Winter Favorite – Punjabi Kadhi With Methi Pakoda


Chickpea Flour Fritters in Spicy Yogurt Gravy 

(Gluten free) 

This what is known as comfort food.

Kadhi is one of my favorite winter dishes though we make it in sumers too. Be it mungodi ki kadhi or the ever popular besan ke pakode wali kadhi, it is eaten with gusto by everyone. You can have a huge variety of pakodas for the kadhi depending on what’s the mood of the day. :) I come from the a family where I was fortunate to savour cuisines from both Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. We make the zirya miryachi kadhi as well as the simple pakodiwali kadhi UP style. Kadhi can be spicy, muted, thick, soupy, depending on who is making it.

I can eat the dish with plain boiled rice, chapati or just simply without any accompaniment. It is filling and healthy. Usually I make enough kadhi to last a few days. It is believed that kadhi tastes even better the next day.

This one is a panjabi variation  which I learned at my inlaws’ place then added my twist t oit later on. It tastes awesome with makki (corn flour) ki roti. The combination is out of the world.  I love to add fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves), palak ( spinach leaves, finely chopped potatoes to the pakodas. Sometimes I just use onions. As I said it all depends on what’s available and the mood that day. Methi/ spinach enhance the taste of the dish. You can remove methi from the pakoda recipe and add it to makki / wheat flour roti too. My mother makes UP style Kadhi with plain pakodas ( just mildly spiced chickpea flour. No added veggies).

Best Kadhi is made with sour curd and is eaten usually at lunch as sour curd is not eaten at night. The trick is in following the recipe properly or the kadhi won’t come out well.

In North India, kadhi is seasoned at the end just before serving. sometimes individually. A whole red chilli and tempering in ghee for each bowl. It is milder in taste and texture in comparison with panjabi kadhi. You can either season it before adding the liquid curd mixture or at the end once the dish is ready to serve. Both have their distinct flavours and aromas.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ingredients for the pakodas (Dumplings) -

Besan ( gram flour/ chickpeas flour) – 1 cup

Ajwain ( carom seeds) – 1/4 teaspoon

Onion – roughly chopped 2 medium

Potato – finely chopped 1 medium ( optional)

Methi leaves ( fenugreek leaves) – fresh, finely chopped, a handful

salt, red chilli – to taste

assafoetida – a pinch

garam masala ( homemade) – 2 pinch

Green chilli – finely chopped 1 small

Oil – to fry

Tempering :

Onion – 1 large , finely chopped

Whole red chillies – 2-3

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek seeds –  1 teaspoon

Curry leaves – a few

Mustard oil or any other oil – 2 table-spoon

Garlic – finely chopped 4-5 pods

Ginger – finely chopped  1/2 inch

Asafoetida – a pinch

Preparing buttermilk for Kadhi :

Take 2 cups of sour curd. beat it properly and dilute it with water to make a homogenous buttermilk. Usually 2 cups of water is enough but you can adjust it as per need. If you like the kadhi thinner then use another cup full of water. Add salt ( a little, remember the pakodas have salt in them too), turmeric power, garam masala, coriander powder , red chilli powder and about 4 tablespoons of chickpeas flour to the buttermilk and stir properly. I put 1 teaspoon each except coriander powder which is 2-3 teaspoons. I dip two stems of curry leaves in the butter milk at this time.

Keep aside.

To make the Pakodas:

Take besan in a wide-mouthed bowl. Add all the ingredients to it and mix well. Slowly add water and whisk it allowing the air to pass through the batter.  It will make the pakodas lighter. I don’t recommend eating soda etc.

The batter should be light and fluffy like cake batter. Test – drop a drop of batter in a bowlful of water. if the batter floats it is ready to fry.

Now heat a wok ( Kadhai, preferably iron one) and add oil ( I use mustard oil but you can use any vegetable oil or even bake the pakodas) . Let the oil come to smoking point . For mustard oil, it is essential. For others, just make sure the oil is hot enough to fry.

