Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Whole Wheat Matar Kulcha




Indian breakfast can take you back in time. The parathas or kulchas loaded in ghee and stuffed with great flavours are run in the mill in most of the Indian households. From classic aloo parathas to exotic mint palak paneer, I am sure you can never say no for them. By the way talking about parathas have you ever been to ‘parathe vali gali’ in chandni chawk in delhi? That place is haven for parathas and kulchas lover, but I recommend just focus on food and don’t look at the kitchen.

Anyways, parathas and kulchas look similar but they are totally different from each other. Right from ingredients used to the process of kneading the dough- kulchas and parathas are poles apart. Parathas are made with whole wheat flour and is kneaded with water, whereas, kulchas are prepared with all purpose flour (maida) and is muddled with yeast, yogurt and baking powder. You know how many kinds of parathas I have posted in my blog- lauki, stuffed onion, methi, cabbagesprouts, mix vegetable- you name it. So that justifies my devotion for parathas-right?



So when I have so many parathas recipes, why there is not even single kulcha recipe on the blog till date?? It’s not that I don’t like kulchas, I mean I surely enjoy piping hot soft kulchas served with matra chaat and raw onion salad (like in Delhi)? But it is heavy and contains maida which is not so perfect for my daily palate. So, the challenge was to replace maida with whole wheat flour and keep the process same-experiment-wait for the results. Overall everything else is same but with healthy twist. Cool-isn't it??

Next, step was to consider the stuffing. What can be better than Mr. Husband’s beloved peas. Peas tossed with simple Indian spices, green chilli and gram flour provides crunchy, peppery and subtle savor. It wasn't as good as Delhi ones, but the experience will indeed boost your taste buds. Okay finally to confess I went a little easy on the ghee, go for it-It's worth the extra calorie and you have already omitted the maida part ;-)


Ingredients:
For the dough
2 cups whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
6 tablespoon curd 
1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon carom seeds/ajwain
1 teaspoon poppy seeds/khus khus (optinal)
Ghee for kulchas
For stuffing:
 2 cups Green peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoon Oil
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida/hing
1 tablespoon grated ginger/adrak
2 tablespoon coriander leaves
2 Green chillies chopped
1 teaspoon cumin/jeera
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1 tablespoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon gram flour/besan
Salt – to taste

Method:
  1. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Make a well in between and add water, oil and yogurt. Knead the dough to semi-soft lump. Cover the dough with wet towel and keep aside in warm place for atleast 45 minutes. (I kept for 2 hours)
  2. Take the dough and beat the air out. Muddle again and set aside for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Next, heat oil in a pan and aseofetida and cumin. Let cumin seeds splutter.
  4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, green chilli, ginger paste, red chilli powder and peas. Mix well. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes or till peas are cooked. Mix and try to mash the peas.
  5. Once peas are cooked, add lemon juice, coriander leaves and gram flour. Mix well and let it cool.
  6. Make lemon-sized balls of the dough and form thick discs. Roll the discs and place the filling Cover completely with the dough and make into a ball again. Press lightly with the palm of your hand and dust with flour before rolling out into thick flat kulchas.
  7. Heat an iron griddle/tava/pan and cook the kulchas with generous dabs of ghee on both sides.

Notes:
For more authentic taste, use all purpose flour/maida instead on whole wheat flour. Or use both in half quantities.
It is important to keep the dough to rest for atleast 45 minutes. This will make sure that raising agents reacts.
Even aloo and panner can be mixed with peas to stuff.
Poppy seeds is optional, i like the crunch.

Serving ideas:
Serve hot with pickles of tomatoes, mangoes or green chillies.
These are perfect to be served at breakfast, brunch and as evening or picnic snack.
                                                                                                                                      

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes With Fennel


Pinterest is one amazing concept and those of you who use it will surely agree with me. It is one place where you can spend hours pinning pictures from all genres or perhaps come across quotes that could inspire you. I have totally fallen for these one:-
 “Life is an experiment in which you may fail or succeed. Explore more, expect least.” 
“Experience is the past tense of experiment.” 
“Theories might inspire you, but experiments will advance you.” 
Yes the common word is “experiment” Experiment is one adventure that everyone must perform without worrying about the end results. And we, as cooks, always tend to experiment in the kitchen; so do you think about the results or you become happy that you tried something new?


