Bread Rolls| Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets

Eid is just around the corner! Here’s wishing good times to all those who are celebrating! 🙂

Today, I present to you a recipe for Bread Rolls or Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets that you can make for Iftaar, the routine breaking of the fast during Ramzaan. You can also make these on the occasion of Eid, a hearty and nutritious vegetarian snack.

I have extremely fond memories associated with Bread Rolls aka Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets. In the almost 36 hours it took to travel by train from Ahmedabad to Madras, while I was growing up, Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets would make for my morning breakfast. I remember them tasting awesome (I’m not sure if I would still say the same about them!), and being all excited about having them because they were such a novelty for me – we never made them at home ourselves.

I also remember my school friends bringing home-made Bread Rolls in their snack boxes, and offering me a taste. I would adore them, and we would end up exchanging our boxes – they would happily gobble up my idlis while I munched on their Bread Rolls.

The bub was introduced to Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets at school, and she happened to adore them. Like mom, like daughter, eh? When she came home from school grinning like a Cheshire cat a couple of days – because the snack was her favourite Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets – I absolutely had to learn how to make them at home. I spoke to the parents who had sent them, understood how they had made them, and began making them with a few customisations. Now, they are a regular snack at our place, and a much-loved one, too!

I make these Bread Rolls with tonnes of vegetables and whole wheat bread, and use home-made garam masala to spice them. I use a dosa pan to shallow-fry them, with minimal oil, as opposed to deep-frying. They turn out absolutely delicious in taste, perfectly crisp from the outside, soft from the inside, just the way we like them to be.

At a lot of places, I find Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets containing either too much of potatoes or too much of bread. The recipe I am going to tell you about today will help you avoid both these situations. These measurements will give you the perfect cutlets – perfectly balanced ones, with no one ingredient overpowering the others. Do try it out!

Here’s how to make the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

Ingredients (makes 18-20 cutlets):

  1. 4 medium-sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  2. 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup shelled green peas
  4. 1/3 cup grated carrot
  5. 1/3 cup finely chopped cabbage
  6. 1/3 cup finely chopped beans
  7. 1/3 cup finely chopped capsicum
  8. 1/3 cup finely chopped cauliflower
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  12. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  13. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  14. 4 tablespoons bread crumbs + more as needed to coat the cutlets
  15. 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  16. 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
  17. 8 slices of bread
  18. 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  19. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  20. 1 tablespoon oil + more as needed for shallow-frying

Method:

  1. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped onion, carrot, cabbage, beans, capsicum and cauliflower, as well as the shelled green peas. Salt lightly. Cook on medium flame till the vegetables are half done – they should be cooked, but retain their crunch. Switch off the gas, and allow the cooked vegetables to cool down entirely.
  2. Grind the ginger and green chillies to a paste in a mixer, using very little water. Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the peeled and mashed boiled potatoes to the mixing bowl.
  4. Soak each of the bread slices in water for just a second, then squeeze in between your hands and drain out all the water. Add the drained bread slices to the mixing bowl.
  5. To the mixing bowl, add the 4 tablespoons of bread crumbs, lemon juice, asafoetida, salt to taste, garam masala, turmeric powder, chopped coriander and slivered almonds.
  6. Once the cooked vegetables (the carrot, capsicum, beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower) have completely cooled down, add them to the mixing bowl too.
  7. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl together thoroughly. Shape patties out of this mixture. Keep aside.
  8. Heat a heavy dosa pan on high flame. When it is nice and hot, turn down the flame to medium.
  9. Spread out some bread crumbs on a large plate. Dip two of the patties in the breadcrumbs, evenly coating them, and place them on the hot dosa pan. Spread some oil around the patties, and cook on medium flame till the bottom gets brown and crisp, ensuring that they do not get burnt. Then, flip the patties over, add a little more oil around them, and cook till crisp and brown on the other side. Transfer to a serving plate.
  10. Prepare all the cutlets in a similar manner. Serve hot with hot green chutney, kasundi, tomato ketchup or sauce of your choice.

Notes:

1. Cooking the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets on a dosa pan ensures that minimal oil is consumed, as against shallow frying in a deeper pan.

