Kadai Vegetable, Restaurant Style

Quintessential Kadai Vegetable

Quintessential Kadai Vegetable

Location: A simple Indian home in the 90’s housing a calm, tolerant and mostly busy mother, a loving, indulgent father who never entered the kitchen or helped in any of the housework and three feisty spirited young girls with mind and tongues of their own.
Act 1: Pre Lunch preparation for some random guest.
Scene 1: Girls fighting for the sole spare burner in the hot messy kitchen of this noisy raucous house.

She: I need that kadai, you always try to take things that I need. Give it back, right now.
Me: I took it first, so I get to make my dish first.
She: You are so mean, the moment I said I want to make my curry now, you jump in with this crap. So Wicked!! Me(proving her point, with a wicked grin): Yes!! Need to be.. with irritating sisters like you!!

. . . More rumbling grumbling, a tug here and a pull there and finally mother’s discordant yell settles it. She wins. I get to use the burner when she is done. And I knew very well.. she will take her own sweet time to make that horrid spicy vegetable melange, the recipe of which she refuses to part with.

I seethed and fumed. Threw a fit and a fuss. Refused to do my bit and walked out sullenly to the comforts of my room. Blocking my ears with earphones and all that unbearable noise and camaraderie of sister-mother, I impatiently wait to be called by mother. Now this was routine.

Sisters, with not many years parting them, fight like cats and dogs. And whats also routine is, the dismissed child expecting to be appeased by the decisive parent. So, I waited.

Till mother comes to assuage, let me fill you in the workings of this mad house. We are three girls, young, noisy, controlling, fighting yet extremely loyal and always in support when we have to tackle the big bad world outside. And when we entertained we always helped. Helped in tidying up the house, though it was given to the youngest one – who didn’t have a choice but listen to two ruling prevailing sisters. Helped in the kitchen… gladly choosing our signature dishes( which by the way never changed) to cook and present to our esteemed guests 🙂

So mother makes what she usually makes best and that which requires massive effort and experience. I keep experimenting and trying something new every time and she, she cooks one curry, every time – for the next 5 years 😉 Though, to be fair, that spicy masaledaar Vegetable curry had many takers and much appreciation, made me so resentful and envious that I would refuse to put a morsel of it in my mouth. Sigh! How immature you would say. Yes, I do agree. But we were teens waiting to be appreciated and admired at the drop of a hat. Well! no amount of slickness from me could get hold of the highly guarded formula either.

Complete Meal

Complete Meal

Well, several acts and scenes later, and of course not to forget, age, marriage and kids later, we behave like how sisters ought to behave 🙂 Like real ladies.
Bridges shortened, holes mended and love reignited, we now switch ideas in managing work, house and kids, not to forget over-grown babies called husbands. And of course we swap recipes 🙂

And for that spicy masaaledar vegetable kadai, which I so vehemently dismissed as Horrid!! In truth, every bite was relished albeit far from the sisters prying eyes. So when I made it a point to feature on my blog and asked for the recipe, It was no surprise that a wonderful detailed mail waited for me, along with exhortative suggestions to do some mean photography with her prized signature dish!

Restaurant style gravy

Restaurant style gravy

Kadai Vegetable is a fiery mix of of vegetables simmered in a thick delicious gravy. Ideally the entire dish is made in an hard iron thick bottomed kadai or a wok, hence the typical name.

Easy alternative to paneer

Easy alternative to paneer

The recipe:

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups diced vegetables ( par boiled) – I used carrot, beans, potatoes, cauliflower and peas
    • 1 capsicum, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 chopped tomato
    • 1/4 cup diced paneer – optional
    • 2-3 tbsp of cream – if need arises
    • ginger julienne and coriander leaves to garnish
    • Dry masala : 1-11/2 tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp coriander or dhania powder 1/2 tsp cumin or jeera powder 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/4 tsp turmeric or haldi powder 1/4 tsp pepper powder 1/2 tsp saunf or fennel seeds 2 tsp of khus khus or poppy seeds 6-7 cashewnuts
    • Wet masala: 1 handful of coriander leaves 1 tsp ginger garlic paste 3 tbsp curds 2 tbsp of cream 1/4 tsp sugar
Thats pretty much all you need.

Thats pretty much all you need.

