Pooris are cousins of pulkas in India. The art of less oily round puffed Pooris is not a challenge if you practice often. Pooris must be puffed and retain the shape (puffiness) at least till it is served. But at the same time it should be soft.

Poori Pictorial


Recipe: Poori (Deep fried Indian flat bread)
Prep & Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 10 Pooris
Recipe Level: Beginner/Basic to Intermediate
Recipe/Post by: Viji
Ingredients:
1 cup Wheat Flour/Atta
½ cup All Purpose Flour /Maida
2 tsp Sooji/Rava/Semolina
½ tsp Salt
½ -2/3 cup Water
1-2 tsp Oil
Oil for deep frying

Special Utensils:
Rolling Pin

Procedure:
For Poori Dough:
  1. Sieve the flour with salt to aerate.
  2. Mix sooji and prepare the dough by adding water in instalments. It should be stiff.
  3. At one stage, you can gather the dough but it is very hard to form a ball. Stop here adding water. Add 1 tsp oil and knead well. While kneading it will come into shape.

For Rolling the Poori:
  1. Grease your hand and the dough with 1 tsp oil and knead well again till you get smooth surface.
  2. Roll them like tube and break them into gooseberry sized balls.
  3. Shape them well before rolling. You should not give pressure. If needed grease your hand
  4. Roll the balls evenly into thick pooris, approximately 4"-5” in diameter.

For Deep Frying:
  1. Keep the oil on medium-high heat. The oil should be hot enough but not smoking hot.
  2. Slide rolled poori into hot oil.
  3. Splash oil on top with the help of the spatula. Be careful when you do this. You can also gently press it down, so that it puffs immediately.
  4. Once the bottom is cooked, gently flip it. Since it is puffed, slide them to allow the edge to cook well but don’t break them.
  5. Once they are cooked well, lift them and place on tissue paper. Leave pooris separately and don’t pile them on top of others.

Serving Suggestion:
  • Normally it is served with potato curry called Baaji (recipe follows).

Special Notes/Tips:
  • The dough should not be rested. Prepare the pooris immediately.
  • It must be stiffer than chappathi dough.
  • There should not be breaks in the dough. Knead well.
  • Don’t roll into thin pooris. They will not puff.
  • There should not be any puncture or fold while rolling. Must be evenly rolled.
  • Oil must be on medium high heat throughout the process. Don’t keep changing the temperature. When you add extra oil, wait till it reaches the desired heat. How to find out? When you slide the poori, immediately it will puff with a sound. At low temperature the pooris will absorb oil.
  • Don’t use flour for dusting!! Grease your hand with oil if needed.
  • Don’t roll them all at once and then start frying. Both the actions have to be done simultaneously.
  • During this process keep the dough covered otherwise it will become dry.
  • If you need very soft pooris for packing add 1 tsp ghee to the dough.
  • You can add 2 tsp rice flour instead of rava for crispy pooris.


Recipe: Baaji (Potato curry for Poori)
Prep & Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes: About 2 cups
Serves: 2 People
Recipe Level: Beginner/Basic to Intermediary
Recipe/Post by: Viji
Ingredients:
2 medium sized Potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
2 Onions, thinly sliced
2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1 small wedge Ginger, finely chopped or grated

For Tadka/Tempering:
2 tsp Oil
A pinch of Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
Few Curry Leaves
A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

Other Ingredients:
1 tbsp Butter
Few chopped Coriander Leaves for garnishing

Procedure:
  1. Heat oil in a skillet on medium flame.
  2. When it is hot, first add the mustard seeds. When it starts to splutter, add the urad dal.
  3. Saute till urad dal turns golden color and then add the curry leaves, hing powder and turmeric powder.
  4. Then immediately add finely chopped green chillies and ginger.
  5. Add the chopped onion and fry them till they turn light golden shade. Adding a pinch of salt will cook the onions fast.
  6. Once the onions are cooked to soft, add quarter cup of water and the remaining salt. Let it cook well and bring the mixture to gentle boil, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Mix in mashed potatoes and cook till the flavours blend well.
  8. Finally add the butter and garnish with coriander leaves.
  9. Serve hot with puffed pooris.


