Anarosher Chaatni| Pineapple Chutney, Bengali Style

A Bengali meal is incomplete without a chutney, especially so on festive occasions. Chutney (rather, ‘Chaatni‘ in the local language) is eaten at the end of a Bengali meal, as a dessert, rather than meaning it to be an accompaniment to the other dishes. It is literally licked off the plate – therefore the name ‘Chaatni‘. And why not? The Bengali Chaatni is, after all, a beautiful medley of flavours sweet and sour with just a hint of spice to keep it intriguing, raisins adding a lovely texture to it. Quite different from the South Indian chutneys we are so used to!

Bengali Chaatnis are also quite intriguing in the sense of what they are made up of. Often, a fruit – think tomato, dried dates, pineapple and mango leather – finds its way into a Chaatni. Then, there’s the one made using raw papaya, called Plastic Chaatni because it resembles shiny plastic in appearance. The recipe I share with you today is for Anarosher Chaatni, pineapple chutney Bengali-style.

We stayed at a hotel in the New Market area of Calcutta, on a holiday there, a few years ago. It was there that we encountered Chaatni for the first-ever time, and whole-heartedly fell in love with. My interest in Bengali cuisine piqued, I would ask the hotel staff about this dish and that. They were kind enough to enlighten me, and even teach me how to make this Anarosher Chaatni and the gorgeous Bengali Bhoger Khichuri.

I recently recreated this Anarosher Chaatni based on recollections of passionate foodie conversations with those hotel staff of a few years past. It was a huge hit, with everyone at home loving it to bits. It was licked clean within minutes – I kid you not! I served it alongside rotis and cabbage sabzi, and it made for a wonderful accompaniment. Spiced with panch phoron, this pineapple chutney, Bengali style, jazzed up our meal like no one’s business!

This chutney is such a simple affair, but an absolute treat to the senses! I have made it with minimal jaggery (rather than sugar) and oil. It is entirely plant-based, vegan and gluten-free by its very nature. Come to think of it, this low-oil Anarosher Chaatni would make for a relatively healthy vegan dessert treat as well!

Let us now check out the recipe for this Pineapple Chutney, Bengali Style, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 1 cup):

  1. 1 heaped cup of chopped ripe pineapple, thorns removed
  2. 2 teaspoons oil
  3. 1 teaspoon panch phoron or Bengali five-spice mix
  4. 2 small bay leaves
  5. 2 dried red chillies
  6. 1 tablespoon raisins
  7. A pinch of salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  10. A dash of red chilli powder or to taste
  11. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

Method:

1. Take the chopped pineapple in a large, wide vessel. Add in a little water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles on high flame. Switch off gas and allow the pressure to come down naturally.

2. Allow the cooked pineapple to cool down fully. Then, grind it coarsely in a mixer, along with the water it was cooked in.

3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the panch phoron, dried red chillies and bay leaves. Let the ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. To the pan, add the coarse pineapple puree. Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, raisins and jaggery powder. Mix well.

5. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook the mixture on medium flame till the chutney thickens slightly, 3-4 minutes. Switch off gas when it is still quite runny, for it thickens further on cooling. Now, mix in the roasted cumin powder.

6. Allow the chutney to cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Store refrigerated.

Notes:

1. Panch phoron is a Bengali-style mix of five spices – cumin, mustard, fennel, fenugreek and nigella seeds. You can make your own panch phoron or buy a ready-to-use packet – it is commonly available in most departmental stores. I use a store-bought version that I am quite happy with.

2. A lot of Bengali families use sugar in their chaatni. I have used jaggery here, instead, to make the dish healthier.

3. Adjust the quantity of sugar/jaggery depending upon how sweet the pineapple is.

4. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder, salt and other spices as per personal taste preferences.

5. For best results, use a ripe, juicy, sweet pineapple that is not overly sour. Make sure all thorns are removed before using the pineapple in the Anarosher Chaatni.

6. I have coarsely pulsed the cooked pineapple here, so I got a mix of puree and pieces of the fruit. This lent a very interesting texture to the chaatni. You could keep the pineapple pieces whole or make a fine puree, as you please.

7. Make sure the pineapple is cooked fully, before using it in making the chaatni.

8. Switch off the gas when the Anarosher Chaatni is still quite runny. It is supposed to be runny, and thickens a bit on cooling as well.

9. I have used refined oil to make the Anarosher Chaatni, as opposed to the pungent mustard oil that is typically used in most Bengali cooking.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers present dishes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #BengaliFoodFest, wherein we are cooking dishes from the vast Bengali cuisine. The theme was suggested by Sujata Roy, who writes at Batter Up With Sujata.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #273. The co-host this week is Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.

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Rose Syrup| Home-Made Rose Syrup Recipe

I am here today with a home-made rose syrup recipe, one that is rather close to my heart, an inextricable part of my summer-time memories.