2. To make bread crumbs, just tear a few pieces of bread roughly and grind in a mixer. Alternatively, you can use store-bought bread crumbs, too.

3. You can use either whole wheat bread or white bread to make these Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

4. Chana masala can be used in place of garam masala, too.

5. Increase or decrease the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets to be.

6. You can add any vegetables of your choice to these cutlets, but the ones I have mentioned above are the usual suspects. These are the veggies that go really well in the making of Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

7. Make sure you soak the bread slices for just a second and then immediately drain out all the water from them, before proceeding to add them to the cutlet mixture. Over-soaking of the bread slices or retaining too much water in them will cause the cutlets to get soggy.

8. The above quantities of bread, bread crumbs and vegetables are perfect to get cutlets that are just right – neither too much of veggies nor too much of bread.

9. I prefer cooking these Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets on a dosa pan, but you could deep-fry them too. If you want to deep-fry them, dip the prepared patties in a thin paste of maida or wheat flour and water, then coat evenly with bread crumbs, then proceed to put them in smoking hot oil. Deep fry on medium flame till evenly brown on both sides, ensuring the cutlets don’t get burnt.

10. Crumbled paneer or cheese can be added to the cutlets too. Alternatively, you can garnish the cutlets with grated cheese, just before serving them.

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

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Eid-Special Recipes’.

I’m also sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #227. The co-hosts this week are Lizet @ Chipa by the dozen and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

 

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Healthy Indian Vegetable Noodles

The Montessori school my daughter goes to follows a lovely system for snack time. One set of parents send snacks for all the 12-odd children in their child’s class, every day. The snacks are supposed to be home-made and healthy. There’s a rotation system in place, ensuring every parent gets a turn once a month. I love how this system exposes kids to tastes beyond those of their homes, how this brings about a learning of what foods each kid favours. Yes, there are a few pitfalls to this system too, but I think the advantages far outweigh them. Why am I talking about this? Because the recipe I’m going to share today – Healthy Indian Vegetable Noodles – came about because of this snack system.

The bub returned all happy from school one day, having discovered a new-found love for vegetable noodles. This surprised me, because she had been used to only South Indian snacks – idlis, dosas, pongal and the like – before then. This instance made me pour more thought into what I cooked for her, to get my creative juices flowing, to experiment wildly, to come up with healthy yet satisfying and delicious meals for her. To me, ‘noodles’ had always meant a sauce- and oil- and calorie-laden dish, but this instance had me thinking up ways to make them healthy, yet finger-lickingly good. A few trials and errors later, these fusion Healthy Indian Vegetable Noodles were born, something that is now a regular at our table and is much loved.

I make this dish using wheat noodles, with no sauces or any other bottled products. Just a hint of home-made garam masala and freshly ground black pepper add oomph to the noodles, as does the bit of raw cane sugar I put in. Further, I fortify the noodles with loads of veggies. Lots of yum, the simple, healthy and desi way!

Here’s how I make these Healthy Indian Vegetable Noodles.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 150 grams hakka noodles
  2. A small piece of cabbage
  3. 1 small carrot
  4. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  5. About 3 large florets of cauliflower
  6. 5-6 beans
  7. 1 small onion
  8. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon oil
  11. 2 generous pinches of black pepper powder
  12. 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
  13. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Method:

  1. Fill a pan about 3/4 with water, place it on high heat and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add in 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Break the noodles and add them to the boiling water. Let the noodles cook on medium flame till they are soft, but not overly mushy (al dente).
  2. At this stage, switch off the gas and transfer all the noodles to a colander placed in the kitchen sink. Immediately run cold water over the noodles, to stop the cooking process. Let the noodles rest, and let all the water drain away.
  3. Meanwhile, we will prepare the veggies that we need to make the noodles. Peel the carrot and remove strings from the beans. Chop the onions, capsicum and cabbage length-wise. Chop the coriander, carrot and beans finely. Chop the cauliflower florets into medium-sized pieces. Keep the veggies aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped onion, capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and beans. Add a bit of salt and a pinch of black pepper powder. Cook on medium flame till the veggies are cooked, but still retain a bit of a crunch. Stir constantly, to ensure that the veggies do not get burnt.
  5. Now, add the cooked and drained noodles to the veggies in the pan. Add some more salt, one more pinch of black pepper powder, the garam masala and the raw cane sugar. Mix thoroughly, but gently. Let everything cook together for a couple of minutes. Switch off gas.
  6. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Serve piping hot, on its own or with a bit of tomato ketchup drizzled on top.

