc.. will cause to the water and marine life post immersion.

NGO’s, environmental groups and the government to a certain extent, have been trying to create awareness for a environment friendly celebration of the festival. But looking at the shops and other preparations around ,they seem to have not been taken very seriously.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not against celebrating the festival, in fact its one of my favoruite festivals…But can we not celebrate the festival in a way that is environment friendly? Believe me there are quite a few options one can use to that effect.

In the olden days POP was not popular and the idols were made from Mud (Shadu-a type of Mud). The idols would easily dissolve after immersion in water. These are still available in the market, at a little higher price maybe. Also natural colors can be used to color them.Why not bring home idols made od Mud colored with natural colors??

In our house we don’t bring any idols from the market. We have a beautiful Silver Ganesh murti. Obviously we don’t immerse the idol.After the festival we just move the idol and keep it back in our pooja room..I think that’s the best and most eco friendly option to celebrate the festival.

For those who still insist on using Plaster of Paris idols available and immerse them…the government sets up special tanks at most of the places. Try to immerse these idols in these tanks.

Let us do our bit to save this environment from pollution and celebrate this festival in an eco-friendly manner…I think even lord Ganesh (Ganapati Bappa as we fondly call him) will  bless us for that!!!

Best wishes for a Happy, Eco – friendly Ganesh festival……

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(I got these photos in my mail.So am not sure of the origin.Thanks to whoever has posted them on the net)

August 25, 2006 at 3:35 pm 19 comments

Spiced Walnut Ring

Spices are a way of life in India as far as food is considered! A variety of spices are skillfully blended in Indian cuisine not only for the flavor they impart to any dish but also for their health benefits.

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This spicy cake is rich in energy, protein and calcium. The spices add that special Indian touch to it.Ginger, Nutmeg as well as Cinnamon all help ease digestion. Walnuts, which are a rich source of omega-3-fatty acids ( help in lowering cholesterol) add extra nutrition and crunch apart from its distinctive flavour.        

 I found this recipe in ‘Baby and Toddler Food’ by Tarla Dalal. I liked it because it uses Whole wheat flour (a very healthy alternative) to the all purpose flour (Maida), which is usually used to make cakes.

For 1 Mini Ring (8 pieces)

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour(Atta)

 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (dalchini)

1/2 cup butter, softened 

1/4 cup brown sugar 

1/4 cup condensed milk 

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped  

Method: Sieve the flour with the baking powder, ginger powder, nutmeg powder and cinnamon powder. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a bowl till light and fluffy Add the condensed milk, flour mixture, milk and walnuts and mix well. Pour this mixture into a greased 125 mm. (5″) diameter ring mould wal11.jpg Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (360°F) for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

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My husband loved this cake and I could get only one piece for taste!

Spiced Walnut Ring – my entry for this month’s From My Rasoi hosted by Katherine of Toast Point .

August 22, 2006 at 11:00 pm 7 comments

The Good Old Paan (Betel Leaf)….

 

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Betel Leaf (Paan) Creeper from my garden                                                           

The Betel Leaf (Piper Betle) – Paan as it is popularly called in India is a perennial evergreen Herb, with beautiful heart shaped leaves. The one you see here in the photo is a betel leaf creeper from my garden. It grows as a slender creeper and hence is sometimes also called as Nagvelli– meaning Serpent like creeper in Sanskrit. It grows like wild fire…

          Betel leaf has been a part of the Indian culture for ages. Most of the Indian rituals, include offering Paan-Supari (Betel Leaf and Areca nuts) to God or even the guests. So for every pooja or any other festivitive in my house I pluck the young  leaves, wash them, dry them and keep a supari (areca nut )on it and a Coconut and offer it to God.

                      Betel leaves are used as mouth freshners, as antiseptic, carminative and are also used in the treatment of coughs and colds-very handy to have them in the kitchen garden! I still remember when I delivered my baby my mom would give me a mix of roasted Fennel seeds, Seasme seeds, Carom Seeds and a streak of Chuna(quicklime) all wrapped up in the Paan after my meals. This Paan wrap aids in digestion and the Chuna (quicklime) acts as a source of the much needed Calcium.

Assorted spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Assorted spices arranged in a Thali(Plate) at our local Paan shop

Paan along with mix of some spices (masala), is one of the most popular mouth fresheners in India and is usually consumed at the end of a sumptuous Traditional Indian meal. Normally, Paan is served after meals during weddings and receptions. It is believed to aid in the digestion of the heavy curried food consumed  that is very much a part of Indian festivities.We make a simpler version of the Paan masala at home on ocassions, but the taste of the Paan available at the Paan shops is unmatched.

 Assembling the paanIt is a treat to watch the Paan wala (the expert assembling the Paan) go about his business of mixing the spices in the right quantities within seconds. First a few streaks of a slurry of Chuna (lime), then comes the Catechu  slurry. Areca nuts (cut into pieces or  thin trims)are a major ingredient of the Paan.Then depending on your choice (such as Meetha /Sweet or Sada /Plain) or many such types other spices such as candied dates, Gulkand(rose petals in sugar syrup), dessicated coconut, small peppermint balls, Cardamom …..the list goes on…are added.

