Vegetarian Concoctions

October 26, 2006

Diwali treats Part II

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Mixture: This was the most time consuming. It has 7 parts to it: oomapodi, boondi, maida biscuits, aval, curry leaves, peanuts and seasoning

1. Oomapodi
besan 1 cup
salt to taste
oomam (ajwain) – 1 1/2 tsp
turmeric – 1 pinch
oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients to make a soft dough. Transfer it to the achchhu and fry in batches

2. Boondi:
Besan – 1 cup
salt to taste
chilli pwd – 2 tsp
turmeric – a  pinch
hing – a pinch
Soda-bi-carb – a pinch
Make a batter using water with the above ingredients. You can use a boondi karandi (a big flat ladel with holes) or a plate/colander if you dont have one. th eholes should be about 2-3 mm in diameter. Hold it over the hot oil and pour a spoonful of batter on it. Now spread the batter on the karandi as if making a dosa and the drops that fall down should fry up into nice round boondis. For checking the consistancy, test fry with little batter first. If the boondis turn out pear shaped, then more water needs to be added and if they are too big and stuck together, you may need to add more besan. Trial and error is the way to go

3. Maida biscuit:
I am not sure if it has any other name, but that’s what we call this at our place. This is the best part of mixture in my opinion
Maida – 1 cup
rice pwd – 2 tbsp
salt – to taste
Oil for frying
Make a soft dough with the roti dough consistency and roll it out to the thickness of a thin roti. You do not have to be precise about the shape here. Use a knife or a pizza cutter and cut out diamond shapes. Deep fry the biscuits and make sure they are crisp before removing them from the oil
Deep fry (4) 2 cups of Poha, (5)1/2 cup of curry leaves and (6) 1 cup peanuts. Crumble the oomapodi and add together items 1 through 6.  Heat up 1 tbsp oil. Mix salt, chilli pwd and hing on a plate and pour the hot oil over it. Now, add this to the mixture and season it uniformly.
Thattai: I was not around whan MIL made these, but got the recipe from her.

Rice pwd – 1 cup
Udad pwd – 1 tbsp
Chilli pwd – 2 tsp
Til – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – ¼ cup
Mix the Rice and Udad pwd. Add softened butter and mix it well with you hands till you get a crumbly mix. Add the chilli pwd, til and salt and make a soft dough with water. Heat up the oil for frying and make small flat discs with the dough. The best way to do it is to use a thick plastic sheet or cloth. Deep fry in batches of 5-6 and store in an airtight container.

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Gulab jamun – used the GITS mix

Ribbon pakoda: My achchhu did not have the perfect ribbon making option, so I decided to go with a plain, thin slot.
Besan – 1 cup
Rice pwd – 1 tbsp
turmeric – 1/4 tsp
chilli pwd – 1 tbsp
salt to taste
Oil to fry
Make a dough with all the above ingredients using water. Transfer to achchhu and deep fry

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Thenguzhal:
Rice Flour – 1 cup
Udad flour – 1/2 cup
Jeera – 2 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Oil for frying
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Heat up the ghee and add it to the flour and mix it up with your hands. Add enough water to make a soft dough. The consistancy: should be tight enough to retain a depression made with your fingers and soft enough to let the dough pass easily through the achchhu (I will post a picture for those of you who do not know what it is – its like a pasta press). Transfer the dought the achchhu. Heat up oil and fry up the thenguzhal in batches till done.

Gajar Halwa:
Carnation condensed milk (or any other brand) – 1 can
Carrots – 1 lb 
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cardamom pwd – 1 tsp
Almonds, raisins, cashews – 2 tbsp each or according to taste
Grate the carrots using a medium sized grater. In a pressure cooker (or any thick bottomed skillet), add a tablespoon of ghee or butter. Put in the condensed milk and grated carrots. And stir it till all the water content evaporates. This may take about an hour. Keep stirring it so that it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom. Once done, heat up some ghee in a small pan. Add sliced almonds, raisins and halved cashews. Fry them for a bit till the raisins puff up and the nuts turn a little brown. Put it into the halva. Add cardamom pwd to the halva and stir it up well. Though I have never tried, my guess is this should work well in a microwave as well. It will take a lot less time. Just make sure you use a big glass container

and, last but not the least! My latest creation for my little one for Diwali….

