Thursday, 24 April 2014

Bikaniri Pappad Ke Parathe , Mooli ki Bhunji, Masale Masoor Dhal, Amlana - Rajastan

Rajastan , the Kingdom of the Kings, is the next place we are going to visit.This state houses parts of the Indus Valley civilization and has an ancient history.

The main geographic feature of Rajastan is the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range. Most of the North western region of this state is dry and sandy.In spite of being a desert, this state is rich in fauna and flora.
This state is known for its palaces, forts, intricately carved temples,

The Rajastani cooking is largely influenced by the war like life style of the people and the availability of the ingredients. Due to the lack of green vegetables [as the place is mostly a desert],dried lentils and besan / gram flour dumplings of various sorts are used instead of vegetables. In these arid regions, the cooks use less water for cooking and replace it with ghee.

Dishes that could stay well for a long time and those that did not require heating were preferred.

Rajasthan,as I mentioned earlier, was a place of Rajas or Kings.The cuisine is very flavorful and is predominantly vegetarian. It is also known for the abundant use of milk, buttermilk,ghee and lentils.

Also check out the other Rajastani Thali that I posted some time back for another challenge.Featured here -
  • Kesar Malai Lassi
  • Gatte ki khadi with rice
  • Bajiri ki roti
  • Panchmel Ki Subji
  • Dhana wadi / Mung wadi - Coriander leaves curry
  • Matta / Boondhi Chaas

Yet another account of the memorable college trip...

At the Jantar - Mantar observatory,Jaipur with my friends

The Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

I would have loved to share the other pics as well but the post would go on for ever! So let us continue with the culinary tour of Rajastan.

Behind the scene:

I made this as a virtual treat to celebrate the b'day of the Queen of Melas and challenges...I heard that she used to make stuffed parathas on her b'day and hence decided to send across one virtually....

All the dishes in this thali were relished by the family.No one could believe that the curry was made with radish! The characteristic radish aroma was totally absent!

The papad paratha and mooli curry tasted good together and this is one of those combos that I will be making often.

Coming to the first recipe...

Bikaniri Pappad Ke Parathe

I used:

For the dough:

Whole wheat flour- 2 cup
Salt to taste

For filling:

Masala papad -2,grilled
Onion-1,finely chopped
Corinader leaves-2 teaspoons,finely chopped
Red chili powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Chaat masala-1/2 teaspoon

Take the wheat flour and salt in a bowl and add water little by little and knead to a smooth ,elastic dough. Cover and keep aside.

Crush the roasted / grilled pappad and add all the ingredients and mix well.Keep aside.

Pinch out a ball of dough and flatten it lightly. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre and bring the edges together and form a ball again.

Roll it out into a paratha and cook on a hot griddle till brown spots appear on both sides.

Serve with a side dish of your choice...

Masale Masoor Dal

I used:
Adapted from - Mharo Rajastan Recipes

Split red lentils-1/2 cup
Mustard seeds-1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilies,broken-2
Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilies- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Oil-1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the dal with 2 cups of water. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard, cumin and red chilies.When the mustard pops add the dal along with the water used to cook it.

Put in salt,red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and mix well.Add a little water if the dal is too thick and bring to a boil.Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Serve garnished with coriander leaves

Mooli ki Bhunji - Stir fried Radish curry

I used:

White radish - 1. large,cut into small cubes
Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
Onion-1, thinly sliced
Garlic-2 pods, minced
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil-1 teaspoon

Cook the chopped radish in water till soft. Drain and mash lightly.Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.

Put in onion and garlic and saute till translucent. Add the coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and cook for a few minutes. Add the radish and mix well.

Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

So, here is the recap of this meal.Also featured in this pic are the famous Meenakari and Blue pottery jewelry that are from this state.I still have the box that I got on my trip to Jaipur and it still looks good!

The Amlana recipe will be posted tomorrow...

