30 June, 2008

Dahi Batata Puri: Yeh Dil Maange More...

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Dahi Batata Puri

It's a beautiful evening with chirping birds flying back to their warm nests. Sun is setting behind the mountains. It looks like he is on his way to meet his lover as the sky is blushes with beautiful red. All of sudden the dimly lit street starts buzzing. People start arriving in large numbers, almost like devotees make pilgrimage to their favourite temples. Just like in any temples you can see people standing in a long queue waiting eagerly for their turn. To me it seems like a never ending queue as I wait eagerly, my patience threatening to fly out of the window. My tummy starts grumbling as my eyes are seduced by the sight of people gorging on platefuls of delicious looking items. My nose seems to have lost in aromatic world of spices and herbs. I stand there drooling non-stop which would easily solve any water issues. Yes, the queue is moving fast now… I am behind just two people now… now just one. The guy before me orders for one plate of Bhel Puri and another plate of Masala Puri. Oh the sweet torture. It’s my turn now… What am I going to have? Is it Bhel or Pani Puri? May be I should have Masala Puri today. Wait, Dahi Batata Puri which that fat guy stuffing in his mouth looks so good. The GaaDi-walah looks at me and asks me what I want to have… At last I make up my mind and ask for plate of Dahi Batata Puri. I look at him as he quickly whips up sinfully delicious looking plate of my favourite Chaat with fascination. First he arranges a plateful of puri and then he starts stuffing it with potato filling and then quickly adds colourful chutneys. Then he starts filling each puri with a spoonful of spiced yogurt. Finally he sprinkles few pieces of red onions and sev… “Bhaiyya, put little extra sev for me!”, I almost plead. He smiles and adds extra handful of sev and there it is… All mine… Mine, mine, mine… He extends my plate of Chaat… It’s almost within my reach and I extend my hand…

Tringggggggggg…………. What, where, how??? It’s a dream!!! It’s just a %&*$ dream!!! Not again, why oh God! Why me!!! Why are you punishing me like this?

God shouts back at me, “Because it’s your fault that you had to choose Street Food for food blogging event. Now repent. Why blame me?”…

Oh yes, this is what happens when you host any blog events. You don’t know when you will get hunger attack as the entries fill in your mail box any time of the day. If it’s close to lunch or dinner time, then you are finished!!! Imagine opening your mailbox just when you had to skip your breakfast because you forgot to set your alarm clock on a very important day at work, and find these delicious, mouth watering, drool-worthy entries there. Do I need to say anymore? Since I announced Street Food theme for this month’s MBP, I have been getting lots of nightmares like this every night. There was only one way to get rid of it and that’s what I did this weekend.

This plate of Dahi Batata Puri is a result of my non-stop nightmares I am getting since past few weeks. To be precise, from the day I announced Street Food for MBP. I have been trying very hard to avoid deep fried puries but failed miserably in the end. Well, you can’t call it exactly junk food. It uses vegetables, greens, and importantly good dose of yogurt. So in my opinion, its healthy food all the way and I am sure most of you will agree with me ;) We used store bought puries and there were 30 of them… and all of them are gone now. It was our lunch yesterday and we skipped our dinner at night ;)

I can’t say it is as good as the ones you get on street carts in India but it was tasty nevertheless. Well, beggars can’t be choosers! This recipe is from my Amma who makes excellent Chaats (second next to the Chaatwalah Bhaiyya! I hope she is not reading this post ;). We licked our plates clean and were confused which plate was washed and which were not washed (Ok, bad joke ;). We have got little extra chutney left in refrigerate which we are going to use tonight. Oh yes, we are having Bhelpuri for dinner as the puries are over and cant make another batch of Dahi Batata Puri or Masala Puri. Off this plate of Dahi Batata Puri goes to gorgeous Sig for her JFI-Tamarind (just on time), dear Dee's Herb Mania-Mint and to bubbly Siri for her Frozen Yogurt. Enjoy girls…

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Dahi Batata Puri


Dahi Batata Puri (Chaat, famous street food of India where puffed puries are stuffed with potato, sweet-spicy-mint chutney and fresh yogurt)
Prep Time: 20-30 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2-6 (difficult to say)

Ingredients:
20-30 Puffed deep fried Puris (store bought or home made)
½ - ¾ cups Sev
1 Red Onion, finely chopped

