Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recipe - Maharashtrian Chivda

Ok, so today I am gonna write the recipe of something that I have always loved eating, but have never attempted to make. Made it for the first time today and it turned out to be quite decent.

Ingredients: Serves many
  1. Pohe (rice flakes) - 500 gms
  2. Peanut oil - 5 Tab sp
  3. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
  5. Green chillies - 4 big chopped
  6. Curry leaves - 20-25
  7. Peanuts - half a fistful
  8. Split Futane (no idea what it's called in English - xyz nuts) - fistful or more
  9. Khas khas (poppy seeds) - 4 tsp
  10. Hing (asafoetida) - 1 tsp
  11. Coconut dry - 15 pieces thin 0.5 inch long
  12. Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
  13. Salt - 3-4 tsp (as per taste)
  14. Sugar - 2 tsp
0. Ingredients are shown -
1. Take out all the small bits and powder from the rice flakes using a sieve.
2. Keep in sun light for a few hours to make them a little crispy if possible. 
3. Heat a wok and roast the rice flakes a little to make them crispier. Set aside

4. Heat about 4-5 tablespoons of oil in the wok. Put the mustard & coriander seeds in till they pop. Put chopped green chillies and curry leaves. When they start becoming crispy, put the peanuts and the futane in. Let them cook for about 20-25 seconds on low flame. Put in the poppy seeds and hing. Mix properly and put the turmeric powder. Put the salt in and mix well again.
5. Put this mixture into the roasted rice flakes in a separate pan and mix well. Sprinkle sugar over this and mix. let it cool down before storing it.
6. It stays ok for weeks and is good to eat sprinkled with freshly chopped onions.
It's come out alright. definitely good for a first try. will modify it as i make it more often.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lonavla/Khandala restaurants

It's been more than a month since I posted a recipe, but circumstances didn't allow. Now I am back, though this post is more about the restaurants in Lonavla/Khandala. I have been to quite a few places there, but I am just giving my views about a few of them -
  1. Lagoona Resort - This is a costly place. For no reason. It's not at all worth the moolah. The selection of items in dinner and breakfast is limited and the taste is not good either.
  2. Dukes Retreat - This place has a good selection of items in breakfast, though lunch/dinner options are pretty limited. The taste is not consistent. Some dishes were amazing, but some were pathetic. And it is also pretty costly. Not worth the money.
  3. Fariyas Resort - Beautifully decorated interiors of the restaurant. Have an option of dinner buffet or continental dishes. Everything we tasted was good! But the price, almost thrice... thrice of what some costly restaurants charge!
  4. Mirchi - This is a small place when going towards Mumbai from Lonavla town on the old highway. Decent place. Good taste. Pretty cheap. Definitely worth every bit of money spent. Normal Indian food is better than the chinese they offer.
  5. Gavran Tadka - This place is about 5-6 km from Lonavla, on the way to Lohagad. It's in the middle of nowhere and is a very small place. Extremely cheap. Good service. Amazing taste. Easily the best food we had at Lonavla or Khandala
There are many more restaurants there. Might write about them later. Enjoy these till then :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recipe - Mix Veg Poriyal or Palya

Poriyal or Palya is a dish from Kerala and Tamilnadu made by shallow frying vegetables and garnished (and slightly cooked) with freshly grated coconut. It can be made using any vegetables and sometimes even made with chicken or lamb. The recipe remains pretty much the same.

