Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Best of 2014

The Best of 2014 !!.Life is a journey and we are for ever running with time standing still when we are low and flying away when good times come.I would never have thought of jotting down some of my moments of this year but with Valli announcing this event I felt it was a wonderful way to share some of my chapters from this year.

2013 ended with a very sad note where I lost my MIL,but with the beginning of a new Year we knew we had to start fresh . My son's wedding had been fixed for 1st March and an Indian wedding needs lots of preparations.Blogging took a back seat and I could only blog a craft post in Feb wishing my would be daughter in law. The wedding was lots of fun and I was happy that Valli , Archana and Nandini could make it for the wedding. Life took a turn with a new member in the family, and I could only get back to blogging with the April Mega Marathon.

Every year we have two Mega Marathons where we post everyday and work on a particular theme. The April Marathon was all about Indian Traditional Food. We cooked alphabetically from Indian states. The marathon seemed quite easy but trust me it was very challenging, specially cooking from East Indian States.

The second Mega Marathon was in September, like every year . This year we went Around the world in 30 days and cooked International Cuisine. I have always loved to cook from various countries, but have been restricted to only a few . This gave us a chance to explore the world, again we went alphabetically.

I have tried not to miss the regular three day BM'S. These routine ones give me a chance to jot down my everyday dishes so my children can refer when need arises.The regular BM also gives me a chance to cook new dishes. I must admit that it is Valli who has got us deeply involved with our approach to better thinking , cooking. I made my first bread loaf, my first ever ladoos ....i would have never made these without Valli giving us those themes.

Working on different recipes is fine, but presenting them is another story, I love to present them with different props, but getting them organized in a pictorial recipe index seemed a dream and I must thank all my fellow bloggers to inspire me . A special note of thanks for PJ  , ...but for you it would have been a task. Thanks dear!!

I cannot complete my post without talking about Indian Cooking Challenge , where we cook monthly a Indian Traditional Dish, it is a challenge which I hate to miss.

The year has flown by and it is the end of year, December is a month when I look forward to my daughter coming in from Japan. A month which is full of joy and happiness. 

The month will end and we shall begin a New Year 2015!!, a year which has so much to look forward...but that shall wait as of now. 

Wishing all my viewers and friends a very Happy New Year ! Happy Cooking!! and Happy Blogging!!!

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Mattar ke Kebab

BM # 47  Week 4  Day 3

For the third day under North Indian starters, I have a kebab. I was slightly hesitant posting these as I was not very happy with the color of these, but let me tell you the taste is awesome. These kebabs are very healthy, with the goodness of peas, spinach, and cottage cheese. Full of protein they are a perfect starter at parties. 

Mattar Ke Kebab
2 tbsp split bengal gram
1/2"piece ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup spinach, blanched and drained
1/4 cup green peas, boiled
1/4 cup cottage cheese, grated
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
3 tbsp bread crumbs

Pressure cook the chana dal, ginger, garlic and green chillies with ¾ cup of water for 2 to 3 whistles or until the dal is cooked. Drain out and discard any excess water.
Combine the spinach, green peas and cooked dal mixture and blend to a coarse paste without using any water.
Add the paneer, chaat masala bread crumbs and garam masala and mix well.
Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape them into kebabs .
Deep fry till golden.
You could also shallow fry or use skewers and roast these kebabs.
Serve hot with chutney and tandoori salad.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mattar aur Makai Tikki

BM # 47  Week 4  Day 2

For day two under North Indian starters I have yet another tikki.This is a tikki which is very different from what I have posted before. How different?...well a different hand makes all the difference to the spices and ingredients. The tikki has been made by my DIL. The tikkis that I make normally do not have mango powder, this one has and unbelievably it made a huge difference to the flavor of the tikki. Slightly tangy the tikki with corn and peas can be served with ketchup .

