Murir Moa : Puffed rice balls : GF

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Back in the day when we did not have a variety of ready made snacks available for the kids, mothers and grandmothers used to spend many afternoons painstakingly prepare an assortment of snacks at home.

I specially remember our summer holidays , when we used to visit our grandparents.Our uncles landed with their families as well. For that one month the house used to be super busy with grandkids ranging from preteens to infant. Those were days before cell phones and television. We were busy playing with our cousins during the day. My grand dad was an excellent story teller. He had no problem mesmerizing us grand kids of different ages with his story telling. The youngest one would be on his lap, some sitting on the armrest of his ‘plantation style’ armchair. Few others around his feet. The one thing that was common was we were all wide eyed in rapt attention, trying to follow the ups and downs of the story.

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My grandmother on the other hand, used to be busy in the kitchen. With limited resources she never failed to surprise us with homemade snacks. Walking for days together, with only a few of her belongings to this land from the former “East Pakistan’, as a refugee, hard work came to her naturally. Savoury or sweet she could whip up either in no time.The “Moa” was always there. One by one she moulded the round shape on the palm of her hand, which used to be angry red from the heat.

Many years later, when I had my own family did I realize how much effort it takes, to come up with a big batch of these. “Love” was the main sweetener, no matter how much jaggery we add.

Recipe: Made 15

Ingredients;

Murmura ( Puffed rice )                            3 cups

Ghee                                                        1 Tbsp

Jaggery                                                     1 cup

Method,

Dry roast the Murmura on medium flame for a few minutes only to make it crunchier.

In another pan take the ghee and jaggery on slow flame. I have used powdered jaggery. Let it melt and be frothy, about 11 minutes. Take a drop of this in a bowl of water. If this sets right away, then the jaggery is ready.

Put the gas off. Pour the murmura in the molten jaggery. Mix it nicely such that the murmura is evenly coated.

Wait for this mixture to cool down a bit, so that it can be handled on the palm. I used a pair of silicone gloves, that definitely helped. Take a handful, press on all sides to give a round shape.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy for a couple of weeks.

 

Chochori: Sauteed vegetables

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IMG_1649I remember my teenage daughter ask me one time, what does “Chochori”, mean? Now as we know it is a very homey, dish of sauteed vegetables. Remember the day you clean the fridge? You find the leftover beans, half cauliflower, the eggplant threatening to dry up if not used that day, that is when you start making Chochori.

That is all true. But that still doesn’t account for the name. Well such is the nature of Chochori that it welcomes all kinds of veggies. The firm ones like potatoes, carrots, the medium ones like beans, cauliflowers, soft ones like squashes, eggplants. There are a few must haves though like the stems of the cauliflower, I include celery sticks if I happen to have them. I strongly believe this is where the name comes from, Think about the noise it makes when you chew on these stems…..

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On a serious note, Chochori has a secured a soft spot in the Bengali heart. It is an excellent way of getting the required  quota of vegetable for the day. Be generous with the mustard oil though. After all, the success of Chochori depends heavily on ‘the runny nose” feeling from the  strong  smell of  ‘First pressed” mustard oil.

Recipe: Serves 6 as a side.

Try to have a medley of the firm, softer and very soft veggies.

Potato cut in thick julienne                                   1 cup

Carrots cut similarly                                             1 cup

Cauliflower florets                                                 1 cup

Eggplants cut in julienne                                       1 cup

Squash cut as above                                            1 cup

Cauliflower stem, celery stick cut similar                  1 cup

Mustard oil                                                            4 tbsp

Mustard powder                                                   1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Jaggery                                                               1 tbsp

Five spice                                                             1 tsp

Dry red chilly                                                           1

Turmeric powder                                                     1/2 tsp

Method,

In a microwave safe bowl put the stems and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

In a wok add 2 tbsp mustard oil on high heat. Add the five spice and chilly, saute till it changes colour. Add the firm veggies like potato and carrot, saute for few minutes. Next add the cauliflower florets and stems and beans, cook for few minutes, finally add the eggplant and squash. Add salt, jaggery, turmeric powder, cover and cook till the veggies are done. No water is added, careful that the veggies do not burn, a few sprinkle of water if needed .

