Doon Chetin| Kashmiri Walnut Chutney

Have you ever tried out Doon Chetin, a walnut chutney in Kashmiri style? I tried it out at home recently, and fell head over heels in love with it, as did my family.

Making Doon Chetin (‘Doon‘ is Kashmiri for ‘walnuts’ and ‘chetin‘ refers to ‘chutney’) had been on my mind ever since our recent trip to Kashmir. I didn’t have an opportunity to savour this chutney in the course of our holiday, so I pledged to make it once I got back home. I made sure to pick up some Kashmiri walnuts (which are believed to be of high quality) and some shahi jeera (black cumin) that goes into the preparation of this chutney. I read up on the Internet, and was lucky to find an authentic Kashmiri recipe for the Doon Chetin. Like I said earlier, the chutney was made recently, and the rest, as they say, is history. I served it as a dip with home-made kuzhi paniyarams, and it was gone in no time at all!

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The Doon Chetin combines some really unusual ingredients – fresh curd, black cumin, raw onion, walnuts, mint and the like. Initially, I admit, I did have apprehensions about whether I would like the taste. What if it tasted too weird? Well, I wouldn’t know unless and until I tried it out, right? So, try it out I did, and I am so glad I did – the Doon Chetin tastes absolutely amazing, rich and creamy, yet light and exquisite, the chillies and mint adding a zing to it, the walnuts contributing their nuttiness, with the faintest of sourness from the curd. Yumminess, I tell you!

Traditionally, the Kashmiris prepare Doon Chetin in a stone mortar and pestle, which gives it a slightly coarse texture. It is eaten with non-vegetarian kebabs or rice dishes, typically. I used a mixer to make the chutney and ground it smooth, which is fine since I was planning to use it as a dip.

Try it out, and I am sure you will love it too!

Here’s the recipe for the Doon Chetin.

Recipe Source: Keep Calm & Curry On

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

  1. 1/2 cup walnuts
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  6. 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon shahi jeera aka black cumin
  8. 1/4 cup fresh thick curd

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixer jar.
  2. Blend till smooth.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Serve as an accompaniment with tandoori dishes, fried snacks or rice dishes.

Notes:

1. For best results, use thick and fresh curd that is not too sour.

2. Adjust the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the chutney to be.

3. I used Kashmiri walnuts and shahi jeera to make this chutney. In case you don’t have access to them, you can use locally sourced variants for these two ingredients too.

4. Traditionally, this recipe uses Kashmiri red chilli powder, which is low on heat and adds a gorgeous reddish colour to dishes. I didn’t have any, so I used ordinary red chilli powder instead – which is why the colour of my Doon Chetin is not as beautifully brown as it is, traditionally.

5. You can add in a couple of cloves of garlic while grinding the Doon Chetin, too. I skipped it.

6. If you do not have shahi jeera, you can substitute it with ordinary cumin. However, shahi jeera adds a richer, deeper flavour to the Doon Chetin.

7. Dried mint powder can be used in the chutney, in place of fresh mint leaves. If you are using dried mint powder, use about 1 tablespoon for the above quantities of ingredients.

8. I wanted the Doon Chetin to be of a smooth texture, so I ground it in my mixer. You can keep the texture coarser, too, if you so prefer. You may even use a mortar and pestle to make the chutney, as is done traditionally in Kashmir.

9. Any leftover Kashmiri Walnut Chutney can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight box and stored, refrigerated, for 3-4 days. Use only a clean, dry spoon for the chutney.

10. I served the Kashmiri Walnut Chutney as a dip alongside quick-fix kuzhi paniyarams made from idli batter. The two made for a wonderful, wonderful pair.

What do you think about this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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This post is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. I was paired by Priya Mahesh of @200deg for this month’s challenge, who assigned me the two secret ingredients of ‘Walnuts’ and ‘Curd’. Doon Chetin is what I decided to make, using these two ingredients.

I’m also sending this recipe for Fiesta Friday #230, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

 

 

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Chamba Chukh| Red Chilly Pickle From Himachal Pradesh

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, we food bloggers explored the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh, a land blessed with abundant natural beauty, with several beautiful indigenous foods.

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About Himachali Cuisine

The cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is simple, yet hearty and flavourful, many of the foods fermented and slow-cooked. There is considerable influence from the neighbouring Jammu & Kashmir, Tibet and Punjab on the food of Himachal Pradesh.