Like I have said many times on my blog before, the hot days of summer bring back lots of foodie memories for me. Holidays spent at my maternal grandparents’ place in Hyderabad. Sitting amidst a circle of cousins, eating the cool curd rice that my grandmother would place in our mehendi-decked hands. Grandma’s wonderful, wonderful home-made grape squash. Grandpa holding huge, ripe Banganapally mangoes in one hand and expertly cutting them into cubes with his other hand. Eating ice lollies from the streetside carts. Visiting the market to buy the choicest of raw mangoes. Getting raw mangoes cut by the kilos, seed and all, for the neighbourhood Telugu Aunty to turn into a fiery pickle. Small newspaper parcels of chips and the most delicious of onion pakoras that my grandfather would sneak in for me. The gorgeous vattalkozhambu and more kozhambu that grandmom would expertly make for me, with loads and loads of love. Munching on honey loops. Rice flour painstakingly cooked and passed through a press to make sevai for breakfast, for a truckload of people. Rose-scented jangris that my grandmom would have specially prepared for me, by a halwai in the neighbourhood. Bottles and bottles of my aunt’s chilled rose milk that she prepared using her special home-made rose syrup. … the list is endless.

Over the course of several hot afternoons, I learnt from my aunt the technique of making her fragrant rose syrup. Made from sweet-smelling roses, called Panneer Roja in Tamil, this syrup is free of any artificial colours or preservatives. I do add a bit of rose essence to the syrup I make, as the roses available these days don’t seem to have as strong a fragrance as I remember them having, all those years ago. It keeps for a good while, but is best used in a week to 10 days’ time. This home-made rose syrup makes for some awesome, awesome rose milk, of course, and also goes beautifully in lassi, juices, mocktails, falooda, rose milk, cakes, ice creams and other desserts.

Come, now, let’s check out the summer-special home-made rose syrup recipe!

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):

  1. 25-30 edible roses (panneer roja)
  2. 2 cups + 1 cup water
  3. 2 tablespoons grated beetroot
  4. 1-1/2 cups sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon rose essence

Method:

1. Separate the rose petals from the stem. Discard the stems and transfer the petals to a colander. You should get about 2 tightly-packed cups of rose petals.

2. Wash the rose petals thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the water.

3. Meanwhile, in a pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Switch off the gas when the water comes to a rolling boil. Add the washed and drained rose petals to the boiled water. Cover the pan and let the petals rest in the water for 8-10 hours or overnight.

4. After 8-10 hours, the rose petals would have released their colour and scent into the water. The petals would have become white. Filter out the rose petals and retain the rose water.

5. Take 1 cup of water in a pan and add the sugar to it. Place the pan on high flame. Add in the grated beetroot. Cook on high heat till the sugar is completely dissolved in the water. Then, reduce flame to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.

6. Add the rose water we prepared earlier to the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or till the syrup comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the gas and allow to cool completely.

7. Filter the rose syrup and discard the beetroot. Mix in the rose essence to the syrup.

7. Transfer the rose syrup to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated. Use as needed.

Notes:

1. Use only roses that are meant for culinary purposes.

2. Grow your own roses, buy organic ones or source them from reliable sources, so you are sure they have been grown hygienically and that they haven’t been given generous sprays of pesticide. Make sure they haven’t been sprayed with perfume too – that’s quite a common occurrence!

3. Make sure you wash the rose petals thoroughly before using them to make this syrup.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar depending upon personal taste preferences.

5. Red food colour can be used in place of the grated beetroot. I prefer not doing so, though.

6. Often, the scent from organically grown or home-grown roses just isn’t strong enough. I therefore add a bit of rose essence to the syrup to balance out the fragrance. You may skip the essence if the roses you are using are fragrant enough.

7. Store the rose syrup in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle after it has fully cooled down. Keep refrigerated when not in use.

8. Make sure you use the syrup in a week to 10 days’ time, for best results. Refrigerated and used hygienically, it stays well for 15-20 days, though.

9. Some people add cloves, cardamom and/or lemon juice to the rose syrup. I haven’t.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #273. The co-host this week is Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.

Aamlicious: Rajdhani’s Mango Festival You Simply Must Not Miss

The moment summer sets in, most of us begin to dream of mangoes. The love of mangoes is what gets most Indians through the intense heat of summer. And who can blame us? Eating a mango is an unparalleled experience – be it the sweet and juicy, yellow-orange flesh of the ripe fruit or the lip-puckeringly sour raw mango. Using raw and ripe mangoes in various culinary confections is de rigueur in India in the months of summer. That’s what the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani, Bangalore, is all about – the play of mangoes in various forms, dishes, textures, ingredients and flavours.

Aamlicious is a hugely anticipated affair at Rajdhani every year, and why not? The kitchen team comes up with a huge variety of dishes made with the mango, the ‘king of fruits’, each one surpassing the other. I had the pleasure of experiencing the Aamlicious feast at Rajdhani’s Indiranagar outlet a few days back, along with a few other foodies from the city, and ended up utterly awed by all of it.

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The mango-licious thali we were served at Rajdhani’s Aamlicious festival. Isn’t that simply magnificent?

There is no better way to describe the mango-laden thali we were served, other than calling it ‘a veritable feast’. The Rajdhani team has come up with an astounding array of over 30 dishes with mango, mostly from the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Aam Ki Launji, Kairi Ka Panna, Aam Palak Patta Chaat, Raw Mango Muthia, Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi, Mango Pulao, Kesar Aam Thandai, Aam Jalebi, Aam Ras and Aam Basundi are just some examples of the stuff that is on offer. There’s a mind-boggling variety of mango-based appetisers, curries, daal, kadhi, drinks and desserts – what’s to not love?

