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.
Yogurt is a complete protein (it contains all essential amino acids) and is also a healthy source of calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins. More importantly its active bacterial cultures aid in digestion. No wonder it’s an important part of any Indian meal.
Making yogurt at home is very simple and it will also save you some bucks. Like most other homemade things, you will love the yogurt you will make at home because
- It tastes much better
- Its healthier with no added preservative, sugar or any thing else you don’t recognize as food
- It’s as much Organic and Natural as the milk and the yogurt you use.
- It’s fresh
- It’s less expensive.
If you use whole milk, you will get fuller, creamier and thicker yogurt and these qualities reduce as the percentage of fat in the milk used. So I generally add some whole milk to 2% to make yogurt with better consistency. I don’t believe in zero-fat foods so I haven’t tried making zero-fat yogurt at home.
Before we make yogurt, let’s see if you know the answer to this question. If we have 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of yogurt, which one do you think has more moisture or more water content? The right answer is they both contain equal amount of moisture. The yogurt contains about 86% of water and milk contains about 87% of water.
So how do we obtain yogurt from milk? We add a small quantity of starter yogurt which contains active bacteria to the milk and let it sit for a while with a lid on it. You will notice there is hardly any evaporation so the moisture content in the milk is preserved. So what happens is when you add the bacteria and let it ferment the milk, the bacteria eat the lactose (the sugar found in milk) and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid will reduce the pH of the milk to 4 to 4.6. Finally it reaches an isoelectric point for the protein when the protein starts coming together and forming a kind of gel matrix. The gel matrix entraps the moisture and you have your yogurt. It’s the protein structure which gives the yogurt its firm consistency and due to the lactic acid, it’s not good if you have acidity issues. In fact it will increase your Pitta if you have sour yogurt without any sugar.
Lactic acid formation definitely benefits from heat. Hence in warmer climates as in certain parts of India, it takes only 3-4 hours for yogurt to set. But if you live in colder regions such as USA, you will have to do something extra to get the temperature right.
Let’s first look at the basic step to make homemade yogurt. You just need two ingredients
The healthy source of protein and calcium!
Preferably use homemade yogurt. (Ask your friends!) Store bought yogurt doesn't always work as it may not contain sufficient bacterias and contains added preservatives.
- Add milk to a medium steel pan and bring it to a boil.
- Let it sit aside to cool down.
- When it's lukewarm add the yogurt and stir the milk in one direction, so that it mixes well.
- Now cover it and let it sit for 4-5 hours. Don't disturb the pot and strictly no peeping!.
To maintain the temperature of the milk, here are some things you can do.
- Preheat oven to 250F and keep the pot inside the oven for 3-4 hours. Switch off the oven as soon as it’s preheated. The heat is sufficient for the bacterias to start doing their job.
- Keep the pot in the sun, it will help only if it’s warm.
- Cover the pot with a blanket and keep it in a warmer area of your kitchen. You might have to keep it overnight.
Once it’s set store it in the refrigerator and make sure you consume it within 3-4 days. For next batch you can now use your homemade yogurt as a starter.
- I love plain yogurt mixed with a pinch of sugar, salt and cumin-coriander powder.
- Blackberries blended with yogurt, topped with honey makes a great breakfast smoothie.
- You can also enjoy it by making raita with cucumber, carrots or onion or try some fruits such as apples or pineapple.
- If you feel adventurous, try this simple pumpkin raita recipe.
- Buttermilk is my favorite after-dinner drink and it’s also a refreshing summer drink!
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!
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
Savory non deep fried lentil cake!
- Prepare batter using handvo flour, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, ajwain seeds, turmeric powder, chopped green chilis, salt and a pinch of sugar.
- Let it sit for 6-7 hours or overnight.
- Then add grated doodhi and other vegetables.
- Add fruit salt and whisk it in one direction until the batter becomes light.
- 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.
- In a small skillet, prepare tadka with oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Add this on top and serve it warm.
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.
- 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!
A Diet Friendly Recipe
Moist and fluffy inside; golden crispy outside; the Muthiya make a perfect pairing with a cup of tea! ‘Muthi’ means fist in Gujarati and it’s called Muthiya because the dough is turned into cylindrical shape using fist.
Made with whole wheat flour and grated dudhi with very little oil, since the dough is steamed and then sauted in a typical Indian tempering, this dish is perfect for those who are on a “diet”.
I love Spinach and Cilantro in my Muthiya, it adds moisture and flavor and color. So I actually made Dudhi Palak (Spinach) Muthiya but Spinach is completely optional.
Dudhi Na Muthiya
A Diet Friendly Recipe
It might look like a big list of ingredients but almost everything is straight from your pantry so it does not much time to prepare it.
- Wash and peel bottle gourd and grate it. Squeeze out excess water in a separate bowl. We can use it if needed.
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together and knead to make soft dough by adding water if required. You can also use the juice we just squeezed from the grated dudhi. Also add 1 tsp of oil and knead again.