Ingredients: Serve 2-3
  1. Cabbage - 1 cup chopped
  2. Capsicum - 3/4 cup chopped
  3. Potato - 1/2 cup chopped
  4. Tomato - 1 small chopped
  5. Onion - 1 medium chopped
  6. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  7. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  8. Curry leaves - 4-5
  9. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  10. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Salt - As per taste
  12. Coconut - grated 1/2 cup
  13. Oil - 3 tsp
1. Chop all the vegetables into small sized pieces. Break open a ripe coconut and grate it. 1/2 cup is what we will be using in this recipe. Remaining can be stored in the fridge for use in some other recipe.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Put mustard seeds in. When they start popping, put the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Put the chopped onion after 10 seconds. When the onions turn slightly brown, put the other vegetables in and mix well. Cover the wok and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Keep checking every couple of minutes to make sure that the veggies are not sticking to the wok (the water in the cabbage should help, but still it's better to check). Put all the spices and salt in and cover again for 5 minutes.
3. Once the veggies are almost cooked, put the grated coconut in and mix well. Let it cook for another 3 minutes without covering the wok this time.
4. Garnish with fresh coriander if you like and serve with chapati or appam.
Some chefs put the veggies in boiling water to cook them first and then just toss everything together in a hot oil. I don't like doing that. Also, like I said before, any veggies can be put in this or even diced chicken and lamb.
The nagger made this dish and I must say it tasted amazing! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Recipe - Spring Rolls (Chicken/Lamb/Beef/Vegetable)

So today, I decided to make something that I have never made before. Suddenly remembered that I bought Japanese rice paper last week. The decision to go for spring rolls was a logical one then :)

Ingredients: Makes about 12
  1. Japanese rice paper (refined wheat flour based dough can be made - but I was lazy)
  2. Chicken - 500 gms (including bones)
  3. Onion - 1
  4. Cabbage - same quantity as sliced onion
  5. Capsicum  - 1
  6. Ginger/Garlic chopped - 3 tsp
  7. Carrots - 1 small (if you like it)
  8. Sprouted beans (if you like it)
  9. Bamboo shoots (I love it, but couldn't get it)
  10. Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  11. Dark soy sauce - 2 tsp
  12. Chilli vinegar - 2 tsp
  13. Salt - To taste
  14. Oil - LOADS
1. Cook the chicken in a pressure cooker. 3 whistles of the cooker should do the trick and then let it cool down. Take the meat off the bones and use the bones (and the water in the cooker) to make chicken stock for use in other dishes. Make small (and if possible long) pieces of the meat. Any meat can be cooked in the same way.
2. Chop the onions, capsicum, cabbage and other veggies in long thin slices.
3. In a wok, heat some oil and put the garlic and ginger in it. After about 15 seconds, put the onions in and let it cook for 2 minutes. Then put the other veggies and let them cook for another 3 minutes. Put the chicken pieces in and mix well. Put some salt, red chilli powder, vinegar and soy sauce and mix. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and take off the stove.
4. For making the rolls from the readymade rice paper, some things need to be made ready first. Take a metallic sieve and keep it inverted. Take a flat pan or metallic box lid and fill it with water. Start heating the oil in the wok for frying.

5. This is how a rice paper will look before doing anything
6. Immerse one rice paper into the water in the pan with your hands, and hold it there for 5 seconds. Keep one finger below one edge of the paper so it's easy to take out. Take it out and put on the inverted sieve for 10 seconds till it becomes soft.
7. Put some of that filling that we made on the rice paper below the center horizontally.
8. Roll the lower side of the rice paper over the filling.
9. Then roll the mixture towards the top of the rice paper, thus making a nice rolled up rice paper with the filling.
10. Fold the sides on to the roll and stick them properly with your finger using a little water.
11. Put it in the hot oil for frying slowly. As soon you put it in, immerse another rice paper into the water for 5 seconds and put it on the sieve for softening. The roll takes about 20-25 seconds to cook. Be careful not to over cook it.
12. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.
It turned out to be quite good. A couple of the rolls did break while frying, but overall all the rolls turned out quite well. Next time, I am planning to make the wrappers using wheat flour myself.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe - Methi (Fenugreek leaves) Sabzi

