Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aloo Banarasi

“Banarasi Aloo” – This name struck a chord with me instantly. My mental eye started conjuring up images of the rising sun in the old gangetic town, the clay-kissed narrow lanes, the banarasi ‘ekka’ (horsecart), the saffron-clad priests sitting on the river banks enabling people to complete their rituals, the absolutely gorgeous banaras silk saris…. and many more things. I had to drag my thoughts and tie it down to the recipe on hand.

Lately I have been getting a little bored of the same old curries and was wanting to make something new. That is exactly when I found this lovely yet very easy recipe from Chef in You. I checked the list of ingredients and luckily had most of them handy. I jumped straight away to action - peeled and chopped the potatoes and quickly added them to the pot of boiling water. I started the tadka on the other burner. As the saunf and jeera were spluttering, an absolutely irresistible aroma filled the whole kitchen and I realized this recipe is one killer!

I made a few changes to the recipe, but strived my best to retain its originality. This curry is an absolutely great party dish. No one eating this curry would dream that it gets done in twenty minutes. The cream in the curry creates such a tasty thick sauce around the potatoes that anyone would go for the second and third helpings easily. Now lets go over to the recipe.


Potatoes (med): 4 – 5 Nos
Tomatoes (small): 2 Nos
Saunf: 1 tsp
Jeera: 1 tsp
Tamarind paste: 1 tsp
Chilli powder: ½ tsp (or to taste)
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Kasuri methi: 1 tsp
Heavy cream: ½ cup
Water: 1 cup
Cardamom pods: 3 – 4 Nos
Salt: to taste


Grind the tomato and elaichi together. Do not add water.
Peel and chop potatoes into one centimeter chunks.
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and then lower the flame. Cook till the potatoes are cooked, yet firm and would retain shape when tossed around for about ten minutes. In a kadai, add tadka of saunf and jeera.
Add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté till the tomato leaves the raw smell. The tomato paste will become a thick mass now.
Now add the potatoes and toss it till the potatoes gets a good coating of the tomato paste. Cook for 2 –3 minutes.
Add the kasuri methi and toss for about 5 minutes.
Add the cream and water and cook till the sauce reaches the right consistency.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

This curry is my contribution to 'Tried and Tasted' where the featured blog for the month is DK's Chef in You. This event is hosted by this month by Priya, an event taken over by Lakshmi from Zlamushka . One helping of this curry also goes to 'Anyone can cook Series 5' hosted by Ayesha.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cinnamon flavoured apple icecream

Recently something that I enjoyed making was icecream. I had been eyeing that recipe for some time and when a good friend was stopping over for dinner, I thought it was the best time to make it. I usually do not let go of such nice opportunities to try out something new on unassuming good citizens. :)

I made a cinnamon flavoured apple icecream. I used Tarla Dalal’s recipe, but tweaked it heartily to suit my taste. Cooking the apple first, then cooking the milk and cream, then letting it cool, freezing it, taking it out once in three hours to whip it – all this gave me a certain satisfaction that a store-bought icecream would never give. It is the same difference between buying a cake and baking one at home. The method looks a little long, but, fairly easy and incomparably delicious.

Milk: 2 cups
Sliced apples (peeled and cored): 1 cup
Sweetened condensed milk: ½ cup
Cream: ½ cup
Corn flour: 2 tsp
Sugar: ¼ cup (or more or less)
Cinnamon: ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
Lemon juice: ½ tsp
A few apple slices: to garnish
Add a cup of water, ¼ tsp cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar to the apples and cook the apples till they are mushy. You could cover with a lid or leave it open. It took me about 15 – 20 minutes (covered).
Now cool this mixture. Once cool, grind to a fine paste.
Keep ½ a cup of milk aside. Add the cornflour to this and mix thoroughly so that no lumps are formed. Keep aside.
Take the remaining one and a half cups of milk and bring to a boil.
As it is boiling, stir in the cornflour mixture, condensed milk, ¼ tsp cinnamon and stir constantly.
Keep the flame on medium and keep stirring.
After 5 minutes or so, this mixture would attain a custardy consistency.
Remove from flame. Stir in the lemon juice, cream and the apple mixture.
Once cool, freeze it for 3 – 4 hours.
Take it out for about 3 – 4 times and whip it in the mixie for a couple of minutes to break the ice crystals.
Then freeze till serving time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rice and Mixed Vegetable bake

I got into making this dish today with three things in mind. One, cook something that I have never made before. Two, send it to Nupur’s Blog Bites Series 8 – One Dish Meals. Three – to finish off the largely untouched big block of cheese that was languishing in my fridge for quite some time. One-pot-dishes, with the notable exceptions of Sambar rice and tomato rice don’t really fit into my cooking schedule since K is not at all fond of them. I made an exception to this unwritten rule and went ahead with this.

