Showing posts from January, 2014

Gulpoli (Jaggery paratha)

Gulpoli is a special poli (flatbread) made on Makar Sankrant, the harvest festival. In coastal Maharashtra Jaggery based dishes are primary made in winter and gulpoli is one of the more popular dishes. As the jaggery filling begins to cool the gulpoli turns crispy. Gulpoli is one of my favorite sweet breads. I made these before my daughter headed to college. I made just eight gulpoli as it was part of a full meal. The dough for this recipe is mixed with hot oil and is super soft. That makes it easy to roll with the filling. If the jaggery seeps out little it is okay. Caramelized jaggery tastes pretty good. When I first posted this recipe I had made a Maharastrian thali . I did not have very good pictures when I first posted this recipe. On the 25th of January I have updated the pictures. You will need (for 8) For the dough 2 cups wheat flour 1/2 cup all purpose flour 7 tbsp. olive oil For the filling 1 cup jaggery 1/4 cup besan 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberry sauce

Everybody loves Panna Cotta especially this vanilla flavored version served with fresh blueberry sauce. This is for week five of the 2014 52 week challenge for the theme Vanilla. You will need For the panna cotta 2 cups half and half 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar 1 packet gelatin 3 tbsp. cold water For the sauce 1 packet fresh blueberries 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup sugar To make the panna cotta heat the whipping cream and half and half in a pan until just boiling. Turn off heat. Take cold water in a small bowl and add the gelatin to it. Let it stand for 5 minutes and then add it to the heated milk. Stir until the gelatin dissolves completely. Pour into desired cups, ramekins or glasses and chill for a few hours or overnight. To make the sauce heat the water and sugar in a saucepan. When the sugar melts and the water is boiling add half the blueberries. Let it simmer for a few minutes and turn off heat. Let it cool then run it through a blender. Chill for

Baumkuchen (German Tree Cake)

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake). I had seen pictures of Baumkuchen on the web and my impression was that of a very complex cake too difficult to attempt. Then I found the group Daring Bakers. I liked the concept and decided to join in. January was my first month and Baumkuchen my first challenge with the Daring Bakers. If it had not been for this group I would never have attempted to bake this cake. Baum Kuchen is German for Tree cake. Just like growth rings on a tree the cake has rings. The authentic Baumkuchen is made on an open spit on a log and truly resembles the tree rings. The version I baked is broiled in layers that can be clearly seen when the cake is sliced. The batter was easy to prepare. It was the baking process that was very time consuming. I got about 10 layers exclud

Focaccia Caprese

I had not baked anything worth mentioning for years. I have fondly looked at my cake decorating supplies from time to time but have not used those for several years either. On a whim I decided to try this Foccaccia Caprese. I planned to make this bread on Saturday, the 11th of January, well before the reveal date of 24th. With the temperatures expected to rise to the upper 50s and lower 60s on the 11th it would be a perfect day for baking. However, as luck would have it, I overslept on the 7th, the first day of school after winter break. My teenager woke me up 15 minutes before leaving for school to ask what she should pack for lunch. Oh! the guilt! I decided to go out in the freezing cold (25 F) and get the ingredients. I baked the bread and delivered it to school in time for lunch. It turned out great! And I thoroughly enjoyed baking it. You will need For the dough 2 tsp. Fleischmann rapid rise yeast 1 1/2 tsp. sugar 1/4 cup olive oil 3 1/2 cups bread flour 1 tsp. salt

Ambti (Lentil soup, Tur Dal)

Ambti is a stable in the Marathi household and is made with tur dal. My mother made delicious ambti. Even though I have made it several times with her standing by my side I have never been able to make it as good as hers. Ambti literally means a dish to which something sour has been added. The preferred sour ingredient in Maharashtra is the dried kokum fruit peel also called amsul (sol). In its absence tamarind can be used. I did not have fresh amsul so I used tamarind. As a child I remember my mother used to buy amsul only from some vendors in the interior of Goa. She did not buy it in the town we lived. She had to have fresh amsul and that according to her was not available in town. You will need 1 cup turdal 1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and minced 1 tsp. powdered roasted coriander and cumin seeds 1 tbsp. tamarind extract 1 tsp. Agave Nectar 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1 tsp. turmeric powder 1/4 tsp. asafoetida 4-5 curry leaves (optional) 1 tbsp. olive oil Pressure cook

