Diwali 2015 – Karanji

Happy Dhanteras!

Tomorrow is Naraka Chaturdasi and it is one of the most important rituals of Diwali in Mangalorean homes. We perform the Abhyang Snan which is a ritual bath with oil before sunrise. We celebrate the victory of Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Once the body is massaged from head to toe with warm coconut oil, a regular bath is taken. We apply a form of ‘ubtan’ or natural soap which traditionally had a mix of sandalwood, camphor, rose water, raw turmeric and other additional ingredients such as milk, fresh coconut milk etc. At home, we use whichever ingredient we can mix together, with raw turmeric being the hero. We simply mix raw turmeric paste with some coconut milk or fresh cream and apply it to our bodies before the final rinse. Sort of a mini Ayurvedic spa session at home ūüėÄ

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Now to today’s special, Karanjis. There are two steps in this recipe. Preparing the outer cover and the filling.

For around 40 Karanjis you will need:

Ingredients:

For the outer cover:
All purpose flour – 500 gm
Semolina Р125 gm
Milk – 250 ml
Oil – 4 tsp
Salt

For the filling:
Desiccated Coconut – 100 gm
Powdered Sugar – 150 gms
Poppy Seeds – 2 tsp
Sesame Seeds – 2 tsp
Semolina – 2 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Method:

First we start with the dough. Mix together flour, semolina, salt in a large bowl. Warm the oil and add it to the batter and mix well again.

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Now warm the milk and add it in a little by little to form a semi-stiff dough

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Wrap a piece of cling film around it and let it rest for at least half an hour. While the dough rests, start making the filling.

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Dry roast poppy seeds, semolina, sesame seeds separately and put it in a bowl.

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Add the desiccated coconut, powdered sugar and cardamom powder to this and mix well.

After 30 minutes, take tennis ball size amounts of the dough and roll it out into a roti.

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Apply some ghee all over the roti and tightly roll it into a cylinder.

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Now cut it into half inch pinwheels.

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Roll this pinwheels into a puri. Add a little filling in the centre.

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Wet the edges with some milk and fold it into a wanton/gyoza shape.

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To secure the ends you can simply use a fork and press down gently.

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Deep fry the Karanjis in medium flame till golden brown. Cool down to room temperature before storing away.

Diwali 2015 – Shankarpali / Shakkarpara

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This is my personal favourite. The melt-in-your mouth mini cookies don’t last for long when I am around. It is probably the easiest to make amongst all the Diwali goodies. For a medium batch you will need the following

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Ingredients:

All purpose flour – 500 gms
Powdered Sugar – 200 gms
Ghee or Unsalted Butter – 200 gms
Milk – 250 ml
Pinch of salt
Oil for frying

Method

Take the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to it. Add in melted ghee and stir it into the dry ingredients. Now add the milk slowly to for a semi-stiff dough. Do not over-knead.

Let the dough rest for around half an hour. Now take a tennis ball size dough and roll it out into a thick roti.

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Take a pizza cutter, or a Shankarpali-cutter for fancy edges.¬†Make squares, diamonds, rectangles… aliens. ūüėõ Basically whatever shape you fancy. I¬†stuck to the usual squares that my mum makes.

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Heat oil for for frying. On medium flame fry till golden brown. As I have mentioned previously, I love it fried a little beyond golden for a deeper flavour.

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Cool down to room temperature and store away. I saved a big bowl of ‘rejects’ to munch on with Romedy Now.

Diwali 2015 – Chaklis

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There are varieties of chakli recipes, but the one I am posting today is close to my heart as it is my Dad’s recipe. Papa’s family had a farsan business for a while before he moved on completely to office life. This recipe was the one they used at the kitchen there. I have replaced one key ingredient though – coconut oil with butter for a crunchier texture. I have enough coconut flavour in my regular food. Didn’t¬†want to taste coconut in my chaklis too! Like in everything we Mangaloreans love, the base for this recipe is Rice flour. The one I had previously posted was what Maharashtrians call Bhajani Chaklis.