Google yielded a lot of vegetable casseroles, but, the easiest of them all was Sunita Bhuyan’s recipe of Three Rice and Vegetable Bake. I still had a few ingredients missing. I used water instead of vegetable stock (which I know would probably make a heavenly difference to the whole finished product), did not have oregano ready, etc.. I still ventured and I guess, it was a fairly successful attempt. I would agree with Sunita and say that this dish looks and feels more like a Khichdi with western flavours left inside the the oven for that final touch. Nevertheless, it was extremely filling and a wholesome meal. Now lets go to the recipe, basically Sunita's recipe, but halved, changed, added, deleted, all at once. :-)

Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)

Basmati Rice: 1 Cup
Vegetable stock: About 4 cups (I used water)
Bay leaf:1
Crushed red chillies: ½ tbsp + ½ tsp
Dried oregano: 2T (I did not use this)
Onion (fairly small, finely chopped): 1 No
Garlic (minced fine): 2 cloves
Carrot (medium, finely chopped): 1 No
Potato (medium, finely chopped): 1 No
Broccoli florets: ½ cup
Beans (finely chopped): 5 – 6
Green Peas (fresh or frozen): 1/3 cup
Cauliflower florets: ½ cup
Grated cheddar cheese: 1 C
Sesame seeds: ½ T
Freshly ground pepper: to taste
Salt: to taste
Corriander leaves: 1 tbsp


In a large pot mix 3 cups of stock/water, rice, bay leaves, oregano, crushed red chillies, pounded pepper, onions, garlic, salt, and green peas.
Mix this and bring it to a boil on a high flame.
Now reduce the heat and cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and add potatoes, beans and carrots. Now reduce the heat again and cook on low heat for another 8 – 10 minutes. If you feel the mixture has thickened, add about ½ a cup of water.
Now add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cook on simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
As you add the broccoli, preheat the oven to 400F or 200 C.
Now, this mixture on the stove would thicken again. So, add some water to keep it a little watery all the time.
After cooking the cauliflower for 5 – 6 minutes, add half of the cheese. Mix well for about 2 – 3 minutes and take the pot off heat.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (I did not have one, so, I lined my square cake tin with aluminium foil and poured the mixture into it). This mixture was a little gravy-ish at this stage. Sunita suggests to maintain it at this consistency and not let the mixture dry out since this would further cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Now mix the remaining cheese with ½ tbsp of sesame seeds and ½ tsp of crushed red chillies.
Sprinkle over the rice-gravy.
I added some chopped coriander also to this.
Place in the middle rack in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.
When the top layer bubbles and it attains a brown colour, it can be called complete.
Serve hot.
I served it with some Pringles on the side for a satisfying and filling dinner.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boiled Masala Peanuts

Many of my growing up years have been in Chennai. Though I totally dislike the sweat and the scorching heat of the city, I undeniably love the beach. Anyday, I would love to get my hair madly ruffled and my duppata gently blown away (only to be gotten back later) by the salubrious breeze at the Marina or the Elliots Beach in Chennai. I can pleasantly recall many lovely evenings spent with K at the beach – merely staring into the sea, watching and listening to the waves, talking everything under the (setting) sun, saying a firm ‘no’ to the sooth-sayers and of course madly munching away the contents of the ‘pottalam’ (newspaper cone) of masala peanuts!

These masala peanuts would be served hot on the beach, a tiny smoke could always be seen emanating from the cart – a sign of peanuts being boiled or kept warm. And the vendor would arrange the tomatoes, onions and other stuff decoratively around the cart. They would do all their business in the few designated hours in the evening and come back the next day. Rains would mean a huge drop in their business. This is an attempt at recreating that magic at home. I definitely succeeded, but the only difference was that I served it cold (from the fridge) as an appetizer before dinner. The cold version was as good as the hot one. These peanuts are a perfectly healthy guilt-free snack to have with tea or before dinner or even just like that. You could easily substitute boiled peanuts with roasted and skinned peanuts for a crunchy snack.

Peanuts (raw): 1 cup
Onions (medium): 1 No
Tomato (Big): 1 No
Green chilli (chopped): 1 No
Lemon juice: 2 tsp or to taste
Salt: to taste
Chaat masala: 1 big p
Corriander (chopped): 1 – 2 tbsp
Cucumber, carrots, raw mango: (optional)

Wash and soak the peanuts for about four hours.
Pressure cook it till it turns tender.
Drain all the water and keep aside.
Now chop all vegetables very very fine. Scoop out the flesh in the tomatoes and chop else it might make the whole thing very soggy.
Mix the vegetables and the peanuts.
Adjust salt and chaat masala.
Add some lemon juice and mix well.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve warm or cold. Both taste equally lovely.
This goes off directly to 'Anyone can cook Series - 4' and ‘Eat Well – Live Well - Heart Friendly Recipes’ hosted by Taste of Pearl City and My Legume Love Affair # 28 hosted by Divya of Dil Se for this month and conceptualised by Susan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kati Rolls

I had Kati rolls a couple of times in all my life. The first time was at a road side shop accompanied by the soothing breeze of the Besant Nagar Beach in Chennai. The second time was at the famous Eat Street in Hyderabad, overlooking the Hussain Sagar lake. We had gone with K’s very close cousins and had a gala time stuffing ourselves and chattering away, oblivious of the ever-polluted Hussain Sagar.

