Thursday, June 30, 2016

COCONUT ROOH AFZA COOLER


This is such a cool and refreshing summer drink.. We like to drink lot of fresh coconut water to beat the heat. Try adding little Rooh Afza to it and if you can scrape out the tender malai / cream from the coconut add it to the drink. Enjoy the chilled summer drink.

Ingredients:
Fresh tender coconut ..... 1
Rooh Afza .................. 2 tbsps
Cream from the coconut .. as much as you like.

Method:
1. Pour the chilled tender coconut water into the glass.
2. Add Rooh Afza and stir very lightly leaving more quantity at the bottom.
3. Scrape little cream from the tender coconut and spoon it into the glass.
4. Stir little by little with the straw while sipping..

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

IRANIAN / PERSIAN BARBARI BREAD / NAAN-E-BARBARI / NOON BARBARI


Barbari or barberi means our fathers ‘of or related to the Barbars in Persian language. The Barbars live in the Khorasan region, near the eastern border of Iran. The word Barbar means uncivilized, foreign, barbarian) . The Barbars hated being referred by such a name and Reza Shah granted them the name Khavari (Easterners).
 However, the name of the bread remains. It’s a very popular bread baked in Iran. It’s made in traditional brick ovens. The bakers make it about 70-80cm long and 30-45 cm wide. It’s usually served with tea and a soft cheese called lighvan cheese which is made from ewe’s milk. It’s also served with typical Iranian jams (Moraba).
 Modern times means it can be served with feta cheese, olives, dips, gravies, curries and whatever you fancy. The bread is golden brown because of the spread or roomal that is smeared on it before baking. Barbari bread is slightly thicker than most flatbreads that we know of.
Baking this bread in convectional ovens gives a different texture from those baked in the traditional ovens. If you have a pizza stone use it to bake this bread.

We Knead to Bake - Bread #40 (Aparna Balasubramanian's Event)
Recipe and Info - Courtesy Mayuri Patel
Recipe Source - Heghineh.com and Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Ingredients:
For the dough:
 All purpose flour (plain flour).... 3 cups
Warm water.... 1½ cups
Instant dry active yeast.... 1½ tsps.
Sea salt (or normal salt)... 1½ tsps
Sugar ........... 1½ tsp
Baking powder.... ½ tsp

For the roomal (spread):
Water....  cup
All purpose flour (plain flour) ... 1 tsp
Baking soda (soda bicarbonate).. 1 tsp

For topping:
Nigella seeds(kalonji) or sesame seeds

Some semolina (sooji) to spread the dough
Some oil for greasing
Extra flour for kneading the dough


Preparation of the dough:
1.    Mix flour, yeast, salt, baking powder and sugar in a big bowl.
2.    Add warm water and form a dough.
3.    Dust the worktop with some flour and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes or till it is smooth and elastic. This bread requires a good gluten formation so make sure you knead it well. Or alternatively knead the dough in a dough machine.
4.    Form the dough into a ball shape and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with a wet tea towel or a cling film.
              Place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise till its double the size. This will take about 1½ hours.



In the meantime prepare the roomal or spread:
1.    Put the flour, water and baking soda in a pan.
2.    Mix well.
3.    Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
4.    Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
5.    Let the roomal cool down before using it.



Preparation of Barbari Bread:
1.    Knead the dough gently and divide it into 4 parts.
2.    Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease it with oil.
3.    Sprinkle some semolina on the worktop.
4.    Take one piece of the dough and using the roomal, spread it into an approximately 9”X 4” oblong shape.
5.    Using the roomal, make grooves/lines lengthwise about 1-2”apart on the flattened bread.
1.    Place it on the baking tray.
2.    Repeat steps 3 -6 with the remaining dough.
3.    Spread the remaining roomal on the bread pieces.
4.    Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds or nigella seeds or a mixture of both.
5.    Preheat the oven to 180°C.
6.    Place the trays in the oven and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes or till it’s golden brown.
7.    If  you place both the trays in the oven at the same time, remember to switch their positions half way.
8.    Remove the baked barbari bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
9.    Serve with tea, your favourite dip, olive oil, feta cheese or any soft cheese. You can even serve with some Shahi Chicken / Mutton Curry


Monday, June 27, 2016

OATS KA SHEERA


I tried out sheera with oatmeal and it turned out super delicious. 

