Monday, October 20, 2014

Diwali Special: How to make Raj Kachori / Indian style crispy tacos

Crispy shells dressed with various toppings and chutneys

Raj kachori, as the name suggests, is a royal treat! It is stuffed with a variety of traditional Indian toppings, savory munchies, and a combination of hot and sweet chutneys.

Besides the great taste and variety of textures in the dish, a great part of this dish is that it is assembled live, right in front of the guests. If you have done your preparations right, then it is a very quick and easy dish to assemble and serve. The outer shells of raj kachori, and most of the other ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. The shells in particular, remain fresh for a fortnight so it is good to make them a few days before the festivities.

A mixture of boondis, papadis, boiled potatoes, boiled chickpeas, dahi vadas, sprouts can be stuffed inside the kachori. There is no fix list of components in the stuffings, and you can create your own version from whatever is easily available at hand, or can be prepared easily. You can just add potatoes, sprouts or boondis and some chopped tomatoes to make it a quick, light, and healthy appetizer.


Prep time - 10 min
Cooking time - 20 min
Difficulty level - Medium
Spice level - Medium hot
Cuisine - North Indian
Type - Snack, Street food

INGREDIENTS-

To make Raj Kachori-
  • Semolina / Sooji -1 cup
  • Refined flour / Maida - 1 tbsp
  • Gram flour / Besan - 1/4 cup
  • Cooking oil - 2tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Fruit salt / Eno - a pinch of (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
To assemble-
  • Chickpeas / Kabuli chana, boiled- 1 cup
  • Potatoes, boiled- 2 small
  • Dahi vada (only the vadas) - 6 piece
  • Boondi - 3 tbsp
  • Papdi, crushed  -8
  • Namkeen (Bhujiya / Nylon sev) - 3 tbsp
  • Pomegranate seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt / Dahi - 1cup
  • Mint or Coriander Chutney - 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind Chutney (Saunth) - 1/3 cup
  • Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Black salt - 1 tsp
PROCEDURE-

  1. In a bowl add all the ingredients listed to make Raj Kachori.
  2. Mix everything well.
  3. Add just enough water to make medium soft dough.
  4. Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes.
  5. Knead it again and make small balls from the dough.
  6. Roll to make medium thick pooris/discs
  7. Slide the prepared poori in hot oil.
  8. Press with a spatula to help it puff completely.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium low and deep fry in from both sides till golden in colour
  10. When done drain on a paper napkin.
  11. Let them cool down completely.
  12. Beat yogurt and add some salt and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  13. When you want to serve then poke it on top and make a hole  in it.
  14. Add chopped potato,chick peas,dahi vada.
  15. Add some curd and green chutney.
  16. Add some crushed papadi and boondi and fill it till the top.
  17. Again drizzle yogurt,green chutney and tamarind chutney.
  18. Add some bhujiya sev and sprinkle chili powder,cumin powder and black salt.
  19. Garnish with anar dana/pomegranate seeds.
  20. Serve immediately


Friday, October 17, 2014

Guvar Phali aur Aloo ki Subzi / Cluster beans and potatoes in a tomato broth

Cluster beans and potatoes cooked in a tangy tomato curry

Guvar phali/Cluster beans are traditionally a summer vegetable and very easily available in that season. For places where it is not available at all, it is usually available in canned and frozen forms in supermarkets.

These beans are slightly bitter in taste and have a tougher texture as compared to to french beans or long beans. The edge of these beans is especially fibrous, and you'll have to de-string it. This step adds 5-10 minutes to the process, but is very important to ensure that the dish doesn't end up being excessively chewy. Once de-stringed, it is preferable to steam or boil the beans first, in case you to plan to make a stir fry or dry curry.

As this is a heavier vegetable to digest, it is always a good idea to add a little ajwain (carom seeds) to the tempering. It helps the digestion, and adds a great taste too.

The version I am posting today is a "wet curry" (or patli / rasedaar subzi). For a dry stir fried version, you may want to look at this link - Guvar phali  ki subzi




Prep time -10 min
Cooking time - 15 min
Difficulty level - easy
Spice level - medium
Cuisine - North Indian
Type - side
Serve - 4

INGREDIENTS-
  • 175 gms - Cluster beans/Guvar phali
  • 200 gms - Potato /aloo
  • 175 gm /2 medium - Tomato,chopped
  • 1 tsp - Green chili,chopped
  • 1 tsp - Ginger,chopped
  • 3 tbsp - Cooking oil /tel
  • 3/4 tsp - Cumin/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp - Carom seeds /ajwain
  • 1/4 tsp - Asafoetida /hing
  • 1/2 tsp - Turmeric/haldi
  • 1 tsp - Chili powder /lal mirch
  • 1.5 tsp - Coriander powder /dhaniya
  • To taste - Salt /namak
  • 1 tsp - Lemon juice / numbu ka ras
  • 2 tbsp- Fresh coriander/dhaniya,chopped
  • A pinch of - Sugar/chini
  • 3/4 cup  -Water
COOKING DIRECTIONS
  1. Wash and string the guvar phalis
  2. Chop to make big pieces of about 1 inches.
  3. Peel and chop potato into big pieces.
  4. Chop tomatoes in small pieces
  5. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
  6. Add cumin and carom seeds,when they start crackling add asafoetida.
  7. Now add chopped tomatoes and salt and stir fry till tomatoes become soft and mushy.
  8. Now add powdered spices and stir fry till oil start leaving the sides.
  9. Add chopped guvar phali and potatoes.
  10. Mix well and add water.
  11. Mix and pressure cook for about 2-3 whistles or cook till done.
  12. Open the cooker when cool down completely.
  13. Add lemon juice ,pinch of sugar and fresh coriander.
  14. Serve hot.
Serving suggestions-serve with paratha,roti or rice

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kuzhi Paniyaram / Appe / Punugulu (Crispy dumplings made from leftover Idli batter)

A crisp and delicious shallow fried snack made with leftover idli batter

Kuzhi Paniyaram / Appe / Punganalu is a South Indian snack, originally from Chettinad. It is often made with leftover slightly sour Idli batter. It is usually served as a snack at breakfast (or tiffin - as popularly termed in South India). It is made in both sweet and savory versions, with the savory version being the more popular one.

