Edible Rice Flour Lamp Or Maa Vilakku Recipe| Making Adhirasam From The Leftovers

The tradition of Maa Vilakku for Purattasi Sani

Purattasi, the sixth month as per the Tamil calendar, is considered highly sacred. The entire month of Purattasi is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara aka God Vishnu, and is considered highly auspicious. The month of Purattasi more or less coincides with the Navratri celebrations in India every year and, hence, the two are indistinguishable in my mind. This year, Purattasi falls between September 17 and October 17.

Saturdays during this month (known as ‘Purattasi Sani‘ in Tamil) are considered all the more important, a day on which several Tamilians observe a fast. Many Tamilian households have the custom of lighting Maa Vilakku or lamps made from rice flour on the occasion of Purattasi Sani.

Maa Vilakku or edible rice flour lamps from Tamilnadu

The significance of Maa Vilakku in Tamilnadu

Maa Vilakku‘ in Tamil literally translates to ‘lamps made from flour’. Lamps or diyas made from rice flour, sweetened with jaggery, are considered hugely auspicious in Tamilnadu. They are prepared on special occasions like Purattasi Sani, Thai Velli (Fridays in the sacred Tamil month of Thai), and Karthigai Deepam (a Tamil festival that is celebrated after Diwali). These Maa Vilakku or rice flour lamps are also believed to be a favourite of Mariamman, the very powerful Goddess. When diseases like chicken pox occur in a family, these lamps are prepared with great sanctity and offered to the Goddess, as a means to appease her.

In the olden days, these lamps were made from freshly hand-pounded rice flour, using a mortar and pestle. If you visit the ancient temples of Tamilnadu, you will still come across women pounding rice in huge mortars with huge pestles, to prepare Maa Vilakku. This is a charming sight, indeed, something from a bygone era. Click here to see an example.

In today’s times, though, many households use a mixer to grind soaked rice and then proceed to use the same in making the lamps. Some even use store-bought rice flour to make these lamps.

Different families have different ways of offering these rice flour lamps to God. Some offer a single lamp, while some make two big ones. Some place the lamps on a banana leaf, some place them on a silver plate or tray. Some place flowers around the lamps, and some deck them up with kumkum (vermilion) and manjal (turmeric). The basic ingredients used in the preparation of these lamps and the method, more or less, remain the same. Traditionally, a cotton wick is placed inside these lamps, which are lit using ghee and not oil.

Since Maa Vilakku or rice flour lamps are typically prepared as an offering to God, they are prepared without tasting. Once the lamps are done burning and are cool enough to handle, the residual rice flour is consumed.

Edible rice flour lamps or Maa Vilakku recipe

Let’s see how to make Maa Vilakku or edible rice flour lamps, the traditional way.

Ingredients (makes 2 big lamps or several small ones):

To make the lamps:

  1. 1 cup raw rice
  2. 3/4 cup powdered jaggery

Other ingredients you will need:

  1. Cotton wicks, as needed
  2. Ghee, as needed to light the lamps

Method:

  1. Soak the raw rice in just enough water to cover it, for about 30 minutes.
  2. When the rice is done soaking, transfer to a colander. Drain out all the water from it.
  3. Spread out the soaked and drained rice well on a cotton towel/napkin, and place it in direct sunlight or under the fan for a while. Pat dry using another cotton towel/napkin. In 15-20 minutes, the rice should be damp but not soaking wet – that is when it is ready to use in making the lamps.
  4. Now, take the damp rice in a mixer jar. Pulse a couple of times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar with a spoon.
  5. Now, add the jaggery powder to the mixer jar. Again, pulse 3-4 times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar with a spoon. At the end of this process, you should get a slightly coarse powder resembling rava, a good mix of the rice and jaggery. Transfer this to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Knead the rice-jaggery powder gently with your hands. This will make the jaggery melt slightly, and the powder will come together to form a sort of dough. If you think the dough is too dry, you may add a bit of water/milk at this stage.
  7. Shape the dough into two large lamps (diyas). If you want, you can make several small diyas out of the dough. Place the prepared lamps on a tray/plate/banana leaf.
  8. Fill each lamp with ghee, as required. Place a cotton wick in each lamp, and light them.
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Pictorial representation of the making of edible rice flour lamps or Maa Vilakku recipe. Move from left to right, first the top row, then centre and then the bottom row.

Notes:

  1. I use regular Sona Masoori or Wada Kollam rice to make these Maa Vilakku.
  2. Once the lamps stop burning, the wicks are removed, the residual ghee in the lamps (if any) is mixed into them, and the dough is consumed as prasadam. However, consuming too much of it can lead to a stomach ache, as it is raw rice flour anyway.
  3. The quantity of jaggery you will need depends upon the type and quality of jaggery you use. I use store-bought jaggery powder and the above measurements work out perfectly for me.
  4. After lighting, the Maa Vilakku dough can be kept at room temperature and consumed little by little. It stays well at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigeration will prolong the life of the dough further, but might make it slightly hard.
  5. Make sure all the kumkum (vermilion) and flower petals are scraped off the lamps, before you store the residual dough or consume them.
  6. Edible camphor (pacchai karpooram), dry ginger powder (sukku podi) or cardamom (elaichi) powder can be added to the dough, for extra taste. We usually skip these.

Making adhirasam from leftover Maa Vilakku dough

Don’t want to consume the leftover dough after lighting the Maa Vilakku, as is? You can use the residual dough to prepare Adhirasam, a beautiful, beautiful sweet dish!

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Adhirasam made from leftover Maa Vilakku dough

Adhirasam or athirasam is an old-time sweet dish from South India. In Tamilnadu, this is commonly made for weddings and poojas and on festive occasions like Navratri and Diwali. Traditionally, to make the adhirasam, a syrup is made with jaggery and water, to which coarse rice flour is mixed to form a dough, which is then formed into discs and deep-fried. Adhirasams are a delicacy, beautiful things that aren’t easy to get right. It is tricky to get the jaggery syrup right, and making discs that don’t disintegrate while frying is a huge task. Using leftover Maa Vilakku dough is an easier, short-cut method to make adhirasam, which more often than not yields great results, even for a beginner to Indian sweets like me.

