Monday, June 25, 2007

Pudina Paratha/ Mint Flatbread

Pudina Paratha, a whole wheat layered unleavened flatbread cooked in a skillet.
I have pudina(mint) growing profusely in my garden, I just harvested a lot of the leaves, and froze them. I have been making pudina paratha, pudina chutney, and pudina rice, can't think of anything else to make with it.
This paratha has mint powder freshly made from the frozen leaves, one can use fresh leaves to make the powder too. Don't forget to check out the link for mint leaves powder, I have a nifty way of making this aromatic powder.
This paratha again travels well. I'm have been racking my brain thinking of dishes I can take on our road trip to Grand Canyon. We will be travelling from Denver to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas and back, about four days of being on the road. I have to really stock up enough desi khana, or we are going to be in trouble.
Anyway here is my recipe for Pudina Paratha, very simple and tasty.

2 cups wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

Mint powder


Mix the wheat flour and salt, add milk and water if needed to make a soft dough.

Keep it aside for 10 minutes.

Divide into equal parts about 6, and roll into balls.

Flatten the ball with the rolling pin, apply oil and sprinkle mint pwd.

Roll into a cylinderical shape.

Press and roll to make the shape longer.

Starting from the short end roll into a sperical shape like a peda or a circle.

Press sprinkle some flour and roll it about 6 inches in size.

Cook on a tawa, apply oil or ghee till golden brown on bothe sides.

Serve with any vegetable, raita and pickle for a very satisfying meal.

Mint Leaves Powder/Drying Herbs

The microwave can be your best friend in the kitchen. Drying herbs in the microwave is a very simple process. This works for any kind of leaves or herb. The pretty color it retains when dried in a microwave is one of the greatest advantages.

Take about a cup of pudina or mint leaves, spread them on a microwave safe plate.

Start with 30 second increments and keep checking to see if the leaves are dry.

Once dry they should crumble easily to a fine powder.

Remember to keep checking every 30 secs until done.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Baingan Achaari/Eggplant Pickle

Eggplants are such a versatile vegetable, and it can take on any avatar, and still tastes great. They have a special place in every cuisine of India as well as internationally.

Eggplant is one vegetable which absorbs a lot of oil, I wanted to make the Achaari Baingan without a lot of oil. So instead of frying it directly nuking it in the microwave seemed to work well. Here is my contribution to JFI event for July hosted by Sangeeta from Ghar ka Khana.

6 small brinjals

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp kalonji(onion seeds)

1/2 tsp hing

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp chilli pwd

1/4 tsp fenugreek pwd

2 tomatoes pureed

1/4 tsp sugar

salt to taste

gingelly oil

2 green chillies slit

1 tbsp coriander leaves

Slit the baingan into four keeping them whole.

Sprinkle salt on the baingan and microwave them for about 5 minutes.

Heat 1 tsp oil and fry the baingan till light brown.

Heat another 2 tsp oil, add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, kalonji seeds, hing, and turmeric.

Stir well add garlic, stir lightly add chilli pwd and fenugreek pwd.

Add tomato puree, sugar and salt.

Keep stirring till thick add baingan and green chillies. Cook till a thickish gravy clings to baingan. Add coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Sooji Dhokla from Trupti's - The spice who loved me

I love Trupti's blog, I made the Sooji Dhokla, but wanted it without the crispness. I followed Trupti's recipe exactly, I used 1/2 cup yogurt and about half cup water, and steamed it in a 8 inch round cake tin. Then did the tadka with mustard seeds and green chilli. Here are the pics, Thanks Trupti. They came out really soft and were very easy to make.

Mango Pickle/ Manga curry

Remember the unripe mango from Sunnyvale, well one was made into thokku, the other one is becoming a pickle, an instant pickle actually. I love this pickle have been eating this from the time I was a kid, I think every Malayali knows how to make this. Just remember to store it in the fridge as it does not stay well after two weeks, if it lasts till then. That's the reason I make it in small quantities.

1 unripe mango

2 tbsp gingelly oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

salt to taste

2 tsp chilli pwd

1/2 tsp hing

1/2 tsp fenugreek pwd

Cut the mango into small cubes with the skin. Add salt chilli pwd,hing, and fenugreek pwd, dont' mix just sprinkle these spices on the mango and keep aside.

Now heat oil add mustard seeds, once they splutter pour over the spices and mangoes. Stir well till combined, Check for salt.

Once cool transfer to a sterlized bottle. Keep at room temperature for one day for the flavors to blend, then store in the fridge. Yummo!!! Goes well as a spread on chapati, bread or with rice.

Mango Thokku/ Mango Chutney

I was in Caifornia last week visiting my sis-in-law, who had come from India. I tasted the mango thokku there, it was awesome, I even bought two mangoes from the Farmer's market in Sunnyvale. The storebought version tastes like nothing compared to the homemade one. It's such a easy recipe, especially if you use a microwave, it cuts your cooking time into half. These go well with my Dal Parathas, just had one for breakfast from yesterday. Here's my sis-in-law's recipe.

