Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Modern Indian Cooking~ Cookbook Review and Recipe

Modern Indian Cooking

You know how it is with some cookbooks. You hold it in your hands, browse through a page or two and immediately know that you are going to enjoy preparing from it. I felt that way with “Modern Indian Cooking“, written by talented chefs Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna.

The difference between my cooking methods and my mother and grandmother generation lies in the globalization of taste. Traditional roots, but always on the lookout for some adventure that’s appropriate to the evolving palate. Chef Hari Nayak speaks such language in Modern Indian Cooking. He uses ingredients you might not normally see together, and they work. Wonton Chat, Paneer Picatta, Grilled Chicken with Kokum Compote, Konkan Chilli Prawns, Mint Puris, Semolina Crepes, Cardamom Brownies, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Truffles - the book is filled with clean and contemporary combinations that are grounded in commonsense.

Being into the food photography and neat designs, I want to add some comments about the quality of the book. The design and layout are pleasing to the eye. Beautiful images of classic looking food against chic background fit with the theme that these are modern versions of classics. Some of the recipes have a series of small photographs that show the ingredients and the process of cooking the food. The recipe instructions are also laid out in a clear and concise manner without overcrowding the page. All and all, Modern Indian Cooking is a pleasant cookbook to have in the kitchen, and this is the first Hari Nayak’s cookbook I have added to my collection, but it won’t be the last.


The following is a recipe from Modern Indian Cooking. Baked samosas with spinach and mung bean using phyllo pastry sheets. I’ve prepared them with sprouted mung beans for a friends get-together last weekend and they were very well received.

Samosa with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans
(from MIC, page 25. Makes 2-dozen samosas)

1 cup, sprouted mung beans
4 cups, finely chopped fresh spinach
½ cup, finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon cumin-red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1-teaspoon oil or ghee

Puff or Phyllo pastry sheets
(mine was from Trader Joe’s-artisan brand.)

Filling: Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add onion and sauté to pale red. Add sprouted mung beans and spinach. Cover the skillet and steam-cook. Spinach supplies moisture, and it would take about 10-15 minutes for the sprouted mung bean to become tender-soft. At this stage, sprinkle turmeric, salt and masala powder. Mix and continue cooking for another five minutes or so. Turn off the heat, and wait for the curry to reach room temperature (cool).

Samosa Wrap: Meanwhile takeout the puff pastry sheet from the freezer. Wait until they reach from stiff, cardboard like to firm but pliable condition. Place the sheet on a lightly floured work surface and evenly roll out to thin. With a sharp knife, cut the sheet to equal looking 2 x 2 inch squares. Place a teaspoon of spinach curry in each square. Quickly fold the right corner over the filling to the left side and press the edges to make a triangle. Repeat until all are done.

Bake: Place the samosas on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. After about 10 minutes of baking time, turn to opposite side. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve warm with tamarind-date chutney or ketchup.

Baked Samosas
Baked Samosas with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans

Notes:
Available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s
Book Cover is taken from Harinayak.com for review purpose.
Recommend this book to your local library.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole), All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Spinach, Reviews: Cookbooks, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday May 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Pamper ~ Avocado Face Freshener

Avocado, Gram Flour and Turmeric
Avocado, Besan and Turmeric

Face fresheners are fun thing I used to do with my sisters, when summer was as long as a lifetime and a month could pass without me ever knowing what days of the week it was. It has been ages since I applied one and I miss the laughter and lazy talk of facemask days.

Traditional teenage face-freshener consists of besan, turmeric, yogurt and honey. They are mixed together and applied to the face. Besan is a soothing skin-scrub and turmeric is known for it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Yogurt and honey, the calming moisturizers make the mask more palatable.:) Buttery avocados are good in place of yogurt, and facemask puts the avocados to great use, particularly when avocados are two for one dollar.