Here’s how you can make Adhirasam from leftover Maa Vilakku dough.

Ingredients (yields 8-10 small adhirasam for the above Maa Vilakku measurements):

  1. Leftover sweet maa vilakku dough, wick removed, flower petals and kumkum scraped off
  2. Oil, as needed for deep-frying
  3. Ghee, as needed to grease palms

Method:

  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a thick-bottomed pan, till it reaches smoking point.
  2. In the meanwhile, grease your hands with a little ghee. Use your hands to make small discs of about 1/4-inch thickness from the leftover dough. If you have been refrigerating the leftover dough, bring it to room temperature first before proceeding to make the discs from it. Keep aside.
  3. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the flame to medium. Drop in a couple of the discs into the hot oil and fry evenly, till they get brown on the outside. Drain out the oil and transfer to a plate. Take care to ensure that the discs do not get burnt. If the oil is too hot and the discs are rapidly frying up, you might want to reduce the flame further to ensure even frying.
  4. Deep fry all the discs in the same manner. The adhirasams are ready! They can be consumed straight off the stove or at room temperature. At room temperature, they stay well for 4-5 days.

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. The theme for this week is ‘Navratri Special’.

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Mug Nu Pani| Moong Bean Soup

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Mug Nu Pani or a thin soup made with whole green moong beans used to be the antidote to any and every ailment.

Feeling weak? Have Mug Nu Pani.

Broken bones? Give some Mug Nu Pani to the infirm.

Recovering from a fever? Nothing like Mug Nu Pani to bring back the lost strength.

Suffering from a broken heart? Some Mug Nu Pani will comfort him/her like nothing else.

You get the drift, right? No wonder Mug Nu Pani spells out comfort food, heartiness and recovery to me!

I love Mug Nu Pani, sick or not. A Gujarati neighbour of ours taught me how to make it, years ago, and I have been hooked to it ever since. It has saved my soul several times over, growing up, and still continues to do so.

To the uninitiated, a thin moong bean soup might sound very meh and uninteresting. Let me quickly assure you that this soup is anything but meh. At least, the Gujarati style of preparation makes this soup far from bland and dull. Mug Nu Pani is, in fact, quite a delicious soup, one choc-a-bloc with nutrition. It works wonders for the aged and infirm, growing children, and those who need a pick-me-up on a gloomy day. It isn’t very difficult to make, either.

Now, let’s check out the recipe for Mug Nu Pani aka Moong Bean Soup, the way that neighbour of mine taught me to make it.

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 1/2 cup whole green moong
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 teaspoon black pepper powder, or to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon coriander (dhania) powder, or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) powder, or to taste
  7. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon very finely chopped coriander leaves
  9. 1 teaspoons ghee
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  11. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  12. 2 generous pinches asafoetida (hing)
  13. 4-5 cloves of garlic

Method:

1. Soak the moong beans for at least 8 hours or overnight, in just enough water to cover them entirely.

2. When the beans are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Add in enough fresh water to completely cover them, and pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, chop the coriander finely, and keep aside. Peel the garlic and chop very finely. Keep aside.

4. When all the pressure from the cooker has gone down, get the cooked moong beans out. Mash them well with a masher.

5. Add a little fresh water to the vessel. Use your hands to mash the cooked moong beans further, extracting the flesh from them.

6. Again, add a little fresh water. Mash the cooked moong beans and extract the flesh from them. Repeat this process 3-4 times, until all the flesh from the moong beans has been extracted.

7. Now, discard the spent cooked moong beans. Strain the residual liquid using a fine strainer.

8. Take the liquid in a saucepan and place it on high heat. Add in salt and pepper powder. Allow it to come to a boil.

9. While the liquid is coming to a boil, we will prepare the tempering for the soup. For this, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add in the cumin, finely chopped garlic and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add this tempering to the soup when it is about to come to a boil.

10. Add coriander powder and cumin powder to the soup at this stage. Mix well.

11. When the Moong Bean Soup comes to a boil, reduce the flame to medium. Let the soup simmer for a minute, and then switch off the heat.

12. Mix in lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Serve the Moong Bean Soup hot.

Notes:

  1. To make the cumin powder, dry roast some cumin seeds in a pan on high flame, till they begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Let them cool down entirely, and then grind into a powder in a mixer. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed. I make this powder in small batches every two weeks or so and use as and when I need it, in my daily cooking.
  2. To make the coriander powder, dry roast some coriander seeds (dhania) on high flame in a pan, till they begin to emit a nice fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Allow the coriander seeds to cool down completely, then grind into a powder in a mixer. This powder too can be made in small batches, and used in day-to-day cooking, as and when needed.
  3. This soup is supposed to be watery, not too watery, but definitely not thick. Use a fine strainer to remove any residual boiled green moong solids, for best results.
  4. Adjust the quantity of salt, black pepper powder, coriander powder, lemon juice and cumin powder you use in the soup, as per personal taste preferences.
  5. You may omit adding the finely chopped garlic to the soup, if you so prefer. Personally, though, I love it in the soup – I think it adds a lovely touch to it.
  6. To make the black pepper powder, just grind black peppercorns to a powder, using a mixer.
  7. Mash the cooked moong beans while they are still hot, just out of the cooker. This way, you will be able to extract maximum flesh out of them.
  8. After mashing the cooked moong beans once, you need to add fresh water to them little by little a little, 3-4 times, mashing the beans with your hands, extracting more flesh from them. In all, you’ll be adding about 1 cup of water at this stage. More than that, and the soup might get too watery.
  9. Some people pressure cook the moong beans, let them cool down, then blitz them in a mixer or hand blender, then strain the water and go on to prepare the soup as above.
  10. After extracting all the flesh from the cooked moong beans, all that remains is the husk, which you would be discarding. Hence, you need not worry about any loss of nutrition by doing so.
  11. Haven’t soaked green moong beans, but still want to make this soup? Well, you can. Just add about 1-1/2 cups of water to 1/2 cup whole moong beans, pop them in the pressure cooker, and give them 12-15 whistles – basically, blow them to smithereens. Once the pressure comes down entirely, mash the cooked moong beans and proceed to make the soup as above.