For Potato-Peas Filling:
1 large Potato, cooked, peeled and diced into small pieces
½ cup Green Peas, cooked (or use cooked Kabuli Channa (Garbanzo)/Moong Sprouts)
½ tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

For Sweet Tamarind-Date Chutney:
1 lemon sized Tamarind Pulp, soaked in water
6-8 Dates, pitted
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
4-6 tbsp Jaggary (adjust acc to taste)
Salt to taste

For Green Mint Chutney:
1 packed cup Mint Leaves
½ packed cup Coriander Leaves
4-6 Green Chillies (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Tamarind Paste
Salt to taste

For Spicy Red Chutney:
10 Dry Red Chillies
2-3 Garlic flakes
1 small Tomato (Optional, it helps in grinding teh chillies to smooth paste)
½ tsp Tamarind Paste
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste

For Curd/Yogurt Filling:
3 cups Yogurt, beaten till smooth
1 tsp roasted Jeera/Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Sugar
Big Pinch of Salt

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Ingredients for Dahi Batata Puri: Potato-Peas Filling, Sev, Red Onion, Spicy Red Chutney, Sweet Tamarind-Date Chutney, Green Mint Chutney, Spiced Yogurt, Puri


Method:

For Potato Filling:
First prepare the potato filling. Heat a pan and add cumin seeds to it and dry roast for a minute. Then add cooked diced potatoes, green peas, garam masala, turmeric, salt to taste. Sauté on medium flame for a minute or two and keep it aside.

For Sweet Tamarind-Date Chutney:
Grind all ingredients listed to very smooth paste adding very little water at time. This paste should be little thick not runny.

For Green Mint Chutney:
Grind all the ingredients listed to smooth paste adding very little water at time. Adjust the number of green chillies according to taste. I personally like little hot. Make sure that the chutney is not very watery.

For Spicy Red Chutney:
Grind all the ingredients to very smooth paste adding very little water at time. If you find it difficult to grind, add small tomato (tip learnt from my favourite Chaatwalah).

For Curd/Yogurt Filling:
Beat the curd/yogurt till its smooth without any lumps. Now mix in powdered roasted cumin, sugar and salt to taste.

To Assemble the Dahi Batata Puri:
Arrange 6-9 puris in a plate, making small opening on top of each puri big enough to add the fillings.
First fill each puri with a tsp of Potato-Green Peas filling. Add one or 2 tsp of yogurt filling. Then fill it with ¼-½ tsp of all three chutneys. Drizzle over little more of yogurt filling and then sprinkle chopped red onion and sev on each puri.
Serve this delicious plate of Dahi Batata Puri immediately as if kept for long it will become soggy. Remember to use your finger to eat it not with spoon and enjoy this finger-licking-ly delicious Chaat.

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This one is for you...


Reminder: MBP-Street Food (Last Call...)
MBP-Street Food ends on 30th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 30th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

Reminder: WBB-Summer Feast

For this edition of WBB, your challenge is to cook anything with summer fruits and vegetables. Yes, the theme is WBB-Summer Feast. Go to your town/city’s Farmer’s Market and pick fresh season’s produce and make your favourite breakfast or brunch and join in the Summer Feast.

Deadline: 31st July, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

27 June, 2008

Healing Herbs: Kothimbir Vadi

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Kothimbir Vadi

"We are what we eat. We don't doubt that fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts contain a range of vitamins, minerals and cancer, yet the nutrient content and medicinal properties of herbs are often overlooked.”
- UK's leading organic herb grower Jekka McVicar

Do we really underestimate the healing power of herbs? I doubt. As far as Indian cooking is concerned herbs play vital role in any regional cooking. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicinal form, emphasises on the healing power of herbs and spices. Since generations many families in India have been following knowingly or unknowingly the concept of cooking with medicinal herbs and spices. While growing up I have seen my mother using herbs in many avatars. She starts her day with herb infused teas and ends by taking fresh herbs and spices for its medicinal use. In between, the herbs are used in recipes not just as garnishes but good handfuls for enhancing flavours and also for their healing power.