Me?? I love to have desi tadka in international dishes like Bell Pepper Noodles or mix two old classic recipes to make a new one like Palak Mutter Paneer or simply give makeover to leftovers like Cabbage Subji Paratha. Honestly, Sometimes I am thrilled with the great outcome and sometimes I am satisfied that I atleast tried -but I am never sad.

So today I bring before you an experimentation that I did and the consequence was totally worth sharing here. You know how the restaurants in the Europe serve some side with everything; French fries with pizza or salad with sandwich. In my recent trip to Paris (remember I shared the picture HERE) I had roasted tomatoes with pasta. The pasta was simple penne with tomato sauce and cheese and roasted tomatoes had same Italian seasoning (herbs, olive oil and garlic) but I liked the idea of roasted tomatoes as side a lot, yes a looott. It was then it clicked me to infuse some Indian spices and ‘experiment’.


I decided to exploit Cherry tomatoes as it has always grabbed my attention for its cuteness and petite shape. Cherry tomatoes roasted to perfection with fennel seeds and black pepper do create some magic. Roasting tomatoes is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness. The flavor profile of the tomato intensifies and you are left with something so simple yet so elegant, you won’t believe your taste buds. You don’t need any method but you do need lot of time to roast the tomatoes, but, what the heck- keep in the oven and forget till your oven rings. *smile*smile*


The recipe is a keeper; well of course you can play with ingredients and experiment. You can have this as a side salad or just apply on toasted bread or toss them up in the pasta dishes- the ideas are unlimited. What you must do is, buy cherry tomatoes and make this.

Ingredients:
4 cups cherry tomatoes
5 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Salt to taste

Method:
Preheat the oven at 180C
Wash cherry tomatoes and drain the water.
Take the baking tray and lie with foil.
Chop the tomatoes in half. Mix everything together and put on the sheet. Toss with your hands to coat well.
Bake till tomatoes begin to caramelize and skin shrinks. I baked till 45 minutes.


Notes:
Yes you can use simple tomatoes as well. Just chop them in four parts.
Add garlic and oregano for Italian taste. I like this more :-)
This can be stored in fridge in air-tight container for 15-20 days.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Homemade Chaat Masala, Indian Spice Mix


Every massala in Indian cooking has its own importance and may be that’s why many people believe that Indian cooking is a complex process. For me, Indian cooking is multifaceted route that has no boundaries. Don’t you think so?

Most Indian snacks, street foods, roasted and fried food and salads rely on for the instant zing and the perk of Chaat Masala. Chaat Masala is the blend of hot-salty-tangy mix of spices and is usually added to the food after cooking and right before serving. Wouldn’t you love to have little sprinkle of chaat massala on Paneer Tikka, Til Tikki, ChanaChaat? Or may be shake on nutty summer salad or mojito or cucumber cooler? Why not have dusts of it on carrot raita or chutney?   I take the pleasure in having a dash of on raw tomatoes or cucumber with lemon juice- ah simple things are the best :-)


Well, There are some recipes that you inherit from your family, same way, I am sharing my Naani's (my mother’s mother) recipe- she added in some secret elements that would upgrade the taste to the next level. I remember her wrinkly hands tossing, mixing and grinding the massala. She used to say that every Indian woman must make all spice mix, as nothing beats the homemade fragrant massala. Back then I thought why waste energy when you can buy fairly nice ones from the market, now I realize the value of her words and hard work.

When you make it yourself you have the power to adjust the spices as per your taste. If you like hot- add more pepper or add more amchoor (dry mango powder) if you like tangier. While there are dozens if not hundreds of recipes for chat massala, but amchoor  and kala namak (black salt) are the ‘must’ ones. Overall, you can play around and mix up ingredients the way you like.


Ingredients:
4 tablespoon coriander seeds/dhaniya
4 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1.5 teaspoon carom seeds/ajwain
2.5-3 tablespoon black salt/kala namak/rock salt
5 red dried chiles, stems removed
4 teaspoon dried mango powder/amchoor
1/4 teaspoon asofoetida/hing
1/2 teaspoon black pepper/kali mirch
1/2 teaspoon rec chilli powder/lal mirch
1 teaspoon dried mint/sukha pudhina

Method:
  1. Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and the carom seeds separately at a very low flame for a few minutes only. They will change bit dark and become fragrant.Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients and grind into a fine powder.
  3. Store in air tight containers.


