Archive for May, 2007

JFI-Jackfruit

Jackfruit– I wonder why it got this nameJ.

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We call it Phanas in Marathi. This largest tree-borne fruit in the world is grown abundantly in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Every house in konkan has jackfruit trees in the backyard.

During these summer months, unripe jackfruit can be seen in some of the vegetable markets here in Nasik. I am not a great fan of the curry my mom makes from the unripe jackfruits- Phanas Bhaji.

Ripe jackruits with the sweet smelling fleshy yellow bulbs are also sold here during this time- though a little costly (yesterday I bought 250 gms for 15 Rs., and that’s not very cheap!)But the they are irresistible and I love to eat it as it is.

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The sweets carpels are sometimes soft and mushy almost slimy to eat and it is called as ‘Barka Phanas’. I prefer the other variety in which the seed covering carpels are crisp and crunchy.

The smooth seeds are also edible- these are called ‘Athalya’ in Marathi.Boil these seeds with salt (put them in a pressure cooker when you make rice) and little water.Remove the thin skin around the seeds (this is easily removed) sprinkle some pepper powder or some Chaat masala, squeeze some lime juice and eat these delicious seeds!

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These are the only two things I can do with ripe jackfruit –eat the yellow fleshy bulbs and the boiled Athalya. Hence I am eagerly waiting for JFI-Jackfruit roundup,till jackfruits are in season- so that I can try out those delicious recipes. 

Hey Bee and Jai, this is not the best of posts on Jackfruit, but I am very keen on contributing for this lovely tribute to the Fruit through JFI-Jackfruit. Please..please accept this entry! J

May 31, 2007 at 11:24 am 9 comments

A load full of Cherries

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May 27, 2007 at 10:23 am 2 comments

Friday Cooler – Health in a Dip

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Chilled Green tea infusion flavoured with Lemon, honey and some saffron is enough to rejuvenate you in these hot summer months! So dip your way to good health with this Iced Green tea.  __________________________________________________________                                                            Iced Green Tea recipe

Makes: 1 cup

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Boil 1 cup water and pour it in a cup. Dip a Green tea bag (I use Tetley’s plain Green tea) in it for few seconds. Remove the tea bag immediately. Chill the green tea infusion to whatever temperature you like. Squeeze some lime juice and add to the tea, add some honey and 1-2 Saffron strands for flavour and a lovely golden yellow colour.

Alternatively add 1-2 spoons of orange juice or any other juice to the infusion along with the lime juice and honey.

That’s it your healthy ‘Cuppa’ is ready.

May 25, 2007 at 4:39 pm 2 comments

Mango Sheera (Ambyacha Sheera)

Sheera– is a traditional Maharshtrian sweet, usually served as ‘Prasad’ for Satyanarayan puja. Sheera also is an all time favourite breakfast for many Maharashtrians.

If you have unexpected guests and have not time to cook up any other sweet Sheera is a very good way of showing them you care! And Sheera never lets you down… it always turns out to be good.

The Sheera that is made for ‘Prasad’ usually has slices of banana in it.

I made Mango Sheera (Ambyacha Sheera) for my little one on his birthday, who like me does not have a sweet tooth but enjoyed this Mango Sheera very much. 

I hope the lovely Padmaja of Spicy Andhra likes it too, since I am sending this good old Mango Sheera for her debut Event (as a host ) WBB#11 –‘Summer Fruits’. Thanks Padmaja for hosting WBB with such a sunny and fresh theme J

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__________________________________________________________                                                            Mango Sheera recipe

Servings :5-6 _____________________________________________________ 

Ingredients:

 1 ½ cups Rava/Semolina (medium coarse)

 1 ½  cups Milk

1 ½ cups water

1 cup ripe Mango pulp

1 cup sugar

~ 2 tbsp homemade Ghee 

For the garnishing:

6-7 Cashewnuts chopped

10-12 golden raisins

Few strands of Saffron, soaked in warm milk 

(Usually we measure ingredients using Vati or Katori in our kitchens. Cups are used only for measuring ingredients for cakes. I have changed the measures here to cups since it is easy to understand for everyone.) 

In a heavy bottom Kadai/wok heat 2tsp of the ghee. Fry the cashew nut pieces and raisins in it, drain and keep aside. In the same ghee, roast the Rava/semolina till it turns golden brown and you get a nice smell of roasted Rava. Remove in a plate and cool.

In the same Kadai mix milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted rava and cook stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. Cook on low flame for some time stirring in between.

 After the Rava is half cooked add sugar. Mix properly and cook for a few minutes more, stirring in between.

Add the mango pulp ,mix nicely so that the pulp get mixed up homogenously. Cook till all the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the remaining ghee (optional) and the saffron strands dissolved in warm milk. Mix nicely. Saffron adds to the lovely ‘Mango’ colour of this Sheera.Cover and cook for a 1-2 minutes.  

Garnish with the fried Cashew pieces and golden raisins. 

Variation: You can use Pineapple instead of mango to make Pineapple Sheera.