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Patties (or Pattise as we call in our local language) is a very popular street food in India, especially in North India. The boiled and mashed potatoes stuffed with boiled and spice flavored lentils (Chana Dal or Bengal Gram), roasted on griddle with some oil or butter and generally served with curried Garbanzo (Ragda) and a dash of tamarind and coriander - mint chutney (Indian Dips) , some sliced onions and there you go, happily relishing a filling meal by itself or a snack.

Today's recipe is restricted to the Patties only, while the recipes of Ragda and Chutney shall follow soon .


patties patties
Patties


Recipe: Patties (Spiced lentils stuffed potato cutlets)
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes, mainly for cooking the potatoes and lentils
Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes per batch of cutlets (each batch could be of maximum 4 cutlets)
Makes:
6-7 Cutlets
Shelf Life of cutlets :
Can be refrigerated for upto a day
Recipe level:
Intermediary
Recipe/Post by:
Alka
Ingredients:
For Potato Covering:
3 large Potatoes, boiled and mashed
3 Bread Slices
2-3 Green Chillies
Few spoons of Chopped Coriander Leaves
1 tsp Chaat Masala (Optional. Available in any Indian grocery shop)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste

For Stuffing:
1 cup (A tad less than that) Chana Dal/Split Bengal Gram/Split Chickpeas
1 Green Chilli
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Garam Masala Powder
Salt as per taste
¼ tsp Amchoor Powder/Dried Mango Powder or Chaat Masala
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds

You will also need:
Oil/Butter/Ghee for shallow frying

Special Utensils:
Pressure cooker for speedy boiling of potatoes and dal/lentils.
Griddle or Fry Pan (Note that the textures of the crust comes out best when cooked over iron griddle than pan. Again, a nonstick pan gives a less crispy crust, but you will save on calories).


patties stuffing
Potato Covering with Spiced Lentil Filling

Procedure:

Preparing Potato Covering & Lentil Stuffing:
  1. Mix boiled and mashed potatoes with bread crumbs (grind bread slices along with green chillies).
  2. Add salt, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and chaat masala (optional).
  3. Mix it properly and keep aside. Take care that there are no lumps in the mixture.
  4. For stuffing pick, soak, wash chana dal, add salt and turmeric powder, chopped green chilli and about one and half cup of water. The water should barely cover the dal. Close the lid of the cooker.
  5. Boil the dal till just cooked(two whistles in pressure cooker).
  6. Put off the gas, let the pressure subside and then open the lid. If dal is cooked but still some amount of water remains, then drain the excess water. If just traces of water are remaining, then heat the dal without covering with lid on high flame. Remember we need just cooked chana dal, not mushy.
  7. Add some garam masala powder, amchoor powder, cumin seeds and keep it covered for few minutes. You can also add some raisins and cashew nuts (Kishmish and Kaju). Let the dal cool properly.
  8. Now take a small portion of potato mixture, pat it on your palms(greased), place the stuffing of chana dal and roll it back into a ball.

stuffed potato,patties,ragda pattise
Patties before shallow frying

Shaping & Cooking the Patties:
  1. Now if you have the heart shaped mould that is used for making patties, then use it otherwise just make a tikki shape, a ball of mixture flattened a bit from both sides(just press the stuffed ball in between yours palms, very gently).
  2. Shallow fry on a hot griddle, adding some oil/ghee/butter and tossing it at intervals. Do not fry more than 4 patties in a single batch.
  3. Cook it on medium flame till the surface becomes crisp and brown.
Serving Suggestions:
  1. Serve it with chutney, or chickpeas in gravy (Chole), with some sliced onions.
  2. Tastes best with soft buns (Laadi Pav) but goes well on its own too.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Using ghee/butter while shallow frying gives the patties a real flavorful taste, but avoid if you are counting calories and use oil instead.
  • I have found that making these on nonstick pan, do not result in crispy layer. Iron griddle works best to make the out layer crispy.
  • If there are unexpected guests, you can deep fry or microwave the patties, since shallow frying could take more time.
  • In absense of Ragda (if you haven't presoaked chickpeas or you run short of time to cook the elaborate meal), the patties goes well with just Coriander-Mint Chutney or even Tomato Ketchup.


