Gatte Ki Sabzi| Chickpea Dumpling Curry


I love this delicious gatte ki sabzi from Rajasthan. I have another recipe of the Punjabi version on my blog but this is absolute delight when eaten with hot fresh phulkas smeared with ghee or of course the bajra roti which is traditionally served with this curry. Ghee is healthy and you should use it.  The gattas I made for this recipe are thinner and spicier than the Punjabi ones.

Gatta is chickpea flour dumpling that is steamed or boiled till they float up and become light. One can spice them up or keep them plain. They are so tempting and hard to resist that you may keep munching on them while making the curry and realize that there is more curry than the gattas.

Make some extra dumplings always.  You can use these  gattas or dumplings with other veggies also but this is a basic recipe.

Ingredients : 

For Gatta : 

Besan / Chickpea flour – 1 Cup

Home cultured curd / Yogurt – 1/4 Cup

Fennel seeds powder – 3/4 tsp

Ajwain – 3/4 tsp

Salt – to taste

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Chili powder – to taste

Pinch of hing powder

2 pinches of coarsely ground fresh black pepper corns

For the Curry : 

Ginger and Garlic – 1 tsp each ( grated)

Onion – 1 medium size, chopped fine

Green chilies – 2, slit or chopped

Whole red chilies – 1-2

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tbs

Besan or  Chickpea flour – 2 tbs

Fresh coriander leaves – chopped – 2 tbsp

Method :

For Gatta :

Mix the dry ingredients listen under gatta except the ghee and curd.

Pour ghee evenly and rub it in the mixture. Slowly add beaten curd one spoon at a time to make a firm dough.

Divide the dough in equal parts and roll it in your palms to make a cylindrical shape.  You can make it as thin or thick but I have noticed that the thicker ones don’t cook well from the center when boiled.

Making perfect gatta is a bit tricky at times but you’ll get used to it.

Now take a deep large pan and boil enough water. Once the water boils slowly dunk the gatta in it. You can go about doing some other stuff while they cook in the boiling water. It takes a lot of time. Keep checking in between and the moment gatttas rise up and start floating take them out in a plate to cook. Throw away the water.

Once they cool, cut them into 1 inch long pieces.

Now  to make the curry :

Blend the yogurt and add the powdered masalas and salt in it. Remember that you had added salt in the gattas too. Mix well. Roast the besan and allow it t cool. Now, make a paste with  2 tbsp of buttermilk and add to the curd. DO NOT add more than 1-2 tbs of besan or it will become kadhi. You can omit besan too. I use it just to make sure that the curd doesn’t curdle.

Heat a wok or a kadhayi and put ghee in it.  when the ghee melts, add hing and cumin seeds. When they crackle , add red and green chili, stir and add ginger and garlic. Saute and add the onions. Let the onions brown a little then turn off the gas. Add the curd mixture and give it a nice stir.

Put tit back on flame and keep stirring on low medium heat till the ghee separates from the masala.

Slowly add warm water to make a curry till you get desired consistency. The gravy will thicken once you add gattas so keep that it mind.

Adjust salt and spices to your liking at this point.

Let the curry boil for sometime and then dip in the gatta pieces.

Let it cook for about 5-10 minutes and then garnish it with fresh coriander leaves.

Eat it hot with bajra roti or phulka smeared with ghee. It makes for one hell of a satiating meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Punjabi Kathal Masala | Punjabi Jackfruit Vegetable


Popularly known as “vegetarian’s meat’, this fibrous, starchy and fleshy fruit is one of my favorites.  From tender ones to the absolutely ripe ones Jackfruit is used in variety of dishes from sweet to savory. Even the juice of ripe jackfruit is dried and used to make dishes like fansache sandane.  It is even pickled and the kathal ka achar is one of the best things on earth. I had kathal ki biryani at a friend’s place and it tasted just like the mutton biryani though the hardcore non vegetarian would never call it a biryani for Biryani means rice and Meat. 🙂 Nothing can substitute it. Kathal is one of the many things especially cooked on Holi in UP.

Although in my house only tender baby kathal or slightly more matured one was used for vegetable or kababs I learned to cook the more mature fibrous one from my MIL. It was cooked mostly like meat. The recipe used all the spices used to cook meat. It was cooked on slow fire and given dum. ( the dum pic got deleted accidentally but I will upload it later)

I did variations whenever possible to make the best use of the meaty fruit. Achari kathal being one of them which is cooked exactly like murg achari.

I neither use very tender baby jackfruit nor the very fibrous mature one for this subzi. The jackfruit seeds, that look like chestnuts, should not be very tough to chew. I never liked their plastic like covering.

