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Posts Tagged / Vrat ka Khana

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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PHOOL MAKHANA KHEER / फूल मखाना खीर (Fox nut Pudding)

Bite size pieces of white bread soaked in a bowl of sweetened warm milk used to be one of my favourite breakfasts as a kid. And when I first tasted this kheer, its texture reminded me of that bread soaked in milk; an almost rabdi like feel to it. The taste was of course different and cardamoms had made it fragrant and every spoonful was an absolute delight. Phool makhane or fox nuts are also know by other names such as gorgon nuts, lotus seeds, makhane, phool patasha, phool makhane. They are a great way to snack guilt free since they have zero fat! They are high in calcium and fibre, rich in anti oxidants, aid in digestion, strengthen the kidneys, help lower blood sugar and regulate blood pressure.

I tasted and learnt about makhane pretty much after my marriage. My mother in law used to roast them, add a little salt and black pepper and served them for snacks. You can add spices of your choice. These nuts can be enjoyed in both savoury and sweet form. The nut is pretty versatile and often used in curries, added to veggies and pilaf, and it is even used to thicken soup. This kheer is often consumed during Navratra days (Durga puja) by Hindus who observe fast for nine days and abstain from eating grains and even regular salt. So hailed is its status that an offering of this kheer is made to the Goddess Durga during the festival. Punjabis use these seeds as an offering of thanks to fire (for providing them warmth during the harsh winters) during the festival of Lohri. Grab the recipe for the kheer and enjoy it guilt free. I have used 6% milk (full fat) but you can swap it with 2% milk (toned milk) or even coconut milk to make it vegan friendly.

50 grams Makhane

1 litre plus 250 mls Milk

2½ measuring tbsp Sugar (feel free to swap it with jaggery)

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp Nuts of your choice

Boil milk in a thick bottom pot. (Boil on low heat to avoid it catching at the bottom and getting burnt)

While the milk is boiling, roast makhane on low heat till they slightly change color and become crunchy (i usually roast them covered, on low heat for about 10 mins and stir them every three to four minutes).

Cool the makhane and coarsely ground them using a mortar and pestle.

Once the milk has come to a boil, add the roasted and crushed makhane. Cook them on gentle heat, stirring it every now and then.

Cook till the milk becomes creamy and begins to thicken. (do not thicken too much as it will thicken further on cooling)

Switch off the heat and add sugar and cardamom.

Keep stirring to prevent formation of creamy layer on the top.

Add nuts and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note – The texture of the kheer is best enjoyed when warm or at room temperature.

Note – Check for sugar and add more if required since we use less sugar in our dessert.

Serves – 4 – 6

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This post was prepped during Navratras when it was supposed to get uploaded but due to some tech issue, I am able to upload it today. While I began prepping for this post, I realised that there aren’t many posts here that are related to Navratri, a period of fasting for nine days in Hindu calendar where many people abstain from using onion, garlic and grains in their food. Navratri in Hindi translates to nine nights and nine forms of mother shakti (female form and power), namely Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika or Tara, are worshiped through out india.The navratra occur apparently five times in a year but mainly two of them are observed especially in north India i.e. chaitra navratri which falls in March/April and sharad navratri which falls in October/November.  Of the two, sharad navratri is the one which is celebrated with lot of fervour and festivities across the country in different forms and ways.

During this period, people abstain from using wheat, rice, maize, semolina, grams, pulses, legumes and instead switch over to using buckwheat (kuttu), water chestnut flour (singhare ka aata), barn yard millet (sawankh or samvat ke chawal), fox nuts (makhane), amaranth, tapioca pearls/ sago (sabudana) besides including veggies like potatoes, pumpkins, sweet potato (shakarkand), indian yam (jiikand, oal, suran) and colocassia (arbi/ arvi) and raw green banana in their diet. Fruits are consumed for snacking and there is no restriction on milk and milk products. Sendha namake or rock salt to used to prepare food. And certain inclusion or exclusion of certain foods varies from region to region. Some people use flaxseeds during this time and some don’t, some consume sour foods while others abstain from it.

Keeping in mind the diet restrictions, I have tried to devise a navratri friendly recipe for these pumpkin patties. I have used flax seeds and quinoa which is a pseudo cereal; rather quinoa is seeds that are part of the family as amaranth. I purchased them recently on my holiday to US and what better time to begin using them than the auspicious navratra! And they turned out to be super scrumptious with the quinoa adding a nice bite to them.


250 gm Pumpkin

1 scant Cup Quinoa

1 C Water

2 tbsp Flaxseed powder

4 tbsp Almond flour

2 – 3 tbsp Water chestnut flour (if fasting, else you can use rice flour)

2 tsp Green chili, chopped (adjust to taste)

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Madras curry powder

½ tsp Red Chilli powder

Salt to taste

Oil to shallow fry

(I usually roast the pumkpkin and cook the quinoa a day before I intend to make these patties)

Wash and thickly slice the pumpkin removing the inside pulp and seeds. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper and arrange the slices. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes (depending how thick you have sliced the pumpkin) at 180 degrees C. Cool and remove the outer thick skin and mash the pumpkin with the back of a fork or potato masher. Keep aside.

While the pumpkin is roasting, wash and rinse the quinoa 2 – 3 times in water. Drain water and set aside. Add 1 tsp of curry powder, half a teaspoon salt and drained quinoa to the 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat. Remove the pot from heat, cover the pot and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. (if there is excess water, simply strain it)

Add the cooled quinoa to mashed pumpkin and mix in the rest of ingredients except the oil of course. Gently mix together everything and make patties. Refrigerate  the patties for 15 minutes.

Heat the pan and a little oil. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer the patties to the pan and fry on medium high heat for approximately 45 seconds to a minute. Check for the color of the patties. They should be nicely browned (be careful so as not to burn them) and crisp.

Remove on an absorbent sheet and serve hot with chutney or tomato ketchup or dip of your choice.


UPDATE: 27 Oct 2016 – I was given the feedback that the patties turned out too soft. I recommend you increase the amount of rice flour by a few tablespoons and also add breadcrumbs to help bind the batter. Also, refrigerate the batter (or patties) for half an hour to 45 minutes before you fry or bake them. OR you can reduce the amount of pumpkin puree by two third or one third, depending on how soft or firm you like the texture of these patties

Note: Do not add any water to the pumpkin at any stage of prepping else the batter will be loose

Note: If you swap quinoa with amaranth and if you are not fasting for navratras, swap the quinoa with daliya (cracked wheat or bulgur)

Note: Feel free to add a teaspoon of ginger garlic paste (i.e. if you are not fasting for Navratras). Ditto for bread crumbs. They will certainly yield crispier cutlets/ patties .

Note: In case you wish to bake the patties, brush a baking sheet with some oil and also brush the patties with oil. Bake them for 15 – 20 minute at 180 degrees till golden brown.

Note: You can make bigger size of patties and use them for your burger.

Yield – 12 – 15 (depending on size) small patties OR 6 – 7 large patties for burger

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