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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Malvani Kakdi Vade


I follow regularly a Gujarati cook show that comes on an Indian television channel and most of the time, the show features traditional and creative recipes by renowned chefs. The show has caught my fancy with it's interesting recipes. This kakdi / cucumber vade were a part of that show and they looked so appetizing that I had to try them. These were a hit, particularly with my husband and they reminded us something similar to what we had in temples in India. This takes the first place among the savories I cooked for this marathon, according to my husband.
The chef mentioned that these are a part of festivities among the Malvani community, including weddings. Malvani cuisine belongs to the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Goa and some parts of Karnataka. Konkan region is basically a part of the western coastline of India. These vades are usually served with a non-veg curry but I think the chef had prepared a yogurt based side dish to go with it. They don't need any side dish if you ask me. Traditionally the rice, chana dal and urad dal are toasted and powdered in specific proportions. I had all the flours ready and so I just combined them in the proportions mentioned. And did I mention how good they were?

Ingredients: (Yield 8)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour / besan
1/4 cup urad dal flour
Salt to taste
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chili paste
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1/2 cup grated cucumber
1 tbsp. hot oil
Oil to fry (I used canola oil.)

Method:
* Mix everything in bowl (except the oil to fry) to make a stiff dough. There is no need to add water since the moisture from the cucumber would be enough.
* Divide the dough into 8 portions, roll them and keep them aside. Grease a plastic sheet and pat one dough ball into a slightly thick disc. 
* Meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai / deep frying pan. The oil is ready if a small piece of dough is dropped into the oil, it sizzles and comes to the surface.
* Gently peel the disc from the plastic sheet and slide it into the hot oil. Fit as many discs as the pan can hold. 
* Fry on low flame, flipping in between until they turn golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels. Fry the remaining discs
* Serve them warm.






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Indori Poori Palak Ki ~ Madhya Pradesh Cuisine

A SIL of mine would have been a great authentic source for this particular state if I had decided to utilize her. She studied, married and have been living in Madhya pradesh for the past 4 decades. A quick Madhya pradesh cuisine search led me to these Indori palak pooris and I decided to go with them instead of calling her, out of the blue for recipe swapping. 
I prepare spinach pooris now and then. It was a surprise to learn that these originated in the city of Indore. In fact, my SIL lives in Indore and I have visited the city. It is known for it's great street food and while I was there relishing the chaats, I was so engrossed that I didn't pay much attention to recall whether these palak pooris are a part of the street food there. My guess is that these are made usually at homes than on the street joints. Beside the street food, Indore is also known for it's variety of savory snacks and pickles and our relatives from south are known to bring back hoards of those whenever they get to visit the place. 
Now the spicy pooris are really yummy and the spinach adds a healthy touch to these calorie loaded puffed breads. Serve them with just plain yogurt and pickle or a curry of your choice.

Ingredients: (20 pooris)
2 cups wheat flour + extra for dusting
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tbsp oil
1 - 2 tbsp yogurt
2 green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
One inch piece of ginger
3/4 cup cooked spinach (I had coarsely chopped a bunch of spinach and cooked it in the microwave adding a little water. Or you can just blanch it.)
Oil to fry pooris

Method:
* Grind chillies, ginger, cumin seeds and spinach without adding any water.
* Combine everything in the ingredients' list in a mixing bowl except the oil used to fry. Knead it into a soft dough, adding water if needed. Rest the dough for about 30 - 60 minutes, if you have time.
* Pinch a big marble sized dough and roll it into a thin disc, dusting with flour if needed.
* In the meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan / kadai. When the oil is hot enough, gently slide the rolled out disc and fry on medium flame. When it puffs up, flip and fry the other side too until it turns light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels.
* Repeat the steps of rolling and frying, with the remaining dough. Keep adjusting the flame as needed while frying.
* If the pooris are spicy, they can be served with yogurt alone. I served them with aloo bhaji and chutney.






Monday, April 14, 2014

Kuzhalappam


Kuzhalappam happens to be a savory snack from the state of Kerala. These delectable munchies were a part of Indian cooking challenge and I had missed them due to my India trip. And I thought this marathon was a nice opportunity to try them. These rice flour based, deep fried tubes are a great tea time snack and they are kid-friendly since there is no heat quotient. Coconut and onion add nice flavor to the dish. My husband was commenting that they are like mild nippattu and why I went through the pain of shaping them into tubes instead of just shaping them into discs. I would have to call them nipattu instead of kuzhalappam, I had to remind him. The world kuzhal means tubular. (Or is it a flute which also happens to be tubular?) I have to admit however that after a while, shaping them around my finger seemed tedious. When I got a hang of it, I just placed them on my left palm , brought the edges together and just pinched them.