When the veggies are all cooked add the mustard powder. Mix everything together. Finish off by adding the 2 tbsp of mustard oil.

Tweak to your taste. This dish gives a lot of leeway, to adjust to your taste.

Goes well with plain white rice.

Note: Five spice a very typical Bengali mixture of equal amounts of Nigella seeds, Cumin seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Mustard and Fennel seeds.

Gatte ke subzi : Vegetarian sausage curry; GF

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IMG_1451Rajasthan in India is a province which has desert like climate. With very little rainfall, there is a scarcity of fresh produce. The local cuisine has evolved around it, relying less on vegetables, but managing the protein etc intake from alternative sources.

IMG_1442“Gatte  ke Subzi” is one such special dish from Rajasthan. Chick pea flour is kneaded with a variesty of spices into these locks, which are then boiled and fried gently.

IMG_1443These are made into a curry, which can be enjoyed either with piping hot rice or handmade rotis or flatbrads.

IMG_1445I must admit I am fairly new to this curry, was introduced to this only in my adult life. Look at the versatility of the use of legume and beans in Indian cooking. Not only are they used to make Dals, or salads, but grind them in powder, make them in “Gatte”, or shape them round to make sun dried :Vadi:, or even roll them paper thin into Papad:. The possibilities are endless.

IMG_1457Recipe: Serves 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients;

For the Gatta (Sausage ),

Besan ( chick pea flour )                                              1cup

Cumin seeds                                                               1/2 tsp

Aniseeds ( saunf )                                                         1/4 tsp

Carom seeds ( ajwain )                                                 1/2 tsp

Coriander ( dhania ) seeds                                            1/4 tsp

Turmeric powder                                                           1/4 tsp

Red chiily powder                                                           1/4 tsp

Salt                                                                                 1 tsp

Ghee                                                                               1 tbsp

Oil                                                                                     1 tbsp

Water                                                                                 2 tbsp

Yoghurt                                                                              3 tbsp

For the gravy;

Cumin seeds                                                                   1 tsp

asafoetida ( heeng )                                                          1/4 tsp

Dried red chilly                                                                  2

Ginger grated                                                                    1 tsp

Tomato                                                                              2, made into puree

Turmeric powder                                                                 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder                                                               11/2 tsp

Red chillly powder                                                              1 tsp

Yoghurt                                                                              2 Tbsp

Kasuri methi ( dried fenugreek leaves )                               1 tbsp

Cilantro                                                                             1 tsp

Method:

For the Gatte,

Coarse grind the seeds. In a bowl take the besan, add the crushed seeds, all the powders as listed, ghee, salt, oil and yoghurt. Mix with greased hands then add water little by little to make it into a nice dough. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Knead a few more times with greased hand and cut in four balls. Shape each one into cylinders, like in the picture above, about 4 inches long.

In a sauce pan bring a litre of water to a rolling boil. Add the locks one by one.  Let it cook for 10-12 minutes. these will rise up and have blisters on its skin. Put the gas off. Collect these, let it cool. Cut them in half inch pieces and fry them in very hot oil for about two minutes. Collect on kitchen towel. Save the boiled water for gravy.

For the gravy,

Take 2 tbsp oil in a pan on high heat. Add the dry chilly, cumin seeds and heeng, saute till the cumin seeds get a light colour. Add the ginger paste, saute for another minute. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, red chilly powder, coriander powder and add about 2 tbsp of the saved boiled water from before. Crank the heat down to medium high and keep stirring until all the water evaporates. Bring the heat down to low now. Add the whisked yoghurt and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the saved boiled water , salt and the fried “Gatte”pieces. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with Kasuri methi and cilantro.

Serve with rice or roti.

I feel we should be able to freeze the fried Gatte pieces. This will give a head start for the day of, cook the gravy and throw these in and bring it to boil.

 

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!

Khandvi: Savoury chickpea flour rolls, Gluten free

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By  Ratnauntitled-3untitled-2

The  rain  drops  hit  the  window  at  an  angle  and  slid  down  causing  an  abstract  design  on  the  glass. The  outside  view  from  my  kitchen  window,  that  I  was  enjoying  so  far,  got  blurred.

