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Posts Tagged / Indian Food

TIL MAWA LADDU / तिल मावे के लड्‍डू (Indian style Sesame Seeds Confection)

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WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI & LOHRI 

Remember these Gur Parathas (Jaggery filled Flatbread) that I had made last year for Makar Sankranti? They were delicious with that wonderful and fragrant filling of desiccated coconut, spices, nuts and jaggery and so perfect for the winter season. Here is another recipe that is specific to Makar Sankranti. Til (sesame), gur (jaggery) and kite flying are synonymous with this day; rather the celebrations are incomplete without these three being there. Read more about this festival. This time I have ditched the jaggery and gone for the mawa and sugar (not the healthiest choice I know but aren’t winters about some indulgence!?)

I have used a mix of white and black sesame seeds but it is more for aesthetic purpose (basically for the laddus in the pictures to pop out some color) but you can go with all white or all black. And before I take you to the recipe, the two things that need care while making these laddus is, one, to not over roast the sesame seeds. They need to be toasted on medium heat (stirring all the while) till they just begin to change color and you hear one or two crackles from the sesame seeds. Immediately transfer them to a plate and you will be able to hear them gently crackling even after you remove them from heat. Even a little over-toasting will make the sesame seeds go bitter. So be watchful and careful. And second, do not over roast the mawa / khoya either else it will dry out and the laddus won’t bind together well. I learnt this by wasting a whole batch once. Once you have crossed these two little hurdles the laddus are a nutty aromatic delight to indulge in.

¾ C White Sesame Seeds

2 tbsp Black Sesame Seeds

3 tbsp Almonds

250 grams Mawa / Khoya (reduced milk)

1 – 1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

¾ C Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sugar / Icing Sugar)

In a pan roast white sesame seeds on medium heat gently and continuously tossing them around in the pan with a spoon or spatula. Once they begin to change color and you hear a crackle or two from the pan immediately decant the seeds on to a plate. Set aside to cool.

Repeat the same procedure for black sesame seeds. Remove the seeds in a separate plate or bowl and allow to cool.

In the same pan toast the almonds on low heat for a few minutes or till they just begin to change the color. Remove in a bowl and allow to cool.

Pulse the white sesame seeds (each pulse should be of a second or two else the seeds will release their oil) to a coarse or fine powder (which ever is desirable to you).

Remove the powdered white sesame seeds in a mixing bowl and add sugar and cardamom powder to it along with cooled black sesame seeds.

Repeat the same process with the almonds and add them to the above ingredients. Set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan (I use a wok/ kadahi) roast the khoya/ mawa on medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes. (I prefer grating it over crumbling for easy roasting)

Switch off the heat and add the sugar – sesame seed mix and using mix everything well.

Be careful of the heat when you are ready to roll the laddus. Start making the laddus when you are ready enough to handle the heat of the mixture.

If the mixture sticks to your hands while making laddus, moisten your hands a little and they will easily roll.

Note – I advice you sieve the confectioners sugar to get rid of any lumps and for easy assimilation in the laddu mixture.

Yield – 15 Laddus (the size shown in the picture)

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

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CREAM CHICKEN / मलाई मुर्ग

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Before you judge this post being another one on heavy and rich Cream Chicken, let me assure you at the onset that it is nowhere close to ‘loaded with cream’ kind of recipe. Just because this is supposed to be cream chicken does not mean that I have to load it with cream or even add cream to it at all! You read that right – no cream at all. There are ways to cheat on that without compromising on taste. For instance, I used really thick hung curd (also called yogurt cream) for one. And to give the curry that luscious texture, I added almond paste to the sauce. These two ensure that the chicken is creamy and ‘seemingly’ rich but without the heaviness of the cream. And of course guilt free as well 😀 I used 2% milk instead of cream and trust me, these three elements changed the rules for prepping this chicken curry. Don’t listen to the purists! The curry tastes great and and the texture is beautifully luscious and creamy, probably not rich but great, nevertheless.

The key points that one needs to keep in mind are – one, this is a milk/ nut based curry so it will be a little bit towards the sweeter side. To counter and cut through the sweetness, we need to ensure that we add a healthy amount green chlies and black pepper to the curry. I am not talking about the intense heat here but the mellow one; the one that lingers lightly on the palate. Second, do not leave out the dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) since it adds nice warm flavors besides giving the dish some depth of flavour. Third, lemon in marination is must since it tenderises the meat.

For Marinade

1½ tsp Lemon Juice

750 – 800 grams Chicken (cut to medium size pieces)

½ C thick hung Yogurt

½ tsp grated Ginger

½ tsp grated Garlic

For Paste

10 – 12 soaked Almonds (depending on size of almonds)

A few tsp Milk

For Curry

2 – 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil or Rice Bran Oil (I always use mustard oil)

1 Bay Leaf

6 – 8 Green Cardamoms

¾ C thinly sliced Onion (1 medium)

1 tbsp chopped Green Chilies

½ tsp finely chopped Ginger

½ tsp finely chopped Garlic

½ C chopped fresh Coriander (cilantro)

½ – ¾ C Milk (as required)

1 tsp dry & ground Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)

Spices

½ tsp freshly ground White Peppercorns

¾ tsp Coriander Powder

A dash of lime juice (optional)

Salt to taste

½ tsp Garam Masala Powder

Wash and pat dry the chicken. Transfer it to glass bowl in which the chicken is going to be marinated.

Make small slits or poke the thicken chicken pieces and drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken. Keep aside for 10 minutes

Meanwhile mix the grated ginger and garlic to hung yogurt and pour over the chicken.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap and keep it in fridge for at least two hours. I always prefer keeping it marinated overnight.

Make a smooth paste with almonds and a few teaspoons of milk.

Take a pan or kadahi (wok) and heat the oil (smoke it if you are using mustard oil). Reduce heat and add bay leaf and cardamoms. Fry for a few seconds. Increase the heat to maximum/ high and add sliced onions. Fry till the onions becomes translucent.

Add green chilies and chopped ginger & garlic. Fry till they become aromatic and the onions just begin to turn golden brown.

Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. (if the hung curd you used was thick enough, there will be no liquid in the chicken)

Also add the almond paste along with the chicken and cook for a few minutes on medium low heat.

After two minutes of frying of low heat, increase the heat and keep frying while, stirring gently intermittently (to prevent the contents from catching at the bottom) for another 7 – 10 minutes.

Reduce heat and add salt. Cover cook for 10 more minutes and then add milk along with crushed pepper, coriander powder and garam masala. Cover and cook the chicken till it is done.

Check for the consistency of chicken. If the curry is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk or water while it is still hot.

Stir in the garam masala powder and half of the chopped fresh coriander.

Add a dash of lime if you wish to; it will bring the flavors together.

Garnish the chicken with the rest of the coriander and serve with Naan or any flatbread of your choice. ENJOY!

Note: I suggest that you taste the chicken before adding lime juice towards the end of the cooking coz if your yogurt is sour, you won’t need the lime juice.

Note: I lightly roast the kasuri methi on a skillet before crushing and adding to the curry.

Note: The curry should have a medium thick gravy. Mine thickened while it cooled and as I was taking pictures.

Note: Feel free to use 6% milk if you wish to.

Serves – 4 to 6

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

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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)

Thanks for visiting. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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