All I remembered about the Kati Rolls was that was that the taste was very familiar and it was something that could be easily and comfortably created at home. My search for a good recipe ended as soon as Google yielded veteran blogger Nupur’s recipe for Paneer Kati Rolls. My Kati Rolls are heavily inspired by Nupur, both in terms of ingredients and presentation, however I have mildly tweaked it to suit my taste. Here is my recipe.

Ingredients (makes 4 Kati rolls)

For the curry:
Paneer: a little over ½ cup, cubed
Potato (medium): 1 No
Red capsicum: ½ of a big one (this is just to add a lovely red colour)
Green capsicum: ½ of a big one
Onions: 1 big
Tomato: 1 medium
Ginger: 1 cm, grated
Garlic: 1 pod, grated
Chilli powder: 1 tsp (or to taste)
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Chaat masala: 1 tsp
Kasuri methi: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Oil: 1 – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice: 1- 2 tsps (optional)

For the salad:
Carrot, cucumber, onions (chopped longish): ¾ cupCorriander leaves (chopped): 1 tbsp
Rotis needed: 4 Nos.


Chop all the vegetables in a chunky fashion and set aside.
Heat oil in a kadai and start tossing the ginger and garlic.
Follow with onions and fry for a couple of minutes.
Then add the tomato, potato, red and green capsicums.
Do not add any water to the curry since we are trying to make a thick dry curry.
The water in the vegetables would leave out enough juices to cook the vegetables.
Add a lid to cook faster if you feel the vegetables are not getting cooked properly.
Add salt, turmeric powder and the chilli powder.
When it is almost done, add the paneer, kasuri methi and the chaat masala.
Toss well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
If you feel it is bland, add the lemon juice, chaat masala and chilli powder and adjust the taste to suit your tastebuds.
Keep the curry aside.

To assemble the Kati rolls:
If using left-over chapati, just toss it over a hot tava for a minute. Keep the four rotis ready.
Spread a single chapatti on a plate.
Place a generous amount of the filling in the center.
Top it with some salad.
Fold the two sides.
Roll with some butter paper or foil.
Kati rolls are ready to be enjoyed as a picnic food, or for an evening snack or even dinner!
These Kati Rolls are my contribution to this week's Bookmarked Recipes every Tuesday, started by Priya Mitharwal and hosted by Aipi of US Masala, 'Anyone can cook Series - 4' event hosted by Taste of Pearl City and Vegetarian Foodie Fridays #22

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Til Peda

Happy Dussera!

With a super hectic day, there was not much time in hand except to make a quick ten minute sweet. This peda is made with white sesame seeds. All I did was roast the seeds till golden brown, powder it with equal amounts of sugar, threw in 4 – 5 pods of elaichi, sprinkled some ghee and made pedas. This dish is very similar to my mom’s chimili (a laddoo made with black sesame seeds and jaggery). I had neither of the ingredients handy, hence I made my own version. However, this peda had a little bit of bitter after-taste. Not sure what caused it. I would try with jaggery the next time I make it.

Ingredients (makes 9 pedas)

White sesame seeds: ½ cup
Sugar/Jaggery: ½ cup
Elaichi: 4 – 5 pods, crushed
Ghee: 1- 2 tbsp


Dry roast the sesame seeds till golden brown. Let it cool for a while.
If using jaggery, grate or break into very tiny pieces.
With this add sugar and elaichi and grind coarsely. I, by mistake pounded it fine (probably that caused the slight bitter after-taste)
To this mixture, add ghee.
Make balls and then flatten using your fingers.
Place a raisin or any other dry fruit to garnish.
Offer to God and enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam IX - Steamed Rava Elaichi Cake

For the past few days, I have been almost smitten by this blog – Anna Parabrahma. Anjali, the writer weaves beauty through her blog pages. Of all her posts, I truly enjoyed reading her Mughal Samosas. I was there with her for a brief while, and even had a bite of those lovely samosas (mentally) as she travelled down her memory lane reminiscing the story of the Mughal samosas.

My Kesari Poli, one of the Navarathri Neivedyams was based on Anjali’s ‘Sanjacha Poli’. Today’s Neivedyam ‘Steamed Rava Cardamom Cake’ or 'Shravani cake', as she calls it, is also from her kitty. This recipe is simplicity incarnate. Grease the steaming dish, mix all ingredients and shove it into a pressure cooker and remember about it only after 20 minutes. Does cooking get easier than that?

I had my own doubts about how it would turn out and even had back-up plans ready. But the recipe patiently proved its worth in my kitchen too. The resultant cakes were great – a cakey no-ghee version of rava kesari. I am sure it will put a smile on everybody’s face who would have a bite of it. Next time I plan to experiment with some vanilla and carrots and probably a savoury version in the coming days.

