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Posts Tagged / Indian cuisine

HARA CHANA BURFI / हरे चने की बर्फी (Green Garbanzo Beans Fudge)

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WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS DIWAL noI 

There have been phases where I have oscillated between being a non vegetarian and then switching back to being a vegetarian. I wasn’t always a non vegetarian. In my mother’s house, we rarely had chicken or mutton and fish was a rarity, except for fish fritters in winters. The emphasis was always on eating one’s veggies. The things however changed once I moved to my marital house where I encountered hard core carnivores. Everyday at least one meal would have fish, mutton or chicken. And if anyone in the house was not in a mood for vegetables on the menu, they would simply have an omelette with bread. So much of non veg food, was quite something for me to handle. There would come a point when I wouldn’t even want to hear the word chicken or fish. When we moved into our own house, I ensured that we incorporated more veggies in our meals. And last year, when I switched over to being a vegetarian, again, I tried to incorporate as many veggies and lentils & legumes that I possibly could, into my meals. I try cooking them in different ways so that they provide me with a healthy variety of meals.

Although green garbanzo beans are a seasonal produce, you can find them being sold in dried form just as regular black or white chick peas at your grocery store. Soak them the same way as well and you have them just as fresh green garbanzo beans would be. I enjoy them as a salad, in rice pilaf and as a curry or as this fudge here. The fudge takes very little time to get cooked and makes for a healthy and tasty dessert.

1 C Dry Green Chickpeas (Chholiya)

¼ C plus 1 tbsp Ghee

250 grams Khoya (Mawa)

¾ C Sugar (adjust to taste)

1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp finely sliced Pistachio

2 – 3 tbsp slivered Almonds

Pick, wash and soak the green chick peas in water for 5 – 6 hours. (I soaked them over night)

Drain the soaked chickpeas and grind them to a coarse paste (it is purely a matter of taste whether you like coarsely grained chick peas or want to turn them into a fine paste)

In a heavy bottom cooking pan or wok (kadahi), heat the ghee and add the chick pea paste.

Roast it for a minute on high flame stirring continuously and then reduce the heat and roast it till the colour begins to change and the raw smell is gone. (A total of 7 minutes approx.)

Add milk along with cardamom powder, two tablespoons pistachio and two tablespoons almonds and keep cooking on low heat for another two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside and cover it.

In another heavy bottom pan or kadahi, roast the mawa on low heat without adding any ghee.

Roast till the colour changes to golden.

Switch off from the heat and allow to cool. Add mawa and sugar to the roasted chick peas and mix it all well till everything is well incorporated.

Decant the contents in a plate or tray (mine was 9½ inches by 7 inch) and using a spatula spread it around and even it out. Level the surface and garnish with the remaining pistachios and almonds.

Cover with a cling wrap (with the cling wrap touching the contents as this will prevent any moisture to develop inside). Keep the tray in the refrigerator for the fudge to firm up so that you can slice it with ease.

Once it is firm, cut the fudge in slices of the size you desire and serve. Enjoy!

Note: In case you intend to use fresh green chick peas (when they are in season), here is an idea of the approximate weight – the soaked and drained weight of the garbanzo beans was approximately 370 grams (+ / -).

Yield: 15 slices

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GULAB JAMUNS (Milk Powder Dough balls in Fragrant Syrup)

The gulab jamun post has been there in my recipe archives since 2011. I am reposting it with some pictures this time around. Amongst all the Indian mithais, gulab jamun can be labelled as the king of them all, especially in the north India. You are most likely to find a recipe for gulab jamuns without fail on almost every blog or website dedicated to Indian food. I think rasogullas and gulab jamuns will win hands down as almost everyone’s favourite Indian confection.

In the year 2006, my husband was posted abroad for almost a year and to cater to one’s sweet tooth to traditional Indian sweets, one had to either rely on the Indian cooks working in some Indian restaurant or dish them out by ourselves. I didn’t quite like the preparation of the cooks who charged a bomb and still the taste was nowhere near satisfaction. I was at loss on how to make gulab jamuns at home since khoya/ mawa (reduced milk) was not available anywhere and making my own was too cumbersome a job. I usually avoid cooking very elaborate recipes. Indian traditional sweets, especially, are mostly quite elaborate and involve a lot of time and effort in either the preparation or the cooking. Exasperated I surfed the net for an easy gulab jamun recipe. Lucky for me, I happened to stumble upon a recipe that used milk powder. This recipe has been with me for over 10 years and after some heavy tweaking it has proved to be a fool proof one.

I had never before made any Indian sweets at home except for halwa or kheer. And at that point of time I wasn’t that confident about pulling it off. But making gulab jamuns with powder milk proved to be an absolute cakewalk! It is simple, easy and yields almost professional results. The gulab jamuns are soft and grainy, exactly the way they are supposed to be. For the syrup instead of using rose water (I can’t stand roses, rose flavour or rose water in my food or drink) I have used saffron and cardamom. On a closing note I can definitely claim that whenever I served the gulab jamuns at the parties, they were always a hit and I was bombarded with requests for its recipe. So go ahead and… INDULGE!!

