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.

 

 

Beetroot Halwa

Awesome rainy weather calls for food which is rich, sweet and hot. Watching the rains pitter pattering from the comfort of our home gives all of us a warm comfortable feeling, of course childhood  days of running around in the rains, deliberately jumping into puddles of rain water just for the fun of it are treasured and fun filled memories.

Foods which are energy giving are of course preferred during winters and monsoons, which brings us to the recipe I will be sharing today with you, beetroot halwa. This dish was never cooked at home maybe because mummy normally stuck to sindhi cuisine, of which she was master chef. But beetroot was definitely served in the form of salad, be it the simple garden salad which consisted of boiled beet cut into circles, topped with grated carrot, sliced red onion and dressed with salt, pepper and a squirt of lime juice and garnished with freshly cut corriander leaves, or in a boiled vegetable salad tossed with homemade mayonnaise, to which it imparted a lovely pink colour. Those were the basic salads which were served at home while we were kids, simplicity being the norm in the good old days. The other form of beetroot which I personally love to this day , is the beetroot cutlet served at the Priya restaurant , main street.. Pune. No visit to Pune is complete without me eating this wholesome cutlet, still served exactly the same way it was served in the early seventies, deep fried crispy goodness enclosing a soft sticky beetroot mixture, slightly sweet, topped with shredded lettuce leaves, and sweet tomato sauce and spicy green chutney, the balance of flavours is amazing.This amazing root is full of vitamins and is a super healthy vegetable,  advised by doctors to consume on a regular basis, 20160722_122300especially for those who are anemic  Back to the recipe of beetroot halwa, I came across this simple recipe while browsing the net , changed it to my liking, made it and loved it. It is unbelievably simple to make. Best had chilled, and in small servings. Do try this delicious recipe .

Beetroot Halwa

Ingredients

250 gms peeled and grated beetroot

1 cup milk

2 tbsps ghee

3 tbsps sugar or to taste

2 tbsps condensed milk

1/4 cup of coarsely chopped nuts( cashew nuts, almonds and some pistas)

extra nuts finely chopped for garnish

1 tsp poppy seeds for garnish

1/2 tsp cardamon powder

Method

1.. Heat one tbsp of ghee in a non stick pan and add grated beetroot.

2.. Saute till  moisture starts evaporating and ghee separates from the beet.

3.. Add the milk and cook on a medium flame till it reduces and thickens.

4.. Add sugar at this point and the condensed milk, stir frequently till the liquid reduces totally, and  the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan..

5.. In a separate pan, heat one tbsp of ghee and add the coarsely chopped nuts and saute till light golden brown. Add the nuts along with the ghee to the halwa. mix well and add the cardamon powder.

6.. Halwa ready to be served .

7.. Dust with the finely chopped nuts and poppy seeds.

Stuffed Tomato Tikki (cutlet)

20170601_134242The versatile potato, loved by one and all over the world. It is rare to find a person who does not like potato. From french fries to roast baby potatoes sprinkled with italian herbs or the baked potato oozing with melted cheese and herbs in the western part of the world, to the poshto aaloo in Bengal , aaloo parathas of Punjab or the Pao wada which is nothing but a ball of spiced potato dunked in a golden chickpea batter and fried. The favourite street food of maharashtra. This humble root is comfort food.

As a young bride I soon learnt that sunday brunch at my new home, every week without fail  was khichdi and potato sabji , always accompanied with fried papad. and a bowl of yogurt. Potato is used as the base for many indian snacks, like samosas, tikki, chaats, as a filler in dosas etc. But the tikki is a favourite in any sindhi household,  it was a must on sundays in our home in Pune. my mother prepared the tikki in the most basic manner, boiled the potaoes, peeled mashed and added some dry spices and bread to bind the potato, shaped and of course deep fried the tikkis , served them with bread slices and chutney… the famous sindhi tikki dabroti. This snack was served during the interval of sunday movies run on doordarshan. The good old days.