You will need the following to make around 50 chaklis

Ingredients:

Rice flour- 4 cups
Urad dal – 1 cup
Unsalted Butter – 3/4th cup
Sesame seeds Р2 tbsp
Cumin seeds Р2 thsp
Asafoetida – 1 thsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for deep frying

Method:

Start the prep by taking few sheets of parchment paper and cut into tiny squares to pipe the chaklis onto. You can pipe and fry in batches so don’t cut too many.

Dry roast the urad dal till a sweet aroma releases. Cool down and grind it in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. Now combine the rice and urad dal flour by sieving them together into a large mixing bowl.

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Add the salt, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and mix well.

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Now take the cold unsalted butter and rub it with the flour between your fingers to form a crumb texture.

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The crumb texture formed because of cold butter ensures you have a crunchy chakli to bite into.

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Now start adding water little by little and make a stiff dough. Let it rest for around ten minutes.

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Assemble the chakli-maker using the star tip. Take a little dough to stuff into the chakli maker. Re-knead it before stuffing it for a smooth piping experience.

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Start piping the dough into circular beauties by applying a little pressure to the handle.

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Secure the end with the previous ring so that it doesn’t disintegrate while frying.

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Now heat the oil on medium high. Drop in the chaklis one by one using the parchment paper for support. Fry till the golden brown.

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Cool down to room temperature and store away to enjoy on Diwali day with your family and friends ūüôā

Diwali 2015 – Chivda

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Deep fry alert!
Chivda is a common tea-time snack and a Diwali platter must-have. It is only when you prepare this yourself, you realise how much oil you dunk into your system with every bowl of this yumminess. Every ingredient is deep fried. But then again Diwali is one time of the year where all the rules are broken. Or so they say.

In my family, I am the only one who is not into snacking. I love big meals. But snacks and me are not great friends. Whenever a little hungry my sister opts for farsans, but¬†I would rather fix myself a sandwich. This homemade chivda is an exception though. I absolutely love the combination of its¬†sweet and sour crunch. Just like Besan Laddoos our Diwali is incomplete without a huge dabba of Chivda ready to be shared with loved ones. Similar to¬†the laddoo recipe, I have previously posted the Chivda recipe too. Back then I didn’t post the complete list of ingredients. So here is what you need to make¬†a big batch.

Ingredients:

Thick Poha Р2.5 cups
Roasted Chana Р1/2 cup
Raw Peanuts – 1/2 cup
Chopped Cashew Р 3 tbsp
Sultanas Р 3 tbsp
Fresh Curry Leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Sun-Dried Coconut Slices (Kopra) Р1/2 cup
Powdered Sugar – 1 cup
Red Chilli Powder 2 tsp
Haldi Powder – 1 tsp
Rock Salt – 2 – 3 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Method:

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First prep and assemble all ingredients. This means your Poha, chana, peanuts, cashew, sultanas, curry leaves and dried coconut slices should be measured and ready at arms-length to deep-fry. It’s all very quick once the cooking process starts.

Mix all the powder ingredients together in a separate bowl. Keep extra masalas, sugar, rock salt and salt handy to adjust the taste.

Once the above steps are done, heat oil for deep frying. While the oil is heating up, spread out some tissues on the kitchen counter. It can get greasy and messy. Keep a big mixing bowl and a flat spatula handy as well.

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Now for the fun part. Take a large steel wire strainer/fryer. Take the poha in tiny batches and deep fry for under 10 seconds on high flame. We want to maintain its pale colour. Shake off the excess oil and put it in the large bowl. While still warm, add in a teaspoon of the masala-salt-sugar mix and gently mix it with the flat spatula. When the poha is warm it absorbs the flavours well.

Once the entire batch of Poha is fried and smothered with the masala mix, check for seasoning. Adjust the flavour to your taste. If you have done a large batch as well, its best to use fresh oil to fry the rest of the ingredients as by now the oil would have become murky. For small batches you need not change the oil

Using the same strainer fry off the peanuts, cashews and chana. Be very careful while deep frying the curry leaves as they splatter a lot. Also the sultanas as they puff up and sometimes burst open splattering hot oil as well. So be cautious.