Considering a variety of leafy greens and vegetables are tough to grow on the harsh terrain, the Himachalis residing on the high hills (say, in Spiti or Lahaul) depend heavily on rice, meat, hardy grains like buckwheat, millets and barley, as well as dried lentils. In the foothills, seasonal vegetables and greens are consumed aplenty, ,where they are relatively easier to grow. As you move towards the south of the state, you will find more and more people tending to livestock and undertaking agriculture as a way of life – here, the consumption of dairy products is also higher. Wherever you go in Himachal Pradesh, you will find an utter devotion to different varieties of tea, including one called Tchaku Cha, prepared with butter, salt and milk.

The Himachali Dham – a meal consisting of a several courses, typically prepared by the Brahmin cooks of Kangra Valley called botis – is perhaps the best known thing from this state. Chana or Rajma Madra, an aromatic rice that is served with a mixed-lentil daal and khatta, and Mitha Bhaat are some of the dishes that typically form part of a Himachali dham. The dham is reminiscent of the Kashmiri Wazwan – both are multi-course meals fit for kings, but while the Wazwan is predominantly non-vegetarian, the dham is entirely vegetarian. Legend has it that centuries ago, Jaisthambh, the then king of Himachal Pradesh was so fascinated by Kashmiri Wazwan that he ordered his cooks to prepare a similar multi-course, vegetarian meal – and that is how the dham came about.

Chamba Chukh

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I was paired with the talented Sujata Roy, who blogs at Batter Up With Sujata. She allotted me the two secret ingredients of cumin and tamarind, and I used them to prepare Chamba Chukh, a fiery dried red chilli pickle from the Chamba Valley.

The chukh has several variations throughout Himachal Pradesh, I hear. It is made in slightly different ways in different homes, though the basic ingredients remain the same. These days, ready-made bottled chukh is available in stores too, with their own little variations. Some people add honey and lots of dried fruits and nuts to it, while some prefer keeping it quite hot with not a hint of sweetness. The version I made is hot too, but I tried to even it out by adding lots of lemon juice and some jaggery. The result was a delectable chukh, which makes for a beautiful accompaniment to rotis, idlis and dosas, a lovely spread for nachos, pizzas, sandwiches and rolls. I love how it jazzes up a dull dish, adds a zing to otherwise bland dishes. The chukh travels really well too, and can be stored for up to a month.

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Here is how I made the Chamba Chukh.

Recipe Courtesy: Adapted from The Picky Bowl, with a few variations of my own

Ingredients (yields about 1 cup):

For the spice powder:

  1. 1 teaspoon dhania aka coriander seeds
  2. 1 teaspoon rai aka mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon ajwain aka carom seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon methi dana aka fenugreek seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon jeera aka cumin seeds

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dry red chillies
  2. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 2 tablespoons amchoor powder
  6. 2-3 tablespoons jaggery, or to taste
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 10 fat garlic cloves
  9. Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
  10. 1/4 cup mustard oil
  11. 2 pinches of hing aka asafoetida

Method:

  1. Soak the dry red chillies in just enough water to cover them, for about 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for about 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the tamarind and extract a thick juice from the tamarind. Add a little more water if necessary. Keep aside.
  3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop up the ginger. Keep aside.
  4. Now, we will get the spice mix ready. Get a pan nice and hot, and then lower the flame to medium. Add in the coriander seeds, mustard, carom seeds, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Dry roast the ingredients on medium flame till they begin to emit a lovely fragrance, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  5. When the spices have cooled down entirely, grind them into a powder in a mixer. Keep aside.
  6. Once the dry red chillies have soaked for about 30 minutes and have softened a bit, drain out all the water from them. Transfer them to a mixer jar and add in the chopped ginger and garlic cloves. Grind to a paste. Keep aside.
  7. Heat the mustard oil in a pan till it reaches smoking point. Now, lower the flame to medium. Add in the spice mix we prepared earlier. Let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  8. Now, add the ground dry red chilly paste to the pan, along with salt to taste, amchoor powder, jaggery, asafoetida, turmeric powder and the extracted tamarind paste. Mix well.
  9. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  10. Let the pickle cool down completely. Now, mix in the lemon juice well. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.

