Friday, January 28, 2011

Phodnicha Methi Paratha/Roti with crumbled Tofu - A quick Breakfast delight.

Today Morning I was to cook something for husbands tiffin and breakfast. I had two left over Methi Parathas which were turned a bit dry because I did not pack them neatly in cling wrap. I thought about phodnichi Poli , a typical Maharashtrian delight which is made with left over rotis. Also Gujarati people have similar recipe called Vaghareli Roti, so based on these recipes I made this quick stir-fry of left over methi roti/paratha. I added some scrambled tofu and garnished it with fresh mint and parsley. I packed some for husbands lunch tiffin and rest enjoyed  as my breakfast  with aromatic cardamom+nutmeg infused coffee.Ending this recipe post with today morning's pleasing sunrise moment while driving.

Ingredients :-
  • 2  Methi Paratha (8 inch diameter) - break into one inch pieces.
  • 1 Medium size onion - cut half lengthwise and rest half chop finely.
  • 1 Cup extra Firm Tofu - crumbled  (I used Azumaya Extra Firm)
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon cooking oil
  • 2 Green chilies - finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 T.spoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or your choice of fresh herbs
Cooking Process :-
  1. Heat oil in  a medium size heavy gauge skillet / saute pan / Kadhai. Add chopped onions, stir fry on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add green chilies and little chopped fresh cilantro ( My cilantro was out of stock so I used mint and  garnished with pot grown parsley).
  2. Add Paratha pieces and mix well with onions. Reduce heat to medium low. Keep stirring for 2 minutes. Now add crumbled tofu, little salt, sugar  and saute for another 2 minutes. If it sticks to bottom then sprinkle 1 teaspoon water.
  3. Add Green peas. Mix well and allow it to cook for another 2-3 minutes on medium low heat, stir occasionally.  Sprinkle chopped cilantro and enjoy. You may top it with dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
Note:- You may enhance this dish by using few other veggies like carrots, boiled potato pieces, cabbage,red radish, green beans, Lima beans.  Also you can  replace Tofu with scrambled eggs.


Sunrise time 7.10 am on 28th January. It felt like wooded area behind gas station is on fire.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Makar Sankranti Sweets - Sesame Chikki / Brittle made with Brown candy and Indian Jaggery

Today made sesame chikki for for Makar Sankranti with some variation. I  mixed black and regular sesame seeds and used brown Candy instead of regular jaggery. Chikki / Brittles  got nice crunchy/chewy  texture. I had picked this Brown Candy pack from Asian Grocery store and it looks just like our Desi jaggery..also for the first time I used light corn syrup, it gave smooth binding and shiny glaze. I prepared few mix and match batches of chikki. Plain Combination of jaggery and sesame makes those chikkies quite addictive. Posting ahead two variations of  Til chikki / brittle.

A) Black and White mix sesame chikki with Brown Candy

Ingredients :-
  • 3/4 Cup crushed Brown Candy ( 1 stick shown in the picture below)
  • 2 Tb.spoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 Cup - Black sesame seeds (lightly roasted)
  • 1/4 Cup - Regular white sesame seeds (lightly roasted)
  • 1/4 T.spoon - Ghee
Method of making chikki  with Brown Candy :-
  1. Heat 1 quart heavy gauge pot/pan with handle, make sure it is not too hot. Add 2 tablespoon light corn syrup. Once it starts boiling you will see lot of bubbles, wait for 20-25 seconds and add crushed brown candy, stir with spoon for a  30-40 seconds.
  2. Add 3 tablespoon water and keep stirring, maintain medium heat. Try to crush hard pieces of brown candy by pressing back of the spoon. Stir vigorously to dissolve all brown candy. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring as it is boiling. Syrup will  turn  a bit darker.
  3. Now add black and white sesame seeds and mix well. Let it boil for little more than 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon ghee, mix well  and stir for another 30 seconds.. scrape all sides of the pot with flexible spatula and shut off the gas.
  4. Take either flat dish or cookie sheet or cake pan (8 inch diameter will work good) grease it lightly with ghee and pour sesame and brown candy syrup at center and spread with spatula as wide as possible. I made thin layer of half centimeter thick. Once you roughly spread it, use flat bottom glass or bowl to pat-press-stretch. Allow it to set for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Score horizontal and vertical lines with either knife or stainless steel turner/spatula. I used the one that is shown in picture below, by holding  it in vertical position press with pressure to mark lines. If it sticks to edges of spoon/knife then allow it to cool little more. Just rough marks are fine because once chikki is cooled it easily cracks in marked lines. Store in a jar or plastic ziplock bags.
Picture of Brown candy and Indian jaggery.

Light corn syrup brings soft flexible texture
 You can almost bend the chikki while it is cooling.

This stainless Steel Spatula easily scored chikki lines.