Some of the appetisers we were served as part of the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani. Check them out!

Mr. Sugata Sengupta, Corporate Chef – Rajdhani, spoke to us food bloggers about the sheer hard work that has gone into creating the thali for the Aamlicious festival this season. This feast has been designed after over a month of research, trials and testing, and the hard work surely shows!

A glimpse of the main course dishes that are part of the Aamlicious festival this year. Top Left: Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi, a unique offering; Top Right: Aam Ki Launji; Bottom Row (from left to right): Gol Amboliya, Rajashthani Kaju Aur Aam Ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri Amboliya, Gujarati Fajeto

I loved most of the ‘aam‘ creations on offer at Aamlicious, but I will share my top picks here.

Among the drinks, the Kesar Aam Thandai (a delicious mango twist added to the regular thandai) and Kairi Panna (a traditional Indian-spiced raw mango cooler) were brilliantly done. From the appetisers, the Kaccha Aam Na Muthiya (Gujarati steamed wheat-flour dumplings made with raw mango) tantalized my taste buds.

The Aam Ras (ripe mango pureed with milk and sugar) was delectable too, bringing back fond memories of hot summer afternoons spent lunching on it with pooris, back in Ahmedabad. The utterly delectable Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi (raw mango samosas cooked in a spicy-tangy gravy, based on a traditional Rajasthani recipe) was something very new to me. I also adored the Aam Ki Launji and Ker Sangri Amboliya too, both Rajasthani dishes made using raw mangoes.

Top: Kacchi Kairi Khichiya Masala Papad, a special type of rice-flour papad popular in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bottom (from left to right): Marwari Kacchi Kairi Ki Biryani (biryani cooked with raw mangoes); Aam Pista Pulao (pulao made with pistachios and mango); the three drinks on offer – Aam Ras, Kesar Aam Thandai and Kairi Panna.

Both the mango-special desserts served to us bowled me over. Mango Jalebi Rabdi (jalebi stuffed with ripe mango and served with creamy rabdi) and Gulkand Paan Malpua Mango Rabdi (malpua made with ripe mango, served with rose jam and pureed betel leaves on top) were extremely well-done, supremely decadent and lip-smackingly delicious.

Top Left: Mango Jalebi Rabdi; Bottom Left: The king of fruits, crowned, and justly so!; Right: Gulkand Paan Malpua Mango Rabdi; all part of the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani

This is one festival you don’t want to miss. Do check it out – it’s on till May 31 at all Rajdhani outlets in Bangalore! Please do note that the dishes are served on a rotational basis, so it is best to call them and check in case you are interested in a particular dish.

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #273. The co-host this week is Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.

 

Safed Dhokla| Gujarati White Dhokla Using Idli Batter

Today, I present to you the recipe for a Gujarati snack that goes by the name of Safed Dhokla (literally ‘white dhokla‘ in the local language). Before I get to the recipe, though, here’s a little rant.

Dhokla‘ and ‘Khaman‘ are perhaps the most misrepresented dishes in Indian cuisine. The terms are often used interchangeably, but the two dishes are definitely not the same. Both ‘Dhokla‘ and ‘Khaman‘ are Gujarati snacks which are cooked by way of steaming, but there’s a world of difference between them!

Let me explain.

Dhokla‘ is typically made using a rice-and-uraddaal batter. They are usually white in colour, and are generally not sweet.

Khaman‘ is made from gram flour (besan) or ground chana daal. They are yellow in colour, and can sometimes be sweet and sour.

When the basic ingredients used in the preparation of the two things are so different, you can imagine how different in taste they would be, right?

Now, there are several different versions of both – the ‘Dhokla‘ and the ‘Khaman‘. Different regions of Gujarat, different families, make them in different ways. I hope you got the basic differences between the two, though. On my blog, I have earlier shared the recipe for making instant Khaman using besan. I have also shared a recipe for Amiri Khaman, a chaat of sorts using leftover Khaman.

OK, rant over. Gyaan disbursed. Now, let me tell you about the Safed Dhokla I was about to tell you about.

Safed Dhokla, also called Idada or Idra, is one of the types of Dhokla commonly made in Gujarat, using idli batter. If you have idli batter on hand, it is a breeze to prepare these dhokla. They taste absolutely lovely, and are a highly nutritious snack to boot. Since they are steam-cooked, very little oil goes into them, making them perfect for weight-watchers. At the end of this post, I have suggested a few different variations to the Safed Dhokla that you can try out, so you get a different-tasting snack every time you make it! In the picture below is the most basic style of Safed Dhokla – tempered with just mustard seeds and fresh coriander. Safed Dhokla is a completely plant-based, vegan dish. In itself, this is a gluten-free dish as well.

Here’s the recipe for basic Safed Dhokla!

