Friday, October 21, 2011

Cheese Stuffed Moong Daal Chilla / Yellow lentil Pancakes


Yes it is the Festival season  & we have been having & making loads of sweets but having a savory accompaniment  along with the sweets is also a must . I like sweets but then a hot & spicy snack has always been my personal favourite. Moong dal chilla are very easy to make , healthy & light on the stomach.  The filling makes them even more delicious & also make them look very festive. Also one of my Mom's favourite , these chillas can be had as a snack or breakfast or - or whenever. Looks like I am at a loss for words so let's do the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup Moong daal ( Split yellow Moong Daal)
Pinch of Asafoetida
salt to taste

For the Filling:
1 cup of cheese ( I made fresh cheese)
1 small onion chopped
2-3 green chilli finely chopped
1/4th cup peas ( I used frozen)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of turmeric powder
salt  & red chilli powder to taste
oil for frying.

Preparation:

Soak Moong daal overnight or for atleast 4 hours .
Drain all the water & grind daal with asafoetida to a fine paste with just enough water to make a batter just like Dosa batter . Add the salt.  Keep aside.

For the filling:

Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet & add cumin seeds. Let them splutter & add onions & green chillies. Stir till the onions turn pink. Now add the cheese , salt , turmeric powder,  red chilli powder & peas & stir well for 2-3 minutes. The Filling is now ready.



Heat a flat skillet or a non stick pan to make the chillas - grease it with very little oil,  spread 1 tablespoon of batter & spread it in a round just like we would for Dosa. I tablespoon of batter makes small snack size chillas . Once done from one side, turn it upside down & let it fry . Now turn again & place about a tablespoon of cheese filling in the centre & fold from both sides. The chilla is ready to be served.


I like the chillas with a very Hot green chutney made with lots of green chillies , cilantro & lemon juice.
They are sure to be a hit with your guests so have fun during the festival season & hope you Enjoy...........

Monday, October 17, 2011

Makkhan Vada For Karwa Chauth / Balushahi/ Badushaa/ Sugar Dipped Sweet Pastries




Karva Chauth is a centuries old tradition observed annually in North India  with great pomp & fervor where all married women dress up & observe  a fast for the day , for the health , wealth,  prosperity & longevity  of their husband's &  seek the blessings of Godess Gauri for a blissful marital life. This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on Kartik Ki Chauth i.e on the fourth day of the new moon. The term" Chauth "means the fourth day &" Karwa" is an earthen pot with a spout - a symbol of peace & prosperity which is necessary for the pooja hence the name Karwa Chauth.

The fast begins at daybreak around 4 am  when women get up &  feast on Sargi ( sweets & fruits , sweets mainly consisting of pheniyan, ghevar & many other sweets) In the earlier times the married girls would visit their parents for the festival season beginning as of Teej & Raksha Bandhan & their stay  at the parents house would end at the auspicious Karva Chauth when the Husband would arrive to spend the day with his wife & bring along with him ( Sargi) sweets & fruits , new clothes mainly consisting of a saree & also jewellery  sent by the girl's inlaws & the girl would begin her fast by having this Sargi at daybreak. Although it is a tough fast as it begins before daybreak & ends only after moonrise when women offer prayers & water to the moon , it is still a much awaited event for northern Indian women.



 I always remember my Mom waking us up early morning to have Sargi with her & we would all enjoy the sweets & savouries with her. And the day would be longer for  us than for her coz we would wait for the time when we would get to eat all that she made during the day. It was really amazing to see her dish out awesome sweets & savouries all day long without even drooling at them even though she had not had anything to eat all day. I think we have really run out of the energy & gusto that she had & the love & patience she prepared the dishes with. So whatever little I could manage is here in this recipe.

Ingredients: 


1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour ( 150 Grams)
1/4 cup Desi Ghee / Clarified Butter ( 50 Grams)
2 tablespoons Yogurt ( 25 Grams)
1/8th tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
water for kneading the dough
Oil for frying the Vadas

For the Sugar Syrup:

1 cup Sugar ( I used Brown sugar)
1/2 cup water
3-4 pods Cardamom
1/2 tsp lemon juice




Method:

For the dough:

Start with sifting the flour, soda & cardamom powder together a couple of times ( This helps in equal distribution of soda in the flour & the vadas will be more flaky)

Now add the Ghee &  Yogurt & start kneading . The flour will be crumbly but will start getting together . When the ghee & yogurt is well combined in the flour, sprinkle some water & try to bring the dough together( i used only 1/8 cup of water)  The dough should be soft but not smooth. We do not have to knead the dough for a long time to make it smooth. All we need to do is bring the dough together in a lump that will take only 1-2 minutes. You will see a lot of crackles in the dough. when the dough is done , cover & keep it aside for 20-25 minutes.
After the waiting time is over knead the dough again for 1 minute light handedly . Divide the dough in 10-12 equal parts & roll them gently into small balls. We do not need to make perfect balls as we need the edges of the dough to be imperfect with a lot of crackes so they cook well in the oil. Once the dough is rolled into a ball make a dent in the centre with your finger .

