Daal Bafauri| Zero Oil Recipe From Chattisgarh

Chattisgarh, a state in the centre-east of India, is famous for its temples, forests and waterfalls, and its abundant natural beauty in general. For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, we travelled (albeit virtually) to this beautiful state in search of their indigenous cuisine.

The state has a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to offer. Gond, Parghi, Bison Horn Maria, Raj Gond and Korwa (a few of the many tribes to whom Chattisgarh is home) have a variety of tribal delicacies of their own. The non-tribals living in Chattisgarh have their own delectable cuisine as well. Tribal or non-tribal, the use of rice in Chattisgarhi cuisine is rampant – steamed rice and rice flour are used in many different ways here. The use of local leafy greens – lal bhaji, kohda bhaji and bohar bhaji, for instance – are quite widespread, too.

From the multitude of very interesting dishes from Chattisgarh, I chose to make a light, steamed snack called Daal Bafauri. This dish uses absolutely zero oil and is, hence, perfect for the aged and infirm, weight watchers, and children alike. It tastes lovely, and makes for a perfect tea-time snack. What’s more, it is very, very simple to put together as well.

bafuari

Now, let us check out the recipe for daal bafauri, shall we?

Recipe Source: Mandvi’s Kitchen

Ingredients (makes 8-10 pieces):

  1. 1 cup chana daal
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)
  9. 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  10. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  11. 2 teaspoons oil, or as needed to grease steaming vessel

Method:

1. Soak chana daal for 3-4 hours, in just enough water to cover it. Then, place in a colander and drain out all the excess water.

2. Chop the green chillies, coriander and onion finely. Peel the ginger and chop finely.

3. Take the soaked and drained chana daal in a mixer jar. Add in salt to taste, chopped green chillies and ginger, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder (if using). Pulse a couple of times, stopping to scrape down the mixture on the sides of the mixer. You should get a coarse mixture, not a smooth paste. Transfer this ground mixture to a large mixing bowl.

4. Now, add carom seeds, asafoetida, as well as chopped onion and coriander to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as required. Make medium-sized balls or oval shapes out of this mixture and keep aside.

5. Grease a wide vessel with the oil, for steaming, and keep them ready. Arrange the balls/ovals that you shaped in the vessel in a single layer, leaving a little space between each two.

6. Take about 1 cup water in a pressure cooker bottom. Place on high flame and let the water heat up. Now, place a stand within the pressure cooker, and place the vessel containing the balls/ovals on top. Close pressure cooker and steam (without putting the whistle on) for 12-15 minutes or until the balls/ovals are well cooked. Serve hot with spicy green chutney and/or tomato sauce. You can serve them alongside a cup of tea as well, the way it is done in Chattisgarh.

Notes:

  1. You can add a few cloves of garlic while grinding the mixture, too. I skipped that.
  2. Ghee can be used to grease the steaming vessel, in place of oil. I used refined oil.
  3. Skip using the red chilli powder, if you think the heat from the green chillies and ginger is enough.
  4. Use more or less green chillies, depending upon your personal taste preferences. The same goes for the quantity of onion you use in the daal bafauri.
  5. This is how I make the spicy green chutney that I served the daal bafauri with.
  6. You can use idli plates for the steaming, too.
  7. Cumin (jeera) can be used in the daal bafauri, in place of carom seeds (ajwain). Here, I have used ajwain.
  8. Daal bafauri can be made with various lentils – moong daal, masoor daal, toor daal, dried green peas, et al. You may even use a combination of two or more types of daals to make this snack.
  9. I made another batch of batter the same way, shaped little balls out of them, and deep-fried them in hot oil. They tasted absolutely delicious as well.
  10. You can eat daal bafauri on its own, as a snack, as we did, or use them to prepare a tomato-based sabzi.

You like? I hope you will try out this daal bafauri recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Challenge. The theme for this month is ‘Recipes from Chattisgarh’. I was paired with Sujata Shukla of Pepper On Pizza for the challenge, who assigned me two secret ingredients to cook with – chana daal and onions.

 

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Rehru| Kheru| Himachali Spiced Yogurt| Pahari Cuisine Recipe

I have never had a chance to travel to Himachal Pradesh – a land whose beauty I have heard much about – but I am so glad to have an opportunity to cook food from this state! This week, the group of very talented food bloggers that I am a part of, Foodie Monday Blog Hop, decided upon ‘recipes from Himachal Pradesh’ as the theme, and I was more than happy to participate.

