Cusine : Indian

Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli – Lentil Stuffed Sweet Roti

Diwali is the festival of lights , an occasion to celebrate the triumph of the good over evil. It is an auspicious day when one would try and please ….well pray to the goddess of wealth ‘Laxmi Devi’ .  Traders and businessmen celebrate Diwali by having  huge prayers at their place of work, give bonuses to the employees and distribute sweets to everyone you know. They organise parties , exchange gifts, lots of sweets and dry fruits. I remember the day after Diwali , we would be sitting there staring at fruit baskets, sweet boxes and dry fruits in addition to the cooked treats from the neighbours and friends not knowing what to do with all the food. But the women folk always had a plan , fruit salad for breakfast , smoothies and dry fruit laddus and  sweets sometimes have been recycled …oops!! There I go spilling the family secret J  . It was crazy looking at my mom running towards us when you are just about to open a new packet of sweets to stop ..I am actually chuckling while I am writing this ,  but looking back she had a point , what would you do with 20 packets of sweets which  you know won’t last more than a week. But as kids , we always want one sweet from a gift box, another sweet from a different gift box and never finish the whole thing. It’s basically the thrill of unwrapping and opening the gifts. Adding to that , we ourselves end up cooking so much at home, stocking up savoury and sweet meats weeks ahead of Diwali.

On the day though, you ought to cook at least seven different things as an offering to the goddess laxmi. This is where the home chefs want to get creative and strive and plan to cook something that different and unique to impress the friends. We usually did well at this task at ours but there has to be one thing that is to be made repeatedly in the name of tradition and for you to carry forward. We have the pooranpoli or Bobattlu, in our case as a must for Diwali. Now, I am not that keen on deserts and sweets but this is quite different. It is almost like a sweet parata , so the carb element in it does enough for me to keep making it again and again. The pooranpoli and bobbatu are very similar while the former is a north Indian version , the latter is a south Indian version. The cooking method and seasoning does vary from region to region. I personally prefer the south indian version , because its more luxurious and made with plain flour whereas most pooranpolis are made using wheat flour. So , while six of the dishes are cooked , offered to god and enjoyed by afternoon , we have to wait for these bobattlu till evening. Reason being, the dough needs to soak in oil for at least four hours …..yes, immersed in oil until its absorbs some of it. Now, you know why I called it luxurious 🙂 . So , the usuall practice is get out of the house and start on some lightweight fireworks, come back to eat bobabbtlu, sit there with a cranky dog petrified of the loud crackers and bombs. Poor thing , it used be exhausted at the end of the day. The crackers , bombs keep going off till really late. We used to take turns , lock ourselves up in a room and keep ‘Nancy’ (our dog) distracted  in our laps most of the time to calm it down. Fireworks  are fine but , the 1000 wala , 2000 wala 5000 walas , which are literally 1000 small bombs tied together  are just too much …how can one gain pleasure putting the labyrinths through that sort of sound, is beyond my understanding. As they say  there are always some things that can change and this is one of the things that should definitely change with Diwali. Well , along with the green movement ,  cleanliness movement, a lot of awareness towards a responsible Diwali has been promoted both by Ngo’s, private sectors and government and hopefully we will see some change soon.

Staying back home all night , means us chomping on more and more bobattlu . As I said I am not a big fan of sweets , so I used to ask for just the paratha  without the filling or with very little filling. My brother used to love the filling (I think he still does) so he used take away balls of the sweet lentil filling to munch on. Worked out perfectly with no fights and arguments for a change. I started making them for every Diwali in my kitchen as well and again my son just loves the paratha  J …just like me J . They can seem a bit tricky at first but as you make them , you will get used to it as with anything else and you will get the hand of it. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the bobattlu my family style, especially if you have tried the north Indian version of them and let me know what you think of them .

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You will need :

500gms Plain ( Maida)

650gms Yellow split lentils (Chana dal)

200gms Sugar

1 tsp. Cardamom powder

500ml groundnut oil

Pinch of salt

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Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli

Method:

Make a soft dough with the plain flour adding a pinch of salt and one tablespoon sugar.

Soak this dough in a bowl of oil ( Fully immersed ) for at least 4 hrs and keep aside.

Meanwhile boil the lentils in a pressure cooker and make a nice paste of it. Add the remaining sugar, cardamom powder and mix well, try and keep this thick with no added water. You should be able to make balls and handle it to shape the roti’s. Keep aside until you are ready to make the Bobbatlu.

When you are ready, divide the dough and the lentils mix in equal balls . Take a clear plastic sheet, smother some oil on it and flatten the ball of dough with your fingers to form a small roti .

Place a lentil mix ball on top of the dough and seal the lentils mix with the dough from all sides and make a parcel. Now press to make a roti with your fingers.

On a pan cook the roti with more oil if required on both the sides till it’s done. The lentils are already cooked so you don’t need to worry about the inside bits being cooked.

Enjoy hot Bobbatlu with desi ghee …Ah …the aroma is to die for !!

Some pointers :

You can make with whole wheat aswell , equally tasty and this definitely can be made without soaking it in oil , they just won’t be as indulgent.

For a clear sheet , I usually use the liners which in between frozen paratha’s , works perfectly. Or, you can shape the rotis on the back of an oiled plate.

Cardamom is optional, but it does add a lot of flavour !

Serving the bobbatlu with ghee takes the dish to a new level so try not to miss it J

I make cupcakes with the bobabbtlu/pooranpoli flavours and they are quiet good. So if you have some lentils mix left over after making these for Diwali , head over to my pooranpoli Cupcake post and make some delicious fusion cupcakes !!

