Khaman Dhokla ~ A Savory Steamed Cake

What I love most about India is the diversity in culture, customs and food of course. One can never say admit having tried out every dish , from every corner of the country because delightfully each state, every small town and even a suburb has at least one modest street side chef with the innate quality of making their own signature style or modifying a dish in his/her own unique way.

It is those evening snack craving of an Indian (like me 🙂 )  that makes me nostalgic of my land and insists that I look up a cook book and whip up something different from time to time.

“Khaman Dhokla” is one such savory steamed cake made from gram-flour and is a popular snack that belongs to the western state of  Gujarat, in India. It is light, easy to prepare and like it looks,it is savory and a bit of a crowd pleaser too. 🙂

Ingredients needed to prepare:

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sifted gramflour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of semolina
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger and green chili paste
  • A pinch of turmeric to enhance the yellow color
  • 1  or  another  1/2 cup of luke warm water to make a smooth thick batter.
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of lime juice of apple cider vinegar

For the Tempering:

  • Oil
  • Curry leaves ( I did not have that stocked in my pantry, so opted it out) 🙂
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chilies split
  •  1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of water

For Garnish

  • Grated coconut & chopped cilantro

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the above batter ingredients except the baking soda and lime juice to be added later, and make a smooth mixture.
  • Cover and keep the batter aside.
  • In a deep vessel or a pressure cooker added 2 cups of water and set it on high heat.
  • Prepare a flat round tray by greasing it with some oil. I used an Idli tray as that is what I had handy. 🙂

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  • Once the water almost comes to boil, add the baking soda and lemon juice/apple cider vinegar to the batter and stir it, not over mixing it. You will find tiny bubbles that hit the surface and that is what we want.
  • Scoop a tbsp of the batter and pour it in the compartments or directly pour it in a round/square pan that fits in well in the water bath.
  • Place the batter tray in the water container to let it cook on steam and covering it with a lid. If you are using a pressure cooker, remember to take off the whistle and let it look for 15-17 mins.
  • Once the cooking time lapses, insert a tooth pick and check if it comes out clean and your savory cakes will be ready to be served. If prepared in a pan, flip it over and the cake shall slip out. You may then cut them into squares and serve.

For the tempering and the garnish:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, green chilies, mustard and sesame seeds.Cook for 5 seconds and then add the water, sugar and the lemon juice.
  • Allow it to cook for another 10-15 seconds and pour this over the dhoklas/steamed cakes so that the flavors seep into them.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves. It can be served hot or cold and can be stored for a day, in the refrigerator.

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Poppy seed Fritters ~ with onions and grated coconut

“Poppy Seeds” or popularly known in Bengali Cuisine culture as” Posto”, is a very fascinating ingredient  rather spice, that makes itself as a ‘must-be’ in most of the special Bengali culinary events.

Well of course here, they are not used as sedative purpose but its mild flavors and nutty texture is what almost most of the people melt for. In spite of Poppy seeds being dense in calcium,magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and other essential minerals, I am pretty certain, that when added to enrich any cuisine, they are devoured without even giving a second thought to it’s hidden qualities. 🙂

These poppy seed fritters are an excellent and quick item to be served as a starter or even as an accompaniment. The crisp crunch on the outside and the moist onions inside gives your palate an exciting experience of a whole new taste and trust me, you won’t stop munching them. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 tbsp of poppy seeds – available at any Indian store. I use a measurement of 1 tbsp/2 people. Soak them just about enough for 10-15 mins prior to grinding them into a coarse paste.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut, whichever is more handy to you.
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of gram-flour (for binding purpose)
  • oil to shallow fry

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the coarsely grind poppy seeds, the chopped onions and green chilies and the gram flour to make smooth & thick consistency.
  • Add salt for seasoning and as per your taste.
  • Heat enough oil in a non stick pan for shallow frying.
  • Once hot, take a portion as much as a tablespoon can hold and gently shaping it, release it into the heated oil. Ensure to fry these fritter on low to medium flame so that they cook through.
  • Flip sides when golden brown and they are ready to be drained of any excess oil and good to be served hot. ♥

These fritters can be a good change for a starter menu or just enjoyed over some hot chai. and lots of chit-chat. 🙂

 

 

Savoury & Crunchy Peanut Sago ~ Quick Breakfast Fix

Sago or the Sabudana is a very popular food ingredient in India and there are so many interesting ways of preparing them, that I still have a long way to go as I have just begun exploring it.

