Sunday, May 1, 2016

Puliyogare Gojju and Puliyogare


Since Mother's day is round the corner, I thought of posting one of my mother's and my Grandmother's recipe. Yes!! It is the recipe for Puliyogare. Puliyogare is a dish that is Simple, quick, and delicious. In short, it is just perfect for mother's day.


Puliyogare or the tamarind rice is one of the most traditional and one of the most sought after recipes from South India. Every bite of this sweet, spicy and tangy rice brings back some fond child hood memories. Each savored bite takes me back to the times when I used to visit the Venkateshwara temple with my grandmother. The beautiful sculptures, the chanting of the shlokas, the divine atmosphere and the one of a kind puliyogare for prasadam. We would eagerly wait in the long queues to receive our share of Puliyogare. The tamarind rice offered there was so delicious that we would invariably go back for more!!



Since this rice makes a great picnic meal, I remember my mother making large quantities of Puliyogare for my school picnic. It was a big hit with my friends and the boxes were licked clean. So now you can imagine how nostalgic Pulyogare always makes me!! *Sigh*


Before I deviate completely, I think I will get back to the recipe. The making of Puliyogare has two steps. The first step is to make the puliyogare gojju which is slightly time consuming. The second  part involves mixing the gojju with the rice and other seasonings. 


The Puliyogare gojju can be made well in advance. By "well in advance", I mean a atleast a week earlier. So whenever you are feeling lazy or you have to make something in a jiffy, then mix a few table spoons of the gojju with a few cups of rice and Puliyogare will be ready in no time.


As I mentioned earlier, this is my Ajji's and my mother's recipe. I am so happy that I am passing on the recipe with the hope that it becomes a part of childhood memories with our kids will recall fondly someday.


The Puliyogare great all by itself. But pair it with some Poppadums and a bowl of yogurt and you will have a complete meal in front you.

Puliyogare Gojju recipe:
Preparation time: 20min+soaking time
Cooking time: 20-30min
Makes- approximately 300gms

Ingredients:
Tamarind- 100gms
Water- 700ml
Sesame seeds- 1-1/2tbspn
Grated dry coconut- 4tbspn
Salt to taste
Jaggery- 120gms
Peanut oil- 2tbsp


Method:
  • Clean the tamarind by removing the seeds and strings and soak in 500ml of water for atleast two to three hours.
  • Squeeze the juice from the tamarind with you hands and set aside the pulp. Add the remaining water to the pulp and strain the juice in a strainer. You will get about 700ml of tamarind juice at this point.
  • In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds till brown and keep it aside to cool
  • In the same pan, dry roast the coconut and set aside to cool.
  • Combine the sesame seeds and the rasam powder in a blender jar and blend till finely powdered.
  • Add the roasted coconut to the ground mixture and blend again to get a paste like spice mix.
  • In a thick bottomed, non reactive pan, add the tamarind pulp and bring it to a gentle boil. Allow the pulp to reduce a little before adding the jaggery and salt.
  • Let the mixture to simmer for a couple of minutes more and then add the ground mixture. 
  • Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat while stirring from time to time. Continue mixing till the mixture achieves a thick jam like consistency and comes together in a single mass. Take off the heat at this stage. 
  • Add the peanut oil mix well and allow the gojju to cool completely before storing in airtight container.
Notes:
  • Do not use polished sesame seeds. Use unpolished (mildly brown) or black sesame seeds.
  • The quantity of the jaggery used, largely depends on the variety of jaggery. There some varieties that are not very sweet. Use more in that case.
  • I use peanut oil because it prevents the gojju from going bad. Apart from that, it also enhances the flavor.
  • Try and use tamarind that is dark brown in color. It imparts a rich color and taste.

Puliyogare or Tamarind rice:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves- 4

Ingredients:
Peanut oil or any other oil- 2tbsps
Mustard seeds- 1/2tsp
Peanuts- 3tbsps
Curry leaves- 2sprigs
Asafetida- A pinch
Cooked rice- 2 cups
Salt- To taste
Puliyogare gojju- 2tbsp
Freshly grated coconut- 1tbsp (optional)


Method:
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow it sputter. Add the peanuts and fry till they turn brown.
  • Add curry leaves and fry till they turn crisp. Stir in the asafetida and mix.
  • Add the cooked rice and salt and mix well. Stir in the gojju and the grated coconut and mix well so that the rice is coated with the gojju.
  • Take off the heat and serve hot with yogurt and poppadoms.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Aam Panna


Summer is here in full swing and it is definitely making it's presence felt with sweltering heat and rising mercury levels!! Summer is never really complete if you haven't had your share of mangoes, watermelons and cucumbers. Apart from these you also need gallons of iced waters and fruit juices to help you cope with the brutal summer heat.


