Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Lau Bori or Bodi / Lauki & Bottle Gourd with Sun dried Lentil Dumplings

Even though I make lauki in a number of ways, I like this version for two reasons.
First, it is purely veggie and hubby likes it.
Second, it is made the Bengali way ... read ... it has the flavour of Paanch Phoron ( a mix of equal quantities of methi, mustard, jeera, saunf and kalaunji seeds) and also the boris / bodi / vadi.

Bori / Bodi / Vadi is nothing but sun dried lentil dumplings ... that are called Mungaudi in Hindi ... the name coz they are made usually from moong dal.

While peeling the Lau / lauki / gourd, if you keep the peels a little thick you can make a fry from them .... the Lau Khosa Bhaja. :-)

This dish is easy and fast to make ... and has a distinct flavour that goes great with steamed rice and dal.

Need : Lauki cut into small pieces, chopped onion, paanch phoron, chopped tomatoes, whole green chillies, tumeric powder, dried lentil dumplings / bori or bodi or vadi , grated ginger, sugar and salt to taste and a little cooking oil.

How to : Heat a little oil. Fry the bori / bodi / vadi / mungaudis till they turn brown in colour. Keep aside.

Heat a little more oil in the same pan. Add the paanch phoron and the green chillies.
Then add the onions and fry for some time.
Add the lauki and stir. Add tumeric, salt and a little sugar. Cover and cook for some time.

Remove cover and add the tomatoes , the fried bori / bodi / vadi and the grated ginger. Cover and cook till lauki is done.
Serve hot.

Non veggies can add shrimp or medium sized prawns to this dish instead of the bori.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Posto Bora / Khus Khus Vada

Posto / Khus khus / Poppy seeds is an absolute favourite among Bengalis. More than using it as an addition to gravies, it is used as a dish by itself. Inspite of being on the dining table, if not every day of the week ... at least 3 to 4 days in a week .... no one tires of it.

In fact, you may come across a Bengali who may not like fish .... but chances are you will never find a Bengali who not only 'likes' posto .... but absolutely loves it.

And if they have moved to a new place, the second thing they will look for is a place where they can get 'good posto' ... the first being , of course, a place where they will get 'good fish'. :-)

I depend on my visits home .... or someone visiting from home .... for my supply of 'good posto'. I had run out of it quite a while back and was craving some when our S said he was going home for a few days and asked what would I want from there. And I shamelessly jumped at the offer and asked for some Posto. :-)

So here's my first post on Posto ... Posto Bora .... or Vadas made from khus khus paste. These are shallow fried ... well not exactly ... just browned on both sides ..... with the minimun of oil and have very few ingredients.

Just two things to keep in mind .....

If the posto is not good, you will get a bitter taste. Good posto always tastes sweet and fresh.

Always add salt in small amounts to posto. Due to its mild flavour, it tends to get salty very fast. So always taste and then add salt.

: Poppy seeds / posto (soaked for at least 2-3 hours and ground into a thick paste), chopped onions, chopped green chillies, salt to taste and a little cooking oil ( preferrably mustard oil).

How to : Mix everything together except the oil.

BTW .... if you mix the oil too .... you can have just like that ... like a salad .... no frying. Tastes awesome. :-)

Shape into tikkis. Heat a non stick tawa. Spray a little oil and place the tikkis.
Wait till one side turns brown.

Then flip them over and spray a little more oil and wait till the side turns brown.

Crispy posto boras are ready. :-)

Great with steamed rice and dal!
Joyeeta had tagged me long back. It is here where I usually speak my mind. :-)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Creamy Arbi

Once upon a time I was completely unaware that the vegetable Arbi existed. And later, found out that it not only existed but also is hubby's favourite. God knows what I went through after I held the boiled, slimy thing in my hands the first time.

Today it is a different story. I can make at least 4 kinds of Arbi preparations. And am told they are very good.
As for me ... there are a lot of things that I make and yet never even taste ... and Arbi is one of them.

Once, when I had some fresh whey at hand, I had added it to this dish for the gravy ... instead of water as usual. The dish got such a creamy flavour that I have stuck to this recipe whenever I am making Arbi with gravy.

If there is no whey at home, a little milk can be added to the gravy too ... but then that distinct flavour won't be there.

Need : Arbi ( boiled, peeled and cut into pieces), whey, sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, jeera, haldi powder, red chilli powder, a pinch of garam masala, a little cooking oil and salt to taste.
How to : Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the jeera and the onions. Fry for a while.
Add the tomatoes and fry some more.
Now add the cut Arbi pieces. Add haldi, red chilli and salt.
Add the whey, cover and bring to a boil.
Sprinkle garam masala powder and simmer for some more time.
Serve hot with rotis / parathas.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Muthiya Pulao

(Vegans can skip the ghee . )

This is another fast and full meal dish.
The word 'muthiya' comes from the word 'mutthi' or 'fist'. The small balls of kneaded besan are pressed with the fist to form the muthiyas.
Of course, the round besan balls can be used too .... but this shape gives a kind of novelty to this dish.

