Saturday, May 15, 2010

Methamba

In my last trip to the grocery store, I spotted some nice green mangoes. Back home, in Pune, this was a sure sign of the advent of summer. Mangoes got a very special treatment , whether raw or ripe...there were pickles and panha (cool mango drink), bhels with small chunks of raw & sour mangoes...yumm! When the markets were flooded with ripe mangoes there was aamras (mango pulp) & poli , mango milkshakes and mango ice cream made in pot! I still remember the fun filled summer evenings, the entire family...uncles -aunts, cousins and grand parents, getting together and having a pot ice cream party. It was so much fun fighting for a chance to churn the pot in the initial stages and later shying away from all the labor ! :)

There are so many ways that one can use mangoes, especially raw ones in every day cooking. The recipe I am going to share is just an example of a great and simple way to transform a nice tangy green mango into a yummy relish. Pair it up with some rice and dal and you will have a delicious meal in minutes. Methamba, as this relish is called, uses very few ingredients and takes no time to cook. You can even make some in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy Methamba with rice, poli, bread or even as a dip...you can be assured that people will be left wanting more!



Ingredients:
(the quantities here are really estimates as it all depends on how sour the mango is)
1 raw/green mango
1/4 tsp methya (fenugreek seeds)
1/4 cup jaggery (approximately...this will depend entirely on how sour the mango is)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil
hing (asafoetida)
salt to taste

Method:
Peel the mango and cut into small cubes. In a pan, heat the oil and then add the mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds start to pop, add the hing and then the methya. Let cook for a few seconds. Then add the chopped mango to the pan. Add a little bit of salt and let the mango cook. Normally you would not need to add water, but if the mixture starts drying out, only then add a few teaspoons of water to prevent it from burning. Don't add too much because once you add the jaggery it will let out some moisture. Once the mango s completely cooked, and feels mushy, add the jaggery and red chilli powder and cook till everything is cooked together. Check for taste and adjust the salt/chilli powder and jaggery. The mixture is supposed to be a combo of sweet/sour/spicy. Once ready , take it off from the heat and let it cool. Store in a container and refrigerate the leftover.


Wasn't that easy? This was supposed to be my entry for Anupama's Mango moods, but unfortunately could not make it in time. Anyway, I hope you do try this out and enjoy the bounty of summer!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our little Gourmand & Baked Fruits

Our little gourmand is here! And that is exactly why I was hibernating. Nine months of complete pampering and preparing for our bundle of joy left little time and absolutely no energy for cooking or blogging. But now that our baby boy A is here, I am hoping that I will have more enthusiasm to keep this blog up and running. And looking at the way he goes for his milk I do hope that he turns out to be a gourmand and follows in his dad's footsteps. Little A is now 2 months old and it is difficult to imagine life without him!

These days I am hardly cooking as my mom is here but that just means that I get to learn more fabulous and traditional recipes from her. So I hope to post more of her recipes in the future...some of which I had almost forgotten. It is amazing how she uses simple techniques to transform the dullest of veggies into lip smacking dishes. So stay tuned...

2009 slipped by and there was no record of it on this blog. But I am determined to make 2010 count and to start it off I would like to share a very simple and delicious dessert recipe. This recipe came to me from my sister who got it from a friend of hers. Baked fruits is what she calls it but it tastes no less than a cheese cake! We were super impressed with this recipe and hope that you give it a try.


Ingredients:(Serves 2-3)
1 8 oz can of cream cheese
1 14 oz can of condensed milk
1 can of tropical fruits (or mixed fruits)
dry fruits (optional)

Method:

In the food processor or blender, blend together the cream cheese and the condensed milk and keep aside. Drain the syrup from the canned fruits and rinse them a little with water. This will wash off the extra sugar syrup and prevent the dish from getting too sweet. I also added some fresh grapes...so adding fresh fruits might also work. Now mix these fruits into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the entire mixture into a baking pan and bake in 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. You will know its ready when you see a yellowish tinge on top. Once baked, remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Finally, put the baked fruits in the refrigerator to cool further and set. Serve chilled.

We loved this dessert and I will definitely try it again. Things that I would like to modify next time would be :
Using a little less condensed milk (about 10-12oz instead of 14)
Using fresh fruits instead of canned ones.

But even without these modifications Baked Fruits is a perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jwari -Nachani Che Thalipeeth - JFI Whole Grains

Thalipeeth is a type of a savory pancake which is a popular Maharashtrian breakfast/brunch item. In Maharashtra, these thalipeeths are normally made using a flour which is called bhajani. This bhajani is made with various grains and spices roasted and ground together in a flour.

