Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Varyache Tandul (Samo Rice) ani Daanyachi Amti (Peanut Amti)

My last post was a dessert that can be served during a fast. This post has savory recipes fit for a Fast and served as main course. The first recipe is 'Varyache tandul' also known as 'Bhagar' to some people. 'Varyache Tandul' are known as 'Samo/Moraiyo' in English and can be easily found in the Indian grocery stores. Normally, the rice is paired off with some 'Daanyachi Amti' which is nothing but a curry like sauce prepared with roasted peanut paste, but can also be enjoyed without the Amti. Now, as a rule all dishes prepared for a Fast use Tup (ghee), but you can also use Vegetable /Canola oil for these. Looking at the number of dishes we prepare for a Fast, one would think it to be celebration of some sort :). So ready to feast...oops, I mean Fast? ;)

(Our 'Fast' Food : Varyache Tandul, Daanyachi Amti, and Limbache God Lonche)

For Varayche Tandul:
Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 cup Varyache Tandul (Samo seeds)
4 cups Water
1/2 tsp Jeere (Cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp Tup
2 Green chillies chopped
1/2 tsp Daanyacha koot (Roasted peanut powder)
Salt to taste

Before you start cooking, pick over the samo for any impurities. Now, in a pan, toast the Samo till they turn slightly pinkish in colour. Keep aside. In saucepan/ kadhai, heat about 1/2 tsp tup (ghee) or oil. Once heated, add the cumin seeds and once they start sizzling, add the chopped green chillies. Fry for a minute or so and then add the toasted Samo to it. Mix well and then add the water. Salt this mixture and cover and cook till the the Samo is thoroughly cooked. Add more water if required. Garnish with chopped cilantro and some roasted peanut powder. Serve hot with a dollop of tup (ghee)(optional), and Daanyachi Amti (optional).

For Daanaychi Amti:
Ingredients :(serves 2)
1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts
1 1/2 cup Water
1/2 tsp Jeere (Cumin seeds)
2-3 Dried red chillies
2-3 Amsul/Kokum
2-3 tbsp Gul (Jaggery)
1 tsp Oil

Take the roasted peanuts (unsalted), and make a thick paste in the mixer (just like chutney). In a kadhai, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add the dried red chillies and fry for a minute. Next, throw in the Amsul and fry for a minute. Add about 2 tbsp water to this and cook the Amsul in it. After a few minutes, add the peanut paste and water to get a sauce like consistency. Next, add the gul (jaggery) and mix. Also add the salt. Let the Amti come to a boil and garnish with a little roasted peanut powder and cilantro. If the dried red chillies are not spicy enough, add a little cayenne pepper. Serve hot.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yam Caramalized in Jaggery Sauce (Ratalyache Kaap)

After a hot & spicy post, its time for something sweet, and not just a regular dessert, but something that can be consumed even when fasting. Normally, Yam, which is known to us as Sweet Potato and is called 'Ratala' in Marathi, is associated with 'ratalyacha kees'. What many people do not know, is, that this yam (sweet potato) can also be used to make an extremely simple dessert. I am cheating a little bit and taking advantage of the fact that Sweet Potatoes are called Yams here in the US :).The fancy title is nothing but my way of sending this entry for this week's 'Y' of Indian Vegetables, hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove.
'Ratalyache Kaap' as I knew it as a kid, or 'Khatta' as my husband knows it, is a sweet dish prepared especially for an 'Upaas' (Fast). Of course, that does not mean that it cannot be made on other days :) Since yesterday was Ekadashi (one of the 2 big fasts observed), we had a host of 'Upasaache padartha' (dishes prepared during a fast), along with this simple dessert, which happens to be my husband's favourite --- Yam Caramelized in Jaggery Sauce. Enjoy ! :)

Ingredients:(serves 2)
1 medium sized Ratala (Yam)
2 tbsp Tup (Ghee) --- I know its a lot, but this crucial for the dish :)
4-5 tbsp Gul (Jaggery)

Clean the Yam thoroughly. Do not peel the skin off, as that is the most nutritious part. Cut the yam into round slices like this,

Now, in a pan, heat the Tup (ghee). Throw in the Yam slices and stir till all the slices are coated with the tup. Cover the pan and let them cook on medium heat. Keep stirring in between. Once the slices are cooked, add the jaggery and mix together. Let the jaggery melt and coat the slices (make sure that you do this on medium heat otherwise, you will end up with a burnt dish). As this happens, the slices will get a little caramelized and turn dark brown. Once all the jaggery has melted and most of the moisture has evaporated, turn off the heat. Serve with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream or even drizzle some heavy cream on top, or enjoy its plain goodness as is...Enjoy !

