Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Gudi Padwa, Happy Ugadi, Happy Cheti Chand & Happy Navroze

Its that time of the year again........
Gudi Padvyachya Hardik Shubhechchya........
Happy Ugadi to all my friends in South
Happy Cheti Chand to my Sindhi friends
& Happy Navroze to my Parsi friends
The New Year has begin.........

I was on a blogging hiatus due to work but will definately try to be regular now onwards.........
Here's a look at dishes we made for Gudi Padwa.......

Hope you all have a great year filled with Lots of Joy, Happiness, Health, Wealth, Peace & Prosperity !!!!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The shadows remain................

To all the families affected by the German Bakery blast in Pune,India on 13th February,2010 ......
We are with you........You are in our hearts and prayers.......

Valentine Day is a day to celebrate love.......Unfortunately, on Valentine eve, Pune witnessed a bomb blast in German Bakery which took away 11 lives, injuring more than 50 people......

Let us hope and pray that there is love and peace in the world and no more innocent lives are lost......

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Varan Phal - Repost Event......

I had written a post sometime back on one of my father's favourite dish,Varan Phal for an event but due to some technical snags in the blog, the photos could not be uploaded then..........
The recipe was posted sans photos and continues to be without them......
Then I heard about "the repost event" hosted by Jaya of Desi Soccer Mom, I thought that it was very unusual yet interesting concept. However, my wonderful record of posting after deadlines ensured that I had missed my bus for this event....but then I read that Jaya had very sweetly extended the deadline, and given "grace period for the repost event ", allowing Late Latiffs like me a chance to participate in her interesting event within her stipulated deadlines..........

The original post written by me can be found here.......
There are some lovely recipes of Varan Phal & Dal Dhokali as it is known in Gujarati and also Rajasthani version of the same.......which can be found here and of Gujarati Dal Dhokali which can be found here........ & Rajasthani Dal Dhokali can be found here..........

My father hails from the City of Oranges .......Nagpur.....Nagpur is geographically located in the Vidarbh region of Maharashtra, India and the lovely City of Oranges apart from its people, is also famous for its Varadi dishes(cuisine of Vidharbha region is known as Varadi cuisine) like Chandrapur Vada bhaat, VaranPhal :)) Varadi cuisine is spicy and famous spicy Saoji masala originates from here......

Who can forget the great Pu La Deshpande's legendary "Tumhala kay vayachay: Punekar, Mumbaikar ki Nagpurkar?" The literal translation meaning What will you like to become - Mumbaite, Punite or Nagpurite.........I coined this word I can't think of any other:)) A complete laughter riot specially if you happen to catch the kathakathan version(book reading by Pu La Deshpande)....

Coming back to Varan Phal, varan is marathi word for literal translation of Varan Phal would be Fruits of Dal :)) It is also known as Dal Dhokli in Gujarat and Rajasthan.......

Here's how Varan Phal looks ...............

& Here's how Varan Phal is cooked :

Ingredients : For the Varan : Toor Dal - one cup Water - 5/6 cups Turmeric powder - pinch Onion - 1 (finely chopped) For the tempering (tadka) : Ghee - 1 tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai) 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera) 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania) 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder) 1/2 teaspoon goda masala powder 7/8 cloves of of garlic 2 inches of ginger 4-5 green chillis Curry Leaves - 6/7 Jaggery as per taste Tamarind pulp or paste ( 1 teaspoon) Salt as per taste.

For the Phal : Whole Wheat Flour ( kanik /atta) I generally use Sakas Sehore Atta - 2 cups Salt - pinch Oil water

Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

Method -

  1. Pressure cook one cup toor dal with 5/6 cups of water and pinch of turmeric powder for 4/5 whistles. The more the whistles, the softer the dal is cooked.
  2. Grind together, green chillies, ginger, garlic in a fine paste.
  3. Heat a heavy bottom vessal (kadhai) and heat ghee in it.
  4. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds.When they splutter, add cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves.
  5. Add onion and stiry fry in ghee till it changes its color. Then add turmeric powder and stir fry well.
  6. Add the grounded paste and mix well. Add the cooked dal and excess water only if necessary.
  7. Add dhania powder, jeera powder, goda masala and salt as per taste and mix well.
  8. Add Jaggery and tamarind paste and let the dal boil.
  9. Make a dough of atta,pinch of salt,oil and water(like the dough for chappatis)
  10. Make small balls of kneaded dough and roll one small ball with a rolling pin till it becomes a big round.
  11. Make horizontal and vertical cuts to the round of dough like we make shankapalis.
  12. Take the small pieces and add in the boiling dal and let it boil till the atta is fully cooked.