I had made the besan dough spicy and kept the rice plain flavoured.

The combination worked perfectly.

Need :
For the Muthiyas : Besan, haldi powder, red chilli powder, kasuri methi, a little cooking oil, amchur powder, hing and salt to taste.

For the pulao : Rice, sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, biryani masala, haldi powder, a little ghee, cooking oil, a little sugar and salt and sugar to taste.

How to : Knead the besan and all the ingredients with water. Make small balls and press them in the fist to make muthiyas.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the sliced onions and fry till they start to turn a little brown.

Add the rice and fry for some more time. Add the chopped tomatoes, haldi powder, salt and sugar.
Fry some more.

Now spread the rice and place the muthiyas on it.

Add water, just as you would to cook rice. Sprinkle a little ghee and biryani masala. Cover and cook till rice is almost done.

Turn off heat and let it stand for a while.

A piece of muthiya anyone? :-)

I had made a salad with it ... but it goes great with plain dahi or raita. :-)
This goes to dear Srivalli who is hosting Rice Mela till 30th Nov.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Gatte ki sabzi

This is another Rajasthani dish that I have learnt not only to make but also relish. It may be common to a lot of people, but for me it took time to get the hang of it. And I realised it does not take much time. Not to mention being minimalistic.

This dish is a big help when you want that one curry dinner or when you have run out of green veggies. The only thing you will need to have at home is sour curd. And of course besan. :-)

Here's the recipe for Rajasthani Gatte ki sabzi.

Need : Besan, sour curd, red chilli powder, haldi powder, jeera, a pinch of hing, a little cooking oil, salt, water.

How to : Knead the besan with a little oil, salt, red chilli powder and water to make a dough.

Divide into balls and roll them on a flat surface to make long strips of gatte like so.

Heat enough water in a deep vessel. Add a little salt and oil to the water to prevent the gatte from sticking to each other.

Add the rolled strips into the water when it starts boiling. When the gatte get cooked, they will float to the surface (notice the small one).

You can check by cutting a gatta with a spoon to see if it is done.
Drain the gatte and cut them into small pieces. These can be stored in the fridge and used later too.

Heat oil in a kadhai and add jeera and a little hing. Now add the gatta pieces and fry. Add haldi powder , red chilli powder and salt.
Beat curd with a little besan ( to prevent curdling ). Add to the fried gatte and keep simmering till you get desired consistency.

Great with hot rotis. I love it with plain hot rice as it complements the spicyness of the dish.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Aloo Tikki Sandwich

Much as I stay away from canned / preserved food, I came across this dehydrated aloo mash in the stores that is a real boon.
All you have to do is add water to rehydrate it and you have mashed aloo in minutes. Make stuffed parathas,tikkis, .... whatever.

Made some tikkis and and a fast breakfast sandwich. There was nothing else that I could add .... if you want to, you can add mayonnaise / ketchup or a little mustard sauce too.
I had grated in some carrot too.

Need : Mashed aloo, frozen / parboiled green peas, grated ginger, grated carrot, chopped green chillies, onion sliced in rounds, cucumber slices, tomato slices, salt and freshly ground black pepper, a little cooking oil / butter, bread slices.

How to : Add the chopped green chillies, ginger, salt and the peas to the aloo and mix well. Shape into small tikkis.

Heat a non stick tawa and roast the tikkis with just a little spray of oil.

Toast the bread slices till brown. You can apply butter on them if you want to.

Arrange a tikki and some onion, tomato and cucumber slices on a bread and sprinkle salt and black pepper.

Cover with another bread.

Done! Great with a hot cup of tea . :-)

Friday, 7 November 2008

Moong Dal Kachori

Hubby insists that the dal kachori at his home town in Rajasthan is the best. I have heard this innumerable times ... and have tried making it once in a while. But nothing comes even close to the original version. Had I not tasted them myself, I would have ticked him off and ignored his ravings.
But it is true .... no matter what masala I use ... no matter how ever I change the proportions ... they do not turn out like the ones back home.

I had talked to shop owners ... got only vague answers. Talked for length with the guys at LMB in Jaipur ... got the answer ... "we use 12 kinds of garam masalas". What kind? ... heheheh ... they are family secrets. I had almost given up. :-(

So, this time when I attempted to make them again .... I was nervous. Another imminent disappointment ... no, they taste very good .... but we have set the bar a little too high ... we wanted the ones that tasted like back home.

