Life can get pretty busy with a toddler, and thats when this upma comes handy simple easy quick and healthy. Usually served for breakfast but works great for busy nights.

Ingredients

1 cup broken wheat
1 onion chopped
1/2 cup mixed vegetables cut into small cubes, I use frozen ones
1 tsp ginger paste
Few curry leaves chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1/4 tsp red Chilli powder
2 green chillies slit
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh corriander leaves
3 cups water
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat oil in a non stick pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.
  3. Add the onions and saute for few minutes.
  4. Add the green chilies and ginger and saute for a minute.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, corriander powder and red chili powder. Saute for 1 minute.
  6. Add the vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes covered on medium low.
  7. Meanwhile bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
  8. Add the broken wheat and saute for 2 minutes.
  9. Add the boiling water, salt and lime.
  10. Mix and cook covered till all the water evaporates and the broken wheat is cooked.
  11. Garnish with corriender leaves and Serve.



Its been so long that I have blogged, feels like I never stopped though have been waiting to get back to blogging and feels so good to be back. I hope to blog atleast once in a while now.

Though having a baby changes everything am glad that it did not change my desire to cook and try new dishes, its even more fun now cooking for my daughter and how I can plan a meal in which I can please hers and my husbands taste buds. Luckily my daughter who is 2.5 years now loves her spices and she even enjoys cooking with me.

Today is one such dish which was easy and loved by all. I have been trying out Master Chef Tarla Dalal's recipe with great success. This is one of her recipe with just the addition of garlic, for me where there is methi there has to be garlic. Fry them ahead of time and then when time to serve I put them in the oven at 350 F for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Tarla Dalal's recipe: http://www.tarladalal.com/Aloo-Methi-Tikki-(kebabs-and-Tikkis-Recipes)-32728r



Last month while Srivalli and I were chatting we came to a decision to try Khasta Kachori's for the Indian Cooking Challenge, the only person I could think of is my aunt Indu Maasi who is a wonderful cook, every time I am in loss for a recipe she is always there. She quickly sent me the recipe and by then I realized that I also had Tarla Dalals recipes. Indu maasi's and Tarla Dalal's recipe were very similar. Tarla dalal had 2 more fillings and I tried those too. We loved them a lot. I loved the moong dal one it tasted just like the store bought. Though my shapes are not so perfect since this was the first try it tasted wonderful.

Thank so much Indu Maasi, I think I am going to add a column on my blog just for your recipes.

I would also thank Srivalli to give us the opportunity to try these new recipes which we always wanted to but never got to.

For the Dough

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup oil/ghee, I used oil
1/2 tsp salt
water for kneading

Method

  1. Mix the flour and salt.
  2. Add the oil and mix well. Till you get a bread crumbs texture.
  3. Make a soft dough using water.
  4. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
  5. Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.


Notes
  • Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.
  • The dough could spring back for many reasons:
  • Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)
  • Dough is not soft enough.
  • Not kneaded for enough time.
  • Oil is less.
  • Not rested enough.


Fillings
Khasta Kachori - Moong Dal kachori
Here I took a mix of both the recipes.

Ingredients
1/2 cup split moong dal (yellow)
1 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch hing (asefetida)
2 tsp finelly chopped curry leaves (Optional)
1 tsp chilli ginger paste
1 tsp sauf (fennel seeds) powder
1/2 tsp spoon garam masala
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tsp mango powder (amchur)
1 tsp oil
salt to taste

Method
  1. Wask and Soak dal in water for atleast 1 hour. You can go upto 4 hours not more.
  2. Drain the water well.
  3. Grind the dal to a coarsely. (Will resemble Idli Rawa)
  4. Heat oil in a pan.
  5. Add the hing and cumin seeds.
  6. Once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.
  7. Add the dal.
  8. Lower the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes till the dal stops sticking to the pan.
  9. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown.
  10. Add all the masalas.
  11. Cook for few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you.
  12. Add Salt.
  13. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.


Muttar Ki Kachori from Tarla Dalal:

Ingridients
2 cups green peas
1 teaspoon green chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 tablespoons chopped coriander
2 tablespoons oil
salt

Method
  1. Corarsely grind the green peas,green chillies and ginger in a blender without using any water. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan,add the nigella seeds,fennel seeds,bay leaves and ground green pea mixture and saute over a very slow flame for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chilli powder,garam masala,coriander and salt and saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leavess and discard. Divide into 12 equal portions.


Pyaz Ki Kachori

Ingredients
2 cups onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)
2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoons green chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Bengal gram flour (besan)
2 teaspoons coriander (dhania) powder
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste

Method
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in colour.
  2. Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
  4. Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.