Sending the Masale masoor dal to Avika who is hosting MLLA#70, an event started by Susan and now being carried on by Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39 

Bon Appetit...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Achari Channa Pulao & Jeera Aloo - Punjab

Moving forward in this delicious journey, we now stop at Punjab, the Land of 5 rivers.The Greeks called this land as Pentapotamia meaning inland delta of five converging rivers. The scared texts of the Zorastrians called this the Sapta Sindu ot the Land of 7 rivers.

In the ancient times, Punjab was the gateway to the Indian Subcontinent for the people from Greece, Central Asia , Iran and Afganistan.

Punjab is the single largest producer of Wheat in the country.

For me, Punjab is always those Bollywood heros and heroines running through the mustard fields in full bloom where the heroine is mostly from Punjab!At least about a decade back most films that I saw were like this.

And then there is this Balle Balle Bangra dance that gets featured in all cultural programs in college.

Coming to the cuisine of the Punjabis...

The food comes from the Punjab region of both India and Pakistan.It has a diverse range of dishes and they vary within the state itself.Even the choice of ingredients differ from one place to another within the state.

The most popular dishes are of course Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti. Apart from this there are so many delicacies like the Kebabs, rumali roti,Poori halwa, Kulchas, Naan,lassi,etc.

And of course the Punjabi Dabba that serves the most delicious and ghee laden dishes!Even here in Tamil nadu there are so many Punjabi Dhabas, at least one near every highway exit.Though the owners are not Punjabis , the dishes are almost authentic. Plus these also serve the local dishes along with north Indian foods.

Years back, when I was in college, we went on a trip to a few places in North India. We mostly stuck to the Daaba style foods coz it was cheap and tastier than the star restaurants. They were clean too much to our surprise.

A small reminiscence that you may have read earlier...

We were travelling on the Ajmer highway. It was nearing midnight and we had planned to cut a cake that we had got to celebrate Christmas .Exactly when my friend was about to cut it, we heard a big ‘bang’ and the bus swerved.

Many of us screamed and I thought we had met with an accident. The driver managed to bring the vehicle under control and stopped by the roadside. We were informed that one of the tires had burst. Thank God, there was not much traffic on the highway and hence no causalities.

Just around that time, I realized the Pav Bhaaji I had in the evening almost vanished and I was hungry again.I didn't even want to think of the stale chapathi and most of the snacks we had purchased in Udaipur was long gone. Most of my friends were in the same situation. We shared a piece of cake and waited to resume the journey.

All our hopes were shattered when the driver announced that any chances of changing the tire would be at dawn. I looked around and saw that we were stranded in a place that looked like a forest with rows and rows of trees and that too in the middle of the night without a single soul in sight.

Suddenly someone mentioned something about bandits and we shrieked.We were around 40 girls and a lady guide,sitting in that bus and the 2 guys who were with us[the driver and the cleaner] didn't look like they would protect us from the thieves,in case they sprang up from nowhere.

There was not a single light on the highway.The occasional hoot of the owl and noises of the insects we more than enough to scare us. Every single sound made me jump.I wished more than ever that I was sleeping in that cozy hotel we had vacated earlier ,without fear and dreaming of all the beautiful places we had seen.

There were hardly any vehicles passing that way and all the fun and laughter that was heard minutes ago had died down to a whisper.A few lorries sped by after a while and some of them who stopped to help us could not change the tire.Our driver was left with no choice but to go and look for a mechanic at day break.

Somehow we managed to spend the cold night[it was winter] in the bus and by morning the driver got some help and much to our delight informed us that there was a dhaaba nearby.That was the best thing we had ever heard and immediately started walking in the direction of our ‘saviour’.

The mere sight of the dhaaba signaled warmth, comfort and scrumptious food. There were wooden cots to sit upon and a wooden plank placed across the width of the cot to keep dishes.

Seeing 40+ hungry people,the dhaaba owner and the cook were delighted and started taking the orders and I must say ,the food appeared on our 'table' pretty quick.

