Monday, June 30, 2008

Bottlegourd Barfi or Gardudde Khadi


Last week I got a bottlegourd and I thought of trying this burfi instead of the regular halwa. This sweet has the taste of the bottlegourd and also a nutty flavor of milk. This is my grandmom's recipe. She specialized in making sweets and used to make lot of sweets and fried savories during festivals and birthday's. The whole house would smell divine with the aroma of ghee, cardamom and other foodstuff. She also specialized in making rava burfi, coconut barfi, rava ladoo, cashew nut barfi, mysore pak, shrikhand, sanjeera, phenori or chiroti (fried crisp flour circles rolled in sugar), til ladoo and plantain halwa and I will post these recipes subsequently.


Ingredients
around 3 cups grated bottlegourd (The grated bottle gourd should not be exposed to air for along time as it gets oxidized and turns brown. So grate the bottle gourd only when you are ready to add into the pan.)
1 1/2 cup whole milk or 1 cup condensed milk
3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom

Method
Add 4 tablespoon ghee in a wide bottomed pan and add milk. If you are using whole milk, get the milk to a boil and leave it for around 10 minutes until the milk reduces to 1 cup. If you are using condensed milk, there is no need to boil it. Add the grated bottle gourd and mix well.
This dish should be cooked throughout on a very low flame with constant stirring or else it could be burnt. Cook uncovered till the bottle gourd is soft. Add 2 (not 3) cups of sugar and mix well. Now comes the tricky part. Once the burfi is semisolid, you need to periodically check it. Put around 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture on a plate and check if it hardens like burfi. If it doesn't then you need to add around 3 tablespoon more sugar and mix well and check again. Once done, spread it on a plate greased with the remaining ghee.

Cut immediately into squares with a greased knife or cutter as if it cools down, it is hard to cut it.


Preparation time: 2 hours
Servings: makes around 30 burfis

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pineapple Jam or Preserve




My friend S's used to get this pineapple jam in her tiffin when we were in college. When she told me that her mother makes this jam at home, I took the recipe from her and tried it at home. It was delicious. Her mother's native place, Sirsi in Karnataka, is very famous for its pineapples and I guess everyone there makes these divine jams. This tasty jam goes well with bread and chapattis and is very handy for breakfasts and tiffins.


Ingredients

2 cups ripe pineapple pieces.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pinches kesar or saffron strands (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder (optional if you dont' want a spicy taste)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder(again optional if you only want the pineapple flavor in the jam)


Method

Cook the pineapple pieces on a low flame in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook covered till the pineapple pieces are tender. Don't add any extra water as the pineapple will leave lots of moisture when it is cooking. Remove cover and add sugar, salt and pepper powder. Cook on a low flame till the sugar has dissolved and mixed well with the pineapple pieces. Dissolve the keshar in warm water and keep aside for 5 minutes. Add the kesar water, and cardamom powder and cook for another 5 minutes. Store the jam in an air tight jar. This jam remains good for around 2-3 months. Enjoy the jam with bread or chappatis.

Preparation time: 90 minutes



Plantain Chips / Banana Chips / Kale Kachri




Banana chips are savored by all. Though, we call these banana chips, they are actually made of plantains. I remember my grandmother and mother making these chips very often when I was young. My love for banana chips was such that I would skip meals and eat only banana chips the whole day. So my grandmom would keep the chips dabba ( container) on the highest loft in the kitchen, where my hands would'nt reach. However, I was very naughty and would use a tall stool or a kitchen chair to reach the banana chips when my grandmom was not around:).
Now-a-days, with the availability of good quality, read- made banana chips, my mom's does not make these at home. We get banana chips in the Indian stores in US. But the other day, I saw plantains at the Indian store I was tempted to try this recipe. However, I don't have the slicer or mandoline at home and hence, I used the thin slicer blade of the food processor to cut the bananas into thin slices. They were a little thicker in texture than the ones my mom makes, but none the less they tasted excellent. Banana chips are traditionally fried in coconut oil, but I used canola oil as it healthier option.