Mugachi Usal (Moogachi usal / Mung usal)

Mung, Matki, Chavli etc. are commonly used in Maharastra to make usal. Usal is the curry made with pulses. Dals are made with split pulses. They are a good source of protein in the vegetarian diet. Its preparation may vary from region to region but an usal is always part of the thali. Mung is soaked overnight for best results. You may soak it for a couple hours and get away with it. However, mung is a quick cooking pulse and can be forgiving. Even if you do not soak it at all you can make the usal. Dry roast it on a pan until it gets a pinkish hue and pressure cook the roasted mung to use as needed. You will need 1 cup mung 1 bunch cilantro 1 Serrano pepper 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1 tsp. turmeric powder 1/4 tsp. asafoetida tbsp. olive oil Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they crackle add turmeric powder and asafoetida. Now add the mung and let cook on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy. In a blender grind cilantro and the Se

Aluchi wadi (Alu wadi / Arabi leaf cutlets / patra)

Aluchi wadi is a Maharashtrian delicacy. Alu or colacasia leaves are also called taro leaves. The leaves are coated with spiced besan/gram flour and steamed. Instead of alu you can use any large leafy green. I have tried this recipe with collard greens with great success.  A similar preparation is made with cabbage to make kobi wadi  or cilantro to make kothimbir wadi. Here the vegetables are shredded before use. My mother used to. Make all three varieties and I remember helping her as a child. She always used the black stalk alu, I have tried both the green and black stalk and both have worked well for me. You will get about 8 wadis with two leaves. I used four leaves. You will need 4 alu leaves For the besan batter  1 cup besan / gram flour 1 tbsp. rice flour (optional) 2 tbsp. tamarind extract or pulp (see below) 2 tbsp. sugar (optional) 1 tsp. turmeric powder 1/2 tsp. red chili powder 1 tsp. powdered roasted coriander and cumin seeds salt to taste  For the final

Chocolate glaze (without corn syrup)

Chocolate glaze is used to decorate cakes and pastries. It is very easy to make. Most recipes use corn syrup but it is not really needed to make good chocolate glaze. You will need 1 1/2 tbsp. milk 1 tbsp. Agave nectar or honey 2 tbsp. butter a handful of semisweet chocolate chips 1 tsp. vanilla Combine all the ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 10 seconds. Stir and put it back for 10 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate chips and butter are completely melted. Keep aside and let it cool. It will thicken a little. Use as needed.

Pudina Chutney (Mint Chutney)

This chutney is not usually on a Maharastrian thali. You generally see cilantro chutney . Pudina chutney may be included for special occasions. Pudina or mint leaves have a very refreshing taste. This chutney takes only a few minutes to make with a blender. I remember when I was a child the maid used to grind the chutney using a grinding stone. Most homes including mine do not have a grinding stone anymore. You will need 1 big bunch of cilantro 1 small handful of pudina (mint) leaves 2 tbsp. dry roasted peanuts salt to taste Grind all the ingredients together in a blender to form a thick paste with as little water as your blender will allow.

Batata Bhaji (Potato bhaji)

Boiled potatoes are used to prepare side dishes in almost every culture. The potatoes are either mashed or cubed. This version is classic in its simplicity. This bhaji is included in the thali because it goes with every other dish on the plate. It can be eaten with rice or poli (chapati). The time needed to make this dish is in the boiling of the potatoes. The rest of it comes together very quickly. Serve it hot. You can heat leftovers and they taste almost as good too. You will need 3 medium sized potatoes, boiled and cubed 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and minced 1/2 tsp. sugar 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1/4 tsp. asafoetida 1 tsp. turmeric powder 3 curry leaves 1 tbsp. olive oil salt to taste Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they sizzle add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Let the curry leaves fry in the oil. Be careful and keep your face away from the pan. Add the pepper and the potatoes. Saute for a few minutes