Method

      In a wok or kadai, dry roast all the dry ingredients for a couple of minutes till they become fragrant. Remove and keep aside to cool. Grind the wet ingredients and keep aside. Once the dry ingredients are cooled, grind to a fine powder. In the kadai, heat a tbsp of oil, and shallow fry onions and capsicum. Remove and keep aside. In the same wok, throw in the dry masala and roast for less than a minute. Add wet ingredients and sauté till oil leaves sides. Add chopped tomato and sauté for a couple of minutes. Finally add cooked vegetables, onion, capsicum and paneer. Give it a nice boil. Flavour with salt. If the gravy is thick or spicy, add milk or cream accordingly. Garnish with coriander leaves chopped and thinly sliced ginger. Serve with hot chappathis, rotis, naan, rice or bread.
Julienne ginger and green chili garnish - typically North Indian

Julienne ginger and green chili garnish – typically North Indian

Note:
You can add any vegetable of your choice, although gourds don’t really taste in this kind of gravy.

Note:
A bit of paneer or cottage cheese makes this dish richer.

Note:
Alter the spices according to your level of heat

Note:
We always had a bowl of yoghurt with this kind of lunch, it helps beat the heat!!

Ideal For Sunday Fiestas

Ideal For Sunday Fiestas

I soon realise the recipe is pretty simple and not at all time consuming. So when I wondered aloud to her as to why would she ever take so long in prepping this simple dish, her smug replies leave me wanting to bite her head off!!! Sisters I tell you.. wicked bunch they are!

Taking sister’s signature dish to lovely Angie’s weekly visual potluck – Friday Feista, #63. Peek in to see some great delicacies.  Hope they like it!

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No Fuss Spicy Tomato Rasam

Tangy Tomato Rasam

Tangy Tomato Rasam

She lies squinting in the afternoon sun. Looking up at the blazing ball of fire, she defies the curly strand resolutely falling her way. She wonders if hell was right in the middle of the sun. Would she go? Go to hell, that is. Umm.. she has her chances. Spilling milk, tearing pages off a school book or rather any book and stuffing ones mouth with heapfull of sugar does make one go straight to hell. For sure, thought she.
But then like how it is with most six-year olds, her thoughts jump from dreary to the quixotic in no time, wondering if the sun is made of honey or lime or both. The dreamy spell is broken by shrill cries of mother. Lengths of the roof covered in leaps and bounds, spirals of stairs run in twos and threes, the little girl runs blind, her curls flying behind her like a short cape. Huffs and pants, she stands erect and stares straight. A little sentinel to attention.

Flavored with garlic

Flavored with garlic

Mother hid a smile. She knew she was being appeased. Propitiated for those tight hugs and extra kisses, and for those moments when the curls would be delicately touched and taken behind a ear only to fall right back into an eye. For those special moments mother was being assuaged. Mother knew it. And she knew she knew it.

Well today no matter what, lunch will be eaten in peace sans objections, sans tantrums and grimaces, clever mother put out a plate which would have been shunned on any other day. But not today. Not after a morning of mess and shenanigans. And the little sentinel ate silently. The one with the largest sweet tooth, the stuffer of anything saccharine, sugar stealer, ingenious chocolate hider. That one, battled her candied tongue and slurped spicy tangy tomato rasam that day. Quietly. Obediently. Fully unaware that her runny nose needed all that pepper and spice. I know now for sure, coz she is me.

Choose fat, ripe and juicy ones

Choose fat, ripe and juicy ones

Cut to present day. And I war with my seven-year old to stop slurping the tangy South Indian soup. It has pepper and garlic and red chiles and its hot and medicinal. I mean, she is supposed to dislike it. All kids do. But here is mine. Sprawled on the floor, demanding more ghee and more rasam in her bowl of soft white rice. It’s close to eight years now, and I still stare at my girl in disbelief. She is so unlike me. Gone on the father, I mutter. Both have an unbelievable palette for spicy tangy tart stuff.

white rice is the best

white rice is the best

Saccharine love has diminished over the years, and rasam which was once gulped like venin, is now savoured with abundant paraphernalia.

Rasam is a South Indian tangy drink usually served with rice and other interesting sides. And if you are ever caught nursing a bad cold or a sore throat then this peppery drink will surely be guzzled down your food pipe… hot 😉

Lentils, lemon, beets are used to make a variety of rasam. But the most common and easiest and popular one is the tomato rasam. The method I use is handed over to me by my brother in laws wife, and it has never been easier to make it since. One of my most favourite ways lately.

that very essential dollop of ghee!

that very essential dollop of ghee!

Make sure you have a potful of hot boiled rice, white or brown. Some ghee to serve. And I usually accompany the meal with some vegetable side like the one shown below. A cabbage carrot beans melange. Dry sauté with a tempering of curry leaves, green chilies and garnished with grated coconut and cilantro.

keep it light and simple

keep it light and simple

I have no idea about the science behind this, but I am making this statement – Food, especially, Indian Food tastes better when you eat with your hands. Its more intimate, more comforting. I can’t explain. It just is. So try it. Learning to use chopsticks was hard?! try scooping off watery rasam from a flat plate with your fingers. That’s art too.

