Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Peanut Laddu ~ Vegan and Healthy!!

I have a sweet tooth and crave for at least a small bite of sweet after every meal.. Recently I have made few diet changes that has helped me immensely with my health! In this what I miss the most is sweets. I usually keep a jar of roasted peanuts handy for quick snack and at times when I crave for sweet I just toss in a tiny piece of jaggery with few peanuts.
On one such days when I was badly craving for sweets, I suddenly remembered these laddus that my Maharashtrian friend in Shanghai used to make often. I asked my cousin if she had a recipe for this and she immediately  sent one which had ghee and nuts in it..  I avoid ghee in my food so wanted to try it without it.. Luckily it worked.. This is one of the easiest recipes that I have ever blogged.There is no recipe as such just toss in the mixie and bind.. you can also easily adjust the jaggery as per your preference for sweetness.
Here is what's needed:
2 cups of Roasted peanuts
1/4- 1/2 cup grated jaggery ( I used organic dark brown jaggery and it was very sweet so used only 1/4 cup yet felt it was very sweet)
2 green cardamom pods peeled
In a mixie jar or blender add the roasted peanuts (You could peel the roasted peanuts too.. but I did not) and add the jaggery and cardamom seeds. Blend it until smooth.You could also add in other nuts of your choice.
The peanuts release natural oil that helps in binding easily. Make laddus and store in an air tight container..

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Karathe Kismuri ~ Crispy fried bittergourd in spicy coconut masala

Konkani cuisine is mostly vegan and we love our coconut in every form... Most of our cooking uses coconut in one form or the other. Kismuri is a traditional Konkani style salad kind of side dish which is a favourite among many!  This can be made with Raw bananas / Yam / Bittergourd/ Bread fruit or even potato.. I love to pair this with some nice konkani style curry or humble and soul food Dalithoy! Instead of deep frying I add the vegetable pieces in a cast iron kadai/pan, toss in 2 tbsp of coconut oil and shallow fry on low flame until it beautifully crisps up.. And yes do not make the mistake of tossing it into your mouth at this stage because these are super addictive!!

Here is what's needed:
2 medium sized bitter gourds, deseeded and finely chopped
1 cup grated coconut (Fresh) If using Frozen thaw it before you use
4-5 fried red chillies (I use a mix of byaadgi and spicy round chilli)
Marble sized tamarind
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 onion finely chopped
Salt to taste

1) Apply salt to bittergourd pieces and keep it aside for 30 mins. Squeeze the water out of it well and either deep fry or shallow fry the pieces. ( I used a cast iron pan , added 2 tbsp coconut oil and shallow fry). Make sure they crisp up well and take care not to burn them.
2) Grind grated coconut, red chillies, salt, tamarind and coriander seeds. The masala has to be ground coarsely.
3) At the time of serving mix in the finely chopped onions, karela pieces and masala. Serve it immediately. It is best served with hot rice and some hearty Dal!

This can be made with Potato or Raw banana or Yam too! They all taste equally delicious.. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Shevai ~ Rice string hoppers

If I had to pick only one breakfast item that I love the most..I would  easily pick Shevai ! I can never get tired of eating this. Even though the process of making this is time consuming the end result is always worth the hard work! This dish includes fair amount of planning and demands patience.. I lack patience in lot of things but cooking is totally another game.. I have tremendous patience when I cook! I wonder how?
Shevai would make appearance regularly at our breakfast plates. It was actually a two day process in my house hold to make it easy! Amma would soak the rice the previous day. Late at night just before hitting the bed she would grind it with freshly grated coconut,cook the batter to form a stiff dough and then cover it with wet cloth. This would breakdown the process and make it easy for the next day. Next day morning, balls would be made out of the dough and steamed in a steamer until done. The hot balls of the dough would then be pressed using a traditional press. Me and my brother would patiently wait for these to be done and enjoy our sunday breakfast with a generous helping of coconut oil and some spicy mango pickle! Traditionally this is eaten with  grated jaggery in coconut milk and mildly scented with cardamom powder. But I always preferred to eat it with oil and pickle or some nice spicy potato song or bibbe humman (fresh cashews cooked in spicy coconut masala with aroma of hing and coconut oil).
Both the boys in the house share the same feelings towards these white beauties which is why they are now a regular fare at our place. We can never get enough of them. If you have a helping hand with the press then you are all sorted!

Here is what's needed:
4 cups of dosa rice
1.5 cups of grated coconut
salt to taste
water to grind

1) Soak rice for a minimum of 5-6 hours. Grind it with grated coconut and water to a smooth batter. It should be of free flowing consistency. Add salt to taste.
2) Pour the batter in a thick bottomed vessel and cook it until the batter forms in to a nice non sticky dough. It should be of the chapathi dough consistency.
3) You can do two things here you can steam this dough right away or cover it with wet cloth until you are ready to steam. [I normally cook the dough late at night and then next day morning steam it. This is to simplify my work the next morning].
4) Make balls out of this dough and steam it in the steamer for approximately 25 mins.
5) Grease the press and its mold with oil to ensure the smooth working of the press.
6) Press the steamed balls in the traditional press and transfer the noodles on to moist cloth to prevent it from drying it out. Repeat the same with the remaining dough balls.
Enjoy fresh rice noodles with the sides of your choice. If you are a non vegetarian this goes really well with nice egg curry or chicken curry! Will definitely include step by step pictures when I make it the next time. Le me know if you try this!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Pesarattu ~ Whole moong dosa (Vegan)

The current pandemic - Covid 19 has imposed the situation on Lockdown in many parts of the world. This lockdown has taught us all a lot of things. I have learnt to be thankful to have pantry full of ingredients, to have the pleasure of serving hot meal to my family, to my country for taking this tough but much needed decision, to the community helpers who have ensured that everyone is safe and protected. This too shall pass!
The lockdown has thrown us all off our busy schedule wagon, I miss my evening walks, my students at school, the friendly smiles from my neighbours and colleagues. As a family we have decided to eat mindfully and healthy, using the resources available in our pantry. We have decided to limit our outings to buy essential stuff unless and until its absolutely necessary!
I had a packet of whole moong lying in the pantry. I normally make spicy maharashtrian style ussal, sprouts salad or simple amchi moong saarupkari. But this time I decided to try this dosa which I had tasted long back at my friends place. We absolutely loved this no ferment crispy thin dosa loaded with protein. This is an excellent breakfast idea.

What's needed:
2 cups whole moong
1/4 cup dosa rice
3 green chillies
1 tsp Hing/ Asafoetida
1" ginger
salt to taste
2 medium onions finely chopped

1) Soak moong and rice overnight or for 6 hours. Grind it with green chillies and ginger to a coarse paste. Add salt to taste.
2) Heat a tawa(iron preferably). Rub some cooking oil (I used coconut oil), Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it to form a uniform, thin dosa. Add some finely chopped onions and cover and cook until crispy and done. Serve hot with spicy coconut and ginger chutney!