How to make healthy Rice Bhakri / Tandalachi Bhakri

Bhakri is a staple in Maharashtra and goes really well with non-vegetarian food. It is a healthy form of bread made of only rice flour and 1 drop of oil (if you wish) and is a great accompaniment with spicy chicken or mutton curry. If you are vegetarian, it goes well with Pithla (Maharashtrian dish), Misal or any spicy vegetable. I personally like it better than chapati. Rice is anyday easier to digest than wheat.

I recently learned this from my mom. There are two methods but the two are not very different. Let us begin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water (to be boiled)
  • 1 cup rice flour (can use the ready made ones from super market)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • 5 tbsp ghee (optional)

Here 1 cup is approx. 250 ml. This will make 5 bhakris.

How to make: Method 1

  1. First take a big vessel and boil water. Keep gas on medium mode.
  2. Once water starts boiling reduce the heat mode to low flame. Now add flour and mix with a spoon/spatula. It should not be sticky. It will be dry and appear crumb-like. Hence, please follow the water:flour measure as 1:1.
  3. Switch off the gas. Cover the vessel with a lid for 5 mins.
  4. Shift the flour to another vessel because the original one will be very hot.
  5. Now add salt and start kneading the mixture with your hands. It will have to be kneaded while it is hot.
  6. Apply a little oil on your palms and keep kneading for 12-15 mins until dough becomes nice smooth. If the dough is slightly firm add little water.
  7. Shape them into medium round balls Dust some flour on the balls and roll them like phulka or chapati
  8. Take a non-stick frying pan keep on medium mode.
  9. Now lower the flame and fry the bhakris from both sides for a minute on each side.
  10. Now place these bhakris on low, direct fire with the help of tongs roast them from both sides.
  11. You may spread little ghee on both sides. I did not.
  12. Now place them in your casserole or serve them hot with chicken curry or vegetables.
  13. Soft and healthy rice bhakris are ready.

How to make: Method 2

  1. Follow all procedure from Method 1 except you can add the salt and oil in the water while it is boiling, instead of adding them later.

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Hope you try this recipe and find it good. Do let me know how it turns out. Send pictures!!!

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Vatana Usal – Curry

Ingredients 
main ingredients:
  • ¾ cup green peas (Vatana)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ½ or 1 tsp garam masala or malvani masala or goda masala
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium size tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
for masala curry paste:
  • ½ or ⅓ cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp unsweeteened dessicated coconut
  • ½ inch ginger (adrak)
  • 3-4 garlic (lahsun)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 tsp oil
 
 
Method:
  1. rinse and soak the beans overnight in enough water.
  2. next day drain the water and pressure cook the beans with some salt in 2.5 to 3 cups water till they are cooked completely and are soft.
  3. drain and keep the cooked beans aside.
making the masala curry paste:
  1. in a pan heat oil. add the chopped onion and fry till they become transparent.
  2. now add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute
  3. add the fennel and coriander seeds.
  4. fry for 1 or 2 minutes till the fennel and coriander seeds start becoming crisp or lightly browned
  5. add the fresh grated coconut along with the dessicated coconut.
  6. on a low flame, roast the mixture till the coconut becomes golden browned.
  7. keep on stirring, so that the coconut does not burn. let this mixture cool.
  8. then grind this mixture in a small blender or magic bullet or masala grinder with some water.
  9. heat oil in a pan. add chopped onion and fry till transparent.
  10. add the masala paste and fry for a minute.
  11. add tomatoes and all the spice powders – turmeric, red chili powder and garam masala powder, salt along with the cooked black eyed beans.
  12. stir and add water. bring to a gentle boil without a lid and then simmer for some minutes about 12-15 minutes.
  13. check the seasonings and add the salt or spice powders if required.
  14. once the whole curry has all the flavors blended, then remove from fire.
  15. garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve Vatana usal hot with steamed rice, chapatis or bread.

Everyday Indian Basic Masala

For a working woman it is often difficult to cook everyday meal. I have been facing different challenges everyday. To make things simpler one has to think smarter. Although, you wish to cook everything from scratch all the time, the time does not give you the luxury to. What do you do in such cases? Do half your preparations in your free time to avoid hassle later.

Masala is an integral part of any Indian savoury dish. It is a very generic term ; a mixture of various dry and wet spices. You blend various combinations of it to create different flavours. Following is a basic Masala that you can store in a jar and mix it with any vegetable and some meats. The paste stays fresh for up to 5 days refrigerated and 2 months in the freezer without losing any flavour. This will cut the cooking time by half!! 

If I have tempted you enough to try this Masala recipe let us see what is required and how it is prepared.

Ingredients: Makes 1 cup of Masala

  • 4 tbsp mustard/olive/canola oil (any oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (Add more garlic in case you need that strong flavour of garlic)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder (If you like your curry hotter add more chilli powder as per your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchoor – dry mango powder  (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Keep a cup of water handy. Might need only in case where the masala is getting stuck to the sauce pan

Method:

  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and heat on high up till you see ripples on the surface.If using mustard oil, you will need to heat it till its smoking to do away the raw smell.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add the finely chopped onion and cook them till golden brown. About 6-8 minutes.
  • Next, add the cumin seeds, minced garlic & ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes till you start smelling the aroma.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes next along with chilli, coriander, and turmeric powder. Cook this masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes. If you see masala sticking to the bottom of pan, add some water. Cook thoroughly to reduce water. This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, please do not rushAllow the masala to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color.
  • Remove the pan from heat and mix in the salt, garam masala & amchoor.
  • Allow the Masala to cool and transfer to jars for storing. 