Holiday Treats

Holidays are a time when people celebrate an event of significance. They may take off from work or take a break from their daily routine. A holiday may be a religious celebration or one that commemorates a social event. Over a period of time Holidays come to be associated with special treats. As adults the smell of one ingredient is enough to take us back to a Holiday celebrated in our childhood. It is these memories that we seek to relive and build anew each year with our friends and family. On these pages I will log all the Holidays during the year and the special treats made for the occasion. To find the Holiday and the treats hover on the bar for Holiday Treats above and use the drop down menu.

Indian Thali

If you have ever lived in, visited India or eaten at an Indian Restaurant then you probably know what an Indian thali is. You probably also know that no two thalis are alike. In fact, the dishes on the plate are different in every state, they also differ in regions within a state. As with most countries every state in India developed its own cuisine based on what was locally available. The border areas of most states have a lot in common with the adjoining states. Some of the bigger states have variations within regions of the state. Coastal Malwani cuisine is different from the interiors of Maharashtra. Northern and Southern Karnataka cuisine is very different too. A thali is a collection of dishes that go well with each other and represent the local cuisine. The dishes in a thali may change seasonally. Special occasions like weddings and religious holidays may call for special ingredients to be used. In every thali there is rice or some kind of flat bread. Flat breads are made

Khamang Kakdi (Cucumber Salad)

Koshimbir or salad is a part of the everyday Maharashtrian menu. It is made out of cucumber, beet or carrot to name a few. Khamang kakadi is a Koshimbir without yogurt. Instead it has a hint of lemon juice. As with most koshimbirs ground roasted peanuts added to give it a nutty crunchy flavor. My mother usually made koshimbir with yogurt. But my aunt always made khamang kakadi. This recipe always takes me back to the days when I was staying with my aunt and uncle. You will need 1 cucumber 1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 1/4 tsp. sugar 1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and minced 2 curry leaves 1 tsp. cumin seeds 1/4 tsp. asafoetida 1 tbsp. olive oil salt to taste Wash, peel and dice the cucumber. Mix in the peanuts, cilantro, Serrano pepper and sugar. In a small pan heat the olive oil and turn off the heat. Add cumin seeds and curry leaves to the hot oil. When they crackle add the asafoetida and let it cool. When cooled add it to th

Basundi (Creamy milk dessert)

Basundi is a rich creamy dessert. It goes very well with the rest of the Maharashtrian thali. It is made with milk preferably whole milk. I never buy whole milk so to speed the process along I use a little half and half. If you have whipping cream you can add that too. Basundi is made on special occasions even weddings. Its rich texture completes the meal. Saffron gives the milk its lovely color and slivered almonds and pistachios add taste and a welcome crunch. You will need 1/3 cup half and half 1 cup low fat or whole milk 1/4 cup whipping cream (optional) 1/2 cup sugar 3 pods cardamom 3-4 strands saffron Combine the half and half, milk and whipping cream (if using) in a thick bottomed pan. Bring it to a boil stirring frequently to avoid a layer of cream forming on the top and to avoid burning. When the milk is boiling lower heat and continue to simmer until it thickens and reduces in volume to half of what you started with. Add the sugar and test for taste. If you

Peppery Paneer Toast

High school years are hectic and the workload is unreal. Food somehow takes the lowest priority. A filling snack on a busy day goes a long way. When I made this toast for the first time it disappeared very quickly. My daughter told me to feel free to make it any time. Since then I have made it a couple times for her and her teenage friends. Every time it is a big hit. In fact it is so good, you could serve it as an appetizer at an adult dinner party or put it on the menu for a tea party. The cheesy toast and sweet peppers are sure to please even little children. You will need 1/3 tbsp. butter 1/8 onion, diced 1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced 3.5 oz. paneer, diced 3/4 cup  basic white sauce salt and pepper to taste 4 slices whole grain wheat bread 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any) Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Then add the red bell pepper and saute together for a couple minutes. Add the paneer a