Vegetarian Concoctions

July 5, 2007

Khasta Kachori

I have’nt been blogging for over a month now. No particular reason. I did make some interesting crunchies and munchies, but did not bother to take photographs. My husband even asked me if I was feeling well when I let him eat the spring rolls without capturing some shots for records. Photographing the food, for me, takes more time than cooking it. I do have a good camera, with the macro mode(which is quite a feature for photographing food!) capability, but my kitchen is not open to natural light. I have to take pictures during the day, with the lights on. Most times, I just cannot manage a decent shot indoors.

My typical photography sessions are filled with activity. I carry the food, the garnish, a cloth to spread on the ground and the camera to the patio. A pair of curious eyes watches me with interest. I spread the cloth and place the serving bowl on it. A pair of energetic legs jumps into action. I wipe the bowl for any unwanted traces of food, garnish it and switch on the camera. A pair of meddling hands is what I see through the viewer. Then I do a little pleading and screaming. More often than not, this just increases the levels of curiosity and activity. I threaten a ‘time out’ session and that doesn’t work either. I wonder how the father manages this dialogue so effectively. Finally, I turn to my saviour – ‘Barney’. He has came to my rescue more times than I can count. Works like a charm. With the little monkey safely watching the dino, I get back to work. After a couple shots I can see the head turn towards me again. I quickly take another shot and clear everything out before hurricane Ananya decides to change path.

Now you see why I am not really fond of the picture displaying part of the recipe writing process. Anyway, this is a picture sequence I had taken a few months ago and completely forgotton about. When I chanced to see it in my camera waiting to be uploaded, I didnt lose much time compiling this post.


Khasta kachori is a recipe I learnt from a friend’s mom. She made the most amazing kachoris. This is what you need.

All-purpose flour (maida) – 2 cups

Ghee/butter – 1/3 cup

Moong dal – 3/4 cup

Saunf(fennel seeds) – 2 tsp

Dhania (Corriander seeds) – 1 tbsp

Jeera (Cumin seeds) – 2 tsp

Red chilli pwd – 2 tsp (or less)

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Hing – a pinch

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Soak the moong dal overnight or for at least 3-4 hours. Mix the maida and ghee with hand to a crumbly texture. Add water little by little to make a stiff dough. Let rest for 1/2 hr. Dry grind the jeera, saunf and dhaniya. Add oil to a pan and add the soaked moong dal.(Alternatively you can grind the soaked moong dal coarsely with minimum water and then roast it in a little oil till the water evaporates and it forms a crumb-like texture. Add the masalas and the dry powders and saute for a few minutes. Let this cool. Fill it in the dough (do not overfill) and flatten it out a bit. Deep fry till golden brown and serve with chutney or ketchup.

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October 29, 2006

Gol Gappa

Filed under: Chaat, Indian, North Indian, Snacks and Appetizers — Hema @ 2:23 pm

Gol gappa if you are in Delhi or Pani poori elsewhere. That’s what it was (previous post). Nothing to do with the diwali treats as many of you guessed. I was trying to make my own pooris. At first, I decided to call amma, who BTW makes amazing pani pooris,  but it was 3 a.m in India and it has been ages since I called amma at that hour (yes, have done this numerous times during my school days). Did’nt want to scare her this time. I found all these recipes online, but was not sure which one would work best. So, I just decided to try all of them and made dough enough for 3-4 pooris for each recipe. Having tried all these recipes, the winner was…..actually none. Most of them did not puff up. If they did, they did’nt stay crisp. I was disappointed and finally had to call 911(U-Know-who). This is what was instructed to me:

Soak 1 cup sooji in water just enough to wet all the grains well. Let it soak up for 10 minutes. Once the grains turn soft, knead the sooji well by rubbing the dough to the vessel with your palm. It turns to a creamy while color. Add 1 cup maida, 2 tbsp atta and 1 tbsp rice pwd and salt. Add enough water to make a stiff dough. Roll into small round bite-sized pooris and deep fry them in medium – low heat for about 7-8 minutes, 3-4 minutes on each side. If none of the poories in the 1st batch puff up, add little more water to the dough and soften it up. Most of my poories puffed up and stayed crisp. Needless to say – I was elated!



