Sunday, 24 May 2020

Handvo / Tapelu / A spicy, oven-baked, Indian, vegetable cake

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

If you are in the UK, I hope you have been enjoying this wonderful weather that we have been having, safely of course, despite the restrictions we have imposed on us due to coronavirus.

In all honesty, I have been doing a whole lot of cooking and so writing up the recipes isn't that easy after a long day in the kitchen! :) With that being said, however, I will share with you today, the recipe for Handvo which we also know as Tapelu.

This dish (although known as a form of comfort food) is made of rice, lentils and vegetables so, in effect, is like an all encompassing dish nutritionally - proteins from the lentils, carbohydrates from the rice and fibre, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

Here is what a slice of the final dish should look like:


(serves 6 to 8 people)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 mugs of rice
0.75 mug tuvar dal (available in all Indian grocery stores)
4 tbsps sunflower oil
3 large tbsps whole Greek yogurt
1.25 mugs cold water
1 medium carrot (washed, peeled and grated (in the large hole))
2 medium courgettes/zucchinis (washed, peeled and grated (in the large hole))
1 big onion (red or white, washed, peeled and chopped into small cubes)
0.5 mug petit pois/peas (washed from frozen)
2 spring onions/scallions (washed and finely chopped)
2 heaped tbsps fresh ginger (washed, peeled and finely grated)
2 large, heaped tbsps ground, green chillies (washed, take off the stem and grind into a fine paste in a chopper)
1 level tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsps salt (add more at the end if you need to - taste the batter before you bake it)
2 heaped tbsps ENO (this is a fruit salt available to buy from any Indian grocery)
2 handfuls of white sesame seeds


For the Tadka: (you will have to make 2 batches of this - one to go in the batter and one on top before baking)

For one batch:

3 tbsps sunflower oil
3 tsps mustard seeds
3 tsps sesame seeds
1 pinch asafoetida

To make the Tadka:

In a small vessel, heat the oil and add in the above ingredients. Cook until the seeds start to pop and set aside. The first batch can go straight into the batter that has been standing for 6 hours and you can make the next batch when you have put the batter into the baking tray, ready to put in the oven. (The second batch will be drizzled on top.)


Method:

1. Grind the rice and tuvar dal separately in a powerful mixer grinder until they are the texture of semi-fine cornmeal - not too powdery and not to grainy.

2. In a large bowl or dish, mix the ground rice and tuvar dal together until they are well mixed. This will form the base for the vegetable cake batter mix.

3. Make a well in the mixture and add in the sunflower oil. Combine the oil well into the rice and dal mixture.

4. Add in the Greek yogurt and the 1.25 mugs of cold water and stir until well combined.

5. Cover the large bowl/dish with a lid and leave it out on a kitchen work surface in a cool place for 5 to 6 hours.

6. Lightly oil a clean, large baking tray and line the tray with aluminium foil. Also oil the foil. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celcius. Make sure that all of your ingredients are prepared as per the instructions to save your oven from over heating.

NB: The baking tray used in this recipe was 2 inches deep and 25cms wide by 40cms long

7. In the batter that has been standing for 6 hours, add in one batch of the tadka and mix well.


8. Then add in the carrots, courgettes, onions, peas and spring onions and mix until well combined.

9. Add in the ginger, green chillies, turmeric and salt. Mix well again until combined.


10. Add in the ENO (fruit salt) and mix the batter well for the final time.

11. Pour the batter into the well oiled baking tray (lined with the also lightly oiled aluminium foil) and sprinkle on evenly the 2nd batch of tadka. Also, evenly sprinkle on 2 handfuls of white sesame seeds.


12. Place the baking tray into the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the handvo/tapelu for 15 minutes on high heat (250C). Turn the heat down to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 16 to 18 minutes.

13. As soon as you see a nice golden brown crust on top of the handvo/tapelu, take it out of the oven. Like when you test a cake, if you insert a knife into the handvo/tapelu and it comes out clean, you know it is ready to serve.

14. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for at least 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


So there you have it my friends! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out! Enjoy!

'Til next time...!
Bon appetit! xx

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Sri Lankan Thosai/Dosa (large, thin crispy rice pancake)

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

OK, so admittedly, the recipe I am going to share with you today is not a Gujarati recipe but without any doubt, Gujaratis, Indians, Sri Lankans and many other nationalities the world over LOVE this recipe because it is not only delicious, but also extremely versatile! It can be eaten as an accompaniment with a variety of meat and vegetable curries. My current favourite is to eat it plain with coriander chutney and coconut chutney with sambhar (dal) on the side.