Ingredients (makes 10-12 dhokla):

  1. 2 cups well fermented and salted idli batter
  2. 1 tablespoon oil for tempering + a little more for greasing the steaming vessel
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. Finely chopped coriander, as needed to garnish

Method:

  1. Firstly, grease the bottom and sides of a large, wide vessel well with some oil.
  2. Pour the fermented batter into the greased vessel, and keep it ready.
  3. Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker bottom and place it on high flame. When the water comes to a boil, place a stand inside the cooker and place the greased vessel with the batter on top of it. Close the pressure cooker lid. Steam on high flame for 10 minutes, without putting the whistle on. Switch off gas.
  4. Let the Safed Dhokla rest for 2-3 minutes more after switching off the gas, then take out the steaming vessel.
  5. Now, we will make the tempering for the Safed Dhokla. Heat a tablespoon of oil and add in 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Let them sputter. Pour this tempering evenly over the steamed dhokla. Garnish the dhokla with finely chopped fresh coriander as needed. Cut into pieces and serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

1. The idli batter should be thick and not watery, for best results.

2. Make sure the idli batter is well fermented before you begin making the Safed Dhokla.

3. Since the idli batter is already salted, we will not be adding salt to it again before making the Safed Dhokla.

4. Do not overcook the dhokla, otherwise they will become hard and rubbery. Just about 10 minutes after the water in the cooker has come to a boil is good.

5. I use homemade idli batter to make these dhokla. You can also use store-bought batter instead, too.

6. I steam the Safed Dhokla in a large, 7.5-litre pressure cooker.

7. If you so desire, you can add in 1/2 teaspoon of Eno Fruit Salt (plain) or baking soda to the batter just before placing it in the cooker for steaming. This makes sure the dhokla turn out very soft and fluffy. I usually don’t – well-fermented, fresh idli batter is enough to yield spongy dhokla.

8. For best results, make the Safed Dhokla within 2-3 days of grinding/buying the idli batter.

9. You can add about 1/2 cup of thick, sour curd to the idli batter and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before making the dhokla. I typically don’t do this.

Variations:

  1. You can add in some chopped green chillies and garlic cloves while grinding the batter. This will yield garlicky, slightly spicy dhokla that are super delicious!
  2. Add in a bit of asafoetida, some finely chopped green chillies, some fresh grated coconut and some sesame (til) to the tempering. This will make the dhokla even more flavourful.
  3. Just before placing the batter in the pressure cooker for steaming, drizzle some red chilli powder on top. This will add a zing to the dhoklas!
  4. You can also drizzle some black pepper powder on top, just before placing the batter in the pressure cooker for steaming.
  5. Some grated carrot and/or beetroot can also be added into the batter, to make the dhokla more nutritious.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers get together and cook dishes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #OneSpiceIngredient, suggested by Sasmita of First-Timer Cook. Participants are sharing dishes that use only one spice ingredient. For the theme, I chose to share this Gujarati White Dhokla Recipe that I have tempered with just one spice – mustard.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #272. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Do try this recipe out some time! I’d love to know what you think about it!

Imli Ka Amlana|Refreshing Tamarind Summer Cooler

Would you like to know about a tangy, super refreshing drink that would be just perfect for the hot summer days that seem to be reigning the country right now? Yes? What if I tell you such a drink can be made in a very healthy way, and would require just a few minutes of your time to make at home? Sounds too far-fetched? Not at all!

Here’s presenting to you – Imli Ka Amlana, a summer-special beverage from the hot and arid land of Rajasthan. Traditionally made with tamarind pulp and sugar, this drink is a mix of tangy and sweet, spiced mildly. The Indian spices that go into it make this extremely flavourful, at the same time aiding one’s digestion as well. It is a yummy way to get all the health benefits that tamarind possesses into one’s system, I would say!

Imli Ka Amlana is typically served as part of a Rajasthani thali, and is also served in gatherings of friends and family on festive occasions. It is, after all, an apt way to digest all the heavy food that is consumed during such festivals!

I have made the Imli Ka Amlana with Kitchen D’Lite’s Tamarind Powder, a highly convenient substitute that saved me the hassle of soaking tamarind and extracting juice from it. For the uninitiated, Kitchen D’Lite offers a variety of powders made from dehydrated ingredients, without any preservatives, chemicals or artificial flavouring and colouring agents. They sent me packs of their Tomato Powder, Tamarind Powder, Garlic Powder, Ginger Powder, Green Chilli Powder and Red Onion Powder to test in my kitchen and, I dare say, I am loving them. The powders are great in quality and extremely fresh, and can be easily substituted for the real ingredient without guilt. They have a good shelf life too, of up to 1-1/2 years.

I also substituted the sugar that is generally used in the drink with jaggery powder, to make it healthier. I always have a ready stock of the other spice powders used in the Imli Ka Amlana – black salt, cardamom powder, black pepper powder and the like – so making it was such a breeze! I served it alongside a simple lunch of roti and sabzi, and it was such a huge hit!

Do try out the Imli Ka Amlana too and, I’m sure, you’ll be making it more than once. We surely will be!

Recipe Source: Adapted from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 4 teaspoons Kitchen D’Lite tamarind powder
  2. 6 tablespoons jaggery powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  5. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  7. 2 cups chilled water
  8. 4-6 fresh mint leaves

Method:

  1. Grind the black salt, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder and cardamom powder together till fine. Keep aside.
  2. Take the tamarind powder and the jaggery powder in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the chilled water. Mix till the tamarind powder and jaggery powder are dissolved completely in the water.
  3. Add in the powder we ground earlier. Mix well.
  4. Pour the Imli Ka Amlana into 2 serving glasses. Serve, garnished with fresh mint leaves that have been roughly torn.

