Monthly Archives: July 2011

Peanut Powder/ Daanya cha koot

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peanuts, roasted, peeled, powdered

Roasted peanut powder/ Daanya cha koot is a ‘must have’ ingredient in most maharashtrian recipes. It is added liberally to chutney(s), dry sides and snacks. Since peanuts are allowable in fast/ vrat/ upwaas – this powder acts as a major ingredient in sabudana khichadi, thalipeeth and aaloo sabji. Mixed with sugar, this powder transforms to daane ki burfi – a simple sweet relished on all religious occasions.
I have this powder stored in bulk in a Ziploc bag in my fridge and use it as and when required. Though me and hubby N never keep fasts, we love all snacks cooked for fasts, and hence consume loads of it. I am so used to it that if it gets over before I am ready with the next batch, I start to get uncomfortable and keep marking the task red in my to do list, as if the sky will fall unless I get to preparing peanut powder ASAP!

Ingredients – peanuts

Method –
1. Put the peanuts in a wide, heavy bottomed kadhai/ wok.
2. Let the peanuts get roasted on a sim flame. The peanuts will give out a nutty aroma and will start to get brownish spots in the skin.
3. Keep moving the peanuts around after every 1 to 2 minutes, else the ones near the bottom will get burnt.
4. Keep roasting till all the peanuts are roasted uniformly. As a test, you should be able to separate the skin easily from a roasted peanut.
5. Switch off the flame and let these cool. Remember to remove the kadhai from the burner to stop the peanuts from over-roasting due to the heat.
6. When cooled off completely, rub together the peanuts using your hands, so that the skin of peanuts falls apart. Make sure you do this a. away from the carpet b. switch off the fan/ cooler while doing this. Reason – the peels/ skin of peanuts is super light and has a tendency to fly around and are tough to gather once scattered.
7. Once done, you should be able to separate out the peeled peanuts. There will be a few which will have the skin on, I usually don’t bother and use them as is.
8. Grind these to a coarse powder using your mixer/ grinder/ blender. I don’t prefer a very fine powder.
9. Though this has a good shelf-life of a month, I store it in my fridge in an air tight container or a Ziploc bag.

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Karaari Arvi

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Here is another vegetable which is available in abundance during the prolonged summers of Delhi, but feared by many due to its stickiness and white glue oozing out. Some people also complain about the itch it induces in your hands while cleaning the raw vegetable, but I have somehow never experienced it. My mom makes it as crispy and dry as kurkuri bhindi. Just that, precautions similar to the ones while cooking bhindi need to be taken, else your arvi will be nowhere near karaari. Again, a liberal use of homemade coriander powder is very important.
This one is tangy and spicy, making it a perfect candidate for being carried in train travel, with poori or paratha. I love to eat it by mixing it with simple daal and rice though.

karaari arvi

Ingredients –
Arvi – 250 gms
Green chili – 1, chopped small
Oil – 1 tbsp
Haldi/ Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Jeera/ Cumin – 1 tsp
Ajwain/ Carom seeds – 1 tsp
Dhania powder / Dried coriander seeds powder – 2 tbsp (you may not need all of it)
Garam masala/ kitchen king masala – half tsp
Salt – as per taste
Juice of half a lemon

Method –
1. Clean the arvi by wiping each with a damp cloth. We do this as we do not want the arvi to get wet. Wiping will not clean the arvi entirely, as it got a hairy exterior, which will go only when you peel it. If the arvi has too much of mud sticking to it – wash each arvi thoroughly, but make the same effort to wipe it dry it too.
2. Roughly peel each arvi using a knife. The potato peeler won’t work as arvi does not have peels exactly – you need to clear off the hairy exterior using the knife.
3. Cut arvi into thin, stick like pieces. Thin does not mean like a potato wafer, but like a Britannia Nice Time biscuit :). You will notice all cut pieces sticking together with a white glue like thing – but don’t worry about it.
3. Heat oil in a wok/ kadhai. It is better if you use a non-stick pan with a flat base. I use Prestige frying pan.
4. Add in jeera and ajwain and let them crackle and sizzle for a minute. Add haldi and the green chili pieces.
5. Put in the arvi pieces and mix. Use a spoon to separate and spread out the arvi pieces. This will need some effort and time, but it is worth it. All the pieces should be covered evenly with the oil mixture.
6. Let these cook on a sim flame, without covering it with a lid.
7. As it gets cooked, it will turn soft and shiny. Move around the arvi pieces gently as it cooks.
8. After 8 to 10 minutes of cooking, add salt. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of dhania powder liberally and mix.
9. After another 5 minutes, check for the arvi to be cooked, by trying to break any piece with a spoon. If it happens easily, the arvi is cooked. You can sprinkle the garam masala and stop cooking now. However, since we are not here to cook arvi but karaari arvi, continue to cook till you see the thing getting crispy and golden brown.
10. Use your judgment to draw the line – the one between crispy and burnt. Switch off the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Serve.

Coriander powder/ Dhane chi pood

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dhane chi pood/ Powdered Coriander

Dry coriander powder or ‘dhane chi pood’as we call it in Marathi – something I cannot cook without. Not only is its presence important, it is very important that it is home made. First – it’s use. It is used in all dry sides – sprinkled after the sabji is cooked to give it a crispy texture. Example, in bhindi, potato or arvi. Next, it is a major ingredient in the stuffing in most stuffed vegetables. Though it has an aromatic and pleasant taste, I would confess that I love it more for its texture than taste. Now, why homemade? That is because I have failed to appreciate the dark colored, tasteless saw wood dust they sell in the market with the name of coriander powder. I tried all brands – all found unfit for use. Hence, whenever I run out of it, I jot down coriander powder seeds to my grocery list. I prepared it even in my short, 4 month stint at the US – using my $6 blender – giving satisfactory results. If I am not able to make it, I rather cook without it, but never use the market substitute.

Pretty simple to make, this can be stored in bulk in an airtight container for months. For safty’s sake, I store mine in a Ziploc bag in my fridge.

Ingredients – Sookha dhania / Dry coriander

Method –
1. Handpick the dhania for any unwanted pieces of gravel, mud. These, if ground along with the dhania pods, will add disaster to the powder – you will end up tasting sand in all the dishes you add it to.
2. Dry roast the dhania pods in a wide wok for 3 to 4 minutes, on a low flame, stirring in between. We are not trying to ‘cook’ the coriander – we only need any moisture to escape.
3. Switch off the flame, forget about the coriander for an hour or longer (let it cool completely).
4. Put the dhania in a blender/ mixer/ grinder and powder them. We want it rough textured and non-uniform, not a very fine powder.