Yesterday on the way back when I stopped to buy vegetables, I saw beautiful methi (fenugreek leaves) at the shop. As a kid, I didn't like methi. But I remember seeing fresh methi at a small grocery store in Ipswich many years ago and since it reminded me of India, I ended up buying it and making sabzi. Now, it's one of my favourite veggies. So I ended up buying it and here's the recipe of how I make it. Will upload few other ways of making it some other time.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)
  1. Methi leaves - 250 gms
  2. Onion - 1 medium
  3. Potato - 1 big
  4. Dry red chillies - 3
  5. Garlic - 7-8 cloves
  6. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  7. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Sugar to taste
  11. Oil (peanut/sunflower) - 4 tsp
1. Generally methi leaves are available in a stack of full stalks. The leaves need to be plucked at their base and the stalk can be thrown away or used to make veg stock. The picture below might help in understanding what needs to be plucked. Wash them properly before using them. I hate this plucking part.
2. Peel the potato and cut it into small pieces. Don't make the pieces too thin. About 3 or 4 mm thickness is good, otherwise the potatoes will overcook as methi takes more time to cook. Cut the onion in long pieces as shown. Finely chop the garlic and break the dry red chillies into large pieces.
3. Take 4 tsp of oil in a wok and heat it. Put the cumin seeds. and quickly put the dry red chillies and garlic in. Cover the wok for 10 seconds.
4. Put the onion in and mix it well. Cover and let it cook till the onion is slightly brown. Don't keep the flame too high or the onion will start sticking to the wok.
5. Put the red chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix it. Cook for 30 seconds.
6. Put the potatoes in and mix them well.
7. Now put the washed methi leaves in the wok and try to mix it. The leaves are gonna shrink in size as they heat up when you mix them. So put them in the wok in batches instead of trying to put all of them at the same time. In the pic below, I have put less than half of the 250 gms I had. When cooked, the 250 gms would become even smaller in size than this.
8. When all the leaves are mixed in, put salt and a little water. The water is needed to stop everything from sticking to the wok. Remember, methi leaves have a lot of water in them so don't put too much water. We are not making a curry. Also, you can keep adding water later till the leaves are fully cooked. Cover the pan and let it cook.
9. One medium-low flame, methi can take about 15-20 min to cook. Keep checking every few minutes to make sure there's enough water in it to cook methi. The best way to know if it has cooked is to eating some of it. When it is soft enough for your taste, it's cooked. Just before it's fully cooked, put a pinch of sugar and mix.
TIP:: Methi (Fenugreek) leaves can be quite bitter sometimes. One way to reduce the bitterness is to soak the plucked leaves in water mixed with some salt and sugar for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recipe - Aloo Paratha (Stuffed Indian Flatbread)

Ok, It's been more than a week since I posted anything. Was tied up with work. I did manage to have a few good dinners during the week though! Anyway, so today, I wanna post a simple recipe of Aloo Paratha. There are many variations to this; I will post the one that we tried and usually make.

  1. Whole wheat flour (Atta) - 150 gms
  2. Potatoes - 2 medium
  3. Onions - 1 medium
  4. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  6. Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Green chillies - 2 finely chopped (if you like them)
  9. Ginger Garlic paste - 1 or 1+1/2 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Oil
1. The most important aspect of this is a well kneaded dough. Take the wheat flour in a bowl or a big flat pan with high edge. Put a pinch of salt in it and also 1 tsp of peanut/sunflower (or your favorite, but thin) oil. Now add a little water and start mixing and kneading. Keep adding water intermittently till you make it into a dough. The dough should be very soft (even a little sticky). The harder the dough, the more difficult it is to make good paratha
One suggestion is to take water in a small bowl from which you can pour in just a little bit at a time. It's very easy to over do the water. Be very careful. Make equal sized balls of it (about 1+1/2 inch diameter roughly). Let the dough rest for 15 min (or more if you are not too hungry
2. Boil the potatoes (I put them in a bowl of water and microwave for 7-8 minutes). Meanwhile, chop the onions and green chillies very fine.
3. Peel off the skin from the boiled potatoes and mash them up. Saute the onions in a little oil and also the green chillies. Mix them up with the mashed potatoes and put the chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Make a homogeneous mix.
4. Dust the rolling board with flour and flatten the doughball into a circle of about 5 inch diameter using a rolling pin. Apply a little oil at the center.
5. Make a small ball of the potato mix and put it at the center
6. Pull up the ends of the flattened dough and stick them to enclose the potatoes inside. Use a little oil to smooth-en out any cracks
7. Use the rolling pin lightly to flatten out the ball again into a circle of about 8 inch diameter (or as thin as you can without breaking it). Keep using flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling board or the rolling pin. This is why you need soft kneaded dough.
8. Heat a tawa or a flat thick bottomed pan and put a tsp of oil on it. Put the the paratha on it for cooking.
9. When the paratha is cooked a little on the underside, flip it around. Pour a little (1 tsp) oil around the paratha edges so it cooks better.
10. When properly cooked on both sides, serve with curd or spicy pickle :)
This dish was made a  week ago (maybe more) but I do remember that I had a great time eating it! It's easy to make, fills the tummy and tastes amazing.
The filling can be changed to anything you want (including minced meat) and it will still taste good! The name would then change from Aloo paratha to minced meat paratha of course!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Recipe - Kheema Bharwa Mirch (Stuffed Chilli with minced meat)

