Sep 18, 2009

Aloo Palak Parathas /spinach bread with potato stuffing

Stuffed Parathas have always been our favourite …As I have already mentioned in my aloo paratha recipe, we were first introduced to the wonderful authentic parathas when we were in Gurgaon. We used to go to Haridwar for bath in the holy ganges. We would never miss the chance of accompanying our friends and relatives to Haridwar or any of the other places which fell in that route. The purpose of going everytime to the same place again and again was a secret… hehe.. We simply adored the parathas for which we used to halt at some highway dhaba for breakfast. The big, tasty aloo parathas with pure desi ghee /clarified butter almost dripping….Ah we were kids that time so the calories didn’t count ,but now one cannot afford to eat such rich parathas. Though I still continue to make and eat them too but I don’t include much of the fats and make them the healthy way. So I think this next recipe which I am posting, will tell you that parathas can be healthy as well as lip smacking.
I had seen this recipe in a Sanjeev kapoor recipe book long ago when I was browsing in the local library. It was something different and more creative than the usual stuffed parathas. The stuffing used in the recipe was actually paneer. I once made them using potatoes, carrots and peas for the stuffing. This time , I used potatoes as my sis loves anything with potatoes. Whatever may be the stuffing, the unique thing in this is about the dough. So find it out from the recipe given below.
aloo palak parathas
For stuffing
Kasoori methi-1tsp
Turmeric powder-A pinch
Red chilly powder-1tsp
coriander powder-1tsp
Salt to taste

For the Dough
Wheat flour- 2cups
Palak/spinach- A small bunch
Ginger garlic green chilly paste- 1tsp
Salt- 1/2tsp

Ghee/clarified butter- to apply on the parathas

For the stuffing
Pressure cook the potatoes till they are soft enough to mash them completely(without any lumps). Add the remailing spices and mix well together. The stuffing should be dry. If you feel there is some moisture, add a tsp of besan/gram powder and mix well. Make small balls of the stuffing.

For the dough
Blanch the spinach. Blend it together with the garlic green chillies and ginger paste. Mix this
with the wheat flour along with salt and knead it onto a dough. Add oil to make a smooth non sticky dough. Make balls out of the dough. The size of the ball should be slightly bigger than the balls you made with the stuffing.

Assembling them-
Roll a ball of dough into a small circle. Place a ball of stuffing in the centre. Seal it. Roll them into a thick large circle.
Heat a pan /girdle. When hot, place the paratha on it. Apply little ghee on the top. Cook on both the sides till small brown spots appear on them.
Serve immediately with some thick curd or pickle. It goes well with some tomato ketchup too. I served them with cucumber raitha and tomato pickle.
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Sep 16, 2009

Hot and spicy onion soup

Feeling Sick, dieting or just hungry and looking out to snack???Just go ahead and have a bowl of soup. A nice hot cup of any variety of soup with the right spices down the pot , pepper, chillies ,ginger, garlic and vegetable stock…which leaves you feeling relaxed and full at the same time. The spices make the soup spicy and peppery to the right level which makes you feel great and soothes you up. Today I bring to you a new(new to me,atleast!) soup recipe.This is simple yet delicious and is ready in a matter of minutes and requires no blending. My sister came across this recipe in some magazine and then it has been regular for her. Catch up the recipe of this gingery, peppery Onion Soup.

onion soup Ingredients-
Onions- 2 big sliced
Bread- 2 slices
Ginger garlic paste- 2tsp
Green chillies- 2chopped fine
Vegetable stock or water- 4cups
cornflour-1tsp dissolved in a little water
Salt to taste
pepper- 1tsp
Coriander- small bunch finely chopped

Toast the bread using butter. Cut them into small squares. Heat some butter in a pan. Add the ginger garlic paste. Add the sliced onions and saute till the onions turn golden brown. Now add the vegetable stock or water and allow it to boil along with salt, pepper and the bread slices. Then add the dissolved cornflour and keep stirring till it thickens. Add the green chillies and coriander. Serve hot.
This soup is on its way to Sireesha of mom's recipes who is hosting soup and juices event in her blog.
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Sep 8, 2009

One more from the garden of lentils- Dal Makhani

Food sustains life, food is so much more than food, and food brings people together. To eat something you like, it has to taste good; to taste good it has to have ingredients and the perfect 'X' factor added to make it taste good….
Dal is a dish which is a part of every typical Indian meal …the typical thali (Round plate) which has roti, subzi dal and rice with salad and other such mouth watering dishes. Ask any of the celebrity what his or her favorite food is …pat comes the answer Dal…chawaal…!!!
Everyone has a taking for dal and I am no less, hence I decided to make dal makhani this time.Dal makhani is a popular dal variety made out of whole udid dal cooked with onions, tomatoes and other masalas which is savored with naan, chapatti and rice. It is a dish from the northern garden of lentils –Punjab. Though this dal is similar to the other dals due the similar ingredients that go into its making, but the only thing which adds to its richness and taste is the blobs of rich cream that is added to it for thickening and taste. Look down to find more about this recipe…don’t worry …its ok to indulge in such rich things once in a while!!!
dal makhni
Black udid dal(whole)- 1cup
Rajma/kidney beans- 1/4cup
Onions- 1big chopped fine
Tomato- 2big chopped
Ginger- 1"
Garlic- 5 pearls
Green chillies- 2 chopped
kasoori methi- 1tsp
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Red chilly powder- 1tsp
Coriander powder- 1tsp
Punjabi garam masala- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Cream- 1/2cup or milk- 200ml
Oil - 2tsp or butter-1tsp

