Monthly Archives: September 2011

Versatile Paratha – for all leftovers!

Standard

A typical Sunday morning conversation in our kitchen –
Hubby N: So we got parathas (again) for breakfast today?
Me: Hmm..
N (lurking into the fridge): I will eat them with yesternight’s aaloo sabji. Where is it?
Me: Well, I made parathas out of it.
N (poking at the containers in the fridge): You did (again)! Ok..we also had half bowl of daal remaining..rite?
Me: Umm..the daal too is in the paratha… and also the two spoons of rice baby A refused to eat yesterday.
N (with both the fridge and his mouth ajar now): Did you spare the pickle (at least) ?
Me (smiling): Sure! Lets fetch the pickle and relish the everything-goes-in parathas.

versatile paratha – everything goes in

I donno when I started my obsession with these parathas – but I remember a stage when I used to spend a lot of time brooding in the mornings…looking at the leftover daals and sabjis in the fridge. They are usually a single or half a bowl, tough to re-heat and re-use. I started off with adding in the daal to the parathas and when the outcome was awesome-ly soft and yummy, I went a step further to add in the sabjis too. Adding rice was something I did for the first time for these parathas – and there were no complaints. This the best use I have been able to make from leftovers, making the parathas nutrient rich. Pretty versatile, there is no specific recipe I have for these, but still – the below steps give the gist of the making.

Ingredients –
1. Any leftover sabji/ side/ vegetable/ daal (Though there are no rules, common sense rules here.) While all daals work well, for the sides, the best candidates are aaloo tamatar, aaloo palak, lauki etc. Obviously, something like bhindi or karela can never be in.
2. Plain wheat flour.
3. Seasonings as per choice – kasoori methi, salt, ajwain, jeera, red chilli powder, garam masala etc.
4. Oil

Method –
1. Put the sabji and/or daal in a blender and blend for a minute, to obtain a smooth mixture. I do it always so that there are no chili or tomato pieces popping out of my paratha. The parathas in the picture got 1 bowl of leftover aaloo tamatar ki sabji, half bowl of toor/ yellow daal and nearly half cup of plain white rice.
2. Take wheat flour in a wide mixing bowl.
3. Add in the salt, kasoori methi, ajwain, red chilli powder, garam masala based on how spicy you want the paratha to be and the quantity of the daal/ sabji mixture. The mixture contains spices already, but they get diluted once added to the wheat flour.
4. You don’t need to add oil to the flour, there is some already in the daal/ sabji mixture.
5. Add the daal/ sabji mixture slowly to the flour to come up with a soft, pliable dough. You may or may not need to add water depending on the quantities you got.
6. Heat a tawa. Roll out parathas using a rolling pin and cook them one by one by applying oil on both sides, the way you would for a paratha.
7. Serve hot with chutney/ pickle/ ketchup or cool and pack for lunch.

Nariyal / Coconut Laddu

Standard

Come Ganesh Chaturthi and my mom gets busy making ‘olya naarad chi wadi/ geele nariyal ki barfi’ Why geela/ wet? As the coconut used here is not dry, but the one which has water, and is freshly grated. Now, there is a reason this is targeted to be the sweet for this occasion. Ganesh Chaturthi is followed by Rakshabandhan, where a sister would give a coconut/ nariyal to her brother along with tying the rakhi. So, in a typical household, the number of coconuts collected after rakhi are equal to the number of sisters, cousins who arrive to tie rakhis to the brothers in that house. I can vouch that this yummy sweet is the best outcome that can be created out of coconuts.

Though the labor and long hours that go into its making scare me off, I just can’t forget the soft and smooth white delight that melts into the mouth. I used to gobble down atleast 4 to 5 everyday, till the steel box in the fridge emptied. I have had so much of it year on year, that just the mention of it brings the taste to my mouth. So, though there were no coconuts collected at my home in rakhi, I had resolved to make these before Ganesh Chaturthi. So, I bought coconuts this weekend and started off . Though my target was to make burfi(s), I ended up making laddu(s) – just make them look more appealing to baby A and also to make them more handy and transportable, I find the burfi(s) too fragile. The taste though remained the same as what mom makes, justifying every minute that went into making it.

