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I always carry home cooked food wherever I go and earned an epithet of “Madam with dibba”. Even for short outstation trips by flight I have this companion with me. During lunch breaks Supriya, my colleague and I share cooking tips. Most of the times I do the tipping. As an obedient student she tries that and next day she thanks me for the secret. She put this idea into my head for blogging.

I thank my entire clan of Brahmakumaris, Ma, Baba, friends & family members who helped me to develop my culinary skills. My mother was a superb cook to the category of gourmet cook. During my early childhood we had hired cooks at home due to my Ma’s illness. Whenever I did not like the food cooked by hired help, I did my cooking. Children were not allowed to enter kitchen at home, so my father arranged for a kerosene stove in the verandah to avoid fire hazards. Since then my experiment with cooking started, always trying to measure up to my Ma’s expertise.

Special thanks to butterfly Sneha, my inspiration for trying various recipes of chutneys , bunch of my colleagues we usually meet during lunchtime,  my “gaonvale ” hostel buddies  & Mistu, Moon & Puntu who encourage me by complimenting whatever I cook; even burnt cakes!!  Sudhadidi for right quantities. Sisters Sneha and Sapna nudging me to publish this blog asap.

And always multi million thanks to the Almighty –  Shivbaba for giving me powers to cook dishes that are enjoyed by all.

Shiv baba

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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Inspiration

 

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Dhokla curry – Hybrid dhokar dalna


This idea came while cooking dhokla. One set of dhokla was spoiled while cooking because I put more water in the pressure cooker, water flooded the dhokla trays. I drained the water and again cooked in cooker for about 5 minutes. But these could not be dipped in sugar and salt water and served as snacks. I refrigerated it to try some gravy with rice. I deep-fried them , dipped in gravy and served with rice and rotis. I got good review. “Dhokar dalna” is a lengthy process and I find them to heavy for hot summers, so today I thought of making “gatte ki subzi”. Again gathe ki subzi also needs deep-frying.

Temperature soaring to 47 degrees, deep-frying is tiring and difficult to digest; I tried this recipe that is midway between “Dhokar dalna” and “Gatte ki subzi”, that required less oil , yet tasty. I thought of calling it a hybrid of gathe and dhoka, meeting of East India (Bengal) and West India (Gujarat).

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Serving : about eight people.

Ingredients:

Batter for dhokla:
  • Besan –  Gram flour : 1 cup (about 260 gms)
  • Lime juice               : 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder      : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt                        : 1tsp for batter
  • Sugar                     : 2 tsp
  • ENO salt                  : 1/2 tsp
  • Luke warm water     : about 1/2 cup
  • Oil to fry : 1/2 cup (about 150 gms)
Gravy :
  • Tomatoes       : 3 nos about 2″ diameter
  • Green chillies : 2 nos
  • Ginger           : about 1/2″
  • Green cardamom : 2nos.
  • Cinnamon sticks : – 1″
  • Ghee – clarified butter          : 1tsp
  • Red chilli powder – Kashmiri : 1 tsp for colour
  • Red chilli                            : 1 no
  • Bay leaves                          : 1nos.
  • Oil                                      : 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida                           : 1 pinch
  • Cumin seed                         : 1 tsp.
  • Water                                  : 1/2 litre
  • Bhuna masala – roasted 5 spices (in my blog category spices & condiments) – 2 tsp
  • coriander leaves finely chopped : 2 table-spoon

Preparation :

dhokla:
  • Mix sugar in luke warm water, add this and remaining water to besan and make a smooth paste. consistency like cake batter
  • Mix salt and lime juice to the batter.
  • Steel or aluminium deep plate or bowl : Grease it to ease in de-moulding
  • In a thick bottom vessel, preferred is pressure cooker, pour 1 & 1/2 cup of water
  • Just before transferring batter to mould mix ENO salt and stir well. Immediately put it inside cooker, cover lid, ensure removing weight.
  • After 10-15 minutes , open lid, insert fine knife or pin and check. If no batter stick to it, dhokla is ready.
  • Remove from heat , de-mould, cut into 1″-2″ square.
  • Heat oil in wok, slightly fry them and keep aside.
 