Did you like this recipe for Mug Nu Paani? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Bean Power’, wherein the members are cooking delicious recipes using different types of whole beans.

 

Multi Millet Lemon ‘Rice’

Today, I present to you the recipe for Multi-Millet Lemon ‘Rice’ – the same old traditional South Indian dish, but made with mixed millets instead of rice. This lemon ‘rice’ tastes just as delicious and is just as simple to prepare, but is a whole lot healthier.

The popularity of millets is on the rise, these days. They are full of nutritional benefits, and versatile enough to lend themselves easily to various preparations, from cakes and breads to traditional dishes like bisi bele bath, tomato bath, and curd ‘rice’. Let me hasten to add that this is a not a fad, not a modern trend that you should hastily dismiss. The people of India have been using millets for ages – especially in regions like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In the course of time, millets began to be labelled as ‘poor man’s food’, and more and more people stopped using them. In today’s world, millets, with the many wonderful properties they possess, can play a significant role in reversing various lifestyle diseases. They are no longer ‘poor man’s food’, rather ‘the need of the hour’. Attending this workshop on millets by the Government of Karnataka opened my eyes to the world of millets, and I started including them in our monthly shopping list, our day-to-day cooking. I am thrilled to say that our diet is no longer heavily rice- or wheat-based, but is a good mix of different grains.

Firms like Pristine Organics’ make the usage of millets simple for the consumer of today. They offer products like millet flour, multi-millet flours and millet flakes, which make life easier for the present-day cooks. A while ago, Pristine Organics sent me a hamper including various millet-based and other products, to test and review, and I have been thrilled with their quality and ease of use. Take for instance, Pristine Organics’ Millet Organica, the multi-millet mix that I have used here, to make this lemon ‘rice’. It was so convenient to use – a mix of different types of millets, broken down into little granules, making it super easy to cook and use in a variety of dishes!

Now, without further ado, let us check out the recipe for multi-millet lemon ‘rice’, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup Pristine Organics’ multi-millet mix
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1/4 cup peanuts
  4. 4 green chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  7. 1 teaspoon mustard
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Juice of 1-1/2 lemons or to taste
  12. About 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Method:

1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp. Ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

2. Wash the multi millet mix a couple of times under running water. Drain out all the water. Pressure cook the mix with 2 cups of water for 3 whistles, on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.

3. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Separate the curry leaves. Peel the ginger and chop very finely. Keep aside.

4. When all the pressure has gone down, remove the multi millet mix from the cooker. Let it cool down completely.

5. Once cooled entirely, fluff up the cooked multi millet mix. Keep aside.

6. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and allow it to pop. Add the roasted peanuts, asafoetida, chopped ginger, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a few seconds.

7. Now, add the cooked multi millet mix to the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add in salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Mix well. Let everything cook together on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas.

8. Add finely chopped coriander (if using) and lemon juice to the pan. Mix well. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

  1. I have used Pristine Organics’ Millet Organica, their multi-millet mix, to make this lemon ‘rice’. It is a mix of different types of millet such as kodo millet, proso millet, amaranth, barnyard millet, little millet, foxtail millet and finger millet. You can choose to use a multi-millet mix from any other brand, too.
  2. I pressure cooked 1 cup of the multi-millet mix with 2 cups of water for 3 whistles, as specified on the package. I did not soak the millets as they were broken down into little granules, and the package did not ask me to do so either. I then allowed the cooked millets to cool down completely before fluffing them up and using them to make the lemon ‘rice’. If you are using a different brand of multi-millet mix, do carefully check the package for instructions on how they need to be cooked.
  3. Adjust the quantity of lemon and green chillies you use in this multi-millet lemon ‘rice’, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  4. I always dry roast peanuts before using them in any preparation. This lends them a nice, crispy texture.
  5. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of this multi-millet lemon ‘rice’.
  6. Make sure you allow the cooked millets to cool down completely and then fluff them up, before using them in making the lemon ‘rice’. Otherwise, there are chances of the lemon ‘rice’ getting mushy and tasteless.
  7. You can pressure cook the millets beforehand and keep them ready, then make the lemon ‘rice’ just before serving.
  8. I received a sample of the multi-millet mix, along with some other products, from Pristine Organics to test and review. However, the views expressed herein are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘A Lemon Affair’, wherein members will be creating various lemon-based recipes.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #241. The co-hosts this week are Zeba @ Food For The Soul and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes.

Kara Ammini Kozhukattai| Spiced Mini Kozhukattai

Today, I present to you another traditional recipe for Ganesh Chaturthi – Kara Ammini Kozhukattai or Spiced Mini Kozhukattai. For the uninitiated, these are little dumplings made out of cooked rice flour, steamed and then tempered. Very little oil is used in the preparation of ammini kozhukattai, making it quite a healthy snacking option. The tempering can be made in different ways, which gives the dish an absolutely different taste every time you make it. At home, this is quite a big favourite, and we make this often, festival times or not. Kara Ammini Kozhukattai makes for a great lunch box filler as well.

This is a popular offering to Ganesha in Tamilnadu, for the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Different families have different styles of tempering the ammini kozhukattai, but typically, they are made from the leftover cooked rice flour remaining after making the traditional stuffed modaks. Even if you don’t have any cooked rice flour left over, these little ones are an absolute breeze to make.

