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Turmeric powder

Appetizers/ Entertaining/ Snacks/ Winter Special

Sweet Potato & Beetroot Kebabs

 

This recipe is inspired from Sweet Potato and Beetroot balls from Archana’s Kitchen.  A quick, healthy, nutritious snack that looks beautiful and taste wonderful. I just described a kids-friendly recipe, didn’t I? I will be making these for halloween party coming up soon.

Sweet Potato & Beetroot Kebabs

It tastes great with tangy tamarind chutney or hot-n-sour sauce or you can also try with salad with lots of greens!

Sweet Potato & Beetroot Kebabs

Sweet Potato & Beetroot Kebabs

A delicious healthy kids-friendly snack 🙂

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a small pan, heat some oil and add chopped onions. Fry them until translucent.
  2. Add garlic paste, green chilies and let them fry for a minute.
  3. Add grated beetroot and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add cumin-coriander powder, turmeric powder, chaat masala and some salt. Mix well.
  5. Add mashed sweet potatoes and mix well.
  6. Heat Paniyaram Pan and add a few drops of oil in each pocket.
  7. Make small balls and cook them from both sides in the pan. It takes about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with chutney.

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

Rice & Dal/ South Indian

Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu

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.chettinad pakoda kuzhambu 2

south-vs-north-blue

 

Thanks to Priya from Priya’s Versatile Recipes for sharing this Chettinad speciality with us.

 

 

Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu

Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu

Chana dal pakodas dipped in South Indian gravy makes a perfect pairing with rice.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

For preparing Pakoda -

  1. Soak chana dal for at least two hours. 
  2. Grind chana dal with some fennel seeds and dry red chilis to a coarse paste. Add water only if needed.
  3. 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.chana dal pakoda

For preparing gravy -

  1. Grind all ingredients listed under "To Grind" above to a fine paste with some water.
  2. 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.
  3. Add chopped onions and garlic and fry it for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomato and let them cook for  sometime.
  5. Now add the coconut paste and also add 4 cups of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and give it a stir. Let it cook for 5 minutes with lid on.
  7. 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.

chettinad pakoda kuzhambu 1

Breakfast/ Events/ Gujarati/ Snacks

હાંડવો / Handavo / Savory Lentil Cake and Bake Fest June 2013 Announcement

Gujaratis are known for their variety of farsan – snacks – dhokla, khaman, shev-khamni, khandvi, gote, lochyo, kachori, mathiya, muthiya …. it’s a long list. I have previously posted two recipes for muthiya – dudhi na muthiya and palak-methi na muthiya. Handvo or Handawa is yet another healthy Gujarati snack which is not deep fried. It’s actually baked!handvo

Traditionally this savory lentil cake is baked in an aluminium pot filled with sand in the bottom, which when heated, provides dry heat just like our modern ovens. I found it quite interesting. It’s prepared with a mixture of different dal flours such as chana dal, toor dal and urad dal and rice flour. The veggies such as dudhi (lauki), lilwa tuwer – which is a speciality of Gujarat and mutter maintain the moisture and yogurt helps it ferment before you bake it. It cannot be classified as a Gujarati dish until it’s seasoned with oil tadaka! You might be tempted to try it without the oil but please don’t unless you want to miss the real charm. The oil seasoning with mustard seeds and sesame seeds makes it very special and very Indian.

I used handwa flour I bought at an Indian grocery store. If you want to make it at home, please scroll down I have mentioned the proportions of the dals and rice. Don’t use the instant handvo mixtures, they contain lot of citric acid and the taste is nowhere close to an authentic dish.

Handavo / Handwa / Savory Lenti Cake

Handavo / Handwa / Savory Lenti Cake

Savory non deep fried lentil cake!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Prepare batter using handvo flour, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, ajwain seeds, turmeric powder, chopped green chilis, salt and a pinch of sugar. 
  2. Let it sit for 6-7 hours or overnight.
  3. Then add grated doodhi and other vegetables.
  4. Add fruit salt and whisk it in one direction until the batter becomes light.
  5. Pour this batter in loaf pan or muffin pan and bake it at 350 F for 30-35 minutes for a loaf pan and 20-25 minutes for muffin pan.
  6. In a small skillet, prepare tadka with oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Add this on top and serve it warm.

Notes:

You can more veggies like fresh methi leaves, spinach leaves or zucchini.

For Homemade Handavo Flour soak all these ingredients for 3-4 hours and grind toa fine paste.

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup tour dal
  • 1/4 cup chana dal
  • 1/4 cup urad dal

Sending this to Dish it Out event.

I am so happy to let you know that I am hosting Vardhini’s Bake Fest event for June 2013. Teh event is open from June 1st till June 30th. Here are some rules –

  • Send in any recipe which has been baked / broiled.
  • Only vegetarian or vegan recipes please.But Eggs are okay for baked dishes.
  • Usage of the logo is mandatory as it helps spread the word.BakeFest-200
  • Linking to original Bake Fest page and this announcement is mandatory.
  • Leave a comment below.
  • You can link your old entries if they are reposted with the below links and the logo.
  •  You can send in any number of new entries and a maximum of 2 old entries.