May 24, 2007 at 10:28 am 13 comments

All things Beet

Previously I would buy only the Beet-root without the greens. After seeing Asha’s Dal saag recipe, I was inspired to buy Beet greens along with the Beetroot. Thanks Asha for the inspiration.

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I have made my own version of the dal.I have used the Beet greens along with three types of dals; Chana Dal, Mung Dal and Toovar dal to make this very healthy and delicious Beet greens dal. 

I used some of the leaves to make paratha for my little one J 

The pink-red stems of the Beet greens were looking so fresh and lovely that I didn’t have a heart to throw them away, which I later realized was a very wise decision! I made a delicious and refreshing Raita with them, which complimented the Dal-Rice combination.

I made Beetroot Kanji with the Root.

After making the Dal and Raita, I had a sense of satisfaction –that of utilizing most of the parts of the Beet, not wasting much (except the beetroot peels). Jbeetgreensdal-and-stemraita.jpg

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Beet greens Dal recipe

Servings :4-5 _____________________________________________________ 

Ingredients: 

1 ½ cup chopped Beet greens

 ½ cup Chana Dal

½ cup Moong da

l½ cup Toovar Dal

1 onion chopped

4-5 green chillies chopped

5-6 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

½ tsp cumene seeds ½ tsp mustard seeds¼ tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp oil 

Wash the dals , add water, a pinch of turmeric powder and few drops of oil. This helps to cook the dals faster. Pressure cook till well done. Boil about 1 cup water in a vessel, add the beet greens and cook on a low flame till the greens are soft and well cooked.Add the cooked dals to these greens. Add salt and mix nicely.Heat oil in another pan. Add the cumene seeds, mustard seeds, garlic and chopped onion and fry nicely till the onion turns golden brown. Add the green chillies.To this add the Beet greens-dal mixture and cook for a few seconds more.

Serve hot with rice. 

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Beet stem raita recipe

Servings :about 2-3 __________________________________________________________ 

Wash the Beet stems thoroughly (I had about7-8 young stems). Peel the thin skin from the stems. Steam the stems. (I put it in the pressure cooker along with the rice and the dals)Cool and chop the stems. Add about ½ cup Curd/yoghurt to this, salt as per taste and about ¼  tsp sugar and mix nicely.In a small pan heat 2 tsp oil, add ½ tsp cumene seeds, ½ tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 chopped green chillies. Add this tadka to the yoghurt raita. Mix nicely and chill.Serve with roti or dal-rice or have it as it is.

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And that’s my little one’s paratha made with Beet greens!

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May 22, 2007 at 12:13 pm 9 comments

Happy Birthday …my Sweetie

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 My Little sweetheart turned 2 on Friday!

That’s his ‘Mickey Mouse mango cake! (I know that’s not Mickey but according to him any cartoon is a Mickey Mouse!)

May 20, 2007 at 9:11 am 7 comments

Friday Cooler- Beetroot Kanji

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What’s that Red wine??…………..that’s Beetroot Kanji! 🙂

I learnt this from my Punjabi colleague, who also taught me Makki di Roti – Sarsoon da saag.

This tangy Beetroot kanji is quite popular in North India.

Health, Nutrition, taste all in one Beetroot Kanji is this week’s Friday Cooler.

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Beetroot Kanji recipe

Makes about 3  glasses _____________________________________________________ 

Wash, Peel and Cut Beetroot into cubes (I have used 2 Beets to make about 3 glasses of Kanji). Add about 3 glasses of water. Add ½ tsp Black salt, ½ tsp mustard powder (rye powder).Adjust this proportion to your taste. Mustard powder gives a nice punch to the Kanji.Mix nicely. Cover the vessel and keep aside for about 2 ½  days. 

Separate the lovely Wine red Kanji from the beetroot ‘Chunks’ and chill in the refrigerator and serve immediately.

beetkanji2.jpg This Beetroot Kanji does not have a long shelf life. So finish this as fast as you can. It starts turning brown in color if kept for a longer duration.  The ‘Beet chunks’ themselves are quite tasty to eat as it is. Another variation with this Kanji is the addition of equal amounts of carrot and Beetroot, instead of just beets.

May 18, 2007 at 10:38 am 6 comments

Ambadichi Bhaji (Sour greens curry)

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       Ambadichi Bhaji (Sour greens curry)

Type Comfort in MS word, select it, right click and see the synonyms: Soothe , console, reassure, calm, relieve ..This Ambadichi Bhaji (Sour greens/Gongura curry) makes every synonym for comfort sound true:

½        Soothes your palette

½        Consoles you when you are feeling low

½        Reassures you when you dearly miss your mom’s cooking

½        Calms you down when you are upset

½        Relieves your stress

Yes this is one of the recipes I rely on when I am in need of some ‘Comfort food’ (of course provided the greens are available).

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       Ambadi/sour greens/Gongura leaves

Ambadi leaves are sour -almost vinegary to taste. But this tartness is what makes them so tasty and special. I read here that these greens come in two varieties- Red stemmed and Green stemmed. Here we usually get the green stemmed variety, so I have used that. What makes this a quintessentially Maharashtrian recipe is the use of Jowar Kani (broken Jowar grains). The Ambadi leaves are stemed together with the Jowar Kani to make this very special Ambadichi bhaji -which makes me nostalgic and reminds of my mom’s or my granny’s cooking each and everytime I make it.