Speaking of fruit juices and summer drinks, I don't think anything can come close to Aam Panna. The quintessential Indian cooler that is made with raw mangoes, mint, lime and spices. This wonder drink not only quenches your thirst and keeps your body cool but it also helps in digestion and helps prevent sunstroke. Now, isn't that a perfect summer drink??


There are several ways to make this drink. You can either roast or grill the mangoes on an open flame for a smoky flavor. Or, simply boil or pressure cook them for a quicker version. I personally love to make Aam wanna by roasting the mangoes on an open flame because it imparts a smoky and an earthy flavor to the drink.


As for the seasonings, I like to add a combination of cumin, fennel and carom seeds. But you can keep it simple and  straight forward by adding Cumin seeds. You can also add green chili for heat. But I prefer it mild with just a hint of lime and mint!!


Another Important ingredient that goes into making Aam Panna is Black salt. A pungent smelling purplish-gray salt that is often used in India. This slat has a characteristic sulphur taste to it!! It you cannot get your hands on Black salt, then you can substitute it with Regular salt.

Whatever spices and seasonings you use, just make sure that you do not over do any of them. Or else, the tart flavor of the raw mangoes will be lost!!


Aam Panna recipe:
Preparation time: 10
Cooking time- 20
Serves- 4

Ingredients:
Raw mangoes- 2, medium sized
Mint leaves- 10-15
Cumin seeds- 1/2tsp
Saunf or fennel seeds- 1/4tspn
Ajwain or carom seeds- 1/4tspn
Juice of 1 lime
Sugar- 4tbspn
Water- 600ml
Black Salt- 1/2 tsp
Ice cubes and mint leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Place the mangoes on top of the gas burner and roast the mangoes till they turn completely black. This might take anywhere between 10-20mins.
  • Dry roast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and carom seeds and powder them in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  • Once the mangoes are completely black and soft, remove from heat and allow the mangoes to cool completely.
  • Peel the dark skin and remove the pulp and place it in a blender jar.
  • To the mango pulp, add the mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, black salt and 250ml of water and blend till the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the remaining water and mix well. Garnish with ice cubes and mint leaves and serve immediately!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gur aur nariyal ki meethi Kachori

Happy Holi to all of you!!! May this festival of colors fill your life with sweet month that can be cherished forever. 


Spring has officially set in. The mornings are pleasant and crisp and the air smells earthy. These days I wake up to beautiful vistas. Vistas, where the world seems to be greener, fresher and vibrant and soothing. I am filled with a kind of energy that inspires me to stay on my feet and finish as many chores as possible. Since the days are getting longer, I have also started taking evening strolls. I walk into this captivating beauty, to touch the vibrant Bouganvillas, feel the wind in my hair, watch the fluttering butterflies, listen to the chirping birds and capture everything in my mind's eye.


Spring also marks the arrival of Holi- The Indian festival of colors. Apart from colors, I feel that holi is also the festival of food. Holi menu normally consists of Thandai, gujiyas, Phirnis, Chaats and Kachoris. Kachoris are something that categorically prepared during the festival of colors. Different types of Kachoris are made during this festival. Some make sweet and some make it savory. As for me, I made the KAchori with coconut and jaggery stuffing. 


We call this dish "kayi puri". The kayi puri is nothing but a type of kachori where the flaky, pastry like dough is stuffed with sweet, jaggery and coconut filling. You  can say that this is a South Indian variation of the famous mawa kachori. This version is healthy, delicious and absolutely wholesome. One bite into this flaky sweet dish and I am sure you will be addicted.



The recipe for this dish comes from my grand mother. This incidentally happens to be one of the last things I learnt from her. I remember making at least a dozen phone calls when I made this the first time. She had guided me patiently with each step, Giving out tips and suggestions. Ohhh I so miss Ajji!!!


The best thing about these Kachoris is that, that they can be stored in air tight containers for upto 4-5days. Just before serving, warm the kachoris in over for 5mins and serve. The preparation of this dish is lightly labor intensive. So I suggest you plan it on a not so busy day!! Have fun making these!! Happy holi once again!!!