One such herb which I use quite often is fresh Coriander which imparts a bold sage and tangy citrus effect to many dishes in ethnic kitchens. It is almost impossible to see food in Indian restaurants and home without it. It makes its presence felt in a form of dried aromatic seeds or ground powder or in its vibrant green leafy form. It is said that Coriander was named after the bedbug, because it emits the same unpleasant odour as its namesake. What?? Unpleasant odour??? I strongly disagree as the heady aroma of roasted coriander seeds and chopped fresh coriander leaves is one pure pleasure for all your senses. May be that’s the reason I end up adding little extra handful of coriander leaves and extra pinch of coriander powder in almost all the dishes I cook. After all it is a wonder herb for acid indigestion or upset stomach.

While browsing through Nupur’s One Hot Stove for T&T, I came across this recipe of Kothimbir Vadi. One look at them and I had serious cravings for this delicious vadis. And another point that got my full attention was the fact that Coriander is the main lead in this recipe instead of playing a cameo role as a garnish. This recipe is a best example as how simple herb can be used as main ingredient and yet will not end-up tasting herb-y (I know it’s not even a word, but couldn’t think of anything else ;). Other main equipment needed for this recipe is a steamer. I used pressure cooker without the “weight” and fried them in little oil till they turned golden and crisp. And boy! What a tasty vadis they turned out to be. Aromatic, crisp from outside and soft from inside, they were devoured in no time at all. We had them as an evening snack with cup of coffee and also as a side dish with Sabudana Kichidi the very next day. Thank you Nupur, for introducing us to another wonderful Marathi dish. Off this delightful crisp vadis goes to dear Kayln who is hosting this week’s WHB a.k.a. Weekend Herb Blogging.

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Kothimbir Vadi


Kothimbir Vadi (Steam Cooked & Fried Savoury Coriander Cakes)
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6
Recipe Source: One Hot Stove

Ingredients:
2 packed cups Coriander Leaves, finely chopped (I also used their stems)
1 cup Gram Flour/Besan
¼ cup Mixed Flours (I used Whole Wheat Flour + Millet Flour)
1 tbsp Rice Flour
4-5 Green Chillies, finely chopped (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tbsp White Sesame Seeds (Nupur used 1 tsp)
1 tsp Poppy Seeds
½ Lime Juice (Nupur used 2 tsp, I am little partial to tangy taste)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Sugar
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
¼ tsp Baking Soda
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Method:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except the oil. Add little water at a time to get a thick batter. Make sure that you remove any lumps former. The batter I made was that of any Pakoda/Bhajji batter consistency.
Grease a flat bottomed vessel with oil and pour batter into it. Steam it using a traditional steamer or pressure cooker without its weight for around 20-30 mints over a medium heat. The skewer inserted in the middle should come clean when it’s cooked properly.
Let it cool properly before you un-mould it. Cut it into desired shapes. I cut them into wedges. Now you can either serve it as it is or continue with next step.
Heat about ½ cm of oil in a pan and arrange these slices. Cook on both sides till they turn golden brown and crisp.
Serve these Kothimbir Vadis as snacks with any chutney or sauce of your choice or as side dish with Rice and Dal and enjoy.

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Kothimbir Vadi


Reminder: MBP-Street Food
MBP-Street Food ends on 30th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 30th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

Reminder: WBB-Summer Feast

For this edition of WBB, your challenge is to cook anything with summer fruits and vegetables. Yes, the theme is WBB-Summer Feast. Go to your town/city’s Farmer’s Market and pick fresh season’s produce and make your favourite breakfast or brunch and join in the Summer Feast.

Deadline: 31st July, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

26 June, 2008

Tried & Devoured: Sabudana/Sago Kichidi

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Sabudana/Sago Kichidi

Food blogging is booming in World Wide Web and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful community. Food blogging has found a new meaning and niche in blogging community with thousands of food blogs and few hundred blogs coming every month. In this ever growing food blog community there are few bloggers who stand out with your unique style of writings and recipes. One such person is lovely Nupur who blogs at One Hot Stove. Nupur’s blog is my bible when it comes to Marathi recipes and her musings with fool proof recipes have gained many devoted followers from all around the globe. Her One Hot Stove is one hot stop for wonderful write-ups, drool worthy photographs and delightful stories of Dale whom I am very fond of. I have tried few recipes from her blog and the end results are simply awesome.