Ingredients:
Oatmeal .. 1/4 cup (made by grinding the oats in a mixie)
Sugar ........ 4 tbsps 
(Cardamoms ... 2-3
Oil / ghee ... 3-4 tbsps
Pistachios for garnishing.

Method:
1. Take oil or ghee in a pan and add the split cardamoms.
2. Tip in the oatmeal  and continue to stir with a spatula until you get a nice brown colour.
3. Add quarter cup water (same quantity as the oatmeal) and stir continuously to avoid lumps. If you want a softer consistency add little more water.
4. When it is thicker, add the sugar and stir. Keep stirring until you get the right consistency and the sugar is dissolved.
5. Garnish with slivered nuts.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

PAPAD KA PULAO


If you run out of veggies specially during the rainy season, don't panic.. Here is an amazing recipe that you can make and relish. .. Papad ka Pulao ! Yes, pulao made with papads.. interesting isn't it ?
It is a complete one pot meal on its own. Just like that I had this idea of making it and it turned out super delicious.


Ingredients:
Basmati rice ... 2 cups
Papads ........... 4 (I used Lijjat masala papads)
Onions .......... 2 small (half cup sliced)
Mint leaves ............. 1 cup 
Coriander leaves ..... handful
Garlic ..........  8 cloves 
Ginger ......... 1 inch piece
Green chillies .. 3 (or as per your preference)
Yogurt ......... 1/2 cup
Tomato........ 1 
Turmeric powder .. 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder .. 1 tsp
Cumin powder ....... 1 tsp
Black cardamoms .. 1-2
Green cardamoms .. 4
Cloves .................... 6
Cinnamon stick ...... 2-3 small pieces
Bay leaves .............. 2-3
Salt ..................... to taste
Oil ....................... about 1/4 cup

Method:
1. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan. Fry the sliced onions until golden brown. Now add the mentioned whole spices.
2. Meanwhile grind the mint, coriander, green chillies, ginger and garlic to a coarse paste.
3. Add the paste to the pan and stir it with the fried onions.
4. Whisk the yogurt and stir it into the pan taking care it doesn't curdle.
5. Break the papads into 2 inch pieces and tip them into the masala.
6. Stir a little and add one cup water. 
7. Season with salt, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin powders.
8. Now cut the tomato into thin strips. Add to the pan. Stir carefully and close the gas. We don't need the tomato or the papads to become mushy.
9. Cook the rice adding salt. When almost done squeeze a little lime juice to keep the grains separate. Drain it and set aside.
10. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan.
11. Layer the rice and the prepared papad masala pouring some hot oil on each layer.
12. Cover with a foil and keep it for dum.

Note- you can enjoy the pulao by itself.. if you wish you may serve some raita for accompaniment.

Friday, June 24, 2016

STUFFED KHANDVI


This is a very healthy snack with oats masala stuffing..


Ingredients for Khandvi:
Besan (Gram Flour)……1 cup
Buttermilk………………….2 cups (Whip SOUR yogurt with water and make it into thin consistency)
Ginger………………….1” piece
Green Chillies…………. 3-4
Salt to taste
Turmeric Powder……….1/4 tsp
Mustard Seeds………….1-2 tsps,
Asafoetida ..... a pinch
Coriander Leaves………for garnishing
Coconut (grated)………..for garnishing
Chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder .... 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi ... 1/4 tsp

Method:
1. Grind ginger & green chillies to a fine paste.
2. Whisk besan with buttermilk, salt, turmeric powder, ginger-green chillies paste. There should be no lumps.
3. Transfer onto a thick bottomed pan, cook on medium flame (without adding oil) stirring continuously till it thickens. Remove from fire and the next step has to be done very quickly before the mixture hardens beyond spreading.
4. Pour the mixture on a clean, flat kitchen top surface or the back of a thali. Now, quickly spread into very thin layer (This should be done immediately after removing the pan from fire or else the mixture will harden.)
5. The spread mixture sets immediately in about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile make the stuffing:
Ground oats .. 1/4 cup
Yogurt .... 2 tbsps
Salt .... to taste
turmeric powder .. 1pinch
Red chllii powder .. 2 pinches
Finely chopped fresh coriander.. 2 tbsps
Oil ..... 2 tbsps
Method:
1.Heat oil in a sauce pan and saute the oats powder.
2. Add the whisked yogurt and a little water. Stir with a spatula quickly to avoid lumps.
3. Add the mentioned spices, salt and coriander leaves.
4. Remove when it is thicker (spreading consistency)
To assemble Khandvi:
1.Take the plate in which you spread the khandvi mix.
2. Spread the prepared stuffing with the help of a spatula evenly.
3. Mark 2 or 3 inch strips as desired. Roll each strip carefully. Garnish with fresh coriander and grated coconut.