Notes:

1. I used 1 packet of Ching’s hakka noodles, which is equal to 150 grams. They are, apparently, made of wheat as opposed to the regular maida-based noodles.

2. Since I was cooking this for the bub, I have avoided using any kind of sauce. You may add green/red chilli sauce, tomato ketchup and/or soya sauce, if you want to. You might want to skip the sugar in that case, since the tomato ketchup has added sugar too.

3. I have used garam masala and coriander here, for an Indian touch, and we absolutely love it. If you are using sauces, you can skip these two ingredients.

4. These vegetable noodles taste great if the salt is just a tad on the higher side. However, be careful while adding the salt, so as not to make the noodles overly salty.

5. Adjust the quantity of pepper powder you use, to suit personal taste preferences.

6. You can use any veggies that you have on hand, to make these vegetable noodles. I have skipped adding ginger-garlic paste here, but you could add it in as well.

7. Make sure the noodles are cooked al dente, before adding them to the veggies. Remember that the noodles will cook some more with the veggies. Overcooking the noodles will lead to a mushy end result, which might not taste great.

You like? I hope you will try out this recipe, and that you will love it too! Do let me know your thoughts, in the comments.

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I’m sending this to Fiesta Friday #225, co-hosted this week by Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Stuffed Vadu Maangaai| Stuffed Baby Mango Pickle

In most South Indian homes, baby mangoes find their way into vadu maangaai, a simple pickle that tastes absolutely delicious. I love vadu maangaai, but I simply adore the stuffed version of the same that I have grown up eating. An elderly cook in one of our relatives’ home specialised in making this stuffed baby mango pickle, and it was at their place that I first tried it out, as a teenager. I went ga-ga over it, so much so that my mother requested the cook for the recipe, which she shared happily. Since then, this Stuffed Vadu Maangaai has been an integral part of our family as well.

This summer, as soon as I got my hands on the first baby mangoes of the season, I got out that age-old recipe and made stuffed pickle, just like the olden days. It was a new experience for the bub, and she watched in awe as her mother and grandmother cut slits into the little mangoes, and filled them with a home-made spice mix. Oh, if only I could teleport the beautiful, beautiful fragrance of that spice mix to you! My house smelled like heaven on pickle-making day! 🙂

Well, the stuffed vadu maangaai is all ready now, filled up in a glass bottle. It has turned out exquisitely delicious, if I may say so myself. The eating of a simple bowl of curd rice on a hot summer’s night has become even more of a pleasure than it always was, thanks to this lovely pickle.

Today, I am going to tell you how to make these stuffed baby mangoes.

First up, get the spice mix ready. Here’s how you go about doing that.

Ingredients for the spice mix (makes about 1-1/2 cup):

  1. 3/4 cup salt
  2. 1 tablespoon asafoetida
  3. 3/4 cup red chilli powder
  4. 1/2 cup mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 cup fenugreek seeds
  6. 1/4 cup turmeric powder
  7. 1/4 cup gingelly oil

Method for making the spice mix:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a mixer jar and grind to a fine powder.
  2. Heat the gingelly oil in a pan till it begins to smoke. Pour it over the prepared spice mix. Keep aside till the spice mix is cool enough to handle.
  3. Now, mix it well using a dry spoon. Transfer the spice mix to a clean, dry, air-tight container, for future use.

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Now, we will proceed to make the stuffed vadu maangaai or stuffed baby mango pickle.

