Posts filed under ‘seed’

India’s Best blogger, Khadya Jatra and Khandeshi Cuisine

India’s Best blogger, Khadya Jatra and Khandeshi Cuisine….confused? …read on 🙂

2016 seems to have started on a very positive note! Betterbutter had organized ‘ India’s top blogger contest ‘.To participate we had to Curate a meal for two in a foodbook to make a complete meal. I participated and my foodbook menu included- Meetha Pan spritzer, Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas, Garam Masala spiced Palak Paneer Timbale and Meringue nests topped with Mango curd and fruits. foodbook

As you must have guessed by now, I won the India’s top blogger contest! The prize is as awesome as the concept & contest- a gorgeous orange coloured Le Creuset Casserole! Thank you again Betterbutter for this!

le crueset

The recipes are already on the blog or you can check out the foodbook and some of my recipes here on betterbutter.

Khadya Jatra: I wrote this article for a Facebook group initiated by Saee of My Jhola– Angat Pangat, which re-discovers traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. We are starting with a new series on the group called ‘Khadya Jatra’ #APKhafyaJatra ,where a specialist of a particular sub-cuisine of Maharashtra will curate some background information about it and give an authentic recipe with step by step images.Members can then try out the recipe and thus get a chance to learn about the sub-cuisine and recipes.

I am fortunate to be the first ‘specialist’ and Saee invited me to curate some information and a recipe about Khandeshi Cuisine.Thank you Saee for this,I am honoured.

Spicy, fiery gravies with a thick sinful layer of oil floating on top (tarri) -that’s a trademark Khandeshi dish for you!

Nashik (where I stay) borders the Khandesh region (some parts of present Nashik district are part of Khandesh),has a strong influence of the Khandesi cuisine and you can see specialties like Misal and Shev Bhaji dished out at every nook and corner.

The quintessential Kala Masala forms the base of most gravies (rassa) along with dry coconut (khobra), onion and garlic. These are traditionally served with Bhakri or Rice.

pasta and dubuk vade 1.jpg

Peanuts and peanut oil is also extensively used for cooking. Peanuts, small green lavangi mirchi or fiery Red mirchi, garlic are roasted on an iron griddle or directly on charcoal, pounded in a wooden mortar and pestle (Badgi-musal) to make the famed Thecha. Apart from the staple Jowar Bhakri, Kalnyachi Bhakri- Chutney is very popular with most Khandeshi’s. Kalna is a blend of Jowar + Urad and is served with a spicy peanut chutney.

2012-10-02

The Khandeshi love for eggplants need not be stressed. Be it Bharit made using large green eggplants (Jalgaoni Vangi) or small eggplants stuffed with kala masala or mashed eggplants (Ghotleli Bhaji), every Khandeshi loves this vegetable! The Ghotleli Bhaji and Dal batti are part of many festivities in most Khandeshi households.

Mande (Khandeshi version of Puran Poli) and Wheat Kheer are the popular sweets from the region.

The hot summers are utilized to make different types of Papads and Vade (Valvan) like the laborious yet rewarding Bibde.

A very popular Khandeshi preparation is Patodyachi (or Patvadya) Bhaji. Rolled out Besan flour dough is cut into strips and cooked in a spicy kala masala gravy. The other lesser known form of this preparation is called ‘Dubuk Vade’. Instead of making strips, dumplings are made from the besan batter and cooked in a similar gravy. I am guessing the name Dubuk comes from the noise it makes when a dumpling is dropped in the gravy-I am not sure of this though 🙂

Dubuk Vade 1

 It is simple, it is spicy, it is fiery, it uses Kalal masala gravy and it is absolutely lip smacking- ticking all the right boxes for typical Khandeshi, homestyle food. I have toned down the heat and oil to suit our taste; you can adjust it to yours.

Dubuk Vade 2.jpg

Here’s the recipe for Dubuk Vade

Recipe serves ~ 3-4 persons

Ingredients

For the Rassa

2 onions, sliced

¼ cup dry coconut, grated (Khobra)

4-5 garlic cloves

Handful of fresh coriander leaves, cleaned and washed

2 teaspoons Kala Masala (or to taste)

1 teaspoon Red chilli powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2+2 tablespoon oil, divided (or more if you like)

2 teaspoon Cumene seeds (jeera)

Salt to taste

Water as required

For the vade (dumplings)

¾ cup Besan, sieved (gram flour)

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated

½- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

Salt to taste

Method

To make the Rassa

Heat 2 tablespoon oil on an iron griddle or in an iron wok.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté till the onions start browning. Stir so that the onions and garlic are sautéed evenly.