Monday, June 20, 2016

CHAASHA MEIN DHABROTI / CRISPY BREAD SOAKED IN SUGAR SYRUP


This is a traditional Sindhi breakfast dish. We make it on special occasions when we have guests at home. Usually the bread slices are made whole or cut into triangular or rectangular shapes just by cutting them into two. I have given them a round shape using a cutter. The sides can be used to make masala bread or even bread crumbs after drying them for later use. If you are making for kids you can even cut out fancy shapes using different cutters.

Ingredients: 
Bread Slices ...6 or  as needed
Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Cardamoms - 4
Saffron - a pinch
Rose water .. few drops (optional)
Oil or ghee for frying
Pistachios... few for garnishing

Method:
1. Cut the bread slices in a round shape using a cutter or a bottle lid.
 2. Fry till golden brown and crisp.
3. Make a thick syrup with sugar, water, saffron and cardamoms. Add rose water after it is cooled. 4. A few hours before serving, place the bread coins in a flat dish, pour the sugar syrup over them with a spoon and let them soak for about 1-2 hours or until they are softer.
5. Garnish with sliced pistachios.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

BHUTTE KA KEES / GRATED CORN SNACK


This is a very famous street food of Indore.(Madhya Pradesh) Unlike other chaats and street foods this is a very healthy one. Grated corn is simmered in milk and then tempered with other ingredients to add the flavours. Hence this is also served as a breakfast in Indore. 

Ingredients:
Corn kernels ... 2 cups
Milk ............ 1/4 cup
Green chillies .. 1-2 (as per your taste)
Ginger ............... 1 tsp (grated)
Coriander leaves .. handful
Fresh coconut .... 2-3 tbsps (grated)
Lemon juice ... 1 tbsp
Oil or ghee ... 2 tbsps

 For tempering:
Cumin seeds .. 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds .. 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida ...... 1 pinch

Method:
1. Grind the corn coarsely. Set aside.
2. Heat oil or ghee in a sauce pan and add the tempering ingredients.
3. When they crackle add the green chillies and ginger. Saute a little.
4. Add the corn and turmeric powder
5. Saute until the colour changes.
6. Add the milk and simmer. Cook until the milk is evaporated.
7. Add salt and mix well until the mixture is thick enough.
8. Squeeze the lemon juice and mix.
Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leave

Friday, June 17, 2016

SHEER KHURMA / SHEER KORMA


Sheer Khurma is a traditional Muslim festive breakfast / dessert.This special dish is served on the morning of Eid day in the family after the Eid prayer as breakfast, and throughout the day to all the visiting guests. Vermicelli roasted in desi ghee is cooked with milk. Lots of dry fruits, dates, raisins and sugar are added along with cardamoms and rose water for flavouring this rich dessert.

Ingredients:
Roasted vermicelli .. 1/2 cup
Milk ............ 3 cups
Sugar ........ 1/4 cup (adjust as per your taste)
Salt .... 1 pinch (to balance the taste)
Cardamoms .... 4-5
Unsalted pistachios ... 2 tbsps (sliced)
Unsalted almonds ..... 2 tbsps (sliced)
Dates ............... 5-6
Raisins .... 1 tbsp
Saffron ....... 2 pinches 
Silver varq ..... 1 (optional)
Rose water ... few drops
Desi ghee ..... 1 tbsp



Method:
1. In a thick bottomed pan heat desi ghee and saute the vermicelli for half a minute.
2 Now add the milk, saffron and crushed cardamoms.
3.. Simmer it and keep stirring until the vermicelli are cooked.
4. Now add sugar and a pinch of salt and simmer until the sugar melts. 
5 Tip in the sliced pistachios, almonds, raisins and sliced dates. If the dates are not fresh soak them in hot water or milk before adding.
6. Finally stir in the rose water.
7. Garnish the sheer khurma with silver varq and some sliced dry fruits before serving.
You can serve it warm or chilled.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

VAZHAI THANDU PORIYAL / BANANA STEM STIR FRY


Vazhai thandu, meaning banana stem is very rich in fiber. It has lot of medicinal properties as well and is recommended for kidney stone problems too. Mostly in South India people use this extensively. It is really very tedious to cut this and remove the fibers. You take the inner part of the stem, slice it and remove the fibers by rolling them with your finger. The chopped portion is immediately immersed in the buttermilk to avoid discolouration.
Here is the recipe of a simple stir fry or poriyal.


