Bun Halwa| Easy Bread Halwa Without Milk

I was introduced to Bun Halwa on our visit to the temple town of Madurai, a couple of years ago. While breakfasting at the iconic Gopu Iyengar’s one day, Bun Halwa was on the list of specials. We had never tried it before, were intrigued enough to order it, and fell in love with it when it arrived. When they saw how much I was enjoying the piping-hot halwa, the serving staff was kind enough to teach me how to go about making it. After that, this has been a go-to dessert at our place, any time we have buns (or bread!) left over.

I present to you today the way I prepare Bun Halwa at home, largely the way I learnt at Madurai, with a few little flourishes of my own. Let me tell you that this is one super simple dessert to make, one you can blindly trust when you have unannounced guests over and need to make a sweet treat in a jiffy. It’s a delicious, delicious way to use up those last few bakery buns or bread that have been lying around the house, threatening to go stale! πŸ™‚

Let’s now check out the recipe for Bun Halwa aka Easy Bread Halwa.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 2 medium-sized buns
  2. About 4 tablespoons ghee
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 1 tablespoon raisins
  6. 6-7 cashewnuts
  7. 6-7 almonds
  8. 2 generous pinches of cardamom powder
  9. 4-5 glace cherries for decoration (optional)

Method:

1. Cut up the buns into small squares. Keep ready.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan, and add the bun pieces to it. Fry the bun pieces on medium flame till they get brown and slightly crisp. Do not burn them. Transfer the fried pieces of bun to a plate and keep aside.

3. In the same pan, take the water and sugar together and place on high heat. Let the sugar get completely dissolved in the water.

4. When the sugar syrup starts bubbling, reduce the flame to medium. Add in the fried bun pieces. Mix well, mashing the bun pieces with your ladle. Add in a tablespoon more of ghee.

5. Continue to cook on medium flame, stirring constantly, till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan begins to come together like a halwa. Add 1 more tablespoon of ghee to the pan at this stage, and mix well. Switch off gas.

6. Mix the cardamom powder to the Bun Halwa.

7. Now, chop the almonds and cashewnuts roughly. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee in a small pan. Turn the flame down to medium, and add in the raisins and the chopped cashewnuts and almonds. Mix well and let them stay in till the raisins plump up and the nuts begin to brown. Don’t let the dry fruits and nuts burn.

8. Mix the fried raisins, cashewnuts and almonds into the Bun Halwa. Serve hot, decorated with chopped glace cherries (if using).

Notes:

1. I have used two Nilgiri’s tea buns here, which were moderately sweet. If you are using sweeter milk buns instead, you could decrease the quantity of sugar you use.

2. Bread can be used in place of buns. About 6 slices of bread could be used in the above recipe, in the place of the 2 buns.

3. Adjust the quantity of ghee and sugar you use, as per personal taste preferences.

4. A bit of rose essence can be added to this Easy Bread Halwa, too. Here, I haven’t.

5. This Bun Halwa tastes best when had hot or warm.

6. Some versions of Bun Halwa also use milk. I haven’t used any here.

7. Don’t skimp on the ghee, otherwise the halwa will stick to the bottom of the pan and turn out lumpy and tasteless.

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of this group share recipes as per a certain theme.

The theme this week is #MithaiMeinTwist, suggested by Sasmita of First Timer Cook. For the theme, we are showcasing Indian dessert recipes with a twist. This Bun Halwa aka Easy Bread Halwa was my choice for the same.

I’m linking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #286, co-hosted this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

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Mambazha Pulissery| Ripe Mango In Yogurt Gravy

We are down to the last few ripe mangoes of this season. I scout street-side carts and vegetable shops in search of good ones. In doing so, I attempt to hold on to the remnants of summer, whatever remains of this favourite summer fruit of mine. I rustled up some Mambazha Pulissery
recently for probably the last time this summer, using the few good Neelam mangoes I managed to get my hands on.

If you are wondering what Mambazha Pulissery is, let me tell you that refers to ripe mangoes cooked in a yogurt gravy. This dish hails from Kerala, and is redolent of coconut and green chillies, the way several dishes from ‘God’s Own Country’ are. It is a delicious, delicious thing, the sweetness of ripe mangoes, the heat from the chillies and the sourness of yogurt complementing each other perfectly. I learnt how to make Mambazha Pulissery years ago from my mother-in-law, who hails from Palakkad. It’s an eternal favourite at our place, and I absolutely had to make it as we stand on the cusp of bidding goodbye to summer.

There are several different versions of the Mambazha Pulissery, as far as I understand. Different families bring in their own little variations to the recipe, while the major ingredients remain more or less the same. Some use little ripe mangoes whole in the pulissery, to suck on and discard the seed at the serving table. We prefer using chunks of mango in it, instead. We also don’t cook the pulissery after the yogurt has been added to it, which is what is practiced in quite a few homes.

This recipe for Mambazha Pulissery does not use any onion or garlic, but does include a knob of ginger for a punch of flavour. It can easily be made gluten-free by omitting the asafoetida used here in the tempering.

So, here goes our family recipe for Mambazha Pulissery. Do try it out and let me know how you liked it?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For grinding to a paste:

  1. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  2. 1 green chilly, chopped
  3. 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds (rai)
  4. 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  5. 1 sprig of curry leaves
  6. 3-4 dried red chillies

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 cup ripe mango, peeled and chopped into medium-sized cubes
  2. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder, or to taste
  5. 1 cup curd

Method:

1. Grind together all the ingredients listed under ‘To Grind’. Use a small mixer jar, adding a little water. Keep aside.

2. Take the chopped mango in a pan with about 1/4 cup water. Place on high flame. Cook till the mango is slightly soft – don’t overcook it.