The Kara Ammini Kozhukattai recipe I am sharing with you today is my mother’s. This is the way Amma makes them, the way she taught me to. Now. let’s check out the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

For making the ammini kozhukattai:

  1. 1 cup rice flour
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon oil + more for greasing hands and steaming vessel
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. Red chilli powder, to taste
  6. 2 pinches asafoetida powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 2 pinches asafoetida powder
  4. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  5. 2-3 dry red chillies
  6. 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
  7. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

We will begin with making the dough for the ammini kozhukattai.

  1. Take 2 cups of water in a pan, and add 1 teaspoon oil to it. Place on high flame and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Now, lower flame to medium. Add the rice flour to the boiling water little by little, stirring constantly to ensure that no lumps are formed.
  3. In about a minute, all the water will get absorbed into the rice flour. Now, keeping the flame on medium, stir the dough for a minute more, trying to break any lumps that might have formed.
  4. Now, turn the flame to the lowest possible. Cover the pan with a lid. Let the rice flour cook for a minute, covered. Switch off gas. Allow the cooked rice flour to cool down completely.

We will now prepare the ammini kozhukattai for steaming.

  1. Ensure that the cooked rice flour we prepared earlier has entirely cooled down. Now, add salt to taste, red chilli powder and 2 pinches of asafoetida powder to it.
  2. Use your hands to mix well. Knead into a soft dough, ensuring the the salt, red chilli powder and asafoetida are evenly distributed throughout. Knead for a couple of minutes.
  3. If the dough is too sticky, you can mix in a teaspoon of oil at this stage. If not, skip this step and proceed to the next one.
  4. Grease your palms with a little oil. Shape small balls out of the rice flour dough. Keep aside, covered.
  5. Grease a wide vessel with a little oil. Keep it ready for steaming.

Now, we will steam the ammini kozhukattai.

  1. Take about 1/2 cup water in a pressure cooker base.
  2. Place a stand over it.
  3. Arrange the little balls we prepared earlier into the greased vessel you prepped for steaming. Place this over the stand.
  4. Close the pressure cooker. Steam on high flame, without placing the weight on, for 10 minutes. Switch off gas, and allow the cooker to cool down a bit.
  5. Now, remove the steamed ammini kozhukattai from the cooker and allow to cool down completely.

Lastly, we will temper the kara ammini kozhukattai.

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan.
  2. Add in the mustard. Allow it to pop.
  3. Add in the asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chillies and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Now, add the steamed and cooled ammini kozhukattai to the pan.
  5. Turn flame to medium. Stir gently, mixing the tempering with the ammini kozhukattai. Take care to ensure that the ammini kozhukattai do not break.
  6. Add in the fresh grated coconut. Mix well, but gently.
  7. Cook for a minute, stirring gently. Switch off gas. The ammini kozhukattai is ready – serve hot or at room temperature!
A pictorial representation of the various steps involved in the making of Kara Ammini Kozhukattai

Notes:

  1. Coconut oil or gingelly oil works best in the making of Kara Ammini Kozhukattai. If you don’t have these, however, any other variety of odourless oil would do.
  2. You can skip adding the red chilli powder in the Kara Ammini Kozhukattai, if you plan to make these for kids, or add it a very minimal amount.
  3. I use store-bought fine rice flour to make these Kara Ammini Kozhukattai.
  4. While steaming the ammini kozhukattai, make sure you place a stand in the pressure cooker base. This will ensure that no water enters the steaming vessel.
  5. It is important to let the steamed ammini kozhukattai cool down completely, before you proceed to do the tempering. Otherwise, there are chances that the kozhukattai will become mushy and tasteless.
  6. It is important to ensure that there are no lumps in the rice flour dough that you prepare, for the best-tasting ammini kozhukattai.
  7. Ensure that you steam the ammini kozhukattai for just 10 minutes, without the weight on. Over-steaming will make them dry out and get hard.
  8. Traditionally, when these ammini kozhukattai are prepared for the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, they are cooked without tasting. They are first offered to Lord Ganesha, and then partaken of.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes’.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #240. The co-hosts this week are Deb @ The Pantry Portfolio and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Dal Moradabadi| Moradabadi Moong Dal Chaat

This post has been a long time coming.

The Dal Moradabadi at Punjab Bistro has been on my mind ever since I tried it out, a couple of months ago. I fell in love with this dish at first bite, and have wanted to try making it at home ever since. Somehow, I never got around to doing that. When ‘Tradtional Dals of India’ was chosen as the theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week, it gave me the perfect foil to try my hands at making Dal Moradabadi, Punjab Bistro-style, at home. I was thrilled by just how beautiful in taste it turned out. It was a huge hit at home, with the family loving it to bits, and every bit of it getting polished off. It is such a simple dal, but one that is bursting with flavour, something that would make a beautiful addition to any meal.

For the uninitiated, the Dal Moradabadi is a very famous street food in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, popularly called ‘the city of brass’. The dal itself is very simple – plain split moong dal cooked soft and salted. It is the way this dal is served, with an assortment of toppings, that makes it so special. Commonly served with sweet and spicy chutneys, chopped onions and tomatoes, fresh coriander, fragrant cumin and black pepper powder, and some gorgeous black salt, the Dal Moradabadi is more of a chaat than a dal per se. It is typically had as an appetiser, on its own, even in weddings in Uttar Pradesh, but I love having it with rotis too.

There is a fascinating history behind the origin of Dal Moradabadi, too. Apparently, Prince Murad, son of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and the founder of Moradabad, was very fond of light, simple meals that were very flavourful. One day, his cooks rustled up this Dal Moradabadi, and the prince loved it to bits. At every meal, the prince would be served this dal, with a different set of toppings – it would taste different every time, and Murad was thrilled. Head over to this Instagram post of mine for a detailed account of the history of the Dal Moradabadi.