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

JFI -- Chillies -- Phodnichya Mirchya

'Phodnichya Mirchya' is a Maharashtrian side dish, served on the left side of the plate. 'Phodni' means 'Tadka' and 'Mirchya' means 'Chillies'. So basically, its a simple stir fry recipe with loads of flavor. Although, looking at the recipe might make you think that it will be very hot, but if you choose the right kind of chillies, you won't feel a thing, I promise. I am sure of this because my hubby too is scared of eating hot stuff, so I cannot afford to make things extra hot :).
This is a recipe that has been passed down from my grandmother (maternal) to my mom, and from her to me. This can be made in two ways, the first one is, with potatoes and the other way is using just green chillies. It tastes great with Rice and dal or curd rice and even with chapatis. This is my entry for JFI--Chillies, hosted by Nandita of Saffron Trail, originally started by Indira.

7 green chillies chopped into small pieces
1/2 a medium sized potato, thinly sliced into small triangular pieces (optional)
3 tsp daanyacha koot (
roasted peanut powder)
1 tsp grated coconut (fresh or dried) (optional)
1/2 tsp mohri (mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp jeere (cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp halad (turmeric)
1 tbsp oil for phodni (tadka)

Choose fresh green chillies that are thick and long. These chillies are generally not that hot. If you go with small, slender chillies, the dish will become too hot (like Thai chillies). Now chop these chillies into small pieces. Next, peel the potato and make small, thin triangular pieces like this,

Normally, the chillies and potato should be in equal proportion, but today, I have used a little more potato than usual. You can also skip the potato entirely and make this with chillies only. It tastes amazing!
Now, in a pan, heat the oil and then add the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle and then add the hing and halad. Now throw in the sliced potato and the chillies in the pan. Let them cook and turn a little golden brown. Keep stirring. The chillies should become slightly crunchy. Once that is done, the next step is to mix in the roasted peanut powder and grated coconut (if using). Add some salt and mix well. Take it off from the heat and store in a clean container. This lasts for upto 4-5 days in the fridge. Enjoy it with your lunch or dinner alongside your favorite veggie, and pretty soon you will get hooked on to it!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cabbage Kofta Curry-- RCI Punjab

First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you for stopping by and reading my Meme. In my MeMe, I had asked you to guess my sun sign. While nobody got it right, Manasi & Srivalli were pretty close. So who am I? I am a true GEMINI ! If you open Linda Goodman and start reading about 'Gemini Woman', you would know what kind of a character I am ;) of course, I would not vouch for all the negative things in there, they are not true :) Now that the mystery is solved, lets get to the recipe for Cabbage Kofta Curry.
Originally, I was going to make Koftas with Lauki/Gheea (Bottle Gourd), but when I saw Kanchana's recipe for Cabbage kofta, I decided to give it a try. Since, I did not have bottle gourd at hand anyways, but had half a cabbage sitting in the fridge, I got all the more motivated. Now, I used a totally different gravy for this. The gravy that I made is from 'Bawarchi' and it is extremely easy and quick to make, not to mention delicious. This is my entry for RCI- Punjab hosted by Richa of 'As Dear As Salt'.

Ingredients: (makes about 7 koftas)
To make the koftas:
1/2 a shredded cabbage
about 5-6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
2-3 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp ginger minced
1 tsp salt
Oil to fry

For the gravy:
1/2 an onion chopped
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tomato chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Fresh cream to garnish (optional)

To make the koftas:
Take the shredded cabbage, add salt to it and keep aside for 10 minutes. Then, squeeze out all the liquid from the cabbage and reserve it. Now add the chopped green chillies, minced ginger (you can also make a ginger-chilli paste), and the besan enough to bind the whole thing together. Adjust the quantity of besan to get a nice dough. Shape into lime size balls and deep fry. Drain on tissue paper.