Notes
  • The fillings have to be really dry if not when rolling they will ooz out when rolling.
  • The masalas are according to taste, I did reduce the spice but still its spicy for us but the level we can enjoy.
  • Once I added the filling I found it difficult to roll especially the moong dal, I felt the dough would break and make holes So I pressed it down with my hand. I followed Manjula's method,
  • Fry the kachori's on medium low to get a crisp outer layer, that is the key. For people using electric stove, my numbers were going from 6 to 4.


To Make Kachori's
  1. Make a small ball from the dough.
  2. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle.
  3. Place about 1.5 tsp of t he filling in the center of the rolled dough.

  4. Cover the filling with the dough by sowly streching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough.

  5. Flatten and roll each portion to 2.5 inch circle. I used the my palms to flatten it, using the rolling pin was not working sincet he filling was coming out. (See notes below).

  6. Keep aside covered.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying.
  9. Drop the kachori in the oil. It should rise up slowly.
  10. After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.
  11. Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.
  12. Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.

  13. Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.
  14. Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney


Notes
  • I fried 3 kachori's at a time.
  • The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.
  • It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.



This is a very simple dal, you have it with rice or roti's. I used to always soak this dal for 1 to 2 hours and have a problem when boiling this dal I had to give about 8 to 9 whistles and still they would not get as tender as I wanted them to be. Then my friend Shivani's sister Shalu shared this tip with me, she said dont soak it for more time and cook any dal on medium heat, after about 2 to 3 whistles (Depends on the pressure cooker) the dal will be melting soft and cooked to perfection. Ever since I have tried this method my dal cooks really well and tastes better too. Thanks Shalu.

Ingredients
1 cup Whole Moong Dal
1/2 cup onion chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp green chilies, chopped
10 - 12 curry leaves
2 tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp coriander powder
pinch turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fresh lime juice or to taste (Depends on how sour the tomatoes are.)
fresh coriander leaves for garnish
salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and soak the dal for 1 hour. Drain the water.
  2. Place the dal in a pressure cooker along with ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves and salt.
  3. Add about 2 cups of water. Close the cooker and pressure cook the dal on medium till 3 whistles.
  4. Let the pressure out naturally. If needed give more whistles.
  5. Heat 1 tsp oil in another pan. Add the cumin seeds.
  6. Once they splutter add the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Cook for 1/2 minute.
  7. Add the tomatoes, cook till oil separates.
  8. Add it to the cooked dal and Mix well.
  9. Add more water if needed and bring to a boil.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Add the lime juice.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  13. Adjust seasoning.
  14. Serve with rice or roti.



Recipe Source: Simran's Mother. Thank you aunty.

For the December 2009 Indian Cooking Challenge, Srivalli chose the Moong Dal Halwa, Dal Jo Seero for us Sindhi's. Every winter we would have tons of Khoyo, a kind of halwa that has poppy seeds, dates and other yummy stuff. Its so delicious and would take hours to cook and I could just not wait for it to be done. After that the seero that I love is this one, I would never have dared to cook it until now, not because I am lazy or was thinking it would be tough, I am in for challenges but only because I love when my mom cooks all these things. And Dal jo Seero is one off the sweets always made during weddings and big functions.

Anyways I had a nice experience making this, thought it would be a breeze but no it wasn't. I made it my mama's way finally. This is how my evening went.

Dec 24th
7:00 AM - Soak 2 cups dal
6:00 PM - Grind the dal
6:15 PM - Heat the ghee
6:20 PM - Add the dal
6:21 PM - Dal sticking to the bottom
6:22 PM - Trying to Mix it
6:23 PM - All the ghee falling out, dal is sticking to the pan. Why is the dal sticking and why is all the ghee floating on top.
6:24 PM - Ok Ok relax...think....cant leave the stove cant go to the recipe....think.... keep mixing, ghee keeps falling out in the process
6:25 PM - Ok reduce heat more, remove all this ghee.
6:28 PM - All the floating ghee removed. happy now mixing will be a charm.
6:29 PM - Oh My this is so heavy, why is it heavy, why is my arm already paining.
6:30 PM - Heard the garage door open---thank god now hubby (who I call Listen) can do all the mixing this is tough (in my mind should have soaked 1 cup)
6:32 PM to 6:40 PM
Listen: whats UP?
Me: Come here.
Listen: whats this?
Me: Hold this. (giving him the ladle)
Listen: whats this?
Me: Mix this.
Listen: whats this?
Me: Mix it its sticking.
Listen: Ok Ok Relax. Starts mixing
Me: thanks, its dal jo seero
Listen: How come?
Me: ICC
Listen: Whats that? Anyways what about my tea
Me: Whats that?
Listen: This is so heavy to mix and its sticking.
Me: I know thats why you are the right person for this. Let me call mom