Now, let us check out the simple recipe for this beautiful Dal Moradabadi, shall we?

Recipe adapted from: Charming Chef.

Idea Courtesy: Punjab Bistro, Bangalore

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup split yellow moong dal
  2. 1/4 cup split orange masoor dal
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

To serve:

  1. Roasted cumin (jeera) powder, as needed
  2. Black pepper powder, as needed
  3. Red chilli powder, as needed
  4. Black salt (kala namak), as needed
  5. Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves, as needed
  6. Ginger juliennes, as needed
  7. Lemon juice, as needed
  8. Finely chopped tomatoes, as needed
  9. Finely chopped onions, as needed
  10. Fried moong dal namkeen, as needed
  11. Spicy green chutney, as needed
  12. Sweet and sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  13. Butter, as needed

Method:

  1. Wash the split moong dal and masoor dal together under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.
  2. Add a bit of salt and turmeric powder to the washed and drained moong dal and masoor dal. Pressure cook the moong dal and masoor dal together, with just enough water to cover them, for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. When the pressure has gone down completely, mash the cooked dals well. The mashed dal should lose its grainy consistency and become soft and mushy.
  4. Now, take the mashed dal in a pan. Add in salt to taste and water as needed to bring it to a soupy but not too runny consistency, roughly about 1-1/2 cups. Heat till warm.
  5. Ladle the cooked dal into serving cups. Top each cup of dal with a dash of lemon juice, tamarind chutney, green chutney, black salt, red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, and black pepper powder. Garnish with some fried moong dal namkeen, finely chopped coriander, tomatoes and onions, and some ginger juliennes. Add a dollop of butter. That’s it – Dal Moradabadi is ready! Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Click here for a step-by-step recipe to make the sweet and sour tamarind chutney.
  2. Click here for the recipe for the spicy green chutney.
  3. You can use salted or unsalted butter as needed to serve the Dal Moradabadi. Desi ghee can also be used instead. This is an absolute must.
  4. I have used store-bought moong dal namkeen to serve the Dal Moradabadi.
  5. Roasted cumin powder is nothing but cumin (jeera) dry roasted till fragrant, allowed to cool down completely, and then powdered. The dry roasting adds a whole lot of fragrance to the dish.
  6. The kala namak aka black salt is an absolute must, in the serving of Dal Moradabadi.
  7. A dash of finely chopped green chillies can also be added to the Dal Moradabadi, while serving it. I have skipped them.
  8. Traditionally, only split moong daal is used to make Dal Moradabadi. I have used a mix of split moong daal and masoor daal, for the sake of better texture.
  9. Different street vendors in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, use different toppings on the Dal Moradabadi. Some serve it with papdi, some with fried green or dry red chillies, some with paneer. Some serve it with jalebi or imarti – dunk the sweet in the Dal Moradabadi and eat! The black salt, roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, butter or desi ghee, onions, tomatoes and coriander, the sweet and sour tamarind chutney and the spicy green chutney are almost always there, though. I made and served the Dal Moradabadi the way it was at Punjab Bistro, where I absolutely loved it.
  10. In Uttar Pradesh, Dal Moradabadi is served as an appetiser or a snack, not as a main course dish. It even occupies pride of place in weddings, where it is served as a sort of palate-cleanser chaat. At Punjab Bistro, however, Dal Moradabadi is very much a main course dish, and is served with roti. I love having it both ways – on its own as well as with flatbread. Take your pick! It tastes awesome any way!
  11. You can pressure cook the dal in advance and keep it ready, well in advance. Just heat up the dal when you are ready to serve it, and add the toppings to it.

Do try this recipe out! I’m sure you will love it as much as we do! 🙂

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Traditional Dals of India’.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #239. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen.

Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka| Pan-Grilled Mushrooms & Cottage Cheese

The husband and I are big fans of tandoori dishes. Give us a well-made plate of tandoori tikka any day, and we would be two grinning Cheshire cats. On rainy days like today, straight-off-the-pan tandoori tikka couldn’t be more perfect. Today, I present to you the recipe for Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka, one of our all-time favourites.

Tandoori dishes make for the perfect party appetiser, delicious and simple to prepare as they are. The secret to a great-tasting tandoori tikka lies in its curd-and-assorted-spices marinade. Once you have got that sorted, it is just a matter of minutes to put together a dish. What’s more, they need very little oil – barely about 1 tablespoon in all – to make.

Typically, as the name suggests, tandoori dishes are prepared in a tandoor oven, where it is grilled at high temperatures to get that perfect marriage of flavours. In the absence of a tandoor, however, you can use an OTG or microwave oven, a charcoal grill, a grill pan or even your good ol’ dosa pan! The latter is what I have used to make this dish, and I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful in taste it turned out.

Let’s check out the recipe for my Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka aka Pan-Grilled Mushrooms & Cottage Cheese.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

For the marinade:

  1. 1/2 cup thick curd
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. Red chilli powder, to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon besan aka gram flour
  6. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  7. 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  8. 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder
  9. 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
  10. A 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  11. 1 teaspoon oil

Other ingredients:

  1. 150 grams button mushrooms
  2. 200 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  3. Oil, as needed, to drizzle
  4. Chaat masala, as needed, to serve

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Keep aside.
  2. Cut the paneer into large slices or cubes, as you prefer. Keep aside.
  3. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly under running water, until they are free of dirt. Chop off the stems from the mushrooms. Keep aside.
  4. Drop all the paneer cubes/slices, the mushroom caps and stems into the curd marinade. Mix gently, but well, ensuring that all of the paneer and mushroom caps and stems are properly coated with the marinade.
  5. Cover the mixing bowl with a lid. Place it in the refrigerator (not freezer) for about 2 hours, for the mushrooms and the paneer to absorb all the flavours from the marinade.
  6. Once the 2 hours are up, heat a thick dosa pan on high flame. Then, turn down the flame to low-medium and drizzle some oil over it. Evenly spread out some marinated pieces of mushroom and paneer evenly over the pan. When they get brown on the bottom, acquiring a little charring, flip over using a pair of tongs. Let the mushroom and paneer pieces cook well on the other side too, getting a bit charred. When done, transfer to a serving plate.
  7. Cook all of the mushroom and paneer pieces the same way. Drizzle a little more oil on the pan in between two batches.
  8. Serve the Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka hot, drizzled with chaat masala, with some spicy green chutney on the side.

