Tadka, Phodani, bhagar, vaghar, chaunk or tempering or seasoning, we may call it by different names but we all agree that it’s one of the greatest inventions of Indian Cooking! A method that’s widely used in Indian Cooking and the only ubiquitous ingredient in many of our traditional dishes from North to South and East to West.
A simple method in which whole or ground spices – such as mustard seeds, cumin and coriander with some hing and turmeric are added to hot oil or ghee. The heated oil or ghee has amazing qualities of extracting and retaining vital nutrients from the added ingredients, the same technique being used since ages for making Ayurvedic oils and medicated ghees.
The hot oil or ghee infused with the aromas of whole spices is so magical that it can elevate any basic ingredient, including as humble as a leftover roti or poli in Marathi. And what you get is a popular Maharashtrian dish; extremely tasty, super easy and a perfect healthy breakfast item that pairs nicely with a cup of chai or bowlful of fresh yogurt.
It tastes best with leftover rotis as they tend to absorb oil more easily due to their extra dryness. A simple tadka with standard ingredients and curry leaves with some characteristic Maharashtrian ingredients such as peanuts and dry coconut flakes and sesame seeds, the dish provides enough oil to digest the dry rotis with extra yum factor! The peanuts can be substituted by fresh green peas, they add a hint of sweetness and a beautiful green color. But I prefer the nuttiness of roasted peanuts.
A magical makeover for leftover rotis - takes no more than 15 minutes. Quick, tasty, easy and healthy - perfect for breakfast!
- Grind all rotis coarsely. It's best done with your hands.
- In a medium pan, prepare tadka by adding all ingredients listed under tadka in the given order.
- Add finely chopped onion and fry it until it becomes translucent.
- Add roasted peanuts or green peas and let them fry for a minute.
- Add red chili powder, cumin-corainder powder (optional) dry coconut flakes, and salt. Mix well.
- Now add roti flakes, mix everything together and let it steam for 2 minutes.
- Add sugar and lemon juice and again steam it for another 2 minutes.
- Serve hot! Garnish with fine shev or chopped coriander leaves.
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.
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.
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
Healthy breakfast with not so used Bottle Gourd
- Wash, peel and grate dudhi using wider slots on grater.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lastly add oil and knead everything nicely. Oil adds more moisture so do keep it in mind.
- Make smaller balls, and roll them flat using a rolling pin.
- Cook them on a flat tawa just like a paratha, using oil on both sides.
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.
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!
5 tastes in one byte! It's a culinary master piece!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil. I use peanut oil and it works really well for this dish.
- Prepare phodani or tadka, by adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
- Now add bitter melon pieces by removing all the water. If you like squeeze out the water as much as you can.
- Stir fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add ground peanuts, grated coconut, tamarind paste and mix it well.
- 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.
- Add jaggery, cook it further for 2 minutes.
- Adjust the amount of jaggery / salt as per your taste.
Enjoy it hot with poli or fulka! Bon apetite!
Chettinad is a region in south Tamilnadu and is well know for its unique cuisine which emphasize the use of various whole spices and fresh coconut. This month’s SNC challenge was a savory curry made in chettinad style. This was my first time preparing Chettinad cuisine and since I have not tasted this particular curry, I was not entirely sure about what to expect or how it should really taste. But take my word for it. it was absolutely delicious. The addition of coconut, cashews and roasted chana dal adds a whole new dimension to our regular onion-tomato gravy and also alters its texture in a soothing way. Curry leaves and the roasted chana dal reinforce the south indian flavors while chana dal pakoda with crushed fennel seeds offer a new surprise at every bite. All in all, it’s a wonderful dish, you can serve it with rice or idli or dosa.
Thanks to Priya from Priya’s Versatile Recipes for sharing this Chettinad speciality with us.
Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu
Chana dal pakodas dipped in South Indian gravy makes a perfect pairing with rice.
For preparing Pakoda -
- Soak chana dal for at least two hours.
- Grind chana dal with some fennel seeds and dry red chilis to a coarse paste. Add water only if needed.
