Green beans dhokli ; Beans with chick pea flour pasta : GF option

Image

IMG_3392

I love highlighting the amazing array of vegetarian dishes that are available in Indian cuisine. Most of them are gluten free too.

IMG_3313

IMG_3367

“Dhokli’ is a small pasta made from chick pea flour. I have added a little bit of whole wheat flour, but this can easily be replaced by millet or other gluten free flour.

I am quite new to this dish which comes from the far western state of Gujrat. Traditionally  this is done with cluster beans, I have replaced it with french beans. Also the pastas are usually shaped as small discs. I had my malloreddu maker from my Rome visit, which I thought of putting to good use.

This can be an excellent side dish, either with roti or rice. With a beautiful balance between sweet, sour and salty this dish has a great flavour. The fiery red colour comes from the paprika and not red chillies.

Recipe: Serves 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

Beans, cut in 1 inch pieces                               3 cups

Tomatoes                                                         3, pureed

Canola oil                                                         3. tbsp

Asafoetida                                                       1/2 tsp

Garllic cloves                                                    4-5

Ajwain ( carrom seeds )                                     1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                                                      6-7

Ghee                                                                   1 Tbsp

Jaggery                                                               1 tsp

Sev to garnish                                                      1 Tbsp

For the dhokli;

Chick pea flour              1 cup

Whole wheat flour                   1 tbsp

Turmeric powder                      1/4 tsp

Heeng ( asafoetida )                 1/4 tsp

Red chliiy powder                      1/2 tsp

Salt                                             1/2 tsp or to taste

Kasuri methi                                1/2 tbsp

Baking soda                                  1 pinch

Lemon juice                                   1 tsp

Oil                                                   1/2 tsp

Warm water                                       as needed

Jaggery powder                             1/2 tsp

Method:

Mix all the ingredients under Dhokli together to form a dough. brush with a bit of oil. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.

I have used frozen beans, Take a pan of hot water, bring it to boil on high heat. Throw the beans in it, cook for about 7-8 minutes. Take the beans out of the water and soak them in ice cold water.

Take the above dough, make small pieces about 1 tsp full of dough and make them into disc. I gave this fancy shape, just because.

Take a deep bottomed pan, add the oil, when it heats up, throw in heeng, stir for a few seconds till a nutty aroma comes out, add the curry leaves, ajwain, turmeric powder, paprika crushed garlic, cumin and coriander powder. Keep stirring for about 5-6 minutes over medium flame, if needed sprinkle some water. Add 2 cups of hot water and the dhoklis. Add the salt, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. Add the tomato puree, jaggery powder.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes.Put the gas off. Add the ghee.

Garnish with sev ( available in Indian grocery store, Walmart, Superstore).

Enjoy with rotis or rice.

 

Atte gur ki Thekuye; Whole wheat flour and jaggery cookies; for Chhat Puja. ( Offerings for Sun God )

Image

IMG_3357

Sun is the most powerful of all cosmic bodies. Our whole existence revolves around sun. Our ancestors realized very early on that we would be nowhere without the sun. Hence celebrating ‘Sun’ is important in our lives. “Chhat Pooja ” a celebration of Sun.

IMG_3344

Thekuas are the sweets associated with “Chhat pooja”. There are many ways of whipping up these beauties. I have a recipe with All purpose flour and sugar, here. These ones are the healthier version using Whole wheat flour and jaggery.

Give it a try, it stores very well. Excellent for travel or for a student in the dorm!

Recipe : made 25 pieces

Ingredients;

Wholewheat flour ( Attta )                                      2 cups

Gur ( Jaggery )                                                    1 cup

Grated coconut                                                   1/2 cup

Cardamom powder                                             1/4 tsp

Ghee                                                                 3 tbsps

Saunf ( aniseed )                                                1 tbsp

Canola oil for frying

Method;

Take the jaggery and half cup water on medium flame, let it melt. Turn the gas off. Let the mixture cool completely. Set aside.

Take the  flour, ghee and cardamom powder in a bowl. Mix. Rub the ghee and flour with both your hands, so that the flour grains are coated with ghee. Take a bit of this mixture and press tight, it should hold like a ball. If not add a bit more ghee.

Now add the aniseeds, jaggery syrup, a little bit at a time, to form a tight dough. Let it rest covered for half hour.

Divide the dough into a tablespoon amount to form balls, flatten it like a disc. If you have the “Thekua” mold press the disc on it. If you do not have the mold use the back of the glass or end of the fork to imprint a design.

Deep fry in canola oil, on low to medium heat. When one side gets light brown colour, very gently flip it over, fry the other side. It took about 15 minutes to fry a batch.

Collect them on kitchen towel. Let it stand on cooling rack.

It can be stored in air tight container for about two weeks.

Enjoy!

Lauki ki burfi : Bottle gourd fudge for Diwali

Image

IMG_3292

Wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful Diwali.

IMG_3293

This has been such a difficult year for everyone. It will be a very low key affair.

I leave you with this very easy recipe.

