Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Seven -Finale to the Marathon - Varan Phal

The Finale to the Marathon i.e Day Seven of the 7 Days 7 Recipes Marathon hosted by Nupur(thanks for hosting a great event and unique different concept to bid goodbye to 2009) is here.
Here's the list of the Enthusiastic runners of the Marathon and take a look at the amazing, wonderful and delicious fare that they cooked on Day 1, Day 2, Day3, Day4, Day5, Day6 and Day7.
The seventh dish on Day Seven of the Marathon is VaranPhal. VaranPhal is a Varadi dish( dish from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra i.e. Nagpur) Nagpur is my father's hometown and this quin essential Varadi dish is one of his favourites.
Since he is travelling on New Year's, here's wishing him A Very Happy New Year with one of his favourite dish - Varan Phal.

Baba - This one is for you.

Here just when I thought that I managed to survive the weekend long food marathon in midst of work deadlines and foreign delegation of clients, exciting things were in store for me....what with umpteen technical problems first in the computer then the hard disk crashing and then what with the non-co-operative blogger server, which refused to upload my post or photos, everything that could possibly go wrong did for the Grand Finale.....C'est la Vie......
Anyways, please accept my apologies for the delayed post.
The server continues to be as non-co-operative as ever and I am unable to upload the photos. I will upload them as soon as the technical snags get sorted out.

VaranPhal is also know as Dalvaphale or Dal dhokales in other parts of the country. Dinner comprising of Vegetables, Dal and Roti can be replaced by this single dish meal.
Here's how the dish is made Varadi style -
For Varan(Dal)
Ingredients -
1 cup toor dal
5/6 cups of water
Salt as per taste
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 (finely chopped)
Ghee - 1 tablespoon / oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
7/8 cloves of of garlic
2 inches of ginger finely shredded or cut into small pieces
(alternatively use 1 teaspoon of ginger & garlic paste)
Black Pepper / Kali Miri- 7/8
Cloves/ Lavang - 4 / 5
Cinnamon/Dalchini - 1 inch stick
Bay Leaves / Tamal Patra- 2
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon / Green chillies - 3/4
Curry Leaves - 6/7
Tamarind pulp or paste ( 1 teaspoon)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
For Phal (dhoklas) in the varan -
Whole Wheat Flour ( kanik or atta) I use Sakas Atta - 2 cups
Salt - pinch
(Cumin seeds, coriander or masala can be added to the dough)
Method -
Pressure cook 1 cup of toor dal with 5/6 cups of water, a pinch of turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon of ghee for 4/5 whistles.
Let the dal cool.
Take one tablespoon of ghee in a large bottom pan and heat it.
Add mustard seeds (rai).
When the mustart seeds splutter add cumin seeds (jeera) and asafoetida (hing)
Add Black Pepper / Kali Miri,cloves/ Lavang ,cinnamon/Dalchini , curry leaves and Bay Leaves/ Tamal Patra.
Add ginger and garlic and stir well.
Add onions and stir till they become translucent.
Add turmeric powder and tomatoes.
Add dal, Red chilli powder ,coriander powder (dhania), teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder) & garam masala powder.
Add jaggery and tamarind pulp / paste.
Add water if required and bring dal to boil.
Mix together whole wheat flour, salt with water and form a dough( like we do to make rotis/ chappatis) .Knead the dough.
Oil can be added while kneading the dough to both hands(so that the flour does not stick while kneading) as well as the mixture.
Cumin seeds, coriander or masala can be added to the dough.
Make small balls of the kneaded dough.
Take one ball and flatten it with rolling pin and make a round of it.
Cut it into horizontal and vertical lines using knife( same process as in shankarpalis)
Take the small pieces and drop them in the boiling dal.
Let the mixture boil for 5 mins till the atta gets cooked properly.
Serve hot with a dollop of ghee and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Varan Phal is ready to be served. Its a great single dish meal more in the lines of simple comfort food specially in the cold winter evenings.
Wishing everyone a Very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!!!!!!
The marathon comes to a grand end and its time to bid goodbye to 2009.........
But its time to welcome the new year 2010 with new recipes so even though the marathon ends, we will continue to meet in the new year ........
We begin the New Year with a watch this space for more........