Himachali cuisine, also referred to as ‘pahari khana‘, is quite well known. The land, with its rough terrain and bordered by hills, has some exquisite vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare as well as sweet dishes to offer. Thanks to the extremely cold weather that is rote here, the Himachalis are heavy consumers of meat. The availability of vegetables and leafy greens is limited in most parts of Himachal Pradesh and, hence, they rely heavily on dried lentils like rajma, chana and the likes, as well as root vegetables like potatoes and colocasia root because they keep well for long. When in season, there is ample use of leafy greens in Himachali cooking, too. The cuisine uses quite a lot of curd and spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, dry red chillies, coriander seeds, amchoor powder, et al) as flavouring agents.

For this week’s cooking challenge, I chose a very simple but beautiful spiced yogurt recipe from Himachal Pradesh, akin to kadhi that is popular in most other Indian states. Locally called rehru or kheru, this dish tastes absolutely fantastic. It is a breeze to prepare as well. We had this with piping hot rice, and just loved it. I’m sure it would taste great with rotis and parathas as well.

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Here’s how you can make rehru aka kheru.

Recipe courtesy: Anita’s Kitchen

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  2. 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  4. 2-3 dry red chillies
  5. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 medium-sized onion
  7. 2 cups slightly sour curd, medium thick
  8. Salt, to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  11. Red chilli powder, to taste
  12. A few stalks of fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Crush the coriander seeds (sabut dhania) using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
  2. Chop the onion and coriander finely. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Keep aside.
  3. Add just a little water to the curd and salt to taste. Beat well. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the mustard oil in a pan. Add cumin, dry red chillies, and crushed coriander seeds. Let them stay in for a second.
  5. Add chopped garlic. Cook for a couple of seconds, and then add the chopped onion. Cook on medium flame till the onion begins to brown. Do not overcook it – let it retain a bit of a crunch. Take care to ensure that the garlic and onion does not burn.
  6. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder, along with very little water. Cook for 2-3 seconds on low-medium flame.
  7. Now, turn flame to low and add the beaten curd to the pan, little quantities at a time. Cook on low-medium flame for just a minute, stirring constantly. Switch off the gas.
  8. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve warm with rotis, parathas or rice.

Notes:

  1. You can add in some green chillies too, if you want to make the kheru spicier.
  2. Remember not to overcook the onions and garlic; they should have a bit of crunch left in them. At the same time, ensure that they are not burnt.
  3. Use mustard oil for the authentic Himachali taste. However, if you aren’t very fond of the pungent smell of mustard oil, you can use ordinary refined oil as well.
  4. Don’t boil the kheru too much after you add the curd. Just cook it on low-medium flame for about a minute.
  5. Add the curd little by little, keeping the flame low, to prevent curdling. If you add all the curd at one go or on a high flame, it might curdle and affect the taste of the kheru.

You like? I hope you will try out this recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Recipes from Himachal Pradesh’.

Finger Millet/ Ragi Vermicelli Salad| Vermicelli Salad, Thai-Style

As you probably already know, we love our salads. I often whip up a salad using whatever ingredients we have handy in our kitchen, and make it our mid-morning or mid-evening snack. I have made quite a few varieties of salad, but I might never have thought of making one with ragi vermicelli, of all things, had I not read about it on Tes’s blog here.

Keeping Tes’s recipe as the base, I made a few variations of my own to create this Thai-style finger millet/ ragi vermicelli salad. It turned out so, so, so beautiful that we gobbled it up within minutes of the making. We absolutely loovvveedd having it for dinner, and I am pretty sure we are going to be having this often, henceforth.

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This ragi vermicelli salad tastes beautiful – sweet and salty and spicy and tangy all at once. It is packed with nutrients, and is a healthier alternative to store-bought snacks and junk food. There are no fancy ingredients in there, just regular stuff from the pantry of an average Indian kitchen, and no fancy salad dressing either. It isn’t a very difficult or time-consuming dish, either. You have to try this out!

Here is how I made the finger millet/ ragi vermicelli salad.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 2 cups ragi vermicelli
  2. 1/2 cup peanuts
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  5. 2 green chillies, or to taste
  6. 3 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  7. A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  8. 1 medium-sized onion
  9. 1 medium-sized carrot

Method:

First, we will cook the ragi vermicelli and keep it ready.