Notes:

  1. Chamba chukh is typically made using mustard oil. I have used kacchi ghani mustard oil here.
  2. The amount of ginger and garlic I have used here was just perfect for our taste buds. You may use more or less of these ingredients, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  3. Typically, sugar or honey is used to sweeten the Chamba chukh. I have used jaggery here, instead. If you want to keep the chukh fiery, you can skip the jaggery/sugar/honey altogether.
  4. Increase/decrease the quantity of lemon juice you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  5. I have made this Chamba chukh tangier and sweeter than it traditionally is, to mitigate the spiciness, considering we don’t eat very spicy food at home.
  6. Some Himachalis also soak dry fruits – apricots, raisins and the like – in warm water for a while, grind them and add the same to the chukh. I haven’t.
  7. You may add 1 teaspoon fennel aka saunf to the spice mix, for more flavour. I skipped it.
  8. Typically, Kashmiri chillies or Himachali fresh green/red chillies are used to make this Chamba chukh. Here, I have used a mix of the hot, round Guntur chillies and the less spicy, long Bydagi chillies.
  9. Refrigerated in a clean, dry, air-tight container, the pickle stays for over a fortnight. Use only a clean, dry spoon to remove the chukh.

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

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #226. The co-hosts this week is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao

For the recipe I am going to tell you about today, Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao, I have to give thanks to the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge Facebook group that I am part of. Have I told you how much I love this group? Every month, the members of the group form pairs, and every pair exchanges two secret ingredients. Every month, every member has to cook something from one Indian state’s repertoire, using the two ingredients allotted to her. Then comes fun time – everyone posts a picture of their dish in the group, and the other members try to guess the secret ingredients that they have used! Being the passionate traveller that I am, I love the chance that this challenge offers me to explore the food of different parts of India – albeit virtually.

The theme for this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is Haryanvi cuisine or food from the state of Haryana. I have never had the chance to visit Haryana but, as always, I was thrilled with this opportunity to get closer to the rich diversity of food that is present in India. Carved out of Punjab in the year 1996, the cuisine of Haryana has a lot of Punjabi influences (but of course!). The people of the state are a good mix of urban and rural, with a strong focus on agriculture. Haryana is a land that is rich in milk, desi ghee and other dairy products, and this reflects in the diet of the Haryanvis as well. The food of this state is robust and hearty, and prepared without much fuss. Apparently, Haryana is called ‘the land of rotis‘, thanks to the Haryanvi’s predilection to consume a variety of flavourful and healthy flatbreads. Bajra Aloo Roti, Besan Ki Roti, Bhura Roti Aur Ghee, Hara Dhania Cholia, Kair Sangri Ki Sabzi, Methi Gajar, Kachri Ki Chutney, Rajma Chawal, Mixed Daal, Bajra Khichdi, Alsi Ki Pinni, Daal Pinni and Atte Ka Halwa are some of the most popular dishes from the state of Haryana.

I was paired with Priya Suresh this month, who allotted me two ingredients – ‘potatoes’ and ‘mint’. A bit of reading online later, I zeroed in on this recipe by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor for Aloo Chutney Pulao. I made the pulao with quite a few variations of my own, and the result was fantabulous! I must say, the Aloo Chutney Pulao turned out absolutely flavourful, and was a huge hit at home. I’m so glad to have discovered this dish that is so very simple to make!

Here is how I made the Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao.

Ingredients (serves 4):

Major ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 5-6 tablespoons of spicy green chutney, or as needed (See notes)
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste (optional)

Veggies:

  1. 2 medium-sized potatoes
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1/4 cup shelled green peas
  4. 1 small capsicum
  5. 1 small carrot
  6. 6-7 beans

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon ghee/oil
  2. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  3. 3-4 green cardamom
  4. 3-4 cloves
  5. 2 small bay leaves
  6. A pinch of asafoetida

Method:

First, we will cook the rice.

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.
  2. Pressure cook the rice with 2.5 cups of water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Once the pressure has completely gone down, let the rice cool down entirely, then fluff it up with a spoon. Keep aside.

Then, we will partially cook the veggies required to make the Aloo Chutney Pulao.

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop into cubes.
  2. Peel the carrot and chop into cubes.
  3. Remove strings from the beans. Chop into large-ish pieces.
  4. Peel the onion and chop finely.
  5. Chop the capsicum into large-ish pieces.
  6. Place all the vegetables except the onion – potatoes, carrot, beans, capsicum and green peas – in a large container and add about 2 tablespoons of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. The vegetables should be cooked, but still retain a bit of their crunchiness. Let the pressure release naturally, and the vegetables cool down entirely.