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Lemon Rice

Posted by Sia | Friday, May 22, 2009 | , , , , , | 14 comments »

We all are familiar with words breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner and their meanings. But there is another magic word often used in South Indian states which evokes fond memories for those living away from their mother land. That magic word is “Tiffin” which actually originated in British India.

The word 'Tiffin' originated when Indian custom superseded the British practice of an afternoon dinner, leading to a new word for the afternoon meal. It is derived from the obsolete English slang 'tiffing', for "taking a little drink or sip".
(Source: Wiki)
Tiffin is between-meals snacks served at most homes in India. It could be light meal or heavy meal depending on the time of the day it served. Most favourite tiffins are Dosa, Idli, Upma and lightly flavoured rice items. One such tiffin item that is loved by many kids and elders alike is Lemon Rice. It is simple, quick and super tasty without the over powering taste of many spices. Lemon rice is usually prepared as a quick fix meal made using left over rice infused with aromatic tempering of roasted spices, lentils and curry leaves. While the heady perfume of lemon adds a tangy note, the nutty crunch of peanuts adds more excitement to otherwise boring plain rice. The chopped onions add nice crunch and sweetness and green chillies is the only ingredient that gives mild spicy note to this dish. Make sure that you restrain from using strong flavoured oil, especially olive oil, as it will simply spoil the taste. If you are lucky enough to have few fresh banana leaves in hand, then wrap this hot rice in it for few minutes to infuse the Lemon Rice with heavenly smell of banana leaf and serve it. Or simply line the plate with banana leaf and serve this Lemon Rice and see your loved ones relishing it with pleasure!
Off this tangy and delicious Lemon Rice goes to Nag's MM-Ravishing Rice, an event initiated by Meeta.


lemon-rice5
Lemon Rice


Recipe: Lemon Rice (Lemon Flavoured Rice with toasted Peanuts and Spice, Lentils & Curry Leaves Tempering)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins (If using leftover rice) & 30 mins (If using freshly cooked Rice)
Serves: 3-4 People
Recipe Level: Beginner/Basic
Recipe/Post by: Sia
Ingredients:
2 cups of Rice, washed, rinsed and cooked or 6-7 cups of cooked, left over Rice (Preferably Sona Masuri Rice or Basmati Rice)
1 large Onion, finely chopped (Optional)
2-3 Green Chillies, thinly sliced (Adjust according to taste)
½ cup Roasted Peanuts
1 tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
Juice of a fresh Lemon/Lime (Adjust according to taste)
½ tbsp Sugar (Optional, but recommended)
Salt to taste

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Channa Dal/Split Chickpeas
½ tbsp Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
1-2 Dry Red Chillies, halved
Big pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
10-12 fresh Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil

Special Utensils:
Pressure Cooker or large Microwave safe bowl with lid (if using freshly cooked rice)
Wok/Kadai or heavy bottomed pan

lemon-rice3
Lemon Rice

Procedure:
  1. Lemon rice is usually prepared using leftover rice. If you are using freshly cooked rice then follow the next step or else skip to step number 5.
  2. Wash rice 3-5 times till the water turns clear. Drain all the water and add 4 cups of water to washed rice. (The rice to water ratio when cooking rice is 1:2). Keep it aside for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Cooking Rice in Microwave: Transfer soaked rice along with the water in which it is soaked into a large microwave safe container with lid. Cover and cook for 18-25 minutes (cooking time depends on the type of microwave used) till every rice grain is cooked thoroughly. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes. Add about 1 tbsp of oil and gently separate each grain with the help of a wooden spoon or fork. Keep it aside till needed.
  4. Cooking Rice in Pressure Cooker: Transfer soaked rice along with the water in which it is soaked into a pressure cooker. Close the lid and place cooker weight and cook on medium flame for 2 whistles or 15-20 minutes. Let the pressure release completely (about 10 minutes) before you open the lid. Add about 1 tbsp of oil and gently separate each grain with the help of a wooden spoon or fork. Keep it aside till needed.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add channa dal, urad dal and halved dry red chillies. Sauté it on medium heat till dals turns light golden brown. Now add hing and curry leaves and sauté it for few seconds.
  6. Add finely chopped onion and sauté it on medium flame till onion turns translucent, about a minute or two. To this add green chillies, turmeric powder and sugar and mix well.
  7. Add cooked rice, freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice and salt to taste and mix well till each grain of rice is heated through and the spices are evenly distributed.
  8. Switch off the flame and toss roasted peanuts and mix well. Adjust the seasoning before serving hot with chilled raita and enjoy.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • You can substitute roasted peanuts with cashew nuts that are lightly fried in little ghee for rich flavour.
  • Addition of grated ginger (about half an inch peeled ginger) gives it light spicy flavour.
  • Using gingelly oil will enhance the flavour of this delicious Lemon Rice.
  • Addition of Onions is optional and you can avoid adding it if you are planning on taking Lemon Rice for long journeys (1-2 days).