The leaf is folded in a typical triangular fashion , secured with a Clove or a toothpick and a candied cherry for decoration and Voilá!! ….your Paan is ready.

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I hope this will be accepted as my contribution to the wonderful Green Blog project by LG of Ginger and Mango.

August 21, 2006 at 3:27 pm 3 comments

Monsoon Magic

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 They sure are enjoting their treat!!!

August 19, 2006 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

Tenga Vade (Rice Flour -Coconut Fritters)

Janmashtami- celebrating the birth of lord Krishna, is one of the most popular festivals of India. This festival like most of the Indian festivals is celebrated with much fervor and zest. And the festivities are not complete without festive food.   

Tenga Vade (Rice Flour-Coconut Fritters) is my mother-in-laws recipe (most of the South Indian recipes I make ,I have learnt from her.), which we made for Janmashtami along with some sweets.

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Ingredients:

3 cups Rice flour

½ cup all purpose flour (Maida )

¾ th  cup fresh coconut scrapped

6-7 green chillies coarsely ground(you can also use dry red chilly powder)

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

 Method:

Mix Rice flour, Maida, coarsely ground chillies, scrapped Coconut and salt.

Heat oil in a  Kadai( Wok).

Add about 1 tbsp hot oil to the flour mixture and mix well.The mixture should resemble bread crumbs.

Add little water and mix well so that everything comes together into a tight dough.

Take a small lemon sized ball from this batter and flatten it on your hand (or a cotton cloth or a plastic sheet whichever is convenient) to make very thin vadas..Make a hole in the middle with your finger.

Drop gently one by one in hot oil and fry till golden brown to make crisp and crunchy vadas.

Cool and store in an airtight container.

These vadas stay for 5-6 days,that is if they are not over by then.

August 17, 2006 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

Carrot Soup

Still no respite from the incessant rains here! After a break of exactly 1 & ½  days, Mr.Monsoon has reported back to work.

I follow a food routine during this season:

1.This is the season, when I indulge in my favourite fries, bhajjis, samosas etc.. to brighten(???) these wet ,gloomy, lazy days( that’s my excuse).

2.Then Guilt visits me and I am suddenly reminded of words such as nutrition, fat,health etc…

3.Then I follow a strict diet of nutritious healthy foods like veggies, soups etc…to cancel out the not so healthy munchies.

On one such guilt trip,a hot piping nutritious Carrot soup is what I made to cancel out the not-so- nutritious treats I have indulged in!!

Carrots- Storehouse for Vitamin A (beta carotene) are good in any form for elders as well as for children. Infact, my little son is very fond of carrots ,just like Bugs bunny (Now you know where both of them get their energy from!)

So here’s a soup for all you mothers too who are constantly in search for different recipes to make your kids eat their veggies. The goodness of Carrots flavoured with some spices and garnished with coriander        makes this soup irresistible to the palate.

I have mostly followed the original recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor, with some changes to suit my taste.The original recipe also had garlic, which I did not add and I reduced the amount of fresh green coriander leaves.

Carrot Soup

Serves 4:

Ingredients:

5 carrots roughly chopped

10-15 sprigs of fresh coriander leaves

2 Bay leaves

1tsp peppercorns

1 medium sized Onion chopped

½ tsp white pepper powder

2 tsp butter

Salt to taste.

Method:

Chop fresh coriander leaves finely and reserve the stems.

Heat butter in a deep pan, add bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, and sauté for two minutes.

Add carrots, coriander stems and 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.

When the carrots are completely cooked, remove them and put in a blender to make a coarse puree.

Boil and reduce the stock slightly and strain.

Take the puree in a deep pan and add strained stock to reach the desired consistency. Bring to a boil again.

Add white pepper powder dissolved in a little water.

Add salt to taste.

Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Serve piping hot.

 

 

August 16, 2006 at 3:06 pm 2 comments

Happy Independence Day

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Tricolour courtesy –Indianchild

15th August 2006, The biggest democracy in the world celebrates Her Independence, Her freedom.

Every year the preparations for this day begin well in advance… The atmosphere is all charged up with patriotic songs playing on loudspeakers and the dominant colours visible around are saffron,white and green-The Indian Tricolour.

            This year the preparations have begun in a very disturbing way!High Alert,tight security are the words being used for independence day preparations.I had to go through a metal detector and security check when I went shopping to the mall yesterday, just like they do at the airport! First time in my life , my car was stopped to be thoroughly checked?There is an atmosphere of fear and anxiety around.

On this anniversay of our freedom let us all pray and hope that the demons of terrorism and war are defeated and peace and harmony returns…

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August 15, 2006 at 8:09 am 1 comment

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