Gongura Thokku| Spicy Andhra-Style Sorrel Leaf Chutney

Gongura thokku, a spicy gongura (sorrel leaf) chutney, is a very popular dish from the state of Andhra Pradesh. It makes for a beautiful accompaniment to piping hot ghee rice, and the husband and I love thulping it down with dosas as well. I learnt the recipe from a friend of my mom’s, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, and it has been practised and perfected over time. My 92-year-old granny, who was brought up in Bellary alongside Telugu neighbours, approves of it, too.

This gongura thokku recipe is my submission for this month’s Shhhh Cooking Secretly challenge. I was paired with the talented food blogger Amrita Iyer, who blogs at The Food Samaritan. She assigned me my two secret ingredients to prepare a dish from the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh, the theme of the month – gongura and chillies. I was more than happy to use them to prepare this family recipe.

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Here’s how I make the gongura thokku.

Ingredients (makes about 1/2 of a regular jam jar):

For the spice mix:

  1. 7-8 dry red chillies, or as per taste
  2. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (dhania)
  3. 1 tablespoon toor dal
  4. 1 tablespoon chana dal
  5. 1/2 tablespoon urad dal
  6. 1/2 teaspoon methi (fenugreek) seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 tablespoon oil

For the tempering:

  1. 2 tablespoons oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 3-4 generous pinches of asafoetida powder (hing)

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 large bunch of gongura aka sorrel leaves
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil

Method:

  1. First, we will prep the gongura or sorrel leaves. Separate the leaves from the stems and place in a colander. Wash them thoroughly under running water, ensuring that no mud remains. Pat dry using a cotton cloth, as best as you can. You could even leave them wrapped in a cotton cloth for a few minutes, which will help them get dry faster.
  2. Next up, we will saute the prepped gongura leaves. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add a handful of the dried gongura leaves and, stirring constantly, allow them to wilt down. Add another handful of leaves and allow them to, similarly, wilt down. Wilt all the leaves in this manner. Keep stirring, to ensure that the leaves do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a plate, and allow to cool down entirely.
  3. Let us then get the spice mix ready. For this, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Reduce the flame, and add in the dry red chillies, coriander seeds, chana dal, urad dal, toor dal and fenugreek seeds. Fry till the ingredients emit a gorgeous fragrance, taking care not to burn them. Transfer onto a plate and allow to cool completely. When the ingredients have entirely cooled down, mix in the turmeric powder. Keep aside.
  4. Take the cooled-down spice ingredients in a mixer, and pulse just for a second. Now, add in the wilted gongura leaves, and mix well. Crush coarsely.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the ground gongura-spice paste, along with salt to taste. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till you get a thick paste.
  6. Let the chutney cool down completely, and then transfer it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Keep refrigerated when not in use. Use only a clean, dry spoon to remove the chutney. Stored this way, the chutney stays good for up to 10 days.
  7. Serve with piping hot ghee rice or dosas.

Notes:

  1. 1 large bunch of gongura should give you about 1 large serving bowl full of leaves.
  2. Finely chopped garlic and/or onion can be added to the tempering, too. I usually avoid that. Curry leaves can be added as well.
  3. I have seen people using a whole lot more oil than I have used here. I try and restrict the quantity of oil I use, so I feel comfortable consuming the chutney.
  4. Increase or decrease the quantity of dry red chillies you use, depending upon how hot you want the chutney to be.
  5. You can prep the gongura leaves and leave them out to dry in the sun for a day (if you get ample sunlight where you stay, that is!). You can then proceed to make the chutney the next day. In fact, this is exactly how this pickle is made traditionally.
  6. You can even use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices and the gongura leaves, instead of a mixer. I use the mixer, for speed and ease.
  7. Make sure you pat dry as much of the moisture off the gongura leaves as you can. The shelf life of the chutney will decrease if there are traces of moisture on the leaves.
  8. A dash of jaggery can also be added to the chutney, if you’d prefer it. I usually skip this step.
  9. Remember that the spices and gongura need to be just coarsely ground. Don’t make a fine paste in the mixer.

Do you like this recipe? I hope you will try it out and that you will like it as much as we do. Don’t forget to share your feedback with me!

