Monday, August 8, 2016

Poha Chivda

In Maharashtra this is the staple chivda which is made all year round. But it is a must have in Diwali platters. I learnt this in part from the hundreds of times I have eaten it and by googling for the remaining ingredients. I added fennel seeds as they add a lovely flavor and fragrance.

Ingredients:

12 cups (~1/2 kilo) thin poha
1/2 cup groundnut oil
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup roasted gram (daliya in Gujarati)
1 handful curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
3-4 dry red chilies
1/2 piece of the whole dry coconut, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt

Heat a heavy bottomed wok, add the poha and dry roast on very low heat till crispy, usually takes a minute or two. Keep aside. 

Take the oil in the same wok and when hot, fry the peanuts, roasted gram and curry leaves. Strain and keep aside. In the remaining oil, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, red chillies, poppy seeds, coconut slices and turmeric. Saute on low heat till the coconut slices turn a darker colour. Remove from heat and add the salt. Now add the previously roasted poha, peanuts, gram and curry leaves. Mix the poha gently so the flakes do not break. When the entire poha is coated with the tempering, return to heat for a minute while stirring. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.When it cools a little add the citric acid and sugar.

Cool to room temperature and store in an air tight container.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is one of the things I always make with broccoli. Warm, creamy and perfect with some crackers to make it a dinner. Its quick and easy to make so its good for rushed weeknights.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli about 250 grams, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable stock
2+1 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 tablespoons flour
Dash of nutmeg
Salt
Black Pepper

In a deep sauce pan, add one tablespoon of oil and add the diced onions. Saute for a minute and add the carrots. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes till the vegetables get a little softer. Keep aside.

In the same pan, heat the two tablespoons of oil and add the flour. Saute till the the flour changes color and becomes a little darker. Slowly add the milk while stirring and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables back along with broccoli and add the stock. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and boil for 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend the vegetables into smaller bits or into a complete puree as per your choice. Remove from heat. Add grated cheese and mix well. Check for salt and pepper. 

Serve hot with some cheese for garnish! Serve salted crackers on the side!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thandai

This holi was all about home-made thandai for me. Every year I drink cups and cups and more cups of ready made thandai on holi so I was determined to unlock the secret to good thandai and this was it. This recipe is inspired by Tarla Dalal and it doesn't disappoint. Disappoint? Its fantastic and you'll love it too.

Ingredients:

To make the Thandai powder:

1/4 cup Almonds
2 tablespoons Poppy Seeds
2 tablespoons Melon seeds
2 tablespoons Fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder
20 pieces whole White peppercorns

For making thandai:

1 litre milk (4 1/4 cups)
1 fat pinch saffron
3 tablespoons sugar, measured then powdered
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Bring the milk to a boil and add the sugar, saffron and black pepper. Stir for two minutes till the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, stir for a few minutes to prevent a film from forming on the top. The seeped saffron will impart a lovely yellow color to the milk.

While the milk is cooling, grind the almonds, then the seeds and finally the pepper corns. Sieve them all into a air tight container. Re-grind the coarse pieces. You can double or triple the powder recipe and refrigerate it up to a week. 

To make thandai, add the powder to the milk and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. You can serve it after straining or as it is. 

Serve chilled!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rava Laddoo

As the festive season nears, laddoos, chivdas, chaklis make their appearance. I made these last year during Ganesh Chaturthi and they were an absolute hit. These are very easy to make and the end result leaves everybody gobsmacked and happy! These are very popular in Maharashtra and every household makes these in Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. Sugary, melt-in-the-mouth with crunch of cashews and little bursts of raisiny sweetness while chewing.

Semolina should be roasted on very low flame till it changes colour to a pale pale pink colour. If the semolina is not roasted enough, it will stick to your palate while eating. That is a tip to check doneness of semolina in this dish.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Semolina (Rava)
1/2 cup grated coconut 
3/4 cup Sugar (measured then powdered)
2 tablespoons Ghee
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
10 pieces cashew nuts
12-14 pieces raisins
2-3 tablespoons milk 

Heat the ghee in a large heavy bottomed wok. Add the cashew pieces till they are golden in color. Drain and keep aside. Next fry the raisins till they puff up. Remove at once and drain. In the remaining ghee add the semolina and roast slowly on low heat for 10-12 minutes. Next add the grated coconut, nuts, sugar and cardamom powder. Roast for 2-3 minutes. Next add the milk and mix well. Remove from heat. Now add the cashew nuts and raisins and mix. Let it cool a little and then form one inch balls by pressing tightly.

Store in an air tight container and enjoy them!


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