3. Add the ground paste to the pan, along with salt, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the raw smell of the paste goes away, about 2 minutes.

4. Switch off gas. Allow the cooked ingredients to cool down fully.

5. Whisk the curd well to make it lump-free. Add this to the pan when the mixture has completely cooled down.

6. Now, we will prepare a tempering for the Mambazha Pulissery. Heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Turn down the flame to medium and add in the mustard. Allow it to sputter. Add in the fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. Add this tempering to the pan. Mix well. Your Mambazha Pulissery is ready to serve, with some steamed rice.

Notes:

1. Use mangoes that are ripe but firm, without any blemishes. Do not use mangoes that are too fibrous. I have used 2 small Neelam mangoes here, which gave me roughly 1 cup of flesh when chopped.

2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and coconut you use, as per personal taste preferences.

3. For best results, use curd that is sour, but not overly so. I have used home-made curd here, which was well-set but not overly thick. If the curd you are using is too thick, whisk it with a little water before adding it to the pulissery.
4. If the mangoes you are using are too sweet, you may skip using the jaggery powder in the pulissery.

5. Make sure the cooked ingredients have fully cooled down, before adding the curd to the pan. Otherwise, there are chances of the curd splitting. Do not cook the pulissery after adding the curd or heat it before serving. This Mambazha Pulissery is typically served at room temperature.

6. Add the tempering at the end, so as to retain the fragrance of the coconut oil in the pulissery. And, yes, coconut oil is a must here. Use any other oil, and the pulissery just doesn’t feel the same.

7. Do not overcook the mango. Cook it till it softens a little, then add the ground paste to it.

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

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #285.

Mysore Masala Dosa| Karnataka Style Masala Dosa

Mysore Masala Dosa finds pride of place on the menu in most eateries across Karnataka. It is a popular breakfast dish in the state, and there’s no surprise there. This is such a lip-smackingly delicious dosa, after all! I’m here today to share with you guys my aunt’s recipe for Mysore Masala Dosa. She makes them beautifully, and I always make them as per her recipe.

The typical Mysore Masala Dosa is thicker than your regular dosa, crisp on the outside and soft within. A fiery, red, garlicky chutney is spread inside the dosa – the star of the dish, in fact. There is a potato filling inside too, similar to that of the Masala Dosa. Looks-wise, the Mysore Masala Dosa looks quite similar to the Masala Dosa – it is the spicy red chutney in the former that makes all the difference.

The Mysore Masala Dosa is believed to have originated in Mysore, the erstwhile capital of Karnataka state. It is one of the most popular dosa versions around the globe, Karnataka included. Different restaurants have their own style of making the Mysore Masala Dosa, but most do come with one or the other version of spicy red chutney in them. My aunt’s recipe uses a simple red chutney made with coconut, the renowned Bydagi chillies of Karnataka, garlic and salt. We love this dosa to bits – the husband and I – and it features often on our dining table.

This is a completely plant-based recipe, suitable for those who follow a vegan diet. It can easily be made gluten-free too, by avoiding the asafoetida used here.

Without further ado, let’s now check out the recipe for Mysore Masala Dosa.

Ingredients (makes about 8 dosas):

For the potato filling:

  1. 4 medium-sized potatoes
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  5. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  6. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. Red chilli powder to taste
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. Lemon juice to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For the red chutney:

  1. 6-7 Bydagi dried red chillies
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 6-7 garlic cloves
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. Water as needed

For the dosas:

  1. 8 ladles of dosa batter
  2. Oil as needed to make the dosas

Method:

We will start with some basic prep work.

1. Break up the Bydagi chillies roughly using your hands. Keep them soaked in a little warm water for at least 20 minutes.

2. Cut the potatoes in halves, and transfer to a wide vessel. Add in enough water to cover them. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook the potatoes for 4 whistles or till they are well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and keep them ready.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep ready.

Now, we will prepare the red chutney.

1. Peel the garlic cloves. Keep them ready.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the grated coconut and peeled garlic cloves. Roast on medium flame till they start emitting a lovely fragrance.

3. Let the roasted coconut and garlic cool down fully, then transfer to a small mixer jar.

4. To the mixer jar, add the soaked Bydagi chilli pieces along with the little water they were soaked in. Add in salt to taste.

5. Grind the ingredients in the mixer jar together to a smooth paste. This is the red chutney you will be using to spread inside your dosas.

We will now get the potato filling for the dosas ready.

1. Get the cooked potatoes out of the cooker, once the pressure has gone down completely. Discard the water that the potatoes cooked in.

2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and roughly mash them.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds and let them sputter.

4. Add in the slit green chillies and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

5. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till they start browning.

6. Add the mashed potatoes to the pan, along with salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for about a minute.

7. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Adjust seasonings. Cook for 1-2 minutes on medium flame. Switch off gas.

8. Mix in lemon juice and finely chopped fresh coriander. Your potato filling is ready.

Next, we will prepare the Mysore Masala Dosa.

1. Place a dosa pan on high flame. Let it get nice and hot.

2. When the pan is hot enough, lower the flame to medium. Now, place a ladleful of dosa batter in the centre of the pan and spread it out quickly into a large circle. Use the back of the ladle to do this.

3. Drizzle a little oil all around the dosa. Let it cook on medium flame till it browns on the bottom. This takes 1-2 minutes.

4. Now, flip over the dosa. Cook on the other side for about a minute. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate.

5. Spread a little of the red chutney we prepared earlier, on the inside of the dosa. Place some of the potato filling inside too, in the centre of the dosa. Fold the dosa so as to close it. Serve the Mysore Masala Dosa immediately.

