Mahanandi

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

Weekend Garden ~ Chickpea Flower

Chickpea Flower
Chickpea Flower ~ From Our Patio Garden


Slide Film Photography ~ by Singari Vijay

Sree’s Canvas ~ by talented artist Sree of Kochi, India

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Chickpeas-Black, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Saturday July 21, 2007 at 9:05 pm- permalink)
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Green Garbanzo (Hare Chana)

Guggullu (Sundal):


Fresh Green Garbanzos ~ Pods and Shelled

Popular seasonal treat of India, fresh garbanzo beans are a true delight. Their sweet nutty flavor makes them a great snack. I am extremely fond of fresh garbanzos when they are prepared in traditional Guggullu style.

Here is the basic Guggullu recipe:

Shell green garbanzos from the pods.
Bring a pot of water to boil.
Add and cook garbanzos for about 2 minutes and drain. (Fresh green garbanzos are like freshly shelled peas. They cook fast and for this recipe, sometimes we add them raw also.)
In a skillet, heat oil.
Add and saute fresh curry leaves and finely sliced shallots/red onions to golden.
Add the garbanzos. Sprinkle salt, red pepper flakes, grated coconut and turmeric. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot with some lemon juice sprinkled on.


Guggullu with Green Garbanzos

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Thursday May 17, 2007 at 9:37 pm- permalink)
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Green Garbanzo and Paneer

Chana Masala with Green Garbanzo and Paneer


Green Garbanzo and Paneer Curry with Chapati ~ Our Meal Today

The last few days have been wonderfully pleasant here. The kind of weather that warms the heart and pulls us away from the spell of blank-screen bewitching ways. I took a break from routine house/blog chores and went out for shopping. Among other things, I also bought supplies needed to set up the container garden. I had to leave my neat garden setup when we moved from Ohio to Seattle last fall. Time for fresh start again. The planters, the potting soil and of course the plants. 4 cherry tomatoes, mint, a yellow rose and some marigolds. Peas and methi plants that I started from seed last month are now about 8 inches tall. I transferred all of them to the new and freshly filled big containers. I passed on planting cilantro this year. We get two to three bunches for a dollar anyway, so the loss will not be missed at all. New thing I am trying out this summer is growing lemon grass and taro plant for nutritious leaves. That’s my garden log for summer 07.

One another thing I did was, I shopped at Pike Place Market after a long time. Guess what I found there - green garbanzos in pods. I bought about 4 pounds. Freshly shelled from the pods, the lively green garbanzos were a treat. I divided them to two portions. One for the timeless classic, guggllu type preparation and with the second portion I’ve prepared the chana masala style curry for today’s lunch. Green garbanzos and creamy paneer cooked in garbanzo-sesame sauce. A fresh tasting paneer chole with chapatis, good meal!


Green Garbanzo and Paneer Cubes

Recipe:

1 onion - finely chopped
2 cups fresh green garbanzos (chickpeas, dubba sanagalu)
½ cup paneer, cubed to bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons - chana masala powder (readymade or homemade)
1 tablespoon -Amchur powder or tamarind juice (acts as souring agent)
1 tablespoon - jaggery/sugar (brings sweetness)
½ teaspoon each -salt, chilli powder and turmeric (the much needed spices)

For Garbanzo-Sesame Sauce:
In a blender, take about
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds - grind to fine paste. To it, add
½ cup green garbanzo
3 tomatoes and 1 inch sized ginger - finely chopped
Add about a cup of water and grind to smooth consistency.

*****************

In a saucepan, heat about a teaspoon of oil. Add and saute onions to golden. Add the garbanzo-sesame sauce.

Stir in green garbanzo, chana masala powder, amchur powder, jaggery, salt, chilli powder and turmeric. Stir in about a cup of water. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring in-between.

When the sauce starts to thicken, add the paneer cubes. Simmer another 5 to 10 minutes on low heat so that paneer could absorb the sauce.

Serve warm with chapati/paratha or with rice.


Green Garbanzo and Paneer Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Sesame Seeds, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Wednesday May 16, 2007 at 6:52 pm- permalink)
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Tandoor ~ The Great Indian Barbeque Cookbook Review, Poem and Recipe


Cookbook by Ranjit Rai

Seattle’s public library system has the biggest collection of cookbooks I have ever seen, and it covers a gamut of traditional and contemporary cuisines. Whenever all-day rain is in the forecast, I pack up a bag and hike to the library to spend the day. The library is spacious, vibrant, well-lit, and equipped with WiFi system. We can either browse through the bookshelves or sit in a corner and surf away on laptops. Stepping inside the library is my way of shutting out the gloom and grayness of winter, so I go.