For the gravy:
Heat the oil and fry onions till dark brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry well. Next add the cayenne pepper and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute. Next add the tomatoes and fry till the oil separates. At this point, add the garam masala and remove from the stove. Now let this mixture cool and then grind to a paste using the reserved cabbage juice. Add salt according to taste (remember the reserved juice already has salt, so do not add extra before tasting it).
Just before serving, simmer the gravy for 5 minutes and pour over the koftas. Garnish with cream and cilantro. Enjoy with roti or rice.

Note: This same recipe can be used to make lauki/gheea (bottle gourd) koftas.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My First MeMe & A Summer Cooler

When Richa of 'As Dear As Salt' tagged me to share 7 random facts about myself, I started thinking of what I would write. Talking about oneself is something that we are all taught, as kids, as something bad. At first, nothing came to my mind, but slowly as I kept thinking, I thought of a few things, and so here I am...Thanks Richa ! After all its not often that I get a chance to speak about myself. ;)

  1. Before getting married, I was teaching French for almost a year in India. Yes, along with my masters degree in Commerce, I also have an advanced diploma in French and am pretty fluent in spoken & written French which is considered a very romantic language.:)
  2. I did not own any cookbooks until very recently, and even then I do not have any on Indian cooking. The two books I got, I found at a public library book sale which feature American cuisine. All the recipes that I know are either my mom's or my MIL's.
  3. I am almost a neat-freak! Why 'almost'? Well, though I do like things neat and organized, there are days when I can overlook everything, and then get up one morning and start cleaning like crazy. I like my kitchen to be clutter-free when I am cooking...cannot cook with a hundred things on the kitchen platform. I also like things well planned...groceries, dinners, outings. I cannot do things well at the last minute. My husband has almost gotten used to this craziness, and I really torture him with this habit of mine :))
  4. I love watching 'Gilmore Girls'! Just love the 'mother-daughter' relationship and their girlie chatter.
  5. I absolutely love to talk on the phone....can talk for hours together and will still be fresh for another conversation. My dad always tells me how his phone bills have gone down tremendously after I got married an sympathizes with my hubby ;)
  6. As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a Teacher, and would play 'teacher-teacher', all by myself, for hours together. I also had co-ordinated my wardrobe with my class teacher's wardrobe. Since I was in a convent school, most of my teachers were Christians and would wear skirts and dresses. So I would come back from school, slip into a dress I thought was close to my teacher's dress that day, wear my sandals and live my dream...of course, somewhere in between my mom used to make me take off my sandals, as it was a big no-no to wear them in the house.
  7. Lastly, no one in my family knows that I have a food blog. My husband is the only one who knows about it...so everytime I have to come up with some real good excuse to ask more details about a particular recipe, as my mom and MIL are always wondering why I am asking so many questions. It feels good to be a little mysterious ;)
Thats all...i have unveiled a few facts about myself and for a little fun, I am going to ask you guys to guess my sunsign...I am a true ......... can you guess ? :)

I would also like to know more about Swapna, Manasi, Priyanka, Deepa, Suganya and Laavanya. Play along only if you wish to...no compulsion at all :)

I now leave you with a simple yet perfect summer cooler--- Jal Jeera. We just love this drink and so a few days back when my hubby suggested that we buy some ready made jal jeera powder, I was not keen on the idea. Basically, I think its very uneconomical to buy ready made masalas as they all taste the same and by the time you use up the entire packet, the masala has already lost its flavor and aroma. So I prefer making them in small batches at home, whenever possible. I found this recipe for Jal Jeera online and made just a few additions...Enjoy!

