Dahi Bade (Vadas/Dumplings, also known as Dahi Bhalle)

I think most visitors to this blog (at least those from India) will most probably heave deep sighs at the above. And since a pix of the dahi vadas is already up and I did promise the recipe would follow, here we go.

Preparation time: 1 hr and more (this is a slightly time consuming recipe, esp since you will need to deep fry the dumplings, overnight soak not taken into account here)

Ingredients:

Urad ki dal  (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urad_%28bean%29): 2 katori/cups; moong dal (see: http://www.foodsubs.com/Lentils.html) 1/3 katori

Ginger: peeled, grated fine/peeled and juiced: 20gm

Hing (Asafoetida): a pinch

Lal mirchi (red chilli powder): 1/2 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Dahi/Curd for serving: 400 gm

Imli (tamarind) ki chutney for the garnish (N number of ways of making this, every house has its own recipe, will put mine up shortly)

Salt (Kala namak): to taste

Bhuna Jeera (Roasted cumin powder): 1 tsp

Fresh Coriander: 1 sprig, washed, cleaned, chopped

Method:

Wash the dal well, twice or thrice, then soak overnight. In the morning, wash again, then put into the grinder jar and grind till smooth (if too thick, spoon in water, adding a cup or a half will lead to batter becoming watery). Once initial grinding is done, add in the grated/juiced ginger, hing, mirchi, run mixer again on high for about 2 min. Turn batter into a bowl, cover and keep aside.

Take a kadhai (or deep, thick bottomed wok), ensure it is absolutely dry, add oil for deep frying and place on flame. Heat the oil on high till it is nice and hot. Take a table spoon or bigger (depending on what size you want the vadas to be), spoon in batter into the hot oil, taking care not to spoon too many in at one go. By this time your oil will be smoking hot, so reduce flame, turn vadas/dumplings over in the oil carefully so as to ensure one side does not get burnt (Use a scooper that has holes in the spoon side so that the oil drains off – hindi mein “poney” kehte hain usko) ladle used for deep frying I prefer my vadas to be light golden in color, you can fry them a darker golden if you so want. Once the vadas are fried to your desired color, scoop out and drain on paper. Try to finish all the batter in one go, keeping it for later would lead to batter turning sour.

Once all vadas are fried, place them in a tray/dish and keep aside.

The above quantity makes approximately about 25+ medium sized vadas/dumplings

Serving preparation:

Say about an hour or two before serving, heat up some water, soak the cooked vadas in it for about 7-10 min. Take out, squeeze the water out and get ready to lay the dish.

Gently whip the set curd, if too thick you may dilute it with a little cold milk, add salt (kala namak to taste), bhuna jeera and lal mirchi.

Would suggest you use a moderately deep serving bowl, layer the bottom with whipped curd and lay out the vadas, spoon some more whipped curd over this, add another layer of vadas and then curd, till all vadas have been covered. Drizzle imli ki chutney on top (you can drizzle between layers also – depends on how much effort you want to undertake) You may want to keep some extra curd at hand since the vadas will absorb all this curd. Sprinkle some bhuna jeera (as per taste and preference) and freshly chopped coriander on top, refrigerate. Serve cold (with extra dahi and imli ki chutney).

Makes for a delicious dish by itself or as a member of the chaat party!

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Bharwaan Parwal (pointed gourd)

I happen to take a quick pic when I was sitting down to lunch with mom a couple of days back and as usual posted the pic onto Facebook. Requests for the recipe soon poured in, so here it is:

Ingredients:

Parwal (pointed gourd) <http://www.rabbi-traders.com/bd/images/stories/vegetables/parval.jpg>:  about 6-8 small ones

Salt: to taste

Oil: for cooking

Lal Mirchi (red chilli) powder: 1/2 tsp

Bhuna Jeera (Roasted cumin seed powder): 2 tsp

Haldi (turmeric): 1/2 tsp

Amchoor (dry mango powder): 1/2 tsp

Method:

Wash well and dry the parwal (be sure to select fresh green ones, not too fat for those will be overripe and the seeds will be very big), chop the top and bottoms off, slit lengthwise making sure you don’t cut right through.