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Finally, mix it all with gentle hands. Let the chivda cool down to room temperature before storing away in an air tight containers.

Enjoy ūüôā

Diwali 2015 – Besan Laddoo

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Diwali prepping is one of those things that never seems to end. The biggest festival of the year for us Indians. After Dusshera, it has just been busy, busy, busy. Deep cleaning, organizing and giving away old stuff to charity. Today I finally started preparing the sweets. Last evening the electrican Bharat and I put up the twinkling lights up and the house looked so festive. There is something about Diwali. ūüôā

Always start good things on a sweet note. I bought the ingredients required to make our family favourite – Besan Laddoo. Had posted a recipe for the same earlier, but this one’s even more delicious and a melt-in-the-mouth version of the same. I have skipped the semolina completely and replaced it with roasted almonds for the crunch. To make around¬†40 big laddoos you will need the following:

Ingredients

Besan – 1kg
Powdered Sugar (or Bhura) – 750 gms
Ghee – 500 gms
Cardamom powder –¬†3¬†tbsp
Slivered Almonds Р4 tbsp (optional)
Raisins for garnish

Method:

Heat around 3/4th portion of the ghee in a large heavy bottomed pan and let it melt. You can use the remaining ghee to moisten the mix later while forming the laddoo.

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Keep the flame on medium high and add in the pre-sieved besan and start folding it in gently.

Now roll up your sleeves and be ready to get some serious arm workout while roasting the besan, till a sweet nutty aroma fills the kitchen.

There are three stages to this roasting process. The first stage is the one where you will need a lotttttt of patience as you struggle to roast the dense, heavy gooeyness. You will know when you reach stage 2 as the mix suddenly starts feeling lighter on the spatula. It gets easier to keep going to stage 3 when the colour changes to golden brown and a little ghee starts leaving the edges of the pan.

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When the besan is almost ready, add in the slivered almonds and let them fry in the mixture making them deliciously crunchy. I have left the skin on. You can blanch and skin the almonds if you prefer.

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Now transfer the contents into a big mixing bowl and add the cardamom powder. Let the besan mixture cool down till its just warm enough to touch.

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Once it reaches to this stage, add in the powdered sugar and mix well. Use your hands for best results ūüôā

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If you use¬†‘Bhura’ sugar it is even better. Gives it a yummier texture and taste.

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Anyway, once the sugar is well incorporated, you¬†can start shaping the¬†laddoos. A¬†medium-sized ice cream scoop comes in handy to pick the right amount for similar-looking laddoos. Top each laddoo with a raisin for garnish. You can replace the raisins with pistachios. If your mix is dry add some of the remaining ghee. On the other hand, if you have added a little too much ghee in the beginning ¬†it could make the laddoos collapse slightly into a peda-ish shape when you keep it down to set. The warmth of your hand is constantly melting the ghee while shaping. Fret not. Don’t over-shape. It will only make it less manageable. Form into rough roundels and let it set. ¬†After 20-30 minutes of resting phase you can re-shape them into round laddoos. An indication of the right time is when the shine on the laddoos are¬†replaced by dullness. Don’t let it set completely before re-shaping.

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And of course, make sure you have turned on your favourite music before sitting down to shape the ladoos. It will take a while to get the job done if you made a big batch like me. Sing along,¬†be in a good mood and think of nice things. You will be distributing¬†those ladoos to a whole lot of family members and friends. Let your positive vibes get into each ‘golden globe’ ūüôā

Have a happy happy Diwali ūüôā ūüôā

Fried Modak for Ganesh Chaturti / Chauti

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Ganapati or Ganesha is one of the most loved Hindu gods.  My childhood stories often involved him and his funny adventures. Stories passed down generations talk about his love for food. Chaturti or his birthday is therefore a celebration of food in all its glory. Sweets, savoury, cripsy, various kinds of culinary delights are prepared to please him and his ravenous appetite. Every state in India has their version of his favorite birthday food.  Being a Mumbaikar no Chaturti is complete for me without preparing the famous Modak. Modaks are sweet coconut and jaggery filled dumplings that can be steamed or fried. The steamed version is made with a cover of rice flour, while the fried one is made of whole wheat flour. Whichever version is made, the offering is generally given in odd numbers.