Now, we will prepare the Aloo Chutney Pulao.

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pan. Add in the piece of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for 2 seconds, ensuring they do not burn.
  2. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions begin to brown.
  3. Now, keeping the flame medium, add the cooked vegetables – the potatoes, beans, carrot, capsicum, green peas.
  4. Add in the cooked and fluffed-up rice, salt to taste, turmeric powder and the green chutney. Mix well, but gently.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  6. Allow to cook on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  7. Switch off gas and mix in the lemon juice (if needed). Serve hot with raita of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice to prepare this Aloo Chutney Pulao. You can use any variety of rice you prefer.
  2. While pressure cooking the rice, adjust the rice:water ratio depending upon how grainy or soft you want the pulao to be. Using the above measurements yielded just the perfect pulao for us.
  3. I have used Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe for Aloo Chutney Pulao as the base, but have made several variations of my own. The recipe might not be authentic, but I am glad to have gotten a bit more closer to Haryanvi cuisine than I was earlier! And, hey, we loved it!
  4. The way I make spicy green chutney has been outlined in this post.
  5. I’m sending this post to Fiesta Friday – 221, co-hosted this week by Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Why don’t you try this Aloo Chutney Pulao recipe out too?

Did you like the post? Do let me know, in your comments!

Gujarati Kadhi Recipe

We are quite the kadhi-loving family. A well-made cup of kadhi makes our day. We love most versions of kadhi – from the non-sweetened Gujarati one and the South Indian more kozhambu to the Himachali rehru. Making kadhi is always the preferred way to use up any leftover curd in the house.

Today, I am going to share the recipe for another version of Gujarati kadhi, sweetened with jaggery or sugar. This is a very simple dish, rendered full of flavour thanks to the assorted spices that go into the tempering. This Gujarati kadhi makes for a beautiful accompaniment to phulka rotis and sabzi, with khichdi or plain steamed rice.

Let’s now see how to make this Gujarati kadhi, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 3 cups home-made sour curd
  2. 1.5-2 cups water
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 3 tablespoons besan aka gram flour
  6. 2-3 green chillies
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 3-4 tablespoons sugar or jaggery powder
  9. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds aka jeera
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1 sprig curry leaves
  6. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon bark
  7. 4-5 cloves
  8. 4-5 dry red chillies

Method:

1. In a large pan, mix together the curd, water, salt to taste, jaggery or sugar, turmeric powder and gram flour. Whisk well.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and add them to the pan.

3. Peel the ginger and grate it finely. Add the grated ginger to the pan. Whisk well once again.

4. Now, place the pan with the prepared curd mixture on medium flame. Stirring intermittently, cook till it comes to a boil.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering in a separate pan. For this, heat the oil in a pan. Turn flame to low-medium. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add in the cumin and the asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the cloves, cinnamon bark (broken into two), curry leaves and dry red chillies. Leave them in for just a couple of seconds, stirring with a spoon to prevent clumping. Switch off gas, and keep aside.

6. After the curd mixture has come to a boil, lower flame further. Now, add the prepared tempering to the mixture. Simmer for a minute, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas.

7. Chop the coriander finely. Add to the prepared Gujarati kadhi. Serve hot, with phulkas or steamed rice.

Notes:

  1. It is best to cook the Gujarati kadhi on a low-medium flame, to prevent curdling. Similarly, prepare the tempering on a low-medium flame, too, to prevent burning.
  2. Use sour curd for best results. If your curd is not sour, leave it outside, at room temperature, for about half a day for it to turn sour.
  3. I have used home-made curd to make this Gujarati kadhi. It was only moderately thick, so I have used only about 1.5 cups water. If you are using store-bought curd that is very thick, you might want to use more water. The curd-water-gram flour mixture that you prepare must be runny and not very thick, but not very watery either.
  4. We do not use red chilli powder in Gujarati kadhi. The only heat in the kadhi is from the grated ginger and the green chillies. Increase/decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how hot you want the kadhi to be.
  5. You can either finely grate the ginger or make a paste, before adding it to the curd mixture.
  6. While preparing the tempering, add the dry red chillies at the very end, to prevent them from exploding. You can make the tempering in oil or ghee, or use a mix of oil and ghee. I have used just refined oil here.
  7. Do not skip the jaggery or sugar – sweetness is a must in Gujarati kadhi. Let your tastebuds determine the quantity of jaggery or sugar you want to use. You can also use raw cane sugar or palm jaggery here.
  8. Make sure all the ingredients are well integrated with the curd, before proceeding to make the kadhi. I use a small wooden whisk to make sure everything is well incorporated together.