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Cabbage Rice

Posted by Beyond Curries | Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | , , , , , | 25 comments »

Vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower have earned a bad reputation because of the smell it emits while it is cooking, but unsually I have always liked both! My grandmother used to add either cumin or ginger while cooking these vegetables to reduce the pungency to some extent. So if you are one among the cabbage haters, then you have got to try this rice recipe and I bet you'll develop a soft corner for the poor vegetable. The recipe of Cabbage Rice is from Mallika Badrinath, a renowned chef in Tamil Nadu with lot of cooking shows on TV and has written a lot of cookbooks. I think this recipe aired on TV in the late 90's. I missed the show, but my grandmother had watched it and prepared the rice the very next day and since then it has been a regular in our house. Off this flavourful Cabbage Rice goes to Nag's MM-Ravishing Rice, an event initiated by Meeta.


Cabbage Rice


Recipe:
Cabbage Rice
Prep & Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes.
Serves: 2-3 people
Recipe Source: Mallika Badrinath
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram
Ingredients:
¾ cup Rice (Sona Masoori/Ponni Raw rice)
1½ cups Water (rice to water is 1:2)
2 drops Oil

For the Masala:
¼ cup Coconut, grated
1 tbsp Dalia/Pottu Kadalai or Cashew Nuts
1 bunch Coriander Leaves/Cilantro, chopped
½ tsp Khus Khus/White Poppy Seeds
2 Cloves
1 small piece of Cinnamon
1 Green Chili, medium size

For the Curry:
3 cups Shredded Cabbage
1 Onion, medium size, julienned
1 Green Chili, medium size
One pinch Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Salt (or as per taste)

Tempering/Tadka:

1 tbsp Oil
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Chana Dal/Split Chickpeas
1 tsp Urad Dal/Split Black Gram
3-4 Curry leaves (if you have in hand)
A pinch Asafoetida/Hing

Special Utensils:

A Pressure Cooker

Preparation:
  1. Wash the rice a couple of times and drain. In a small pressure cooker add the rice, water and oil; close the lid. Once the steam escapes, put the weight and leave it for just one whistle, switch off the gas and remove the cooker from the stove. Oil is added to prevent the rice from sticking to each other.
  2. While the rice is cooking in the cooker, in a mixer grind together the ingredients for the masala adding little water. It should be a smooth paste.
  3. Take a big pan and do the tempering. Then fry the onions and green chilli. Add little salt while frying the onions to quicken the process.
  4. Then add the ground masala paste and fry it for another 2 minutes (adding very little water if it sticks to the pan). Add the shredded cabbage, turmeric powder and salt. Sprinkle some water and close the lid. The cabbage will cook in about 5-7 minutes. Add some more water if the curry starts sticking to the pan.
  5. Once you are able to open the cooker, transfer the rice to a big wide plate and separate the rice using a fork. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, so that the rice won't be sticky.
  6. Now add the rice little by little to the cooked cabbage curry and mix it with the back of a spatula (my grandmother's tip, so that the rice will not break or become mushy). I have a big wooden fork, so I use that when I make mixed rice like this.
  7. Serve it with raitha/yogurt pachadi and chips.

Special Notes/Tips:

  • You can use basmati rice also, but the ratio of rice to water will be different. If you are using par boiled rice, the ratio of rice to water will be 1:2 and ¼, but the same one whistle will be perfect.
  • Add cashews fried in little ghee to make it more rich.
  • The more the coriander, the better the taste.
  • We don't eat spicy food, so you may want to increase the quantity of chilis if you prefer it very spicy.