(The recipe for coriander chutney is on this blog and I will endeavour to post recipes of coconut chutney and the sambhar dal soon.) Another favourite is to eat thosai/dosa with chicken curry.

So for those of you who are new to Indian and Sri Lankan food, a dosa/thosai is a large, thin, crispy pancake made of mainly ground rice and dal and the dish originates from South India and Sri Lanka. Today, I will share with you the Sri Lankan version of the recipe which comes from my best friend from university's mother who is a very dear aunty to me. Thank you Aunty V for letting me share your knowledge and talents!

It will make enough batter for about 20 dosas/thosai but that all depends on how large you spread your thosai/dosas with your ladle. :)

Also, the great thing about this batter is that you can freeze it in batches for between 2 and 3 weeks and it will be fine to use once throughly defrosted. Please remember to freeze the original batter without the added water to it so that it doesn't get clogged up with water when you defrost it. I will mention in the recipe when you can freeze the batter, if you so wish.

So, without further ado, let's get to the recipe! :)

Here is what it will look like when you have spread it and it has cooked on one side:



Ingredients:

2 mugs of white rice
1 mug of urad dal (aka urid dal) - available from any Indian grocery store
1 pinch of fenugreek seeds (aka dry methi seeds)
1 pinch of whole cumin seeds (aka whole jeera)
5 or 6 whole peppercorns
1 slice of bread (ideally white)
salt to taste
1 calorie spray oil or sunflower oil

Method:

1. Wash the rice and urad dal separately in different dishes, 2 to 3 times with warm water until the water runs clear.

2. Pour fresh, clean, cold water into each dish until there is about an inch of water above the level of the urad dal and the rice in each dish; this will allow the grains to soak.

3. Add the fenugreek seeds, the cumin seeds and the peppercorns to the dish in which the rice will soak.

4. Cover each dish with a plate or lid and leave both to soak overnight for at least 12 hours in a dry place - not in the fridge - your kitchen surface should do nicely.

5.  Once soaked, do not discard the water; save it in another vessel to help with the next stage - the grinding of the grains.

6. In a robust grinder, grind the rice with the slice of bread to a smooth paste and then move the ground rice and bread to a big dish. Use some of the water saved in the vessel to grind if required - just enough to grind it.

7. Then grind the urad dal to a smooth paste - again, add the saved water very little by little only to aid the grinding process. Only use enough water to grind - one wants to create a batter that is the consistency of American pancake batter - so quite thick.

8. Once both the urad dal and the rice have been ground, mix them well together and add salt to your desired taste.

9. Leave the batter for at least another 8 to 10 hours to stand  - outside on a kitchen surface is fine; it should not be in the fridge.

10. When you are ready to make the dosas/thosai, mix the batter well first. Then take a third of the batter mixture into a separate dish and add one ladle of cold/room temperature water and mix it into the batter. Make sure that the batter is liquid enough to spread as shown in the video below (somewhere between the thickness of American pancake batter and French crepes - not too thick and not too thin).

NB: At this stage, you can freeze the rest of the batter in 2 separate batches for next time - without any water in it. Each of these 3 batches should make about 7 to 8 dosas after adding the water to make the batter more spreadable.

11. Heat a dosa/thosai pan or a large frying pan until it's searing hot and either use 1 calorie spray oil or sunflower oil to coat the base of the pan, lightly. Use a kitchen tissue to wipe off the excess.

12. Spread the batter in the pan to create a dosa/thosai:

Here is a video on how to spread your thosai/dosa:


13. When the edges start to lift up automatically after they start to brown, you know it's nearly time to flip it over.

14. Before you flip it over, lightly spray with 1 calorie spray oil. Flip it over and cook the other side until it's nice and brown. (The thinner you spread the batter, the browner and crisper your dosa/thosai will be.)

15. Take it off the pan and serve hot! :)

It is traditionally eaten with potato and onion subze/curry (recipe: http://www.gujaratifoodmadeeasy.com/2012/09/potato-and-onion-subze-curry-recipe.html) in it and the final product would look like this:


This is known as a Masala Dosa

It is also served with sambhar which is a thicker version of the Gujarati dal. I will share the recipe for that soon, but in the meantime, feel free to try the Gujarati dal that I love! Here is the link: 


So there your have it my friends! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out!