When Nupur’s One Hot Stove was chosen by Zlamushka for her T&T event I was delighted as I had few recipes bookmarked to try. Monthly Blog Patrolling (MBP), Tried and Tasted (T&T), Your Recipe Rocks (YRR) has one thing in common. Cook recipe from other blog and post it in your blog. So these recipes of hers fit all three bills beautifully. My first stop was at her famous Sabudaana/Sagu Kichidi. I wanted to give it a try ever since I had seen it in her blog. At last I made this delicious bowl of pearly delight yesterday and here I am with my post. This Sago or Sabudaana or Pearls of Sago Palm Kichidi is made during fasting and I must say it is more of a feast with all that peanuts. Soaked and fluffy Sago pearls are seasoned with ground peanut, sugar and salt and tempered with cumin seeds and green chillies. Sounds simple right? Wait till you taste it. I also added few Curry Leaves while tempering and blame it on my South Indian roots for doing so;) You can easily skip these curry leaves and follow Nupur’s recipe without any variations as I did and you will have this comforting bowl of Sago Kichidi. I did cook potatoes before hand instead of cooking it afterwards with tempering as mentioned by Nupur just to save time. This is my entry for not just one, or two or even three events. This is my entry for four events, yes, you heard it right, FOUR. Off this comforting bowl goes to Zlamushka’s T&T, Madhu’s YRR, Raaga’s WBB-Express Meals and also Nupur’s MBP-Less is More(Oh yes, this is next month’s theme;). I will be posting another recipe tried from Nupur’s blog in my next post and you sure don’t want to miss that;) So stay tuned.

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Sabudana/Sago Kichidi


Sago/Sabudana Kichidi (Medley of Sago Pearls with Ground Peanuts and Spice Tempering)
Prep Time: 5 mins (Excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2-3
Recipe Source: One Hot Stove

Ingredients:
1 cup Sago Pearls, rinsed and soaked in water overnight (8-10 hrs)
¾ cups Groundnuts/Peanuts, roasted, peeled and coarsely ground
2 tbsp Sugar
1 large Potato, cooked, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
1 tbsp Ghee + 1 tbsp Oil (or 2 tbsp Ghee)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
4-5 Green Chillies, slit (adjust acc to taste)
Few Curry Leaves (Optional)
Method:
Rinse and soak sago pearls in enough water (just to cover sago) overnight. This way you will end up with fluffy and hydrated sago pearls.
Gently mix in roughly ground peanuts, sugar and salt to taste and keep it aside.
Now heat oil in a pan and add jeera and curry leaves if using. When jeera starts to sizzle add slit green chillies and diced potatoes and sauté for few mins till potatoes turn light golden.
Mix in seasoned sago and stir gently for about 5-7 mins. Adjust the seasoning and cover and cook for another couple of minute.
Serve hot garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and enjoy.

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Sabudana/Sago Kichidi


Note:
Other Kichidi recipe from Monsoon Spice

On a happy note, my recipe for Green Bell Pepper Soup has won Best Presented Recipe at Pooja’s VOW-Bell Pepper event. Thank you, dear Pooja for hosting such a wonderful event and my sincere thanks to all who voted for this recipe.
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And thanks to Swati and Priyanka (for Inspirational award) and Trupti (for Blogging with a Purpose award) for passing me these awrds. Much appreciated ladies.




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MBP-Street Food:

MBP-Street Food ends on 30th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 30th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

WBB-Summer Feast:

For this edition of WBB, your challenge is to cook anything with summer fruits and vegetables. Yes, the theme is WBB-Summer Feast. Go to your town/city’s Farmer’s Market and pick fresh season’s produce and make your favourite breakfast or brunch and join in the Summer Feast.

Deadline: 31st July, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

25 June, 2008

Announcing WBB-July '08

WBB-Weekend Breakfast Blogging was started by the gorgeous, talented doctor and nutritionist Nandita from Saffron Trail to popularise breakfast among food bloggers around the globe. This time I am getting the privilege to host it in Monsoon Spice. Thank you dear Nandita, for this wonderful opportunity.

Without much delay and unwanted Gyan (which I am good at giving ;) from me, let me come straight to the point. For this edition of WBB, your challenge is to cook anything with summer fruits and vegetables. Yes, the theme is WBB-Summer Feast. Go to your town/city’s Farmer’s Market and pick fresh season’s produce and make your favourite breakfast or brunch. Combine these summer fruits and vegetables with any ingredients of your choice and create something special which you and your family love. Choice of summer fruits and vegetables, the recipe, ingredients, method etc is entirely left to you. It can be something which you cook quite often or something which you came up by accident. It can be something that reminds you of your childhood days or happy time spent with your family and friends in summer. Cook anything your heart desires and blog about it. Sky is the limit!