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Ambadichi Bhaji

Servings :about 3-4

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 Ingredients:

1 big bunch Ambadi leaves (cleaned,washed and chopped)

1 cup Jowar (Sorghum/White millet) grains

2tbsp Toovar dal (arhar dal/yellow lentils), soaked in water for ½ hour

2tbsp Peanuts soaked in water for ½ hour

Salt as per taste

For the tadka:

8-10 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

2-3 tsp oil

½ tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

1-2 tsp Red chilli powder (adjust to your taste) 

To make the Jowar Kani:

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     Jowar Kani/Broken Jowar Grains

Coarsely grind the Jowar grains in the mixer for few seconds. Tranfer to a sieve (used to sieve atta or Maida). Remove the powder which falls at the bottom (this flour can be added to the usual jowar flour for making Bhakris, or add this to the usual Roti atta)Use the broken jowar kani which remains in the sieve to make Ambadichi Bhaji. If any unbroken jowar grains are left in the sieve, run them once again in the mixer and repeat the above procedure. Soak the Jowar Kani in water for ½ hour along with the Toovar dal and peanuts. 

 To make the Bhaji:

Steam the chopped Ambadi leaves and the soaked Toovar dal, Peanuts and Jowar Kani. For steaming I use a stainless steel sieve kept on a steamer-a deep vessel filled with 1/3 water. Alternatively you can use a pressure cooker without the whistle. Cover the sieve and steam till the leaves are well cooked (takes about half an hour) 

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Ambadi leaves,soaked  Jowar Kani,Toovar dal and peanuts in SS sieve for steaming

Remove the bhaji from steam,add salt and mix nicely. In a small pan heat oil ,add the mustard seeds, then the cumene seeds,then the crushed garlic. Fry nicely till your kitchen smells of the garlic, switch off the gas ,add the chilli powder and immediately pour this tadka on the bhaji so that the red chilli powder does not get charred.Mix nicely and serve with Bhakri or Roti!                    

May 15, 2007 at 1:40 pm 18 comments

Friday Cooler-Masala Taak (Spiced Buttermilk)

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This week’s Natural summer cooler is Masala Taak. Unlike the cokes and colas these coolers are natural ,with no preservatives,no synthetic colours, no synthetic flavours..100% natural.I have no idea why some people still prefer carbonated drinks to our natural coolers and you will be surprised there are quite a few of them!Anyways, a glass of Taak flavoured with spices like ginger, coriander leaves, chillies, cumene and black salt, is all that it takes to refresh you in this scorching heat! 

So say no to colas and carbonated drinks and yes to Masala Taak.. J Cheers!

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Masala Taak recipe _______________________________________________ 

Whisk together curd, some greenchilly paste, some coriander leaves ,a pinch of black salt, a pinch of roasted crushed cumene seeds and some ice cold water to make thirst quenching and refreshing Masala Taak! ______________________________________________

Blooming Curry…..

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Pretty white flowers on the curry leaf plant in our garden

May 11, 2007 at 3:29 pm 6 comments

Pudina Tofu stir fry (Minty Tofu stir fry)

I happened to ‘accidentally’ discover this recipe. I happened to dip a piece of Tofu in green chutney (made for Bhel / Sev Puri) and it tasted quite good! And thus was born ‘Pudina Tofu stir fry’ :). Now it has become a common recipe in our house since it is quite easy to make. Proteinaceous tofu is marinated with herby Pudina-coriander chutney to make this nutritious, healthy, flavourful and tasty recipe. Another advantage from health point of view is that this recipe requires very little oil!

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It is called ‘Pudina Tofu stir fry’ for the sole reason that I wanted to participate in Nupur’s A to Z of Indian vegetables and this week’s letter happens to be ‘P’. Nupur this recipe is for you and your wonderful effort with the A to Z of Indian vegetables.

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Pudina Tofu stir fry recipe

For about 2-3 servings              ____________________________________________________   

Ingredients:

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Firm Tofu about 250gm or about 3 cups finely cubed

1 onion finely chopped

½ tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp Chaat Masala (optional)

2 tsp lime juice

Salt to taste 

To be ground to a fine paste:

1 small bunch Pudina (mint ) leaves washed

1 small bunch coriander leaves washed

4-5 green chillies chopped

pinch of salt

Procedure:

Grind the Pudina, coriander, green chillies along with a pinch of salt to a smooth paste. Add the tofu pieces to this Pudina paste in a bowl and mix well. Keep it aside for about ½ an hour for marination. In a wok heat oil, add the cumene seeds and then the chopped onion. Fry till the onion turns translucent and add the marinated tofu pieces and mix nicely. Adjust the salt if required and turn off the gas stove, don’t cook for more than a minute.Just before serving sprinkle some chaat Masala and lime juice. Serve with Roti or this stir fry can be eaten as it is as a light lunch!

May 11, 2007 at 12:03 pm 9 comments

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