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Monday, April 30, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ Z for Zafrani - Pista - Badam Kulfi / Saffron -Pistachio - Almond Kulfi

I am on my last post of this 'street food' journey and thought of ending it on a sweet note. Hence here is zafrani kulfi aka saffron kulfi for the alphabet 'Z'. Kulfi, a frozen dessert based on dairy is believed to have been originated in India during the Mughal empire during 16th century. Kulfi sometimes loosely dubbed as the Indian ice cream, is more creamier and denser compared to ice cream and melts slower. Kulfi is prepared by evaporating sweetened and flavored milk on slow flame, until the volume is reduced by half. The condensed milk is then frozen in moulds. I had bookmarked Vaishali's recipe a while ago that happens to be of a quicker version which came handy when I set to prepare it yesterday night. It uses condensed milk and corn starch and there is no need to keep boiling and stirring longer. It is super flavorful and a treat for one and all.

Ingredients: (Yield 4 kulfis)
1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. corn starch
A big pinch of saffron strands
1 - 2 tbsp. chopped pistachios & almonds
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Few drops of kevda essence

* Combine corn starch and a tbsp. or two of water and make a smooth paste and keep it aside.
* Heat whole milk and condensed milk in a thick sauce pan, preferably a non stick pan. Bring the milk to a boil on low flame stirring often. Taste and add sugar if needed.
* Add saffron strands to a small cup and pour a tbsp. of boiling milk mixture. Stir and keep aside.
* Add the corn starch paste to the boiling milk and keep stirring. The mixture may stick to the bottom. Keep stirring and continue to boil the mixture for about 5 minutes.
* Turn off the stove and add the saffron strands' mixture to it. Let the milk mixture cool down completely.
* Add the chopped nuts, cardamom and kevda essence and mix well.
* Pour the mixture equally in 4 kulfi moulds / Popsicle moulds / kulhars / small steel or paper cups. Popsicle sticks can be inserted if preferred. Freeze overnight or longer until it sets firm.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ Y for Yam Tikki / Yuca Cutlet

I didn't think much about this letter as I was somehow fixated between choosing a recipe starting with either yellow or yam. And finally it was yuca that gave me the idea of tikkis. Yuca when cooked to a mushy stage tends to become kinda sticky and so, I added a potato as well to the mixture and added a little extra corn starch than usual. The mashed tubers came to about 2.5 cups and gave me around 14 tikkis which were yummy. Serve them with either chutney or use it as a part of a chaat. Mine were served with cilantro chutney and some went into ragda pattice.

Ingredients for tikkis: (Yield about 12 tikkis)
1 medium sized yuca 
1 big sized potato
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. amchur powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder 
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
Salt to taste
3 - 4 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
3 tbsp. oil to shallow fry

1. Peel and cut the yuca into big chunks. Cook in a sauce pan adding enough water on stove top until it is almost mushy. (I used a microwave.) Drain the cooked yuca pieces and let them cool. 
2. Peel and cut the potatoes into big chunks. Cook in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles or on stove top until they are done. If using a microwave, cube the potatoes to quicken the cooking process. Drain the cooked potatoes and let them cool. 
3. Mash the vegetables and add to a mixing bowl. Add the spice powders, salt, corn starch and cilantro in a bowl. Mix well and divide the mixture into 12 portions. Roll each one into a ball and flatten it a bit to form a patty.
4. Heat 2 tbsp. oil on preferably a non stick pan on medium flame. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and place the tikki in the hot oil. Place as many tikkis as the pan can hold without overcrowding.
5. Cook until the bottom side of the tikki turns golden brown. Flip them using a spatula and cook until the other side turns golden brown too. Transfer them onto a plate covered with paper towel.
6. Repeat the steps with the remaining mixture.
7. Serve them warm with green or sweet chutney.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ X For 'X'tremely Easy Fruit Chaat / Fruit Salad

Vendors selling fruits in the neighborhoods or street corners is a common feature in Indian cities and towns. Fruits sold with a sprinkle of salt or salt and red chili powder / black pepper powder is a common sight in southern regions. One can see cucumber slices sold with a sprinkling of salt and red chili powder near bus stations where as I used to eat pineapple slices sold with salt and pepper in Bangalore during my college days though now they have another version, pineapple masala. 

