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मुळ्याचे पराठे / Muli Paratha and WTML April 2013 Event Announcement with a Giveaway!!

मुळा / Muli or White Radish and शेपू / Savaa or Dill, the two vegetables I hated from my core white I was little. I gave my mom hard time since she either had to convince me for eating it or make something else . Convincing me was a harder task than preparing something else. She tried many ways to hide these vegetables in other dishes. the characteristic smell the two vegetables have turned out to be my biggest advantage.

It was quite rare to have my mom open the door for me as I return from school since her office timings never coincided with my school hours. It was one of those lucky days during Ganapati Festival. The rains were unstoppable and my mom decided to come home early. When I saw her at the door, I could not stop smiling. She then served me a ‘garama-garam’ (hot from the pan) paratha with mango pickle which is her ultimate speciality I have yet to conquer and some yogurt. It was so yummy and so satisfying. You can imagine, the slight coldness in the air with continuous pouring rains, the background Ganapati music which does not stop until power is completely disrupted (including generators)  and these soft, hot yummy parathas. I gave my mom a tight hug and said thank you for such delicious “aloo parathas”. Her smile only became bigger at that point. She replied, “Sure only if aloo was a new name for muli in my dictionary” Duh! Well since then muli paratha has been a permanent entry in our house menu and my favorite dishes.

Muli Paratha

 

Muli Paratha

Muli Paratha

Healthy and hearty Indian flat bread with white radish stuffing!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Method:

  1. Prepare chapati dough by adding chapato flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric, oil and warm water. 
  2. Add a tsp of hot oil and knead well.
  3. To prepare stuffing, in a medium bowl add grated white radish and boiled and smashed potatoes.
  4. Now add other spices and finely chopped coriander and mix well.
  5. The actual paratha is similar to any other parathas. For detailed instructions follow this procedure.
  6. Serve it hot with pickle and raita.

Tips:

White Radish sometimes has very strong smell. You can squeeze out the water from grated radish by adding some salt to it. By adding fennel seeds and ajwain seeds  help to reduce the strong smell.  Be careful with the salt if you add it to the grated radish, the stuffing and the dough.

 

muli parathaAnd now the Event Announcement! Last year I came across this wonderful event called WTML – Walking Through Memory Lane”. The event is a brainchild of Gayathri, a lovely lady and super innovative cook who writes about her culinary creations at Gayathri’s Cook Spot. As the name suggests, the event is all about recreating your childhood favorite dishes prepared by your mom, gradma, aunt or anyone special in your life. This is our chance to pay a small tribute to their cooking. I was instantly drawn to this idea and I submitted my “Rava Cake” recipe to her event and luckily I was the winner for that month’s giveaway. I received the wonderful book – Chocolate Cookbook by Tarla Dalal from Gayathri.

Long story short, Thanks to Gayathri, I am hosting this month’s WTML event at MyHomeMantra. Here are some simple rules.

  • Make your favorite dish which makes you cherish your childhood moments and also tell us a small story about the dish. Not just the recipe!
  • No restrictions on the number of story telling entries.
  • Only vegetarians dishes please.
  • You can link your old entries if they are reposted with the below links and the logo.
  • Link your post to my announcement page and Gayathri’s  WTML event page. That’s mandatory.
  • Add this logo to your posts, it helps spread the word.
  • Non bloggers can send me your recipes at myhomemantra [at] gmail [dot] com
  • The event is open from April 1 to April 30th

And the Big Giveaway – Gayathri will select an entry through random selection and give away the book for the selected entry.

Note that the books Gayathri gives are not sponsored and it is her own contribution to the event. You get a whole year’s subscription of Tarla Dalal’s Cooking and More as the giveaway. I am not eligible for the give away.

On the first of May, Gayathri will select a lucky winner and send a mail. After receiving her mail,you can give an address to which she has to ship the book. She will ship the book within India so if you reside abroad, please give an address in India for her to ship.

Let’s cherish our childhood memories with this wonderful event!


Rice & Dal

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Paradise Hotel, a landmark on Sardar Patel Road in Secunderabad which is so hard to miss. A crowded road with equally crowded biryani house which has been serving thousands of people day and night since 1953. I still clearly remember,  6 years back when I first visited Hyderabad; lunch at Paradise was ranking very high on our must-to-do list. Their signature biryani was truly succulent, flavorful and aromatic! It was a delicious experience.