Now over to Navarathri Neivedyam IX – Steamed Rava Elaichi Cake

Ingredients (serves four)

Bombay rava: ½ cup
Thick curd: ½ cup
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Ghee: 1 tsp (to grease the plate)
Baking powder: ½ tsp
Cardamom: 5- 6 pods, powdered
Badam (finely chopped): 4 or 5 Nos
Raisins: 10-15 Nos


Roast rava till a fine aroma arises and it turns slightly brown.
Grease the dish in which the cake would be steamed. I used ghee for better flavour, though oil would also be fine.
In a large bowl, mix all the above ingredients and continue whisking till the sugar melts.
Immediately place this in the pressure cooker and steam for 20 minutes. (I placed the dish at a certain height so that water / steam does not gush into it. So, I inverted another vessel inside the cooker and then placed the cake dish on top of that, thus achieving some height).
After 20 minutes, check if done. A clean greased knife should come out clean when inserted. If not done yet, steam for another 2 – 3 minutes. It should be done by then.
Offer to God.
Slice and serve.
I used sweetened condensed milk on top of each slice for better flavour. It enhanced the taste manifold. You could also experiment with jaggery syrup, etc etc.

This cake goes to 'Cooking for Kids - Festive Sweets/Savoury Event' hosted by Suma and created by Sharmi

(slice of the cake with a condensed milk topping)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam VIII - Coconut milk pudding

My pantry had a can of coconut milk waiting patiently for its turn. I had brought it to be used in curries, gravies, etc, but never got around to using it. Recently while I was going through Aparna's lovely blog, I saw this pudding and had bookmarked it. Ever since I began making neivedyam on a daily basis for Navarathri, I wanted to make it and today was the day. With few changes to Aparna's recipe, I was good to go. I used Vegalicious' method of stovetop for cooking since I am not a very great fan of microwave cooking for various reasons.

The pudding resulted from a 10 minute stir on the stovetop over medium heat. It was creamy, coco-nutty and rich. It is a great to see how such few ingredients can lead to such a wonder!

Now over to Navarathri Neivedyam VIII - Coconut milk pudding

Ingredients (serves 4 since it is slightly heavy):

Thick coconut milk: 400 ml (one can, store bought)
Sugar: ¼ cup (plus one or two tbsps extra if you want it a little sweeter)
Cornstarch / cornflour: 3 tsps
Elaichi: 8 pods
Edible camphor: a pinch
Fresh coconut pieces: ¼ cup
Almonds (chopped fine): for garnish


Take about 50 ml of the coconut milk in a cup. Add the cornstarch to it and mix well. Make sure no lumps are formed.
Take the remaining coconut milk, sugar and camphor and mix in a heavy bottomed vessel.
Mix the cornstarch mixed coconut milk to it. (This step is done just to avoid formation of minor lumps)
Grind the coconut pieces and elaichi to a smooth powder.
Bring the coconut milk to a boil over medium flame stirring all the time. It will start bubbling in about 6 minutes.
Keep stirring patiently as it thickens. When you feel the right consistency has been attained, add the coconut-elaichi powder.
Mix well. Keep stirring for 2 minutes and finish.
Offer to God.
Pour in individual serving cups and refrigerate for about two hours.
This pudding goes to 'Cooking for Kids - Festive Sweets/Savoury Event' hosted by Suma and created by Sharmi

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam VII – Carrot and Chana dal Payasam

“Today should be a payasam”, I thought. I had not made one for the Navarathri yet. Again, I wanted a neivedyam which did not need any major effort from my side. I remembered the carrot and chana dal payasam by Priya, which I had bookmarked a few days back. I zoomed into the recipe. As it is, the recipe sounded very easy, and I simplified it further. I wanted carrots to dominate the payasam, hence changed the proportions of ingredients to suit my taste. The end result was a lovely thick payasam which had a deliciously creamy custardy consistency. And the colour was a beautiful brilliant orange!

Navarathri Neivedyam VII – Carrot and Chana dal Payasam

Ingredients (serves three)

Carrots (chopped): 1 cup
Chana dal (raw): 1/3 cup
Sweetened condensed milk/ Milkmaid: ¼ cup
Milk: ½ cup
Sugar: 3 tbsp
Elaichi: 5 – 6 pods, crushed
Edible camphor: one pinch
Ghee: 1 – 2 tsp
Cashews, almonds and raisins (chopped or broken): 1 tbsp each


Wash and soak the dal for atleast half an hour.
Pressure cook the dal together with the carrots adding about ¾ cup of water.
Cook it for about 5 whistles so that it gets mushy.
Once the pressure releases, cool it and grind into a fine paste.
Now, in a deep bottomed vessel, heat ghee and fry the dry fruits and keep aside.
Add the ground carrot-chanadal paste to it.
Add the milk, condensed milk, camphor, elaichi and the sugar to it.
On a medium flame, cook it and allow it come to a boil.
Switch off.
Mix the garnishing and offer to God.
Serve warm or cold and enjoy!