Tastes better when you dip your fingers in the bowl

Tastes better when you dip your fingers in the bowl

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 5-6 red ripe tomatoes, washed and chopped.
  • 1/2 tbsp of ghee
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 whole dried red chili
  • 1 small onion or few baby onions/shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder or as per your taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated – optional.
  • coriander leaves to garnish.

Method

In a thick bottomed pan, heat ghee. Splutter mustard seeds. sauté red chili, curry leaves and sliced onions till pink. Throw in chopped tomatoes along with salt, turmeric and red chili powder. cover and cook till the tomatoes become mushy and fat leaves the sides. Approx 10 minutes. Once that is done, add 1 glassful of water. Give it a boil. Grate garlic and sprinkle pepper powder – give it another boil. Switch the flame off, mix in juice of 1/2 a lime and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot!

Life's good

Life’s good

Note: Quantity of water can be increased or decreased according to the consistency you prefer. I like mine thin and runny, so I usually add more than a glassful.

Note: Tamarind, boiled lentils, rasam powder are all variations. You can try different types by adding these accordingly.

Note: For those who do not like to use onion and garlic, you can skip both, and flavour the soup with a bit of asofoetida or hing.

Eat it hot!

Eat it hot!

Its been one amazing year for Angie and her wonderful co hosts who throw this weekly visual potluck parties. So we are all celebrating! Thanks to the growing popularity and contribution to the event, the celebrations are extended for a two week program. Though I was unable to contribute to the last week’s appetiser and drink event, I make it up with another main course! So please run over to Angie’s First-Fiesta-Friday Anniversary and check out the various mouth watering link ups.

Aloo Methi

Simple rustic Aloo methi served with rice and salad

Simple rustic Aloo methi served with rice and salad

There are some memories which never fade and some which just evanesce into oblivion. But smell can be a powerful memory trigger. Smell so rustic and comforting that deep buried images stand bare and bigger, usually leaving you distraught. You will be tormented and distressed till you put all those cognizant images back to where they belong.

Now before you speculate extraneous theories, let me clarify. The smell that invoked such strong visuals of my past, was nothing more than potatoes and fenugreek being sautéed on a particularly hot humid day. It wafted from somewhere above. Where, who, when and how … I did bother, but soon all that dissipated when flashbacks of the mother’s kitchen loomed up at me. Someone was making food just like my mothers – this thought was eerily comforting.
I mean, how weird, I tell myself. Whats there to get excited to smell food like what your mother cooked for you. But I was.

Fenugreek has medicinal properties.

Fenugreek has medicinal properties.

Aloo methi. Something so traditional and homey and simple….now why am I making a post for this? I am making this for all those young people out there who suddenly-mindlessly crave for food that they have grown up with. That cozy feeling – that you get out of familiarity.
And for documentation purposes too 😉
15 years down the line, I doubt if the daughter will ever call and ask for a recipe. She most probably will scan her favourite sites and lastly come to her mums where she will read this and nod and say yes, I miss my mother’s cooking too. And now I’m just being too hopeful! Am I not??! Never mind.

What all you need -

What all you need –

Just potatoes and fresh fenugreek leaves sautéed in some powerful mustard oil, with a bit of all Indian spices, and look how I am dancing with my words! Well, the above picture shows you all that you need to make this wonderful side to your everyday bread or rice.

That essential piece of lime!

That essential piece of lime!

There are plenty of variations for this vegetable side or sabzi as we call it. Mother used mustard oil, and no onions or garlic or any other paraphernalia for this dish. She kept it simple and it worked fabulously. A drizzle of lime and some fresh salad is all that you need to make your day.

Made my day :)

Made my day 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups par boiled potatoes, diced into medium sized chunks
  • 2 cups of fenugreek leaves, picked, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1 big whole red chilli
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil or any other oil would also do.
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chill powder or as desired
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and mustard seeds mixed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder – I don’t skip this!
  • salt to taste.
  • Lime wedges to serve with

Method

In a large skillet or pan, drop a tsp of oil. Gently roast the potatoes till it gets a golden coating all over it. Regular tossing and turning help. Once done, remove from the pan and keep aside.

In the same skillet, heat rest of the oil. Crackle cumin and mustard seeds. Add asafoetida and whole dried red chili. Fry chopped fenugreek leaves and green chilies till they wilt. Now add potatoes, along with all the masalas and salt. Saute for another minute or so.

Serve with chappathis or rice or any bread.

No onion, no garlic. So easy peasy!

No onion, no garlic. So easy peasy!