Here is the recipe:

Syrup  

400 gm Sugar

400 ml Water

1 tsp Lemon Juice

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

A few strands of Saffron

Gulab Jamun Dough

1¼ C Milk Powder (unsweetened)

4 tbsp Maida (Flour)

¼ tsp Baking Soda (Bicarb of Soda)

50 ml Whipping Cream

1 – 2 tbsp milk (as required)

Ghee to deep fry the dough

Mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and place it on high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring to ensure that the sugar does not stick or crystallise at the bottom of the pan. Let t be on a rolling boil for 4 – 5 minutes yet careful not to bring the syrup to one string consistency.

 

Remove the pot from the heat and sieve the water to a casserole warmer and add the cardamom powder and saffrom strands. Close the lid and keep it aside.

Heat the ghee in a kadai (wok) or pan on medium low temperature. (I prefer a wok)

While the ghee is heating, whisk together the milk powder, maida and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add whipping cream and very gently mix it into flour. Add a tablespoon of milk to make soft sticky dough. DO NOT knread the dough. You just need to bring everything together. (Add the other table spoon of milk only if the dough looks dry)

Grease a plate with a little ghee and make 28 balls. Ensure that the balls are smooth else they will break or split while frying. Cover them with damp cloth.

In three to four batches fry the dough balls turning them gently every now and then to ensure even cooking and browning.

Once the dough turns brown, remove them from oil with slotted spoon and drop them in the syrup. Close the lid of the casserole warmer to allow the balls to soak the syrup.

Fry rest of the balls in a similar fashion. Allow the balls to remain in the syrup for atleast an hour or till the balls have absorbed the liquid and softened.

You can serve them with their syrup or drained. The gulab jamun is ready! Serve hot garnished with nuts. ENJOY!

Yield: 28 Gulab Jamuns (medium size)

 

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MASALA SUNDAL / मसाला सुंदल (Tempered & Stir fried Black Chickpeas) – GF & Vegan

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Sundal is a south Indian dish which is made as ‘prasadam’ i.e. an offering to the Gods. So you can imagine how good it has got to be! The sundals are usually made using kala chana (black chick peas) or safed chana (white chickpeas) and sometimes with peanuts. You can use either or both. In fact you can make it with practically anything that you fancy – chickpeas, green peas, corn, peanuts, black eyed beans, red kidney beans, mung beans or a healthy mix of a few of these. Having said that, I feel that black chickpeas with their robust and earthy flavors make for the best sundal. 

I had the opportunity to first taste it at a south Indian friend’s house approximately six years back and I enjoyed it for its crunchy (because of the fried lentil), herby, earthy flavours and of course its simplicity. I did not need to ask her for its recipe since I could easily make out all the ingredients from its taste. I was pretty happy the way it turned out and later a friend told me to coarsely grind the chana dal instead of adding it whole in the tempering and it did make a difference in taste. Although most people don’t do this but I added a dash of lemon to give it a zing and it kind of wraps up the whole thing so well. This recipe is perfect for an evening snack since it is packed with protein and iron. Delicious and nutritious! 

For Chana

1 C (200 grams) Kala Chana (Black Chick Peas)

¼ tsp Salt

For masala

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Chana dal

1 tsp whole Coriander Seeds

1 dry whole Red Chili

1 tsp grated Coconut

For tempering

2 tbsp Oil

A small pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

2 dry whole Red Chilies (broken into 2 – 3 pieces)

1 tsp Urad Dal (Ivory Lentils)

A sprig Curry Leaves

1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh Coriander (cilantro)

1 tbsp finely shredded, fresh Coconut

2 – 3 tsp Lemon juice (optional)

Pick and wish the kala chana and soak it enough water for at least eight hours (preferably over night).

Discard the water and transfer the chana in to a pressure cooker. Add a glass of water and salt. Pressure cook till two whistles escape.

The pressure cooker off the heat and wait for the pressure to get released on its own. Drain the chana and set aside. (you can reserve the water instead of draining it and use it for curries or pulav)

Meanwhile, dry toast the first three ingredients of the masala will the chana dals begins to turn golden. Add the grated coconut and roast further for a minute or two or till the chana dal begins to turn golden brown.

Cool the masala and grind it to a coarse powder in a spice mixer or grinder. Keep aside.

Take on in a wok or pan and add the oil. Heat the oil and add heeng, fry for a few seconds or till it becomes aromatic and golden brown.

Add mustard seeds, broken red chilies and urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden brown. Add curry leaves and add the chana along with the masala. Add a little salt as well.

Stir everything well. Remove from heat and add the fresh coriander, fresh coconut and lemon juice. Mix well.

Masala sundal is ready to be served as a snack or to be used as prashad.

Serves – 4 (as snack)

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