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Palakkad is a small but prominent district bordering Kerala and Tamilnadu. This verdant region of Kerala is unique as it became home to many Tamilians Brahmins who migrated centuries ago at the behest of the then ruler of Palakkad. As a result the regional cuisine as well as language is characterized by a harmonious blend of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Mathan Erissery is one such speciality. Consistency wise the gravy has to be as thick as that of sambar. The ground paste here is similar to that of molagootal but the tempering imparts a unique flavour to the dish. It is not an everyday dish owing to the rich coconut gravy but occupies a special place as it is generally served during important occassions like 'Vishu' (Kerala New Year) or household ceremonies etc.


vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Mathan Erissery


Recipe: Mathan Erissery (Red Pumpkins in Coconut Gravy - Kerala/Palakkad Speciality)
Prep Time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 3 People
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
2 cups Red Pumpkin, diced into 1.5 cm cubes
About 2 cups of Water
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Ground to smooth paste:
½ cup Coconut, freshly scraped
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2 Dry Red Chillies (or more as per taste)
½ cup Water

Tadka/Tempering:
1 tbsp Coconut, freshly scraped
1 tsp + 1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 spring Curry Leaves
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Dehusked Split Black Gram Dal/Urad Dal

vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Step by step instructions for making Mathan Erissery

Preparation:
  1. Cook the red pumpkin in enough water to cover it alongwith half the salt and turmeric powder till cooked through but firm in shape.
  2. While the pumpkin is cooking prepare the coconut paste. Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies adding water little by little to chutney consistency (fairly smooth paste). The paste should not be watery.
  3. When the pumpkin is cooked through stir with a ladle so that the pumpkins mix with the water, and some of them break into pieces. Add the ground paste and bring to a boil. Stir so that the gravy and the vegetables come together rather than remain separate.
  4. Heat a seasoning wok with a drop of coconut oil. Add the coconut kept for tempering and roast till golden. Scrape the roasted coconut into the prepared gravy. Clean out the wok and heat 1tsp. of the oil. When hot add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the urad dal and fry till pink. Add the curry leaves and when it crackles pour the seasoning into the gravy. Drizzle the other tsp. of raw coconut oil over the gravy. Mix well and adjust the salt.

vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Mathan Erissery

Serving Suggestion:
  1. Take a ladle of rice. If not vegan, drizzle a tsp. of ghee over the rice. Top with a ladle of erissery (or more as it is pretty irrestible!). Mix, take in the aroma, savour and enjoy:)! Erissery is best accompanied by appalams or pappadams (Rice and lentil fritters)


Special Notes/Tips:
  • ¼th cup of cooked pigeon peas (arhar/tuvar dal) may be added to the cooked pumpkins but this is optional and used when one runs short of the vegetable.
  • Erissery is a Kerala speciality and is prepared with minor variations from region to region. The recipe above is essentially how Palakkad Iyers prepare the dish. However one many add a few sambar onions to the paste or a fistful of cooked black eyed peas to the pumpkins for variation.
  • Do not forget the raw coconut oil in the end. It adds quite a punch!


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Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs

Posted by Nagalakshmi V | Monday, May 11, 2009 | , , , | 18 comments »

Baking is not a main-stream cooking method in Indian cuisine. The closest we have come is probably the use of the tandoor oven to make rotis and nans - Indian flat breads. With the influence of the British, the French and the Portuguese, Indians started baking too. One of the most popular ingredients among baking enthusiasts is probably Marie Biscuits! Or maybe its just me. Either ways, it makes for a great addition to any pudding or dessert.

The following recipe is from an ex-colleague of mine. She explained the procedure to make the dish in about 5 minutes and I made it that same weekend because it was that simple!


Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs


Recipe: Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs* (Easy, no-bake recipe using marie biscuits and chocolate)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Assembling Time: 15 mins
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Nags
Ingredients:
12 Marie Biscuits
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 tbsp Powdered Sugar
½ tsp Instant coffee powder
¼ cup Warm Milk

Method:
  1. Mix the coffee powder in the milk. Dip each biscuit into this mixture and stack neatly one on top of the other.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together and blend in the cocoa powder. Lay this mixture evenly on all four sides of the stacked biscuits.
  3. Refigerate for 2 hours, remove and cut into slices.

Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs

These make a great snack for kids, althought I don't see much adults saying no to it, during school-week and may seem like a special treat since they are chilled, as opposed to our traditional snacks that are usually deep-fried or baked and served warm.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • These are called logs because you can make a log-like design on it by running a fork over the chocolate layer once its cooled. I didn't try that cuz I didn't have enough biscuits to make a log-sized stack.
  • Leave the logs outside for 10-15 mins before serving to ensure that the butter softens a bit. If its directly served from the fridge, the consistency will be a bit crumbly.


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Khichdi generally refers to a mishmash. In food it refers to a soft mixed mashed stew of rice and lentils with or without tempering.

In North India khichdi is a plain grainy concoction of rice and moong/masur/tuvar dal cooked soft with salt and seasoned with curry leaves and jeera. The Southern counterpart is the 'pongal' which is again rice and moong cooked soft but seasoned with roasted black pepper and jeera powder. Both the versions in their rustic forms are bland and considered ideal food when one has an attack of dysentery! Pongal or khichdi is also one of the early foods introduced to babies. It is good for the sick or aged as it does not contain fat (unless you would like to add more), and very light on the stomach. Though khichdi is simple and devoid of any glamour associated with an Indian kitchen in terms of fat or flavor you will find it gracing the menu of every Indian restaurant, but what you will get is a royal stew generously tempered with chillies, ghee (clarified butter), and heavily spiced!

Vegan Lentils,Rice Stew
Khichidi


Recipe: Khichdi (Lentil and rice stew)
Prep & Cooking Time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 2-3 People
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Raw rice (Any variety - I generally use Kolam rice)
1/4 cup Moong dal (Split dehusked green gram)
1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric powder)

Tempering:
1 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
1 Tejpatta (Bay leaves)
1 tsp Adrak (Ginger) - Julienne
2 Lavang (Cloves)
1" long thin stick - 2 Dalchini (Cinnamon)
1 (optional) Lal mirch (Dry red chillies)
1 Hari mirchi (Green chillies) - slitted
1 sprigKadipatta (Curry leaves)
1tsp Ghee/Oil


Special Utensils:
A pressure cooker (May be cooked without one too)
A tempering ladle (Seasoning wok)

Align CenterSpices
Ingredients used in Khichdi

Preparation:

Cooking the Khichdi
  1. Wash rice and dal separately.
  2. Place in a cooker together with four times water, half the salt, bay leaves and turmeric powder for three whistles or till soft.
  3. Allow the pressure to drop naturally.
  4. The rice and lentils will be a little stewish in consistency which is just right. Mix them gently without mashing into a thick mass.
Seasoning with Spices
  1. Heat a seasoning wok with ghee/oil and when hot, add cumin seeds.
  2. Let the Cumin starts crackling, add the rest of the whole spices followed by the slit green chilli. When it changes colour pour over the stew/khichdi. Adjust salt
Serving Suggestions:
  1. This can be served with curd, papad (rice or lentil fritters), ghee (clarified butter) or pickle.
There is a saying that goes "khichdi ke chaar yaar - dahi, papad, ghee, achaar." You have to decide what best fits your taste buds! In Bihar it is considered a delicacy served with 'baingan ka bharta' (smoked eggplants).

Substitutes:
  • You can substitute moong dal (split green gram) with masoor dal (red lentils) or tuvar dal (pigeon peas), but moong dal is preferred as it considered light.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • Fry some sliced onions, garlic cloves, a star anise, or cashews while seasoning to give it a more royal touch and you can serve it as main dish at a gathering too.
  • Using mustard oil imparts a tasty flavor but it is optional. If using mustard oil, heat the oil to smoky and cool once to get rid of its strong smell. Then reheat and use normally for tempering.
  • Consistency should be like that of a rissotto - grainy, stewish but the rice and dal should not remain separate.


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Pulkas are nothing but Indian flat bread, which is normally dry and prepared without adding any fat. Preparing soft pulkas at home is very easy if you practice. The ready made ones are loaded with preservatives and soda to make it softer.