We[my 2 friends and me] ordered all what we wanted-parathas,kulchas and some titbits- without even thinking if we would be able to finish them. Soon there was a delicious spread in front of us. The first ones to appear on the 'table' were Mooli parathas and dhal ,Kulcha and chole.

I started off with the Mooli parathas and dhal.The aroma was more than enough to seduce me.The mooli parathas and punjabi dhal tasted divine. Never did I know I could polish off so much food in such little time. Parathas were washed down with a cup a hot chaai[Indian tea]. I did eat the kuchas but the parathas had a carved a special place in my heart.

We sat there lazying around and taking sweet nothing ,basking in the warmth of dawn till our bus was ready to take us to the next stop-Jaipur.The weariness of the previous day's experiences were nowhere in sight once we had our fill of the yummy food.

Later when we re-started our journey I noticed numerous dhaabas dotting the roadsides.The food was inexpensive and definitely had a 'home-made' touch..

Any time I see a Dhaaba, this is the incident that I recollect...

Let us move on to the post....

Featured here :

Achari Channa Pulao -  A rice rich with Chick peas that is flavored with Punjabi Mango Pickle
Jeera Aloo - A simple stir fry of potatoes seasoned with cumin seeds
Mango Lassi - A tasty drink of mango in buttermilk
Kesar Pista Kulfi - Indian styled Saffron flavored pistachio Ice cream
Grilled Pappad

Let us start with the pulao preparation...

I used:
Adapted from Tarla Dalal

Basmati rice -1 cup
Mango pickle - 2 tablespoons [reduce the quantity if the pickle is too spicy]
Chick peas- 1/4 cup, soaked overnight and cooked al dente
Onion-1, sliced
Ginger garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- 1/8 teaspoon
Garam masala- 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee- 2 teaspoons

Spices :

Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Nigella seeds/ Kalonji-1/4 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder- a pinch

Blend the pickle in a mixer to a coarse paste and keep aside. Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes. Boil 2 cups of water and keep ready.[I use 1:2 ratio.You can adjust the water to the one you use regularly]

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add the spices.Once the mustard pops, add the onion and saute till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.

Add the chickpeas, red chili powder, garam masala and turmeric powder, followed by the pickle paste.

Add salt and the boiling water. Drain rice and add to the cooker.

Mix well.Cover and pressure cook for 3 hisses/ 10 minutes or till the rice is cooked. The rice should not get mushy. Once the pressure releases, fluff it gently with a fork and serve

This pulao can be eaten as such / served with plain yogurt/ raita/ crispies...

The next recipe is a simple potato curry flavored with cumin seeds.

I used:

Potato-2 large, peeled and cut into cubes
Cumin seeds- 2 teaspoon
Green chili paste- 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder- 1/8 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Ghee- 1 teaspoon

Melt ghee in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When it crackles, add the potato cubes and saute for a minute.Add a little water,cover and cook for a few minutes, stir once in a while to avoid burning

Once the potato is half cooked, add green chili paste, turmeric powder and salt.Mix well.

Add a little more water and cover and cook till the potatoes are done and the curry is dry.

Serve with steamed / flavored rice garnished with coriander leaves....

So here is the tasty meal from Punjab.Hope you enjoyed it....

Other Punjabi recipes from my blog....

Punjabi Samosa
Punjabi Kadi Pakora
Punjabi Chole
Punjabi Rajma Chawal 
Punjabi Rajma Masala
Punjabi Chole Masala - Ver 2.0
Aloo Anardana Kulcha

Bon Appetit...

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Urulaikizhangu Podalangai Turuttu Curry & Beans Fugath - Pondicherry

From Orissa, we are now traveling down to Pondicherry  / Pondy or Pudhucherry as it is being called now. This state was the seat of the colonial powers like Dutch,Portuguese, English and French.

The city has many colonial structures and a very popular tourist destination.The four beaches, The Auroville Ashram, the age old churches, the Botanical gardens and the beautiful temples attracts crowds from India and abroad.