When I first came across the recipe for Hyderabadi Birynai at Swasthi’s Indian Healthy Recipes, I knew I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to cherish my experience in my own kitchen. And the reason I came across this wonderful recipe is SNC – South Vs North Challenge started by Divya Pramil. She is a versatile cook and blogs at Youtoocancookindianfood.blogspot.com. Divya has created two groups – Southern Group and Northern Group as you can guess you become part  of a group based on the region you belong to in India. I liked the idea and it’s quite unique. This is my first time participating in SNC and I am so excited about it.

I will be part of Northern Group. You can read more about the challenge on Divya’s blog. Being from Maharashtra, I feel this is a great opportunity for me to learn both South Indian and North Indian dishes.

south-vs-north-blue

So here it comes, my vegetable biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable BiryaniIt’s easy to prepare but has multiple steps and if it’s your first time it will take little longer. My rice was cooked little longer  but the flavors and the taste was quite up to my expectation.

Here’s what you need.

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

One pot meal with simple ingredients yet exotic flavors

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Take a deep breath. It's a long list of ingredients and an equally long list of steps, quite daunting when you read it first time. Stay with me and it will be done in 45 minutes!

  1. Wash rice grains and soak them in cold water before starting with other preparation.
  2. Keep all vegetables ready by washing them and chopping as desired. I used some asparagus but that's optional.Vegetable Biryani prep
  3. Next thing is to prepare the vegetable masala. In a medium pan, heat 2 tbspn of oil or Ghee and add all whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, shahee jeera, star anis) and let them roast for a minute or so until you can smell their distinct aromas.
  4. Now add ginder garlic paste and green chilis.
  5. Add diced potatoes and  saute them for a 1-2 minutes.
  6. Now add all other vegetables and mix them.
  7. Add biryani  masala, red chili powder and sail and mix well.
  8. Now add 1/2 cup yogurt, mix everything and let it cook for 5 minutes. keep a lid on so that it cooks faster with the steam.
  9. We want the dry masala so cook it uncovered for another 3-4 minutes until all the moisture goes out. Add some chopped mint leaves and cilantro leaves and keep it aside.
  10. Heat 1/4 cup milk and add saffron to it. Keep it ready.
  11. In a small kadhai or pan, add 4 tbsp of oil and fry the onion slices until they turn dark brown. It takes around 10 minutes.Fried Onions
  12. In another bigger pan, add 4 cups of water and the soaked rice. Add a tsp of Ghee or oil, some salt and cumin seeds. Let it simmer for a while until the rice is 3/4th done. This is important as we are going to cook the rice again so make sure it's not well done.
  13. As soon as rice is ready, place a tawa on a low flame and a big steal pan or cooker on the tawa. You may call it as a modern way of cooking "dum" biryani.
  14. Add half of the vegetable masala cooked earlier, add some yogurt and some fried onions. Then add some rice. Make two such layers. On top add cashews, raisins and fried onions and chopped cilantro leaves.
  15. Pour the saffron milk on top.
  16. Now you have two options, you can seal the top with wheat dough or you can use a thick towel with a heavy lid on top it. I used the latter option.
  17. Let the rice cook for another 10 minutes on medium flame and then switch of the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
  18. Serve it hot with raita.

Notes

It's very important to keep everything ready when your rice is about to be done else it will cook more than what you want and the grains will not remain separated. I did this mistake and my rice was little overcooked. So plan it ahead.

 

 

Breakfast/ Maharashtrian/ Snacks

पोहे / Pohe / Poha

No Marathi food blog can be complete without “Pohe” (flattened rice flakes). It’s not just a comfort food but also an intrinsic part of our culture. When a prospective groom and bride families meet together for the first time, the girl serves pohe and tea. Hence “kanda-pohe-meeting” (poha with onion) does bear a special meaning in Maharashtrian culture.

It goes without saying that it’s a very easy recipe and probably that’s why making it delicious is an art. Warm, comforting, great for breakfast and as a tea-time snack.

