Monthly Archives: March 2012

Kaju Katli for dummies!

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Kaju Katli

I would call this one Kaju Katli FOR DUMMIES as this is so easy and simple, that even people like me (who run away at the mention of sugar syrup) cannot get this wrong. There is no ‘checking for any string consistency’ while preparing this, which gets you through half the battle. Rest of it is won when you taste these amazingly soft and sweet delights – wondering how can it be so easy to prepare something so nice! It is totally hassle free, needs no ghee and takes less than half an hour to make.

This recipe comes directly from ‘Saffrun Hut’, which I bumped into while food surfing and kept drooling over the wonderful pic there for a long time (prolly months) before I myself made it. Thanks so much saffron, for such a wonderful recipe and such a wonderful blog! Here is the original one.

Kaju Katli - kuch meetha ho jaaye!

Ingredients:
1 cup of cashews
3/4 cup (or slightly less if you prefer) of sugar
1/4 cup of water

Method:
1. Finely grind the cashews to a powder. Don’t overdo it, as the cashews may leave their oil and you may end up getting a paste instead of powder. Even if you do, it does not affect the taste πŸ™‚
2. Mix the sugar and water in a kadhai. Heat till small bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
3. Stir gently and let it come to a rolling boil. No need to check for string consistency etc of the syrup.
4. Pour in the cashew powder and stir well to avoid lumps. Keep stirring for a few minutes and you should notice the mixture getting a little thicker.
5. Put a little drop on a chilled plate and test to see if it hardens slightly. You should be able to roll it into a loose ball.
6. If it does, switch off the heat and move the pan away from the hot surface.
7. Let it cool slightly and dump out the contents onto a board or a clean countertop.
8. Knead well with your hands (much like you would knead roti dough) to make it smooth and glossy.
9. Roll out with a rolling pin into 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into any shape you want. The standard is these diamonds.
10. Let cool/dry and pack in tins between sheets of waxed paper. Store at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for longer.

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Matar Palak Nimona – go green!

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β€˜Nimona ’ is a north Indian dish, introduced to me by hubby N. In a nutshell, it is a side prepared by spicing up a paste of green peas. When N had made it for me some three years back, I was not very impressed and I simple forgot about it/ did not attempt to make it for years to come. However when my talented neighbor and friend R sent me across a piping hot version of her own, I was floored. She had very innovatively added spinach to the nimona and the combination of peas and spinach was a big hit. I and even baby A loved it and this became a frequent candidate for a side with rotis on weekday dinners. Here is a recipe, more as a keeper for myself – as I kept calling dear neighbor R to ask questions like – β€œdid you say I need to boil the peas” or β€œdid you add tomatoes too?”

Matar Palak Nimona - green wonder!

Ingredients –
fresh green spinach leaves / palak – 2 cups
fresh green peas / matar – 1.5 cups
onion / pyaj – 1 large (chopped small)
tomato / tamatar – 1 small (chopped small)
garlic / lehsun – 2 cloves (pounded)
cumin seeds / jeera – half tsp
turmeric – half tsp
oil – 2 tsp
salt – as per taste
garam masala – 1 tsp
red chili powder – half tsp (optional)

Method –
1. Boil the green peas in water till they turn tender. This can be done on the stove or microwave in 10-15 minutes. Discard the water, and mesh these in a food processor to obtain a rough paste. We don’t want a total mush, but a lot of texture remaining.
2. Blanch the spinach in the microwave or stove for 5 -7 minutes. Cool and puree. I used my hand blender for this.
3. Take a heavy bottomed kadhai and heat the oil.
4. When hot, add in the jeera and let it splutter.
5. Add the pounded garlic. This will flavor the oil. Let this cook for a minute, till the raw smell is gone.
6. Add the chopped onion and sautΓ© till it begins to brown.
7. Add the chopped tomatoes and let these cook till done.
8. Now, add the spinach puree, the peas puree. Add half a cup of water ( I had saved the water in which I had boiled the peas).
9. Add salt and let this simmer for a while – 5 to 7 minutes. Since the peas and the spinach are boiled already, a lot of heavy duty cooking is not required here, only a mingling of all ingredients does the job.
10. Add the garam masala. The red chili powder is optional. This will balance out the sweetness of the peas.
11. Serve hot with rotis.

Stuffed Pepper / Bharleli Mirchi

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Here is the recipe of a side which I absolutely love, to the extent that I ignore all other daals and sides if I got a bowl full of these spicy peppers. At the same time, I also ignore all warnings by mom about not overeating these! These rescue you from boredom when you can’t eat a morsel more of the same veggie you have been consuming since ages (especially if you got someone like hubby N at home, who would want nothing but aaloo gobhi and arhar daal for every meal. )
These peppers are the ones prepared by my mom, I have never had them at any other place, so I am not sure whether this is a Maharashtian or Gujarati dish. These can be made as mild or as fiery you may like, it depends on the stuffing you make. These peppers as such are not hot like the small green chilis, you just have to make sure you pick up the correct ones – these are usually large, light green in color and kinda hollow.

Ingredients –
large green peppers – 5 or 6 in number
besan/ gram flour – 1 cup
dhania / dry coriander powder powder – 1 tbsp
half tspn of spices – red chilli powder, garam masala, fennel / saunf seeds, carom / ajwain seeds
sugar – a pinch
salt – as per taste
juice of half a lemon
oil – 1 tsp
jeera / cumin – half tsp

Method –
1. Dry roast the besan in a heavy bottomed kadhai, till the rawness goes away and you get an aroma out of the besan. This step can be skipped, but is essential if you want a longer shelf life.
2. Once the besan has cooled down, add in all the spices, sugar, salt and mix using lemon juice, so that the mixture is neither too dry nor too wet. You want it to stay inside the peppers and not keep falling apart.
3. Clean (wash and wipe) the peppers.
4. Cut each into two halfs.
5. Using a knife, create a vertical slit on each of the portions. Remove all seeds from the insides.
6. Fill in the besan stuffing tightly into each of the portion.
7. In a heavy, flat bottomed kadhai, heat oil. Once hot, out in the jeera and let it splutter for 10 seconds.
8. Slide in the pepper portions slowly, lest they overlap each other.
9. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
10. Open the lid, carefully turn each pepper around so that they are cooked from all sides.
11. At this step, you can also sprinkle any leftover stuffing you might have. It coats all the peppers and tastes heavenly.
12. These do not take too much time to cook. To test, insert the tip of a knife into the skin of one of the peppers. If it gets in easily, its done.
13. These can be served as a side with rotis or daal-rice. When stored in the fridge, they stay good for upto a week.