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Jaggery

Gujarati/ Quick n Healthy/ Upvasache Padarth/ Winter Special

Sweet Potato Muthiya

Healthy yummy fasting snack, which is quite a rare combination!

Sweet Potatoes or रताळे (Ratale in Marathi) are in season and I absolutely adore this root vegetable. I am so glad that it’s allowed during fasting. Steamed  sweet potato with a pinch of salt and sunth (dried ginger) was my favorite after school snack.

Unfortunately my husband is not a great fan of sweet potato so I don’t make it that often but this time I experimented with a basic muthiya recipe and turned it into muthiya that can work during fasting. I used sweet potato with chestnut flour (शिंगाडा पीठ) and rajgira flour, added fresh ginger, lime juice and some cumin powder. The result was yummy healthy snack which I am extremely proud of!

Sweet Potato Muthiya

 

They taste sweetish, tangy, hot with lost of gingery flavor. Singoda and rajgira flavors are very subtle. The seasoning is a must, it takes the dish to a whole new level.

Sweet Potato Muthiya

Sweet Potato Muthiya

Healthy yummy fasting snack, which is quite a rare combination 🙂

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Start by washing, peeling and grating sweet potatoes.
  2. Add salt, lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, cumin-coriander powder and a bit of jaggery or sugar to grated sweet potatoes and mix well. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Now start adding both the flours 1/3 cup at a time. Mix well to form a dough. You won't need any water as sweet potatoes will leave out all the moisture. Add flour as needed to make not-so-thick dough.
  4. Add green chilies and mix well. Taste it.
  5. Prepare a steamer pan.
  6. Make muthiya - by pressing the dough in your palms to give it a cylindrical shape. Place these in the steamer and let them steam for about 15 minutes. Check with a sharp knife.
  7. Let them cool down a bit, before you slice them.
  8. If you are using these for fast, prepare seasoning with ghee and cumin seeds, else you can add mustard seeds, curry leaves and sesame seeds. Add sliced muthiya and shallow fry them on both side.
  9. Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sauce.
Breakfast/ Gujarati/ Roti Paratha Dosa & More/ Snacks

Doodhi Bajra na Thepla / Whole Grain Flatbread with Bottle Gourd

Gujaratis are well known for their snacks and they have all kinds – deep fried, steamed, baked, fermented, roasted. It’s pretty amazing that one single region of India has encompassed so many diverse techniques as part of their daily cooking.dudhi thepla

Theplas are Indian flatbreads made with whole grain flour mixed with seasonal vegetables and some commonly used spices such as green chilies, cumin-coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste. All combined into a dough using yogurt. Since there is hardly any water used in making the dough, these theplas last for couple of days, making them a perfect healthy snack for picnics or long journeys. The dough also contains some jaggery or sugar, which is signature of any Gujarati dish, trust me it actually makes it yummy! Serve it hot with pickle or chundo and yogurt.dudhi bajra thepla

Bajra flour has a very earthy flavor and it combines well with the mild flavor of dudhi. There is a good balance of different tastes of whole wheat, bajra, dudhi and ginger-garlic and jaggery.

Dudhi Bajra Na Thepla

Dudhi Bajra Na Thepla

Healthy breakfast with not so used Bottle Gourd

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Wash, peel and grate dudhi using wider slots on grater.
  2. Squeeze out all the water from grated dudhi, and I really mean all of it. Dudhi contains lot of moisture and it leaves out more after we add salt to the dough, so it's time to use some muscle power.
  3. Add all ingredients together one by one, except for oil. Initially add 1 spoon of yogurt at a time and add more as needed. But make sure you try to bring the dough together before you add more yogurt.dudhi thepla ingredients
  4. Lastly add oil and knead everything nicely. Oil adds more moisture so do keep it in mind.
  5. Make smaller balls, and roll them flat using a rolling pin.dudhi thepla in process
  6. Cook them on a flat tawa just like a paratha, using oil on both sides.
Everyday Cooking/ Maharashtrian/ Spring - Summer Special/ Subji / Curry/ Superfoods

कारल्याची भाजी / Karlyachi Bhaji / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry in Maharashtrian Style

5 different tastes in one bite! It's a culinary master piece!

