Double Ka Meetha

A delicious dessert from my hometown of Hyderabad. Double ka meetha is a bread pudding made with ingredients that are almost universally available. Making Double-ka-meetha is not that difficult and it is also a great way to use bread that is a few days old.

The sweet is made by drenching fried bread in a sugar syrup and then pouring rich condensed milk over it along with fried cashew pieces and other nuts. The detailed recipe is mentioned below along with some substitute ingredient ideas ūüôā

 

Cut the bread diagonally into triangles

Fry the bread in ghee

Both sides should be fried evenly

Prep the sugar syrup

Fried bread soaked in sugar syrup

Spread the fried cashew pieces and the melon seeds

Pour the reduced milk

Double Ka Meetha Recipe

Ingredients

  • Bread Slices: 10
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Cardamom Pods: 4
  • Ghee / Clarified Butter: 1 cup
  • Full fat Milk: 1 liter
  • Cashew Nuts: 10-12
  • Melon Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Saffron food color

Preparation

  • Cut the bread slices diagonally into triangles and spread the slices on a tray and allow it to dry
  • Boil the milk and continue heating on low heat until the quantity is reduced to one-fourth. Keep string the milk in between.
  • Cut the cashew nuts into small pieces
  • Open the cardamom pods and take out the seeds powder the seeds using a motor & pestle

Method: 

  • Melt the ghee in a pan and fry the bread slices until they are golden brown. Turn the slices so that they are fried on both sides
  • Take one cup of water in another pan. Turn on the heat and add the sugar. Let the sugar dissolve to become a watery syrup.
  • Add the freshly ground cardamom powder and a pinch of the food color to the syrup. Mix well and after 2 mins turn off the heat.
  • Spread the fried bread pieces on a tray
  • Gently pour the sugar syrup all over the fried bread pieces using a large spoon or a ladle. Allow the bread to soak in the sugar syrup
  • Fry the cashew pieces and the melon seeds in ghee and pour the contents over the bread
  • Pour the reduced milk over the soaked bread slices

Notes & Alternatives :

  • To reduce the amount of ghee, toast the bread apply some ghee on each piece and toast it again
  • Condensed milk can be used instead of reducing milk and using it. Khoya (milk solids) can also be heated with some milk and used
  • Almonds, raisins and pistachios can also be used along with cashews

Coconut Khoya Barfi

There are times when you end up with a lot of coconuts. Happens quite often, with coconuts being broken at temples and at home. It is best to start looking for ways to use them. Making coconut chutney is probably the easiest thing to do. But there is only so much chutney that you can have. So a quick internet research and Hello Barfi.

I have used desiccated coconut and condensed milk to make coconut barfi and ladoos in the past. But this time it is back to basics. Fresh coconut and Khoya (milk solids). It takes more time and effort than the condensed milk recipe, but it is certainly worth it. A thick kadai is the best utensil for making the barfi.

Freshly grated coconut gives the barfi all the natural taste and a really good texture. Khoya brings in the richness and freshly powdered cardamom gives the flavor. A little pistachio topping in the end. Yum!!!

The detailed recipe is mentioned below. Here are the highlights : )

  • Grate the coconut
  • On low heat, fry the grated coconut in a little ghee till some of the moisture is gone
  • Add milk and cook the coconut in the milk on low heat
  • Add sugar and simmer till the quantity reduces to half
  • Crumble and add the Khoya.
  • Powder the cardamom seeds and add to the barfi mix
  • Spread on a greased tray. Garnish with pistachios. Make the cuts and allow it to cool.

Coconut Khoya Barfi Recipe

Ingredients

  • Freshly grated Coconut: 1 cup
  • Ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Milk: 3/4 cup
  • Khoya: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom Pods: 4
  • Pistachio pieces for garnish: 1 tbsp

Preparation

  • If you starting from absolute scratch, then break the coconut into two
  • Grate the flesh using a greater. A regular sized coconut will give one cup of grated coconut
  • Crumble the khoya
  • Take the cardamom seeds out of the pods and powder them with a mortar and pestle
  • Grease a plate or a tray

Method: 

  • Heat the ghee in a thick kadai
  • Add the grated coconut and give it a stir
  • On low heat saute the grated coconut for about five minutes. The moisture will reduce. Make sure the coconut doesn’t starts to brown
  • Add the milk and mix the contents. Simmer for five more minutes
  • Add the sugar and give it a good mix
  • On low heat continue to simmer the coconut with the milk. The contents should reduce and become almost half the quantity
  • Add the khoya crumbs and mix thoroughly
  • Add the cardamom powder. Keep stirring on low heat
  • The contents will thicken. Once it starts leaving the sides, the barfi is ready
  • Pour the barfi on the greased tray and spread it using the back of the spoon
  • Garnish with the pistachio pieces
  • Make the cuts using a knife and allow the barfi to cool down before serving

Besan Ladoo

A sweet made with staple ingredients found in almost any India kitchen. Besan ladoo is made by cooking chickpea flour or besan in ghee. All the flavor comes from the cardamom powder and the sugar powder brings in the sweetness. Once the cooking is done and the flour cools down, it is time to get your hands in and start shaping the ladoos. Besan ladoo might require less number of ingredients but it requires some time and effort. Worth it !

