Friday, February 27, 2009

Street Food - Dabeli

Whenever I visited Mumbai, my trip was never complete without eating the awesome vada pav. On one visit, I tasted a distant cousin of the vada pav - DABELI !!
Crunchy with peanuts and pomegranate seeds, spicy and sweet, all in one bite.

We've moved to Ahmedabad and man, this is truly a street-food paradise - Dhokla, faafda, mathia, khicchu, dabeli, ghantia, chaat, sandwich dhokla...the list goes on, but I havent still learnt the names or tried the others as yet...
Dabeli is supposed to have originated in Kutch, and called Kachchi dabeli - I am still not sure whether it is kachchi (raw) beacuse it isnt fried, or because it come from Kutch, but it definately has a Gujarat connection.

Made this last night for dinner, doesnt leave you with a stuffed feeling, and the crunch of the pomegranate and peanuts leaves a real nice taste in your mouth
I tend to go real easy on butter and oil, so have used it very minimally here

What you need -
(this is for 5 dabelis)

3-4 potatoes
seeds of one small pomegranate
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 tbsp garlic chutney (optional)
1/2 cup date-tamarind chuntney
5 burger buns / pavs

For the Masala -

2 cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
a pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp chilli powder

What you do with it -

Boil potatoes, peel and mash
For the masala, powder the cinnamon and cloves and mix all the other ingredients
Add the masala, pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves to the mashed potatoes
Adjust salt and chilli powder
Slit the buns in half, add a bit of butter on both sides(inside) and fry on a tawa / pan
Apply some tomatoe ketchup, garlic chutney and tamarind chutney on the base of the bun
Top with the mashed mixture garnish with more pomegranate and coriander if you like
Press the mixture inside the bun and fry on the tawa for 2 mins
Serve with chopped onions / sev

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bharli Vangi

I just didnt find the right brinjals for the bharli vangi - you need the round small brinjals that can be stuffed, I had the long purple ones instead, so since i couldn't stuff them, I made the gravy with the same masala.

An aunt of mine who was visiting us once, taught me this one and its been a favourite ever since.
I have adapted her recipe to make this absolutely yummy dish
This goes really well with bhakris or rotis

What you need -

1/2 kg brinjals
1/2 kopra (dry coconut) dessicated
2 onions chopped
3 cloves
1 stick dalchini
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp jaggery
1/2 cup coriander leaves chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
salt to taste

What you do with it -

Chop the brinjals lengthwise into about 2 inch pieces and then into four quarters
Heat oil in a pan and add cloves and dalchini
Add onions and the dessicated coconut and fry till onions turn golden brown
Remove half of this and grind to a paste
Add the brinjals and fry for 3-4 mins
Add garam masala and jaggery
Add the ground onions and coconut back to the pan
Make a coarse powder with the roasted peanuts
Add this and then add half of the coriander leaves
Add a little water and salt and allow to cook till it becomes a little soft
Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves

If you have the round brinjals, then make deep slits in the shape of a 'X' on the round side of the brinjal
Stuff half the masala into the brinjals, toss in oil for a little while and then drop the brinjals in the masala and cook till it done

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paneer with three coloured capsicums

I just happened to have one red, one yellow and one green capsicum, thats the inspiration behind the name of this otherwise fairly standard paneer capsicum dish.

Everytime we went out for a team lunch from office, there would always be someone who wanted a paneer butter masala or a paneer capsicum. It was such a standard item our our lunch menu, but since I was never a big fan of paneer, I always stayed away from it.

After I got here, and i guess in the memory of all the team lunches that I really miss now, I happen to have this sudden love for paneer.

Actually, the paneer here is excellent - always fresh. Being in the land of Amul, the milk and all milk products are of excellent quality. The cream of the milk is so heavy, that I have started collecting it and making butter and ghee out of it at home. Its what most people always do, but I am just proud that I have overcome my laziness finally and got down to doing this !!

What you need -

400 gms Paneer
3 Capsicums / Bell Peppers
8-10 cashewnuts
2 green chillies
1 tsp jeera / cumin seeds
4 onions
4 tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 small piece ginger
handful of coriander leaves
1/2 cup milk
2 tsps cream

What you do with it -

Blanch the tomatoes, remove skin and puree
Chop onions, garlic and ginger. Grind together to a smooth paste
Chop the capsicums into bite sized pieces and saute in a little oil
Cut the paneer into cubes
If the paneer was refrigerated, put the pieces in boiling water for about 5 mins and take it out. This makes is soft
Grind together the cashewnuts, green chillies and jeera with a little water to make a smooth paste
Heat oil in a kadai, add the paste of onion, ginger, garlic and fry it turns slightly brown
Then add the cashewnut paste and fry a bit longer
Add the tomato puree and cook till the oil separates
Now add the paneer and sauted capsicums
Add salt and milk
Garnish with cream and chopped coriander leaves

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eggless Bread Pudding

I was out with a friend who is familiarising me with this new area and all stores for our everyday groceries and vegetables. At one of the stores here, my friend pointed out to this loaf of bread, where the sides were all cut ! Very innovative idea - he even charged more for removing the sides. I don't have a problem with bread sides, but I do take it off when I make sandwiches for my son.