Ingredients for making the stuffed baby mango pickle (makes about 1 mason jar):

  1. 6 heaped cups baby mangoes
  2. 1/4 cup gingelly oil
  3. Spice mix, as prepared above, as needed

Method to make the stuffed baby mango pickle:

  1. Wash the baby mangoes thoroughly under running water, to remove any traces of grime or dust. Then, place them in a colander for a few minutes and let all the water drain out.
  2. Gently pat the washed and drained baby mangoes dry with a clean piece of cotton cloth. Then, spread them out to dry on a cotton cloth, preferably in the sun, for at least an hour. Now, they are ready to use and pickle.
  3. From the stem down, make two long slits in the baby mangoes (in the sign of a +). Slit them about 3/4 of the way through, keeping them intact at the base. Do not remove the seed.
  4. When all the baby mangoes have been slit this way, stuff as much of the spice mix as you can into each one. Place the stuffed baby mangoes in a clean, dry, air-tight stainless steel container or a large vessel. Add 2-3 extra tablespoons of the spice mix over the stuffed mangoes, for good measure.
  5. Leave the stuffed baby mangoes undisturbed for a day, at room temperature. Post this, heat the 1/4 cup of gingelly oil till it smokes, and pour the hot oil over the stuffed mangoes. Keep aside untouched for one more day, at room temperature.
  6. Then, every day post this, stir the mangoes gently using a clean, dry spoon. The idea behind doing this is to ensure that all the baby mangoes are evenly coated with the spice mix and that they all soak equally. By the end of two days or so, you will find that the mangoes have become softer and that they have shrunk. Continue doing this gentle mixing for 5-6 days, by which time the mangoes would have shrunk even more. Now, you can bottle the pickle and even refrigerate it. It is ready to use, but with more time, the pickle gets even more softer and all the more delicious.

Notes:

  1. Use good-quality gingelly oil to make the spice mix and the pickle, for best results.
  2. You can even roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek before you grind the spice mix, but it is not compulsory to do so. Even without the roasting, the spice mix tastes absolutely delicious and the fragrance is out of the world.
  3. Increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients you use in making the spice mix, as per personal taste preferences.
  4. Any spice mix left over after making the pickle can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle for later use in other pickles. It keeps well for about a month.
  5. Don’t miss out on gently mixing up the pickle from the second day onward. This is an important step, which will greatly enhance the taste of the pickle.
  6. The pickle should not refrigerated while it is soaking, i.e. for about a week. After this time, you may refrigerate it. You can even store it at room temperature – that is totally up to you. This stuffed baby mango pickle keeps well for about a month at room temperature. Refrigeration would increase its shelf life further.

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

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday 222, where the cohost this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Pussycat Dosa| Food Art For Kids

You eat first with your eyes,’ some wise person once said, and just how true is that! Well-presented food has a huge impact on building one’s appetite, making one want to eat the said food.

Food art, or the artistic presentation of food, is more than just building appetite in the diner. It is a way of creating drama on a plate, of letting imagination run wild, of creating masterpieces on a blank plate. It is a way of having fun as a cook, and making sure the diner has some too.

I think it is very important, though, to make sure the food that is presented very beautifully tastes equally good as well. It is all too easy to get caught up in the task of always presenting beautiful platters, so caught up that it doesn’t matter how tasty or healthy the food is. All show and no substance – that is just not the way to go, in my humble opinion. There are too many high-end restaurants losing track of the balance between healthy, tasty and beautiful, these days, a sad state of affairs.

Why am I talking so much about food art today? Well, because ‘Food Art’ is the theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week. I am no high-flying artist, food or otherwise, but I did try out a very simple Pussycat Dosa for the theme and absolutely loved the experience! The bub loved the dosa and could recognise the pussycat figure (though I think it looks a little like a monster, in hindsight), so I’m happy. And I think this little experiment in food art has put me on a new track – now, I so want to continue doing this, building beautiful plates with the simple food that I cook at home, to bring some drama into our kitchen! Wait and watch! 🙂

So, here’s the sort of Pussycat Dosa that I made for the theme.

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Let me tell you how I went about making this plate, now.