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Some Guidelines to Follow:
1. Prepare a dish uses Summer Fruits & Vegetables which can be served as breakfast or brunch and post it in your blog during July ’08.
2. Provide a link back to this announcement page and feel free to use the logo.
3. Email your entry to sia[at]monsoonspice[dot]com, with WBB–Summer Feast in the subject line with following details
  • Your Name
  • Blog Name
  • Blog URL
  • Recipe
  • Recipe URL
  • Photograph of final dish.
4. The deadline for this event is July 31st, 2008. Please remember that no late entries will be entertained.
5. There is no limit to the number of entries that you might want to contribute. If you don’t have a blog but wish to participate in this event, send your entries with a picture, your name and recipe to sia[at]monsoonspice[dot]com before the deadline. I will post the recipes with your picture in my blog and include it in the round-up.

Simply copy and paste the below code to your post to use this logo.

WBB-Summer Feast:

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Let us celebrate the spirit of summer with seasonal fruits and vegetables. I will eagerly look forward to your wonderful entries to make this one successful summer feast. Meanwhile, you still have got few more days to send in your entries for Raaga’s WBB-Express Breakfast.

23 June, 2008

Update on MBP-Street Food

New posts of Monsoon spice are not showing up at Sailu’s Taste of India. Please click on the RSS image or Click Here to subscribe and get notification on any new posts posted on Monsoon Spice. Or you can get e-mail notifications by entering your e-mail on the top right hand sidebar.

With many requests pouring into my mail box, I am extending the deadline for MPB-Street Food to 30th June, 2008. So foodies, you still have got one more week to indulge yourself with all delicious Street Foods from fellow blogger’s blog. Please don’t forget to go through the guidelines and mail me the details. Mean while please do check July edition of MBP-Less is More guest hosted by lovely Nupur of One Hot Stove. My apologies to Nupur and Coffee for any inconvenience caused by me.

It was not difficult for me to choose our favourite street foods. We have been making these two lip smacking-ly delicious Bombay Pav Bhaji from dear Nupur’s blog and Khatta-Meetha Khaman Dhokla from lovely Trupti’s posts ever since we tried it few months ago. We highly recommend these two recipes for everyone who are very fond of Pav Bhaji and Khaman Dhokla which is not just delicious but very, very simple to cook.

Nupur's Bombay Pav Bhaji is my contribution for Zlamushka's T&T, Archana's OneD and Madhu's YRR events.

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Trupti's Khatta-Meetha Khaman Dhokla is my entry for dear Raaga's WBB-Express Breakfasts.

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19 June, 2008

Puffy & Creamy: Phool Makhani Curry

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Phool Makhani Curry

Blogging has its own advantage. I was used to cooking same food with same ingredients before I started blogging. I must admit that the time I am referring goes back to the era of me being a novice cook and I was not in a position to identify and differentiate one ingredient from other, especially when it came to lentils and flours. There were times when I mistook channa dal for toor dal and ended up using fine rice flour in place of maida to make Naan. And horrors of horror when I ended up using all that expensive Basmati rice in preparing Dosa batter, fit for one small army to feed, back in India. It’s a different story that I use Basmati rice quite often to make Dosa batter as they are much cheaper than Idli and Dosa rice we get here.



It’s since I started posting recipes in my blog that I learnt numerous recipes from different part of the world and discovered new ingredients which were unheard of while growing up. My Amma is an exceptional cook who even today fascinates me with her innovative recipes using rarest of ingredients. Fortunately I am like her when it comes to experimenting with ingredients and learning new recipes., just moving little away from comfort zone. Food blog world is one such place where you get to see and learn something unique every single day. Everyday I go through fascinating and adventurous journey of innovation in cooking with rare ingredients and I must say I am enjoying it thoroughly.


But there are sometimes when I get recipe requests from readers of Monsoon Spice with few ingredients which I have never tried or tasted. Some time back I received a recipe request from one of the readers to post Phool Makahni aka Puffed Lotus Seeds recipe. Till then I was not that familier with lotus seeds and I had no idea that there was puffed lotus seeds just like puffed rice or pop corns. Yes, they do look like pop corns and I felt to some extent they did taste like one especially when they are deep fried. Before I knew, I ended up eating half a cup of fried phool makhani sprinkled with little chilli powder and salt and had to fry little more for the curry. I had to stop myself from popping few more puffed lotus seeds and proceed into making this delicious Phool Makhani Curry.