Note – Get the jackfruit peeled and cut by the vegetable vendor or apply some oil and use a sharp knife to cut. It secretes a sticky resin and things can get very messy if not done properly.

kathal

 

Ingredients – 

Green unripe kathal/jakfruit – 1/2 kg

Onion – 2 large

Potatoes – 2 medium size ( optional)

Tomatoes – 5-6 medium size

Ginger – 1 inch ( grated)

Garlic – 7-8 cloves ( grated)

Green chilies – 2-3 ( slit)

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 2 tablespoon

Turmeric / Haldi Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Home made Garam Masala – 1/4 teaspoon

Amchur/ mango powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Asafoetida – 2 pinches

Cumin Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Mustard Oil for frying

Water – 1 cup

Chopped green coriander leaves – for garnish

Steps- 

  1. Peel and cut the kathal into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces. Make a cut in the seeds if there are large ones or they will burst while frying or slice them if they are not too stubborn). (Be careful with that) Wash and keep aside.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes ( if using) and place them in water.
  3. Heat Mustard oil in a kadhai  and bring it to smoking point, Keep the flame to medium now. ( Mustard oil gives the subzi a unique taste but you may use some other also)
  4. Deep fry the kathal pieces in small batches till they are golden brown but not darker than that. Fry the potatoes too.
  5. Drain the fried jackfruit and potatoes on to a kitchen towel or paper to remove excess oil.
  6. Chop the onions fine.
  7. Grate the tomatoes into a puree.
  8. Remove excess oil fro mthe kadhayi and keep about two tablespoon for making the masala for the sabzi.
  9. Add cumin seeds and when they splutter add hing/asafoetida.
  10. Add chopped onions and green chili.
  11. Fry till golden brown. ( Add a little salt to help in browning)
  12. Add ginger and garlic and fry them along with the onions.
  13. Add red chili and a little water to give that rich brown color to the masala.
  14. Let the mixture cook for a minute and then add  the grounded masalas and the remaining salt.
  15.  stir properly and fry till the oil separates. Keep flame low.
  16. Move the onion mix to a side of kadhayi and add tomato puree.
  17. Stir everything well and let it cook under cover for sometime. ( 5-10 min)
  18. Open the lid and add some of the chopped green coriander leaves. This gives the masala a very nice flavor.
  19.  keep stirring the masala till the water from tomatoes dries out and the masala starts to leave oil. It will become smooth in texture by now.
  20. Add kathal and potato pieces to the masala  and mix well so that the masala gets incorporated in each piece. Add a little water to help in the process.
  21.  cook it on medium high flame , stirring continuously so the vegetable pieces soak up all the fragrant masala.
  22. Add more water to make a thick gravy and cover to cook on slow flame.
  23. Keep checking for the pieces to become tender.
  24. The time depends on the quality of kathal. ( Took 45 mins)
  25. Once the pieces have become tender check for the salt and spices. Add more if required.
  26. The kathal masala can be a thick moist vegetable coated with the masala but dry or you can add some water to make it into a curry. Keep it as thick or thin as you wish.
  27. If you want to dum the vegetable then cover with lid and seal the lid with wheat flour dough so that the steam doesn’t escape.
  28. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes on very low heat then turn off the heat and carefully remove the seal.
  29. Spoon the aromatic punjabi kathal masala vegetable in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining green coriander leaves.
  30. Eat with layered paratha, phulka or rice.
  31. Serve some cooling raita, pickled carrots and sliced onions.

Tip – If you do not wish to fry the kathal and potatoes you can make this recipe with steamed or raw pieces also.

This is a slow cook recipe and a labor of love. Follow the steps and you will have a sumptuous vegetable.

My garam masala has nutmeg, cinnamon, bayleaf, javitri, big black cardamom, green cardamom, dry ginger, cumin, coriander etc. so I do not add khada masala or whole spices.

Some people  add two three tablespoons of thick curd in the masala instead of amchur/mango powder. I make dahiwala kathal as a separate dish.

Enjoy this delicious meaty vegetable while the fruit is still in season.

 

 

 

 

Indian Twist to Tex -Mex Tortilla Chips


 

Usually Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas and the main dish made from them is Nachos loaded with cheese, sour cream and salsa but I gave it a twist to this famous snack. These chapati chips are prepared from whole wheat and gram flour. Instead or cheese and salsa I served them with freshly made raw grated mango takku. A delightful tangy sweet relish. You can eat them with your favorite dip or have them the traditional way with fresh salsa and sour cream. Hung curd dip pairs well with it.

Ingredients :

  • Leftover Chapatis – 3-4
  • Salt and Pepper – to sprinkle over the chips
  • Chaat masala – To sprinkle (optional)
  • Oil – For Frying. (About 3/4 cup)
  • Your favorite dip | salsa | cheese or sour cream

 

Steps :

  1. Make some whole wheat and gram flour (besan) chapatis beforehand if you plan to make these tortilla chips. If you make fresh ones then dry them for a oil for crisp frying.
  2. Cut the chapatis into 5-8 triangle shaped wedges.
  3. Heat oil for frying in a medium size dry skillet.
  4. Once the oil is heated to medium high heat slip the tortilla triangles in a single layer into the oil.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to keep the chips in single layer so they don’t overlap and are covered in oil completely.
  6. Fry them for 2 minutes or until the chips are slightly brown in color and firm and no longer pliable.
  7. Place paper towels in a plate and remove the chips to paper towel lined plate.
  8. Keep the oil hot by adjusting the heat as we will use less oil.
  9. In a serving place heap the crisps tortillas and sprinkle salt and pepper. You can use chat masala too. I use it only when there is no topping.
  10. Serve the chapati chips hot as nachos with your favorite toppings or with raw grated mango takku / green mint chutney / guacamole any other dip or sauce you like.