'Til next time...!
Bon appetit! xx



Sunday, 25 March 2018

Masala Papad/ Chilli Papadum

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

Today I will share with you the recipe for Masala Papad/ Chilli Papadum which is a personal favourite and a great appetiser before any meal. I initially came across this fabulous concept when I first visited India in 1998 and have found that restaurants in India (especially Mumbai) have made this one of their welcome snacks!


(serves 2 people)

Ingredients:

2 ready made papadums
0.25 vine tomato (washed and finely chopped)
0.25 green pepper/ capsicum (washed, deseeded, 'de-pithed' and finely chopped)
0.25 medium-sized red onion (washed and finely chopped)
0.5 tsp ground cumin powder
0.5 tsp sweet pimento powder/ red chilli powder
0.5 tsp salt

Method:

1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients (apart from the papadums) just before you are about to serve the papadums.
2. Top the baked papadums with the fresh, spicy, chopped vegetables. Don't leave the vegetables on the papadums for too long otherwise they will make the papadums soggy.
3. Serve and enjoy!

So there you have it! A delicious new recipe for you to try! ... Please let me know how you enjoyed the masala papads/ chilli papadums!

Until next time my friends ...
Love and Namaste! xx
Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Banana and Fenugreek Pakoras / Kera Methi na Bhajiya

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

Today I will share with you the recipe for Banana and Fenugreek Pakoras / Kera Methi na Bhajiya. It may sound like a strange combination at first but trust me, once you try them, you will be hooked! It's a great starter or a snack food for a picnic on a lazy day out in the sun. They are of course best eaten hot! This recipe will serve at least 2 to 3 people.

Ingredients:

2  ripe bananas (mashed well)
5 level tbsps dried fenugreek leaves
0.5 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp ginger (peeled and grated/minced)
0.25 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chillies (washed and ground)
0.5 tsp salt
0.25 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsps cumin-coriander powder (thana jeeru)
0.25 tsp asaoetida
3 tsps sugar
0.25 cup cold water

To fry the Pakoras:

Vegetable oil/sunflower oil to deep fry

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients in the order above in a dish apart from the oil.
2. Only put enough water in the rest of the ingredients (listed before 'water') to ensure that the mixture forms a batter so that it can be dropped into hot oil to fry and form pakoras.
3. Once a consistent, smooth batter is formed, drop the batter into hot oil (spoon by spoon) to deep fry the pakoras to a golden brown colour. (Try to only deep fry 5 or 6 at a time to avoid burning.)
4. Remove from the oil and onto a plate; put some kitchen roll on the plate to help the oil to be further be removed from the pakoras.
5. Eat hot to enjoy them at their best.

So there you have it! A delicious new recipe for you to try ... savour and enjoy the banana and fenugreek pakoras / kera methi na bhajiya! You and your friends will just love them!

Until next time my friends ...
Love and Namaste! xx
Bon appetit!

PS I will up load a picture of these soon - for some reason, the ones I took earlier have disappeared into the digital realm! :)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Sarson Ka Saag / Pureed Greens Soup

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

Today, I will be sharing with you the recipe for Sarson Ka Saag / Pureed Greens Soup (a green, leaf-based, pureed, thick soup) which actually is a staple dish in the Punjabi diet but it's one of my all time favourites so even though it is not technically a Gujarati dish, I will be showing you how my mother makes it. This recipe is packed with nutrients and is extremely healthy; it is traditionally served with Makki di Roti (unleavened Punjabi bread made of cornflour).

Here is a picture of the final dish:


(serves at least 3 people)

Ingredients:

To steam in the pressure cooker:
1 large bunch of washed and medium chopped spinach leaves (it should come out to 200g when chopped)
1 large bunch of washed and medium chopped, Indian, mustard greens (it should come out to 200g when chopped)
0.75 bunch of washed and medium chopped fenugreek leaves (it should come out to about 75g when chopped)
1 medium, peeled and roughly chopped, red onion
3 mugs of water
3 cloves of garlic (peeled, washed and grated)
1 heaped tbsp ginger (peeled, washed and grated)
0.25 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps salt (slightly heaped)
2 big green chillies (washed and chopped into small pieces)

In the fry pan (after blending):
1 big slice of butter about 2 mms thick
cornflour paste (1tbsp cornflour and 2 tbsps cold tap water - mixed well to form a paste)

Method:

1. Place the spinach, mustard greens, fenugreek leaves and onion into a medium-sized, pressure cooker.

2. Add in the water and place on the hob. Put the flame on the hob to a medium-high flame so that the greens start to wilt.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients from the list above, in the order above, from the garlic all the way to the green chillies.

