Kala Chana and Vegetable Kabab 

A lip smacking starter. It is not deep fried, but shallow fried on a non-stick pan is tangy in taste. It can be eaten with ketchup or spicy green chutney. It tastes delicious. A tea-time snack or as a starter, it is easy to assemble the ingredients and can be stored  in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before serving.


INGREDIENTS 

  1. Red Chana (lentil): 3/4 cup ( when soaked, boiled and crushed, should measure 1 cup )
  2. Potato (boiled and mashed): 1 cup
  3. Yam (suran) boiled and mashed: 1 cup
  4. Chillie ginger garlic paste: 2 Tbsp
  5. Green onions (finely chopped): 3
  6. Grated cabbage and carrots: 1/2 cup
  7. Oats slightly roasted, or micro waved: 3/4 cup
  8. Coriander and mint leaves (finely chopped): 1/2 cup (can use mint powder if fresh is not available )
  9. Aamchur powder or lemon juice: 1-2 Tsp (per taste)
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Corn flour to dab the kababs before frying (can use bread crumbs instead )

METHOD

  • Soak the Chana overnight, boil in pressure cooker adding a little salt, pinch of soda and enough water.
  • When done, drain out the water and crush the chana in a blender. 
  • Add all the ingredients, mix them well and form a dough.
  • Grease palms with oil and make even-sized pattie, dab in corn flour or bread crumbs.
  • Shallow fry or roast it on nonstick pan till brown and crispy. 
  • Serve hot with chutney ( onion julienne optional).
  • Sprinkle chaat masala before serving.
  • Enjoy the crispy hot kababs and the aroma when monsoon is at the door!!

Raab (sweet energy-giving drink for sick days)

Hello everyone. It’s been a long interval for me to be back back to my blog. My visit to India, Gujarat was certainly nostalgic and lovely, but little exhausting too!! I intend to speed up my blog with more delicious, healthy and quick recipes for the mothers of today, as they are absolutely busy with home, office and to be sure children whose demand for snacks, lunch, dinner is increasing day by day! Mothers Day was celebrated recently all over the world and the young and old went out to restaurants, or made special meals to give a gala treat to their mothers with fondness for the best food she served! Food that a mother prepares remains cherished all your life!

Recently I came to know that many people were down with severe cough and cold along with fever. Children were averse to food and felt miserable with all the medicines. At such times soups and broth are good for all, but here is one nice hearty energy-giving drink, which is very soothing to the throat and is lightly sweet. It is called ‘Raab’ and is made from ghee, jaggery, wheat flour and water. These are the four basic ingredients. Optional ingredients are crushevd almonds and ginger powder.

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be customized for anyone. If kids are sick and you wish to give them, then skip the dried ginger powder. This is an excellent drink for new mothers who are recuperating and require energy. Adding crushed almonds to the four ingredients will give the mom an extra boost of energy. I hope the germs stay away from you and your families. But if they do knock on your drink, make this drink, which doesn’t take more than five minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • Ghee: 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Wheat flour: 2 tbsp
  • Chopped jaggery: 1 3/4 tbsp
  • Water: 1 1/2  to 2 cups as per required consistency
  • Dried ginger powder ( sunth): 1/2tsp (optional for children)

Method:-

Boil water with jaggery to a liquid  consistency.

In a separate pan add ghee when warm add the wheat flour ,stirring constantly till it is slightly brown .

( can add little more ghee if required )

Add  the warm jaggery water gradgually to the wheat flour stirring constantly.

add ginger powder .

Serve warm ( soup like consistency )

To make it rich one can add sliced almonds and cardemon .

Puran Poli, a delicious sweet roti (With step-by-step photos)

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A roti, chapati or poli, is almost a staple in a Gujarati or a Maharashtrian meal, for lunch or dinner. But on formal or auspicious occasions, we try to add a little sweet flavour to it. Puran poli is made of simple ingredients available in the kitchen pantry. Lentils – either tuver daal (arhar daal) or chana daal, sugar or jaggery, ghee and wheat flour. The  daal is cooked well with sugar it is thick enough to form into small marble type balls which are then stuffed into the roti and cooked on the tava/ griddle. When people are told that the meal today includes puran poli, their faces lighten up as it’s really delicious. You have to watch the portion size as it’s loaded with ghee.

The good thing about puran poli is that not only can it be made several days prior, just the filling of lentils can be stored separately and the poli can be rolled out whenever desired, at a moment’s notice.