IMG_3296

Recipe; 25 bite size piece

Ingredients,

Freshly grated and squeezed bottle gourd                     1 cup

Mawa ( Milk Solids )                                                      1 cup

Ground nuts ( cashew, pistachio, almonds)                    1 cup

Ghee                                                                            3 tbsp

Condensed milk                                                            3/4 cup ( to taste )

Cardamom powder                                                       1 tsp

Green food colour ( optional )                                        4-5 drops

Silver leaf and rose petals                                              To garnish

Method;

Take freshly grated bottle gourd ,Lauki, Squeeze all the water out.

Grind cashew, pistachio and almonds to get a one cup full of the powder.

Mawa is available in Indian grocery store, grate it , if unavailable miik powder can be substituted.

Take a non stick pan on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of ghee. Once it melts, add the lauki, crank the heat down to medium low, Add the Mawa, stir so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. The lauki gets cooked. Throw in the nut powder, condensed milk, cardamom powder and food colour. Mix them all together. Add the last Tbsp of ghee, keep stirring. The moisture evaporates and the mixture leaves the side of the pan and slowly comes together, about 25 minutes. Switch the gas off.

Take a greased plate. Transfer the mixture. Pat the surface smooth and leave it to set for two hours. Transfer the silver leaf if using on top. Cut in pieces, and garnish with rose petals or more nuts.

Enjoy!

Bhapa shondesh ( Steamed milk fudge ) for Remembrance day

Image

IMG_2850

The poppy is associated with Remembrance day. Poppies were the flowers that grew in the battlefields after the World War was over, hence poppies became a symbol to remember those who have lost loved ones because of wars.There is no poppy here, but the deep red colour of the Virginia creeper leaves, is definitely the closest I have with me today to mark the very symbolic day.

The agreement that ended the World War 1, was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Canadians pause to to honour and remember the men and women who served and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.

“Lest we forget” is a term synonymous to “We will remember them”. Written much before the World War this poem by Rudyard Kipling reminds us to put our trust in God. I leave you with a few lines from this beautiful poem.

“The tumult and the shouting dies;

The Captains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget – lest we forget….”

Shondesh is a very popular sweet back home, a must in any important event. This is a cheat’s recipe, comes together in no time. Give it a try friends.

Recipe:

Ingredients

Ricotta cheese                     2 cups

Icing sugar                           1/3 cup

Saffron strands                     15-20

Cardamom powder                1 tsp

Method

Strain the cheese to get rid of excess water. Mix the sugar and blend till smooth. I used a hand blender.

Grease a pyrex rectangular pot . Transfer this mixture. Put some saffron strands on top. Cover and steam for 30 minutes on medium heat.

Allow to cool. Put in in fridge for 30 minutes. cut in pieces. Enjoy!

Chakli : Murukku : Savoury rice flour swirls

Image

IMG_4689

Festivities are intimately related with food. Sweet or savoury, crispy or syrup dunked, festivals always call for special treats.

Every household have their tradition of treat making. Kids and elders alike look forward to these.

The Chaklis are very famous in the southern part of India. A train journey over a few days calls for these snacks to be packed carefully and brought along. You never know when you feel like munching something.

These store very well in air tight container for several months.

Enjoy…

Recipe: made a doz ( depends on the size )

Ingredient ;

Rice flour                                    1cup

Chickpea flour                              1/4 cup

Turmeric powder                         1/2 tsp

Paprika                                       1/2 tsp

Ajwain ( carrom seeds )               1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds                              1/4 tsp

Salt                                           1 tsp

canola oil                                 1 tbsp plus for frying

Hot water                                1 cup

Method;

Take the rice flour, chick pea flour, all  the spices, 1 tbsp oil and mix well. Add the hot water, use a spatula to bring things together. When warm use your hand to make it into a dough. Brush it with half tsp of oil, cover and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Take the Chakli maker, grease the inside. Take a portion of the dough , mold it to a cylinder and insert it into the maker, fitted with the star shaped, hole.

On a Sil pat or wax paper, press the maker and let the dough flow out through the star hole , move your hand to form a swirl. Do a few of these.

Take a deep bottomed wok, fill canola oil about an inch and half deep, Put the gas on high heat. Drop a tiny bit of the batter to see if it rises to the top of the oil. The oil is now ready. Carefully lift the chaklis from the wax paper and drop them in the oil. Crank the heat down to low medium. Flip these over only after the first side is done or has changed colour to light brown.

Collect them on kitchen towel.

Eggless sugar cookies for Halloween

Image

IMG_3140

I had a pretty last minute request to bake some simple sugar cookies for a friend. “The kids are going to decorate them together for Halloween” he added. Being the novice baker that I am, this was huge. “But of course I can “, I replied in the same breath. Not for once taking into consideration it was a week day, I will barely have a few hours at the end of a hard working tuesday.

The rational part of my brain said, Ratna, you realize that all the star bakers are probably drowned with orders of cakes, cookies, muffins and other ghoulish treats, they have no time doing “just plain sugar cookies’. The other part of my brain said’ are you kidding me, maybe I am just too modest. Maybe I am much better than I consider myself to be!