Notes:

1. I use home-made dosa batter to make the Mysore Masala Dosa. You can use store-bought batter instead, too.

2. Carrots and/or green peas can be added to the potato filling. I occasionally use them.

3. Ghee or butter can be used to make the dosas, instead of oil.

4. Some people add chana dal and/or curry leaves to the potato filling. I don’t.

5. Bydagi dry chillies give the chutney its red colour, without making it way too spicy. Make sure you use Bydagi chillies to make the red chutney. If you don’t have them, you can add some chana dal or fried gram (pottu kadalai) to the chutney – just roast them along with the other ingredients and grind everything together.

6. Don’t spread too much of the red chutney inside the dosas. Spread a little quantity of the chutney with light hand movements.

7. We add some water to the potato filling to make it softer and easy to place inside the dosa. You can skip the water and keep the filling dry as well.

8. For best results, make sure you keep the dosa a little thicker than usual. If the dosa is too thin or too crisp, you will find it difficult to spread the red chutney inside.

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This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, we food bloggers who are part of the group showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #NashtaTime, which was suggested by me. For the theme, all of us are presenting regional breakfast dishes from our home state.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #285.

Gujarati Kadhi Chutney| Fafda Chutney

If you have travelled (and eaten) in Gujarat, I’m sure you would have come across a thickish yellow-coloured chutney being offered alongside snacks like dhokla, khaman, fafda, cholafali and the likes. This delicious chutney has hints of spicy, sweet and sour and actually goes perfectly with most Gujarati snacks. It is made of besan aka gram flour, and is popularly called Fafda Chutney. It is also sometimes referred to as Kadhi Chutney, thanks to the similarity in looks with kadhi. Today, I’m going to share with you the recipe for this Fafda Chutney or Kadhi Chutney, Gujju style.

To make this chutney, a slurry of besan and water is cooked till it thickens, made aromatic with the addition of a few other ingredients. It is an extremely simple thing to whip up, and making it is but a matter of minutes. The Kadhi Chutney looks similar to the Bombay Chutney of South India but, taste-wise, the two things are quite different.

I made this Kadhi Chutney to serve with Khatta Dhokla for the 15 or so kids in the bub’s class, when it was our snack turn at her school recently. I wanted to give the little ones a sneak peek into Gujarati cuisine, and I must say it worked beautifully. I was, initially, a tad skeptical offering them something so different from the regular idli, dosa, pongal, pasta and pancakes, but I was all excited to see the dabbas returning from school almost empty. Yay to that!

Coming to the Kadhi Chutney, this is an entirely plant-based recipe, suitable for someone on a vegan diet. Just omit the asafoetida used here, and you have a completely gluten-free recipe too, without much of a change in the taste. Though some people add garlic and ginger to their Kadhi Chutney, this one doesn’t have any – making this a Jain version as well.

If you have never tried out Kadhi Chutney or Fafda Chutney before, you absolutely must! Let’s check out the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/4 cup besan (gram flour)
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  6. 2 slit green chillies
  7. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
  11. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  12. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

1. Take the besan in a mixing bowl and add in about 1/2 cup water. Whisk well, forming a slurry without any lumps.

2. Add the rest of the water to the mixing bowl too, along with salt to taste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and sugar. Whisk everything well together. Keep aside.

3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now, add the asafoetida, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Now, turn the flame down to low-medium and add the besan slurry to the pan. Mix well. Continue to cook on low-medium heat till the raw smell of the besan goes away and the mixture begins to thicken. This should take about 2 minutes. Switch off gas at this stage.

5. Mix in the lemon juice. The Kadhi Chutney is ready – serve it hot or warm or at room temperature with snacks of your choice.

Notes:

1. Some people add a bit of sour curd to the Kadhi Chutney, but I prefer using lemon juice.

2. Like I was saying earlier, ginger and/or garlic is sometimes added to Kadhi Chutney. I don’t.

3. Adjust the quantity of sugar, green chillies, red chilli powder and lemon juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.

4. Don’t skip the sugar. The Kadhi Chutney doesn’t taste the same without the sugar.

5. Jaggery powder can be substituted for the sugar, too. I prefer using sugar, though.

6. You may add in more green chillies and skip the red chilli powder altogether.

7. The Kadhi Chutney thickens a bit upon cooling.

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

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #284. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love.
I’m also sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair #130. This is a monthly event started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, the legacy carried forward for a long time by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. This month, My Legume Love Affair is being hosted by Kalyani at Sizzling Tastebuds.

Masala Vadai| Spiced Paruppu Vadai

Today’s post is a little nostalgic, a little glum, a little fearful, a little hopeful. It is definitely about a big reality check that all of us need to pay attention to. I’m also sharing our family recipe for Masala Vadai, a monsoon-special delicacy from South India.

I absolutely adore the rains. Rain uplifts my spirits almost immediately. Bangalore becomes all the more beautiful in the rains (yes, waterlogged roads and traffic jams come into the picture too, but I still love it). The heady scent of wet earth, greenery sprouting everywhere, the diffused sunlight peeking through the clouds, the pitter-patter of raindrops – all of it leaves me with a fresh, clean feeling. Life starts anew in the monsoons, and I cannot not be charmed by that. And then, there are the hundreds of delectable monsoon-special foods to think of!

This year, though, there are no signs of a robust monsoon here in Bangalore. It started turning skin-blistering hot in February this year, and a scorching few months followed. The weather definitely started getting cooler in June, but there was no sign of the overcast skies, pleasant drizzles and heavy thunderstorms that usually set foot in Bangalore in April or May. The peacock in my soul has been waiting. Only in the last week or so (in July!) we had the beginnings of rain – cloudy skies in the evenings and a couple of showers. I am eagerly looking forward to the full works that I have come to love Bangalore for. Meanwhile, we had to celebrate the start of monsoon with some Masala Vadai, crispy deep-fried lentil fritters that are a specialty in the South of India.

