Thakkali Rasam| Tomato Rasam With Home-Made Spice Mix

Thakkali Rasam is a basic version of rasam, made using ripe tomatoes and a home-made spice powder. It has an appealing reddish colour and delectable taste, when made right. We make this rasam often, pairing it with hot rice and potato roast or a side like Muttaikose Poriyal.

Today, I am going to take you through the process of making Thakkali Rasam, which is very simple. This is the Tamilnadu style of making rasam, the way we do in our family.

Delicious Thakkali Rasam

What goes into Thakkali Rasam

Thakkali‘ is Tamil for tomatoes, which are the major ingredient used in this rasam. Most of the flavour in this rasam, as well as its pretty colour, comes from using tomatoes.

A small amount of toor dal is used in this rasam, to give it texture and substance. Like most rasam varieties, there is tamarind extract going in here too.

Home-made rasam powder (called ‘rasa podi‘ in Tamil) is used to add flavour, along with some jaggery. Here’s how we make fresh rasam powder at home.

Apart from the usual suspects – curry leaves and finely chopped coriander – there’s a simple ghee-based tempering added to this rasam.

Some more rasam varieties

Rasam‘ refers to a broth of sorts from the Southern part of India, commonly made with toor dal and tamarind. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of variations to rasam, which is typically consumed by itself as a soup or as an accompaniment to rice.

Rasam is comfort food for all of us at home, and we make quite a few varieties. There are several recipes on my blog already:

Kalyana Rasam, the rasam that is typically served at Tam-Brahm weddings

Nataraja Iyer Rasam, a recipe by a culinary legend

Poondu Rasam, a flavourful garlic rasam

Elumicchaipazham Rasam, a delicate rasam made using lemon as a souring agent

Arachuvitta Rasam, which is rasam made using a freshly ground spice mix

Orange Rasam, made using freshly squeezed orange juice

Kollu Rasam, made using water left over from cooking horsegram

Milagu Jeeram Rasam, a medicinal rasam variety made using black pepper and cumin seeds

Thippili Rasam, another medicinal rasam made using long pepper aka pippali

My blog friend Preethi has a very unique recipe for Tenginkayi Saaru, a Karnataka-style rasam using freshly grated coconut and coconut milk. I’ve been fascinated by it ever since she posted it – can’t wait to try it out!

How to make Thakkali Rasam

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 4 tablespoons toor dal

2. 2 medium-sized tomatoes

3. A lemon-sized ball of tamarind

4. 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves

5. 1 tablespoon rasam powder or to taste

6. Salt to taste

7. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder

8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

9. 1/2 tablespoon ghee

10. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. 2-3 dry red chillies

13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain out the water and take the dal in a wide vessel. Add in about 1/2 cup water or enough to cover the toor dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker and allow 6-7 whistles on high flame. The dal should be cooked well and soft. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in hot water for it to soften. Let it cool down enough to handle.

3. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.

4. When the soaked tamarind has cooled down enough, extract all the juice from it. Use water as needed. I got about 1 cup of watery extract. Keep ready.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it thoroughly. Keep ready.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 6, 7 and 8, Below top right: Step 9, Bottom right: Step 10, Bottom centre and left: Steps 11 and 12

6. In a heavy-bottomed pan, take the chopped tomatoes, along with about 1/2 cup water, the turmeric powder, curry leaves and a bit of salt. Place on high flame. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy. This should take 3-4 minutes.

7. Add in the tamarind extract at this stage. Cook on high flame for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

8. At this stage, turn the flame down to medium. Add in the cooked and mashed toor dal and about 1-1/4 cup water. Adjust salt to taste. Mix well.

9. Also add in the rasam powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture comes to a boil.

10. At this stage, turn down the flame even lower. Add in the jaggery powder. Let the mixture simmer for 4-5 minutes.

11. In the meantime, prepare the tempering for the rasam. Heat the ghee in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the dry red chillies and asafoetida – allow them to stay in for a few seconds, without burning. Add this tempering to the rasam simmering in the pan.