 

My Tip: When kneading the dough for these chips you can either use just the whole wheat flour or mix gram flour with it like I did. The proportion I keep is 2:1 You can also use mix grain flour to make them healthier. Instead of frying you can bake them in the oven at 180 degrees for 6-8 minutes . Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper when you line them in baking tray. Do not overlap. Bake till brown and crisp. I also add finely chop green chili and coriander leaves and ajwain ( carom seeds) to the flour before making a dough sometimes. You can be as innovative as you wish. Personally I do not like cheese with these chapati chips. It overwhelms the basic rustic flavor of the chips.

 

Savory Red Amaranth Leaves And Sattu Pancakes


This is the season for Amaranth greens, both greens streaked through with shades or red and purple or purely purple red. Both equally nutritious and full of health giving vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, antioxidants and dietary fiber. It is a good source of protein and iron too.

Fresh and cheap, they can be used in variety of dishes from salads, stir fries, it can be  mixed with dal, added to soups, fried as fritters or pan fried like pancakes.with your choice of flour from ragi (finger millet) , buckwheat, bajra (pearl millet), or chickpea flour. multi-grain pancake can be really a filling option. There are numerous way to turn these leaves into vegetable dishes.

I made besan cheela, a crepe like dish made with chickpea flour with red chaulai or amaranth leaves a few days back but here I decided to give the pancakes a twist by adding sattu. I have done a few more posts about the goodness of this roasted gram flour which you can check in the recipe index.

Sattu is again a wonder flour with a lot of nutritive value. You can make it at home too.

As sattu isn’t a good binding agent I have used a small amount of besan or chickpea flour so that our batter turns out well.

This is a gluten free, vegan recipe. The pancakes can be eaten as breakfast or as a tea time snack. One must consume them immediately as they tend to turn soft.

Crisp from outside and soft from inside these pancakes are one of my favorites.

Ingredients : 

  • Fresh Red Amaranth Leaves – 1 Cup chopped
  • Onion – 1 Medium chopped roughly
  • Green chili – 2 chopped fine
  • Sattu | Roasted Gram Flour – 4 tablespoon
  • Chickpea Flour | Besan – 2 tablespoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red Chili Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Water – for binding
  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon

Steps :

  1. In a large bowl add chopped amaranth leaves, onion, green chilies, sattu, besan, salt, pepper powder, chili powder and mix well.
  2. Rub the mixture with your fingers till the dry ingredients have incorporated well in the veggies.
  3. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The amaranth leaves and onion will release juices and moisten the mixture.
  4. Now add a little water at a time to make a thick batter. It should be just enough to bind the mixture properly.
  5. Sattu can not bind on its own so we use a little besan for binding. Use more of sattu and less of besan always.
  6. Heat a non stick pan and drizzle some olive oil in it.
  7. Divide the mixture in 4-6 small size portions. Spread a small portion of batter and pat with your fingers to spread it like a pancake.
  8. Repeat with other portions as well. Cook on low – medium heat till it crisps on one side then flip carefully.
  9. Brown and crisp the other side too, pressing it gently with a slotted spatula.
  10. Once both sides are nice and crisp, serve immediately with the dip or chutney of your choice. I had them with mint coriander mayo dip.
  11. These pancakes have a lovely flavor of amaranth and sattu and are incredibly crisp so don’t wait to dig in or they will become soggy.

My Tip: You can use both green or red amaranth leaves but I prefer the red ones for their high iron content and earthy texture. This is a low fat snack as we use just a little olive oil to cook it in pan rather than frying. You may omit onion and the pancakes will taste awesome.

I also realized that the leaves to flour ration should be 2:1 so we get more crunch from the leaves. Here as i used sattu I kept it a little more than usual. Both ways it tastes yum.

Banarasi Ras Wale Aaloo Aur Poori


A simple yet flavorful potato curry recipe from Banaras. This is traditionally eaten with Bedmi kachori or poori. It also brings fond memories of the station ke aaloo poori which I still relish during my train travels. Travelling by train meant preparing poories and aaloo subzi either dry or raswali. Everything was neatly packed with pickle and some other snacks and sweets. Later, when I discovered the joy of station wali aaloo poori and everything changed. We gorged on the hot spicy curry with pooris and never once bothered about the dripping oil. The taste was unique at each station.

In Haridwar I discovered dubki wale aaloo which were served with poori or kachori or bedmi poori. Another variation that is lip smacking.

This particular raswale aaloo is made at our home very often. A simple soul food with the flavor of spices that tickle your tongue as you eat. It balances the oily poori in the meal.

