Papad pohe

Have you ever wondered what to cook in a jiffy when the mid-meals hunger pangs start to kick in? You are in no mood to sweat it out in the kitchen, yet you want something jhatpat and masaledaar¬†to satisfy your tastebuds and something substantial to keep your hunger at bay at least till the dinner time. And if its healthy, you are all the more happy ūüôā

Papad pohe is one such recipe which is a different kind of chiwda but with the crunchiness of papads! Here goes the recipe:

  1. 500 gms thin poha (thin, flattened rice flakes used to make chiwda)
  2. Lijjat papad Р5  or 6 in number (any variety as per choice Рjeera, udad dal, pepper, etc)
  3. Peanut oil – 3-4 tblsp
  4. Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  5. Sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  7. Red chilli powder – 2 tsp or more as per one’s taste
  8. Powdered sugar (optional) – 1 to 2 tsp as per taste
  9. Salt to taste

Roast the papads in microwave or on flame as per choice.  Crush them into small pieces using your hands and keep them aside. Next, dry roast the poha till its raw taste disappears and keep it ready. Temper the oil in a kadhai with mustard and sesame seeds and once the seeds start spluttering, add the crushed papad to the hot oil. Fry it a bit for 15-20 seconds till the papads take in the oil. Add turmeric and chilli powder to the oil and mix it well. Immediately, before the masalas in the oil burn, add the roasted poha in the kadhai and mix it well. Add salt and sugar and again mix it well.

Papad pohe is ready!

 

Note: I have never used any other brand of papad except Lijjat. It tastes best with Lijjat.

Ghee – the Ayurvedic Superfood

Superfood or not, ghee or toop, as we call it in Marathi, is loved by one and all in my family. Its fragrant aroma, especially when served with dal and hot rice is heavenly! None of the top brands of ghee available on the market can ever match the flavour of home-made ghee. Yet, early on, I was always intimidated to make ghee at home. The process seemed a lengthy one and definitely beyond me.  I always used to use store-bought ghee and sometimes the ghee sent over by my relatives.  I also used to buy the tetra-pack milk for a long time and there was no cream whatsoever to churn and make ghee. Hence, I never tried my hand at making ghee until recently.

However, just a few months ago, I switched to buying cow’s full-cream milk (Nandini’s 4.5% full-fat cream milk available in Bangalore) and this is when I decided to try making¬†ghee at home. I store the cream in the fridge for about 10-15 days and then use it to make ghee. The cream stays good for that long in the fridge.

I transfer all the cream to a deep vessel and add a couple of tablespoons of curd to it. I allow the cream to ferment for more than a day in the Bangalore weather. In more warm places like Mumbai or elsewhere, keeping the cream overnight for fermentation should be good enough, is my guess. Once the cream is fermented and ready for churning, add ample of water (cold water preferred) to help with the churning. The churning process with the butter churner takes about 15-20 minutes for me.

The deep vessel I use for churning the cream
The deep vessel I use for churning the cream

Once the butter starts floating in the vessel, transfer it to a kadhai and wash it with water a couple of times to get rid of the buttermilk. This apparently helps in getting good quantities of ghee!

Butter floating in the buttermilk
Butter floating in the buttermilk
Churned and washed butter
Churned and washed butter

Heat the butter on a medium flame for around 20 minutes. I add some curry leaves as it imparts a good, subtle aroma to the ghee. One can even add drumstick leaves to the butter. I got these tips from my grandmother; however, don’t exactly know the scientific reason behind adding these herbs/leaves, if there is any ūüėČ

Butter to which curry leaves are added
Butter to which curry leaves are added

Once the butter has completely melted, keep an eye out on the ghee so that the sediment which is formed at the base of the kadhai is not burnt. The sediment, ideally, should be light brown in colour. We call it ‘beri’ in Marathi and it is usually eaten with sugar added to it. Yumm yumm!

ghee
Beri – white in colour

Once the beri starts browning a bit, quickly take the ghee off the heat and allow the beri to settle down. Strain the ghee using a strainer into a dry, clean jar.

Ghee
Ghee

Ghee need not be refrigerated and can be stored at room temperature for years at times without it going bad.

Some links to the benefits of ghee:

  1. http://www.indiatimes.com/health/healthyliving/17-reasons-why-ghee-is-the-ultimate-ayurvedic-superfood-234155.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215354/

 

 

Kothimbir wadi (Steamed coriander cakes/fritters)

Kothimbir vadi tempered with sesame and mustard seeds
Kothimbir vadi tempered with sesame and mustard seeds

 

Mom is here  and so nowadays our evenings are special with yummy snacks rolling out of the kitchen. Kothimbir vadi or coriander fritters is a healthy snack which can be arranged in no time. The aroma of the fresh coriander leaves cooked into this dish just leaves one craving for more. I gobbled up the steamed ones without waiting for them to be fried or to be garnished with the tempering.