Do try out this Gujarati kadhi, and let me know how you liked it!

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. The theme for this month is ‘Gujarati recipes’. I was paired with Shailaja Reddy, who writes at Sahasra Recipes, and she gave me two ingredients to work with – curd and gram flour (besan). This Gujarati kadhi is what I decided to make with these secret ingredients.

Dadpe Pohe| Beaten Rice (Poha) Salad

The husband and I absolutely love poha. We make many different versions of poha (aka beaten rice, flattened rice or rice flakes, aval in Tamil), for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Yes, that’s how much we love it!

I’m always on the lookout for new styles in which to cook poha, so I got all intrigued when I read about Dadpe Pohe recently. Dadpe Pohe is basically a Maharashtrian specialty, and is consumed in some parts of Goa as well. The unique thing about this dish is that it is uncooked – except for the tempering that goes into it. This makes it a poha salad, eh?

The term ‘dadpe‘ means ‘weighing down’. Typically, this dish is prepared and placed in a bowl, covered with a small plate, with a weight (maybe a bag of beans or a pestle or a couple of large potatoes) is placed on top of it. The lid presses down on the various ingredients, releasing juices from them, allowing the poha to soak them in and become flavourful.

Inspired by an online recipe, I went on to prepare dadpe pohe too and, my, just how beautiful it turned out! We are amazed at just how a dish can be so, so, so easy to make and so delicious too!

Here’s how I made the dadpe pohe.

Recipe Source: Vadani Kaval Gheta

Ingredients (serves 3):

  1. 2 cups thin poha or rice flakes
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 small onion
  5. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  6. 1 green chilli
  7. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 1 tablespoon oil
  10. 1/4 cup groundnuts
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. A pinch of asafoetida
  13. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  14. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  15. 2 tablespoons jaggery or to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the onion, green chilli and coriander finely. Grate the carrot finely. Keep aside.
  2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame, till they get crispy. Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
  3. Wash the poha under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander and allow all the excess water to drain out. When the drained poha is moist but not soggy, add the salt and turmeric powder to it. Mix well, gently. Transfer the poha to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds and groundnuts, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onion, green chilli and coriander, the grated carrot and coconut, jaggery and lemon juice to taste to the mixing bowl. Add in the mustard-asafoetida-cumin-groudnuts tempering to the mixing bowl, too. Mix well, gently.
  6. Close the mixing bowl with a lid, and let it rest for just about 2 minutes, for the poha to absorb the flavours from the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. There are a variety of ways to make dadpe pohe. The technique differs from one household to another. Here, I have used a method that appealed to me.
  2. Most households use sugar to make dadpe pohe. A few use jaggery instead of sugar, though. I have done the latter.
  3. Don’t let the poha sit around for too long after mixing up all the ingredients, as this will make it very soggy and alter the taste. Make sure you serve the dadpe pohe after just a couple of minutes of resting.
  4. I don’t think grated carrot is typically used in the making of dadpe pohe. I have used it here, to make it more nutritious. You can use finely chopped tomatoes, instead, too.
  5. Here, I have used thin poha from Bhagyalakshmi. This poha is slightly thicker than ‘paper poha‘ or ‘nylon poha‘ or the poha that is used to make chivda. This kind of poha needs to be washed and drained before being used in cooking. If you are using ‘paper poha‘ or ‘nylon poha‘ instead, there is no need to wash and drain it. Just mix together all the ingredients with the raw poha in that case, and let it rest just for a few seconds before serving.
  6. Some Maharashtrian households use coconut water for soaking or washing the poha, as required. I am sure that would lend a beautiful flavour to the dadpe pohe. Here, I have used just plain water to wash and drain the poha.

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

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This post is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. The theme for this month is ‘Recipes from Goa’. I was paired with Anu, who writes about food at Ente Thattukada. Anu gave me two secret ingredients – jaggery and coconut – and I chose to use them to make Dadpe Pohe.