In Banaras even the average food stalls have delectable kachori and raswale aaloo. There are some other sabzis also that go with kachori like alloo and kaddu ki sabzi. 

Ingredients :

  • Boiled Potatoes – 4 Medium size
  • Grated Ginger – 1 tablespoon
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Amchoor Powder (Dry Mango Powder) – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Fennel Seeds ( Moti Saunf) roasted – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Banarasi Rai ( Small Mustard seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped Fresh Coriander Greens – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Water – 2-3 Cups

Step :

  1. Wash and boil the potatoes in pressure cooker. Once they are done, take them out, peel the skin and roughly break them with hand. Keep aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the powdered spices except salt. Add grated ginger to it and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Mix properly to make a paste.
  3. Heat a pan and add mustard oil to it. Bring it to smoke and reduce the heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds and asafoetida and just as the seeds crackle add the fennel seeds and the spice paste.
  5. Stir it and let it cook till the oil separates.
  6. Now add the broken potatoes and stir to coat them uniformly.
  7. Add 2-3 cups of water and salt. Mash the potatoes with the back of the ladle.
  8. Let it curry boil for five to ten minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.
  9. Check for the spice and salt levels and add more if needed.
  10. Once done, turn of the gas and ladle the spicy Banarasi raswale aaloo in a serving dish.
  11. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves.
  12. Traditionally the vegetable has a thin gravy. The kachori or poori is dunked in the spicy vegetable curry and eaten.
  13. Serve with hot poori/ kachori and curd/raita.

Delhi Street Style Egg Paratha


 

Egg parathas or Anda Parathas bring back a lot of memories from college days and later when mid night hunger pangs took us to moolchand parathewala and various other roadside paratha joints which catered to the night owls like us. It was the preferred choice of meal along with other stuffed parathas.  There can be no other soul satisfying meal than this when the city sleeps and the streets are almost empty except for  people like us and the dogs. The coveted time between 11 PM to 4 AM was the playground for these parathewalas and hungry night owls. You will always find people to tell you interesting stories related to their night- outs and paratha eating adventures.

Street food is an art. It is an experience to watch these street vendors conjure up delicious dishes right in front of you.  I have watched the art of making anda paratha but what we make at home doesn’t come closer to what the street side vendors sell. Still, for the love of it I started making a few variations of this famous paratha at home. My boys were sucker for this treat and it would be a choice of single egg or double egg, sometimes even a stuffing of anda bhurji or scrambled egg, keema would go in and the paratha would instantly become a  complete meal.

Crisp , flaky, packed with the goodness of eggs and spices egg paratha is a great thing to satiate your hunger. The stalls make this no frill delight and diligently serve you with pickle and onion rings. Sometimes even a dollop of butter.

Unlike usual stuffed paratha the street style egg paratha is slightly tricky to make. The beaten egg is gently folded into the layers of the crisp paratha and then it cooks inside them. Usually, in a good paratha you won’t be able to see a trace of egg outside and only when you tear it to take a bite the deliciousness of the cooked egg will come to light.

Some street parathas are made differently where the egg is broken on top of a large roti made with maida and cooked on hot tawa then folded with some keema or egg stuffing like a mughlai paratha but that is a different story.

The Delhi style egg paratha is different and unique in taste. Here are the two ways you can try to replicate the awesome street food at home.

Ingredients : (Serves 4)

Whole wheat Flour – 2 cups

Eggs – 4

Coriander greens –  4 tablespoons

Green chili – finely chopped 1 tablespoon

Salt and black pepper – to taste

Red chili powder – to taste.

Onion –  1/2 cup chopped fine

Water – to kneed the dough

Oil / Ghee – for cooking paratha

Steps : – 

The paratha for this recipe needs to be flaky so that when it puffs up the layers separate and you can slide the egg mixture inside by lifting the top layer. Regular paratha makers will not find this difficult and the new enthusiasts can learn from trial and error , it is all worth the effort. Trust me. 😀

In a bowl take wheat flour, add salt and a little oil and kneed it into a nice dough using water as required. Keep aside for 15 minutes and then kneed again with your fist to make a nice soft dough. Softer dough will yield great parathas. Keep it under a moist muslin cloth till ready to use.

In another bowl break one egg and add the coriander leaves, green chili, chopped onion and other spices.

Whisk it well and keep aside.

Divide the dough in four equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.

Dust the ball in dry flour and roll it into a circle with a rolling pin. Now apply some oil/ ghee and fold it in half circle , then fold again to make a triangle. brush oil/ ghee between each layer and sprinkle the dry wheat flour slightly. This will keep the layers separate.

Heat a frying pan or tawa, flat griddle on medium heat and cook the paratha till one side gets brown spots, flip and cook the other side similarly. Apply a little oil/ ghee on the sides.

When you see the edges becoming crisp and the paratha splits into layers  gently lift the top layer or make a incision with a sharp knife to pour the egg mixture between the two layers. Tilt the paratha a little so the mixture is evenly distributed.