Looking forward to your innovative creations. Happy baking!


Breakfast/ Events/ Punjabi/ Roti Paratha Dosa & More/ Winter Special

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.

 

 

Dips & Raita/ Maharashtrian/ Winter Special

लाल भोपळ्याचे भरीत / Bhopalyache Bharit / Pumpkin Raita

I think this is the easiest and quickest recipe you can make with Pumpkin. It has very few ingredients and it does maintain Pumpkin flavor. “Lal Bhopla” in Marathi translates to Pumpkin and since this recipe has yogurt in it, we can call it raita but more traditionally it’s called भरीत / Bharit.

BHoplyache Bharit pumpkin raita

 

It’s cooked pumpkin mixed with yogurt seasoned with flavorful tadka using mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and curry leaves and green chilis. Some sugar and some salt. That’s it! The simplicity of ingredients really elevate the pumpkin flavor.

लाल भोपळ्याचे भरीत / Bhopalyache Bhareet / Pumpkin Raita

लाल भोपळ्याचे भरीत / Bhopalyache Bhareet / Pumpkin Raita

Soft, sweet sour and savory raita.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Peel and dice the Pumpkin into big cubes. 
  2. Steam it until it becomes really soft. It takes about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Yogurt should not be too sweet, a little sour yogurt works well for this recipe.
  4. Once cooked, let it cool down. Smash it with forks and mix it well with yogurt.
  5. In a small pan, heat the ghee and prepare tadka byadding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves, green chilis and hing and turmeric powder.
  6. Add this seasoning to the above mixture.
  7. Add salt and sugar to taste and mix well.
  8. Serve with chopped cilantro leaves on top.
Breakfast/ Maharashtrian/ Quick n Healthy/ Superfoods

भाजणीचे थालीपीठ / Bhajaniche Thalipeeth

 Comfort, redefined!

There are times when we eat to find a feeling beyond fullness. We eat looking for a feeling of joy, a momentary salve for sore spirits, a feeling of goodness. At times like these, we usually turn to what we call “comfort food”. वरण भात (Varan Bhaat), rice and dal in its simplest cooked form rates high on my list of “comfort foods”. Then comes the khichadi and my all time favorite –  थालीपीठ (Thalipeeth) with metkut and yogurt!

Bhajaniche ThalipeethIt’s a very common and very typical Maharashtrian recipe and it’s speciality is that it’s a perfect menu for morning, noon or night. It’s made with a flour mixture which is called भाजणी or Bhajani. It’s actually a grounded mixture of whole grains like whole wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, urad dal, chana dal and cumin and coriander seeds. “Bhajane” in Marathi translates to dry roast in English. The whole grains are first dry roasted in a pan and hence the name – “bhajani” and then are ground together to form fine flour which can be stored for months. You can think of it as an instant mix.

thalipeethachi bhajaniIt takes less than 10 minutes to make actual thalipeeth if you have the mix ready.

Thalipeeth-1

 

Bhajaniche Thalipeeth

Bhajaniche Thalipeeth

Hearty pancakes, super quick and super healthy, loaded with healthy carbs and fibre!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

If your bhajani mix contains salt and red chili powder, feel free to adjust the amounts accordingly. Ajwain seeds, fennel seeds and sesame seeds are totally optional but they do add more flavor to every bite. Cilantro and onion help make thalipeeth moist but they are optional too. And same is the case with ginger-galric-chili paste., it's for added flavor. If your bhajani doesn't contain cumin and coriander seeds, you can add 1 table spoon of cumin-coriander powder.

Now the more interesting part - It's just 4 step process - mix everything, put it on a pan, cook and eat with butter! I am getting too excited, I know!

  1. Finely chop your onion and cilantro.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix everything together except for oil and water.
  3. Mix in water gradually to form a firm dough. Taste it and adjust salt to your taste.
  4. Use a little bit oil to knead the dough and mix it together. No real kneading is needed.
  5. Heat a tawa / flat skillet on a medium heat.
  6. Take handful of dough and press it down with your fingers to to roll it out like a pancake, around 1/2 inch thick. Be careful with your hand if the skillet is hot.
  7. If it feels sticky, use some water.
  8. Make three to four holes in it and add few drops of oil in each hole. Also add a few drop surrounding the thalipeeth.
  9. Cover it with a lid and let it cook for 5-6 minutes until you hear crackling sound.
  10. Turn it over and let it cook again for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Wipe the skillet with a wet towel before making the next one.

Serve it hot with yogurt and pickle or chutney. By the way, homemade butter is a must!

I like it with metkut mixed with yogurt and topped with talnachi mirchi! Yum!

This is my entry to Jagruti’s Pancake Day celebration.

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