Keep the heat medium and gently drop the pakodas into the oil. I use my fingers to lift the battter for pakodas. Once the pakodas have swelled to become doble their size and are fluffy and nicely browned from all sides, drain them on an absorbent paper. The inside should be airy and gooey and outside they should be crisp.

You can always make some extra ones and keep them for future use. I avoid too many pakodas in kadhi as they absorb the liquid. Less pakodas mean less oil too ;)

Now to make the Kadhi 

Keep a large pan add a little mustard oil for tempering. ( You can do this step later also. If not tempering now then just add the buttermilk mixture into the pan and keep stirring till it boils. Heat should be high in the beginning and medium to low later.

If tempering at this stage then 

Add asafoetida, and all the spices into the hot oil. once they start to crackle add onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves ( take out the ones you had dipped in buttermilk earlier) and let the mixture sizzle. Stir it to let it roast properly . The raw smell of ginger , garlic should go and onions should be nicely browned.

Add the buttermilk slowly to the tempering , stirring continuously till the mixture begins to boil. Always stir in clockwise direction. Make sure you take a large deep pan as the buttermilk will froth while boiling.

I let it simmer on low heat for 10-20 min sometimes even more. It depends on how thick or thin I want the kadhi to be. You can add pakodas to it at this time or , like me, add them half an hour before serving so they keep their shape and don’t become soggy. If your pakodas are slightly hard then it is better to add them while the mixture is boiling and leave them in.

Pakodas soak up the kadhi so make sure there is enough liquid. The pakoda – buttermilk proportion should be right.

Taste the kadhi at this point for salt and spices. Whatever you feel is less simply add according to your taste.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice, roti or eat it plain without any side dish.

Enjoy the Hot spicy Panjabi Kadhi with a little poem by Priyanka Dey, our very own indiblogger  :D

 

“Take a dip
or a sip, if you like
please you senses
get intoxicated,
by simply looking at the sight..
winter’s on a roll
as the warm bed is a matter of delight
see how everything turns to yellow
green silver and bright.”

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Food – Two Traditional Indian Sweet Gruels – Atta Lapsi and Besan Seera


There is nothing like hot, aromatic, flavourful food on winter days. When it comes to sweets there are many which are my favorite winter desserts like various halwas, Jalebi, kheers, gulab jamun etc. but when I am battling cough and cold I crave for besan seera and atta lapsi, two traditional sweet gruels which are full of health and taste.

Many of my childhood memories are associated with these sweet dishes especially of the days when I was fighting a bad cough and cold at the beginning of winter and would long for hot seera from mom’s kitchen while sitting in a cozy quilt at night. Slowly I would sip or eat spoonfuls of it and doze off into blissful sleep. It is one of the sure shot home remedies for cough and cold, best to be eaten at night before sleeping. Soothes the throat and warms the body in a jiffy.

Many variations of lapsi and seera are made across the country, these two recipes are the basic ones that I make for my family. These traditional Indian desserts are not just sweet dishes but tried and tested home cure too. So who doesn’t want soul food on such difficult days :)

Atta Lapsi 

Made from whole wheat flour this lapsi has a good amount of complex carbohydrates for instant energy. It has other nutritional benefits too which you can Google. Some people call this dessert Atta halwa or whole wheat pudding because of its smooth velvety pudding like texture but I prefer to make it like a gruel like it was made in olden days.Rural folks still call it lapsi but now a days one doesn’t hear this word so often.  Lapsi can be made with ragi flour too and it tastes equally delicious.

For whole wheat Lapsi/Lapsee you will need:

Whole Wheat Flour – 1/2 cup

Sugar or Jaggery – 1/2 cup or less ( depends on how sweet you want it)

Water -2 cups (depends on how flowy you like it)

Black peppercorns – 6-7 crushed

Black cardamom seeds –  1/4 teaspoon crushed

To make Atta Lapsi 

First place a heavy bottom wok or pan on the stove.