For Frying the vadas, heat oil in a wok ( kadhai). Now comes the tricky part, the oil should be medium hot. To test if the oil is  hot enough drop a pinch of dough into the oil , the dough should sizzle but come up very slowly , if the dough comes up immediately means the oil is too hot - in this case switch off the heat for a couple of minutes .
If the oil is perfect , at first the vadas will just sink into the oil & the oil will sizzle a little, it will take about 2 minutes for the vadas to puff up & start to float on the oil. Do not touch or try to turn the vadas at this time , let them fry on one side for 4-5 minutes & then turn. It will take about 15 minutes for one batch of 6 vadas to fry perfectly pink.
In the meantime make the sugar syrup on the other stove by adding 1/2 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar . Add the cardamom pods &  lemon juice ,make the sugar syrup to one thread consistency , keep aside.

Once all the vadas are done frying , put them in sugar syrup & turn them very gently with a spatula so they soak the syrup on al sides. Let the Makkhan vadas sit in the syrup for about an hour. Garnish with Pistachios & saffron strings. The vadas are very very soft & flaky & just melt in the mouth like butter hence the name Makkhan Vada.





In the evening women adorn new colourful sarees,  new bangles ,jewellery & makeup , henna is applied to the hands the day before , women from all over the neighbourhood gather & narrate mythological stories related to the significance of Karwa Chauth.



The fast of Karwa Chauth truly sets the merry tone of the fun & frolic , fasting , feasting & festivities that come in good measure during Diwali - The biggest of all Festivals.


LInking this to Anu's DiwaliDiwali-festival-of-lights-event

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paani Poori ( Pachranga Style)


Paani Poori is a very very famous street food all over India .Small ,crunchy, puffed poori's stuffed with boiled potatoes & chickpeas , dunked in a spicy tangy water is an all time favorite. With the festivities in full swing, amidst loads  of sweets & fried foods, paani poori comes as a savior to quench your thirst as well as clean the palette. During my last visit to India I spent a lot of time with my sister in Mumbai & being a paani poori  freak herself she took me around town to every paani poori wala she knew of. I ended up having PP almost everyday for the duration of my stay  but the best part being that I tasted innumerable kinds of paani & fillings : as we all will agree that we might be using the same recipe but every individual's preparations will still differ in taste & the way it looks. Having said this I can visualise the Paani Poori wala in my hometown who is one of a kind -serving the most delicious , sweet savoury & spicy PP ever. The PP comes with 4 kinds of water: khatta, mittha, Pudina & Hing wala ( Tangy, sweet, mint & asafoetida) & when you are done eating the last one poori will be filled with potatoes & yogurt  probably to cool down the burning throat & mouth from the very spicy & hot water ( Hmmm -today I'm wondering if that's the reason he was called Pachranga) & the festival season would just be so much more fun as none of our festival shopping sprees would be complete without a stop at the famous Pachranga.

So here comes my recipe with the 4 spicy, sweet & tangy paani:
Ingredients:
For the Poori:
1/4 cup  fine sooji / semolina
2 tablespoon Maida/ all purpose flour
2 tablespoon atta / whole wheat flour
oil for frying

For the Paani ( Water)
1 cup Tamarind paste
4 tablespoons paani poori masala( store bought)
2 tablespoon roasted ground cumin
2 tsp black salt
2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint paste
1/4 cup Boondi
1-2 boiled & diced potatoes for filling
1/2 cup boiled chickpeas for filling


Method:
For the pooris:

 Start by mixing all the flours together in a bowl & mix well.
Knead it into a not very soft dough by adding just enough water & knead well. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes & knead one more time. Now the dough is ready for rolling.
You can either divide the dough into  25-30 small  balls & roll each one into 2 inch rounds or divide the dough into two parts, roll one part into a thin circle & cut rounds out of it with a small round cookie cutter. Do this with all of the dough but make sure you cover the cut rounds with a damp kitchen towel.
Now heat oil in a deep heavy  bottomed skillet , the oil should be medium hot , drop 3-4 pooris one by one into the oil & let them puff up. Once puffed lower the heat a little,  turn them to the other side & let them be golden brown  & crunchy from all sides. Heating the oil too much will result in puffed pooris but they will be soft .


