Sweetened flatttened rice: Mitha poha: Mishti Chirey; GF snack

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…. The big white butterfly sat on the golden marigold before hopping off to the pink bougenvillea vine. Behind which ran a bunch of kids of all ages between eleven and two. It was summer holidays and every year we visited our granpa’s house. With no electronic devices to entertain us we remained busy chasing butterflies, climbing the guava tree, playing tag, My mum would be busy with my aunties, giving a hand to my granma in the kitchen. They would catch up with the latest gossip, alternating between hushed whispers and bursts of loud laughter. With uncles and aunties and their families, the kitchen remained forever busy, ready to cater breakfast lunch, snacks, munchies, supper to toddlers and seniors alike.

….. Chirey or flattened rice makes this easy snack, which can be made ahead. It comes handy any time of the day, either with a cup of tea, or just by itself for the kids.

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… Fast forward a few decades, the cousins have their own families now. Face time, Whats app kept us connected. The conversation always drifted back to the good old days, our visits to our granpa’s. We always reminisced the same stories, enjoyed them now as if they were never old. Then came COVID 19 . My auntie and her husband passed away the same day. Before we finished mourning their loss, my cousin tested positive. Armed with the first dose of the vaccine he put up a brave fight for 31 days in ICU before succumbing to the virus. Just shy of his fiftieth  birthday, all he left behind, besides his family is a lot of memories…..

Stay safe dear friends.

Recipe: Serves 6 as a snack.

Ingredients;

Chirey ( Flattened rice).                      2 cups

Peanuts                                            1/2 cup

Ghee                                                2 Tbsps

Salt                                                   To taste

Sugar                                                2 tsps

Method;

Dry roast the peanuts on medium heat in a pan till slight change in colour, about 10 minutes. Collect them in a bowl. Take the Chirey on the pan on a medium low flame and dry roast for about 10 minutes, stirring all the time. Add one tablespoon of ghee and give a nice mix. Continue stirring. Throw in the peanuts, salt and the other table spoon of ghee and roast for another 10 minutes. Add the sugar and mix again. The colour of the Chirey will have changed and the sugar tends to stick on to the Chirey. Switch the gas off. Collect in a bowl, wait to cool down before you dig in.

This stores well in airtight container. Comes handy in camping. trips, long journeys or just as snack.

Note;

Chirey ( Flattened rice) is available at Indian grocery stores.

Chakli : Murukku : Savoury rice flour swirls

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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.

Jawl Bhawra Shawndesh : Syrup filled cheese fudge

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It was around circa1810, the daughter of the erstwhile Zamindar of Mankundu of Bengal just got married. The son-in-laws usually enjoyed a celebrity status then and were spoilt rotten by the bride’s family. So when the newly married couple were visiting the Zaminder a few days later, the family members wanted to get back to the son-in-law. The famous sweet maker of the area Surjya Kumar Modak was instructed to come up with a new sweet recipe. The ladies of the house offered this sweet to the new son-in-law. One bite into it, the jaggery syrup filling spilled all over his crisp top. The new son-in-law’s embarrassment was enjoyed to the hilt by the bride’s family!

Traditionally this is made from home made cheese or Chhena, and filled with date palm jaggery. This is cheat’s recipe. I have improvised it using ricotta cheese and Canadian maple syrup.

Shawndesh molds are available to give different shapes to the Shawndesh. This one takes the shape from Palmyra palm fruit.

Sweets are an integral part of any festivity. Here is the recipe if you would like to have a go and surprise your friends and family.

Recipe: Made 14 pieces.

Ingredients:

Ricotta cheese                                       2 cups

Milk powder                                           1 cup

Sugar                                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                     3 tbsps

Cardamom powder                              1/2 tsp

Raisins                                                about 15

Pistachio pieces                                  one Tbsp

Method;

On a non stick pan take the ghee on medium heat. Once this melts add the cheese, sugar and milk powder. Keep stirring now and then so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the cardamom powder. Slowly the mixture thickens about 40 minutes and forms a dough. Collect it on a plate. Put the gas off.

Take the molds, grease the inside with ghee,  Place one raisin and bit of the pistachio sliver on the inside of the mold. Put a tablespoon of this mixture, press it gently so it confirms to the shape of the mold. Take the other half of the mold and press genlty. With your pinky make a hole at the back of this Shawndesh. Pour a tea spoonful of maple syrup in it. Take about half teaspoon of the mixture to close this hole. Unmold very gently.

If molds are not available, it could be formed into a ball, a hole made in it, filled with syrup and the hole plugged with a bit of the dough.

It does take a bit of patience and time, but the joy when done is as great too.

Happy thanksgiving friends!

Besan Burfi: Chickpea flour fudge: GF

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IMG_2122I am a big fan of Besan aka chick pea flour. The fact that it has a protein component, always gives me a reason to justify a second helping of sweet! Being gluten free comes handy when you are cooking for a group. Besan is one of those ingredients that can be used to make appetizer, main course, desserts, savoury snacks, you name it!

IMG_2125The Hindu month of “Shravan’ is said to be auspicious. After the scorching heat of the previous months, “Shravan” ushers the monsoon. The parched earth  turns green again, the fertile earth holds new life in her womb. People observe fast, especially on mondays. Fasting always comes with feasting. And why not?

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This recipe takes no time to be ready. Do give it a try and let me know how it goes friends.

Recipe; Makes 20-25 pieces depending on the size.

Ingredients,

Besan                           2 cups

Ghee                            3/4 cup

Sugar                           3/4 cup

Water                           1/2 cup

Cardamom powder      1/2 tsp

Almond and pistachio sliver to garnish

Method,

Take a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add ghee and besan, roast it by stirring continuously till a slight change in colour, nutty aroma and the ghee gets released from the besan, about 18 minutes. The timing may be influenced by the humidity, type of flour, the heat element of the gas. I would recommend focussing on the appearance of the besan. Put the gas off, Take the pan away from the gas. Keep stirring for a few more minutes, the hot pan can still burn the besan.

In a separate pan take the water and sugar on medium heat. let the sugar melt first and then thicken, for about 12-15 minutes. Add the cardamom powder. When a spoonful of this syrup is let to drop, it does not drop freely. A drop of it when collected in a bowl, and carefully felt between the thumb and fore finger, feels sticky and draws like a thread. Put the gas off.

Very carefully add the besan mixture in instalments to the syrup. Put the gas on low for another minute to let everything come together.

Take a greased metal plate. Pour this mixture on the plate. Garnish with slivered nuts.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Make cuts , whatever size you prefer. Let it sit for another hour and then separate the slices.

 

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!