  1. Soak the ragi vermicelli in just enough water to cover it, for 2-3 minutes. Use normal-temperature water, and do not soak for more than the stipulated amount of time.
  2. Then, drain off all the water in a colander.
  3. Place the drained ragi vermicelli in a vessel. Take about a cup of water in a pressure cooker bottom, and place a stand over it. Place the vessel with the vermicelli over the stand, without adding in any water to it. Close the pressure cooker lid, and steam for 10-12 minutes without placing the whistle on.
  4. Switch off the gas and let the vermicelli cool down completely. Then, fluff it up and keep it aside for use later.

As the vermicelli is cooking, we will get the peanuts ready.

  1. Meanwhile, dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp.
  2. Then, pulse just for a second in a mixer to crush them coarsely. Remember not to make a fine powder, but just to crush the peanuts coarsely. Keep aside.

Now, get the veggies ready for the salad.

  1. Peel the carrot and grate it finely. Keep aside.
  2. Finely chop the onion and coriander. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the chillies very finely, so that you don’t get big pieces of them when you bite into the salad. Keep aside.

Now, let us get the salad ready.

  1. When the vermicelli has fully cooled down, take it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the salt to taste, coarsely crushed peanuts, honey, lemon juice and the chopped coriander, green chillies, onion and grated carrot.
  3. Mix everything well, but gently. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. I have used finger millet aka ragi vermicelli to make this salad. You can use any millet vermicelli instead or even an ordinary rice-based version.
  2. Take care not to soak the vermicelli for too long, or you will end up with a mushy goop. Steam it for just about 10-12 minutes, ensuring that water does not enter the container in which the vermicelli is being steamed. Cook the vermicelli as per the instructions on the pack you buy, for best results.
  3. Raw cane sugar, coconut blossom sugar, palm sugar or even ordinary refined sugar can be used in place of honey, to make the salad.
  4. Pomegranate arils, finely chopped cucumber or zucchini, and fresh grated coconut are some other ingredients you can add to this salad. Here, I have used whatever ingredients I had on hand.
  5. Use more or less honey, lemon juice and green chillies, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  6. Just coarsely crush the peanuts for best results. Do not make a fine powder in the mixer.

You like? I hope you will try out this finger millet/ ragi vermicelli salad too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

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Do check out the other millet-based recipes on my blog!

My Vitamin E Mantra| 5 Ways We Incorporate Moringa In Our Daily Diet

More often than not, Vitamin E is overlooked in terms of our daily diet planning. Many of us try to include iron-, calcium- and protein-rich foods in our daily meals, but often ignore Vitamin E, which is so very beneficial to our bodies. Vitamin E supplements like Evion help in ensuring we get an adequate amount of the nutrient, but I wouldn’t recommend consuming the same without a doctor’s advice. Another way to use Vitamin E is topically, applied on skin or hair. And then, there are various natural sources that help you get an adequate amount of Vitamin E into your systems.

What are the natural sources of Vitamin E?

There are quite a few natural sources of Vitamin E, including leafy greens, avocado, sweet potatoes, whole wheat, almonds, hazelnuts, tofu, apricots, wheatgerm, broccoli, palm oil, sunflower seeds, Swiss chard, peanuts, safflower oil and pumpkins. Did you know that moringa leaves, (Scientific name: Moringa Oleifera, Tamil: murunga elai), are very rich in Vitamin E? Among green leafy veggies like spinach, mustard greens, beetroot greens and Swiss chard, moringa greens rank right up there in terms of Vitamin E content. In fact, the quantity of Vitamin E in moringa has been found to be 20 times that in tofu!

The daily recommended dose of Vitamin E is 20 mg or 22.4 International Units.

The many health benefits of moringa leaves

The use of moringa leaves is not uncommon in South Indian cuisine, and I try to ensure my family gets enough of this essential nutrient by including the greens in my day-to-day cooking as much as I can. And, of course, I try to use the other natural sources of Vitamin E as best as I can, too.

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A bunch of highly nutritious moringa leaves

It’s no wonder that moringa leaves are being touted as a superfood in recent times, being the powerhouse of nutrients that they are! They are high in protein and calcium, iron and beta carotene, magnesium and chlorogenic acid. They possess high amounts of Vitamin A, B6, B12 and C, apart from Vitamin E.

Thanks to being rich in Vitamin E, moringa aids in hair care and skin care, preventing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, helps in alleviating pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), lowering cholesterol levels, improving one’s vision, aids slow ageing, lowers the risk of cancer, and helps the body in fighting against toxins that air pollution throws at us. Apart from this, moringa also helps in fighting inflammation, promotes bone and cardiovascular health, protects the liver, aids in wound healing, helps in keeping anxiety and depression at bay, and also aids one in combating diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and asthma.