Ingredients: (makes 3 glasses)
Jeere (Cumin seeds) dry roasted and powdered 2 tbsp
Mint leaves 4 tbsp (I added more because I like it, but you can stick to 2 tbsp)
Cilantro leaves 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder 1 tbsp
Black Salt 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice 2 tbsps
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Salt according to taste
Boondi to garnish

In a mixer, make a paste from Cumin, Mint leaves, cilantro, amchur powder. Then add the remaining ingredients except water and boondi.

Before serving add about 2 tbsp paste to each glass, add chilled water and stir. Check for taste and if required add more jal jeera masala. Finally, sprinkle with some boondi and cool off with this great summer drink.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wheat Pudding --- Ghavachi Kheer

I was a little worried this time thinking of what to make for 'W' of Indian vegetables, hosted by Nupur of 'One Hot Stove'. Somehow, all the dishes that I had been thinking of seemed more appropriate for 'V' of Indian vegetables, when translated from Marathi to English. This was really frustrating as I had already missed last 2 alphabets of this event! And so, just as I had given up on this time's alphabet too, it struck me, 'W' is for Wheat!!! Yay!!!! Now what? What can I make from wheat besides chapati? And then it was a 'Eureka' moment...Wheat Pudding using Cracked Wheat! It has been a while (almost a year, to be precise) since I made it and my hubby was more than happy to hear of my plan. So here goes...
'Gahu' is the Marathi term for 'Wheat'. I am not aware of a special term for Cracked Wheat other than 'Daliya', and its not unique to Marathi. So 'Wheat Pudding' is simply known as 'Ghavachi kheer' in Marathi. My dad who is born and brought up in Karnataka, calls this 'Godhi Kutta Payasa'. 'Godhi' means wheat in Kannada, and 'Kutta' means crushed or cracked (sort of--more appropriate word is the Marathi term 'Kutlele'). This is a great dish to satisfy your sweet tooth and a good change from the regular 'Shevai (vermicelli) kheer'. This can definitely become a meal on its own (especially for my hubby), but me, I need something savory to go with it; so I tried out Nupur's 'Jhatpat Appey' to go along with this for our dinner. What a great way to end the week! :)

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
Cracked Wheat 1 cup
Tup (ghee) 1/2 tsp
Milk 1/2 cup + 2 cups
Water 1/2 cup
Gul (jaggery) 4-5 tbsp or to taste
Veldoda powder (cardamom) 1/2 tsp
Naral (grated coconut) about 1/4 cup
Khuskhus (poppy seeds) 1 tbsp
Bedane (Raisins) about 1 tbsp
Kaju (Cashews) about 1-2 tbsp

In a pan, heat the tup (ghee) and then sautee the cracked wheat just as you would for Shevai Kheer (Vermicelli).

Now, transfer this to a pressure cooker vessel and add 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water and cook in pressure cooker for upto 3 whistles.

While it is cooking, in a pan, sautee the grated coconut till the moisture evaporates and keep aside. Next sautee the poppy seeds a little and add to the sauteed coconut. Fry the raisins and cashews in a little bit of ghee, this way they will plump up and give a great flavour to the kheer. Keep aside.