Garnish the Varan Phal with fresh coriander leaves and add a dollap of ghee and the Varan Phal is ready to be eaten.

So, if its raining heavily or snowing badly, this is just the right dish for it.......

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, it wins my vote as it is simple and easy to make....... Tastes yummy and is a healthy and nutrious one dish meal.........

Do try it.......

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My First Award .........

I just received my first award from dear Nithu of Nithu's Kitchen ...........Thanks so much....
This is my very first award and I am so thrilled by it......... You really made my day........Nithu......Thank you so much once again........

When I started blogging, I never thought that I would enjoy blogging so much and that I will met such amazing & wonderful fellow bloggers who would not only share amazing some traditional, some new and some totally creative recipes but also motivate and encourage me with lovely comments....... Thanks so much to each and every one of you for those kind & lovely words........
They mean a lot to me..........

Kreativ blogger award comes up with a set of rules :
1.Thank the person giving the award.
2.Copy the award to your blog.
3.Place a link to their blog.
4.Name 7 things people don't know about you.
5.Nominate 7 bloggers
6.Place a link to those bloggers
7.Leave a comment letting those bloggers know about the award.

Hmmm...... So here goes......... These are a few of my favourite things..........
1) I love reading.........Reading has been my first love since my childhood and I am happy to say that my romance with books keeps getting stronger with every passing day......
I have grown up on a staple diet of Enid Blyton like majority of kids and then I graduated to classics like Jane Austen......Pride & Prejudice is my all time favourite........and P.G.Wodehouse ....I really like his Brit stiff upper lip and dry sense of humour and then we come to ..........The Queen of Mystery herself.... Madam Agatha Christie ........No one and I mean No one can come close to writing mysteries like she does ........where do I start...........Murder on Orient Express, Murder of Roger Ackroyd.....Mousetrap........ABC Murders, Cards on the Table........Although I must confess that I am totally partial to Hercule Poirot....though Miss Marple's mysteries do have the old world charm to them..........Agatha Christie truly is THE WRITER FOR THRILLERS & SUSPENSE MYSTERIES.......I wanted to be a writer after reading these wonderful wonderful writers........ I have read lot of Marathi literature too.......Pu La Deshpande being my favourite author......... His "Vyati ani Vaali" & " Batatyali Chaal" is something that I would recommend greatly.......But if you ask me I think that his kathakathan( his book reading) was definitely more interesting and animated and more fun ........ which should come as no surprise considering that he was multi-talented and considered one of the finest actors during his time........A creative genius........King of Humour of Marathi Literature.........
Fiction....Non-fiction.........Short stories......novels.......cook books......autobiographies....self help name it and I read it :))
2) I simply love cooking(as if that's not obvious)........I love watching cookery shows even the ones on regional channels(and they are pretty good I tell you)........ & also the food shows showcasing different regional and world cuisines............ I love reading cookery books.........And I absolutely love reading the numerous amazing and wonderful food blogs..........I am always on the look out for new recipes....whether its traditional, new, fusion, innovative....... Though I love reading elaborate recipes, given a choice I always end up cooking instant, simple and easy to make recipes as is obvious.........
3) Music is another major passion for me......... I listen to all kinds of music....... classical, semi-classical, film songs, ghazals, everything....... I simply adore Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadevan.....Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsale are of course my all time favourite which goes without saying ......I think music soothes and touches the soul.......... I simply love instrumental music......Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's sarod, Ustad Ravi Shankar's Sitar, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia's flute, Ustad Zakir Hussain's tabla......the list is endless
4) I love watching cricket....... I can understand technicalities of the game and can easily converse with experts on the game......... During my board exams, World Cup was going on....needless to say, not only did I end up watching and enjoying the cricket matches but also discussing the match in great details with my friends before and after the board papers, much to the chagrin of our parents.......... some of my closest friends are the ones who i become friends with due to our common crushes on the Oh-not-so common cricketers :))
5) I enjoy travelling............ especially to new places ...... Its great experience to know the culture and cuisine of any new place.......
6) I love learning new languages........ In India there are so many languages in different parts of the country.......Also as they say language changes every 10 miles...........I did learn two foreign languages (German & French) at school and college.......though my fluency in them is a matter of debate.....
7) I LOVE watching TV... I am a big MOVIE BLUFF......I enjoy watching plays at theatre.......Since Marathi theatre is pretty strong where I live.....I regularly watch Marathi plays....Theatre and dramatics was something that I enjoyed since school days and I was also actively involved in Cultural Club during my post graduation (MBA) days..........
So, if there are some of you who managed to stay awake through this "I,Me and Myself" post, these are the lovely and wonderful bloggers to whom I want to pass this award .................
I admire and get inspired by so many wonderful fellow bloggers but since I can pass on only to 7 ..........I would like to nominate the following :-

1) PJ from Ginger & Garlic

2) Nandita from Saffron Trail

3) Shilpa from Aayi's Recipes

4) Pari from Foodelicious

5) Vinaya from Food, Travel, Books and more

6) Priya from Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes

7) Sheetal Kiran from Eats, eats & eats

Sharing the lovely award with you is indeed a pleasure guys..........