Cover it again with the layer of paratha and let the egg cook inside.

Gently press it with the spatula to ensure the egg cooks well inside. Do it on both sides. You can keep the flame low and cook covered for a minute too.

Once done remove it in a serving plate and serve with pickle or chutney and a nice cutting chai. Yes, you need to have kadak chai with it. Coffee won’t do.

Sprinkle some chaat masala for that street style taste.

Repeat the procedure with other egg parathas.

They need to be eaten fresh but wrap them in paper towel or butter paper if you want to take them in your lunch box or pack them for your kiddo.

Method 2 

It is simpler and though parathas for me are always triangular and not circular but you can make it this way too.

The ingredients are the same So is the cooking method. What changes is the shape of the paratha.

Don’t worry if the egg comes out. Perfection is not always essential. The parathas taste just as awesome even with a little spillage from side.

Be careful while filling as the steam from the paratha can give you burn.

It takes a little practice to make these but once you learn it you will want them every day. We will make the famous Kolkata Mughlai paratha or the Baida roti soon

Usually the street stalls use refined flour or maida to make the paratha but this healthier version with whole wheat flour is better.

 

Important Tip – It is good to learn from people sharing their food adventures and recipes perfected over time. It is better to make your own stuff and share than copy paste someone else’s. Not everyone is a professional or seasoned food photographer so it is cool to take pix as it is in your kitchen than to steal from other blogs etc.

Don’t be scared to share the way food looks in your kitchen or plate. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Healthy Sattu Paratha With Baingan Chokha


 

Sattu – roasted gram flour – is not just low on cost but healthy and one of the highest source of indigenous plant based proteins. I did a post on how to make sattu at home. You can read it here 

In Bihar esp south Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern Utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, sattu is not just  a part of daily diet but a way of life. This protein rich food is the lifeline of rural bihar because of its cost effectiveness and rightly so.  Versatile in nature, one can make rotis, litti, poories, parathas, laddoos, mix it into a refreshing sweet or salty drink or just eat this wonder flour like a chutney. The most interesting fact is this flour needs no cooking. You can just mix it in whatever preparation and enjoy its benefits.

Here we will make delicious sattu parathas where the stuffing is made of sattu flour mixed with other ingredients while the paratha is made with wheat flour. Sattu parathas are usually eaten with smoked and spiced mashed eggplant vegetable called bharta or chokha. Some people make the cooked version of it but traditionally it includes all raw ingredients apart from roasted eggplants. It is again simple and delicious dish that pairs well with these parathas.

I have also made charred bell pepper raita with it which I learned from a very talented blogger Monika Manchanda. You must visit her blog Sinamontales for such lovely recipes.

Now I have used charred or roasted sweet peppers in pasta sauces and dips but not as it is used in this raita. It was a delight to make and eat. I will do a separate post for the raitas.

To make Sattu Parathas

Ingredients  for filling:

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Chana Sattu ( roasted Bengal gram flour) – 4-5 tablespoons

Onion – 1 large finely chopped

Green chili – 1-2 finely chopped

Salt – to taste

Garlic Cloves – 4-5

Grated Ginger  – 1 inch piece

Ajwain seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil from pickle ( Or red chili pickle) (Homemade) – 2 teaspoon

Lemon juice – 2 teaspoons or more

A little water.

For Paratha –

Whole wheat flour – 2 cups

Salt -a little

Ghee – 1/2 teaspoon ( salt and ghee are optional)

Water for kneading and making the dough

Steps – 

Make tight paratha dough by slowly adding water to the wheat flour, salt and ghee mixture. Once that’s done kneed it with your fist to make the dough pliable and soft.

Wrap with a moist muslin cloth and set aside.

Now, in a bowl take sattu and add finely chopped onion, green chili, ajwain seeds, salt, finely chopped garlic and grated or chopped ginger along with mashed up mango or red chili pickle with oil from the pickle. Add fresh chopped coriander greens and lemon juice.

Sprinkle some water and rub in the ingredients into the sattu gflour by massaging it with your fingers till every thing is incorporated well. The chopped veggies will release its juice so be easy with ater. The mixture must be of the same consistency as the dough.

To make the parathas 

Put a tawa or a pan on medium flame and let it heat while you roll the paratha.

Divide the dough into four or five smooth balls.

Take a ball of dough and press it a little to make it into shape of a pattie.

Dust the working board and the pattie with some dry flour then roll it out into a3-4 inch circle with a rolling pin. Spoon some stuffing on its center and gather the dough by lifting the rolled dough upward from the edges and bringing them together to seal the stuffed ball. They should meet at the center and the open ends should be sealed properly to avoid breakage and spilling.

Apply oil to the inside of the rolled circle before stuffing as it prevents breaking and spilling.

Now dust the stuffed balls again and gently roll them into a flat round paratha. Make sure the edges are thin and even.

Put the paratha on the midium hot tawa and brown from both sides.  brush ghee on the circular edges and and evenly on the paratha then flip to do the same to the other side till it is crispy and nicely done.

