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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Chanadal Parathas

I am doing weekend brunch dishes this week and trust me, nobody has the patience to skip breakfast and wait for a brunch in my household. Everyone including me start to get grumpy when breakfast is not served by 8 am, which is actually late in our books. The kids are used for a 6.30 am breakfast on weekdays and so asking them to skip one on weekend seems lousy. This was supposed to be posted a couple of months ago when I picked the 'Brunch Dishes' theme for the blogging marathon. However I got lazy when I noticed how lengthy the recipe was turning out to be and so it sat in my drafts folder up until now. The post finally gets to see the light of the day as it fits in perfectly for this week's 'Lentils' themed BM.
These dal parathas are stuffed ones and obviously is based on chanadal stuffing. The stuffing turned out so yummy and spicy that we absolutely loved these parathas. These parathas are filling and nutritious and taste good on their own if the stuffing is kept on a spicier side. If the stuffing is mild, go along with a spicy pickle and a bowl of yogurt on the side and your meal is taken care of. Both the paratha dough and stuffing can be made ahead the previous night and a hearty breakfast can be made in minutes the next day.

Ingredients for the parathas: (Yield - 6 parathas)
1 cup wheat flour + extra for dusting
Salt to taste (optional)
1 tbsp. oil + Extra for toasting (I used canola oil.)

Preparation of dough:
* Combine wheat flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a mixing bowl. Add water in small increments and prepare a soft, pliable dough. (I added little less than 1/2 cup water.)
* Next add oil and knead the dough for a couple of minutes. Cover and allow it to rest anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours.
(You can proceed with the below recipe to make parathas at this point or refrigerate it to use the dough within a day or two. If refrigerating, bring the dough to room temperature before rolling out the parathas. Or to quicken the process, cover the dough and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 10 - 15 seconds depending upon the quantity. The refrigerated dough would be ready to work with, in a jiffy this way.)

Ingredients needed for the stuffing and preparation:
3/4 cup chana dal / Bengal gram 
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 green chillies (adjust as needed.)
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. amchur powder
2 pinches of turmeric powder
1 tbsp. minced cilantro

* Soak chana dal in water for about a couple of hours or so. This step is optional if pressure cooker is used to cook the dal but I follow it anyway. 
* Drain the soaked water and rinse the dal thorougly. Add dal and 1 & 1/2 cups water to the pressure cooker and cook until soft, to about 1 or 2 whistles. When the valve pressure is gone, transfer the dal to a colander. Let the dal sit for a while until all the water is completely drained.
* Heat oil in a pan add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and brown, add the ginger. Fry until it starts to turn golden brown and add chillies. Saute for about 30 - 40 seconds. Add cooked dal, turmeric, chili powder, amchur powder, cilantro and salt. Give a stir to combine and cook for a minute or so. Turn off the stove and let cool the stuffing. 
* The stuffing can be prepared ahead at night and can be used to prepare the breakfast the next morning. (Just remember to cool the stuffing and refrigerate it overnight.)

Rolling the parathas - Method 1:
* Divide the mixture into about 6 portions and roll them smoothly between your palms to shape them into balls.Work with one dough ball at a time and keep the rest covered. 
* Roll a dough ball into 3 - 4 inch disc and place about 1 - 2 tbsp. of filling, depending upon how comfortable you are with the rolling part. Place the stuffing at the center of the disc, leaving the edges free. Bring the edges together so that there are no gaps and the stuffing is inside intact.

* Press it into a disc taking care that there are no gaps anywhere so that the stuffing wouldn't spill out while rolling. Roll the disc carefully into a 5 to 6 inch thin circle, dusting with flour if necessary. Take care not to break it or let the filling coming out. Repeat the steps of paratha making with the remaining dough.

Rolling the stuffed parathas - Method 2:
* Divide the mixture into about 12 portions and roll them smoothly between your palms to shape them into balls.Work with one dough ball at a time and keep the rest covered.  Roll out a couple of balls into 4 inch discs, dusting with flour if necessary.
* Spread about 2 tbsp. stuffing evenly on one disc, leaving out the edges.  Cover it with another rolled disc. 
* Neatly seal them so that the stuffing wouldn't spill out when they are rolled againDust the work surface and stuffed disc lightly and proceed with the rolling part. Gently roll it into a thin disc.
Toasting the parathas:
* Heat iron griddle or a shallow, non stick pan and place the rolled out paratha.
* Toast the parathas, brushing generously with oil / ghee, until both sides are cooked well and brown spots appear.
* Repeat the steps of rolling and toasting the parathas with the remaining dough balls and the stuffing. Serve them hot with yogurt and a spicy pickle.

This goes to BM #54 under the theme "Cooking lentils in 3 ways". Check here to see what other marathoners have come up with, for today.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Batani Guggillu / Green Peas Sundal

When I made the peanut sundal recently, the craving to eat the green peas version hit so badly that I had to make it the next day. Growing up, this was one of the standard evening snacks that my mother used to prepare and I hadn't eaten it in ages. This legume based dish goes by different regional names like guggillu, usli or sundal and is a common dish among south Indian states and the neighboring regions. The recipe remains typically the same in southern regions and sometimes coconut may be replaced with sautéed onions / tomatoes and grated carrot as such. They usually are prepared as an evening snack and onion-free versions are also offered as neivedyam (An offering to God.). This nutritious, guilt free snack is quite filling one though some versions need planning ahead as some of the legumes need pre soaking before cooking. There are a variety of legumes that can be used in this kind of guggillu dish and each one is delicious in it's own way. For today's version it is green peas. (I had the extra spice powder from Peanut sundal recipe and I used a tsp. of that powder as well to enhance the flavor.)

Ingredients: (3 servings)
1 cup dried green peas (or 2 cups cooked)
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 or 2 green chillies, finely chopped
10 - 12 curry leaves
2 pinches turmeric powder
2 pinches asafoetida powder
2 tbsp. fresh shredded coconut
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. minced cilantro
Lemon / Lime juice to taste

* Soak dried peas overnight or for about 8 hours. Pressure cook the peas for 2 whistles or cook in a sauce pan on stove top adding sufficient water. When done, the peas must be tender but still holding the shape. They should not turn mushy.
* Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add mustard seeds and chana dal. When dal starts to turn reddish, add green chillies and sauté for about 30 seconds. Next add curry leaves, turmeric, asafoetida and stir once.
* Add cooked peas, salt and coconut to the pan and stir to combine. Cook on low flame for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove.
* Squeeze lemon juice to taste and give a stir.
* Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

This goes to BM #54 under the theme "Cooking lentils in 3 ways". Check here to see what other marathoners have come up with, for today.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Mung Beans - Carrot Soup


This has become a recent favorite of mine though normally I abhor the soup kinds. I came across this spicy and yummy on an Indian food channel and tried it instantly as somehow I loved the idea. This is one of those hearty and healthy soups that can fill you up and so the soup alone would take care of a meal.

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. garlic paste (optional)
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 big carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup cooked mung beans / green gram (whole, green ones)
Salt to taste
1 cup fat-free milk
* Heat oil in a small sauté pan and add garlic if using. Sauté for few seconds and then add peppercorns, onion, tomato and carrot.
* Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender.
* Transfer the cooked mixture, salt, cooked mung beans and milk to a blender. Puree the mixture and if the mixture appears too thick for your liking, add extra milk or water until the desired consistency is reached.
* Add the puree back to the pan and heat it.
* Serve warm.

This goes to BM #54 under the theme "Cooking lentils in 3 ways". Check here to see what other marathoners have come up with, for today.