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September 21, 2006

Khaman

GUJARAT. The place. The beauty. The people. The language. The festivals. The food. What can I say? I can never get enough of it. I spent most of my growing years in Ahmedabad and Baroda. This place has a rustic charm that you learn to love. The simplicity, straightforwardness and hospitality of the people you learn to respect. The language in its various forms is beautiful. The colors of the festivals especially garba during Navratri is enchanting and the food….oh I am lost for words now. A lot of people from other places do not like the sweet that goes into every food item that is prepared, but the taste grows on you slowly and it stays. In fact a lot of times, preparations do not taste as good without a little bit of the sweet ingredient – Sugar!

Khaman, is one of my favourite Guju preparations – more commonly and wrongly called dhokla in other parts of the nation. Dhokla is very different from khaman and I will blog about it some other time. But for now, here is an easy khaman recipe that I hope you will all make and enjoy. I got this recipe from Tarla dalal’s site and modified it a little bit.

Besan (Chickpea flour)        1 cup

Rava (Sooji)                      1 1/2 tbsp

Citric acid crystals               1/2 tsp

Ginger, chilli paste               1 tbsp

Salt                                   1 tsp

Sugar                                2 1/2 tsp

Baking soda                       1 1/4 tsp

For the garnish

Oil                                     1 1/2 tbsp

Mustard seeds (rai)             2 tsp

Hing                                  a pinch

Green chillies                       2-3 nos

Coriander leaves (cilantro)     2-3 tbsp

Grated coconut (optional)     2 tsp

Seasme seeds (til) (optional) 1 tsp

Water                                  1 cup

Mix all the ingredients except the baking soda. Add about 3/4 cup of water. I usually grind about a tsp of ginger and 1 chilli in 3/4 cup of water since I never buy ginger-chilli paste. The batter should be about the consistancy of dosa batter. Add little more water if required. There are two ways of preparing the khaman, steaming or microwaving. Microwaving is easier but khaman tends to become too dry and rubbery if you keep it out long (2-3 hrs). I would recommend microwaving only if you want to eat it up as soon as you prepare it.

Steaming: Apply some oil to a deep, flat bottomed stainless steel vessel (like a cake pan) that fits into your pressure cooker. Pour some water into the cooker and let it boil up. Once the water boils, add the baking soda to the batter and whip it up. It should froth up. Pour it into the prepared vessel to half the height (about 3/4 inch). Remember, the batter is going to rise up further and it needs some space. If you think the amount of batter is too much for your vessel’s capacity, just do it in batches and make sure you add the baking soda just before steaming each batch. Place it into the cooker at an elevated level making sure no water gets into it from the sides. Close the cooker and let it steam for about 10 minutes. Do not put the weight on the cooker. (This is done just like idlis).

Microwaving: Use a plastic/glass container that has a flat bottom and apply oil it. Add the baking soda to the batter and half-fill the container. Microwave for 4 minutes.

After steaming/microwaving, do the needle test and make sure it comes out clean. Let the khaman cool down and then transfer it to a plate and cut it into large squares. The original recipe by tarla dalal called for 1 1/2 tsp of eno fruit salt instead of salt and soda. Again, if you use eno, add it right before steaming or microwaving.If you have microwaved it, sprinkle some water on the khaman. For the garnish, heat up some oil and add mustard seeds. After they splutter, add hing and chillies and then pour it over the prepared khaman. Decorate with cilantro, coconut and til and you are done.

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August 15, 2006

Hyderabadi Mirchi Bajjis

After reading the post by Indira of Mahanandi on mirchi bajjis, I couldnt resist the temptation of trying out this famous snack from Hyderabad. I grabbed some long green chillies on the way back from work and waited for the weekend purely because heavy thunderstorms were predicted for Saturday. Is there a better food-weather combo? Watching the downpour (and of course the TV) tucked into a sofa with hot, spicy mirchi bajjis and garam chai….hmmm pure heaven!

I just modified the recipe a little bit. Instead of tamarind water, I added a tsp of aamchur and then made the paste adding water. I also added about 1/4th tsp of cumin seeds and flennel seeds, both ground,  with the stuffing. Though removing the seeds from the chillies involves a little bit of hard work, it was well worth the effort. Thanks Indira for the recipe!!

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