Notes:

  1. In the absence of tamarind powder, you can use fresh tamarind instead. Soak a lemon-sized ball of tamarind in a little warm water, in that case, and extract a thick paste out of it. Use the tamarind paste the same way as tamarind powder, in the above recipe.
  2. Adjust the quantities of jaggery powder, tamarind powder, black salt, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder, cardamom powder and water, as per personal taste preferences.
  3. You may use sugar instead of jaggery powder, in the above Imli Ka Amlana recipe.
  4. If you think there are impurities in the jaggery you use, do filter the water once after mixing it in. I use organic jaggery which is free of impurities, so I do not filter the water.
  5. For best results, grind the spice powder really fine.
  6. If you don’t have black salt, you can substitute it with regular table salt and add in some chaat masala instead. However, I would personally not recommend that – black salt has a unique fragrance and taste that works wonders to the flavour of the Imli Ka Amlana.
  7. If you so desire, you can add a dash of lemon juice to the Imli Ka Amlana, in addition to the tamarind.
  8. The Kitchen D’Lite products were sent to me free of cost, to sample in my home kitchen. The opinions expressed herein about the products are entirely my own, entirely honest, without any external influence. I really loved the products, and have been enjoying using them.
  9. In case you are interested in buying Kitchen D’Lite’s amazing products, they are available on Amazon.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #272. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Gajar Mula Beet No Sambharo|Gujarati Root Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe

This Gajar Mula Beet No Sambharo is something you must absolutely try out!

Sambharo‘ is the Gujarati version of a stir-fry, or a warm salad of sorts. It can be prepared using a variety of vegetables – raw papaya, cabbage, carrot, beetroot and radish, for example. Quite a simple (but nutritious and delicious!) thing to make, the sambharo commonly makes an appearance as a part of the Gujarati thali, or is served alongside local snacks like fafda, thepla, khaman and dhokla.

This Gajar Mula Beet No Sambharo is made using the root vegetables of carrot, radish and beetroot. I loved the bright red of the stir-fry and its gorgeous taste. It made for just the perfect accompaniment to the Mixed Vegetable Roti that I served it with.

The very simple stir-fry that this is, it takes bare minutes to put together. Very little oil goes into it, the veggies cooked just enough to retain their crunch. The carrot, radish and beetroot meld together beautifully to create a delicious whole. What more can you ask for from a dish? If you are looking for an easy-peasy, healthy and delish accompaniment for your meals this summer, this is it!

This Gajar Mula Beet No Sambharo is a vegan, entirely plant-based, dish. Omit the asafoetida in the tempering, and it becomes a gluten-free food as well.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1 big beetroot
  2. 2 medium-sized carrots
  3. 1 small radish
  4. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  5. 1 tablespoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  8. 3-4 green chillies
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. Salt to taste
  11. A dash of red chilli powder or to taste (optional)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  14. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

1. Peel the beetroot, carrot and radish. Grate them medium thick. Keep aside.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

3. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan till they start turning brown, about a minute. Transfer the roasted sesame to a plate and keep aside.

4. Heat oil in the same pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now, add the fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

5. Add the grated beetroot, carrot and radish to the pan. Cook on medium flame for a minute.

6. Now, add salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder (if using). Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes more or till the water from the radish dries up and all the ingredients are well incorporated together. Switch off gas.

7. Mix in the roasted sesame seeds, lemon juice and finely chopped fresh coriander. Your Gajar Mula Beet No Sambharo is ready. You can serve it hot or at room temperature, along with rotis or rice.

Notes:

1. Adjust the quantity of beetroot, radish and carrot you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

2. You can let the grated radish rest for a while till it releases water, squeeze out the water and then use the radish in making the sambharo. I chose not to do that.

3. The original recipe suggests the use of seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and the likes) to garnish the stir-fry. I decided to use sesame seeds instead, and loved how beautifully they went with the sambharo.

4. If you think the heat from the green chillies is enough, you can skip the red chilli powder altogether.

5. You can add a dash of sugar or jaggery powder to the sambharo too. I chose not to – the sweetness of the beetroot was enough.

6. You can cook the beetroot, carrot and radish as much as you want to – slightly crunchy or well-done. I sauteed them till they were cooked through but still retained a bit of a crunch.

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This post is for the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every month, a group of us food bloggers form pairs, and then each person proceeds to cook a dish from their partner’s blogs.

This month, I was paired with Jagruti of Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey. I was thrilled to find several classic Gujarati dishes on her blog, and chose this Gujarati Root Vegetable Stir Fry of hers to prepare.

Check out the recipes that the other members of the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap group have recreated: Blackberry Lime Cupcakes| Spicy Mint Quinoa| Jeera Rice| Easy Chicken Wraps| Bengali Dum Aloo| Andhra Tomato Pickle| Apple Date Chutney |Pesto Pasta ChaatHoney Toasted Sesame Paneer| Ghee Rice| Coconut Rava Ladoo |Gulab Jamun Cupcakes Carrot & Zucchini Noodle Salad

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #271. Ai @ Ai Made It For You is the co-host this week.