Notes:
This can be stored for 12 months.
Makes up to 3/4 cup.
Increase or decrease amount of any ingredients as per your taste
Dried mint brings lot flavour. Just wash the mint leaves and dry them on towel. Next keep in sunlight for some days. When the leaves dry completely store in the air tight containers.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sweet Recipes, Happy Holi


Wishing you and you dear and near ones a very Happy Holi. Holi is the Indian festival of colours. Holi Celebrations start with Holika Dahan (bonfire) on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and pray. The next morning is the carnival of colours, where everyone plays, chases and colors each other with gulal (dry colored powder), pichakaris (water guns) and colored water-filled balloons.


Holi brings back lot of childhood memories, we used to shop for our fancy water guns, colours and prepare water bombs (water balloons) a night before Holi. Next day the fight of coloring each other would begin. Friends, relatives would gather on streets and open parks -chase each other to apply colors. Everyone would have colorful faces and clothes with a smile on their faces.

After playing holi and taking the long bath (to remove the colors) we got to eat scrumptious food. Be it tikki, channa chaat, ragda patties or gulab jamuns. I can prepare everything here as well, but nothing beats when your mother cooks- right?

On a sweeter note, below is the collection of quick and easy Holi Sweets.













Happy Holi Once again......

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vodka Mojito, Indian Way


London is all with sunshine these days, giving us a notion that summers have already arrived. But you cannot trust English weather –it is so unpredictable and uncertain. Totally loving how Londoners are walking around with unbuttoned, thick overcoats – again a sign of a complete mistrust in sunny weather! 

Infact last weekend temperature rose up to 18 degrees which was way too hot for the month of March.  But summers in India are not the sunny, warm and bright like London. Summers in India mean scorching heat, sand storms and sweaty days.  Back then, simple nimbu pani or jaljeera with lots of crushed ice were the only things that I longed for. London is never that hot but even with a little sunshine I crave for the street stalls selling lassi, sugarcane juices and freshly opened coconuts filled with sweet coconut water. *sigh*


I miss simple things; People here prefer high end cocktails-drinks mixed with fruit juices and alcohol. Do you know how to make cocktails? I have made Bloody Mary before and I liked it, may be because I love tomatoes. After coming to London I tried some combinations with vodka, gin, tequila and whiskey but nothing became the beloved drink...until one day I had mojito- a blend of mint, lemon, sugar and vodka. It matches with Indian nimbu massala which posses same features.

After sipping mojito so many times, I tried creating ‘Indian inspired’ cocktail at home. I am so novice and new to the mixology world, I have no fancy things like shaker, vodka glasses, bar spoon, muddler. All I had was some imagination and guts to experiment something new. Gathered all strength and ingredients and voila.....it was the faultless Indian cocktail.


Touch of black pepper, homemade chaat massala and jaljeera (both available at any Indian store) were the secret elements that I added to bring that much-wanted Indian taste. Everyone was hooked, even the ladies who were trying cocktail for the first time. Oh! It was perfect way to relax and unwind.


If you are having a party or a get-together and want to serve something new and royal then DO make this. I know you will thank me for this idea.

Ingredients:
Vodka- 100 ml (I used Smirnoff)
Lime- 2
Mint- 10-12 leaves
Sugar- 5 teaspoons
Jaljeera mix- 1 teaspoon
Chaat Massala- 1 teaspoon
Crushed ice- 2 cups
Lemon Juice- 1/4 cup
Soda water- 1/4 cup
Black pepper- 1 teaspoon
Salt- for the glass rim (optional)

Method:
First ready the glasses. Take some salt in a plate. Rub a lemon wedge lightly around the rim of a glass to wet it and then turn it upside down and dip the rim in the salt. Slightly shake it, so all the excess falls off.
Cut a lemon into 6 pieces or as small pieces as possible.
Then add divide all the ingredients in 2 parts (for 2 glasses). In each glass put vodka, chopped lemon, chaat massala, black pepper, sugar, mint and jaljeera. Muddle well to give out the lemon and mint flavors and then top with crushed ice and soda water.
Mix with the spoon and enjoy.