6:40 PM tp 6:50 PM - Call to mama
Mama: Hello Beta
Me: mama I am making Dal jo Seero
Mama: Silence....
Me: I soaked 2 cups dal for 11 hrs and then ground it. Then heated the ghee and added the dal but its sticking to the bottom and not mixing.
Mama: Silence....
Me: Is this how you make it too.
Mama: Silence....
Me: MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Mama: Yes, you must have added less ghee.
Me: No No, I added lots it was floating so I removed half of it.
Mama: This Seeta needs more ghee.
Me: But.
Mama: Did you grind it very fine.
Me: Proudly, yes very like dosa batter.
Mama: Oh Oh. its should be coarse.
Me: Oh..Then now what do I do?
Mama: Off It bring it tomorrow I will see here.
Me: No I want to do it, should i add all the ghee back.
Mama: Yes please this will need more ghee since its finely ground and will be tougher to mix.
Me: Ok Hubby dear is mixing it, if he sees me add all this ghee he will not eat it. So I will go now and take over and see what happens.

6:51 PM - release DH - wheres my tea, I sat 2 minutes
6:52 PM to 7:00 PM - I go take the ladle, send him away and start the mixing and slowly add the ghee its getting better not bad its coming together. Great. But am tired of mixing.
6:53 PM to 7:15 PM -
Me: Listen can you please help me in mixing this.
Listen - Ok but wheres my tea.
Me: In a minute
Listen: Oh this looks better now, did you add more ghee.
Me: NO, its the dal its removed some oil, its normal. Keep mixing.
Listen: Till when?
Me (On phone with mama): Dont know, will call mama, called mama and she said Golden brown. I asked her how long it will take she said long time. She said bring it here tomorrow I will do it. I said ok I will just bhunofay it till brown and then get I dont have mawa anyways.
Listen: I know the color I have seen my mother make this.
Me: Great.

7:15 PM to 8:15 PM - We take turns in mixing it, it keeps getting easier to mix. But its not turning brown at all.

8:16 PM - Listen is tired. Asks me for his tea again, I see the time and then tell him lets have dinner too late for tea. So I obviously forgot to cook dinner and we had maggie while I keep the flame on low and stirring every 5 minutes.

9:15 PM - Listen Listen see its brown now, the ghee is out, looks lovely come tell me when to stop. So we both wait for another 10 minutes and he tells ok that looks fine. GREAT. PERFECT
Listen Now what?
Me: Add mawa, but we dont have it. Will call mama.

9:20PM to 9:35 PM
Me: Can we add the mawa at the end.
Mama: We can but we will have to cook the mawa separately and add, the taste will change.
Me: So what do I do?
Mama: Bring it here tomorrow.
Listen from behind: Mommins no we want to make it here what else can we do????
Mama: Ok then make with milk only.
Speaker Phone is ON now
Me: Ok, so how much milk do we need.
Mama: about 4 litres.
Me: What? I just have 1.5 litres.
Mama: get it here I told na.
Listen: I will go get the milk.
Me: But I want mawa it tastes better.
Mama: Then Bring it here tommorow.
Listen: I will get the milk.
Me: No listen, I want Mawa.
Listen: Ok then we will add what milk we have and then take it tommorow, mommins buy the khoya and keep.
Me: No mama, when we come on the way I will go to the indian store and buy it and come.
Mama, Listen: Ok done.

We add .5 ltr milk and all the milk vanishes. What so we add more..thats gone too, we then remove what we need for tea and add everything we had. it keeps drinking it. I said ok thats enough. We off it and clean up.

Next day we went to moms place and the Indian store was closed, so no mawa...:(, so we landed up making it with only milk or should I say mama finished it off for us. But she did use a lot of Milk and cooked it for another 3 hrs on low. She adds more milk and cooks on low for low, so as the milk gets thick and will get to the mawa consistency.

Anyways it was delicious and everyone liked it..:) I dont think I am going to make 3 cups in future just small quantities. But it was a great experience

Moong Dal Halwa
Soaking Time : Overnight
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 - 45 mins

Recipe 1 with khoya

Ingredients:

Split (Yellow) Moong dal - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup - 1 cup (depending on your preference)
Clarified Butter / Ghee - 1/2 cup
Khoya - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts and raisins for garnish

You can make any quantity with this as long as you keep this ratio constant : equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya.

