Kashi Halva

Kashi Halva is a Karnataka specialty, often served during weddings and other special occasions. It is one of the simplest, most delicious sweets from South India.

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Winter melon – Source: Wikipedia

4 cups grated Ash gourd / White pumpkin / Winter melon

2 cups sugar

1/8 tea-spoon saffron soaked in 2-3 table-spoon hot water

1/4 tea-spoon ground cardamom

6  tea-spoon ghee

1/4 cup cashews and raisins

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix saffron and hot water. Keep aside.
  2. In a small pan add a spoon of ghee and shallow fry cashews and raisins until cashews turn light brown and raisins plump up.
  3. In a broad pan, add 1 tea spoon of ghee and add the grated pumpkin. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add sugar and 2 tea-spoon of ghee.
  5. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  6. Add saffron water and 3 tea spoons ghee. Mix well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. When you see pumpkin come together and ghee oozing from the sides, the halva is done.
  7. Take the pan off the stove. Add cardamom, cashews, and raisins. Mix well.

Makes about 6 servings.

Bajri Vada

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A wonderful fried snack from the state of Gujarat.

This recipe makes about 20 vadas.

1 cup bajri flour (millet flour)

1 table spoon  wheat flour

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 tea spoon finely chopped hot green chili

1/2 tea spoon grated ginger

¼ tsp hing

3 tbsp yoghurt

3 tsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp red chili powder (1/2 tea spoon if you prefer more spicy)

1 table spoon oil

1/2 tea spoon Salt

2 tea spoon fine sugar

In a wide bowl mix all the ingredients. Yoghurt should be  enough to make dough but if required, wet hands and then knead dough. knead the dough again with about 1 tbsp oil. On the side, heat about 3 cups of oil in a frying pan. Make a stiff dough and immediately shape into vadas by taking a small lemon size ball and pressing it in your palm .  Fry  vadas immediately on low heat until light brown.

You can eat the vada as is, with green chutney or any hot indian pickle.

 

Varamahalakshmi festival greetings! Cashew burfee à la Mysore pak

May you be blessed with Health, Earth, Learning, Love, Peace, Fame, Pleasure, and Strength

Wishing you a joyous Varalakshmi festival

Wishing you a joyous Varalakshmi festival

Ingredients

2 ½ cup cashews

2 cups sugar

1 pint whipping cream

2 tea spoons ghee or butter

¾ tea spoon cardamom powder

1/2 tea spoon saffron strands

Method

Coarsely grind cashews. Consistency should be that of sooji. Keep aside. Mix cream, sugar. Cook until 1 thread consistency. This will take about 10 minutes. Add cashew powder. On medium low heat, cook the mixture until it all comes together and doesn’t stick to the pan. This will take about 25 minutes. Add ghee, cardamom powder, and saffron. Stir for 2 more minutes. Pour onto a greased plate,, level with a spoon and cut after about 8 minutes.

Makes approx. 25 large pieces.

Note: For Almond Burfee, follow the same recipe as above but soak almonds in water and remove skin before grinding.

Baghara Baigan – Hyderabadi-style eggplant in a spicy gravy

For anyone who loves eggplant, spicy curries or Indian food in general, and most importantly, likes to cook, here is a great recipe for Baghara Baigan.
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  1. 6-8 small, oval-shaped eggplant/baigan/brinjal
  2. 1/2 cup peanuts
  3. 1 table spoon sesame seeds
  4. 1/2 to 1 table spoon shredded coconut
  5. 2 dried red chilies
  6. 1 tea spoon coriander seeds
  7. 1/2 tea spoon cumin seeds
  8. 1 medium size onion, cut into large pieces
  9. 1 table spoon tamarind juice (use fresh tamarind)
  10. 1/2 tea spoon jaggery
  11. Just a pinch of turmeric
  12. 1 tea spoon Ginger-garlic paste (optional)
  13. 1 – 2 tea spoon red chili powder
  14. About 3/4 tea spoon salt
Method:
1. Make a 1 -2 inch (depending on the size of the eggplant) cross-cut from the top of the eggplant  keeping the stem intact. This will open up the eggplant enough to soak in the spices.
2. Steam or microwave the eggplant in 1/2 cup of water for 3 minutes or so, until just about cooked. Make sure they don’t get overcooked. Remember, we are going to cook them again with the sauce.
3. In a pan, take 1 table spoon of oil and fry peanuts for about 5 minutes on medium-low flame.
4. Add sesame seeds red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes.
5. Lower the heat, add coconut, stir, and empty the mixture in a bowl.
6. In the same pan, fry onion for about 3-4 minutes.
7. Grind the spice mixture by addint a little water until it is well blended but still quite coarse.
8. Add the onion and grind until the mixture is well blended and slightly coarse.  You will have to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. (Do not make it into a paste. Blend it well, but keep it slightly coarse)
9.  In a pan, take 3-4 table spoon oil and add 2-3 red chilies, 2-3 cloves, and fry the ground mixture for about 3 minutes.
10. Add red chili powder, turmeric, and mix well.
11. Add tamarind juice, salt and jaggery. Cook for 4-5 minutes and taste the mixutre to adjust the spices/salt.
12. Add the eggplant, About 1 cup of water and cook for about 15 minutes. The gravy when done, should not be too watery so add water accordingly.
This dish goes very well with both biryani and roti.

