Sabudana khichri : Tapioca pearls khichri; GF

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Raise your hands if this situation rings a bell to you. It is a festive day, mum is fasting and asks help tp prepare the food  to be had after the fast is broken. Not ready to give her company with fasting but really excited to dream about the food that will be available later. I really hope there are some of you with me on this. I feel so guilty to even think about it now.

Sabudana is actually set in round molds in factories. It is extracted from the root of Tapioca plant. As it is not a grain, it is a recommended food after fasting.

Feast or no feast it is a staple breakfast in many households. Once you start it is hard to stop. It is a carb bomb, so having it as breakfast gives one enough time to burn it out.

Have a happy Navaratri. Pray Mata rani brings peace and happiness to the world.

Recipe: Serves 4 as a snack.

Ingredients;

Sabudana ( Tapioca pearls )                                                    2 cups

Peanuts                                                                                  3/4 cup

Cooking oil                                                                             3 Tbsp

Cumin seeds                                                                          11/2 tsp

Green chilly slices ( optional )                                                   2 tsp

Potatoes cut in small cubes                                                     3/4 cup

Jaggery powder                                                                      11/2 tsp

Lemon juice                                                                             1 tbsp

Cilantro leaves                                                                          1/2 cup

Pomegranate seeds ( optional )                                                 1 tbsp

Salt. to taste

Method;

Wash the Sabudana in a few changes of water, rubbing the pearls with hand. This ensures that the extra starch is gone, making the khichri where the pearls stand alone and are not clumped together. Leave it soaked for about 5 hours. I had these giant sized pearls, I soaked them for 24 hours.

Drain the water off completely, rest them on a kitchen towel. Dry roast the peanuts and keep aside.

Take a non stick wok on medium high heat. Add the oil, wait till it is hot reduce the heat to medium and add the cumin seeds and green chilly slices if using. Stir till the cumins get a bit darker, add the potato pieces, turn the gas low, cover and cook till they are done. Add the Sabudana, peanuts, salt, jaggery and mix nicely. The Sabudana will shine like pearls. Add the lemon juice and put the gas off. Garnish with cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

The khichri is ready. Enjoy!

Skinless moong beans with bottle gourd: Moong dal with lauki

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IMG_1269In a matter of weeks, the world has turned upside down. Who would have thought that we would witness this pandemic first hand. Countries are in lockdown, social distancing is the key word of late.

We are all mindful of the food we cook for our family. Something that can be put together easily without pinching the pocket, that will be healthy and will mostly use pantry staples.

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Dal aka lentils or beans are a must in any Indian pantry. These are rich in proteins, the skin on ones are extra high in fibre, not mega pricey, making them a staple food for the masses.

There are innumerable ways to cook Dal. It could be spicy or bland, sweetish or sweet and sour. Throw in some seasonal vegetables, it can be an almost one pot meal with a side of either rice or bread.

IMG_1271 Today”s recipe is one that uses minimum spices, the bottle gourd adds extra nutrients, elevating this homey dish to a five star one.

When goings are tough don’t we all look for something like this?

Recipe; Serves 4 as side.

Ingredients;

Skinless moong dal                                                  one cup

Bottle gourd                                                             one medium

Cooking oil                                                               1 Tbsp

Ghee                                                                         11/2 Tbsp

Grated ginger                                                            1 Tbsp

Turmeric powder                                                        1 tsp

Cumin seeds                                                               1 tsp

Salt to taste

Dried red chillies                                                            2

Green chillies                                                                 2 sliced ( optional )

Jaggery                                                                           1 tsp

Method;

Dry roast the moong dal on medium heat till very lightly coloured, add the oil and fry for another minute. Add a cup of water, cook till half done. Add water as needed, the dish is neither runny nor solid.

Wash the bottle gourd and cut in thin slices ( about half a cm ). Throw in these to the half cooked dal, also add the turmeric powder, jaggery and grated ginger, salt, green chillies and continue cooking till the gourd and dal are cooked, not mushy. Both the dal and gourd should hold shape. Put the gas off.

In a separate pan, heat the ghee, when hot throw in the dried red chillies, cumin seeds, wait till it gets light brown in colour, add this on to the dal.