I recently read ‘The Rainbow Comes and Goes’. It is authored by Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. It is beautifully written and describes the relation Anderson has with his mother and how it has changed over the years. I now see AC in a different light altogether. Next, I look forward to reading his autobiography, which, my family members say is just as good and poignant. What books have you read recently?

The Puran poli recipe is given below.

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INGREDIENTS – (four servings )

  • Tuver daal / Chana daal -2 cups
  • Sugar -2cups
  • Cardamom powder – 1tsp
  • Nutmeg powder -1tsp
  • Wheat / all purpose flour: 3 to4 cups  as per the size of the poli
  • Ghee for spreading on the poli
  • Milk for kneading the poli dough 3/4 th cup approximately

METHOD: 

  1. Wash and pressure cook the daal (any one), adding three cups of water. After three whistles, let it simmer on low for ten minutes. The daal should be very soft when cooked. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook it in a deep pot with water.
  2. Blend it well with a blender.
  3. Transfer the daal into a non stick  deep pan, add sugar and allow the mixture to cook on a low flame till it blends into a  thick  consistency. (stir constantly with a ladle) NOTE: The mixture is considered ready when your ladle can stand upright on its own and clings to the mixture.
  4. Add cardamom and nutmeg powder and allow to cool.
  5. Grease the palms with a little ghee and form small balls 11/2 to 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Keep aside ( can be stored in the fridge for two weeks).
  7. Knead the flour using milk to form into a roti dough.
  8. Roll out a small circle of roti, place the daal ball in the center, and cover it  bringing all edges to the center. Nip the additional dough from the top.
  9. Roll out gently again into a thick roti.
  10. Pre heat the griddle, roast the roti on both sides on a low flame. NOTE: Unlike the regular roti, you don’t have to expose the puran poli directly on the flame. Just press gently on both sides with a clean soft kitchen cloth, or paper towel.
  11. Apply ghee generously before serving. 

Nan khatai -Eggless Indian Cookie

Baked biscuits and baked cookies are very popular in the north western parts of India. Previously when every household did not posses an oven (to bake), mothers would go and give the required ingredients to the bakers shop, and the baker would bake it and return it to you charging a minimum sum. Children loved to take it in lunch boxes, people traveling would like to eat it with tea or as a safe substitute for sweets. It was cheap and delicious. Back in the day when we didn’t have blenders either, we used the kitchen’s most trusted tool – our hands, to mix the sugar homogeneously. It was an arduous task, but well worth it. 

I am sharing the recipe of nan khatai, which is like an Indian shortbread cookie, with an Indian twist. 


Ingredients : (20 cookies)

  • Refined flour/ wheat flour: 1 cup
  • Rava /sooji (semolina): 3/4cup
  • Confectioners sugar: 1 cup
  • Ghee: 1 cup / OR unsalted  butter (room temperature ,do not heat)
  • Baking powder: 1 Tbsp
  • Soda bi carb: 1 Tbsp
  • Almond powder (0ptinal): 1Tbsp
  • Yogurt: 1 Tbsp 
  • Cardamom powder for garnishing


  • Method: 
  1. Sieve the flour with baking powder and soda bi carb. 
  2. Beat sugar and ghee  with a hand blender until smooth and light (dropping  consistency) 
  3. Add flour and semolina gradually, using the blender to mix it well. 
  4. Add almond powder and yogurt. Mix it well. (forms into a soft dough )
  5. Keep the mixture overnight.
  6. Greeze a baking tray, and pre heat the oven at 300 degree F.
  7. Apply a little ghee on the palms and make small  balls. 
  8. Top the balls with  a pinch of cardemom powder. 
  9. Bake for 30 to40 minutes.
  10. Cookies are ready to eat.

NOTE: 

  • To give this a chocolate flavor, remove one tablespoon of the flour, and add the same amount of chocolate powder to the dough. Garnish with chopped walnut and cashew pieces. 

Cabbage Pie


A very simple easy to cook recipe, this pie can be served on the dinner table along with a regular meal, or at tea time, as a starter along with drinks, especially when one does not want to go for a fried snack. Usually cabbage  is used in making a simple vegetable or added to stir fry vegetables or salads. Children like cabbage and if this pie is baked in cup cake moulds and served individually, children’s faces will light up!! Served with green chutney or tomato ketchup it’s like asking for more. 