Batate Pohe

Batate Pohe

Maharashtrian Comfort Food

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1. In a sieve, gently rinse Poha with running water for 1 minute or so.
2. Drain excess water and sprinkle Salt and Lemon Juice and sugar. Gently mix with hand and leave aside.
3. Dice two small potatoes and microwave them for 2 minutes. So that they cook faster.
4. Heat Oil in a medium pan / kadhai on medium heat.
5. Add Mustard Seeds and let them pop.
6. Add Cumin seeds, Hing, Turmeric powder. Then add peanuts and fry them for a minute. Now add curry leaves and green chilis.
7. Add onions and let them cook for 1-2 minutes. I don't like onions in pohe so I skip this step.
8. Add potatoes, mix well. Cover and let them cook for 1-2 minutes. They should be tender but not mushy.
9. Fluff up Pohe with a fork and add it to the pan.
10. Mix well. Sprinkle with a little water if Pohe have dried out too much.
11. Garnish with chopped cilantro and freshly grated coconut. Fine shev also goes well with Pohe. Serve hot.

Tips

1. You can add some chopped cilantro while making tadka. It adds nice flavor.
2. Add just enough sugar to balance salt and lemon juice.
3. Chopped mint leaves also add nice flavor to this dish.

Poha is made from rice paddy. Once they clean paddy, they soak it in hot water for about 45 minutes. They they roast wet paddy in large iron skillets to make poha or flattened rice flakes. And that’s why it contains more iron than rice.

Maharashtrian/ Quick n Healthy/ Subji / Curry

Vangi Batata (Eggplant Potato curry) Unbeatable!

Eggplants in Creamy Sauce loaded with Healthy Fats!

I have adapted my mom’s recipe of “bharli vangi” (भरली वांगी) to make it super simple and extremely delicious. The one thing I like about eggplant is it’s readily available in all grocery stores and this curry does not need any special ingredients. It’s super easy and super delicious.

Ingredients

5-6 medium sized eggplants
2-3 small potatoes (optional)
For masala -
1 tb spoon cumin-coriander powder
2.5 tb spoon peanut powder (दाण्याचे कूट)
1 tsp kala masala (गोडा मसाला)
1 tb spoon shredded coconut
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (roughly powdered)
1 tsp tamarind paste (or tamarind chutney) or 3-4 Aamsul pieces
1/2 tsp jaggery
for tadka (फोडणी)
1/2 tb spoon oil (just enough for tadka)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Method:

The original recipe does not contain any potatoes so feel free to omit them. I sometimes add potatoes to increase the quantity.

Potatoes take more time for cooking, so start with them first. Wash potatoes and dice them in cube sized pieces.

In a medium sized pan, heat some oil and prepare tadka with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and turmeric. Add potato cubes and mix well. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can cut washed eggplants into cubes. Keep them immersed in water with a pinch of salt. That avoids the discoloration. Transfer these eggplant pieces to the pan and also add few spoons of water.  Add tamarind paste or aamsul and let them cook for a minute or so.

Now we add the masala – Peanut powder, roughly grounded sesame seeds, red chili powder and kala masala.

Also some salt to taste. Add fresh coconut. (Dry coconut works too.) Add some more water to maintain the consistency. Let it boil for few minutes until all veggies are cooked nicely.

Once done, turn off the heat. Add jaggery and mix well. It’s ready!

Extra Credit –

I like to use तिळाची चटणी (dry sesame seed chutney), कारळ्याची चटणी and also जवसाची चटणी (flax seed powder) These seeds together with coconut provide a lot of healthy fats and also make super creamy sauce. As you can see, it requires very little oil to make this dish 🙂

Breakfast/ Maharashtrian/ Snacks/ Upvasache Padarth

साबूदाण्याची खिचडी / Sabudana Khichadi

Scrumptious Maharashtrian Delicacy

It was the very first time, since our marriage, when my husband was visiting me in Pittsburgh; I wanted to make something he loves. He asked for “साबूदाण्याची खिचडी” (Sabudana Khichadi). I somehow managed to serve him what he wanted but I was not at all happy with my attempt. I knew I had to learn the trick from my mom to make him happy. And now I have excelled it 🙂

I made it again after almost a year and I am really proud of myself 🙂

Sabudana Khichadi

Sabudana Khichadi

Yet another Maharashtrian classic!