While we are on the subject of delayed monsoons, I cannot not talk about the acute water crisis that Chennai has been facing for the last few months. It has been disheartening and scary reading media reports about the same. This report about Bangalore’s water situation going the Chennai way scares the living daylights out of me. Ground water in Bangalore (among other Indian cities) has been dipping lower and lower by the year, and there is a huge chance of it running out all too soon. It is time we do something about the situation – or we are going to be left high and dry. As a family, we have been doing our part and I urge all of you to do so, too.

Coming back to the Masala Vadai, they are delicious, delicious things that I just cannot have enough of. Made using coarsely crushed chana dal, jazzed up with onions, fennel, mint, coriander, chillies and curry leaves – these vadais are nothing short of a treat. A simpler version of these vadais is made in South Indian homes on festival days and other auspicious occasions, called Aame Vadai or Paruppu Vadai. I’m presenting an amped-up version here that is just perfect for regular days. Make these as a tea-time snack or when you have guests over, and it’s sure to be a huge hit. It is a great choice for those days when it’s pouring outside and your tastebuds crave for something deep-fried and lovely. πŸ™‚

Amma makes some mean Aame Vadai and Masala Vadai, a skill that she has passed on to me. I have extremely fond memories of Amma waiting with a plate of these fritters for me to get back home from work on rainy days. She knows I love them to bits, and her care and affection washed away all the woes of commuting home, soaked to the skin, in the midst of a downpour.

These fritters are actually super-easy to make. You need to soak chana dal for a few hours, and once that is taken care of, the rest falls into place fairly quickly. Below is the recipe, with some tips and tricks to get the Masala Vadai perfect. This is an entirely plant-based, vegan recipe. It can easily be made gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used here.

Ingredients (makes about 20 vadais):

  1. 1 cup chana dal
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2-3 generous pinches of asafoetida
  5. 2 green chillies
  6. 2 dry red chillies
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  9. 1 big onion
  10. A handful of fresh mint leaves
  11. 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander
  12. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  13. Oil, as needed for deep frying

Method:

1. Wash the chana dal well under running water, a couple of times, draining out the water from it each time. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the chana dal and let it soak, covered, for 3-4 hours.

2. When the chana dal is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer the drained chana dal to a mixer jar.

3. Peel the ginger, chop it roughly and add to the mixer jar. Chop the green chillies and dry red chillies roughly and add them in too. Also add salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida to the mixer jar. Coarsely grind the ingredients together, without adding any water.

4. Take the oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place it on high flame and allow it to heat up.

5. In the meantime, transfer the ground chana dal to a large bowl. Chop the onion, curry leaves and mint finely and add them in. Also add the finely chopped coriander and fennel seeds to the mixing bowl. Mix up the ingredients well.

6. When the oil has heated up fully, reduce the flame to medium. Form 2-3 small patties out of the chana dal mixture we prepared earlier and slide them into the hot oil. Deep fry them on medium flame till brown and crisp on the outside, taking care not to burn them. Shape patties from the entire mixture similarly, and deep fry them in the same way. Serve hot.

Notes:

1. Do not over-soak the chana dal. Soaking for 3-4 hours is good enough.

2. Prepare the masala vadais immediately after you grind the ingredients. Plan out the soaking according to when you want to make the vadais. Frying the vadais long after the batter has been ground often results into them getting very oily.

3. A handful of dill leaves and/or garlic can be added to the Masala Vadais too. I usually don’t.

4. Increase or decrease the quantity of green chillies and dry red chillies you use as per personal taste preferences.

5. Make sure you fry the vadais on a medium flame. This will ensure even frying and delicious vadais.

6. The oil should get nice and hot before you turn down the flame to medium and start frying the vadais.

7. Grind the chana dal coarsely. Don’t make a fine paste, for best results.

8. Do not overcrowd the pan while frying the vadais. Fry them a couple at a time.

9. If you find it difficult to shape the batter into patties, mix in a couple of tablespoons of rice flour. I typically don’t.

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the members of the group share recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #RimJhimBarse, wherein we are showcasing monsoon-special recipes. The theme was suggested by Preethi, author of Preethi’s Cuisine, a lovely blog with many wonderful recipes from across the globe.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #284. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

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

Kollu Masala Usili| Spiced Horsegram Stir-Fry

Kollu Masala Usili is a delicious, mildly spiced stir-fry that is made using horsegram. A big-time favourite at our place, this usili pairs beautifully with rotis as well as rice dishes. Let me share with you today how I go about making this dish.

Horsegram – ‘kulthi‘ in Hindi, ‘kollu‘ in Tamil – is a powerhouse of health benefits. This legume gets its name from the fact that it was widely fed to horses and other livestock in the olden times, but is nothing short of a superfood. Low in fat and high in calcium, protein and iron, horsegram has been known to aid in reducing one’s cholesterol levels, digestive disorders, asthma, bronchitis, urinary issues and kidney stones. It is believed to be an excellent food for diabetics and for those who want to lose weight.

‘Elaithavanukku ellu, kozhutavanukku kollu’, goes an old Tamil saying. This literally translates into ‘Sesame for the one who has lost weight, horsegram for the one who has put on weight’. Yes, sesame has always been recognised as a food that helps one in building body weight, while horsegram is believed to be an ally for someone who wants to lose weight. Now, I’m no nutritionist and use both of these ingredients in moderation – I love cooking with both of these ‘opposite’ ingredients equally. πŸ™‚ I think this Kollu Masala Usili is a great way to use horsegram!