Add the grated coconut and sauté till it just starts browning and starts emitting the aroma.

Add the coriander. Stir around to mix.

Take it off the heat and add the red chilli powder and kala masala.

Mix and cool completely.

Grind the masala, in a blender, using very little water to a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan/wok.

Add the cumin seeds.

Once they sizzle, add the ground masala and sauté.

Cook till the water evaporates and the oil starts oozing out, taking care not to burn the masala.

Add sufficient water (about 2 ½ -3 cups) to make a medium consistency gravy.

Season with salt and let the Rassa boil for a few minutes.

Meanwhile make the dumplings

Mix all the ingredients under dumplings. Add water to make a batter of dropping consistency (~ ½ cup)

Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the boiling Rassa, working quickly so that all the dumplings cook evenly. Add little water to the bowl/vessel in which you made the dumpling batter, whisk and add that to the gravy so that it will thicken a bit.

Cook for a few minutes till the dumplings are cooked through (about 8-10 minutes) and the gravy thickens a bit. (add water if it is too thick)

Serve hot with Jowar Bhakri or Rice, with a raw onion and lemon wedge on the side

Note: If you want that layer of oil floating on top, use more oil and chilli powder.

 

March 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm 8 comments

Fast Food- Orange glazed baby Sweet Potatoes and Plantain

I don’t usually observe any religious fasts. The popular local fasting food-Sabudana does not agree with me much. But I like to explore the traditional fasting recipes, that use alternative grains and vegetables. I like Sweet potatoes and I keep substituting them for potatoes. They are usually available in the market only during these religious fasting days. With all the ongoing festivities and fasts, Sweet Potatoes are abundantly available now.

While growing up, my mom often made these ‘Ratalyache Kaap’ (pan fried Sweet Potatoes with jaggery). I don’t have a sweet tooth and I find them too sweet for my taste….and hence my little twist to the Ratalyache Kaap –Orange glazed kaap. The addition of a  tangy citrusy burst, rock salt and chilli flakes beautifully balance the sweetness. I have been experimenting with green,unripe plantains and hence I tossed in a cooked unripe plantain along with the Sweet Potatoes. Date syrup adds a rich, molasses like taste to the kaap.The pomegranate and pumpkin seeds are added just to give it more freshness and crunch. You can use any other seeds or nuts that are ‘allowed’. I have used baby Sweet Potatoes because they looked cute and they cook quickly. In case you don’t find them, you can use the regular ones and alter the cooking time.

sweet potato 026

I have realized that the best way to update the blog regularly, is to participate in online food events :).The deadlines provide the necessary push for me to post recipes on time 🙂

The theme this month @TheHub is ‘Sweet Recipes & Fasting Recipes’ that are usually made during these 9 holy days of Navratri. Orange glazed Sweet Potatoes and Plantains is my entry to The KitchenAid India Navratri Challenge for The Hub @ Archana’s Kitchen.

That also reminds me, to let you know that I was invited to contribute recipes at Archana’s Kitchen, which I gladly accepted and you can now find my recipes on Archanas kitchen here

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for Orange glazed baby Sweet Potatoes and Plantain

Serves-2

Ingredients

7-8 baby Sweet potatoes, washed thoroughly and sliced  (Do not peel)

1 large green, unripe plantain

Juice and zest of 1 large orange

2 tbsp Date syrup

½ tsp grated jaggery

Rock salt to taste

¼ tsp Chilli flakes/black pepper powder (optional)

2 tbsp Ghee

Pomegranate seeds and Pumpkin seeds for garnish (or any other seeds/ nuts)

Method

Cook the plantain with the skin in a pressure pan with salted water, for 1 whistle.

Cool and peel the skin and slice.

In a non- stick pan, heat the Ghee

Add the sliced baby Sweet Potatoes

Stir to coat the slices with Ghee.

Cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low flame.

Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice,zest,Date syrup,jaggery and rock salt.

