SNACK TIME

Snacks are an all time favourite , with everyone.We all feel these hunger pangs in between meals, of course nowadays the trend is to snack healthy and we are advised to eat nuts, fruits, energy bars in lieu of farsans, fried snacks and sweets. But truthfully, who does not like biting into a hot crisp samosa? which has been dunked into a spicy mint chutney or a tangy tomato chilli sauce? or even a simple fried potato tikki,which is so crispy on the outside and soft on the inside? I must confess, I cannot resist fried snacks, i would rather eat a fried tikki once in a way rather than a pan fried one ever so often. But with all due respect, not all snacks are fried. And many non fried snacks taste equally delicious. 20160625_200521Gujarat for  instance has given us many steamed wonders such as the different varieties of dhoklas ( my personal favourite), the melt in your mouth khandivis, the methi muthiyas etc.Heading south You get a mixed variety, the steamed idiyappams,  idlis or the crisp medhu wadas etc.

Maharashtra is the state where I was born , and what should I say about our maharashtrian snacks, I could go on and on . Sabudhana wadas, kothimbir vadis, bhakarwadi,  and  who has not heard of the famous vada pav? crispy besan coated spicy potato balls , deep fried and served between a slit pav with generous lashings of garlic and chilli chutney…this street food is one of the most popular snack item sold on streets, its price suits all pockets from the poor man to collage students and to the rich who arrive in their mercedes to buy it.. it is also called the poor man’s burger.

As young children , snacking was sometimes as simple as a slice of bread with jam on it or even some butter and bread, and then we were off running to meet our friends to play hopscotch or hide and seek. Those were the carefree days of childhood. One memory that stands out is coming home from school to the pungent smell of green chutney being ground on the stone slab by our old helper girgabai, the fragrance of mint, corriander leaves and spicy green chillies literally filled the house once a week, because baba loved his chutney to be made in the old fashioned way, he really enjoyed eating  his chutney dabroti(bread) as its called in sindhi.

Today I would like to share with you a snack which I learnt in my cooking group, THE FUN AND FOOD LADIES GROUP of which I am privileged to be a member of,  since almost 25 years, this wonderful group has been active in Jakarta since almost 40 years and has members of all age groups. We gather monthly at different members homes and we share recipes and host lunches. Today I can truly say that, over the years  I have learnt a lot  of cooking and many other things from the ladies in this group, all of who are now dear friends.

THE SANDWICH BALL

INGREDIENTS..

4 SLICES OF WHITE BREAD..REMOVE THE CRUSTS PLEASE

 2 TBSPS GREEN CHUTNEY

2 TBSPS CHILLI TOMATO SAUCE

3TBSPS OF GRATED CHEESE

1 TBSPS OF YELLOW MUSTARD

750 GMS BOILED , SKINNED AND MASHED POTATO

2 SLICES OF GRATED WHITE BREAD

1 TBSP OF SHAHJEERA, 1 TBSP OF RED CHILLIE POWDER AND SALT TO TASTE

1/2 CUP FLOUR MADE INTO A  MEDIUM THICK SMOOTH BATTER WITH WATER

AND SOME DRY BREADCRUMBS

METHOD

1.. APPLY GREEN CHUTNEY TO A SLICE OF BREAD AND TOP WITH ANOTHER SLICE OF BREAD, NOW APPLY YELLOW MUSTARD AND SPRINKLE CHEESE ON THIS SECOND SLICE, TOP WITH A THIRD SLICEOF BREAD AND APPLY CHILLI TOMATO SAUCE ON IT, FINALLY ADD THE FOURTH SLICE OF BREAD.. YOUR THREE LAYERED SANDWICH IS READY.. CUT IT INTO 4 EQUAL PIECES AND KEEP ASIDE.

2.. NOW TAKE YOUR MASHED POTATOES AND ADD SALT TO TASTE, THE SHAHJEERA, AND RED CHILLI POWDER. MIX WELL AND ADD GRATED BREAD SLICES TO THIS.. MIX WELL WITH YOUR HANDS AND DIVIDE INTO 4.

3.. TAKE ONE PART OF POTATO MIX AND FLATTEN IT ON THE PALM OF YOUR HAND.. IT SHOULD BASICALLY BE AS BIG AS YOUR PALM , PUT ONE PIECE OF THE SANDWICH ONTO THE CENTER, AND BRING THE POTATO MIX TO COVER THE SANDWICH TOTALLY, WORK IT INTO A TIGHT ROUND BALL, PRESSING IT GENTLY AS YOU GO, MAKE THE REMAINING BALLS IN THE SAME WAY…

4.. DIP THE SANDWICH BALLS INTO THE PREPARED BATTER AND ROLL THEM IN BREADCRUMBS, PAT GENTLY. DEEP FRY THESE BALLS ONE BY ONE IN HOT OIL UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN.

