Monday, September 27, 2010

Savoury Snack - Kothimbir Wadi

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I love the way the Indian cuisine has all the elements of a complete meal. In the sense there is the spicy bhaji (vegetable) , the comforting varan-bhat and the crunchies like papads, wadis. Kothimbir or cilantro wadi is an all-time favourite with us, Maharashtrians.
A few weeks back we were invited for tea at a friends place. Her mom had made her version of cilantro wadi and was really kind to share the recipe with me. I tried this at home and it was liked by everyone (yes, that includes the toddler).
The first time I tried it another friend (you know who you are) dropped in. She requested the recipe sometime back. Here is the recipe for you dear friend.
Kothimbir Wadi 
Printable version of recipe here

What you need : -
5-6 C of cilantro leaves finely chopped ( measure before washing and chopping)
1C + a little bit more of chickpea flour
5 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chillies finely minced
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sugar
juice of 1 lemon (dont skip this)
sesame seeds for garnish
oil to fry.
salt to taste
water as required

How To:-
  • In a bowl mix together cilantro, ginger-garlic paste,chillies,salt, chilli powder, turmeric, sugar and lemon juice. Mix with finger tips so that the cilantro is covered with the mixture.

  • Now add the chickpea flour and the rice flour. Add water little by little stirring so that the there are no lumps.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning.It should be slightly sour, sweet and somewhat spicy. Add more salt and other spices if required.

  • The mixture should be like a batter for bhajis(fritters). Add more flour if required. When you try to drop it with a spoon it should go drip, drip,drip. We will now cook this mixture in a pan.

  • In a non-stick kadai heat 3 tbsp of oil. When it heats up add a pinch of asafoetida(hing) and let it sizzle. Then add the chickpea mixture to it. There might be spluttering so watch out.

  • Keep stirring this mixture so that there are no lumps. It will start coming together. Scrape the sides of  the kadai if the batter sticks to it.Simmer and cover and cook for 5-7 min. At this stage the  mixture will be an unruly mass that is difficult to handle. Keep at it and it will all scrape and come together. Be prepared for a serious arm workout.:)
  • Uncover and taste. If the mixture has cooked there will be no raw smell and taste.Allow to cool.
  • When mixture is warm enough to handle drop it onto a flat plate lined with oil.
  • Spread it and press firmly. Spread some seasame seeds if you like
Cut into squares.Shallow fry these squares. Serve with ketchup.

When hot, the wadis will be delicate to handle. They will harden a bit when cooled slightly.

At first the recipe may seem a bit lengthy and complicated. But its actually not. I found the recipe very versatle and forgiving in terms of the ratios of the ingredients. The cut wadis can be refridgerated and fried at a later stage. I ususally make a big batch that I can shallow fry later.
And like I said earlier,the two men in the house could not get their hands off it, specially the older one. Very very addicting.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Modak for Ganpati Bappa

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Every year this time I want to be home, in Pune, amidst the Ganpati festival, participating in the evening aarti and enjoying mom-made modaks with dollops of ghee. My sister and I were the prep-cooks in the house and along the way we got some very useful cooking lessons.

 Army of Modaks .....
'Ukdiche modaks' was one of things my mom and we sisters learned together. When aai learned that a neighbour aaji makes fabulous ukdiche modak she immediately asked her to demonstrate it. Neighbour aaji oblidged and we tried it together in our kitchen. Then one day we saw these things a.k.a moulds in TulsiBagh ( shopping market in Pune ). They looked unusual and did not come with any instructions on how to use them.

Modaks in the making.....
 Anyways since it was only a few bucks we bought it. And then got working on it in the kitchen. After a few attempts we were finally able to churn out a perfect modak.

 Ready to be steamed
 I make them at least once during the 10 days when Bappa is home. My way of saying thank you.

Modak for Ganpati Bappa
 Ganpati Bappa !! Morya !!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paneer in Tomato Gravy

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It feels somewhat magical to me - last year this time Aamod was a 5 month old who was trying his best to roll over and begin to crawl. A year later he is a running toddler, his innocent baby smiles being taken over by naughty grins. His hugs, his smiles and his laughter - arent they too adorable at this stage ? .
In between the tantrums and giggles I found myself making this recipe for a leisurely sunday lunch. I have made this earlier and it was appreciated very much by him. So i made it again , enough for us to last through sunday and in the lunchboxes on monday. 