Moraiya Ni Khichdi| Samai Arisi Khichdi

Growing up in Ahmedabad, I would turn up my nose in disdain whenever the word ‘khichdi’ was mentioned. For me, ‘Khichdi‘ translated into boring, bland food that was for the sick or the elderly. Khichdi for lunch or dinner meant a lacklustre meal that I had no interest in consuming. And, then, one fine day, one of my Gujarati friends introduced me to Moraiya Ni Khichdi, a dish made with ‘moraiyo‘, the local name for barnyard millet. I fell for the delicious khichdi hook, line and sinker and the rest, as they say, is history. It remains a favourite of mine till date.

Moraiyo or Moriyo in Gujarati, Samak Ke Chawal or Sama Ke Chawal, Samai Arisi in Tamil, the barnyard millet goes by so many names. As it is technically not a grain, it is commonly used in the preparation of food during fasts, particularly so in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and surrounding parts. This is why you will also find it referred to as ‘Vrat Ke Chawal‘ (literally ‘the rice that you can consume during fasts’ in Northern India. Moraiyo is a very versatile ingredient too, lending itself beautifully to khichdi, kheer, dhokla and tikkis alike. It is gluten-free as well.

Today, I present to you the recipe for Moraiya Ni Khichdi or Samai Arisi Khichdi, the way my friend taught me all those years ago. It is a delicious confection, potatoes and peanuts added to it for flavour, scented by ginger and green chillies, coriander and curry leaves, soured with curd. The Gujaratis refer to this dish as ‘Farali Khichdi‘, i.e. khichdi that can be eaten during fasting. I’m sure you will love this khichdi too, fast or no fast!

A little goes a long way, as far as moraiyo or barnyard millet is concerned. Use just 1/2 cup of the millet, and it will yield enough khichdi to generously serve two. The husband loves Moraiya Ni Khichdi too, and I make it often for breakfast or dinner. It is quite light on the stomach and easily digestible, perfect for the hot, hot, hot days prevailing in Bangalore right about now. What’s more, the little grain cooks super fast too. Tell me what is not to love, with this khichdi? 🙂

Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe for Moraiya Ni Khichdi or Samai Arisi Khichdi.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1/2 cup moraiyo aka sama rice (samai arisi)
  2. 1 medium-sized potato (urulai kizhangu)
  3. 2 tablespoons raw peanuts (kadalai)
  4. 1 tablespoon oil (ennai)
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeeragam) seeds
  6. 4 green chillies (pacha milagai)
  7. 2-3 dry red chillies (vara milagai)
  8. A 1-inch piece of ginger (inji)
  9. 1 sprig of curry leaves (karuvepillai)
  10. Rock salt to taste (kallu uppu)
  11. About 3/4 cup sour curd (thayir)
  12. 1/2 cup + 2-1/2 cup water (neeru)
  13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander (kothamalli)

Method:

1. Dry roast the peanuts till crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. When they cool down completely, coarsely crush them in a mixer. Don’t make a fine powder. Keep aside.

2. Peel the ginger and chop very finely. Keep aside.

3. Cut each green chilly into two, and slit length-wise. Keep aside.

4. Peel the potato and grate thick. Keep aside.

5. Wash the sama rice in running water a couple of times, draining out the excess water. Keep aside.

6. Now, heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the finely chopped ginger, curry leaves and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the grated potatoes to the pan, along with a little salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook on medium flame till the potatoes are done, 1-2 minutes.

8. Now, add the remaining 2-1/2 cups of water to the pan, along with salt to taste and slit green chillies. Let it come to a boil.

9. Add the washed and drained sama rice to the pan. Keeping the flame medium, cook till the sama rice is completely done. This should take about 2 minutes. You will need to keep stirring constantly, to ensure that no lumps are formed.

10. Now, keeping the flame medium, add the sour curd to the pan. Mix well, and let the mixture cook on medium flame for a minute more. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas while the Moraiya Ni Khichdi is still runny, as it will thicken on cooling.

11. Serve immediately, garnished with finely chopped coriander and roasted, crushed peanuts.

Notes:

  1. You can adjust the amount of water and buttermilk, depending upon the consistency of the Moraiya Ni Khichdi you require.
  2. If the khichdi has become too hard on cooling, you can add in a bit more water and/or curd, and reheat it. It will loosen.
  3. Samai Arisi Khichdi is best served hot, when it is still runny.
  4. In this recipe, I have used only ingredients that are ‘allowed’ during fasting in a Gujarati household – rock salt, peanuts, buttermilk, cumin, ginger, green chillies and the like, with no asafoetida added in. If you plan to prepare this Samai Arisi Khichdi on a fasting day, please ensure that you use ingredients in accordance with the customs and traditions prevailing for the fast in your household. On a regular day, you can use common table salt instead of rock salt and add in asafoetida in the tempering too.
  5. This khichdi can also be made without the potatoes. Just skip the potatoes in that case, keeping the rest of the proceedure the same as above.
  6. You can also use ghee for the tempering, instead of oil.
  7. I have used home-made curd in the above Moraiya Ni Khichdi recipe, which is preferred on a fasting day. On a regular day, you may use store-bought curd instead.
  8. For best results, use curd that is sour but not overly so.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers get together and cook for a pre-determined theme. The theme this week, suggested by me, is #DahiDelights, wherein all of us will be showcasing dishes made using curd.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #271. Ai @ Ai Made It For You is the co-host this week.