Avocado Face Freshener:
(for two faces, for one rinse)

Avocado pulp - about 3 to 4 tablespoons
Besan (gram flour) - about a tablespoon
Turmeric - about half teaspoon

Take avocado pulp in a small cup. With a sturdy spoon mash to smooth. Add besan and turmeric. Combine thoroughly without any lumps. Apply on your face generously. Stay green for about 15 to 30 minutes and then rinse for a happy glow. Relaxing thing to do on a lazy weekend or after a costly trip to Indian grocery.:)

Avocado Face Mask with Turmeric
Avocado Face Mask with Turmeric ~ for Sowmya

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan), Avocado, Turmeric (Pasupu) (Sunday April 27, 2008 at 10:25 am- permalink)
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Ragi Kudumulu with Garlic Ghee

Ragi kudumulu is an old classic from Andhra Pradesh, India. Dumplings like kudumulu are prepared with ragi flour and steam-cooked in flavorful kura (curry). The main ingredient of kura in which ragi kudumulu are steamed changes with the seasons. Sometimes the kura is prepared with vegetables, sometimes with meat or a combination. Depends on the cook’s mood and the market prices. Popular in agricultural community, this protein powerhouse is a build or nourish the muscle-on-the-bone kind of one-pot meal.

For Mathy’s Jihva, I have been thinking about a new recipe using garlic-ghee. Then I thought, why not incorporate garlic-ghee into ragi dough and make kudumulu with it. When people say developing new things or techniques is like constantly rediscovering the wheel, it’s very true, indeed. Years of nutritional strategies and accumulated wisdom among cooks throughout the world before us are right to benefit us all through good times and hard times.

Ragi kudumulu is one such nutritional strategy, and here it is in a new avatar. An acquired taste, but a delight to an adventurous palate. Give it a try.

Ridge gourd and Ragi Dough
Ridge Gourd and Ragi Dough (Beerakaya mariyu Raagi Mudda)

Recipe:
(for two adults, for two meals)

Recipe happens in three steps. 1. Prepare Ragi dough for Kudumulu.
2. Prepare kura (curry or kurma) for Kudumulu. 3. Prepare kudumulu and steam-cook.

Step 1:

Take one-cup ragi flour in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of garlic-ghee puree and quarter teaspoon salt. Stir in a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee. Sprinkling few tablespoons of hot water, make soft dough. Cover and keep it aside for about 15 to 30 minutes. The dough firms up on resting.

Step 2:

While the ragi dough is resting, prepare kura for ragi kudumulu. It can be with either vegetables, (traditional choice: Indian broad beans, silk squash and ridge gourd), or meat (chicken or mutton). For my meal today, I have prepared Ridge gourd curry (beerakaya kura) for ragi kudumulu.

- - 2 ridge gourds: peel, rinse and cut into ½ inch, big pieces
- - 2 tomatoes and one onion - finely chop to small pieces

Heat a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee in a wide, deep-bottomed skillet. Add and toast a pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the onion. Sauté to soft. Then tomatoes. Add about a cup of water and cook the tomatoes to mush on high heat.

While tomatoes are cooking, prepare the kura masala:
For kura masala: Two tablespoons of grated coconut, 4 green chillies and an inch of peeled ginger, two cloves, one inch cinnamon, a teaspoon each - coriander seeds and cumin. Take them all in a mixer. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to fine consistency.

Tomatoes will be cooked to soft by now. Mush them by pressing with a sturdy spoon. Add the ridge gourd pieces and the masala paste to the skillet. Also half teaspoon each- turmeric and salt. Stir in another cup of water. Close the lid and simmer on medium-low heat.

Step 3:

While kura is cooking, quickly prepare Ragi kudumulu.

Take the ragi dough out onto a plate. Knead and divide into small, about key lime-sized rounds. The dough came about 16 rounds for me. Take a round on your palm, and close the fingers around the round to make a fist. The shape changes to cylindrical with conical ends. That’s what we call “Kudumu” shape in Telugu. Compared to the round shape, the kudumu shape will have more surface area exposed, and that would facilitates thorough steaming. Prepare all rounds in this way. You have to make them fast in two to three minutes.

Place them one after another neatly in simmering kura. Close the lid tightly, and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Ragi kudumulu have to be cooked properly inside. To test, take one out and cut into half. A well-steamed one has the color of red soil (erra mannu) that you see in moderate rainfall areas like Telengana, Andhra Pradesh. On taste, they should have the comforting texture of a well-chewed bubblegum.:) Sticky with unique ragi flavor. The size/volume also increases on steaming.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and lime juice. Serve hot. Until serving time, cover the skillet with tight lid and keep the kura hot on low heat.

How to serve: Place four ragi kudumulu in a wide bowl or plate along with vegetable or meat pieces. Pour the tomato-masala gravy around.

