Tuesday, 14 October 2014

EDIBLE DIYAS

DIYA KI MITHAI

HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL IN ADVANCE


To make these diyas no cooking or baking is required. These are edible diyas, can be made at home and can be distributed to friends and other family members at the time of diwali. The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word Deepawali meaning row of lamps. On this day people light up their houses with lines of diyas (lamps) every where in the front, back, on the stairs, balcony and of course in a small temple inside the house where they worship.


Diwali is a festival of light, joy and happiness. Hindus celebrate this festival as good over evil and light over darkness. Even few days before diwali, every body is in a mood of celebration and do a lot of preparations of buying new clothes, sweets and gifts etc. The religious significance is that, this day Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya after killing many demons including ravana, so every house was lit with lamps to honour their king and to show their joy.


Prier to the festival people make lots of savory and sweet dishes to offer to Lord Ganesha, who removes all the evil in your life and Goddess Laxmi, who gives all wealth and prosperity. After the puja there is a family feast and distribution of sweets to friends and extended family. For children the main attraction after the puja is fireworks.


In my long stay in Africa, where Indian population was low, no Indian sweets were available. On this festival I was making lots of sweet and savoury dishes and distributing to all my friends, they were reciprocating with the sweets they had made.. That's how me and my family have enjoyed our festival days and were celebrating diwali at home (in Africa) away from home (India).


My daughter made these diyas many years ago. A few days back, it came in my mind that this is a good time to make these diyas, when diwali is just round the corner. Then I asked her if she can help me, as she is very creative in doing things. I learnt many creative things from my daughter, and I am very proud of it because I believe that your children can even teach you good things in life. I remember a few years back I was watching a contest of Miss world. The winning question amongst the five finalist was, “What can you learn from children?”. The winner answered, “We can learn unconditional love from children”. It means you can learn any thing from any body.

To make them, you just need to assemble the ingredients and give the shape of a diya.

INGREDIENTS


  • 200 grams almond powder
  • 200 grams fine coconut powder
  • 300 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 50 grams Nesquik/Milo chocolate powder
  • 10-15 lengthwise slices almonds
Method

  • Mix coconut powder and almond powder nicely.
  • Add little condense milk, mix well, then add little more till you find nice consistency to mold and give shape of a diya.
  • Keep a small amount of it aside for the middle part of diya.
  • Add chocolate powder and mix well to the rest of it.
  • Make small bite size diyas, pinch a small amount of white mixture, flatten it lightly and put it in the middle of a diya.
  • Put one slices almond on the side of a diya.
           30-35 diyas can be made depending on the side



Wednesday, 8 October 2014

SAVOURY BAKED CAKE

METHI LAGAN



This is a very nice baked, savoury snack for parties and picnics. But the name is very strange because lagan means appropriate time, I think the word lagan is derived from Sanskrit language means mahurat (specific time). So I don't know how this dish got this name. This is a baked item with healthy ingredients like sweet corn and fresh green fenugreek leaves.





Fenugreek is a herb with lots of health benefits. Dry Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice in many South Asian dishes and green leaves are also used in many recipes. According to Wikipedia, India is the largest producer of this herb.







Though fenugreek leaves and seeds have a slightly bitter taste, but it is good for health. Dry fenugreek leaves which is called Kasoori methi gives very nice aroma in many snacks, even in shahi gravy dishes.




Fenugreek leaves and seeds are considered a very good home remedy for many health issues. Traditionally in our homes we make fenugreek fudge or laddoos for pregnant women and give them in the ninth month to induce labour. They also help to reduce menstrual pain, pain in legs and waist after delivery and for milk production in lactating women.





This recipe is seems to have originated amongst the Indians from South Africa. I heard about this recipe from a friend in Botswana and no body had heard about this recipe amongst my friends and family in India.

This recipe I am sending as my blog entry for the 'Join us for Breakfast' event here.



