Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bengali Khichuri: Durga Puja Special Roasted Moong Dal Khichdi

Khichuri is generally made during Durga Puja as an offering to the Goddess. I remember going to the Puja at Ramakrishna Math in Mumbai especially to have this Bengali delicacy. They served this as prasad after offering to the goddess. People used to flock to the place to collect their serving of piping hot khichuri served in traditional pattal(leaf bowl). Miss those days!!

Durga Puja at Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Khar, Mumbai 2013.

Khichuri is similar to the Moong Dal Khichdi we prepare, however this one has vegetables like potato, cauliflower and peas. The main difference in that Khichuri is made using roasted moong dal, which gives it the peculiar flavor. Enjoyed with Baingan Bhaja, Aalo Bhaja or yohurt and papad, this is a one pot meal; oozing with flavors!

Short Grained Rice like Sona Masoori, 1 cup
Moong Dal 1 cup
Potatoes 1/2 cup diced
Cauliflower florets 1/2 cup
Green Peas 1/2 cup
Tomatoes 1/4 cup diced
Ginger Grated 1/2 inch piece
Spices:Bay leaves, Cloves, Cinnamon, Black pepper, Cardamom
Condiments: Dried Red Chilli, Roasted Cumin Powder, Turmeric Powder, Cumin seeds, red chilli powder
Water, Salt
Oil, Ghee

Wash and soak the rice in 2 cups of water. In a dry skillet, roast the Moong dal till it gives out a fragrance and is slightly brown in color. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Remove the dal and add 2 tbsp oil in the skillet. The traditional way is to use mustard oil, however I have used regular vegetable oil, with not much noticable difference in taste!

In the hot oil add potatoes and cauliflower and cook them on medium flame till they are little brown in color. Remove them aside and add cumin seeds and the spices to the same oil. Let them splutter for a minute or so. Next add the ginger, dried chilli, turmeric, red chilli powder and cumin powder. Mix well and add tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are cooked for a couple of minutes, add the roasted moong dal. Mix well and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Add a cup of water and cover with a lid to cook the dal. Aftet the water starts to simmer, add the potatoes and cauliflower. At this stage also add green peas. Let the vegetables simmer, before adding the rice. Add the drained rice and season with salt as per taste. Add more water if need be. Cover and cook till the rice and dal is well cooked and little mushy. Occasionally stir and add water if required.

Once it is cooked, add cilantro and serve hot with a dollop of ghee. Khichuri tastes best by itself, but can also be accompanied by Baingan Bhaja, Aalo Bhaja or Yoghurt and Papad.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Kanda Bhajji: Crispy Onion Fritters

No Mumbaiite is a stranger to the famous Mumbai street food, Kanda Bhajji. Enjoy this delicacy straight out of the wok from a roadside vendor when it is pouring, or relish it at home with spicy green chutney and a cup of hot Masala Chai, Kanda Bhajji is always wonderful! 

Try out this recipe of making it at home, almost as good as the one we eat from the roadside vendor.

Red Onions, 2 large
Chickpea Flour 1 cup
Corn Flour 1/2 cup
Red Chilli Powder
Turmeric Powder
Dhania Jeera Powder
Oil to fry

Peel and slice the Onions into thin julienne. Add salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida, dhania jeera powder, red chilli powder and mix well. Rub in the masalas into the onions and let it rest for ten minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Once the masalas are absorbed into the onions, divide the onions into small parts. In one part add in some chickpea flour and corn flour and mix well. Fry small parts of the flour coated onions till they are golden brown. Remove from oil and remove excess oil on a kitchen towel.

Serve hot with Green Chutney and Masala Chai. Enjoy as Bhajji Pav, stuffing the Kanda Bhajji between a sliced Pav and serve with Spicy Garlic Chutney.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Garlic Breadsticks: Domino's Style

Every order of pizza from Domino's Pizza is generally accompanied with a side order of Garlic Breadsticks. Assessing the demand for sides the company introduced various sides ranging from Stuffed Breadsticks to Cinnamon sticks, but the classic Garlic Breadsticks remains our favorite. 'Breadsticks baked to a golden brown, seasoned with a savory blend of garlic, Romano cheese and parsley. Served with a side of marinara' absolutely describes the dish!!

After making pizza from scratch at home, there was a sudden urge to replicate the Breadsticks recipe at home and complete the Domino's Dinner Menu. So here is the recipe to make Garlic Breadsticks, almost like Domino's.