There are also versions where a melange of spice powders are used to flavor the fruit pieces in other regions called a fruit chaat / fruit salad. A fruit chaat happens to be the easiest of the chaats that one could assemble if one is not talking about the Delhi version. Delhi fruit chaat uses tubers as well. We are talking about the other version today where only fruits are used and are sprinkled with spice powders to make it more flavorful. 

It is quite an easy recipe and I chose to go with an adjective for my alphabet 'X' today. The variety of fruits used in this chaat are obviously the local ones that are available abundantly. They are the typical tropical fruits like pineapple, papaya, mango, banana, orange, pomegranate, grapes, apple and others. However one can feel free to go with any seasonal and available fruits. Also I have given the list of spices below that are commonly used for a fruit chaat. However one can use only the spice powders they prefer or can with the combo they prefer. I prefer only chili powder while my husband prefers chili powder and black salt.  

Use refrigerated fruit or chill them for few minutes if using fruits at room temperature. This colorful and refreshing chaat is a welcome treat on a sunny day or serve it as a healthy snack in between meals.

Ingredients: (3 servings)
3 cups of mixed fruits (I used banana, grapes, green and red apple, orange, pear, pineapple and strawberries.)
Salt to taste (optional)
1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
(And use all or any of the spices below you prefer. The quantities can be increased or decreased as per taste.)
1/2 tsp. black salt 
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. chaat masala
1/2 tsp. roasted cumin powder

* Peel the banana and slice them into discs. Grapes can be halved or used as whole. Strawberries are hulled and sliced. Pineapple, apple, pears, mango are cubed. Orange slices are halved.
* Combine mixed fruits in a bowl. Add salt, black pepper powder
* If using lemon juice, add that as well. Toss the fruits a few times to coat them with the spices used.
* Divide them into 3 serving bowls and serve.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Friday, April 27, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ W for White Dhokla / Safed Dhokla / Khatta Dhokla

White dhokla aka safed dhokla, khatta dhokla and idada is a classic snack recipe from the state of Gujarat. It is not an instant version like the yellow one that is prepared with chickpea flour. Instead these healthy and nutritious dhoklas are prepared with a ground and fermented batter of rice, black gram, yogurt and spices. These steamed rice-lentil cakes are quite light and airy and make a great gluten free breakfast or snack. 

These can be prepared with black gram and rice used in a proportion of 1:2 or 1:3. Or if you are used to making idli batter, feel free to use it. Any rice will do here. As the title indicates, khatta dhoklas means sour dhoklas and they are sourer and spicier than idlis. Thanks to the use of sour yogurt / lemon juice and spices to the batter. In short, these are like the spongy south Indian idlis with a twist. We have recently become fans of these white dhoklas. 
1 to 1.5 cup rice (I used idli rice)
1/2 cup urad dal / skinned, split black gram
1/4 cup sour yogurt
Salt to taste
1.5 tsp. grated ginger / ginger paste
1.5 tsp. green chili paste
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. lemon juice (Use only if needed.)
1 Eno's fruit salt packet / 1/4 tsp. baking soda
Crushed pepper corns / red chili powder
* Rinse and soak rice and urad dal together for about 3 hours. Drain and grind into a thick, smooth batter adding yogurt. Add water if needed. The batter should resemble the idli batter.
* Transfer the batter to a container big enough to hold it in when raised during fermentation. Add salt to the batter and mix well. Cover the container and leave it to ferment in a warm place overnight. (If you live in warmer places, about 6 hours should be enough for fermentation. If you live in colder places, leaving the batter covered in a lighted oven would help.)
* Check the batter in the morning to see if the fermented batter is sour enough. If not, add the lemon juice and stir. (This step is optional.)
* Heat a dhokla maker / steamer or pressure cooker with water. (It should cover 1 inch of base of the container.)
* Grease a dhokla container or a wide container with 1 inch depth that can fit into the steamer. (Or a container with more depth can be used which will hold more batter and gives the height to dhoklas.)
(I used half of the batter and used a 8 inch diameter container with 2 inch depth.)
* When the water at the base of the dhokla maker / steamer / pressure cooker is boiling, add oil, ginger paste and chili paste to the batter and mix well. Finally add eno's salt and quickly stir. Pour the batter into the greased container up to 1/2 and sprinkle ground black pepper and/or chili powder uniformly. Cover the steamer with the lid. Don't put the valve on the lid if using pressure cooker. 

