Gajar ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

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Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar Halwa

Gajar ka Halwa is my favorite Indian dessert. My Mom used to make it very often- and usually when we were off to school (I understand that part completely now!). And what a joy it was to come back from the school and be told that we could finish our lunch quickly and then enjoy the delectable dessert. I would take my share, sit in the lawn, and eat the Halwa enjoying the winter sun. Those days sure bring a lot of memories back.

And now……..like my son says “Carrot is good for eyes” I think this dessert is not just delicious it is healthy too. It is very simple to make, however takes time and patience.

Ingredients

• 1 kg Gajar ( Carrots )

• 1.5 liter Whole Milk

• 1 teaspoon Cardamom seeds powdered (optional)

• 1/2 tablespoons Ghee for frying the Cashews

• 2-3 tablespoons dry fruits (Sliced Badam, Pista, Kaju)

• Raisins soaked in water for half an hour

• 450 grams Sugar

• Whole dried milk (mawa) or Milk Cream (Malai)

 

Method

Wash the carrots, peel them and grate them. In a heavy base saucepan (kadai) bring the milk to boil. Now add the grated carrot and let this cook on low flame for one hour, stir continuously. When it starts getting thick, Add sugar, cardamom powder, 1/4 of the total dry fruits and raisins. Stir for 5-7 minutes. Now add Mawa and stir well on low flame. Let it cook till the sugar dissolves and the milk has been absorbed. Remove it from the flame once done, take it out in the serving bowl, and decorate with the remaining dry fruits. Serve it hot!

Remember Malai or Fresh Cream works as good as Mawa, so if you don’t have Mawa, it is ok as long as you can add the cream!
You can also decorate it with a silver leaf.

French Spinach (Palak) Salad

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French Spinach (Palak) Salad

A regular French salad usually is based on celery or lettuce as the main ingredient, and a specific dressing made of lemon juice, garlic, mustard, chili sauce, olive oil, paprika, horseradish, salt and pepper.

I and my husband usually include a lot of salads and fruits in our breakfast. Therefore I need to keep on coming up with different salads to keep it interesting. I made raw Spinach (Palak) based French salad today and was happy with the result. I always encourage my son to eat more Spinach by telling him that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, he does love Palak Paneer and Alu Palak. It is too early to tell him that we might also be protecting ourselves against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time by doing so.

Here is how this simple, quick and healthy recipe goes-

Ingredients-

Palak Salad- Ingredients

Raw Spinach (Palak) Chopped
Mustard Sauce as per taste
Black Pepper Powder (Kali mirch powder)
Chaat Masala
1 tablespoon corn
1 Onion chopped
1 Tomato Chopped
8-9 pineapple cubes
2 teaspoon pineapple juice
1 Carrot sliced

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and that’s it! Eat a healthy breakfast and have a nice day!

Baingan Methi

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Baingan Methi

It is brinjal time again.  This is a humble dish, quick to make and healthy.  I am not a big fan of brinjal family but this one definitely is my favorite.  Try it and you will be amazed with how good it comes out. 

 Ingredients-

1/2 bunch fenugreek leaves (methi)
7-8 long slender brinjals
1-2 whole red chlli
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
1-2 Tablespoon oil for frying
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder

Method-

Wash the methi leaves and chop them.  Cut the brinjal into cubes.  Now take a pan and heat oil.  Add the Cumin seeds, once they crackle, add whole red chilli and ½ tsp turmeric powder.  Now add the brinjals and stir.  Add salt as per taste and cover with a lid.  After 5-7 minutes check if the brinjals are cooked.  Once they are almost cooked, add the spices, stir, and add the chopped fenugreek leaves.  It will take five more minutes for this to cook and it is done. Methi leaves don’t take much time to cook and I like to take them off the flame before they lose their color.  The dish is ready to be served with hot chapatti!

Gatte ki Sabzi

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Gatte Ki Sabzi

Gatte (Gram Flour Dumplings) ki Sabzi is a popular Rajasthani dish. It is a hit with almost everybody and goes well with baati, rice, or chappati. A lot of people make it without onion-garlic paste and usually make the gravy with a base of curd. The other way, which we follow, has the gravy of onion, tomato, and curd base. Needless to say both have their own charm.
I often make this dish when I invite people over and Saturday brunch.
Here is how it goes-

Ingredients-

Gatte- Ingredients

For Gatte:
1 cup – gram flour (besan)
1/2 tsp –cumin seed (Jeera)
1/2 tsp – turmeric powder
1/2 tsp – red chilli powder
1/2 tsp – coriander powder (dhania powder)
1/2 tsp – ginger paste
2 tsps – cream (malai) or 2 tsp oil
2-3 tbsps – yogurt
few springs of coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
a pinch of soda bi carb
1 tsp – salt or to taste
2 tsp oil for shallow frying

Gravy:

2 Table spoon oil
1/2 tsp – cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 Bay Leaves
3-4 – cloves (laung)
1 Cup- Onion Puree
5-7 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup – tomatoes puree
1/2 tsp – red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
1/2 tsp – turmeric powder
Salt to Taste
½ tsp Coriander powder (Dhaniya Powder)
2 Green Chillies split vertically
3 tbsp curd

Method:

To make gatte:

Making Gattas

Take all ingredients for gatte and make it into soft dough. Add curd or more water to bring in the consistency (similar to dough for chappati) Smear oil on hands and roll out this dough into 4”-5” long and 1-2 cm thick cylindrical rolls as in the picture above. Boil about 5 cups of water and place these rolled out dough pieces in this. Let them cook for 10 minutes. You can check if they are cooked from inside by cutting with a knife or spoon.
Once they are cooked take them out and let them cool. Don’t throw away the water in which they were boiled- we will add this to the gravy at a later stage.
Cut them into pieces of your desired size and shallow fry them for a couple of minutes in 2-3 table spoon oil. Some people like to deep fry them as well. The gattas are ready!

Gatte pieces being fried

To make gravy:
Take oil in a pan and heat it. Add cumin seeds, once they crackle add bay leaf and cloves Add onion paste.  Sauté this for five minutes and then add garlic paste. Keep stirring this so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and add turmeric powder. Let this cook until the paste is light brown (approximately ten minutes) now add the slit green chillies and thereafter tomato paste. Cook and stir until the oil starts separating from the gravy. Add beaten curd, and the spices such as red chilli powder, coriander powder and dry ginger powder. If you want you can add garam masala too. Finally add salt and the “besan water” left over from boiling the gattas. Add the gattas and let them cook in this gravy for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve the sabzi with Pulao or Paratha.

You can also add kasturi methi to the dough for gattas for variation. Keep some Gattas aside and you can add them to rice to make pulao.

Idli Fry

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Idli Fry

I love South Indian food!  We often have Idlis and Dosas in breakfast.  I grew up in Rajasthan and back then we did not have any South Indian restaurants around us.  I loved it when Mom made it at home- even the Sambhar Masala- which I buy from the grocery store conveniently….

That reminds me since we shifted to Hyderabad I have not had Dosa Sambhar made by her…cause here I have it so often…….next trip….  

The good thing is usually kids love it and you can change a lot with Dosa stuffing and a variety of Chutneys make it all the more interesting to make South Indian food and relish it.

Ingredients-

4-5 Idlis

1 tablespoon Butter

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds

1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)

1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)

Salt to taste

2 chopped green chillies

1/2 Onion Chopped

Chopped Coriander

Method-

We often fry leftover Idlis and have them as snacks.  All you need to do is take a tablespoon of Butter/Ghee in a pan, heat it. Add Mustard Seeds and let them splutter. Add turmeric powder and chopped onions. Once the onions are golden brown add green chillies and fry for a minute. Now add the Idlis and salt as desired.  Garnish with chopped coriander and snack away!

Fried Idli served with Peanut Chutney

Happy Birthday Chiyu!

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Today happens to be my niece Chiyu’s Birthday- she has turned four.  I wish I was there to see her all dressed up in her pink gown. She sounded so excited!

I wish her all the very best in life!

Methi Paratha- Fenugreek Paratha

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Hot Methi Paratha served with butter

Methi Paratha served with Butter

 Healthy and quick to make, we love to have Methi Parathas in our dinner.  Here is how it goes-

 Ingredients -

Ingredients for Methi Paratha

Methi Paratha- Ingredients

 3 cups whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoon Gram Flour

2 cup methi (fenugreek) leaves washed and patted dry

5 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

2 chopped Green chillies

Method-

Mix the above mentioned ingredients in a bowl (1-2 tablespoon of oil is sufficient).  Add water as required and knead to form smooth, medium-soft dough.  Divide the dough into equal sized balls and roll them so that they are smooth and cracklesss.  Roll each ball with a rolling pin and dust liberally with more flour as you are rolling.  When done, pat out the excess flour.
Heat a tava and fry the methi paratha both sides to crispy golden brown.  Put some oil over the paratha as you do this.

Adding gram flour/besan makes them more crisp. It is optional to add it.

Serve hot with curd, butter, or pickle.

Sandesh – The popular Bengali mithai.

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Sandesh

Sandesh is a very popular Bengali recipe- it is easy and quick to make. My son loves it too. It is Children’s Day and he is off to school for celebrations. I am not used to Saturdays without him around me. With the extra time on hand I decided to make Sandesh and now I can’t wait for him to get back and have these.

Ingredients-

2 liters Whole Milk
1 cup powdered sugar /icing sugar
7 Chopped Pistachios
2 Seeds crushed Cardamom (Elaichi Powder)
1 Lemon/or 1/2 teaspoon Citric Acid

Method-
Dissolve 1/2 tsp citric acid in 1/4 cup of water (You can use lemon juice as well). Bring milk to boil, reduce the heat, and then pour the acidic water into this. The milk will start curdling as shown in pictures below. Stir it till it is fully curdled. Once the curdles (now Paneer or Indian cottage cheese) have formed the whey (Whey or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained) will separate. Pour the curdled milk over a muslin/cheese cloth. Tie the cloth and hang this for half an hour till the whey drains out.