Notes:

  1. Home-made paneer can get quite crumbly and soggy, so it is best to use store-bought, firm paneer for this recipe.
  2. For the marinade, use thick, fresh curd that isn’t too sour, for best results.
  3. Letting the marinated mushrooms and paneer rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator is good enough. However, if you want to, you can leave it to rest for longer, even overnight.
  4. If the curd you are using is sour, you may want to skip using the amchoor powder.
  5. Be careful while adding salt to the marinade. The chaat masala will also have quite a bit of saltiness to it too.
  6. This Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka can also be made in an OTG, a microwave oven, a charcoal grill or on the stove-top, using a grill pan. I used an ordinary dosa pan instead.
  7. Here’s a step-by-step recipe for making a spicy green chutney that you can serve with this Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka.
  8. Make sure the Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka doesn’t get burnt while cooking, but a little charring around the edges adds a lovely flavour to it.
  9. You can grill veggies like tomato, capsicum, baby corn, pieces of sweet corn, carrot and boiled potatoes the same way.
  10. Some people use only the caps of the mushrooms and discard the stems. I use both.

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Grilled Recipes’.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #239. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen.

Sindhi Koki|Flavoured Flatbread With Onion

Sindhi cuisine is relatively unexplored one, at least in the Indian F&B market. Though the cuisine boasts of several beautiful recipes – Sindhi Kadhi, Daal Pakwaan or Sindhi Koki, for instance – they remain largely unknown. Most of these dishes are prepared regularly in Sindhi households, and that is about it. This post of mine is a little attempt to change that – to speak about a cuisine that deserves to be highlighted, whatever little I know about it.

Today, I present to you the recipe for Sindhi Koki, a flatbread that is quite simple to make. With just a few ingredients required, these can be made within a matter of minutes, with no prior preparation needed.

The koki might look deceptively simple from the outside – just like any ordinary flatbread – but one bite into it will surprise you. This flatbread is rich with flavours! The finely chopped onion, green chillies and coriander that go into it render it super flavourful, as do the other aromatic dry spices that are added in.

Sindhi Kokis are traditionally made crisp and chewy, with loads of ghee going into them. Thanks to this texture, they keep well for at least 2-3 days, and make for great travel companions. Personally, though, I prefer making them a little softer, so my aged parents and daughter can enjoy them too.

Here is how I make these Sindhi Koki.

Ingredients (makes about 12 pieces):

  1. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 2 green chillies, very finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  7. 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida
  9. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder, or to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon coriander seed powder (dhania powder), or to taste
  11. 2 tablespoons oil + more to cook the koki

Method:

1. Take the whol wheat flour in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add in the salt to taste, coriander seed powder, asafoetida, amchoor powder, red chilli powder, carom seeds, as well as the finely chopped coriander and onion.

3. Add water little by little and bind a dough that is soft but firm.

4. When you are almost done with binding the dough, add the 2 tablespoons of oil to it. Mix well. Bind the dough to a soft but firm texture. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

5. Get a dosa pan nice and hot.

6. Meanwhile, make lemon-sized balls out of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll one ball out into a circle. Dust with more whole wheat flour as needed.

7. Place the rolled-out dough on the hot dosa pan. Reduce the flame to low-medium, and spread a little oil around it. When the bottom of the flatbread gets brown, flip over. Cook on the other side till brown. Make sure the flatbread is well cooked on the inside, but doesn’t burn.

8. Prepare all the Sindhi koki in a similar manner. Serve hot.

Notes:

  1. Cumin seeds (jeera) can be used in place of carom seeds (ajwain).
  2. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder, salt, amchoor powder and coriander seed powder as per personal taste preferences.
  3. Traditionally, ghee is used to cook the Sindhi Koki. I have used oil instead.
  4. Typically, the dough for the Sindhi Koki needs to be soft, yet firm. This will yield koki that are crisp and chewy, yet soft. I did not make a firm dough as I wanted soft koki that I could feed my little daughter too.
  5. If you are making this recipe for small kids, you might want to skip using the green chillies altogether.
  6. Traditionally, anardana (pomegranate seed) powder is added to Sindhi Koki for flavour. I did not have any, so I have used amchoor (dry mango) powder instead. I loved the flavour that the amchoor powder added, but you could use anardana powder instead, if you wish to make the koki as close to authentic as possible.
  7. Cook the koki on low-medium flame. Ensure that they are cooked well from the inside, and at the same time, do not burn.
  8. You can add in more oil while binding the dough, if you so desire. Typically, a whole lot of oil is added to the dough, which gives it a softness in spite of its firm texture. I restricted myself to 2 tablespoons.
  9. Serve the Sindhi Koki piping hot. This flatbread goes with any kind of gravy-based sabzi or daal, pickle, curd or raita. I served these with a very South Indian tomato thokku, and we absolutely loved the combination.
  10. If you find it tough to roll out the kokis, you may use a sheet of plastic, butter paper, or parchment paper on top of your rolling surface.

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The very interesting theme for this week is ‘Indian Flatbreads’.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #237. The co-hosts this week are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

Nei Payasam| Kerala Rice Kheer

This year, the festival of Onam falls on August 27. I am eagerly waiting for the day to arrive, so I can lay my hands on a typical Onam sadya (a traditional plantain-leaf feast served on the occasion of Onam). 😉 Till then, I plan to herald the festival on my blog through a series of Onam-special recipes, courtesy of my mother-in-law who hails from Palakkad.

