Jhatpat cabbage sabji

One of the most humble and quick cooking vegetable. Cabbage can also be used raw in salads like coleslaw where purple and white cabbage leaves are mixed with mayonaise and carrots…served cold this is an amazing summer salad. Todays recipe is an amazingly quick sabji, have this with phulkas, and a raita. Based on gujrati cooking, I have added crushed peanuts for added crunch, and besan to absorb the water let out when our cabbage is cooking.

Growing up in Pune, I remember my mom making cabbage in sindhi style, which she always served with pan fried boiled eggs. Then it was not my favourite vegetable. I started loving this humble vegetable after I ate coleslaw at a restaurant, when it was served as a side dish with burgers.

Years later, it has found a niche in my kitchen where it is used in stir fries, soups and yes in my Indian cooking also. True to my love of regional indian cooking, this recipe has a permanant place in my cook book. Do try it.

Ingredients

200 gms finely sliced cabbage

1 finely sliced green paprika

1 boiled, peeled and cubed potato

1 tbsp besan, ( chick pea flour)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp hing

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsps mustard oil

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsps roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts

1 tsp kitchen king or pao bhaji masala

1 sprig curry leaves

Chopped corriander leaves.

Method

Heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Next add hing, curry leaves and garlic.

Saute well

Add the cabbage, paprika and saute for a minute.

Add the boiled potato, sugar, lime juice, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, pao bhaji masala and stir till cabbage lets out water and becomes limp…about 5 mins. Now add the besan and stir.

Lastly mix in peanuts and chopped corriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with chappatis/ phulkas and a raita.

The cold sandwich cake

The cold sandwich cake

When sandwiches are mentioned everyone has thier own favourites. Sandwiches eaten during our school days in the Seventies , were very basic, as every Indian school going child will remember. Mostly white bread with butter and jam, or if you were lucky cheese and butter.Cheese was a luxury which not everyone had, especially in India. If you were lucky and had relatives staying abroad, then you would recieve small tins of kraft cheeseūüėä. Of course Amul cheese cubes were already around, but were a little out of reach for an average middle class family. Back to sandwiches, my grandfather always had a slice of bread with green corriander and mint chutney as his evening snack. Those were the days when chutney was made using a grinding stone. The aroma of fresh mint and corriander leaves being crushed with green chillies and garlic is till today etched in my memory..

Whoever has lived in Pune, even for a short time will surely know about the Marzorin sandwiches. Soft crustless bread, filled with chicken, eggs, tomato and chutney… I crave these sandwiches even today…and they are a must on all my visits to Pune.

Todays recipe is a mixture of all my childhood memories..

Credit for the chicken pate filling goes to my friend hilda mascarenhas, who writes a wonderful food blog, hildastouchofspice.com. Do visit her food blog .

The cold sandwich cake

Basically you will require 3 types of fillings, and 16 slices of crustless bread

Ingredients..for chicken pate.

1 chicken breast

3 to 4 tbsps mayonaise

1 tbsps mustard paste

1 tsp honey

2 tbsps grated cucumber( helps to keep the filling moist)

Salt, pepper.

1 tbsp chopped celery leaves.

Method…

Boil the chicken in water which has been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Dispose the chicken bones, and put the meat in a food processor along with chopped celery..Pulse it and transfer the shredded chicken to a bowl, and add mayonaise, mustard, honey and cucumber. You should have a moist mixture. Keep aside.

Ingredients for second layer

4 Boiled eggs, sliced.

Sliced tomatoes

Sliced cucumber

Butter

Ingredients for 3rd layer

1/ 4 th cup mayonaise

1/ 2 cup basil leaves

2 green chillies

2 cloves of garlic

Juice of one lime

Salt

4 slices of cheese.

Method…

Blend basil leaves, chillies, garlic, lime and mayonaise together to get a pretty green spread, season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Other ingredients are, finely sliced radishes, shredded carrot, shredded lettuce leaves, alfalfa sprouts and mayonaise.

Method

Keep 4 slices of bread on a serving platter, in a neat square.

Apply butter thinly, and add the chicken pate, level till all the 4 slices of bread are covered.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, and apply butter lightly, top with sliced tomatoes sliced eggs, and sliced cucumber…season with salt and pepper.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, apply the basil mayonaise and top with 4 slices of cheese in a single layer..

Lastly, top with 4 slices of bread, whose underside is spread with basil mayonaise.

Press down gently, and apply mayonaise all over the sandwich, covering it from all sides.

Gently press shredded lettuce, carrots all over sides and top…decorate with radish slices, cucumber slices, and alfalfa sprouts.

Chill thoroughly, cut into wedges and serve

A beautiful centerpiece is ready for your parties..