This is a recipe I put together from various recipes found all over the web world. Most of the recipes had three things in common, coconut, cashews and poppy seeds. And all the recipes asked I deep fry these Phool Makhani before adding it to base gravy. But next time I am going to pan fry these puffed lotus seeds with little oil till they turn golden to reduce little amount of fat and calorie. And one more thing lesson I learnt is to buy extra pack of these puffed lotus seeds just to eat with little sprinkle of salt and pepper ;) In the end we had this delicious tasting bowl of curry which was creamy from addition of coconut, poppy seeds and cashews with touch of little spice notes to it from aromatic whole spices and spice powder used. Fried Phool Makhani, which is quite crisp when deep fried, transforms into melt-in-mouth creamy delight when added to the base gravy is one whole new experience we really enjoyed. This is my entry for Kayln's WHB guest hosted by Joanna.


Phool Makhani Curry (Puffed Lotus Seeds Cooked in a Spiced and Creamy Coconut Gravy)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
2-3 cups Phool Makhani/Puffed Lotus Seeds
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1-2 tbsp Sugar (Adjust acc to taste)
Small bunch of Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil + Oil for Deep Frying
Salt to taste

Ground to Smooth Paste:
½-¾ cup Coconut, fresh/frozen
1 tbsp Cashews
1 tbsp Poppy Seeds/Khus-Khus, dry roasted till light golden
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
3 Cloves
3 Green Cardamoms
1 inch Ginger, peeled
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Phool Makhani/Puffed Lotus Seeds

Method:
Deep fry phool makhani in heated oil till it turns light golden brown in colour and place them on paper towel to drain excess oil.
Grind cashews, roasted poppy seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and coconut to smooth paste adding little water at time.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add finely chopped onion and sauté till they turn golden brown.
Mix in ground paste and keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes till the masala paste turns light brown in colour and becomes dry.
Now add finely chopped tomatoes, garam malasa, kitchen king masala, sugar and give it a good stir till tomatoes turn pulpy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add around 1½-2 cups of water and mix in salt to taste. Cook this gravy on medium-low heat for about 10 mins, stirring in between.
Now add fried phool makhani and mix well. You can add little more water if needed depending on required consistency of the gravy. Cook on low heat for another 3-5 minutes. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and serve this delicious Phool Makhani Curry with roti, chapatti or rice of your choice.

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Phool Makhani Curry


Notes:
Phool Makhani takes very few minutes to absorb all that gravy and turns into creamy delight. So add it to the gravy just five minutes before you switch off the gravy.
Although this time I deep fried these puffed lotus seeds I would suggest you to try pan frying them in batches with very little oil till it turns light golden if you want to restrict fat and calorie content.
You can also serve these fried Puffed lotus seeds with little sprinkle of salt and chilli powder.


Reminder (Just 6 more days remaining):

MBP-Street Food ends on 24th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 24th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

16 June, 2008

Modest Miss.Slender: Zucchini/Courgette Parathas

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Zucchini/Courgette Paratha served with Dal and Baby Corn & Green Peas Curry

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
Jim Davis, 'Garfield'

And zucchini bread is what I made, but dressed up in Indian ishtyle! Zucchini or Courgette is something I was introduced to after coming here. First time I bought it from Farmer’s market thinking it was Cucumber only to realise later it being a vegetable from a family of gourds. Although in culinary context it is treated as vegetable and cooked in savoury dishes, it is in fact an immature fruit being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower. It is called as Courgette (diminutive of courge, French for squash) here in UK, France and Ireland.


It being a water-based vegetable, I often use them in Dals or simply grilled with other vegetables and served with Guacamole, a safe bet me thinks. This time around I wanted to try it in a different way and used it in making stuffed Parathas. My obsession with stuffing the Paratha is not diminished even a bit since I made those Aloo Parathas. With no potatoes (can you believe that??? No potatoes in my pantry for one whole day), cauliflower or radish in my well stocked refrigerator and pantry, I just thought of giving up making parathas in the end.