Ingredients (for one pussy cat dosa):

  1. Dosa batter, as required
  2. About 2 tablespoons of cooked kidney beans aka rajma
  3. A few pieces of pineapple
  4. A couple of pieces of capsicum
  5. 2 kernels of sweet corn
  6. A small piece of carrot
  7. Salt, to taste
  8. Red chilli powder, to taste
  9. A dash of roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  10. About 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon oil

Method:

  1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the cooked kidney beans, the corn kernels, and the carrot and capsicum pieces. Add in salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder to taste. Saute on medium flame till the carrot, corn and capsicum turn slightly tender, just a couple of minutes. Make sure the kidney beans are all evenly coated with the salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder. Switch off gas and keep aside.
  2. Heat a dosa pan until droplets of water dance on it. Then, lower the flame to medium. Make a medium-sized circle in the centre of the pan, then make a smaller circle exactly above it – the pussy cat’s belly and head, respectively. Make ears and a tail for the pussy cat out of the batter. Spread 1/2 teaspoon oil around the dosa. Cook on medium flame till the dosa browns at the bottom, then flip over and cook on the other side till done. Transfer the pussy cat dosa to a colourful serving plate.
  3. Shape the pussy cat’s eyes out of the sauteed corn kernels.
  4. Pinch the cooked carrot piece to make a smiling mouth out of it, and place it below the eyes.
  5. Place the cooked kidney beans below the pussy cat dosa.
  6. Fashion a small flower out of the pieces of capsicum and pineapple, adjacent to the pussy cat.
  7. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. I have used home-made dosa batter to make this dish. You can use multi-grain batter, adai batter or multi-millet batter as well.
  2. I have used whatever ingredients I had, handy, to create this dish. You can let your imagination run loose and use the ingredients you have lying around in your pantry, too!

Do let me know how you liked this Pussycat Dosa, and if you’d like to see more such food art for kids on my blog. I’m no expert, I’ll repeat, but, hey, I promise to try my best!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Food Art’.

Ahmedabad, after ages

So, so, so, that long-pending trip to Ahmedabad finally happened! On New Year’s day, the husband got confirmation for a work trip to Ahmedabad, and he asked if the bub and I would accompany us. We did just that, flight tickets were booked, and we were off the very next day – as simple as that. After 6 long years, I finally visited the place where I grew up, and it happened Just.Like.That!

Did I find traces of the city I loved so much or has it changed drastically?

Read on, to find out!

Bhoger Khichuri| Bhaja Muger Daal Khichuri| One-Pot Bengali Khichdi

Last year, around this time, I was in Calcutta, in the thick of Kali Pujo. It was there that I fell in love with the beautiful Bhoger Khichuri, the Bengali khichdi that is offered as prasad to Kali Maa. The bub fell in love with the sweetish khichdi, too. When I returned back home to Bangalore, I began craving for the khichdi all over again, and learnt how to make it too. Today, it is a much-loved dish on our table, especially on winter evenings like this one.

Since this khichuri is commonly prepared as bhog, it is usually strictly vegetarian (niramish), with even onion and garlic being excluded. The moong daal is dry roasted till it emits a gorgeous fragrance, which is what gives this dish the name of Bhaja Muger Daal Khichuri (fried moong daal khichdi). Vegetables that we commonly use in pulao – carrots, green peas, potatoes and cauliflower commonly – go into the making of this Bhoger Khichuri, which has a sweetish tinge to it.

I love how this Bhaja Muger Daal Khichuri is so very simple to prepare, a one-pot dish that takes just a few minutes to put together. I love how it is so hearty, so very satisfying, so very rich, thanks to the addition of the ghee and various spices in the garnish. I love how life enabled me to permanently bring home a slice of Calcutta with me.

Now, let’s see how to make Bhoger Khichuri aka Bhaja Muger Daal Khichuri, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4):

Ingredients needed for tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon ghee
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 2 dry red chillies
  4. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini), broken into two
  5. 4-5 cardamom (elaichi)
  6. 2 small bay leaves
  7. 4-5 cloves (laung)
  8. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

Veggies needed:

  1. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  2. 2 medium-sized potatoes
  3. 1 medium-sized carrot
  4. A handful of shelled green peas
  5. 4-5 large florets cauliflower
  6. 6-7 green beans or 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  7. 2 green chillies
  8. A 1-inch piece of ginger

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1/4 cup split yellow moong daal
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. Red chilli powder, to taste
  5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Method:

  1. Dry roast the moong daal in a pan, on medium flame, till it emits a lovely fragrance. Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
  2. Now, prep the veggies that you will need to make the khichuri. Peel the carrot and potatoes and chop them into cubes. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Chop the coriander finely. Chop the large cauliflower florets into half. Remove strings from the beans (if using) and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the capiscum into 1/2-inch pieces (if using). Peel the ginger and chop into small pieces, then pound them with a mortar and pestle. Keep the shelled green peas handy.
  3. Wash the rice in running water a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water, and place aside.
  4. Heat the ghee and oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the dried red chillies, bay leaves, cinnamon pieces, cloves and cardamom, along with the asafoetida. Let the ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
  5. Now, add in the carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, green peas, capsicum and/or beans, along with the slit green chillies and pounded ginger. Saute on medium flame for a minute.
  6. Add the dry roasted moong daal and washed and drained rice. Saute on medium flame for a minute.
  7. Add in 6 cups of water, salt and red chilli powder (if using) to taste, turmeric powder and sugar. Mix well.
  8. Mix in the finely chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles.
  10. Let the pressure release naturally, and serve the khichuri hot.

Notes:

1. Traditionally, Gobindobhog rice is used to make the Bengali bhoger khichuri. I didn’t have any, so I used Sona Masoori rice instead.

2. Carrot, potatoes, green peas and cauliflower are commonly used in this khichdi. Potatoes are an absolute must in Bengali khichuri. I usually add in some capsicum and/or beans as well.

3. I use a mix of ghee and oil for the tempering. Feel free to use only ghee, and vary the quantity depending upon your family’s taste preferences.

4. Omit the sugar if you want to, but I personally wouldn’t advise it. I think the sugar adds a beautiful flavour to this khichuri.

5. Bengali bhoger khichuri is traditionally made without onion or garlic, and I tend to omit these ingredients too. Feel free to add them if you want to.

6. Traditionally, almost equal quantities of moong daal and rice are used to make this khichuri, but I have used only 1/4 cup moong daal for 1 cup of rice.

7. Skip the red chilli powder if you think the heat from the green chillies and ginger would be sufficient for you.

8. If you want, you could soak the rice for about 20 minutes before setting about making the khichuri. I usually omit this step.

9. Whenever I can lay my hands on it, I use Jharna ghee from Calcutta to prepare this bhoger khichuri. That gives the dish an even more beautiful taste.

9. Traditionally, it is a must to dry roast the moong daal before making the khichuri. However, I often make the khichuri without roasting the moong daal, and it still turns out fabulous.

10. You can cook the khichuri with the veggies separately, and then add the tempering at the end.

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

Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us Comes To Bangalore!

Renowned international toy brand Toys’R’Us made an entry into India last Saturday. The brand launched its very first outlet in India in Bangalore, at the Phoenix Marketcity mall in Whitefield. I was thrilled to be invited to the launch with the husband and the bub – a grand affair, with a number of fun activities for kids and adults alike arranged all day long.

The Bangalore outlet has two sections – Toys’R’Us, which stocks an unimaginable array of toys meant for children up to 11 years of age, and Babies’R’Us, which offers everything related to infants, from clothes and diapers and formula to breast pumps, potty seats, high chairs and princess beds.

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The entrance to Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us at VR Bengaluru, beautifully decked up for the launch

The store is huge, huge, huge and the three of us had a gala time walking through the aisles. We admired this and that, reminisced over the times when the bub was a little babe we could carry in the palms of our hands, had a fun time watching the magician’s performance, wishlisted a number of toys for the bub (and me, of course!), and even bought an early birthday present for the kiddo.

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Some of the stuff I loved at the store – a doll with a darkish skin tone; a doll that eats, drinks, poops and pees (yes!); the huge range of moisturisers for babies and moms alike; cutesy bows and hairbands on sale; a mermaid doll; and a pink princess bed that was straight out of a fairytale

There are a whole lot of toys available to the kids of today, I realise, a lot more opportunities to create memories and happy moments, for better or worse. Yes, there are a lot of toys and appliances that aren’t really necessary for the healthy upbringing of a child, and neither do they really help the child in any way. That said, there are a whole lot of toys out there that not only help keep a child engaged, but also help in developing creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and decision making, aid eye-hand co-ordination, and help in the development of motor skills. As a parent or a loved one, I think it is you who need to choose wisely, select the right kind of toys for a child. A walk through stores like Toys’R’Us act as an eye-opener to all that is available to a child today, allowing you to make an informed decision.