Add this to the Sweet potatoes and cook uncovered on medium flame, till  the liquid thickens.

After about 3-4 minutes of cooking, add the sliced plantain and mix so that the orange glaze coats all the slices.

Sprinkle the chilli flakes or pepper powder if using.

Serve hot or cold garnished with Pomegranate and Pumpkin seeds

September 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

Desi Health Bites- Multigrain Daliya Hot Pot

I am back with another recipe showcasing my love for multi-grains again for the #Fortunehealthbites – Multigrain Daliya Hot Pot . It’s a Hot Pot alright – but a quick, no meat and no bake kind of Hot Pot- unlike the ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’ which inspired me for the basic idea and presentation for this recipe.

Daliya or the broken grains/Lapsi of wheat is the most commonly used in Indian cuisine for making savoury as well as sweet preparations. Jowar and Bajra groats are traditionally used to make ‘Khichada’, a spicy version of the Khichdi.

With the appearance of organic stores in town/online there is a now a variety of Daliyas easily available. My pantry now hosts an array of these nutritious, relatively quick to cook Daliyas .

daliya hot pot

I have flavoured this Hot Pot with Allspice, just because I have these flavourful leaves growing abundantly in my kitchen garden. The grilled sweet potato garnish adds some crunch to the Multigrain Hot Potmaking it look like a ‘gourmet’ makeover of the humble Khichdi, while still maintaining its ‘Comfort Food’ status.

Daliya Hot Pot 1

I had recently switched over from Sunflower to Ricebran oil as per suggestion from my all knowing elder brother 🙂  and then as if on cue, Fortune Foods sent over their Rice Bran Health oil.

Fortune rice bran health oil has a key micronutrient called “oryzanol”, an antioxidant found only in the bran of rice. It helps reduce bad cholesterol,increase good cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy, making it a healthier choice.

Squalene is an organic compound naturally produced by human skin cells and is a natural moisturizer. Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil contains good amounts of it which prevent the ageing of skin.

Antioxidants improve health by fighting free radicals that harm the immune system. Fortune Rice Bran Health oil has natural antioxidants that help build strong immunity.”

Fortune Rice Bran Oil

“Also I learned that it is a myth that colourless or transparent oils are healthier than dark oils. FRBH is refined optimally to keep all the essential micronutrients intact. It has a darker appearance primarily due to Oryzanol.

It is a myth that colourless or transparent oils are healthier than dark oils. FRBH is refined optimally to keep all the essential micronutrients intact. It has a darker appearance primarily due to Oryzanol.

It is enriched with a gamut of nutrients and is good for heart, immunity, skin and hormones. It is appropriate for people of all ages”

Here’s the recipe for my recipe for the Multigrain Daliya Hot Pot

Multigrain Daliya Hot Pot

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 ¾ Cups mixed Daliya (Broken :wheat,jowar,barley,Buckwheat,corn,rice- any or all of these)

¼ cup green moong dal

¾ cup chopped veggies ( Beans,carrots,peas,beetroot,beetgreens,red pumpkin etc..)

1 small onion finely chopped

1 small Tomato chopped

½ tsp grated ginger

2-3 garlic pods crushed (optional)

1-2 Allspice leaves of Bay leaves

Handful of mint leaves torn into pieces or you can use coriander leaves

5-6 cups of vegetable stock/water (for porridge like consistency)

Salt to taste

For the tempering

3 tsp Fortune Rice bran Health oil

2 tsp cumene seeds

2 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ sp Asafoetida

3-4 dried red chillies torn into pieces

2-3 tbsp peanuts (optional)

For the Hot Pot Topping

2 large Sweet Potatoes sliced

½ tsp crushed black pepper

1 tsp Rock Salt or to taste

7-8 mint leaves torn into pieces

2 tsp Fortune Rice bran Health oil

Juice of ½ a lime

Method

In a bowl Mix the crushed black pepper,rock salt,lime juice,mint leaves & oil.

Pour over the sliced sweet potatoes and rub all over.Keep aside.

Wash the Multigrain Daliya and the green moong dal with water.

In a pressure pan, heat the oil.

Add the mustard seeds and once they crackle add the cumene seeds.

Add the turmeric powder,asafoetida,dry red chillies and peanuts .Stir for minute.