Here’s the recipe. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • Cabbage: 500 gms (roughly 1 pound) 
  •  Chickpea flour ( besan): 1 1/2 cup 
  • Semolina (Sooji or rava): 1 cup
  • Oil: 3/4 cup
  • Chilly ginger paste: 1 tbsp (can use more to make spicy as per taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Baking powder: 1 Tbsp 
  • Baking soda: 1 Tbsp
  • Yogurt: 1 Tbsp
  • Sesame seeds:  1 Tbsp
  • Shredded cheese:  1 Tbsp
  • Bread crumbs for garnishing


METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit. 
  2. Wash and finely pulse the cabbage in the mixer-grinder and transfer to a bowl. 
  3. Add chickpea flour, rava, oil, yogurt, salt, chilly ginger paste and mix well. 
  4. Add a little water to give it a pouring consistency (like for a cake mixture). 
  5. Grease a 6 by 6 baking container with butter or oil, pour the mixture in it and allow to stand for 30 minutes. 
  6. Top with cheese, bread crumbs and sesame seeds evenly over the mixture.
  7. Put the container in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
  8. Allow it to cool a little and cut into small square pieces and serve. 

Hope you enjoy the cabbage pie!!

NOTE:

  • You can get an even better taste by adding a few spoons of frozen corn.

Quinoa pulav

Want a substitute  for  rice ?Well here is quinoa  ,a grain which is less starchy ,light to digest  and a wholesome healthy meal when cooked with  a  vegetables as per  choice and availability .Simple to cook and a ready meal to be served with yogurt or thick lentil daal.Quinoa can also be added to a  salad  with olive oil and mild or spicy  dressing .Quinoa is nutritive and healthy for young and old. Here is the recipe for quinoa  Pulav .

Ingredients , serves  four .

1-quinoa :- 2 cups 

2-mixed vegetables:-one cup(peas ,beans, carrots,pepper,potato,onion)

3-ginger ,garlic paste,(or finely chopped )and green chillies is optional .1 tea spoon

4-2 cloves , 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.

5-biryani masala , or garam masala 1 table spoon.

6-salt to taste.

7-olive oil 1 table spoon ( can add a little ghee for added flavour and aroma )

8-juice of one lemon/as per taste.

Method :-Wash and cook the quinoa adding double  quantity of water  in a. pot.

2-quinoa is cooked and ready when all water is absorbed and the quinoa  fluffs  up.

3-In  a  Shellow pan ,add olive oil,sauté the diced onion /potato(one medium size each)sprinkle some water to allow the

 potatos to cook add cloves,ginger ,garlic paste.

4-add all the other  vegetables,mix well ,cook till tender add salt and turmeric.

5-add quinoa ,biryani masala and lemon juice .mix well.

6-transfer  into a serving  dish and garnish with cilantro  leaves.serve with yogurt or daal .

NOTE:- 1-can make wholesome if topped  with fried egg.

            2-can add  broccoli ,canned kidney beans, two tablespoons of tomato sauce  to give it a tangy taste and additional moisture.

Haandvo (Pronounced as Haan-da-voh)


For those who don’t know what it is, haandvo is a sumptuous snack made of mixed lentils, rice and vegetables. It is baked, has a spicy and tangy taste and loved by all. The tangy flavor comes from fermenting the ground lentils and rice. 

A Gujarati thali is known for its variety of dishes, which includes different breads like roti, bhakhri, bajri rollout, rice, seasonal vegetables, dals, farsan ( fried, steamed or baked) salad, and my personal favorite – a spread of mouth watering sweets! Gujarati snacks are in demand by populations from across India for its sweet and sour flavour, especially dhokla and haandvo. Dhokla is steamed, and haandvo is baked.

Each family has a slightly different recipe for haandvo. You can use different vegetables, or some families add pickles like gor keri. But the basic premise is the same. What a lot of people look forward to is the crunchy topping, which is comprised of sesame seeds. There is an unmistakable aroma when the haandvo is being baked. The dish is versatile enough and can be had for lunch, dinner, or even tea-time snack. 

Here is the recipe for the haandvo. 