I soak the horsegram overnight and then pressure cook it, to make the Kollu Masala Usili. The water in which the horsegram is cooked is full of nutrients, and I drain and reserve it for use in a gravy-based curry, soup or rasam. I will shortly share with you the way we make Kollu Rasam, from the water left over after cooking the horsegram. It’s a lovely, lovely thing – this rasam – I tell you.

For now, here’s how you go about making Kollu Masala Usili.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 3/4 cup horsegram (aka kollu or kulthi)
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1 sprig curry leaves
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. 1 tablespoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. 2 dry red chillies
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Red chilli powder to taste
  13. 1 teaspoon chana masala or to taste
  14. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste (optional)
  15. 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  16. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut or as per taste
  17. A dash of lemon juice (optional)

Method:

1. Wash the horsegram thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Then soak it for 8-10 hours or overnight in just enough water to cover it.

2. When the horsegram is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer to a wide vessel and add in 1 cup of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 5-6 whistles or till the horsegram is fully cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. In the meantime, chop the onion finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

4. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, open it and get out the cooked horsegram. Strain out all the water from it – don’t throw it out, just reserve it for later use. Keep the drained cooked horsegram ready.

5. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard and allow it to pop. Next add the cumin, dry red chillies, asafoetida, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the chopped onion to the pan. Cook on medium flame till it browns.

7. Now, add the cooked horsegram to the pan. Also add in salt and red chilli powder to taste, turmeric powder, jaggery powder and chana masala. Mix well. Cook uncovered on medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off gas.

8. Mix in lemon juice (if using), chopped coriander and grated coconut. Serve the Kollu Masala Usili hot, warm or at room temperature with rotis, dosas or a rice dish of your preference.

Notes:

1. Some people do not soak the horsegram and pressure cook it directly. I prefer soaking it overnight and then cooking it in the morning – it turns out much softer and delicious by doing so.

2. Always use soft water to soak the horsegram and to cook it.

3. Make sure the horsegram is well cooked before proceeding to use it in making this Kollu Masala Usili. The time needed for pressure cooking the horsegram might differ from one person to another.

4. I like using chana masala in the above recipe, but it can easily be substituted by garam masala or any other masala of your preference.

5. I use coconut oil or sesame oil to make this Kollu Masala Usili, usually. You can use any oil of your preference.

6. The jaggery powder adds beautifully to the flavour of the Kollu Masala Usili, and I would not really recommend skipping it. However, you may skip it if you are not too fond of a sweetish taste in your food.

7. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder and grated coconut as per personal taste preferences.

8. I wouldn’t suggest skipping the lemon juice in the above Kollu Masala Usili recipe either. It rounds up the dish in a lovely way.

9. Ginger-garlic paste and/or chopped tomatoes can be used in the Kollu Masala Usili too. I usually don’t.

10. Like I was saying earlier, the water in which the horsegram is cooked is full of nutrients. Don’t discard it. Drain out the water from the horsegram after it is cooked, and reserve it. Use only the cooked and drained horsegram in the above Kollu Masala Usili recipe. Our family recipe for Kollu Rasam requires about 2 tablespoons of the cooked horsegram as well – if you plan to make the rasam our way, do make sure you reserve a little of it too.

11. This is a vegetarian dish, completely plant-based and suitable for those who follow a vegan diet. It can easily be made gluten-free by omitting the asafoetida added in the tempering. For a Jain version, skip the onions.

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This recipe is for the A-Z Recipe Challenge group that I am part of. Every alternate month, the members of this group showcase recipes that star ingredients in alphabetical order of their names.

The letter for this month is H, and I chose ‘horsegram’ as my star ingredient.

I’m also sharing this with Fiesta Friday #283. Your co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

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

Hot Cocoa| Easy Hot Cocoa Recipe

Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside,’ said someone, and they were so very right. A well-made mug of hot chocolate indeed feels like a giant bear hug, warming up your soul and making life look better almost immediately. I would say hot cocoa has the same magical properties. When you can’t make a cuppa hot chocolate, for whatever reason, hot cocoa works just as fine. Well, chocolate anything has the power to uplift your spirits, right?

What’s the difference between ‘hot chocolate’ and ‘hot cocoa’, you ask? Hot chocolate is made using milk and real chocolate, often with embellishments like orange peel, hazelnuts, almonds, cinnamon and the likes. Hot cocoa, on the other hand, is made using milk and cocoa powder, with or without the embellishments. Hot cocoa is thinner – and less rich – as compared to hot chocolate. Both taste different from each other, but both are equally gorgeous. I often don’t have chocolate at home, so a cup of good hot cocoa does the trick for me when I’m feeling cold or sick or down in the dumps. πŸ™‚

July 7 every year is celebrated as ‘World Chocolate Day’, a celebration of all things deliciously, wonderfully chocolate-ey. In commemoration of this special day, our Foodie Monday Blog Hop group is presenting chocolate-based recipes, today. I decided to go with this Easy Hot Cocoa Recipe that I make often and absolutely adore, but have never shared on my blog.

So, here’s how you make some heavenly but easy-peasy Hot Cocoa!

Ingredients (yields 1 mug):

  1. Full-fat milk, a little over 3/4 mug
  2. 1 tablespoon cream
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. A pinch of cinnamon powder
  6. 2-3 almonds
  7. 2 squares of milk chocolate
  8. 1 slice of candied orange, with peel

Method:

1. Take the milk, cream, sugar and cocoa powder together in a saucepan. Place on high flame and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, chop the almonds into slivers. Chop the milk chocolate and candied orange roughly. Keep ready.