2014-06-07 08.50.48 Dhoka or Dhokla - Fried
Gravy :
  • Mix tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon in a mixer.
  • Heat a tea-spoon of oil in wok, tamper cumin seeds, asafoetida, red chilli and bay leaf.
  • Carefully pour tomato gravy in the wok, otherwise it will splatter on face and hand. Partially cover the vessel.
  • Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder and sugar.
  • Saute it in low heat.
  • Add half a litre of water, bring it to boil. Add more water if required. Dhokas should float. After sometime dhokas soak maximum water and gravy turns thick.
  • Turn off oven and place dhokas into the gravy,
  • Season it with roasted spice and corriander leaves and enjoy hybrid dhokar dalna.
  • Enjoy with chappatis or rice
  • Optional : Diced potatoes can be cooked in gravy. I parboiled about two numbers medium potatoes size to avoid frying. This enhances taste and consistency of gravy. Before pouring water in sautéed gravy, add potatoes saute a while then pour water.
  • I put less ENO salt than required in dhoklas to avoid too much fluffiness.
  • Only fried dhoklas can be served with sauce as yummy snacks

2014-06-07 09.41.28 Dhokla / Dhoka curry

 

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Raw Mango Jam


Raw mango

Preparation time : about 1/2 hour

Ingredients

  • Raw mango      : 2 kg
  • Sugar               : 750gms – 1Kg
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder                  : 2 tbsp
  • Roasted and powdered saunf : 2tbsp.
  • Oil preferably mustard           : 1/4th cup (optional)

 Preparation

  1. Wash mangoes, peel and cut into pieces.
  2. Warm oil in a thick bottom wok and place the mangoes.
  3. Add salt and cover.  Let mangoes boil in low flame. Additional water not required as mangoes release it in plenty.
  4. Add sugar when mangoes become soft.
  5. Add chilli powder and roasted condiments and stir occasionally to avoid burning.
  6. Taste it and add more salt or sugar if required
  7. Remove from heat when it becomes slightly sticky consistency.
  8. Cool it and then pour in a clean dry container.
Enjoy it with bread, parathas, rotis or simply a spoon full to satiate sweet craving!
2014-04-14 21.01.05

 Tips :  Preferably buy raw mangoes that are hard and atleast a palm size big.

 

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Easy macaroni or elbow shaped pasta


Pasta

Quick, delicious and healthy breakfast, snacks or dinner.

  • Preparation time : 15 – 20 minutes
  • Serving : 4 persons, but at dinner time we were very hungry so it served only for 3 folks.

Ingredients

  1. Macaroni            :3 cups
  2. Tomato for purée : 2 nos. big
  3. Ginger                : thin 1″ slice
  4. French beans      : 5-6 pcs. finely chopped
  5. Dry chilli             : 1 pc.
  6. Oregano              : 1tsp.
  7. White pepper       : 1 tsp. or to taste.
  8. Salt                     : 2 tsp. or to taste
  9. Sugar                   : 1/2 tsp.
  10. Black cumin (rai, resembling mustard seeds but smaller) : 1 tsp.
  11. Light olive oil         : 3 tbsp.
  12. Milk                      : 1/2 cup
  13. Water for boiling

Preparation

  • Boil macaroni for about 10 minutes or till just tender enough to be chewable.
  • Drain water and run cold water on boiled macaroni.
  • Purée tomatoes, red chilli and ginger.
  • Heat oil in a wok , big enough to comfortably stir macaroni.
  • Add rai to heated oil. Lower flame and as rai crackles add chopped beans and cook for about two minutes in low flame and put purée into the wok adding salt.
  • As purée starts boiling, pour milk to it. Boil the mixture till oil is separated and appears on the surface.
  • Put boiled macaroni , mix well and stir in low flame for about 3 minutes.
  • Add white pepper and oregano and serve hot.

Tips:

  • I used an Italian seasoning consisting of rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano.
  • Any other spring vegetables like cabbage, carrot, red cabbage or mushroom or green leafy once like spinach can be added.
  • Keep quantity of vegetable not more than 1/2 a cup to enjoy taste of veggies as well as macaroni.
  • Pasta made by ‘Bambino’ are soft and takes less cooking time. If using any other brand, esp. Italian or American ones, boiling time may vary. Recently I tried pasta newly in market by ‘Aahar’, it was not upto the mark.
 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Potato with fenugreek/methi sprouts curry


Every morning my father after drinking water of soaked fenugreek seeds, throws away the seeds. I thought of utilizing them and tried this recipe. It turned out well.

Methi is bitter to taste but bitterness in sprouted seeds is tolerable and activates taste buds. It’s also good for health.