Without much ado, here is the recipe for it:

Ingredients

Finely chopped coriander leaves – 2 cups, tightly packed

Besan – 1 cup

Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste – 1 inch of ginger, 8-10 cloves of garlic, and 2 green chillies

Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Hing – a pinch

Water – little for making the pasty dough

Salt – to taste

Method

Mix all the ingredients listed above except water. Add water in very small quantities to form a pasty dough (somewhat similar in consistency to thick idli batter). Transfer the mixed ingredients to a steamer, greased with oil and steam it for around 12-15 minutes. Note that I have added half the quantity of besan to that of the coriander leaves  which yields really fragrant kothimbir vadis.

Allow it to cool and cut into shapes of your choice. These vadis can be eaten as it is or can be further shallow fried, deep fried or just tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

I had the zero-oil, steamed version and they were just as delicious ūüôā

Kothimbir vadi (coriander fritters)
Kothimbir vadi (coriander fritters)

 

 

Menthada Huli

Menthada Huli
Menthada Huli

 

‘Huli’ is to Kannadigas, what ‘aamti’ is to Maharashtrians. The term ‘huli’ means sour. I cook a lot of Madhwa recipes on a regular basis (courtesy my parents and my late grandmother). Madhwa cuisine usually abstains from onion and garlic. However, over a period of time, these taamsik ingredients have found their way to our everyday meal ūüôā

In¬†my house, ‘huli’ usually refers to toovar dal to which a souring agent like tamarind is added. But today, I was in no mood to have my everyday share of protein and wanted to have something tangy to liven up my tastebuds. So, Menthada huli it was, to be made in a jiffy! This particular recipe does not use any dal. ‘Mentha’ here refers to methi or fenugreek seeds which lends its unique flavor to this dish.

This dish can be made with or without any vegetables. I added a bit of  ladies fingers to it to give it a nutritious punch. Other veggies like Bangalore brinjal, chow chow, and drumsticks too can be pre-cooked separately and added. Please note, it is important not to add other varieties of brinjals which contains seeds, to this dish.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

Ladies finger (okra), chopped into inch-long pieces – 6 in number

Onions – 4 medium sized onions, sliced vertically

Tamarind soaked in water – about the size of 2 lemons

Besan – as a thickening agent, about 1-2 tsp. To be made into a thick slurry with water

Jaggery powder (mildly sweet) – 2 tsp

Water – as needed

Salt – to taste

For tempering

Peanut Oil Р about 2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Methi (Fenugreek) seeds – 1.5 tsp

Urad dal – 2 tsp

Chana dal – 1 tsp ( I did not use it)

Curry leaves

Green chilli – 1

Red chillies – 4 ( The chillies I used are very hot)

Method

Start by heating the oil for tempering in a kadhai. When the oil is sufficiently hot, put the ingredients under tempering and let its flavours ooze out in the oil for a minute or so. Next, add in the ladies fingers and onions and cook till the vegetables¬†are almost done. Once the ladies fingers are cooked, add in the tamarind pulp, and about 1 small cup of water. ¬†Add the ¬†thick slurry of besan ¬†to the gravy and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes till the besan gets cooked. Add jaggery powder, salt and check the dish for its consistency. Add more water or besan slurry to adjust the consistency of the dish to your liking. You can add more jaggery as well to suit your taste buds ūüôā

This is a hot (not spicy!)  preparation and is ideal to be eaten with rice and a side of papad. It is more of a comfort food for us, which gets done in no time. Hope you try it and enjoy it!

Bhajniche Thalipeeth

Served with curd and peanut chutney
Served with curd and peanut chutney

Thalipeeth is a savory pancake and a popular Maharashtrian breakfast item. We, many a times, have it for dinner as well. It is a very nutritious dish with a variety of grain cereals and pulses ground together. Bhajni (meaning: roasted) is the flour used to make thalipeeth. The recipe for bhajni is given below. Once the bhajni is ready, it can be stored for months together, preferably in an air-tight container to retain its fragrant aroma.