Best Wishes & Happy Blogging........

Served With Love

In continuation with the previous post, today's post is dedicated to the most important people in my life- my mother, my father and my little sis......

I am sending my family's favourite recipes to the lovely Arundhuti of Gourmet Affair, who was kind enough to include my late entries for her First Event - Served with Love

The following are my three entries for the event :-

For my Aai - Dhiradhi (Mixed Flour Pancakes)

For my Baba - Varan Phal

For my little sis, Amu - Rice Pakodas ( Fritters)

Hope you all enjoy the dishes as much as my family does........

Friday, January 29, 2010

Something Special........29th January...

29th January is Special ....... Especially to me as it happens to be my Birthday......:)))

People generally say
Happy Birthday!!
And ask what's the special plan for the day?
Well, say, if I may,
Its the fact that today,
I am blessed the whole day
By Near and Dear Ones in Very Special Way!!!!!!

Its my first attempt at trying something that is remotely lyrical so please excuse me........
I thought that today is the perfect day to try out something...and also the fact that I know .... I will only be encouraged and motivated in this space.... :))

People generally ask me .......... so whats the special plan for the birthday..... I know normally the answer to that question is presents, new clothes, going out to movies, parties, lunches, dinners, restaurants and all ......

But personally the best part about birthdays for me has always been the countless good wishes and blessings that I get from near and dear ones who without fail, remember this day and wish me ..... Making it so special for me......

Each and every wish and blessing is truly treasured as it comes straight from heart...

Family and friends scattered in different parts of the globe make it a point to remember and call me on my each and every birthday.... Even people I felt had drifted apart, who I was not in contact with on regular basis also make it a point of wishing on birthdays....

I know that its important to connect and stay in touch with everyone...... But seriously, we lead such a fast paced life and are so caught up on our daily routines that at times its not possible to stay in contact........Its occasions like these when we get connected again and its actually because of occasions like these that we stay connected ..........

Just the fact that one has taken an effort to remember an important date/milestone is someone else's life makes one feel special.... After all isn't that what makes the day special.........

After all birthdays are not always special because of the restaurants , the cuisine , the party or the trip that one took on one's birthday....... Its about the people who were present or people who wished or people who called......

Sometimes, its a distant cousin or relative or an ex-colleague who suddenly remembers your birthday and calls and makes your day.......A good friend whom you haven't spoken in a really long time or a sister who stays continents apart but who you are sure will remember your birthday and call you and have a great conversation.........

Memories of my birthday are always the phone calls....... My phone is always ringing and always busy....... There is a standing joke in the family that even the President would not be getting as many calls......

So what are your favourite memories of your birthday..........are they about the dress that you wore or the food that you eat or the shopping that you did.......or was it the friend who called and made your day.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sheera - Sweet Comforts: Sugar High Friday #61

Sheera (Sweet Semolina) is generally the desert made at lot of Indian homes for occasions, be it a special one like Satyanarayanchi Pooja or dinner of Sheera Puri which is a must for Simantpujan ( the rituals that take place on eve of wedding).
It is a simple sweet dish which is easy to make and the ingredients that are required are generally ones which are easily available in most Indian homes.

Though I don't have a sweet tooth, Sheera remains one of the few deserts that I at times venture eating. Especially the sheera which is given as prasad during Satyanarayan Puja is sometime that I find hard to resist.

For Sheera prepared for Satyanarayan Pooja, all the ingredients listed below are to be taken in equal measure of 1 and 1/4 cups. Banana is also added to the sheera and few strands of saffron can be added to give it royal look.