Ingredients:
Banana stem .... 1 cup or as needed.
Buttermilk / thin lassi .... 1 glass
Grated coconut ........... 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder ...... 1/8 tsp
Salt ........... to taste

For tempering:
Mustard seeds ... 1 tsp
Urad or moong dal .. 1 tsp
Dry red chillies ....... 1 broken
Curry leaves ........... 1 sprig
Asafoetida ............. 1 pinch
Oil....................... 1-2 tbsps


Method:
1. Cut the inner part of the banana stem into small pieces after removing the fibers. Immerse them in butter milk.
2. In a sauce pan add oil and the tempering ingredients.
3. When they crackle, tip in the chopped banana stem and stir fry for a minute.
4. Add salt and turmeric powder and sufficient water to cook the vegetable.
5. Simmer until done
6. Garnish with grated coconut.
Serve as a side dish with rice and sambar.

Monday, June 13, 2016

KALA JAMUN SMOOTHIE / INDIAN BLACK PLUM SMOOTHIE



Here is a simple and healthy smoothie with yogurt and kala jamun..

Ingredients:
Jamuns ... 1 cup (about 10 -12 cut into pieces)
Yogurt .... 1 cup
Sugar ...... 2 tsps (you can substitute it with honey)
Salt ...... 1 pinch to balance the taste.

Method:
1. Blend all the ingredients together in a mixie adding sufficient water. Use cold water or some ice cubes.
2. Serve chilled.

Note: you can add some granola to make it more filling if you like.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

RAJMA RASAM


Red kidney beans /  Rajma form an important part of a vegetarian diet due to their excellent protein content. Whenever you boil these beans for making any dish never throw away the water which is full of nutrition. You can add it to make gravies or soups. I tried out rasam today and it was so tasty just like the one we make normally with dal. I just added few grains of boiled mashed rajma to give the thickness to the rasam. Rest is the same procedure. You can enjoy drinking this on a cold or rainy day or serve it with plain rice along with some stir fried sabzi.



Ingredients:
Rajma water ..... 2 cups
Mashed rajma ... 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder .. 1/8 tsp
Asafoetida ........... a pinch
Crushed garlic .... 2 flakes
Tomato .............. 1 small
Dry red chillies ... 1 broken
Mustard seeds .... 1 tsp
Curry leaves ....... 1 sprig
Coriander leaves ... for garnishing
Lemon juice ....... 1 tbsp
Salt .................... to taste
Sugar .............. 1/2 tsp to balance the taste 
Oil ....... 1 tbsp
Rasam powder ......... 1 tsp ( see the home made rasam powder recipe - HERE )




Method:
1. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, broken red chillies and curry leaves.
2. When they crackle add the crushed garlic flakes and tomato pieces.
3. Add the strained rajma water and bring to a boil. 
4. Simmer it and add the mashed rajma, salt, sugar and rasam powder.
5. When you get the desired consistency, stir in the lemon juice and add some fresh coriander leaves.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

KALA JAMUN RAITA


Kala Jamun or Indian Black Plum is a seasonal fruit and is available in summers. This fruit is loaded with health benefits. Apart from eating it as a fruit by itself we can make many dishes with this. Here is a simple raita .. cool and refreshing accompaniment with your meals.

Ingredients:
Jamuns .... 5-6 or as needed
Yogurt .... 1 cup
Salt ......... to taste
Honey .... 1 tbsp
Roasted and crushed cumin seeds ... 1/8 tsp
White or black pepper ..... 2 pinches.
Mint leaves .... few

Method:
1. Cut the fleshy part of the jamuns into small pieces.
2. Whisk the yogurt and add all the mentioned ingredients for taste.
3. Add the chopped jamun pieces and few crushed mint leaves.
4. Serve chilled.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

OATS PORRIDGE WITH CHOCOLATE COATED CAKE BALLS / KIDS BREAKFAST


Kids often refuse to have oats. We have to really be innovative and try out new dishes for them. This bowl of oats porridge garnished with chocolate coated cake balls will surely entice them to give it a try.