Transfer it to the plate and make the other parathas similarly.

To Make Bhaingan Choka/ bharta Or roasted / charred eggplant veggie –

Ingredients :

Large round eggplant – 1

Onion – 1 large chopped

Green chili – 1-2 chopped fine

Coriander greens (fresh) – 2 tablespoon chopped fine

Salt – to taste

Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon raw or smoked depending on your taste

Asafoetida – 1 -2 pinch

Garlic and ginger – finely chopped 1 teaspoon each

Steps –

Wash the eggplant and pat dry. Put it on medium flame directly on gas stove to roast evenly from all sides or you can roast till in oven too. Brush a little oil over it before roasting.

When the eggplant softens a little insert the garlic with skin into it and let it cook inside the eggplant . You can also peel and cut it to use it raw if you like the taste.

Once the eggplant is roasted well take it off flame and let it cool. Once cool, remove the charred  skin and mash it up wit ha fork or spoon.

In a bowl add the mashed smoked eggplant, finely chopped onions, mashed smoked garlic or the chopped ones, ginger, green chili, coriander leaves, salt  and mix properly. Add the mustard oil to it and hing (asafoetida) You can  smoke the mustard oil and  when it is warm add hing to it then pour over chokha too.

Both ways it tastes nice but raw mustard oil gives it a unique rustic flavor.

Some people shallow fry all the ingredients before adding them to the  roasted eggplant. That is a different version . Chokha is usually not cooked.

Serve the hot sattu parathas with baingan chokha , dahi ( curds), chaach (buttermilk)  or raita like I  did.

Enjoy this wholesome delicious rustic meal full of nutritional benefits.

 

 

Dahi wale Aaloo ( Spiced Potatoes In A Tempered Yogurt Gravy)


I learned to make these at my in-laws’ house. Whatever our differences, my MIL is a great cook. During merciless summer of North India this was one of the dishes that was made often. Quick to make and light on stomach we had it with poori, roti, paratha or even rice at times. Another variation was Rehru, a typical Himachali dish made from yogurt. Just the tempering and beaten yogurt added to it wit ha little water. So refreshing and good to eat as  main dish or as an accompaniment. .

I love dishes from from curd. especially in summers. Be it Kadhi chawal, that heavenly comfort food, or zeerya miryachi kadhi or just plain, chach, lassi, or dahi. You can find my Kadhi Chawal recipe here.

Dahi wale aaloo is very easy to make and requires very little preparation so you don’t need to spend hours in the hot kitchen. Mostly the traditional recipe from UP and Punjab requires the boiled potatoes to be lightly broken instead of cubed, one can make it either way. You can make it during fasting days and use black pepper instead of red chili powder or simply use green chilies to spice it up. Chilies are good for health so use them in your meals. This recipe uses no onion, no garlic.

Ingredients :

Boiled Potatoes – 3

Beaten Slightly Sour Yogurt – 1 cup

Cumin seeds ( zeera) – 1/2

Coriander seeds (Sabut Dhania) – 1/2 teaspoon

Asafoetida (Hing) – 2 pinch

Fennel seeds ( moti saunf) – 1/2 tespoon (optional)

Fresh coriander greens –  For garnish

Ghee (clarified butter)  – 1 tablespoon

Green chilies – 1-2

Ginger julienne – 1/2 teaspoon  (1 inch)

Salt – to taste

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1/4 teaspoon (Alternate with freshly ground black pepper powder i desired)

Steps 

Wash and boil the potatoes.  Peel and roughly break them with fingers. A few pieces should be mashed too. You can just cube them into small pieces also.

Whisk  the yogurt with 1.5 or 2 cups of water to make a thick buttermilk. Add the curry leaves to it and keep aside. ( I add some leaves to the dahi and rest to the tempering. It gives the dish a unique flavor.

In a heavy bottom pan or wok add the ghee and heat it till medium hot.

Now add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves ( if using) , asafoetida powder.

When the seeds start to crackle add slit or chopped green chilies.

Stir fry for a second and then remove from flame and add all the ground spices.

Stir well and  immediately add ginger and potatoes. Mix it well and put it back on flame to cook till they brown a bit. Keep the flame low so that the potatoes don’t stick to the pan.

At this point, slowly add the buttermilk while stirring continuously till it comes to a boil.

Switch off the gas and garnish this gentle curry with freshly chopped green coriander leaves.

Serve hot with zeera rice, roti, bedami poori or simple poori. I sometimes make a large bowl of it and eat it without any breads or rice.

Tip – Add a teaspoon of besan if you are afraid of yogurt splitting.  You can also remove the cooked potato mix from flame and then slowly add the buttermilk. Stir till everything is incorporated properly. Put it back on very low heat for a minute and take it off stove to serve.

Use whole red chilies in tempering if you wish. I also make it with baby potatoes and give it dum. Dum wale aaloo  have a different taste and take longer to make. I add onion, garlic etc to that.

Enjoy this light, mildly seasoned potato yogurt curry any time of the day.