 

 

 

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Subway-Style Veggie Delight Sandwich

It is no secret that the husband and I are big fans of sandwiches. I have posted about the various kinds of sandwiches we enjoy, often, on my blog.

The Veggie Delight sandwich at Subway is a hot favourite with us. Once in a while, we enjoy heading to a Subway outlet and chomping our way through the huge sandwich, loaded with veggies and a variety of sauces. Probably not healthy, but we do love indulging in it occasionally.

Recently, I started making the Subway-style Veggie Delight Sandwich at home, and it turned out absolutely beautiful. The bottles of Veeba sauces that we picked up at a departmental store (after much soul-searching) helped me achieve the same Subway taste. At least, now I know exactly what goes into my sandwich, and I have a modicum of control over hygiene and the amount and quality of ingredients I put into it!

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Here is how I make the Subway-style Veggie Delight Sandwich.

Ingredients (to make 2 sandwiches):

  1. 1 footlong loaf of bread
  2. Lettuce, cleaned, as needed
  3. 1 small onion, chopped into thin slices
  4. 1 small European cucumber, chopped into thin slices
  5. 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped into slices
  6. 1/2 medium-sized capsicum, chopped into slices
  7. Pickled gherkins (store-bought), as needed
  8. Slices of processed cheese, as needed, each cut into 2
  9. Pickled jalapeno slices (store-bought), as needed
  10. Pitted black/green olive slices (store-bought), as needed
  11. Veeba Mustard Sauce, as needed
  12. Veeba Cheese-Jalapeno Sandwich Spread, as needed
  13. Veeba Mint Mayonnaise, as needed
  14. Veeba Sweet Onion Sauce, as needed
  15. Veeba Harrissa Dressing, as needed (optional)
  16. Heinz Tomato Ketchup, as needed

Method:

  1. Lay the footlong loaf on a chopping board, and cut it into two equal parts.
  2. Slice each half horizontally, through the centre. Open up each half.
  3. Make a bed of lettuce on the bottom half of the bread.
  4. Spread the chopped onion, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, olives, jalapenos and gherkins evenly over the lettuce.
  5. Add a generous quantity of Veeba Harissa Dressing, Sweet Onion Sauce, Mint Mayonnaise and Mustard Sauce, as well as Heinz Tomato Ketchup over the veggies.
  6. Arrange the slices of cheese along the top half of the bread. Close the sandwiches, and serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Ciabatta, baguette or any other long bread of your choice can be used in place of a footlong loaf.
  2. Veeba Harissa Dressing is optional for making this sandwich, as per me. The other sauces are an absolute must, to get the exact Subway-style taste.
  3. You could add boiled corn to the sandwiches as well.
  4. Veeba Honey-Mustard Sauce also tastes wonderful in this sandwich, as a substitute for Veeba Mustard Sauce.
  5. You could lightly toast the sandwich after adding all the fillings. We like eating this sandwich as is.
  6. Ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature, before you proceed to put together this sandwich.

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

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Would you like to read about the other types of sandwiches we make at home? Here you go!

  1. For the love of sandwiches
  2. Hung-curd open sandwich
  3. Caprese-style sandwich
  4. Farmhouse grilled sandwich
  5. Farmhouse grilled sandwich with masala bread, home-made pizza sauce and feta cheese
  6. Chilli & mango grilled cheese sandwich
  7. Dabeli sandwich
  8. Iyengar Bakery-style bread toast
  9. Bun sandwiches, 4 ways

Simple Moong Dal Tadka| One-Pot Moong Dal Tadka

This moong dal tadka is comfort food for the husband and me. The recipe has been in our family for ever, and it has helped us sail through several rainy nights, tough days, sicknesses and bad moods. It is a super easy thing to make, taking bare minutes to put together in a pressure cooker. It is a life-saver on the days when you need something comforting to eat, but are pressed for time. Try it out, with either parathas, rotis or plain rice!

