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

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"!

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

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 :


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
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

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Guess ...

Can you guess the star of this gravy? It is very easy, hence no clues. So put on your thinking caps and your microscopic glasses and tell me what you think those big pieces in this gravy are...:D

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Laal Mirchicha Thecha...Finally!

How time flies! I cannot believe that its almost 2 months since my last post...I have been really lazy, for sure :). So, in my last post, I got a lot of people excited about laal mirchicha thecha, which really is a type of chutney that goes as a great side, especially with bhaakri (jowar roti). The Thecha which is made with fresh red chillies is not to be taken is super hot and needs to be consumed with care. If you are not a person with a ''hot/spicy tooth'' ;), worry not, as there are a number of ways to enjoy this. So before I get lazy again and abandon this post halfway...lets get to the recipe.

Ingredients :
About 15 fresh red chillies
4-5 Garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp Mohri (mustard seeds)
Hing (Asafoetida)
2 pinches of fenugreek powder
Lemon juice (1 full)

Salt to taste

Coarsely grind the chillies and garlic in the mixer/food processor and keep aside. Now, in a pan, heat the oil and add the mohri, hing and methi powder (to make methi powder, dry roast the methi seeds, cool them and grind them to a powder). Next, add the ground Chillies to the pan. Stir fry the mixture till it you see the oil separating. Once done, cool it completely and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Store it in the refrigerator for 15-20 days. Your thecha is ready!
There are a number of ways to enjoy this thecha...some of my favorite are :
With plain dal and rice
With bhaakri and spinach bhaaji
With poli (roti) and any bhaaji
To spread some on sandwiches to add some kick ---like in 'Sour cream sandwiches'

Some indirect ways to enjoy this thecha :
Add this thecha to make any bhaaji/sabji to enhance its flavor, especially alu-gobi. Add this to your favorite dal while cooking, or also to your Chinese will be pretty happy with the results. This thecha can add the right zing to your Marinara sauce as well as your pizza.
So what are you waiting for...shed all fear and give this thecha a chance to spice up your kitchen ! :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sour Cream Sandwiches

I am back ! I know that it seems like a deja vu, but hopefully this time I will not disappear like I did last time. Its amazing how my life changed in a year! Last April , I stumbled upon this beautiful world of food bloggers, and I knew instantly, that this was something i would love to be a part of. With little kitchen experience and a lot of encouragement from all of you, I have managed to complete a year of blogging on 5th April and 50 posts (although, i wasn't really active for the last 4 months...but who is counting right ? ;))! This April, I was buried deep in work with the last few days of tax season, and even managing to cook something at home was a major achievement. So I literally went from a lot of cooking to no cooking in a year. :)

I want to thank all of you for enquiring about my whereabouts and motivating me to come back with all of your wonderful recipes and stories. I would also like to thank my hubby, for his immense patience and tolerance level (as the guinea pig for my experiments), my sister who is always providing me with quick fix recipes and ideas, my mom-in-law for sharing her treasure of recipes with me, and last but not the Mom. If it had not been for her, I would never have developed this skill and Bhaatukli would never have come into existence.

Now, lets talk about today's recipe. Last week, as I was blog hopping to update my blog for the different events going on, I came across this event - The Sandwich Festival, hosted by Anupama of Food-n-More. What a fun event, I thought. Every week, there is at least one day when my lunch box has a sandwich, and there are countless evenings, when I am tired to make anything else, but the humble bread has always provided me with a quick and delicious meal. The sandwich recipe I am sharing with you today, was my discovery in the early days of my marriage (makes me feel really old), when I was trying out different stuff from the American grocery stores and did not have a clue about food blogs. At that time my main resource for new and different recipes was Bawarchi, and I always found very good recipes contributed by readers like us. One day, I went to the grocery store and bought sour cream. I was very excited at the prospect of making something out of this world with this. As I came back home and put the jar of sour cream in the refrigerator, I realized that I the only thing I could think of was sandwiches. But how ? I quickly went to my favorite website for ideas, half expecting to be disappointed. Who would think of making Sour Cream Sandwiches. But to my great surprise and delight, there was someone who thought like me. Yay! I decided to give this recipe a try, and ever since, Sour Cream Sandwich by Saroj Kering, has been a family favorite. The great part about this recipe is that, you can experiment with it and change to your liking. This sandwich is my entry to the Sandwich Festival. I follow the recipe exactly, with a few teeny tiny changes.