How to eat: With fingers or spoon, take a portion of ragi kudumu with kura. Blow to cool for once or twice. Eat. Ragi flour has gummy properties and it would stick to the mouth roof. So don’t chew on the kudumu, just swallow. The masala gravy and vegetables or meat pieces, together they make a memorable meal experience.

Why: Ragi is rich in Iron, minerals and protein, gluten-free, and is known for it’s health benefits. Ragi is cultivated from ancient times in many parts of India, and in fact the name Ragi is a Sanskrit word. So, Ragi consumption means nourishment to the body and also nourishing the traditional agricultural practices.

Here is the preparation process in photos:


Ragi Kudumulu and Ragi Dough


Steamed Ragi Kudumulu in Ridge Gourd Kura


Ragi Kudumulu Flavored with Garlic Ghee in Ridge Gourd Kura ~
Meal today and My Contribution to Mathy’s Garlic-Jihva Event.

Notes:
Ragi flour is available in most Indian grocery shops.
Kudumu is singular and kudumulu is plural in Telugu language.
Traditional Kudumulu from other parts of Bharath:
Jonna (Corn) Kudumulu from En Ulagam
Jowar-wheat Kudumulu from My Food Court

Do you have this type of tradition where kudumulu or dumplings are steam-cooked in the stew itself?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ragi, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Ragi Flour, Ghee, Garlic (Vellulli) (Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm- permalink)
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Potato Curry Puffs ~ A Pictorial

curry puffs

Potato puffs also known as curry puffs are one of the most popular items sold at Indian bakeries. Flaky wrap and spicy filling, people love them a lot. They are prepared with puff pastry like dough, and the filling varies. Common is potato, then there is egg and also chicken etc. Baked to golden perfection, hot from the oven, with coffee or tea, the chat and the laughs - I can see going back to college days.

Thanks to ready availability of good quality puff pastry, I can bake them at home easily. My version has all the flavor and eye appeal of bakery-style curry puffs, but they are smaller in size, hence more figure and finger friendly.

For filling, I prepared potato curry with red potatoes. Boiled the potatoes to tender, and then peeled the skins, cut them to tiny pieces. Sautéed them with tadka seasoning, onions and peas. Added salt, chilli and turmeric to taste. The potato filling was ready.

For wrapping, I used the frozen puff pastry from Trader Joe’s. There are four sheets in one pack, and they were stuck to each other. So I cut them to three strips. Rolled each one to a thin rectangle. Divided again into eight equal portions. Placed a tablespoon of potato curry in each portion, did a roll, and baked them at 350°F for about 15 minutes to golden-brown.

Here is the whole process in images.


Puff Pastry Strip and Potato Curry Filling


Puff pastry strip rolled into a thin rectangle and divided into eight equal portions. Then wrapped around the potato curry filling. (I’ve refrigerated the dough after rolling and after wrapping for about two minutes each time, to firm-up the dough and for sticky free results.


Potato puffs on a baking pan. (I placed the attached ends on the bottom side, so that they won’t open up during baking.)


Baked at 350°F for about 15 minutes, Potato puffs ~ Hot out of the Oven


Potato Curry Puffs with Red Pepper Chutney ~ for Potato Fe(a)st at DK’s

Notes:
Puff pastry doesn’t like heat. Refrigerate frequently and work with firm dough for sticky-free results.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta) (Thursday February 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm- permalink)
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Prune-Pecan Fruit Bread

Prunes
Sweet and Tart, Plump Prunes

Like many folks these days, I have gotten away from baking bread often, but when I do, I would go for a dense, deep flavored bread full of fruit and nuts. Prune-pecan bread is one such bread. The recipe is inspired by the one I have read at war-time recipe booklet, circa 1910-20. You can see how conservative the recipe methods were at that time. No dumping of butter and eggs for everything, like they are nothing. People were rational during those days, it seems. Also, if you read the bread bibles of present day, you would think that ‘yeast is west’. It doesn’t have to be yeast all the time, and also bread-baking without yeast matches our chapati/roti cookery style.

The original recipe has 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and it sounded too much to me, so I reduced the amount to one teaspoon, and mixed the dough with buttermilk. I purchased prunes, and I already have pecans and maple syrup at home. So I decided to include those ingredients along with prunes in my recipe. The bread may not look much, but it baked up great. The juicy, moist prunes, pecans and sweet maple syrup - it’s a good kind of bread.

