Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Malpua (Banana Pancake)

Malpua is a Pancake typically made on the occasion of the festival of Holi.
It's a sweet delicacy of the Indian sub-continent. It's delicious. My mouth waters just at the thought :-)

1. 1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
2. Cardamom powder, 1 tsp
3. Fennel seeds, 1-2 tsp
4. Mashed banana, 1/4th
5. 2 tbsp sugar
6. Raisins, a couple, finely chopped
7. Milk

1. Make a batter of all of the above.
2. Let it sit for a couple of hours.
3. Deep fry.

Serve warm!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Makki Ki Roti (Corn Flat Bread)

Makki ki Roti is a classic North Indian staple. It is nothing but flat bread made from corn flour (Makki ka aata). It is commonly teamed up with Greens such as Spinach Curry or Mustard leaves curry (Sarso Ka Saag). Makki ki roti and Sarso ka Saag is considered a delicious duo. It is a savory and super healthy combination and a wholesome meal. Loaded with nutritional value, this recipe is a keeper! It will bring warmth to the body and satiate starvation - Perfect for those cold winter-nights.

1. Makki ka Aata (Corn flour), 4 cup
2. Hot water, boiling, 2 cup appx
3. Salt, to taste
4. Minced red onion,1
5. Oil

1. Make a dough of cornflour using ingredients 1-4.
2. Then mix in the onions in the dough.
3. Pinch out small balls from the dough.
4. Put the ball between your palms and make a smooth ball.
5. Flatten with a rolling pin.
6. Cook on a non stick pan on both sides evenly with some oil.

Serve warm with Palak.

Mom made this for all of us tonight. Thanks, Mum!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu and Recipes for a Vegetarian Barbecue

To my knowledge, barbecues are not commonly done at households in India. But in North America it's a popular activity performed at home during the summer. Since Mom and Dad are visiting me this summer and since they are vegetarian, I decided to hold a vegetarian barbecue this Mother's day.
I used to think that barbecues were only meant for meat. But when I started exploring vegetarian options for the grill, I realized that there were so many things that could be on the menu.
Happy Mother's Day from our family to yours!

1. Barbequed corn (desi style bhutta) smeared with Chaat masala and lemon juice
2. Vegetarian patties/burger with fresh tomato, lettuce, onion rings, and mayonnaise.
3. Paneer tikka
4. Ceaser or Tossed salad
5. Oven roasted potatoes
6. Fresh Cut Fruits
7. Home made fruit juice

Any other vegetarian barbecue ideas? 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chooda/Cheevda/Poha Matar (Fried Flattened Rice Flakes with Spicy Stir-fried Peas)

Chooda/Cheevra/Poha (Flattened Rice Flakes) and Matar (Green Peas) is a Varanasi/Banarasi snack often relished during the winter season. The crispiness of fried flattened rice flakes is a good compliment to the soft texture of  cooked green peas. Poha-Matar is a perfect combination but can be enjoyed individually as well.

This is my first encounter with it as a chef. Until now, I was only interested in how it tasted and not how it was made. Having Mom come stay with you has many benefits including having the opportunity to learn interesting recipes from her, especially the ones that you grew up eating. Thanks, Mom! Here goes the recipe:

Serves 4-6


For the Poha:
1. Poha (Flattened rice flakes)
2. Mustard seeds
3. Cumin seeds
4. Oil
5. Salt

For the Spicy Peas
1. Peas, frozen, 4 cups,
2. Salt
3. Turmeric powder
4. Red chili powder
5. Oil
6. Heeng


For the Poha:
1. Heat a non-stick wok.
2. Add oil generously.
3. Add mustard seeds and let it crackle.
4. Add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
5. Add dried Rice Flakes.
6. Fry on medium heat until it becomes crispy and changes colour.
7. Add salt to taste.

For the Peas:
1. Heat a non-stick wok.
2. Then add olive or canola oil.
3. Add mustard seeds and heeng let the seeds crackle.
4. Add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
5. Add about 1 heaping tsp of turmeric powder and then the peas.
6. Mix well.
7. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat for about 5-7 mins.
8. Add Red chili powder and Salt then mix.
9. Cook covered  until all peas are cook thoroughly.

Serve with Chai by itself or as an accompaniment to the Poha.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Aloo ki Kachori (Deep Fried Pastry Stuffed with Potatoes)

This recipe comes from the  maternal side of my family but I have not seen or heard of it anywhere else. Glad to be a part of the family that I am. Food makes me so appreciative - doesn't it? LOL

Indulging in Aloo ki Kachori or Poori is like doing something guilty that makes you happy. Loaded with oil and carbs, this pastry is a flavourful special occasion dish. Despite the lacking in the nutritional department, Aloo ki Kachori will appease your senses and fulfill your appetite like no other. It is the one that makes you long for more.This is one homely lip-smacking meal that satisfies your hunger as well as delights your taste buds.  Don't count the calories on this one - it's OK to take a break from healthy eating once in a while, isn't it? I think this is a reward for my hard work and healthy-living ethic all this while. I'll think about the burning off the fat with a strenuous work-out later :-)

Om nom nom nom!