5… CUT EACH BALL INTO 2 HALVES AND CUT EACH HALF INTO 3 PIECES, SO YOU GET 6 WEDGES OUT OF EACH SANDWICH BALL. CUT USING THE SAWING METHOD.

6.. SERVE THESE WEDGES PRETTILY PLATED WITH ANY SAUCE OF YOUR PREFERENCE…

 

 

 

 

THE BAKERY TRAIL..

Biscuits..rare is the person who has not eaten biscuits, sweet, salty or spicy, there are thousands of varieties of biscuits or cookies all over the world. Each country has its own speciality, be it the shortbreads or butter cookies or the sandwich cookies and the list is endless.

Growing up in Pune our biscuits and cakes were from the famous Parsi bakeries which Pune is famous for, namely Kayani bakery, Royal bakery and pasteur bakery to name a few. These bakeries sell biscuits and cakes w recipes  of which are handed down over generations, and the best part is that over the years the taste and quality remains the same.. anyone who has been to Pune will vouch for the melt in your mouth shrewsbury biscuits of Kayani bakery or the cheese papadi and not forgetting the khari puff biscuits..its no wonder that their cakes, biscuits , breads are sold out even as they are made. Each bakery has its speciality which loyal customers keep going back for. I remember how Baba  wanted bread only from Royal bakery,  and mummy used to tell me to go pick it up, and me cutting across bhimpura lane to buy the bread happily because it gave me a chance to go to my favourite library, the Punjab library where the owner uncle Manguram had the most fabulous collection of mills and boon books and comics…Royal bakery also had the most amazing glass cakes so called because of their shape.. these buttery milky cakes were super soft. Pune in the 1970’s had some pretty well known bakeries , many of them still around even today.. sadly some have shut down like the Sham sunder bakery where nankhathais were  really delicious..Those were the good old days…

I am not too much into baking, but recently my son Sagar encouraged me to start baking cookies… and so began the search for some of my old recipes for cookies. Today i share with you a recipe for coconut cookies. these remain crisp for a long time due to the pure butter used.

COCONUT COOKIES

225 GMS UNSALTED ANCHOR BUTTER

225 GMS SUGAR

1 1/2 CUPS FLOUR

1 1/2 CUPS DESSICATED COCONUT

1/4 TSP SALT

1 TSP VANILA ESSENCE

 

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 160 DEGREES CELCIUS  AND LINE A BAKING TRAY WITH BUTTER PAPER.

BEAT BUTTER AND SUGAR TOGETHER WITH A ELECTRIC MIXER UNTIL LIGHT AND FLUFFY. ADD SALT AND VANILA ESSENCE. NOW FOLD IN THE FLOUR AND DESSICATED COCONUT. REFRIGERATE THIS FOR 30 MINS. MAKE SMALL BALLS OF 4 GMS EACH AND PUT THEM ON TO THE BAKING TRAY, FLATTEN WITH YOUR FINGERS, LEAVING SOME SPACE BETWEEN EACH COOKIE. I MAKE THESE IN BATCHES OF 30.. PUT THE TRAY IN THE PREHEATED OVEN AND BAKE THE COOKIES FOR ABOUT 12 TO 15 MINS. AS SOON AS YOU SEE THE EDGES TURNING SLIGHTLY BROWN , REMOVE AND TRANSFER THE COOKIES ONTO A WIRE RACK TO COOL.. AND BAKE THE REMAINING BATCHES OF THE COOKIES, FROM THIS RECIPE YOU WILL GET AROUND 150 SMALL CRISP COOKIES.

 

IF YOU LIKE A SLIGHTLY CHEWY TEXTURE, THEN DONT FLATTEN THE COOKIES.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sindhi kitchen

20160530_14562020160604_140746The first thing that normally comes to the mind of a non sindhi would be sindhi kadhi, when they hear the word sindhi kitchen. Yes no doubt about it that the sindhi kadhi is so delicious that its fame has really spread.. This delicious kadhi accompanied by crisp potato tuk  and meethi boondhi is a scrumptious meal, which is normally had on lazy sundays for lunch, because it leaves you feeling so satiated that you just need to have that lethargic nap.( do we really need that excuse to nap?..hmmmm…)

Sindhi cuisine has its influences from varied cultures, and what comes across is that this delicious food actually is quite simple to cook and needs few basic ingredients generally. Which leaves people rather surprised and asking “is that all?” In my kitchen I don’t  cook Sindhi food very often since my cooking has been influenced by regional cooking of India.. my food will generally have the maharashtrain  or bengali or southern Indian touch.But when I do cook Sindhi food then definitely it will be proper Sindhi, be it a pulav , saibhaji and jeeri aaloo combination or khichdi methi aloo and curd, or even bhugal chicken and phulka not forgetting the delicious spicy seyal mani and bread and the yummy loli or koki, or even dal pakwan which my children love.. Sindhi food can be as simple as eating khichdi, fried potatoes and mango slices accompanied by fried khecri or murukus, I remember many a warm summer nights when my mom served just this to us and we ate it with relish.. did we even once think that this was almost a full carbohydrate meal? no, not at all ..those were the good old days….

