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Posts Tagged / Indian Spices

GUR KA HALWA / गुड़ का हलवा (Jaggery Semolina Pudding)

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WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI 

If you are wondering what struck me on head for uploading a Halwa post in the midst of hot and sultry Indian summer, well there are two reasons. One, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins from 25th of this month and the other reason is that I am making the most of the beautiful and cool monsoon weather here, which will start to recede in a few days’ time and usher in the hot and sultry two months of autumn. The pleasant cool and breezy weather has provided me all the reasons to indulge in this hot bowl of comfort. I have posted a few halwa recipes earlier; one of them being a similar halwa but sweetened with sugar. It is similar to that halwa but with a little tweaking here and there. We have been trying to make conscious effort to include less of refined sugar in our desserts and bakes. And this halwa is one such dessert in that endeavour; the other being the Sabudana Kheer I posted for Diwali last year. I intend to share more of such desserts that have been sweetened with jaggery (gur) in times to come. While I sit curled up at my favourite spot in the house, enjoying the rains with a comforting bowl of this halwa, you grab the recipe and do try it in your kitchen 🙂

½ C Milk

1 pinch Saffron

2 C Water

100 – 120 grams Gur (Jaggery) – adjust sweetness

¾ tsp Cardamom powder

6 – 7 tbsp melted Ghee

1 C Semolina (Suji)

Assorted nuts to garnish

Soak saffron in warm milk for at least an hour to allow the flavours and color to steep. Set aside.

Scrap the jaggery and melt it in water (I do this by placing a pan with jaggery and water on heat and stirring the contents till the jaggery just melts. You do NOT need to cook it). Sieve the contents and add cardamom powder to it and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan or kadahi (wok), melt the ghee on medium heat and fry the semolina till it attains golden brown color and becomes aromatic.

Add saffron milk and jaggery water and cook on high heat stirring vigorously till the liquid is absorbed. (Be careful the hot contents will splatter around.) Keep in mind that the halwa will absorb the liquid further on as it sits and so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Remove from heat and serve garnished with nuts of your choice. Enjoy!

Note: If you want, you can dry roast the nuts or fry them in a little ghee before serving.

Note: Keep the amount of jaggery to 100 grams if you like your dessert less sweet and if you prefer more sweetness, increase it to 120 grams.

Note: Feel free to add a little cane sugar (gur shakkar) if you want to add more sweetness. Stir it in a little milk and heat it along with the halwa.

Serves 6 – 8

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

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IDLI w/ KATHIRIKAI GOTHSU / इडली और बैंगन की चट्नी (Steamed Lentil & Rice Cakes with Aubergine Chutney)

STEAMED RICE & LENTIL CAKES WITH SPICY, HOT, SWEET & SOUR AUBERGINE CHUTNEY

During the time when I was holding a corporate job, a colleague of mine brought a chutney that looked like the most unappetising thing I had ever laid my eyes on 😛 “I got this for you. Try this and tell me what you think about it” was all he said. His wife was a fabulous cook and despite the ‘thing’ looking so unappetising, I did not cast a doubt on her cooking skills. Yet, I gingerly picked a spoon and took a little of it and very apprehensively put the contents of the spoon in my mouth. I was knocked off by the taste of what ever I had just tasted. The appearance and the taste were diametrically opposite to each other. I greedily took a couple of spoons and started going gaga over it. Suddenly, he said to me “do you know what it is made of?” I couldn’t care less what it was made of since I loved it and given an opportunity, I would have polished and licked off the entire bowl!! “This is made from brinjal,” he said while rolling with glee and laughter. Eggplant (Brinjal) or what we call baingan, never figured anywhere on my list of palatable vegetables and my colleague knew this all too well. I was shocked by the revelation and could not utter a word for a few seconds. Brinjal could taste this good??!?!?

It was then that I came to realise, that no vegetable or any ingredient for that matter is good or bad in its taste. It all depends on how well it has been treated/ cooked and that brinjal chutney was the evidence to that belief. I thanked him for helping me change my stance about eggplant and since then there has been no looking back. My wonderful colleague even shared the recipe with me that his wife graciously wrote for me. So that is the story behind that hideous looking bowl of chutney in which you see the idlis dunked in happily! This recipe lives up to the hindi idiom of “soorat pe nahi seerat pe jao” (roughly translated to – do not go by appearance instead consider the character)

My colleague was a Tamilian and for long I didn’t know what the native name for this dish was since he simply told me to consider it brinjal khichdi or brinjal chutney and it was meant to be consumed with idlis and dosa. A little search on google told me that it is apparently called vankaya pachadi. However recently I saw someone on Instagram mentioned it as gothsu. Whatever the name, all I can tell you is, it’s really yum.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients, however, feel free to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

For Chutney

175 gram small Baingan (Brinjal/ Eggplant)

½ tsp grated Ginger

3 Green Chilies (mine were small sized & super hot)

1 Tomato (60 grams approx)

1½ C Water

For tempering:

1½ tbsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ C finely chopped Onions

1 spring Curry Leaves

1 tsp thick Tamarind Pulp (I used readymade)

¼ C Water

Salt to taste

2 tsp Jaggery powder (adjust to taste)

In a sauce pan, add all the ingredients under the chutney category and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the saucepan and let the contents boil for 15 minutes.