Prune Pecan Bread
Bread Dough Ready for Baking

Recipe:

1 ½ cups barley flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup prunes, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup maple syrup, more if you like a sweet bread
¼ cup ghee, melted
1 cup buttermilk, at room temp. (mine was from homemade yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Warm water to mix, about half cup to one cup

Take the barley and all-purpose flour in a big vessel. Add baking powder. Mix. Then add the prunes, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Gradually adding buttermilk and warm water, whisk the ingredients to combine well. Pour the batter into bread pans. Cover the pans, and keep them in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove and cool it for about ten minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let it cool completely. Slice and serve with your favorite jam.

Prune Pecan Bread
Prune-Pecan Bread

Prune Bread recipe from My Little Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Whole Wheat Flour, Maple Syrup, Pecans (Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 8:39 pm- permalink)
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Pecan Persimmon Cake for Thanksgiving

Persimmon

“Do you dream in chocolate?”

The television ad voice for Lindt chocolate asks us.

I don’t dream in chocolate, but I do dream in recipes. The following combination is what I dreamt last weekend:

Persimmon coated with maple syrup
Pecans
Ghee and
Wheat-barley pancake flour

The pecan-persimmon cake turned out to be a vision in real life as well. A delectable, one of a kind dessert that taste buds never forget.

Pecans and Persimmon
Pecans and Persimmons

Recipe:

Pancake flour - 2 cups
Persimmon, 2 ripe fruits, peel the skin and finely cube - 1 cup
Pecans, finely chopped - ½ cup
Maple syrup - ½ cup
Ghee, melted and at room temperature - ¼ cup
Baking powder and crushed cardamom - ¼ teaspoon each

8 mini cake pans

Take the flour in a vessel. Add the persimmon, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Sprinkle baking powder and cardamom. Stir in about half to one cup of warm water. Combine thoroughly. Divide the batter between the cake pans and spread evenly.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Place and bake the cakes to warm sunset hue, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and invert to serve.

Pecan Persimmon Mini Cakes
Just Out of the Oven ~ Pecan Persimmon Cakes in a Warm Sunset Hue

Pecan Persimmon Cake
Pleasures of Persimmons ~ Pecan Persimmon Cake


Recipe Source: My own creation
For this recipe, I used Maple Grove Farms brand buttermilk-honey pancake mix, which has both wheat and barley flours in it. The flour-mix worked beautifully and offered a great remedy to my egg-fruit combo cake phobia. I purchased this pancake mix from Fred Meyer’s grocery.
This is a egg-free cake, but it came out crumbly and flaky due to buttermilk in pancake mix. The acidity of buttermilk, warm water and maple syrup combo created cake crumbs full of flavor.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Maple Syrup, Pecans, Persimmon (Monday November 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (38)

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Banana Biscuits (Mangalore Buns)

These habit-forming sweet banana biscuits are easy to like. I surely can say that judging from the speed at which they get gobbled up every time I make them.

The recipe is based on traditional Mangalore buns. Honeyed fragrance and creamy sweetness of banana could be felt and tasted, but it would not over-power the taste buds. A good and fun snack.


Banana Biscuit Dough Rolled and Cut to Squares

Recipe:
(for 20 to 25 small biscuits)

1 cup maida (or all-purpose flour)
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted ghee
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Peanut oil to deep-fry

Blend or mash banana and sugar to smooth consistency. Add to flour.
Stir in cardamom and ghee. Mix to prepare tight dough. Rest for an hour.
Divide the dough to lemon sized rounds and roll out each round to a thin circle.
Cut to squares like shown in the image and deep-fry to gold.

Regular chapati style pressing yields soft and chewy biscuits. For crispy and crunchy biscuits, press out the dough to thin.

If you’d like to take it up a notch, dip the fried biscuits in sugar syrup like we do in jilebi or roll them in sugar like beignets.


Banana Biscuits ~ for JFI:Bananas, Hosted by Mandira of Ahaar

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Bananas, Indian Sweets 101, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday October 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm- permalink)
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Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)

Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)

Beerakaya (turai or ridge gourd if you prefer) is among my all-time favorite vegetables, so when it is in season I like to incorporate it into all sorts of dishes.