Once the cracked wheat is cooked and ready, transfer to a saucepan and add about 2 cups milk. If you find that the kheer is very thick in consistency add more milk. This kheer tends to thicken as it cools, so it is better to add extra milk. Heat the kheer on the stove and to this add the jaggery. Once the jaggery is mixed in properly, check for taste and add more jaggery if required. Add the cardamom powder. Finally, mix in the coconut, poppy seeds, raisins and cashews. Serve hot with some tup (ghee) over it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A few days back when Richa of 'As Dear As Salt' announced that the theme for this month's RCI event is Cuisine from Punjab, I knew what I was going to make. RCI is an event that has been started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.
Over the years, Punjabi food has gathered a fan following not only in India but also overseas, although authentic Punjabi food is very hard to find, amidst the restaurant made similar looking and tasting gravies. My memories of an authentic Punjabi meal are attached to the famous city of Chandigarh. My parents and me were visiting this city and we were craving for good, earthy food. That is when our driver suggested this place called 'Pal da Dhaba'. He warned us though, that this was a typical dhaba with no glimmer & glitz, but the food was to die for...we were sold on the idea and we had not only lunch over there but also dinner! The taste and aroma of their rajma still lingers on my tongue. I also noticed a very unusual thing there...the rotis were free!!! One could eat as many rotis as they wanted without any charge. When asked the reason behind this, the owner, very humbly and lovingly replied that, it did not feel right to charge people for rotis. I was so impressed!
For this event I decided to start off with the ever popular appetizer/snack--- Samosas. I have been planning to make Samosas at home ever since the time I got married, 3 years back...I know, its long pending ;) We do get amazing Samosas at our Indian store and almost every weekend my dearest hubby gets some for both of us after his game of cricket (the ground where he goes to play is so conveniently located next to the store :)). Anyways, this time I decided to surprise him. I specifically told him not to get any Samosas because we were eating too much fried stuff lately...thats it no more questions from him, my plan had worked ;).
On Monday afternoon, with the temperature hitting 90 degrees F, I started my long overdue-- 'Project Samosa'. It took me about an hour and a half to finish making the samosas. At one point I felt like submerging myself in a pool of cold water like a Hippo, with the blazing summer heat and the heat from the stove... but I was determined and nothing would stop me. The end result was a very happy one. My hubby was really surprised (as per my plan), and couldn't wait to try them out, and when he did he couldn't stop...what else could a girl ask for ;)

Ingredients: (makes 10 medium sized Samosas)
For the outer covering:
Maida (All purpose flour) 1 cup
Oil 2 tsp
Warm water to make the dough
A pinch of salt

For the stuffing:
Potatoes 3 medium sized
Green chillies 2-3
Ginger a small piece
Dhane (coriander seeds) 1 tsp
Badishep (fennel seeds) 1 tsp
Amchur powder (dry mango pwdr) 1tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tsp
Jeere (cumin seeds) 1/2 tsp
Hing 1/4 tsp
Halad (Turmeric) 1/2 tsp

Oil to fry the Samosas.

Cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker or microwave. Let them cool. Once cooled peel off the skins and mash them. Make ginger-chilli paste. Grind the coriander seeds and fennel seeds coarsely.
Next prepare the dough for the outer cover of the Samosa. Heat the oil a little bit and then mix it in the maida along with a pinch of salt. Mix this well with your hand. The right quantity of oil will make the maida stick together when you press with your hand. Once this is done, add some warm water and make a dough. This dough should not be too loose nor too tight, otherwise it will be difficult to spread it. Cover and keep aside for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the stuffing. In a pan/kadhai, heat 2 tsp of oil. Add jeera and when it starts sizzling, add hing and halad. Next, mix in the ginger-chilli paste and fry for a minute. To this, add the coriander-fennel powder and fry for a few minutes. Then add the mashed potatoes, cayenne pepper, amchur powder and salt. Mix well and finally garnish with some cilantro.

In a kadhai, start heating the oil to fry the Samosas. Make sure that you fry them on medium high heat, otherwise they will turn brown from the outside and remain uncooked on the inside, and you will end up with oily Samosas. Now comes the time to assemble the Samosas...
Take a small ball of dough (depending on how big you want your samosas to be) and roll it out like this...

Cut it into half like so,

Now work with each half separately. Take one half, fold it like this,

Then, apply a little water to the unfolded end and fold it to overlap the first one, and stick it like so,

Now pick up the cone carefully in your hand and fill it with the potato stuffing...

Apply a little water on the open edge of the cone and seal it well...

Slip the Samosa in the kadhai and fry till golden brown. Make sure you maintain the heat of the oil. It should not get too hot or too cold.

Remove them and drain on a tissue paper. Serve with some green or tamarind chutney.