B) White sesame & peanut chikki /Tilgul vadi with Indian Jaggery

Ingredients :-
  • 5 cubes - Indian jaggery (cubes shown in white cup) (equals 1 cup loosely packed grated jaggery)
  • 1/2 Cup - White sesame seeds (lightly roasted)
  • 1/4 Cup - roughly crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 Tb.spoon - light corn syrup
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Ghee
Method of making chikki / Tilgul vadi  with Indian Jaggery :-
  1. Heat heavy bottom 1 quart pot with handle. Once it is moderately hot, pour 2 tablespoon light corn syrup and allow it to boil and bubble 15-20 seconds. Add grated jaggery and stir with spoon on medium heat. It will turn too dry, quickly pour 2 tablespoon water and allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Keep continuously stirring and make sure all jaggery chunks are dissolved fully.
  2. Add sesame seeds and crushed peanuts, ghee - mix well with jaggery syrup. Let it simmer  for  two minutes on medium low heat. Keep stirring. Shut off the gas and scrape all sides of the pot with flexible spatula and bring jaggery-sesame mass  at one end of the pot by tilting the pot.
  3. Pour it on greased cookie sheet or plate at center...spread with spatula as per desired thickness. Use flat bottom of glass and smooth out chikki spread by pat-press-stretch process. Allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. Score vertical and horizontal lines with knife or stainless steel spatula.Give enough time to cool before you break chikki squares. Store in a jar or ziplock bags.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Buckwheat and whole Red Lentil Curry/Usal/Thick soup - Weekend Lunch Thali

New years first Sunday, I prepared simple soul food for lunch. Lentil-Grain fusion curry was made with combination of whole Masoor Dal (Whole Red Lentil) and  Buckwheat groats, for side veggies I cooked Kerala style cabbage thoran and carrot salad with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoyed with hot rotis and fluffy par boiled rice. It was simple yet very satisfying lunch.

Note - Published on 12th April 2011

Whole Masoor Dal & Buckwheat Usal / Curry
  • 1 Cup  whole Red Lentil (whole Masoor dal)
  • 1/4 Cup whole Buckwheat groats
  • 1 medium size onion - finely chopped
  • 5-6 fresh garlic cloves - finely crushed
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger - finely crushed
  • 12-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 Tb.spoon oil
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 T.spoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 T.spoon turmeric powder
  • 1 heaped T.spoon Garam Masala  or you can use Goda, Malvani, Kpra - Zatpat Amti-bhaji Masala, also you can mix and match two different types of  ready-made masalas. 
  • 1 T.spoon brown sugar
  • 1 Cup - fresh chopped cilantro 
Curry Cooking  Process :-
  1. Rinse Masoor Dal and Buckwheat thoroughly in water . Keep it aside by adding 4 cups water. No pre soaking is required. (If you are not using pressure cooker then soak Masoor Dal for 4 hours to reduce cooking time. Buckwheat cooks faster so 30 minutes  soaking should be fine.)
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil  in pressure cooker / pressure pan  (minimum 4 quart size) - toss in 7-8 curry leaves and sizzle for 10 seconds. Add chopped onions, saute for 7-8 minutes on medium flame until they get soft and translucent.
  3. Add finely crushed ginger and garlic, saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala or your choice of masala as suggested in the ingredients. Mix well - saute for 1-2 minutes on a medium low heat.
  5. Now pour in soaked whole red lentils and Buckwheat along with 4 cups of water.Add salt, 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Mix well  and continue to simmer on high heat until it starts to boil. Close the pressure cooker lid and pressure cook until it blows two whistles. Quickly shut-off the heat and allow to cool down. It is o.k if it blows third whistle after you shut off the heat.
  6. After pressure cooker is cooled down - switch on the heat again and add 2 more cups of water, you can adjust water quantity as per your desired consistency. Add remaining curry leaves and fresh chopped cilantro. Simmer it uncovered for 10-12 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Serve over rice or enjoy with roti. Also this curry can be served  in a bowl as thick soup by drizzling warm  melted ghee.
Note :- You can enrich this curry/soup by adding some greens, veggies.. Like this black eyed peas curry enriched with Lauki and  this Split moong Dal enriched with Tomatillo and spinach.

Carrot Salad with toasted sesame seeds 
Ingredients :-
  • 2 Carrots - 7-8 inch long ( julienne cut - yield should be 1 heaped cup)
  • 1 Green chili - finely chopped
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup - finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T.spoon Sesame seeds
  • 1 T.spoon vinegar
  • 1/4 T.spoon sugar
  • 1 T.spoon oil
Process :- Heat 1 teaspoon oil, once it is moderately hot add chopped green chilies and 5-6 curry leaves..sizzle it for 15 seconds, now quickly add 1 teaspoon sesame seeds..stir for 10 seconds. Now add carrots...Stir fry on high heat for 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon sugar, little salt. Stir fry for 2 more minutes on medium heat - remove from heat.Garnish with cilantro.

Cabbage Thoran
Ingredients :-
  • 1 small size half cabbage - ( sliced - yield 2 Cups heaped )
  • 1 T.spoon - oil
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies - finely chopped
  • 1/2 T.spoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 T.spoon cumin
  • 1/2 Cup - lightly packed fresh grated coconut
  • 1/4 Cup - finely chopped fresh cilantro
Process :- This flavorful Thoran/stir fry subzi from Kerala cuisine  is very simple to prepare. Take small size half cabbage and finely slice in  1.5 inch length strips. (2 cup packed heaped) Heat 1 teaspoon oil, add 5-6 curry leaves and chopped chilies - sizzle for 10 seconds. Add half teaspoon cumin and half teaspoon  turmeric - stir and sizzle for 10 seconds. Now quickly add sliced cabbage, mix well, sprinkle salt  and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Do stir at regular interval. Now add 1 tablespoon water - mix well and cook uncovered for another 4-5 minutes on low medium heat. Garnish with fresh coconut and  chopped cilantro.

For Cabbage Thoran with carrots and green peas click this  Recipe.