In this traditional bajji recipe, coated with thick besan batter and deep fried, delicate beerakaya slices take on a luscious, sponge-like character. The ajwan (carom seeds) and cumin addition to the besan batter bring a special aroma to the beerakaya bajji, making them absolutely the best.

Beerakaya, Turai, Ridge Gourd
Beerakaya (Turai, Dodka, Ridge Gourd)

Recipe:
(for two, makes about 20 bajjis)

Prepare the Beerakaya:
Pick an arm-length, young and fresh looking beerakaya (turai, ridge gourd)
Scrape the protruded ridges with a peeler. Wash and slice the beerakaya into thin rounds, using a mandoline.

Prepare the Besan Batter:
In a big bowl, take one-cup besan, quarter-cup rice flour. Add ½ teaspoon each - ajwan, cumin and salt. Also ¼ teaspoon each - chilli powder and baking soda. Mix. Adding half-cup water, whisk together all the ingredients, until well-combined and smooth. (Prepare the batter thick like condensed milk.)

Bajji Time:
In a deep-bottomed kadai or wok, add about 2-cups peanut oil. On medium-high, heat the oil suitable to deep-frying. Once the oil is hot and ready, begin frying. Dip the beerakaya rounds, one by one into besan batter so that they are generously coated. Gently drop in as many pieces as will float freely in the oil. Do not crowd. Fry both sides to gold color and remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper-covered plate. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup and with a cup of coffee.

Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)
Beerakaya Bajji and Jilebi ~ warming up on a Crisp Autumn Day

Also see:
Monsoon Magic~Turai (Dodka) Bhajji : from Madhuli’s My Food Court

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Gram Flour (Besan) (Friday September 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm- permalink)
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Puri Pictorial


Puris ~ The Happy, Lovable Cousins of Chapatis

Made with special wheat flour called atta, rolled out to paper-thin circles and puffed to peach colored balloons, delicate and delectable puris means pure pleasure guaranteed.

I usually prepare puris at home for friends get-togethers or when I host a party, but very rarely for us. It has to be a special occasion and today is one such day for us. To celebrate, a party call was sent out by Anita of A Mad Tea Party, the fabulous food blogger from Delhi. I wanted to join. So, here I am at the party with Nandyala-style puri treats.

Atta
Whole Wheat Flour from India and Tap Water from Seattle:) ~ for Puri Dough

Recipe:
(Makes about 15- 18 small salad-plate sized puris)

For Puri dough:
3 cups atta (Special wheat flour from India)
1½ cups of warm water
1 teaspoon salt

To deep-fry
3 cups peanut oil
sturdy based kadai or wok
A big slotted spoon

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Move the flour to the sides of the bowl to make a small well in the center. Pour water into the well. Using fingers combine the ingredients, until the flour comes together to firm dough. (For puris, I make the dough very tight, so that when deep fried they won’t absorb lot of oil and look greasy. Tight dough also helps to balloon the puris.)

Gently knead the dough for a minute or two to remove the creases and until the surface is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside for about 30 minutes. Then, follow the puri pictorial.


Roll out the Puri dough to a round coil about the width of baby’s fist.


Divide the dough to equal portions and shape each portion to a round.


Using a rolling pin, press the round to a circle of greeting card thickness


Place the kadai on stovetop. Add and heat the peanut oil to frying hot(375 F). Carefully slip the pressed puri round into hot oil. Gently push-down once with slotted spoon, and let the hot oil work its magic.


The puri comes out of the oil like a balloon. Flip and fry for few seconds


We want not red nor angry-red but peach color for Puri. Remove to a paper covered plate. Serve hot with a curry, dal or chutney.


Puris with Red and Green Capsicum Bhaji ~ for A Mad Tea Party

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta), ID Food Parade (Wednesday August 15, 2007 at 6:51 pm- permalink)
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Bell Pepper Zunka

Bell Peppers with Besan:


Bell Pepper and Besan (Gram Flour or Sanaga Pindi)

This one is easy to prepare and puts the bell peppers in season to good use.

Slice the peppers, (green, red or yellow) length-wise into thin strips. Do pan-saute and season with spices and besan. The subtle sweet flavor of besan (gram flour) complements the bell peppers greatly. Lovely to look at, even lovelier to consume, bell peppers with besan also known as Bell Pepper Zunka in Marathi, is an ideal dish for bell pepper fans.