Coconut Dal

The indian comfort food which we all have grown up with is Dal and chawal, right from  the time when we are babies, we are fed dal and khicadi, wholesome food and protein packed. Dal or lentils, as it is known in the west is a must at almost every meal in India. It is the source of protein for most vegetarians. There being a vast variety of lentils, each having a different texture after being cooked , gives options to the home makers in giving a varied menu to her family,. Of course each region or for that matter home, will surely have their own favourite dal. The south indians, love their sambhars and rasams both made of Tur dal or split pigeon peas, but having a different texture, while a sambhar is thick , rasams are like a thin spicy broth. The north Indians love the whole moong dal , which is cooked to a creamy thick consistency and  served in the Gurudwara at langars, which is a community kitchen where meals are served free of charge.And so on, the ways of cooking the humble lentils differ from state to state, in some parts of India, dal is cooked on a charcoal flame or sigris, for a few hours gently simmering away to give a beautiful aromatic and creamy result.  Dal is mostly eaten with rice or sometimes with some indian flat bread like chappatis or parathas. The Indians love their dal, to the extent of incorporating it into their desserts like the maharashtrain puran poli, which is an Indian flatbread stuffed with a boiled and mashed chana dal which has jaggery and cardamon powder added to it, when well made it literally melts in the mouth. And the Bengal moong daaler payesh which has a creamy consistency and is made with milk, moong dal and jaggery.

Dal in the sindhi home which has received world wide fame is  the Dal Pakwan,  a dish of simple boiled chana dal topped with a sweet and sour chutney and onion relish or kechumbo as its called in sindhi and served with a pakwan which is a cummin flavoured flat bread deep fried to a crunchy crispness. The pleasure derived in every bite of the contrasting textures is what  has made this breakfast dish so popular. Today I will share with you a simple coconut dal recipe, It is a recipe given in our cooking group, by our group member Neetu. I have tweaked the recipe a little and made a few changes. Do try this amazing dal, which can be eaten with rice or phulkas. The addition of coconut  cream takes its texture to a new level..

Coconut Dal

Ingredients.

1/2 cup yellow moong dal, soaked and boiled to a mushy consistency.

6 tbsps of fresh grated coconut

4 dry red chillies, broken into pieces

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 tbsps coconut cream [ I used kara]

2 tbsps coconut oil

Ingredients for tempering

1 sliced big onion

3  whole dry red chillies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cummin seeds

1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida

A sprig of curry leaves

1 tbsp of ghee

Method..

Boil and mash the dal, keep on a simmer.

In another pan,add coconut oil and grated coconut.. saute for a while and add the broken red chillie and garlic, saute till fragrant. grind this mixture with a little water till smooth and add to the dal along with the turmeric powder,IMG-20170812-WA0053 season to taste with salt.

At this point, your dal will be a pretty peach colour., simmer for abt 5 mins more.

Add coconut cream, check the consistency  of the dal which should not be watery .

Next, heat ghee in a seperate small pan and add mustard and cummin seeds to the hot ghee, also add the sliced onions, curry leaves, hing and whole red chillies.. saute till fragrant and add  this tempering to the simmering dal.

Serve dal with rice or phulkas.. enjoy.

 

 

MILK SABJI/KHEERAJI BHAJI

MILK.. We are fed milk right from day one of our life, mothers milk and then weaned on to cows milk. For thousands of years human beings have grown up consuming cow milk. That is why a cow is treated like a mother in all parts of India, in fact a cow is considered very holy and sacred for all  Hindus. Milk has a very important place in all cuisines worldwide. Desserts from all over the world are mainly made from milk.. from ice creams to kulfis, mithais to toffees, cheese cakes to kalakhand. Milk is incorporated in many forms in Indian cuisine, it forms the very basis for our ghee and butter, and of course yogurt or dahi. No Indian home can function without milk, the average Indian man has at least 2 or 3 cups of milk tea or chai on a daily basis. Tea vendors can be found on most streets in India doing a roaring business at all times of the day, it is not unusual to see small groups of people holding impromptu discussions with their cuppa of chai . Most Indian households also make their own yogurt or dahi at home.

Milk also gives us Paneer or home made cottage cheese which is the strained  residue left after the milk has been curdled. Paneer based dishes are a must in most family gatherings especially amoung the sindhi, punjabi and bengali communities.Normally when the milk is curdled ,the remaining clear liquid , which is called  whey,  is discarded. Whey actually has a lot of nutrients, and there are many households who will put the whey to some use like kneading the bread or roti dough with it.

