Sunday, August 26, 2007

Poori Mania - Palak/ Spinach Poori with Kala chana and Sooji Halwa

When I saw pooris being blogged on every blog that I visited ...I thought what is all with this poori mania ????........

A little more blog patrolling revealed that Anita of A Mad Tea Party has started this and declared poori - bhaaji as the national food of India. I must say I whole heartily agree with her, but instead of making pooris with bhaaji .....I decided to make poori with the traditional kala chana " black chickpeas" and Sooji halwa , which are my hubby's favorite also.
Traditionally this combination is made at the end of the nine days fasting period called "Nav ratra" in the northern parts of the country .
Pooris have become a rare treat these days with the increased awareness about the HDLs and LDLs ..but this combination is always welcomed in our home and you can serve this for any meal of the day and be rest assured that it will be devoured with much gusto and happiness ;-) . I added palak "spinach" to the poori dough to assuage our guilt about devouring them and also to add a little more taste and color to it.....well here comes my recipe for the same.
Palak Poori ( about 15 )
Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Palak/ spinach - 1 bunch
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Oil for frying
Clean and wash the spinach and then boil it in a pressure cooker with very little water. After 2 whistles , remove the cooker from the stove and cool it under running water . You can also use a microwave for this purpose .Puree the spinach in a blender .
Take the flour in bowl and add the salt. Then add the 1 tb sp oil and rub the flour well between your fingers. Then add the spinach puree to the flour and knead to make soft dough . If the puree is not enough then you can add a little water to prepare the dough. Set the dough aside for 15 mins after covering with a moist cloth.
Pinch out small balls of dough and roll them into small circles with the help of a rolling pin . Deep fry these circles in hot oil . Puffed up delicious pooris are ready !
Sooji Halwa ( for 2 people)
Sooji/ Semolina - 1/2 cup
Besan / Gram flour - 1 tb sp.
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1/3 cup
Cardamom - 2-3
Water - 2 cups
Dry fruits - as per taste
Dry roast the sooji in a pan till it becomes fragrant . Then add the besan/ gram four and stir for a minute . Add the ghee to this mixture and keep stirring continuously . Fry till the time the ingredients become light brown ( some people like the halwa to be whitish or a little pale ...if you like it that ways than you can stop the roasting at that stage , I like mine a little dark in color so I roast it a little longer) . Lower the flame to minimum and add crushed cardamom . Then add the sugar and immediately add the water . Let the mixture simmer at medium flame . Keep stirring continuously till the consistency becomes thick . Take off the stove and garnish with dry fruits of your choice.

Food for little goddesses - Zeere Wala Chana

This dish is made in almost all North Indian households atleast two times in a year at the end of the nine day fasting period called the "Nav Ratra" . Usually this is served to all the young girls who are invited to the house that day . These young girls are believed to be the incarnations of Goddess Durga and are hence treated like that on that day . In my household we make it more than two times simply because we both love this dish .
When I saw Sunita's spice event 'Think Spice Think Cumin' , I thought of a lot of dishes like Zeera rice , Zeera aloo ...but then everyday I saw someone making them , blogging them and sending their entries to Sunita. With each passing day I ran out of options ....and then it struck me that I can make this recipe . But as usual I managed to miss the deadline set by Sunita :-( I seem to be developing an expertise in missing all these deadlines .
Well , though I missed the deadline I still made this dish and here I am sharing it with you all .

Zeere wala Kala Chana / Black chickpeas with Cumin
Black chickpeas/ Kala Chana - 2 cups
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Green chillies - 2-3
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Dry mango powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Soak the black chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook them with 3-4 cups of water. Add a little salt while pressure cooking the chickpeas . Cook till 4-5 whistles.
Once cooked drain the chickpeas and keep them aside .
In a pan heat the oil . Add a pinch of asafoetida to the oil and once you can smell it add the cumin . Then add the chopped green chillies followed by the boiled chickpeas. Stir well so that all the chickpeas are covered with oil . Then add the red chilli powder and coriander powder followed by the salt. Stir well till the chickpea is well fried and all the water has dried . Take the pan off the flame and when a little cool add the dry mango powder and stir well .
Traditionally it is served with pooris and sooji / atta halwa. You can serve it as a side dish with any wet /gravy . It can also be a part of the breakfast or a snack by itself .