 

 

 

 

Mixed Vegetable Red Poha (Flattened Red Rice) Recipe


 

I am a big fan of flattened rice or poha. Not just because it is a nutritious, complete meal but also because it is quick to make. You can make a variety of poha dishes with both red and white rice flakes. The red rice flakes are considered more nutritious than the white ones as they are a concentrated source of folic acid, vitamin B6, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. Adding veggies, soya nuggets or granules, nuts , sprouts or  multi-grains makes it even more rich in nutrition.It is a good source of carbs too and is easy to digest. You can read more about it and try some other recipes here.

Parboiled, dried and flatted these rice flakes provide a healthy, quick cooking breakfast option. So, now that we all know how harmful the commercial white bread is why not shift to the indigenous options available to us? It is rich in fiber, low in gluten and diabetic friendly among other things. It helps to lower cholesterol too.  So, doesn’t it make beaten rice flakes the healthiest food ever?

The russet colored red poha has a lovely nutty flavor. Apart from making regular poha from these beaten rice flakes you can also add them to smoothies, make vadai, cutlets, rolls, upma, laddoos, patties, idlis,  kheer etc.

One can make dadpa poha, kanda poha, batata poha but here we have made simple mixed vegetable poha as part of the healthy breakfast series.

To make this you will need :

(For two large servings)

Dry Red Rice Poha – 1 Cup

Finely chopped French beans – 1/4 cup

Finely Chopped carrots – 1/4 cup

Fresh Green peas – 1/4 Cup

Finely chopped French Beans – 1/4 Cup

Small cubes of boiled potatos – 1/2 cup

Chopped Green chilies – 1 tablepoon

Chopped curry leaves – 1 tablespoon

Minced ginger -1 tablespoon

Chopped Red Onion – 1 cup

(You can add bell peppers and any other veggie you like)

Oil – 2 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafetida – a pinch or two

Lemon – 1

Coriander Greens – finely chopped 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh coconut – for garnishing

Roasted Peanuts – to toss  (A handful)

Salt to taste

Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1 tablespoon ( optional)

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Method : 

I used Pro Nature Organic Red Poha for this recipe.

First take the dry poha in a colander and rinse it under filtered water. Keep aside it a sieve to puff up and soften. ( the time depends on the quality of the rice flakes. If they are thick ones, they may take long )

Now, Heat the oil in a wide pan and tip in mustard seeds and Hing (Asafetida). When the seeds start to crackle ass green chilies, curry leaves, red onion. Stir and let the onion soften a bit and become translucent. Keep the flame low.

Add the chopped veggies except boiled potatoes and cook them covered for a few minutes till they soften a little. ( You can add slightly steamed veggies too.)

Now add the boiled potato cubes, stir well and let everything cook for a while. Add a little salt to it to help in cooking.

Meanwhile, fluff up the poha with fingers and sprinkle turmeric powder, salt and red chili powder. Remember you have added some salt to the veggies too. We don’t want excess salt in it, do we?

Check the veggies for softness and if done , add this poha to them and lightly toss the mixture well till everything is mixed properly.

Add coriander leaves,  minced ginger, sugar and keep it covered on low flame for a few minutes.

Taste for the spice levels and add anything required.

Switch off the flame and let the poha sit for some more time.

Now take it out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coconut / coriander leaves / peanuts and serve hot. Squeeze some lemon juice t oget the most of the mutrients or have it with fresh home cultured curds.

I feel the nutty flavor of red poha gives this dish a unique taste over regular white poha.

Do give it a try and let me know if you liked it. Tell me how you use red rice poha.

Eat Healthy and Fresh. . This is Fig and Banana Smoothie that I had with Poha in my breakfast. Recipe coming soon.

 Note – This version doesn’t have many veggies but the method is the same. 🙂 I was in a rush and forgot to click pix for the blog. Will update when I cook this again.

Don’t add Hing or asafetida for a gluten free version

 

 

 

Taste Of Banaras At ThreeSixtyOne|The Oberoi Gurgaon


I am a big supporter of revival of regional, traditional cuisine and the use of indigenous ingredients in daily meals. When I came to know about Banaras Ka Khana Showcase at ThreeSixtyOne, The Oberoi Gurgaon, curated by Chef Ravitej Nath along with a dear friend, food consultant and writer Sangeeta Khanna, I did not want to miss this opportunity to taste the flavours of the temple town cuisine. My mother was born and brought up there and we decided to bring to her a part of her childhood and youth as a pre-birthday gift. She turns 84 on 31st March.Exif_JPEG_420

They say, when you strongly desire something the universe conspires to bring it to you. A contest won me ‘complimentary meal for two’ making the whole experience even more exciting.

Our Holi inspired Dinner began with Panchamrit which is offered to the devotees at Hindu temples as a blessing from the Gods. It is also used in many religeous rituals. The whiff of tulsi (Holi Basil) and the correct sweetness of milk and honey in the drink was a perfect beginning to what was going to be an unforgettable experience.  We forgot to take the picture of Panchamrit.

