Sunday, June 12, 2016

Masala Vada

Masala Vada's are a very popular tea time snack from The Southern region of India. These Vada's are made with  Chana Dal or Split skinned Bengal Gram. 

Soaked Chana Dal is ground with a mix of Spices and Deep fried. These Vada's are very delicious and flavorful, the outside is crispy while its soft and moist inside. A perfect teatime snack on a rainy evening.


Here is an easy to follow recipe of the Masala Vada.

Ingredients

Chana Dal - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Green chilies - 2 chopped
Onion, chopped - 1 large
Curry leaves,finely chopped - 8-10
Green coriander, chopped - 1/4th cup
Fennel seeds - 2 teaspoon
Dry red chili, whole - 2 pcs
Rava /Rice Powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil for frying the Vada's

Method

Wash and soak the chana dal for 2-3 hours,


Grind the ginger, garlic, fennel seeds, red chilies along wiith a handful of soaked chana dal into a coarse paste. Add the remaining Chana dal and grind to form a coarse mix. A few whole dals are perfectly fine as they will add texture to the Vadas.




Transfer the Ground dal mixture into a mixing bowl, add the finely chopped onions, chopped coriander and curry leaves, green chilies, rice flour along with salt, Mix well. The mixture might look crumbly bust don't worry it wont fall apart. Do not add water as adding water will make it difficult to shape the vadas. 



Wet your hand with water, take a golf ball sized portion of the mix and shape it into a disk, once the vada is shaped, keep aside and continue making vada's from the remaining mixture. (I made around 16 vadas which were approximately 2 inches in diameter)



Heat oil in a frying pan, approximately half inch high from the bottom, carefully slide one vada at a time into the hot oil, fry on medium flame until the vadas get a nice golden colour, flip and fry on the other side.



Once the Vada's get a nice golden brown colour, Drain and keep on absorbent paper. Continue frying the remaing vadas until all are done. 


Serve hot Vadas with your favorite chutney and a hot cup of tea or cofee.


Notes:

I have added a handful of chana dal while grinding the masala as my grinder is big in size and was difficult to grind.
Try not to add water while grinding as it will result in a smooth and watery mix, hence it will be difficult to form the vada's.
I have added rice flour as well as 1 teaspoon of rava too.Adding rice flour gives the vada a nice crispy shell but the core is still soft and moist.
Never over crowd the pan while frying.
These Vadas can be easily frozen and they stay well for 5-6  days. Just remove it from the freezer and thaw it for an hour and fry in hot oil.






Monday, June 6, 2016

Suji Ka Halwa

Suji Ka Halwa is one of the most popular and easy to make Indian Dessert. It's a no fuss dessert which requires no prior preparations, can be made in a jiffy and an all time favorite in our home....

"Suji Ka Halwa"
During the month of Ramadan Suji Ka Halwa is a must in our house, in fact I make it on the first day of Ramadan for Iftar. Its my hubby's childhood favorite as his mom used to make it for Iftar and now my son also relates it to the first Iftar special and guess what, today morning while we waited for the school bus to arrive, he said..."Mumma Ramadan starts today right", I replied.. yes, its the first day of Ramadan...and instantly he says so you are making Suji ka Halwa today :)... this conversation with my little boy made me super happy....I'm glad he has started understanding and noticing the little things we do. 


The recipe which I am sharing is from my grand mother, its simple and easy to follow. Her version of Suji ka Halwa is always made without milk or saffron. In fact the only dry fruits she adds in Cashew and Resins, however I like to add almonds and pistachios too, specially for the Iftar.
So here is the simple and easy to follow recipe of Suji Ka Halwa.

Ramadan Mubarak!! to you and your family, Stay Blessed!!

Ingredients

Suji / Semolina - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4th cup
Ghee  - 1/4th cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4th teaspoon
Cashew Nuts - 10-12 pieces
Almonds,silvered - 6-8
Resins - 1 tablespoon
Pistachio, silvered - 6-8
Water - 2 cups

Serves - 6

Method

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add sugar along with cardamom powder, mix well, and let it cook until the sugar has completely dissolved.



Heat a kadhai, once hot add the ghee, immediately add the cashew and fry, cashew tends to burn quickly so be careful. Drain and keep aside.





Add Suji to the remaining ghee and fry until you get a lovely aroma and the suji gets an even golden colour.




Pour the ready hot sugar syrup and mix well. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Add the silvered nuts and Resins, (hold back a few nuts for garnish) and continue cooking until the grains of suji absorb all the sugar syrup and swell up. 



Add the fried cashew halves, mix well and turn off the flame.



Garnish with the remaining nuts and serve hot.


Notes:

Be really careful while frying the cashew, it can get burnt in a matter of moments.
You can make the sugar syrup while roasting the Suji, and if you are wondering why make syrup and add to the halwa, that's because my mom says it gives a nice soft texture to the halwa and doesn't make it hard.Even if you reheat the halwa it still remain s soft.
Do not boil the sugar Syrup, we don't want it to be thick, turn off the gas as soon as the sugar melts. Over boiling will make the syrup thick and the suji will not absorb the syrup and result in under cooked halwa.
I have used 3/4th cup of sugar and the halwa is not much sweet, if u like more sweet you can increase the sugar quantity to 1 cup.
Nuts can be added or reduced as per personal preference.



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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Potoler Dolma

Potoler Dolma is a  Bengali dish, prepared with "Potol",  Potol is the Bengali name for Parwal also known as Pointed Gourd in English.