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More stuff off the shelves of the store – baby hand-print kits; travel pillows; feeding bottles by Dr, Brown’s (a brand that isn’t easy to come across in India); and cute, cute, cute clothes

I love how the store has a huge array of products for infants, toddlers and children, at different price points, from both Indian and international vendors. There’s something here for everyone, I am sure. You just need to take your time checking out different things and choosing what works for you.

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Some more stuff that caught my eye at the store – a Freddie the Firefly high chair toy; Superbottoms cloth diapers; a little piano; and a baby-proofing kit

Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us plans to open more stores in India in the near future, at Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.

If you are in Bangalore, you must surely visit this pretty store!

This post is in collaboration with Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us. The views expressed herein are entirely mine, not influenced by anything or anyone, and completely honest.

 

Product Review: Bake Me India Vanilla Shortbread Cookies Baking Kit

Baking with the bub has always been a dream of mine. Ever since I became a mommy –  even before that I think – I would dream of, one day, standing alongside the bub in our kitchen, measuring out ingredients, mixing them up, placing a cake or cookies in the oven, letting her lick the last of the batter from the mixing bowl, waiting for the oven timer to go off, and laughing at the look of awe on her face on watching the finished product get out of the oven..  all of this and more. You get the drift, right?

I never actually attempted anything like this, though, till very recently, when I won a Bake Me India Vanilla Shortbread Cookies Baking Kit on an Instagram photo contest.

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The Bake Me India Vanilla Shortbread Cookies baking kit that I received!

About Bake Me India

Bake Me India is a New Delhi-based business venture that offers kid-friendly baking kits – brownies, cupcakes, cookies, cake pops and the like. The kits contain all the dry ingredients that would be required, as well as handy equipment such as a tray, rolling pin, piping bag, butter paper, and even a wee apron and chef’s cap!  The kits also come equipped with cards that outline in detail the steps in the baking proceedure.

Through these kits, Bake Me India aims to promote fun family baking times, especially by encouraging parents to bake alongside their kids. These kits are simple enough to be used by even very young kids (under adult supervision, of course!), and the parents need not be expert bakers themselves to use them. The use of good-quality ingredients and equipment is assured.

The kits (available in both ‘with egg’ and ‘egg-free’ versions) make for wonderful DIY gifts. You could opt to buy them individually or on a subscription basis, for as many months at a time as you desire. Prices range between INR 499 and INR 1699 per box, depending upon the nature of the product within. Home delivery across India is free, as of now.

Our experience with the Bake Me India Vanilla Shortbread Cookies kit

~ The kit I received included cookie dough, chocolate chunks, vanilla essence, powdered sugar, colourful sprinkles, instruction cards, cookie cutters, a little apron and chef’s hat, a tray and rolling pin, as well as butter paper. I loved how every possible dry ingredient and little tool that we might need for the baking process had been taken care of. I didn’t need to go looking for much.

~ The kit could, really, have done without the sprinkles and the apron and chef’s hat, but I loved that these things were thought of and included. Little stuff like these are just what kids love, right? The bub loved the multi-coloured sprinkles and donned the chef’s hat and apron as soon as they were out of the box!

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What was inside my Bake Me India kit! Don’t miss the little apron and chef’s hat in there!

~ I loved the detailed instructions on the cards, which told me every single we needed to do, to bake the cookies. There were explanatory pictures as well. The instructions were simple and clear enough for even a child to follow. Thanks to them, the baking process was a breeze.

~ The cards clearly stated the other ingredients and tools I would need to make the cookies, apart from the stuff already included in the kit – just some butter and an oven, in my case.

~ I loved how all the ingredients were packed really well, in Ziploc pouches.

~ The quality of ingredients and equipment provided was really good, and I loved that about Bake Me India. There was nothing sub-standard about the kit.

~ The bub and I loved, loved, loved baking the cookies together, though she mostly just watched, excitedly. It was messy, it was chaotic (with the bub wanting to put everything into the mixing bowl at once!), but it was so much fun! The husband was pressed into action as official photographer for the ceremony, and, all put together, it was just the break we needed, perfect family bonding time. And, as always, it was magical to watch dough go into the oven and come out all transformed into beautiful cookies!