Mix the above spices well, (add a drop or two of oil, if wanted), stuff the blended spices into the slits, and clean off excess. Put a shallow-bottomed pan on the flame, add oil, heat. Add the stuffed parwal to the pan, cook on high heat for 2 min, flipping once or twice, reduce heat, cover and allow to cook for 5-7 min or until done. Flip occasionally to ensure they don’t burn on one side. Take off flame, serve with rotis, or as a side vegetable with rice and dal.

A combined pix of bharwaan parwal, dahi vadas and lauki ka kofta coming up. Dahi vada and lauki ka kofta recipes will come up soon.

Cabbage with Capsicum

Nothing earth shattering about this combo, just making the dull cabbage a lil more interesting.

Ingredients:

Cabbage small: washed, finely sliced

Capsicum: 1 medium, washed, finely diced

garlic: 2 cloves, finely diced or grated

Salt to taste; red chili powder and coriander powder: 1/4 tsp each

Sweet neem (curry patta) leaves: 4-5 (if fresh, finely chopped, if dry crush)

Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp

Method:

Place a wok/kadhai on flame; sprinkle in mustard seeds, allow to roast till seeds crackle, add the curry patta, roast for 1/2 min. Add garlic, roast for another 1/2 min till garlic turns light brown. Add sliced cabbage and capsicum, add the dry masala (leaving salt aside), stir well, drizzle the oil, stirring well. Allow to cook on high flame for 1 min, then turn flame low, stir gently, allow to cook for 2 mins. Add salt, stir and allow to cook for another 2-3 mins on low heat. Turn off heat.

Serve with rotis/chawal (rice) as a side dish.

Chatpata Baby Potatoes

Baby potatoes are in season; I remember mom making them in their jackets as a vegetable with the main meal, of course for hungry kids, they did well as fillings between slices of bread.

Ingredients:

Baby potatoes: 250-300 gm

Cumin seeds whole: 1 tsp

Cumin/coriander powder: 1/2 tsp each

Roasted cumin seed powder: 1/2 tsp

Garam masala: 1/4th tsp

Red Chili Powder: 1/4th tsp

Amchoor: 1/2 tsp

oil: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:

Wash baby potatoes thoroughly under running water, scrubbing gently if required; place in pressure cooker, add water to cover, place pressure cooker on flame and cook on high flame until 1st whistle, turn flame to simmer, cook for another 2-3 mins, turn off flame.

Once pressure cooker has cooled down, open, drain water, allow potatoes to breathe awhile, then halve. Set aside. Place a wok or kadhai on flame, spoon in whole cumin seeds, allow to roast and crackle. Then add in cumin and coriander powder, add 1/4th tsp oil, allow masala to roast, then add in halved potatoes, garam masala, roasted cumin seed powder, red chili powder and the remaining oil, stir gently to allow potatoes to be coated with masala. Lower heat and continue roasting, turning ever so gently (or if you prefer toss). Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add in the salt, continue to roast, tossing/stirring gently. Add amchoor, stir in fully, allow to roast for another 2mins on low flame, turn off flame.

Can be served as a side dish, as starters, or used as filling for sandwiches. If serving as a starter, you may want to sprinkle juice of half a lime before serving.

Kale Channe masale-wale

A long time back when I was in school, we used to have these 15-min breaks at around 10.30 am  (school used to start at 7.30 am) and they used to serve healthy quick to eat snacks in the break. The Kala channas or as they are colloquially known, ghoda channas (they used to also be used as feed for horses, high in protein)  used to be a staple, sometimes served as sprouts garnished with cucumber /onions/tomatoes/green chillies/a dash of lemon juice and sometimes cooked, spicy, tangy and most of all piping hot. I think of the two, I preferred the cooked one, so that is the recipe I am sharing here today.