Ingredients: 

  • Rice: 2 cups
  • Tuver dal: 1 cup
  • Mixed dal: 1 cup (chana dal, urad dal, moong dal)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 cup (grated bottle guard, fenugreek and spinach leaves (finely chopped))
  • Finely chopped green chillies: 4-5 OR Ginger chilly paste: 1-2 Tbsp (as per taste)
  • Turmeric powder: 1 Tbsp 
  • Dry pickle powder (red methiya masala or sambhaaro powder): 1 Tbsp 
  • Garlic cloves: 4-5 cloves (grated) OR Garlic paste: 1 Tbsp (use green garlic if available)
  • Jaggery: 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Yogurt:  1/2 cup
  • Soda bi-carbonate: 1 Tsp 
  • For topping: Mustard seeds: 1 Tsp, Sesame seeds: 2 Tbsp, Dried red chillies: 2-3, Asofoetida: 1 Tsp 


Method:

  1. Wash and soak rice and dal overnight.
  2. Grind to a smooth paste. 
  3. Add yogurt, jaggery, salt, turmeric, chillies, ginger-garlic paste and all the vegetables. 
  4. Add one table spoon of oil, one teaspoon of soda bi carb or eno to the batter. You can add a little water to get the consistency of dosa batter.  
  5. Cover the vessel and let it rise for 2-3 hours. 
  6. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Stir the mixture well with ladle and transfer into an 8 by 8 casserole. 
  8. Pour oil into a small vessel, add mustard seeds, red chillies and asofoetida. Switch off the gas once the mustard seeds pop. To avoid splattering of sesame seeds, add them when the oil cools a little.
  9. Pour this oil over the mixture, and spread it evenly to cover the haandvo batter mixture completely. 
  10. Bake for 45minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  11. After this, broil on low for 3-5 minutes. 
  12. Carefully remove from oven and let it cool. 
  13. Make square pieces once it has cooled down. 

The spicy haandvo is ready and enjoy it with a hot cup of tea! 

NOTES: 

  • Indian stores now carry the dry haandvo mix. You can soak the mix in oil, yogurt and water. Let this mixture ferment over night. Mix all the ingredients the next day and follow the recipe. 
  • Haandvo can be refrigerated for up to a week and small pieces can be warmed in a microwave  or pressure cooker. 

Coriander Ginger Soup 

Usually  coriander, aka cilantro, is used to garnish all  vegetables and dals. It is used frequently as it is good for digestion. The spicy, green coriander chutney goes very well with fried pakoras, samosas, bhel, etc. A lot of households have it on the dining table as well. I strongly believe in using all parts of any veggie. So, rather than throw away the cilantro stalks, I decided to make use of them. What resulted was a delicious soup, that had a strong flavor of this earthy herb. 

I do not like to add cornflour to thicken the soup, so I added some  vegetables, which blend very well and give a nice flavour. In the Notes section, you will see how this soup can be made vegan as well. 


Makes 3-4 servings 

Ingredients

  • A bunch of coriander leaves 
  • Chopped ginger: 2 Tbsp 
  • Chopped tomatoes: 2
  • Bottle gourd OR zucchini (cut into small cubes): 1 cup 
  • Carrot (cut into cubes): 1/2 cup
  • Olive oil and butter: 1 Tsp each
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheese and finely chopped cilantro leaves to garnish
  • Lemon slices to serve
  • Corn starch: 1 Tbsp (optional) 

Method

  1. Chop the coriander leaves and stalks separately. 
  2. Pour olive oil and butter in a pan on a low flame. 
  3. Add  all the vegetables and coriander strands and sauté till slightly soft. 
  4. Add enough water to allow it to cook properly or pressure cook for two whistles. 
  5. Once it has cooled, churn well and strain using a sieve.  
  6. Bring to boil again, add salt, pepper, and half tsp sugar (optional). 
  7. Before serving, add 2 table spoon milk. Stir well.
  8. Garnish with shredded cheese and coriander leaves.

* Serve with a slice of lemon and squeeze before enjoying the soup. 

Enjoy the vegetable soup on its own or with garlic bread! 


NOTES: 

  1. If you don’t have bottle gourd, by all means substitute with zucchini. 
  2. If you use corn starch, mix the corn starch with a tablespoon of water and add before adding the milk.  
  3. To make the soup vegan, either skip the butter and use just olive oil or use one of the vegan butters. And instead of milk, add either soy or almond milk. It is okay if you omit the dairy or vegan milk altogether also. 
  4. If using zucchini, just cook the vegetables on the stove top instead of using the pressure cooker.  

Broccoli and Almond Soup


The last few months were all about spending time with my eldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters. Visiting friends and family during Diwali and seeing the girls’ enthusiasm for Diwali warmed our hearts. I did miss communicating with you readers. I am back with a wonderful recipe that is very apt for this crisp Fall weather. A cup of hot/ warm soup  with a meal for your lunch or dinner can satiate you, boost energy and in most cases, also balance  calories. That’s why I love soups that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. 