I have always told people who asked me about my favorite vegetables that I love Karlyachi Bhaji and especially the way my mom makes it. The surprise on their face made me feel proud for earning brownie points for being a good kid who eats all vegetables, including bitter gourd.

Any preparation of bitter gourd will have a pronounced bitter taste and it should, it’s not easy to mask bitter taste but it plays well with well chosen ingredients. This particular preparation which uses tangy tamarind, nutty peanuts, creamy coconut, sweet jaggery and spicy Goda Masala is a classical example of Marathi cuisine from Konkan region.

karlyachi bhaji

I was very happy with my attempt to mimic  mom’s magical taste. The best reward was that my husband really enjoyed it, which was quite a shock for me!karela with Goda masala

Karlyachi Bhaji

Karlyachi Bhaji

5 tastes in one byte! It's a culinary master piece!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. If you are using ready made tamarind paste, skip this step. Else, in a small bowl add 1 spoonful of tamarind and some water, microwave it for 10 seconds and let it sit aside.
  2. Wash bitter melons and cut them length wise, if you see any bigger seeds remove them with a spoon or inner side of a peeler. Now chop them into smaller equal sized pieces.
  3. Add these chopped pieces to a bowl with some water and add 1 tbsp of salt, mix it well. The salt makes the bitter gourd release some juice and it takes away some bitterness. This step is optional but highly recommended.
  4. Now in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil.  I use peanut oil and it works really well for this dish.
  5. Prepare phodani or tadka, by adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
  6. Now add bitter melon pieces by removing all the water. If you like squeeze out the water as much as you can.
  7. Stir fry it for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Now add ground peanuts, grated coconut, tamarind paste and mix it well.
  9. Add red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, Goda masala and finally some salt. Mix everything together and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add jaggery, cook it further for 2 minutes.
  11. Adjust the amount of jaggery / salt as per your taste.

Enjoy it hot with poli or fulka! Bon apetite!

bitter gourd stir fry

Desserts/ Festival Special/ Maharashtrian/ Smoothie/ South Indian

Moogachi Kheer / Parippu Kanji – A Festive Lentil and Jaggery Porridge

A healthy festive drink!

Last Monday we celebrated Akshay Trutiya, a religious occasion which calls for a sweet treat. “Akshay” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and this day falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the 3 and 1/2 “the most auspicious days” or also known as “Sade-Teen Muhurt” considered by Hindus. It’s believed that Akshay Trutiya was the day when Lord Ganesha started writing epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyasa’s dictation. It’s considered auspicious to start a new venture or a new job, buy new property and jewelry too.

Every year my aajji used to celebrate Akshay trutiya by buying a gold coin and visiting the Vishnu temple. And I used to wait for her to come back so that I could get the prasad – the sweets! She tried making new sweets every time and this Moong Kheer (Porridge) was one of those innumerable treats I have had from her. Parippu Kanji

Traditionally it’s served warm but I like it chilled too. A very simple lentil kheer with just over 3 ingredients. Easy to make yet rates quite high on healthy spectrum which is quite unusual for an Indian sweet.Here is what you need.

Moogachi Kheer

Moogachi Kheer

A festive healthy drink!  the two words fit in one sentence quite rarely!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Lightly toast the moong dal with some ghee in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Do not let them turn brown. You should be able smell their nutty aroma.Toasted Moong Dal
  2. Add one cup of water to moong dal and pressure cook it for 2 whistels. They should be well cooked with very little water left in your cooking pot. It will have soft and smushy texture.
  3. Meanwhile, add jaggery in 1/2 cup water an dlet it dissolve completely. Strain the mixture in order to separate any impurities. Keep it aside.
  4. Using a potato masher or churner, mash the lentils so they become creamy but still have some bits in it.
  5. Put these cooked lentils and the jaggery solution in a pan and let it come to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
  6. Add the milk and stir till mixed well, and turn up the heat a bit. Bring it to a boil, and let it cook for another minute.
  7. Take it off the heat and then add the powdered ginger and the cardamom. Stir well.

Let it cool a bit before you pour it in glasses. Serve it warm. This recipe serves 4 to 6 depending on size of serving.