Add wheat flour and dry roast it on low medium heat till it starts giving a nice aroma and the colour turns to golden almond brown. Add the crushed spices and stir. Black peppercorn and black cardamom are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of many respiratory ailments including  cold, cough or a congested chest.

Now slowly add the water stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. Keep stirring till the mixture it smooth and gets the required texture and consistency. You can reduce or increase the amount of water as per your need. I like to keep the lapsi gruel like).  Add sugar/ grated jaggery at this point.

This recipe doesnt not require any oil or ghee(clarified butter).

Keep the flame low and cover the pan with lid for a few minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve hot.

You can add raisins and other dry fruits in it if you are making it as a dessert. Keep the consistency pudding like for the halwa.

Besan ka Seera 

 

Besan seera is one of the more popular dishes used as a home remedy for cough and common cold. This dish is gluten-free and very nutritious. Gram flour is made by finely grinding the chickpeas and is rich in protein , folate, thiamine, B6 and other vitamins,  and minerals like iron, magnesium etc. Spices like cardamom and black peppercorns are beneficial in curing many respiratory ailments including chest congestion, cold etc. I put both green and black cardamoms in this dish. Both are a good source of many nutrients like iron, manganese, essential volatile oils, calcium, magnesium etc. and they add a nice flavor to the dessert.

 

 

For Besan Seera you will need :

Besan (Gram flour) – 1/2 cup

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Ghee/ Clarified butter – 1/4 cup

Water – 2 cups

Green Cardamom seeds –  two pinches of powdered seeds

Black Cardamom seeds – two pinches of powdered seeds

 

To make Besan Seera 

Keep a heavy bottom pan or wok on medium heat. Once the pan is hot add ghee / clarified butter and warm it up. Turn the heat low once the ghee is hot then add besan/ gram flour to it and roast it till it starts giving a nice aroma and turns brown in color.

Make sure the flour doesn’t burn or get over roasted. You will be able to make out from the distinct aroma when its done.

Stir in the powdered spices.

Now slowly add water to it and keep stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. The mixture should have a smooth velvety texture. Add or reduce water to match the consistency you need.  I like to keep it gruel like so I can sip or eat with a spoon whichever way I like.

Note- You can use milk 2 cups in case of dry cough without much mucus or use water 2 cups if there is a lot of persistent mucus with cough. I avoid milk in both the cases.

Add sugar and stir properly.  Turn off the heat and serve hot.

You need to sip it spoon by spoon before going to bed at night. Make sure you don’t get up after having it. Just cozy up and sleep. :) This is if you are suffering from cold, cough and chest congestion.

You can always make this delicious sweet dish any time throughout winter and enjoy it by adding crushed almonds, raisins etc to it.

I hope you like these rustic desserts and make your winter sumptuous. Let me know your experiences.  If you have any variations to these recipes please post them in the comment section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe – Two Variations Of Fresh Tomato Based Pasta Sauce


I love to experiment with food and cooking is not just a hobby but passion with me. I am not a food blogger yet I love to share the simple dishes I make in my kitchen. Nothing exotic but something that is healthy and filling. Pasta is a “quick meal” option for me any day.

Dry whole wheat pasta is my choice when it comes to Italian cuisine. I make my own variations of sauces and additions to the dish depending on the seasonal availability of stuff that can go with the main dish.

Here we will talk about the fresh tomato sauce for pasta and its variations. A perfect, well executed sauce with tomatoes can enhance the flavor of any pasta dish. The sauce must be used as a condiment , just enough to coat each strand or piece of pasta. I don’t prefer to make it as a ‘gravy’ that collects at the bottom of the dish.

The best way to prepare wheat pasta is to cook it until it is within a minute of being done and then drain and toss it in the stove which is still on the sauce. It helps the pasta to cook further and absorb all the flavours from the sauce. Pasta should be cooked al dente in my opinion.

I use cheese sparingly as it masks the flavours of the dish. A slight drizzle on top is all it takes.