Here's how I made Sheera at our home -

Ingredients -

  • Rava /Semolina / Sooji - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup ( more or less as per individual taste and preference)
  • Ghee - 1/2 cup
  • Cloves / Lavang / Laung- 2/3
  • Mixture of Water and milk - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Nutmeg / Jaiphal powder - 1/4 teaspoon

For garnishing -

  • Cashews - 4/5
  • Almonds - 4/5

Method -

  1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan / kadhai .Add cloves/ lavang for flavour.
  2. Then, add rava and roast the rava/Semolina / Sooji till it turns brown and your kitchen is filled with its lovely aroma.
  3. Heat the mixture of water and milk till the mixture is warm (do not boil).
  4. After the rava/Semolina / Sooji is finely roasted in ghee, add warm water and milk mixture.
  5. Stir the mixture well and cover it with lid for couple of minutes.
  6. When the mixture is properly cooked, add sugar and stir the mixture continuously.
  7. Cover with a lid and let it cook for some minutes.
  8. Switch off the gas and add nutmeg powder for fragrance.
  9. Garnish with cashews and almonds.
  10. Sheera is ready to be served.

This lovely sheera goes to Sugar High Friday #61 : Sweet Comforts hosted at A Merrier World

Sugar High Friday (SHF) was created by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess and is a monthly desserts extravaganza.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Methi Corn Rice - reposted for Anita's APS Rice Event

I had posted " Methi Corn Pulav" on 26th December,2009
The same is re-posted and sent to wonderful Anita of "Anita's Kitchen" who is hosting her first ever , APS Rice Event.

This is my second entry to her lovely event.

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mushroom Rice

Here's Wishing All of You A Very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!!!!
May The New Year Bring Lots of Joy, Happiness, Health, Wealth, Peace and Prosperity to All of You!!!!!!!!
After taking a breather from the 7 days 7 recipes marathon hosted by Nupur, I am back to blogging in this New Year 2010!!!!
That I completely enjoyed the recipe marathon would be an understatement.
I also got a chance to meet so many lovely and wonderful fellow blogger and I have bookmarked so many amazing recipes to try out.....
Today I am posting a quick fast mushroom rice recipe.
As you can see that my affection for quick and easy to make single dish meals continues in the New Year as well.........
Actually, we had some renovations done in our house recently and our kitchen is still not completely set up. This led to lot of stuff like masale being stuffed away in "good place" which as usual cannot be recollected later.
How often does this happen that when one does need a particular thing and one is in great hurry, it is nowhere to be found as the thing has been put in "good place" so that it does not get misplaced :))
To cut a long story short, that's exactly what happened with me today........ I had some cousins over for dinner and I had decided to make Mushroom Rice which happens to be the hot favourite of my sister....The mushroom was there and so was the rice (thank God for small mercies) but my jar of whole spices ( Black Pepper / Kali Miri ,Cloves/ Lavang and Cinnamon /Dalchin), which forms my base of making Mushroom Rice,was nowhere to be seen. Since I did not have much time on hand, I decided to make the rice using Biryani Masala Powder to give it rich taste......... But the comedy of errors does not stop there, Biryani Masala Powder was prizes for guessing this one.........conspicuous by its absence in the kitchen..........
Stuck with this wonderful situation of not having the ingredients and time running out, I decided to experiment...... as they say Necessity is the Mother of Invention....... so here's the way I made Mushroom Rice using (believe it or faint) Chaat Masala......... No......its not a typing error .....that's exactly what I used and the rice turned out to be wonderful according to my two Guinea pigs......err.......i meant my cousins..........
So here's my quick fix Mushroom Rice (with chaat masala) which I made in pressure cooker-
Ingredients (Serves four)
1 and 1/2 cup of Basmati rice
Mushrooms - 250 gms (chopped in small pieces)
Onions - 2 medium size ( chopped finely)
Potatoes - 2 medium size ( cut in small cubes)
Ghee - 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai).
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
Bay Leaves / Tamal Patra- 2
Salt as per taste
Chaat Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 3 - 4 cups
Method -
First wash and soak the basmati rice in water.Drain the excess water and keep the washed rice aside for atleast half an hour.
Heat ghee in pressure cooker. When the ghee is heated properly, add mustard seeds (rai)
Ensure that the mustard seeds splutter properly and then add cumin seeds (jeera) , asafoetida (hing) and bay leaves.
Add onions and stir them till the onions turn translucent.
Then add potatoes and keep on stirring.
Add rice and then add coriander powder (dhania),cumin powder (jeera powder) ,garam masala powder and red chilli powder. Garam masala powder is optional.
Mix well and add chopped mushrooms . Then add chaat masala and salt.
Add water as per required consistency. Generally double water is added for basmati rice but at our home, everyone prefers the consistency to be more watery hence I added 4 cups of water.
Pressure for 3 whistles on medium flame and after 3 whistles, cook on low flame for 5 mins and then switch off the gas.
Mushroom Rice is ready to be served.
I am sending this recipe to Anita who is hosting APS Rice Event