Kheema Bharwa Mirch is what I decided to cook last night after a shopping filled weekend (more food items and storage... that's my fav shopping). Now, this recipe is something that I have been wanting to make since a long time. Had a few ideas that I implemented yesterday.

Ingredients - 
(Serves 2-3 people at least)
  1. Minced lamb - 250 gms
  2. Big sweet chilli - 125 gms (or 5-6 in number)
  3. Onions - 2 medium
  4. Tomato - 2 medium
  5. Peanuts - 1/4 cup
  6. Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsp
  7. Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  9. Red chilli powder - 1-1/2 tsp
  10. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Garam masala - 1 tsp (or more)
  12. Salt as per taste
  13. Oil - 2tsp, 3 tsp and 1 TabSp
Method - 
1. Finely chop onion and tomatoes. Very fine!
2. Roast the peanuts in a pan and peel off the skin by rubbing them between your palms, a few nuts at a time (make sure they are not too hot when you are doing this). It's not necessary to peel them, just remember that the taste and colour of the dish changes a bit depending on whether you do this or not.Grind them into a coarse powder.
3. In a smaller wok, take 2 tsp of oil and put about 1/3rd of the chopped onion. When they are almost golden brown, put 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste and then mix in 1/4th of the minced lamb. Put half a tsp of red chilli powder and cumin powder. Put the ground peanuts and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, take 5-6 big green chillies. They are not spicy; they are also called sweet chillies. I used only three coz mine were a little too big!
5. Make a slit along the length of the chilli using a sharp knife.
6. De-seed the chillies

7. Fill the chilli up with the mixture we made earlier. The slit should be made such that the chilli cavity is tight enough not to spill the mixture. If it's loose, then you can tie the chilli with a clean thread.
8. In another pan, heat 3 tsp of oil and put the cumin seeds in. Put the remaining onions and mix well till golden brown.
9. Put the remaining minced lamb and mix well.
10. Put the remainder of the ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and Garam masala.Mix in the tomatoes and put salt as per taste. Let it cook for 3 minutes.
11. In the earlier wok, put 1 tablespoon of oil and shallow fry the stuffed chillies till the skin becomes a little white in colour. 
12. Put the chillies in the other pan and "submerge" them in the mix as much as possible.
13. Put 1-1/2 cups of water and cover the pan. Cook on low flame for 30 minutes or until the meat is nicely cooked. Serve with chapati/roti or plain/jeera rice. Also, an accompaniment of Raita is nice as this kills the heat of the dish a bit.
I will be trying out different fillings in future and upload the recipe. And needless to say, this dish tasted amazing! A successful experiment!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recipe - Dodka (Ridge Gourd/ Toorai/ Turia) Sabzi

I am back. It was a short visit and now I am back to the grind. And the grind starts with getting my car repaired. So I am here at the service station, watching my baby elephant being operated upon as I write another simple recipe. Ridge Gourd is called Dodka, Toorai, Turai, etc depending on which part of the country you are in. There's another variety of this called Silk Squash (Gilka). The difference is in the ridges on the outside and also that the Gilka is much softer and squishy on the inside. You can use either of these in this recipe. This should be eaten with any bread, preferably chapati.

