Monday, 11 August 2014

MANGO PICKLE



India is the largest producer of mangoes. Many varieties of mangoes are produced in India, in almost every state a different variety of mango is available. I think every body likes mango in India, you will hardly find a person who will say that this is not my favourite fruit.


If I do a survey amongst Indians and ask these simple questions like
  1. “What is your favourite sport?” The answer will be “cricket”.
  2. “Which ones are your favourite movies? The answer will be Bollywood movies.
  3. “What is your favourite fruit? The answer will be,”Mango”!
    That is what I think.

Mango is used a lot in different cuisines from different parts of the world as well as a lot in Indian cuisine. Ripe mango is particularly used in desserts and drinks. With raw and unripe green mango a lot of varieties of pickles and chutneys are made in Indian cuisine.


In tradition Indian cuisine when food is served in a thali there are several items that need to be in it. Namely roti/chapati, rice, one or two curries, one or two dry subzi, some from of yoghurt, papad, and a sweet item. In that thali, a pickle is a must. In many restaurants, Indian thalis are still served in India as well as abroad.

This mango pickle recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law a long time ago. This is actually a traditional recipe which is cooked in the sun. I chop the mangoes in very small pieces without the stone, then it takes only 4-5 days to cook in sun rays, even few hours of sun rays in the window is sufficient for this recipe. My children start consuming as soon as I fill pickle in the jar, because they like when mangoes are crunchy and not very soft.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg green, hard, unripe mangoes
  • ¼ l oil
  • 60 grams salt
  • 50 grams black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 50 grams fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 50 grams fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 15 grams turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 30 grams chilli powder
Method

  1. Wash and chop the mangoes in very small pieces and remove the stone.
  2. Mix salt and turmeric powder and leave it in a covered stainless steel pot for 24 hours, mangoes will release some water.
  3. Remove the water and spread the mangoes on a clean dry cloth for 2-3 hours.
  4. Grind the funnel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and chilli powder coarsely in a dry grinder.
  5. Heat the oil on a high flame, switch off the gas and leave the oil to cool.
  6. When mangoes are dry, mix all dry ingredients, pour the oil and fill it in a sterilized glass jar.
  7. Oil should be on top of the mangoes, put it in in sun rays to cook for 4-5 days.
    One big jar of mango pickle is ready to use. It can last on the shelf for months.

Monday, 28 July 2014

BEET ROOT PURI

( suitable for vegans)

Feeding vegetables to children is always a problem. I have experienced with my grand children that they are not interested in any vegetables, though nutrients and the vitamins in all vegetables are important for the overall growth of children. I have tried many times to chop the vegetables in very small pieces but even then, as soon as they see some green or red colour in their food, they will say I don't like it.


Beetroot is considered to be a good source of Iron, potassium, magnesium and many vitamins like A and B. According to Ayurveda, beetroots are very good for children because it increases energy in kids, reduces lethargy and is a blood purifier.


I feel this recipe is a good idea to introduce the taste, flavor and colour of beetroot to kids. The colour of these puris can attract kids and they can easily show interest to try some of them.



RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-1kg brown wheat flour/atta
-600 grams beetroot (3 big size)
-Salt to taste
-1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
-2 teaspoon cumin seeds
-oil for frying

METHOD

    1. After cutting the stems and leaves,wash the beetroot thoroughly.
  1. Boil the beetroot in pressure cooker for 5 minutes after the whistle.
  2. Remove the water and leave it to cool, keep the water aside (in case we need more water in the dough).
  3. When cold, chop in few pieces and make a paste in food processor adding very little water which was left when boiling.( If needed)
  4. Now prepare the dough, take brown flour in a bowl, add salt, chilli powder, cumin seeds and mix well.
  5. Add beetroot paste/puree and prepare a hard dough. If you need some extra water sprinkle the left over red water (from step 3). The dough should be on the harder side. Take some oil in your palms and glaze the dough.
  6. Heat the oil on a medium flame in a wok or fry pan.
  7. Pinch a small amount of dough, make small balls and flatten them. Repeat this for all the dough.
  8. Roll them with the rolling pin in small sizes, bit larger than a cookie, should not be very thin or thick. Some oil can be used for rolling to avoid sticking.
  9. Fry on a medium flame till crispy.
Can make around 25-30 puries depending on the size.

This can be served hot or warm, either with some yoghurt, pickle, chutney etc. This is great for kids to carry in their lunch boxes.