Tikkis are also a popular chaat item sold as ragda pattice, which is a heart shaped potato cutlet, pan fried till crisp, and served with a tangy chickpea gravy and accompanied by slices of onion marinated in lime juice, a tamarind sauce and fresh green chutney.. oh so delicious. the recipe I will share with you today is a fusion version of the tikki, tiny cherry tomatoes hollowed out, filled with a green paneer filling and engulfed with potato, breaded and deep fried till crisp,its tasty as well as easy on the eyes.. do try it out.

Stuffed tomato tikki

Ingredients for the potato covering

1 kg boiled, peeled and grated potato

3 slices grated bread

Red chilli powder to taste, about 1 tsp should be enough

1 tsp caraway seeds. ( shah jeeri)

Salt to taste

Method for potato covering..

Mix everything together and divide into 15 balls and keep aside.

We also need 15 cherry tomatoes, preferably oval in shape, cut off the top and reserve it. now scoop out the pulp with a tiny teaspoon and use this pulp to make the filling. keep the tomatoes upside down to drain any liquid remaining.

Ingredients for tomato stuffing

Tomato pulp from cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup corriander leaves

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 green chillie

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cummin seeds

A little turmeric powder and salt to taste

1/2 cup grated paneer..( cottage cheese)

Method..

Grind together corriander leaves, garlic and green chillie.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add cummin seeds and green paste.. also add corriander powder, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and add grated paneer.. shut the flame.

Assembling..

Fill the paneer mixture into the cherry tomatoes and cover with top of tomato.

Take a ball of potato mixture in your hand and hollow it out to form a bowl.Put the stuffed tomato into the bowl in and upright position and gently cover the whole tomato , pressing to make it tight.

Dip each tikki into a medium thick  batter made with flour and water and roll in fine breadcrumbs. Keep refrigerated until needed.

To serve, deep fry in hot oil till golden brown. Cut into two pieces and serve.

 

 

Cocoapple barfi

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, we have grown up  hearing this phrase. Apples have formed their own niche in the dessert world. Who can resist a warm apple pie with a rich aroma of cinnamon and topped with a scoop of vanilla icecream? or a buttery crisp apple crumble .. comfort food at its best. Even the worlds best known vinegar is apple cider vinegar. Easily available all over the world in different varieties such as granny smith, gala, red delicious etc. Each country having their own favourite recipes for apples.

Apples also played an important part  in sindhi weddings  many years ago, all the fruit hampers sent to the grooms home would surely include at least two dozen apples, among other fruit. Red kashmiri apples were considered the best. My mother used to make an awesome apple murbo,  or apple preserve made in sindhi style using saffron, cardamom and sugar. The memory of this murbo can still make my mouth water, chunks of apples or mango in a thick sugar syrup infused with strands of saffron and cardamon seeds. Mummy usually gave us murbo to eat with a phiki koki, saltless sindhi koki or flat bread. Murbo was also my amma( grandmom’s) favourite.

Many of us familiar with apple kheer or rabri. But apple in a barfi form was something I had never thought  of , until  I stumbled across the recipe on internet recently. I tried it and liked it, so today i would like to share this recipe with you, do try it. Its a very simple recipe, easy to make and best eaten chilled.

Cocoapple barfi

Ingredients

3/4 cup of fresh coconut

1 1/2 cup of grated red apple

1/2 cup dancow milk powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp saffron strands soaked in a little hot water

1/4 cup chopped nuts( almonds and pistas)

1/2 tsp cardamom20170427_191706 powder

1 tsp of  kewra water or few drops rose essence

2 tbsps ghee

Method

  1. Heat a pan and roast the coconut till the colour changes slightly and there is a nice coconutty fragrance in your kitchen…keep aside in a bowl.
  2. . In the same pan, add 2 tbsps of ghee and add the grated apples to the pan, saute on medium heat until the  liquid evaporates from the apples, at this point You can listen to some old bollywood songs..
  3. . Add the milk powder, sugar and coconut to the apple mixture in the pan, and keep stirring till the barfi starts coming together and leaves the sides of the pan.
  4. .Add the soaked saffron strands and cardamom and stir .
  5. Lastly add the nuts and kewra water. and continue stirring until ghee separates.
  6. Pour onto a greased tray and top with more finely chopped nuts or varkh..
  7. Cool completely and refrigerate.
  8. This barfi has a soft texture , so is rather delicate, hence it is best served chilled.