* Steam on low flame until a knife inserted at the center comes out clean. 
* Turn off the stove and let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. Gently run a spoon around the perimeter of the cooked dhokla and demould if needed. Cut into diamonds or squares. 
* Serve with green chutney or any spicy chutney.

1. One may use container with one inch depth and fill it with half the batter. It may take around 10 - 15 minutes to steam. 
I used 2 containers with 8 inch diameter and 2 inch depth which gave me tall dhoklas, for this amount of batter. It took me around 20 minutes to steam on low flame. 
2. Idli batter can be used to make these dhoklas. I used idli batter and added lemon juice to make it sour.
3. Ginger and chili paste can be directly added while grinding.
3. Skip pepper and chili powder topping and instead, one can do a garnish with spluttering mustard seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves in hot oil and pout it over dhokla and finely top it with minced cilantro.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ V for Veg Hakka Noodles

Chinese food has become an integral part of Indian cuisine today. Thanks to a small Chinese community of “Hakka’ origin that immigrated and lived in Calcutta during the 18th and 19th centuries. These Hakka people, the first Chinese immigrants to settle in India adapted their native cooking techniques and seasonings to vegetarian dishes to suit the Indian palates. However, the interesting fact to be noted is that the modern fusion Indo-Chinese cuisine bears little resemblance to traditional Chinese or Hakka cooking. 

Today’s dish, Hakka noodles is a fusion Indo-Chinese dish that also has it's origins tracing back to Kolkatta (formerly Calcutta), the capital city of west Bengal. The signature aspect of the Hakka cuisine was Hakkas blended the Chinese spices and ingredients with the local ones to flavor dishes. These Hakka noodles are no exception and it is a quick stir fry of noodles with crunchy vegetables in a base of garlicky and spicy 'Indo-Chinese' flavors. The dish would be completely dry and no sauce left after the noodles are cooked. My husband prepared gobi machurian to go with it but I did not include it in the pictures.

The recipe source is this post from ecurry. The blogger gives a glimpse on the background of the Hakkas and Hakka cuisine in Calcutta. I am not a fan of garlic and prepared it exclusively for my husband who loves Hakka noodles. He enjoyed them very much and had already asked a couple of times to prepare it again. I therefore consider it a hit and recommend it to those who are looking for the recipe. 

Ingredients for the sauce:
4 garlic cloves
one inch piece of ginger
1 tbsp. sriracha / green chili sauce 
2 tbsp. ketchup or tomato paste
1 tsp. white sesame seeds

200 gm Hakka noodles *
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
1 capsicum, julienned (I used 3 colors of capsicum.)
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup beans, cut diagonally
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
1/2 bunch scallions / green onions chopped
1 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar
Salt to taste
* (I used organic semolina spaghetti noodles instead.)

* Combine all ingredients of the 'Sauce' in a food processor and pulse to a fine paste. Add a tbsp. or two of water if the mixture appears too dry. However do not make the sauce runny.
* Cook noodles al dente along with some salt and a splash of oil, according to the instructions on the package. Drain immediately, spread the noodles on a wide plate and splash a little more oil to prevent them from sticking together.
* Heat the sesame oil in a wok and add chili flakes. Saute for about 20 seconds or so and add onions. Cook on high heat until they are just clear and add the ground sauce and salt. Continue to cook on high heat until the raw smell of garlic disappears. 
* Then lower the heat and add vinegar and soy sauce. Stir well to combine and increase the heat to high again. Add capsicum, carrot and beans. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove. The vegetables should retain their color and crunch. 
* Stir in the noodles carefully until the cooked ingredients in the pan coat the noodles completely. Add the shredded cabbage.
* Again turn on the heat to high and cook the noodles tossing / flipping them frequently so that noodles, sauce and vegetables are combined uniformly. Take care not to stick the noodles to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and switch off the stove.
* Combine the chopped green onions and serve immediately with some hot oil. (Ours was served with gobi manchurian.)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A - Z India Street Foods ~ U for Urad Dal Ke Poori / Bedmi Poori

The alphabet 'U' took me to North India to savor one of it's popular breakfast dishes, urad dal ke poori which also happens to be a street food there. Indians everywhere love their deep fried puffed bread, poori without any reservations despite it being a guilty pleasure. Whereas the standard pooris are made with a dough of wheat flour alone, these pooris also known as bedmi poori use urad dal as well some semolina / coarsely ground wheat flour for the crispiness. 