 

Daal Bafauri| Zero Oil Recipe From Chattisgarh

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

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

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

bafuari

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

Recipe Source: Mandvi’s Kitchen

Ingredients (makes 8-10 pieces):

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

Method:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

 

Sattu Ka Paratha| How To Make Sattu Paratha

Sattu‘, made with roasted chickpeas, is being touted as a superfood by many. And why not? It is rich in protein, soluble fibre, iron and magnesium, low in glycemic index (GI) and sodium. No wonder blue-collar workers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and parts of Bengal have been consuming it for ages now! Not only is sattu rich in nutrients, but also easy on the digestive system. It is a great food for pregnant women, lactating mothers, the aged and the infirm (specially diabetics and weight watchers), infants and young children.

What’s more, sattu is highly versatile too – it can be made into chokha (an accompaniment for rotis and rice), parathas, laddoos, chutney, sweet and savoury sherbet, and porridge of the sweet and sour varieties, among other dishes. Unlike besan (gram flour, which is made of unroasted chickpeas and, therefore, cannot be eaten without cooking), sattu is made from chickpeas that have already been roasted and can be consumed raw. Besan and sattu might look similar, but are actually slightly different from each other, and one shouldn’t be confused with the other.

The sattu I am referring to here is chane ka sattu, or sattu made with roasted chickpeas, often referred to as ‘Local Horlicks’. There is also another version of sattu available, which is made with barley, which is known as ‘jau ka sattu‘. I’m not very familiar with the barley version, but we have been using the chane ka sattu for quite some time now.

I often make sattu ka paratha, which is highly nutritious and much loved by everyone at home. It is a very simple thing to make, but quite delicious. You must try it out too, if you haven’t already.

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Here’s my version of sattu paratha.

Ingredients (makes 8-9 sattu ka paratha):

For the filling:

  1. 1 cup sattu
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 green chillies, chopped very finely
  4. A few stalks of fresh coriander, chopped finely
  5. 1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely
  6. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  7. 2 teaspoons mustard oil

For the parathas:

  1. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 2 teaspoons oil + as needed to make the sattu parathas

Method:

First, get the dough for the parathas ready.

  1. Take the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Adding water little by little, bind into a firm but soft dough.
  2. When the dough is almost ready, add in 2 teaspoons of oil. Mix well.
  3. Fold and stretch the dough a few times over. Make a ball of the dough.
  4. Let the dough rest, covered, till the filling gets ready.

Next, we will prepare the filling for the parathas.

  1. Take the sattu in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt to taste, very finely chopped green chillies, finely chopped onion and coriander, lemon juice, and the mustard oil. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps.
  2. Make 8-9 medium-sized balls out of the filling, adding a little water if required. Keep aside.

Now, we will prepare the sattu parathas.

  1. Place a dosa tawa on high flame to heat it up.
  2. Make 8-9 equal-sized balls out of the dough that has been resting.
  3. Roll one of the dough balls out into a circle. Place a ball of the stuffing in the centre, cover it with the dough, and again roll out into a circle.
  4. Check if the dosa tawa is hot enough – droplets of water should dance on it. At this stage, reduce the flame to medium and place a prepared paratha on the heated tawa. Cook on one side, spreading a little oil around the paratha. Now, flip the paratha over and cook on the other side as well.
  5. Cook all the parathas in a similar manner. Serve hot, with raita or any accompaniment of your choice.

Notes:.

  1. I used store-bought sattu to make the filling for this paratha. You can make the sattu at home as well.
  2. Amchoor can be used in place of lemon juice, to add a bit of tanginess to the filling.
  3. Use mustard oil to make the filling and refined oil to cook the sattu parathas.
  4. I prefer using kacchi ghani mustard oil – which has a rather pungent but lovely smell and taste – in some of my cooking. If you are trying out mustard oil for the first time, do try it out in a little quantity first, to see if you like it.
  5. You can add grated ginger and garlic as well as garam masala to the filling. I avoided these, because I wanted to keep the dish really simple.
  6. Increase or decrease the quantity of green chillies and lemon juice that you use, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  7. Chop the green chillies really finely, so you don’t bite on a big piece while eating the sattu ka paratha.
  8. The residue and oil from any mustard-oil-based pickle can be added to the filling, for extra flavour.

You like? I hope you will try out these sattu parathas too, and that you will love them as much as we do!

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, with ‘Recipes from Bihar’ being the theme for last month. I was paired with Kalyani Sri of Sizzling Tastebuds for the Challenge, who gave me onions and gram flour as my secret ingredients. I decided to make Sattu Ka Paratha, a dish very famous in Bihar.