12. When the rasam is done simmering for 4-5 minutes, switch off the gas. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Thakkali Rasam is ready. Keep it covered for 7-10 minutes for the rasam to absorb the flavours of the tempering, then serve hot with rice and a poriyal of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use country (aka ‘Nati’) tomatoes as opposed to ‘farm’ tomatoes for a more flavourful rasam. They should be ripe and juicy.

2. You could grind the tomatoes to a puree or roughly crush them using your hands, instead of chopping them finely the way I have done here. We prefer finely chopping them.

3. Make sure the toor dal is well-cooked and soft before using it in the rasam. You need to mash it well before adding it to the pan.

4. If the rasam powder is not spicy enough, you could add some red chilli powder to the rasam. This is purely optional, though. I have used moderately spicy home-made rasam powder here.

5. A bit of jaggery makes the rasam more flavourful. However, you may skip this if you don’t prefer it.

6. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Thakkali Rasam that you require. Ideally, it should be quite runny, but not very watery.

7. A few cloves of garlic can be pounded in a mortar and pestle, and added to the tempering. This makes the rasam more delicious, but we don’t always do it.

8. Using ghee in the tempering makes it more flavourful. However, you may use oil instead too.

9. Do not cook the Thakkali Rasam for too long after adding the tempering.

10. Don’t forget to keep the rasam covered for a few minutes before serving. This helps the rasam absorb the flavours of the tempering and the coriander well.

11. This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but not vegan (plant-based) due to the use of ghee. You could use oil in the tempering instead of ghee, to make it vegan.

12. This recipe is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. Most brands of asafoetida available in India contain wheat flour, to a lesser of greater extent, and are therefore best avoided while following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

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

Pachai More Kozhambu| Raw Buttermilk Gravy

Pachai More Kozhambu is a heritage recipe from Tamilnadu, wherein a freshly ground coconut-chilli paste is mixed into thick buttermilk. The result is this delectable, very refreshing slightly sour buttermilk gravy that makes for a wonderful pair with rice. This is a no-cook recipe, just perfect for the hot months of summer when you do not have the energy to slog for a long time in the kitchen but want a quick meal.

Today, let me take you through my family recipe for Pachai More Kozhambu.

Pachai More Kozhambu

Talking of no-cook recipes, you must definitely check out the 2-Ingredient Coconut Fudge by my blog friend Poonam. It looks super delicious and sounds so easy, I’m sorely tempted to try it out immediately!

A closer look at Pachai More Kozhambu

As I was saying earlier, thick buttermilk is used to make a dish, i.e. a mix of thick curd and some water. A paste is ground using coconut, green chillies, ginger and other ingredients, and is added to the curd mixture. That’s it – the Pachai More Kozhambu is ready! As easy as that! You may choose to temper the dish or not – that’s completely up to you. I would say this is quite a low-effort dish considering how flavourful it is, one that can be put together in just about 15 minutes. It is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe, which is also zero-oil if you do away with the tempering.

Different families make the Pachai More Kozhambu in different ways. Some use roasted spices like fenugreek, coriander seeds and dry red chillies, ground together and added to the curd mixture. Some add lentil vadas to the dish. Some use black pepper while grinding the paste, while some use soaked toor dal. Some add in a handful of fresh coriander leaves while grinding the spice paste. Here, I have outlined the way the Pachai More Kozhambu is prepared in our family.

In a regular Tamilnadu-style more kozhambu, we soak a few ingredients and grind them coarsely. This paste is then added to thickish buttermilk and cooked together. Often, vegetables like okra, ash gourd, potato, taro roots and brinjal are also used, as in this Vendakkai More Kozhambu recipe. In Pachai More Kozhambu, however, no vegetables are typically used.

Pachai More Kozhambu recipe

Here is how we go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

To grind together:

1. 1/4 cup fresh coconut

2. 2 green chillies

3. A 1-inch piece of ginger

4. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

5. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

6. 1/4 cup curd

7. 1/4 cup water

Other ingredients:

1. 1-1/2 cups thick curd

2. 1/4 cup water

3. Salt to taste

4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For tempering (optional):

1. 1/2 tablespoon oil

2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 2 pinches of asafoetida

4. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Top left; Step 1, Top centre and right: Step 2, Below top right and bottom right: Step 3, Bottom centre: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

1. We will begin by grinding the paste required for making the Pachai More Kozhambu. Take the fresh coconut in a small mixer jar, and add in the mustard and cumin seeds. Remove the tops from the green chillies and chop roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Add the chopped green chillies and ginger to the mixer jar.