Here are a few processes that give the best result:

1. The besan has to be cooked on low heat. A thick kadai/wok is idea for this and constant stirring is required.

2. If the sugar powder is added while the flour is cooking then the sugar will melt and the consistency of the flour will become very loose. Can’t shape ladoos ( learnt it the hard way). Add the sugar powder after the heat is turned off and the flour cools down.

Besan Ladoo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Besan / Chickpea Flour: 2 cups
  • Ghee /¬† Clarified Butter: 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp
  • Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup
  • Pistachios: 10-12 (cut into slivers or pieces)

Method:

  • Kadai on stove, low flame. Melt the ghee
  • Keep adding the besan in small quantities while continuously stiring the mix
  • Continue mixing the flour & ghee on low heat. Add the cardamom powder and mix well
  • The four and ghee will form a stiff dough. Turn off the heat
  • Allow the mixture to cool down before adding the powdered sugar. Mix well
  • Grease your palms with a little oil, take small portions of the dough and roll into small balls or ladoos
  • Garnish with pieces of pistachios

Note:

  • Heat the besan on low heat and in a thick kadai
  • Add the sugar powder only after the flour & ghee mix cools down

Coconut Rice

Freshly grated coconut, sauteed with spices and mixed with cooked rice. 

Coconut rice has good texture and is loaded with flavor. It tastes best when fresh tender coconut is grated and used. The coconut shreds are not cooked completely so they have a great texture which can be felt in every bite. But being tossed in the pan with all the fried spices, allows the coconut to take in some of the flavor.

The spices used are traditional Indian spices. We have mustard seeds and urad dal along with green chilies and dry red chilies. Curry leaves are the key for flavor and bring in all the aroma. I added some peanuts for some extra crunch.

The first coconut rice I ever had was at home. Mom keeps making it every once in a while. We often pair it with either potato or with raw-banana fry or just some chips. But the best part about coconut rice is that it can be paired with a lot of things. It can be fried veggies or meat or curries or chutneys. I have had coconut rice as part of Thalis or with an assortment of flavored rice items. The rice is served with fish curry, prawn curry and vegetable curries. Of course, you can have only coconut rice, no pairing, because it has so much of flavor in it.

An easy recipe and a great way to add a spiced rice dish to the menu. But the cooking of the rice is important. Coconut rice comes out best when the cooked rice has distinct grains. It should not be too soft and mushy. Cooling the rice to room temperature after cooking helps in the separation of the grains. If piping hot rice is dropped straight into the pan with the spices and the coconut and mixed, then the mixing and the heat will mash the rice together and the grated coconut and the tempering will not be mixed evenly.

Coconut Rice Recipe

Prep Time: 30 mins || Cooking Time: 15 mins || Ingredients: 10

Kitchen Tools: Pressure cooker, large pan/kadai, Knife, Chopping Board, Large Spoon

Ingredients

  • Rice: 1 cup
  • Freshly Grated Coconut: 1 cup
  • Peanuts: 12 – 15
  • Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal / Split Black Gram: 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilies: 2
  • Dry Red Chilies: 2
  • Curry Leaves: 8-10
  • Oil/Coconut Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Wash the rice thoroughly in water to remove the excess starch
  • Put the rice in a pressure-cooker, add 2 cups of water and cook on low heat: two whistle count
  • Once the pressure comes down, open the cooker & transfer the cooked rice onto a plate/large bowl and allow it to cool
  • Slit the green chilies

Here we go…

  • Heat the oil in the pan
  • Add the mustard seeds. Let them crackle
  • Reduce the heat & add the urad dal & the peanuts. Fry for a minute.
  • Add the green chilies, red chilies, curry leaves & give it a good toss
  • Add the grated coconut & mix well. Saute for 5 mins & turn off the heat
  • Add the cooked rice to the pan, sprinkle salt on it & mix thoroughly
  • Serve hot

Chakli Recipe

Crispy, savory and spiral shaped deep fried snack 

With the festival of Pongal and Sankranti on the way, it is time to get ready. The preparation also included “testing” a batch of Chaklis during tea time. The crispy spirals are made with rice flour as the base. A little chickpea flour is added for binding and some traditional Indian spices are brought in for the taste and flavor.

The ingredients are basic Indian ingredients and the cooking time is also less. The only time taking process is shaping the chaklis using the Chakli Press. I had to shape them on a sheet of paper before dunking them in the hot oil. It takes some patience and a few tries if you are doing it for the first time. But as you get a hang of it, it becomes easier and the preparation becomes faster.

The Chakli Press (link) and that is the one unique kitchen tool required. Apart from that you will need a kadai/deep fry pan and a mesh ladle or something to remove the chalkis form the oil.