In North Karnataka, however, the thalipeeths are also made with Jowar (Sorghum) flour. Jowar is extremely nutritious and yet very light to digest. Thalipeeth is an easier way to incorporate Jowar in your diet as compared to making rotis (bhakris) which require some practice. Jwari cha thalipeeth is a childhood favorite and was always a great item to be packed for a picnic or long journey. Paired with a some pickles and dahi (yogurt), or even just some homemade tup (ghee), this humble dish has the power to satisfy any hungry soul. The recipe can be accessorized as per your likings and it makes a delicious breakfast, quick lunch or a light dinner. It is one of our preferred lunch items to carry to work. This time I also added a little nachani (finger millet) flour and the result was even more nutritious and flavorful.

This recipe is going to Suganya of Tasty Palettes, who is hosting JFI : Whole Grains. I had been planning to write this post for a long time and send it on time, but as usual work piled up and deadlines had to be met. I am thankful to Suganya for letting me send in a late entry. So before I get caught in any other deadline, lets get straight to the recipe.

Ingredients : (serves 2-3)
2 cups Jwari cha peeth (flour)
4 tbsp Nachani che peeth (finger millet flour)
1/2 an onion chopped finely (can be adjusted as per liking)
2 tsp Red chilli powder (adjust to your liking)
salt to taste
water to knead
Oil to cook
Pan/Griddle

Method :
Mix the jowar flour and nachani flour together in a bowl. Usually I make only jowar thalipeeth and this is the first time I added nachani (Finger millet) to it. Hence there is no fixed ratio for this. You can change the ratio as per your liking or even completely skip the Nachani.
Next, add the chopped onions to the mixture and then add the salt and red chilli powder. You can even add a little chopped cilantro for additional flavor and color. Knead the mixture into a pliable dough using water. Divide the dough into four equal portions. The size of the thalipeeth can be modified. So this much dough might yield more thalipeeths if smaller in size.

Now on a tawa/pan (griddle), take about a tablespoon of oil. Take a portion of the dough, smooth it into a round ball and then start pressing the dough on the tawa with your fingers to make a medium thin roti. Once done, punch in 5 holes into the thalipeeth with you finger, like so....

Now drizzle just a little more oil on top of the thalipeeth and make sure it is spread all over. Cover the tawa with a plate and cook. Check after 3-4 minutes to see if done. Once done on one side, flip and let it cook for a few more minutes. Make sure that it is cooked thoroughly otherwise it will end up tasting raw. When it is cooked on both sides, serve with a dollop of fresh homemade tup (ghee) or some dahi (yogurt) and loncha (pickles) like I did here and enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

MBP: Say Cheese: Microwave Kalakand

Since the day I saw this recipe, I have been wanting to try it. But due to work and the daily grind, I was not getting the motivation to do it and eventually it just got lost in my big list of bookmarks. Then, a couple months back I saw it again here, and knew that this time I had to make it, come what may. Nothing was going to stop me now. The arrival of Ganesha and his ten day stay, gave me ample opportunity and enthusiasm to finally make this delicious Microwave Kalakand, originally posted by Sandeepa of Bong Mom's CookBook.

The recipe is so simple and the results so amazing! This recipe is a keeper. Not only did our friends enjoy this treat but so did their one year old who would not stop eating the Kalakand! Thanks Sandeepa....your Microwave Kalakand recipe was an excellent Neivedya for Ganpati and I am sure he was just as pleased as we were. :)

After making the Kalakand, I couldn't resist clicking some photos (aadat se majboor ;)) and then it struck me that this was a very good candidate for MBP: Say Cheese that is being hosted by Siri of Siri's Corner this month, and is the brainchild of Coffee of The Spice Cafe.

This recipe calls for Ricotta cheese which is a very popular fresh cheese used in Italian cuisine. After reading a little about this cheese, I realized that its not technically considered a cheese as its made from whey that is a byproduct of cheese making. But to me its still cheese and a very light one at that. It contains only around 5 % of fat per Wikipedia. More info here. Its a great substitute for Khawa or Khoya too, which is a key ingredient for a lot of the Indian Mithais like burfis and pedhas and of course, gulabjamuns.

I have not made any changes to the recipe except that I skipped the pistachios as I did not have any at hand. I just sprinkled a few strands of saffron once the Kalakand was ready. So lets "Say cheese"!