Now add the Allspice/bayleaf and the chopped onion, crushed garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for a minute.

Add the chopped tomato and cook for a few seconds.

Add the veggies next and mix well.

Now add the multigrain Daliya along with the green moong dal. Mix again.

Add ~ 5-6 cups of Vegetable stock or water (for porridge like consistency).

Add salt.Cover and cook for 1 whistle+10-12 mins on SIM or till the Daliya is cooked.

Meanwhile, grill the Sweet potatoes on a griddle pan on the stove top or in the oven ~ 10 minutes on each side- till they are just cooked.

Take out the Hot Multigrain Daliya in a flat bottom serving bowl.

Garnish with the mint leaves.

Top all over with the grilled sweet potatoes and serve hot immediately.

Pomegranate + green onion Raita and roasted Nagli/Ragi papad make great accompaniments for the Multigrain Daliya Hot Pot.

Daliya Hot Pot 2

Notes:

If you have the time, soak the mix Daliya and the green moong dal in water for about half an hour. This can reduce the cooking time.

The veggies can be chopped in advance and refrigerated in airtight containers.

Fresh Basil is also a good option as a garnish for the Hot pot instead of Mint or coriander.

This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook and on Twitter at @fortunefoods 

Check out more Desi Health Bites by all the awesome Food Bloggers here at Fortune Food

March 20, 2015 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Desi Health Bites – Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas

I love experimenting with different grains and flours. Jowar, Nagli/Ragi,Amaranth, Corn etc.. are pantry staples in my house. Most of the times,I use a blend of these grains for our day-to-day food in the form of khichdis, upmas,dosas.

One such multipurpose, wholesome flour mix is the ‘Thalipeeth Bhajani. This is a pantry staple in every Maharashtrian household.

IMG_3083

Bhajani Thalipeeth basically is a quick flat bread made using this multigrain Bhajani mix along with chopped onions,sometimes some chopped fresh or leftover vegetables, fresh coriander, sesame seeds and spices.It is usually served for breakfast with fresh homemade Curd/Yogurt, homemade white butter and/or sweet lime pickle.

IMG_3514

My Mom makes her own Thalipeeth Bhajani by roasting – Jowar, Bajra, wheat, Nagli,Rice,Gram dal,Urad dal and cumene , coriander seeds and then milling them together. Needless to say I get my Thalipeeth Bhajani mix  readymade from her as and when I am out of stock :). Most supermarkets, grocery stores, health food shops now stock Thalipeeth flour, so it is easily available or see the Quick Mix version given below.

Another favourite item from the Maharashtrian cuisine is ‘Khamang Kakdi’ – cucumber salad tempered with spices and topped with crushed peanuts. I love to add Tomatoes and onion to my Khamang Kakdi.

IMG_3205

Both these Classic Maharashtrian favourites, I have combined in a quick modern Appetizer Avatar- Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas, akin to the Mexican Tostadas.

Thalipeeth Tostadas 2

It seems to be a long winded recipe but it uses simple day-to-day ingredients found in most Indian kitchens.With some advance preparation it can be easily put together in under 30 minutes.

I have used Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil for making my  Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas.

“Fortune rice bran health oil has a key micronutrient called “oryzanol”, an antioxidant found only in the bran of rice. It helps reduce bad cholesterol,increase good cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy, making it a healthier choice.

Squalene is an organic compound naturally produced by human skin cells and is a natural moisturizer. Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil contains good amounts of it which prevent the ageing of skin.

Antioxidants improve health by fighting free radicals that harm the immune system. Fortune Rice Bran Health oil has natural antioxidants that help build strong immunity”.

Fortune Rice Bran Oil

“It is a myth that colourless or transparent oils are healthier than dark oils. FRBH is refined optimally to keep all the essential micronutrients intact. It has a darker appearance primarily due to Oryzanol.