My other similar recipes include: Easy Muruku Recipe  and Sev Recipe

 

Chakli Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Rice Flour: 1 cup
  • Chickpea Flour/Gram Flour/Besan: 1/4 cup
  • Sesame Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Carom Seeds/Ajwain: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt
  • Oil: 2 tbsp + for deep frying
  • Water

Method:

  • Take a large bowl and add the rice flour and the chickpea flour
  • Now add all the turmeric, spices (carom, red chili, asafoetida), sesame seeds and salt. Give it a good mix.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil and pour it over the flour mix. Once it cools down mix all the ingredients in the bowl. The flour should become a crumby mix
  • Keep adding small amounts of water and knead a stiff dough. Let the dough sit for about 30 mins.
  • Take a small portion of the dough to load the press. Make sure the press has the small chakli mold
  • Using the press, shape the spirals of the chalis on a paper and keep them ready (see the pic below)
  • In the mean time, heat oil for deep frying in kadai or pan
  • Once the oil is hot, drop in the chaklis in the oil and deep fry.
  • Ensure the chaklis are equally cooked and then remove them from the oil
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the dough

Walnut Jaggery Mess

One of the most easiest and the most reliable recipes. It is just melting the jaggery to a liquid and mixing in the walnuts. The walnuts get a sweet coating and they taste amazing. A recipe is not really needed for this. You can just go by instinct if you wish to. The jaggery can be melted by using some oil or ghee. It can also be melted without any fat added or with just a tiny amount of water.

The quantity of jaggery in the recipe below is just enough to cover the walnuts. More jaggery can be added to make it more sweet or to shape brittle bars.

Walnut Jaggery Mess Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • Walnuts: 1 cup
  • Jaggery (powdered/ pieces): 3/4th¬† cup
  • Oil/Ghee: 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat the fat (oil/butter/ghee) in a thick pan and add the jaggery to it
  • Melt the jaggery on low heat. Keep stirring
  • Grease a plate with oil so that the hot jaggery mix can be placed on it
  • Once the jaggery melts completely add the walnut pieces and mix so that the walnuts get an even coating of the jaggery
  • Turn off the heat and immediately transfer the contents of the pan to the greased plate
  • Press the hot walnut-jaggery mix and break into pieces once it cools down

Alternate Options:

  • The jaggery can be melted without the oil/ghee. A very small amount of water can be added to melt the jaggery
  • The amount of jaggery can be increased to give the walnuts a good coating and to increase the sweetness
  • Brittle bars can be made with jaggery and walnuts

Eggless Mawa Cupcakes

Cardamom flavored rich cupcakes

I got introduced to the delicious mawa cake during my travel in Pune. Many of the bakers there are Parsi and the Mawa Cake is one of their specialty. The Irani cake have a lot of dairy content but is not too sweet. A perfect tea time snack. I changed things a little bit and made cupcakes that have no egg in it.

The ingredients have three dairy products. Butter, milk and of course mawa or khoya. While all the other ingredients are whisked together, the mawa in folded into the cake batter to get that texture. The mawa can also be beaten in to make a smooth & airy batter. Easy to make & absolutely delicious.

Mix : Pour : Bake

 

Eggless Mawa Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • Mawa / Khoya: 1/2 cup
  • Condensed Milk: 1/4 cup
  • Butter: 1/4 cup
  • Milk: 1/4 cup
  • Sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Flour: 1/2 cup
  • Baking Powder: 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp

Method:

  • Melt the butter & add it to a bowl
  • Add condensed milk to it and start whisking the contents
  • Continue whisking and keep adding the sugar followed by the milk, flour, baking powder, baking soda and the cardamom powder
  • Crumble the mawa using your fingers. Add to the bowl and mix the ingredients with a large spoon or ladle
  • Take the muffin tray and place the cupcake liners (also called cupcake paper/cups/wrapper)
  • Pour the cupcake batter to fill half of each cup. This batter tends to rise a lot due to the soda and the whisking
  • Bake in a pre-heated over (i.e oven at 300’C ) at 180’C for 20 mins
  • The cupcakes will start to brown at the top. Use a skewer to check if they are done
  • Turn off the heat and leave the cupcakes in the oven for about 5 mins
  • Take the tray out and let the cupcakes cool before removing them

Grilled Paneer Salad

Fresh & flavor packed vegetarian salad 

Freshness of lime, flavor of garlic and a hit of fresh mint with grilled cottage cheese. This salad is easy to make and the mix of ingredients make the salad light and full of flavor. The vegetarian protein comes from the cottage cheese with is marinated before being grilled. All the other ingredients can be switched to get a variety of flavors.