INGREDIENTS:-

-1 cup semolina
-¾ cup all purpose flour (maida)
-½ cup chick peas flour (besan)
-1 cup milk
-1 tin sweet corn (400 grams)
-2 tea spoon baking powder
-¼ cup oil
-1 cup chopped green fenugreek( methi) leaves
-1 cup chopped garlic, ginger, onion, green chilli
(One medium onion, 5 garlic clove, small piece of ginger, 4 green chillies)
-salt to taste
-¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
-100 grams sesame seed (till) for decoration

you also require a flat big rectangular baking dish.


METHOD

1. Sieve the semolina, chick peas flour and all purpose flour in a big bowl.
2. Add baking powder, salt and turmeric and mix well.
3.Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chillies and methi leaves and fold in the flour properly.
4.Add corn, milk and oil, mix well. It will look like a thick batter.
5.Grease the baking dish, preheat oven on 180 degree C.
6.Pour the mixture in a greased tray, spread and flatten the whole batter in the tray.
7.Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of the mixture.
8.Put it in a hot even for 25 -30 minutes, till the top layer of the sesame seeds looks brown. Insert a knife to check if cooked properly.
9.Leave it to cool, when cold, cut the pieces in 5 cm square shape and serve.

It is a full meal, can also be served on room temperature, with any sauce or chutney of taste with any drink or tea, coffee. You can make 20-24 pieces depending on size. Can be served to 6-8 people.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

SAGO CUTLET


SABUDANA TIKKI ( suitable for vegans)

Normally these cutlets are eaten on Navaratri fasting days. Hindus celebrate navaratri in the month of April and September every year. The April one is celebrated mainly in north India. But the September one before Dashehra is celebrated in many states of India, with a big bang in Bengal and in Gujarat people are in a real mood of celebrating it with garba dance. In this festival, we worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms.


During the time of navratri, hindus fast from grains for 9 continuous days, those who can not fast for 9 days, they fast on first and the last day of navratri. Some people only eat fruits for nine days. I remember in my youth, when I was in Delhi, my brother's friend was fasting on only two cloves and water for nine days. In those nine days he was walking around 6-8 km to the temple of Kalkaji daily. Kalkaji, is a very old and famous Kali (Durga) temple in south delhi. During navratri lots of devotees are going there to offer their prayers and to have a glimpse of Goddess Kali.


The interesting thing is that during navratri days, though we fast from grain, but still eat very tasty, good, rich and variety of food . Many sweet, savory and fruity dishes are made without grain, the only problem in those days is that our consumption of calorie count is increased because of the type of food we make.


During navratri days lots of special ingredients are also available for cooking on fasting days. Some of them are sabudana (sago), samak chawal (fasting rice), kuttu ka atta (Buck wheat flower), singhade ka atta (water chestnut flower) etc. I do a lot of cooking experiments with these unique ingredients, together with some fruits and vegetables, during navratri.


These sago cutlets are my son-in-law's favourite and he enjoys a lot together with other fasting curries etc. So sometimes I make them in dinner, even when we are not fasting. Sago cutlets go very well with fasting rice, fruit salad, yoghurt and some sweets like any halwa or kheer etc.



In these cutlets I use boiled potatoes, ground peanuts and little potato flower, which helps in binding. Curry leaves and sliced green chilli gives nice colour and taste.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
  • 100 grams sago
  • 1 big boiled potato
  • 50 grams ground peanuts
  • 100 grams potato flour
  • Chopped curry leaves/coriander leaves
  • Finely chopped green chilli
  • salt to taste
  • chilli powder to taste
  • Oil for frying.
METHOD

  • Soak sago in small amount of water for 3-4 hours.
  • Wash, boil and grate potato.
  • Mix grated potato, peanut powder and potato flour in sago.
  • Add salt, chilli powder, curry leaves and green chilli.
  • Mix well and make small balls and flatten them to give shape of a cutlet.
  • Heat oil on a high flame and fry them in batches, till golden brown..
  • 15-20 cutlets can be made depending on the size.
  • Can be served to 4-5 people with any chutney of taste.