It is enriched with a gamut of nutrients and is good for heart, immunity, skin and hormones. It is appropriate for people of all ages”

thalipeeth tostadasHere’s the recipe for my Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas

Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas

Makes about 18-19, 3” round Tostadas

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: ~30 mins including baking time

Ingredients

For the Tostados

2 Cups Thalipeeth flour/Multigrain flour *

1 tsp Ajwain/Carom seeds

2 tsp Sesame seeds

½ tsp Dry red chilli powder (or to taste)

2 tsp Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

¼ tsp garlic paste

½ tsp Asafoetida/hing

Warm water as required (~ ¾-1 cup)

For the topping

1 large cucumber peeled finely chopped

1 large Tomato ,seeds removed & finely chopped

½ onion finely chopped

3 tsp roasted peanuts crushed

2 tsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

½ tsp brown sugar

Salt to taste

For tempering

2 tsp Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp Cumene seeds

5-6 Curry leaves

½ tsp powdered Asafoetida

1-2 green chillies chopped

For the herbed Yogurt/Curd

¾  cup thick Yogurt/curd

2 tsp chopped mint leaves

2 tsp chopped coriander leaves

Rock salt to taste

Method

For the Tostados

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C.

Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper.

Add the flour or flours to a mixing bowl.

Add all the other ingredients except the water.Mix well.

Slowly add the warm water and knead the flours into a stiff but pliable dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.

Roll out into a thin layer. The layer should be as thin as possible while still workable.

Cut rounds using a 3” cookie cutter/ sharp edge of a small steel Dabba.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake till they turn golden around the edges – ~15-20 minutes. (Keep an eye on them after about 12 minutes as they burn easily.)

Cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: These can be made well in advance. Can be stored in an air tight container for about 2 weeks.

For the topping-Koshimbir

Mix the cucumber, tomatoes, onions in a bowl.

Add the crushed peanuts, salt,sugar and mix

In a small Kadhai/pan add the oil.

Once hot, add the mustard seeds.

Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the cumene seeds, Asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies.

Pour this over the Cucumber-tomato-onion mixture in the bowl.

Add the chopped coriander and mix again.

Note: The veggies can be chopped in advance but mix everything just before serving and use immediately

For the Herbed Yogurt/Curd

In a small bowl mix together the Yogurt and the herbs.

Season with Rock salt and mix well.

To Assemble the Mini Thalipeeth Tostadas

Keep the crispy Thalipeeth Tostadas on a large serving plate.

Add 1½- 2 spoonfuls of the Koshimbir Topping.

Top with a dollop of the herbed Yogurt

Serve immediately

Other serving suggestions:

You can use Sweet Lime pickle along with the juice, or a coriander-mint chutney or the Marathi Red/Green Chilly Thecha instead of the herbed Yogurt

Thalipeeth Tostadas 1

*Make your own multigrain Quick Thalipeeth flour mix:  ½ cup Wheat flour+ ¼ cup Rice flour+ ¼ cup Ragi/Nagli flour+ ¼ cup Jowar flour+1/4 cup Bajra flour+ ¼ Besan/chickpea/Gram flour+ ¼ cup Urad Dal/Black lentil flour + ½ tsp roasted cumene powder+ ½ tsp coriander seed powder

This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook and on Twitter at @fortunefoods

March 16, 2015 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Hadga/Agasti Flower Bhajias

A very Happy New Year to all of you.

New Year

I am back after a looooooong silence on MyFoodcourt. As you can guess the resolution for 2015 is to blog as much I can!

I have been thinking of posting recipes for a long time. The ‘comeback recipe’ for the blog has spanned from Christmas cake to Yule log to Pavlova to a humble porridge-but only in my mind!

A trip to the older part of the city a couple of days back lead me to a treasured discovery- the edible Hadga flowers. I had a faint memory of my childhood ,of my Mom using these flowers for cooking. The lady selling these flowers was kind enough to inform me that I need to remove the bitter tasting stamens from the flowers before cooking them.

hatga 005

A chat with Mom about these flowers and she was nostalgic about how these flowers reminded her of her childhood. (Now you know where my love for these offbeat, treasured foods comes from). Mom said she makes a ‘Pith Perun’ bhaji (stir fry with Besan/chana dal flour).Our house help informed me that you can make sinful Bhajias with these flowers. The dipping mercury made the Bhajias more tempting than the stir fry …and so Bhajias were made. The stir fry has to wait its turn, but I had to blog about these treasured flowers rightaway!

hadga bhaji 053FB comments on the photo of the flowers and Google research have enlightened me that they are also known as Agasti,Bokful in other Indian languages and also that they are eaten as a vegetable in Southeast Asian countries.

hadga bhaji 001

I have used carbonated water just to make the Bhajias crispier- just plain water will be fine too.We enjoyed the crispy Hadga Bhajias sans accompaniment.