- Now divide it in 3-4 parts. Apply some oil to your palms and using your fists shape it in cylindrical rolls.
- Place these rolls in a steamer and let it steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once done, remove from the steamer, let it cool slightly. Then cut it into equal sized small pieces.
- If you want to make tempering, in a frying pan, heat some oil.
- Add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Add the pieces and saute on a medium flame for a few minutes.
- Serve hot!
I was introduced to ‘Kadhi-Khichadi’ combination by S. I completely admit that it’s a marriage made in heaven; not very common among Maharashtrians but adored by Gujaratis.
It goes without saying that there are couple of variations found through out India – Maharashtrian kadhi, Gujarati kadhi, Punjabi kadhi and sindhi kadhi to name a few. The basic idea is to mix besan and buttermilk with some spices to make spiced, flavorful watery accompaniment to other dishes. You will find more sugar in Gujarati kadhi than any other version, punjabi kadhi has more spices and also pakoras while sindhis like to have vegetables in their kadhi.
Here is the basic kadhi, the version I grew up with –
Cucumber with yogurt is always so refreshing. Here is under-10-minutes recipe for a quick, satisfying dip.
Or a mini version of cucumber koshmbir
- Wash the cucumber and cut both the side.
- If you prefer, peel the skin off.
- Grate it using a grater.
- In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with sugar and salt.
- Add other spices and mix well.
- Add grated cucumber and mix again.
- If you like, add finely chopped cilantro.
- Serve cold!
Spinach goodness with Garlic tadka in one pot dish
This is yet another Maharashtrian classic recipe. Spinach cooked with buttermilk and besan (chick pea flour), ginger and green chilis, chana daal and peanuts for added crunch; topped with garlic tadka; you cannot go wrong with this one. I enjoy it with rice, bhakri or even like soup. It’s quick and delicious.
a bunch of spinach - washed and chopped
1-2 tea spoon grated ginger
1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk
4-5 tea spoons besan (chana daal flour)
3-4 tea spoon chana dal
3-4 tb spoon peanuts (ground nuts)
4-5 green chillies - chopped.
3-4 aamsul / or 1/2 tea spoon tamarind paste
1 tea spoon sugar
For tadka -
mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, turmeric curry leaves, garlic, green chillies
salt to taste
Soak chana daal and peanuts in water for an hour so that they cook faster. It’s better to use non-roasted peanuts as they absorb water nicely and taste better when cooked.
Get water boiling, add chopped spinach leaves, peanuts and chana daal and grated ginger and aamsul. Use just enough water to immerse spinach. Let the spinach and daal cook for 5-7 minutes. In another bowl, whisk yogurt and besan and add it to the cooked spinach, let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes. I like to add one/two chillies while the spinach is cooking and rest I use in tadka.
Nest step is to prepare tadka and add it to the cooked spinach. I prefer Ghee to oil for this dish. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and if you like, add a few coriander seeds. Once they start splattering, add hing and turmeric powder and then garlic and green chillies and curry leaves. Add this seasoned ghee/oil to the spinach mixture. Add salt and little bit sugar. The “patal bhaji” is ready.
A little bit of sugar nicely compliments the tangy touch added by aamsul. The garlic tadka makes this simple dish out-of-this world! i
A Quick Note –
To maintain the nutritional value of spinach, it’s important not to overcook the tender leaves. Add spinach after daal and peanuts are cooked, spinach takes hardly 2-3 minutes of cooking time.
Sending this to Kiran‘s “Cooking with Whole Foods – Spinach” event hosted at cook’s joy.
A pure, simple summer refresher
Buttermilk has always been an integral part of traditional Maharashtrian meal. Imagine coming home from scorching heat and sipping on a glass of cold, lightly spiced homemade buttermilk. There is no better thirst quencher!
It’s very simple, just takes 5 minutes to mix everything together.
Churned yogurt wil a pinch of cooling spices and herbs. A natural summer refresher!
- Beat the yogurt nicely and mix with water
- Add all other ingredients and mix well.
- Serve cold. (You may also add ice)
If you like you can also add finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves. In South India, it's served with curry leaves.
Surprisingly not everyone knows about buttermilk. One of my colleagues thought it was made by adding milk to butter. It actually referes to the liquid left over after extracting the butter from churned yogurt. The churning process causes some of the lactose – milk sugar, to be converted into lactic acid by the bacteria, which gives the buttermilk a slightly sour taste and makes it easier to digest by lactose-intolerant people. In USA this is called “traditional buttermilk” and of course this is how we make it at home.
The buttermilk we get in supermarkets is called “Cultured Buttermilk”. t is prepared from pasteurized skim or low-fat milk by fermentation with bacteria that produces lactic acid.
source – http://www.webexhibits.org/butter/buttermilk.html
Off to Radhika’s Chilled Delights, Tomato Blues Summer Spirits, Preeti’s Jump n Jive, Surabhi’s EP SEries – Mint n Coriander started by Erivum Puliyum.