Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji For Puri Or Kachori

(This post has been updated with new pictures)

Read somewhere that the best things in life are free. A smile, sleep, hugs, kisses, laughter, family, memories- all these are at no cost. Isn't it priceless when a stranger smile at you in the train; or your husband hugs you when you are sad; or a child kisses a mother....nothing beats these emotions-correct?

It is good to be busy, to make excellent use of time but it is also imperative to spare a little time for the best free things :-) Same goes in cooking as well. When you walk through memory lane of your mother’s kitchen, what is that you remember? Did she always cook some exotic panner dish for you? Did she always use oven? May be yes, may be no. But I am sure most of the Indian mothers made simple basic things and we enjoyed it and now miss it the most.

Simple bhindi ki subji after a tough day at school; or sukha aloo in tiffin; or plain mango pickle rolled in parathas ...are the best.Aloo ka parathas or poha was all we needed for Sunday breakfast while watching Mogli or Malgudi Days on TV. Do you also believe that real pleasure of enjoying food is in eating simple meals? If yes, then today’s post will surly make you happy. I bring before you the most common and straightforward dish- Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji.

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji (Potatoes Tomatoes Curry) which is paired with Puri (fried bread) or kachori (Stuffed fried bread) needs no introduction. People from Rajasthan, Bhiar and UP will surely know what I am talking about. The classic combination of potatoes and tomatoes with loads of massala when served with puri or kachori is a pure bliss- or simplicity at its best. Rain or shine, cold or hot days this paring can never go old or fade- will always stay- from generations to generations.

Compose this in your kitchen and recollect all the memories.

4 medium size- boiled and diced- Potatoes/Aloo
3 medium size- chopped- Tomatoes/Tamatar
2- Green chilles/Hari Mirch
1 inch piece- grated- Ginger/Adrak
2 tablespoon Oil/Tel
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida/Hing
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds/Jeera
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds/Rai
1 bay leaf/Tej Patta
1 teaspoon kasturi methi
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder/Haldi
1 teaspoon Coriander Powder/Dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder/Lal Mirch
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon Coriander leaves/Dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste

Heat oil in kadai/wok and add mustard, bay leaf, cumin and asafoetida. Let the seeds splutter. Add slit green chillies, kasturi methi and grated ginger.
Mix turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam massala, salt with 4 tablespoon of water and make a paste.
Mix chopped tomatoes in the kadai and add the above spice paste. Mix well and let tomatoes cooked covered. Cook till tomatoes are mushy and soft.
Add 4 cups of water and potatoes. Mix well and let it boil covered for 10 minutes.
Finally mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with Puri or Kachori.

Adjust red chilli powder and garam massala as per your taste.
This is best when served with puri or kachori.
If in hurry, blend all the dry spices with tomatoes, ginger and green chillies.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Achari Bhindi Pyaz:Okra In Pickle Spices

I have a funny story to share today. Now, back in India we always knew Bhindi is called as Lady Finger-that is what we were taught in schools-right? After coming to the UK, one day I asked a grocery vendor if he has got some lady fingers in his shop. He quickly went inside and got me a pack of finger cakes (also known as finger sponges, mainly used in tiramisu). I was shocked and embarrassed at the same time, I did not know how to react at all, and thus I purchased that cake pack :-). I came back home and quickly searched on internet-it was then I came to know that bindhi is actually known as Okra ;)

From simple stir fried okra subji to exotic Bhindi Do Pyaza you can do so much with this humble vegetable. I have made oven roasted Bhindi also and if you fancy something marwadi then check Bharwa (stuffed) Bhindi recipe. Today, I gave okra a pickled taste.

Achari Bhindi Pyaz is robust of flavours. Easy but would give an impression that you have taken lot of efforts. Achari massala is dry roasted spice powder made by grinding the spices that are used in making pickle. Then, you need to use mustard oil (sarso ka tel) to bring that sour and authentic achari taste. I have seen people using yogurt (dahi/curd) in this recipe but I feel that it makes it very mushy and I personally don’t recommend it.

For me, Achari Bhindi Pyaz should be dry, coated with pickle massala and should have a bit of tanginess in the end. This is surely a crowd pleaser recipe.

For Achari Massala
1/2 teaspoon fenurgreek seeds/methi dana
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon onion seeds/kalonji
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
For Subji
250 grams okra/Bhindi
2 onions/pyaz
1-2 green chillies
2 tablespoons mustard oil/sarso tel
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur

For Achari Massala
On a low flame dry roast the ingredients till you smell good aroma. Approximately it takes 5-8 minutes.
For Subji
Chop Bhindi and pyaz lengthwise.
Heat oil in a kadai. When oil gets hot, add bhindi and pyaz.
Reduce the heat to low. Mix in salt and turmeric. Cover and let it cook for 8-10 minutes or till bhindi is half done.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon achari massala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and green chillies. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
Add in amchur powder. Mix. Cover and turn off the flame/heat.