Tips:

  1. Toasting helps to bring out the nuttiness which makes the kheer more flavorful. But be careful not to turn them brown or it would overpower the taste.
  2. Before adding milk, stir frequently as it doen't contain lot of liquid and it may stick to the bottom and burn.
  3. Add basil leaves and a pinch of saffron before serving. Adds another dimension to the simple flavors.

Paruppu KanjiI recently came to know that this is also known as Parippu Kanji or Paruppu Kanji where “parippu” is lentils and “kanji” is  porridge in Tamil and it’s almost synonymous to Shivratri in some communities.  I think it completely makes sense. The kheer made of moong dal, a rich source of protein yet easy on digestion system and jaggery which is unrefined sugar, high in energy,  added with milk, sounds like a perfect recipe which is light but nutritious for a fasting day. Enjoy your healthy treat!

Maharashtrian/ Snacks/ Winter Special

भोपळ्याचे घारगे / Bhoplyache Gharage/ Sweet Pumpkin Puri

Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India
Source – http://nitinmahesh.blogspot.com/

My primary school had a unique tradition of biding farewell to 4th grade students by taking them on a two-day trip to Mahabaleshwar. It’s a hill station  situated amongst Sahyadri range and it’s about 115 km from Pune.

This used to be the only two-day school trip and I still remember all the planning and plotting we did to decide who all would stay in one room and how we would convince out favorite teacher to stay with us in our room. of course, food was an important part of discussion and also a prestige issue as to who gets what from home and to make sure we all don’t get one thing  and so on … Our class teacher had asked our parents to pack one tiffin and keep it as a surprise for us, you know the joy of discovering your favorite thing made by your mom with an element of surprise, truly priceless!

We were half way through and our teacher asked us to open our surprise lunch box and guess what I had in my box. भोपळ्याचे घारगे  (Bhoplyache Gharage). It’s a traditional Maharashtrian tea-time snack, The puris are made with Pumpkin and Jaggery and whole wheat flour. Soft yet not too sweet! Best for picnic, as they last for couple of days. They keep you full but not so heavy on your stomach.

Bhoplyache Gharage

भोपळ्याचे घारगे / Bhoplyache Gharage/ Sweet Pumpkin Puri

भोपळ्याचे घारगे / Bhoplyache Gharage/ Sweet Pumpkin Puri

Soft, not too sweet pumpkin puris.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Peel and dice the pumpking into big cubes. 
  2. Steam it until it becomes really soft. It takes around 10-12 minutes. Do not add water to pumpkin while steaming.
  3. While it's steaming hot, mix the grated jaggery and mix well.
  4. Let it cool down so you can add whole wheat flour and knead a firm dough. Like you would make it for regular puris.
  5. Add 1 tea spoon of hot oil and knead it again. The dough should not stick to your hands.
  6. Pumpkin tends to leave water so adjust the amount of flour accordingly. Add sesame seeds if you like.
  7. Now you have two options, either roll our individual puris or make a big one and use cookie cutter or a sharp edged bowl and cut small puris out of it. I used the second option which is quicker and you get equal sized puris.Bhoplyache Gharage in making 1Bhoplyache Gharage in making 2
  8. In a medium pan, heat the ghee on a medium flame and deep fry the puris until golden brown.
  9. Don't let them turn too brown or else they become hard once cool down.
  10. Let them cool down and you can store them in an airtight jar for up to 6 days.Sweet Pumpkin Puris

My first official sweet entry for “Dish It Out – Squash & Sugar” event happening here at MyHomeMantra till March 31st. DishItOut

Desserts/ Festival Special/ Maharashtrian/ Quick n Healthy/ Winter Special

Til-Gul / Tilachya Wadya / Sesame Candy

तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला!

Makar Sankranti, marks the transition (Sankraman) of the Sun into Capricorn (Makar) rashi on its celestial path. Traditionally this has been one of many harvest seasons in India and being agriculture based community, harvest season and festivals always go hand in hand. Known by different names, it’s celebrated all over India.

In Maharashtra, we celebrate it by exchanging til-gul laddoo and halwa as token of goodwill and we fondly say “तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला” which means “Savor this sweet Til-Gul and may the sweetness fill your thoughts and speech”. The Til-Gul literally translates to Sesame Seeds and Jaggery. The laddoos or wadis made with jaggery, sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut  not only taste good but also provide the essential oils needed in cold, dry winter days.