Here's how I made it : -

Paneer in Tomato Gravy (Inspired by this recipe on Sunita's World)

What's needed (serves 4 adult portions):
4-6 tomatoes
 1 small onion chopped ( blended with 2 clove of garlic and 1" piece of ginger)
1C paneer cubes
 whole spices - 1 stick cinnamon.2 bay leaves, 3 cardamom pods,2 cloves
1  bay leaf for tadka
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole red chilli
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala
oil as required
cilantro to garnish
2-3 C water

  • Boil water and throw in tomatoes along with the whole spices. Let the tomatoes boil until tender. After a while the whole mixture will release a wonderful aroma from the cinnamon,cardamom etc
  • When tomatoes are tender, allow to cool and blend the entire mixture along with the whole spices.
  • In a pan , heat some oil. To it add cumin seeds.When they splutter add the 3rd bay leaf and whole red chilli.
  • Add the onion+ginger-garlic paste. Saute till onion loses its raw smell and the mixture dries up. Add the chilli powder,turmeric.
  • Now add the tomato mixture. Watch for spluttering here though. Mix well. and allow mixture to simmer for a while.
  •  Add garam masala and the paneer . Taste and adjust seasoning.Garnish with cilantro and serve.
The infusion of tomatoes with the whole spices flavours the gravy from within.. I also added some red peppers along with the onions. That's not in the recipe though. Makes for a great weekend meal !

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Aloo Sag

Pin It Now! I have been gone from this space for a while. Demands at work and the growing needs (read as attention) of a 17 month old toddler. And so this little space took a backseat. But now am back. :) With this delicious Aloo Saag recipe.
The other day I impulsively bought a large bag of spinach from Costco. It was HUGE !.And then fortunately I found this recipe of Saag Paneer on Jugalbandi. I did not have any paneer so I replaced it with shallow-fried potatoes. Awesome !!

For one, I did not feel guilty about eating a rich curry. Coz its green - good and good for you. The aroma of the fennel and creamy-ness from the cashew powder makes it very different from any other curry I had earlier. I replaced the cream with the a 1/4C of whole milk.
With some warm rotis,salad and rice this makes for some tasty meal. It tastes better the next day so do make enough.
On to the recipe :-
The recipe is elaborate but definitely worth it. I usually make enough for 3 meals for 2.

Aloo Sag ( Inspired by this recipe on Jugalbandi )
  • Drop about 5-6C of loosely packed spinach leaves into the biggest pot with boiling water. Let it sit for 10 min until leaves have wilted. Rinse with cold water ,drain and keep aside.
  • Finely chop 1 large onion. Reserve half of it. Cover the other half and microwave till it softens (about 1 min)
  • Add this onion to the spinach along with  - 1 green chilly,1/2 tsp fennel seeds(saunf), handful of cilantro
  • Drop 2 tomatoes in another pot of boiling water and let sit for 10 min. Dunk them in cold water. Peel skins and grate/puree.Set aside.
  • Make a 3rd paste - 1/2 onion cut  earlier + 2 cloves of garlic + 1/2inch ginger.
  • Grind the foll. to course powder - 1 tsp coriander seeds + 1 tsp cumin seeds + 1 clove + pinch of turmeric + 1/2 tsp chilli powder.
  • Finely grind 1/4C of cashews.
If you have all the above pastes ready let's assemble the final dish.

  • In a pan heat some oil + butter.
  • Add the onion-ginger-garlic-paste.Fry for 2-3min.
  • Then add the tomato puree and the spice powder (coriander,fennel etc). Saute till most of moisture evaporates and mixture becomes thick. 
  • Add cashew powder and mix well.
  • Then add the spinach paste. If the whole things splutters cover with lid. If you find the mixture too thick add some water/stock. Check for seasoning.
  •  Then add 1/4 C whole milk. Incorporate it well into the mixture. Simmer at this stage so that milk does'nt curdle.

Shallow Fried Potatoes

 1-2 potatoes sliced
 salt + oil to fry

  •  Heat some oil in a saute pan. When its hot add the potatoes. Take care that the potatoes are not over-crowded in pan. If so do saute them in batches. Leave them alone for 5 min
  •  They will take a nice golden color. Add a splash of water and cover and cook till just cooked but not mushy.
  •  Add them to the sag just before serving.
  • Serve with warm rotis and rice.
The recipe also included a tiny bit of nutmeg. I omitted it. Somehow my previous experience of combining spinach,nutmeg and milk was'nt so great. Add it if you like. BTW did you know a tiny bit of nutmeg can give you a good night's sleep ?