Mint leaves – 2 bunches

Cilantro – 1/2 bunch

Green chillies – about 6 (reduce the amount if needed. I like it spicccccy)

Dry ginger powder – 1 tsp

Black pepper powder – 1 tsp

Hing – A pinch

Salt – 1 tsp

Black salt to taste

Cold Water – 4-5 cups

lime juice – 2 tbsp

Grind the leaves and chillis in a blender with water. Strain out and add the dry ingredients. Add about 5 cups of water, salt it up with kala namak / black salt and add lime juice. Taste it and add water or salt as required. Intead of the dry ingredients, you could also add a couple spoons of pani poori masala. Pani should be served cold. Refrigerate before-hand or add ice for immediate use.

Khatta meetha chutney: There are two ways of making this:

Method 1:

Tamarind- 1/4 cup

Jaggery – 1/2 cup

Chilli pwd – 2 tsp (again, reduce heat if you cant take spice)

salt – 1 tsp

black salt – 1 tsp

jeera pwd – 2 tsp

Boil Tamarind and Jaggery in water till the raw smell goes. Add the dry spices and strain it. I like the chutney a little thick. Add more salt or water if needed. I like to make extra chutney and store it in an empty ketchup bottle for later use. This goes well with samosas, puffs, bread rolls, cutlets etc.

Method 2: This is healthier and tastes just as good

Dates – 1/2 cup

Tamarind – 1/2 lime sized ball

Aamchur pwd – 2 tbsp

Chilli pwd – 2 tsp

salt – 1 tsp

black salt – 1 tsp

jeera pwd – 2 tsp

Boil the Dates and tamarind. Add the dry ingredients and strain.

Potato-chickpea filling:

Potatoes – 2

Chickpea soaked and boiled in salted water – 1/4 cup

Cut potatoes to small pieces and boil in salted water till done.  Drain and mix it with the chick-pea. Add salt and chilli pwd to taste.

To assemble: Break the thinner side of the poori with your thumb. Fill 3-4 pieces of the potato mixture. Pour a little khatta-meetha chutney. Dip it into the pani and fill it up to the brim. Put it into your mouth as it is without biting. Enjoy!

So? what is the curd is doing in the photograph? It is an answer to another question. What do we do with the poories that did not puff up? First, we start by changing their name to papdi and then make a quick papdi chat. Dip 5-6 papdis into the pani and arrange it on a plate. On each papdi place some of the potatoes. then pour some salted, churned curd. Drizzle the khatta-meetha chutney on top. Garnish with little chilli pwd, jeera pwd and chopped cilantro (Sorry, no photographs here).

September 11, 2006

Bread rolls

Filed under: North Indian, Potato, Snacks and Appetizers — Hema @ 1:56 pm

Bread rolls reminds me of my school days when amma used to prepare this snack quite so often, and my brother and I used to devour these rolls as if we were born to eat and just eat. Though I have made bread rolls more times than I can count, they have never tasted close to what my mother makes. Maybe it is just the extra bit of affection she puts into all her recipes. There is always something about mom’s preparations…even if it is simple curd rice, when mixed with her hands…adds that unique flavour. Hmm….flavoured hands;) This is now one of my husband’s favourite snack and hopefully someday my daughter’s too once she is old enough to realize that her 10-something teeth are not just for biting her mom’s fingers:)

what you need:

Stale bread                   8 slices

Potatoes                      4 medium

Green chilies                 3-4

Jeera pwd                    2 tsp

Ginger                         1 tbsp

Chopped coriander leaves           3 tbsp     

Hing                            a pinch

Turmeric                      a pinch

Garam masala(optional) 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Lime juice                    1 1/2 tsp

Oil for frying

Boil the potatoes. Ginger could be cut into small pieces or grated/pureed. Add in all the ingredients except bread and mash well. To prepare the rolls, first sprinkle some water on a bread slice, just enough to soak it. Press the bread in-between your hands and squeeze out all the extra water. It is ok if the bread tears, just patch it back up. I generally use left-over bread. This recipe tastes best with white bread that is not very soft. Take some of the potato filling and press it in your palms with your fingers, as if kneading a dough. Place this in the centre of the bread slice. Close the filling with the bread and press it into an oval shape. You can either make small rolls with one slice or big ones with two slices filled accordingly. Deep fry in oil till dark brown in color. Serve hot with ketchup.




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