Today, I present to you the recipe for Nei Payasam, a Kerala-style kheer made with matta rice. This payasam is typically served in the course of an Onam sadya. It is also commonly prepared during weddings and other festive occasions, and as an offering to God in the temples of Kerala.

Nei payasam‘ literally translates into ‘kheer with ghee‘, and, true to its name, this kheer is redolent of the goodness of ghee. All of us at home are big fans of this nei payasam, with its coconut-ghee flavour, and slurp it up by the bowlfuls. Yes, the bub included! 🙂

This kheer is traditionally made with jaggery, and is really sweet and rich and heavenly, especially to those with a huge sweet tooth like us. In fact, this dish is often referred to as ‘Kadu Madhura Payasam‘ or ‘kheer that is very sweet’ in Kerala households. I have slightly reduced the quantity of jaggery, ghee and coconut than what is usually used, but the payasam still tasted absolutely beautiful.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipe for this Kerala nei payasam aka kadu madhura payasam, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1/2 cup broken matta rice
  2. 1 cup jaggery
  3. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  4. 2 pinches of dry ginger powder (optional)
  5. 2 pinches of cardamom (elaichi) powder
  6. 4 tablespoons ghee (divided)
  7. 8-10 cashewnuts
  8. 1 tablespoon raisins

Method:

1. Wash the broken matta rice thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.

2. Pressure cook the washed and drained rice with 1 cup water for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the jaggery together with 2 cups of water. Keep on high flame till the jaggery melts completely. Let the jaggery syrup come to a boil.

4. Now, turn the flame to medium. Add the cooked broken matta rice to the melted jaggery in the pan, along with the fresh grated coconut.

5. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently, till the mixture begins to thicken.

6. When the mixture starts thickening add in 2 tablespoons of ghee. Cook for a minute or so more, or till the mixture is thick, yet slightly runny.

7. Add in the dry ginger powder and cardamom powder. Mix well. Cook for a few seconds, then switch off the flame.

8. In another pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add in the cashewnuts (broken) and the raisins. Once the raisins plump up, switch off the gas. Ensure the cashewnuts and raisins do not burn.

9. Add the plumped raisins and cashewnuts to the rice-jaggery mixture in the other pan. Mix well.

10. Serve the nei payasam hot, at room temperature or chilled.

Notes:

1. I have used broken matta rice here, which is also called Palakkadan rosematta rice or Kerala red rice. You can use any variety of Kerala rice to make this nei payasam.

2. You can even add slivered almonds to the nei payasam. I haven’t.

3. I have used yellowish-coloured jaggery to make this payasam, which has contributed to its light colour. Traditionally, in Kerala homes, reddish jaggery is used, which gives the payasam a deep reddish-brown hue.

4. Some people add in slices of banana to the payasam, after it is cooked. I have skipped that.

5. The quantities of rice, jaggery, water and ghee above were just perfect for us. You may increase or decrease the quantities of these ingredients, as per personal taste preferences.

6. Make sure the cashewnuts and raisins do not get burnt.

7. For best results, use good-quality grainy ghee and jaggery. Also, ensure that you use freshly grated coconut.

8. You can add in a few slivers of coconut while frying the raisins and cashewnuts. I haven’t.

9. Do not overcook the payasam, as that will lead to the rice getting overly hard. Also, add in the rice when the jaggery has fully melted and the syrup is beginning to boil.

10. Remember that the rice needs to be pressure cooked well, but should not be overlooked. A slightly grainy texture works best for this nei payasam.

11. Switch off the gas when the payasam has thickened considerably, but is still quite runny. It thickens quite a bit more on cooling.

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

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘Onam Recipes’.

I’m also sharing this with Fiesta Friday #236, whose co-hosts this week are Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes.

Stuffed Kuzhi Paniyaram, My Tribute To The Ravishing Rekha

Today, I present to you the recipe for Stuffed Kuzhi Paniyaram. These might look like ordinary kuzhi paniyaram from the outside, but one bite into them and you’ll understand that they are far from ordinary. These are kuzhi paniyaram with a difference – the surprise inside will surely blow your mind away!

I prepared these Stuffed Kuzhi Paniyaram for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop, which has a very unique theme this week – Filmi Foodies! All of us food bloggers are paying a tribute to Bollywood, via food of course! 🙂 Interesting, right? This is my little tribute to the ravishing and hugely talented Rekha ji.

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I can watch Rekha ji in action any time, any day. I am never not awed by the depth of her acting, the way she brings her characters to life, the way she carries her movies on her shoulders. She can carry off any role – from that of a demure housewife to that of a siren – with equal elan. She is timeless – even today, years after she has stopped appearing in films, she still has the same grace and beauty to her. And, oh, those Kanjeevaram sarees and big bindis she makes an appearance in! She has had a tough life, and has withstood all of it.

Image Source: Free Press Journal

The kuzhi paniyaram, too, like Rekha ji, is timeless. It is a South Indian classic that will never get old, which will continue to win the hearts of kids and adults alike. Like Rekha ji, this Stuffed Kuzhi Paniyaram might look simple from the outside, but it packs in quite a sucker punch!

