Achari Brinjal Moju

Achari Brinjal Moju
Brinjal lovers will love this dish which has its roots in Sri Lanka, and is a staple in most Sri lankan homes and restaurants. This is basically a fried brinjal pickle, which is served at meals normally with rice, but I prefer having it with a chappati.(flatbread). This dish comes together in no time . The crunch of deepfried brinjal and shallots, subtle tangyness of vinegar and mustard and sweetness of sugar give this simple dish a balance which is amazing. There are many twists to this recipe, each one having its own charm. In my recipe today, I have added dijon mustard to enhance the tartness and sweet mango pickle instead of sugar. You can add honey or sugar instead. Tweak the recipe at your will.
This purple coloured vegetable called eggplant or aubergine is popular in many cuisines world wide. Be it the bhaigan ka bharta in north India, where the brinjals are flame roasted, mashed and cooked in an onion tomato gravy. Or the Greek Mousakka, where aubergine, minced meat sauce and potatoes come together to form a hearty casserole. As for me, my childhood memories of eating Brinjal are not very great😊the only way I really liked it was fried and sprinkled with dry spices. Mom would cut the brinjals into round pieces, give small cuts on the surface, and soak them in salted water for a while. Then squeeze the water out and deep fry till crisp. This was normally served with khichdi or pulav. It was much later that I developed a taste for brinjal cooked as a sabzi. And today its one of my favourite vegetable.😊 The aroma of brinjal being fried in the kitchen always draws me in to grab a few pcs of fried brinjal ..top on my list😊

Do try this simple and tasty recipe.

Ingredients
250 gms purple brinjal
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps cornflour
10 shallots
2 green chillies and 2 red chillies ( cut slantingly)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tbsps finely chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp freshly powdered mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsps black pepper powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp homemade sweet mango chutney or achaar (pickle) or honey or powdered sugar. I have used my homemade sweet mango achaar.
2 tbsps fried onions
2 tbsps coconut oil
Some chopped corriander leaves.
Salt to taste

Method..
1..Cut brinjals into finger stick size.
Soak in salted water for an hour, squeeze dry, roll in a mixture of flour and cornflour. Deep fry till crisp. Keep aside.
Also deep fry the shallots and sliced chillies.

2… Mix mustard seed powder, dijon mustard, vinegar and sweet mango chutney together in a small bowl.

3…Heat 2 tbsps of coconut oil and saute curry leaves, ginger, garlic till fragrant. Shut the fire and add cinnamon, pepper and salt..mix well

4..Add the dijon mustard mix, fried brinjals, fried shallots and chillies.
Stir well and serve garnished with chopped corriander and fried onions.

** can be eaten at room temperature.
***best made at time of serving and consumed immediately.

Sindhi fusion Dal pakwan

This delicious dish of sindhi origin, barely needs an introduction,as it is so well known , almost like a trade mark for us sindhis. Crispy Pakwan( fried flat bread) topped with a creamy dal chana, garnished with citrusy onion relish, and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, with a sprinkling of red chillie powder, its a match made in heaven, in terms of gastronomy.

Dal chana( lentils)is cooked to a creamy consistency, normally bland with just salt and turmeric. But I have been making the dal with a green twist since years, and its remained an earmarked recipe im my cook book.My version is slightly different , as I have added ginger, garlic and green chillies, and the addition of cardamom powder as it brings a subtle rich flavour to the dal, this is my fusion version😊
Mostly served for breakfast on lazy sundays.Growing up in pune, mummy usually made the dal at home, and prefered getting the pakwans from the sindhi uncle at babajan chowk, who sold dal pakwan from his cart only on sundays., It was something we looked forward to. In India it is sold in carts, in sindhi dominated areas, or even sweetmeat shops. That is not to say that only sindhi people relish this soul satisfying dish😊. People from all walks of life love and appreciate the deliciousness of dal pakwan.
Try making this at home and listen to the satisfying sighs around your table…😊
Yes, making pakwan is time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Ingredients for dal
1 cup dal chana ( Rinsed and soaked in water for 4 hours)
2 green chillies
5 pods garlic
1 inch pc of ginger
12 curry leaves..chopped finely.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ajwain( carom seeds)
1/2 tsp saunf( fennel seeds)
1 tsp finely ground cardamon powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt, or as needed.
Method.
Boil the dal till soft, but not mashed.
Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies with little water.
Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, ajwain, saunf, curry leaves, add cardamon powder and turmeric powder.
Add the ginger garlic green chillie paste and saute for a while.
Now add the boiled dal and salt.
Add 1 cup water and let it cook on medium flame till the dal reaches to a thick consistency, but not mashed. Pour in a bowl and garnish with khatti meethi chutney, kechumbo kotmir and a sprinkle of red chillie powder.
Serve with pakwan,

Ingredients for Pakwan
1 cup flour( maida)
1 level tsp salt
1/2 tsp jeeri( caraway seeds)
1/2 tsp ajwain( carom seeds)
1 tbsp oil
Cold water to knead the flour.