Gur aur nariyal ki meehi Kachori recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 40min
Makes- about 16

Ingredients:
For the outer covering:
All purpose flour- 2cups or 150gms
Fine semolina or chiroti Rawa- 1tbspn
Salt- 1/4tspn
Butter- 3tbspn, melted
Water- as required

For the filling
Ghee- 1tbsp
Freshly grated coconut- 1 cup, tightly packed
Jaggery- 1 cup
Poppy seeds- 1/2tbspn, dry roasted
Cardamom powder- 1/4tspn
Freshly grated nutmeg- a pinch.
Other ingredients:
Oil to deep fry
Pistachios to garnish (optional)


Method:

For the outer covering:
  • Mix the all purpose flour, semolina, salt, and melted butter in a large bowl and mix well. Add water gradually to make a stiff dough. Cover and set aside for 20 to 30min
For the filling:
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add the freshly grated coconut and jaggery and mix well. Allow the mixture to cook on low heat for 3-4 min, mixing from time to time.
  • Add the toasted poppy seeds and continue mixing till the moisture is evaporated and the mixture comes together in a lump.
  • Add the cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Mix well and take off the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
To proceed:
  • Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and set aside.
  • Roll out each portion into 2-1/2" disc and place a table spoon of filling in the centre. 
  • Gather the edges to wrap the filling and seal it. Flatten it slightly with your palms and Roll the kachori again into a disc of 4-5" diameter.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and filling.
  • Heat oil in a large wok. Add the prepared kachoris 2-3 at a time and fry them on low heat till they turn golden brown in color.
  • Take off the heat and drain them on absorbent paper. Repeat the process of frying to make the rest of the kachoris. 
  • Garnish with chopped pistachios and serve immediately.
Tips:
  • Do allow the dough to dry out. This can cause the kachoris to tear which will let the oil seep into the kachoris while frying. To avoid this, keep the dough covered with a wet cloth at all times.
  • Make sure the filling is lump free as it will cause the disc to tear.
  • Do not fry kachoris on high heat. Reduce the heat once the oil is hot enough. This will yield crispy Kachoris


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oatmeal raisin cookies and Raspeberry compote parfait



This is another one of those recipes that has been in my drafts for quite sometime now. I had made and photographed this dessert almost a month ago. I even managed to edit the photographs. But I never got around publishing the recipe because the writer's block always gets the better of me. Each time I sit down to pen my thoughts, I find myself with a lot on my mind. None of which renders to a compelling blog post. I wonder how some people manage to pen their thoughts so effortlessly. This is something I really need to learn. 



Enough of my woes about writer's block!!! Let's get to the recipe. Shall we??

This parfait was something that I had made a few weeks back. I had some raspberries lying in the fridge and there were also these store brought Oatmeal raisin cookies that the husband and the kiddo didn't fancy too much. So I decided to combine the cookies and the raspberries to make this Parfait. 

To me, nothing screams spring quite like berries. According to me, summer/spring desserts should be simple, fresh and quick to put together. And that's what this Parfait is all about. Uncomplicated and delicious. Fresh raspberries, strawberry yogurt and crispy oatmeal, raisin cookies, A combo that is just perfect for summer.


Like many of my previous recipes, this one is also very versatile. This parfait can be made in a hundred different ways to suit your taste. The raspberries can be replaced with a different kind of berry or fruit. The crumbled cookies can be substituted with granola and the yogurt can be replaced with whipped cream for a richer version. Trust me, the chances of going wrong with this dessert is almost nil.


This parfait is just perfect if you are looking for a quick dessert!! This will leave your sweet tooth satisfied without making you feel guilty!!


Oatmeal raisin cookies and raspberry Compote parfait recipe:
Preparation time- 20min
Cooking time- 10min+chilling time
Serves- 4

Ingredients:
Oatmeal raisin cookies- 12
For the raspberry copmpote:
Raspberries- 1 box or 6 oz+ 10-12more
Sugar- 1 tbspn
Water-2tbsp
Strawberry or raspberry yogurt- 1/2cup

Method:
For the raspberry compote:
  • Combine 6Oz of Raspberries, sugar and water in a sauce pan and cook over low heat for 2-3min.
  • Mash the berries with the back of the ladle or spoon and continue cooking for a 3-4min more.
  • Take off the heat and allow the compote to cool completely.
To proceed:
  • Blend the oatmeal raisin cookies to a coarse powder in a blender and set aside.
  • Chop about 8 raspberries into quarters and reserve the rest for garnishing.