2. Add about 1/4 cup curd to the mixer jar. Grind everything together to a smooth paste.

3. Now, take 1-1/2 cups of thick curd in a large mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of water to it. Add salt to taste and mix well.

4. Add the paste we ground earlier to the mixing bowl. Wash the mixer jar with about 1/4 cup of water and add the residual paste to the mixer jar too. Mix well.

5. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Pachai More Kozhambu is ready to serve, along with rice. If you plan to temper the dish, follow the next step before serving.

6. To prepare the tempering, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Then add in the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, without burning. Add this tempering to the curd mixture and mix well. The tempered Pachai More Kozhambu is now ready to serve.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use thick curd that is slightly sour, for best results. Adjust the proportion of curd and water depending upon how thick you want the Pachai More Kozhambu to be.

2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use depending upon personal taste preferences. If the green chillies are too spicy, you may add just 1 or 1-1/2.

3. You may use fresh coconut slivers or grated coconut while grinding the paste. I have used freshly grated coconut here.

4. You may use either store-bought or home-made curd to make this dish. I have used thick curd from Akshayakalpa, here.

5. Doing the tempering is purely optional, however I would definitely recommend it. The tempering adds a lovely depth of flavour to the dish. If you want to keep the dish raw or no-cook, you could consider not tempering it.

6. If you plan to temper the Pachai More Kozhambu, I would suggest using coconut oil to do so. It works beautifully in this dish.

7. You can use non-dairy curd to make this dish, if you prefer it vegan (plant-based). However, I have never tried that out.

8. To make the dish gluten-free, simply omit the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most brands of asafoetida commercially available in India do contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and it would be safer to avoid them if one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.

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

Senaikizhangu Pitla/Pitlai

Senaikizhangu Pitla is a heritage dish from Tamilnadu, a variation to the Arachuvitta Sambar , made using elephant-foot yam.

I recently realised that I don’t have many recipes using elephant-foot yam (called ‘senaikizhangu‘ in Tamil) on my blog, though it is one of my most favourite veggies. I love how the root vegetable lends itself effortlessly to a huge variety of dishes across several Indian cuisines. At home, we use it in a number of ways, including poriyal, masiyal and pitla (also called ‘pitlai’). Avial, Undhiyu and Pongal-special Ezhu Thaan Kootu are a couple of other dishes we use elephant-foot yam in. In today’s post, I am going to share with you all the way we make Senaikizhangu Pitla in our family.

Delicious Senaikizhangu Pitla!

The ingredients for Senaikizhangu Pitla

Senaikizhangu Pitla is made almost the same way as Parikkai Pitla, which uses bitter gourd. When made right, it tastes absolutely fantastic, and makes for a brilliant accompaniment to rice.

In Senaikizhangu Pitla, elephant-foot yam is the main ingredient. Traditionally, dried black chickpeas (kala chana) are added in, in the absence of which we use peanuts.

As with regular sambar, there is cooked toor dal and tamarind going in. A freshly ground spice mix – made using ingredients like chana dal, coriander seeds, coconut and dry red chillies – goes in too. The spice mix makes a world of difference to the dish, making it beautifully fragrant and flavourful. We prefer adding a bit of jaggery in the pitla too.

Senaikizhangu Pitla recipe

Here is how we make it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the spice mix:

1. A few drops of oil

2. 2 tablespoons chana dal

3. 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

4. 4-5 dry red chillies

5. 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces

Other ingredients:

1. 3/4 cup toor dal

2. 1/4 cup peanuts

3. 1 small elephant-foot yam (senaikizhangu), about 1-1/2 cups when cubed 

4. A lemon-sized ball of tamarind

5. 1/2 tablespoon oil

6. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves

9. A pinch of fenugreek seeds

10. Salt to taste

11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. Red chilli powder as needed (optional)

13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

Method:

Left top and bottom: Steps 1 and 2, Right top: Step 3, Right centre and bottom: Step 4

1. Wash the elephant-foot yam well to remove all traces of dirt from it. Peel it and chop into medium-sized cubes. Wash again, to remove any remaining mud from the pieces. Then, place the yam cubes in a wide vessel and add in enough water to cover them completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow 2 whistles on high flame – just enough for the yam to get cooked but not overly mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. In the meantime, wash the toor dal thoroughly and drain. Take the washed and drained toor dal in a wide vessel. Add in enough water to cover the lentils completely. Take the peanuts in a small bowl, along with about 2 tablespoons of water, and place it inside the vessel too. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker and allow 7-8 whistles on high flame for the toor dal to get well-cooked and soft. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Soak the tamarind in hot water for at least 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Allow it to cool down enough to handle.

4. Next, we will roast the ingredients for the spice mix. Take a few drops of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and place on high flame. When the oil is heated up, reduce flame to medium and add in all the ingredients listed for the spice mix except the coconut. Roast the ingredients for 3-4 minutes or till the lentils turn brown, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely. Also measure out the fresh coconut pieces and keep  ready – we don’t need to roast it.

Left top and bottom: Steps 5 and 6, Top right: Step 7, Right centre and bottom: Step 8

5. When the pressure has gone down fully, get the cooked yam out. Transfer to a colander and let all the water drain away. Keep the drained yam ready.

6. Similarly, after the pressure has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal and peanuts out. Mash the toor dal well using a wooden masher. Keep ready.

7. Extract all the juice from the soaked tamarind. Add some water to help with the extraction if required. Keep the tamarind extract ready. I had about 1 cup of semi-thick tamarind extract.

8. Take all the roasted ingredients for the spice mix in a small mixer jar, along with the fresh grated coconut. Grind these to a smooth paste, along with a little water. Keep ready.

Top left and centre: Steps 9 and 10, Top right: Step 11, Below top right: Step 12, Bottom left and centre: Steps 13 and 14, Bottom right: Step 15

9. Now, we will start preparing the Senaikizhangu Pitla. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Then add in the asafoetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Let the ingredients stay in for a few seconds.

10. At this stage, add in the cooked yam pieces, along with a little salt and turmeric powder. Also add in the cooked peanuts.

11. Immediately after, add in the tamarind extract. Turn the flame down to medium. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.

12. Add in the cooked and mashed toor dal at this stage, along with about 3/4 cup of water. Mix well. Continue to keep the flame at medium.

13. Add in the ground spice mix paste. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and add red chilli powder if needed.

14. Add in the jaggery powder. Mix well.

15. Cook on medium flame for 5-6 minutes or till the mixture thickens and comes together as a whole. Add in some more water if mixture gets too thick. Stir intermittently. Your Senaikizhangu Pitla is ready – serve it hot or warm with rice.

Is this vegan and gluten-free?

This Senaikizhangu Pitla recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

If you want to make it gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have cooked the elephant-foot yam in a pressure cooker here, but you can also do the same in a pan with water added in. Remember not to cook it overly mushy. It should be well-cooked, though.

2. The number of whistles you need to pressure-cook the yam might vary from one home to other. For us, two whistles works just fine. You might want to try one whistle first, and then cook the yam for one more whistle if needed. We usually buy elephant-foot yams with orange-ish interior as we find them tastier than the white-fleshed ones.

3. Adjust the amount of water you need, depending upon the consistency of the Senaikizhangu Pitla that you require. Ideally, it should be a bit thicker than regular sambar and free-flowing, definitely not watery.

4. I have used a mix of the hot Salem Gundu and the not-so-spicy Bydagi dry red chillies here. You may choose a different variety of dry red chillies and adjust the quantity to suit personal preferences. Add in the red chilli powder only if the heat from the dry red chillies is not enough – it is purely optional.

5. Fresh grated coconut can be used in place of the pieces I have used here.

6. Traditionally, black chickpeas (kala chana) are used in pitla – they are soaked overnight, drained and pressure-cooked before adding them in, along with the cooked elephant foot yam. However, whilst making the pitla without prior preparation, when the chickpeas aren’t soaked, peanuts can be used instead.