3. Once the hot cocoa has come to a boil, switch off gas. Mix in the cinnamon powder, and pour it into the mug.

4. Garnish the hot cocoa with the chopped almonds, candied orange and milk chocolate. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. I used a standard-sized mug to make this hot cocoa, and the above measurements are reflective of the same. Adjust the quantity of milk, sugar and cocoa as per personal taste preferences.

2. The cream is added for a little bit of indulgence and to make the hot cocoa thicker. However, if you don’t want it, you can skip it altogether or reduce the quantity you use.

3. You can skip the milk chocolate in the garnishing, if you want to. The candied orange and almonds are optional too, but I would not suggest skipping them, as they uplift the hot cocoa like anything.

4. You can skip the cinnamon powder if you don’t like it. I add in very little because I like it that way.

5. Use full-fat milk, cream that is very fresh, and good-quality cocoa powder, for best results. I have used Cadbury’s unsweetened cocoa powder here.

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This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the members of the group present recipes on their blogs, based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #KuchMeethaHoJaye, in commemoration of World Chocolate Day, as I was saying earlier. Today, we are all talking recipes made using chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

The week’s theme was suggested by Renu of Cook With Renu. Check out Renu’s blog for some amazing bakes and beautiful recipes!

I’m also sharing this with Fiesta Friday #283. Your co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Dal Makhani| Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe

I love the creamy deliciousness of well-made Dal Makhani. I love how it literally melts in your mouth and slides down your throat. I love how simple, how unassuming, it looks but how it manages to surprise you with the burst of flavours that it is. Well-made Dal Makhani is a joy to eat, and absolutely not a difficult thing to get right at home.

Dal Makhani has always been projected as this dish that needs hours and hours of slow cooking, perfect technique and measurements to get right, something that is very difficult to achieve in a home setting. However, that so isn’t the case. A good Dal Makhani is, at its heart, very simple. You can pare down the ingredients to a minimum – even cut out the cream, which is considered a must – and still get an awesome, awesome Dal Makhani. Considering this, it is actually a highly nutritious dish, especially so if you can manage to use home-made spice powders. Just think of all the protein packed into that black urad that goes in there!

I have seen a number of celebrity chefs prepare Dal Makhani on television, seen several home chefs and my very own house help make it several times over. Somewhere down the line, I started making it myself, going on to develop a simple style that perfectly suits my family’s taste buds. We rather prefer this home-made version of Dal Makhani to the cream- and calorie-laden version that is typically served in restaurants.

Today, I share with you the way I make Dal Makhani at home. I will very occasionally use cream in it, that too just a teeny bit for garnishing. I cook it for 20-25 minutes, which is enough to give it a silky smoothness and gorgeous taste. As opposed to the traditional method of making Dal Makhani on a wood fire, I cook it in a pan. There is no smoky fragrance in the Dal Makhani I make – my family and I aren’t big fans of it, anyway. Ok, maybe my Dal Makhani isn’t the most authentic version there is, but it surely is delicious and healthy!

Let’s now check out my Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup whole black urad dal (sabut udad)
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  9. A 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon
  10. 2-3 cloves
  11. 2-3 green cardamom
  12. 1 medium-sized bay leaf
  13. 1 black cardamom
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  16. 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or to taste
  17. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  18. 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  19. About 1/2 teaspoon of kasoori methi
  20. Cream, as needed to garnish (optional)
  21. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander for garnishing

Method:

1. Wash the whole black urad well under running water. Drain out all the water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the washed and drained urad, and let it soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. When the urad is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer it to a wide vessel and add in just enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook the urad for 5-6 whistles on high flame or till it is well cooked, soft and mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop up the tomatoes roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together in a mixer to a fine puree. Keep aside.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, remove the cooked urad dal from it. The urad should be super soft – there should be no give to it.

6. Heat the butter in a large pan. Add in the cumin and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add in the cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom, bay leaf, cloves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions begin to brown.

8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree to the pan. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away. Stir intermittently.

9. Add the cooked urad dal to the pan, along with the water it was cooked in. Add about 1/2 cup of fresh water or as needed to adjust the consistency. Cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes or till the dal begins to thicken.

10. Add garam masala and amchoor powder to the pan, and more water if you feel the dal is getting too thick. Adjust salt and other spices. Mix well.

11. Continue to cook on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas.

12. Crush the kasoori methi roughly with your hands and mix it into the Dal Makhani. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander too.

13. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, garnished with a dollop of fresh cream. This Healthy Dal Makhani can be served with rotis, parathas or steamed rice – some of these pickled onions would make a great accompaniment!

Notes:

1. You can use a mix of rajma and whole black urad to make the Dal Makhani. I have not used rajma here.

2. Butter works best in the tempering for Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. I have used Amul salted butter here. You may use ghee instead, too.

3. Make sure the urad dal is very well cooked and soft, before adding it to the pan. There should be no crunch to it.

4. The whole spices used in the tempering – cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom and bay leaves – add all the zing that the Dal Makhani needs. If you don’t have any of these spices, though, you can omit it. The cumin is a must, though.

5. The slow cooking of the urad dal is what gives this Healthy Dal Makhani its creaminess. You can add in a tablespoon or so of fresh cream after the Dal Makhani is cooked and done, for more richness, but that is entirely up to you. Skip the fresh cream altogether if you are not comfortable using it, and your Dal Makhani will still be creamy and lovely. Here, I have used Amul fresh cream only for the purpose of garnishing the Dal Makhani.

6. Some people add coriander powder, fennel powder and/or roasted cumin powder to Dal Makhani. I don’t. I have used only a very little quantity of garam masala here.

7. Add the garam masala towards the end of the cooking, so it does not lose its flavour.

8. Kitchen King Masala, Dal Makhani masala or Chana Masala can also be used in place of the garam masala, in the above Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe.