One such day last week, I was in the cookbooks aisle, my usual hangout place at the library. Flipping the pages of various cookbooks, trying to decide which deserved the 10-minute trek back home. I usually place cookbooks into two categories. Books that are worthy of the paper they are printed on and books that would make even the docile trees of the rainforests cry. After all the sacrifice made of these gentle giants in the name of nourishing the human mind, the trash printed in the name of food and sustenance would make any decent person weep with disgust. We have to pulp the green to mint the green, I know that, but some cookbooks are truly a violation of everything that the rainforests stand for.

But I digress. So here I was in the pursuit of cookbooks worthy of my energy. The Seattle public library did not disappoint me. I found one that made me stop looking further. The book was titled “Tandoor - The Great Indian Barbeque”. It is not often that one finds a cookbook dedicated to a cooking technique as ancient as the 5000 years old tradition of tandoori. I had to pick it up. What a wonderful use of my time it was to read that book! “Tandoor” is written by Ranjit Rai of New Delhi. He had diligently detailed a manuscript on tandoor cooking, but had passed away before it could be published. His daughter and his best friend together edited and completed the publication of the book.

I can truly say that this cookbook is like the Bhagavad Gita for connoisseurs and lovers of fine cooking. Everything one would ever want to know about tandoor, the kartha, karma, kriya are described in detail. The first part of the book is dedicated to the history and different types of tandoor. Useful tips and tricks - how to construct a tandoor in your backyard, and how to adapt tandoor-style cooking to an apartment kitchen - are recited in eye-opening detail with captivating pictures. The second part of the book is about the karma, the basic work and preparation needed for tandoor cooking. Different types of tenderizers, marinades and masala powders that add special touch to tandoori dishes - what, how and why - are narrated with scientific explanations. Part three includes tandoor recipes for poultry, lamb, fish, vegetables, and breads. The book has a total of 105 recipes and each recipe is accompanied by one or two photographs of either the preparation stages or the finished product. Classic crowd-pleasers such as tandoori chicken, cocktail kababs, masala chops, tandoori jhinga, and paneer tikka along with kababs and tandoori rotis - you will find them all in this book. In spite of coming from a family with non-vegetarian food traditions, I have consciously avoided meat all these years. But even I cannot resist a masala tikka if it is cooked and served in the manner described in this book. That tempting!

Whether you are a culinary enthusiast or simply browse cookbooks as a pastime, if you ever come across this book in a bookshop or at your local library, please stop and pick it up. Mr. Ranjit Rai’s meticulousness and passion will leave you awestruck, as it did me. What a wonderful tribute to the timeless tradition of tandoor cooking! Well done! My vinamra namaskar to the father and daughter team.

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Ode To The Tandoor ~ By Ranjit Rai
(excerpt from “Tandoor”)

Fired from below Ranjit Rai (1923 - 1993)
And cascading hear from above
Made from mother earth
By gently hands of women in love
Charging the clay with strength
Thou wondrous oven
Fail-safe cooker of goodness and health

From Unknown time
Through millenniums you serve
Now underground now from above
‘Big’, aromatic, baking and roasting
Accepting grain, meat and dove
The chicken brought you fame
And now on every lip is your name

You sit burning for others
Calling bring your meal ‘bread and dough’
And stir around me ‘timber’
Warm yourself a moment
The day’s work is done
Pay homage to the world’s greatest preserver.

Sri Ranjit Rai (1923-1993)

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Hare Chane ki Seekh (Green Chickpea Kababs)
Recipe from “Tandoor”, page: 229

Like the author’s family, we too grew up with the tradition of indulging in green chickpeas (hare chane) during season. Like fresh peas of spring, green chickpeas taste wonderfully sweet with the delicate, earthy scent of the motherland. Fresh foods like these belong to a special category and the associated memories always make them irresistibly spectacular to me.

Seekhs/kababs prepared from fresh chickpeas, without a doubt are a great tandoori snack item. So here is a recipe from the “Tandoor” cookbook, adapted to my apartment’s electric-powered oven.