Grilled Paneer Salad Recipe 

Cooking Tool: Electric grill

Ingredients:

  • Paneer / Cottage Cheese: 1 small slab (100 gm)
  • Bell Pepper / Capsicum: 1
  • Red Onion: 1
  • Mint leaves: 6-8
  • Coriander leaves: 1 tsp
  • Tomato: 1
  • Fresh Lime juice: 1 tsp
  • Garlic Paste: 1/4 tsp
  • Black Pepper Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil: 1/2 tsp

Preparation:

  • Massage the paneer slab with oil, garlic paste, pepper powder and a pinch of salt. Let it marinate for at least 15 mins
  • Cut the bell pepper, onion & tomato into small pieces

Method:

  • Grill the paneer gently. Nice brown lines should appear on the cheese.
  • Place the pieces of onion, pepper & tomato on the grill for a few minutes to get a good flavor
  • Cut the paneer into cubes and mix with the onion, pepper & tomato pieces
  • Sprinkle the fresh lime juice, coriander leaves & mint leaves

Other Options:

  • All the ingredients can be switched and here are some of my options: Paneer can be replaced with tofu. Coriander with parsley
  • The cottage cheese can be marinated with some mint paste(with green chilies & garlic). Gives some good color too.

 

Veg Chop Recipe

A spicy veggie stuffed deep fried snack 

The recent Durga Puja was an incredible experience. Festivities and of course food. I got a chance to do some photography and to eat some good food. There were a good variety of snacks to keep me busy. Vegetable Chop or as some call it, Bhejitable Chop was one of them.

This recipe is completely vegan. So instead of using egg, I used a batter made of plain flour for the outer layer. The chops are dipped in the batter and then rolled in bread crumbs before being fried. The stuffing is a mix of potatoes, carrots & beetroots. Cooked and spiced with some traditional Indian spices.

If you are planning Veg Chops for a large party, then prepare the vegetable mix, shape the chops & freeze them. Get them out of the freezer before eating time. Prepare the batter, dip the chops, roll it in the crumbs & deep fry.

Veg Chop Recipe

Kitchen Tools: Pressure Cooker, food processor, Kadai/deep fry pan, Knife & Grater

Ingredients:

Vegetables:

  • Potato: 2
  • Carrot: 1
  • Beetroot: 1

Dry Spices:

  • Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
  • Fennel seeds: 1/4 tsp
  • Cloves: 2-3
  • Peppercorns: 4-5
  • Dry Red chili: 2
  • Cinnamon stick: 1/2 inch piece

Other Ingredients:

  • Peanut: 2 tsp
  • Ginger paste: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Mango Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves: 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies: 2
  • Plain flour: 1/2 cup
  • Bread Crumbs: 1 cup
  • Salt
  • Oil: 2 tbsp + for deep frying

Preparation

  • Wash the veggies and pressure cook (2 whistles). Keep it aside
  • Dry roast the dry spices for 2 min on low heat and grind to a powder
  • Dry roast the peanuts for 2 mins & crush them or grind to a coarse powder using a food processor
  • Chop the coriander leaves and the green chilies
  • Peel the outer skin of the vegetables and grate all the three veggies

Cooking

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the grated vegetables. Cook for about 5 mins on low heat. The raw smell should be gone.
  • Add the ground spice powder, ginger paste, dry mango powder, crushed peanuts, chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chilies and salt. Mix well
  • Turn of the heat and allow the vegetable mix to cool down.
  • Take a small portion of the mixture in your hand and shape the chop. Cylindrical shape with curved edges
  • Repeat the same with the rest of the veggie mix
  • For the outer layer, take the flour add some salt and water to make a loose batter. Take the bread crumbs in a plate
  • Heat oil for deep frying.¬†Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat.
  • Dip a chop in the batter. Then roll it in the bread crumbs and dunk it in the hot oil. Repeat with the rest of the chops and fry in batches
  • Fry on medium heat. Turn the chops so that they are fried equally on both sides.
  • Once the chops turn brown remove from the pan, drain the oil and keep it aside
  • Sever with some fresh coriander or a few onion rings

A few options:

  • At the risk of altering the taste, garam masala powder can used as the spice along with some ginger-garlic paste
  • Veggies such as green peas & cauliflower can also be included

Bread Upma Recipe

A spicy fusion snack prepped in a few minutes

A traditional Indian dish with a twist. Taking a few slices of bread, cutting them into cubes and adding flavor and spice. The first Bread Upma I had was prepared by Mom. Easy to make and delicious.

The recipe is just frying onion & some veggies in a little oil, spicing it up and mixing in bread cubes. The ingredients are very basic and almost all of them can be substituted with what is regionally available. All the alternatives are mentioned at the bottom.