This bowl of payasam goes to 'Anyone can cook Series - 3' and to 'Celebrate Sweets - Kheer' events hosted by Taste of Pearl City

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam VI - Chana dal Sundal

Navarathri in homes in Tamil Nadu is incomplete without Sundals. A wide variety of them are prepared in large quantities and offered to God. Then they are distributed to everyone who come home for the customary ‘tamboolam’. Today I had made the very basic of all sundals – Chana dal sundal. This needs the least amount of soaking time. Plus the husband asked for it. Would there be a no? NO. So, over to the recipe of Chana dal Sundal.

Navarathri Neivedyam VI – Chana dal Sundal

Ingredients (Serves 2- 3 people)

Chana dal: ½ cup
Hing: a big pinch
Salt: to taste
For the tempering:
Mustard: ½ tsp
Urad dal: ½ tsp
Red chillies: 1, torn into bits
Curry leaves: few
Jeera: ½ tsp
Coconut oil any vegetable oil: ½ tbsp
Fresh grated coconut: 3 tbsp (for the garnish)


Soak the chana dal for atleast two hours. Cook the dal with about a cup of water till it is cooked, but not mushy. It could be done on the stove top or in the pressure cooker. If using a cooker, stop with two quick whistles.
Drain the water from the cooked dal and set aside.
Take a kadai and heat oil.
Finish off with the tempering.
Add the dal, salt and hing.
Mix well. Stir for about 3 – 4 minutes till you feel it is done.
Add the coconut and mix well.
Offer to God and enjoy!

This easy sundal is my contribution to 'Anyone can cook Series - 3' event hosted by Taste of Pearl City

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam V - Kesari Poli

'Kesari Poli' is what I preferred to name it. It is nothing but our good old rava kesari stuffed into a chapati. This is also known by the name of 'Sanjachi poli' or 'Sanjori' and has its own designated place in Maharashtrian cuisine. I understand this is mostly done with leftover Sheera or Kesari, deliberately cooked in large quantities for a puja or a ritual so that Sanjori would follow the next day.

I wanted Kesari Poli to be one of the Neivedyams for Navarathri. It is extremely easy to make. The only difference between a normal kesari and the one I used as a filling here is that I limited the amount of ghee to about two tbsp (else our kesaris have a notorious reputation of drinking cups and cups of ghee) and omitted the cashews so that rolling would be smooth. So, here we go.

Navarathri Neivedyam V - Kesari Poli

Ingredients (Makes 5 kesari polis)

For the Kesari (filling)

Rava (Suji): ½ cup
Sugar: ¾ cup (I wanted it a little sweet since it has to be sandwiched between two layers of flour)
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Water: 1 cup
Elaichi: 5- 6 pods, crushed
Edible camphor: one pinch
Raisins: 1 tbsp


Heat a heavy bottomed kadai.
Add ghee and roast the raisins till they puff up well.
Now roast the rava and fry till they turn a slight brown and a good aroma comes out.
Add the water to the rava and keep stirring vigourously so that no lumps form.
Add the camphor and the elaichi.
When the rava is well cooked, add the sugar.
Let it come together into a big mass.
Add the raisins and give it one final stir.
Make normal chapati dough and set aside atleast for 15 minutes.
Take a big lemon sized ball and make parathas out of it.
Use ghee and roast it tossing and turning it few times.
Offer to God and enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam IV - Aval (Poha) Kesari

Navarathri Neivedyam IV - Aval Kesari

Ingredients (Serves two)

Poha (medium variety): 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1/3 cup (or a little less if you prefer it less sweeter)
Elaichi powder: 2 pinches
Edible camphor: 1 pinch
Ghee: 3 tbsp
Water: 1 cup
Raisins and cashews: a handful
Yellow colour (optional)


Dry roast the aval. Once cool, make a fine powder. Keep aside.
In the same kadai add about one tsp of ghee, fry the raisins and cashews till golden brown and keep aside.
Now add the water and the aval. Keep stirring so that it does not form any lumps.
Add the remaining ghee and keep stirring till all the water dries up.
Once all the water is dry, introduce the sugar.
Add the edible camphor, colour and the elaichi powder.
Keep mixing till it leaves the sides of the kadai.
Add the fried cashews and raisins and give it one final stir.
Offer to God and enjoy!

This recipe goes to 'Anyone can cook Series - 3' event hosted by Taste of Pearl City

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam III - Peanut Burfi

The peanut fire in me got kindled and I chose this recipe from my myriad bookmarks since they were made using very less ghee and had an excellent shelf life. This recipe is fairly similar to the recipe of Peanut Laddoos. I got it from a Hare Krishna website featuring recipes of a lot of Burfis, and had written it down in my diary.