Sindhi food has a good non vegetarian variety also.. In days bygone it was fish and mutton which were an important part of the Sindhi cuisine, chicken has only gained popularity in Sindhi households in recent years. My late mother in law used to make the best methi machhi ever.. we literally used to lick our fingers when we ate it with a hot phulka. Ah well, food well cooked is food cooked with love..I can go on and on about the various dishes which are part of the Sindhi heritage, but today i will share my Sindhi fusion mutton curry  recipe with you.

Early memories of eating mutton bhugal or teevarn as its called in sindhi, was when my mother made teevarn bhugal or daag mein teevarn( onion based)once a week , normally on saturdays or sundays for lunch. my parents were vegetarian, but mom made it for my grandfather and us. Baba(my grandfather) would request our neighbours the sakhranis or chuganis to buy the teevarn because my mother refused to step into the mutton market. For  baba, eating teevarn had to go hand in hand with a peg of whiskey or sindhi daaru(country liquor or gin which is infused with fruit peels, pepper, rock candy, saffron and other wonderful ingredients.) Sometimes when special guests were called home for dinner, mom would send me to buy kebabs and bheja fry from this quaint sindhi restaurant called DIL-KUSH restaurant, which was situated not far from agarwal colony where we lived, at the corner of babajan chowk. The kababs were to die for, memories of those kababs still makes my mouth water, served with onion kechumbo.(sliced onions with lime and salt) this old uncle owner wrapped the food in dried leaves and then with newspaper..very eco friendly even then… but then, those were the good old days when plastic usage was minimum. sadly this restaurant shut down in the early 1980″s.

The recipe which i will share now is usually the base for sindhi pawa(trotters, or paya) but I cook my mutton using this recipe of my mother, its easy enough to follow..

SINDHI TEEVARN

Take a square piece of muslin cloth, about the size of a man’s handkerchief and put these spices onto it

1 tsp cummin seeds

1 pc of cinnamon ( about an inch long) and 2 small dried bay leaves

4 cloves and 12 black peppercorns and about 4 cardamoms

4 small shallots and 3 cloves of garlic and a small piece of ginger

2 tbsps raw rice and 1 tbsp raw chana dal

Tie this into a secure potli and make a bouquet garni, put this packet of spices into a pressure cooker, add  half kg boneless mutton cubes, and half kg mutton with bone  into the cooker, add sufficient water and close the lid, cook for about 8 whistles  on medium flame. Remove the bouquet garni, open it gently, and put the spices into a mixer and blend using about one cup of water, strain this spice water and keep aside.

Now take a pot, add about 4 to 5 tbsps of oil, and add 3 finely chopped onions. saute until onions turn pale golden in colour.

Add  shah jeeri or caraways seeds to the onions

Add 2 tbsps of ginger garlic paste and continue sauteing

Now add 2 sliced tomatoes and puree of 2 boiled tomatoes

Continue sauteing till every thing comes together and then add dry spices like turmeric, red chillie powder, corriander powder and lastly the king of all masalas …garam masala., season with salt.

Now is the time to add the boiled mutton together with the stock. mix well and let it cook covered for 10 mins, then add the strained spice mixture little by little, using as required, about 3/4 cup should be fine. Cover once again and simmer till your kitchen is engulfed with the fragrance…abt 15 mins on a low flame, adjust the thickness of the gravy , it should be semi thick and slightly sticky due to the starch in the rice.

Finally add lots of chopped corriander leaves , stir and serve hot with phulkas or bread slices.. and some sindhi kechumbo .

 

 

Kechumbo

Rub some salt onto 2 sliced onions, and leave for 5 mins, then wash under running water, squeeze the water out and put the onions in a bowl . now add 2 sliced green chillies , 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp vinegar. mix well and refrigerate.( i even add grated boiled beetroot and grated carrot to my kechumbo)

FOR VEGETARIANS I WOULD SUGGEST MAKING LOTUS STEM AND POTATOES, USING THE SAME ABOVE METHOD.20160530_14562020160604_140746