Wash and soak the udid dal and rajma overnight till they swell . Pressure cook this dal till it becomes soft and you are able to mash it.
Heat oil /butter in a pan. Make a paste of ginger , garlic and green chillies and add it to the oil. Then add onions and saute for sometime. Add the tomatoes and then turmeric powder, red chilly powder , coriander powder , garam masala and salt. Mix well. Add half a cup of water and let the tomatoes cook completely. Then add the cooked dal. Add another cup of water if needed and let this cook for around 10 minutes till all the spices mix well with the dal. Then add cream or milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes till it thickens.
Have this with hot rice. Tastes fantastic. A perfect comfort food.
A good side dish for Chapatis too!! So am sending this to Viki's kitchen who is hosting an event called " Side dish for chapatis".

It felt so good this year to be a part of the ganeshotsav celebrations in India after almost a gap of four years. I am sharing some photos of Ganesh visarjan(immersion of the ganesh idols in water) which is celebrated with the same joy as welcoming The God!!

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Sep 3, 2009

Godhumai halwa- A popular Tirunelveli delicacy(step by step pics)

Tirunelveli halwa or irrutakadai halwa

Godhumai (transliterated as wheat berry) halwa is a very popular sweet in Tirunelveli district in Tamilnadu.
An introduction- Courtesy Wikipedia
Tirunelveli city is noted for the sweet halwa (pronounced locally as alwa) which is made from wheat and sugar. Halwa is a golden brown, semi-solid in texture and contains a lot of ghee/vanaspati which gives it the oily look. It tastes better when served fresh and hot. Tirunelveli halwa is said to owe its uniquely rich taste to a special recipe of this region, blended with the renowned sweetness of the Thamarabarani river. The Halwa was made famous by a Marwari family settled here more than 300 years ago. The original shop started by them is the Lakshmi Vilas. Slowly, others borrowed the formula and now the halwa has become synonymous with this city. The Tamarabarani water is the major constituent of the original Tirunelveli Halwa which keeps up the quality.
There are many hot spots to buy halwa around the Nellayappar temple and near the main railway station.Two of the most famous halwa stores are Irutu Kadai halwa (Transliterated as the dark halwa store with no lights), situated near the Nellayappar temple Tirunelveli Town, and the other being Shanthi Sweets. The name Irutu Kadai of the former store derives from the fact that the looks of the store has been kept unchanged from the date it was started. Till date, there is no bright electrical lamp or even a board to display the shop's brand. They don't have any other branches. The iruttu kadai halwa is prepared in amman sannadhi street. There are other good sweet stalls in Tirunelveli town namely Visaakam sweets, Guru sweets. There are a lot of halwa shops near the old and new bus stands, but the noted shops are worth visiting.

My family is a native of Tirunelveli and the place is extremely beautiful with lovely temples, waterfalls and scenery. We use to visit Tirunelveli during our school vacations. I rememeber having hot and fresh halwa on banana leaves. It use to taste divine.
My grandmom makes lovely Tirunelvali halwa. Being a native to Tirunelvali, this one had to occupy a special position in my blog. My grandmother was very enthusiastic when I asked her to make this for me. The recipe is simple , but the process is bit time consuming and involves lot of labour and patience. I am not very sure whether I will be doing this again, but definitely something worth trying and interesting!!!

Wheat berries- 2cups
Sugar- 4cups
Cashews- 1/2 cup
Ghee- 11/2cup(150gm-200gm approx)
cardamom- 1tsp
Yellow food colour- a pinch dissloved in milk.

Method-The step by step pictures will be useful for people who are willing to try this!
1. Extraction of milk from wheat berries- Clean and soak the wheat berries for around 36-48hours.
tirunelveli halwa 2. After it becomes tender, grind it in a blender adding water. Filter this on the sieve.Squeeze out the milk from the berries and filter the liquid. Repeat the extraction process by blending the wheat berries adding some more water. Discard the ground berries after extracting the milk thoroughly.
tirunelveli halwa 3. Leave the milk to stand for another 24 hours so that it turns a little sour. The thicker portion of the milk will settle down.If there is too much of thin liquid on the top, slightly tilt the vessel to discard it.
tirunelveli halwa 4. The actual process- Make sugar syrup by mixing sugar and a cup of water. Keep stirring in medium flame till you obtain a thick, sticky syrup( one string consistency).
tirunelveli halwa5. Add the wheat milk and stir it . It will start to turn thick.
tirunelveli halwa
6. Add the food colour and ground cardamom and keep stirring.
tirunelveli halwa7. Roast some cashews in ghee till golden brown and add it to the halwa. Boil a cup of water and pour it in the halwa. Keep stirring. Hot water is added to enable more cooking of the halwa by delay the thickening process. You have to keep stirring so that the raw smell and the taste of the milk should go off completely.
tirunelveli halwa 8. Melt the ghee and add to the halwa , few tablespoons at a time and keep stirring.The stirring process may take about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir till the halwa absorbs the ghee completely and does not stick to the vessel anymore and becomes a thick mass of ball.
Your Tirunelveli halwa is ready.
tirunelveli halwa Notes- Use a heavy bottomed pan. Take care of not burning the halwa. Reaching the exact consistency is very important. Repeated stirring is what you have to do which involves lot of labour and patience. Make sure you have some help before making this( according to me!!)
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