Mattar aur Makai Tikki 
6 boiled potatoes 
1/4 cup boiled green peas 
1/4 cup corn kernels, boiled 
2 slices bread 
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped 
Coriander leaves 
1/2 tsp dry mango powder 
1/2 tsp red chilly powder 
1/4 tsp garam masala 
Salt to taste 
Mash the potatoes. 
Add boiled and slightly crushed peas and corn. 
Soak bread slices and squeeze the water, add to the mix. 
Add all spices and mix well. 
Divide into six balls and flatten each one to form a Pattice. 
Roll them into semolina and shallow fry. 
Here you have the choice either to shallow fry or to deep fry.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Soya Paalak Tikki

BM # 47  Week 4  Day 1

When we talk of North Indian starters, the first starter I think of is tikki. I am fond of these and are always on my party menu. The variety of these is always different. For Day 1 I have Soya Paalak Tikkis.These tikkis are made with soya keema, which is the granulated form of soya. I am not a soya fan, but rest of the family is, as a result I always add other ingredients to kill the typical soya taste. For these tikkis I used boiled potatoes and spinach.They turned out awesome and kind of melted in the mouth.

Soya Paalak Tikki
1 cup soya keema
3 boiled potatoes
1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp ginger garlic green chilly paste
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Soak the soya in hot water for 10 minutes, drain the water and squeeze out the water.
Peel and mash the boiled potatoes.
Sauté the spinach till wilted. Cool.
Mix the soya, potatoes,spinach and the rest of ingredients.
Mix well.
Pinch out balls and make tikkis to the desired size. 
Deep fry or shallow fry.
Serve with chutney.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Rolls

BM # 47  Week 3  Day 3

Day 3 I have a choco coconut roll under the Festival theme. These are also no cook and no bake rolls. They are actually simple and taste amazing. They somehow remind me of bounty bar, I guess because of the chocolate and coconut combo.My aunt saw this recipe on Telly and we both made these rolls which were loved by the kids. They were so excited about the spirals in the roll and they loved the multi colored tutti fruity.
Here is a simple yet interesting treat, which can be individually packed and then gifted too.

Chocolate coconut rolls 
12-15 Marie biscuits
2 tsp sugar, powdered
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Few drops of milk.
Pulse the biscuits in the mixer.
Add powdered sugar and cocoa and mix well.
Gradually add milk to bind it into a dough.

The coconut layer
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
Condensed milk 
Tutti fruity 
Add tutti fruity to the desiccated coconut.
Adding condensed milk bind the coconut dough.

Roll out a big disc from the biscuit chocolate dough on a plastic mat.
On another mat roll a disc from the coconut dough.
Now place the coconut disc on top of the chocolate one.
Beginning from your side start rolling both the discs into a roll.
Wrap the roll into a cling wrap and freeze for 2-3 hours.
Remove and cut into slices.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Bites

BM # 47  Week 3  Day 2

Christmas and New year is the time when you see maximum chocolates and cakes. Some how these two festivals are fully associated with sinful chocolate. For Day 2 under festival recipes here are some No Bake Bites . These bites are done in a jiffy but still needs a bit of patience. patience because we need to freeze them wait till they set.

One can use any biscuits that you have on hand but I like  oats or digestive biscuits the best , due to the fiber in them.
So go ahead and indulge into these treats...

3 packs of Britannia oats biscuits ( 9 in a pack )
200 gms dark chocolate
2 tbsp  honey
4 tbsp  butter
4 tbsp milk
Hand full of crushed pecans
Vanilla extract

Break the biscuits into small pieces.
Spray oil in a loaf tin.
Line it with a cling film, so that the film overhangs on the sides.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler , making sure the water does to touch the bowl.
As soon as the chocolate melts add butter, milk, honey and vanilla extract.
Remove from the boiler and mix well.
Add the biscuit pieces.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin .
Sprinkle pecans.
Fold the overhung film to cover the prepared mixture.
Press with hands to make it compact , so no gaps are there.
Place in the frig for 2-3 hours.
Cut into bars or squares .

I have used oat biscuits but you could use digestive, Marie or even ragi biscuits
You can substitute pecans with different nuts or even omit them.
I served these with coffee and vanilla ice cream which was topped with maraschino cherries.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Choco Apple Trifle

BM # 47  Week 3  Day 1

For week 3 I have chosen festival recipes for Christmas and New Year. For Day 1 it is a trifle pudding that I made for my Diwali Dinner. Serving desserts it for Diwali does not mean that we serve just Indian sweets .This dessert was a part of the dessert menu. This year for Diwali we distributed cup cakes . I had some left from those which were not frosted. I made cake crumbs from them. My frig was stocked with apples so I decided to use those too. Making the best use of the ingredients at home I made this dessert.