Ingredients - 
Serves 2 people (depending on appetite!)
  1. Dodka - 250 gms
  2. Moong dal (split green gram or golden gram) - 1/2 cup
  3. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  5. Onion finely chopped - 1 medium
  6. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (or as per taste)
  7. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Salt - as per taste
  9. Oil (peanut, sunflower) - 3 tsp
  10. Fresh coriander/parsley - For garnishing
Method - 
1. Take the half cup moong daal in a bowl and cover it with water. Let it rest for at least 30 min. If you keep it for less time, it will be crispier in the sabzi. So adjust the timing according to your liking.

2. Peel the ridges off the Dodka

3. Chop them into small pieces. If the pieces are too small, they will get all mashed up when cooked, so about 2 cm would be the ideal size of the cubes.

4. Chop the onions (not too fine)
5. Take a wok and put oil in it. When hot, put the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start splitting, put the cumin seeds in and quickly put in the onions. Mix and let it cook for a few minutes on low flame.
6. If you are in a hurry, mix the Dodka pieces with the moong daal in a separate bowl and keep in the microwave on full power for about 5 min. By the time the onions are cooked in the wok, the dodka will be half cooked in the microwave this way.

7. Once the onions are cooked, put the red chilli powder and turmeric powder in and mix in the dodka and moong daal.Put salt as per taste and mix well. If dodka has been cooked already in the microwave for 5 minutes, then 5-7 minutes of cooking should do it otherwise about 10 minutes or until the dodka is soft.
8. Garnish with fresh coriander or parsley
This is a very standard way of making dodka and it's the easiest way as well. It's by no means exotic. But then, you don't eat exotic food everyday, do you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recipe - Modak (Sweet Semolina Fried Dumplings)

Today's Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Ganesh's 10 day festival begins. My parents also do the whole jing bang associated with the festival for these 10 days. We brought the Ganesh statue yesterday (and of course the quintessential mouse - his official "transport"!). All the decoration is done and very soon the proceedings will start.

One thing without which things are incomplete is His favorite dish - Modak (I strongly suspect that He comes to every household for 10 days only for them!). So today, I decided to put the recipe for the Modaks as they are being made right now by my mom. There are various fillings possible and it can be moved from desserts to the starters domain by changing the filling. So go ahead and experiment. This is one of the traditional recipes.

Ingredients - 
  1. For the dough
    1. Semolina - 100 gms
    2. Pinch of salt
    3. Clarified butter or peanut/sunflower oil - 1 or 2 teaspoon
    4. Water
  2. For the filling
    1. Dry coconut roasted & shredded- 1/2 cup
    2. Sugar - 1/2 cup
    3. Poppy seeds - 2 tsp (if you like them)
    4. Cashewnuts - 10
    5. Almonds - 10
Method - 
1. Mix the salt and Semolina. Heat the butter or oil a little and put it on the mixture and use the water (a little bit at a time) to make a soft dough. Once the dough is made, cover it with a cloth and let it rest for half an hour.

2. Roast the poppy seeds a little (on very low flame) and mix it with the sugar. Grind them into a coarse  powder. Make a coarse powder of Cashews and Almonds. Roast bigger pieces of coconut and then shred them into smaller pieces. Mix everything together.

3. Make small balls of the dough and roll them out into small (about 3 inch diameter) circles.

4. Put 1 or 2 teaspoons of the mixture in the middle.

5. Apply a little water along the edge of the circle and seal the edges to make it into a small dumpling.

6. Fry them till they are a little brown on the outside. And it's done!
As said before, there are so many different variations that can be done. Condensed milk or khoya can be used as filling with sugar powder. If there isn't enough time, any milk based readymade sweet can be used as filling. Ofcourse minced spicy meat can also be used as filling - it won't remain a modak then, it will be a spicy starter with a different name. Maida (refined wheat flour) can be used make the dough. It won't be as crispy when fried. Also, the dumplings can be steamed instead of frying.