9. Add the kasoori methi at the very end, after the Dal Makhani has finished cooking.

10. I like adding a bit of amchoor powder to the Dal Makhani. You may omit it if you don’t want to use it.

11. You can skip the onions, ginger and garlic if you want to.

12. Use Kashmiri red chilli powder in this recipe for best results. It imparts a very mild spiciness to the Dal Makhani, without making it overly hot, just the way it is supposed to be. It also adds a lovely colour to the Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

13. Dal Makhani is traditionally slow-cooked on a wood fire, which infuses the dish with a smoky fragrance. The above recipe is not a slow-cook version – it is cooked for 20-25 minutes as opposed to the hours of simmering the traditional Dal Makhani is subject to. There is no smoky fragrance in this version, though that can easily be achieved using a little piece of charcoal.

14. A few minor changes can help you make this dish vegan and gluten-free.

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This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the food bloggers in the group pair up, and each pair exchanges secret ingredients. Then, the bloggers go on to use these secret ingredients to create a recipe from a particular Indian state’s cuisine.

The theme this month is Punjabi cuisine, food from the Indian state of Punjab. Punjabi cuisine is known the world over for being robust and supremely flavourful, with a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on offer. Makke Di Roti, Sarson Da Saag, Dal Makhani, Chana Masala, Paneer Butter Masala, Rajma Masala, Kadhi Pakode, Pindi Chhole, Atte Ka Halwa and Malai Lassi are some examples of the delicious vegetarian food and drink from this state.

My partner for the month is Mayuri, who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni. She assigned me two secret ingredients – cream and Kashmiri red chilli powder – and I decided to showcase this Dal Makhani recipe using them. I gave Mayuri the two secret ingredients of paneer and tomato – check out the absolutely scrumptious Paneer Butter Masala she has dished up using them!

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Gujarati Steamed Carrot Muthia| Gajar Na Muthiya

Are you looking for a delicious snack that you can enjoy without too much of guilt? If your answer to this question is ‘Yes’, these Gajar Na Muthiya or Carrot Muthia I tried out recently would be right up your alley. I’ll also add here that this is a super simple snack, an easy-peasy thing to whip up. Perfect for everyday days and occasions!

Speaking of occasions, it was the husband’s birthday recently, and we had a quiet little family celebration at home. I sent him an online birthday card from Paperless Post at work to make the day all the more memorable, and he absolutely loved it. I have been having fun playing around with the huge variety of fun, quirky, classy, stylish online stationery that Paperless Post has on offer. There’s something for every occasion, something for everyone – birthday and anniversary cards, Christmas cards, party invites, fun cards and what not. Have you checked out the website yet? You definitely must!

Coming back to the Gajar Na Muthiya now. For the uninitiated, ‘Muthia‘ refers to a Gujarati snack that can be either fried or steamed. The fried one is commonly used in vegetable curries and other delicacies, while the steamed one is tempered and consumed as a snack in itself. The latter, steamed and tempered, version of muthia is what I am about to present to you today.

Steamed muthia can be made using a variety of flours and binding agents – wheat flour, gram flour, oats, millets and semolina, for instance. A number of permutations and combinations of these ingredients are possible – go as far as your imagination takes you! I’ve seen some really unusual flours being used in muthia so, really, only the sky is the limit. In these Gajar Na Muthiya, I have used the combination of ingredients most commonly used in Gujarati households – whole wheat flour, gram flour and semolina.

In Gujarat, muthia are traditionally flavoured using green chilli-ginger paste and coriander-cumin powder (dhana jeeru), sometimes a bit of garlic and/or garam masala. Jaggery or sugar is usually added in, as well as lemon juice or amchoor powder to give them a little tartness. A variety of vegetables can be added to make the muthiya more nutritious – bottle gourd (doodhi), fenugreek greens (methi), spinach (palak) and cabbage (kobi) are some of the most commonly used ones. I had some beautiful orange Ooty carrots lying in my fridge, and so that is what I used in my muthia. The Gajar Na Muthiya turned out absolutely, lip-smackingly delicious, if I may say so myself.

Let us now check out how to make the Carrot Muthia.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 3/4 cup gram flour (besan)
  3. 1/4 cup fine sooji (rava aka semolina)
  4. 1-1/2 cup grated carrot
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  7. 2-3 green chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  14. 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
  15. 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  16. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  17. A little oil to grease the steaming vessel and your palms

For tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut

Method:

1. Take the whole wheat flour, gram flour and sooji in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add in salt, asafoetida, sesame seeds, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and amchoor powder.

3. Peel the carrot and grate finely. Add the grated carrot to the mixing bowl.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Grind the ginger, garlic cloves and green chillies together to a paste, adding a little water. Add this paste to the mixing bowl.

5. Adding water little by little, bind the ingredients in the mixing bowl to a soft dough. It should be a bit more squishy than roti dough.

6. Grease the bottom and sides of a colander with a little oil. We will use this greased colander to steam the Carrot Muthia. Keep it ready.

7. Using your greased hands, shape 3 logs from the dough. Keep aside.

8. Heat 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand over the water, then place the greased colander on top of the stand, ensuring that no water enters it.

9. Place the dough logs you prepared earlier in the greased and heated colander, without overcrowding.

10. Close the pressure cooker. Don’t put the weight on. Steam the logs on high flame for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of them comes out mostly clean.

11. Allow the logs to cool down for 10-15 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut them into slices.

12. Now, we will do the tempering. Heat the oil for tempering in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add the sesame seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, reduce the heat to medium, then add the slices to the pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring gently, for about 10 minutes or till the slices get crisp on the outside. Switch off gas. Your Gajar Na Muthiya or Carrot Muthia are ready for serving.