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Express Recipe - Potatoes in a light and fragrant tomato gravy

When I read about the Summer Express Cooking Event being hosted at malluspice..I was a happy person ..coz I knew exactly what I had to make .

But then as it happens when you are over confident ...I did not realise how fast time flew and before I knew the deadline was here...and then I had to actually run and time everything ;-)

As a result ...I am just sending the recipe of one part of a complete meal for this event :-(

This is a simple recipe .....a perfect one for those days when its too hot to stand in the kitchen or when you are hard pressed for time .

The gravy is totally tomato based and low in oil content - hence a healthy recipe too ...

Ingredients :-

Potato - 1 large , peeled and diced into medium size pieces

Tomato - 2 -3 large

Cumin seeds /zeera - 1 t. sp.

Red chilli powder - as per taste

Green chilli - 1-2 depending on taste

Turmeric powder - 1/4 t sp.

Garam masala - 1/4 t sp. ( as per taste)

Salt - as per taste

Oil - 1 tb. sp.

Coriander leaves - for garnishing

Cooking time - 20 mins

Serves - 2 people

Method :-

Wash all the vegetables together . Then peel and dice the potato .

Puree the tomatoes in the blender .

Now in a pressure cooker , add the oil . Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds and finely chopped green chillies. Once they stop spluttering , add the potato pieces . Saute for a minute , then add the tomato puree , salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder.

Close the pressure cooker and let it be on high flame . After the first whistle , reduce the flame . Take the cooker off the stove after the 2nd whistle.

Once a little cool , open the pressure cooker and keep it on medium flame add the garam masala and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes . Mash the potato a little so that the consistency becomes a little thick . Take off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.

I usually team this with matar pulav or some other rice dish , plain curd, papads and salad.

This can be served with paranthas/chapati also.

Note : - One can add peas to add color and flavor to the dish .

Phirni - traditional Indian Rice Pudding

Somethings hold a special place in the heart because of the memories associated with them . This particular dish is one of those things for me .....a very simple but delicious dessert ..this used to be the favorite ..made on all those small celebrations ..... highest marks in a class quiz, getting selected on some team . We used to celebrate all those small victories and accomplishments and phirni used to be a part of it :-) . Though I don't get to make this dessert that often now ....not because of the lack of occasions for celebrations ...but more so because of the wish/need to watch the calorie intake :-(

Someday when I have kids and I will need to celebrate their achievements and successes ..then maybe I will again get a chance to relish this favorite of mine :-)

Since it is served when chilled , summer time is the ideal time to make and relish this dessert. The gulab jal /rose water added also has a cooling effect on the body.

I saw that Rice is the selected ingredient for this month's JFI hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam a plethora of recipes involving rice ran through my mind. But finally I chose this simple , cooling and sweet dessert as my entry into the event , not to mention that I got to make and eat it with my dear friends not to forget all with the "legitimate reason" of needing an entry for the event ;-)

Phirni / Traditional Indian rice pudding - Serves 6

Ingredients :-

Rice ( any white rice would do ) - 1/4 cup

Milk - 1 litre

Sugar - 6-7 tb sp. ( as per taste)

Rose water/ Gulab jal - 1 tb sp.

Dry fruits of your choice - as per taste

For this dessert , we need to soak the rice in some water for 1 hour or so and then grind the rice . The rice should be ground a little coarsely and not into a paste .

In the meanwhile , take a thick bottomed pan and heat the milk in it .Once the milk starts to boil , lower the flame and let the milk simmer for 15 -20 mins . Once the quantity has reduced a little add the rice paste into the milk . Add the paste very very slowly and constantly stir the milk as you do so . This step is very important , because if not stirred properly and constantly lumps will form and we do not want that to happen .

Once all the rice has been added to the milk , keep stirring the milk constantly for the next 10 mins . Ensure that the rice does not settle down and stick to the bottom of the pan. While stirring the milk you will notice that the consistency changes and it will have a creamy consistency.

Now , take the pan off the flame and add the sugar . Stir a little so that the sugar dissolves .

Once the contents of the pan are a little cool , add the gulab jal /Rose water and the finely chopped dry fruits .

Keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours .

Serve chilled !