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Ingredients (about 4 servings):

  1. 1/2 cup moong dal
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 3 medium-sized tomatoes, or as per taste, finely chopped
  5. 3-4 green chillies, or as per taste, slit length-wise
  6. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  7. A few fresh curry leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or as needed
  6. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Wash the moong dal under running water a couple of times or until the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water.
  2. Take the drained moong dal in a pressure cooker container, along with salt to take, slit green chillies, turmeric powder, chopped ginger, tomatoes, and just enough water to cover all of it.
  3. Pressure cook these ingredients on high flame for 5 whistles.
  4. When the pressure has come down entirely, mash the ingredients together roughly.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Now, reduce the flame to medium, and add in the cooked moong dal. Add about 1 cup of water,or as needed to bring the dal to the consistency you require. Remember that the dal thickened slightly on cooling, so it is better to keep it runny at this stage. Mix well.
  7. Adjust salt if needed. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  8. Add the finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix well.
  9. Serve hot with plain rice, rotis or parathas.

Do you like moong dal tadka? How do you make it?

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week – the 110th edition of the blog hop – is ‘lentil-based dishes’.

Eggless Strawberry, Apple & Kiwi Galette

Galettes – a free-form, rustic French version of pie – have been on my mind for some time now. I have been fascinated by them ever since I tried one for the first-ever time, at Au Bon Pain. I have been reading up about them, trying to figure out how to make one at home, always feeling daunted by the process, beginner baker that I am.

When the #PricesYouWillLove challenge for food bloggers was announced by Godrej Nature’s Basket a few days ago, it proved as a catalyst for this desire of mine. I wanted to bake a galette at home, irrespective of how it turned out, and this contest provided the perfect opportunity to do so. So, I headed to a Godrej Nature’s Basket outlet and picked up the ingredients I needed (all well within INR 500), and some middle-of-the-night baking happened last night. I created my first-ever home-made galette, which didn’t turn out perfect but was, indeed, absolutely delicious. The husband and I loved the whole-strawberry-conserve-and-fresh-fruit filling and the rustic charm of the galette.

So, here’s presenting my strawberry, kiwi and apple galette!

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Left: The ingredients I picked up for the galette, at Godrej Nature’s Basket; Centre: The galette, before going into the oven; Right: The just-out-of-the-oven galette

Let’s see how I made the galette, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 2 medium-sized galettes, 4 servings each):

For the base:

  1. 2 cups organic wheat maida (a wheat-based maida that I was surprised to find at the store!)
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  5. 1/4 cup cold milk, or as needed

For the filling:

  1. 4 tablespoons whole strawberry conserve
  2. 1/2 Fuji apple, cored and sliced thinly
  3. 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced thinly

Other ingredients:

  1. Powdered sugar, as needed
  2. A little cold milk, to brush the edges of the galette
  3. A little flour, for dusting the work surface

Method:

  1. Take the wheat maida in a large mixing bowl. Add in the granulated sugar and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the cubed cold butter to the mixing bowl. Use your fingers to rub the butter well into the flour, till you get a wet sand-like consistency.
  3. Add in the cold milk. Mix gently, till everything comes together and you get a firm dough. If needed, add a little more milk to bind, a tablespoon at a time – resist the temptation to add too much, though. The dough should not be too soft, but firm.
  4. Chill the dough, covered, in the refrigerator for an hour.
  5. After the dough has chilled, divide it into two equal portions.
  6. Preheat oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Dust your work surface with a little flour, and place one ball of dough over it. Roll it out into a circle that is neither too thick nor too thin. There are no measurements here – a galette is a free-form rustic pie of sorts, after all.
  8. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray. Place the rolled-out dough atop the parchment paper.
  9. Spread 2 tablespoons of the strawberry preserve on the rolled-out base, leaving about 1 inch off from all sides. Arrange some of the apple and kiwi slices on top of the strawberry preserve.
  10. Gently fold the edges of the galette, as shown in the picture, to form a sort of bridge to hold the preserve and fruit in.
  11. Brush some cold milk over the folded edges of the galette.
  12. Sprinkle powdered sugar as needed over the fruits as well as the edges of the galette.
  13. Place the galette in the pre-heated oven and bake at about 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or till the edges turn brown.
  14. Remove from oven, and let the galette cool down slightly. Use a spatula to lift the galette from the parchment paper and place it on a plate.
  15. Prepare the other galette too, similarly. Serve warm or after bringing to room temperature.