Recipe:

3 bell peppers - green, yellow and red, cut to thin strips of 1-inch length
3 tablespoons - besan (gram flour)
¼ teaspoon each - chilli powder, salt and turmeric (or to taste)
Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 teaspoon oil
Pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves

In a wide skillet, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Keep the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add the bell peppers. Stir-fry few minutes, until bell peppers become crisp and fork-tender. Sprinkle the besan, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix. Sauté, stirring often. Do not cover the skillet at this stage. When the pale yellow besan starts to get pale brown, time to turn off the heat. Serve the bell pepper Zunka hot. Makes a tasty meal when eaten with chapati or rice and dal combination.


Chapati with Bell Pepper Zunka, and Cantaloupe ~ Brunch Today

Bell Pepper Recipes:
Marathi Mirchi Bhaaji ~ from Kay
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Green Bell Pepper Saute with Dalia Powder (Pappula Podi)
Red, Yellow and Green Bell Pepper Curry
Bell Pepper Masala

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Gram Flour (Besan) (Thursday August 2, 2007 at 10:38 am- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jackfruit~Banana Cake

Finely Chopped Jackfruit Pieces
Jackfruit ~ Finely Chopped

Jackfruit and bananas may seem an unlikely combination, but the soothing sweetness of banana is the perfect antidote to the tingly-ness effect of jackfruit. Also, baking a coffee cake is a good way to use the surfeit of super-yield fresh jackfruit or leftover canned fruit. This is an easy as well as delicious dessert that tastes much naughtier than it really looks.

Recipe:

1. In a bowl, take 2 cups of all-purpose flour, add a cup each - finely chopped jackfruit, cashews and golden raisins. Stir in a teaspoon of baking soda, baking powder and cardamom powder. Also half cup of sugar. Mix.

2. Mash two ripe bananas to smooth paste and add to the flour mixture.

3. Add about quarter cup of melted ghee (or oil) and one to two cups of warm milk or water to the flour mixture.

4. Stir the ingredients to combine them thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan. Level evenly.

5. Bake the cake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Cut and serve.

This cake is like something you see at an organic aisle of bread/cake section in a grocery shop. Dense, full of fruit and nut, moist but not at all crumbly.

Cake Batter Ready for Baking
Cake Batter Ready for Baking


Hot Cake Fresh Out of Oven

Cake Reversed onto a Plate and a Piece sliced
A Piece of Jackfruit~Banana Cake for JFI:Jackfruit at Jugalbandi


Recipe Source: My Own Creation
You can find jackfruit - fresh, frozen and canned at Asian grocery shops.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Cashews, Bananas, Sugar, Jihva For Ingredients, Jackfruit (Panasa) (Thursday May 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Honey~Date~Walnut Cake (Kharjuram Cake)

Honey-Date-Walnut Cake
Honey-Date-Walnut Cake ~ Fresh Out of the Oven

The classic combination of honey, dates and walnuts is used for this light, moist cake. This is my first ever cake of this type that I baked. Delicious and nutritious, Honey-date-walnut cake is one of my favorite cakes.

Recipe:

1 cup dates
½ cup honey
1 cup walnuts
2 eggs - at room temperature
¼ cup each - milk and butter at room temperature
2 cups - all-purpose flour (maida pindi)
½ cup brown sugar or white cane sugar
½ tsp each - baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder


Honey, Walnuts and Dates

Dates and Honey: Finely chop dates into thin rings. Take them in a cup and add honey. Keep the dates soaked in honey for about 30 minutes. This is done to soften and further sweeten the dates. The dates that I used in this recipe are Deglet Noor, mildly sweet Tunisian variety. Extremely sweet and soft Medjool type does not need the honey/soaking part.

Walnuts: Finely chop walnuts to small pieces

Eggs: Break eggs into a cup and beat with a spoon. (I removed yellows, my preference.) Sometimes I skip the eggs totally and would add a mashed, ripe banana in its place. This works too.

Sift and add flour to a big vessel. Stir in sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom powder. Mix.