Ingredients:

The most important part is amount of water used to soak sabudana. Use just enough water to cover all sabudana grains. Keep it covered for 6-8 hours.

In a wide bowl, separate the sabudana gently and mix it with peanut powder, salt and sugar. Stir it well so that all the grains get coated. Microwave the small potato cubes for 2-3 minutes.

Add ghee in a large pan and a few cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the remaining cumin seeds and finely chopped chillies. Add potato cubes and fry them for 1 minute. Add the sabudana mix and stir it together. It takes 10-15 minutes for sabudana to cook nicely. Keep stirring occasionally. If needed add few drops of water and/or ghee. When done, add some cilantro and lime juice and mix again. Add coconut and cilantro while serving.

Mom’s Tips :

  1. If you don’t have 6 hours, use warm water to soak sabudana. It takes around 2-3 hours.
  2. Grind 1 tea-spoon of cumin seeds and green chillies with some sugar. Use this mixture with peanut powder to coat sabudana grains. Sugar makes grinding green chillies easier. It adds nice cumin flavor to khichadi.
  3. Add some cilantro leaves in phodni (tadka).
South Indian/ Subji / Curry

Potato Subji with South Indian flavors

Quick and Easy with flavors you don’t want to miss!

Urad daal and curry leaves are very prominent in South Indian preparation. The two ingredients add distinct aromas making any dish instantly tempting.

Potato Subji with South Indian Falovors

Potato Subji with South Indian Falovors

The south Indian flavor is infused by Urad daal and curry leaves.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

A frying pan works better than a deep pan or kadhai due to larger surface area.

  1. Prepare tadka in a pan over medium flame.
  2. Add urad daal to tadka. Let the daal turn golden brown.
  3. Next goes red chilies and finely chopped ginger and turmeric powder.
  4. It’s time for curry leaves, let them fry for a minute.
  5. And then add chopped potatoes. Sprinkle some salt. Mix well and let it cook for 4-5 minutes with lid on.
  6. Remove the cover and let them cook further.

Garnish with fresh coconut and chopped cilantro.

Tip –

The subji tastes better if potatoes become slightly crispy. Once potatoes become tender, remove the cover and let them cook further for a two – three minutes. This way potatoes don’t become soggy.

Entertaining/ Subji / Curry

Pav Bhaji – Yum O!

Pav bhaji is my weak point. It tastes best when you have it at a road-side place or not-so-healthy place It was a long time since I made it so when we invited Kandy for dinner, pav bhaji was our first choice. He loved it. This is how I made it.

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji

Ingredients:

Instructions:

If you are not making khada pav bhaji, roughly chop green pepper, carrots and potatoes. Add these veggies and also cauliflower florets to a pressure cooker with enough water to soak all veggies and let them cook for not more than 3 whistles. Add some salt and whole garam masala to the pressure cooker, if you like.

While that’s happening, finely chop onions and tomatoes, and also garlic and grate ginger. Heat oil in a big pan. I like to add some Amul butter with the oil, but feel free to skip this step. Add cumin seeds, don’t wait long till you add garlic else cumin seeds start burning. Let the garlic pieces turn brownish and then add onion. Add some salt which helps quicken the frying process. Once onions are done, add tomatoes and let them cook down. Add tomato puree, if you have it.

At this point, you are ready to add the masala. Add red chili powder and half of pav bhaji masala and let that mix nicely with the oil and rest of the ingredients. Don’t let it become dry, add some water if needed. And now it’s time for all other veggies and green mutter. If you are using frozen mutter, you can add them directly to the pan else you might want to cook them in advance. Drain the water and mash down the veggies using a wooden / steal masher. That’s makes that process very easy and add it to the masala. Also add the water you used for cooking the veggies. Now add salt and more masala if you like and let it come to a boil with lid on. Let it simmer for a few minutes and keep the lid on to lock down all flavors.

 

Now comes the best part, just before serving, heat some butter in a small tadka pan and add some pav bhaji masala and let it fry nicely. The smell is out of the world! Add this masala butter to the bhaji and mix it. That’s makes it restaurent style.

 

Garnish it with chopped onions mixed with finely chopped cilantro and lemon juice! Enjoy with hot toasted pav and be gentle with the butter, just for that day

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