The sweetner in this case is sugar and not jaggery. And this burfi calls for syruping of sugar. Though I went wrong with the syruping (the syrup master – K, was attending to our baby), I somehow managed to pour the peanut lava into a greased cake tin and managed to make burfis out of them. Hence they look rugged, nevertheless, tasty.

Navarathri Neivedyam III – Peanut Burfi

Ingredients (makes 12 burfis)

Peanuts: ¾ cup
Sugar: ¾ cup or a little less (depending on taste)
Ghee: 1tbsp
Elaichi powder: onebig pinch
Water: 4 -5 tbsp

Dry roast the peanuts till done. Cool, skin them and powder fairly finely.
Now take the sugar in a kadai along with the water. Make a syrup of one string consistency.
As soon as this is done, add the peanut powder and stir vigorously so that no lumps are formed.
Now, you could add the ghee so that the mass does not stick to the bottom.
Add the elaichi powder and keep stirring till you are able to make a loose ball out of the slightly cooled mass with your fingertips.
Once done, empty the contents into a greased plate.
Make pieces while warm.
Offer to God and enjoy!
This neivedyam goes to 'Only' Festive Food Event conceptualised by Pari and hosted this month by Preeti.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Navarathri Neivedyam II - Dessicated coconut ladoos

The moment I saw Veena's recipe, I knew I was going to make it for Navarathri. As I was doing it, I was reminded of the Milkmaid advertisement in Doordarshan where the mother would roll the ladoo in dessicated coconut.. Back then, that ad would make me salivate very badly. I curbed all those carnal instincts since I was making a neivedyam and proceeded with the job on hand. Being a no-cook sweet, it can be quickly assembled while visiting any friends or relatives, or can serve as an excellent quick fix dessert for an emergency sweet craving.

Navarathri Neivedyam II - Dessicated coconut laddoos with condensed milk

Ingredients (yields 10 medium sized laddoos)

Dessicated coconut (store bought): 1 heaped cup + 2 tbsp (for rolling the laddoos in them)
Sweetened condensed milk (milkmaid): 1/3 cup
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Elaichi powder: 1 big pinch
Ghee: 1/2 tsp (optional, just for greasing your palms while making laddoos)

Mix the dessicated coconut, sugar and elaichi powder thoroughly.
Now pour the condensed over it and mix well with your hands.
Now this coconut mixture will become slightly moist. Knead using fingertips and you will be able to make laddoos out of them.
Make medium sized ladoos.
Spread the 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut in a plate. Roll the laddoos in this.
Dessicated coconut ladoos are ready in 10 minutes flat!
Offer to God and enjoy!
This neivedyam finds its way to 'Only' Festive Food Event conceptualised by Pari and hosted this month by Preeti.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Sindhi Dinner

I am a huge admirer of bloggers who passionately strive to place their native cuisines on the global culinary map. There are a lot of Indian bloggers who do this. Nupur’s One Hot Stove, Priya Mitharwal’s Mharo Rajasthan, Kamala’s Kamala’s Corner, Alka’s Sindhi Rasoi, Shilpa’s Aayi’s recipes, Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore are a few names that come to my mind immediately. There is a certain pride in the way a recipe is introduced, the ingredients and the method of cooking explained or a little family tradition discussed. This pride in them is what hooks me on to their blogs. Also being an Indian, it is nice to know what is cooking in my neighbour’s cooking pot.

Sindhi rasoi is one blog which showcases a wide variety of sindhi food. Alka has truly simplified sindhi cooking for new cooks like me. I dug into her treasure and chose two very easy ones. I wanted a simple combo – and picked up Raahn (black eyed peas or Lobhia) in a tomato base and Satpura phulka. The moment I made the Raahn gravy, I knew this gravy is going to come to my rescue on several time-strapped weekday dinners. It calls for limited preparation and cooks in under 20-22 minutes (excluding soaking time – I am taking only active cooking into account). I made it in a stew pot since my cooker was not ok.

Now, off to the two lovely recipes:

Raanh (lobhia) in tomato gravy


Lobhia: ¾ cup (raw)
Tomatoes: 2 Nos (chopped fine)
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Dhaniya powder: 1 tsp
Green chillies: 2,slit
Jeera: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 -2 tbsp
Ginger: 1 cm bit (grated)
Curry leaves: few
Corriander leaves (to garnish)
Potato (optional): 1, boiled and made into big chunks (I forgot all about it and remembered only after I finished the curry)


Wash, soak the beans for about 8 hours and cook in the cooker for about 2 – 3 whistles. Take care that the beans do not become mushy.
Start the tadka of jeera, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves on a kadai.
Now add the tomatoes and let it cook for about ten minutes.
Add all the powders.
Add the lobhia with the water.
Let it boil and come together to the desired consistency.