Adjust salt to taste and enjoy with rice.

 

Bitter gourd and potato mash: Uchhey aloo bhatey

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There is no sugar coating here friends. Bitter it really is.

In Ayurveda bitter is the first course to be eaten. The health benefits of the bitter gourd  or bitter melon ( Momordica Charantia ),are many. Super helpful in Diabetes, the bitter gourd is a blood purifier, helps alleviate eczema, fights intertinal worms, among others.

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Spring is the time when due to change of seasons the body fights diseases, and needs help to boost immunity. it is customary to start the meal with something bitter such as this, or Neem leaves etc. I have memories of my mum trying to bribe us with a treat later if we finished the bitter course without any tantrum.

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There are a variety of ways to cook this. I have a mash with potato and some spices here for you today.

With Covid19 bringig the world to a halt, it may not be a bad idea to try to boost immunity.

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Recipe: Serves 6

Ingredients ;

Bitter gourd                                       4

Medium potatoes                             2

Mustard oil                                      2 tbsp

Green chiillies                                 2 or to taste

Salt                                                to taste

Method;

Wash the gourds and potatoes carefully. Put in the pressure cooker in high heat and wait for three whistles.If using a saucepan, cook till done.

Skin the potatoes. Mash with hand both the potatoes and gourds coarsely. Add salt, mustard oil and chilly slices ( if using ).

Serve a tablespoon with rice as a first course for lunch or dinner.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

..

 

Sauteed Amaranth leaves: Notey shaag

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There are foods, and then there are superfoods. With a storehouse of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibres, Amaranth leaves belong to the superfood family.

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Cooked in salads, soups, stews there are so many ways of enjoying these leaves. In Bengali cooking gentle sauteing  the Notey shaag with minimum spices is common. Served as a first course, it is enjoyed with a side of warm rice.

Here is the recipe of these humble Amaranth leaves.

How do you cook these leaves? Would love to hear from you. Leave a comment for me below. Thank you.

Recipe: Serves 4

Ingredients

Amaranth leaves                           500 gms

Mustard oil                                  3 tbsps

Nigella seeds                             1 tsp

Dried red chillies                          2

Fresh green chiliies                      2

Garlic pods (Sliced)                      3

Salt                                            to taste

Method ;

Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop them fine. Take the mustard oil in a deep bottomed pan on high heat. Add the nigella seeds, dried red chillies, saute for a few seconds and then add the green chillies and slices of garlic. saute again for a few seconds, making sure not to burn the garlic slices.Throw the leaves in, cover and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes till done. Sprinkle salt, give it a nice mix.

Enjoy with hot rice and a side of mustard sauce aka kasundi.

Ricotta cheese shondesh golap jol diye: Rose flavoured ricotta cheese shondesh

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Did we ever think that we would be in the midst of these unsettling times? Honestly who would ever have thought that the world would come to this? Travel ban, social distancing, restaurants closed, emergency services only! Well to top it all up I lost four years worth of my  food blog posts, my creations, part of me is gone. Gone forever. I definitely take the blame for it, if trusting someone one hundred percent is wrong.

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S T R E S S E D. To say the least. Try reversing the  word “Stressed”. See what we got? Desserts. Isn’t that a sign? I am taking this seriously and drowning myself in dessert making. Indian sweets in particular, where my weakness lies.

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Here is another variation of the “Shondesh” or cheese fudge from my last post. Very similar except uses sugar instead of jaggery. I have added a delicate flavour too. Rose water. Delicate is the key word here. Adding more than needed ruins the flavour though.

Recipe; made 26 pcs using 1 Tbsp measure each

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                             2 cup

Ghee                                          4 Tbsps

Sugar                                         1 cup

Milk powder                                1 cup

Rose water                                  1/2 tsp

Rose petals                                  1 tbsp

Pistachio slivers                           1 tbsp

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat bottomed non stick pan on low medium flame. Wait for it to melt then add the cheese, give it a nice mix. Add the sugar, milk powder and keep stirring making sure it does not catch the bottom of the pan, until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, leaving the side of the pan, about 45 minutes. Add the rose syrup. Put the gas off.