And I decided that this time I'll make them absolutely on my own. I did not use any garam masala ..... or anything extravagant. Just stuck to a couple of things for that dominating flavour .... clove powder and ground black pepper. And they were a success! Hubby said they were very close to the original tasting ones.

Simplicity rules! :-)

I am so glad I have my blog now to share this success and wonderful kachori. Let us just forget the amount of oil that goes in to it .... it was festival time, remember :-) ..... and just dig in.

This can eaten by itself, with chutney ... I had my fav Chashni chutney ... or like we had with spicy Aloo curry (Rajasthani style).

Need :
For the dough : Maida, salt, cooking oil,water.

For the filling : Yellow moong dal (washed and soaked overnight), hing, haldi powder, red chilli powder, salt, clove / laung powder, black pepper powder.

How to : Add lots of cooking oil .... when I say lots, it is lots .... that maida should be crumbly with the oil in it, salt and use a little water at a time and knead a medium soft dough.

Heat a little oil and add a good amount if hing (remember ... it has to dominate the flavour). Now add the soaked dal and stir. Then add haldi powder, red chilli powder, laung powder and black pepper powder and salt.

After the hing, the flavour of black pepper should dominate ... the laung should give a light and passing flavour.

Stir fry for some time ( do not add any water) and remove to cool. This can be had as a dry dish too with parathas or puris.

Make small balls from the maida dough and stuff them with the filling. Lightly roll them out a little (this is needed for the maida to cook well too).

Heat enough oil in a kadhai and deep fry the rolled out kachoris. Remember .... the oil should not be too hot when you start frying.

Fry the kachoris till they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Enjoy !! :-)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Rawa Idli

Idli is an all time favourite .... but one has to preplan .... soaking the dal, etc. When in a hurry, rawa idli comes to the rescue.

Very fast to make, it is the perfect menu for a lazy weekend's brunch. And is my favourite as it fits my way of cooking ... simple , fresh and fast. :-)

While the idlis get steamed, the sambar gets cooked too. In the meantime, if you have fresh coconut at home, just grate some and make this awesome chutney. Your plate will be ready in no time.

I had a packet of store bought cream of rice ... so used it. The idlis turned out real soft and fluffy.

Need :
For the idli : Rawa (for idli) or cream of rice, curd, salt to taste, a little cooking oil, baking powder (optional). 

For the sambar : Toor dal (washed well) , whole red chillies, sliced onions, curry leaves, mustard seeds, haldi powder, a little cooking oil, sambar masala, salt to taste, soaked tamarind or tamarind pulp.
If you want to, you can add cubed vegetables of your choice too
We had it plain .... since hubby made it this time.

For the chutney : Freshly grated coconut, a little toor dal, a little urad dal, green chillies, fresh curry leaves, a little cooking oil, salt and sugar to taste.

How to

The idlis : Mix everything with a little water. If the curd is not sour, add a little lemon juice. Set in idli moulds and steam. 

The sambar : Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. Add the mustard seeds and when they start to splutter, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Then add the onions and fry for some time.
Add the dal and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add water and cook. 

The chutney : Heat a little oil and lightly roast the dals. Now grind all the ingredients into a paste.

And your brunch is ready ! :-) 

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Dahi Vada

This is another of my recent creations for the festival season. It was on hubby's wish list for a long time. I don't make Dahi vadas as frequently any more because of all the deep frying ... not to mention the cold and sour dahi/curd getting to your throat.

Since I do not like bland tasting vadas drowned in sweet dahi and served in the name of dahi vadas, I make them a little differently..... with a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds.
I also use a little chopped ginger in the dahi ... and this combination gives a very different and nice taste to the whole thing.
I also make a diluted dahi/curd and water mixture ( plain water makes the vadas bland and tasteless) and soak the vadas in it before actually mixing them with thicker dahi. This way the vadas end up very soft.
Need : Urad dal (soaked and ground into a coarse paste), cooking oil to deep fry, salt to taste, dahi/curd, curry leaves, whole red chillies, mustard seeds, finely chopped fresh ginger.
How to: Take a bowl and mix dahi and water to make very thin liquid.

Heat a little oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the whole red chillies and curry leaves. Add this to the mixture.

Add the chopped ginger and salt to it.

Now add salt to the dal paste and mix well. Heat enough oil and deep fry the vadas.

After removing from oil, dunk the vadas in to the dahi and water mixture and let them soak.

After the all the vadas are done and have been soaked well, add more dahi to them, add salt to taste and your dish of dahi vada is done.
Serve with a sprinkle of roasted jeera powder and red chilli powder.