Mix flour, jeeri, ajwain, salt and oil.
Add some cold water and knead a stiff dough. Dough should not be soft nor very hard. Medium hard dough. Knead well till pliable . Cover with a wet napkin and keep aside for half an hour. Now make small balls of the dough, roll out into thin puris. Prick with a fork.
Fill a wok with oil to upto half level
Heat till oil is medium hot.
Slide in the puris, press with a sloted spoon,for few seconds. Then let the puri continue to cook untill its crisp and golden brown.
Each pakwan takes upto 5 mins on a low to medium flame. Remove and keep aside.

Serve with a onion relish( kachumbo)
Cut one onion finely, add sliced green chillies, add little salt. Then wash under running water. Strain properly, add little sugar, vinegar and salt.

Khatti meeti chutney( sweet and sour sauce)
Boil together 4 tbsps thick tanarind paste with 4 tbsps grated jaggery. Abd about 10 tbsps water. Cook till medium thick.. strain into a bowl, add little salt, red chillie powder and jeera powder.

Asian fusion noodle omelette

Eggs, world wide favorite ingredient for countless recipes. You name it and an egg is most often present in most cakes, custards, souffles, in savoury dishes and the list goes on.
At our home eggs in some form are always present at breakfast time.
My favourite anytime dish is bedo dabroti( an omelette and a slice of bread).
Today’s recipe incorporates instant noodles mixed with beaten eggs and some vegetables to give you a noodle omelette. The slight difference here is that I have not cooked the noodles. So the omelette has a bit of crunch. A hearty snack or an accompaniment to a bowl of soup or a crunchy salad .
Do try this simple to put together recipe. Feel free to add or change the vegetables. A bit of crunchy bacon or ham will surely high light this simple wholesome dish. Came across this idea on a tik tok video and played around with the additional vegetables and realised that we used to make a similar omelette using cooked noodles. Flash back mode.😊. Do try this recipe.



Ingredients

2 packets of any brand instant noodles… maggie, indomie etc
Spice mix sachets( included with noodles)
2 tbsps finely chopped carrots
2 tbsps finely chopped cabbage
2 tbsps finely chopped paprika
2 tbsps finely chopped spring onions and celery.
3 big eggs or 4 small eggs.



Method..
Put the noodles from the 2 packets in a food processor and blitz for few seconds. You will get crushed noodles. Alternately you can crush the noodles manually while still in the packet, with your hands or a rolling pin.
Transfer broken noodles to a big bowl, add the spice mixture from both the packets. At this point you can add some chillie flakes or chopped chillies if you wish.
Add the carrots, cabbage, parika and spring onions celery to the noodles.
Beat the eggs seperately and add to the noodles. Mix well and add to a preheated nonstick frying pan to which about 3 tbsps oil have been added.
Spread the egg mixture evenly.
Cook on a low flame for few mins, untill golden brown.
(Do not cover)
Gently flip the omelette. Cook for a few more minutes.
Remove onto a platter and cut into wedges.
Serve hot…
** as we are using the spice packets which are included in instant noodle packets, there is no need to add salt or any other spice. Unless you wish to make it more spicy.

Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.

SARSON(MUSTARD) PANEER AND PEAS WITH CHILLI OIL KULCHA

This recipe which is a fusion recipe, combines the tanginess of mustard and the smoothness of coconut milk. East India  merges with south India.  Mustard is one the most important spice in Bengali cooking, whole mustard seeds, or paste of mustard seeds are happily incorporated into daily cooking, used liberally to coat fish and wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. I have also used  Panch phoran to temper this dish, panch phoran is a combination of 5 spices,  mustard seeds, onion seeds or kalonji as they are called in hindi, cum20171125_10462320171126_151055in seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds are mixed together and used whole to temper the oil in the beginning of the cooking process. The use of mustard oil here imparts a nice nutty flavour. I love using mustard oil , coconut oil or ghee in all my Indian cooking , these oils bring out the true regional flavours of dishes from all over India. The use of coconut milk in this recipe balances out the tartness of mustard and vinegar used.