Fresh Chickpeas (Hare Chana, Cholia)
Fresh Chickpeas (Hare Chana, Cholia)

Ingredients and Method:
(for 7 or 8 medium sized kababs)

2 cups green chickpeas (hare chane, cholia)
1 small red onion or 2 shallots - finely chopped
1 teaspoon - cumin and quarter teaspoon - salt
1 tablespoon - peanut oil/ghee
2 tablespoons - gram flour/besan (acts as binding agent)
Half cup hung-yogurt (hang yogurt in a thin cotton cloth overnight to drain water)
6 green chillies, 4 curry leaves, 2 garlic, 1-inch ginger, 1 tablespoon grated coconut and pinch of salt - grind them together to smooth consistency in a spice grinder or in a mortar with pestle

Skewers - 3
side dish - a cup of yogurt and grilled baby onions

Hung-Yogurt, Green Chilli-Ginger Paste, Shallots
Hung-Yogurt (Yogurt Cheese), Green Chilli-Ginger Paste, Shallots

In a wide skillet, heat oil/ghee. Add and toast cumin first . Then add and saute onions plus green chilli-ginger paste. When onions are pale red, add green chickpeas. Mix. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the chickpeas soften a bit. (Like fresh green peas, green chickpeas cook fast.)

Add hung-yogurt and salt to taste. Mix and cook on low heat, until water evaporates from yogurt. With the back of the wide, slotted spoon, mash the whole thing to coarsely smooth consistency. Sprinkle besan flour and mix. Let cool.

Mashing the Cooked Chickpea-Spice Mixture
Mashing the Cooked Chickpea-Chilli Saute

Oil and wipe the skewers. Shape the mashed chickpeas into chilli shape directly onto the skewers. Apply gentle pressure while shaping the kababs. Place skewer on a baking pan.

Chickpea Kababs Ready for Grilling
Chickpea Kababs Ready for Grilling in Oven

Once ready, place the pan in oven and broil, each side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Using a fork and fingers, carefully turn each kabab to opposite side for uniform cooking and broil to pale gold color.


Grilled (Oven-Broiled) Golden Chickpea Kababs

Serve hot with a cup of yogurt and some grilled pearl onions/small shallots.


Hare Chane ki Seekh (Green Chickpeas Kababs) with Yogurt and Grilled Onions
My Entry to “Saffron, White and Green” Event at Puja’s My Creative Ideas.

Notes:
Book Cover, Ranjit Rai photo and “Ode to the Tandoor” poem is taken from “Tandoor” cookbook (Copyright:Anuradha Ravindranath) for review purpose.
Thanks V!
Available at : Amazon, Powell’s.com, Indiaclub.com
Recommend this book to your local libraries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Yogurt, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Reviews: Cookbooks (Monday January 22, 2007 at 2:03 pm- permalink)
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Chayote Curry (Bengaluru Vankaya Kura)

Chayote (Bengaluru Vankaya or Cho Cho)

Cho Cho, Christophen, Mirliton, Xuxu - the vegetable Chayote has more names than any other vegetable, I think. The name changes with ethnicity of grocery shop. In Nandyala, my hometown in India, chayote is sold as ‘Bengaluru Vankaya’. Our tiny town imports this vegetable from Bengaluru (Karnataka) region, so the name. The kind we get has more prominent ridges, unlike the very smooth surfaced ones that’s common here. Pale green and pleasantly sweet, chayotes are favored in curry and sambar preparations in our area.

Although available year round, this is the season, where you would see the prices come down for this vegetable here in US. We can buy 2, or sometimes 3 chayotes for a dollar. And 2 are needed to make a decent portioned curry to eat with chapatis for two people. Often I combine the chayotes with potatoes and carrots to make it more substantial and to last at least two meals for us.

Mild flavored chayotes dressed up in coconut-chilli seasoning and little bit of turmeric, together with potatoes and carrots make a delicious curry and a welcome addition to the meal at any time of the day.

Choyate cut to half, seed removed and diced to cubes
Choyate cut to half, seed discarded and diced to cubes

Recipe:

2 each - chayotes, small red potatoes and carrots - lightly peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces. I usually remove and discard the seed from chayote (see the photo above) following the traditional method. Reason given by elders is that seeds are not good for health. I am not sure how true that saying is but still I follow.

1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and 6 small green chillies - grind finely in a spice grinder or in a mortar.

½ cup of fresh green chickpeas (green garbanzos/Hara chana or Choleye)
½ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric

popu or tadka ingredients - 1 tsp each - peanut oil, cumin, mustard seeds and 4-6 curry leaves.

———-

In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil on medium heat. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and then mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump around, add the green chickpeas. Saut? them for few minutes.

Add the chayote, potato and carrot cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Just when they are getting tender, stir in the green chilli - coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix thoroughly and cook for few more minutes, covered until the vegetables reach the tenderness you desire. Chayote releases water on cooking and this water helps to tenderize the potatoes and carrots.

Serve warm with chapatis or with naans.