The Verdict : I am so glad I tried it out...the next time I won't wait for another 3 years and my hubby agrees ;)
Thanks Richa for hosting! Here is another look,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jwarichi Bhaakri (Jowar Roti)

This is my concluding post to the previous two posts. Although, a lot of fellow-bloggers have already shared the recipe for a perfect bhaakri, I would like to do my bit for promoting this extremely down to earth and healthy roti.
'Bhaakri', traditionally a farmer's food, can be made from Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Millet), Nachani (Finger Millet) or Rice flour. These rotis are very nutritious but at the same time, they are very light on the stomach. For this reason, back in the days,
people made Wheat roti only during the day and Jowar roti at night . Also, bhaakri made with bajra flour is reserved for the winter months as it has a lot of heat. This bhaakri is eaten with some homemade loni (butter) to beat the heat in the bajra roti.
Jwarichi bhaakri goes well with any curry/dry vegetable or chutneys, the most popular combo being, 'Zunka-bhaakri'. Bhaakri also goes perfectly with 'Bharli vaangi' and 'Mudda bhaaji'. Making bhaakri requires a little bit of practice and patience, but once you master this skill (which does not take a long time), you will regret why you never tried it before.The most important factor for making good bhaakris is the availability of fresh flour, which can be a little difficult here in the US. I have tried a lot of brands and found that 'Bansi Jowar flour' is very good and consistent in quality. If the flour is not fresh then your bhaakri will start cracking, so make sure you get good flour.

Jwariche peeth (Jowar flour)
Warm water

The best part about making bhaakri, is that you do not need to make the dough in advance and let it rest for a while. Make the dough as you go along making the bhaakri, and adjust according to how many you want to make. This is the reason why I have not given specific measures for the recipe.
First of all, take some Jowar flour and make a dough by adding warm water little by little. Knead the dough till it becomes smooth. If at any point your bhaakri starts cracking, throw it back in with the other dough, and knead the dough again.

Now take a small ball of dough and dust it with some jowar flour like this...

Initially, start with a smaller ball of dough to make it easier and make small bhaakris. I started the same way until I got used to the technique.
Next, dust your fingers with a little flour and start patting the ball of dough on a polpat (platform used for making rotis) with your fingers. As you pat, make sure you also turn the bhaakri a little with your fingers. This will ensure that it gets spread evenly on all sides. If it starts sticking to the platform, remove the bhaakri carefully from the surface and dust a little more flour. The best way to remove the stuck bhaakri is to shake the platform a little, then slide off the bhaakri onto your hand and then dust the platform with flour. Resume the patting process until you have an evenly thin, round bhaakri like this...

Don't be discouraged if the results are not good at the first try, it will get easier and better with practice. Remember, this is very healthy with no salt and no oil! :)
Now carefully transfer the bhaakri to the tava (preheat the tava just as you would for making chapati). Best way to do this would be, inverse the polpat ,take the bhaakri in your hand, and toss it onto the tava. Apply the warm water on the entire upper surface of the bhaakri, like so...

Once the water starts drying out a little, flip the bhaakri and cook on the other side. Now, normally, after this step the bhaakri is finished cooking directly on the flame. But since, I have an electric coil stove, I just cook it on the tava as I would cook chapati (In this case you can also use a stainless steel stand that is used to make phulkas on an electric coil stove). Keep flipping till both sides are browned well.

Once cooked on both sides, remove from the tava and eat hot with a little dollop of tup (ghee) and your favorite curry.

Whenever we get a chance, my husband and me enjoy a hot bhaakri , right off the tava, with a little tup (ghee) and salt. All you need to do is cut the bhaakri into half, open each half just as you would open a pita pocket, spread a little ghee inside and sprinkle some salt. Heavenly!!!
Or, you can just take an entire bhaakri, spread some ghee on it and sprinkle it with salt and then forget all your worries...
I do hope that you would give this humble roti a try and enjoy it just like we do in our family.

Here are some other interesting ways that I found from fellow-bloggers to make this bhaakri :
Jowar Roti -- An easy way by Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes
Jowar Bhakri by Swapna of Swad

Monday, July 9, 2007

Phutanyachi Chutney (Dalia Split Chutney)

As promised, I am back with my next recipe which is in continuation of my last one --- 'Paalakachi Mudda Bhaaji'. So today, I am going to share my family's recipe for 'Phutanyachi Chutney'. This is a dry chutney and is an excellent companion for poli (chapati), bhakri (jowar roti) or bread. My mom always made various dry chutneys at home and these would add a lot of spark to our regular humdrum meal (or so I thought ;)) Phutanyachi chutney can be eaten mixed with some yogurt or oil. It can also be eaten just like that on the side or can also be spread on a toasted and buttered slice of bread...Yum!

