Friday, October 30, 2015

Parwal aur Aloo ke Sookhi Subzi

Parwal aur Aloo ke Sookhi Subzi, is a variation of the Parwal aur Aloo ki sabzi which I had posted some time ago. This is a dry preparation and goes well with chapatis and Paratha, serves as a great option for packed lunch too.

Parwal Aloo ke Sookhi Subzi

Ingredients

Parwal / Potol /Pointed Gourd - 5-6 medium size
Potato - 2 medium
Onion, sliced - 1 medium
Garlic, grated - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Cumin Powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Paanch phoran - 1 teaspoon
Whole dry red chilli - 1piece
Salt to taste
Mustard oil - 2 tablespoon

Method

Wash and trim both ends of the parwal, scrape the waxy skin and slit it lengthwise into two. Discard the seeds if they are hard and slice them diagonally into approximately 1 cm thick. Wash and peal the potatoes, slit lengthwise into 2, slice them horizontally approximately 1 cm thick. Peal and finely slice the onion.


Heat mustard oil in a kadhai, add Paanch phoran and broken red chillies. Once the spices start popping add the sliced onion and fry for 2-3 minutes and add the grated garlic, mix well and fry for a couple of minutes or until the raw smell of garlic is gone.






Add the chopped Parwal and Aloo, mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes add the dry masalas (coriander, cumin, red chili and turmeric powders) mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes.



Add salt, mix well, soon you will notice that the vegetables start to release water cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.



Open lid and check and stir the vegetables to ensure that they are not sticking to the bottom of the kadhai, if needed add a tablespoon or two of water and cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are well done.. Don't forget to check at regular intervals. 



Once the vegetables have cooked thru turn off the flame. Serve garma garam Parwal aur Aloo ke Sookhi Subzi, with chapatis or parathas.


Notes

I prefer to use mustard oil for this recipe as it gives an authentic flavor to the recipe however you could replace it with any other cooking oil.
I have slightly scraped the parwal just to remove the outer shiny coat, these days most vegetables are sprayed with a variety of chemicals and colour which is not safe. Scraping the vegetable helps us avoid consuming these harmful elements and also maintains the crispness of the parwal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Date and Nut Balls

"Date and Nut Balls"
Date and Nut balls are guilt free sweet treats for all. As the name suggests these delicious balls are made with dates, assorted nuts and seeds along with roasted oats. I call it guilt free as it has no added sugar or any kind of oils or butter and all the ingredients used are healthy and a good source of energy. Date and Nuts are a good source of energy, packed with natural sugar, vitamins, essential minerals and fibers which help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.




I make these mostly during Ramadan for Iftar but off late have been making it more often for my Son. He leaves for school around 7 in the morning and just refuses to have anything for breakfast.I used to give him 5 soaked almonds along with milk which is not much to eat but it used to be a mammoth task for me. However this Ramadan he loved these date balls and since then I make and keep them for him and since kids love chocolate so I also make a chocolate coated variation for him.


One of these balls along with a glass of milk is all he has for breakfast before leaving home. Here is the quick and easy recipe which requires no cooking other than dry roasting the oats.    

Ingredients

Dates, pitted - 25 nos
Almonds - 1/2cups
Walnuts - 1/2 cups
Pistachios - 1/4th cup
Dried Cranberry - 1/4th cup
Mixed Seeds - 1/4th cup OR Flax seeds - 1 tablespoon
Oats, dry roasted - 1/2 cup

For Chocolate coating

Semi sweet chocolate chips - 1 cup

Preparation

Dry roast the oats until it starts changing colour and releases a nice aroma.


Remove the seeds of the dates and keep aside.(I usually soak the dates in warm water so that the soften and the seeds can be removed easily.)


Method

Place almonds, walnuts, Pistachios, Dried Cranberry and mixed seeds (if using) in the food processor, use the mincer blade and pulse until the nuts are broken into small bits and add the roasted oats.




Pulse until the nuts and oats mixture resembels a corse mix and add the  pitted dates and pulse again until all are combined well.



Take a little of the mixture and check if it comes together to form a ball. once ready transfer the mix into a dry bowl, take around a tablespoon and half of the mixture and roll into balls.Repeat process until all are done.




For Chocolate Coating

Place the ready Date balls in an air tight box and keep the freezer and let them chill for 30-45 minutes.


Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Set the microwave on high and heat the chocolate for 30 seconds, stop mix well and re heat for another 30 seconds and mix well. By now the chocolate should melt if not run it again for 15 seconds and mix well. If there are still few bits of chocolate leftover don't worry just mix well and it will melt.



Once the chocolate has melted and is ready, place one chilled date ball at a time and roll with a fork until completely coated in chocolate. Remove and keep in a clean dry plate, repeat process for the remaining date balls.




Once all are done place it in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes so that the chocolate can set. remove from the place and store in airtight containers.


Enjoy guild free Date balls or Choco Date balls.


Above ingredients would make around 25 date balls.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Karela Chips

Karela or Bitter gourd is one of those vegetables which is very healthy but is not relished by many because of its bitter taste. My Mum's a diabetic patient and karela is very good for them hence its a staple at our home. Apart from cooking karela she also consumes the raw juice which is actually very bitter.

"Karela Chips"
When I moved to Mumbai, I came across these "Hot Chips" outlets which were all over the city, as there name suggests they used to sell hot chips just out of the Kadhai. My favourite used to be the Banana chips but then I saw them selling these packets of Karela chips, and as Karela's good for Mum I took a packet of these on my vacation for her. Despite the bitter taste she just loved it and so did we and thats how we got introduced to "Karela Chips".