Notes:

1. Here’s a round-up of the ingredients I picked up for the galette and their prices:

  • Healthy Alternatives wheat maida (500 g) – INR 83
  • L’ Exclusif Whole Strawberry Conserve (330 g) – INR 169
  • Milky Mist unsalted butter (100 g) – INR 54
  • Imported kiwi (2 pieces) – INR 57

That cost me INR 363 in all, with some wheat maida, conserve and butter still left over, which I can use in some other dish. Even if I had picked up some salt, milk and an apple to use in the galette, my expenditure would have been well withi INR 500.

2. Apart from the above ingredients, milk, 1/2 apple and sugar were the other ingredients that went into the galette. I used these from my kitchen shelves.

3. Any good-quality fruit preserve or jam can be used in place of whole strawberry conserve. That said, the whole strawberries in this particular brand of conserve took the taste of the galette to a whole new level.

4. Ordinary maida or whole wheat flour can be used in place of organic wheat maida, but I would recommend the latter as it is a healthier alternative. That said, I wouldn’t know how to delve deeper into labels and ingredients and nutritional values, so I won’t go into that.

5. Any soft fruits – like pears, for example – can be used to top the galette, instead of the apple and kiwi I have used here.

6. This is my entry for the #PricesYouWillLove contest for food bloggers by Godrej Nature’s Basket, which aims to promote the fact that the store can make it possible for patrons to cook good-quality meals well within INR 500. This is not a paid post. I paid for the ingredients personally. I had real fun shopping at Godrej Nature’s Basket, I must say, and amazed at the sheer variety of products they stock – definitely impressive for any foodie. I say this of my own accord, not influenced by anything or anyone.

That wasn’t tough to make at all, right? Do try it out, too. I would love to know how you liked it!

 

 

 

 

Basic Coconut Chutney| Easy Coconut Chutney Recipe

Learn how to make a very simple coconut chutney, which makes for a great accompaniment with South Indian breakfast dishes like upma, idli, vada, dosa, pongal and kuzhi paniyaram. This is the most basic version of the chutney, and you can undertake little tweaks here and there to change the taste every time you make it. This is how we make it in our family!

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Ingredients (4-6 servings):

For tempering:

  1. A few fresh curry leaves
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 2 pinches of asafoetida powder
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Other ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  2. 1/4 cup fried gram (pottukadalai)
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2 green chillies, chopped
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste

Method:

  1. Take the grated coconut, salt to taste, fried gram and chopped green chillies in a small mixer jar. Add in a little water to ease grinding.
  2. Grind to a paste, stopping a couple of times to scrape back the ingredients sticking to the side of the mixer with a spoon. Add a little more water if you think you aren’t able to grind smoothly.
  3. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl. Add lemon juice and about 1/2 cup of plain water. Adjust salt if required.
  4. In another pan, heat the oil. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a second. Switch off the gas, and add in the curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Transfer this garnish to the chutney in the mixing bowl. Mix well.
  5. Serve at room temperature with dosas, idlis or vadas.

Notes:

  1. This chutney can be made in advance and refrigerated till use. It stays well for about 2 days, refrigerated. Make sure that you get the chutney to room temperature before serving, though.
  2. A couple of dried red chillies can be added to the garnish too.
  3. Skip the lemon juice if you don’t want the hint of sourness in your chutney. We do, so I continue to add it.
  4. Increase or decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the chutney to be.
  5. There are a number of versions of coconut chutney, as different households prepare it differently. This is the most basic, simple recipe for the same. Over time, I’ll be writing more about how to introduce different variations to this chutney.
  6. You can make this chutney as thick or as runny as you would like it to be. I make it slightly runny, but not overly so.
  7. Grind the chutney as coarsely or as smoothly as you want it to be. This is quite a flexible dish that way!

I hope this post will be useful to you!

How do you like your coconut chutney to be? I’d love to hear!

 

Easy Chocolate Fudge From Leftover Cookies| Using Up Leftovers

Have some cookies lying around in your kitchen? Want to give them a makeover? Try using them to make this very simple but delicious fudge! Cut into squares or served on sticks, your guests will surely love these beauties.

