Thursday, November 26, 2015


Kanji vada is a very popular snack of North India, specially a delicacy of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh,  Moong dal vadas are soaked in mustard flavoured kanji which is made in advance so that the flavours of mustard are released into the liquid. It is mostly made during winters because mustard produces heat in the body. You can serve them chilled or at room temperature.

For the Kanji:
Mustard seeds .. 2 tbsps
Chilli powder ... 1 tsp (adjust according to your liking)
Black salt ......... to taste
Turmeric powder .. 1/8 tsp
Asafoetida .. a pinch (optional)

For the Vadas:
Moong dal .... 1 cup
Green chilli ... 1
Ginger .......... 1 small piece
Fennel seeds / saunf .. 1 tsp
Asafoetida ........... 1/8 tsp
Salt ............... to taste
Oil .... for frying

1. Grind coarsely all the ingredients for kanji . Mix them in about 3 cups of boiled and cooled water.
2. Refrigerate it for one or two days so that the flavours are released well.
3. Grind the soaked moong dal adding chilli ginger paste and fennel seeds. Use very little water while grinding.
4. Remove it in a bowl and add the asafoetida and salt. Mix well with your hand to make it light and fluffy.
5. Heat oil in a pan. Take a lemon sized portion of the batter and flatten it with wet hand.
6. Drop the vadas in hot oil and fry them to light brown colour.
7. Soak the fried vadas for 1 hour in a bowl of water.
8. Remove the vadas one by one squeezing out the water carefully between your palms.
9. Drop them into the kanji and let them soak again for one hour.

Serve them chilled or at room temperature. You can serve a little kanji in a cup and sip it in between.

Adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe with minor changes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Here is a simple and delicious quick-fix lunch recipe with some left-over rice. You can make it with any podi you have.  MTR podi is our family favourite as it is mild. I always bring few packets each time I visit India. Usually we mix it with plain rice and ghee but for a change I made it with tempering and it turned out so delicious.

Cooked rice ..... 2 cups
MTR podi ........ 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds ... 1 tsp
Dry red chillies .. 1
Asafoetida ........ 1 pinch
Curry leaves .... 1 sprig
Oil ........... 1 tbsp
Ghee ....... 12 or 1 tbsp
Salt ........ add only if the rice is cooked without it.
Turmeric powder ... 1/8 tsp
Lemon juice .... 1-2 tbsp (optional)

1. In a pan heat 1 tbsp oil and  add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the broken chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
2. Tip in the cooked rice and add the turmeric powder and podi.
3. Stir well and squeeze a little lime juice if you like.
4. Add ghee finally and stir everything.
Serve with fried appalams / papads

Note: If you want it spicier add a little red chilli powder as MTR podi is not so spicy.

See home made podi recipes ....

Andhra Podi - Gun Powder -   HERE 

Curry Leaves Podi   -  HERE 

Monday, November 23, 2015


Barmbrack is a bread made with dried fruit that has been soaked in hot tea. It is traditionally served at Halloween in Ireland, but also makes for an excellent tea time treat, especially when tasted and generously slathered with butter! The Irish also call it Báirín Breac or “Speckled Bread”. Speckled because of the rains in the bread and that name comes from the Irish words “báirín” for loaf and “breac” for speckled.
The origin of Halloween goes back to the Celtic festival of "Samhain" which is derived from Old Irish and supposedly roughly translates to "Summer's End." The Barmbrack is very much a part of a traditional Irish Halloween custom that involved baking various objects or “fortunes” into the fruit bread. When the bread was cut and served, if you found one of the objects in your portion then that would tell your fortune.
There are yeasted versions of this recipe as well those that use baking powder to leaven it. I am making the yeasted version. The portions given here make 2 loaves. If you want to make one then reduce the quantity by half.