Thalipeeth Bhajni

Recipe:

  1. Bajri- 750 gms

  2. Jowar- 750 gms

  3. Rice-500 gms

  4. Wheat-500 gms

  5. Chana dal-500gms

  6. Dhania seeds ‚Äď 250 gms

  7. Whole udid black dal (with skin) ‚Äď 250 gms

  8. Soya beans seeds‚Äď 250 gms

Dry roast all the items individually on a slow flame and grind it together to a fine powder. Store it in a cool, dark place. I sometimes keep it in the freezer by sealing it in a Ziploc. It stays good for around 4-6 months in the freezer.

 

Thalipeeth

Recipe:

Makes 4-6 thalipeeths of medium size

2 cups bhajni

2 finely chopped medium-sized onions

1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

2-3 finely chopped green chillies

2 tsp red chilly powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

A pinch of asafoetida

Water for kneading the dough

Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and make a pasty dough. Once the dough is ready, slightly grease/wet your palms and flatten the dough ball onto a wet plastic sheet/butter paper into a round pancake. It is important to wet your palms and the plastic sheet so as to avoid the sticking of the dough to your hands or to the plastic. Now carefully lift the thalipeeth off the plastic by turning it upside down onto the heated griddle. Sometimes, I even flatten the dough ball into a pancake directly on the griddle by sprinkling water which helps me spread it evenly. Keep the heat on moderate to allow it to cook evenly.

Thalipeeth is a thick pancake and needs to be cooked on moderate heat/flame to allow its even cooking. Form holes on to the thalipeeth with your fingers. This helps in cooking it evenly. Drizzle a few drops of oil on the sides of the thalipeeth and in the holes to shallow fry it. Cover the thalipeeth for a few minutes with a lid. Flip over the thalipeeth and cook it on the other side as well. Your crispy thalipeeth should be ready soon.

IMG_2319

IMG_2320

 

In my mom’s house, it is usually served with a dollop of home-made fresh butter and a side of mango pickle. I like it with curds and my husband and son enjoy it with desi ghee.

Tip: You can also add vegetables of your choice to thalipeeth such as grated carrots, cucumber, methi, spinach to give it that extra vitamin punch!

Bharli Bhendi (Stuffed Okras)

Bharli bhendi (Stuffed Okra)

 

On most days, I make it a point to cook dal along with a vegetable curry made separately or added to the dal itself. Today, I was craving for some typical Maharastrian bhaaji (vegetable) to go with my simple dal tadka and rice. As I scouted my fridge, I came across these organic bhendis (okra/ladyfingers) waiting to be cooked. The tender and slender bhendis were the perfect lot for making bharli bhendi (stuffed okra).

Being a south Indian who was born and brought up in Maharashtra, the local Maharashtrian cuisine has always held a special place in my heart! The sprinkle of sugar with a dash of lime; the generous garnish of freshly scraped coconut with finely chopped coriander leaves; the heat of lavangi mirchi along with fragrance of goda masala, bring out the sweet, sour and fiery tastes of its delectable cuisine. The recipes especially from the konkan belt of Maharashtra usually tend to go light on complex spices and tries to enhance the original flavour of the dish with the addition of these simple, healthy, yet glorious condiments. Bharli bhendi is one such flavorful dish, simple to make and delicious to eat!

 

The recipe for it goes like this:

Bhendi, ends chopped and slit on one side – 500 gms

Oil – 2 tablespoons for shallow frying

Haldi – 1 teaspoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida – a generous pinch

To be ground into a dry masala (without adding any water):

Freshly scraped/desiccated coconut – 1/4th cup

Roasted peanuts – 1/3rd cup

Garlic – 4-5 in number

Green chillies – 2 or 3 depending on your taste

Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Jeera powder- 1 teaspoon

Sesame seeds – 1.5 teaspoons

Goda masala (or garam masala) – 1/4th teaspoon

Powdered jaggery or sugar – as per taste. I had added 1 teaspoon of jaggery powder

Lemon juice – from 1 small lemon

Salt – to taste

 

Prepare the masala by grinding all the above listed ingredients and mix in the lemon juice and salt. Feel free to adjust the ingredients in the masala to suit your taste. After all, cooking is not an exact science and should satisfy one’s taste buds! Fill the masala in the bhendis tightly and keep them ready. Meanwhile, heat a pan to start with the tempering. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter. Then add the haldi, asafoetida and the stuffed bhendis.

Make sure the bhendis are arranged in the pan in a way so that they do not overlap each other.If the pan is small, you can make it separately in two batches.Keep the flame on low to medium heat.  After arranging the bhendis, cover the pan with a lid so that the bhendis get cooked evenly. Flip them after every  3-5 minutes till they are crisp and done on all sides.

Enjoy it hot with dal rice and ghee ūüôā