With fresh tomato as foundation of these sauces you may add meat, veggies , herbs or anything you wish to the dish or simply enjoy the earthy basic Pomodero sauce with oregano or garlic as I prefer.

These recipes are for about 100 gms of boiled pasta.

This tomato Concasse sauce is also called Arrabbiata Sauce.  Use  two-three tablespoons of red wine if desired. You can remove the red pepper for the basic concasse recipe. You can use this sauce to make Cottage Cheese in Arrabbiata sauce . Use fresh cubed cottage cheese (Paneer) for this. Toss the cubes in when the sauce is ready. Let it simmer till the cottage cheese absorbs all the flavors.

For tomato concasse sauce you will need :

Red ripe plum tomatoes – 5 large ones

Red bell pepper (charred) – 1/2

Chopped garlic - 2 heaped tablespoon (I love the flavor)

Chopped onion – 1/2 cup

Tomato ketchup -1/2 cup

Oregano – 1 teaspoon

Chilli flakes – 1 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Sugar - 1 teaspoon ( if the tomatoes are sour)

Crushed black peppercorns - 1 teaspoon

Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

Fresh herbs – according to taste. I usually use basil, thyme, parsley or coriander.

To make the sauce - 

Blanch and skin the tomatoes. Always use the ripe plum tomatoes. The desi variety is usually sour and doesn’t give the desired color. Discard the seeds and the yellow part on the top. Puree them and keep aside. I char the tomatoes sometimes just to be more adventurous. :) Char and skin the red bell pepper. purée that too.

In a heavy bottom pan heat olive oil and add finely chopped garlic. they them become slighty golden then add onions. Onion help to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. When the onions become translucent  add tamatoesand bell pepper purée and stir gently. Let the flavours merge together. Keep the flame low. Then add chilli flakes, oregano, salt , sugar and crushed peppercorns. Add tomato ketchup and stir it well. Cook till it is smooth and nicely textured.  Always make the sauce in open pan or it will have a bland steamed and weak taste. Use wooden spoon for stirring. Toss in the fresh herbs  at this point , add the boiled pasta to the sauce and gently fold it in till its properly covered in sauce. Serve hot garnished with herbs and a drizzle of cheese.

You can add anything like meat, sautéed vegetables etc as per your taste to this basic pasta sauce. I prefer to enjoy both the variations without any extra additions. Improvisation and experimentation is the key to good food. One good option is to use fresh tender chopped spring onions either in the sauce or as garnish.

Two variations of  Mint chutney tomato sauce with distinct flavours of Indian Gooseberry and raw mango. When using this variation with tomato concasse please do not use any other herbs. 

For this sauce you need to make the traditional coriander and mint chutney either with Indian gooseberries (Awla) or raw mangoes ( Kairi). Replace awla with raw mango. Awla is a winter fruit and raw mango is for summer so you can enjoy this sauce in both the seasons.

To make the mint chutney sauce variation

Cut the amount of tomato ketchup to half and add the mint coriander chutney to it. Mix well and add it to the basic sauce. You can stir it in at the last point before serving too. This gives the pasta a different flavor.

 

So we have a perfect medley of high quality proteins, carbs, minerals and vitamins in these simple variations of  fresh tomato based pasta sauces. Be adventurous and tell me how would you use them and with what other variations.

BON APPETIT

 

you can see more pasta recipes here 

 

 

 

Recipe- Healthy Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Red Kidney Beans Sauce


 

0

 

Whole wheat spaghetti/ pasta  is one of my favorites when it comes to a “meal in jiffy”. It is healthy and easy to prepare. I use Colavita but there are many brands which make 100% whole durum wheat pasta.  I prefer it over the white refined pasta for its immense nutritive value.