Here’s my recipe for

Hadga Flowers Bhajia

Ingredients

8-10 Hadga flowers (the younger flowers are better for Bhajias, but I had to make do with whatever I had)

½ cup Besan/Chana dal Flour

½ cup Rice flour

½ tsp Asafoetida(hing)

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp Red chilli powder

½ tsp Ajawain/carom seeds (optional)

Carbonated (or plain) water to make a the batter

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

 Method

Heat the oil in a wok.

Remove the stamens from the flowers and keep aside.

Mix the flours, spices, Ajwain and salt in a bowl.

Add 2 tsp of the hot oil to this dry mix.

Add the carbonated water to the dry mix to make the batter (not too thick, not too thin) ~  1/4  cup

Coat each Hadga flower with the batter and deep fry on medium heat till crisp and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

January 7, 2015 at 8:40 am 3 comments

karale (कारळे) /Khurasni(खुरसणी)/ Niger seeds chutney and stuffed Bhindi/Okra

Every time I put a photo of the coming soon recipe on My Foodcourt’s FB page the ‘soon’ never happens. The past month has just zoomed past me (the entire half year for that matter!). Both the kids are back to school after a two month long vacation. The little one started going to her ‘new school’, she is very happy that she finally gets to go to her dada’s school 🙂

The  hot sultry summer has given way to a breezy-rainy weather. The Monsoon has also brought with it the much awaited new season’s of Masterchef Australia and White collar – lots of things to look up to; just like this chutney.

I have been meaning to make this chutney for many days but the easy availability of a readymade/mom-made chutney kept me from making it  till now.

The chutney that I am talking about is made from karale (कारळे) / Khurasni (खुरसणी) in Marathi or as I learned from Shruti on the FB page, they are known as Niger seeds in English. More on Niger seeds here.

The seeds are pound with garlic and red chilly powder to make a very tempting fiery chutney usually eaten with bhakri, Roti or hot rice. This chutney is also used as a filling for veggies like brinjal. I did not have brinjals and hence I added the chutney to the filling I made to stuff Bhindi/okra. The result was a fantyastic tasting spicy side dish. The lad kept asking for more and failed to notice the number of Rotis that went into his tummy. 🙂

Here’s the recipe for the Niger Seeds chutney:

1 cup from karale (कारळे) /Khurasni(खुरसणी) or Niger seeds

~ 10-12 garlic pods peeled (you may use less)

2 tsp red chilli powder (you can add more)

Salt to taste

Method:

Lightly roast the Niger seeds for 1-2 minutes (take care not to burn them)

Grind/ pound together all the ingredients to a dry chutney. I started by using a wooden morter and pestle but pounding the seeds to a fine powder was taking time so gave in and used the mixer.

Serve this with hot BhakriRoti/Rice preferably with a drizzle of groundnut oil.

Recipe for stuffed Okra with Niger seed chutney:

10-12 medium sized fresh and tender Bhindi/okra, washed, dried and slit lengthwise

2 tbsp oil

Juice of half a lemon/lime

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

For the stuffing:

2 medium sized onions peeled and grated

½ cup roasted groundnut powder

4 tsp above Niger seeds chutney

2 tsp Kanda Lasoon masala (optional.I used my mom’s.)

Salt to taste.

Method:

Mix all the ingredients for stuffing.

Stuff the okra with it.

Heat oil in a wide flat bottom nonstick pan. Add the stuffed bhindi carefully.

Cook for 3-4 minutes without stirring.

Stir carefully.

Cover and cook for the next 3-4 minutes. Add a few drops of lime juice and stir once.

Cook uncovered till done (not very soft or mushy ). If you have the time and the patience cook uncovered all the time stirring only occasionally.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Bhakri,Roti or Rice.

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen has started a  series of photography exercises for amateur food photographers. See last month’s exercise for My Foodcourt here.

The theme for this month’s exercise was ‘Less is More’, which is currently my style of photography. The chutney as well as stuffed Okra/Bhindi  photos above was taken with this theme in mind.Keep it simple is currently my photography mantra too.

Thank you again Aparna for coming out with these simple but helpful themes for the exercise.