Recently when my parents visited us my mother got me homemade achari massala and I used the same in this recipe. If you want a quick fix then I highly recommend using MDH Achari Massla which is easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Feel free to use some other oil as well, but mustard oil does bring the authentic pickle taste.
Make sure that okras are washed and dried well before using.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ajwain Massala Puri

So many festivals are around isn’t it? Last week we had Ganesh festival, before that Krishna Janmasthmi and before that Rakshabandhan. Festive spirits are in full swing in our home too. Those of you follow me on instagram would have seen my janmashthmi pooja pic- my way is to keep things simple.

Honestly, in India bringing Ganpati at home has become a status symbol. People show off their wealth in form of ganpati celebrations- how big the ganpati is; does it have any silver, gold or diamonds embellished on it? How much are they spending on prassad? So I was talking over the phone with my mom and she said that little kids of our neighbourhood have also welcomed Ganpati in our colony, its a small Ganpati statue that they got with their own pocket money and right from decoration to inviting people for sthapna and arti was done by those kids- isn’t it what festivals are about? Simple yet strong emotions and no show off.

So with other festivals approaching like Navratri, Karva Chauth and Diwali I have began cleaning the house little by little each day. Rubbish removal is a big task, what to throw and what to keep is huge dilemma for Mr. Husband. But my funda is clear-anything that I haven’t worn or used in last two years should go to charity.

So talking about festivals, one of the most common and must have food is Puri and Aloo ki Subji. I have made Palak Puri before for diwali to give it a healthy twist. Today’s post is about Ajwain Massala Puri. Poori-signifies celebration and happiness in most of the India and no big event or occasion is complete without puris- be it on birthdays, anniversaries, parties or as a  prassad during festivals.

Dough of flour and salt is rolled out in small circles and then deep fried in oil. While deep frying, it puffs up like a round ball because moisture in the dough changes into steam which expands in all directions. Ajwain and massala puri is great even when served with hot cup of chai. These are great travel snack as well, it says well for 2-4 days and can be relished with just pickle as well.

1 and 1/2 cup wheat flour
3-4 green chillies-finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger piece/adrak-grated
2 teaspoons carom seeds/ajwain
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
Salt as per taste
Water as needed
Oil for frying + 2 tablespoons

Heat a pan and roast carom seeds till it becomes fragrant.
In a mixing bowl add flour, turmeric powder, salt, 2 tablespoons oil, carom seeds, green chillies and ginger. Mix and add water slowly to form the dough. Dough should be firm.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After that, punch the dough for another 1 minute.
Heat oil in a kadai/wok. On a dusted work surface, make medium sized pooris, neither thin nor thick and fry them in hot oil. Drain the pooris on paper napkins to remove excess oil.

The puri dough is tight compared to the dough for parathas or rotis.
You can also add sesame seeds (til) in the dough.

Serving suggestions:
Puris goes well with almost all dry curries.
To make the Punjabi thali serve it with paneer butter massala, aloo choledal makhani and green chilli pickle.
For gujarati thali, serve it with aloo tamatar nu shaakgobi mutterkhamman dhokla and keri nu ras.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Oven Roasted Chickpeas: Indian Style

Oven Roasted Chickpeas. Highly addictive! Roasted in oven, this protein loaded tiny chickpeas turns into salty snack- perfect nibble or a companion for any drink.

Recently folks from Ugly Drinks sent me a box of their new range of sparking water- Triple Berry, Orange, Lime &Lemon and Tropical. Yes, you don’t see Lime & Lemon in pictures below because it went straight in my tummy ;-)

To be honest, I haven't seen any drink as genuine as Ugly Drinks. They keep it real, with no sugar, no sweetener, no calories and absolutely nothing artificial. If you like sparkling waters that have no fat or salt then you HAVE to give them a try. I tried Tropical one and I was hooked- too good to be true. Perfect flavor and clean sparkling/bubbly taste.

Talking about today’s recipe. These are very Indian in taste, spicy kick from red chilli powder and bit of tang from lemon is dangerously great. Feel free to play around with spices, you can use cumin powder, red chilli flakes and even Italian herbs.

Now some tips on how to make them crunchy:
-Do not use too much oil. It will just make them soggy and mushy.
-Use a large baking pan. Do not overcrowd the pan.
-Whether you are using canned chickpeas or freshly boiled ones, do dry chickpeas on towel properly.
-Mix the spices properly. Toss the spices and leave it on chickpeas for atleast 5 minutes (just like any marination).