Allpurpose Flour/Maida 3 cups
Rapidrise Dry Yeast 1 sachet/ 2 1/4 spoon
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Mozzarella Cheese 4 tbsp
Dried Herbs
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Garlic Salt 2 tbsp
Warm Water 1 cup (100-110 F)
Butter 1 tsp

In a cup of warm water, add Yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes till it foams. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, half the garlic salt, Olive Oil and dried herbs. Pour the frothy yeast mixture into this mixture and make a soft dough. Add little water if required and knead well. The mixture may be sticky at first, knead it well till it converts to a soft dough.  Apply oil over the dough and place it in a large bowl, cover it with a moist cloth and let stand for 45 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200 C. After 45 minutes, the dough will be almost double it's size. Punch down the dough and knead it for 5 more minutes. Divide the dough into four parts and from each part roll out a round disc of about 1/4 inch thickness. Place some shredded cheese on one side of the dough and fold dough to form a half circle. Place this in a greased baking tray. Sprinkle some Garlic Salt on top and lightly cut the sticks, so that it is easy to separate the sticks once cooked. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or till the crust turns golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Apply some butter on top and serve warm with Marinara Sauce.

Enjoy this Garlic Breadsticks with homemade Veggie Pizza and Creamy Tomato Carrot Soup!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Green Moong Dal Fritters

Vada is traditionally a fritter made of varied ingredients ranging from dals to vegetables. These fritters here are made from green Moong dal, mixed with coconut, cilantro and green chillies. Green Moong dal or chilke wali moong dal (along with husk) is rich in fiber and potassium which helps in lower blood pressure. Enjoy these fritters as a snack with green chutney or convert it to a South Indian meal by combining it with Tomato and Dal Rasam.


Green Moong dal 2 cups

Onions 1 cup, diced finely
Coarse black pepper powder
Ginger chilli garlic paste, as per taste
Green chillies, minced (optional)
Coconut 1/2 cup, shredded
Fruit Salt
Oil to fry

Wash the dal and soak it in water that covers the dal completely for 4-6 hours. Do not soak for extra long as the dal might begin to stink. Once soaked, drain the dal and crush it to a mixture. The coarseness of the mixture depends on how you want the vada to be. Set aside for about half an hour. The mixture can be refrigerated upto 2 days.

Add salt, onions, ginger chilli garlic paste, cilantro and coconut to the mixture. Mix well. Heat oil in a pan. Take some mixture in another bowl, add a tsp of oil and a tsp of fruit salt. If you want soft vadas add fruit salt. Incase you like crunchy hard ones, skip the fruit salt. Mix well and fry small balls out of it. You could even shape them like Medu Vada and fry them. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve hot!

These vadas taste great with green chutney, garlic chutney or with spicy and tangy Rasam.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rose Shaped Buns

Having done a few experiments in the  past with breads and yeast, and having seen the different shapes of steamed breads in Chinese stores, I wanted to try and fuse the two cooking techniques and make something interesting. Borrowing the recipe and baking technique of any flour bread and combining it with the delicate and artistic method of rolling out a Chinese bread led me to make these cute bundles of goodness. 

These Rose shaped buns can be eaten with butter and assorted jams, or served with other dips. For any party, these buns can be made as a substitute to pav bread in Pav Bhaji, Dabeli or Wada Pav.

All purpose flour 3 cups
Dry Yeast 1 packet ( 2 1/4 tsp)
Butter 3 tbsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp

Heat 1 1/4 cup water to about 100-110 F and mix sugar in  it. Add the dry yeast and let it stand for ten minutes till it froths. 

Sift all purpose flour in a large mixing bowl and add melted butter and salt. Mix together and add the yeast mixture. Knead well and transfer the mixture to a floured surface and knead several times. Once the dough becomes soft, cover it lightly with oil and keep it covered in a big pan. Let it rest for about 45 minutes. The dough will become twice it's size.

After about 45 minutes to an hour transfer the dough on a floured surface and punch down to remove the air. Divide the dough into six equal parts. From each of the six parts, make six balls of increasing size as shown below. Shape the smallest piece as a log and roll out the remaining balls to make rounds. Place them in a straight line as shown in picture 3, stacking half of the round on the next one. Start rolling from the log towards the largest round, from bottom to top. Fold over the dough and cut it through the centre using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. This way each folded dough gives two roses. Arrange the rose on a greased baking tray and separate out the petals.  