Note: if desired, 2 tsp chopped garlic can be added before adding the fenugreek leaves.

you will not regret making this :)

you will not regret making this 🙂

Like someone rightly said We live on the leash of our senses. Taking this wonderful aromatic side to pair with Angie’s gorgeous phulkas, for her 41st Friday Fiesta. come take a look, she make these chappathis and every single one puffs up! P
Happy Cooking dear foodies!

Dabeli

Dabeli

Dabeli

This has been the longest that I have gone without a post. And it makes me uncomfortable.
More so because I wasn’t sick or busy. Perfectly hale, hearty and enjoying all the interesting posts and doing things that I usually do. And yet, I couldn’t write.

Every now and then I need some motivation. He calls it kick, but I know he means literally 🙂 Well, with no inspiration, I tend to do what I did. Procastinate. Hope dully, that maybe tomorrow I would be stimulated enough to publish. Ah! But things take their own time to happen. Even a post.
This bug is quite common with bloggers I hear. Every now and then I have blogger friends who disappear and then magically re-emerge. It’s a consolation. I am not the only one – I hear myself say. So, I put my feet up and bask in this self-imposed sabbatical. Waiting for things to happen on their own.

peanuts and the masala make this dish what it is!

peanuts and the masala make this dish what it is!

Dabeli. Spicy sweet crisp fun snack sold on the streets of Mumbai and Gujarat, this little guy has more fans than I could ever imagine. When you borrow the paav from the vada pav and steal some bhaaji from paav bhaji, decorate it with pomegranates, spicy peanuts and chutneys of various kinds, and finally sprinkle the highly aromatic dabeli masala, what you get is this crisp yet soft mushy paav meal which would satisfy those tiny hunger cravings.

Magic Masala

Magic Masala

Making the masala at home is a breeze, but still if you don’t have the time or resources to do so, it is easily available in any Indian store.
Now, like with any chaat/Indian street side junk, prepping this dish is elaborate, but assembling is fun and gets done in minutes.

A scroll view of all that you need to make one fresh crunchy Dabeli –

Take one dinner roll or paav, slice it into two neat halves –

dinner rolls or paav

dinner rolls or paav

Smear some prepared potato mixture –

Mashed Potato masala

Mashed Potato masala

Top with assorted paraphernalia according to taste –

The paraphernalia

The paraphernalia

This is how it looks from the insides –

thats what you see when you open one

that’s what you see when you open one

Slide the cap on –

Slide on the cap

Slide on the cap

Roast on a flat griddle till crisp and crunchy –

There, its complete now :)

There, its complete now 🙂

Enjoy with a glass of chilled lemonade –

Cool it off!

Cool it off!

The recipe –

Serves 4-5 people:

Ingredients

  • 6 dinner rolls or paav or buns
  • 12 heaped tablespoons of potato masala(recipe below)
  • 6 teaspoon of dabeli masala(recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup roasted spicy peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup sev
  • garlic chutney(recipe below) as per taste – optional
  • tamarind chutney as per taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • Bit of butter to roast the rolls

For the potato Mixture: 4 boiled potatoes-peeled and mashed, 1 onion-minced, 2 tsp dabeli masala, 1 tsp of oil, a pinch of hing or asafoetida, 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera, 2 tsp tamarind dates chutney, 2 tbsp coconut-grated, 2 tsp pomegranate. Water as required.

For the Dabeli masala: 3-4 whole dry red chilies, 2 cloves, 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 10-12 peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds

For the garlic chutney:  2 dry red whole chilies, 7-8 pods of garlic, salt to taste and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

For the dabeli masala: Dry roast all the ingredients on a flat griddle or a pan for 3-5 minutes or until aromatic. Cool the spices. Grind to a fine powder. Store in an air-tight glass bottle and use as required.
Note: I live in a very humid hot place so I usually refrigerate all my freshly ground masalas. So do as you deem fit.

For the garlic chutney: soak red chilies in water for about 15 minutes or so. Grind the soaked red chiles along with garlic pods, salt and lime to a smooth paste. Use as less water as possible for grinding.

For the potato mixture: Mash the boiled peeled potatoes roughly. Heat oil in a skillet. Splutter the cumin, fry onions till they turn pink. Sprinkle hing. Now mix dabeli masala powder that you made in the tamarind chutney. keep aside. Throw in the mashed potatoes, Now add the tamarind dabeli masala mix. Season with salt. Get all the pan ingredients together. Mix it well. Spread this mixture in a shallow bowl of plate. Decorate with grated coconut, pomegranate and coriander leaves. Use when you are ready to assemble the dabeli.