Ingredients:
Oats ...... 1 cup
Butter .... 1 tbsp
Milk ...... 2 cups or as needed. (you can use water + milk if you wish)
Vanilla essence ... 1 drop.(optional)
Sugar ................ 5-6 tbsps  (as per your liking)
Salt .... 1 pinch (to balance the taste)
Mango roundels .. for garnishing.

To make the chocolate coated cake balls.
Cake crumbs ..... 1 cup (use plain sponge cake)
Walnut powder ... 1 tbsp
Maple syrup or honey .. 1 tbsp (as needed to bind the crumbs)
Cooking / baking chocolate bar .... 100 gms

Method:



1. Crumble the cake. Add walnut powder and mix.







2. Add the honey or maple syrup and mix well to get a binding texture. If you are using a moist cake you may not need to add any binder..Make tiny marble sized balls.Set aside.





3. Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate bar. Make sure the spatula and the bowl are dry.







4. Maintain medium heat and stir with a spatula until smooth.








5. Close the gas and still keep stirring for a while to remove any air bubbles.






6. Now using a fork or a tooth pick dip the balls in the melted chocolate.





7. Place them on the parchment paper in a tray. Refrigerate until they are firm.






8. Now melt the butter in a sauce pan and saute the oats for a minute.






9. Add one cup water and bring to a boil. Once they start cooking reduce the heat and simmer. Add sugar and a pinch of salt. When they are half done add the milk, vanilla essence and cook further for 5-6 minutes on low flame until you get the required consistency. Allow the porridge to cool.



10. Garnish with chocolate balls and mango roundels after it is cool enough at the room temperature or even better if it is chilled in the refrigerator.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

KALA JAMUN / INDIAN BLACK PLUM JUICE


Kala Jamun (meaning black plum) is an Indian plum which is actually dark purple in colour. It has sweet and sour taste and kids simply love this fruit because the tongue gets a purple colour after eating. Couple of days ago a friend gifted me a box full of fresh kala jamuns bought from the local farms. They are amazingly fresh and sweet. We ate a lot of them on the very first day. There are so many left still and I thought of trying out some cool summer recipes with them. To start with I made some juice which was really refreshing.


Ingredients:
Kala jamuns .... 14 -15
Water .............. 3 cups
Sugar ............. 1 tbsp
Salt ...............  1/4 tsp
Roasted and crushed cumin seeds ... 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder .... freshly crushed .. 1/4 tsp
Red chilli flakes or a dash of tabasco ... optional


Method:
1. Wash the jamuns and boil them in 3 cups of water, sugar and salt. Simmer until done..
2. Remove from the gas and let it cool down to room temperature.
3. Squeeze the boiled jamuns well and discard the seeds.
4. Strain the juice into a bowl squeezing out the liquid well from it.
5. Add the chillies and pepper to taste. (you may skip adding them if you want)
6. Refrigerate it until you serve.
7. Dip the edges of the serving glass in water and then in the salt spread in a plate.
8. Pour the chilled juice and serve.

(Makes 1 large or 2 small servings)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

BURNT GARLIC MUSHROOM FRIED RICE


Try out this simple aromatic fried rice with just mushrooms, egg and an extra dose of burnt garlic for the amazing flavour. You can add any other veggies if you prefer but I just love it this way. It is a complete meal on its own and you don't really need any accompaniments. If you like it spicy go ahead and add some chilli sauce or chilli infused oil.

Ingredients:
Cooked rice .... 2 cups
Garlic .......... 8-10 cloves
Mushrooms .. 200 gms
Eggs .............. 2
Black pepper ... 1/2 tsp (freshly crushed)
Red chilli flakes ... 1 tsp
Salt ...................... to taste
Oil ..................... 3 tbsps



Method:
1. Cook the rice adding salt. Drain and set aside.
2. In a pan fry the sliced mushrooms adding a little salt. Spoon out in a bowl.
3. Scramble the egg in a tbsp of oil adding salt. Remove from the pan.
4. In a wok heat the remaining oil and fry the garlic until golden brown and crisp.
5. Add the black pepper and red chilli flakes.
6. Mix the drained rice, fried mushrooms and scrambled egg.
Serve hot.