Mahanandi

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

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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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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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)
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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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Janthikalu (Murukulu)

I have seen cookbooks on lentils, rice and on vegetables but never a cookbook dedicated to flours. I am glad that Santhi of Me and My Kitchen, the host of Jihva for Ingredients for August chose a topic covering all types of grain flours to feature for Jihva.

Like Linda, I also had several ideas for JFI, but decided to go with old classic crunchy snack - Janthikalu (murukulu). For us, the best snack foods are made at home, so for our vacation trip last week and to munch during our travel, I had prepared janthikalu (murukulu), using rice flour, gram flour (besan) and moong dal flour. For seasoning I have added salt, chilli powder, cumin, ajwan (carom seeds), sesame seeds and mashed potato. Deep-fried in peanut oil (I find that peanut oil works best for deep-frying and tastes delicious) in batches, janthikalu are our favorite snack item and my entry to JFI~Flour.

Thanks Santhi for hosting JFI and looking forward to reading the recap.

Recipe in detail - Here.


Ingredients for janthikalu and cookie press with different discs to prepare janthikalu


Dough is ready for placing in cookie press and for deep frying


Deep frying janthikalu in peanut oil


Janthikalu - for JFI~Flour

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Moong Flour, Jihva For Ingredients (Tuesday August 1, 2006 at 7:44 pm- permalink)
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Mirchi Bajji ~ Hyderabadi Style

Some foods I cook for healthy body and some for mental health. Mirchi bajji belongs to later category for me. Cravings and nostalgia motivate me to cook this deliciously hot recipe. Hyderabad, the capital city of my home state Andhra Pradesh has a unique recipe for stuffed bajjis. I have already blogged about mirchi bajjis with different stuffing’s from different regions in India but thought this famous Hyderabadi style mirchi bajji deserves one more post dedicated to it.

Chilli bajjis, the popular street food are incredibly easy to prepare at home and make an excellent way to begin almost any special meal or they can be served as a light meal/snack on busy days. Because we remove the middle thick white vein that carries the seeds, these chilli bajjis are surprisingly mild and not that hot at all.


Reducing the spice kick of chillies by removing the white vein with seeds.

Recipe:
(for 20 chillies)

Preparing the filling to stuff the chillies:
Sesame seeds - 3 tablespoons
Dried coconut powder - 3 tablespoons
Coriander seeds (dhania) - 1 teaspoon (dry roast these 3 to pale gold color)
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Tamarind juice - 1 tablespoon
Take them all in a blender or spice mill - make a smooth paste without adding water. Remove to a cup.

Mirchi (Chillies) Preparation:
Pick 20 straight, plump, healthy looking chillies. Wash and dry them in a kitchen towel. With a sharp knife make a vertical slit in the middle of chilli on one side. Keep the ends intact (see the photo above). Insert the knife tip and pluck the thick white vein in the middle along with the seeds. Usually it will come off nicely with a sharp knife. After preparing all chillies in this way, start stuffing. Fill the gap with the sesame filling nice and evenly one by one and keep them aside on a plate.

Preparing the batter to dip stuffed chillies:
Besan (gram flour) - 2 cups, sieved
Rice flour - ¼ cup, sieved
Salt, cumin and ajwan (vaamu) - ½ tsp each
Take them all in a vessel, mix to combine. Adding water, prepare medium thick batter of thick buttermilk consistency.

Deep-frying:
Take about 3 to 4 cups of peanut oil in a deep bottomed skillet or kadai. Heat the oil on medium-high. One by one dip the bajjis in batter and gently drop from the sides of kadai into hot oil and deep fry until golden. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and let cool a minute or two. Serve with some limejuice sprinkled and finely sliced onions and tomatoes on the side.
(I’ve dipped the bajjis in batter again and double fried them for that true taste.)


Mirchi Bajjis with Chickpea Guggullu and Watermelon Granita (Ice) with Cherries
Our Comforting Meal and My Entries to
Santhi’s JFI~Flour and also to Revathi’s FMR~Comfort Foods

Watermelon Granita with Cherries
Watermelon juice, limejuice mixed and frozen for about 4 hours. The ice is crushed (gently with a hammer) and cut cherries are added before serving

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Flour(Pindi), Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Cherries, Peppers, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday July 31, 2006 at 3:18 pm- permalink)
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Gram Flour Dosa (Besan Ka Cheela or Puda)

I like food items prepared with gram flour. Golden yellow colored flour not only tastes mildly sweet, it’s also gluten free and famously known for its anti-diabetic properties.

Other Bharatiya names for gram flour are - Besan (in Hindi), Sanaga Pindi (in Telugu) and Kadalai Maavu (in Tamil).