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day Six - Vegan Potato Latkes

The sixth recipe for Day Six of the 7 Days 7 Recipes Marathon by Nupur is Vegan Potato Latkes. Like I mentioned in my earlier posts, I was a non-food blogger(new blogger at that) who joined this marathon, thanks to Nupur who was sweet enough to let me join the marathon with these wonderful people.
Here's what we were upto on Day 5.....
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this and sharing the recipes, visiting so many wonderful blogs and reading such variety of different, some traditional and some extremely creative recipes.
Thanks to the Marathon, I have so many recipes bookmarked for cooking.(I think I would need to start a bookmark project at this rate :))
I received so many new visitors to my blog who read it and left lovely comments.Those comments really made my day.I must thank each one of you who took time out to read my blog and give your lovely encouraging comments. Thanks one and all for encouraging me.
Coming back to Recipe 6 for the Sixth Day of the Marathon, the post in which Nupur had extended her invitation to all fellow bloggers for participating in 7 days 7 recipes marathon,had coincidentally one of the recipes that I had bookmarked -Potato and Sweet Potato.
Today's recipe is Vegan Potato Latkes which is inspired, bookmarked and adapted from Nupur's Potato and Sweet Latkes.
The link to Nupur's recipe is here which in turn is bookmarked from Lydia's recipe from The Perfect Pantry.
We had a visit from dad's maushi(aunt) who is a vegan and here's my adaptation of the receipe that I made for her. I did not use flour and eggs.
Vegan Potato Latkes
Ingredients - For one person -
Potatoes - 2 medium Salt as per taste.
Red chilli powder - 1/4 teaspoon / Green Chilly - 1
Turmeric powder - Pinch
Sugar - Pinch
Asafoetida - Pinch
Method -
Take 2 potatoes and wash them. Cut them into two equal halves. Do not peel the skin of potatoes.
Take the potatoes in your hand such that the skin of the potato is in your palm.
Grate the potatoes(till only the skin of the potatoes remains in your hand).
Add salt, red chilli powder/green chilli(I used red chilli powder).
Add a pinch of sugar, turmeric powder and asafoetida.
Mix well and do not add water. Drain any excess water of the grated potatoes.
Heat a non-stick pan / frying pan.
Take the entire mixture and flatten it on the pan(like we do for thalipeth)

When one side turns golden brown (ensure that it does not get burnt) flip over to the other side,this time apply oil. Oil may be added to the sides both the times so that it becomes crispy. When both sides are done, vegan potato latkes are ready to be served hot with tomato sauce or mint-coriander chutney.

Like most of the recipes that I did for the marathon, this one also can be done in practically 2 minutes, requires very few ingredients and no before hand preparation.
This is a very simple and basic recipe. Cheese, mushrooms or vegetables can be added. See you tomorrow for the next recipe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Five - Gajarachi Bhaji (Carrot Bhaji)

Day Five Recipe for the 7 day 7 recipes marathon hosted by Nupur is Gajarachi Bhaji (which means Carrot Bhaji / Subzi)
I love carrots (and it has nothing to do with my recent .......ahem..........resolution to lose weight)
I specially love eating fresh raw carrots.....crunchy,tasty and filling.....without having to worry about gaining those extra pounds :)
Carrots are used a lot in salads, rice and deserts like carrot kheer and carrot halwa......Gajar ka halwa is legendary thanks to those umpteen hindi films where the "filmy ma" is always cooking gajar ka halwa for the "beta who passed his exams in first class" but in all the dishes carrots are mostly the sidekicks or at the most the second/parallel lead.
So I decided to give my favourite Gajar his "solo hero"project....... Gajarachi bhaji (Carrot Bhaji / Subzi)
This is again basically one of my mother's recipe ( yeah.......yes.....again) in which I added a few spices.
The additional spices are adapted from this simple recipe which Nupur had done of glazed butternut squash, Maharashtrian style(The original recipe is that of bhoplache bhaji) based on my suggestion to her previous post.(Thanks a ton Nupur)
I have used gajar (carrots) instead of lal bhopla (red pumpkin)
Here's how I did the "Gajarachi Bhaji"(Carrot Bhaji/Subzi)
Gajarachi Bhaji"(Carrot Bhaji/Subzi)
Ingredients -
Carrots - 6/7
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt as per taste
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon goda masala
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds/ til
1 teaspoon poppy seeds/khus khus
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek / methi seeds (optional)
pinch of sugar
For garnishing - fresh coriander leaves
Method -
Wash and peel carrots.Cut carrots into small pieces.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in kadhai / flat bottom pan.
When the oil gets heated,add mustard seeds .
When the mustard seeds start spluttering add cumin seeds ,asafoetida.
Add pieces of carrots and and turmeric powder (optional) & stir.
Add red chilli powder,salt,pinch of sugar,goda masala ,til,khus khus and methi seeds (optional)
Stir well and cover with lid. Water is not required to be added but ensure that the lid which covers the pan has water on it so that the bhaji does not get burnt.
The carrots get cooked very quickly so the bhaji is ready in quick time.
This bhaji tastes great and requires very few ingredients in it. No before hand preparations are needed and the dish gets cooked really fast........
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
Serve carrot subzi hot with rotis/chappatis/phulkas.