Method:

  1. Lightly roast the 1 cup of moong dal, wash, soak overnight and be ground to a fine paste adding very little water.
  2. Take a thick bottom pan, heat 1/2 cup ghee and fry the moong dal paste till it turns brownish and releases the ghee. Add sugar and khoya.
  3. Stir fry until both the sugar and khoya are well absorbed. Turn off the heat, then mix in cashew nuts and raisins.


Recipe 2

Split (Yellow) Moong dhal - 1 cup
Ghee - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk - 1/2 cup (Notes from Lataji - instead of water for the sugar, this gives the khoya added taste, Simran's recipe asked for water)
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.

Method
  1. Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.
  2. Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.
  3. Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.
  4. Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick.
  5. Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.
  6. Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.
  7. Keep the fir low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix.
  8. Cook until the ghee surfaces.
  9. Garnish with cashews and raisins.


Notes :
  • Use a thick bottom pan or better nonstick pan
  • Don't leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick and it can go from just done to burnt in a second so keep stirring as much as possible. You should remember to keep stirring to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added.
  • You aren't looking for the halwa to get too thick when you turn off the heat. It was thicken as it cools.
  • Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
    Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dhal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
  • In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture
  • Though original recipe didn't call for roasting the dhal before soaking, Lataji felt roasting it a bit gives more fragrance.



A Happy New Year to all.

I remember those days as a child where I would get up to the aroma of this Dal being cooked, mom's secret is to slow cook this dal for hours. Simple to make but yet so delicious. But it is really heavy and we prefer to have it for lunch. I normally make this when I have guest's and so I do not compromise on the butter and cream. If making for just the family I just add milk and just a dollop of butter at the end. I have always followed moms recipe and it has always worked so I don't look for any other recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup sabut Urad (whole black gram)
1/4 cup rajma (red kidney beans)
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp green chili, chopped finely
1.5 cups tomato puree (See below for recipe)
1 cup fresh cream/ milk
1/4 tbsp red chili powder or to taste
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Wash the urad dal and rajma and soak in lots of water overnight.
  2. Pressure cook the dal along with ginger, green chili, salt, red chili powder and lots of water till fully cooked and tender.
  3. Heat 1/2 the butter, add the garlic and tomato puree. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining butter, dal, garam masala and cook on low heat for an hour minimum, longer the better. Add water if required stirring regularly.
  5. Just before serving add the fresh cream and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. adjust seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve.


To Make Tomato Puree
Just grinding the tomatoes did not taste good so what we do is boil the tomatoes in some water till the skin breaks. Remove from heat. Remove skin and then puree it. If you want pass it through the sieve to remove the seeds.



For this months Indian Cooking Challenge, Srivalli chose Chegodilu or more commonly called Ring Muruku or Kodubele by us. I had tried these before and had failed, they never get crisp for me, I knew I don't have the temperature right. I never tried them again till now. I wont say they came out perfect I still have to get the right temperature for getting them crisp, if I let them brown they do get crispier but then we don't like that dark color. I think I will try them again at my moms place on a gas stove, I have an electric one. If anyone has any idea at what level to keep on an electric stove please do let me know. I finally tried them all on a constant medium heat and they came out better. I tried the second recipe since I realised on the 15th when everyone's posts were popping up that I haven't done the challenge as yet and the second one seemed to be quicker to try. So here I am after frying them and still have my second last batch in the frying pan. I shall try again with my mom and get them crisp hopefully. Thanks Valli.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup All purpose flour/ Maida
2 tbsp Ghee
1/4 tsp Ajwain
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
pinch Turmeric
Salt as per taste
Oil for deep fry
1 cup water approximately

Method

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  2. Mix the flours, ajwain, red chili powder, turmeric and salt in another bowl.
  3. Add the water to the flour mix slowly, keep mixing till you get a stiff dough. Mix Well till everything is blended.
  4. Pour Ghee on top, cover the bowl and keep aside.
  5. Once cool to handle, knead to form a smooth dough.
  6. Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.
  7. Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.
  8. Check if the oil is in the correct temperature, by dropping a tiny bit into the oil. Then gently slide the rings or the chakodis in batches of 4 -5. The flame has to be on high until the chakodis come up to the surface, then lower the flame to medium and cook till you get a golden colour on the chakodis.
  9. When the chakodis are golden all over, using a slotted ladle, remove to a kitchen towel and cool. Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.


Notes:
  • Remember to turn the heat to medium to high and high to medium for getting the chakodis to golden colour and also to be cooked evenly. Only this way you get crispy chakodis. These should not be cooked on low flame as they will absorb more oil and can turn soggy also at times.

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