7. Some families add jaggery to the pitla, some don’t. Personally, I would highly recommend using it. The jaggery doesn’t make the pitla overly sweet, but rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

8. Make sure the toor dal is well cooked and soft, before adding it to the pan. It takes 7-8 whistles on high flame to get done, at my place. This might vary from one home to another. Do remember to mash the cooked toor dal thoroughly, before adding it in.

9. If the tamarind you are using has seeds or impurities, make sure they are completely removed before use.

10. From what I have read and learnt, the water in which elephant-foot yam is cooked should be discarded and not reused. I follow the same.

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

Aam Panna| Kairi Ka Panna

Aam Panna (also called Kairi Ka Panna) is a delicious summer cooler, quite popular in the North of India. It is a drink made with raw mango, sweetened, with a few spices added to it for flavour. Super refreshing stuff, I tell you!

I grew up drinking home-made Aam Panna by the gallon in the hot summer months. Come April-May, and mom and grandma would set about making it from scratch, using the plentiful raw mangoes available that time of the year. We would always have bottles of it in our refrigerator in the summer, for the family and for any guests who would drop in. I used to adore it, and still do – till date, it remains one of my drinks of choice when we eat out. So much better than all the food colour- and preservative-laden stuff that make up the summer beverages at a lot of places!

In today’s post, I am going to share with you our family recipe for Aam Panna, the way we always made it, the way I do at my house even now.

Home-made Aam Panna aka Kairi Ka Panna

The ingredients used in Aam Panna

Raw mango is the principal ingredient in Aam Panna, like I was saying before. While you can choose any non-fibrous variety, the totapuri (‘kilimooku maangaai‘ in Tamil) remains my favourite type of mango to use in this drink. Raw mangoes are said to be heat-inducing, but they are believed to be cooling for the body when used in panna.

Granulated sugar is used here as a sweetener, but you may use an alternative like jaggery or rock candy (‘kalkandu‘ in Tamil, ‘mishri‘ in Hindi). Coarsely ground roasted cumin and black pepper are added in, along with black salt, all of which gives the panna a gorgeous heady fragrance and wonderful taste.

Aam Panna helps replenish electrolytes in one’s system, thereby aiding the prevention of dehydration in the hot summers. It is believed to be an effective remedy for heat stroke and for exhaustion due to high heat levels. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, B1 and B2. It aids in preventing iron deficiency, boosts general immunity, and helps fight against indigestion and other gastro-intestinal issues.

Aam Panna recipe

There are a few different ways in which Aam Panna can be made. Some families cook the raw mangoes whole, then remove the skin, extract the pulp and grind it along with the spices mentioned above. Some roast the mangoes, with the skin on, over an open fire, to infuse them with a smoky fragrance. We prefer de-skinning the mangoes first, then pressure-cooking them and mashing them to make a smooth, thick liquid. This liquid concentrate is stored refrigerated, and can be mixed with chilled water as and when needed.

Let me show you how we go about it.

Ingredients (makes about 10 glasses):

1. 1 medium-sized raw mango

2. 1 cup sugar

3. 1 teaspoon black salt

4. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder, coarse

5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely crushed

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Peel the raw mango and chop into large cubes. Transfer the mango pieces to a wide vessel and add in 1-1/2 cups water. Discard the peel and the seed.

2. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Once the pressure has gone down completely, get the cooked mango pieces out. They would have almost disintegrated into the water by this time. Let the mixture cool down enough to handle.

4. When the mixture is still slightly warm, mash it well using a spoon, breaking down the pulp to get a smooth, thick liquid.

Top left and adjacent: Step 5, Top right: Step 6, Below top right, bottom right and adjacent: Step 7, Bottom left: The thick aam panna concentrate is ready to be bottled

5. Strain the mixture using a strainer, to remove any remaining fibre. Stir constantly with a spoon to make sure all of the pulp goes through the strainer and only the fibre remains.

6. Add in the sugar. Mix well till the sugar melts completely. I had 2 cups of mixture (mango pulp + water), so 1 cup of sugar was just perfect for us.