1 can chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven at 200C
Drain the chickpeas on a strainer. Wash thoroughly under running water.
Dry the chickpeas on a towel. Chickpeas should look dry and pale.
In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and salt. Toss well. Leave this for 5 minutes.
In a making pan, roast the chickpeas for 20-25 minutes. Stir the chickpeas in between to avoid burning.
Chickpeas are done when they have slight dark colour and crisp on the outside.
Throw in red chilli powder and lemon juice. Mix well so that chickpeas are coated well with spices.

Chickpeas will be very crunchy when hot. Once it cool down it will lose its crispiness but will taste good.
Throw these chickpeas in salad or pulav for some extra crunch.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Ugly Drinks for sending cans to review.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Coconut Collaborative: Little Lemon Temptations-Lemon

Talk about summer flavours and the citrus lemons is the first thing to pop in my mind. Back in India we never use lemons in dessert; I became a lemon dessert enthusiast only after coming to the UK. It all started in a tiny petite cafe where I tried a lemon cake for the very first time. The secret love affair with lemony dessert grew stronger when I baked this Lemon Bundt Cake at home-perfect summers treat!

Today, let me introduce before you another lemon dessert luxury-The Coconut Collaborative's brand new dessert - Little Lemon Temptations. These perfect pots of goodness are made with coconut cream and real lemon juice for that extra zing, making for a delicious and creamy dessert.

Honestly these are just amazing and you do not need to have a sweet tooth to enjoy this tantalizing tartness of a dessert made with lemon. Look how cute they are- perfect size pots; I carried it sometimes in my office bag to help me boost my energy and uplift my mood.

Like me if you like coconut and lemons then this dessert is surely going to cheer you up. Great taste, beautiful creamy texture and health benefits of coconut. Another good news-this is dairy free, free from gluten & soya and its vegan- what else can you ask for.

If are not a lemon fan, no worries, there are so many different choices-Go grab yours.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking The Coconut Collaborative  for sending Little Temptations-Lemon  for review.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Hello Folks! Sun is shining in London and some of them are finding it too hard to digest. Have you ever come across people who complain about almost everything? Too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy- it is nature and change is the first law of nature, so please stop complaining because the good weather or the bad-it will change. Ah! That’s my rant for today ;-)

I needed brownies today. The fact that sun is shining and it is Friday-what could have been better then brownies, right? These are Chocolate Chunk Brownies- very chewy and chocolate bits oozing around. To be honest brownies is the easiest dessert and it gets ready in a jiffy if you have all ingredients handy. And the serving options are endless- think about scoop of icecream, chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce or just some milk or coffee.

Chocolate Chunk Brownies are like any other chocolate brownies but loaded with chunks of chocolate-yes thats right! Crusty on the outside and melted bits on the inside is absolutely enticing and takes brownies to another level.

⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven at 180C. Lightly grease 8x8 inch pan. Line it with parchment paper.
On a low heat melt butter in a pan. Once melted add sugar and cook for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and let it cool for 30 seconds. Add cocoa powder and salt. Mix.
Add vanilla essence. Mix one egg at a time and mix. The mixture should be smooth.
Add all purpose flour and baking soda. Combine the ingredients to smooth batter.
Fold in chocolate chunks.
Spread the mixture on the prepared pan and cook for 20-25 minutes. The top will be crusty and centre will be moist.
Let the brownies cool. Cut and serve.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dark Chocolate Walnuts: Guilt Free Snack

Chocolate is the best dessert one could have-ofcourse in moderation. Dark chocolate (70-80%) is even better. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, iron and magnesium. Studies have shown that dark chocolate improves blood flow and controls high blood pressure. In my world dark chocolate is healthy, use good quality sugar free chocolate and you are good.

I have spoken previously about healthy chocolate barks and why it is a great energy snack. You can see my Roasted Nuts Chocolate Bars and Seeds Nutty Chocolate barks recipes. Today it is another way of consuming chocolate. Heart healthy, omega rich walnuts dipped in glazy dark chocolate-a guilt free snack.

One-quarter cup of walnuts, for instance, provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. That’s why it is so so so amazing to unite Dark Chocolate and Walnuts and make these.

Dark Chocolate Walnuts, is a great idea to suffice a sweet tooth without worrying about weight gain and it is so easy to make. I have seen recipes where vanilla essence, walnut oil and cocoa powder is used, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Melt chocolate and coat walnuts and let it sit in the freezer. That’s it- Could not get easier than this.

1 bar/100 grams dark chocolate (70-85%)
1 cup shelled walnuts

Take a baking tray or a plate. Line it with parchment paper or even kitchen foil will do.
Chop chocolate roughly. Melt it in microwave for 20 seconds. You might need to do it for more 10 seconds. Make sure that chocolate doesn’t burn and is melted properly.
Mix walnuts in melted chocolate. Coat the walnuts properly.
Spoon each walnut on the lined tray. Keep the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the sheet and store it air tight container in the fridge.