Here’s how I incorporate moringa leaves in our daily diet

1. Use them in uttappams

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Mixed vegetable uttappam with moringa leaves

One of my favourite ways to use moringa leaves aka murunga keerai is to add them in while making uttappams, along with other vegetables.

Method:

~ You will need dosa batter that has turned slightly sour (not overly so). Add to it some grated carrots, chopped capsicum and baby corn, a handful of roughly chopped moringa leaves, some finely chopped coriander and green chillies, and salt to taste, and you are all set!

~ Get a dosa pan nice and hot, till droplets of water dance on it. Then turn the heat down to low-medium, and pour a ladleful of the batter in the centre.

~ Cook, covered, till the uttappam gets browned from the bottom. Then, flip over and cook, covered, on the other side for a couple of minutes.

~ Serve piping hot with dosa milagai podi drizzled on top. If you want to, you can add crumbled paneer and a dash of chaat masala, or a sprinkling of grated cheese, on top.

2. Use them in parathas

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Green garlic and moringa leaves parathas

I often add moringa leaves to my parathas, which adds to their nutritive value and taste. On our recent trip to Ahmedabad, I got hold of some green garlic (which, sadly, you don’t get in Bangalore), and it made for a wonderful addition to my moringa leaf parathas.

Method:

~ Take multi-grain atta in a large mixing bowl. Add to it salt to taste, a dash of sesame seeds, ginger-green chilli paste, a bit of jaggery, some thick curd and oil, roughly chopped moringa leaves, some finely chopped coriander, and some green garlic + stalks that have been finely chopped.

~ Mix well, and make a soft dough using water as required. Then, make parathas out of the dough as usual.

3. Make a South Indian poriyal

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South Indian-style moringa leaf poriyal

Moringa leaf poriyal tastes absolutely scrumptious. With some hot, hot steamed rice, sambar and a bit of ghee, this poriyal is a heaven-sent accompaniment.

Method:

~ Chop moringa leaves finely and keep them handy.

~ Heat some oil in a pan and add mustard. Allow it to splutter. Add in some cumin (jeera), dry red chillies and asafoetida (hing), and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

~ Add in the chopped moringa leaves and a splash of water. Turn the heat to medium and cook, covered, till most of the water is absorbed.

~ Now, add salt to taste, a bit of turmeric and a dash of jaggery. Cook, covered, till the leaves are done. Add a bit more water if needed.

~Mix in some freshly grated coconut, and let cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes more. Done!

4. Add them to moong dosas/adai

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Moong dosas with moringa leaves

Moong dosas are powerhouses of nutrition in themselves. Add some moringa leaves to them (along with some finely chopped onions), and they become even more nutritious and delectable. You’ve got to try this out!

Method:

~ Here is how I make moong dosas. Prepare the batter as mentioned in the recipe, and keep it at room temperature overnight to make it a little sour.

~ Then, add roughly chopped moringa leaves and finely chopped onions. Mix well.

~ Get a dosa pan nice and hot, then lower the flame to medium. Prepare dosas out of the batter. Serve piping hot.

If you have got some adai batter handy, moringa leaves and onions would make a great addition to it as well.

5. Add them to sambar or daal

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Another simple way to incorporate moringa leaves in our daily diets is to add a handful of them to sambar or daal.

Method:

~ This is how I make a one-pot moong daal tadka. If using moringa leaves, I would add them, roughly chopped, to the pan after the mustard seeds, cumin and asafoetida. I would saute them till they are cooked, and then add them to the pressure-cooked moong daal. Serve piping hot with steamed rice or rotis.

~ Want to use moringa leaves in your sambar? Just saute some moringa leaves along with the other vegetables you are using, and then proceed to prepare sambar the way you usually do! Serve with steamed rice and a curry of your choice.

Precautions in using moringa leaves

Moringa leaves can be quite tough to digest themselves unless cooked really well. So, while using these greens, you must ensure that they are well cooked, even pressure cooked if necessary. This is especially so when you are planning to serve a moringa leaf-based dish to children.

Also, make sure all stems are removed from the leaves, as they are not edible. Wash the greens well, to remove any traces of mud from them.

I hope this post is of help to you! Be Vitamin E-healthy – stock up on these natural sources!

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This is my entry for the Vitamin E Mantra contest on Indiblogger, presented in association with Evion.