Switch off the heat and allow the contents to cool down a little and then blend them in a blender. Set aside.

Add the tamarind pulp to one fourth cup of water and mix it well. Sieve it and set aside.

In a frying pan or a sauce pan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Add onions and fry till they turn transluscent. .Add curry leaves and fry till the onions turn begin to turn golden.

Add the blended brinjals to the tempering. Stir for half a minute.

Now add tamarind water and salt. Stir well and allow the contents to cook on a gentle heat to thicken the chutney a little bit (adjust to desired consistency).

Switch off the heat and stir in the jaggery powder. Taste the chutney and adjust seasonings.

 

FOR IDLIS

(RICE & LENTIL FERMENTED CAKES)

1 C Raw Rice (uncooked rice)

¾ C Urad Dal, skinless (Ivory Lentils)

Salt to taste

Pick and wash the rice & dal separately and soak them separately as well for 5 hours

Grind the dal using very little water and set aside.

Grind the rice using little water.

Mix the two together and add salt. Using very little water make a thick batter.

Cover the container. Set it aside at a warm place to ferment for for 6 – 8 hours (depending on the weather conditions) or preferably over night.

Grease the idli moulds with a little oil and pour the batter into the moulds. Add water to your idli steamer (read the user manual) and steam the idlis for 12 – 15 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the idli comes out clean. Remove from the moulds and serve with chutney of your choice.

Note: In case you do not have idli moulds, you can steam the batter in small cake tin or mould and the slice and serve the ‘idlis’.

Note: I had added turmeric to the idli batter and before pouring the batter into the mould, I had added a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal and a few finely chopped curry leaves.

Yield: Makes 24 Idlis

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

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AAM KI LAUNJI / आम की लौंजी (Spicy Mango Chutney)

The recipe for this chutney has been in my draft folder for over four years now and somehow could never make it to the blog. Now that I was busy getting ready some posts to help me sail through the time while I will be busy settling down in Mumbai, I knew it about time to share this one along with a string of others. Each time I plan of uploading it, I plan to reshoot it and each time some how it never happened. This time around too I knew that if I plan and wait to reshoot it, this recipe will never see the light of the day! 😛 Every Indian household has its own favorite chutney recipe and the mango chutney too has a lot many variations. We love the flavours of Indian five spice or the panch phoran in ours and they made their way in this chutney as well just as they did in the Tomato Chutney. One thing is assured that you will love the spicy, hot, sweet and sour chutney. Enjoy it with rice & dal, samosa, fritters, paranthas or simply enjoy spoonfuls of the it on its own like my husband does 😀

½ kg Raw Green Sour Mangoes (unripe ones)

1½ tbsp Mustard Oil (preferably)

1 cup Sugar or Jaggery (scrap it using knife or peeler)

½ tsp Black Salt

¼ tsp Regular Salt

2-3 whole Red Chilies, coarsely ground

For Panch Phoran

¼ tsp each of Cumin Seeds, Nigella Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Fennel Seeds and Fenugreek Seeds

Wash the mangoes and dry them with the kitchen towel. Peel the mangoes and dice them to the size of your choice. I could procure nearly two and a half cups of diced mango from half a kilo of whole mangoes. Discard the stones (गुठली).

In a non-corrosive pan or wok, heat the oil and bring to smoking point. Switch off the heat and let it cool for a while.

Switch on the heat and keep it at medium. Add the panch phoran and once it starts crackling (it might splutter), add turmeric and coarsely ground chilli powder (be careful not to burn them) and immediately add the diced mango pieces. Cook the mango for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the diced mango ensuring it doesn’t turn mushy. Stir the contents often to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning.

Add the salt and jaggery or sugar (whatever you are using) and lower the heat to minimum. The contents will become somewhat watery. Stir the ingredients and cook covered for another 5-7 minutes. Cool and transfer to dry air tight jar.

Note: Cooking time of the mangoes will depend on the thickness of the diced mango pieces.

Note: The launji will thicken on cooling so ensure to not overcook it in an attempt to thicken it.

Note: Keep the launji refrigerated. It will stay for 5-7 days.

Note: The color of the launji will depend on how mature/aged the jaggery is. The mature the jaggery, darker the colour.

Note: Do NOT add water at any stage of cooking the chutney.

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

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