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.

Fusion Indian caramel flan

Caramel, the name itself will get you imagining a beautiful golden river of sugar . Endless are the desserts which have caramel incorporated into them. Its a world wide favourite. Be it the salted caramel icecream or the luscious flans. Not to forget the alpenliebe caramel candy or the carmello cadbury chocolate both my favourites. Call this a flan, or a caramel custard , or a pudding, this dessert is always drool worthy.
Today’s recipe is my version of the caramel flan with a indian twist to it.

I have added cardamon and saffron with rose essence highlighting the pudding.
Recalling childhood days when we did not own an oven. Mummy made this pudding by steaming it . Of course she did not call it a flan, instead named it as bedhe ji pudding( egg pudding). And she always used cardamom as a flavoring . I never tried making this delicious pudding, only because either my mom or my sister always made this on my trips to India. This custard is also very popular in Parsi cuisine, called the lagna nu custard, normally served during weddings. The Parsi variation is more richly made. One of the best caramel custard pudding,I have ever eaten would be at the Dorabjee and sons Restaurant which is situated at dastur meher road , Pune. You can find the best authentic Parsi food here.
In recent years I have tried many receipes to get a good caramel flan, and this method is top rated in my diary.This flan be made by either baking it in an oven using a water bath, or by steaming it directly in a steamer.
Do try this recipe and relish it cold.

Ingredients
3 cups of full fat milk
200 ml condensed milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs( at room temperature)
1/2 tsp saffrons strands soaked in a little hot water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence

Method
1. Boil milk and condensed milk together with the cardamom powder. Once it boils, shut the flame and keep aside. Cool completely.
2. To make the caramel, put 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan and heat on high heat untill sugar melts and starts browning .At this point lower the heat and allow the sugar to turn to a beautiful golden brown liquid. Try not to stir in between. Transfer this caramel to either one big oven proof dish or divide it into 2 dishes. Allow the caramel to cool.
3. Beat 4 eggs lightly and add to the cool milk mixture. Mix well and strain this mixture.
4. Add the saffron liquid and rose essence to the milk and egg mixture.
5. Pour into the caramelized bowls , cover the bowls with aluminium foil .
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 60 mins.
Cool completely before transferring to the fridge..

Overturn the caramel onto a serving platter at the time of serving.

Garnish with sliced almonds and pistas.

* For the water bath baking, I put the flan dishes in a baking tray and poured hot water into the tray , to come upto 1/4 level of the dishes.
Using this method, the flan does not dry up and retains its moisture.

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.

SINDHI LASAGNA (MANI SEYAL CAKE)

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As the name suggests , todays recipe is of the quintessential breakfast of  sindhi homes.  Down the ages, some innovative home maker thought of using left over rotis in a practical form and came up with this delicious dish. Almost all sindhi homes serve this dish, but in many forms. Seyal maani( chappati) or Seyal dabroti using bread has many different recipes. Green masala paste or an onion based gravy is cooked and either bread or rotis are added to the simmering gravy and allowed to soak up the masala gravy. The normal procedure would be to tear up the chappatis into pieces and add to boiling gravy and cooked till the liquid evaporates , which would be within a few minutes. But, my mother in law made this dish in a unique way and that was stacking the chappatis or bread with the thick gravy between layers and building it up into a layered cake. A little extra effort and a pretty looking dish was ready to be served. Resembling an Italian lasagna but made with fewer ingredients.

Growing up, mummy made this dish once a week for breakfast, mostly on saturdays and was savoured by my grandparents, the plus point being its soft texture which was easy for them to consume. The leftover green paste was stored and very often my mom applied it on a chappati, folded it into a half circle and roasted it on a hot tawa with a little oil till crisp.. a delicious side dish ready in minutes.

Do try out this recipe and enjoy a sindhi dish which does not take long to cook and with all the ingredients easily available in our homes.

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SINDHI LASAGNA OR SEYAL MAANI ( CHAPPATI)

INGREDIENTS

8 LEFTOVER CHAPPATIS

1 CUP CHOPPED CORRIANDER LEAVES

4 CLOVES GARLIC

6 GREEN CHILLIES

2 TOMATOES .. BLEND INTO A PULP

2 TBSPS FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TBSP LIME JUICE

1 TSP SUGAR

2 TSPS CORRIANDER POWDER

2 TSPS CUMIN SEEDS

1 TSP TURMERIC POWDER

SALT TO TASTE

METHOD

1.. BLEND THE CORRIANDER LEAVES , 4 CLOVES GARLIC AND 6 GREEN CHILLIS INTO A FINE PASTE WITH A LITTLE WATER AND KEEP ASIDE.

2.. HEAT 2 TBSPS OIL AND ADD THE CUMIN SEEDS, NEXT ADD CHOPPED GARLIC AND SAUTE TILL FRAGRANT, NOW ADD THE CORRIANDER POWDER AND TURMERIC POWDER, ALONG WITHE TOMATO PULP AND SALT. COOK FOR A FEW MINUTES. FINALLY ADD THE GREEN PASTE AND COOK FOR JUST 2 MINUTES, ADD LIME JUICE AND SUGAR, MIX WELL AND REMOVE INTO A BOWL.

