Friday, 30 November 2012

Pani Puri/Gol Gappa/ Puchka - India's Most Popular Street Food

Pani Puri or Gol Gappa or Puchka is my favorite Chaat or Indian Street Food. It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of water ("pani"), and some filling of chaat masala mixed with potato or onion and chickpeas. It is small enough to fit completely into one's mouth.
You can find Pani Puri vendors on every other street in India. However due to reasons of hygiene, I have almost stopped eating chaat on the streets especially after I have become a Mother.
I not only make the chutneys at home but also make the "Puris" at home itself.
Half a cup of semolina will make around 40-50 puris or papdis and this is sufficient for me and my daughter for 2-4 rounds of chaat.
Another reason for making "Puri" at home, is that they are crispier and stay crispy fresh in an airtight container for more than a week.
Also the shop sold puris are so big that my lil one could barely put the whole puri in her mouth in one shot...
all these reasons were enough to continue making puris at home.
However the earliest memories of making "Puri" for chaat is of my granny during my college days while we lived in Hassan.
We loved chaat and there was no good place in Hassan to eat chaat, so my granny found out this recipe of making Puris through some cookery books and a few attempts.
My brother an I would try to help her in rolling the puris and make a mess of the kitchen, but that was really good fun..
And we would make hundred+ puris.... on a sunday afternoon and gobble them all up in no time..
The work of cleaning up the kitchen would be on my sweet Mom...
But those childhood memories are so amazing that they motivate me to actually spend some time and effort to make puris at home.
But try making this once at home from scratch, am sure you will make it again and again and stop eating chaat outside.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Gobi Manchurian or Cauliflower Manchurian

One of the most popular vegetarian starter in any Indian restaurant is the Indo-Chinese "Gobi Manchurian" or Cauliflower Manchurian.
This is one starter loved by all especially kids.
This starter has the perfect balance of soft cauliflower on the inside, with crunch on the outside and perfect mix of sweet, salt and spicy flavors.
The trick of getting this perfect balance depends on the time the cauliflower is first cooked and then fried.
If you cook the cauliflower more than the required time the crunch does not come thru.
The amount of the various sauces added is also a major factor that contributes to the balance of flavors.
After a couple of trials, I have managed to make the perfect Gobi Manchurian.
So here is the recipe, follow the timings and measurements as I have given and am sure you will make the perfect Gobi Manchurian at home!!

"Gulla Bajji" - A Konkani delicacy or Smoked Thai Eggplant Mash

This dish is made using "Mattu Gulla", the famed Udupi brinjal/eggplant. The famed eggplant species adds an exceptional flavour to the Mangalorean/Konkani cuisine and has tickled the taste buds of the food buffs far beyond the district. The Gulla is grown only in Katpadi, Mattu and Kaipunjalu in Udupi district.
This eggplant is also very close in taste to the "Thai Eggplant" grown in South East Asia and Sri Lanka.
However if you do not find either of these, you could make this dish with the most easily available eggplant/brinjal which is fleshy.
But this dish is a must try as its very easy to make and yet so delicious!
You could use it as a side-dish with rotis or with rice and dal.For me this dish is the most favorite accompaniment with Red Rice Konji or porridge also known as "Pe'j" in konkani.

"Batato ani Tomate Alle Piyave Ghashi" in Konkani or Potatoes n Tomatoes in Ginger Onion Gravy

This is a simple side-dish for rice which also doubles up as an accompaniment for Dosas or Indian Pancakes.
Its very easy to make and quick, this dish is typically made with potatoes and tomatoes, but you could use other vegetables of your choice.
Tomatoes are often considered a vegetable, though in actuality they are a citrus fruit. Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. They are delicious eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, and take on a wonderful sweetness when cooked.Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. Tomatoes contain important nutrients, such as niacin, folate and vitamin B6, that have associated with the reduction of heart disease risk.
Potatoes as a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.
But make sure you eat boiled potatoes or plain grilled or roasted potatoes.
Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are typically loaded down with fats such as butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits.
So remember eating boiled potatoes is the best.
Try making this simple side-dish which has both the potato and tomato.

"Aloo Mutter dry - North Indian Style" or Potatoes & Green Peas dry curry

"Aloo" or Potato as we all know is one of the best comfort foods. Potatoes are filling, moderate in calories, and non-fattening, and are an excellent way to ensure your continued success in eating healthy. 
Potatoes are an excellent source of almost every essential vitamin and mineral.
Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables, rich in health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
So here is another famous North Indian curry " Aloo Mutter" or "Potatoes and Green Peas in Tomato based gravy".