"Potoler Dolma"
Dolma is a common term used in Middle eastern countries for stuffed vegetables. Do check this link if you would like to read more about  Dolma  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolma)
Potol or Parwal is a very versatile summer vegetable which is used in different ways to prepare savory and sweet dishes.
Parwal aur aloo ki sabzi, Parwal aur Aloo ke Sookhi SubziPotol Bhaja are few of the other recipies of Potol or Parwal on the blog.


Potoler Dolma is basically fried and stuffed potol, cooked in a mildly spicy gravy made with onions, cashew and coconut ,the stuffing could be meat, shrimps or even vegetables. The recipe which I am sharing is a vegetarian recipe of the Potoler Dolma, where the stuffing is made with Paneer and Potol pulp.



Potoler Dolma is a bit time consuming dish as it involves several steps, like scooping out the pulp of the potol, frying the empty potol shells, preparing the stuffing and the gravy, trust me this is a must try dish and the end result is just delicious. Serve it along with Steamed Rice or with Luchi's, I'm sure you and your loved ones will relish it it a treat for one and all.


So here is a step by step recipe for Potoler Dolma....

Ingredients

Potol / Parwal - 5-6
Oil for frying - 4 tablespoon

For the stuffing

Onion, finely chopped - 1 small
Paneer, crumbled - 1/2 cup
Potato, boiled and mashed - 1 small
Ginger grated - 1/2 teaspoon
Green chili, chopped - 1 no.
Green coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Raisin, chopped - 1 tablespoon
Bhaja Masala - 3/4th teaspoon
Oil - 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste

For gravy

Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Green chili - 2 (mild ones)
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2teaspoon
Red chili powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder - 1/4th teaspoon
Cashew nuts, soaked in water - 10 pcs
Fresh grated coconut - 2 tablespoon
Oil - 2-3 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Freshly chopped green coriander for garnish

Preparation for the Potol

Wash the Potol,trim the ends, scrape the waxy coat with a knife. use a potato pealer and peal the thick skin as shown in picture.



Now carefully hollow out the potol ensuring that you ceep the other end intact. you could either use the back of the spoon, I used my potato pealer as its not very thick.



Don't discard the pulp, we will sue it for the filling. If the seeds are really tough then just try and discard the seeds.


Heat around 4 tablespoons of oil in a kadhai, and fry the Potol until almost done and it starts to turn brown. Drain and keep aside on kitchen tissue.




Preparation for the gravy

Finely chop the onion from the gravy list of ingredients, wash it in water to open up the layers. Drain and try to squeeze out as mush water as possible. Heat oil in a kadhai (I used the left over oil in which I fried the Potol) fry the onions until they get a nice golden brown colour. Drain and keep in a bowl.




Add 1/2 a cup of water and let the onions soften. Once soft grind it into a paste and keep aside.




Roughly chop the tomato and green chili and grind it into a fine paste.


Make a paste of cashews and coconut by adding some water, once done add half a cup of water, dilute the paste and keep aside.




Make a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of ginger paste and 2 tablespoon of water.



For the filling

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger along with some water and half teaspoon of turmeric powder along with 1 tablespoon of water. keep aside.



Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a kadhai, add the chopped onions, fry until they start to turn translucent. Add the reserved Potol pulp and green chilies and fry for 2-3 minutes.




Add the turmeric and ginger mix along with salt, mix well and fry until oil starts to appear on the sides.



Add the crumbled paneer, mix well and fry for 2 minutes.



Add mashed potato along with chopped green coriander and chopped raisins, mix well and the bhaja masala, fry for 2-3 minutes, turn off the flame and let it cool to room temperature, or until its comfortable enough for you to handle.



Divide the stuffing mixture into 5-6 equal portions and carefully stuff the fried potol and keep aside until we prepare the gravy.




For the Gravy

Heat oil in a kadhai or frying pan, carefully add the masala paste and fry until the raw smell of ginger disappears. Add the fried onion paste, mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes.



Add the tomato and green chili paste and fry until oil starts to appear on the sides.




Add the Cashew and coconut paste, mix well, add garam masala, if needed add some water to adjust the consistency of the gravy and cook on high flame until the gravy comes to a roaring boil.




Once the gravy starts boiling, reduce flame and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the stuffed Potol, and let it simmer in the gravy for another 5 minutes.



Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped green coriander and serve hot with Luchis, Puris, Chapati or even with plain steamed rice or with  Jeera Rice. 




Notes:

Please look for nice big plum and firm Potol for the dolma. Small Potol are difficult to scoop.
I prefer de-seeding the pulp before adding to the filling as no one at my home likes the seeds, however you could add it along with seeds as well.
While frying the potol, be careful not to brown it too much, we want to preserve the green colour of the potol.
Bhaja Masala is abengali bend of roasted spices, it adds a very unique taste to the dish, here is the link for the same, http://www.spicynotes.net/2014/04/bhaja-masala.html, this spice blend is used for a variety of Bengali dishes.
For this recipe I have mentioned oil under the list of filling as well as gravy and some extra for frying the potol, if you check carefully I have actually used 4-5 tablespoon of oil, I havent deep fried the potol,first add 4 tablespoons of oil and fry the potol, once done,use the same oil to fry the fry the onions, drain the onions and use the same oil to prepare the gravy. Just use fresh 2 tablespoon oil to prepare the filling.
Please go a bit slow with the salt,keep in mind that we have added some salt while frying the onions too.
Last but not the least, you can adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your taste preference. I had prepared around 6 potols, kept three in gravy as I wanted to serve it with rice while the other three were semi gravy which goes well with Luchi or chapaties.