 

Massor Dailor Boror Tenga| Assamese Sour Curry With Potatoes And Lentil Dumplings

When the Shhhhh Cooking Challenge group that I am part of finalised ‘Assamese cuisine’ as the theme for this month, I couldn’t help being all excited. I would be getting the opportunity to cook the simple yet hearty food that I enjoyed at Guwahati, during our trip to North-East India earlier this year!

For the challenge, I was paired with the talented Veena, who blogs at Veena’s Veg Nation. She assigned me one secret ingredient – potatoes – and asked me to use any other ingredients that I wanted to. After a bit of reading up, I decided to make Massor Dailor Boror Tenga, an Assamese sour-tasting curry with potatoes and lentil (masoor daal) dumplings. This sweet girl helped me with an authentic recipe for the tenga, which I customised a bit to suit my family’s taste buds, also keeping in mind locally available ingredients. And, everyone at home loved it to bits too! This is a recipe for keeps, for sure, and I’m sure I’ll be making this again in the times to come. The curry isn’t very tough to make and is, yet, so very flavourful!

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For the uninitiated, ‘tenga‘ refers to any sour-tasting curry served as part of an Assamese thali. Garcinia indica (kokum) or thekera (the Assamese name for mangosteen) are the most commonly used souring agents, while some people are also known to use tomatoes, tamarind and lemon juice instead. The tenga is seasoned with ‘pas phoron‘ (the Assamese name for panch phoron, a pungent mix of five spices that is commonly used in Bengali, Oriya and North-Eastern cooking).

Here’s how I made the massor dailor borar tenga.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the masoor bora:

  1. 1/2 cup split masoor daal
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 dry red chillies
  5. Red chilli powder, to taste
  6. Oil, as needed for deep frying the bora

For the tadka:

  1. 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  2. 2 dry red chillies
  3. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon mustard (rai)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  7. 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  8. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)

Other ingredients:

  1. 6 medium-sized potatoes
  2. 3 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 medium-sized onion
  4. Lemon juice, to taste
  5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. Red chilli powder, to taste
  7. Salt, to taste
  8. 1-1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  9. 1 tablespoon gram flour (besan)
  10. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves

Method:

First, we will make preparations for the bora.

  1. Wash the masoor daal well under running water.
  2. Soak it in just enough water to cover it, for about 1/2 hour.

Now, we will prep the veggies that will be needed.

  1. Chop the potatoes into halves. Pressure cook them for 5 whistles. When the pressure has released completely, let the potatoes cool down and then peel them. Mash roughly. Keep aside.
  2. Chop onions finely. Keep aside.
  3. Chop coriander finely. Keep aside.
  4. Keep the lemon juice handy.

Now, get the bora ready.

  1. After soaking, discard all the excess water from the masoor daal. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, turmeric powder and dried red chillies. Grind coarsely in a mixer, without adding any water.
  2. Heat oil in a pan till it smokes. Then, lower the flame and drop little balls of the masoor daal mixture into the hot oil, a few at a time. Deep fry evenly, and transfer the balls onto a plate. Keep aside.

Now, we will prepare the masoor borar tenga.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel, dried red chillies and the asafoetida. Let the mustard pop.
  2. Add the chopped onions. Fry on medium flame till they turn brownish. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, along with a little salt and water. Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  4. Now, add the mashed potatoes, along with about 1 cup of water. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, turmeric powder and sugar. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till everything is well incorporated together – 3-4 minutes.
  5. Mix the gram flour in about 2 tablespoons water, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add this mixture to the pan.
  6. Now, add the masoor bora. Mix well. Let everything cook together for 1-2 minutes more, on medium flame. Switch off gas.
  7. Mix in lemon juice to taste and finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve immediately with rotis.