Assembling:

Spread all your prepared ingredients on the counter top. Put a flat griddle on fire. Slice each pav into two equal halves.
Apply garlic chutney on one side of the half, and tamarind chutney on the other side.
Spread 1-2 tbsp of potato mixture on one side.
Top with chopped onion, coriander leaves, roasted peanuts, sev and pomegranate.
I even added some more grated coconut!
Close the entire assembly with the other bun. Roast lightly on a flat griddle using a bit of butter.
Serve crisp!

Note: Its chaat! So you can tweak change substitute what you like and what you don’t accordingly! There is no hard and fast rule. Those who don’t like garlic, you can replace it with mint coriander chutney. It works just as fine.

peanuts, pomegranate, lime and something to sip on

peanuts, pomegranate, lime and something to sip on

Contributing to Angie’s Fabulous Fiestas is always a pleasure! Am taking this Indian yummiliocus chaat to her 41st!! Come, take a peek. You are gonna love all that you see!

Gulab Phirni / Rose Rice Pudding with fresh Fruits

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
– Henri Matisse

Gulab Phirni

Gulab Phirni

When the occasion is pious. The mood festive. The spirit convivial. The ambience contagious. And the mind, harmonious – it is then, we make something sweet.

It’s exactly in these times, we don’t squirm to eat a cupful of our favourite dessert and amiably let our loved ones stuff our mouth with saccharine stuff. We relish every bite, enjoy every moment. It’s for these times that I reserve my quota of desserts or Indian mithais/sweets.

Colour

Colour

On one such radiant day, I put milk to boil, stirred in some ground fragrant basmati rice and lovingly flavoured it with cardamom, rose essence and saffron. Sounds divine, doesn’t it!?

The milk and rice simmered and nonchalantly thickened away, gloriously dancing with the aromatic spices. The result was this thick rice pudding, mildly sweet and abundantly gratified with chopped nuts and essence of roses.

Layered into Jars!

Layered into Jars!

Phirni or Firni is a mughal inspired North Indian/Pakistani milk-rice dessert, typically set in small clay pots and garnished with saffron and rose petals! How exotic does it sound!

A bit of pink

A bit of pink

So, I was calling for some flowers, marigold and jasmine to be exact, required to decorate my little temple. But then added a few roses at the last moment. Soon, my house emanated such dizzy whiffs of flowers, cardamom and boiled sweetened milk, that the effect made everyone say “whats cooking?” 🙂

A thing of beauty if joy forever

A thing of beauty if joy forever

He never cared for roses, still doesn’t. But I have a special affinity towards them. Roses are the ultimate romantic meridian of my firm belief in hope and love. And when I set up my shoot area with props and phirni cups and jars, the flowers hold a special place.

They brought such joy and beauty that John Keats ‘Endymion’ kept popping in my head. I played with the colours, the placements. I took innumerable shots(which were not so pleasurable when I sat down to edit 😉 ) The little girl danced about offering me any assistance that I called for. I was in my own space.. a very happy space indeed. It seems weird how something so trivial and ephemeral can lift my spirits and make me dream incredible dreams if only for some fleeting spell.

Garnish with rose petals

Garnish with rose petals

A couple of teaspoons of rose-water or essence and tiny petals from the roses take this dessert to really another realm. It’s not the taste of the petal though …it’s the perfume from the flower that lingers on your taste buds and make the entire ensemble so inviting.

Add freshness with fruits

Add freshness with fruits

I served the rice pudding with chopped fresh fruits green apples, pomegranate and orange segments. I wish had some berries, I can only imagine the tartness and all that juice from the colourful berries complimenting the cardamom and saffron!

Ideal party desserts

Ideal party desserts

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
  • a few strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tsp of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or as desired
  • pods of 1 cardamom – ground/powdered
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts like pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts
  • 2-3 drops of rose essence or 1 tbsp of rose water
  • 2 tbsp rose petals, I used the Indian rose, which has small thin natural petals. If the petals are huge, then chop or gently tear to smaller bits.
  • A cup of chopped fresh fruits to serve with
  • Method

    Grind soaked rice to a rava like consistency. Use few drops of milk if required. Keep aside. Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. When it starts boiling away, lower the flame and stir in the ground rice. On a low flame, cook the ground rice in milk till it starts to thicken.

    It is imperative to stir in intervals to prevent burning and from lumps being formed. Once the rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened considerably, stir in sugar, saffron strands and ground cardamom. Add chopped nuts. Simmer again for a while. Once done. Add rose-water or essence. Give it a good mix. Cool the pudding. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

    Serve with rose petals, chopped nuts and fresh fruits.

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Note: Fruits like apples, banana, pomegranate, oranges, berries, kiwi, custard apple go very well with phirni.