For The Paani: ( This is just an approximate , you can adjust the amount of spices acc. to taste) 
Mix the tamarind paste with 8-10 cups of water in a large bowl. Add the spices: paani poori masala, salt, red chilli, cumin .
 Now divide this mixture into 4 equal parts to make 4 differently flavoured paani.
To  one part add sugar to make mittha paani ( sweet water)
To the 2nd part add  freshly ground mint paste for Pudina wale paani
To the third part add the asafoetida powder to make hing wala paani
The fourth part is as is to make Khatta or Tangy water
Stir well & add boondi to the water/ refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.


For serving fill the pooris with a mix of   boiled & diced potatoes & chickpeas & the water can be served in individaul glasses or just dunk it into the water jug.
You can also spice up the potato & chickpea mix by adding some tamarind or mint chutney to it.



Enjoy The festival season Friends with these sweet , savoury , spicy & sinful treats......
Happy Navratri &  Dashmi to all my dear friends at blogosphere........

Cheers........

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cheese Stuffed Potato Bombs


With the advent of the festival season in India it is really time to  treat ourselves to some sweet & savory snacks & try get into the festival spirit. My Mom who is not computer savvy (like many of our moms I guess ) relies on my brother to show her my new posts on the blog. One such moment when I was chatting with my family and my Mom was  looking at my posts ,she found a surprise element in my blog. Yes she was really surprised that I had no Indian sweets, Indian meals or snack  posts ( with the exception of Dahi Pyaaz Curry) in my blog , everything that I had been so famous for, my so called signature dishes that are my family favorites & am asked to prepare those every time I visit India. Hmmm......Good Point Mom,  probably I think I just took all those everyday delicacies for granted & indulged more in cakes & baking as I love learning & trying new recipes. But the advent of the festival season, the  bare footed chill creeping in silently, no sunshine for the last few days,  & above all My Mom's desire are reasons enough to indulge in some sinful sweets & savories. So here  I come with one of my family's all time most favorite snack ......potato cutlets or potato bombs as I called them here:


Ingredients:

2 -3 boiled & mashed potatoes
1 small onion finely chopped
3-4 green chillies finely chopped
8-10 strands of Fresh cilantro finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp mango powder
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
Salt & red chili powder to taste
Bread crumbs from 1 slice of bread ( I used the shredder attachment to shred 1 slice of fresh white bread)
2 tablespoon fresh cheese for stuffing ( I used Mozzarella )
1/2 cup sesame seeds for rolling the potato balls
Oil for frying






Method: 


For the filling:


Add some salt & black pepper , very little chopped cilantro to the cheese & keep aside.

Potato Balls: 

For the potato balls mix everything together with the potatoes with the exception of sesame seeds,  bread crumbs, onion, green chili, cilantro and the dry spices. Mix well light handedly , if there are bits & pieces of potato left that is fine . You can also grease your hands with some oil  if the mixture is too sticky . Roll it into a dough like ball. Now divide the potato mixture into 10-12 equal parts or you can do it just by taking enough mixture that can be rolled in the palms of your hands. Flatten this potato mix a little &  put about 1/2 tsp of the cheese mix in the centre , close it off  from all sides & roll it into a ball. Now roll the ball into the sesame seeds thoroughly. Repeat the same process with all balls.
Heat oil in a deep frying dish & fry the potato balls on high heat until they turn golden brown.
Serve with ketchup or chutney of your choice.


Enjoy............




Note: You can make of filling of your choice , i sometimes also do it with vegetables.
          Also I have rolled some balls in bread crumbs & sesame seed mixture as I ran out of sesame seeds.
          You can also roll them in a shape of your choice.
          Hubby loved the ones rolled in sesame seeds..hope you guys will enjoy it too.

             Linking this to Anu's Diwali-Festival Of Lights-Diwali Event

Sunday, October 2, 2011

100 Yummy Diwali Sweet Recipes

IndusLadies Diwali Free E-Book !


For the upcoming Diwali festival on October 26th, 2011, IndusLadies are compiling an E-book called "100 Yummy Diwali Sweet Recipes”.They are collecting sweet/dessert recipes from various food bloggers to be featured in this E-Book.

This E-book will be made available as a free download to their community's 1.3 Lakh+ members and to their 9000+ Facebook fans. It's LOTS and LOTS of exposure to those food blogs entering the E-Book!!

I am sending recipe for Mawa Gujiya


 Please send a sweet/dessert recipe from your blog to partners@indusladies.com by Oct 8th, 2011.