To assemble the parfait:

  • Spoon a table spoon of the compote at the bottom of a clean shot glass. Proceed by adding a teaspoon of chopped raspberries and follow it up with one and a half table spoon of Strawberry yogurt. Then top it with a layer of crumbled cookie and press slightly. Repeat the process until the glass is full and Top it with a raspberry. Chill the parfaits for an hour before serving.
Notes:
  • I did not add too much sugar to the compote because I did not want to make the parfait overly sweet. But you can go ahead and add more sugar to adjust the sweetness.
  • You can made this dessert with berries of your choice. The oatmeal raisin cookies can be substituted with Granola. 
  • You can add some nuts if you prefer!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Peshawari Naan


Naan is perhaps one of the most preferred Indian breads. I am yet to come across a person who does not like naan. This soft, and slightly chewy bread, makes a great accompaniment to any type of curry. With Naan on the side, one is sure to polish of every last bit of gravy. It is that good.



I never grew up eating naan at home. We would mostly devour this bread at the local restaurant. Until my teenage years, I believed that naan was something that could never be made without a tandoor. Hence, it could never be made at home. But all that changed when a classmate of mine got these yummy Naans from her house. It was tender, soft and it just melted in my mouth. It must have just come off the skillet because the packet in which she had carried the box had melted. It was so good that my friends and I had fought shamelessly for that extra piece of naan. I remember asking her if she owned a Tandoor. You can imagine my surprise and shock when she told me that her mother had made those lip smacking naans on the regular tawa or skillet.  At that moment, I realized that restaurant food can be made at home. And it can taste great if not better.


There are different ways to make naan. It can be made by using yeast, which is the traditional method. It can also be made by using baking soda and/or baking powder. Which, I have heard that it is a quicker version but I am yet to try that method.

Like sandwiches, Naan can have different flavors and fillings. It can be flavored stuffed with potatoes, cheese, meat, or a simple, spiced, onion mixture.  I have also read a few recipes, which had sweet fillings in them. I have used sesame seeds and chives on top to flavor this. But you can use cilantro, mint, chopped garlic, chopped green chilies, etc. With Naan, the sky is the limit. So you can really let your imagination run wild.



The naan can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be used in wraps, as a pizza base or you can enjoy it with a mughlai curry on the side. Do not be intimidated with the long preparation time. This delicious bread is worth every bit of the effort. Try making naan in the comfort of your home and find you own ways to enjoy.



Peshawari Naan recipe:
Preparation time: 1-1/2 to 2hrs
Cooking time: 15mins
Makes- about a dozen

Ingredients:
Milk- 150ml, warmed
Yeast- 1tsp
Sugar- 1tspn
All purpose flour or maida- 500gms
Salt- 1 tspn or to taste
Yogurt- 6-8tbsp
Butter - 4-5tbspn, melted
White sesame seeds- 1tbspn or as required
Chives- 1-2tbsp, finely chopped


Method:
  • Mix the warmed milk with yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve and set aside for 30min or until it starts to bubble.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour  and salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter, yogurt, and the yeast mixture and mix to form a rough a dough.
  • Bring together with your hands. The dough should be soft and sticky. So add more water if needed.
  • Knead the dough the on a flour dusted surface for 5-10min until smooth and place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and set aside for an hour or till the dough doubles in size.
  • Once risen, transfer the dough back to the work surface and punch the dough and knead for a minute more.
  • Divide the dough in 12 equal portions and roll each portion into 4”in diameter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and half a tspn of chives and roll the dough into  an oblong of 6-7” using a little flour.
  • Heat a girdle and place the rolled naan with the sesame seeds side facing downwards. Cook it on one side till it puffs slightly.
  • Turn and cook it on the other side till it puffs some more. Then, put the naan on the open flame till it turns golden on both sides.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.  Brush each naan with ghee or melted butter and serve hot immediately.    

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kashmiri dum aloo

Potatoes are something I reach out to when I am stuck with the question of "what should I cook?" These tubers are so versatile that there are so many ways to make them. And all of them are sure to turn out delicious. You can either make a simple stir fry out of them or you can turn it into a scrumptious and rich yogurt based side dish like this one.



The Kashmiri Dum aloo is perhaps one of the best and most favored dish from the Indian state of Kashmir. The dum aloo that are served in the restaurants, most of the times, are not authentic. For the authentic dum aloo, is not cooked in tomato and cashew paste. Traditionally, Kashmiri dum aloo is made by simmering deep fried potatoes in spice infused yogurt. This dish is slow cooked on a very low heat in a vessel that has it;s lid tightly sealed. This

process of cooking is called as dum cooking. During the cooking process, the spice infused yogurt is absorbed by potatoes making them almost dry. The most important step in making the dum aloo is to prick the potatoes with a skewer or a tooth pick. This ensures that the spices and flavors are completely absorbed by potatoes.