My other upma recipe with a twist is my Oats Upma Recipe

Bread Upma Recipe

Ingredient: 10 || Time: 15 mins

Kitchen Tools: Pan, Knife set

Ingredients:

  • Plain Bread: 8 slices
  • Onion: 1
  • Fresh green peas: 1/4 cup
  • Carrot: 1
  • Green chili: 2
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh Coriander leaves: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Clean & cut the onion into thin slices
  • Peel the carrot skin & cut it into tiny pieces
  • Cut the bread slices into cubes
  • Slit the green chilies & chop the coriander leaves

Method:

  • Heat the oil in the pan and add the mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the onion slices followed by the turmeric powder. Mix well
  • Add the veggies, green chilies and mix well. Cook with a lid on for about 8 minutes on medium heat
  • Now add the bread cubes and mix all the ingredients in the pan. Sprinkle salt & the chopped coriander leaves
  • Cook on low heat for two minutes. Give a few stirs in between.
  • Serve hot

Alternate Options:

  • The veggies can be removed or replaced. Some good options are bell peppers, tomatoes, corn and boiled potatoes. All veggies chopped into small pieces
  • Peanuts can be added. Fry about 2 tsp of peanuts in the oil by adding them after the mustard seeds.
  • Brown bread is a good substitute for regular bread. Milk-bread or any bread that is slightly sweet, tastes a little odd with these spices and ingredients.

 

Sundal Recipe

Easy, healthy & tasty

From the temples to the streets to the kitchen, Sundal makes its way to a lot of places. The first time I saw this version of sundal was in Chennai where it was being sold along with the other street food snacks. The same recipe is used with other hero ingredient such as black-eyes peas, dry green peas, black chana etc

The recipe is really simple. It is just tempering cooked chickpeas. If dry chickpeas are used then a little planning is required as they have to be soaked in water overnight and then pressure cooked. If canned processed chickpeas are used them just drain the juices, give it a wash & spice it up. Add some some desiccated coconut powder for some extra flavor.

The other similar recipe is using black chana or black chickpeas. Check out my recipe (click here)

Sundal Recipe 

Kicthen Tools: Pressure Cooker & Kadai/Wok

Ingredients

  • Dry Chick Peas: 1 cup
  • Desiccated coconut powder: 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Red Chilies: 2
  • Curry leaves: 10-12
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt
  • ¬†Oil: 2 tbsp

Preparation

  • Soak the dry chickpeas in water overnight
  • Drain the water. Add two cups of fresh water & pressure cook. Two-whistles
  • Drain the water

Cooking

  • Heat oil in a kadai
  • Add the mustard seeds & let them crackle. Then¬†a pinch of asafoetida followed by the curry leaves & red chilies
  • Add the cooked chickpeas to the kadai. Add salt & mix well
  • Add the desiccated coconut powder and mix. Turn of the heat & serve.

Alternate Options:

  • Canned & processes chickpeas can also be used after being washed
  • Fresh coconut pieces or shreds can be used instead of the dedicated coconut

Paneer Pakora

An easy modern classic snack

My attempt to try a new snack didn’t workout so well and I ended up going back to the good old pakoras. The snack that I had planned to make: Paneer Popcorn, sacrificed a couple of good paneer pieces in the ill fated battle. Well, there is always a next time. As for these pakoras, they were crispy & delicious.

Paneer Pakoras sound modern classic as pakoras are a classic Indian snack & paneer has become a modern obsession. The snack is extremely easy to make. Make a batter, dunk the paneer cubes & deep fry. I marinated the paneer pieces in some spices & seasoning so that some flavor goes into the paneer & makes the snack more interesting. These pakoras are also gluten-free as they are made of chickpea flour.

Deep fried & delicious !!!

Paneer Pakora Recipe

Ingredients

  • Paneer / Cottage cheese: 200 gm
  • Gram Flour / Besan: 1/4 cup
  • Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Lime: 1/2
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Preparation

  • Cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes
  • Marinate the panner pieces by adding pepper, lime juice & a pinch of salt. All contents in a bowl & mix well
  • Take the gram in another bowl for the batter. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, ginger-garlic paste & salt. Keep adding small quantities of water & mix to form a loose batter

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Once the oil is hot reduce the heat.
  • Dip the paneer pieces in the batter & dunk them in the hot oil, one piece after another. Fry in batches.
  • Once done, remove from the oil & place the pakoras on an absorbent paper to remove the excess oil

Alternate Options

  • The spices & the seasoning used for marination can be replaced. Some of the options are: Oregano, red chili flakes, garlic paste, garam masala powder, coriander paste etc
  • Marination can also be completely avoided & to balance the flavor, the batter can be made more spicy
  • To make the paneere crispy, a spoon of rice flour can be added to the batter

Pori Urundai

Light, sweet & easy to make munchies 

Pori is puffed rice and Urundai is a ball. Pori Urundai is a ball of puffed rice being held together with jaggery. I have been munching on these, called murmura ladoo in my neighborhood, for longer that I care to remember. A festive sweet that is sold in shops that specialize in South-Indian snacks.

Jaggery sweets have an amazing taste and there are so many of them. But the market is flooded with sweets made of refined sugar & because it is available and easy to use, most home made sweets are also being prepared with white refined sugar. Jaggery is not only tasty but also quite healthy, loaded with minerals & anti-oxidants. Powdered jaggery is available and having this makes it easier to use & the syrup preparation takes less time.