After bajjis and pakoras, my next favorite item with besan is dosas. Besan Dosa is a traditional Indian breakfast and evening snack item, prepared by mixing gram flour with a variety of finely chopped vegetables. The dosas are usually served with chutney and raita. They are quite easy to prepare and we can experiment with ingredient quantities quite liberally without any dire consequences.

Recipe:
For about 8 to 10 small size dosas

2 cups of gram flour (besan)
1 big onion, 6 green chillies, few sprigs of cilantro - finely chopped
1 big carrot - finely grated
1 tsp of each - cumin and ajwan (vaamu/carom seeds)
½ tsp of salt or to taste

Sift gram flour to aerate and to remove lumps. Take in a big vessel. First add cumin, ajwan, and salt. Mix to combine. Next, add the finely chopped vegetables. By gradually adding water, about 1 to 2 cups, mix and prepare besan batter to a medium-thick pouring consistency, like idly batter.

Heat an iron dosa pan and grease it with half-cut whole onion. When the pan is hot, pour ladleful of batter and spread into thin round. Sprinkle half teaspoon of oil or ghee on the top. Wait for bubbles to appear. When the underside starts to brown, gently lift and turn to other side. Cook the dosa until the second side is lightly browned. Remove and serve hot with chutney. (They are not that good when they get cold, so prepare them just before mealtime.)

Besan Dosa with Red Bell Pepper Chutney
Besan Dosas, Red Bell Pepper Chutney with Coriander Flower Garnish ~ Our Simple Lunch Today

More About Besan Dosa:
Video blogging of Puda by Jay Dave and Sisters (entertaining)
Kay’s Besan Cheela
Italian Version-Socca from Tasty Bytes

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan) (Monday June 19, 2006 at 3:32 pm- permalink)
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Gram Flour (Besan, Sanaga Pindi)

Besan, Gram Flour, Sanaga Pindi, Chana Dal Flour
Gram Flour (Besan, Sanaga Pindi) ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Gram Flour : Recipes

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Gram Flour (Besan), Indian Kitchen (Sunday June 18, 2006 at 6:03 pm- permalink)
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Murukulu (Janthikalu, Chakli)

We created our own winter holiday custom; making murukulu, our favorite savory snacks. Vijay’s birthday comes during this month, and he loves murukulu more than anything. So, I make them in large quantity for his b’day and also for us, to snack all throughout the month of December, the traditional holiday season here.

Murukulu and hot tea, South Indian style, under the gorgeous golden rays of wintry Sunset.

Murukulu and Tea, served in a traditional Andhra way, on one fine evening

For the uninitiated, murukulu are India’s snack food. They are made with spiced up rice and lentil flour dough, pressed using a mold into beautiful round coils, then deep-fried in oil. Krum. karum is the sound they make when munched. Indian grocery shops usually carry several varieties of these snacks, try them out first, before trying out the recipe. For who know, love and want to try making murukulu at home, here is the recipe.

Recipe:

2 cups - Rice flour
1/2 cup - Gram flour (Besan)
1/2 cup - Moong flour (Pesara Pindi)

1/4 cup - sesame seeds
1 teaspoon each - cumin and ajwan/vaamu (carom seeds)
1/2 teaspoon each- red chilli powder and salt
Pinch of baking powder

Cooked Potato, Moong flour, Rice flour, Gram flour (besan), sesame seeds, Molds to make different shape murukulu and on the plate Red chilli powder, Ajwan seeds, baking powder, salt and Cumin

Some tips for good quality murukulu:

1. Boiled and Mashed Potato - a tip from my attamma for soft yet crunchy murukulu. One small potato will do for the above measurements. To make the dough more easy to work with, and as emulsifier, she substituted the ghee with the boiled and mashed potato paste. It is a great tip that works.

2. Peanut oil for deep frying - I find it that murukulu tastes great when deep-fried in peanut oil. I tried canola, corn oil… They go rancid only after 15 minutes on high heat and murukulu also taste almost bitter.

Muruku maker with discs - You can buy it in almost all major Indian grocery/appliance shops here in US, or you can try online stores. Cookie press like Sawa or Cookie guns are also good for muruku making.

Prepared dough for murukulu making cylinder shaped log with the dough and dropping it into the muruku maker

Preparation:

Sieve and mix together the flours. Add the sesame seeds, pureed potato paste, red chilli powder, baking powder, salt, cumin and ajwan seeds. Make a soft dough by adding the water gradually. Dough shouldn’t be too stiff. Take small portion of dough and make a cylindrical shaped log and drop it into the muruku mold, like shown in the photo above.

Pressing the dough into muruku shape using muruku maker into hot oil Making of Murukulu- after 5 minutes in hot oil

Deep Frying:

In a wok like deep, sturdy vessel, heat the peanut oil to hot. With your hands, press the muruku mold over the hot oil, making concentric circles, so that the coils of dough come out and drop into the hot oil in circle shape. When you are practiced at making them, you can get two to three circles of dough coils, successfully. My level of expertise at making these beautiful circles is a hit and miss. Anyway you make them, they will turn out, one tasty, crunchy snack, so don’t stress out too much about circles and technique, I don’t.