Ingredients

2 plantains
salt
water
vegetable oil for frying

Method

Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt in 4 tablespoon water and keep aside. Peel the plantain to remove the green skin. To peel the skin, slit banana length-wise along the edges of the green skin. Once slit, peel off the skin like you do for a regular ripe banana. Soak the bananas in cold water till you peel them, else they will turn brown in color. Take the banana and slice it into thin slices. Put the slices immediately in oil or else they will turn brown if exposed to air. When the chips start to look crisp, add a teaspoon of salt water to the oil. Fry for few more minutes, till the chips are crisp. Remove the chips and drain them on a paper towel.

It is very necessary to stand back when you add the salt water to the oil, as the oil may splutter. It is also necessary to adjust the amount of salt water to add in the oil. After 2-3 batches of chips, the oil will be salty because of the salt water added while frying the previous batches. Hence, there may be no need to add salt water later. Taste each batch of chips to adjust the salt water quantity to add to the oil.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sabudana Khichidi






Sabudana khichidi was one of the most popular items on my college canteen breakfast menu. My canteen "bhaiya" would serve a generous amount of khichidi with lemon wedges and sweet curd. I would relish this dish early in the morning before attending my classes. Many people eat sabudana when they fast, hence it is also called "upaas ka khana" in many parts of India. Peanuts are a great source of protein and Vitamin B. It is a very healthy breakfast especially for growing children. It is quick-to-make dish and tastes delicious when served piping hot for breakfast. Shengdana koot or coarsely ground peanut powder is used to make this dish. Roast the peanuts for 8-10 minutes and coarsely powder them. This can be stored in an airtight container and keeps up to a week.


Ingredients

1 cup sabudana
1 large or 2 small potatoes
1/2 cup coarsely ground roasted peanuts
2 green chilies (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon oil
handful of chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
salt for taste

Method

Wash the sabudana and soak the sabudana overnight. It is a little tricky to soak the sabudana. If it is soaked in more water, it can become sticky and mushy. To soak sabudana, put it in a vessel and add water till it reaches
1/2 inch more than the level of the sabudana. Leave it overnight or soak at least for 4 hours. (Do not wash the sabudana or add water, once it is soaked!!). Add sugar, salt, chili powder, potatoes and ground peanuts and mix it well with the sabudana.


Put oil in a wide bottom pan and add cumin and green chili. Fry for 2 minutes and add the sabudana. Cook with the lid on pan and on low flame for around 10-15 minutes. Toss the sabudana occasionally while it is cooking. Garnish with lemon juice and finely chopped coriander leaves. You may also serve the sabudana khichidi with a bowl of sweet curd. Enjoy the nutritious khichidi.

Preparation time: 20 minutes excluding the soaking time
Serves: 2






Spicy Raw banana curry / Kale Humman


Humman is one of the Konkani spicy curries made with banana, potato or shrimp. It is traditionally served with rice, but tastes good with chapatti too. This dish is characterized by a lovely flavor of asafoetida and coconut oil.

Ingredients

2 raw bananas
1/2 cup grated coconut
3-4 red chili (I use the Byadgi chillis
which are not very spicy but impart a deep red color to the masala)
small ball of tamarind or 1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1/8th teaspoon asafoetida
2 teaspoon coconut oil

Method

Peel and cut the raw banana into slices or big chunks. Cook the banana pieces in water till tender. Crush the asafoetida and soak it in a spoonful of water. Roast the red chili for 3-4 minutes. Finely grind the coconut, chili and tamarind into a smooth paste adding around 1/2 cup water (I usually utilize the liquid
remaining after boiling the bananas and add more water if needed). Add this masala to bananas and cook covered on a low flame. Bring the curry to a boil and sprinkle the asafoetida water and the coconut oil over the curry. Cover again and cook for 2 more minutes till the flavor of asafoetida and oil are absorbed by the curry.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2-3








Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Potato Bhaji / Batate Bhaji


This is a very easy potato bhaji recipe and it goes well with roti or dosa. This also makes good stuffing for grilled sandwiches and masala dosa. It can be prepared a day in advance and makes a good dish for picnics, parties or tiffin boxes.