Recipe Source: Here
Ingredients: (Yield 3 dozen)
1 & 1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 - 4 shallots or a big onion
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Oil to fry kuzhalappam (I went with canola oil and traditionally coconut oil is used.)
Method:
* Boil a cup of water in a small pan, adding salt.
* Grind coconut, shallots / onion and 1/4 tsp cumin seeds to a smooth paste, adding little water.
* In the meanwhile, dry roast the rice flour in a pan on low flame for about 5 - 6 minutes.
* Add this ground paste, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and sesame seeds to the rice flour and continue to roast for 2 - 3 minutes more. 
* Transfer the roasted rice mixture to a wide bowl and add the boiled water to it. When the mixture is warm, knead it into a stiff dough.
* Divide the dough into small lime sized balls. Grease a plastic sheet or a banana leaf. Place a dough ball over it. Cover it with another plastic sheet and roll it using a rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter or a small cup, cut into 2 inch round. Put back the scraps into the dough bowl.
* Wrap the cut disc around the left index finger and pinch the ends, covering about 1/4 inch. Remove it and keep it aside on a tray.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining dough. Remember to grease the plastic sheet every time you use it to prevent the dough from sticking. Rice flour dough is not that cohesive like all purpose flour based one and so don't panic if the dough cracks while rolling. 
* In the mean time, heat oil in a kadai / small deep frying pan on medium flame. Gently slide the shaped kuzhalappams into the hot oil. Fry as many as the kadai can fit without overcrowding. 
* Flip them in between and fry them until they turn light golden brown through out. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels. 
* Cool and store them in an airtight container.




Sunday, April 13, 2014

GoliBaje


I spent the first 23 years of my life in the south Indian state of Karnataka and so naturally I am biased towards the region and the cuisine. And for the obvious reason, the food that is cooked in my home ends up from the region frequently. I have a fair idea about the state cuisine and was planning to cook a traditional sweet dish that is not that very popular in the blog world.
My initial plan was to try traditional sweet dishes for the marathon and I had cooked for some of the states. However my husband who has been working from home these days started grudgingly complaining since he doesn't touch the sweet stuff. My plan then shifted to regional snacks as it was covering our evening snack quota as well besides this marathon. I have earlier already blogged the popular Karnataka snacks like nippattu, kodubale and Maddur vade and so opted for the irresistible golibaje, a standard item in most of the eateries / canteens in the region. Golibaje literally mean deep fried, round fritters. They are also called as Mangalore bondas or bajjis. This quick fix snack is originally from the South Canara / Dakshina Kannada region though it has become popular through out the state. Fritters are made with a batter using all purpose flour and sour yogurt.  It is mildly spicy and served along with the chutney.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 g.chilles sliced crosswise
A pinch or two of baking soda
1 tsp. sugar 
Salt to taste
2 tbsp of minced cilantro
Sour curds/ yogurt as needed (Fatfree will do.)
Oil to fry 


Method:
* Combine everything in a mixing bowl except the yogurt. Now add yogurt gradually and make a batter that is slightly thicker than a idli batter. Replace the yogurt with buttermilk / majjige if you prefer but do not use water. The sour yogurt used adds a slight tang to the bondas. And the sweetness from the sugar is hardly noticeable, if anyone is wondering. One can add minced ginger and asafoetida too if preferred.

* Heat oil in a medium sized kadai / deep frying pan. When it is hot enough, scoop out a lemon sized batter (using either a spoon or your right hand) and drop into hot oil. Drop as many balls as the pan could fit without over crowding. 
* Keep flipping the bondas in between and fry until they turn golden brown through out. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels.
* Serve them warm with chutney.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jharkhand Cuisine ~ Dhuska


Dhuska is a savory breakfast dish from the Jharkhand region. It is prepared by frying a ground mixture of rice and chana dal. Wet batter is fried just like pooris. I had prepared Chettinad's vellai appam a few month's back and it was hard to miss the uncanny resemblance between the preparations of those and these dhuska. Serve these yummy dhuska with a spicy chutney.

Ingredients: (Yield 12 dhuskas)
1 cup rice
1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper 
Salt to taste
1 tsp finely minced green chillies
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp finely minced cilantro
Oil to fry

Method:
* Soak rice and chana dal overnight or at least for 4 hours.
* After the soaking period, grind fine into a thick batter using just enough water needed.
* Add cumin, pepper, salt, chillies, ginger and cilantro to the ground batter and mix well.
* Heat oil in a small kadai or deep frying pan. The oil is ready when a drop of batter is dropped, it sizzles and come to the surface. Drop a small ladleful of batter into the oil.
* It will puff up and rise to the surface, just as in case of pooris. Flip and toast the other side as well. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
* Serve with a spicy chutney / curry.