Ingredients: (makes 4 Sandwiches)
8 slices of bread (your choice of white, wheat or any other)
2 potatoes
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala (I generally skip this)
1/2 tsp Jeera powder (Cumin powder)
2-3 green chillies chopped finely (adjust as per your liking)
Lemon juice ( about half a lemon)
Few leaves of cilantro chopped finely
Sour Cream
Grated Cheese ( I use the readymade grated cheese packets -Italian blend/ Mozarella/or whichever I find interesting)
Green Chutney ( recipe to follow)
Sandwich Maker

Method : Green Chutney
To make this chutney, you will need :
A small bunch of cilantro leaves
2 Green chillies
2 tbsp Peanuts (roasted/unroasted but definitely without the skin)
1 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste.

Add all the ingredients except sugar, and lemon juice in a mixer/blender and grind together with little bit of water. The consistency should be a little thick, like a paste. Once done, add the sugar and lemon juice and voila, the chutney is ready! You can also add mint leaves if you like.

Method : Sour cream sandwich
Boil the potatoes in the microwave or a pressure cooker. Then mash them and to this, add the turmeric powder, chopped green chillies, cilantro, lemon juice, garam masala (if using), jeera powder and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Now take a slice of bread, apply the green chutney to it. On another slice, spread a little bit of the potato mixture. Take a dollop of sour cream and apply over the potato mixture. Finally, sprinkle some grated cheese over it and then place the slice of bread with the chutney on top of it to make a sandwich. Place the sandwich in the sandwich maker and cook as per instructions. Repeat process for all the slices of bread. Enjoy hot with some ketchup!

Variation :

Instead of adding green chillies to the potato mixture, I sometimes add laal mirchicha thecha (a type of chutney made with fresh red chillies) to it. This lends a great flavor to the mixture. I will share the recipe for this thecha in my next post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gharge -- A sweet begininning (Pumpkin based sweet puri)

The New Year is here! I cannot believe that 2007 is already over...seems like yesterday when I published my first recipe on my blog! Last year was a real turning point for me and I am excited to see what lies ahead in this year for me. I would like to wish all my friends and their families a very happy & prosperous 2008 and I hope that all your dreams come true this year!
As this is my first post for 2008, I thought of starting the year with something sweet. With all the channels bombarding us with diet & gym ads, I decided to rebel. Besides this recipe is one that is mildly sweet and does have a fruit in it. I had actually made this during fall when pumpkins were in abundance, but somehow I just did not manage to post it then. Although it may be difficult to find pumpkins in the store now, you can use any pumpkin/squash that is slightly sweeter in taste and it will work just perfectly.
'Gharge' is a very traditional Maharashtrian sweet that slowly is getting lost in time. I love this sweet for two reasons:
First, its just so yummy --- its not too sweet and even people with a limited sweet tooth will enjoy this, and the second reason is that this was something my maternal grandma made a lot for us and has a lot of memories attached to it.
Gharge is basically a sweet puri that has pumpkin as one if its major ingredient. My grandma generally made this on the eve of 'Hartalika puja'. 'Hartalika' is a Maharashtrian tradition where young girls observe a fast and do a puja to obtain an 'ideal groom'. This falls just before Ganesh Chaturthi. The eve of Hartalika is called 'aawarna', which is a time for all the ladies of the house to get together and have a small feast before their upaas (fast) the next day. After all, we do sacrifice good food for a day ! ;) We always followed this tradition and all my cousins and aunts used to come together and celebrate. And for this occasion my grandma always made these delicious Gharge. So lets get straight to the recipe...

Ingredients: (makes 12 gharge)
2 cups pumpkin peeled and grated (I used the mini pumpkins)
1 cup jaggery (gul)
1/2 cup wheat flour (atta/kanik)
1/2 cup fine rawa/sooji
1/2 tsp tup (ghee)
Vegetable oil to fry

Peel and then grate the pumpkin. Traditionally we use the regular pumpkin known as 'laal bhopla' in Marathi, but you can replace these with any variety of pumpkin/squash that is slightly sweeter in taste. Now in a kadhai/pan combine the grated pumpkin and jaggery and cook together. Once the the mixture comes together and the pumpkin is cooked add the ghee to it. Remove from the heat and then mix in the wheat flour and rawa to the pumpkin mixture till everything comes together like a dough. The dough should not be too tight nor too elastic. Note that the wheat flour and rawa have to be in 50:50 ratio. Let the dough cool. Once cooled take a small ball of dough on a plastic sheet and pat it into a small puri with your hand. Heat the oil and then fry the puri until golden brown. Drain the these on a tissue paper and enjoy ! Gharge can be consumed immediately or can easily be stored for 10-15 days at room temperature.