How to use:

Whenever you want to use this masala for making curry, add the desired quantity of water to it,check the seasoning & bring to a boil. Next add the meats or vegetables, boiled beans, lentils and cook covered or in pressure cooker till tender.

Note: I would suggest you make this masala fresh whenever you get time. It will give far better flavour.

Do let me have your thoughts on this. I would be grateful if you can suggest variations.

Happy Cooking and time saving!!

Fried Modaks

On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi I made some delicious fried modaks. They did not turn out as good as my mom would make but it was not bad for first timer. Check out this simple recipe.

Ingredients 
for the outer covering or shell:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or maida (multi-purpose flour) or half and half both
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp warm oil
  • water to knead the dough
for the inner filling:
  • 1.5 cups grated or powdered jaggery
  • 1.5 cups fresh grated fresh coconut or unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1 or 2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 or 1.5 tsp cardamom powder or crushed cardamom
  • a pinch or two of grated nutmeg (optional)

Method:

preparing the covering
  1. with the ingredients mentioned for the outer covering, make a smooth dough.
  2. cover and keep the dough aside for 20-30 minutes.
preparing the filling:
  1. mix all the filling ingredients.
  2. cook and stir on a low or medium flame till the mixture is dry and cooked.
  3. keep aside to cool.
preparing & shaping the modaks:
  1. take a small ball from the dough.
  2. roll thinly in to a circle of about 3-4 inches diameter.
  3. gently take this circle on your palm.
  4. now add the filling in the center.
  5. pinch the edges one by one. pinch at least five edges.
  6. bring together all the pinched folds in the center.
  7. deep fry the modaks in medium hot oil or ghee till golden browned.
  8. drain on kitchen tissues.

 Image Source: spiceupthecurry.com

Patoli – GSB Nagpanchmi Special

This seemed difficult when I started but then everything fell in place. Just a small background. This sweet dish usually is prepared during Ganesh Festival or Nagpanchmi. 

Serves
8-10
 
Ingredients: 

Haldi leaves – # 8 (or Banana leaves if haldi leaves are not available)
Maida or Rice flour 1/4 kg. (Do not get ready made flour. Grind it yourself in the mixer.)
Descicated Coconut powder 150 gms or one Bowl.
Jaggery – same amount as of descicated coconut.
Ilayachi -3 pods. (crushed)
Salt as per Taste (A pinch is enough)

Instructions: 

1. Make a batter of flour. Remember to add a little grated coconut to the flour while grinding Consistency is of bhajiya batter. Add salt to taste. 
2. Mix coconut powder, Jaggery and Ilayachi together to blend well.
3. Cut Haldi leaves in 2 to 3 pieces horizontally depending on the size of Patolis needed.
4. Apply thin layer of ghee on the back side (rough side) of the cut leaves.
Preparation: Take a piece of cut haldi leaf. Spread the Maida batter evenly, through out, on the ghee side making a 1/4 inch layer. Put 1 table spoon of prepared jaggery mixture and fold the leaf.
Repeat this preparation process to all remaining leaves and steam them like Idlis.
(If Banana leaves are used, if possible add small piece of Haldi leaf for flavor in the spread batter before cooking.)

Tomato Paneer – A low fat paneer recipe that is worth every calorie!

A milky concoction of cottage cheese chunks, tomato puree, a pinch of sugar and mild spices, all tossed together in olive oil.

Took this recipe from NDTV Cooks. It is one good recipe!! Sadly there are no measurements in this one.

Key Ingredients: Cottage CheeseOlive OilCumin SeedsStar AniseGingerGarlicCapsicumTomato PureeSaltSugarGaram MasalaCoriander LeavesMilk

”  In a pan add olive oil, zeera, star anise, ginger-garlic paste.

Add the diced capsicum. Saute for 1 minute. (You can saute it for longer in case you do not like your capsicum too crunchy.)

Add tomato puree. Add salt, garam masala and sugar. Cook till it leaves oil on the sides.
Add milk. Mix well. Add the paneer cubes. Let it cook for 2 minutes on low flame. Do not over cook the milk as it can curdle.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Note: Paneer cubes can be grilled on a non-stick tawa till light brown before adding to the base. You can also add a split green chilli to increase the heat of the dish in step number 3. ”

Let me not forget to mention, “No Onion”! Suitable for Jain friends and people who are fasting on a religious day. You may avoid garlic and this might still taste great.

Courtesy: http://cooks.ndtv.com/recipe/show/tomato-paneer-351812

 

Tomato Paneer

Sweet Stuff – Gajar Ka Halwa

Let us jump to the method directly. The reason is that for this dish, the quantity of the ingredients is subjective. You have to set your own measurements.

Method:

Rinse, peel and then grate the carrots, either with a hand held grater or in a food processor.

In a kadai (bowl-shaped frying pan), add all of the grated carrots.

Pour milk in it.

Stir the grated carrots and milk and keep the kadai on the stove top.

Cook this mixture on a low to medium flame. The milk will froth and start reducing slowly and slowly.

Keep on stirring this halwa mixture often. keep scraping the sides of the kadai to remove the evaporated milk solids. add the milk solids to the cooking mixture.

The mixture should reduce by 75% and then you add the ghee/clarified butter. some milk will be there when you add the ghee. 

Next add the sugar.

Add the cardamom powder.

Stir and continue to simmer on a low flame till the mixture starts to thicken and reduce more. stir at intervals.

When the halwa has reduced much and you see a little milk – like that of a pudding consistency. then add the cashews, saffron and golden raisins.

Continue to stir and simmer till the whole mixture becomes dry. the milk should evaporate completely and you will see fine milk solids in the halwa. remember to scrape the milk solids stuck at the sides of the kadai or pan and add them to the halwa. some moisture is also fine in the halwa.