- Heat enough oil in a pan so that you can deep fry multiple pakodas at a time. Make pakodas with your fingers and drop them in hot oil on low-medium heat. Fry them until golden brown. Keep them aside.
For preparing gravy -
- Grind all ingredients listed under "To Grind" above to a fine paste with some water.
- In a heavy bottom pan / kadhai, heat some oil and all whole Garam masala listed under "For Seasoning" and fry for a minute or so or until you can smell it.
- Add chopped onions and garlic and fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomato and let them cook for sometime.
- Now add the coconut paste and also add 4 cups of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and give it a stir. Let it cook for 5 minutes with lid on.
- Add pakodas and let it simmer further for 2 minutes. Add more water if needed. Pakodas will absorb the water so make sure you add enough.
Serve it hot with rice / idli or dosa.
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.
Healthy and hearty Indian flat bread with white radish stuffing!
- Prepare chapati dough by adding chapato flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric, oil and warm water.
- Add a tsp of hot oil and knead well.
- To prepare stuffing, in a medium bowl add grated white radish and boiled and smashed potatoes.
- Now add other spices and finely chopped coriander and mix well.
- The actual paratha is similar to any other parathas. For detailed instructions follow this procedure.
- Serve it hot with pickle and raita.
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.
And 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!
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.
So here it comes, my vegetable biryani
It’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
One pot meal with simple ingredients yet exotic flavors
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!
- Wash rice grains and soak them in cold water before starting with other preparation.
- Keep all vegetables ready by washing them and chopping as desired. I used some asparagus but that's optional.
- 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.
- Now add ginder garlic paste and green chilis.
- Add diced potatoes and saute them for a 1-2 minutes.
- Now add all other vegetables and mix them.
- Add biryani masala, red chili powder and sail and mix well.
- 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.
- 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.
- Heat 1/4 cup milk and add saffron to it. Keep it ready.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour the saffron milk on top.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve it hot with raita.
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.
Punjabi cuisine has given the greatest gift to Indian cuisine – paneer. Soft (Indian) cottage cheese full of fat has to somehow translate in any language as ‘yum’! A whole-wheat flat bread filled with mildly spiced paneer served with yogurt is just a breakfast for Punjabis but can be a complete meal for me.
I need a better picture and the only way to get it is to make these parathas when S is not around. Learned from my mistakes 😉 For now this is best capture I have got –
[Update] This might be a little better –
Comforting to eat, Effortless to make
I will describe Khichadi in word one – Soul-food! It’s so comforting, fulfilling and satisfying. This was the first recipe I learned from my mom when I first started my job in Bangalore. It’s a ‘++’ version of वरण भात ‘Varan-bhaat’ (dal-rice) but it’s actually easier to prepare than dal-rice.
The best part I like about Khichadi is it’s a one pot meal. All you do is mix all ingredients together in pressure cooker, then wait for few minutes and dig in! Well khichadi literally means a mixture. The rice in it adds the starch, which somewhat magically means comfort in any language, and the moong dal adds a good source of protein which is easy to digest.
It is also a dish that is found throughout the country in some form or the other – khichdi, khichri, khichuri, venn pongal, even kedgeree, which was adopted by the colonials, are all variations on the same theme. Like names there are different khichdis too. I like it soft, almost mushy and watery, but some prefer it like pulao, all grains intact.
My mom makes a milder version with no garam masala –
I generally make a spiced khichadi with whole garam masala and green peas.
The general rule is to use 2 parts rice and 1 part moong dal but I use both in equal proportions. You can use split moong dal which is green or yellow. Here is my version –
मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi
Comforting to eat, Effortless to make!
- Wash and soak the rice and the dal in water for about half an hour. If you don't have time skip this step.
- If you have time use a large wide and heavy bottom pan to prepare khichadi. Or you can also use a pressure cooker and make it quicker.
- Either ways, in a pan, heat the oil and add whole garam masala (clove, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom). Also mustard seeds.
- When they start to pop add cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing and turmeric.