Paneer, or cottage cheese is so widely used in India, more so in the western, northern and eastern states. We Indians love our paneer in different forms, paneer pakodas, shahi paneer, paneer parathas, paneer bhurji, rosgollas, or kalakhands. Most Indian gatherings or parties will surely have  a paneer dish on their menu. I remember, when my mom magically transformed curdled milk into a delectable sabji, just by adding a paste of green chillies and corriander leaves and some garlic. Paneer has been very subtly introduced into the chindian cuisine in place of tofu, paneer chilli fry and paneer manchurian for example. My love for paneer started with a cold paneer sandwich which was served in Greenfields restaurant in main street way back in the seventies when I was a very young girl, this awesome sandwich had thin slices of paneer sprinkled with only salt and pepper,  sandwiched between 2 slices of white bread, slathered with mayonn20171125_144846aise and topped with crisp lettuce. Sadly, this restaurant shut its doors long ago. Puneites will surely remember this restaurant fondly.

Do try this recipe, and serve it with chilli oil kulchas, recipe of which i will be sharing here.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of diced paneer

1/2 cup of green peas.( I have used frozen peas)

1 big onion, finely chopped

4 green chillies ,finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic. roughly chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, sliced

3/4 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsps vinegar

2 + 2 tbsps mustard oil

1/2 cup thick coconut milk

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp paanch phoran

salt to taste

1/4 tsp sugar

PANCH PHORAN..( 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds, 1/ 2 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1/2 tsp onion seeds.. mix. Use as required.) In this recipe I have used 1 tsp.

METHOD

1.. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil, add the mustard seeds, when the seeds stop crackling, add chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic. saute for a while, shut the gas, and cool this mixture. When it cools down add 2 tbsps of vinegar and grind this mixture to a fine paste. add water if required, keep aside

2. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil in a pan, add 1 tsp of paanch phoran and wait till seeds splutter and there is an amazing nutty fragrance in your kitchen, now add chopped onion and saute till light brown, add the paste of green chillies, garlic and ginger. saute for another 5 minutes.

3. Now add the chopped paneer and green peas, season with salt, sugar and turmeric. and add the coconut milk.

4.. Add half a cup of water and cover, cook  till a thick gravy is left. about 5 minutes.

serve garnished with grated cheese and chopped corriander leaves.

 

CHILLI OIL KULCHAS

Ingredients

1 cup flour

100 gms boiled and grated potato

1/4 cup yogurt

1 tbsp chilli oil

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp chilli flakes

1 tsp shah jeera..(caraway seeds)

METHOD

Mix all the ingredients to form a dough.

Divide into 8 balls and roll out  the kulchas.

Roast each kulcha on a hot tava

Finally brush with chilli oil .

 

 

 

THE OATS CULTURE..

Years ago oats was associated with the word porridge, soft 1465300_10152728980158759_3633569604471457687_n  greyish porridge which was topped with milk and sweetened with either chopped fruits or honey. For many  many years it was considered the choice for breakfast especially in the west, second only to cereal out of a box..And to a certain extent it still is among the world’s top choice of breakfast. Easy to make and is  rich in vitamins , mainly its low in cholesterol and is high in dietary fibre.

This fact has been repeatedly pointed out to us in the form of advertisements where in a neat and tidy mother is dishing out porridge to her happy family or where a doctor in a white jacket is telling us seriously how oats reduce our cholesterol and protect our heart.

Nowadays oats are available in many forms, plain, rolled, steel-cut or even savoury..I use oats instead of breadcrumbs many a time to bread chicken or tofu or even the humble potato tikki.. here the only drawback being that oats does not panfry well… so on certain occasions I do deep fry anything that is breaded with oats…

THE TOFU OATS BURGER

FOR THE BATTER..MIX TOGETHER

1 cup flour

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 tbsp of babas curry powder

salt and a pinch of sugar

water as needed

mix everything together to ensure no lumps remain, the batter should be of medium thick consistency. Keep aside for a while.

 Take thin  slices of tofu and dip into this batter and then coat with oats, press firmly and refrigerate before deep-frying in hot oil..

Assemble tofu slices , tomato slices, salad leaves , spiced mayonnaise onto a burger bun.

serve the burger with french fries

** I make spiced mayonnaise by mixing mayonaise with chilli sauce, lime juice and dijons french mustard.