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*Recipe adapted from Akila’s blog Morphy And Me*

Ingredients (makes 12-15 pieces):

  1. 10-15 leftover cookies (I used Marie biscuits)
  2. 1 cup milk chocolate, grated (I used Amul)
  3. 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, or as needed (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  4. Unsalted butter, to grease your hands (I used Amul)

Method:

  1. Powder the cookies in a mixer. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Keep aside.
  2. Fill a large pan up to about 3/4 with water, and place it on high heat. When the water comes to a boil, take the grated chocolate in a smaller pan and place it inside the boiling water. Turn down the heat to low-medium. Stirring intermittently, let the chocolate melt completely (double boiler method). Switch off heat.
  3. Transfer the melted chocolate to the mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Add in condensed milk, in just enough consistency for the mixture to reach a fudgy consistency. Mix well.
  5. Grease your palms with a little unsalted butter, and use them to shape small balls out of the mixture. Set a toothpick into each ball.
  6. Place the balls in an air-tight box lined with butter paper. Refrigerate them for about an hour, by which time they will set.
  7. Once the fudge is set and ready, serve them either chilled or after bringing them to room temperature. I dusted the balls with a little powdered sugar and cocoa powder before serving.
  8. Store any leftover fudge in the refrigerator, to keep it firm and fresh.

Notes:

  1. You could use any type of cookies and chocolate to make this fudge. Try out different permutations and combinations for different-tasting fudge every time.
  2. Chopped nuts can be added to the fudge as well.
  3. Add just enough condensed milk for you to be able to form balls out of the mixture. Adding too much condensed milk will make it difficult for the fudge to set.
  4. If you feel the mixture is too runny, you could add in a bit more biscuit powder to adjust the consistency.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This is my entry for the 109th edition of the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Food On Sticks’. Very interesting theme, indeed!

 

 

 

One-Pot Thai Eggplant Sweet & Sour Relish| Pressure Cooker Sundakkai (Fresh Turkey Berry) Gotsu

About a month ago, I had no idea that Thai Eggplants and our very own sundakkai aka Turkey Berry were one and the same.

I bought a little packet labelled ‘Thai Eggplants’ off a supermarket shelf for INR 70 or so, having no idea at the time of what exactly I would be doing with them. I got them home, only to be vehemently told by Amma that I had bought fresh sundakkai, that bitter berry used in certain South Indian dishes. I simply couldn’t believe it, so I went online and did some research. I read up a few articles and asked a few very talented chefs, and had to conclude that I had, indeed, unknowingly picked up some sundakkai. Had I got them from a local vegetable vendor, I would have paid barely INR 20 for the same quantity!

Anyhoo, I was happy to have the chance to cook with this hitherto unknown-to-me ingredient, which is believed to have loads of medicinal properties and health benefits. I ended up using them to make a Kannadiga-style gotsu in a pressure cooker, following the recipe suggested by Ms. Subha J Rao on the United By Food Facebook group. It turned out beautiful, sweet and sour, a wonderful accompaniment to dosas, idlis, rotis and rice alike.

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Fresh Turkey berry or sundakkai gotsu!

Here’s how I made the gotsu.

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup):

  1. About 3/4 cup fresh sundakkai aka Turkey berry
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. A lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  4. A few fresh curry leaves
  5. 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of oil
  6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  7. 2 teaspoons mustard
  8. About 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
  11. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  12. 1 tablespoon chana daal
  13. 1 tablespoon urad daal
  14. 4-5 dry red chillies, or as per taste

Method:

  1. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for about 10 minutes. When it cools down sufficiently, extract a thick paste out of the tamarind, adding a little water as and when necessary. Keep aside.
  2. Wash the sundakkai well, and pat dry with a cotton towel. Slit each berry half-way, length-wise. Keep aside.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the dried red chillies, chana daal, urad daal, grated coconut and methi seeds. Roast on low-medium flame till the spices begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Switch off the gas and allow to cool. When completely cool, grind the spices to a powder in a mixer. Do not add any water. Keep aside.
  4. In a 2- or 3-litre pressure cooker bottom, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a second.
  5. Now, add the slit Turkey berries, the spice mix, tamarind paste, salt to taste, turmeric powder, curry leaves, jaggery powder and about 1/2 cup water. Mix well.
  6. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and place the whistle. Allow 4 whistles. Switch off the gas. Let the pressure come down naturally before opening the cooker.
  7. Serve warm or after completely cooling down, with dosa, idli, rotis or ghee rice. This is the gotsu that I served along with my mixed vegetable rava upma with green jackfruit flour
  8. Store refrigerated in a clean, air-tight, dry container. This gotsu stays good for 4-5 days. 