Apple Chocolate Trifle
What you need
Cake crumbs
Orange juice
Cooked apples
Caramel sauce

This is the order in which I assembled the dessert.
Cake crumbs - use any left over cake or else make crumbs from cookies.
Orange juice- ready juice pack. I used this to soak the crumbs.
Cooked Apple - peel and chop the apples . Cook them with butter till soft. Add some brown sugar. Choose another fruit if you wish.
Caramel- use ready made sauce or make your own. I used home made , the recipe shall follow soon.
Custard- simple vanilla custard
Ganache- fill in a piping bag, pipe out a swirl.
Top with a edible pearl.
Chill and serve.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Dhokli nu Shaak - A Gujrati Speciality for Indian Cooking Challenge

The Saurashtra region of Gujarat is popular for its Kathiawadi Cuisine.This cuisine is
prominent in the cities like Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar and Porbandar. The food here is spicy and oily and they use a lot of garlic and red chilly. I remember eating this Dhokli nu Shaak on one of my trips to Rajkot,some 20 years back. I remember falling I love with this dish and cooking it too then but that was it I I did not cooked this dish in years , it is only while searching recipes for our April Marathon i recollected this dish. I learnt the dish from a friend and after that could suggest it to Valli for our ICC. Hope you guys enjoy this dish.

Dhokli nu Shaak
1 cup besan
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Mix everything and blend to a smooth consistency.
Place it in a pan and start cooking on slow heat stirring constantly.
Increase the heat and cook till a lump is formed.
Pour into a greased tray.
Let cool .
Cut into squares.
Keep aside.

Test check
Take a spoon full from the batter and spread on a surface, it should come out easily after cooling.

2 tbsp oil
Pinch hing
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
2 whole red chillies

Other ingredients
I cup water
1/2 cup sour butter milk
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Heat a pan.
Add oil.
Add tempering ingredients in the order mentioned.
Immediately add water.
Add spices and salt.
Let the water cook and the flavors infuse .
Add the sour buttermilk and dhokli squares.
Let cook for another 5-7 minutes.

The consistency of the gravy is medium, the dhokli absorbs the gravy after cooling so normally it is served right away.
Both , the dhokli and the gravy can be made in advance and mixed at the time of serving.
Garlic is optional, most people do not use it.
For Dhokli some people use buttermilk instead of water , I have used water.
Gujrati family's always use a little extra oil in this curry, you could cut it down but since there is no oil in dhokli it can be made into a low cal version, though The taste of this oily version. Is mind blowing.
Best served with roti / rotlas.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Kutchi Dabeli

BM # 47  Week 2  Day 3

Day 3 and I shall take you to another region of Gujarat. Kutch. 

Kutch, given its arid land does not see too many green vegetables. People in this area usually dry whatever vegetables they can throughout the year. This practice has in fact given Kutchi food a lovely flavor that is entirely its own. Like Saurashtra, people in Kutch too own herds of cattle and milk and milk products form the basis of many of their dishes. Their diet consists of fresh butter, butter milk and ghee. The kadhi, made from butter milk is enjoyed more than dal. The bajri Rotlas are enjoyed with a dollop of home made white butter. Among their street foods the Kutchi dabeli has become very famous all over the world. This has a sweet and sour taste and has a peculiar spice which lends it a delicious flavor and aroma. The dabeli masala can be made at home or it could be store bought.

There are quite a few versions of dabeli too, some use coconut too, while some use spicy peanuts, I made mini dabeli and used roasted peanuts instead of the spicy ones.The nylon sev is easily available in the market, how ever if it is not available, you can use any other sev too. Pomogranate and peanuts give it a wonderful flavor , the crunch from both is just amazing. The pomogranate also subdues the chilly in the stuffing.Roasting the dabeli in butter just before serving takes the Dabeli to a whole new level.

1 1/2 tbsp dabeli masala 
2 tbsp sweet tamarind chutney
1 1/2 cups boiled potatoes, mashed
Salt to taste

4 dabeli pavs
4 tsp garlic chutney
2 tbsp sweet tamarind chutney
4 tsp onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
4 tsp nylon sev
Butter for roasting

Nylon sev
Pomogranate pearls

For the stuffing
Mix the dabeli masala, tamarind chutney well
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the prepared dabeli masala mixture, mix well and cook on a medium flame for a minute.
Add the mashed potatoes, coriander leaves and salt.
Cook for a 3-4 minutes.