Methi sprouts

Methi sprouts

Ingredients :

  • Methi / fenugreek seeds : 2 tbsp.

    Cubed boiled potatoes

    Cubed boiled potatoes

  • Potato                          : 250 gms.
  • Refined vegetable oil      : 1.5 tbsp
  • Lemon juice                  : 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder           : 1 tsp. or to taste
  • Sugar                           : 1/2 tsp.
  • Bhaja / Roasted masala : 1 tsp ( In my blog category spices and condiments)

Method :

Sprouts:

  • Wash and overnight soak methi seeds in a cup of water or for about 6 hours. When weather is very hot  ; ambient temperature more that 25 degrees 3-4 hours is sufficient.
  • Drain water and keep in a dry container for a day. Lid not tightly closed to allow air circulation
  • Can be kept for 2 days for long sprouts
  • During peak summers, tie the seeds in a clean soft fine moist cloth and keep it in a cool place for a day, and next day moist it and refrigerate for 1-2days. This is , if longer sprouts are required. Longer shoots are tastier.

Curry :

  • Wash sprouts in running water and keep it in a strainer.

    Julienne chillies

    Julienne chillies

  • Wash and boil potatoes. Peel them and cut into small cubes.
  • Heat oil in a wok and put the sprouts , add salt.
  • Fry it slightly ,then add potatoes. Fry them in low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add red chilli powder and sugar. Mix well.
  • Remove from flame, add bhaja masala and lime juice. Mix well.
  • I added a table-spoon of finely Julienne ripe jalapeño (Big chillies used in India for stuffed pickles).
  • Serve with roti or plain paratha and curd.

Methi sprouts and potato curry

Methi sprouts and potato curry

Tips :

Similarly we can use Moong or any other sprouts with potato, or mix all the sprouts.

Courtesy : Methi sprouts photo - Google
 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Beetroot and carrot thick soup


Beetroot and carrot soup

  • Preparation & cooking time : 20 minutes
  • Serving : 4 cups

Ingredients:

Diced vegetables and red lentils

Diced vegetables and red lentils

  1. Carrot           : 2 medium size (8″ long, well rounded)
  2. Beet root      : 1 small
  3. Potato         : 1 small
  4. Masoor daal or red lentil : 3 tbsp
  5. Tomato       : 1 medium size
  6. Green chilli : 1 small (optional)
  7. Salt            : to taste
  8. Sugar         : 1/2 tsp
  9. White pepper : 1/2 tsp or to taste
  10. Lime juice      : 1 tsp
  11. Butter or olive oil or margarine : 1tbsp – Optional
  12. Water            : 4 cups.
  13. Cumin seeds : 1tsp. roasted and powdered for seasoning

Preparation :

Cooked Lentil and vegetables

Cooked Lentil and vegetables

  1. Wash and dice all the vegetables.
  2. Wash lentils
  3. Pressure cook lentils and vegetables using 1.5 cups of water for 10 minutes or 2 whistles of pressure cooker.
  4. Let it cool , then mix it in a mixer.
  5. Warm remaining water
  6. Pour the mix in a sauce pan , adding remaining water, salt and sugar.
  7. Remove from flame when the mix just starts boiling.
  8. Add pepper, lime juice and butter, serve hot with roasted cumin powder.

Tips:

  • Red lentils is optional, but it adds mild flavour and texture, that I found tasty.
  • For faster cooling of cooked vegetables pour 1 cup of cold water out of total quantity required, then put it in mixer.
 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Recipes, Soups

 

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Vegetable chop / cutlet / croquette


One vegetable chop , one samosa and two rasgullas were staple snacks served to any guest visiting our home in the evening and we got them frequently. That meant I also got to eat the chop, God bless all those guests!!!! Deep fried, tangy food were proscribed by doctors during my childhood and those were all I was greedy for. So, when my mother, twice a week, gave me Rs. 2 as pedal rickshaw to and fro fare for my dance classes, I took on foot one way, saving the remaining to sneak one chop for 50 paisa and two rasgullas for 50 paisa. Many times I got caught because the sweet shop owner was known to my father.
 
I tried to cook this, recreating the taste that still lingers on. In original recipe cornflour perhaps was not used, instead all purpose flour to make a workable dough. I got good raves for the chop, so thought of sharing it.
 
  • Preparation time : 1/2 hour (can be stored in deep freezer for two weeks and fried when required)
  • Cooking time : 1/2 hour
  • Serving : 10 nos.