   

Thursday, 17 July 2014

KALE AND GRAPE TOMATO SALAD



  
Kale leaves have drawn my attention only in Canada, when I have seen them available throughout the year and in plenty. When I have shown interest in Kale I realized it is very good vegetable, with lots of health benefits because it has a lot of minerals and vitamins . These days I am using kale in many dishes. In my family, all are salad fans and almost every day we eat salad in some form.


When I was in Botswana, kale was not available there. Some other vegetables and fruits were also difficult to get there partly because they were not grown locally and also because there was a low demand of those vegetables. Most of the vegetables which were available were imported from South Africa or other neighbouring countries.


Sometimes during holidays, we visited South Africa, and in our return journey we were buying vegetables. My problem is that once I am in a specialized fruit and veg shop, I am tempted to buy many of them. That is the reason sometimes we had to declare these items at the border post, the officers were laughing and asking us “why are you buying the veggies and fruits from other country”. Our simple answer was that they are not available in Botswana and being vegetarians we need them.


This morning, I thought how can I make salad with only Kale as a main ingredient, next question came to my mind was that, what type of dressing can I use in it. Then I thought of making some white dressing, which can go with the dark green colour of kale, so I went to my pantry looked around for some white ingredients, which should not only be tasty but healthy and this is the result. The final product is in front of you, which the whole family have really enjoyed.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-250 grams kale leaves
-100 grams grape (cherry) tomatoes
-10 grams dried cranberries
-2 tablespoon roasted sunflower seeds
-1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

For Dressing

-200 grams onion (one large)
-4-5 garlic cloves
-50 grams sesame seeds
-2 tablespoon oil
-2 tablespoon white vinegar
-2 tablespoon castor sugar
-salt to taste
-black pepper powder to taste


METHOD


FOR DRESSING:-
  1. In a fry pan dry roast the sesame seeds and leave it to cool.
  2. Heat oil in a fry pan and roast garlic and onion together. When it is lightly brown switch off the gas and leave it to cool.
  3. Take roasted garlic and onion, add sesame seeds, vinegar and castor sugar, salt, add little water and pulse all the material together in a food processor for 2-3 minutes till it looks like a liquid paste. Take it out in a container.
  4. Rinse kale 3-5 times in running water, remove the hard stem and chop the leaves in small pieces. Spread it in a wide open salad bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the washed and half cut grape tomatoes on top together with cranberries.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper powder.
  7. Sprinkle sunflower seeds
  8. Decorate on top with the dressing (white paste) and serve.
    It can be served cold as salad to 4-5 people.






Thursday, 3 July 2014

FIG HALWA



Fig is not a very common fruit like apple or pear which is available throughout the year. Fresh fig is available here for a short time, but dried fig is available throughout the year. Fig is called anjeer in hindi language. Figs are famous for its nutritional value, I have seen a very big list of its health benefits in Ayurvedic treatment which is an ancient hindu art of healing with natural fruits, herbs and spices.


I have tried and tasted fresh fig, but was not a big fan of it. But I really like cooking with fig and have several recipes which use fig, like this halwa. So even though I am not eating this fruit but getting the benefit of all the nutrients in it by eating other dishes made with it. Most of the time in my recipes I have used dried fig, because fresh fig was not easily available in Africa where I lived for many years. The other reason I started using these dried figs in my recipes is that they were always there in my pantry, because my husband always buys them, as it is my husband's favourite fruit.

In July Hindus fast from grain on Mondays of sharavan month. According to Hindu Calender, shravan month falls in July and August. This Fig halwa is suitable for those fasting mondays and other hindu fasting days, like Ekadashi and Navratri too (when they fast from grains but are allowed to eat fruits). This halwa is very nutritious and healthy.



INGREDIENTS
  • 200 grams dried fig
  • 100 gram sugar
  • 100 grams finely grated mava (khoya)
  • 50 grams ghee
  • 50 grams sliced almonds
  • 1tsp cardamom powder
  • 1- 1/2 cup water
METHOD

  1. Wash and remove the top stem if it is hard and soak dried figs overnight in around one and half cup of water .
  2. Next day morning make a paste in a food processor.
  3. Heat the ghee in a wok or fry pan, add the paste and saute till water evaporates and it is changing the colour.
  4. Add sugar and stir for 5-10 minutes more so that water from the sugar evaporates.
  5. Leave it to cool, when cold, add grated mava and cardamom powder.
  6. Garnish with sliced almonds.