Note – if just scrolling down the page gives you a feeling that this a long recipe, here is a gist – break a coconut, scrape/ grate it, dump it in a wok with milk and sugar, cook till dry – done 🙂

soft and smooth nariyal laddu

Ingredients –
big sized coconuts/ nariyal – four
sugar – as mentioned in below recipe
milk – 1 litre (I used full cream, toned should work too)
dry coconut powder – four tbsp (optional)
ilaichi/ cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Method –
1. Tear off all the outside hairy layer of the coconut. This is an effort in itself – needs a lot of force to pull off the peels/ Tip – try roping in your hubby for this task 🙂
2. Now, we want the coconut broken into exact two halves, which is a requirement dictated by design of the scraper. However, if you are not going to use the scraper, skip the next step.
3. Take some water in a bowl. Using your fingers, draw a line of water along the mid line of the coconut (you are drawing a line along the coconut with water, dividing it into two exact halves). Keep these aside for five minutes. When I was a kid, I thought this is magic, but I eventually guessed the logic behind this step. The water makes the surface of coconut soft along the mid-line.
4. Go ahead and break the coconuts by hitting it on a hard surface/ floor. If you have performed step 3, the coconut will break into two halves, else there may be random pieces.
5. Also, while you are breaking the coconut, the water will gush out of it and spread around. A technique my dad devised to collect the water – before breaking the coconut, pierce one of the three ‘eyes’ with a sharp knife. This is easy as the coconut surface is soft on these three spots. Drain out the water through the hole you have pierce in a glass. This water is nutritious and refreshing.
6. Scrape out the inner white flesh of the coconut using the scraper. This device is a must-have in maharashtrian and south Indian homes, where coconut is used in abundance. I got the one by Anjali (here). If you don’t have one, you can grate the coconut using a hand grater or a food processor.
7. Measure the coconut powder using a cup. For one cup of coconut powder, you need half cup of sugar.
8. Take a wok/ kadhai with a heavy bottom. Put in the coconut powder, sugar. Add in milk, as much as to cover the surface of the coconut, sugar. I used 1 litre of milk for six cups of coconut powder.
9. Heat this mixture on a sim flame. Keep giving it a stir every now and then. I leave a long handled spatula in the wok, this also prevents the milk from boiling over.
10. Once this is half cooked, add in the ilaichi powder.
11. Keep cooking till all the milk is absorbed and the mixture looks dry. There should be no or hardly any water content when done. This stage takes 1.5 to 2 hours to reach, depending on the quantity. If you have just one cup coconut powder to deal with, this may be done in half an hour.
12. To make burfi(s) : take a flat steel plate and grease its surface with some ghee. Dump the contents on the plate, pat down the mixture so that you get a uniformly thick layer. Keep this to cool (in the fridge if you want). Cut squares after 2-3 hours.
13. To make laddu(s): let this mixture cool down. Shape into laddus. If you find this difficult, add in the dry coconut powder and mix uniformly, till you find the mixture manageable.
14. This remains good in the fridge for up to a week.

Tangy Lauki Tamatar

Standard

I never looked forward to eating lauki unless I had a bad stomach and was supposed to eat non-spicy, simple food. Or, when I was too anxious about an exam next morning and blamed a spicy dinner for all the ‘discomfort’ in the mornings. I think I had a fixed dinner menu of lauki ki sabji and roti during my entire exam season in all the four years of college. Mom would make a simple sabji with minimal spices and made sure to have it watery, as I refused to eat daal, again blaming it for the pangs I had in my tummy in the examination hall.
Cut to the present, I got all nostalgic when hubby N offered to make lauki ki sabji on a weekend. As per decorum, I stayed away from the kitchen while he was cooking and kept expecting the same, simple, humble lauki as the output. I was taken by surprise by what he served – it was bright and spicy, the addition of tomatoes made it tangy – a total contrast! I got hooked on to this version and have never treaded to the old path since then. Going a step further, I made this for mom and she loved it too. Kudos to N for giving me this version and rescuing lauki from what I had been doing to it.

Tangy Lauki Tamatar

Ingredients –
Lauki – One big (peeled, chopped to small pieces).
Tomato – 2 small or 1 big (chopped very fine).
Green chili – 1, chopped small
Jeera/ Cumin – half tsp
Ajwain / Carom seeds – half tsp
Salt – as per taste
Sugar – one-fourth tsp
Haldi/ turmeric – one-fourth tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Kitchen king masala/ garam masala – half tsp

Method –
1. Heat oil in a wok/ kadhai.
2. When oil is hot, add jeera, ajwain, haldi and grren chili pieces. Let these pop and sizzle for a minute.
3. Add the washed, chopped laukin pieces and mix. I wash the vegetables after I chop them, hence there is enough moisture. However, if your sabji is too dry, sprinkle some water.
4. Cook covered for 5 – 7 minutes.
5. Remove the cover and turn the pieces around. They should be half cooked. If not, sprinkle some more water and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
6. Add in the salt and mix. Next, add the tomato pieces and mix. Cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.
7. When you remove the cover, the sabji should look cooked and shiny. If not, cook without cover for another 2 minutes.
8. Mix in the sugar and garam masala.
9. Serve with rotis.