- Drain all the water from the grains and add them to the oil. Mix well for a minute.
- Now add goda masala and red chili powder and mix well.
- If you want add green peas or any other vegetables and mix again.
- Add 4 cups of water and stir everything together.
- Add grated coconut.
- Add salt and taste it.
- Now let it cook on medium heat for 3 whistles. If you skip the first step, you might want to wait for 4-5 whistles depending upon your cooker.
- If you are making it a wide pan, let the water come to a boil and then simmer for few minutes. Stir it occasionally. But keep a lid on it by leaving a small gap for the steam to escape.
- Serve it hot with ghee and chopped cilantro.
If you still think this is not easy to prepare, there is an instant version too. I recently came across AyurFoods and I have tried their moong dal khichadi. It was as delicious as home made. It’s nicely packaged and can be a good healthy meal while travelling.
There are some dishes which you never make at home because you always like to have those at restaurants. Dal Makhani was one of these until I had ‘the best dal makhani ever’ made by S. He was famous for his recipe during his college days and I must admit he did a great job. On a second thought the butter, and more butter, the cream and the masala did a fantastic job. Later, I served him dal makhani made without butter and cream and it was still as fabulous as his version, he looked surprised!
Urad Dal is rich in protein and dietary fibre. It’s also a great source of minerals especially Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper. It also has good amount of Folate and Vitamin B6.
Black Urad is not commonly used in Maharashtrian cuisine. As the name suggests, its a Punjabi dish and extra cream will make it more “Makhani” like any other Punjabi preparation.
No butter and no cream can still make a delicious dal makhani
- Soak urad dal and kidney beans in water overnight (7-8 hours)
- In a pressure cooker, add soaked dal and beans with double amount of water. Add peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and a bay leaf to the daal. Let it cook with 5-6 whistles. You can also add a tea spoon of salt.
- Meanwhile, you can keep onion, tomato, ginger and garlic ready and start with the tadka.
- In a medium pan, heat some oil. Once it becomes hot, add cumin seeds.
- Add chopped garlic and let it turn slightly brown.
- Add some chopped cilantro and let it fry for a minute.
- Now add chopped onion, and cook them nicely. Sprinkle some salt to quicken the process.
- Once onions are cooked 80%, add tomatoes and mix well. It takes another 2 minutes.
- Smash tomatoes with spatula.
- Reduce the heat and add red chili powder and Dal Makhani masala and stir well. You should be able to smell the aroma of the hot masala.
- Next, add cooked dal and rajma along with some water.
- Add salt if needed and mix well. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and your dal is ready to serve.
- garnish it with chopped onions while serving.
This is going to Vardhini’s Dish it Out – Lentils & Garlic event hosted at nivedhanams.
Last time when I travelled to India, Cathay Pacific served bhindi masala for lunch. In my humble opinion, if people don’t know how to make bhindi that should just refrain from it. As soon as I reached home, the first thing I asked my mom to make was “भरली भेंडी / bharali bhendi”. It’s called “bharali” because it’s stuffed with masala. Disclaimer – This recipe is not same as Punjabi Bhendi Masala. This is truly a Maharashtrian version and if you ask me it’s the best version 🙂
Bharali Bhendi / Bhindi Masala
Little heavy on oil but totally worth it!
- Wash bhendi and let it dry completely.
- Make slits so that you can stuff the masala inside. Cut it into halves lengthwise so that it's easy to eat.
- In a small bowl, prepare the masala by mixing everything together except for salt.
- In a medium pan, take oil and make tadka by adding mustanrd seeds, cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves and turmeric powder in that order.
- Now stir in stuffed bhendi and let those cook properly.
- Sprinkle salt and mix it lightly. Make sure the masala doesn't come out.
- Keep it covered for 3-4 minutes.
- Once bhendi becomes soft and masala is cooked, it's ready to serve hot with rotis.
This dish demands a bit more oil than usual cooking but it's totally worth it. Also try to use a non stick pan in order to avoid sticking-at-the-bottom problem.
It is a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese. Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2498/2#ixzz2CRq5FNaA