You can use milk chocolate or white chocolate too for this recipe. Or you can mix all three chocolates and use.
Same can be done with any other nuts like almonds, cashews or pistachios.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Aam Ki Chutney:Khati Meethi Kairi Ki Chutney:Instant Raw Mango Pickle

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer. A summer under a neem tree; a summer with comics like chacha chaudry; a summer with mangoes.

Raw mangoes, kacha aam, kairi or ambi whatever you might call it but if you are an Indian you can relate to that summer mango pickle scent-a memorable lane to your childhood. Huge sacks of raw mangoes were bought and all the ladies of the house would sit in the veranda and began to work on the pickle. Mangoes were washed, dried on an old bedsheet and finally chopped into wedges. Carefully achaar massala was mixed and later the pickle was filled into cheeni barni. Lots of sunshine, care and devotion would make that pickle, which we would relish all the year long.

Today it is also about raw mango- a sort of a pickle recipe, with the pickle spices but in a chutney form. Khati Meethi Aam ki chutney, is my all time favourite summer mango recipe. This recipe is similar to Aam or kairi ki launji (lonji, loonji) which is very popular in Bengal; mango chunks are coated into sweet and sour flavours with pickle spices.

Aam Ki Chutney is more like a jam or spread, a mashed version. Sweetness from jaggery (gud) and sourness of raw mangoes is balanced with aromatic fennel (saunf) and other basic indian spices. It is an easy peasy homemade pickle or aachaar or jam which is healthy and free of preservatives.

Serve it as a dip along with nachos, chips or plain papad. Spread it on parathas, bread or puri. It also goes well as a side with rice and daal.

5 small raw mangoes/kairi
2 tablespoons oil
1 pinch asafoetida/heeng
1 tablespoon fennel seeds/saunf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
1/4 cup grated jaggery/gud/gur
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup water

Wash mangoes. Peel the skin. Discard the seed. Cut into medium pieces and keep aside.
Heat oil in pan. When oil gets hot add heeng. Add rai and jeera. Let it crackle.
Add in haldi and water. Mix.
Add mangoes and all the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.
After two minutes, start mashing the mango pieces with the back of a spoon.
Taste. You might need to add more jaggery (depending on sour the mangoes are).
Let it cool down. Fill it in air tight container.

You can use sugar instead of jaggery.
This stays well in the fridge for 1 week.
If you like it like launji where mango pieces are visible (kada or akha or sabut as well call it) then cut mango pieces into wedges and do not add water. Cook it on very slow flame, covered in a non stick pan.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Aloo Lilva Subji: Tuver/Pegion Peas Potatoes Curry

Lilva, tuar, tuver,toovar, or lilva papadi whatever else you call it. Lilva is a type of beans commonly known Pigeon Peas. I would say it’s like green peas but flat like beans. If you just put lilva in Google, the top most recipe it will give you will be Lilva Kachori. Yes Lilva kachori is very famous and its native lies in Gujarat.

Today, I have another recipe, a simple one- Aloo Lilva Subji. Potatoes and Lilva curry. Just like aloo matar (peas and potatoes) this combination is also highly addictive. You can make this curry in pressure cooker just like pressure cooker aloo matar recipe (just replace peas to lilva). Today I am sharing a Gujarat way, restaurant style version.

Most of the thali in Gujarat will have this subji. It will be bit sweet, spicy and garlicy. So this is that version- rich tomato gravy with garlic, spices and jaggery. Serve it with plain chapati or phulka or paratha.

2 medium size potatoes/aloo
1 cup pigeon peas/lilva
1 large tomato/Tamatar
4 cloves garlic/lehsun
2 tablespoon tamarind pulp/imli
1 tablespoons jaggery/gud
2 tablespoons oil
Pinch asafoetida/hing
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon garam massala
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/Kasturi methi
Salt to taste

Boil potatoes in pressure cooker. Let it cool. Chop and keep aside.
Boil lilva and keep aside.
In a blender, blend tomatoes, garlic, garam massala, red chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powder.
Heat oil in a pan. Add heeng.
Add jeera and let it crackle. Add bay leaf.
Turn the flame/heat to low. Add blended tomato mixture. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Cook till oil separates and starts to float over.
Add 1 cup water and salt. Throw in potatoes and lilva. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
Add in imli pulp and gud. Mix and cover again. Cook for 2 minutes.
Garnish with kasuri methi and serve.

I used frozen lilva. You can use fresh if you get. In the UK we get frozen lilva easily, some popular brands are cofresh, shana, ashoka and taj.
You can use lemon juice instead of tamarind/imli paste.
Feel free to substitute jaggery/gud from sugar.