This halwa can be kept in the fridge for 8-10 days. It can be served hot or cold. Can be served as a sweet dish to 6-8 people. It can also be kept in a deep fridge for few months, and when required can be heated in the microwave.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

KHASTA KACHORI WITH BESAN



Khasta Kachori is a popular savory snack of India. Throughout north India in many states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and in some other states different version of kachories are available.


Traditionally the kachories that were available in Delhi had a filling of spilt urad dal. But these days I find kachories in delhi have different fillings with elaborate names (Raj kachori with exotic spices, Matar kachorie with green peas filling and Besan kachorie with roasted besan (chickpeas flour and spices).


Kachories are easy to take for picnics and long journeys because it has a long shelf life, which is around 20-30 days. In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh it is also served as chat, with sweet and sour tamarind chutney and yogurt.


For many years I have made this kachori with urad dal filling. Few years ago when we were visiting my sister-in-law in delhi, she had made delicious kachories with a filling of roasted besan (chick peas flour) and spices and it was really yummy. When she told me the recipe I realized that the filling requires far less oil (than the urad dal filling) and was equally delicious. And since then this gram flour filling one is my favourite and has joined my kitchen.

RECIPE

INGREDIENT:-
-1 kg all purpose flour (maida)
-200 ml oil
-1 lit oil for frying
-1 tsp salt

For filling

-250 grams chick peas flour (besan)
-500ml water
-50 ml oil
-1 tsp carom seeds
-2 tsp coriander seeds
-50 grams cashew nuts( sliced)
-chilli powder to taste
-salt to taste

METHOD

For Filling:-

  1. Take oil in a thick bottomed small wok or fry pan.
  2. Heat the oil on medium flame.
  3. Put carom and coriander seeds, roast for few seconds.
  4. Add water, then salt and chilli powder and let it boil.
  5. When it starts boiling add chick peas flour and roast for 12-15 minutes, till water evaporates and chick peas flour will change its colour to light brown.
  6. Leave it to cool, when cold add cashew nuts.

For dough

  1. Take the flour in a big bowl, add salt (around 1tsp)
  2. Add oil and rub together well, till oil is merging properly in the flour and it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add some water and make a hard dough.
  4. Make small balls from the dough and flatten them with your palm.
  5. Take one tablespoon of filling, put inside and fold the edges together and join them.
  6. Flatten it again and roll lightly to give a round shape with the rolling pin, it should not be very thick.
  7. 8- 10 kacories can be rolled out before frying them together, i e they can be fried in batches.
  8. Heat the oil on a medium flame for frying the kachories. When oil is hot, fry them in batches of 8-10 kachories on medium-low heat till they are golden brown in colour. Leave them to cool on a paper towel.
  9. Finish making all the kachories from the dough.
Around 50-60 kachories can be made depending on the size of the kachorie. They can be served hot or cold with any pickle or chutney of taste. Some people eat with potato curry. It is a good evening snack or morning breakfast.



Sunday, 15 June 2014

WHOLE BAKED CAULIFLOWER

(GHOBHI MUSSALAM)

In Indian cuisine different kinds of curries and dry subzi are made out of cauliflower florets and they are also used in some rice preparations.



The mughals ruled India for a very long time. The dishes that were prepared in mughali kitchens for the emperors were called mughlai cuisine. Many recipes and many names of the dishes from mughlai cuisine are still common and famous in some northern states of India like Punjab, Delhi and U.P. mughlai cuisine is famous for rich, creamy and aromatic curries, rice preparations and sweet dishes. Mussalam word is also derived from the mughlai cuisine, which means whole, in this recipe the whole cauliflower is cooked and baked.


I remember once I was in a remote area of Kenya, Africa, where there was only a Boarding School with teachers houses and a few shops. At that time we were going to the nearest city once a month to buy Indian groceries and vegetables. Cauliflower was the one vegetable which we were buying in bulk because of its use in multiple recipes in my kitchen.


Later my husband started growing vegetables in our kitchen garden. We had a big kitchen garden, moreover the equatorial climate of Kenya is very good for growing fruits and vegetables. It is considered to be the best climate of the world because it is neither cold nor hot. In an equatorial climate, sun light is in plenty and rainfall is after every second day. He got success in growing almost all the vegetables including cauliflower and we had not only stopped buying them from the city, but we were taking surplus vegetables from our garden back to the city to our friends there.