Pasi Parippu Kosumalli|Simple South Indian Lentil Salad

Best wishes for Sri Rama Navami!

Today, I present to you the recipe for Pasi Parippu Kosumalli, a simple South Indian-style lentil salad. This mildly spiced salad is extremely delicious and healthy, and is a breeze to put together. A dish that is traditionally prepared in Tamilian households on the occasion of Sri Rama Navami, this cooling salad is just perfect to beat the summer heat that is soaring by the day.

Pasi Parippu Kosumalli is also quite commonly prepared in Karnataka. On the day of Rama Navami, you will come across make-shift stalls on the roadsides in Bangalore, handing out leaf bowls full of this kosumalli (‘kosambari‘ in Kannada) and disposable glasses of neer more (‘majjige‘ in the local language) and panagam (‘panaka‘ in Kannada).

I have fond memories of watching my grandmother preparing a big bowl full of this beautiful salad on Rama Navami, for the entire extended family. My mom continued the tradition after her, and she passed on the recipe to me too. All those memories came flooding back as I prepared a bowl of Pasi Parippu Kosumalli this morning. My little one munched on it delightfully, amidst tales of how ‘Rama Umachi‘s (God) birthday came to be. 🙂

This is a gluten-free preparation that can be made vegan if you skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. If you skip the tempering altogether, this becomes a no-cook recipe, perfect for a raw food diet. The split moong daal that goes into it makes this salad full of protein, the carrot and cucumber adding to its nutritional value.

Let’s now check out the recipe for this Pasi Parippu Kosumalli.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup split moong daal (pasi parippu)
  2. 1 medium-sized carrot
  3. 1 medium-sized seedless cucumber (vellarikkai)
  4. 3-4 green chillies or as per taste (paccha milagai)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut (thengai)
  9. 1 tablespoon oil (ennai)
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (kadugu)
  11. 1 sprig curry leaves (karuveppilai)
  12. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida (perungayam)

Method:

  1. Wash the moong daal well under running water, a couple of times, draining out all the water each time. Then, add in enough fresh water to cover the daal, and let it soak for 1-2 hours.
  2. When the moong daal is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Place the soaked moong daal in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Chop the cucumber finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Peel the carrot and grate it medium-thick. Add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the fresh grated coconut to the mixing bowl, along with the finely chopped coriander.
  6. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the salad. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and keep them ready. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Turn the flame to low. Add the asafoetida, curry leaves and slit green chillies – allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Ensure that the tempering does not burn. Add this tempering to the salad in the mixing bowl.
  7. Add in salt to taste and lemon juice to the salad. Mix well. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. 1-2 hours of soaking makes the moong daal soft and adds flavour to the salad. However, if you are in a hurry, about 30 minutes of soaking also works.
  2. Pomegranate arils and grated raw mango can also be added to the Pasi Parippu Kosumalli. I have kept it very basic, and skipped these two ingredients.
  3. Adjust the quantity of salt, lemon juice, green chillies and coconut as per personal taste preferences.
  4. Add the salt at the very end. The salad will start leaving water once you add salt, so do not let it sit for too long after salt is added.
  5. For best results, use ‘European’ or ‘English’ cucumbers that have very few seeds. These are also called ‘seedless cucumbers’.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #271. Ai @ Ai Made It For You is the co-host this week.

I’m also submitting this recipe to the 127th edition of My Legume Love Affair (MLLA), a monthly event that celebrates legumes. This event was started by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen and Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This month, MLLA is being hosted by Amrita of Motions And Emotions.

Neer More With A Difference| Spiced Buttermilk Recipe

It is Sri Rama Navami this weekend, the birthday of God Rama. In Tamilian households, this occasion is marked by the preparation of Neer More (literally, ‘watered-down buttermilk’ in Tamil), Panakam (a mildly spiced beverage prepared with jaggery water), and Kosumalli (a salad made using split moong daal).

Each of these delicacies possesses cooling properties, just what our bodies need in the heat of summer. Sri Rama Navami falls bang in the midst of summer and, I am pretty sure, the special foods prepared for the occasion were inspired by the season. I am constantly awed by how our ancestors drew inspiration from the world around them!

Today, I present to you a recipe for Neer More that is different from the usual. This is not your regular South Indian-style spiced buttermilk, but one infused with kaffir lime and chilli. This version is just as delicious, just as cooling as the traditional one, and is equally simple to prepare. Do try out this new Spiced Buttermilk Recipe this summer!