Let the rose shaped bread stand for about 45 minutes. It will become almost twice it's size. Preheat oven to 450 F and place the baking tray in for about 8-10 minutes, till the bread gets a light brown color. Remove from the oven and cool on the cooling rack. 

Serve warm with butter and jam. The bread can also be used to creatively serve Pav Bhaji! 

I made a few roses with the dough and used the remaining dough to make round breads, which can be used to make Pav Bhaji, Dabeli or Wada Pav. These rounds of goodness taste great with just butter and a cup of hot Masala Chai as well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tomato and Dal Rasam

In Sanskrit and Proto Indo European languages, 'Rasam' means 'juice'. It can refer to any juice but simply rasam commonly referred to the one prepared with Tamarind/Tomato juice with added spices. Rasam is a South Indian soup, traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, pepper, cumin and other spices as seasonings. Steamed lentils are added along with any preferred vegetables. 

It is eaten with rice or separately as a spicy soup. In a traditional meal, it is preceded by a Sambar rice course and is followed by curd rice. Rasam has a distinct taste in comparison to the sambar due to its own seasoning ingredients and is usually fluid in consistency.


Toor dal 1 cup
Tomatoes 2 medium, diced
Rasam powder
Tamarind 1 tsp
Jaggery 3 tbsp
Spices ( turmeric powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida, mustard seeds, red chilli powder)
Curry leaves
Green chillies, split

Cook toor dal in 2 cups of water till it is completely softened. One extra whistle will not do much bad to the recipe but one less will! Cool the dal and mash it completely. Keep aside.

In three cups water, boil tomatoes, tamarind and jaggery till the tomatoes soften and jaggery melts. Add salt, turmeric powder and Let the mixture boil. In a small wok, add oil and mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Next add green chillies and curry leaves. Add rasam powder and immediately pour the oil into the boiling mixture. Add the mashed dal and mix it all well.

Add more water if required and adjust the salt and sweetness. Bring to a boil and serve hot as a soup or as a dipping soup for green lentil wadas. You can also enjoy it with steamed rice.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bajra Roti: Pearl Millet flatbreads

Millets are often used in India to make flatbreads. Among them, Pearl Millet or Bajri is very common. Rotis or flatbread made from this flour is especially important in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. These flat breads are gluten free and an excellent nutritious option for people having gluten intolerance. A very healthy grain grown mostly in India, this is a good option of flat bread to be served with Indian main courses. 

The most common combination in Gujarat is Bajri Rotis with Baingan Bharta or a curry made from potatoes and Eggplants. Also, urad dal seasoned with garlic chutney or kadhi of any sort is often served in Rajasthan with these flatbreads. While this recipe is for a simple flat bread made from bajri and some whole wheat flour just for binding, making Masala Bhakri i.e. bajri flour combined with lots of garlic, fenugreek leaves and spices is very common. Not to forget the Bajri Dhebra, deep fried fritters made from bajri flour is really yummy too. 

The day the bajri rotis are made, they are enjoyed over lunch or dinner. However, the left over can be converted to a really yummy snack. Two common variations of the snack is either bajri roti mixed with yogurt and served cold or a snack made by adding green garlic to crushed rotis and serving it warm. Both the variations are super tasty!

Besides being healthy, they flatbreads are as easy to make as any other flat bread and they taste divine when had with a dollop of butter or with jaggery. While some people change the amount of wheat flour to provide binding in the rotis, 1/4 cup works best for me with 2 cups flour. If the dough is falling apart, add some more wheat flour. 

Bajri flour 2 cups
Whole Wheat Flour 1/4 cup
Salt 1/2 tsp
Water 1 1/2 cup
Ghee or butter


In a mixing bowl add the flours, salt and little water. Keep adding water little at a time till you get a dough that is soft and does not fall apart. Make equal sized balls of the dough. Dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with regular flour (can be substituted with millet flour) and roll out the balls to a flat bread of about 1/4 inch thickness.

Transfer the roti to the tava, let it cook on one side.  Apply little water on the top surface and turn it over. Once cooked on both side, transfer it to direct flame and cook it on both sides, slowly rotating it on each side. Take it off the flame and apply little ghee or butter as desired.

Serve them hot with this Baingan Bharta or Kadhi. Fried chillies, raw onions, yogurt and jaggery are also commonly served with them.