I really don't like wasting anything, so these sides and the slices at the two ends of the loaf come in very handy in making a simple steamed bread pudding. This one has bananas, milk and raisins along with the bread - sounds like a perfect breakfast !

Serve it hot or cold - works well both ways. Always a hit with kids - my son loves this one

bread pudding

Bread pudding

What you need -

2 cups of shredded bread slices / sides (I used brown bread this time)
3/4 cup milk (or enough to just soak the bread)
2 bananas
10-15 raisins
3-4 walnuts / almonds
1 tsp cinnamon powder or 1/2 a vanilla bean (whatever suits your taste)
2 tsp sugar + 1 spoon sugar for the caramel syrup

What you do with it -

Heat the brown sugar in a small bowl and pour it into a shallow vessel or smaller moulds
Mash the bananas and chop the walnuts or almonds into little pieces
Pulse the bread along with the sugar for 2-3 mins till its a coarse powder
Slit the vanilla bean and scrape the "caviar" out
Mix together bread, bananas, walnuts and raisins. Add the vanilla caviar or cinnamon powder
Pour enough milk to cover the bread mixture
Keep for 5-7 minutes so that the bread gets soaked well
Pour this bread mixture over the caramel syrup
Steam this for about 15-20 (I used a cooker, without the pressure)
Once done, upturn the pudding, so that the caramelised sugar layer is on top
Serve hot or refrigerate and serve with some cream

Monday, February 9, 2009

Drumstick Porial

The last 2-3 months here have seen pleasant weather and the vegetable markets are a complete feast for the eyes (and the tummy !)
The vegetables seem to have this beautiful colour and they all look so fresh and tender.
Peas, red carrots, cauliflowers - everything seems to look nicer in winter.
I found these really tender drumsticks, so picked up 4 of them.

Drumsticks are said to be packed with iron and also supposed to have some aphrodisiac properties - the iron bit I can vouch for, my knowledge about the aphrodisiac part is more from the lewd humour in some Tamil movies, but this is apparently the reason it is served at South indian weddings !!

Generally, I make drumstick sambhar, never really tried any side dish with it. My mom makes this really tasty one with groundnut powder, but I decided to try this one from Mallika Badrinath's "Classic Lunch Recipes"

The aniseed in this gives it a lovely flavour and the drumsticks were tender and crunchy
I made the pineapple rasam from Sia's blog which was so tangy, spicy and sweet and seemed to complement the taste of the aniseed flavoured drumstick porial

What you need -

4 tender drumsticks
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 coconut grated
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp aniseed
10-12 curry leaves
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

what you do with it -

Cut drumsticks into 1 inch pieces and peel off the skin from the sides if its not too tender
Finely chop the medium onion and tomato
Heat oil in a kadai and add half tsp aniseed and curry leaves
add the finely chopped oinon and then the tomato
Stir in medium flame to 3 minutes
Add the chopped drumsticks and fry again for 3 minutes
Add dhania powder, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and mix well
Pour enough water to cover the drumstick pieces and cover with a lid
Grind together the remaining aniseed, grated coconut and the large chopped onion to a coarse paste
When the drumsticks are half cooked, add the the ground paste and cook till done
Garnish with coriander leaves

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tendli Bibbe (Ivy gourd and Cashewnut) Upkari

When I was in school, during one of our summer vacations, my cousin was to visit his grandparents and I tagged along - it was the most peaceful, pampered one week I ever had !!

They lived in a place near Mangalore, had this lovely house with a 'garden' that had about 100 coconut trees, mango trees and even a cashewnut tree...that was the only time I saw the cashew fruit. Serene place, close to a beach which was hardly ever visited by anyone and absolutely awsome food
We were fed every four hours with authentic Konkani food and during our food breaks, we would walk to the beach, or water the plants or sleep - Its been so many years now, but I can still relive that one week as I am writing this।

I could go on and on about it, but what I really wanted to write about was this fabulous 'bibbe upkari' that was made for lunch one of the days.
A side-dish made with just cashewnuts !! Now the thought of it gets me thinking about calories and cholesterol - those days, we lived in the blissful ignorance of all these terms !!

Upkaris are a regular side dish in most Konkani homes - simple, tasty and easy...upkaris are made of beans, carrot, potato, raw banana... basically any vegetable that you can think of ! This tendli bibbe upkari is a big treat, served at weddings, pujas and special lunches॥

Found really tender tendlis in the market and had a pack of cashewnuts, so made this mainly for my son (thats the excuse for almost everything i make, but feel guilty about eating)

What you need -

1/4 kg tendlis / tindora / kovakkai
10-12 cashew nuts
3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
1/2 cup water

What you do with it -

Quarter the tendlis length wise
Soak the cashewnuts in warm water for 10 mins
In a pan, heat a tsp of oil and add the mustard seeds to it
Add turmeric powder and asafoetida
Add the tendlis and 1/2 cup water
Once the tendlis are partially cooked, add the cashewnuts and salt
Cook till done
Garnish with grated coconut


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