 

Healthy Walnut Laddoo| Kid-Friendly 3-Ingredient Recipe

These healthy laddoos are my mother’s attempt to get the bub to eat walnuts aka akhrot, which are supposedly laden with health benefits. The bub refuses to eat walnuts, but she will at least sample these laddoos whenever the mood strikes her. 🙂 Her mommy and daddy love them, so finishing them up is never an issue. 😛

Healthy walnut laddoos are a breeze to make, and require just three ingredients – walnuts, raw cane sugar, and a bit of ghee. They have the goodness of walnuts in them (and the teeny-weeny bit of ghee you put in!). Free of refined sugar, they are an easy-peasy snack to make for kids, especially ones that have a sweet tooth!

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Here is how to make these healthy walnut laddoos.

Ingredients (makes about 6 medium-sized laddoos):

  1. 1/2 cup walnut kernels
  2. Raw cane sugar, slightly less than 1/2 cup
  3. About 1 teaspoon ghee
  4. 2 cardamom (elaichi) pods (optional)

Method:

  1. Add the walnut kernels, raw cane sugar and ghee to a small mixer jar.
  2. If using cardamom, open the pods and add the kernels to the mixer jar too.
  3. Crush everything to a fine powder in the mixer.
  4. Grease your hands lightly and shape balls (laddoos) out of the mixture. That’s about it!

Notes:

  1. A mix of cashewnuts, almonds and walnuts can also be used to make the laddoos.
  2. Jaggery, coconut palm sugar or dates are some other substitues that can be used in place of raw cane sugar, here.
  3. A couple of drops of vanilla essence can be added in place of the cardamom.

You like? I hope you will try out these easy and healthy walnut laddoos too, and that you will love them as much as we do!

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘3-ingredient recipes’.

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Zero-Oil Vegetable Salad With Pineapple

Are you looking for a healthy salad recipe that does not use an overdose of dressing or call for exotic ingredients? Are you looking for a simple but healthy snack to satiate those in-between-meals hunger pangs?

If your answer to these questions is ‘Yes’, you have reached the right place. This vegetable salad with pineapple would be just perfect for you.

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This vegetable salad with pineapple uses absolutely zero oil. There are no fancy ingredients or salad dressing involved. In fact, this salad can be whipped up within minutes, from whatever odds and ends of veggies are lying around in your refrigerator. And, yet, it is so lovely – juicy and flavourful and delicious. Let me tell you that it is a big-time hit at home, and I make it quite often.

You have to try it out!

Here’s how I make this zero-oil vegetable salad with pineapple.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. About 3/4 cup pineapple cubes (cores and thorns removed)
  2. 1/2 medium-sized capsicum, chopped finely
  3. 1 small onion, chopped finely
  4. 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and grated finely
  5. 1/2 small-sized zucchini, chopped into small cubes
  6. Kernels from 1 medium-sized sweet corn
  7. 1 cube of Amul processed cheese, chopped into small cubes
  8. A handful of raisins
  9. About 10 almonds, each one chopped into halves
  10. Salt, to taste
  11. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
  12. Black pepper powder, or to taste
  13. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  14. 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste

Method:

1. Place the corn kernels in a wide vessel and add in just enough water to cover them. Place on high heat and allow water to boil. Reduce flame to medium and cook for just a minute. Transfer immediately to a colander and drain out all the water. Run cold water over the kernels and keep aside. Let the corn cool down completely.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients mentioned above, except the corn. Add in the cooked and cooled corn kernels too. Mix well, but gently. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Like I was saying earlier, this salad can be made with any veggies lying around in your refrigerator. There are two keys to making the salad taste great – using the veggies in the right proportion and chopping them the right way. For instance, you wouldn’t mind biting a big, juicy piece of pineapple, right? So, chop the pineapple into large-ish cubes. Use more of the pineapple. The same goes for the sweet corn kernels. A big piece of capsicum or onion wouldn’t be as enjoyable to encounter, so use less of them, and chop them small. As simple as that!
  2. Raw cane sugar or palm sugar can be used in place of honey, too.
  3. Let your taste preferences dictate the quantity of salt, pepper, honey and lemon juice that you put into the salad.
  4. I have used Amul processed cheese here. You can use any variety of cheese that you prefer, cubed or grated.
  5. Apples, cucumber, pomegranate, walnuts, orange or sweet lime segments, lettuce, and pears are some other ingredients you can add to this zero-oil vegetable salad.

You like? I hope you will try out this vegetable salad with pineapple too, and that you will love it as much as we do!