Notes:

  1. Use a little red chilli powder if you think the gotsu is not spicy enough for you.
  2. If you feel the gotsu is too thick, you could add a little more water and allow it to simmer (low-medium flame) for a few minutes.
  3. Increase/decrease the quantity of tamarind, jaggery powder and red chillies you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  4. Use only a 2- or 3-litre pressure cooker to make this gotsu.

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

Proso Millet Savoury Pongal| No-Rice Proso Millet Khichdi

This khichdi aka savoury pongal is made with no rice, which has been substituted entirely with proso millet. It is a healthier version of the rice-based khichdi, just as delicious and much more nutritious. Do try it out!

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Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 3/4 cup proso millet
  2. 1/4 cup moong daal
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2-3 green chillies or to taste
  5. 2 tablespoons ghee
  6. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 2 tablespoons sugar
  11. 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cubed
  12. About 3 tablespoons of shelled green peas
  13. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  14. 1/2 medium-sized capsicum, chopped
  15. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  16. A few stalks of coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Wash the proso millet thoroughly in running water a couple of times, or till the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water. Soak the millets in just enough water to cover them, for at least an hour. Keep aside.
  2. When the millets are done soaking, wash the moong daal in running water a couple of times, or till the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water. Keep aside.
  3. Set a pressure cooker bottom on high flame. Add in the ghee, and let it melt. Add in the mustard, and let it splutter. Now, add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Drain out all the water from the soaked millets, and add them to the pressure cooker.
  5. Add in the washed and drained moong daal as well, along with salt to taste, turmeric powder, sugar, chopped onions, carrot, capsicum, green peas, tomatoes and green chillies.
  6. Add in 5 cups of water. Mix well.
  7. Close the pressure cooker, and put the whistle on. Allow 5 whistles.
  8. Let the pressure release naturally. When the pressure comes down entirely, open the cooker. Mix in the finely chopped coriander.
  9. Serve the khichdi piping hot, with raita of your choice or curd.

Notes:

  1. Omit the sugar entirely, if you think slightly sweet khichdi is not your thing.
  2. You can add in any vegetables of your choice. I used the veggies that I had handy in my kitchen.
  3. You can add a dash of garam masala or chana masala to the khichdi too, for added flavour. I skipped that.
  4. You can make the khichdi using toor daal instead of moong daal, too.
  5. A mixture of ghee and oil, or just 2 tablespoons of oil, can be used to make the khichdi as well.
  6. Increase or decrease the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the khichdi to be. If you like, you can add a dash of red chilli powder as well.
  7. Other kinds of millet – foxtail millet, kodo millet, little millet, barnyard millet, for instance – can be used in place of proso millet. A mix of two or more types of millets can be used as well.
  8. Soaking the millets for about an hour helps make a soft khichdi. If you’d like the khichdi to be a tad grainy, you could skip the soaking altogether.
  9. This khichdi turns out slightly runny, the way we like it.
  10. You could add ginger and/or garlic paste as well.

You like? I hope you will try making this out too, and that you will like it as much as we do!

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Millet-Based Recipes’.

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

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Check out the other millet-based recipes on my blog!

Easy Cheesy Nachos| Nachos And Cheese

Doesn’t a well-made plate of colourful, cheesy nachos just lift up your spirits? It surely does, for us. We are known to dig in to a platter of home-made ‘loaded’ nachos often, on weekends. I also make them when we have guests over, and they always bring a smile on their faces.

My go-to recipe for nachos and cheese comes from Richa Gupta’s famous blog, My Food Story. This recipe has been tried and tested by me several times over, with slight variations here and there, and it has never failed me. The proceedure for making these nachos is super simple, and the end result is utterly delectable. You have to try these nachos out to believe just how easy-peasy they are to put together, and yet, just how flavourful!

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Cheesy ‘loaded’ nachos!