Chayote curry wrapped in chapatis with a cup of yogurt on the side ~ Our afternoon meal

Fresh, green chickpeas purchased from - Indian grocery & and also at Trader Joe?s Frozen section.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Baby Potatoes, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 3, 2007 at 2:02 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Penne Marinara With Fresh Goat Cheese

Penne in Tomato-Basil Sauce with Goat Cheese

Penne pasta tossed in tomato-basil sauce and garnished with red chilli flavored goat cheese - this classic pasta recipe is easy to prepare and deeply satisfying on a basic, no-nonsense way. Good food to have on a rainy day like today.

I am under the impression that goat cheese is the purest cheese available in the market right now. I am hoping that I won’t find any information that would shatter my belief and prove how naive I am. Again and again, from sugar to table salt to enriched flour, everything I thought decent were proved otherwise here in US. More and more, the ingredient shopping here is becoming like a sightseeing trip to Las Vegas. (I see gondola ride, is this Venice? Nope, it’s not.) Which is genuine and which is maya (fake) - one has to dig deep to discern the difference.

For now, I am going to enjoy goat cheese - my all time favorite cheese.

Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne
Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne Pasta

Recipe:

Penne (a type of pasta) - 2 cups
Tomato-basil sauce (marinara) - Homemade or storebought - 3 cups
Goat cheese - ½ cup
Fresh garbanzo beans - ½ cup
Red onion and red bell pepper, 1 each - thinly sliced lengthwise
Red chilli powder, salt and turmeric - ½ tsp each or to taste.

Cook pasta to tender following instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add and saut? red onions and red bell pepper to soft. Add the fresh garbanzo beans and tomato-basil sauce. Stir in red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and about a cup of water. On medium-high heat, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes stirring in-between. When the sauce starts to come together, switch off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss to mix and sprinkle in crumbled goat cheese. Serve hot.

Kitchen Notes:
Fresh Goat Cheese type and source: Peppadew Chevre from ‘Trader Joe’s’ (US grocery shop)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Cheese, Pasta, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Tuesday November 21, 2006 at 3:01 pm- permalink)
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Methi Chole (Fenugreek~Chickpeas Curry)

“One remarkable thing about Rajasthani recipes is, without the usage of Onions and Garlic, the dishes that are prepared are remarkably tasty. One such dish which stole my heart is Methiwale Kabuli Chhole (Chick peas with fenugreek leaves). This curry is prepared both in dry and gravy version. But my suggestion is to prepare semi gravy version. If you taste this once, you would love to try this out again and again.”

- Writes cooking guru Sri Hemant Trivedi in his introduction to chickpea-fenugreek curry. As weather turned to cold and gray, kitchen and food have become my source of warmth and comfort, among other things. Chickpeas are one of my favorite winter comfort foods and I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try with this wonder legume. The methi chole recipe from Trivedi’s fabulous website sounded interesting and I gave it a try last weekend.

Of course I had to alter the recipe to suit my tastes. I have added onions, omitted ginger-garlic, and I prepared the curry with fresh green chickpeas. Trader Joe’s, the nearby grocery shop carries fresh green chickpeas in frozen section. One-pound packet was available for $1.99. Like freshly shelled peas, fresh green chickpeas taste good, and when combined with potent fenugreek, they made a great combination. Chana masala infused with fenugreek magic is methi chole. Give it a try.

 Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato
Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato

Recipe:

2¼ cups of green chickpeas (chana, green garbanzos)
(of which ¼ cup removed and pureed to smooth paste - to thicken the sauce)
2 cups of fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
4 big, ripe, juicy tomatoes - cut to small pieces
1 onion - finely chopped
Seasoning:
1 tablespoon of chana masala powder
Salt, chilli powder, turmeric, jaggery (or sugar) and amchur powder - to taste or ½ teaspoon each
1 teaspoon of ghee

In a big saucepan, heat ghee on medium heat.
Add and saute onions to soft.
Add fresh methi leaves and cook for about two minutes, until leaves collapse.
Add the green chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir in the pureed chickpea paste, and all the seasoning. Add about 2 cups of water.
Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring in-between, on medium heat, until the chickpeas become tender. Serve the methi-chole warm with chapatis.

This recipe can also be prepared with dried chickpeas (soak and cook them to tender first and follow the recipe steps mentioned above).

Pot of Methi Chole and Chapatis on the Side
Pot of methi chole and chapatis on the side ~ Our Weekend Meal

Green Garbanzo Beans - purchased at Trader Joe’s, frozen section.
Fresh Methi (fenugreek leaves) - purchased at Indian grocery shops
Recipe source and adapted from - Sri Hemant Trivedi and from ‘Spice is Right’

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Monday November 13, 2006 at 12:42 pm- permalink)
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