    Make some, you won't regret

    Make some, you won’t regret

    This creamy dreamy dessert goes to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta – a weekly Visual Potluck.

    Ragda Pattice

    Ragda Pattice

    Ragda Pattice

    Yet another Mumbai chaat. Fast food. Street Food. Junk Food. His Food. Everybody loves kinda food 🙂
    Since I am not a fan of chaat especially this one, I hardly ever make it. You know how it is, when we cook things that usually we like and somehow forget to make that we don’t? Does it happen to you?

    Unconsciously I was doing that. I cook what I crave to eat. And chaat, a medley of deep fried crackers and vegetables and lots of Indian fried junk, all infused with sweet, spice and sour – is not on my list. Yea, I know I’m insane. Almost everyone I know love it! I don’t know how I missed the bus.
    I once had a 60 year old friend visiting us from San Fran and he asked for pani puris. I was like.. will you be able to take the heat?!! He enjoyed every morsel while I skeptically held a bottle of bisleri ready for him.

    Potato Pattice roasted nice and golden

    Potato Pattice roasted nice and golden

    This so called snack requires so many little things that most people I know eat it for a meal rather than a refreshment. It takes hardly any effort to put it together.. that is, once you have all the stuff with you. A bit of planning, a bit of prepping and you can make this in no time! Yet, I thought of this yummy tangy sweet plate of chaat after ages… I simply forgot about it.

    Well, this one is his favourite, he really likes any chaat. Especially Mumbai street food. So he was in for a surprise when the answer to his mundane whats-for-dinner was Ragda Pattice. The name’s intriguing.
    Essentially, deep fried potato cutlets(-the pattice bit) are dunked in a yellow dried peas gravy(the ragda), topped with tamarind chutney, green mint chutney, chopped vegetables and garnished with lots of thin fine sev and coriander leaves.
    Instead of deep frying the cutlets, I chose to add a bit of cornflour and sauté them with a tsp of oil on a non stick pan. It works just fine.

    She had it for the first time. Yes, no kidding!

    She had it for the first time. Yes, no kidding!

    The Recipe-

    Ingredient

    Potato Patties or Cutlets

    • 1 kg boiled potatoes
    • 4 tsp cornflour
    • 1/2 tsp red chill powder
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
    • a bit of oil to roast them in a non stick pan.

    Ragda or Yellow Peas Curry

    • 1 cup dried yellow peas, soaked overnight or for 7-8 hours.
    • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger garlic
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

    To assemble: one plate of ragda pattice:

    • 2 potato cutlets
    • 4 tbsp ragda
    • 1 tsp green chutney
    • 1 tsp tamarind chutney
    • 1/2 tsp each of chopped onions, tomato and grated carrot
    • 1/2 tsp thinly sliced ginger and green chilies – optional
    • 1 tbsp of fine sev
    • sprinkle of chaat masala
    • a dash of lime
    • coriander leaves to garnish
    The whole deal

    The whole deal

    Method

    For the Pattice – mash the boiled potatoes, add salt, red chill powder, cornflour and coriander leaves. Mix and mash well. Then grab small handfuls of the mixture and make flat balls out of them. Preferable refrigerate for at least an hour. This makes the batter firm and the end result crisp.

    When ready to use, heat a pan, add a tsp of oil. Roast these cutlets till golden brown and crisp.

    Note: Cornflour is the magical ingredient! It binds and prevents from splitting the patty. the crunch in the cutlet is enhanced by refrigeration and the cornflour.

    Note: You can deep fry them if desired, in which case, to prevent splitting, add a slice or two of crushed bread and definitely refrigerate for a couple of hours.

    Note: You can bake them too!

    Love this Carb!

    Love this Carb!

    For the Ragda – Boil the yellow pea with 3 cups of water, salt, turmeric and crushed ginger garlic. I pressure cook the peas. Its faster. If you do not have a cooker, boil them in a covered pot till mushy. Since dried peas/beans are major defaulters in hindering digestion, I would suggest soak and then boil it well. Usually not-properly cooked beans or pulses cause a lot of gas and discomfort.

    Note: I use the boiled ragda as it is. But some people add a tempering of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

    Note: Ragda can be eaten as it is, top with the chutneys and chopped onions, tomatoes and finish off with a bit of lime and chaat masala. Its like a thick tangy sweet spicy stew! In Mumbai some enjoy it with a piece of pav or dinner roll.

    The Ragda, whole yellow dried peas curry

    Ragda, whole yellow dried peas curry

    Now for the final Plating:

    Place 2 cutlets on a plate, pour 3/4 tbsp of ragda over it. Drop a tsp of green mint and tamarind chutney each. Dot with chopped onions, tomatoes and grated carrot. If using julienne ginger, add now. Sprinkle chaat masala and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and sev.