At the end of a very long day, I measured the flour and sugar, reading and rereading the recipe, checking the labels of my vanilla bottle ( a very minor mishap happened when I poured coffee flavour instead of vanilla ). The stand mixer was put to work, which gave me back a perfect dough. Following the recipe to the T, I put the dough in the fridge to chill.

Looking for the plain round cookie cutter from the four shoe boxes full of all shapes from Christmas to easter, Linzer to zoo animals, flowers to ginger bread men, it dawned on me that I should put my Halloween cookie cutters to use too. Between the witch’s hat to smiling pumpkin face my hand went for the silicone cookie sheet with cavities. Just press the dough in it, and bake. Very smart move, I said to myself.

It was past midnight when the few dozen cookies were put on wire racks to cool down just as the recipe called for.

As I opened my eyes in the morning I ran to the kitchen to appreciate my handiwork. The plain rounds turned out perfect. What are these , weird faces from the silicone cavities? On a closer look I found that it were the little chicks hatching from the eggs, easter cookies which I mistook for smiley pumpkin faces. Hmmmm….

Plan B was launched, how can the little chicks be changed to a halloween theme? Cover the faces! Yup, just cover the faces. Make them into mummies. Phew! sometimes I am so proud of myself. Save the two eyes every bit of the face was covered, and here I present a bunch of totally spooky Halloween cookies just for you.

Recipe; Adapted from Mommy’s Home cooking.

Got 21/2 dozen cookies. Numbers may vary depending on size.

Ingredient,

All purpose flour                             3 cups

Granulated sugar                         1 cup

Softened cream cheese              8 oz

Unsalted butter softened            3/4 cup

Baking powder                         1/2 tsp

Vanilla extract                           2 tsps

Store bought icing, colours..

Instruction;

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking sheets with Silpat sheet or parchment paper.

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.Add salt and sat aside. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer until mixed thoroughly and the butter is light coloured and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl too.

Add the flour mixture, I usually cover it with a tea towel, and mix on low speed till just combined. Take the towel off, run the machine a little more if needed. We only want to form a rough dough. Put the mixer off. Take the dough out on the counter top. Divide in two halves. Shape into two discs. Cover with saran wrap, let these sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Take one disc out, dust some flour on the counter top. Roll this flat till about 1/4 inches thick, Use flour if sticky, cut out your favourite shapes with a cookie cutter. Place them 1 inch apart, let them chill in the fridge one more time for another 15 minutes. Use the scraps and roll them again. Repeat this with the second dough disc.

Bake till the edges are light brown in colour about 12 minutes.

Let it sit on a wire rack to cool completely.. Decorate to your liking. I used store bought icing.

Enjoy!

Chandrapuli : Moon cake

Image

99cf4ca5-07b5-42d0-a438-8c3791ec3fc0

All good things come to an end. The nine days of feasting, fasting, fun and festivities is done for the year.

……..The last day is very special for there is a grand send off planned for the goddess. I see my mum putting on the white sari with red border, arranging a beautiful plate with sweets, flower, betel leaf, bangles and other things which I am not sure of. “Hurry up, or we shall be late” she reminds me.

Not sure what this all meant, but not ready to forgo the fun either I loose no time in putting on my dress. Later I see My mum with her friends touch the sweets to the goddess’s mouth, as if feeding her, then apply Sindur ( red powder, the married women apply on their hair parting ).

IMG_3100

We had so much sweets, then amidst loud uluation and blowing of the conch shell the beautiful goddess and her family were taken away to be immersed in the river.

I must have been sulking the later part of the day, realizing that the fun was over and it would soon be time to get serious with the school work. “Mon kharap lagche?” Are you sad, my mum checks on me. “She ain’t gone anywhere, she is in your heart!” she reassures me. You should have seen my scrunched up face, “What, in my heart?”, as if saying to her, you know nothing, Ma!

………. Today when I think back, I realize how powerful those words were. ‘She is in your heart’. Yes , of course.

Recipe: Made 26 pieces

Ingredients,

Unsweetened fine grated coconut                                         1 cup

Khoa ( milk solids )                                                                1 cup

Patali gur ( Jaggery )                                                             3/4 cup

Granulated sugar                                                                  1/4 cup

Milk                                                                                     1/3 cup

Milk powder                                                                        1/3 cup

Cardamom powder                                                             1/4 tsp

Ghee                                                                                  2 tbsps

Raisins and cashew pieces to garnish

Method,

Mix the grated coconut with the milk and set aside.

Take a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat, add the ghee, wait for it to melt and crank the heat down to medium low. Now add the coconut mixture, khoa, sugar, milk powder, cardamom powder and jaggery. Give it a nice stir. Keep stirring often, to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, till it forms  dough about 30 minutes.

Turn the gas off. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate , Take about 3/4 th tbsp of this mixture to form about 26 balls.  If you have molds, grease them, put a raisin and some cashew pieces, press the ball into it making sure it is flowing  evenly and carefully remove them. If you do not have the molds you can shape them like half moon with your hand and decorate.

Enjoy!