These Pori Urundais are easy to make. Three-step process. Melt the jaggery, pour it over the puffed rice and shape the urundai. For flavor, dry ginger powder and cardamom powder is added. The jaggery needs a little attention. It is melted in little water to make a syrup. When the spoon or ladle is picked up, the syrup should form a string. That is string consistency. The balls should also be shaped quickly. As soon as the jaggery syrup slighlty, enough to touch, shape the urundais.

Pori Urundai Recipe

Ingredients

  • Puffed Rice / Pori / Murmura: 4 cups
  • Jaggery Powder: 1 cup
  • Dry Ginger powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom Powder: 1/2 tsp

Method

  • Keep the puffed rice ready in a large bowl
  • Take the jaggery in a pan & add water. The quantity of water should be such that the jaggery is just immersed
  • Turn on the stove and melt the jaggery on low heat. Keep string. The jaggery syrup should thicken to a string consistency i.e when lift the spoon/ladle, a long string should be formed
  • Add the dry ginger powder & cardamom powder and mix well
  • Pour the jaggery syrup all over the puffed rice & mix well
  • Grease you palms with oil and as soon as the jaggery cools down a little, enough to touch, start shaping the urundais or balls

 

Corn Cutlets || Corn Fritters

Easy prep, less cook time & delicious

With fresh corn in the house, this weekend snack had to be “corny” ūüôā These cutlets are very basic as they are essentially shallow fried corn-potato patties. I added some regular spices along with onions & fresh coriander leaves.¬† The ingredients are universal and you can play with the locally available spices. The preparation is simple as both the corn & potato can be cooked together in a cooker. The potato can be mashed completely. But to have some texture, I didn’t cook the potato completely to a mash. Instead half cooked and then grated the potato. These cutlets can also be used as burger patties or even sandwich stuffing.

A few other cutlet recipes are my Poha Cutlet & Sabudana Vada

 

Corn Cutlet Recipe

The cooking tools: Pressure cooker, food processor & pan

Ingredients

  • Corn Cob: 1
  • Potato: 1
  • Onion: 1
  • Chopped Fresh Coriander: 1 tsp
  • Lime Juice: 2 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1/2 tsp (option)
  • Bread crumbs: 2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Oil for shallow frying

Preparation

  • Remove the outer skin of the corn cob & place it in a pressure cooker with a potato
  • Add half a cup of water & pressure cook. One whistle or till the corn kernels becomes soft
  • Run a knife along the corn cob to remove the kernels
  • Grind the corn kernels into a coarse paste
  • Peel the skin of the potato & grate it
  • Chop the onion into fine pieces

Here we go:

  • Mix the corn paste & the grated potato along with the rest of the ingredients (except the oil)
  • Shape the corn mix into patties & keep them aside
  • Heat oil in a pan for shallow frying
  • Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat and fry the patties in batches
  • Fry for about 2 mins on medium heat & flip it so that it is fried on the other side too
  • Pour some more oil if needed or if the patties have to be more crispier
  • Once cooked evenly, remove the cutlets from the pan. Repeat the same with the rest of the corn mix

Alternate Ingredients:

  • Pepper powder can be used instead of red chili powder
  • Processed/Frozen corn can be used along

 

Snake Gourd Kootu

Simple, easy & delicious

Snake Gourd might appear a bit daunting. I have seen a lot of people in the market just walk by it without buying. As if it were an alien vegetable. But cooking snake gourd is quite easy and it cooks fast. It has to be peeled and cut into pieces before cooking.

The best part about this recipe is that both the main ingredients take little time to cook. Red Lentils don’t have to be pressure cooked or soaked in water for long hours. They just need to be washed before being cooked in a pan. All the ingredients in this recipe have to be put in the pan and kept on medium heat. There is no need of doing anything else other that giving it a few stirs in between. Both the main ingredients have distinct tastes when cooked on their own. Now together in this Kootu they taste amazing. Red Lentils can be substituted with other lentils and ingredients such as garlic & fresh coconut can be included. The alternate ingredients are mentioned below the recipe. Check it out.

Snake Gourd Kootu Recipe

Ingredients

  • Snake gourd Pieces: 1 cup
  • Red Lentils / Masoor Dal: 1/4 cup
  • Green Chili: 2 (slit)
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves: 4-6
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Water

Here we go…

  • Wash the dal & soak it in water
  • Heat the oil in a pan
  • Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds & let it crackle
  • Lower the heat and add the cumin seeds
  • Now add the snake gourd pieces and give it a nice toss
  • Add the turmeric powder, green chilies & the curry leaves
  • Drain the excess water from the red dal and add the dal to the veg. Mix well
  • Add half a cup of water and salt to taste. Give it a stir
  • Place a lid on the pan and let the kootu cook on medium heat
  • It would take about 10-12 mins to cook. Keep mixing in between
  • Check if both the dal & snake gourd are cooked well. Turn off the heat
  • Done !!!