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I have made 21 this time. 11 large ones and 11 tiny ones for the tiny tot in the family, Daivik.

I struggled for the last 5 years with the rice flour version. It becomes yummy, but the shape was never quite right ūüė¶ If you struggle with them too, ¬†I would highly¬†recommend¬†you to try this version. So simple and pretty to look at.

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To begin, first prepare the dough, as it needs around 15-20 minutes of resting.  Knead 3 cups of flour, salt and warm water to a stiff dough. Once the dough is almost ready , add around 2 thsps of ghee and knead further to a shiny finish. Cover and leave it to rest.

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To prepare the filling freshly grate an entire coconut or use a cup and half of frozen coconut (thawed). In a saucepan roast around a tsp of poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Add around 1.5 cups of grated or chopped organic jaggery. I chose the darker colored jaggery. Once the jaggery melts, add the coconut and turn off the flame. Finish with a pinch of ground cardamom. Let this filling cool down a bit but not completely.

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To assemble, roll out little discs or puris. I used a cookie cutter for uniform modak sizes. Place the filling in the center. Pinch the ends of the puri like the pictures below and gather all the ends forming a dumpling.

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Deep fry¬†the prepared dumplings in medium hot oil. Offer them to ganesha and enjoy with family after his¬†puja. Happy Birthday Ganapti ūüôā

 

Roasted Masala Chickpeas

Like most women I love grazing while watching telly. Instead of chips, this time I decided to go with a homemade option for some guilt-free snacking! I have baked these a couple of times previously for parties and it is one of those budget-friendly, healthy and quick to prepare snacks you can bake and store for around two weeks.

The main ingredient is a permanent member of my kitchen pantry – canned boiled chickpeas. I make sure to get tons of them to store away for its shelf life and versatility. Always handy to cook some quick chole masala or a hummus dip.¬†Today I baked a batch with Indian¬†masalas.¬†Currently enjoying a handful with my evening chai as I type. ūüôā

Did you notice the book? I have just started reading it.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Empty two cans of boiled chickpeas or around two mugs of freshly boiled ones into a bowl.

Add red chilli or cayenne powder, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and chaat masala powders to the golden peas. Finish off with some salt and lime juice. Drizzle some olive oil and toss well.
Line up some parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spread out the chickpeas evenly. Bake them for 15 minutes. Take the sheet out. Give it a good shake, and bake for another 10 minutes before taking it out of the oven. Cool the chickpeas for around 10 mins. This step is important as it adds the yummy snacky crunch to the peas. That’s it. Simple and easy.
While serving, I like to add some freshly chopped coriander and red peppers or green chilli peppers to add an extra zing.

Easy Desi Potatoes

This is a quick fix sabzi for which ingredients are always at hand. It goes best with hot rotis and dal. Although the southie in me finds comfort in mixing it along with some dal and plain rice. This humble dish sometimes paves it path into dinner party menus for my veggie Jij or potato lovers. It can never go wrong. Try it, you will love it.

Ingredients:
3 large potatoes
2 Tbsp Coriander Powder
2 tsp Aamchur Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Haldi Powder
Salt to taste

Method:
‚ÄĘ This is one of those recipes where I usually dump everything into the pan and let it do its magic.
‚ÄĘ Dice potatoes into cubes.
‚ÄĘ Heat oil and put the potatoes in.
‚ÄĘ Add all the masala powders and salt.
‚ÄĘ On low heat cover and cook for around 20 minutes till done.
‚ÄĘ Serve it hot. Kids love this.