1. Potatoes, boiled, peeled, mashed
2. Maida (All purpose flour), 2 cups
3. Salt to taste
4. Amchoor (Dried mango powder)
5.Red chili powder
6. Oil

1. Mix salt, amchoor, red chili powder into the mashed potatoes.
2. Make a moist dough of maida with oil, salt. Then add water.
3. After kneading the dough well, pinch out small balls and roll between your palms to flatten the balls. Make it a little on the wet side (not a hard dough)
4. Using a rolling pin, flatten the ball.
5. Place some potatoes at the center of this flatten ball. Then use this technique to seal the potatoes inside the flattened ball.
6. Next flatten the stuffed ball with a gentle hand and make a slit on one side (to avoid the bread from bursting when fried)
7. Deep fry.

Serve hot and fresh with Aloo ka Achaar and Aloo Tamatar ki sabzi.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Aloo Ka Achaar (Potato Pickle)

Aloo Ka Achaar is my Mom's signature dish. Packed with flavours and a break from the mundane, this pickle can be enjoyed with about anything. Have it as a side or condiment with Poori (Fried Indian bread) or with steamed rice and lentil soup. This Achaar (Pickle) will not only pep up the meal but also be the highlight of the meal. Unlike other Indian pickles, I find this one to be healthier and easier to make. The traditional recipe calls for mustard oil as the base ingredient but for those of us living in North America, you may know that this oil is a banned edible commodity. Although no other oil can match the flavour of mustard oil, olive oil can act as a healthier substitute. Want to get people talking about your cooking? Try this:

1. Potatoes, boiled, peeled, mashed, cut in wedges, 2
2. Mustard or olive oil
3. Peas, 1/2 cup
4. Carrots, boiled, 1 diced
5. Mustard seed powder, 2 tsp
6. Salt to taste
7. Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp
7. Red chili powder, 1/2 tsp

Note: You can also add broad/runner beans (sem)

1. Mix everything together.
2. Leave in a jar at room temperature for a few days.

Serve at room temperature. It is good for a week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Home made South Indian Sambhar Masala (Authentic Spice Mix for Lentil Soup)

I have always wondered how an authentic sambhar is prepared. My mom and I would ask any Southie we would see around but never managed to hit the recipe on the right note. Our Sambhar always had a North Indian touch to it which tasted great but it was frustrating to not be able to replicate the taste at South Indian restaurants despite our efforts. Recently, I met my husband's friends' wife and she guided me right. She told me the recipe verbally and on the go but it got stamped on my memory - engraved!

Here it goes:

1. 6 tsp coriander seeds
2. 2 tsp urad dal (white gram lentil)
3 2 tsp moong dal
4. 2 tsp chana dal (yellow split gram)
5. 2 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
7. 1-2 cinamon stick
8. 4-5 cloves
9. 5-7 dried red chili
10. 1/2 tsp heeng
11. 1 inch mace (this is my addition)
12. grated coconut 1/4 cup (this is my addition)

1. Dry roast everything.
2. Make a powder using a blender.
3. Store in an air tight container

Verdict: Dry roasting is not a great idea. Consider frying in oil to easen the grinding process. This masala or spice mix tasted similar to the store bought one (MDH brand found at Indian grocery stores) but the satisfaction of having made it at home was immense.

Typical vegetables used in sambhar are: radish, beans, carrot, green pepper, and squash.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Brown Lentil Soup (Masoor ki Dal)

...One of my favourite lentil soups. It's most commonly made at home and relished over a bed of steamed rice. I've been meaning to post the recipe forever now. But I've never managed to do justice to the picture. Now I have finally come to terms that the look can never match the taste. Don't judge a dish by the colour :-)

It's super easy to make and economical yet healthy and hearty.

Serves 4.

Here is the recipe:
1. Masoor Dal (Brown lentils), 5-6 fists
2. Salt to taste
3. Turmeric powder, 1 tsp
4. Oil or ghee (clarified butter), 1 tbsp
5. Cumin seeds
6. Tomato paste
7. Red chili, whole, 1-2
8. Red chili powder, 1/2 tsp
9. Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp

1. Boil dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker with about half the cooker filled with water. Allow 10 whistles to blow.
2. When the lid of the pressure cooker opens, add 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste. Mix and simmer again.
3. Temper into the dal: Ghee, cumin seeds, red whole chili, red chili powder and coriander powder.

Serve hot as soup or with steamed white rice for dinner/lunch.

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