Ingredients: (the quantities of ingredients are just for an estimate)
Dala (Dalia Split) 1cup
Kislele Suke Khobre (grated dry coconut) 1/2 cup
Cayenne pepper 2-3 tsp or to taste
Hinga powder 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Warm up the grated dry coconut in a pan. Then, put all the ingredients along with the warmed up dry coconut in a mixer and make a powder. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. It should be a little spicy. To check if the chutney is done, hold it between your fingers; if the chutney sticks together, its done, if not then you need to add a little more grated coconut to it.
Transfer it into a jar and enjoy anytime...here is a closer look at this delicious Phutanyachi chutney.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Paalakachi Mudda Bhaaji (Spinach with Toor Dal)

Today's recipe is not a regular Maharashtrian one but comes from the neighboring state of Karnataka, the North-Western part, to be precise. My dad was born and brought up in Bijapur and so, there are many recipes in our family that have the Kannadiga influence. The funny part though, is that, while my grand parents, uncle and my dad can speak fluent Kannada, neither my mom nor my aunt, nor my cousins, nor my sister and me can speak or understand this language! :) I just know a few words here and there and those too mostly related to food ;)
So lets get straight to the recipe now...'Mudda Bhaaji' or 'Muddi Palya' (in Kannada) is a regular at our place. This vegetable is generally thick in consistency (denoted by the word 'Mudda'), which is close to the Maharashtrian 'Gola' bhaaji. 'Palya' means Vegetable (bhaaji). We make 'Muddi Palya' with Paalak (Spinach) or Methi (Fenugreek) leaves. It goes extremely well with poli (chapati) or Bhakri (Jowar roti). It takes minutes to put together and is a tasty way to eat your greens.

For the Muddi Palya :
Ingredients: (serves 2)
Chopped paalak 2 cups
Toor dal 1cup
Besan (chickpea flour) 1 tbsp (optional)
Garlic cloves chopped into small pieces 3
Dried red chillies 2-3
Amsul / Kokum (can be replaced by tamarind juice/paste) 2-3
Mohri (Mustard seeds) 1/2 tsp
Jeere (Cumin seeds) 1/2 tsp
Hing 1/4 tsp
Halad 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt to taste
Oil 1 tbsp

Wash and chop the paalak. Put it in pressure cooker vessel and cook it in the pressure cooker. Along with the paalak, also cook the Toor dal in another vessel. I generally add halad (turmeric) when cooking my dal in the cooker.
While the paalak and dal are cooking, chop up the garlic. Now, remove extra water from the cooked paalak (Reserve this water and use it later in some other curry or just add a little salt and cumin powder to it for a quick soup). Mash the cooked dal a little and add it to the paalak. If using the besan add this too. Also mix in some salt and cayenne pepper.

Now, in a kadhai/ pan, heat the oil. Throw in the mohri, jeere, hing, and halad to make the fodni (tadka). Next add the dried red chillies. Fry for a minute and then add the chopped garlic. When the garlic turns golden brown, add the kokum/amsul. Fry for a minute and then add about 1 tbsp water to it. Let the amsul cook in the water for a few minutes and then add the paalak mixture to it. If using tamarind juice/paste, add it after you add the paalak to the fodni. Mix well and cook for few minutes. Muddi Palya is traditionally very thick in consistency and so, if the palya (vegetable) becomes too watery, cook it till the water evaporates. Sometimes, I do make it slightly thinner, like today, so you can choose how you want it. Once the desired consistency is reached, turn off the heat and serve with chapati or bhakri (jowar roti).

Our lunch: Bhaakri, Muddi Palya and Phutanyachi chatni

While serving this traditionally, extra fodni/tadka is prepared with lots of garlic and dried red chillies, and served over the muddi palya. While this tastes great, my husband and me have stopped this practice to cut down on our oil intake. But do give this a try and I can assure you of a great culinary adventure.

My next posts will be in continuation to this one and will include recipes for bhaakri and phutana chatni.