Now, let’s move on to the recipe for Stuffed Kuzhi Paniyaram, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 25-30 pieces):

  1. 3 cups idli/dosa batter
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  4. 1 medium-sized onion
  5. About 5 cubes of processed cheese, or as needed
  6. 10-12 big slices of pickled jalapenos, or as needed
  7. 1 teaspoon oil + more as needed to make the kuzhi paniyaram
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida

Method:

  1. Take the idli/dosa batter in a mixing bowl. Add in salt to taste.
  2. Chop the onion finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add the finely chopped coriander to the mixing bowl.
  4. Chop the pickled jalapeno slices finely, and add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Heat oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off the gas, and add the mustard tempering to the mixing bowl.
  6. Mix the batter well and keep ready.
  7. Cut each of the cheese cubes into 6 small pieces. Keep aside.
  8. Drizzle a little oil into each of the cavities of a kuzhi paniyaram pan. Place on high flame and allow the oil to heat up a little.
  9. Now, reduce the flame to low-medium. Using a spoon, drop a little of the batter into each cavity of the pan. Ensure that the cavities are only about half filled with batter. Drop a piece of cheese in the centre of the batter, into each cavity. Spoon in some more batter into the cavities, filling them up to the brim, covering the cheese.
  10. Cover the kuzhi paniyaram pan with a lid. Cook the paniyarams on low-medium flame till they begin to brown at the bottom. Ensure that they do not burn. Now, flip the paniyarams over to the other side, using a spoon. Cover again and cook on low-medium flame till the paniyarams turn brown on the other side too.
  11. Transfer the stuffed kuzhi paniyarams to a serving plate. Serve hot.

Notes:

1. You may also add in grated carrot, finely chopped spinach leaves or mint, finely chopped cabbage or capsicum or any other veggies of your choice, to the batter.

2. I have used store-bought pickled jalapenos in these stuffed kuzhi paniyarams. If you don’t have them, you can use finely chopped regular green chillies instead.

3. Use idli/dosa batter that is well fermented and only slightly sour, for best results.

4. I have used Amul processed cheese cubes to make these stuffed kuzhi paniyarams. Alternatively, you can use any other type of cheese.

5. Once the kuzhi paniyaram pan has heated up, lower the flame to low-medium. Make the stuffed kuzhi paniyaram on low-medium heat, to prevent burning.

6. These stuffed kuzhi paniyarams do not really need an accompaniment, and can be served on their own. However, if you do want to serve them with an accompaniment, you can use a chutney of your choice, some pasta/pizza sauce or Schezwan sauce. Here is how you can make a delicious pasta/pizza sauce at home!

7. I have used home-made idlidosa batter here.

Did you like the recipe? Please do tell me in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #234, and the co-hosts this week are Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio.

Pressure Cooker Gutti Vankaya Koora| Healthy Andhra-Style Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Gutti Vankaya Koora is one of my most favourite preparations using brinjals or eggplant. This is an Andhra Pradesh specialty, where baby eggplants are stuffed with a spice mix and then cooked in a fragrant, flavourful gravy. It tastes absolutely heavenly with some hot phulkas or rice.

There are a whole lot of variations to the Gutti Vankaya Koora, from what I understand. Different families cook it in different ways, use different types of stuffing. This particular version, taught to me long back by a Telugu neighbour of ours, uses a groundnut and garlic stuffing. It is so simple to make, yet so rich and bursting with flavour!

Our neighbour made the Gutti Vankaya Koora in a pan, though, cooking it in a lot of oil. With time, I began making it in a pressure cooker, with just 1 spoon of oil. It still tastes the same, but is healthier and makes me feel less guilty afterwards.

Here is how I make Gutti Vankaya Koora in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 8-10 baby eggplants
  2. 1/2 cup raw groundnuts
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 5-6 fat cloves of garlic
  7. A gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  8. About 1-1/2 tablespoons powdered jaggery or to taste
  9. 1 tablespoon oil
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard
  11. 2 pinches asafoetida
  12. 3-4 dried red chillies
  13. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  14. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for some time. When it is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it, adding a little more water if needed. Keep aside.

2. Peel the garlic. Take the garlic cloves, raw groundnuts, red chilli powder and salt to taste, and the turmeric powder in a small mixer jar. Don’t add in any water. Pulse a couple of times, for a second each, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer. You should get a pasty, coarse powder. Keep aside.

3. Remove the stems from the baby eggplants. From the bottom towards the stem, make two long slits in the eggplants, in a + shape. You should cut half-way through the eggplant, leaving it intact towards the stem.

4. Stuff a generous amount of the groundnut-garlic mixture into the slits, in each baby eggplant. Keep aside. If there is any extra groundnut-garlic stuffing left over, do not worry – we will be using that later too.

5. Heat the oil in a small pressure cooker. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add the dry red chillies, curry leaves and the asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the stuffed baby eggplants to the pressure cooker. Stir gently, ensuring that they do not break, for a couple of seconds.

7. Now, turn the flame to low. Add in the tamarind paste, about 3/4 cup water, any leftover groundnut-garlic stuffing you might have, and jaggery powder. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt, red chilli powder or jaggery) if needed.

8. Close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Allow 3 whistles on high flame. Switch off gas immediately.

9. Chop the coriander finely and keep handy. When all the pressure from the cooker has released naturally, mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Gutti Vankaya Koora is ready – serve it hot with rotis or with any rice dishes of your choice!

Notes:

1. For best results, use fresh baby eggplants that are neither too big nor too small.

2. Gingelly oil works best in the making of this Gutti Vankaya Koora. If you don’t have it, you may use any other kind of oil that you prefer.

3. Adjust the quantity of garlic, tamarind, salt, red chilli powder and jaggery as per your personal taste preferences.

4. I make this Gutti Vankaya Koora in a 3-1/2 litre pressure cooker.

5. I prefer cooking this curry for 3 whistles, which yields soft but not overly cooked eggplants. If you want the eggplants to retain their exact shape, you can cook for 2 whistles on high flame.

6. Add in less water if you want the eggplants to be drier. We prefer this curry with a bit of gravy, so adding in 3/4 cup of water works perfectly for us.

7. Be careful while stirring the eggplants. Stir gently, making sure they do not break.

8. You may increase the quantity of oil in this curry, if you want to.

Did you like this recipe? I hope you will try this version of Gutti Vankaya Koora out, and that you will love it as much as we do!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘stuffed vegetables’.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #234, and the co-hosts this week are Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio. I’m also sharing this recipe with Friday Frenzy.