I have been chasing sesame seeds/ til since the time I read they are a great source of iron for vegetarians. I found them being sold in the healthy seeds section in Bulk Barn, along with chia seeds and flax seeds. I picked them up promptly and took myself back to the time when my mom used to make it every year – in January – for Makar Sankranti. They were my favorite and though i have gotten pretty good results here, the magic of my mom’s creations is yet to be re-created. This is a simple three to four ingredient deal – we just need something to bind the seeds together – mom uses khoya/mawa, i have used almond meal once and peanut butter the other time – both with success. Jotting down the recipe here for future reference.
Til/ Sesame seeds – 2 cups
Sugar – 1.5 cups
Almond meal – 1 cup or peanut butter – 1 cup ( I use Kraft 100% natural)
Water – half cup
Cardamom powder – half tsp (optional)
Almond pieces – of 10 almonds (optional)
1. Dry roast Til on a medium flame, till they give out a nutty aroma, turn slightly brown. Should take seven minutes of constant stirring.
2. Let these cool. Once cool, pulse them in a blender/ magic bullet to grind them to a coarse powder.
3. Put sugar and water in a pan and start heating on a medium flame. The sugar will start to dissolve. Keep stirring till the deal comes to a boil. Check for a single string consistency of sugar syrup. It took me three years to get this correct.
4. Add the til powder + almond meal or peanut butter, Stir to avoid lumps. Add in the cardamom powder too.
5. Keep stirring till this looks like a single mass. Switch off the gas and put the whole deal on a slightly greased plate. Using the back of a flat bowl, flatten it to get a uniform surface.
6. Sprinkle the almond pieces and wait for this to cool down a bit. It will dry up and harden.
7. Take a knife and cut into squares. Store.
8. If after adding the til powder etc you realize your stuff is runny and lose, dont panic. Add more almond meal or dry desiccated coconut (if handy) by spoonfuls till the desired consistency is reached.
Til Barfi with Peanut Butter
Til Barfi with almond meal
Send hubby N to shop for vegetables and he comes back with a bagful of brinjals – not that it is a problem, but it gets a bit overboard when he produces them out of the bag – I got the big round one for bharta, the long ones for aaloo-baingan and the small ones for bharwa baingan.Wow!
This means I cook baingan every alternate day of the week, the bharwa baingan being my favorite. It is the way my mom makes it – loaded with flavors and spices. I find making this pretty quick as I use the food processor, while mom uses the hand grater – making this a bit tedious. Whatever way you go, the result is always great.
Bharwa Baingan – mom’s style
Baingan / brinjals – 8- 10 (small round ones )
Onions – 2 big or 3 small
Besan – 1 tbsp
Jeera, til, saunf, kasuri methi, haldi, garam masala, dry coconut powder, peanut powder, dry coriander powder – 1 tsp each (skip whatever you don’t have)
Salt – as per taste
Green chili – 1 or red chili powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
1. Wash and pat dry the brinjals. Make cut marks on them (like a cross) using a knife, so that each one remains intact. Dunk them in water so that they don’t turn black while you are working on the stuffing.
2. Clean and cut up the onion in big chunks.
3. Add the spices, salt, green chili along with the onion chunks in a food processor and blend together.
4. Roast the besan with a drop of oil in a wok on a low flame, till it gets to a shade darker.
5. Add the besan to the blended stuffing/ masala.
6. Check the spice level of the masala and adjust based on your taste.
7. Carefully stuff each baingan with this masala. Since the stuffing is a bit runny due to the water onions release, this would ooze out of the baigans, which is fine.
8. Heat oil in a non stick pan / flat kadhai/ pan.
9. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat and carefully place each baigan in the pan. Drop in the leftover masala (if you do have some).
10. Cover the lid and let this cook on a low flame.
11. After a good 7 to 8 minutes, turn the baingans very carefully, picking them from their stem. We are trying to get them cooked uniformly from all sides. Sprinkle some water if you think it is getting too dry to cook.
12. After another 7 to 8 minutes, this should be cooked. To check, insert the tip of a knife in a baingan. If it gets through easily, it’s done.
13. Serve with hot rotis/ chapattis as a side.
Since this recipe reminds me of my mom’s cooking and all the stuffed brinjal I used to stuff myself with whenever she made it, I am sending this to ‘walk thru the memory lane’ event hosted by Kalyani.
Linking this to Gayathri’s page too.
In our close knit neighborhood in my hometown, there existed (maybe still exists on a lesser scale) this tradition of exchanging bowls and plates filled with yummy delicacies. Now these were exchanged either on festivals, or on special occasions like birthdays, or sometimes – just because ‘I made something interesting and thought you would like it!’. This exchange gave us (Maharashtrians) a glimpse into all the Rajasthani, Gujrati and Marwari cuisine doing rounds in these bowls – which further led to food discussions and scribbling down of recipes. I have fond memories of my mom and me standing on the stairs and chatting to aunties and bhabhis standing on the ground and second floor – talking of food, fashion trends and gossip :).
One such recipe I jotted down nearly 7 years ago is the baingan bharta which our next door neighbor Anju bhabhi brought in one day – it was something we had never seen or tasted. She informed us it was a biangan bharta made by Gujratis / Jains, as it had no onion, garlic. Now this one had so many virtues apart from being fragrant with spices – needed only a pressure cooker to cook, did not require the eggplants to be roasted for hours, and it’s long shelf life due to absence of any water made it great candidate to be carried for travel. The only vice it has is that it uses loads of oil – which can be handled by draining out the oil once the bharta is ready to be served. I decided to call this one ‘you won’t believe it is baingan’ as the eggplant is totally transformed with an overload of spices and may leave you guessing for the first two bites.
Baingan / Eggplant – 1 (big, the round variety used for making bharta)
Oil – 4 tbsp ( I use Saffola. Yeah, that’s a huge quantity, but you can’t do without it)
Jeera / Carom, Rai / Mustard – half tsp each
Haldi / Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Heeng / Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Kasoori methi – 1 tsp (the star ingredient – a must have)
Peanut Powder – 2 tsp (optional)
Saunf/ Fennel , Til / Sesame, Khopra Boora / Desiccated Coconut Powder – half tsp each (these are optional, nice to have ingredients)
Dhania / Dry Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – half tsp ( I use Dave ka Divya brand)
1. Take a thick based pressure cooker.
2. Heat oil in a cooker. (ALL of it. This recipe uses NO WATER, only oil.)
3. Once the oil heats up, put in jeera and rai and heeng. Once the jeera crackles, add the haldi and take the cooker off the flame. Reason- now u start putting in the entire world in the cooker, which takes time 🙂
4. Cut the baingan into 4 quarters (Yeah i know they are big, but no need to make smaller chunks). Put them in the cooker.
5. Add the spices except the garam masala to the cooker.
6. Toss the cooker to mix everything, else use a ladle to do so. The oil and spices will coat the baingan pieces nicely.
7. Close the cooker and put it back on the burner, on a sim flame. (Gentle reminder – no water please !!)
8. In 4 to 5 whistles, you will get a nice aroma of kasoori methi and cooked baingan. Switch the gas off.
9. Once the cooker cools down, open it. The large chunks of baingan would have turned totally soft. Mix in the garam masala and mash the entire thing using the back of a ladle. This is ready to be served with hot rotis.
10. You will notice that if kept for a few minutes, a layer of oil separates out on the top. If you would like, just tilt the bowl and let go of this oil.