Satpura Phulka


Wheat flour: One and a half cups
Pepper powder: ½ tsp
Salt: to taste
Oil: 3 – 4 tsps plus for drizzling over the roti
Water: for kneading the dough


Make a soft chapatti dough with wheat flour, pepper powder, needed salt and about 2 tsps of water and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Take a portion of the dough. Roll it like a chapatti using a rolling pin.
Now, using a knife, make vertical lines which are one inch apart. Basically you will have several ribbon kind of long strips.
Apply a tsp of oil and sprinkle some wheat flour over this knife-marked chapatti strips.
Now take one strip and roll it like a ribbon. Roll the next one over this. Repeat with the next strips. This will form a bundle of strips one rolled on top of the other.
Now, carefully roll it like a chapatti, thicker than normal chapatti.
Cook on both sides on medium flame drizzling some oil over it, turning it few times in between.

Alka has made a beautiful Satpura Phulka with so many layers. All I could manage was a little whirlpool at the center. Probably I would be able to get there with some more practice.
On the whole, myself and my family had a lovely Sindhi dinner. Thank you Alka.

This is my contribution to 'Tried & Tasted - Sindhi Rasoi' - conceptualised by Lakshmi and hosted for this month by Ria.

Navarathri Neivedyam I - Wheat Katli

The best part of any festival is that it would bring with it a certain contagious enthusiasm. Navarathri generally signifies the victory of good over the evil according to Hindu mythology. It would kick-start a flurry of activities in most Hindu households in Tamil Nadu. Planning would start much ahead of the actual nine days. Houses would be cleaned up meticulously, the ‘kolu padi’ (kolu steps) or any other arrangement would be kept ready, the dolls dusted with a soft cloth, mental list of attendees for ‘vettalai-paakku’ would be finalized, neivedyam for all nine days decided ahead and the needed ingredients stocked, etc etc.. Neivedyams would be prepared on a daily basis and shared with family and friends.

This year I plan to celebrate Navarathri here in my little way with nine varieties of offerings – one for each day. I want to make simple neivedyam for Devi, it is my little way of showing my love for her. However, the only chief difference is that I would try to blog about it, that too daily. Let me see if I can pull it off.

So, here we go.

Neivedyam Day I – Wheat Katlis


Wheat flour (atta): ¾ cup
Sugar: ¾ cup
Water: 1/3 cup
Ghee: 3- 4 tbsp
Elaichi (powdered): a big pinch


Take a heavy bottomed kadai.
Heat about 2 tbsp of ghee and roast the wheatflour till it gives out a great aroma.
Keep aside.
Now, add the sugar and the water. Let it come to a rolling boil.
Add the elaichi powder and the wheat flour.
Stir constantly so that no lumps form.
You will see in a while that the mass is becoming a little stiffer.
Do a little test with your finger tips. Take a small bit of the mass. Let is cool for a while and try rolling it into a loose ball.
If it does not gather itself, then stir for some more time. Else, remove from fire immediately.
Stir a couple of minutes more, even after the stove has been switched off.
Let the mass cool down for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Once done, knead it to form a smooth dough. Add 1 tbsp of ghee if you feel like.
Roll it on the counter using a rolling pin and make diamonds (katlis) out of it.
If you feel the dough has become stiff, add some milk or water and knead patiently. It will come together as an elastic mass once again. Then roll and make katlis
Offer it to Devi.
Enjoy! This neivedyam finds its way to 'Only' Festive Food Event conceptualised by Pari and hosted this month by Preeti.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Malayala Ullichamandi

I am transported to that one night almost a year back when my good friend R visited me and divulged a lot of her culinary secrets. I was assiduously taking notes almost all through the night! I had made a lot of recipes from the kitty, but, this one somehow was always untouched, probably because it looked so simple. Suddenly this recipe found its way onto my kitchen counter today. Now after making it, I sincerely regret for not having made it earlier.

This recipe results in a beautiful chutney from R’s land – Kerala. This malayala ullichamandi is traditionally made with pearl onions, but, I used big white onions that I had handy (probably thats why the colour of mine looks a little pale). This ullichamandi is a great friend to appam, dosa, idli, chapatti, etc. I have used it as an emergency bread spread here and absolutely loved the combined taste of roasted onions and coconut.


Onions: 2 medium (or equivalent pearl onions)
Coconut pieces: ¼ cup
Red chillies (long): 2 - 3
Hing: to taste
Salt: to taste
Oil: 2 – 3 tsps


Fry onions in 2 – 3 tsps of oil.
Add the red chillis and the coconut pieces .
Fry till a great aroma arises and all the ingredients are decently done.
Add hing and salt.
Let it cool for a while.
Grind to a fine paste without adding water.

This ullichamandi goes to Bookmarked Recipes every Tuesday, started by Priya Mitharwal and hosted by Aipi of US Masala. Also, it is my contribution to Jagruti’s lovely event ‘Complete my Thali – Chutney’. This chutney also finds its way to the second edition of 'Any one can cook' event hosted by Taste of Pearl City

Carrot Burfi

Kheers, halwas, cakes, salad, curry and sambars using carrots are familiar entities. But, I had not tasted a Carrot Burfi till now. Ever since I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. And when I made it, I was surprised how quickly this burfi made its way to my list of probable Diwali goodies!