The Pondicherry cuisine has a lot of influences.It is a perfect blend of cultures and customs.The main characteristic is the French influence on the cuisine.Coconut and coconut milk, sea food are predominant in their cuisine.The influence of the neighboring states - Kerala, Tamil nadu and Andra can also be felt in their dishes.

In today's post,the two dishes featured here makes use of coconut and coconut milk and are very flavorful.

Behind the scene:

I tried looking for recipes on the net and failed.So the next best thing to do is to buy a cookbook and that's exactly what I did. I got the Pondicherry Cookbook!Much to my dismay, it had lots and lots of non veg recipes and very few veg recipes that were in the book were so similar to the ones you find in Tamil nadu. I did not want to make them and so started looking for recipes on line.

I landed on an article on The Hindu and I was truly saved. Though a little time consuming, it was totally worth the effort. It was a hit and I was really glad that everyone enjoyed the curry.

I am sure to make this different curry when we have guests and I am sure it will earn their praise.

The beans fugath is our regular beans stir fry known by a different name. The two dishes were served with steamed rice.

I used:
Adapted from here 

For the spice mix/ Kootu thool:

Coriander seeds- 2 teaspoons
Black pepper- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
Chana dal-1 teaspoon
Toor dal-1 teaspoon
White urad dal-1 teaspoon

For the paste:

Poppy seeds- 2 teaspoons
Cashew nuts- 10

Ingredients for the stuffing

Potato-2,peeled , boiled and roughly mashed
Green peas - a handful
Onion-1, chopped
Chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil-1 teaspoon

Ingredients for the gravy:

Tender Snake gourd- 1
Whole spices- Bay leaf- 1, cloves-2, cinnamon-a small piece
Ginger garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
Tomato-1, chopped
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice to taste
salt to taste
Oil-1 teaspoon

To make the coconut milk- 1/2 a coconut

Procedure :

Dry roast the spices for kootu thool [without oi],except turmeric powder .When cool , grind everything to a fine powder and keep aside. If there is a little excess after making this recipe, store in an airtight container and use later.

Make an extract of coconut milk.Keep the first extract separately.Mix the second and third extracts.

Grind the ingredients for the paste adding a little water and keep aside.

Cut the snake gourd into 2" pieces and remove the core.

For the stuffing:

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion.Saute till it is translucent. Then add the potato , parboiled peas,chili powder and salt and mix well.Cook for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell of chili powder goes off.Stuff this into the snake gourd pieces and keep aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and add the stuffed snake gourd pieces. Cover and cook on low heat till the side shrink and turn light brown. Turn them around once in a while carefully so the that the stuffing does not spill out.

For the gravy:

Heat a teaspoon of oil and the whole spices, ginger garlic paste and  saute the onions till translucent.Add the rec chili powder and saute for a minute.Then add the tomatoes and cook till it is soft.

Add a little water if the mixture is too dry.Add the second and third coconut milk extract and mix well.Simmer.Then gently drop in the sauteed snake gourd pieces.

Mix the cashew- poppy paste with the first extract of coconut milk and add to the simmering mixture.Add salt and mix gently.Simmer for 20 minutes. Switch of flame and add lemon juice.Mix and serve.

Urulaikizhangu Podalangai Turuttu Curry is ready to be served with a vegetable curry and steamed rice...


Be sure to use tender snake gourd, else the vegetable will not taste good.

Beans fugath is the regular beans curry that we make at home.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add 
mustard seeds, cumin, chana dal and curry leaves.
When the mustard pops, add 
2,slit green chilies and 1, finely chopped onion 
and saute till onion is translucent.
Add the 1 cup of chopped beans and salt
mix well.
Add a splash of water and cover and cook till the beans is cooked.
Add 1/8 cup of grated coconut and mix well.
Remove from heat and serve as a side.

Bon Appetit....