~ All the ingredients (flour, powdered sugar, chocolate, sprinkles and vanilla essence) had already been measured out carefully, and included in just the right quantities that would be needed for the recipe. I didn’t have to do any measuring out at all, and could concentrate on just the fun part of the baking process!

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The finished product – the scrumptious vanilla shortbread cookies!

~ We chose to do away with the cookie cutters and shape the cookies with our hands, as rustic as it gets. I am so glad we did that – sensory play and all that!

~ The cookies turned out absolutely scrumptious and were gone within a day of the making!

~ I still have the rolling pin, cookie cutters, apron, chef’s hat and tray in the kitchen. I love the fact that I can get them out and use them again, whenever the bub and I fancy a bit of baking. I can clearly see this becoming a habit!

~ At INR 1499, I think the price of this kit is on the higher side. That said, I’m not sure how much it would cost me if I were to put together all the stuff that was part of the kit – the dry ingredients and reusable kitchen equipment included.

~ I didn’t spot a ‘best before’ date on the kit. Ideally, it should be included.

In conclusion…

I think the concept of the Bake Me India baking kits is absolutely lovely. The kits, albeit priced a tad high, make for a fun baking experience with your family, creating loads of fond memories in the process. They are great rainy-day DIY activities, and lovely gifts as well. This is, surely, something I would encourage you to pick up, for yourself and for your loved ones.

Find Bake Me India online: Website| Facebook| Twitter| Instagram

I received the product free of cost, because I won it in a photo contest. I was requested to do a review on my blog, and I obliged. The views expressed herein are entirely honest and completely my own, not influenced by anyone or anything.

 

 

 

 

Mango Kesari| Mango Sheera Recipe

Mango kesari aka mango sheera is yumminess personified. If you like sheera, you must absolutely try out this particular variation. Oh, even if you don’t like sheera all that much, do try this out – you might fall in love with the sweet dish after all! Yes, it is that delicious.

The ripe mango used in this dish lends it a beautiful flavour, the slightest of tanginess blending with sweetness. All of us at home love mango kesari – even the bub slurps it up happily. Eat it piping hot, straight off the pan or warm or chilled, it tastes delicious every which way.

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Mango kesari aka sheera

Here is my mango sheera recipe.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 medium-sized ripe mango
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. 3/4 cup semolina (rava aka sooji)
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons ghee

Method:

  1. Dry roast the rava on medium flame, till it emits a nice fragrance. Remove onto a plate and let it cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the mango. Remove all the flesh from the peel and seed. Discard the peel and seed, and chop the flesh into cubes. Puree the flesh in a mixer. Keep aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add the rava. Fry on medium flame for a couple of minutes, or till the rava reaches the consistency of wet sand. You should get an even lovelier fragrance by now. Transfer the fried rava onto a plate.
  4. In the same pan, on high flame, heat 1-1/2 cups of water with a pinch of salt added to it, till it reaches boiling point. Then, lower the flame to medium, and add the fried rava to it, little by little. Stir constantly, making sure there are no lumps.
  5. Let the mixture cook on medium flame till it thickens slightly. Stir intermittently.
  6. Now, add the sugar, the mango puree and the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee. Mix well. Stirring intermittently, cook on medium flame till the sheera reaches a thick, but still partially liquid consistency. Switch off gas at this stage.
  7. Serve the sheera immediately, after letting it cool down a bit, or after chilling in the refrigerator – that is up to you.
  8. Add more ghee, if you want it that way. I restricted myself to using 4 tablespoons of ghee in total.

Notes:

  1. Any variety of mango that is not too fibrous will do. I prefer using Banganapally mangoes to make this dish.
  2. The mango lends a slight tanginess to the sheera. The pinch of salt is added to counter this.
  3. Use a ripe mango that is sweet, fleshy and juicy, but one that is firm and not overly squishy.
  4. I double roast the rava before making the sheera, so that it cooks easily.
  5. Use rava that is fine for best results.
  6. Adjust the quantity of sugar that you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  7. The mango sheera thickens further upon cooling, so it is best to stop cooking when it has reached a semi-solid consistency. However, if you like your sheera to be quite solid, cook it a little more on medium flame.

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