Since then Mum's been making these Crispy Karela Chips at home, its not the same as the "Hot Chips" yet tastes great. Though its deep fried but these chips don't absorb a lot of oil and we enjoy it as a side dish along with Dal Chawal or Khichdi and a great tea time snack as well.

Here is the simple and easy recipe for Karela Chips.

Ingredients

Karela /Bitter gourd - 2 medium size
Besan / chickpea flour - 3 tablespoon
Rice flour - 1 tablespoon
Red chili powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2  teaspoon
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method

Wash and pat dry the karela, trim the ends and slice evenly. (Don't slice very thin or thick, I kept it around a quarter of a centimeter...of course u need not use a ruler to measure, visual reference is good enough)


I usually keep the seeds and pulp intact but if you don't like them then you can discard the seeds very easily, by just pushing it with your thumb and they will come off, leaving behind get nice rings.


Place the ready karela rings in a mixing bowl add salt as per taste, this will help the karela release its juices, don't discard this just add the besan, rice flour, asafotida, red chili powder and turmeric powder and mix well. The juice released by the karela helps bind all the dry ingredients together.



Heat oil in a kadhai, carefully slide the masala coated karela into the hot oil one at a time, avoid over crowding and fry on medium flame until it gets a nice golden colour. Use a slotted spoon to drain the karela chips and keep on absorbent paper.



Repeat process to fry the remaining karela chips.


This chips can be enjoyed hot or once cool they can be stored in airtight containers and enjoyed later.

Notes:

These Karela chips are very easy to prepare and there is nothing much to be taken care of but yes a few essential points.
Try to get even slices of the Karela, this helps in even cooking time.
Usually we apply salt and let the karela rest in it to get rid of its bitterness but for this this recipe we avoid this step, as the chips are not really bitter after frying...anyways a little bit of bitterness is needed after all its "Bitter gourd" ;)
We don't need water to mix the dry ingredients with the karela however if it gets really dry just add a few drops of water. Adding too much water makes the chips soggy.
I usually avoid using too much oil for frying the chips,instead fry them in batches... they do take a bit more time but its always better.  


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bharwan Baingan

"Bharwan Baingan"
Baingan or Brinjals are a very versatile vegetable and can be cooked in many different ways, the best thing about them are they absorb flavors very well. They come in various sizes and can be used to make a variety of dishes ranging from dips and appetizers or as traditional Indian dishes like Baingan Ka Bharta , Begun Bhaja, Baghare Baingan or just a simple Aloo Baingan Ke Subzi.

 
As a kid I really disliked Baingan the only thing which was my favorite is Begun Bhaja. M ymom's a wonderful cook and she always used to make different dishes out of Baingan, insist that we at least taste it and slowly over a period of time I started loving it. Trust me if cooked well its delicious....


Bharwan Baingan is a very simple yet flavorful dish which is prepared with baby brinjals. The brinjals are stuffed with a blend of roasted whole spices which have been ground along with other powdered spices and slow cooked over medium flame.

Ingredients

Baby baingan / Brinjal / Eggplant - 6-8 pcs
Mustard oil - 2 tablespoon for cooking.

For the filling
Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1 teaspoon
Kalongi / Nigella seeds - 1/2teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Dry mango Powder -1 teaspoon
Red chili powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Mustard oil - 1 teaspoon

Method

For the filling

Dry roast the whole spices ( fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, Kalongi and mustard seeds) in a pan until they start to change colour and release there aroma. Turn off the heat and let it cool.



Once cooled transfer the roasted spices into a dry grinder add asafoetida, coriander powder, dry mango powder, red chili powder along with turmeric powder and grind to a coarse powder.



Transfer the contents into a bowl add salt and mustard oil, mix well and keep aside until we prepare the brinjals.


Wash the brinjals and dry them with a kitchen napkin. Make 4-5 deep slits in the brinjal ensuring that they are cut into wedges but are well attached at the stalk. Slit all brinjals before you start filling




Once all the brinjals are cut and ready, fill one brinjal at a a time generously with the stuffing masala, ensuring that there is enough filling in between the slits. Repeat process until all the brinjals are stuffed. Don't discard any leftover stuffing masala.



Once all the brinjals are stuffed and ready heat oil in a kadhai, as we are using mustard oil ensure that its heated up to the smoking point, give the kadhai a nice swirl so that the sides are well coated with oil. Carefully slide one stuffed brinjal at a time, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.




Once the brinjals have cooked for 3-4 minutes, remove the lid and turn the brinjals on to the other side, at this stage add any leftover stuffing masala, mix well and cover and cook. Kepp checking the brinjals and gently turn sides at regular intervals to ensure that the brinjals are cooked thru.



Once the brinjals have cooked and are tender remove the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes to get rid of extra moisture and do keep a close look to avoid the brinjals from burning. Once done turn off the flame.


Serve hot along with Chapati, Paratha or just enjoy it with simple Dal Chawal


Notes:

I have used Mustard oil for this recipe but you can replace it with any other cooking oil which is regularly used at your home.
I prefer to slit the Brinjal just before stuffing as it avoids the cut brinjals from darkening.
There is no need to add any water for this dish as the brinjals have enough water content, which helps them cook in its own juice.
Initially its better to cover and cook and once the brinjal is tender then remove the lid and cook,