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 3 cups slightly sour buttermilk
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1 green chilly
  4. 7-8 medium-sized kaffir lime leaves

Method:

  1. Whisk the buttermilk well, ensuring that no lumps remain.
  2. Add salt to taste.
  3. Slit the green chilly length-wise and add it to the buttermilk.
  4. Tear the kaffir lime leaves roughly with your hands. Add them to the buttermilk.
  5. Mix up all the ingredients.
  6. Let the buttermilk sit, covered, for at least 15-20 minutes for all the flavours to get infused into it. After it has rested, you can serve it at room temperature or after chilling it a bit in the refrigerator.

Notes:

1. Mix 2 cups of runny curd with 1 cup of water to get the 3 cups of buttermilk needed for the above Spiced Buttermilk Recipe. Adjust the quantity of curd and water, depending upon personal taste preferences.

2. I have used home-made curd here, but you can use a store-bought version as well.

3. Use buttermilk that is slightly sour, but not overly so, for best results.

4. Let the prepared Neer More sit for at least 15-20 minutes before serving, for the flavours of the kaffir lime and chilli to get infused into the buttermilk. You can even chill the prepared Neer More in the refrigerator before serving. Alternatively, you can use chilled curd and water (or chilled buttermilk) to prepare the Neer More.

5. You may strain out the chilli and kaffir lime before serving the Neer More. I prefer letting them stay in.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #271. Ai @ Ai Made It For You is the co-host this week.

Classic Cupcake Recipe| Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

I consider myself a very amateur baker. Baking befuddles me. Getting together the right kind of ingredients, mixing them up perfectly, setting the oven at just the correct temperature and creating a bake that not only tastes lovely but looks pretty as well – that’s a tall ask for me. Tell me I need to ‘bake’ something, and my brain freezes, something I hardly ever encounter in case of stovetop cooking. With cooking the traditional way on the stovetop, my movements are fluid and natural, my thoughts flowing rapidly and easily.

Or, maybe, it’s all in my mind.

Maybe I just need more practice with baking.

Maybe I need to put my heart and soul into baking to crack it, the way I have with stovetop cooking.

I need to do it. I want to. For the sake of my little one who adores baked goodies. For the sake of my family’s sweet toothed-members who love their pastries and muffins.

I will definitely give it my best shot. I will try, stumble and learn.

So, here goes. Here I am, trying to expand my limited baking repertoire with these Easy Vanilla Cupcakes, which I made a couple of days ago and met my harsh critical appraisal. Then, they went on to be approved of by my daughter and her little friend, too. Here’s hoping there will be many more successful bakes from my kitchen in the times to come.

This is a Classic Cupcake Recipe, a recipe for the most basic of cupcakes, an easy-peasy one that needs barely 5 minutes to put together. There are no fancy ingredients in there, no egg replacer – I’ve used old-fashioned maida and eggs to achieve these little vanilla-scented beauties. There’s no icing of any kind, either. Just sprinkle some powdered sugar on them and they are ready to munch on! A right beginner baker’s recipe this is. 🙂

If you, like me, have been scared of baking and want to break that barrier, this is the recipe you must be trying out. It’s so simple, really, so tough to mess up. Soft, fluffy, cute cupcakes will be your reward.

Here’s presenting to you the recipe for these Easy Vanilla Cupcakes.

Recipe Source: www.eggs.ca

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar + a little more to dust the cupcakes
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  5. 1-1/2 cups maida
  6. A pinch of salt
  7. 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 3/4 cup milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  2. Place muffin liners in a muffin-baking tray. Keep ready.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the maida, salt and baking powder. Keep aside.
  4. Take the butter and sugar in another bowl. Cream them together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and the vanilla essence to the creamed butter and sugar. Whisk well, until all the ingredients are well incorporated together.
  6. Now, add in the eggs-vanilla-sugar-butter mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour in it, little by little, combining all the ingredients well together.
  7. Add in the milk to the mixture. Mix in well. The batter for your Easy Vanilla Cupcakes is ready.
  8. Pour in the batter into the prepared muffin-baking tray, until the liners are 3/4 filled up. Leave space for the cupcakes to rise during baking.
  9. Place the tray into the pre-heated oven. Bake at around 170 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. At this point, your Easy Vanilla Cupcakes are ready.
  10. Let the cupcakes cool down fully, then dust each one with a little powdered sugar. They are now ready to serve.

Notes:

  1. Use all ingredients at room temperature, for best results.
  2. The cupcake batter should be mixed just right. Mix until the ingredients are well combined together, and that is it. Undermixing is a big no-no, while overmixing will give you dense cupcakes.
  3. I have used boiled and cooled milk, in this Classic Cupcake Recipe.
  4. These Easy Vanilla Cupcakes can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight box for 2-3 days, at room temperature. Storing them in the refrigerator will increase their shelf life further, but I don’t really prefer doing that.

Did you like this Classic Cupcake Recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for Foodie Monday Blog Hop, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers cook and share recipes for a pre-determined theme. The theme for this week is #MiniCake, suggested by Preethi of Preethi’s Cuisine. Each one of us is showcasing little baked goodies from their kitchen, for the theme, and I decided to conquer my fear of baking with these Easy Vanilla Cupcakes.

Here are some other amateur bakes by me, which met my approval as well as that of my family:

Boiled Fruit Cake| Baked Mango Cheesecake| Strawberry Bhapa Doi| Basic Butter Cookies and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #270. The co-host this week is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.