June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am 4 comments

Tomato Saar

Tomato Saar is a quintessential Maharashtrian preparation, also a ‘must have’ dish for most of our festive fares.

Tomato is paired with coconut and then tempered with a few spices to make a sweet-spicy-tangy ‘soup’ usually as an accompaniment to steamed rice, although it can also be served like a soup on its own.

Every Maharashtrian household has a ‘unique’ recipe for Tomato Saar.  This recipe is my mom’s and I have followed exactly as she makes it. (I am surprised that after all these years I have missed blogging about it here on My Foodcourt!)

In other news, after my earlier rant about the camera, the DSLR is finally home and being played with. I am still discovering the unlimited features, so you will soon see a lot of my ‘discoveries’ with the same either here on the blog or on the FB page here.

Back to my mom’s recipe for Tomato Saar:

(This makes about 13-14 cups of saar)

Ingredients

9-10 medium sized ripe red tomatoes

3/4th  cup fresh grated coconut

2 ½ tsp grated jaggery (or more according to sweetness desired)

½ tsp red chilli powder (optional)

Salt to taste

For the tempering:

2 tsp Ghee/oil (homemade ghee tastes the best)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumene seeds

1/4 tsp asafetida (a pinch)

1-2 dry red chillies broken into pieces

10-12 curry leaves torn into pieces with hand

Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Method:

Cook the tomatoes in a pressure pan until soft and they lose their ‘rawness’ (one whistle and then 5 mins on sim)

Meanwhile grind the coconut to a fine paste using little water.

Once the tomatoes are cooked, cool and remove skin and chop off the head.

Grind the tomatoes along with the coconut to a smooth paste. The coconut and tomatoes should blend together.

You can sieve the paste through a mesh at this stage. I like to skip this step and directly use the paste as it is.

Add sufficient water to the paste to bring it to a soupy consistency.

Add the jaggery,salt and chilli powder and bring it to a boil.

In a small pan/kadai, heat the ghee/oil.

Add the mustard seeds.

Add the cumene seeds once the mustard seeds splutter.

Switch off the gas and add the asafetida, curry leaves and the red chillies.

Add this tempering to the saar.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice or just as it is like a soup.

March 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm 20 comments

Pepper away the Monsoon blues with this quick and simple Black pepper Rasam/soup

The medicinal uses of Black pepper are well known. It is one of the trusted home remedies for cold and cough. We have been surviving the Monsoon bug by adding this ‘natural antibiotic‘ to our day-to -day meals.

We are having this hot spicy Pepper Rasam/ soup almost every day to soothe our itchy throats; a soothing balm to ‘shoo’ away the Monsoon blues.

This is of course my Mother-in-law’s recipe and uses very few day-to-day ingredients; Black pepper-cumene seeds –some dried coconut and curry leaves. You can make a ready spice mix and store in an airtight container. Whenever you want to make the rasam just boil some lentils add the ready spice mix and viola! your ‘magic potion’ is ready in minutes

Here’s the recipe for Pepper Rasam/Soup

Things required:

¼ cup Toovar Dal (pigeon pea lentils)

8-10 Black pepprcorns

~2 tsp Cumene seeds

~ 1 tbsp dried coconut grated

4-5 curry leaves

Pinch of turmeric and few drops of oil to cook the Lentils

Salt to taste

1 tsp homemade ghee

Method:

Pressure cook the dal with ~ 2 ½ cups  of water, a pinch of turmeric and 3-4 drops of oil.

In a pan dry roast black peppercorns, cumene seeds, dried coconut and curry leaves one by one.

Cool and coarsely grind the spices in a mortar and pestle.

Heat ghee in a deep pan.

Add the spice mix.

Add the cooked dal along with the water. Adjust the consistency of water to your liking.

Season with salt and boil for few minutes.

Serve piping hot.

Notes:

You can adjust the spices to your taste, it is a very forgiving recipe.

You can skip the ghee if you don’t want it, just mix the spices and the dal and boil together.

If you plan to serve this as a clear soup, let the soup stand for a few minutes and then just pour out the liquid. You can use the leftover dal to make some dal parathas or sambar

You can zest up the soup with a dash of lime juice

August 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm 9 comments

Power Breakfast for these ‘under the weather’ days

The monsoon bug does not seem to leave our house; it’s been almost like a hospital for the past few days! The wet sultry days are no help for recovery. The coughing and sneezing seems to have affected the palate as well as the appetite. Quick, wholesome food is helping us sustain these depressing days.