Collect the mixture on a plate. Wait for it to cool a bit, such that it can be handled. Divide into about 18 pieces, about a table spoon measure for a portion. Grease both the palms, press the portion into a flat shondesh or if you have wooden molds, press the portion into a greased mold that has been sprinkled with rose petals and pistachio slivers. Gently remove them from the mold.

Stay calm and eat Shondesh!

Ricotta Cheese Patali gur Shondesh : Ricotta cheese jaggery milk fudge

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Shondesh is a Bengali dessert. The relationship of shondesh to Bengali life is an emotional. one.

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Be it the welcoming a new baby in the family, celebrating a relationship, new job, success in school or just because, these beauties are indispensable.

Traditioanlly milk is curdled, the whey is separated, the milk solids are collected. A sweetner, flavoring agent, garnish and some handcarved wooden molds is all that is needed..

In today’s busy life we are always look for easier, faster, and hassle free way to come up with these favourite desserts.

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Ricotta cheese has been substituted for home made Cheese, bringing the preparation time down. the sweetening agent is a special jaggery available only during winter months.

Give the recipe a try and surprise your friends.

Recipe; made 9 pieces

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                  2 Tbsp

Patali gur                                             1/2 cup

Milk powder                                         1/2 cup

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat non stick pan on a medium flame. When the ghee melts, add the cheese, mix nicely. Add the gur ( jaggery ), let it melt, then add the milk powder. Make sure it mixes properly and there are no lumps. Keep stirring until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, about 15 minutes.

Put the gas off. Let the mixture cool a bit. When it is alright to handle, divide it into 9 portion. Grease the mold, press each portion into the mold and carefully take it out.

There you have it!

 

Atte ke malpua: wholewheat flour pancakes, two ways.

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There was a knock on the door. , Renu with her neatly tied plait of hair was standing with a plate in her hand. ‘Here are some sweets for Holi for you”, she smiled, showing her very white set of teeth. ‘Aww, Thank you, you didn’t have to you know.” We didn’t mean the last part though, in fact we used to wait in anticipation for this time.IMG_0981

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As soon as we close the door behind her, we siblings attack the plate. Under the lace cover were the coveted ‘Malpuas”. Every year for holi our neighbour Sinha aunty made Malpuas., without fail. This was a speciality of rural Bihar, the place where we spent our childhood. Gifting sweets to friends and families on festive occasions was a tradition that was followed with great enthusiasm. The weather changing to warmer days and spring flowers already blooming, it was such a beautiful time.

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Malpuas are Indian pancakes, comes in a variety of different forms, made of all purpose flour or a healthier version using whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery, crispy or moist dunked in sugar syrup. The recipe I have here today is both, for the crispy version and soaked in syrup ones..

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Fast forward a couple decades, snow showers in forecast with temperatures twenty below celsius. No, that is not going to dampen our spirit. The Malpuas are ready. We are going to throw colours on our friends and usher spring, be it just for fun.

Wish you all a very happy Holi.

Recipe; Made 10 small ones.

Ingredients;

Whole wheat flour                                     1 cup

Sugar                                                        1/2 cup

Fennel seeds                                             1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder                                     1/4 tsp

Orange food colour                                       couple drops

Ghee                                                           1 Tbsp

Pistachio slivers                                            for garnish

For sugar syrup to soak;

Sugar                                                           1 cup

Water                                                            1 cup

Method;

Take the sugar in a bowl, pour hot water. wait for the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool.

Add the flour little by little, mix thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Add the ghee, cover and let it rest for about three hours.

Add the cardamom powder, fennel seeds, orange colour, add a couple more spoons of water if needed. The consistency should be that of any pancake batter.

Take a non stick pan with canola oil on medium heat. Take a tablespoon of batter and carefully pour on the oil. I had put a couple or even three at a time. Wait for a few minutes and flip them over. A light brown colour is what we are looking for

Drain the oil and collect on kitchen towel. Garnish with pistachio slivers.These are ready to be enjoyed as is.

Alternatively a thin sugar syrup can be made  by boiling a cup of water and sugar and the pancakes can be dipped in it for a few minutes.Take your pick.