These pooris are prepared two ways. In the first method, soaked and coarsely ground urad dal batter is directly added to wheat flour along with spices and a dough is prepared. In the second method, coarsely ground urad dal batter along with spices is sautéed and used as a stuffing for the pooris. 
Today’s version uses the former method which is simpler and quicker compared to the stuffed version. The pooris only have a hint of urad dal smell and it is hard to notice it when savoring them with the spicy accompaniment. One can adjust the spice levels mentioned in the recipe. However remember to add more spices than you think are necessary while preparing the poori dough since some of the potency is lost while frying. Otherwise, the pooris would taste bland. These pooris hold their shape and are crispier. They are also more filling and heavier compared to the usual pooris. These pooris are usually served with a spicy potato curry prepared in a ghee base called as dubkiwaale aloo from the holy city of Mathura. The curry falls under 'saatvik foods' as it uses no onion or garlic.

Ingredients: (Yield 20 pooris)
1/2 cup (soaked for 2 hours and drained) urad dal / skinned, split black gram
1 tsp. grated ginger
1&1/4 cup whole wheat flour / atta
3 tbsp. semolina
Salt to taste
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 heaped tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. amchur powder / dried mango powder
1 tsp. fennel powder
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
Oil for deep frying

* Grind urad dal and ginger together without adding any water to slightly coarser texture.
* Combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the above ground paste and mix well. Gradually add water in slow increments and prepare a firm dough. (I added about 3/4 cup water.) Add a tsp. oil to the dough and knead a minute. Cover it with a lid and leave for about 10 minutes.

* Heat the oil in a pan for deep frying on medium flame.
* Divide the mixture into 20 portions and roll each of them into 3 inch diameter circles.
* Fry a poori at a time until golden brown, flipping once or twice. (There is no need to worry if some of the pooris don't puff up.) 

* Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
* Serve the pooris hot with a spicy curry.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ T for Tikki Puri

Today's street food is a popular one in Bangalore and is on the similar lines as the nippat masala I posted earlier in this series. In fact, there are a few similar chaats locally where only the base changes and one ends up with a new kind of chaat and a new name. 

The flat puris in this recipe can be replaced with chaklis, chips, tomato slices and so on to end up with different versions. Today's chaat is a simple one to be honest but quite a tasty one if you ask me. I had used store bought sweet chutney and flat puris here and so, the chaat didn't take much time to assemble.
 Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
About 15 - 20 papdis / flat puris *
1 big onion, finely minced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. chaat masala 
1 tsp. Salt to taste 
1 tsp. red chili powder (optional)
1/2 cup green chutney
1/2 cup sweet tamarind chutney
1/2 cup congress kadalekaayi / masala peanuts
1/2 cup sev
1/2 cup puffed rice
* Puffed puris can be used as well.

Assembling tikki puri:
* Combine minced onion, chopped cilantro and grated carrot in a mixing bowl.
* Arrange 7 to 10 puris on a serving plate. 

* Place a spoonful of vegetable mixture on each puri. Sprinkle a pinch or two of chat masala, salt and chili powder if using over each of them.

* Drizzle 1/2 spoon each of green chutney and tamarind - date chutney over each puri. 

* Then top each puri with sev (crisp, deep fried chickpea flour vermicelli) generously.

* Next sprinkle the spicy peanuts as much as needed.

* Finally top it off with a handful or two of puffed rice and serve immediately.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Monday, April 23, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ S for Samosa Chole Chaat

Thanks to my husband, samosa chaat has become a family favorite over the years and it is also the most frequently made or ordered chaat at our home. And hence there was no planning or persuasion needed when it came to alphabet 'S'. In fact, this was the first dish I made for the marathon. Whenever my husband gets samosas in surplus, (which tends to happen always, the surplus thing) samosa chaat happens in our home. Gladly, without any complaints I must admit since everyone looks forward to it.
Samosa and chole - the two of the signature dishes from the Punjab region come together in samosa chole chaat. Samosa is the flaky, fried triangular pastry with savory potato & pea filling while chole or the chana masala is the spicy chickpea curry which is served with Indian breads. The combo accentuated with spicy, tangy chutneys and topped with crunchy sev and sweet onions form the irresistible samosa chole chaat for spicy food lovers. No surprise, this mouthwatering chaat has now become a popular one ranging from road side stalls to fancy eateries through out the nation. 