Firstly, to make paniyaram you will need a special paniyaram pan. There are generally 2 types of paniyaram pans available - a traditional iron pan which is quite heavy and takes some time to cook , and a non stick paniyaram pan which is lighter and cooks faster. Both version are easily available in the market. I have the traditional iron one, which I have used for this recipe (pics at the bottom of this post).

Irrespective of the type - a paniyaram pan is a heavy bottom pan with deep holes in it. A little oil is drizzled in these holes and then about 1-2 tbsp (depends on the size of the pan) of prepared batter is added in it. The pan is then placed on medium heat for few minutes to cook the paniyarams. The paniyarams are then turned with a skewer and cooked on the other side too till golden in colour. Paniyarams can be served with coconut chutney,tomato chutney or any dip of your choice.


how to make chittinad kuzhi paniyaram



how to make kuzhi paniyaram


Prep time - 10 min
Cooking time - 15 min
Difficulty level - Easy
Spice level - mild
Cuisine - Indian,south
Type - Snack / Tiffin

INGREDIENTS-

Kuzhi Paniyaram


INGREDIENTS-
  • 2 cup - Idli batter
  • 3 tbsp - Fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tsp - Green chili, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp - Ginger, chopped
  • 8- 10 -  Curry leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp - Grated coconut
  • 2 tsp -  Cooking oil
  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds / Rai
  • 1 tsp - White lentil / Urad daal
  • 1/4 tsp - Asafoetida / Hing
  • A pinch of  - Fruit salt / Eno
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil in a small pan.
  2. Add mustard seeds and white lentil/urad daal in the oil.
  3. When seeds start crackling add green chili, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  4. Now add this tempering in the idli batter (dropping consistency batter)
  5. Add chopped coriander and ginger and little salt if needed.
  6. Mix well and then add eno just before preparing.
  7. Heat paniyaram pan and drizzle few drops of oil in the non stick paniyaram pan.
  8. Fill the holes with about a tbsp of prepared batter.
  9. Cover with a lid and let it cook on medium heat till it become dry on top and sides become golden.
  10. Now drizzle some oil on the top of the paniyaram.
  11. Turn the side with a fork or skewer stick and cook till it become golden from the bottom.
  12. Remove the cooked paniyarams from the pan .
  13. Serve hot with tomato chutney or coconut chutney.
My Tips-
  • You can also add some grated carrot ,cabbage,spinach or any vegetables of your choice in the batter.
  • Can also add some cashew nuts in the tempering at step-3
 Paniyaram pan-


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Green Chutney ,Mint and Coriander Chutney

A very popular and delicious condiment/dip  made with mint chili and coriander leaves


Green chutney/Hari chutney is the very popular and versatile Indian condiment/accompaniment that can be used in so many ways.Its a very healthy dip,zero fat and is very quick and easy to prepare as no cooking is required to make this.

This is made with fresh mint and coriander leaves,green chilies,ginger ,lemon juice and some Indian spices,all grind together to make a smooth and thick paste.It have a good shelf life if kept refrigerated.
This is mostly used for making chat / street food,as a sandwich spread,dip for snacks,a tangy side dish for Indian flat breads etc.
I have posted a slightly different and healthy version fruit and nut chutney  here and few more chutneys here

how to make mint chutney for chat

Prep time-15 min
Difficulty level-easy
Spice level-medium hot
Cuisine- Indian
Type-side/condiment/dip
Serve-8

INGREDIENTS-
  • Fresh coriander -1.5 bunch
  • Mint leaves -1 bunch
  • Spinach leaves -8 (optional)
  • Chopped green chilies - 2 tsp
  • Chopped ginger -1 tsp
  • Lemon juice-1.5 tbsp *
  • Roasted cumin seeds -3/4 tsp
  • Almonds  -8 **
  • Black salt -1/2 tsp
  • Salt -1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida -1/4 tsp
  • Sugar -1tsp***
PROCEDURE-
  1. Pluck the mint leaves from the steams.
  2. Chop and remove coriander's hard and thick steams from the back of the bunch(no need to pluck the leaves only as soft steams of coriander can also be used and have lots of flavour)
  3. Wash all the greens and chilies with enough water.
  4. Now add all the ingredients in a mixer jar and grind to make a smooth paste,add approx. 1/2 cup water while grinding if needed
  5. Take out the chutney in a jar,cover and keep refrigerated,easily stays fresh for minimum 2 weeks.
MY NOTES -

1-*Can also use lemon size ball of tamarind OR  3 tbsp of peeled and chopped raw mango instead of lemon juice.
2- Can substitute almonds with 2 tbsp of roasted peanuts or walnuts.
3-Spinach and almonds are added to make it smooth and creamy, to add nutrition and the oil from the nuts will also act as a preservative.
3- Sugar is added to balance the slightly bitter and strong taste of mint,if you are using only coriander leaves  then can omit sugar.
4- Add 1 tbsp of  chutney in 1/2 cup of yoghurt to make mint and yoghurt dip.
5-Love spicy food - then try adding 1-2 cloves and 4 peppercorns while grinding for a twist in the taste .

Serving suggestions-can serve as a dip for snacks,spread for sandwiches or wraps and as a side dish too.