Take the paneer out in a bowl and mix powdered sugar or icing sugar and cardamom powder. Knead it well for 10-12 minutes till it becomes smooth and grain less. The mixture is ready to be shaped and garnished! If you have moulds go ahead and make Sandesh of different shapes and sizes.

Sprinkle cut pistachios and cardamom over each sandesh, cool and serve. They taste absolutely amazing

If you have moulds you can use the same to give different shapes to Sandesh. However the Sandesh should be used immediately for making various shapes or else it does not remain smooth and cracks appear. You can also add saffron and cardamom as well to give sandesh additional flavor. Use of icing sugar instead of fine sugar is optional; it helps prevent any extra moisture and does not let the paneer become sticky.

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Bring milk to boil

Milk starts to Curdle

Milk starts to curdle

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Shape, Garnish and Serve Sandesh!

Pooran Poli

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Pooran Poli is a dessert served during auspicious occasions.  I have eaten and relished different versions of this dish- it has different versions across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and here in Southern India there are variations again.

My favorite version is that of my Mom in law.  She makes heavenly Pooran Polis and I learnt making them from her.  A lot of people use Maida for the dough (Poli) but we use wheat flour and to make the Pooran (stuffing) sweet we use sugar and not jaggery

Ingredients:

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Pooran

 For dough (Poli): 
3 cups Wheat flour
Sugar to taste
Water/Ghee As needed
Ghee for frying Pooran Poli

For Stuffing (Pooran)

250 Gms Bengal gram (Chana Daal)
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Water As needed for boiling Bengal Gram
Sugar to taste
Cardamom Powder

 Mix the wheat flour and sugar.  Add water as required and knead the dough in Ghee.  Pour some extra ghee on top and keep covered until the stuffing is ready.

Cook the Daal till it is soft and then strain the extra water out, keep it for cooling.  Grind it in a mixie till smooth and add cardamom powder.  Place this mixture in a pan and add sugar.  Cook and stir till the mixture reaches the consistency which will enable it to be shaped into soft balls. .  Equal number of balls are made of the dough as well as the stuffing.  The pooran is stuffed inside the dough and then rolled out flat using a rolling pin.

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Pooran place on the center of rolled out Chapatti

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Making Pooran Poli

 

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Pooran Poli- Ready to be rolled out

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Pooran Poli- Rolled out

There you go- Hot Pooran Poli served with Curry

Hot Pooran Poli served with Curry

Saffron, cardamom, and nutmeg is added for additional flavor.

Take a ball of dough, flatten it out into a small circle with a rolling pin and then place the pooran (stuffing) ball in the center, fold the chapatti and close the edges to cover the pooran.  The more the pooran the better!  Roll this out again and fry it on a hot girdle using ghee.  There you go.  I find it irresistible on its own or it can also be served with hot besan curry as my Mom in law likes to eat- but only after making lots of Pooran Poli for everybody at home.

You can add nutmeg powder/roasted cashews/saffron for extra flavor.  It can also be served with clarified butter or sweetened milk.

Aloo (Potato)Parathas

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I have been away from posting on the blog for quite sometime.  Travelling and busy with the usual chores and sometimes plain lazy.  I am back and promise to be regular now- until the next vacation of course ;-).

  My husband is not a very big fan of Aloo Parathas and when he does have them, he likes them without onions.  I differ!  I love them with onions.  A friend was coming over for brunch and I decided to make Aloo Parathas with onions for both of us. 

Ingredients:

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Ingredients for Alu Paratha Stuffing

For Stuffing

4 boiled Potatoes (Aloo)
1 small finely chopped Onion (optional)
Coriander leaves finely chopped
1 or 2 green Chilies (finely chopped)
Salt, Red Chili powder, Garam masala as per taste
Butter/Oil

 For dough: 
3 cups Wheat flour
Salt to taste
Water As needed
Oil for frying parathas

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Aloo Paratha Stuffing

DOUGH:

Add salt to wheat flour.  Add water and knead to stiff dough.  Cover and keep aside.

FILLING:

Mix the ingredients mentioned above for stuffing.  Roll out equal sized balls out of the stuffing.

Take some dough and roll out into a medium sized chapatti, spread some oil on this and place ball of potato stuffing in the center of this chapatti.  Draw the edges of the chapatti towards the center to cover the filling.  Slightly press this and dust it with flour.  Roll this with a rolling pin and dust liberally with more flour as you are rolling.  When done, pat out the excess flour.
Heat a tava and fry the aloo paratha both sides to crispy and brown.  Put some oil over the paratha as you do this.
Serve the stuffed paratha hot with dhania chutney/curd/pickle.

For variations, you can add Kasturi Methi/Chat Masala to the stuffing.  It tastes good. 

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Aloo Paratha served with Curd

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