Then my eyes fell on modest Miss. Slender, Courgette, I bought from farmer’s market. She was sitting there looking not that happy. May be the male counterparts were giving her hard time. I stared at her, she stared back-neither of us blinking for long. She seemed to be pleading to take her away from cold shelf and all male attention she was getting. Well, it looked like it was just Miss. Blush-y Cheeks, Tomato, who enjoyed all male attention. I decided to take away all her misery by using her in stuffing the Parathas. She happily obliged and transformed herself from almost-tasteless self to savoury delight. She beautifully blended with other ingredients and turned herself into a perfect treat for our weekend meal. This stuffed Zucchini Paratha is my entry for Valli’s Roti Mela and Archana’s One D events. Ladies I hope you like my entry.



Zucchini/Courgette Paratha (Indian Flat Bread Stuffed with Spiced Courgette/Zucchini )
Prep Time: 20 mins (Excluding Resting time)
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Makes: 10 medium sized Parathas

Ingredients:
For Dough:
3 cups Chapatti Atta/Whole Wheat Flour (I used Pillsbury Chakki Atta)
2 tbsp Yogurt
Salt to taste
Warm water to knead


For the Stuffing:
2 medium Corgette/Zucchini, trimmed and grated
1 medium Onion, very finely chopped
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
½-1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
Salt to taste


Other Ingredients Needed:
Oil/Ghee to brush while cooking the Paratha
Little Atta/flour for dusting
Photobucket
Zucchini/Courgette Filling for Parathas

Method:
For the Filling:
Add salt to grated zucchini/courgette and keep it covered for about 10 mins.
Take handful of courgette at a time and squeeze out the water (which can be used while kneading the dough) as much as possible. They should be as dry as possible or else the moisture content will make it difficult when rolling the stuffed paratha.
Mix in chopped onion, chillies, dry mango powder, garam masala, chopped garlic, and roasted jeera powder and keep it aside.

For the Dough:
Sieve atta and mix in salt, yogurt.
Slowly add the squeezed water from zucchini/courgette and warm water as and when required and make stiff dough.
Cover and keep it aside for at least half an hour.

For the Paratha:
Knead the dough again for a minute and make equal lemon sized balls.
Roll this dough ball in flour and roll them using a rolling pin into thick poories of 4 inch in diameter.
Place about 1 tbsp of filling in the centre. Cover and seal the ends and roll again, dusting flour if necessary, into ½ cm thick roties using rolling pin.
Mean while, heat a griddle at high flame and lower it to low-medium flame.
Gently dust off the excess flour and place Stuffed Paratha on griddle and cook on both the sides till its cooked and brown spots start to appear on top. Apply little ghee/oil if desired.
Serve hot Zucchini/Courgettes Parathas immediately with any curry or with plain yogurt and pickle of your choice and enjoy.
Photobucket
Zucchini/Courgette Paratha


Note:
Squeeze out as much of water as possible from courgette/zucchini to avoid from getting soggy parathas. If the water is not squeezed well then there is high chances of it getting difficult to roll them with out the stuffing oozing from the dough and breaking them.
If you are a beginner, start with small amount of stuffing/filling and roll into parathas. Once you learn the technique and are comfortable with the process, you can gradually increase the amount of filling.

Other Stuffed Parathas posted in Monsoon Spice

Many thanks to dear JZ (Good Chat Blog Award), Alka (Rocking Girl Award and Inspiration Award) and Vandana (You Make My Day Award) for passing me these awards. Thank you ladies.
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Reminder (Just 8 more days to go):

MBP-Street Food ends on 24th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 24th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.

13 June, 2008

Taste Memory: Dhaas Shimla Mirch

Photobucket
Dhaas Shimla Mirch

The smell and taste of things
remain poised in memories
for almost eternity. Why is that?
Or am I alone in memories?

Like the butterscotch pudding
I tried to cook, as a child
I burnt it and even today
when I try to eat anything
with that flavor, it taste burnt.
Will that taste ever go away?
- By Robritt

Sometimes I breathe in the scents of foods, and I remember - places, times, people, adventures. In many cases the taste or smell of a sweet, coffee, gravy or an entire meal is capable of painting a picture with richer, deeper brush strokes than any snapshot in the photo album. While I struggle to remember my mobile phone number or grapple helplessly to recall my closest of friends' names when I need to mail them or introduce them to someone, the merest sniff of brewing coffee is enough to flood back memories of two decades ago, from my Ajji’s kitchen with frightening clarity. Give me that same coffee in a small steel tumbler and I can recall the dark room where I sipped that coffee with my sister hiding under the cot as we kids were forbidden from drinking strong coffee, the colour of bangles on my Amma’s hand when she pulled us out with a half filled coffee glass in my hand and a fake anger on her face:) Such details more glowing than the coffee I had just one hour back!!!