This spaghetti is made with red kidney beans in tomato sauce. Red kidney beans are good source of cholesterol lowering fiber and when combined with whole grains they offer fat-free high quality protein. They have many other nutritional benefits too. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and have great amount of Vitamin C and beta carotene apart from other benefits. Whether it is whole, crushed, diced or paste, tomatoes provide a healthy base for many dishes with the right balance of sweetness and acidity. So here we have a good combination of carbohydrates and proteins in a healthy quick meal. Enjoy!

 

For the Red Kidney Bean Sauce you need 

Small Kashmiri Red kidney beans – 1/2 cup (boiled)

Tomatoes-  4 big Red ripe ones

Garlic – 4 big cloves

Corriander or cilantro – 1/4 cup

Red Onion – 1 big

Salt  to taste

Black pepper – freshly crushed to taste

Green chilli – 2 medium (depending on taste and sharpness of the chillies)

Chilly flakes – to taste

Tomato ketchup / – 4 tablespoon

Tomato chilli sauce – 2 table-spoon or to taste. (optional)

Other Ingredients 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti or any other pasta – 1/4 packet  (about 100 gm)

Olive oil – 2 tablespoon

Coriander – to garnish

Spring onion to garnish

To make the sauce 

Wash and pressure cook / boil the red kidney beans with a little salt till soft. Keep in mind that they should be soft and  cooked properly  but not squishy. Blanch, peal  and  crush tomatoes or just grate them after removing the seeds. cut the onion and garlic very fine. Grind the green chillies with a bit of salt. I usually grind them in Mortar and pestle with salt and let the mixture dry completely. Then I store it to use in various things.

Take a pan and put it on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add finely chopped garlic and let them roast to a delicate golden brown color then add finely chopped onion. Cook them till translucent then add grated or blanched tomatoes. stir properly and let the mixture cook on medium heat. Add salt and pepper. Oregano  and chilli flakes if desired.

You have to be careful with salt as it is added at various stages. We don’t want to ruin thedish, do we? :)

Once the tomatoes getcooked properly add the tomato sauce and the chilli sauce. Stir and lower the flame.

Add the boiled kidney beans and gently mix the sauce and the beans so that the beans don’t get crushed.

Add cilantro/ coriander and finely chopped spring onion ( just two tablespoon)

Let the  sauce simmer for sometime. We don’t need to dry the beans sauce.

Prepare the Spaghetti 

Whole wheat spaghetti takes a long time to cook so before you begin with other things do keep the spaghetti ready to add.

For that, boil the spaghetti in a big pot of boiling water with a little salt  anda few drops of olive oil  and cook as instructed on the pack or till al dente. Once done strain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water so they don’t stick together.

Add the spaghetti to the red kidney beans tomato sauce and toss gently till the sauce lavishly covers the spaghetti.

Turn off the stove and serve it hot with cilantro or coriander garnish. Toss a few chopped spring onions if you like them. You can add herbs of your choice in it but I prefer it rustic and simple.

You can also serve it the way I have. Layer the pasta and Bean sauce instead or mixing them together and garnish. :)


 

Garnish Tip -

You can make florets of the spring onions by cutting the white root leaving a two-inch stem. Slice the brown hairy root at the top.  Now slice the white part from the top to bottom lengthwise leaving a little space at the end . Place them in a bowl of ice-cold water and refrigerate for two hours till the leaves curl to form a floret. It looks fabulous as a garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Poem – Wraith


Every year when the veil thins

and the two worlds merge as one,

she tiptoes across the bare fields

under the cold gray skies

wearing a cloak of autumn leaves,

stops at an abandoned cemetery

at the riverside,

rushes past the creaky gate,

and the moonlit graves,

 kneels beside a nameless stone

 sweeps it clean with her gentle hands

and  lays a clumsy bouquet of

wayside beauties gathered on the way,

She then lights a votive candle and spreads

a feast for two; mulled wine, fruits, nuts, berries,

and a loaf of rye bread.

 

Shadowless like silence

she sits under the wiccan moon

clasping the little life that came too swiftly

and went too soon.

 

All through the Samhain night

you can hear her lament with a sorrowful heart

“Why O why they buried us

so far apart”