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

Monday, 7 August 2017

Surti Papdi nu shaak (Lablab bean subze)

Dear Gujarati Food Made Easy Lovers

Today, I will share with you the recipe for lablab bean subze (otherwise known as surti papdi nu shaak) in Gujarat. The UK is very well known for being a great place to come across foods from all over the world and even then, I have found it difficult to come across the lablab bean (surti papdi) as it is an extremely seasonal vegetable (mainly found in Indian winter time) and pretty rare to find, even in the Asian grocery stores.

When you do come across them in the shop, be careful as to how you select the beans. They generally come in pods that are a vivacious green and pods will be firm and of a velvety texture if they are of a good quality. You may also find that some stores in the UK will sell only the already shelled beans without the pods (to make your life easier), although it is safe to say that these may be of varying quality. As soon as you get home from buying the lablab beans (surti papdi), please refrigerate them immediately and cook and eat them as soon as you can so that you gain the best taste experience from them.

So here goes with the recipe for Surti Papdi nu Shaak (lablab bean subze), starting with a picture of the final dish: 


(serves 2 to 3 people)

Ingredients:

1 big tbsp sunflower oil
1 pinch papad khar (this is an alkaline salt available in Asian grocery stores)
1 pinch asafoetida
0.75 tsp ajwain seeds
400g surti papdi/lablab beans, ideally half in their pods and half shelled (wash thoroughly in cold water at least 3 times and make sure all the water has been separated from the washed surti papdi
0.5 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp green chillies
1 heaped tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic (freshly peeled and grated)
0.5 tsp sugar
1 big tbsp chopped coriander
Two-thirds mug full of warm water

Method:

1. Pour the oil into a medium-sized pressure cooker and let it heat up.
2. Add in the papad khar, the asafoetida and the ajwain seeds and temper the ajwain seeds until they start to turn a golden brown colour.
3. Add in the surti papdi/lablab beans and stir well.
4. Add in the rest of the ingredients, starting with the turmeric powder in the order stated above in the ingredients list and mix well until all the spices have been evenly spread around the surti papdi/lablab beans.
5. Once you add the water and have mixed in everything, close the pressure cooker and cook the surti papdi on a medium-to-high heat until the cooker sounds at least 2 whistles. 3 whistles would be fine too.
6. Turn off the heat and make sure that the pressure from the pressure cooker has been released before opening the cooker.
7. Serve the surti papdi nu shaak while it is hot with freshly squeezed lemon and coriander chutney. (Recipe for coriander chutney: 
http://www.gujaratifoodmadeeasy.com/2013/02/coriandercilantro-chutney-recipe-dhania.html)

So there you have it; a delicious new recipe for you to try out and let me know how it was! Many thanks!

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