3.. NOW TAKE A WIDE BOWL AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED GREEN MASALA AND ADD HALF CUP OF WATER TO IT.. THIS MIXTURE IS FOR DIPPING THE CHAPPATIS, TO MOISTEN THEM.

4..HEAT ONE TBSP OF OIL IN A PAN, AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED MASALA TO IT.

5.. GENTLY DIP ONE CHAPPATI IN THE GREEN WATER MIXTURE, AND PUT IT IMMEDIATELY INTO THE FRYING PAN, APPLY SOME GREEN MASALA ONTO IT AND REPEAT WITH ANOTHER CHAPPATI..MAKE LAYERS WITH MOISTENED CHAPPATIS AND GREEN MASALA , FINISHING WITH GREEN MASALA ON TOP LAYER, ALL THIS SHOULD BE DONE ON LOW HEAT.

6.. COVER AND COOK FOR 5 MINS.

7..SLIDE THE STACK OF CHAPPATIS GENTLY ONTO A SERVING PLATE WITH A FLAT SPATULA AND GARNISH WITH GRATED CHEESE OR CHOPPED CORRIANDER. CUT INTO WEDGES AND SERVE .

 

The tricoloured steamed cake

Cakes, we all have grown up eating cakes of various types in our childhood, and even as adults. Cakes are a symbol of celebrations,Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, engagements etc, all call for a cake to be cut. From simple sponge cakes, to the decadent fondant cakes, the world has a cake for everyone”s taste. Each country has their own popular cakes, some cakes even named after the country or region they come from, for instance the madeira cake named after a Portuguese island is a light sponge cake normally flavoured with lemon and eaten with jam. And many more, black forest cake, lamington cake to name a few. Nowadays cakes are decorated beautifully, taste fabulous, are decadent in their richness, covered with chocolate ganaches and various other delicious toppings. Top class bakeries via with each other in producing cakes par excellence. We can choose cakes as per our choice, vegan, eggless, gluten free etc.. the public is well pampered as bakeries can cater  to almost all requests, and we are spoilt for choice.

Back to Pune, the city where I grew up, the cakes we ate then are the cakes we crave for today, simple cakes like the pound cakes of kayani bakery or the glass cakes from royal bakery, melt in your mouth cakes with the taste of real butter. These bakeries are still doling out the very same cakes of the same quality with the addition of mawa cakes, plum cakes etc. Till today the cakes are sold out in record time with people queuing up to buy the cakes for home consumption or even sending them to relatives in other cities.

Jakarta is a city where we can get the most amazing cakes, which are truly out of the world, I have yet to taste better, some of my own good friends and relatives can make the most amazing eggless cakes.  This country so rich in heritage and culture has been my home since 33 years, and has taught me so much. Even though baking is not exactly my forte, I do manage simple cakes mostly vegetarian,  used as bases for my desserts.. But the recipe I will share with You today is a steamed cake, commonly known as  BOLU KUKUS. This cake was made very often when my children were growing up and needed something to have for a evening snack. It contains no oil at all, and has a different texture as compared to a baked cake. This cake is light on the stomach and is delicious.

 

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TRICOLOURED STEAMED CAKE.. BOLU KUKUS

INGREDIENTS..

4 EGGS

200 GMS SUGAR

150 GMS FLOUR

65 ML OF THICK COCONUT MILK ( I USED THE TETRA PACK)

1/2 TBSP OF SP..( CAKE EMULSIFIER, AVAILABLE IN SUPERMARKETS OR AT BAKING SPECIALITY STORES)

METHOD

GREASE A MEDIUM SPRINGFORM CAKE PAN LIGHTLY

PUT  WATER IN A STEAMER AND PUT ON THE HEAT

NOW BREAK THE EGGS INTO A STEEL MIXING BOWL, ADD SUGAR AND THE SP

BEAT WELL WITH A ELECTRIC BEATER AT HIGH SPEED, UNTIL THE MIXTURE DOUBLES IN SIZE AND TURNS A PALE WHITE COLOUR .

SLOWLY ADD THE FLOUR AND COCONUT CREAM ALTERNATELY, AT THIS POINT U CAN REDUCE THE SPEED OF THE MIXER.

DIVIDE THE CAKE MIXTURE IN 3 PORTIONS EQUALLY, AND ADD 3 DIFFERENT FOOD COLOURING AND FLAVOURING FOR EACH PORTION…( I USED STRAWBERRY, LEMON AND PANDAN FLAVOURING AND COLOURING)

NOW PUT ONE PORTION OF CAKE MIXTURE INTO THE PREPARED SPRINGFORM TIN AND PUT INTO THE HOT STEAMER FOR 10 MINS.

AFTER 10 MINS , OPEN THE STEAMER, IF THE CAKE IS SPINGY TO TOUCH, POUR THE SECOND LAYER AND STEAM ONCE MORE ON HIGH HEAT FOR 10 MINS, FINALLY ADD THE THIRD LAYER, AND STEAM FOR ABOUT 20 MINS..

REMOVE THE CAKE PAN FROM THE STEAMER AND SET ASIDE FOR AN HOUR TO COOL COMPLETELY, LOOSEN THE SIDES OF THE CAKE WITH A KNIFE AND GENTLY OPEN THE SPRING FORM CAKE, READY TO SERVE.

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.