    Serve immediately!

    Note: Potatoes and dried peas are highly gaseous and not so easy to digest. So I usually add a lot of raw julienne pickled ginger.

    Thats what a ragda lattice plate looks like

    Thats what a ragda pattice plate looks like

    I am taking this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26. Do take a peek to see other awesome entries all in one post.

    Spinach Indian Flatbread or Palak Parathas with Potato Saute

    You don’t really appreciate something unless it makes its presence felt in a loud clamoring manner.

    Color was never that important to me until my daughter was born. Fascinated by pink, attracted to red, intrigued by green.. colors are a very essential component of my little girl’s life.

    I was amazed how intrinsically she attributes her varied emotions to colors. Red is when she is in foul mood, yellow when feeling good, orange is funny and pink when happiest. Black and white are boring for the 6 year old, so they are never mentioned. There is no particular reasoning for her specifics… they just are.

    Palak ke parathe and sukhe alu ki sabzi

    Palak ke parathe and sukhe alu ki sabzi

    So along with crayons, dresses, shoes, furniture and other paraphernalia, we make sure the food is well colored too. Well, not one to use synthetic colors in our daily diet, we mothers usually satiate the child’s fancy in alternative ways. Nature is abundant, giving and generous.

    Green is in

    Green is in

    The color of the day was green so spinach it was! I made beetroot pink parathas some time back and the recipe was surely a winner. Similar but not same, these spinach or palak(in Hindi) parathas are soft, nutritious and yes Green 🙂

    Soft Perfect Rolls

    Soft Perfect Rolls

    Team it up with a simple potato saute and you are so good to go. A dry potato saute used to be a big hit in my mom’s house. It still is. Mother makes it with just some simple spices, boiled potatoes and lime juice! I could never replicate it.

    How good does that look?

    How good does that look?

    Spinach Parathas:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta
    • 1 bunch of spinach, washed and blanched
    • 2-3 green chilies – optional
    • salt to taste
    • 1 tsp ajwain or carrom seeds
    • less than 1/4 tsp sugar – I mean very little
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic – optional
    • curds or yoghurt – if required
    • ghee/oil/butter for roasting the flatbread or parathas

    Method

    Blanch spinach. Grind it using no water with green chilies, garlic, salt and sugar. The paste should be smooth and fine. Not coarse.

    Take the flour in a big mixing bowl, make a well in the center, add the spinach puree along with salt for the flour and carrom seeds. Knead into a soft pliable dough. Chances are you will not need water or anything else to get the flour together. The puree will be enough, but just in case you do, try using spoonfuls of yoghurt or curds. Once done, knead well. Keep aside, covered for 30 minutes.

    Ready to be rolled

    Ready to be rolled

    Heat a flat griddle or tawa. Grab handfuls of the dough, roll them out into thin rounds. Place on hot tawa/griddle, and using very little oil/ghee/butter, roast from both sides.

    Serve with potato saute or caramelized onions or any vegetable curry and a bowl of yoghurt.

    A complete healthy meal

    A complete healthy meal

    Some important pointers –

    • Spinach is best blanched in wilting the leaves in hot water for 3-4 minutes, then immediately running them in cold water. This retains the fabulous color.
    • Sugar while grinding the blanched spinach helps in masking the slight bitterness of the green when grounded.
    • Curd/Yoghurt in your dough will yield soft melt in the mouth parathas.
    • These parathas are ideal for lunch-boxes or as take aways.
    Sukhe Alu

    Sukhe Alu

    Potato Saute:

    In a wok, heat a tbsp of oil( yes, a little more than required), splutter 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, add 1/4 tsp of asafoetida/hing, 3-4 curry leaves, 1 split green chili, a cup full of chopped boiled potatoes. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of red chili powder(or as required), 1/2 tsp amchur powder(dry mango powder), 1/4 tsp garam masala. Mix well. Switch flame off. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves.

    Serve with parathas or rice or even bread. Great when you are traveling or for lunch-boxes and tiffins.

    Good to go

    Good to go

    I don’t see Milee’s color enchantment ending anywhere soon, so till then we mothers will keep inventing, experimenting, exploring and trying.

    Sev Puri

    A Biteful of joy

    A Biteful of joy

    This post is going to be a short one. Hopefully.

    When I sit to write, the river of words just gushes forth as if waiting for the dam to be opened. I try so hard to write small. But its all in vain. So today since I am already short on time, I have promised myself to keep it short, sweet and simple.