This is a versatile recipe, in that, you can opt to make it gravy, dry or even use it as a soup, slightly broth-ish in character, but a power-packed one at that. One word of warning, though, this does take time to cook.

Ingredients

Total cooking time: ~ 1 hr

Kala Channa: 1 standard katori (abt 150-200 gm)

Onions: 2 medium, peeled finely chopped

Garlic: 2 cloves, peeled, finely chopped

Ginger: 1″ peeled, finely chopped

Green chillies: 1 medium finely diced

Oil: 1 tsp (for roasting the onions)

Garam masala: 1/4 tsp

Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp (or as preferred, but remember too spicy food not good for the tummy)

Roasted, ground Cumin seed (bhuna jeera pissa): 1/2 tsp

Ground Cumin seed (Jeera pissa): 1/4 tsp

Corriander Powder (Dhania): 1/2 tsp

Dry mango powder (amchoor): 1/2 tsp

Coriander for the garnish

Method

Wash the Channa and leave to soak in container overnight. Next morning, wash again; pour into pressure cooker and cover with water, water level should be 1-1.5″ above chanas, add some of the diced ginger. Close pressure cooker lid, place on high flame, wait till the steam starts escaping from the cooker’s control/weight nozzle, and then place control/weight over nozzle. Wait until the cooker whistles, then turn down flame and let cook on simmer/low flame for another 15-20 mins.

Once the time is up, turn off flame, wait for cooker to cool down naturally (if you are in a raging hurry, you could take the cooker to the sink and turn on the tap to release the steam/pressure inside–do not make this standard practice as this degrades the rubber gasket). Open lid, the channas should be cooked but not mashed (when you squeeze one between thumb and forefinger, it should give easily). Drain out most of the liquid-would be slightly blackish in color – reserving say about a glass. (Channa are not just loaded with proteins, they are also high in iron, hence the blackish liquid)

Wash pressure cooker, put back on flame, allow to dry. Once Pressure cooker is dry, spoon in the cumin seeds and allow to roast (dry roast without oil); The seeds will turn brown and start to crackle, once that happens, add the diced onions  and garlic, add the oil and roast, initially on high flame stirring frequently for about 2 mins, then reduce flame and continue to roast. The trick with most Punjabi/North Indian dishes is the masala and this needs to be well roasted,  sorry folks, no shortcuts here 😦 !

Masala is roasted when the onion-garlic mixture turns brownish, add in the dry spices, starting with the coriander powder, sprinkle powder over the masala, stir in well, allow to cook for about 45 secs on low flame, add in red chillies, repeat above steps, add in Cumin powder, repeat above, now add in roasted cumin powder, add a tbsp of water from that 1 glass kept aside, stir, roast for another 1.5 mins, now add the pressure cooked Channa, add salt to taste, add the glass of water, bring to boil, stir well once more and close pressure cooker lid, wait for cooker to steam, put weight/whistle on, let it whistle once, turn down flame and let cook on reduced flame for another 10-15 mins.

It is your preference whether you want the Channa to have gravy or be completely dry, if the latter, increase cooking time to 15-20 mins. Turn off gas after that time, allow to cool.

Once cooled, open lid and check, (if too much liquid remains, allow to simmer uncovered for some more time, till desired liquid quantity is achieved. Once that is done, sprinkle amchoor (dry mango) powder, and allow 1 partial boil. Turn off gas, pour into a bowl and set aside.

For the garnish, dice onions fine, chop coriander and green chilies, and squeeze some lime juice on the Channa. You can also crumble some paneer (cottage cheese) and sprinkle on top with the coriander/chillies. Serve hot.

The dry version is good by itself as a power-packed snack, or with meals, the gravy one can be had with rotis/rice.