Rain  often  reminds  me  of  my  days  in  India.  After  the  oppressive  heat  of  summer,  we  welcomed  the  rains  with  open  arms.

But  prairie  rain  does  not  have  a  season.  There  would  be  dry  days,  more  dry  days,  days  that  I’d  water  my  garden  thoroughly,  and  then  suddenly  the  rains  would  start.  The  daylight  hours  are  very  long  in  the  Spring  and  Summer,  extending  for  almost  twenty  hours  on  the  Summer  Solistice.

The  sun  and   rain  create  a  magic.  Buds  swell  to  give  way  to  the  leaves,  eggs  hatch  to  bring  life,  seeds  sprout  to  give  birth  to  seedlings.  Anything  and  everything  grows.

untitled A  rainy  weather  calls  for  a  cup  of  very  hot  tea  and  some  snacks.  Khandvi  is  a  snack  from  the  very  western  region  of  India.  It  can  also  be  eaten  for  breakfast  or  as  an  appetizer.

No,  I  am  not  on  a  gluten  free  diet.  Looking  back  though  I  do  have  quite  a  few  gluten  free  recipes  in  my  blog.  You  can  take  a  peek  at  them  here,  here  and  here.

Considering  the  rising  number  of  people  that  are  allergic  to  gluten,  I  feel  quite  excited  to  offer  these  easy,  healthy  choices. untitled-4I  have  adapted  this  recipe  from  Masterchef  Tarala  Dalal.untitled-8untitled-5  There  is  a  variant  of  the  Khandvi  where  a  filling  is  added  inside.  I  have  kept  things  simple  today.

What  do  you  like  with  your  cuppa?  Leave  me  a  note  below.  I  would  love  to  hear  from  you.untitled-6untitled-7Recipe:

Ingredients;

Besan  ( Chickpea flour )                                                                            1cup

Yoghurt                                                                                                       2  cups

Water                                                                                                         2  cups

Mustard  seeds                                                                                            1  tsp

Sesame  seeds                                                                                           1  tsp

Grated  ginger  and  green  chillies                                                                2  tsp

Turmeric  powder                                                                                          1/4  tsps

Asafoetida                                                                                                  1  tsps

Curry  leaves                                                                                                6-7

Coriander  leaves  chopped                                                                       2  Tbsps

Grated  coconut                                                                                        2  Tbsps

Canola  oil                                                                                                 1  Tbsp

Lemon  juice                                                                                             1  Tbsp

Salt  to  taste

Method;

Mix  the  water  and  yoghurt  in  a  bowl.  Set  aside.

Sieve  the  Besan.  Take  a  big  saucepan,  add  the  Besan,  yoghurt  –  water  mixture,  ginger  chilly  paste,  turmeric  powder,  half  the  asafoetida,  salt  and  lemon  juice.  Mix  these  to  a  lump  free  smooth  paste.

Invert  stainless  plates  if  you  have.  I  took  two  cookie  sheets.  Grease  the  inverted  side.

Put  the  saucepan  with  the  above  Besan  mixture  on  a  medium  high  flame.  Keep  stirring  continuously  for  about  15  minutes.

The  mixture  will  thicken.  Take  a  small  spoonful  of  this  mixture  on  the  greased  plate,  let  cool  for  a  couple  minutes,  if  the  sides  lift  up  easy,  the  batter  is  ready.  Turn  the  gas  off.

Drop  a  big  spoonful  of  the  batter  while  still  hot  on  the  greased  plate.  Spread  it  out  thin  using  a  palette.  Repeat  with  the  rest  of  the  batter.  Let  it cool.  Cut  thin  strips  with  a  sharp  knife.  Refer  to  the  second  picture  above.  Roll  the  strips  and  collect  on  the  serving  platter.

Tadka;

Take  the  canola  oil  in  a  small  nonstick  bowl  on  high  flame.  Add  the  mustard  seeds,  sesame  seeds  and  curry  leaves.  When  the  mustard  seeds  stop  sputtering  add  the  rest  of  the  asafoetida.  Turn  the  gas  off  as  soon  as  there  is  a  nutty  aroma  –  about  20  seconds.  Spread  this  over  the  Khandvi.