Additional Ingredients

  • Chopped onion (one onion for this recipe) can be added with some garlic (2 pods crushed or chopped) or the onion & ginger-garlic paste (1/4 tsp)
  • Fresh coconut pieces / grated coconut (1 to 2 tbsp) can also be added to the above recipe
  • Red Lentil/ Masoor dal can be replaced with Split Green Gram/Moong Dal or with Split Bengal Gram/Chana Dal (soaked in warm water for 30 mins)

Masala Sticks

Dynamite sticks of flavor

An experiment that turned out into a really good snack. An absolute flavor bomb. I had something called methi sticks once and it was terrible. There was a little flavor but the ingredients used were of really bad quality. The smell of stale oil killed it. So I wanted to try something like those fried sticks but with some quality ingredients. Of course, a little improvisation and some messing around led to these Masala Sticks.

The ingredients are very universal. A flour base with some freshly crushed spices. Almost all the ingredients can be substituted with what is locally available and there are a few options listed at the end of the post. The highlight of this snack is the flavor and that comes from the freshly crushed spices. The pre-packed spice powders can also be used but don’t have the same punch.

This is an easy one. Deep fried & delicious.

Masala Sticks Recipe

Ingredients

  • Refined Flour: 1 cup
  • Clarified butter / Ghee / melted butter: 2 tbsp
  • Crushed Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Crushed Black Pepper: 1 tsp
  • Kasuri Methi powder: 2 tsp
  • Baking soda: 1/4 tsp
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Oil: 2 tsp + for deep frying

Preparation

  • Take the flour in a large bowl and add the ghee or melted butter
  • Heat 2 tsp of oil & pour over the flour. Once the oil cools down, start mixing
  • When pressed, the flour should come together. A brittle ball. If not, add some more ghee and keep mixing
  • Add the spices (cumin, pepper, kasuri methi), baking soda and salt. Mix well
  • By adding small amounts of water, mix all the ingredients to form a firm dough. Set aside for about 30 mins

Cooking

  • Take a small portion of the dough and using a rolling pin, flatten it into a rectangle
  • Now fold the rectangle at the center & then again to get layers
  • Flatten it again and then cut out long strips. Keep the strips aside
  • Repeat the same with the rest of dough
  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
  • Once the oil is hot, reduce down the heat and fry the dough strips in batches
  • Keep the heat at medium and ensure that the sticks are fried evenly on both the sides
  • Once done, remove the sticks from the oil & place them on a absorbent paper
  • Start munching

Substitute ingredients

The flour, fat and the spices can be easily substituted with other ingredients. Here are a few alternatives.

  • Ghee: Butter / Vegan Butter / vegetable shortening
  • Pepper: Red chili powder / chili flakes
  • Flour: Whole wheat flour / Millet flour (with some wheat flour) / Chick pea flour (gluten-free)

 

Palak Chana

Spinach & Chickpeas in a delicious curry 

I had never before mixed spinach and chickpeas and my first attempt was a success. Spinach is my favorite leafy veg because it has a unique and pleasant flavor of its own. Now potato-spinach is one of my go-to dishes that can me made quickly and it is really hard to mess up. So in this one I added chickpeas and the combo is yum.

For me, getting dry chickpeas is very easy and I always use that. A little planning is needed because it has to be soaked overnight in water and then cooked. Canned chickpeas can also be used. The other main ingredient is spinach. Fresh spinach, always amazing. The gravy is made of a paste of onions and tomatoes and spiced with some basic India ingredients.

Palak Chana Recipe

Ingredients

  • Dried Chick peas / Kabuli Chana: 1/2 cup
  • Chopped Spinach: 3 cups
  • Onion: 1
  • Tomato: 2
  • Garlic: 2 pods
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Soak the dry chickpeas in water for about 8 hrs
  • Drain & pressure cook the soaked chickpeas in 2 cups of water with a little salt. Cook until they are soft. It takes upto a two whistle count on medium heat
  • Once cooled, drain the chick peas. Keep the water/broth
  • Cut the onion & tomatoes into big pieces and along with the ginger & garlic grind to a fine paste
  • Wash the spinach leaves

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the bay leaf then the onion-tomato paste
  • Add the turmeric, coriander & red chili powder and mix well
  • Cook on medium heat for about 4 mins. Keep stiring in between
  • Now add the chopped spinach leaves and mix well
  • After 2mins of cooking add the pressure-cooked chickpeas and mix well
  • Add the water/broth to get a good gravy
  • Add salt and cook with a lid on for about 5 mins on medium heat. Keep mixing in between. Add more water if you need more gravy
  • Once done, turn off the heat and we have a spinach-chickpeas curry

Note:

  • If you don’t have a blender, then chop the onions and tomatoes to fine pieces and cook them in the oil
  • If you want a more thick gravy then mash some of the cooked chickpeas

 

 

Modak Recipe

Simple, traditional and delicious 

Over the years, I went from just shaping the modak to making it from scratch. A promotion indeed. Of course I had to make these from scratch after I messed up the ones that Mom was making. I used a coconut-jaggery mix with a little cardamom powder for the stuffing. It is easy to make. A really delicious stuffing, that does take a little bit more time, is made of roasted sesame seeds powdered and mixed with jaggerypowder. Amazing !