 

Ponk Bhel| Hurda Bhel| Tender Jowar (Sorghum) Bhel

‘Ponk’, for the uninitiated, is the Gujarati name for immature grains of jowar, available only in the months between December and February in parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In Gujarat, they are all over Surat, and Ahmedabad gets a few truckloads from there, which are hungrily grabbed by the locals within minutes. Known in Marathi as ‘hurda‘, these grains are packed with nutrition and highly delicious. They can be used to make a variety of delicacies, from bhel and vada to cakes.

In all the 25 years I lived in Ahmedabad, I managed to never hear about ponk, ever. I never saw it in the local markets, never heard of it from anyone, never had a chance to try it out. Or maybe, it wasn’t very popular in Ahmedabad back when I was growing up? It was only years later, after I started writing extensively about food that I learnt about ponk and began craving for a taste of it. On our recent visit to Ahmedabad, we landed right in the midst of ponk season, I managed to get my hands on some and even carried a little back home to Bangalore.

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Beautiful, beautiful ponk!

The first batch of ponk that I got was tender, but not very. So, I pressure cooked it a bit and converted it into ponk bhel.

Usually, the ponk comes with a packet or more of sev – different varieties like lemon, tomato, green chilli and what not. I used the green chilli sev that I got along with the ponk, as well as some home-made chutneys, to make the bhel, and it was oh so delish!

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The ponk bhel that I made!

Here is how I made the ponk bhel (hurda bhel aka tender sorghum/jowar bhel):

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 2 cups tender ponk (aka hurda or tender jowar/sorghum)
  2. 2-3 pinches of roasted jeera (cumin) powder
  3. 2-3 pinches of rock salt aka kala namak
  4. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  5. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  6. A fistful of sev 
  7. 3-4 tablespoons of sweet-sour tamarind chutney, or as needed
  8. 2-3 tablespoons of spicy green chutney, or as needed

Method:

  1. Wash the ponk thoroughly under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain away.
  2. Take the washed and drained ponk in a wide vessel and add very little water to it.
  3. Take some water in a pressure cooker bottom and place a stand over it. Place the vessel with the ponk over the stand. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow two whistles, and let the pressure come down naturally.
  4. When the pressure has come down entirely, remove the cooked ponk from the cooker. Let it cool down completely.
  5. Then, take the cooked ponk in a large mixing bowl. Add finely chopped onion and coriander, sev, rock salt, roasted cumin powder, sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney. Mix well, gently. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. If the ponk is very fresh and tender, it can be eaten raw, without pressure cooking. The ponk that I got wasn’t very tender, so I pressure cooked it to be on the safer side.

2. You can add farsi poori, roasted peanuts, as well as other veggies like sweet corn, potatoes, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber and pomegranate arils to the bhel, too. I have used only onions here, because that was all I had on hand at the moment.

3. If you don’t have such flavoured sev, you can use ordinary sev instead.

4. Typically, the sweet-sour chutney used in bhel is made using dates. I am not a big fan of that, so I make the chutney using tamarind and jaggery.

5. Make sure you add very little water while pressure cooking the ponk, otherwise you will end up with a goopy mess. It is quite tender anyway, and the steam building up inside the pressure cooker is enough to cook it just right.

Do try to get your hands on some tender sorghum aka hurda, while it is still in season! And don’t miss out on making this ponk bhel with some of it!

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I hope you have been reading and enjoying my posts about our visit to Ahmedabad recently. If you want to check them out, here are the links!:

Ahmedabad, after ages

Glimpses from the International Kite Festival 2018, Ahmedabad

 

Glimpses From The International Kite Festival 2018, Ahmedabad

The city of Ahmedabad has been hosting the International Kite Festival every year, ever since 1989. The event is held in January, to commemorate Uttarayan, one of Ahmedabad’s most-loved festivals. It was something that started off as a small celebration, and grew huge over the years, especially in the last 4-5 years or so. The kite festival today attracts big, big, big crowds and celebrities, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi included. The event sees participation from master kite flyers from across the world, who come in to showcase their beautiful kites and talent.

Sadly, I never, ever, attended the kite festival when I lived in Ahmedabad. I have seen scenes from the festival on TV and pictures in newspapers, though, and know just how festive the atmosphere gets, with hundreds of people flying their unique kites side by side, which get cut off one by one till there are very few ‘survivors’. All this to cheers and claps by thousands and thousands of excited watchers, in the midst of cultural programmes and lots of media frenzy. This year, our visit to Ahmedabad coincided with the beginning of the International Kite Festival 2018, and we decided to drop in to get a feel of the fervour.