1 raw mango peeled and grated

2 tbsps gingelly oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp hing

1/2 tsp turmeric pwd

1/2 tsp jaggery

1 tsp chilli pwd

1/2 tsp fenugreek pwd

Heat oil add mustard seeds and hing, once they splutter add turmeric pwd stir.

Then add the grated mango salt and jaggery, and stir till well combined.

Remove this mixture to microwave safe dish and cook for about five minutes in the microwave till the mango reduces and you see the oil coming out, or cook it on the stovetop.

Add chilli powder and fenugreek powder and cook for another minute or so.

You will know it is done when the whole thing gets a nice color and gets all mushy and sticks together.

Mango thokku is ready, cool and transfer to a sterlized container, keeps well in the fridge. Now wasn't that easy, I'm never buying Thokku from the store again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dal Paratha/Lentil Flatbread

I had eaten this Paratha way back in Bangalore , must have been in 1997 or 1998, in a West Indian restaurant, I think it was called Sue's. I wonder if it's still there, this was a small joint near Indiranagar, and one would have to wait during weekends to get in. I still remember the taste of those Dal Parathas. It was kind of strange eating an Indian staple in a Caribbean restaurant. I was thinking of a breakfast dish to contribute for the WBB event and came up with my version of Dal Paratha.

These by the way taste delicious even cold the next day. So a great travel food for us Indians especially while we are on the road, I get tired of eating from all the fast food joints, and start craving for some nice Indian Spicy food. Maybe somebody needs to write a series of foods that travel well.

This breakfast/brunch dish is my contribution to Trupti's Weekend Breakfast Blogging event WBB#12

Dal Paratha (Makes about 8 to 10)


1 cup yellow spilt moong dal
3 cups water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing
1 tbsp ginger grated/paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp amchur(mango powder)
1 tsp garam masala pwd
salt to taste
1 tbsp minced coriander leaves

3 cups wheat flour
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Soak the dal for 2 hours.

Heat oil add cumin seeds, and hing.

Then add ginger, turmeric pwd, chilli pwd and coriander pwd.

Add dal and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Cook covered on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes until dal is soft but not mushy. Don't forget to keep stirring while the dal is cooking.

There should be absolutely no water. Add the amchur pwd, garam masala pwd, salt and coriander leaves and leave it to cool. I usually grind the filling in the food processor so it looks like puran poli filling and can be made into a ball. The grinding is optional. I like the texture better and you can put more filling this way.

Meanwhile make the dough, by mixing wheat flour, oil, salt and add water as needed, to make a paratha dough. Keep the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Then divide and roll into balls. Add the filling and roll into about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

Cook on a tawa or skillet by adding oil on both sides and cook till brown.

Serve hot or cold with pickles and yogurt, hot or cold. I had mine with mango thokku(recipe to follow). This paratha is very filling I couldn't eat more than one. A great idea for brunch as they can be made in advance. I make my filling and dough the previous night, and leave it in the fridge, and make the parathas fresh in the morning or for brunch as the case might be.

Vegetarian Shami Kababs/Lentil Kababs

An extemely popular appetizer and usually made with minced meat. The word kabab is derived from the Persian (aab means water and kum means less - it is a dish cooked with less water). I had tasted the vegetarian version when I purchased the frozen kababs from the Indian grocery store. I decide to experiment and used beans instead of the meat. One can use the canned variety of beans for convenience. I have made these with kala chana too and they turned out great. These can be cooked and frozen and can be use as patties for burgers if made bigger in size.

Makes about 10-12 kababs
1/2 cup red beans/adzuki beans/chori
1/4 cup chana dal
1/2 of a small onion chopped
1 tsp ginger grated
1 green chilli minced
1 clove garlic chopped
1/2 tsp chilli pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1 small potato boiled and grated
2 slices bread soaked, squeezed and crumbled
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
Oil for frying
All-purpose Flour

Soak the red chori(or any lentil/beans of your choice)and chana dal separately for an hour.

Cook in a pressure cooker in separate containers.

For the red beans add half cup water, place another container on top of the red beans for the chana dal, add 1 tbsp water, and chopped onion, ginger, green chilli, garlic, chilli pwd, and garam masala pwd. Cook for 2 whistles.

If not using the pressure cooker just cook both separately till tender.

Drain the water completely from the red beans and mash or crush using a rolling pin or potato masher. Drain the water from the chana dal mixture if any, process in the food processor.

Mix the mashed red beans, ground chana dal mixture, grated potato, crumbled bread, salt, mint and cilantro leaves, till well combined.
Divide into equal portions and shape into round kababs. Heat 2 tbsps oil.

Roll in a little flour and shallow fry the kababs a few at a time till golden brown.

Serve hot or cold with green chutney, lemon slice and onion rings. Delish!!!!!