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

"Bisi Bele Bath" or Seasoned Rice, lentils and vegetables

"Bisi Bele Bath" is a very popular rice dish in Karnataka especially in Bangalore, Mysore and surrounding places. BisiBeleBath is a meal in itself.
This dish is very healthy as it has the perfect balance of rice, lentils, vegetables and some spices.
This dish is best eaten with spicy potato chips but today I have garnished it with "Khara Boondi"/Savory Boondi just the way its served in most hotels/restaurants in Bangalore.
Boondi is a fried Indian snack made from Chickpea flour.
The bisibelebath recipe which I have put down here is made using home made bisi bele bath powder or masala.
But if you do not want to go thru the trouble of making this yourself, you could buy the powder from any grocery store.
I would however recommend MTR Bisi Bele Bath powder.
My Mom is an expert in making this, and infact both my daughter and I, love her preparation, but over the years I too am able to make it quite as tasty as she makes... well almost..!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

"Poha Chivda" or Crispy Seasoned Beaten Rice - An Anytime healthy snack

Crispy beaten rice flavored with peanuts and spices makes a delicious any time snack. This is a healthy, low calorie snack that can be eaten any time of the day/night.
Known as "Chivda" in Marathi and is a traditional Maharashtrian snack. Chivda tastes good if you make it with thin poha or beaten rice.
Beaten Rice is Fluffy, easy to digest and fills your stomach with very little quantity another benefit of beaten rice is that it is fat, cholesterol and sodium free. Thus it is beneficial for obese and hypertensive patients. It is rich in riboflavin, vitamin E, Calcium, and Magnesium.
Additional nutrition can be added to this Chivda by adding chopped onions and mint or coriander leaves and a dash of lemon juice just before serving.
My Mom used to make this very often during my childhood and we used to love to eat it whenever we felt like munching something!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Dry Prawn Kismur - A Goan delicacy

Talk of prawns and your mouth is sure to start watering if you're a sea food lover.
Here is another dish made from dry prawns. 
I am sure you have already tried making Konkani style dry prawns.
Now its time to make the Goan style "Dry Prawn Kismur" which is a savory accompaniment made from dry prawns, coconut, onion and some spices.
This side-dish is part of every fish meal in Goa.
Easy to make and tastes so delicious!
This side-dish also goes well with only rice and dal or with only Red Rice Konji.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Stuffed Colocasia leaves Fritters or "Pathrode Phodi" - A Konkani delicacy

"Pathrode" is a very popular Mangalorean Delicacy made using Colocasia leaves also known as "Arbi ke patte" in Hindi.
Its called as "Pathrado" in Konkani and "Pathrode" in Kannada and Tulu.
Pathrode Phodi is fritters made from Stuffed Colocasia leaves.
This is a starter that is a favorite among all konkanis.
The basic procedure for making these fritters is the same like making Pathrode except that the filling or stuffing is a bit different.
I know its not so easy to find colocasia leaves, but the solution is simple, grow them in your own garden or balcony.
In India and parts of Asia it is known as "Colocasia" and is a food crop.
But in other parts of the world like USA, Canada and Australia it is also known as "Elephant Ear" as is an ornamental plant.
Do buy the bulbs and plant them at home, you will be able to make these new dishes very easily.
Make sure to use enough tamarind in your dish to get rid of the itchiness.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stir Fried Spinach with Black eyed Beans

My menu for lunch as well as lunch boxes today was supposed to be  "Black eyed peas in Chilly Garlic broth or "Alasande Bea Saarupkari" in Konkani,  with rice.
But my lil one gets up in the morning and says she does not want to take rice for lunch but wants Chapatis. 
Well! what option do I have now, that is just 20 minutes more for her school bus to land and I have some boiled black eyed peas with me.
Remembered I had some Spinach in the fridge which I had bought y'day, so quickly made this dish and alongside made chapati dough and quickly made chapatis.
Now I'm sure you will agree to the saying "Necessity is the Mother of Invention"
And lo! it tasted great...! Took me just 5 minutes to make this....and my lil one tasted a bit before packing it and loved it!!
And I was in such a hurry to pack the lunch boxes that I had no time to get a good background to click the pic, so had to keep it on one of the paintings my lil one does day in and day out.
Not sure if you will like the background, but am sure you will love this dish!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sweet Upma or "Go'd Rulav" in Konkani