All purpose flour .. 4 cups
Raisins .............  1/4 cup
Sultanas ........... 1/4 cup
Chopped apricots ... 1/8 cup
Dried cranberries ... 1/8 cup ( I could not get them so I added a few chopped cherries instead)
Hot black tea ...... 1 and 1/2 cups
Instant dry yeast ... 2 tsps
Sugar ................. 2/3 cup
Ground cinnamon .... 1/2 tsp
All spice .................. 1/4 tsp
Ground ginger ........ 1/2 tsp
Salt ....................... 1/4 tsp
Butter .................. 30 gms (room temperature)
Egg .................. 1 (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cup warm milk for 1 cup of "milk + tea" mixture* (see below in the method) 1 tbsp caster Sugar  or honey + 1 tbsp boiling water mixed to glaze the top of the bread (optional)


Put the dried fruits in a bowl. Cover them with hot black tea and leave them for few hours or preferably overnight.

Drain the liquid and reserve it for using later. Set the fruit aside.

Collect all the ingredients at room temperature.

Take 1/4 cup warm water and add sugar. Sprinkle yeast and allow it to become frothy by leaving it in a warm place.

Take the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the spice powders, salt, sugar and butter. (I skipped egg.)
Knead this by adding the yeast and the milk and the strained tea set aside earlier. (add as much as needed little by little )

Take the dough on a floured surface and knead it well for 2 minutes.

Flatten the dough with your palm or a rolling pin.

Dust the soaked and drained fruits with a spoonful of flour. This helps in kneading as the moisture is absorbed by the dry flour.

Spread them on the flattened dough.

Fold it into two and spread the remaining fruits. Also add any trinkets if you like at this stage.

Fold it again and shape it into a nice round ball.

Place it in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rest in a warm place

Remove it from the bowl when it doubles in size ( about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hrs )

Gently remove the risen dough and knead it lightly to remove air bubbles.

Put it in a greased loaf tin or a round tin and allow it to rise again. ( about 1 hour )

 It has risen to double now and ready to go into the oven.

Bake it at 180 C (350 F) for about 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. The time and temperature may vary a little according to the type and size of oven used. Check it out. Cover the bread with a foil if it is browning faster.

About 5 minutes before finally taking the breads out of the oven, brush the tops of them with the sugar glaze (if using) and return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes for a sticky and shiny finish.

Cool the bread on a wire rack before slicing it.
This recipe makes 2 medium loaves or rounds.

We Knead to Bake # 32 - # My Diverse Kitchen


Puri is a very popular deep fried Indian flat bread mostly taken for breakfast. It can be made plain or with many variations. Spinach is loaded with nutrients and I like adding it to most of my dishes. I have sauteed the spinach lightly and added to the puri dough. You may just use whole wheat flour or mix some maida or any other flour. These delicious puris can be had without any accompaniment too.. just with curd and pickle or even munch them with masala chai.

Whole wheat flour ... 1 and 1/2 cups
Spinach .................... 1 cup (chopped)
Kasoori methi ......... 1 tbsp (fresh methi can be used if available)
Green chillies ........ 1 (crushed or chopped very finely)
Garlic paste .......... 1 tsp
Crushed cumin seeds .. 1 tsp
Salt ...................... to taste

1. In a pan heat one tbsp. oil and add garlic paste.
2. Saute and add the chopped spinach, kasoori methi and green chillies.
3. Add salt to taste and crushed cumin seeds. Stir for a minute.
4. In a bowl take the flour and add the prepared spinach.
5. Check the salt and add a little if needed.
6. Mix it well and knead the dough adding little water or curd.
7. Roll out small puris and deep fry them.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Potato sheera is made usually on fasting days. It is very easy to make and really very delicious.

Potatoes ... 2 large
Sugar ...... 1/2 cup (adjust as per your preference)
Green cardamoms ... 3-4
Saffron .. as needed
Ghee .... 2 tbsps
Pistachios / almonds .. few for garnishing.

1. Boil the potatoes. Peel and cut them into small pieces.
2. Heat ghee in a pan and add the lightly crushed cardamoms.
3. When they give out aroma, add the potatoes and saute for few minutes.
4. Add a pinch of saffron and sugar.
5. Keep stirring until the sugar is absorbed and the sheera starts to leave the sides.
Garnish with saffron strands and chopped nuts.