Day Four - Seviyan Halwa (Sweet Vermicelli )

The fourth recipe of Day Four as part of part of 7 days 7 recipes marathon hosted by Nupur is Seviyan Halwa ( Sweet Vermicelli). Basically,Sevaya Halwa is dessert or sweet.
As a kid, my mother would make mouth watering sevayachi kheer (vermicelli sweet) and seviyan halwa. Seviyan is generally made in all Indian homes as desert for occassions.
Here's list of participants for the marathon and the receipes done on Day 1, Day2, Day3 and Day4.
Here's how seviyan halwa is made at our home -
Seviyan Halwa
Ingredients -
Ghee - One big tablespoon
Seviyan ( vermicelli) - 2 cups ( I used brown roasted variety of seviyan instead of white)
Milk - 2 cups (more or less as per thickness required)
Sugar - 3/4
Coconut - 1/3 cup
Cardamom Powder - 1 teaspoon ( finely grounded)
For garnishing -
Cashew nuts (optional)
Method -
Take one big tablespoon of ghee in thick bottom pan (kadhai) and heat it.
Add 2 cups of seviyan and stir continuously for at least 5 mins till seviyan turn hard.
Add 2 cups of milk in the seviyan and stir.
Cover with lid till the seviyan are finely cooked.( for about 7/8 minutes)
If more thickness is required add more milk as per requirement.
Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir . Cover with a lid for 5 mins.
Add 1/3 cup coconut (optional) and mix well.
When the sugar completely dissolves in the mixture, turn off the gas.
After the gas is turned off, add 1 teaspoon of finely grounded Cardamom Powder.
Garnish with cashew nuts or any other nuts or raisins.
Seviyan Halwa is ready to be served.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Three - Rice Pakodas( Fritters) & Phodanicha Bhaat

The third recipe on Day Three as part of 7 days 7 recipes marathon hosted by Nupur is Instant Rice Pakodas (Fritters)
At some point or the other, we all are facing problems with what to do with leftover stuff. No one is even remotely interested in looking at the leftovers.
The problem of rice leftover is generally solved here in Maharashtra by preparing what we call in Marathi as "phodanicha bhaat" (rice with oil tempering)
The method for doing "Phodanicha Bhaat" is very simple .Heat oil in a pan and when it is hot add mustard seeds.When the mustard seeds start spluttering,add cumin seeds,asafoetida,thin slices of onion,turmeric powder and groundnuts. Add cooked leftover rice to this and chilli powder, salt, coriander and cumin powder.Garnish with fresh green coriander leaves and you are ready to serve steaming hot "Phodanicha Bhaat"
Sometime back, I saw pakodas done from leftover rice on Zee Marathi's cookery show "Amhi Sare Khavaye" and immediately decided to try them at home as my younger sister is not a big fan of phodanicha bhaat.Need I say that the Instant Rice Pakodas were an instant hit with her and my entire family. Since then, I make them regularly for my sister, who loves pakodas and bhajis of any and every kind.
Basically, pakodas is the Indian word used for fried snacks. All of us love eating pakodas and bhajis.And the description of eating steaming hot kanda kekda bhajis(onion bhajis) on a rainy day is legendary.
Amu, This recipe is for you and your love of bhajis and pakodas............
Rice Pakodas ( Fritters/Fried Snacks)
Ingredients - Cooked Rice - One cup
Gram Flour(besan) - 1 teaspoon.
Salt as per taste
Fresh Green coriander leaves
Pinch of sugar
Garlic - 2/3 cloves
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Green Chillies - 2
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds(jeera)
Method -
Grind together ginger, garlic and green chillies and make a fine paste.
Mash the cooked/leftover rice. Add Cumin seeds, salt as per taste,Fresh Green coriander leaves, pinch of sugar.
Add ginger,garlic and green chillies' paste and mix well.
Add one teaspoon of gram flour(besan) .
Besan acts as binding agent hence the quantity of gram flour to be added will vary as it depends on how dry the rice is. If the rice is very dry, more besan is to be added.
Heat oil in a kadhai (thick pan) for frying. After oil is heated take one teaspoon of oil and add in the mixture.
that the oil is properly heated and then make small balls of the mixture and deep fry them in the kadhai(pan) .
You can also add 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania) and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder to spice it up further.
Steaming hot rice pakodas are ready to be served. They taste great with coriander or mint chutney or tomato sauce.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day Two - Methi Corn Pulav (Fenugreek Corn Rice)