Ingredients

5 boiled and mashed potatoes
1 cup chopped onions
2-3 green chillies
1 teaspoon urad dal
2-3 methi (fenugreek) seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon
cumin seeds
one strand curry leaves
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
handful of cilantro or coriander leaves (
chopped)
lemon juice (optional)
2 teaspoon oil
salt as per taste


Method

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter add turmeric powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida, methi seeds, and urad dal. Fry till the urad dal is pink. Then add chopped green chili and curry leaves and coat it well with the masala. Add the onion and fry the onion is transparent. Add the mashed potatoes and 1 cup water. You may add raw cubed potatoes, but it is quicker to make this bhaji with boiled potatoes. Cook till all the flavors blend well. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.


Variations:
-Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala or maharashtrian goda masala for more flavor if you plan to have it with roti or bread.
-Add a handful of cooked peas.
- Add little more water to the potatoes to make the bhaji liquidish.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Orange Zucchini Cake

This cake is nutritious and tasty to satisfy the late afternoon hunger pangs. It goes well with tea or coffee . I also added Honey Bunches of Oats with almond and it imparted a chewy taste on the top layer of the cake. It turned out to be very yummy with the sweet aroma of spices and orange in every bite. This cake can be stored in a airtight container for 2-3 days.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup peeled and grated zucchini
1/4 cup Honey Bunches Of Oats with Almond cereal
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg powder well. Beat eggs, sugar, milk and oil well using a electric whisk. Add vanilla extract, orange zest, zucchini and cereal well. Fold in the flour mix in gently with a spatula, stirring in one direction till the flour is completely folded into the batter. Mix the walnuts and spread the batter on a greased baking tray. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or till a toothpick comes clean. Let the cake cool down to room temperature before taking it out of the baking dish. Cut the cake and it is ready to serve.

Preparation time: 70 minutes
Serves: 2-3





Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kairi chutney/Ambule Gojju / Konkani Raw Mango Chutney



I love both raw and ripe mangoes. During my college days, I and my friends used to buy the masala kairi from a vendor who used to sit outside our college during summer afternoons. He would cut the kairi into pieces and apply salt and secret masala (chili powder and other spices). It was a awesome, tangy snack which I miss here in the US.

In the past when there were no refrigerators, my maternal grandmother, who lived in Mangalore, would preserve raw mangoes in sterilized water. In this manner, the mangoes could be used year round, even when the fresh mangoes were not available. She would boil handful of salt and water in a vessel and then add raw mangoes to the water. When cooled, the mangoes along with the water would be put in a ceramic contained called "bharni". Copper aluminum or iron containers could react with the sour mangoes, hence ceramic jars were used. This jar would be kept in a cool and dark place. When fresh mangoes were not available, my grandmother would take out a raw mango from the jar, peel it and use the flesh to make this chutney. My mother also would store around 15-20 mangoes using the same method when we were in Pune. Another method to store the mangoes is to cut the raw mangoes and put them in a glass bottle with salt and keep them in the fridge. The mangoes keep up to 6-9 months if stored in this manner. Raw Mango contains lot of vitamin A and vitamin C and has low sodium. When we were young, we were given mashed rice mixed with milk and ambule gojju as a side dish.