4. Close the pressure cooker and cook until 3 to 4 whistles sound from the pressure cooker at medium heat. Make sure that the pressure cooker you use is big enough so that the contents of the cooker doesn't start to escape from the cooker when it is cooking and make sure that there is enough water in the pressure cooker so that the contents do no burn.

5. Once the greens are cooked and the 4 whistles sound,  take the pressure cooker off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool down so that all the pressure from the cooker is released. This is very important so that when you open the pressure cooker, the contents of the cooker doesn't explode all over the kitchen and burn you. Only when all the pressure from the cooker is released is it safe to open the cooker.

6. Pour half the mixture into a jug blender and puree it until it is really fine. Then do the other half. The idea of doing it in two batches is so that the contents of the jug doesn't overflow when blending to a fine puree.

7. Put the butter into a frypan and heat at a low heat.

8. Add in the pureed greens into the frypan and turn up the heat to medium-high.

9. Add in the cornflour paste and stir well.
10. Simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat; this will thicken the pureed greens.
11. The Sarson ka Saag is ready to serve.

So there you have it! A delicious new recipe for you to try at the weekend ... savour and enjoy the Sarson ka Saag! It's delicious and we eat it with chapatis (also known in Gujarati as rotlis/rotis).

Until next time my friends ...
Love and Namaste! xx
Bon appetit!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Drumstick Curry / Saragva nu Shaak / Shektani sing nu shaak

Dear Gujarati Food Lovers!

First of all Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to you all!

Today (when I started to write this post - Friday 25th August, 2017) is a very auspicious day in the Hindu calendar celebrating our beloved Lord Ganesh who is known as the 'Remover of all Obstacles' and the God of Prosperity. This is the beginning of a 10 day festival in honour of Lord Ganesh (son of Goddess Parvati and the God of all Gods, Mahadev (also known as the destroyer of evil). Private households and communities get together to make Ganesh statues from clay and it ends with these (generally) massive statues of Ganesh being paraded through the streets in India with song and dance and then finally, immersed in large water bodies such as the sea or ocean.

So, in honour of this auspicious festival, I am going to share the recipe for Drumstick Curry/Saragva nu shaak/Shektani sing nu shaak (one of my favourites):

Here is a picture of the final dish:


(serves at least 3 people)

Ingredients:

4 long drumsticks (they are generally 40cms long) - please ensure that when you choose them, they are not exceedingly bumpy and that they are not limp - essentially choose the ones with a vivid green and smooth skin and the ones that are younger in age (the older they are, the harder and bumpier they are and the more bitter they will be)

8 small potatoes (new potatoes are fine)
3 big tbsps (serving spoons) vegetable oil - ideally sunflower oil
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 pinch of asafoetida
3 heaped tsps chickpea flour
1 big tbsp (serving spoon) fine semolina
2 tsps salt
2 tsps cumin-coriander powder (thana jeeru)
0.5 tsp turmeric powder
0.5 tsp red chilli powder
3 tbsp fresh, chopped, fresh coriander (keep 2 tbsps of this to garnish at the end)
0.75 tsp fresh, ground, green chillies
3 cloves of garlic (peeled, washed and minced)
1 tbsp lemon juice (bottled is also fine)
1 tsp sugar

Method:

1. Wash the drumsticks and cut them into 3 inch long lengths. Then boil them. Keep the water from boiling the drumsticks. Once boiled, remove them from the water into a separate bowl to prevent them from over cooking.


2. Wash the potatoes and boil them well until you can easily pierce a knife through them and peel off the skins. Then cut them in half.