Fry both sides till golden, and then remove. It takes approximately 5 minutes to fry one batch. Repeat till all the dough is used. Let them cool and store in an airtight container.

During frying, always keep the stove heat on very high. Just by changing the discs, one can make several different shaped murukulu. Shammi of Food in the Main, made recently ribbon shaped muruku for Diwali. I usually use medium round holes disc and star shaped holes disc. The ones photographed here are made using the star shaped holes disc.

Golden Murukulu - Photo taken in evening Sun light
A plate of Murukulu

Recipe Source: Attamma (MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Moong Flour (Monday December 5, 2005 at 2:28 am- permalink)
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Stuffed Green Chilli Bajjis (Mirapakaya Bajjilu)

Stuffed green chilli bajjis - whole green chillies are filled with different kinds of mixtures then dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried in oil. They are often served as accompaniment to a main meal in South India, but they are delicious as an appetizer/first course with a cup of yogurt on the side or with a glass of water:)-.

Besan Batter, Slit and deseeded green chillies floating in salted water, 3 different stuffings and green chillies filled with stuffing

Recipe:
(For 10 to 15 green chillies)

Green chillies - Special type of green chillies are used to make stuffed bajjis. You can find them usually in Indian grocery shops. Select straight green chillies, wash and dry them first. Take a green chilli, make a slit lengthwise in the middle, keeping the ends intact. With a knife or a spoon remove the seeds, clean the insides and make space for stuffing. Put these slit, cleaned green chillies in bowl of salted water. If you are sensitive to green chillies, it’s better to wear gloves, take heed of Mrs D and Chopper Dave advise.

Stuffing: I’ve prepared three different kinds of stuffing. (I’ve had them already in my kitchen, what I did was just put them together).

First one is my favorite, traditional Raayala Seema fare that my mother prepares at home:

Half cup of roasted chana dal(dalia), 2 tablespoons of dry coconut powder and tamarind juice, 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp of salt - powder them together.

The second type of stuffing is what one can find in bajjis from street side stalls in Hyderabad. Very famous and long lines in front of these stalls for bajjis, particularly during monsoon season.

Half cup of sesame seeds, 1 tsp each of coriander seeds and cumin (all three roasted), 3 tablespoons of coconut powder and tamarind juice - mixed and made into thick paste.

The third variety is more of a North Indian fare, learned from a friend.

I had some leftover potato curry - (Fried potato and onions seasoned with garam masala powder) - I reheated the curry in microwave and mashed the potatoes into thick paste.

Batter: One cup of gram flour (besan), quarter cup of rice flour, pinch of baking soda, salt to taste and half to one glass of water - mix them all thoroughly into thick batter (more like dosa/pancake batter consistency).

Oil - Peanut oil for deep-frying.

green chillies filled with different types of stuffing - all ready for a dip in the batter and fry in hot oil
Green chillies filled with 3 different kinds of stuffing

Fill up the gap with stuffing of all the green chillies one by one and keep them on a plate. Again, one by one, dip them into the batter, drop them gently into hot oil, deep-fry them until golden, turning frequently. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper towels.

If you want your bajjis more like street stall bajjis, what you have to do is, first dip each green chilli into batter fully, slide the side opposite of slit side onto edge of vessel, so that side of green chilli has no batter covering it and will be in direct contact with the hot oil, when deep fried. That exposed green chilli will taste crunchy.

But for an authentic taste of street food, double dip and fry again. (Dip the fried green chillibajjis in batter, this time coating them all around and deep fry in hot oil till golden. You can see both varieties in the picture below.)

Stuffed Green Chilli Bajjis (Mirchi Bajjis)
Stuffed green chilli bajjis - both, single and double dipped and fried.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Peppers (Wednesday November 2, 2005 at 8:44 pm- permalink)
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Bajji(Pakora, Bhajjia)

Festival feast without bajjis - no way

Bajji Platter- Potato Slices, Red Onion slices, Green Chillies slit in the middle

Dipped them in a batter, prepared with gram flour(besan), red chilli powder, salt, baking soda, ajwain seeds(Vaamu) and water. (Check out this post for ingredients photo.) Then deep fried them in hot oil.

Bajji (Pakoras, Bhajjias) Platter - Potato, Green Chilli and Onion Bajjis
Platefull of Chilli-Onion-Potato Bajjis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Onions (Friday October 14, 2005 at 10:12 am- permalink)
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Mysore Pak

I don’t know why but we both are losing weight, significant amounts, since coming back from India. We are not doing anything out of ordinary and on our recent yearly medical checkup, the family doctor billed our medical reports as excellent, so no problems there. This sudden weight loss is baffling us. The only reason for this I can think of is homesickness. Leaving the dear and near ones back home, I thought it would get easy with age and time, but not so in our case, it seems. The life we created here seems so dull, empty and purposeless. Is this what happens in 30’s, if so, I would love to go back to the carefree 20’s. Little bit early for a midlife crisis, I know.