I used Kamala’s recipe for this. Had a couple of doubts and the benevolent Kamala gave me the needed instructions. I altered her recipe only on the sugar front. This recipe is fairly deceptive in the sense that it uses a whoopingly large amount of carrots and yields a substantially small number of Burfis. So, I would sincerely suggest anybody to hit the market, stock up on the carrots and then try out this Burfi. It was so tasty that I had a trouble saving up some pieces for the clicks since they were vanishing. The relieved public (me and K) gobbled up the remaining as soon as the photo session was over!

Ingredients (makes 8 small pieces)

Carrots (washed, peeled, grated and roasted in ghee till raw smell disappears): 1 cup
Ghee: 3 tbsp
Sugar: 40% of the measure of ‘processed’ carrots or more or less per taste
Cashews/Badam/ Raisins/ Pistachios: 2 tbsp finely chopped
Cardamom powder: ¼ tsp
Saffron (optional): 3 -4 strands
Water: 3 – 4 tbsp


Take a heavy bottomed kadai. Heat a tsp of ghee and roast the dry fruits till golden brown.
Wash the carrots. Peel and grate them. Now (without adding any water), roast them in 2 tbsp ghee on a medium flame till the raw smell appears and it has cooked to about 75 percent. You could add the cardamom powder also while roasting.
Now measure this quantity of ‘processed’ carrots. For every cup of this, you will need 0.4 cup of sugar (or even less, since carrots are inherently sweet).
Now in the kadai, add the sugar and water and make sugar syrup of one string consistency.
When this is done, add the processed carrots.
Keep stirring constantly.
Initially the mass would become a little loose. But by constant stirring, it would reach a stage where it comes together like hard ball. It will take some time and a lot of stirring.
While stirring, add some saffron if you want to.
Immediately pour into a greased tray.
After it has cooled a bit, make pieces.

This delicious burfi is my contribution to to ‘Bookmarked Recipes – Every Tuesday’ event by Priya Mitharwal.
It also finds its way to 'Only' Festive Food Event conceptualised by Pari and hosted this month by Preeti.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sambar Rice

Any dish cooked on a slow flame for a long time is bound to taste divine. I have read somewhere that chefs of Bukhara Restaurant of Maurya Sheraton in Delhi cook their Dal Makhani for over six hours! That is really something.. and it leads me to wonder how creamy, wonderful and comforting that dal would be!

One of my dishes that fit into this category (not six hours of simmering!) is my mom’s Sambar rice. I choose to make this on those days when I am in no mood for active cooking, but have a lot of time on hand – perfect for lazy Sunday lunches and an amazing crowd pleaser. A bowl of steaming sambar rice and potato chips for that added crunch would make any tummy truly happy. This recipe serves two growlingly hungry stomachs.


Rice: 2/3 cup
Toor dal: 1/3 cup
Tamarind: (soaked for a couple of hours): medium sized lemon
Vegetables (potatoes, drumsticks, green peas, carrots, tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, onions): 3 cups
Sambar powder (homemade or store bought): 2 tbsp
Salt: to taste
Curry leaves: Few sprigs
Corriander: to garnish
Gingelly oil: 5 tbsp
Ghee(to drizzle on the rice while serving): few tsps

For grinding:
Grated fresh coconut: 4 tbsp
Dhaniya seeds: 2 tbsp
Red chillies: 2 Nos
Chana dal: 1 tbsp
Corriander leaves (optional): 1 tbsp

For the tempering:
Red chillies (halved): 2 Nos
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Chana dal: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Jeera: ½ tsp
Cashews (optional):1 tbsp
Hing: One big pinch


Cook the rice and the dal separately in a pressure cooker. Keep aside.
Wash and chop all the vegetables into slightly larger pieces. Keep aside.
Roast all the needed ingredients and grind to a fine powder and keep aside.
Heat the tamarind water in a fairly large vessel. Add the sambar powder and the vegetables and curry leaves and boil for about 10- 15 minutes till the vegetables are cooked and all the raw smell disappears.
Add the toor dal and let it cook for a while. (Usually at this stage, I transfer all my contents to my pressure cooker because it is heavy bottomed. Also, I find it easy to cover and cook the dish slow flame for a long time over a slow flame)
Add the ground masala and let it boil for some more time.
Now add the cooked rice and add the needed salt.
Now add about a cup of water and lower the flame. Let it cook covered on the slowest possible flame for about a minimum of 25 minutes.
Give it a good mix once in a while so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Ensure that the whole thing has come together well. The end product should be in a pouring consistency. The sambar rice will thicken as it cools down.
Switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.
Now, in a separate pan or skillet, finish off the tempering and pour it over the sambar rice.
Mix well.
Serve this sambar rice with loads of ghee and potato chips or papads.

This Sambar Rice is my contribution to 'Festive Rice Event' by Torview


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