The second recipe on Day Two of the 7 day 7 recipe marathon by Nupur is Methi Corn Pulav( Fenugreek Corn Rice)
Sometime back, I had came across a Marathi cookbook having recipes with Methi and Palak. (unfortunately, I am unable to remember the name right now) In that book, I came across an interesting Methi Pulav recipe. I say interesting because generally in the methi rice recipes that i had come across earlier, the rice is usually cooked separately and then methi and other ingredients are added to the cooked rice.But in this particular recipe, the methi and rice are cooked together in pressure cooker.
This is also adapted from interesting simple yellow fried rice with sweet corn and turmeric recipe from Live to Eat. The original recipe is here. I liked the use of turmeric powder in methi rice.However, the flavor of methi is bitter so I thought of adding something sweet to the rice hence I thought of adding sweet corn to the methi rice to give it bitter-sweet taste.
I have mixed and modified both the recipes by adding sweet corns.I felt that the combination of the sweet taste of sweetcorn and the bitter taste of methi will come out nicely in the Pulav. The Pulav was a instant hit with my family and guests when I made it for dinner.
Here's how I made the Methi Corn Pulav -
Ingredients -
Methi(Fenugreek) Leaves - One cup ( cleaned, washed and cut)
Basmati Rice - One cup
Fresh Sweet corn - 1 cup
Potato - 1 (peeled and chopped)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 (finely chopped) This is optional.
Few cloves of garlic
Ginger - Finely shredded or cut into small pieces
(alternatively use 1 teaspoon of ginger & garlic paste)
Oil - One tablespoon / Ghee
Salt as per taste
Cloves / Lavang - 5/6
Black Pepper / Kali Miri- 7/8
Cinnamon/Dalchini - 1 inch stick
Bay Leaves / Tamal Patra- 2
Black Cardamom/ Badi Velachi - 1
2 green chillies or one teaspoon red chilli powder
Curry Leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai).
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
Water - 2 cups
Fresh green coriander leaves for garnishing
Method -
Wash and soak one cup basmati rice .Drain the excess water and keep the washed rice aside for at least half an hour.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil (alternatively ghee can be used) in pressure cooker.
When the oil is heated, add 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai).
When the mustard seeds start spluttering,add cumin seeds,asafoetida,Cloves,Black Pepper,Cinnamon,Bay Leaves and Black Cardamom.
Add finely chopped onion & curry leaves and stir till the onions turn translucent.
Add turmeric powder, chopped potato and tomato.Then add ginger and garlic. Alternatively ginger garlic paste can be used.
Add one cup basmati rice and one cup washed & finely chopped methi leaves and stir well.
Add 2 green chillies or one teaspoon red chilli powder, coriander powder , cumin powder and garam masala powder. Stir well.
Add salt as per taste and 2 cups of water. Add one cup of Fresh Sweet corn and stir well.
Close the lid of pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame.
After 2 whistles, keep on low flame for 5 minutes and then switch off the gas.
Garnish with fresh green coriander leaves and serve hot steaming Methi Corn Pulav with raita.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