Now, let’s see how to make these easy cheesy nachos, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the tomato salsa:

  1. 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  2. 1/2 of a big onion, finely chopped
  3. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  5. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. Lemon juice, to taste

For the refried beans:

  1. 1 cup rajma (kidney beans), cooked
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  7. 1/2 cup water

For the cheese sauce:

  1. 2 cups milk
  2. 3/4 cup grated cheese (I used Amul processed cheese)
  3. 1 teaspoon butter (I used Amul salted butter)
  4. 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  5. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped

Other ingredients:

  1. 320 g nachos (2 packets of 160 g each)
  2. 1 cup sweet corn, cooked with salt to taste
  3. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Let’s first make the refried beans, so that they get a chance to cool down while the rest of the components of the nachos are being assembled. For this, heat  the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the finely chopped garlic. Let it stay in for a few seconds. Now, add the cooked kidney beans, water, salt to taste, cumin powder and red chilli powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the mixture thickens a little. Switch off gas and allow to cool down.
  2. Next, we will prepare the cheese sauce. Dry roast the flour in a pan till it turns slightly brown in colour. Mix the flour in about 1/2 cup of milk, ensuring that it is completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Keep aside. In the same pan, heat the butter and add in the green chilli. Let it stay in for a couple of seconds, and then add the remaining 1-1/2 cups of milk. Bring to a boil. Turn the flame down and add the milk-wheat flour mixture to the pan. Mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens a bit. Switch off the gas, and add in the grated cheese. Stir, ensuring that the cheese has completely melted. Let the cheese sauce cool down a little.
  3. Now, we will make the tomato salsa. For this, mix together the chopped tomatoes and onions, salt to taste, chopped garlic and green chilli, lemon juice, and coriander. Ensure that everything is well combined together. Keep aside.
  4. Once the refried beans and cheese sauce have cooled down, start assembling the nachos. For this, lay out the nachos on a large serving plate. Spread the refried beans evenly over the nachos. Over this, spread out the cooked corn, cheese sauce and tomato salsa evenly. Garnish with finely chopped coriander. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Make sure the tomatoes are at room temperature, before you make the salsa.
  2. You could use garlic butter to make the cheese sauce, too. In that case, you might want to skip adding chopped garlic to the sauce.
  3. Vinegar can be used in place of lemon juice, to make the salsa.
  4. If you want, you could slightly char the cooked sweet corn before using it. I usually avoid this step.
  5. Pickled, sliced jalapenos can be used as a topping for the nachos, as well. In case you use them, you might want to skip adding the green chillies in the salsa.
  6. If you feel the cheese sauce has turned out lumpy, run it briefly in a mixer, and it should be okay.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the 107th edition of Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘party dishes’.

 

Boiled Fruit Cake| Instant No-Alcohol Plum Cake

The theme for this month’s Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is ‘baking’, something at which I am just a beginner. I was supposed to bake something using the two secret ingredients that my partner for the challenge would give me – a daunting affair, but something I wanted to take up and explore, and so I did.

I was paired with Shobana Vijay, who writes at Shoba’s Delights, for the challenge, and she chose the ingredients ‘orange’ and ‘tooti frooti’ for me. The minute these ingredients were allotted to me, I knew exactly what I wanted to bake – an instant fruit cake! I’m glad I took up the challenge, for the cake turned out absolutely gorgeous. After a couple of failed attempts, I think I have arrived at a foolproof way to make this cake, and I’m thrilled to bits about that. It’s no secret that the husband and I love fruit cake, and the fact that I can now make it at home brings great cheer to me. So, yay to that!

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The boiled fruit cake or instant plum cake that I made!

As we all know, tonnes (okay, loads) of alcohol and months of soaking of dried fruits goes into a traditional Christmas-time fruit cake (popularly called ‘plum cake’ in India), so as to get a moist and wonderfully flavourful end product. The version I made, though, was an instant one, one with no alcohol and no soaking for months on end. It is made by boiling dried fruits in sugar syrup, which gives this version the name of ‘boiled fruit cake’ too. With the use of good-quality ingredients, this no-alcohol, no-soak, this boiled fruit cake tastes every bit as delectable as a traditional fruit cake, we think. It turns out perfectly moist, rich and  wonderfully flavourful, just like its more traditional counterpart.

Here’s how I made this instant plum cake aka boiled fruit cake.