Assembling the dabeli
Take a bun and either cut it into two or make a slit in it.
Apply 1 tsp of garlic chutney and 1/2 tbsp of tamarind chutney evenly on the inner sides of the bun.
Stuff with 2 tbsp of the stuffing and top with 1 tsp of onions and 1 tsp of peanuts.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more dabelis.
Just before serving, cook each dabeli on a hot griddle) for a minute using a little butter.
Serve immediately garnished with sev and pomogranate.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gujrati Kaathiwadi Meal

BM # 47  Week 2  Day 2

Living in Gujarat, most of my friends are Gujarati. Different groups, different castes, to be frank, At times I get confused with their regional differences.Every time I cook a Gujju meal I always refer to my friends and jot down the details as explained by them. I have already posted some Gujrati Thali's but today I am posting a mini thali. Infact for this week I am posting three recipes from three different regions of Gujarat. Today it is Kathiawar, which is south Gujarat.

Last month I went for a day picnic to my friend's farm where we cooked a Gujarati  meal . This was a basic meal where we made Kadhi, Khichdi, Bataka nu Shaak and some hot Makai na Rotlas , made on a coal stove. It is amazing to watch these villagers cooking these big fat Rotlas. They taste really good and it is difficult to stop, the stomach refuses but the heart and soul want more.

In Saurashtra, the main grains are bajri, jowar, and wheat and these make up the staple diet here.In winter the people consume more of bajri and makai, while summer sees them switch over to wheat. It would then be either rotla or gehun ni rotli. - Vegetables, pulses, rice and dal are a must. Food here is usually spicy, using mainly red chilly powder unlike the Surati food, where green chilly is used. The food here is high in oil and garlic is used extensively.The main sweet dishes of this region,  are sukhdi, jalebi and sheero .

For today the menu is 
Bataka nu Shaak
Makai na Rotla
Papite ni cheen
Lassan ki chutney

Gujarati kitchen has a variety of Kadhi's , we have Dapka Kadhi which has little dumplings in it, we have Sev ni Kadhi which is made with gram flour vermicelli, then the Leele Doongri ne Kadhi, the variety is enormous and I am still to post so many more.Today's kadhi is the basic kadhi, I have posted the recipe for this earlier, but the khichdi is different.

This khichdi is made with yellow Moong Daal, and gets done in a jiffy, tastes amazing and is perfect on the stomach too.

1 cup rice
1/2 cup yellow moong daal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

2 tbsp ghee
1/4tsp mustard seeds
Pinch asafoetida
2 cloves
A small piece cinnamon
Wash the daal and rice.
Put them in a pressure cooker, adding salt and turmeric.
Heat ghee and add the tempering ingredients.
Add to the pressure-cooker
Add 4 cups of water, which is more than double.
Pressure cook for 3 whistles, simmer for 5 minutes.
Let the pressure release.
Enjoy with ghee and garlic chutney.

Here are some of the pics of the farms that we visited.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Surati Papdi Dana Muthia nu Shaak

BM # 47  Week 2  Day 1

For the second week I have chosen the theme, One State and three cuisines.Well I naturally chose Gujarat.Time and again I have written about Food from Gujarat. This is the state which has foodoholics and has a vast variety of food. Each region has its own specialty and for today I have chosen to cook from Surat, which is famous as a diamond hub.

Surti food is popularly known as Surti Jaman. This region has a fertile soil as such fresh green vegetables and fruits are available in plenty. The diet consists more of bajri in winter and wheat in summer. Surti cooking is characterized by the use of green chillies rather than red chilly powder. The vegetable preparations thus retain their green color. This is just the beginning of the season, so I could not get those lush green seeds, else the color of the dishes is very very green.

 The famous Surti vegetable is the Undhiyu, a mixed vegetable prepared only in winter, flavored with fresh coriander and garlic. For today I have made a mini version of Undhiyu, called Dana Muthia nu Shaak. This is a dish which is made very regularly in our house , and somehow always in bulk. My hubby and rest of the family are quite fond of it , also when ever I make this I pack for a few friends and my daughter.