To counter the weight loss and also to satiate my cravings for an Indian sweet, we made Mysore Pak last Sunday. A deliciously rich, decadent sweet, made of chickpea flour and pure ghee. South India’s favorite. The sweet is as colorful and mouthful as its name sounds. All of our sweets names are like that, unique and colorful… Badusha, Chandra Kala, Mohan Bhag etc.,

There are no shortcuts for this sweet; you need quality ingredients and no cutbacks on the amount of ghee. Otherwise you end up with not so tasty, yellow brick kind of mixture. So use freshest possible ingredients, mainly besan flour for this recipe. And also you need an extra pair of hands. So keep family or friends on the side.

Recipe:
1 cup Besan flour, sift to aerate & to remove any lumps
1 cup ghee, melted & at room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup sugar - your wish
2 cardamom pods, seeds powdered

Besan Flour, Ghee, Sugar and Cardamom Pods

In a big sturdy pot, take one cup of water, add sugar and bring them to boil till the sugar syrup reaches one string consistency. Reduce the heat.
Now pour the ghee and besan flour in a steady stream into the sugar syrup while stirring. You need an extra hand here. Continuously and thoroughly stirring, cook until the ghee starts to leave the sides of the pan and the mixture starts to thicken and turns to become porous and light gold in color. Stir in the cardamom powder.

Sugar Syrup On the Stove Pouring Besan Flour in Sugar&Ghee Syrup

Immediately pour onto a greased tray & evenly level it out with a spatula. When it is still hot, cut into diamond shapes. Makes about 10 to 12 pieces.

Mysore Pak Right Out Of the Stove, On to the Plate, Cut into Diamonds

Mysore Pak - Traditional Indian Sweet
Mysore Pak - Simple, sinfully rich tasting, sweet golden diamond

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Molasses, Ghee, Indian Sweets 101 (Wednesday September 21, 2005 at 3:59 pm- permalink)
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Egg Pakora (Egg Bhajji)

The Egg Board should offer us, the food bloggers, at least some free eggs. With this month’s IBBM and EoMEoTE themes happening one after another, the publicity, the recipes- this is going to be one incredible edible egg kind of week.

Egg pakoras are one of my favorite street side food during my college years. After coming here I totally forgot about it. I was thinking about what I could make with eggs that was not already included in the EoMEoTE and I could submit for this months IBBM hosted by lovely Seattle Bon Vivant. Then I remembered the egg pakoras.

Say what you will about Indian street fare, but for my money, you can’t get food tastier than samosas or egg pakoras fresh from a street side vendor’s stall. But I am far from India now and I wanted to get a taste of egg pakoras here, so here I go into the kitchen to refresh those student days’ experiences.

Chickpea Flour, Boiled Eggs, Red Chilli Powder, Salt and Vaamu/ajwain
Ingredients to prepare egg pakoras

Recipe:
(Serves two)

6 boiled eggs
1 cup gram flour (Besan Flour)
1/2 tsp each of salt, red chilli powder,
1/4 tsp each of cumin & ajwain/vaamu
A pinch of baking soda
Quarter cup of water
Peanut Oil for deep-frying

Preparation:

1. Cut each egg into 3 circular pieces. I removed yellow from some pieces, but you can keep it if you like to.

2. Gram flour is a fine yellow flour made from garbanzo beans or chanadal. Put the gram flour into a bowl; add salt, red chilli powder, cumin and baking soda. If you want, you can also add ginger-garlic paste to get the extra kick. Stir in these ingredients well. Add quarter cup of water to them and mix thoroughly. Add water if needed, the prepared batter must be tight (tighter than pancake batter and regular bhaji batter). It should form thick coating around the eggs when they are dipped in the batter.

Boiled eggs Taking a Dip in Chickpea Flour Batter Egg Pakoras Frying in Oil

3. Fill one-third of a large deep skillet with oil and heat the oil until it is very hot.

4. Dip the egg pieces one by one into batter, taking caution to coat the egg all around with the batter. This is important because there will be a mini explosion if raw egg touches the hot oil, as you may already know, and that is why the need for a thick batter. Now take the dipped egg pieces and drop them gently into the hot oil, few at a time.

5. Fry the egg pakoras until they are golden brown, turning frequently. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper towels.

Arrange the pakoras on a platter and serve them hot or warm with ketchup or cilantro chutney.

Egg Pakoras with Ketchup on the Side

These small egg pakoras are quick and easy to prepare and irresistible as snack.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan), Eggs (Friday June 24, 2005 at 7:17 pm- permalink)
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