3. In a large saucepan on the hob, heat the oil on high heat and add in the cumin seeds once the oil is hot enough.
4. Once the cumin seeds start to brown and pop in the pan, add in the asafoetida. Lightly stir.
5. Then add in the chickpea flour and turn the heat to a medium-to-low flame immediately.
6. Stir the chickpea flour continuously until it starts to go a light pinkish in colour.
7. Then add in the semolina and mix well again until it is pinkish in colour. (Of course, the chickpea flour will darken further in colour but be careful not to over cook it otherwise the dish will taste bitter.)
8. Add in the saved boiled water from cooking the drumsticks, the boiled potatoes and also the cooked drumsticks into the large saucepan.
9. Turn the flame to a medium-to-high heat (more on the high side) and stir well to combine the flour into the water to create a slightly thick gravy from the water that has just been poured in.
10. Add in the rest of the ingredients from the ingredients list above in the order shown. Mix well.


11. Turn to a low heat and cook on low heat for 15 minutes to simmer. You can cover the saucepan for optimal results.
12. Add in the 2 tbsps coriander at the end to garnish.

NB: When you eat the drumsticks, it is only the inside part of the drumstick (not the tough exterior nor the seeds unless they are really soft) that can be eaten. Basically, the fleshy bit on the inside. Generally, people eat the drumsticks with their clean hands and scrap off the inner flesh with their teeth but first splitting the drumstick lengthways.

So there you have it! A delicious new recipe for you to try ... savour and enjoy the shektani sing/saragva nu shaak!

Until next time my friends ...
Love and Namaste! xx
Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Sweetcorn Fritters (mithi makai na vada)

Dear Gujarati Food Made Easy Lovers!

I wish you all a very Happy Indian Independence Day - India officially turns 70 years old today and we are also celebrating Janmashtami today, so Happy Janmashtami.

Janmashtami is the day on which Lord Krishna (the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu - the preserver of the Universe) was proclaimed to be born to save the world from his evil, maternal uncle, Kaansa. Krishna was also pivotal in the epic 18 day war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas where he helped the Pandavas win this war of truth and righteousness over evil. This war was fought at Kurukshetra (now near modern day New Delhi) and was retold in the Indian epic, Mahabharat.

So, in celebration of the two events today, I will share with you one of my favourite recipes called Mithi Makai na Vada (sweetcorn fritters). Here is a picture of the final dish - these mithi makai na vada or sweetcorn fritters are excellent as starters and this recipe will make enough for 4 people:


(serves between 3 to 4 people)

Ingredients:

500g washed and grated, fresh sweetcorn (you can use either the white or yellow sweetcorn) / 8 to 10 whole corncobs should suffice
1 heaped tsp green chillies
2 tsps salt
1 tbsp peeled and grated, fresh ginger
3 semi-heaped big tbsps (aka serving spoons) chickpea flour
4 heaped tbsp wholewheat flour
1 tbsp cornflour
2.5 big tbsps (aka serving spoons) vegetable oil (ideally sunflower oil)

In addition:
  • You will need a wok of sunflower oil to deep fry the sweetcorn fritters/mithi makai na vada in
  • Kitchen tissue paper in a plate to drain the oil from the freshly fried sweetcorn fritters/mithi makai na vada
  • Fresh lemon to squeeze some juice on the fritters before serving
Method:

1. The peeled and washed corn should look like this:


2. Grate the corn but not too hard or else you will find that you have ended up grating more than just the corn kernels (which is not what you need - avoid grating the centre cobs). This is what you will see in your dish if done correctly:


3. Add in all of the rest of the ingredients from the list above:


4. Mix well:


The mixture should be thick enough to be able to drop about a spoonful of this batter at a time to form balls in the hot oil.

5. Deep fry the batter placing it in the hot oil spoon by spoon to form the fritters/vada. Only put in enough batter to form the number of fritters/vada that you can manage to turn without burning them - I would recommend 4 or 5 at a time. If the wok is bigger and you are an experienced chef, I still would put no more than 6 or 7 at a time.

(If the fritters break up and don't stay together, add a tbsp of each of the chickpea flour and the wholemeal flour into the batter and stir well before trying to fry the batter in the hot oil to make them into fritters again.


6. Once they are golden brown, remove safely from the hot oil and drain on some kitchen paper in a plate.

7. You can use extra kitchen paper to remove excess oil and serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

So there you have it; a delicious new recipe for you to try out! Let me know how it was :) Savour and enjoy! Many thanks!

Until next time, my friends...
Love and Namaste!
Bon appetit! xx