They serve as an excellent source of food nutrition for kids, aged people or those who are on fast because they are so easy to digest and yet filling. Being extracted from the cassava root, these are shaped in lump forms, roasted and dried and are easily available in all Indian stores across everywhere. Sago

These need to be soaked for atleast 6-8 hours/ can be soaked overnight for ease of access during the morning rush hours and you are so good to go for a tummy filling, lip smacking breakfast experience.

To Make:

For a breakfast of two:-

  • 1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, crushed in a blender. You may crush the peanuts with their skin as this adds a very nice brown color to the sago.
  • 2 -3 small potatoes diced into small pieces
  • you may choose to add more veggies of your choice. 🙂
  • 2 green chilies chopped or as per your desired taste
  • 1 cup of sago/sabudana washed and soaked overnight ( remember they double in quantity when soaked. 🙂 )
  • 1/4 tsp of red chili powder to add some color not heat. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • around 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of coriander powder
  • some lemon juice &
  • freshly chopped cilantro for refreshing garnish.
  • oil to cook (of course 😉 )

To Prepare:

  • Drain the soaked sago well and add the crushed peanuts to it, sprinkle some salt and red chili powder and mix well so that these spices coat the sago well.
  • In a non stick pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil.
  • To that add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and roast for a second or two.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes and the green chilies and fry them well.
  • Add some salt, some coriander powder, remaining of the red chili powder and the sugar and cover it and cook on medium flame allowing the potatoes to cook.
  • Once they are almost done, add the marinated sago and mix well along with the other ingredients and cover it for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  • You will now notice , the sago turning soft and translucent in color and that is when you are sure your dish is almost ready to be served. YAY! 🙂
  • Squeeze some lemon juice and add the chopped cilantro.

Next ⇒ SERVE & ENJOY ♥

This quick simple sago recipe is such a must try if you want to cook up something hot and savoury for the chilly winter mornings as a breakfast or as an evening snack and get tempted to try it more often. 🙂

Yellow Peas Curry ~ light, healthy & vegan

In my homely food lingo, I call the yellow peas as the younger sibling of the marginally larger sized chickpeas. 🙂 These yellow peas are quite popular in Indian households and in many parts of India, one can find a very simple yet spicy preparation of it being sold as an on-the-go street food.

Like the chickpeas, these yellow peas (available easily at any Indian store) is an equal opportunity to give you the nutrition of dietary fiber, proteins and a moderate level of carbohydrate which of course is healthy. In addition to this, they also have a good dose of vitamin C, calcium and iron making it so great to be a part of your food regime and a break from the chickpeas as well. 🙂

This curry recipe is simple, light, easy to make and is great when taken with rice, plain flat or stuffed breads (parathas) or just grab a few servings of it whenever you have a hunger pang. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of the yellow peas, washed and soaked overnight or for 8-10 hours and then boiled ideally in a pressure cooker ( to save time) until they are soft but not mushy.
  • 2-3 medium potatoes diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 3-4 green chilies depending on your taste. 🙂
  • some freshly chopped cilantro for garnish.

From the Spice Rack:

  • 1/2 of a Cinnamon stick broken into bits
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala
  • and 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • water

To make:

  • Heat oil in a deep cooking vessel and as the oil is hot enough, add the broken down bits of cinnamon.
  • Add the onions and some salt and saute until the onions are soft.
  • To this add the garlic and the ginger paste and mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and cover the lid for 2-3 mins allowing them to cook.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and the above listed spices, leaving the garam masala for the last, one by one and a tsp of sugar.
  • mix all of them well and close the lid for 5 more mins to let the spices release their flavors.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes, mix well to coat them with the onion and tomato mixture and add some water to aid  the potatoes to cook and the curry from getting burnt. 🙂
  • Once the potatoes are almost boiled, add the boiled peas that had been kept aside. I do retain a good part of that boiled peas water as I feel it adds well to the taste.
  • Mix well and cook for another 10 minutes, stir in the garam masala powder, mix in some chopped cilantro, check the seasoning and your done.
  • Sprinkle over the some fresh chopped cilantro just before serving and you are good to go. 🙂