Notes:
If you don't have a muddler, Take something heavy to muddle them up. I used pestle; you can use rolling pin or anything heavy that fits in the glass.
Rimming the glass in optional. I like it that way.
If you don’t have crush ice, just take ice cubes and run them in the mixer or cover ice cubes in towel and smash it with rolling pin.
Take caution while muddling up, I applied much pressure the first time and ended up breaking the glasses.
See the recipe for homemade chaat masala here
This is perfect even without alcohol

Serving Ideas:
This goes well with spicy bits. Like schezwan noodles, pakodas or 
I paired with simple Peri Peri almonds (Nandoos style).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday's Tip- Leftover Cabbage Subji- What to do??




Tuesday’s tips always grab maximum attention in my blog, may be because you all actually like it-correct? When the response is over whelming, one is always encouraged to work harder and produce more results. With same thoughts in mind, I am going to share more basic and day to day ideas on Tuesday as tips. Right from DIYs to cleaning to using leftovers -you are going to see some interesting ideas on Tuesday now.

Today it is about using leftover Cabbage peas subji- simple patta gobi matter ki subzi. I make this side dish very often- it is easy, quick and healthy. This weekend a cousin visited us from India, and he wanted to have some desi and simple Indian food- ghar ka khana types and that’s when I made this subji. And guess what? - He doesn't eat cabbage at all, he said- it smells weird. Well, I knew I had to make another side dish but....Oh no, I thought, what will I do with this subji?


Think Shweta, Think!...Now, cabbage peas subji already have all massala in it-oil, spices, salt and lemon juice. Finally I gathered all my strength and decided to knead it with flour and make theplas. Man! I was so very much right.  When it was merged with flour I got the perfect thepla dough. All I had to do was mix little salt and roll and cook. Easy peasy.


When I served these theplas next day with tomato chutney and marwadi aloo pyaz ki subji it was the bang on combination. And by the way, my cousin didn't even realize that he was having cabbage *evil smile* When I disclosed later, he was shocked and said- you are one great cook. You always loved to hear this!!...*happy dance*


So here is one brilliant way to use leftover cabbage peas subji....

Ingredients:
1 and half cups of cabbage peas subji/ patta gobi mattar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil to make Theplas
Water as needed to knead

Method:
  1. Mix everything together except water. While mixing try to mash peas and cabbage.
  2. Take little water and knead to form a soft dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, divide dough into equal parts and give them a round shape of ball. Take 1/2 cup dry wheat flour in a plate for dusting. Take one dough ball, flatten it like a Pattie and dust dry wheat flour over it. Roll out the thepla.
  4. Place it on a hot tava/griddle and cook over medium flame. When tiny bubbles starts to rise on the surface, flip it and reduce the flame to low.
  5. Spread 1/4 tsp oil around edges and spread over the thepla. Flip it again and spread 1/4 tsp oil around over it. Press it with spatula and let it cook over medium flame. Cook until golden brown spots appear on both sides. Follow the same process for remaining dough balls. 


Notes:
Simple Indian spices like mustard seeds, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and lemon juice were used to make the subji. 
Just make the subji the way you always cook, just remember to use water for the dough based on the consistency of the subji.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Marwadi Aloo Pyaz Subji, Happy Women's Day!


Let me begin with this cool message- Behind every successful man is a woman who is getting ahead of him every day! Happy Women’s Day :) No one can make us feel inferior without our permission. Women are the whole circle, within us lie the whole power to create and transform.


Today women are doctors, engineers, teachers, astronauts- you name it. But the sad part is that March 8th is just the ‘date’ as Sexual violence against women in India is widespread throughout the country. The tragic Delhi gang rape episode in December 2012 shook us all. It is reported that a woman is raped every 18 hours in India. Irony is that society teaches us ‘not to get raped’ instead of ‘do not rape’
Respect her, love her...above all understand her. Only then will the country have a true cause to celebrate International Women's Day.