Sweet Upma or "Go'd Rulav" is a quick to make evening snack or breakfast dish.
This dish does not contain onion or garlic like the traditional South Indian Semolina Upma/Khara Bath, hence made for breakfast during festivals.
Also, no ground spices are added to it, so the only spice that comes thru is that of the green and red chilly. There is some amount of sweetness that comes from the sugar and coconut, hence kids love it. I learnt this from my Mom and love eating it as an evening snack during winter.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Raw Banana fritters or "Kele Phodi" in Konkani

"Kele Phodi" means Raw Banana Fritters in Konkani.
This is a easy to make fritter which goes well as one of the side dishes in an elaborate meal, or as the only side dish for rice and dal.
I normally make this with simple rice and dalithoy.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cabbage Salad or Cabbage Kosambari

Did you know that the cheap, humble looking and so widely used cabbage could work miracles? 
The health benefits of cabbage include treatment of constipation, stomach ulcers, headache, excess weight, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, ageing, and Alzheimer's disease.
Research has proved that cabbage is helpful in cancer prevention.
This is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. 
Hence it is very beneficial to include cabbage in our diet atleast 2-3 times a week.
However I enjoy raw cabbage more than cooked, and this salad is one of my most favorite salads.I learnt this salad from my mom.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Creamy Mushrooms On Toast

A quick evening snack....healthy and delicious!
This is another of the snacks created by me for my lil one.

"Theek Tukdi" in Konkani or Savoury Diamond cuts

"Theek Tukdi" or "Savoury Diamond cuts" is a deep fried snack that is made during festivals like "Diwali" or "Deepavali".
This is snack which can be stored for a few days in air-tight containers.
This snack is very popular in the Konkani community.
Easy to make and very delicious!
During my childhood my maternal grand mother and my mother used to make this quite often.
I learnt this dish from my Mom.

Sweet Diamond Cuts or "Biscuit Tukdi" in Konkani

"Biscuit Tukdi" or "Sweet Diamond cuts" is a deep fried snack that is made during festivals like "Diwali" or "Deepavali".
This is snack which can be stored for a few days in air-tight containers.
This snack is very popular in the Konkani and Maharashtrian community.
Easy to make and very delicious!
During my childhood my paternal grand mother used to make this quite often.
I learnt this dish from my aunt.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Prawn Chilly - Sri Lankan Style

Prawn Chilly Fry - Sri Lankan Style is a fiery Sri Lankan style starter which is perfect for the winter.
This dish has the perfect blend of spices and tang that your palate will love.
I learnt this dish from a friend who is also a Chef, and has worked some time in Bentota, Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

"Batate Gooli" or Mashed Potato balls - an Ancient Konkani dish

"Batate Gooli" means mashed potato balls in Konkani.
This is a very ancient konkani dish, which is very simple, and which every mother/grandmother would make for their children.
This dish dates back to the really olden days, when fast foods and instant foods were not yet available in India.
In large joint families when little children would not like the curries or dishes cooked for a meal, or when the children were just hungry, the olden day grand mother would make this a jiffy.
I have improvised the dish a little, by rolling the potato balls in semolina and shallow frying them for 2-3 minutes to give it a little bit of crispiness.
But the traditional dish is without any frying.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Pomfret Rachedo/Stuffed Pomfret - A Goan delicacy

The most rejuvenating time for me is a walk on the beach, and better still if this walk is followed by some freshly cooked seafood.
Pomfret Racheado is one such Goan delicacy that is perfect to be eaten in the the cooler months of the year since the pomfret fish is a little heavy so generally not eaten in peak summer months...!
This Goan starter is Portuguese inspired.
For me this is a meal in itself as I could gorge on 2-3 pomfrets all alone with a salad on the side, but its mainly served as a starter in most Goan food joints/shacks.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Mirchi ka Salan - A Hyderabadi delicacy

"Mirchi Ka Salan" is a traditional hyderabadi side-dish mostly served with biryani or any type of rice.
Normally this dish is made using long green chillies but incase you do not find them you can make this dish using capsicum too.
My grandmom used to make this dish, but since it has lot of ingredients I never attempted this dish, for the fear of not getting it right.
But today when I was going thru my grandmom's cookbook, I thought of giving this dish a try.
One of my friends recently told me about this amazing "Arbi ka salan" which had in a restaurant in Mumbai, and for a second I thought of using Arbi/Colocasia bulbs, but since the most famous of the Salan dishes is the "Mirchi ka Salan", I decided to make this today, and it did taste yummy!
So blogging this dish rightaway, since these days, since its winter, all around in the markets you get to see these long green chillies, so if you happen to spot them just buy them and try this dish... Am sure you'll love it!
All these years, I thought the best way to use these long green chillies was by making "Stuffed Green chillies" or "Chilly fritters", but today I realized that this dish is worth the effort..!!

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