7. Add the black salt, coarsely crushed black pepper roasted cumin powder. Mix well.

8. Fill the resultant thick concentrate in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and store refrigerated. Use as required.

9. When you are ready to serve the Aam Panna, fill about 1/4 of a tall glass with the thick concentrate (after shaking the bottle to mix it up well). Fill up the rest of the glass with chilled water, mix well, taste and adjust the concentrate:water ratio. Add lemon juice if required. Serve immediately. Here, I have used a sprig of fresh mint for decoration. You can use the rest of the concentrate to prepare Aam Panna the same way.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use a raw mango variety that is not overly fibrous. It should be sour, not too sweet. I have used a medium-sized totapuri mango here.

2. The raw mango pieces can also be cooked in a pan with water, instead of in a pressure cooker the way I have done here.

3. A couple of green chillies can be ground and added to the raw mango pulp too. We don’t usually do that. In case you are using green chillies, skip the black pepper.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences.

5. Crushed mint leaves can be added to the Aam Panna before serving. This gives a fresh and beautiful flavour to the drink.

6. Adjust the amount of water you use (while mixing the drink) depending upon the consistency of the Aam Panna you require.

7. Use regular salt in this Kairi Ka Panna recipe in case you don’t have black salt. However, I would highly recommend using black salt which is commonly available in most departmental stores these days. It adds a unique flavour and fragrance to the drink.

8. After pressure-cooking, the raw mango pieces can be ground in a mixer, along with the water they were cooked in. You may even use a hand blender. However, we prefer the above method.

9. The thick Aam Panna concentrate should be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle after cooling. Keep it refrigerated and use as required. It is best used within 4-5 days when stored this way.

10. Use chilled water from the refrigerator or an earthen pot to mix the Aam Panna.

11. If the sourness from the raw mango is not enough, you may add a dash of lemon juice while serving the Aam Panna.

12. A few drops of food colour are sometimes added in, to make the Kairi Ka Panna look more attractive. I haven’t used any here.

More cooling recipes for summer

Do check out these recipes!

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

Methi Bhakri| Gujarati Flatbread With Fenugreek

Methi Bhakri is a flatbread that hails from the state of Gujarat. Made with wheat flour and fresh fenugreek greens, this crispy flatbread makes for a wonderful tea-time companion. It is an absolutely delicious thing, perfect as a breakfast or light dinner option too. In today’s post, let me take you through the proceedure of making Methi Bhakri at home.

Crispy and delicious Methi Bhakri!

I often make the basic bhakri, to use in making the family’s favourite Bhakri Pizza. This Methi Bhakri is a more jazzed-up version of the same, more tasty due to the addition of fenugreek. Taste- and texture-wise, these bhakris are quite different from the Bajri Methi Na Thepla recipe that I had shared earlier.

Making Methi Bhakri is not a tough task per se, but there is a certain technique to it. The making of perfect, crunchy bhakris does take some practice. I have outlined this technique in detail below, for clearer understanding.

Ingredients used in Methi Bhakri

Wheat flour and fenugreek leaves are the major ingredients used in these bhakri. Apart from these, there are a few other spices that go in, including coarsely crushed cumin seeds, carom seeds, red chilli powder and asafoetida. Some jaggery is used for flavour, and some sesame seeds to add texture.

In Gujarat, slightly coarse wheat flour (called ‘bhakri no lot‘in Gujarati) is used to make bhakris. If the wheat flour you are using is very fine, adding some fine sooji/semolina/rava will rectify the situation. Use the fine variety of sooji (also called Bombay rava) only, and not the large type. However, you can skip the rava if you don’t want to use it – the bhakris will still taste good.

A couple of tablespoons of oil goes into the dough for the bhakris (called ‘moann‘ in Gujarati) – this helps add taste and texture to them. The bhakri dough is rolled out into flat discs that are slightly thicker than phulka rotis, which are then cooked on a heavy pan till crisp, with a little oil drizzled around them.

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is vegan (plant-based) as well. It is not gluten-free due to the use of wheat flour and asafoetida (which often contains wheat flour).

Associated event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am part of this very passionate group of food bloggers called Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. We post recipes based on a particular theme, every month. I am sharing this recipe for Methi Bhakri in association with this group, the theme for March 2022 being ‘flatbreads’. So excited to see the different types of flatbread from around the world that the other group members will be sharing!