Photobucket
Pulkas


Recipe: Pulkas (Indian flat bread made using wheat flour)
Prep & Cooking Time: 1 hour (including resting time)
Makes: 4
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy to Intermediary
Recipe/Post by: Viji
Ingredients:
1 cup/200 gms Wheat Flour (Preferably Pillsbury/Chakki atta/home made atta, a fine variety of wheat flour prepared from samba wheat and ground in flour mill)
½ tsp each Salt and Sugar
50 ml Water (Approx)
2 tbsp All Purpose Flour/Maida for dusting

Special utensils:
Rolling Pin
Tawa/Griddle

Photobucket
Step by step instructions for making Pulkas

Preparation:
Preparing the Dough:
  1. Mix well the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Start adding water till you get soft pliable dough. It should be neither loose nor stiff dough.
  3. Knead well for 5 minutes. It will become smooth without wrinkles on the surface.
  4. Rest the dough for 30 minutes. Again knead well and divide this into 4 equal sized balls.

Rolling the Rotis:
  1. Use all purpose flour/maida for dusting. Roll it into medium sized rotis. It should be neither thin nor thick and must be even from the center to the edge. No folding or hole inside. It will not rise then.

Cooking the Rotis:
  1. Keep the skillet on the stove on medium heat.
  2. Put the roti in the center. Let it cook for few seconds. Small bubbles will appear on top.
  3. Once it is half done, turn it to other side. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Then remove the skillet and show the ½ cooked portion directly on the flame. It will rise like Poori. The heat must be even and medium through out the process. Remove it from the fire.

Serving Suggestions:
  1. Till you serve, keep it in the aluminum foil and close it. Or else use kitchen towel. It is so soft till the next day. These soft Pulkas are ideal for travels.
  2. Serve with any side dish of your choice or else role it with fresh lettuce and dry curries.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • Too get round shape, when you shape the dough into balls, make sure they don’t have any cracks. Start rolling evenly without giving much pressure. Turn it often. Feel the surface with your palm to make sure they are even. While rolling, enlarge it gently and evenly on all sides.
  • If you prepare in bulk, it is always advisable, to do the rolling and cooking side by side or else don't allow it to dry.
  • No need to add oil at all. You will get soft and spongy pulkas by this method. If you still prefer drizzle ghee or butter on top of it after cooking.
  • Adding sugar will give soft pulkas.

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Pulkas made using Toaster

  • For those who don’t have gas stoves, this can be done with bread toaster. Make small rounds and cook till 50% on skillet. Then slide them in the bread toaster at medium heat. They will puff and remove them. But you can’t make big sized pulkas by this method.


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Few years ago, I happen to attend a marriage ceremony of one of my cousins and there were few Foreigner Guests too. A scene at the Buffet counter is still fresh in my mind. A conversation between an American Lady (M)- fond of Indian food, and an Untrained staff(local people, unable to converse in proper English) at buffet went on something like this.....

Staff (S): "Hello Madam ji"
M: "Hello, I was looking for Dumplings in Yogurt sauce, but i cannot see those anywhere around the course".
S:" Sorry, but what did you said?"
M: "Dumplings...Those white coloured things, that are very famous in Indian Restaurants abroad".
S: "Oh ok ok, you mean Jeera Rice( goes , and return back with a plate of Jeera Rice)".
M: " No , No, those Dumplings, white colored, in yogurt, with brown sauce over it."
S (still confused as hell) went to call someone in escalation.
S2: "Yes Madam..."
M: "Lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce please, i have came here to eat those, i love them , but can't see any, here".
S2: "Sorry Madam, but such thing is not in our Menu Today".
M: "How come, I had been told that no Buffet goes without that in Menu".
Just then another person among the catering staff, brought a huge tray of Something, to replenish the Buffet.
M: Shouting and with shrieks , yelled....."This... this, I was talking about THIS..."

Poor staff... how on Earth would they know that Yogurt is the simple Dahi (at most they know that as CURD) and Lentil Dumplings were nothing else but bhalle, together that makes Dahi bhalle, the famous appetizer - cum Side dish- cum- Main course (for people like me who can eat it with some salt and peppery Roti as a maincourse)- and for some, even a sweet dish(the sweetened yogurt)

Now there is a long expected debate over Dahi wadas and Dahi bhalle, the two contradictory variations of almost similar dish. Dahi wada, is a Lentil (mostly Urad dal) donught sort of , which is made from really thick batter, and a portion of it is placed on wet palm or wet plastic sheet and a hole is made in center,then carefully dropped in frying pan and fried.While Dahibhalla is more like the regular fritter, where the batter,which is also thick(not as much as for dahi wada) , but creamy , and is directly scooped into frying pan and shallow fried. Confused. ??? Why to care for the perfect name and procedure when either ways it taste something straight from heaven.Better still, why not try out both the versions and let your family decide which way they prefer this delicious typical Indian delicacy.