Add butter, milk and eggs. Also walnuts and dates along with the honey they are soaked in. Combine all thoroughly. If the batter is too tight, adjust the consistency by adding little bit more milk. Pour the mixture into a cake pan. level it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cake pan in the bottom rack for the first 15 minutes, and then move the pan to the top rack. Bake for about a total 30 minutes, until the top of the cake turns to light honey color and when a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from oven. Let cool. Slice and enjoy!

Cake and Care Package to Our Friends
Cake and Care Package to Our Friends

Vijay’s classmate and friend became a proud parent of a cutest baby boy, couple of days ago. They came home from hospital yesterday and this is the care package we sent today for them. Chapatis, aloo chole, idly, peanut chutney and honey-date-walnut cake.
Congratulations Dimpy and RP!

Notes:
Honey tends to thicken during winter time. Microwaving for couple of seconds usually lightens the honey.
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Dates (kharjuram), Honey (Friday March 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
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Besan Baingan (Baingan Kalwa)

Brinjals for Dummies series or 101 on brinjal curries should start with this Besan Baingan, I think. Sauteed brinjals coated with besan and spice mix make an excellent, easy to prepare curry. The ingredients list is not much and preparation time is minimum. Can be cooked in maximum 10 to 15 minutes, when you’ve all the ingredients ready to go. A must try for brinjal fans.

Brinjal pieces and Besan(gram flour)
Brinjal Pieces in Water and Besan (Gram Flour)

Recipe:

12 small bulb shaped brinjals (purple or green)
4 tablespoons of besan (gram flour, sanaga pindi)
8 dried red chillies
1 Rupee coin sized ginger - grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon each - sugar, cumin and turmeric
For popu or tadka: 1 tsp each - curry leaves, mustard seeds and oil
-¼ cup of roasted cashews.
(I’ve added the nuts but this is entirely optional. Besan Brinjal taste is impressive with or without cashews.)

Grind together - besan, dried red chillies, sugar and cumin to fine powder in a spice mill or mixie.

After removing the stems and sepals of brinjals, slice them into thin pieces lengthwise and drop them in salted water in a bowl (like shown above).

In a wide skillet, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Remove brinjal pieces from water and add them directly to the skillet. Be ready for sizzling noise. Also add grated ginger. On medium-high heat, saute, turning often with a perforated ladle, so that they fry uniformly on both sides to a gold coloured tender pieces. Just before turning off the heat, stir in besan-spice mix along with salt and turmeric. Mix and fry for few more minutes until the sweet smell of besan permeates the kitchen. Sprinkle roasted cashews or nuts of your liking (watermelon/pumpkin/sunflower seeds - they all taste good with brinjal). Remove and serve hot with rice or with chapatis.

I think you’d be blown away by how good this curry tastes. So simple to make and a sure bet for a special meal.

Besan Baingan and Spinach Dal with Rice
Besan Baingan and Spinach Dal with Rice ~ To Weather the Winter Storm Today

Kitchen notes:
For this recipe the small round purple or green brinjals are best, being sweeter than any other varieties.
If you want, instead of directly adding, first roast the besan-spice mix slowly on another skillet while brinjals are cooking and then sprinkle this fragrant, warm besan-spice mix at the end.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday January 9, 2007 at 3:29 pm- permalink)
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Besan-Coconut Burfi, the 7-cup magic

Besan Coconut Burfi ~ The 7-cup magic
Besan-Coconut Burfi ~ The 7-cup Magic for Indian Sweets 101

Experienced cooks would curl up into hardball position. The kitchen novice can crack up. Watching sugar melting for sweets preparation can do that to the cooks. Like Linda mentioned, the softball, the hardball, the numerous stages of sugar syrup have the effect of melting one’s brains.:) Toffees and Burfis turned to payasams, to hard bricks, to concrete mixture - I have seen them all. One recipe that has always come to my rescue during my beginner days of cooking was Besan-coconut burfi. Also known as 7-cup burfi.

7 cups refer to the ingredients’ quantity, which is easy to remember. There is no skill involved to prepare this sweet. Only thing one need is a steel heart. Coconut, sugar and ghee are liberally used and the sweet also liberates one from fear of burfi making. A true delight and Kitchen newbies favorite, I always remember this sweet fondly as 7-cup magic.