The spices used in this recipe depends on the individual taste and varies from recipe to recipe. In this version I have used dry ginger powder, kashmiri red chili powder, fennel seed powder, cumin-coriander seed powder and a pinch of garam masala. The deep, roasted flavors of the spices is balanced by the sweet yogurt and the hint of cream. Also, do not hold back on the clarified butter (ghee). For it helps in taking the flavor quotient up by a notch.


The Kashmiri Dum aloo is a great recipe if you are looking for a great recipe to satisfy your hungry stomach and tickle your taste buds. But I believe that this sweet and spicy curry does something more than that. It satiates your soul.

Kashmiri dum aloo recipe:
Preparation time: 25min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves- 4

Ingredients:
Baby Potatoes- 12
Ghee or clarified butter- 2tbsp+1tbsp
Asafetida- A large pinch
Thick yogurt- 300ml
Dry ginger powder- 1tsp
Saunf or fennel seed powder- 1/2tsp
Kashmiri red chili powder- 1tsp
Cumin seed powder- 1/2tsp
Coriander seed powder- 1/2tsp
Turmeric- 1/4tsp
Salt- to taste
Sugar- 1/2tsp
Cumin seeds
Garam masala- 1/2tsp
Cream- 2tbspns (optional)
Coriander leaves to garnish.

Method:
  • Boil the baby potatoes in enough water till fork tender. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool. Peel the cooled potatoes, prick them with a tooth pick and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk the yogurt along with the ginger powder, fennel seed powder, cumin-coriander seed powder, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar and set aside.
  • Heat two table spoons of ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add the boiled potatoes and fry till they turn golden in color. Take off the heat and set aside.
  • Add another table spoon of ghee to the same pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown, add the asafetida and fry for a few seconds.
  • Stir in the cooked fried potatoes and the yogurt mixture and cook covered for on low heat for 15-20 mins.
  • Add the garam masala and the cream. Mix well and take off the heat. 
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis, parathas or rice.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The best Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies


I think a recipe for a good chocolate chip cookie is a must in any Baker's recipe repertoire. Whether it is for a crispy one or a soft chewy one, almost everyone I have known has their own chocolate chip cookie recipe.


This chocolate studded cookie is i think a favorite in most of the households. To me, it is a dessert staple, a timeless classic, an amazing snack that can be had warm, cold or dunked in milk. It can be had either as a dough, as or along with ice cream. It can be had in a hundred different ways. But the chocolate chip cookie cannot be resisted by anybody.


I have been baking these cookies for quite sometime now. Since I have two compulsive chocolate addicts at home, these cookies are most sought after. Purvi and S like these cookies so much that I bake these atleast once in a fortnight.


This recipe or the delightful chocolate chip cookie is adapted from Anna Olsen's book, Back to baking. In this recipe, the basic brown sugar cookie dough is used as a base for the chocolate chip cookie. I have made a few modifications to make the cookies a little crisp as We love our cookies to have a bit of a crunch. 


The changes I have made are, I have substituted the half cup of brown sugar with the icing sugar and the quarter cup of white sugar with the brown sugar. The egg was substituted with milk. These little changes made the cookies light and crispy. This recipe is something that I will treasure.


So if you are looking for the perfect Eggless Chocolate chip cookie, then look no further. This recipe is just perfect. It is a simple recipe of a brown sugar cookie dough with lots of chocolate chips. Can it get any home spun than this?? I guess not.


Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe:
Preparation time: 15min+chilling time
Baking time: 10-12mins
Makes- 24-28cookies

Ingredients:
Unsalted butter- 8tbsp, at room temperature
Icing sugar- 1/2 cup
Brown sugar- 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract- 1tsp
Milk- 1-1/2tbsp
All purpose flour- 1-1/4 cup or 320ml (measured after sifting thrice)
Corn starch- 2tbsp
Baking soda- 1/2tsp
Salt- a large pinch
Semi sweet Chocolate chips- 3/4 cup

Method:
  • Cream the butter, icing sugar and brown sugar till fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and milk and whisk some more and keep aside.
  • Sift the all purpose flour along with the corn starch, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips and mix till well combined.
  • Wrap the dough in a cling film and chill in  the refrigerator for 30min.
  • Scoop a table spoons of the chilled dough and shape them into balls. Flatten them slightly between your palms and place them 2 inches apart on to the parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 10-12 or till the undersides are brown.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • These cookies can be stored in air tight containers for upto two weeks. 
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