*Recipe adapted from Joy Of Baking*

Ingredients (makes 1 medium-sized loaf or about 12 slices):

To boil:

  1. 55 grams unsalted butter (I used Nilgiri’s)
  2. 210 g demerera sugar/brown sugar (I used Eagle)
  3. 50 g black currants
  4. 150 g raisins
  5. 50 g dried and candied cherries
  6. 50 g dried and candied pineapple
  7. 50 g tooti frooti
  8. 50 g dried and candied orange
  9. 1 cup water

To powder with mortar and pestle:

  1. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  2. A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
  3. 4-5 cloves

Other ingredients:

  1. 1-1/2 cups maida (I use whole wheat flour instead)
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Chop the cherries and the dried pineapple and orange into small pieces. Transfer to a plate. Transfer the raisins, black currants and tooti frooti to the plate too. Keep all these dried fruits handy.
  2. Peel the ginger and grate it finely. Keep aside.
  3. Crush the cloves and cinnamon to a powder, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
  4. Take the unsalted butter and brown sugar in a thick-bottomed pan, and set on gas at high flame. Add in the grated ginger, cinnamon and clove powder, and all the dried fruit. Once the sugar starts melting, turn the flame to medium. Keep cooking, stirring intermittently, for 6-7 minutes. Ensure that the mixture doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. The sugar might crystallise, but don’t worry about that now – just keep stirring and cooking.
  5. Switch off the gas after 6-7 minutes and immediately add 1 cup of water to the cooked sugar-dry fruit mixture. Be careful while you do this, as the mixture might splutter. Mix well. You should get a liquidy sugar syrup with semi-soft dried fruits in it.
  6. At this stage, if you feel the sugar crystals are still visible and haven’t melted entirely, simmer this mixture (on low-medium flame) for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add a bit more water only if required. When the sugar has completely melted, switch off gas.
  7. Keep this mixture aside and allow it to cool down slightly and get lukewarm.
  8. Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking soda together. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Keep aside.
  9. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  10. In another mixing bowl, break the eggs and beat them lightly. Add the beaten eggs to the sifted flour.
  11. When the sugar-dried fruits mixture has cooled down, add it to the flour and eggs in the mixing bowl. Add in the vanilla essence. Mix everything well.
  12. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper, leaving some hang out on all sides.
  13. Pour the cake batter onto the lined loaf tin, and place it in the oven. Bake at 180 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  14. Let the cake cool down completely before slicing it. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature. This cake stays well for 3-4 days.

Notes:

  1. You can reduce the quantity of raisins and add in some sliced almonds and/or cashewnuts, but I skipped that. I usually like making this cake with just dried fruits.
  2. Refined white sugar can be used in place of demerera/brown sugar, but you might not get a beautiful dark brown-coloured cake in that case.
  3. 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder can be used in place of the grated fresh ginger.
  4. Orange zest or chopped orange peel can be used in place of sliced, whole dried oranges. I prefer using the latter.
  5. You could use a mix of demerera/brown sugar and refined white sugar to make the cake, too.
  6. If you feel the cake batter is too thick, you could mix in a couple of tablespoons of boiled and cooled milk to it.
  7. Please note that the dried pineapple and oranges, cherries and tooti frooti I have used here already have sugar in them. With the addition of 210 g of demerera sugar (as stated in the recipe), the sweetness of this cake was just perfect for us. Do reduce the quantity of sugar you use, if you want your cake to be a bit less on the sweeter side.
  8. Some people prefer adding the dried fruit, ginger, cinnamon and clove powder, sugar, water and butter to a pan, and boiling all of it together. I prefer adding the water later, after the sugar and dried fruits have already boiled.
  9. Ensure that the sugar-dried fruits mix does not burn, while you are boiling it.
  10. Make sure all the stems and seeds are removed from all the dried fruits, before using them.
  11. Ensure that the butter is brought to room temperature before you use it to make the cake.
  12. I bought all the dried and candied fruits and the tooti frooti that I used to make this cake from Ajfan, that wonderland for food lovers that I have come to love and have written about on my blog several times.

I know I have gushed enough in praise of this instant plum cake, but you should seriously try this out to know just what I mean. And when you do that, don’t forget to let me know how it turned out!