I don't get good raw mangoes here in the US. The raw mangoes I buy from the Indian store have a sweet taste, and they don't impart the sour taste and flavor of Indian raw mango. I then tried the chutney with the frozen kairi from the Indian store. This imported frozen kairi turned out to be very tasty and had the smell and flavor of the Indian kairi. I don't peel the mango skin while making this chutney. This chutney can be served with both rice and chapatti.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup kairi/raw mango pieces
1/2 cup grated coconut
1-2 garlic pods (optional for people who don't like garlic)
1-2 methi (fenugreek) seeds
one pinch heeng or asafoetida
salt as per taste
1-2 green chili

Method:

Grind all the ingredients into a fine paste. Serve immediately after preparing.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves 4-5

Stuffed Brinjal / Eggplant or Bharlile Vaingan






This is a quick recipe and goes well with rice and roti. I am posting two versions of this recipe. My mother prepares this recipe in the traditional way and stuffs the eggplants with onion and coconut masala. This was one of my favourite dishes. Whenever my mom used to make this, I would tell my mother to save some sabzi and give it to me in my school tiffin with roti. The masala flavor would get absorbed thoroughly by the eggplant and I always felt that it tasted better the next day.
But as my husband does not like the onion and coconut masala combination, I prepare it the way it is made at his home i.e. with the dry masala stuffing without onion and coconut. Both the versions are spicy and tangy and go well with roti and sabzi. I am sending this recipe to
Think Spice-Think Coriander Seeds organized by Priya.



Version A:

Ingredients:

Small purple eggplants/brinjals (around 12-15)
1/2 cup chopped onions (preferably red onion)
1/2 cup grated coconut
small lemon size ball of tamarind skin or 1/2 teaspoon tamarind extract
4-5 red chillies
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon heeng
salt as per taste
1/2 spoon sugar
4 teaspoon oil

Method

Roast red chilli, coriander seeds and coconut. Add 2 teaspoon oil in a pan and fry the onion till brown. Grind the fried onion with the roasted coriander seeds, coconut, red chili and tamarind very finely. Make 2 diagonal cuts on bottom side of the eggplants. Stuff the masala into the cuts in the eggplants. Add the remaining oil in a wide bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the heeng and the stuffed eggplants. Cover and cook till the eggplants are soft and cooked on all sides. Serve hot.



Version B

Ingredients

Small purple eggplants/brinjals (around 12-15)
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon til (sesame seeds)ground
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (whole)
3 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 spoon amchur powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon heeng (
asafoetida)
4 teaspoon oil
salt as per taste


Method

Cut the green tops off the eggplants and make 2 diagonal cuts on the top of the eggplants. Mix all the dry powders in a bowl.







Stuff this powder into the eggplants. In a wide bottomed pan add oil and mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds splutter, add heeng and the stuffed eggplants.




Cook covered till the eggplants are soft and tender and cooked well on all sides. Serve hot.


Preparation Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 2-3




Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pineapple Mango Cooler






This a great drink to have especially in summer when temperatures are in the 90's. I and my husband are great fans of fruits and buy a lot of fruits from the farmers market. We don't get alphonso mangoes in US like we get in Maharashtra, though this year US allowed alphonso mango imports, and some shops sold them for a short period. But the alphonso mango pulp is available in the Indian stores through out the year. I buy this pulp and use it to make milkshakes, lassi's and coolers. Peaches, apricots, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries can also be added to this cooler. However, this drink tastes best when the mango flavor is not overpowered by the other fruits.

Ingredients

1 cup fresh cut Mango pieces or 6 tablespoon mango pulp
1 cup pineapple pieces
1-2 cardamom pod (optional)
sugar for taste (optional)
crushed ice

Method


Blend mango pieces/pulp, cardamom seeds, pineapple pieces and any other fruit you wish to add. The mango pulp contains some sugar, so I usually don't add any sugar. But if you are using fresh fruit, you could add sugar as per taste.
Serve Chilled.

Variations:
Four
tablespoons of yogurt can be added while blending , to make it a smoothie.
You can add a dollop of mango or vanilla ice cream on top and this cooler and this is also a great way to get kids to eat fruits.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2