While making this if you do not get papadi you can make Dana Muthia also, the taste is as good.I have used two kinds of seeds, the fresh pigeon pea , called tuver and broad beans called Vaal .

You could serve this with either Poori, roti or rotla.

Surati Papdi Dana Muthia nu Shaak
250 gms Tuaver Dana
100 gms Vaal dana
100 gms Surati papdi
1 potato

3-4 green chilly
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup fresh green garlic
A small piece ginger
100 gms Tuaver Dana
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Other spices
1/8 tsp ajwain
Pinch asafoetida
1-4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp Undhiyu masala / Garam masala
Salt to taste

String the papdi and break it into pieces.
Wash and keep aside.
Wash the danas.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add ajwain and asafoetida.
Add the washed danas and papdi.
Add a pinch of turmeric and salt.
Add enough water for the veggies to cook.
Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or till done

Heat oil in another pan.
Add the cooked veggies.
Add the paste and cook till all the moisture has gone.
Add the rest of the spices and the prepared Muthia and fried or boiled potato.
Add little water and let the veggies and Muthia cook till Muthia is soft and oil starts leaving sides.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Malpua Roll Cut Kulfi

BM # 47  Week 1  Day 3

We are done with our main course as Tawa sabzi and starter as Ragda Pattice from Puranmal's menu.We come to Day 3 and now is the time to serve the dessert. The menu had Indian sweets like Gulab jamuns, Halwa and of course Kulfi. I have a passion for kulfis and love trying various versions. Infact for my last month's festival recipes I had featured three varieties. The Malpua Kulfi has been in my drafts since a long time, but wonder how I have skipped posting it. in fact I sent it as a guest post to Nupur, but did not post on my blog.This was a Kulfi that I made with some left over kaju katli and malpuas.I did not add any sugar as the Barfi was sweet and I used the Malpua syrup too. The syrup had plenty of saffron which made the Kulfi very aromatic. I used a cookie box packing for freezing the kulfis. They came out as nice roll cuts. You could freeze them in small flat bowls.

Mithai Kulfi
500 ml full fat milk
200 gms kaju burfi
4-6 tbsp saffron syrup from malpuas
Cardamom powder

Boil the milk , let it boil for 5-10 minutes.
Add crushed kaju burfi,let it blend with the milk.
Cook till the milk reaches a thick consistency.
Add sugar syrup,cardamom powder,and chopped malpuas.
Pour into desired mould and freeze.

Some more Kulfis..

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tawa Sabzi Version 2

BM # 47  Week 1  Day 2

After the Ragda Pattice as a starter for Day 2 I have chosen to cook Tawa Sabzi from Puranmal's menu. This is from the main course. Tawa sabzi is one of my signature dishes and I love to serve it for parties.I have already posted a Tawa sabzi before, but this time I have made many variations. I served this for our Diwali dinner. Since we served the dinner in the lawns and it was low lighting I could not click the way I had assembled it. I had assembled the veggies around the Tawa and kept the gravy on side. The guest gave their preference of vegetable, which was then sautéed with the gravy and a little butter. 

This time I used stuffed chillies and corn and potato stuffed gourds. These were my new veggies and the most sought after. The guest loved the Tawa sabzi which was a complete treat , specially since it was a live counter.

Tawa sabzi
3 onions, boiled and puréed
1 kg tomatoes, boiled, peeled, puréed and strained
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tetra packs ready tomato purée
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp Garam masala
1 tbsp kasoori methi
2 tbsp butter

Vegetables to be prepared 
Lady fingers
Bitter gourd
Bhavnagari green chilly

Lady fingers
Wash and snip off head and tail .
Slit the lady fingers without going all the way.
Deep fry to a golden.
Sprinkle dry spices, gram flour and curd.
Mix and leave it to marinate till you serve.

Bitter gourds
Prepare the bitter gourds.
Cut into pieces,
Fill in the stuffing.

Bhavnagri chilly 
Wash and slit the chilly.
Stuffing for 6 chillies
Heat a tsp of oil.
Add a pinch of cumin seeds , fennel seeds and asafoetida.
Add 1/4 cup of gram flour, roast till pink.
Add salt to taste, red chilly powder and dry mango powder.
Mix well and stuff the chillies.

Cut the cottage cheese into fingers.
Marinate .
Dip these into gram flour batter and deep fry.
Alternately proceed as done in version 1

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