You can get as creative with soups, use pantry staples on days you cannot venture out to the grocery store or even use these to clean the leftover veggies sitting in your fridge. Sauté, boil and churn vegetables of your liking and a delicious  soup is ready! Some soups don’t even need churning or using a sieve. 

What I have for you today is a hearty recipe for broccoli almond soup. Back home in India, this first was served as a unique dish at weddings. Since a lot of weddings take place in the cold, winter months, this soup would be the perfect start to any meal. Soon enough, a lot of families began replicating this at home. It does not require much prep and can be tweaked per your taste. The recipe is given below. 


Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Broccoli (roughly chopped): 2 cups broccoli
  • Almonds (soaked and skinned): 1/2 cup
  • Olive oil or butter: 1 Tbsp
  • Ginger (chopped): 1 Tsp (Optional) 
  • Milk: 1 Tbsp 
  • Cheese (for garnishing): 1/4 cup 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. Add olive oil or butter in a pan and sauté  broccoli, ginger and almonds till slightly soft or al dente.
  2. Add two cups of water and pressure cook for three  whistles. Allow to cool.
  3. Carefully open the cooker and blend the mixture, strain and add salt and pepper. (See Notes if you don’t have a pressure cooker) 
  4. Bring the mix to a boil. You may add water for required consistency. 
  5. Add milk and garnish with cheese strands when serving. You can also use slivered almonds for garnishing to give a nutty texture. 

NOTES

  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t fret. The soup will be just as good if the broccoli is cooked in a pan. 
  • You may not need to strain the soup once you have churned it. Depending on how soft the cooked broccoli is, straining may not be required. 
  • Use light or heavy cream or half and half to give the soup a richer taste. 

Mixed vegetable pulao (Rice with vegetables)

This is a quick and a simple dish to make as all ingredients are available in the kitchen pantry, fridge or freezer. As a working  woman, I remember one has to plan a meal as after coming from work, very little time is left to put food for dinner on the table for the hubby and children. On weekends, I would make sure that all daily required  grocery items are in my fridge and the pantry is well stocked, to avoid visits to the store when time is at a premium.

The aromatic and fragrant pulao now is much easier to make than back in the day as almost all cut and frozen vegetables are easily available, thus greatly reducing your prep time. All vegetables in this recipe are either available as frozen or freshly chopped in the produce section of your neighborhood grocery store. So when you don’t have the time to roll out chapattis and want a sumptuous meal, this rice dish is nutritious, tasty, quick and economical too!!

NOTES:

  • Don’t be restricted by vegetables I mention in this recipe. Use what is available in your grocery store or fridge.
  • Kidney beans would be a great substitute for some veggies also and would make just as much a hearty meal.
  • Green peppers and colored peppers, cooked till they have a bite, will taste and look great too

INGREDIENTS: (4-5 servings)

  • Basmati rice: 2 cups (uncooked)
  • Mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, potato(diced)): 2 cups
  • Medium onions: 2 (one diced and one cut into juliennes for garnishing)
  • Chilly, ginger, garlic paste: 1 Tsp
  • Garam masala or biryani masala: 1 Tsp
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Cumin seeds: 1 Tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee and oil: 2 Tbsp each
  • Few cashew nuts for garnishing

METHOD

  1. Wash and boil the rice in six cups of water.
  2. When the rice is cooked, drain the extra water, and stir in a little ghee with a wooden ladle, and allow the rice to cool.
  3. In a large  vessel (preferably non stick), warm the ghee and oil, add a spoon of cumin seeds and bay leaf.
  4. When the cumin seeds sizzle and pop, add the onions and cook till slightly  brown.
  5. Add all the vegetables (add about two table spoons of water, for vegetables to cook).
  6. Add salt, garam masala, and chilly, ginger and garlic paste.
  7. When the ghee starts to separate, add the rice, mix it well into the vegetables.
  8. In a separate shallow pan, add a little oil and sauté the julienned onions and cashew nuts till golden brown .
  9. Transfer the rice in a casserole or serving dish, garnish with fried onions and cashew nuts.
  10. Serve the warm pulao with plain yogurt, or with cucumber or boondi  raita.

NOTE: The same recipe can be followed with dalia (cracked wheat and quinoa).   It’s equally delicious.