Notes:

  1. I used refined oil to fry the bora and mustard oil to make the gravy.
  2. I used orange split masoor daal to make the bora.
  3. If you have panch phoron ready, use it in the garnish. I didn’t have any, so I used mustard, nigella seeds, cumin, fenugreek and fennel separately.
  4. Traditionally, this dish is made with a mix of bottle gourd (lauki) and mashed potatoes. I did not use bottle gourd, keeping my family’s taste preferences in mind.
  5. Kokum (garcinia indica) or thekera (mangosteen) is traditionally used in this curry, for sourness. Some people, however, also use tomatoes and lemon juice for the purpose. I didn’t have any kokum and, hence, used tomatoes and lemon juice as the souring agents.
  6. Using sugar is purely optional. Omit it if you want to, but I personally think it adds a nice depth of flavour to the curry. You can use jaggery powder instead, too.
  7. Add more water to the curry while cooking, if you think it is getting too thick.
  8. The masoor bora soak up all the liquid from the curry, making it quite thick. Hence, it is crucial that you serve the curry immediately after making it.
  9. The gram flour mixed in water acts as a thickening agent for the curry. If you feel the curry is thick enough as is, you can skip adding the gram flour.
  10. Traditionally, this curry is kept quite watery, with just one mashed potato mixed into the gravy for thickness. I kept the curry slightly thick because I was planning to serve this with rotis. My curry is also on the thicker side considering the addition of besan and the fact that I made this curry entirely with potatoes.

I’m loving how this challenge is taking me places, quite literally!

Did you like the sound of this dish? I hope you will try this out too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Thukpa| Tibetan/North Eastern Vegetarian Noodle Soup 

This month, the theme for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Facebook group that I am part of is ‘cuisine from Arunachal Pradesh’. I was teamed up with Sharanya Palanisshamy, who blogs at Sara’s Tasty Buds,  for the challenge. My partner gave me two ingredients to build a recipe on – chilli sauce and ginger – which I decided to use to make Vegetarian Thukpa, a kind of noodle soup.

The thukpa is actually a dish of Tibetan origin, but some research on the Internet told me that it is quite popular in Arunachal Pradesh, too. I found several variations to the recipe on the Internet and, in the end, went ahead with making it the way I have seen it being done at street food stalls here in Bangalore.

Whether the recipe is authentic or not, I’m not sure (I’d love some validation on that!). What I can say for sure is that the thukpa turned out absolutely delish, and we loved it to bits. It made for a hearty lunch for the husband and me, a lovely change from the usual. It’s the perfect thing to make right now, considering the chilly weather in Bangalore presently. All in all, I’m glad I’m a little closer to the cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh today than I used to be earlier.

Here’s how I made the thukpa.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):

  1. 75 grams flat rice noodles
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Sweet red chilli sauce, to taste (I use Thai Herirage)
  4. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  5. Soya sauce, to taste (I use Thai Heritage)
  6. A small piece of cabbage
  7. A small carrot
  8. 1 small capsicum
  9. 1/4 cup shelled green peas
  10. 1 small onion
  11. 1/4 cup sweet corn, shelled
  12. A few stalks of fresh coriander
  13. 4 cloves of garlic
  14. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  15. 2 cups vegetable stock, or as needed
  16. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or as per taste
  17. 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon of oil

Method:

1. Take the noodles in a heavy-bottomed vessel, and add just enough water to cover them. Add a bit of salt and 1 teaspoon oil. Let cook on high flame till the noodles are done, but not overly mushy. Transfer to a colander, and run cold water over the noodles immediately. Keep aside, and let all the excess water drain out.

2. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop finely. Crush coarsely, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

3. Prep the veggies you will need for the thukpa. Finely chop the carrot, cabbage, capsicum and onion. Steam the sweet corn for a minute and drain out the excess water. Keep aside.

4. Finely chop the coriander, and keep aside. We will be using it for garnishing.

5. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped onion, cabbage, capsicum and carrot, as well as the shelled green peas and steamed corn. Add the crushed ginger and garlic. Add salt to taste. Cook on medium flame till the veggies are cooked, but still retain a bit of a crunch.

6. Add vegetable stock as needed, as well as red chilli sauce and soya sauce as needed. Add the cooked noodles. Mix well.

7. Cook on low-medium flame for a couple of minutes. Switch off gas.

8. Add lemon juice to taste and finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. Plain water can be used in place of vegetable stock. In that case, if you want to thicken the soup, add in a little corn flour or wheat flour mixed with a bit of water, and let simmer for a couple of minutes.

2. For a spicier version, use green chilli sauce to taste, in place of sweet chilli sauce.

3. You can add in any vegetables of your choice – beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. I used the veggies that I had in stock, to make the thukpa.

4. You can use any kind of noodles of your choice. I have used flat Thai-style rice noodles here.

5. Daal water can be used in place of vegetable stock. You may even add a dash of tomato puree for flavour.

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

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!