 

Hope you enjoy this Indian, light & healthy preparation of yellow peas. Enjoy! 🙂 ♥

Vegan Malai Tofu Kofta Curry

‘Malai Kofta Curry’ is a very popular Indian vegetarian dish and also one of the most popular items to be ordered while in any Indian restaurant. Cutlets or Koftas made with seasoned & mashed cottage cheese/paneer and soaked in a rich creamy gravy of tomatoes, onions blended in aromatic spices, enhanced with rich cashew paste and adorned with milk cream is what in short, the paneer malai kofta is best described. Its a delicious accompaniment with rice and flat breads both.

With the temperatures cooling down, I have been craving for this the way my Mom used to make it and serve it hot chapatis or flat breads as said. But since cottage cheese is out of the question now, I am so glad that Tofu has replaced it many ways and besides that, nothing else has actually altered much, for this lip smacking side dish.

Ingredients To Make:

makes for 4-6 members

  • 1 Packet of organic firm tofu
  • 3-4 medium sized boiled potatoes
  • 2 large onions chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2-3 large tomatoes chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2 inch grated ginger or 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 3-4 green chilies or as per taste

From the Spice Rack

  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 /2 tsp red chili or paprika powder
  • 1/4 and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of gram flour or chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup cashews soaked in water and churned into a paste in a blender.
  • some crushed cashews and raisins for the cutlets (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Salt or per taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or per taste

To Make the Tofu Cutlets

  • drain the tofu well and get rid of all excess water and crumble all of it with your hand.
  • mash in the boiled potatoes into the crumbled Tofu.
  • add the 1/2 tsp of all the above mentioned spices- cumin, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt, garam masala and the gram flour into the mixture.
  • You may also add some chopped cashews and raisins for a richer flavor but it is purely optional if you are not much of a sweet tooth fan for savory dishes.
  • Knead a rough dough by mashing and mixing all the ingredients well. The gram-flour here helps to bind the mixture so that the cutlets do not break off while frying.
  • Once done, make small round cutlets, flattening the top of it and shallow fry them in a non stick skillet unless both sides turn golden brown.
  • gently remove them from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.

For the Creamy Gravy:

  • In a non stick vessel heat some oil.
  • Add the cumin seeds and as they start to splutter add the 1/2 tsp turmeric and red chili powder and the remaining 1 tsps of cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar.
  • Mix well and then its time to add the chopped green chilies and the onions, garlic and ginger paste and saute until soft and almost cooked.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well on medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
  • Add some water and keep mixing for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and the tomatoes are properly combined and soft.
  • this almost smooth gravy now needs to be transferred into a blender and churned to make a rich paste.
  • Add the blended gravy back to the pan, add some water and cover it with a lid to simmer.
  • Meanwhile blend the soaked cashews and as it now transforms into a delicious milky paste 🙂 add this to the gravy cooking in the pan and stir it in to combine well.
  • Check the salt and sugar seasoning –  the taste of it is pretty balanced with no individual flavor overpowering the other.
  • You may now add the garam masala powder and add some vegan butter instead of the ghee.
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  • Traditionally, milk cream is used to garnish the dish with tempting white strokes but the easier alternative here is coconut cream that does equally well. I din’t have one handy so I chose my garden green chilies for the garnish. 😉
  • Tip: Avoid soaking the cutlets in the gravy while it is still piping hot or else they tend to break. Transfer the gravy in your serving bowl and add the cutlets once the gravy is comparatively cooler or while you heat it up before serving it to family and friends.

malai-kofta

 

Tadaa…The outcome is definitely a more healthier, “veganised” version of the traditional paneer malai kofta and a show stopper for those who are yet to believe in the power of tofu. 😀

Served best as an accompaniment with hot rice or chapati/flat breads.

Pic Source : From my Kitchen with Love♥