Ingredients:
1 14 oz can of condensed milk
1 15oz jar of ricotta cheese ( i used part skim ricotta)
2-3 veldode (cardamoms)
saffron
1 microwaveable dish

Method:
Empty the can of condensed milk into the microwaveable dish. Take ricotta cheese in equal quantity as that of the condensed milk. Sandeepa gives a great idea to do this...fill the can of condensed milk with ricotta cheese to get the same quantity. Add this to the condensed milk and mix well. Now microwave the mixture for 5 minutes, making sure that it does not boil over. Then heat for another 5 minutes, checking after each minute and stirring to avoid any spillage. Cook this mixture till it reaches a grainy consistency with not a lot of moisture. One way to test if its ready is to take a spoon and if the mixture sticks to the spoon, continue to cook. If nothing sticks to the spoon and yet the mixture lumps together, you are ready to set it. This whole process took me just about 13 minutes, so its really fast. Once you have reached the right consistency, remove from the microwave and add the cardamom powder to it. Mix and then leave it to set for an hour. Garnish with chopped pistachios or saffron strands.
Cut into squares before serving and be ready to be transported to heaven!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Laal Bhoplyachi Kheer (Pumpkin Kheer)

Tis the season of change....everywhere I go and everywhere I see, people are talking about change. The atmosphere sure got me fired up and I decided to change the look of my blog! S has been urging me to do this for so long...but for some reason or the other I was uncomfortble doing it. Who likes change, right ? But no change means stagnancy. Maybe this might just give me some renewed enthusiasm ;). So last weekend, we both sat down and changed the look of the blog and I must confess that it feels really good and fresh, just like a newly painted home. I also realized that its just like painting your home...the look might change but the warm and cozy feeling of the home never goes away.

And although the major changes are done, I might keep doing minor upgrades to it. All suggestions and feedback are more than welcome!
A few days back, I had got butternut squash from the grocery store. The original plan was to make some comforting soup with it, but then S told me of the pumpkin kheer his mom makes and how he was craving for it. For me, this was a new recipe. I had never tasted pumpkin kheer or 'laal bhoplyachi kheer' as we would call it in Marathi. That day was also Nagpanchmi and I had to make something sweet anyways. Although the recipe was not very different from how we make the regular kheer as per my hubby, I still wanted to confirm it from the source :). We called my MIL early in the morning and confirmed the recipe. Sure enough, it was easy and sounded delicious! The texture and taste of the butternut squash was perfect for the kheer. Normally, we use pumpkin(laal bhopala), but any squash/pumpkin that is slightly sweeter in taste will do.



Ingredients : ( serves 2-3)
1 butternut squash (or pumpkin)
about 2 cups of milk ( i did not measure this time...but its easy to adjust)
about 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet the squash is)
1 tbsp tup (ghee)
1 tsp veldoda pwdr (cardamom)
dry fruits (optional)

Method :
Cut the butternut squash into half and then cook the squash in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes. You can also pressure cook the squash. Once cooked and cooled a little bit, scoop out the squash. Now mash the coooked squash with the back of a spoon. Keep aside.

In a saucepan, heat the tup (ghee) and then add and saute the mashed pumkin for a few minutes. Next, add the milk to it. You can adjust the quantity of milk as per the desired consistency. Cook till it comes to a boil and then add the sugar. Stir and let it boil again. If the kheer is too thin, reduce the flame and keep boiling till the milk reduces a bit. The kheer should be a little thick in consistency for best results. Turn off the heat and then add the veldoda powder (cardamom). Let the kheer cool and then you can either chill it in the refrigerator or serve immediately.

If you are adding dry fruits like raisins and cashews, fry them in the ghee before adding the cooked squash to it. You can also add a little saffron, although I did not use it this time. Another good addition would be a little nutmeg powder.

This time, I wanted to enjoy the flavor of the squash as is without much adulteration so I only used cardamom powder. But you can definitley make it richer with your favorites! Hope you enjoy this simple yet delicious kheer. :)

Other pumkin/squash desserts :

Gharge


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vegetable Stew in Coconut Milk

Summer time is generally the toughest for me to come up with new recipes. I always end up in a state where I don't want to eat a lot of spicy food, nor oily, nor hot....which eliminates most of the regular Indian recipes we make at home. I know, I am spoilt....and my hubby will agree with this 100% ;). So, on one such summery evening, when the temperatures were soaring high, I took out all the vegetables that were chilling out in the refrigerator and made this simple yet tasty Vegetable stew. The basic idea for the stew came from a dear friend and her hubby. I skipped a lot of the spices they normally use and added some of my own. It was just one of those days I did not want to use too many masalas, and this also gave me an opportunity to use my favorite ingredient -coconut milk.

This Vegetable stew is also going to the Curry Mela hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons.


Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 medium cauliflower cut into florets
1 Zucchini
1/2 cup carrots, corn and green beans mix ( I used a frozen mix)
1/2 onion chopped lengthwise
2-3 Kokum/amsul
1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns (you can adjust to your taste)
1 Dried red chilli
1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
2-3 Curry leaves
1 small can coconut milk
Salt to taste
Method:
Wash and cut all the veggies. In a pan, heat the ghee and then add the cumin seeds to it. Once they start sizzling, add the dried red chillies and fry for a minute. To this, add the curry leaves and then the crushed black pepper powder and fry. Next, add the chopped onions and once they turn translucent, add the kokum. The kokum can also be soaked in a little warm water and the water can then be added to the gravy. Now, add the chopped veggies and mix well. Add a little salt, cover the pan and let the vegetables cook. Once they are cooked, add the can of coconut milk. Mix, cover and cook for a few more minutes. Check for taste and adjust the salt accordingly. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice, chapatis or appams!

This is not a very spicy gravy but it is packed with flavor. You can add/modify this recipe easily as per your mood and cravings ;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Yes...its Jackfruit!

So almost everyone guessed it right...the star ingredient is green/tender Jackfruit or as it is called in Marathi, 'Fanas'. Special credit to Sia, who was the first one to comment and get it right ! :)
Its so amazing how food can transport us back in time and help us relive precious moments spent with dear ones. A lot of my childhood memories are knit around food, and this Jackfruit curry is one such recipe that always reminds me of my days as a carefree school girl. My mom made this Fanasachi bhaaji (Jackfruit curry) and I just loved it! Even now, as I write this, I can smell the aroma of the fried jackfruit pieces and the freshly ground masala!

Green jackfruit or raw/tender jackfruit is very meaty in texture and has a very delicate flavor. It does need a little getting used to, i think. But once you develop a taste for it, you will have a wonderful and versatile ingredient to experiment with in your kitchen. Green Jackfruits are generally found in the markets around March-April. The only tough task is cutting this enormous fruit. You need to be extremely careful with the knife and normally, it helps to grease your hands and knife with some oil. The good thing here, in the US, is that you can find canned jackfruit already cut into big chunks. Life made easy! :)

Usually, I strictly follow my mom's recipe, but this time I did a few modifications, based on what I had at hand. This curry goes well with rice /
chapatis or parathas or even bread. It is preferable if this curry can be made a few hours before the actual meal...this way the spices have a chance to mingle around and develop a great flavor without being spicy. Lets get started...
But before I forget, let me just add that this mouthwatering curry is going to Srivalli of
Cooking4 All Seasons for her Curry Mela which is on till Aug 28, 2008.


Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 small can of green jackfruit (280 gms.)
1/2 onion paste (if big onion)
1 garlic clove minced or paste
Masala :
3 tbsp dried , grated coconut (suka khobra)

1 tbsp Cashews
4 tbsp dhane (coriander seeds)
1 tsp shah jeere
2 tsps badishep (fennel seeds)
A small piece of dalchini (cinnamon stick)
1/4 tsp khuskhus (poppy seeds)
3-4 lavanga (cloves)
3 mire (black peppercorns)
1 dried red chilli

A small bunch of cilantro
1-2 tomatoes (depending on how sour they are). I used 1/4 cup of canned, diced tomatoes.
2-3 tbsp Oil + oil to shallow fry the jackfruit
2-3 tsp Laal tikhat (cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste

Method :
The first step is to get the fanas ready, depending on whether you are using canned or fresh. If using canned jackfruit, drain off all the water and pat them with a tissue to remove as much moisture as possible. Now, these pieces can be either deep fried, which my mom usually does, or you can also shallow fry them, like I did this time. But, deepr frying makes the jacfruit really yummy and enhances its flavor. These taste good just by themselves too!
Keep the fried pieces of jackfruit aside. First of all, grind the onion to make a paste. To make the masala, dry roast all the Masala ingredients given above separately, till they turn golden brown. Then grind together these spices along with the cilantro to a fine paste. Now in a kadhai/pan, heat the oil. Next, add the onion paste and fry till it turns golden brown. Then add the garlic paste and fry for a minute. Once done, add the ground masala to the onions. Fry the masala for a few minutes, then add some water and cover and cook. Keep checking at regular intervals and keep adding water as necessary. The key to getting a delicious gravy is to roast the masala as much as possible and fluff it up using water. When the masala starts giving out an aroma and oil starts separating from the sides, add the tomatoes and cook for a while. Then add cayenne pepper and salt and mix well. Make sure that you add a little more cayenne pepper than usual. Normally, once the curry cools down, I have realized that I always need to add more cayenne pepper. But please do taste and stick to your tolerance level. Finally, add the fried jackfruit pieces , mix well and add water to get the desired consistency. Cover the kadhai and let it cook till white steam escapes from the sides. Turn off the heat and let the curry sit for an hour at least. Check for salt before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve with hot chapatis/poli or rice !

Related Posts :

Jackfruit Kababs