13. Transfer the Carrot Muthia to serving plates. Serve hot, garnished with finely chopped coriander and fresh grated coconut.

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

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This post is in collaboration with Paperless Post. The views about the service expressed in the post are completely honest and entirely my own. I have whole-heartedly enjoyed using Paperless Post, and would love to take this opportunity to introduce the website to you guys too.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Instant Khaman| Easy Khaman Recipe

Having grown up in Gujarat, it is but natural that I have a soft corner for the state’s cuisine. Give me a plate of Gujarati food any day, and I’ll get a goofy grin on my face. It speaks directly to my soul. Choosing just one favourite from the vast ocean that Gujarati cuisine is would be an impossible task for me – I love most of the foods the state has to offer. However, I can safely say that khaman ranks high up there, among the top things I love from amongst them. I’m here today with a recipe for Instant Khaman, an easy version of khaman that doesn’t require any prior soaking of lentils.

There are a couple of different varieties of khaman made in Gujarat – the Vati Dal Na Khaman made using soaked chana dal, for instance, and this instant variety, made using gram flour aka besan. Different families have slight variations in the making Instant Khaman, while the basic ingredients remain more or less the same. I share the simple recipe that I learnt from a Gujarati family friend of ours, years ago, tried and tested a countless number of times.

This Instant Khaman recipe yields beautiful results – pillow-soft, fluffy pieces, the perfect mix of sweet and sour and spicy, extremely delicious. This khaman is steamed in a pressure cooker or steamer, with only a little amount of oil used in the tempering. Citric acid and Eno Fruit Salt are the secret ingredients in this recipe, those that work behind-the-scenes to create spongy khaman.

This is an entirely plant-based dish, one suitable for those following a vegan diet. If you simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, this Instant Khaman recipe can be made gluten-free as well.

Let’s now check out the proceedure for making Instant Khaman.

Ingredients (yields about 15 pieces):

  1. 1 cup gram flour aka besan
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 2 generous pinches of citric acid
  6. 1-1/2 cups water
  7. 1 teaspoon Eno Fruit Salt (plain)
  8. A little oil for greasing the steaming vessel

For tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  4. 2-3 green chillies
  5. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves

For garnishing:

  1. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut

Method:

1. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt, sugar, turmeric powder and citric acid.

2. Add the water to the mixing bowl and whisk all the ingredients well, until they are properly combined together. Make sure there are no lumps. You should get a batter that is neither too runny nor too thick. Adjust water/gram flour accordingly. Taste and adjust salt and/or sugar accordingly too.

3. Take about a cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand inside it. Keep the cooker on high flame and let the water come to a boil.

4. In the meanwhile, grease the bottom and sides of a large, wide vessel with a little oil. Place the greased vessel over the stand, in the pressure cooker, and allow it to get hot too. Make sure water doesn’t enter the vessel.

5. When the water in the cooker is boiling, add the Eno Fruit Salt to the batter. Mix thoroughly. Pour all of the batter immediately into the hot greased vessel inside the cooker.

6. Close the pressure cooker. Do not put the weight on. Steam the khaman on high flame for 12-15 minutes.

7. When the khaman is done steaming, let it sit for a few minutes before opening the cooker. Then, remove the khaman.

8. Sprinkle the fresh grated coconut and finely chopped coriander evenly over the khaman.

9. Heat the oil for tempering in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida, chopped green chillies and curry leaves and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour this tempering evenly over the khaman.

10. Cut the khaman into pieces using a sharp knife. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Notes:

1. Citric acid, commonly available in several departmental stores, works best in the making of Instant Khaman. This is an industrially manufactured substance, but considered to be quite safe when used occasionally in small quantities. Read this article by Healthline for more details.

2. Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits like lemon. Therefore, lemon juice can indeed be used as a substitute for citric acid in the above recipe. However, it doesn’t yield the beautifully light and fluffy khaman that you get by using store-bought citric acid.

3. The time taken for the khaman to get steamed differs on the basis of various factors – consistency of the batter, make of pressure cooker, etc. However, anywhere between 12 to 15 minutes works in most cases.

4. Steam the khaman till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean. Do not over-steam the khaman, as this might cause them to become hard.

5. Eno Fruit Salt is typically used in Gujarati households for the batter to rise, which goes a long way towards ensuring that the khaman turn out spongy-soft. Make sure you use the plain version, without any flavouring added to it.

6. Add the Eno Fruit Salt at the very end, just before the batter goes into the pressure cooker for steaming.

7. Use a fresh packet of Eno Fruit Salt, every time you make Instant Khaman. Also, do check its ‘best before’ date. Fruit salt that has been open or lying around for some time or past its ‘best before’ date might not work very effectively in the above recipe.

8. For best results, use fresh besan aka chickpea flour which is free of any odours or pests.

9. Baking soda can be substituted for the Eno Fruit Salt, as far as I know, but I have never tried that out.

10. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences. Ideally, khaman batter should be a good mix of sweet and sour.

11. The khaman batter should neither be too runny nor too thick. Sticking to the ratios of ingredients provided above helps arrive at just the right batter consistency.

12. Sesame seeds can be added in while tempering the Instant Khaman. I haven’t, here.

13. Don’t overdo the citric acid in this recipe. Use only two good pinches for the above quantities of ingredients, and that is enough. More citric acid would make the khaman too sour.

14. In Gujarat, khaman – instant or otherwise – is traditionally served with Papaya Nu Kachumber and/or a sweetish version of gram flour chutney, called Kadhi Chutney.

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This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the members of this group present recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop is #JamvaChaloJi, suggested by the very talented blogger Mayuri, who writes at Mayuri’s Jikoni. All of us are showcasing recipes from Gujarat, for the theme.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.