Todays recipe is based on milk which has been curdled, this easy to make dish is based on a long lost memory. Years ago milk was delivered early in the mornings by the milk man, it used to come in glass bottles. Even then the aluminium cover was an indication of low fat and full cream, the blue cover was for full cream milk and the green colour for low fat milk. I remember my grandfather collecting the milk at 5.30 am from the doorstep as he was an early riser. Baba then took the blue topped milk bottle and gently kept tilting it back and forth for a good 15 to 20 miniutes . Ater that when the bottle was opened, the milk had already separated with the fat rising to the top and forming a layer of white butter at the top, which mummy used to scoop out into a bowl for our breakfast. The remaining milk hence turned into fat free naturally.I remember once my mother was in the kitchen boiling milk and the milk happend to curdle, but she coolly went on boiling it and when the whey had reduced considerably, she added some green masala paste to it and lo behold it had turned into a delicious sabji..So based on that is todays recipe, the milk sabji or as we say in sindhi, kheeraji bhaji.. It is a very simple dish and is delicious at the same time, best eaten with phulkas and a side dish of potato sabji.

MILK sabji/ kheeraji bhaji

INGREDIENTS

2 ONIONS.. FINELY CHOPPED

3 MEDIUM TOMATOES …THINLY SLICED

1 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TBSP GRATED GINGER

FINELY CHOPPED CORRIANDER LEAVES

12 CURRY LEAVES

2 TBSPS OF DRY KASOORI METHI

1 TBSP CUMIN SEEDS

1 TSP AJWAIN ..( CAROM SEEDS)

RED CHILIE POWDER, TURMERIC POWDER ,  GARAM MASALA AND SALT TO TASTE.

FEW DROPS OF VINEGAR

1 LITRE OF FULL CREAM MILK

METHOD..

1.. HEAT 3 TBSPS OIL IN A BROAD SAUCEPAN AND ADD THE CUMIN AND CAROM SEEDS( JEERA AND AJWAIN). WHEN THE SEEDS STOP SPLUTTERING, ADD ONIONS, GARLIC, GINGER AND CURRY LEAVES.. SAUTE TILL ONIONS START TURNING A GOLDEN BROWN, TAKE CARE NOT TO BURN THE ONIONS.

2.. ADD THE TOMATOES, RED CHILIE POWDER, TURMERIC POWDER , GARAM MASALA POWDER AND SALT . MIX GENTLY TILL EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER AND FORMS A THICK GRAVY.. AT THIS POINT ADD THE DRY 20160911_185639 KASOORI METHI AND SOME CORRIANDER LEAVES.

3.. POUR THE MILK DIRECTLY INTO THE GRAVY AND STIR GENTLY , BRINGING IT TO A BOIL. ADD FEW DROPS OF VINEGAR AND CHECK IF THE MILK CURDLES , IF NOT ADD FEW DROPS MORE. BY THIS  TIME THE MILK SHOULD HAVE SEPARATED INTO SMALL GRAINS…

4.. KEEP THE MILK ON A ROLLING BOIL , UNCOVERED FOR ABOUT 15 MINS, AND THEN CONTINUE COOKING ON A MEDIUM FLAME UNTIL THE WHEY HAS REDUCED TOTALLY AND YOU ARE LEFT WITH A VELVETY  GRANULAR MIXTURE.. ADD SOME MORE CORRIANDER LEAVES AND SERVE HOT..

The sugar rush

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Something about the addiction to sugar; everyone has heard of the saying, girls are made up of sugar and spice and everything nice, this is also true in the case of so many desserts! We have desserts with oodles of sugar laced with so many spices like cinnamon, cardamom , saffron, cloves to name a few. Be it Indian desserts like our kheers, payaasams, kulfis or the baklavas of the middle east, the apple or pumpkin pies of the west….. some spice is always added to balance out the flavours. How many of us have followed our noses to the tempting aromas coming from bakeries and given in to the temptation to a piece of St. cinnamon? I confess that I have, because I have a sweet tooth which is rather well known…

Sweets are something which we grew up on, since my full family had a sweet tooth. Winters in pune were cold.. and to fortify us during the chills, mom always served sweet breakfasts, proper sindhi sweets.. on most sundays during winter we always got a plate full of mithyun seyun( sweet vermecilli or sevaiyaan.. and every mouthful was a burst of flavours, cardamon being the most prominent…and to balance the sweetness , this dish was always accompanied by small cubed fried potatoes sprinkled with chillie powder and salt..sindhi cuisine has many rich sweets to offer like lapi, malpura, mitho lolo etc… here i share my moms version of the mithyuoon seyun and tariyal patata…

INGREDIENTS

200 gms roasted fine vermicilli 170 gms sugar

1/2 cup ghee

1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts like almonds, pistas, chironji..

1 tsp cardamon powder

METHOD Heat ghee in a nonstick pan, and add vermicilli and nuts , saute till aromatic, when vermicilli turns golden brown add enough hot water to cover the seyuoon, cover and cook for a few minutes. add sugar and cardamom powder..cover once more and cook on a low flame till water dries up..shut the flame and leave covered for abt 5 mins.. serve hot sprinkled with sliced almonds and pistas…accompanied with tariyal (fried)potatoes sprinkled with salt and chillie powder.