Food has also become a central way for me to socialise with others, to comfort my friends and family and even sometimes few strangers as food sure brings enormous pleasure and joy when shared with others. It has made me feel comfortable in new places, even some unknown places. And most importantly food had made me to remember the places I’ve lived and the people I’ve known in those places.

One such food memory is something I loved when I lived in Bangalore. I lived in a hostel owned by a Sindhi couple and V aunty was a wonderful cook and baker. Her delicious Sindhi style Stuffed Capsicums/Peppers is something I missed dearly after I left Bangalore. It was not usual stuffed capsicum with potato filling or rice but it used grated onions lightly spiced with fresh green chillies and coriander. I had been looking for this Dhaas Shimla Mirch recipe since long time and at last I found it in Alka’s Sindhi Rasoi. One look at the photo and the list of ingredients and I knew I just hit the jackpot. I could hardly contain my excitement and straight away went into kitchen to try it right away. Although V aunty and Alka had used Green Bell Peppers I cooked with Mini/Baby Orange Bell Peppers I bought from Farmer’s Market which I knew would be sweeter than the green ones. With few modifications to Alka’s recipe, this platter of golden beauties was ready in few minutes. Dont be fooled by the short ingredient list and simplicity of these ingredients. The recipe is surprisingly simple and the end result is simply superb. It was bit sweet with a touch of spiciness from green chillies and tanginess from dry mango powder and it was everything I remembered. Thank you Alka. It’s because of your recipe I am finally over with my obsession of finding this recipe and this recipe has become our family favourite. I will be making them soon with multi-coloured Baby Peppers and next time I might bake them and then grill instead of cooking on stove top to make it zero-oil cooking. This is my entry for Kayln's Weekend Herb Blogging event guest hosted by Astrid.


Dhaas Shimla Mirch (Sindhi style Bell Peppers/Capsicums stuffed with Onion and Ground Spices)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 2-3
Recipe Source: Sindhi Rasoi

Ingredients:
6 Baby/Mini Bell Peppers or 4 medium Bell Peppers (any colour is fine, I used orange coloured)
1 tbsp Oil

For Filling/Stuffing:
2 large Onions, grated (grated onion works best than chopped one)
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala (Optional)
1 tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
½-1 tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
½ cup or small handful of Coriander Leaves
2-3 Green Chillies (Adjust acc to taste)
2-3 cloves of Garlic
½ inch Ginger (Optional)
Salt to taste
Photobucket
Baby Bell Peppers & Ground Filling

Method:
Slit baby peppers on one side and remove its seeds and pith carefully without breaking it. If using large peppers, then slice off their top and remove its seeds and pith carefully.
Grind coriander leaves, green chillies, garlic and ginger roughly without adding any water. Mix this ground paste with grated onion, all spice powders listed and salt to taste.
Stuff this onion mixture into bell peppers carefully. Make sure that you don’t break bell peppers while stuffing by stuffing little filling at time.
Heat oil in a deep pan. Carefully arrange bell peppers in a pan. Cover the lid and cook on a low to medium flame.
Toss the bell peppers at regular intervals to make sure that they don’t burn and stick to the pan. Make sure that the bell peppers are cooked from all the side. On a whole, it took me around 15 minutes to cook these bell peppers on a very low to medium flame.
Serve this delicious Dhaas Shimla Mirch with Chapatti or Rice and enjoy.

Photobucket
Dhaas Shimla Mirch


Note:
Next time I might sauté the filling for few minutes and then stuff the bell peppers and bake them in an oven for 5 minutes so that the bell peppers remain crunchy. And then grill these baked peppers for about 3 minutes to get smoky taste.

Reminder (Just 11 more days to go):

MBP-Street Food ends on 24th of June, 2008. Start patrolling the blogs and cook your favourite Street Food that your tummy begs and heart desires and spread link love.

Deadline: 24th June, 2008

Please go through the guidelines and include all the required information in your post and mail when sending me your entry. Don't forget to add Your Name, Your Blog Name, Name of the Dish you cooked, Perm Link of the entry, Perm Link of original recipe along with the gorgeous Photo of final dish.

Click Here or on the logo to find out more information on this event.
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