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GUR KA PARANTHA / गुड़ का परांठा (Jaggery Flatbread)

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HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI EVERYONE

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“Let food be your medicine” is an excellent piece of advice, one that we all should abide by. Winters truly are the times for indulgence and when one is able to indulge in foods that not just please your taste buds but also do you good by protecting you against cold, cough and flu, you know you are in a win win situation. Gur ka parantha is one of those dishes. I was introduced to gur ka parantha by my late Nani (maternal grandmother). As kids we used to religiously visit her during every summer vacation but as we grew older, the pressures of high school and college ensured that we spent lesser and lesser time with her. So once during my college winter break I decided to visit her for a short time. She always had this thing in her mind whenever any of her grand kids visited her, that they should not fall sick or injure themselves while on their holiday with her. She would always feel that we kids should go back to our homes safe and sound, just as we had arrived. And it so happened that I managed to catch a nasty cold on that visit to her. She was all worked up and instead of taking me to the doctor, made gur ka parantha for me. She fed me with the parantha twice that day. The gur was so helpful in arresting the cold that the next day I had no runny or stuffy nose. I was amazed at the healing quality of gur. She had simply used the grated jaggery for using as a filling for the flatbread. I have tried to amp the health value and enhance the taste of her recipe by adding spices and nuts to it. You can swap nuts with sesame seeds if you are allergic to nuts.

Gur is made and used extensively across north India during winter season. Swap it with sugar in your Kheer or Cake or Chutney. I developed taste of jaggery pretty late in life but once I did, there has been no looking back.

For Dough

1½ C Aata (Whole Meal/ Wheat Flour) plus extra for rolling

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Ghee or Oil

½ C plus a few tbsp Water

For Filling

½ C grated Gur (Jaggery)

½ C Shredded Dry Coconut (Khopa)

1/3 C slivered Almonds (or you can crush the almonds and use them)

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

2 tsp Fennel Seeds

2 tbsp Chhuhara / Dried Dates (optional) finely chopped

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In a plate or thali, mix turmeric with flour. Add the oil and mix with hands. Now using water, a little at a time, make medium soft dough. Keep it aside for 20 minutes.

Gently mix together the grated jaggery, almonds, cardamom powder, fennel seeds and chhuhara using a fork or spoon. (do not use hands to mix as the warmth of hands will melt jaggery and the mixture will be turn lumpy)

Make six equal sized balls of the dough and keep aside. Place the tawa or griddle on heat.

Using a rolling pin and flour, roll one ball to four inch size disc. Scoop in the filling and bring the edges together. Seal the edges and flatten it over the dough. Dust it in flour and roll it again, using a little flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll to six inch size disc/ parantha.

Transfer the parantha to the tawa and cook on medium heat. Flip the parantha once the top begins to change colour. Flip again when you see the parantha rising at places or when the bottom begins to turn light brown in colour. Apply oil and flip to fry it. Keep rotating the parantha to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and apply ghee. Serve hot.

Roll and cook the rest of the balls in the similar fashion and serve hot.

Note: Once you are handling the parantha on heat, be very careful as the melting hot jaggery is capable of giving a nasty burn.

Note: Feel free to alter the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

Yield: 6 Parathas

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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BAKED CHICKEN KORMA / बेक्ड चिकन कोरमा

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Curries don’t always need to be stirred in a pot. They don’t always have to be rich in masala. They don’t have to be rich in fat. They don’t have to be tedious to make. Rather, curries can taste great even when baked…yes baked! The trick however is a good flavourful marination that will ensure that your baked curry tastes as good as the regular one. The textures may be different but the taste would be nearly the same. But before I begin with the recipe for this korma, there are a few things you need to know about it. To begin with, it is

A mild curry

Packed with flavours

Oil free

Low on fat

No fuss, well almost

I got inspired by this recipe. The moment I saw it, I immediately knew that I had to turn it in to a korma. My recipe for korma had to be revamped to turn it into a baked one. This recipe uses minimum amount of oil and using hung yogurt ensures that you need to use no cream at all! Feel free to go for full fat yogurt if you may. This is not a curry that requires time or one that needs to be planned as a weekend project. You can enjoy this curry on any day of the week. All that you need to do is ‘make’ hung yogurt by leaving yogurt on a sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslic cloth in the refrigerator over night (or maybe, you can use Greek yogurt instead). Prepare the marinade and marinate the chicken and you have a great meal waiting for you on a busy week day. I prefer to serve it with Malabar parotha, which are layered flaky flat bread and kachumber salad i.e. an onion, cucumber and tomato salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt. Making a curry was never this easy and so much fun!

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¾ C Yogurt (I used low fat)

6 pieces (600 grams) Chicken Thighs, skinless & on bones

1½ tbsp Lemon Juice

¾ C sliced Onions

2 tbsp Oil or Ghee

3 Green Chillies

¼ C chopped Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

½ tsp Garam Masala (adjust the amount accordingly to the strength of the masala)

½ tsp Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

Salt to taste (I had used ¾ tsp)

1 ½ tbsp Almond meal (Almond powder)

A few strands Saffron

1/3 C + 2 tbsp warm Milk

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Take a sieve and place it over a vessel that can hold it over the rim. Line the sieve with muslin cloth (hanging it loose over the edges) and pour the whipped yogurt onto it. Gently cover the yogurt with the cloth and set the vessel in the fridge over-night to attain hung yogurt. The vessel will catch all the drips. (Feel free to use Greek yogurt if available)

Add the saffron strands to 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside. (I keep it aside for at least an hour and half to intensify the flavour)

Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till light brown in color. Drain excess oil and keep them on an absorbent sheet. Set aside.

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make two deep parallel slit marks diagonally (with an inch gap between the two slits) across the plump side of the breast piece. In a baking dish arrange the chicken pieces and pour the lemon juice over it. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a grinder, make a smooth paste (marinade) with the hung yogurt, fried onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, saffron milk, fresh coriander, garam masala, green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder and almond meal. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the milk. Stir the marinade well to have a smooth consistency.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pour the marinade all over the chicken. Ensure that all pieces are well coated. And also that the marinade goes deep into the incisions as well.

Cover with a click wrap and refrigerate it for at least six hours. I prefer to keep the chicken marinated over-night. (More the marinated time, more succulent the chicken tends to be)

Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator half an hour before you intend to bake the chicken. Remove the cling wrap and bake the chicken uncovered at 180 degree for 45 – 50 minutes or till the chicken is done. Serve it with the bread of your choice or with potatoes and veggies.

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Note: I prefer using chicken on bone for curries since they add flavor to it. Feel free to use boneless thighs.

Note: Do not compromise on any of the ingredients. Saffron, yogurt and spices are fundamental to a korma recipe.

Serves – 3 – 4

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