The street food or chaats of Banaras in the Chef’s tasting menu left us longing for more. As we dug into Tamatar ki chaat, Chivda matar, chenna ka dahi vada and sumptuous aaloo tikki accompanied with traditional aaloo papad and the four chutneys the first thing that came to mind was the  hot, sour, savoury notes of each dish perfectly balancing each other. Nothing was too overwhelming. Wadiyon ki chatney was an instant hit.

The sublime flavours enhanced the pleasure of eating. Ma promptly gave her seal of approval as she remembered her childhood spent in the lanes of the holy city exploring these very delicacies except the tamatar chaat.

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Sangeeta later told us how the flavours of Gujrat have influenced the local cuisine and why. No wonder the tamatar chaat made me think of a similar dish sev tamatar.ki sabzi. It is amazing to see how the food has interconnections with so many parts of India and not just the city of Varanasi itself.

I loved Harad ki papdi, fara, bajka, bhapouri and bhabra too. We make Bajka at home and call it Lobra. Long time ago in Banaras, Harad ka golgappa was served  to digest all the fantastic chaat that the chaat bhandars fed you and this Harad ki papdi was a perfect revival of that. Excellent in taste and texture.

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The khus ka sherbat, aam panna were delicious but the thandai with special hand crafted portion and pan cocktail made with fresh pan leaves and lemon won my heart. Nowhere can one find something so fantastic. Both the drinks were simply out of the world.

The chefs had divided street food and main course in two distinct segments and the drinks served with them complimented the food perfectly.

We loved the street food totally. My son had never tasted the Banaras cuisine so it was a  unique experience for him. He loved the moong beans filled aaloo tiki and chene ka dahi vada.

I knew that the banaras ki thali was going to be a big sumptuous affair so we lingered with the pan mocktail reminiscing about the city and its culture.

We got both non vegetarian and vegetarian thalis in main course.

The Vegetarian Thali 

The Breads 

I had the vegetarian Thali and was bowled over by matar ka nimona (crushed green peas cooked with ginger and coriander) , Gular ka chokha, aaloo chokha and kaddu ki sabzi. It was very much the ghar ka khana. Each dish balancing the taste of the other. I found the flat breads a bit hard and one of the littis was under-cooked but the rest of amazing.  The khade masale ka pulav, made with short grain aromatic rice called Zeerabutti, had such a sublime flavour it really blew my mind.

I was surprised to see mom relishing the meal with such gusto as she is a very small eater. The khoya, matar, makhane ki sabzi was a delight. I had never tasted it before but my ma gave it 10/10 in taste. She found it as authentic as it could be. The tempered moong daal was just as we make at home. Delicious, to say the least.  Again, I found that the pairing of dishes was done in such a way that the tastes do not overwhelm each other.

The non -veg thali

Non Vegetarian Thali

The non veg thali had sookha jheenga (dried shrimps), motton kalia and sadi litti among other things and my son loved the shrimps and the river sol in mustard gravy.

I would love to go on about each dish but the festival is still on till 26th March at ThreeSixtyOne, The Oberoi Gurgaon and if you are in or around Delhi/NCR, you MUST visit and indulge in the Rivayat of Banaras.

Meals that are prepared and served with love are the best. We could see how Sangeeta had put her heart and soul in each preparation, going out of the way to procure the finest ingredients to create the original banarasi khana. Hats off to the F&B team of Chef Manish Sharma, Chef Ravitej Nath who recreated this fabulous along with Sangeeta

Now it was time for desserts and conversations with our gracious hostess.

 

As you can see mom had a lovely time reminiscing about Banaras with Sangeeta. They talked about traditions, city heritage, old houses, chawks and gaiyan, old eateries, their childhood and of course the delectable food. I was happy to see my mom enjoying every bit of the experience.

Malaiyyo, a specialty of Banaras, stole the show. Frothy, light as air and delicately tasteful,  it brought back a surge of nostalgia. Ma told that they would get up early morning before sunrise in winter to eat this delicacy which was then served in earthen pot the size of a small diwali diya. We loved the food and we loved the stories.

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The Desserts

Biranji Kheer

Biranji Kheer

The naturally tulsi scented Sankatmochan laddoos and Sri ram Bhandar’s lal peda (especially flown in from Banaras) were out of the world. I enjoyed the hare chane ki barfi which was new for me and the Biranji kheer was a delight. I make it at home but this was ethereal. Adi was bowled over by Malaiyyo.

Three generations in love with the vibrant food and Banaras came home with fondest memories, blissful dinning experience, unconditional love and a bagful of goodies.

I want to congratulate everyone who is part of Rivayat- Indian Culinary Conclave  and Banaras ka khana fest. You have kept the spirit and soul of the cuisine intact. Well done.

Special thanks for the warmth of hospitality by The Oberoi Gurgaon Staff. Thank you Mallika Gowda for your understanding and care.

Those who wish to know more about the dishes that were served here  or want to try making some of them at home, do visit Sangeeta’s blog Banaras ka Khana .