When we visited, the festival had just begun, there wasn’t much of a crowd, and there were few participants in the arena, trying to fly their kites. We passed by for a short while, thanks to a cranky bub who refused to walk one bit. Still, the atmosphere managed to fill our hearts with awe and joy.

I leave you with some pics from our visit to the International Kite Festival 2018.

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The entrance, shaped like a kite. Creative, no?

I loved the biiiiigggg food court that one came to as soon as they walked through that entrance. Gujarati specialties like dhokla, khaman, gota, khichu, undhiyu, Uttarayan-special varieties of ice creams, and loads of winter delicacies graced the numerous stalls that lined the food court – what a great idea to promote the wonderful, wonderful food that Gujarat has to offer?! The food court right at the entrance proved to me something that I have always known – that food comes before everything else for the fun-loving Gujarati!

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A couple of participants, caught in action

After the food court came a huge arena, which was surrounded by onlookers and media. In the arena were a few participants, trying to get their kites off the ground. That wasn’t really a problem, considering the pleasant breeze that wafted through the venue, thanks to the Sabarmati waterfront right next door.

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A beautiful tiger kite that caught our fancy, at the International Kite Festival 2018

There weren’t many kites up in the air when we visited, but we did spot some really unique ones. I could only imagine the out-of-the-box kites that would be dotting the sky as the day of Uttarayan came closer.

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Pretty, pretty, no?
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So colourful, eh? And, no, that is not a bird in the background – it’s a kite!

Some of the kites were eye-catchingly colourful. Some were decked with the colours of the national flag of the participants’ countries Some were huge. Some were in the shape of animals. Some had the face of celebrities imprinted on them.

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A couple more participants at the International Kite Festival 2018, caught in action

Some of the kites were so big they refused to lift up in the air. Some required roller skates and two or more sets of threads to balance them.

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I couldn’t make out what this was, but it sure looked fascinating, gliding gracefully in the air with its long tail!
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Jellyfish?

We were to leave Ahmedabad much before the day of Uttarayan (January 14), but the brief glimpse of the International Kite Festival was enough to carry back with in our souls.

For more pictures and information about this year’s International Kite Festival, check out the Gujarat Tourism website.

Chaat Bruschetta| Indian Bruschetta Recipe

By now, you guys must be aware of my love for chaat. I can have chaat any time of the day or night! 🙂 So, when the theme for this week’s Foodie Monday came up – ‘bruschetta recipes’- I decided to add a very Indian twist to it. I decided to turn the bruschetta into a chaat. The result – a chaat bruschetta – was fantabulous, if I may say so myself.

This chaat bruschetta makes for a wonderful, wonderful snack for chaat lovers. Sweet and tangy and salty and spicy all at once, it surely brightened up our day. Do try it out, too!

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Here’s my Indian bruschetta recipe!

Ingredients:

  1. Bread slices, as needed
  2. Salted butter, as needed to toast the bread
  3. Roasted cumin (jeera) powder, as needed
  4. Chaat masala, as needed
  5. Boiled potatoes, as needed
  6. Tomato, as needed
  7. Onion, as needed
  8. Fresh coriander, as needed
  9. Carrot, as needed
  10. Fine nylon sev, as needed
  11. Spicy green chutney, as needed
  12. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  13. Cheese, as needed

Method:

  1. Let us first get the veggies ready. Peel and grate the carrot finely. Chop the onion and coriander finely. Boil the potatoes – give them about 4 whistles in a pressure cooker, let them cool down completely, then peel and chop them into cubes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the grated carrot, finely chopped onion and coriander. Keep aside.
  3. Take the boiled and cubed potatoes in another mixing bowl. Add in chaat masala and cumin powder to taste. Mix well. Make sure all the potato cubes are evenly coated with the cumin powder and chaat masala. Keep aside.
  4. Grate the cheese finely. Keep aside.
  5. Get a dosa pan nice and hot, till water droplets dance on it. Meanwhile, spread some butter on both sides of a slice of bread. Lower the flame. Toast the bread till it becomes crisp and slightly brown on both sides, taking care not to burn it. Then, cut the bread slice into two. Prepare as many bread slices as you want, in a similar manner.
  6. Spread a few cubes of potato on the toasted bread. Spread some of the carrot-onion-coriander mixture on top. Spread some nylon sev and grated cheese on top of this. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney on top, and sprinkle some roasted cumin powder and chaat masala. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. Here is how I make the sweet-sour tamarind chutney. Sweet-and-sour chutney for chaats is typically made using dates, but I am not a big fan of that, so I made it using tamarind and jaggery.