Recipe:
1 cup besan (gram flour, shanaga pindi)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1-2 cups ghee
2 cups sugar - powdered
Cardamom to taste
Wide, sturdy pot, big slotted sturdy spoon and a steel heart.
——- ——-
Place a wide, sturdy pot on stove. Bring to warm on medium-low heat.
Add besan and fry it constantly stirring to copper-toned gold jewelry color.
Add the fresh grated coconut to the besan and fry it for about 5 to 10 minutes again on medium-low heat, until it leaves the raw smell.
Slowly stir in the powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
Mix thoroughly and cook, constantly adding ghee. Until the whole thing comes together to a porous, firm mass. Takes about 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
Remove to a ghee-coated plate/pan. Press evenly and cut diamond shaped pieces.
Or shape the mixture to round laddus, once the mixture is cooled enough to touch.
Enjoy the delicious taste of 7-cup burfi.

More 7-cup sweets:
7-cup cake from Vidhya Rajesh
7-cup sweet from Pavani

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Gram Flour (Besan), Sugar, Ghee, Coconut (Fresh), Indian Sweets 101 (Friday December 8, 2006 at 10:28 pm- permalink)
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Jaggery~Coconut Puffs


Jaggery-Coconut Puffs

Many thanks to lovely Kay for hosting this month’s Jihva. Being a first time mother of two month old baby girl, she could have easily said “no” to very demanding and time consuming work of event hosting, which she booked 7 months ago. I asked her to see if she’d take a break, but she insisted to do it. I restect people who keep their word without missing a beat. I also commend Kay for her dedication towards Jihva and also all the participants for their enthusiastic support with interesting entries. To make this event hosting as smooth as possible for Kay, I would greatly appreciate if you could send your entries with the details she requested (blog name, entry URL and images etc), so that she could do the recap of the event in short time. Thank you.

Kay also requested for new jaggery recipes. So here is one - Jaggery-Coconut puffs. Homemade puff pastry and sweet jaggery coconut filling. I borrowed the recipe idea from Fethiye of Yogurt land. I have changed the recipe little bit. Instead of egg in dough, I have added mashed ripe banana as I was preparing the puffs for naivedyam (puja offering) and also used ghee. Preparation was easy, and the end result was smooth silky puffs with sweet filling. We liked them a lot and they are definitely going to join my cherished recipe list. Thanks Fethiye for a great recipe idea, thanks Kay for inspiring me to experiment.


Dough, melted ghee, jaggery-coconut filling and jaggery-chana dal purnam filling

Recipe:
for 12 to 14 sweet puffs

For filling:

I’ve prepared two different fillings.
1: jaggery-coconut lauju: Follow coconut burfi recipe. Replace sugar with jaggery and stop cooking before the sweet reaches burfi stage. I have also added sesame seeds to the lauju.
2: jaggery-chana dal purnam : like we do for Bhakshalu (bobbatlu, puran poli, holige). Recipe is here. Small quantity, just half cup each is enough and can be done in 30 minutes with some preplanning.

For dough:

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of warm milk
1 ripe banana - mashed smoothly
¼ cup of oil
1 teaspoon each - sugar, salt and cardamom powder
1 teaspoon of active dry yeast, stirred in 1 T of warm water

Take them all in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Prepare the dough like we do for chapatis, sprinkling warm water if necessary. Without giving any rest period, divide the dough into 8 rounds. Roll out small salad plate shaped rounds.

Apply general coating of ghee or melted butter to each one, on one side and layer them. (See the photo below).

Roll again these 8 rounds into one big dinner plate shaped circle of about 10 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. The size is really big, and I had to roll out on my kitchen countertop. Divide and cut this circle into 12 to 14 triangles of equal size.

Top the wide edge of each portion with 1 tablespoon of filling. Start rolling from the wide edge down to the tip. Curve in tips to close the gap on the sides. Now the rolling part is over, give the dough a break and allow to rest for about 15 minutes so that yeast can work its magic.

Arrange them nearly in rows on a greased baking sheet, leaving a little space between pieces. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.


Rolling out the rounds and arranging one over another after applying ghee


Placing the jaggery-coconut filling and rolling the wedges to croissant shape


After a 15 minute rest period, the puffs are ready for baking


Hot Jaggery-Coconut Puffs for Birthday Girl Kay and my entry to JFI-Jaggery.


Recipe adapted from Yogurt Land
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Chana Dal, Jaggery, Coconut (Fresh) (Friday December 1, 2006 at 7:25 pm- permalink)
Comments (33)

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