તુવેરના ટોઠા અને બાજરીનો રોટલો (Tuver na totha and Bajrino Rotlo)

Kathiawad holds a very special place in my heart. I lived in Bhavnagar (a big town in Kathiawad) for about 5 years and it is here that I developed a love for Gujarati language and its literature reading books and poems from writers and poets such as Chunilal Madiya, Jhaverchand Meghani, Kag, Kavi Dalpatram, Sursinhji Gohil (Kalapi), Govardhanram Tripathi just to name a few.

I am very happy to blog two signature dishes from Kathiawad today. The first one is a subzi called Tuver na totha (ટોઠા / ઠોઠા ? I have heard it both ways) made from green pigeon peas. Typically it’s made during winter but for better or worse, these days we get most  everything year-round and hence that seasonal distinction is gone. It’s a wholesome curry that can be had just by itself or with any type of roti.

The second dish is Bajri no rotlo, a type of roti made from millet flour. It’s an extremely nutritious, tasty and simple roti but surprisingly it has never made it into mainstream Indian cuisine. Unlike the Gujarati phulka roti which requires a good amount of  effort and skill, a rotlo just needs to be rolled into a roundish thick roti and cooked on both sides for a few minutes. I love it with butter and jaggery.

Tuver na Totha

Tuver na Totha

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Tuver Totha:

  • 2 cups fresh green tuver (Pigeon peas), cooked until soft
  • A small bunch spring onions
  • 1-2 stalk green onion
  • 2 medium size tomatoes chopped very fine (or put in a blender)
  • 1 medium size onion (make a paste in a blender)
  • 2 green chilies chopped fine
  • 3-4 pods of fresh garlic
  • Grated ginger (1/2 tea spoon or so)
  • 3-4 table spoon oil
  • Spices:
  • 1/2 tea spoon cumin
  • 1/3 tea spoon hing
  • ½ tea spoon Turmeric
  • 3/4  tea spoon red chili powder (more if you want it spicy)
  • 1 tea spoon coriander powder
  • ½ tea spoon garam masala
  • Salt
Steps:
In a pan, heat 3-4 table spoon of oil.
Do a tadka with cumin seeds and hing.
Add chopped spring onion, green onion, onion paste and cook for a 3-4 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chopped chilies, ginger and garlic paste and fry for about 5-6 minutes.
Add all the spices, including turmeric, cooked peas and salt.
Add a cup of water and cook covered for about 8-10 minutes.
If you want, you can garnish with coriander leaves (cilantro), thin sev etc.
To make bajri rotlo:
  • 1/2 cup bajri flour / millet flour
  • About 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tea spoon salt
  • Flat pan / tava
  • 2 tea spoon ghee/ butter
Take the bajri/millet flour, add salt and prepare a dough by adding water little by little.
Don’t make it too loose or stiff. You should be able to knead it nicely without exerting any pressure.
Continue to knead for about 2 minutes.
Immediately, roll it into a thick roti and cook on both sides for a minute until there are dark brown spots all over.
As it gets cooked, if you press the top of the rotlo with a cloth, it will puff up nicely.
Apply a generous amount of ghee and eat it with jaggery or any subzi with gravy.
Both these dishes are absolutely delicious and I hope you will give it a try.

Chakli

I am lucky to have two exceptionally talented cooks as my sisters. Like Akshay Patra अक्षयपात्र, the amazing number of delicious things they can cook is inexhaustible. Here is a recipe to make super delicious Chaklis from my sister Sharada. It took me just about 45 minutes to make these – from start to finish.
 
 
 Chakli
Ingredients
1 + 1/4 cup rice flour
3/4 cup daliya/soft, split chickpeas/hurgadle
2/3 tea spoon salt
3 table spoon butter
1/3 tea spoon hing
1 tea tea spoon til/sesame seeds
1/4 tea spoon jeera/cumin seeds
Approx. 2/3 cup water
 
Method
1. Grind Daliya to a fine powder.
2. Mix all ingredients except butter and water.
3. Add warm, melted butter and mix it well into flour.
4. Add water little by little and knead into a dough. 
5. Make sure the dough is soft yet stiff.  
6. At this point, heat approx. 3 cups oil in a frying pan.
6. Continue to knead the dough for at least 5 minutes.
7. With a chakli maker, make round chaklis and fry 2-4 at a time, depending on the size of the frying pan, on medium-low heat. 
 
This recipes will make approx. 15 medium size chaklis. 

Weekend brunch: Doodhi thepla etc.

Hi friends, how are you all doing?
Here is a tasty and brunch menu for those of you who like to eat and laze around at home on a weekend.

Doodhi (opo) thepla with wheat and barley flour
Broccoli and potato subzee
Gujarati dal or South Indian rasam
Yoghurt/buttermilk

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Ingredients for doodhi thepla:
1. 1 cup shredded doodhi
2. 1 cup wheat flour
3. 1/4 cup barley/jawar flour
4. 1/4 tea spoon turmeric
5. 1/2 tea spoon red chili powder
6. 1 table spoon oil
7. 1/4 cup yoghurt
8. 1 tea spoon finely cut green chili
9. A Pinch of hing
10. 1/4 tea spoon grated ginger

Mix all the ingredients and make a dough soft enough to roll into rotis. Keep aside for 15 minutes.

Roll into thin 5-6 inch diameter rotis and cook on both sides for about 30 seconds smearing oil or ghee on sides.

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