2. Here is how I make the spicy green chutney.

3. I have used ordinary whole wheat bread to make this chaat bruschetta, but you can use any type you want. Ciabatta or baguette would work great for this. These toppings would work on crackers or salty biscuits as well.

4. I haven’t included precise measurements for any of the ingredients here. Use them in quantities of your choice, to suit your taste preferences.

5. I have used Everest chaat masala and Amul processed cheese here. You can use any brands suited to you.

6. You may use a dash of rock salt aka black salt, to add more flavour to the chaat bruschetta.

7. I have used only boiled potatoes, coriander, grated carrot and onion to make the topping for the chaat bruschetta, apart from cheese. If you want to, you can add more toppings like beetroot, pomegranate arils, cucumber, boiled kabuli or black chana and sweet corn.

8. To make the roasted cumin powder, dry roast some cumin on medium flame in a pan till it is quite aromatic. Take care not to burn it. When it has cooled down completely, grind into a coarse powder and store in a dry, air-tight container.

I hope you liked this Indian bruschetta recipe! Don’t forget to let me know how this chaat bruschetta turned out for you! 🙂

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘bruschetta recipes’.

Home-Made Multi-Grain Atta| How To Make Multi-Grain Atta At Home

If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you would know that we, as a family, have been taking baby steps towards a more natural, healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle. We have been trying to cut out packaged, processed foods from our grocery carts as much as we can. Over a year ago, we started getting our own atta ground from whole wheat at a flour mill – something we haven’t stuck to very consistently, but do off and on. This year, we surely want to be more regular with this – we want to stop buying atta off supermarket shelves altogether.

Over the last few months, we went one step ahead and tried to make our own multi-grain atta. We experimented with ingredients, quantities, techniques, and then finally arrived at a recipe that satisfies us on all counts. The recipe for home-made multi-grain atta that I am going to tell you about today works perfectly for us. It yields soft, fluffy rotis, and we can hardly tell the difference from rotis made with just whole wheat flour. It is more nutritious, more fortified than whole wheat flour, too, of course. I use the same multi-grain atta to make cakes, pooris, parathas and the like, and the results have been wonderful.

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It has been so, so, so satisfying, this whole experience of experimenting with different ingredients and ratios. Making things from scratch always gives us a high, and this phase did too. It is a joy to know what exactly goes into your multi-grain atta, and to know that you can regulate the ingredients, change them every month. Love!

Now, without further ado, we’ll get to the recipe for home-made multi-grain atta, shall we?

Ingredients (yields about 6.5 kg atta):

  1. 5 kg whole wheat
  2. 250 grams soya beans
  3. 250 grams dried corn (sometimes also called ‘popcorn seeds’)
  4. 250 grams sorghum (jowar)
  5. 250 grams pearl millet (bajra)
  6. 250 grams gram daal (chana daal)
  7. 200 grams oats
  8. 200 grams barley
  9. 250 grams flax seeds

Method:

1. Clean all the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring there are no worms, stones or mud.

2. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Get them ground finely at a flour mill.

3. Let the ground flour cool down completely and then store in a clean, dry, air-tight container. Use as required, using only a clean, dry spoon to remove.

Notes:

  1. You may omit one or two of the ingredients from the above list, except for the whole wheat of course.
  2. I used Punjabi Sharbati wheat to make this atta. The other ingredients came off supermarket shelves. If you have access to foodgrains grown organically or to farmers from whom you can get these ingredients directly, nothing like it!
  3. This home-made multi-grain atta can be used to make everything from rotis and parathas to pooris and kachoris. I don’t find any major difference between using this atta and the store-bought one we used to use earlier, but the family thinks the rotis are turning out a tad thicker than they used to. Honestly, that is just a small sacrifice we would readily make for being able to use home-made atta.
  4. Make sure the atta is ground finely in the mill. Coarsely ground atta may yield thick rotis.
  5. If you have a gharghanti i.e. a small flour mill that is meant for domestic usage (quite popular in Gujarat and parts of Maharashtra), you can grind the flour at home yourself as well.
  6. Every time you get this muli-grain atta ground, you can slightly alter the ingredients. For instance, use ragi instead of bajri and horse gram instead of flax seeds. This way, you can ensure that you get nutrients from different ingredients every time!
  7. You can slightly increase the quantity of the ingredients other than whole wheat (chana daal, jowar, bajri, etc.), depending upon your personal taste preferences.

Do try this recipe for home-made multi-grain atta out, and let me know how you found it!