Modak does need more prep time, but it is quite simple. Here is a break-down of the recipe, the detailed recipe is of course mentioned below. Having a steamer, a coconut scraper and a modak mould really helps.

Stuffing: Grated coconut fried in a little ghee(clarified butter)/oil + jaggery + cardamom powder

Outer Layer: Rice flour mixed into hot water to form a dough

Now it is just making the rice balls with the sweet center and giving it the shape with a modak mould. Next stop, steaming.

Also do check out the spicy version with my recipe of Spicy Modak

Modak Recipe

Cooking Tools (affiliate links):Modak Mould, Coconut Scrapper, Steamer

Ingredients

Preparation

Coconut Stuffing 

  • Heat 4 tbsp of ghee/oil in a pan and add the grated coconut, jaggery powder and cardamom powder
  • Keep stirring and cook the sweet coconut for 10 mins on medium heat. Once done turn off the heat and keep it aside
  • Add 1.5 cups of water in a pan and 1 tbsp ghee

Rice flour Prep

  • Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat and gradually keep adding rice flour. Keep stirring continuously while adding the flour
  • Keep mixing unit the water is absorbed and a dough is formed. Turn off the heat & keep the dough covered for about 10 mins
  • Once the rice flour cools down, knead the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth

Making the Modaks

  • Grease your palms with some oil and take a small portion on the dough. Flatten it with your hands to form a small circle. Place the coconut stuffing at the center and close the dough to form a ball
  • Place the ball, with the stuffing at the center, in the mold. Close the mold gently so that it shapes the modak
  • Now steam the modak for 15 mins. A sheen will appear on the modaks
  • Remove from the steam and serve

Cucumber Smoothie

A refreshing smoothie with cucumber, mint, lime & cumin

Exchange of recipes is like gift cards among folks high on cooking. It is quite amazing how many recipes and ideas are shared among foodies in offices, cafeterias, parks etc. This two-minute Cucumber Smoothie came to me from one of Mom’s former colleagues. A man of many talents. A hockey player & a coach who was also a chef and he used to work at the bank. Which meant: practice in the morning, office during day time and then the restaurant at night. He was not only efficient but also enthusiastic and his energy used to rub off on people. A real life role model in some ways. He had turned the office cafeteria into a small kitchen and the recipes he shared were always simple and the food was amazing.

This smoothie is basic and can be made sweet or a bit sweet-salty. Put all the ingredients in a blender and just give it a spin. Done !!!

Cucumber Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

  • Cucumber: 1
  • Curd or Yogurt : 2 tbsp
  • Lime Juice: 2 tsp
  • Crushed Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Mint Leaves: 6-8 (chopped)
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • A pinch of salt

Method

  • Cut the ends of the cucumber, peel the skin and cut into small pieces
  • Put all the ingredients into a blender and give it a good spin
  • Pour in glass and garnish with cumin seeds & mint leaves

Black Chickpea Sundal

Cooked black chickpeas tempered with spices

Making Sundal is one of those snacks that is hard to ruin. It really is quite simple. Despite all that, Sundal was something I got to eat once a year because it was made only during Ganesh Puja or found in a few temples. But during my travel to cities like Chennai, Coimbatore & Ooty I saw that Sundal was a popular and a common snack. Street food that is actually quite healthy.

Desi channa or Black chickpeas are a good source of veggie protein and are a great source of nutrition. If dry black chickpeas are used then some prep is required as it needs to be soaked in water for about 8 hrs. Then the legumes have to be cooked before being incorporated in any recipe. Pressure cooking is the easier option. The stock that is left after pressure cooking has a lot of flavor and can be used to make some delicious rasam.

A little planning makes the prep easy. Soak, cook and refrigerate the chickpeas. When required, you can always heat or microwave the frozen chickpeas and then temper it with all the spices.

Prep : Cook : Temper

Sundal Recipe

Ingredients

  • Black Chickpeas / Desi Chana: 1 cup
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chilies: 4
  • Curry leaves: 10 ‚Äď 12
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt
  • Oil: 2 tbsp

Cooking the Black Chickpeas

  • Wash the chickpeas thoroughly and soak it in 2 cups of water for about 8 hrs
  • Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas in 4 cups of water and 1/4 tsp of salt. A four-whistle count pressure cooking will do it
  • After cooking, separate the chickpeas from the stock

Tempering

  • Heat the oil in a thick wok
  • Add the mustard seeds and let it crackle
  • Reduce the heat and add the rest of the ingredients except for the chickpeas. Fry for half a minute
  • Now add the cooked chickpeas into and mix it thoroughly on low heat
  • Turn off the heat, serve and dig in