Garnish  with  chopped  coriander  leaves  and  grated  coconut.  Enjoy.

Inside  Scoop,

Besan  is  chickpea  flour,  available  in  Indian  grocery  stores,  The  Real  Canadian  Superstore  and  Walmart  in  their  World  food  aisle.

continuous  stirring  is  very  important.

Although  not  in  English,  this  video  might  be  helpful.

 

Nimbu chawal: Lemon rice

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By  Ratna,

untitled-4 The  white  butterfly  flew  aimlessly,  sitting  on  the  Prairie  crocus  once  and  on  the  Anemones  next,  going  back  to  the  crocuses  again. The  Robins  and  the  Blackbirds  are  tree  hopping.  It  is  spring  here  in  the  Prairies.  The  season  of  budding  and  blooming,  of  nesting  and  nursing.  The  season  of  a  new  beginning.

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“Chawlo  garite  ghure  ashi”  let’s  go  for  a  drive,  offered  my  husband  N.  That  seemed  just  the  right  thing  to  do.  I  packed  some  snacks  and  my  camera  before  we  took  to  the  roads.

untitled-8

It  felt  like  the  nature  just  woke  up.  The  sky  so  clear  and  blue,  as  if  reassuring  the  surroundings,  everything  is  going  to  be  fine.  The  bent  bud  taking  that  clue  to  straighten  itself  first  then  opening  up  one  petal  at  a  time,  ever  so  slowly.

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Lemon  rice  is  a  dish  that  requires  very  little  work.  It  is  an  excellent  way  to  use  up  left  over  rice  too.  Its  versatility  doesn’t  stop  there.  If  you  are  wondering  what    it  pairs  with?   It  is  as  comfortable  with  an  elaborate  vegetable  dish  at  its  side,  as  it  is  with  a  few  dollops  of  yoghurt  and  some  crispy  Poppadums.

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The  wooden  bench  by  the  side  of  the  water  seemed  the  perfect  site  to  enjoy  our  snacks.  The  crunch  from  the  nuts,  the  tangy  taste  of  the  lemon  rice  complemented  each  other  just  right.

We  drove  aimlessly  on  the  country  roads.  ” Weren’t  we  here  a  few  minutes  back”  sometimes  we  said  in  unison.

It  didn’t  matter.

I  thought  of  the  white  butterfly…

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Recipe:  Serves  3-4  as  snacks.

Ingredients:

Cooked  rice                                                           1  cup

Ghee                                                                        1  Tbsp

Mustard  seeds                                                        1/4  tsp

Chana  dal                                                               1/2  Tbsp

Urad  dal                                                                  1/2  Tbsp

Peanuts                                                                     1  Tbsp

Cashew  nuts                                                            1  Tbsp

Curry  leaves                                                             5-6

Dry  red  chillies                                                         1-2

Coriander  leaves  chopped                                       1  Tsp

Turmeric  powder                                                     1/2  tsp

Salt  to  taste

Juice  of one  lemon

Method;

Take  the  ghee  in  a  saucepan  on  high  heat.  Fry  the  peanuts  till  golden  brown,  collect  them  on  paper  towels.  Add  the  mustard  seeds,  wait  till  it  pops,  then  add  the  chana  dal.  Fry  a  bit  till  it  changes  colour,  add  the  turmeric  powder,  cashews  red  chillies,  salt  and  curry  leaves.  Use  the  spatula  to  give  it  a  stir,  make  sure  they  don’t  stick  to  the  bottom  of  the  pan.  Put  the  gas  off  as  soon  as  cashews  brown  a  bit.

Add  the  rice,  mix  very  gently  so  the  grains  remain  intact.  Sprinkle  the  lemon  juice  on  top  and  give  one  more  stir.  Garnish  with  the  fried  peanuts  and  chopped  coriander  leaves.

You  are  done.

Inside  Scoop;

Curry  leaves  are  available  in  Indian  supermarkets.  Fresh  ones  are  the  first  choice,  dried  ones  are  available  too.

Urad  dal  is  Skinned  Black  lentil.

Chana  dal  is  Split  Desi  chick  peas.

Ghee  can  be  store  bought  or  made  at  home  too. Here  is  how  to.