Baked samosas can be a guilt-free substitute for fried ones and the link I have provided above is for them. Samosas either fried / baked can be made in advance and refrigerated. They can be warmed in a microwave and used whenever ready to assemble the chaat. The chole also can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Remember to prepare chole with a lot of gravy. Instead of chole, the dried peas curry called ragada can be substituted in samosa chaat.
Chutneys & sev can be store bought or prepared in advance too. My husband likes adding red garlic chutney as well but I skip it. Also, yogurt is optional here but we love the way it balances the spicy chutneys and chole in the chaat and we don't give it a miss. Most of the stuff can be prepared in advance and so this tempting chaat makes a great menu item when one has company.

Ingredients: (yield 4 servings)
4 medium sized samosas
About 3 cups cooked chole / chana masala (or ragda)
1/4 cup green chutney / cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cup sweet date-tamarind chutney
2 medium sized onions, finely minced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sev for topping
1 cup yogurt for topping (optional)

* Gently break a samosa into 4 or 6 pieces and place it at the middle of a serving bowl or plate. Pour about 2 ladles (or as much as preferred) of chana masala over the samosa pieces.
* Drizzle green chutney and sweet chutney (as much as you prefer) over the chana masala.
* Next sprinkle minced onion and pour yogurt if using.
* Finally top it with sev and garnish with cilantro.
* Assemble three other servings the same way and serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A - Z Indian Street Foods ~ R for Ram Ladoo

The word 'ladoo' usually conjures up an image of roundly shaped delicious sweet for Indians. However there is also a savory 'ladoo' associated with Delhi chaats known as ram ladoo. In this case, deep fried savory balls are prepared from a batter of moong and chana dals and drizzled with spicy, tangy green chutney and grated radish. However I thought of adding sweet chutney as well for more flavor. The recipe is not very elaborate if you have the chutneys prepared in advance or store bought. It can be divided into two parts. The first one is the preparation of moong-chana ladoo / vada and the second part is assembling before serving. I usually buy daikon instead of radish and that is what I used in this recipe. I was skeptical about the addition of radish / daikon in the recipe until I tasted it to notice how well it compliments the dish. My husband and I loved ram ladoo very much and ate the second round drizzling some yogurt as well which was like eating moong dahi vada.

Ingredients for moong vadas:
3/4 cup yellow moong dal
A handful of chana dal / Bengal gram 
2 or more green chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp. ginger pieces
1/8 tsp. asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients for ram ladoo:
Moong vadas
1/2 cup peeled and grated white radish / daikon 
Green chutney
Sweet tamarind chutney
Lemon juice to taste
Chaat masala
Minced cilantro to garnish

* Soak moong dal and chana dal for about 3 hours. Drain and grind them along with chillies, ginger, asafoetida and salt adding no water. (Add about a tbsp. water only if needed. Try not to add water since the batter would be runny and difficult to shape the ladoos.)
* Transfer the ground batter to a bowl and add cilantro. Whisk the mixture well.
* Heat oil in a frying pan or a kadai. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. (I shaped them into rounds using my hands.) Fry as many as ladoo as the pan can fit without overcrowding.

* Lower the flame and fry flipping the 'ladoo' intermittently until they turn golden brown throughout. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on absorbent towels.
Assembling part:
* Combine grated radish and cilantro together.
* Place 4 to 6 laddus in a serving dish. Spoon a tsp. each of green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney over them. Next put a tbsp. of radish - cilantro mixture, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 pinches of chaat masala. Add a layer of chutneys again if needed.
* Serve them immediately.

So far, on this series, 
A for Aloo Kabli
B for Bajra Vada
C for Chooda Matar
D for Dahi Batata Puri
E for Elaichi - Kesar Lassi
F for Fulwadi
G for Ghugni Chaat
H for Hare Chane Ki Chaat
I for Indori Garaadu Chaat
J for Jamun Bun
K for Khakra - Chana Bhel 
L for Locho
M for Masala Puri Chaat
N for Nippattu Masala Chaat
O for Onion Pakoda  
P for Palakhova Bun
Q for Qabuli Chana Chaat

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