The group members are divided into pairs each month, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest. Each pair then uses these two ingredients to create a recipe that fits into the theme of the month.

I was paired with fellow blogger Jayashree of Evergreen Dishes for this particular theme, and she suggested I make a flatbread using the secret ingredients ‘wheat flour’ and ‘red chilli powder’. Fortunately, the ingredients fit right into this recipe, which happens to be a huge personal favourite. So here we go!

I suggested Jayashree use the everyday ingredients ‘salt’ and ‘oil’ to create a flatbread of her choice. You guys should check out the delectable Masoor Dal Dosa that she has come up with for the theme!

Anu, blogger at Ente Thattukada, suggested this lovely theme. She prepared this beauty of a flatbread for the same – do check out her recipe for Sindhi Koki!

Methi Bhakri recipe

Here’s how to go about making these bhakris.

Ingredients (makes 12-15 pieces):

1. 3/4 cup fenugreek (methi) leaves, tightly packed

2. 1 heaped cup wheat flour

3. Salt to taste

4. 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste

5. 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

6. 1 tablespoon fine semolina (Bombay rava), optional

7. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)

8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

9. 2 pinches of asafoetida

10. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or as per taste

11. 2 tablespoons oil + more as needed to cook the bhakri

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and bottom left: Step 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom-most right: Step 4, Above bottom-most right: Step 5

1. Wash the fenugreek leaves thoroughly under running water, to remove all traces of dirt from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out.

2. In the meantime, prepare the dough for the Methi Bhakri. Take the wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in salt to taste, fine semolina, red chilli powder, asafoetida, carom seeds, jaggery powder and sesame seeds. Coarsely crush the cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle, and add them in too.

3. Chop the washed and drained fenugreek leaves finely. Add these to the mixing bowl too. Mix up all the ingredients well, using your hands.

4. Now, adding water little by little, bind the ingredients in the mixing bowl together into a firm dough. The dough should not be very sticky to the touch, but should not be extremely hard either.

5. At this stage, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the dough and knead well for a few minutes. Now, cover the dough and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left: Step 9, Bottom right: A Methi Bhakri that is cooked and ready

6. Once the dough has rested, start making the Methi Bhakri. Place a heavy pan on high flame and allow it to get heated up. Meanwhile, take a small ball of the dough and place it on a dusted work surface. Roll it out into a circle that’s slightly thicker than a phulka roti.

7. Using a fork, prick holes randomly all over the circle of dough, on both sides. This is to ensure that the bhakri does not puff up and stays crisp.

8. When the pan is heated up, reduce the flame to low-medium. Place the circle of dough on the pan and drizzle some oil all around it. Cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till brown spots start appearing on the bottom. Then, flip it over.

9. Cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes, pressing with a wooden press. If you don’t have a wooden press, you can press using a cloth or spatula. Take care to ensure that the dough does not burn. When cooked well on both sides, the Methi Bhakri is done – transfer to a serving plate or box, to store it for later use.

10. Prepare Methi Bhakri from all the dough, in a similar manner. Serve on its own or with curd, pickle or tea. Here, I have served it with a spicy tomato-onion-garlic red chutney.

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use very fresh fenugreek leaves.

2. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and jaggery as per personal taste preferences.

3. You can add more or less methi leaves, depending upon your taste preferences.

4. Make sure that the dough is firm. Very soft dough will not yield crisp bhakris.

5. Do remember to prick holes on both sides of the circle of dough, before cooking it. This is a crucial step, which helps keep the bhakri crisp.

6. Cook the bhakri on low-medium flame only. Make sure it is well-cooked on both sides, but does not burn.

7. If you are preparing the Methi Bhakris for later use, store them in a clean, dry, air-tight box. Keep at room temperature and use as needed. This way, they stay well for 2-3 days. Make sure you close the box only after the bhakris have cooled down completely.

8. Groundnut oil is the oil of choice in Gujarati families, to make these Methi Bhakri. However, if you don’t have it, you could use any other oil of your preference. I have used cold-pressed groundnut oil here.

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