7 Day Recipe Marathon - First Day - Aaichi Dhiradhi (Mixed Flour Pancakes made as per my mother's recipe)

Wishing you All Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year Ahead!!!!!!!!!
Like I said in my previous post, I am back to blogging thanks to Nupur Of One Hot Stove who came up with a wonderful idea to host a 7 day recipe marathon from 25th December,2009 to 31st December,2009.
7 recipes in 7 days...........sounded extremely interesting. So I decided to join in
Here's list of participants for the marathon.
My first recipe is a traditional Maharashtrian breakfast dish .No surprises considering the fact that I am a Maharashtrian.
My first recipe is Aaichi Dhiradi(Fixed Flour Pancakes made as per my mother's recipe)
My mother basically makes dhiradis from combination of different flours so that the dish gets more nutritive value.
But before I tell you about her recipe of making dhiradis, let me try to explain what exactly are dhiradis.Its a marathi word used for describing pancakes.
It's a lovely comfort food which is extremely satisfying to your palate having enough nutrition and yet can be made almost instantly.It seriously can be cooked in a jiffy.What more could one ask for ? It's perfect for a quick morning breakfast or for instant evening snack.
Basically, there are different ways to prepare dhiradis.
The traditional and most common way involves mixing rice flour with salt, red chilli powder or green chilli with a clove or two of garlic finely chopped into small pieces and water (or some curd/yogurt) This mixture can also be mixed in buttermilk which gives it good consistency.This is generally mixed before hand and then the mixture is poured out on hot tava/frying pan/griddle. It is to be cooked with a lid on the tava. After the mixture is cooked from one side, flip it so that the second side gets finely cooked. This time, the lid is not required.
Voila, steaming hot rice flour pancakes are ready in a jiffy.
My mother modified the recipe and added a few ingredients to make amazingly tasty mixed dhiradis.
Here's her recipe which I follow to the T :
Mixed Flour Dhiradi (my mother's recipe)
Ingredients -
Whole Wheat Flour ( kanik or atta) I use Sakas Atta ( 3 measures / cups)
Rice Flour( Tandulyachi Pithi) ( 2 measures/cups)
Gram Flour (Besan) (1 measure/cup)
Cloves of Garlic (optional as per taste) finely cut into small pieces
Shredded Ginger ( optional as per taste)
Salt as per individual taste
Red Chilli Powder 1 teaspoon or 2 green chillies cut into small pieces.
Chopped Coriander leaves (optional)/cilantro
Method -
Take whole wheat flour, rice flour and gram flour in proportion of 3:2:1.That's 3 measures of whole wheat flour with 2 measures of rice flour and one measure of gram flour. Mix them finely. Add few finely chopped cloves of garlic and some finely shredded or chopped ginger. Ginger garlic paste can also be added but i prefer adding small pieces of ginger & garlic instead of fine paste as it is crunchy. Add salt as per taste and preference & one teaspoon of red chilli powder or 2 green chillies in the mixture. Add chopped leaves of coriander / cilantro(again optional but i would recommend it as it tastes great). Add water to this mixture and mix the batter thoroughly. Ensure that the consistency of the batter is thicker than the one we make for bhajiyas/pakodas. Heat some oil and add one teaspoon of hot oil to the batter.(this is called adding "mohan") Mix the batter well and heat non stick tava or griddle. Pour the batter on the tava (the consistency of the mixture being poured is thicker than the one for dosas)
Add some oil to sides as it gives good crispy feel to the dhiradis.
Cover with a lid and let it cook properly.
When the one side of dhirade is cooked properly, flip the dhirade. The second side should be cooked without the lid.(oil may be added to the sides)
When both the sides are properly cooked, the dhirade is ready to eat.
This no-frills dish is basically simple comfort food with ample nourishment which can be made in a jiffy.
Like I said earlier,what I personally like about this dish as it is very easy to cook, very few ingredients are required and also no before hand preparation are required whatsoever. It is dish that can be made instantly (in the style of 2 minutes Maggie)
Aai, this dish is for you.
Have a great weekend and see you tomorrow for the next recipe.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back to Blogging!!!!!!!!!!

Dear All.........
Yes I am back to blogging.
The entire credit for this should go to Nupur of One Hot Stove who initiated 7-day recipe marathon from Dec 25 to Dec 31 and was good enough to include non-food bloggers(make that non-bloggers actually considering that i have been inactive for close to 6 months from the blog) ....
Thanks Nupur for the fabulous idea and for including me.........
So we start the 7 day marathon from 25th December,2009........
See you with my first receipe .......
Best Wishes to the rest of the marathon runners......