My mother-in-law was drying cauliflower florets in the sun and using them later in the summer. In her times, vegetables were available in seasons only, and for cauliflower, winter was the season in India. When she was using those florets in summer in her recipes, very different taste and aroma was coming from the dried cauliflower. These days because of modernization and improvement in transport and communication all vegetables are available throughout the year every where, or we can use them frozen.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole cauliflower (medium size)
  • 300 grams onion (2 big)
  • 500 grams tomatoes (3 big)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chillies (Optional)
  • Few leaves of green coriander for garnishing
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt and chili powder to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 50 grams roasted cashew nuts
  • 100 ml fresh cream
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 200 grams grated mozzarella cheese
METHOD

  1. Chop the leaves and stem of the cauliflower and wash.
  2. Put it in microwave for 4-5 minutes, it will become slightly tender but still crunchy. Leave it aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan, add cumin seeds and roast for 2 minutes.
  4. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute till brown.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and saute for 6-8 minutes till tomatoes are soft, add cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, chilli powder and cardamom.
  6. Remove the pan from the gas and add garam masala and cashew nuts, leave it to cool.
  7. When cold, make a paste in the blander of this mixture, take it out of the blender and add cream in it.
  8. In a round baking dish, keep the whole cauliflower in the middle of the tray, and pour the thick paste on top and on sides. Decorate with green coriander.
  9. Heat the oven at 200 degree C, keep the cauliflower in the oven for 10-15 minutes till the colour of the mixture is darker.
  10. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the cauliflower and leave it in the oven for 2-3 more minutes so that cheese can melt.
    Cut and make slices of the cauliflower, serve hot with roti, nan or dinner bun.
    This can be served to 5-6 people.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

THREE BEAN SALAD

(Suitable for Vegans)

In 2009 in Botswana, I made three bean salad for the first time when I was throwing a welcome party for my friend who was coming back from India. This friend is now my relative because her daughter is married to my son. Everybody enjoyed this dish in the party. Now it is often made in my kitchen, because it tastes great and it is full of nutrition. It is considered very good because of its high protein content, and therefore great addition in a vegetarian diet. The other good thing about this recipe is that it is really low in fat though it is little bit time consuming to make.


For vegetarians lentils and beans are the main source of protein. That is why I make sure that every day in one meal I make one dish of these beans or lentils. Around16 types of beans or lentils are cooked in my kitchen, I try to variate not only the lentils but also how they are cooked. Some are cooked dry, some are with added vegetables and some other preparations of mix and match are made with these lentils. Variety of sweet and savory dishes and snacks are also made.


After making this several times, I added one more bean (chick peas) to this recipe to increase its nutritional content and taste; now I call it four bean salad. Another thing I do when I make this salad is, I soak extra of all the beans, and use the extra left over and the water that was used to soak this to make a four bean curry which I will talk about in another blog entry.


RECIPE

Ingredients

-100 grams red kidney beans
-100 grams black eyed beans
-100 grams White soya beans or broad beans
-200 grams onion (One big)
-200 grams tomatoes (One big)
-4-5 green chillies (Optional)
-1 lemon (to squeeze)
-green coriander for garnishing
-4 Tablespoon olive oil.
-2 Teaspoon salt (To taste)
-2 Teaspoon black pepper powder (Freshly ground)

METHOD
  1. Rinse, wash and soak red kidney beans, and soya beans, separately in different bowls for 7-8 hour or overnight. Too much water is not required at the time of soaking and boiling because the beans will be dry in the salad.
  2. Rinse the black eyed beans 3-4 times in water. Pressure cook them together with the soaked soya beans, with one teaspoon salt and cook for about 5 minutes after the whistle. We can boil them together because they all have the same white (cream) colour.
  3. Drain the water and leave it to cool; don't throw the water, it can be used later in other curries etc, because it is full of nutrients.
  4. Now boil the red kidney beans with some salt for 5 minutes in the pressure cooker after the whistle , leave it to cool. Once cold drain the water, mix all the beans.
  5. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes and green chillies, and add them to the beans. Add the olive oil, black pepper and squeeze juice from one lemon, transfer in a serving bowl, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve at room temperature as a side dish or accompaniment. It goes great with garlic bread, toasted bread or with any soup. This can be served to 4-6 people.