    Oh wait. Cant be sweet. It’s a savoury, tangy spicy and sweet post. 🙂

    Pick me up

    Pick me up

    We jiffed up this chaat when I made the tamarind dip. But completely forgot about posting the assorted dishes made on that day using the amazing, very versatile tamarind dip. Oh Well! Better late than never.

    Crunchy Bites

    Crunchy Bites

    As you know, “chaat” is a big hit in my house. the father daughter duo can thrive on it for dinner everyday. Of course, I don’t give in to their demands. Chaat is Indian Junk street food. So we indulge, but once in a while.

    Here, I have the very famous Mumbai special, Sev puri recipe. With all the ingredients in hand, it takes hardly a couple of minutes to assemble and less than that to devour 😉

    An evening snack for most indians

    An evening snack for most indians

    The recipe:

    To make 1 plate of 10 sev puris:

    Ingredients

    10 flat savoury crackers/puris
    1 boiled potato, mashed
    1 onion, chopped
    2 tbsp any bundi namkeen – very hard to describe in English :(.. so sorry.
    1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
    juice of 1/2 a lime
    10 small dots(almost like 1/4 tsp each) of green chutney
    10 small dots of tamarind chutney
    chaat masala to sprinkle
    Extra thin chaat sev to sprinkle and garnish
    Optional: chopped tomato and 1 tbsp of garlic red chutney

    Method

    Arrange the puris on a flat serving plate or tray.
    Mix the boiled potato, onion, little coriander leaves, the bundi namkeen and if you are using tomatoes, then add them too. Sprinkle little chaat masala. Mix well. Keep aside.

    Now to each puri, drop a bit of the above mixture, just enough to cover each puri. Dab the chutneys, one by one. Sprinkle chaat masala and lime juice. Garnish with sev and coriander leaves.

    Serve immediately, else the toppings soften the puris up.

    Beckoning Enough?!

    Beckoning Enough?!

    In Mumbai, garlic chutney is added to most chaat dishes. A wee bit brightens the plate. Husband is a big sucker for garlic chutney. But since I did not have it on that day, we made the chaat sans garlic. If you have it in your pantry, do dab a bit and tantalize your taste buds.

    Is it short enough?! 🙂 Yay! Thank me for not boring you today. Just for today.

    This post is my entry to Vardhini’s(of CooksJoy) Chaat and Chutneys Event.

    Green Chutney

    This spicy Indian green dip is a must have in all Indian refrigerators! Extremely versatile in its uses, this green condiment has many variations as a recipe. Sometimes I throw in some onion for more kick and sometimes a tablespoon of curd/yoghrut is all that it takes to mitigate the fire from the green chilies.

    Go Green

    Go Green

    I make different variations depending on what my refrigerator and pantry has to offer. Each version tastes as different as well as similar as the other… you get what I mean? Don’t let my language baffle you, all Im trying to say is, the variations taste more or less the same, except for one or two key ingredient which can distinctively alter the taste. ( no, I am not bonkers…don’t look for family, they mislead.:) )

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup coriander leaves, thin tender stalks included, washed well
    • 1/4 cup mint leaves
    • 5-6 green chilies, or according to your taste
    • 1 tiny piece of ginger
    • Juice of 1 whole lime
    • 1 tbsp of roasted channa dal(daalia) or a piece of coconut or roasted peanuts
    • salt to taste
    • Optional: 1 small onion and 1 tablespoon of curd

    Method

    In a mixer jar, throw in all the ingredients, try and use very little water. Grind to a fine paste.
    Remove in a glass jar, use as required and refrigerate the rest. Stays good up to 2-3 days.

    Note: the roasted channa dal/peanut/coconut is put in to add some body to the chutney. An aunt also uses cucumber as a thickener, but I am not a fan of that taste, hence I avoid it. Peanuts taste best, but make sure they are fresh and not stale n smelling.

    Note: Do not skip the lime juice, it adds tartness as well as helps maintain the green color of the chutney.

    Note: If you do not have any mint leaves, its not a problem, coriander alone can kick enough…er… ruckus on your palette 🙂

    What some people do: Make a huge batch, freeze the dip in ice cube trays, de mould and pack away in a ziploc bag and deep freeze.
    When in need, remove as many chutney pieces you require, thaw and use!

    Spicy green mint coriander chutney

    Spicy green mint coriander chutney

    Uses:
    1. As a dip with starters like samosa/cutlets/pakoras/vegetable fritters
    2. As a spread on bread/tortillas/wraps
    3. With rice and dal / pulao / pilaaf
    4. With steamed savories like dhokla/idlis
    5. In chaat! – pani puri/ragda pattice/sev puri/dahi puri.
    Endless .. Endless… Endless!

    so, now you see the varied uses of this spicy green must have in any Indian kitchen!