Here’s a recipe for a quick and wholesome Cracked wheat (Dalia) Upma dressed up with corn, moong bean sprouts and a few spices. Corn was added for the little ‘corn fan’ in the house. To pep up our appetites I added some kasuri Methi and a hint of Pav Bhaji masala to the cracked wheat, and that’s what is did-jazzed up our meal!

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups Cracked wheat, washed and pressure cooked (with salt and 3 ½ cups water)

1 cup Sweet corn

1 cup moog bean sprouts

1 small onion chopped

~ 2-3 tsp kasuri methi

½ tsp Pav Bhaji Masala (I used Everest)

3-4 dry red chillies broken into pieces

~2 tsp roasted peanut powder

½ tsp ginger-garlic paste

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

Salt to taste

~2-3 tsp oil

Lemon juice, coriander/mint leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a pan. Add the tadka ingredient; mustards seeds-cumene seeds-turmeric- redchillies.

Add the onion and ginger garlic paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Add the corn and moong beans.

Add salt and mix nicely (the cooked Cracked wheat also contains salt.)

Cook covered for ~5-6 minutes. (Don’t overcook, the corn and moong sprouts should be crunchy)

Add the Pav Bahji masala.

Crush and sprinkle the Kasuri Methi.

Add the cooked Cracked wheat and peanut powder, mix well.

Cook covered for 1-2 minutes more.

Garnish with Lime juice/coriander/mint leaves and serve hot.

 Note: You can use any fresh vegetables of your choice along with the corn and Moong sprouts.

August 6, 2010 at 11:29 am 4 comments

Comfort food-Poha(beaten rice) spiced with Methkut

I was feeling a bit under the weather for the past few days. The wet rainy days did not help to lift up my spirits. Elaborate cooking took a back seat and it was time for some quick easy meals.

Poha (beaten rice) is a must-have ingredient for all Maharashtrian pantries. It is a regular item on the ‘essential items’ in the monthly grocery list. Poha is a handy ingredient when you have unexpected guest, you are pressed for time, need a quick meal or when you want some comfort food!

The modest Poha is dressed up here with a few spices and a classic Methkut powder to make one of the most delightful comfort foods for me.

The recipe is quite forgiving and does not need any pre-planning. Day-to-day ingredients are used and it can be made at the last minute.

The key ingredient used to flavor this Spicy Poha is a Methkut. Methkut is a classic powder made from a few dals and spices and is used in most Maharashtrian households to flavour soft cooked rice; again a comfort food and one with lot of childhood memories.

I used readymade Methkut powder but you can find recipes here and here.

This spiced Poha makes a great tea time snack along with a cup of spiced Chai or a glass of freshly brewed filter coffee.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups Thin poha (beaten rice)

2-3 tbsp Methkut powder

3-4 tsp coconut water /buttermilk/milk or just plain water

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

For the tadka (tempering):

A handful of peanuts

A handful of roasted Chana dal (Dalia)

4-5 dry Red chillies cut  into pieces

4-5 curry leaves torn into pieces

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

~2-3 tbsp oil 

For the garnish:

Lime Juice

Fresh coriander leaves 

Method:

Sprinkle coconut water/buttermilk/milk or just plain water on the poha and mix to make it a little moist.

Add the methkut, salt and sugar and mix nicely to coat the poha. (Adjust the amount of Methkut to your taste).Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a small pan.

Add the mustard seeds and once they splutter add the cumene seeds followed by the peanuts.

Fry the peanuts well and then add the roasted chana dal.

Add in the turmeric powder, Red chilles and curry leaves.

Add this tadka\tempering to the poha and mix nicely.

Keep covered for a ~ 5 minutes for all the flavours to mingle.

Garnish with lime juice and coriander leaves.

Variation: If you cannot find Methkut you can use the Chutney podi which is normally served with dosa.

Or I have blogged about another version of spicy Poha (Dadpe Pohe) earlier on My Foodcourt here.

 Also see Poha spiced with Tamarind

July 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm 8 comments

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