I am lucky to have many incredible women around me, my mother, and mother in law, grandma, friends and all you lovely ladies. On the occasion of International Women’s Day I dedicate this post to my super women- my mother :) My mother- the women who gave me birth, who sacrificed for me, who gave me everything and anything that I wanted in my life.

Here is her signature dish- Aloo Pyaz ki Subji in typical desi marwadi style. Love this with plain rice and lehsuni daal tadka-ah tastier if eaten with hands. Well being marwadi that too from Rajasthan I know what authentic aloo pyaz ki subji is. Yes, there is no bliss better then having the scoops of this piping hot subji.


What is the wow factor? Well fennel seeds , gram flour and loads of coriander leaves. You cannot miss fresh coriander leaves in this subji, no you just cannot. Basic and yet royal; simple and yet classy-Do I say more?Characteristic and authentic Marwadi Aloo Pyaz ki Subji....

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes
2 large onions
1 tablespoon gram flour/besan
1 tablespoon cumin/jeera
1 tablespoon mustard/rai
2 tablespoon oil (mustard)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida/heeng
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf/tej patta
2 whole dried red chilli/sukhi lal mirch
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon fennel seeds/ saunf
1 tablespoon coriander seeds/sukha dhaniya
1 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 tablespoon coriander powder/dhainya
1 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur
1 teaspoon lime juice
4-5 tablespoon coriander leaves


Method:
Coarsely paste the coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Keep aside.
Chop potatoes and onions in quarters.
Heat oil in kadai/wok. When oil is hot, add cumin and mustard and let it splutter. Add asafoetida, bay leaf and dry red chillies.
Then mix coriander seeds and fennel seeds paste and stir.
Add turmeric powder, salt and mix potatoes and onions. Stir well.
Cover and cook on a medium flame till potatoes are tender.
Finally add in all coriander powder, red chilli powder and gram flour. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Finally add in lime juice and dry mango powder.
Mix in the coriander leaves and cover. Turn off the heat and serve.


Taste:
Spicy, aromatic


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Strawberry Chocolate Ice-Cream, Without Ice-cream Machine, Eggs And Sugar


Who will not like the recipes that is not elaborate, doesn't have tons of steps to follow? Well I am that kind of a person who tries to stay far from complicated recipes. Ice cream is one such dessert that needs lot of preparation, too many ingredients and an expensive ice cream machine.  I have made eggless chocolate cookies ice cream before that too without ice cream machine, but this one is more special as it is-
  • Sugar Free- no added sugar, jam, honey or condensed milk.
  • Eggless- no double boiler method to cook yolks
  • Contains raw fruits- fibers, endless choices and healthy
  • Needs just 2 ingredients-yogurt and fruit.
  • Easy and quick- no churning, no cooking, no ice cream machine.

Do you believe it? Yes, now you can make creamy ice-cream at your home, without fancy machine.  This is fantastic for those who are looking for healthy dessert recipes. The only important thing to note is to have thick yogurt (I used Yeo Valley Greek Style Natural Yogurt). That’s it. Rest all is super trouble-free, no rocket science at all.



I used strawberry as it is the seasonal fruit now, though I cannot wait to try mangoes in the summers ;). Now, I am a big chocolate fan when it comes to the desserts, so I did added 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, but it is totally up to you. You can add nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, dried fruits...anything and everything you are fond of. The best component is that it has homely feel to it. *happy dance*


Cannot convince more, I have done my part- Make this and you can thank me later.

Ingredients:
4 cups strawberries
1 cup plain whole Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 tablespoon rum (optional)

Method:
Wash strawberries and remove the green cap. Freeze strawberries in the Ziploc bag for 2 hours.
Next, in the blender, blend yogurt and all the rest ingredients till it becomes creamy.
Freeze in the freezer safe container for at least 6 hours.

Notes:
Due to cocoa powder; the ice cream doesn't look that pink.
If you are not conscious you can add sugar or condensed milk.
Using lime juice, rum and cocoa powder is absolutely optional.
Take out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving, this gives creamy consistency.
Use fruits like mango, pineapple, cherries, banana and berries. Or make simple vanilla one with vanilla essence (you might need sugar here).
Do not blend nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruits with fruits and yogurt, instead mix with the blended mixture and freeze.


Taste:
Tangy, semi-sweet and creamy