So let's Jump over to the Recipe of LDIYS , aka Dahi Bhalla.

Lentil Dumplings in Yogurt sauce
Dahi Bhalle


Recipe: Dahi Bhalle (Lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce)
Prep Time: 5-7 hours of soaking time & total 10-20 (If frying needs to be done in two batches) minutes of grinding (depending on the grinder used)
Cooking Time:15-20 minutes (again varies with the size of frying pan used, since bigger the size, more number of bhalle in each batch and hence less the time required to finish the whole batter)
Makes: About 12-16 Dahi Bhalle depending upon the size
Shelf Life: Fried Dahi bhalle (without yogurt) could be refrigerated or freezed for about 10-12 days
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy to Intermediary
Recipe/Post by: Alka

Ingredients:
For Bhalle/Dumplings:
To grind:
150 gms Urad Dal/Skinned Split Black Lentils
50 gms Yellow Moong Dal/Split Mung Benas
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-3 Green Chillies
A Small piece of Ginger (optional)
Water to aid grinding (just few spoons)
Salt as per taste

To Add to the mixture after grinding:
3-4 Black Peppers
10-15 Sultanas (Kishmish or dried Raisins)
2tsp Chopped Coriander leaves

And you will also need:
Oil for shallow frying

For Yogurt Sauce:
250 gms Curd/Yogurt (approx)
2 pinches of Black salt or Chaat masala
¼ tsp Jeera Powder (Cumin Seeds dry roasted and ground to fine powder)
3-4 tsp Tamarind Chutney
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt as per taste

Special Utensils needed :
A sturdy grinder to grind the lentils
A Flat bottomed shallow fry pan

Method:
  1. Wash several times and then Soak urad dal and moong dal for atleast 5-7 hours
  2. Grind it along with green chillies and ginger, adding little water.
  3. Remember the batter should be thick and not watery.
  4. Add salt, cumin seeds, coriander leaves, kishmish(optional), whole black peppers and mix it thoroughly in circular motion (strictly in circular motion).
  5. Beat the batter in circular motion for 3-4 minutes until the batter becomes soft, fluffy and also changes it color from yellowish to white.
  6. Now take a spoonful of this batter and shallow fry it in hot oil over medium to low flame till light golden brown , but remember the color of bhalle should not be dark.


  7. Dahi bhalla
    Shallow fried Bhalle


  8. Repeat the procedure for remaining batter.
  9. Let the Bhalle cool and later soak them for 2-3 minutes in luke warm water.
  10. Squeeze out the water by pressing each bhalla between palms of your hands.
  11. Place them in a serving bowl or plate and cover them generously with beaten curd (it should be really smooth), to which salt is added.
  12. Sprinkle black salt , cumin powder, red chilli powder and/or chaat masala and garnish it with coriander leaves.
  13. Note that, some people prefer dahi bhalle with a dash of sweet tamarind chutney, some boiled potato chunks and salted boondi (soaked in water and later squeezed out), while others prefer them with sweet curd, in that case just add some sugar while beating the curd.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Do not make the batter watery, or else bhalle would not be soft in texture.
  • Do not fry these in lots of oil, just shallow fry in about 1/2 inch oil in a flat bottom pan.
  • Fry these few at a time so as to provide enough space to expand.
  • Always cool the Bhalle after frying, and then soak in some luke warm water for 2-3 minutes. Soaking hot bhalle will result into soggy mass.
  • After soaking in water, always take bhalla in between your palms and squeeze slightly to remove excess of water (and oil too). Do this gently so as not to crumble the mass.
  • Make sure to let the bhalle sit in yogurt base for at least half hour before serving (the more time, the better), so as to let bhalle absorb some curd and flavors.
  • Always reserve some curd aside, because after some time, the bhalle tends to soak the curd and hence the extra curd set aside could be beaten, flavored and added while serving to adjust the consistency.


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