Even though I have made tilgul at home, Makar Sankranti doesn’t seem the same anymore. It’s just not in the air. In my school, everyone would get tilgul and halwa from home and there would be so much variety with these simple ingredients – different shapes, sizes, softness. But I always thought my mom makes the best tilgul; soft, easy to bite which melts in your mouth.

tilgul

The other best part of Sankranti was Puranpoli and that makes me really nostalgic. For now here is the recipe for TilGul

Til Gul / Tilachya Wadya

Til Gul / Tilachya Wadya

Sesame Seeds, peanuts, coconut and jaggery. You can't go wrong with these.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Roast all sesame seeds in a deep bottom skillet or kadhai, till they start changing their color. Do not get them too brown.
  2. Similarly, roast the peanuts. And grind them, but not into a fine powder. Crunchy pieces always taste better.
  3. Also roast the shredded dry coconut slightly. It takes almost no time if the skillet it already hot.
  4. When sesame seeds are cool enough to handle, grind them.
  5. In a saucepan or kadhai, take 1-2 table spoons of Ghee and add jaggery. Let it melt completely. Reduce the heat.
  6. Now add ground sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut and mix well until everything comes together.
  7. Grease a big plat with some Ghee and spread the mixture onto the plate evenly.
  8. While it's still hot, mark the lines with a sharp knife and let it cool down.
  9. Separate the wadis when completely cooled down.

Notes

  • If you want to make hard wadis like Chikki, use the special Chikki Jaggery. Also when it melts, put a drop of melted jaggery in a cup of cold water, if it forms a firm ball the jaggery syrup is done. This will make hard candies.
  • You can also substitute jaggery with sugar but it does not taste the same.

Wish you all a wonderful Makar Sankranti and may it bring warmth and lots of happiness in your life!

[Update] A healthy snack that can be packed and stored for a while, sending it to Kid’s Delight – Back to Hostel special event started by Srivalli

Desserts/ Quick n Healthy/ South Indian

Ulunthan Kali

This was my first time participating in Indian Cooking Challenge and I was very excited about it. Srivalli had asked us to prepare a traditional sweet from Tamilnadu. I had never heard the name before and surprisingly none of my Tamil friends were familiar with its name – “Ulunthan Kali”. As Srivalli explained, its known by various other names such as  Kummayam or Adi Kummayam or more popularly Thiruvadhirai Kali. The recipe was given by Padma.

The most impressive thing about this dish is its ingredients.; urad dal, rice, jaggery and sesame oil; all combined together to make a deliciously healthy dessert. The jaggery I used was quite pale in color, next time I plan to use darker jaggery to get a nice golden brown color.

ulunthan kali

Ulunthan kali

Ulunthan kali

A traditional dessert from Tamilnadu.

Note - Sesame oil can be substituted by ghee.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Dry roast urad daal and rice separately on a medium flame. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Grind daal and rice to make a fine powder (consistency of fine rava)
  3. Heat a few table spoons of water in a pan and dissolve the jaggery.  Once it dissolves completely, switch off the heat, strain the water and keep it aside.
  4. In the same pan, take 2 cups of water, add the jaggery syrup to it and bring it to boil.
  5. Add the daal and rice powder to the boiling water, and mix well. Add cashews if you like.
  6. Let it cool for 4-5 minutes, until it reaches halwa like consistency. 
  7. Add sesame oil or ghee and mix well. Let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Finally add some cardamom powder and keep the lid closed and take it off the heat.
  9. You might want to add a pinch of salt to balance out sweetness.

When I told my colleague that I was going to try Kali recipe, he got very excited. He started explaining me the recipe and he referred Sesame oil as “Nalla Ennai”. Sesame oil is so good for health that they refer to it as “Good Oil” in colloquial Tamil. I must admit, I really liked the flavor.

Urad daal helps improve our immune system and jaggery is rich in calcium and iron. This sweet is so nutritious that it’s given to girls especially at the time of puberty to strengthen their spinal cord and back bones. I really liked it.

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