Ingredients:

  • Beet root  : 3nos. medium size (about 2″)
  • Potato      : 4nos. large size (about 4″)
  • Carrot       : 1no. medium size
  • Chick peas : shelled 1/4th cup
  • Pea nut      : 1 tbsp.
  • Raisins      : 1 tsp
  • Ginger        : julienne 1 tbsp
  • Green chilli finely chopped : 1 tsp
  • Roasted five spices mix or Bhaja masala : 1tsp (In my blg catagory spices and condiments)
  • Refined oil : 3 cups for frying
  • Salt          : 2 tsp
  • Cornflour   : 1tsp
  • Bread crumbs : 1.5 cup
  • Sugar             : 1/2 tsp.

Preparation:

Bread crumbs: 

Bread crumbs

Bread crumbs

Toasted bread slice

Toasted bread slice

  • Toast bread slices ; crispy like biscuit.
  • Cool them and break into small pieces so that they fit in the mixer. Work into coarse crumbs in the mixer. I used 4 – days old whole wheat slices lying in the refrigerator.

Balls for vegetable chop / croquettes

Sliced vegetables, nuts and raisins

Sliced vegetables, nuts and raisins

  1. Wash vegetables
  2. Cut off head and tail of beet roots and boil them along with potatoes. Potatoes to be boiled and beet

    root par-boiled. Pressure cook for about 10 minutes or upto 1 whistle of cooker.

  3. Cool and peel the boiled vegetables.
  4. Smash potatoes with corn flour to make a workable dough, adding a tea spoon of salt.
  5. Finely slice beet root, carrot and cabbage.
  6. Boil peas for 2-3 minutes. Drain water and keep aside.
  7. Keep aside 1/4th cup of chopped carrot and cabbage for garnishing.
  8. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a wok .
  9. Fry ginger and peanuts – both shall be golden and crispy but not burnt.
  10. Put chopped vegetables in it, add salt (to taste) and cover with a lid. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Open lid, stir, add turmeric, peas, sugar, raisins and roasted spices. Carrot and cabbage will be just tender.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Make a ball of about 2″ with smashed potato. Place it on palm, flatten it, stuff with 1.5 tbsp. of mix vegetable. Close the flattened dough, make it egg shaped ball.
  13. Dip in bread crumb. Ball shall be properly closed and thoroughly covered with crumbs.
  14. Heat oil in wok for deep frying.
  15. Deep fry in low heat. One side when golden brown, change the other side carefully to avoid disintegration of balls.
  16. Remove the croquettes on a paper kitchen towel.
  17. Serve with sauce or chutney, garnish with salad.
Boiled and peeled potatoes and beet root

Boiled and peeled potatoes and beet root

Croquettes covered with crumbs ready for frying

Croquettes covered with crumbs ready for frying

Tips:

Deep frying of stuffed balls

Deep frying of stuffed balls

  1. Instead of frying the balls fresh, deep freeze them and use like frozen cutlets available in the market. In a plastic container put a layer of butter paper or thick plastic sheet suitable for storing food. Place the freshly prepared balls, on top place another layer of sheet and then cover. Put in the freezer immediately.
  2. Frozen un-fried cutlets can be stored for two weeks.
  3. For using frozen balls : deep fry them immediately after taking out from freezer, do not thaw.
  4. Thawing makes the balls soggy and cannot be fried as one whole piece.
  5. Frozen balls at the time of frying, do not disintegrate and easy to handle unlike fresh ones.

I stored the balls and used them next day for unplanned guests.

Enjoy vegetable chops and I will be waiting for your precious reviews.

 

 

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Bhaja Masala – Roasted spices mix for seasoning


For seasoning: Roast and then powder the following

Bhaja Masala 2013-09-01 22.00.12

  1. Cinnamon sticks    : 4nos about 2″ long
  2. Green cardamom   : 6nos.
  3. Red chilli               : 1 no. about 2″ long (Kashmiri deghi preferred)
  4. Fennel seeds         : 1/2 tea spoon
  5. Fenugreek seeds    : 1/4 tea spoon
  6. Corriander seeds    : 1/2 tea spoon
  7. Cumin seeds          : 1/2 tea spoon
  8. Bay leaves             : 2nos. , remove thicker midrib.

This mixture can be stored in an air tight container and used for seasoning dals, chaat, raita, dahi / curd, or anything to add a little appetizing flavour.

 

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