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Andhra Mutton Curry

 

South India, especially south-east indian districts are known for spicy non vegetarian food. I have inherited one such simple and easy mutton curry recipe which my grand mum and mother in law always cook. Coming to UK and living in Chiswick for the initial years, I didn’t really have access to mutton. I used to cook with lamb and it never is the same. Even though mutton takes a little extra time to cook, that is what is authentically used in the recipes and more importantly that is what I was used to.The fact that there are a  whole Indian butchers who sell meat was a wow moment for me. But then, the whole horse meat and various other meat investigations that went on in the previous months was a bit terrifying. The topic was instigated on multiple occasions and I heard people getting worried. The whole vegetarian and non vegetarian debate was no longer important. It came to it that people are thinking what meat they might be eating.And the thought that the meat is being sourced in bulk by the butchers is frightening.

Amidst the whole drama, someone knocks on my door and say they are a ‘Straight to door’ meat company called Farmer’s choice.The representative was very informative and then I learnt that not only that they have good quality meat but you could at any stage call them, state the code on the meat they delivered to you and ask which farm in particular it has been sourced from and all the other history of the meat like how was it breed, age etc,. And they do mutton …..how great is that ? well, I  did sign up and I got the  first delivery. I ordered for couple of  lamb shanks, mint lamb sausages, minced mutton and Salmon and mutton. It was a big order and filled up one whole shelf in my freezer. And it’s been a month and my DD from the first month has been charged but I didn’t finish all the meat. Soon I realized the downside for the whole thing is that the dd I signed up was too much for me. I recently called in and reduced it to suit my needs so not a downside at all.

I cooked this recipe with Farmers choice mutton and the quality is in your face. The taste, the tenderness is top class and is so different from the previous curries I cooked. So make sure you get hold of good quality meat to cook your curry and you will not regret that extra pounds you spent on it.

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Ingredients: 

500 grams Mutton on bone

5 Green chilies halved

1 Tsp red chilly powder

1 Tsp Garam Masala

1 Tsp Ground coriander

2 Big onions finely chopped

1 Small Tomato finely chopped

2 Tbsp Ginger garlic paste

5 Tbsp Oil or Ghee

Pinch of turmeric

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Method:

Heat oil in a  pressure cooker or a deep pan. If you do not have a pressure cooker , marinate the meat in little oil, lemon juice and salt. It will help the meat cook in less time. Saute the onions till they are transparent.

Add tomatoes and green chilies and continue to saute them, add ginger garlic paste, Coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric. Cook the mixture till the oil separates and settles at the walls of the vessel. Check for seasoning.

Add the meat, some water if the mixture is too thick. cook till the meat is cooked or in a pressure cooker , cook for at least 3 whistles.

Don’t worry if there is too much water in the curry, just leave it uncovered and continue to cook to evaporate the extra water till you reach the consistency you want the curry to be.

Serve hot with steamed rice or any kind of bread.

Vegetarian Chat Pizza

Inspired  by all the Indian pizzas I watched on master chef  India, I decided to try something aswell and boom came the  Home Bakers Challenge to bake pizza’s.

I had this Pizza concept in mind for a long time now which is based on the indian street food chaat and this is my opportunity to give it a try. I am more than pleased with the results. I used the ‘green chutney’ from the chaat as a pizza base sauce and also topped the pizza with crispy ‘papdi’ and a dash of ‘meeta chutney’ or tamarind and date chutney.
The pizza is spicy, sweet, tangy, crunchy, soft, cheesy altogether Deeeelicious. Do give it a go.

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Ingredients:

For Pizza Dough:

3 Cups Plain flour

1 Tsp salt

1 Tbsp Chilli flakes

2 Tbsp Active yeast

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Sugar

For the pizza Sauce:

Green Chutney :

1 Cup Mint leaves

1/2 Cup Coriander/Cilantro

6 Green chillies

1 Tbsp lemon Juice

Tamarind Chutney:

1 Tsp Tamarind Paste

10 Dates

1 Tsp Grated jaggery or Mascavado sugar

Pinch of Salt

1/2 tsp Coriander Powder

1/2 tsp Cumin Powder

For the Toppings:

5-6 papdi’s

Chopped Yellow Peppers

Chopped Red peppers

Mushrooms

Mozzarella Cheese Pearls or Grated

Method:

Pizza Dough :

Prepare the yeast by dissolving the sugar and yeast in 250 ml of warm water and leave to rest for 5 mins untill the yeast is active and frothy.

Mix the olive oil , chilli flakes and salt in the flour.

Combine the yeast solution along with some more water if required and knead the dough to a soft consistency. knead the dough at least for 5 mins. Leave it to rest in a warm and dry place for 30 mins.

The dough should be almost double the size after 30 mins. knead the dough again very well for 10 mins and leave it to rise for 30 mins again. Knead the dough again and divide the dough with a dough knife or a worktop scraper into 2 or 3 portions according to the size of the pizzas you need. Use plain flour for dusting and start shaping the dough to form a circle using your fist. Use your knuckles to form a rounded circumference. Lift the pizza base on to the stone, mesh or the pan you are baking and prepare to start topping. I made this pizza on a mesh and is my favourite method.

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For a stuffed Crust Pizza:

Just use mozzarella cheese along the sides and fold the sides of the pizza. I used grated cheese , but the natural mozzarella balls can be handled more easily to wrap the edges.

Green Chutney

Mix the mint, coriander,  green chillies and grind them to a fine mixture. Add salt and lemon juice.

Tamarind Chutney:

Blanch the dates along with the tamarind paste with little water till it forms a smooth paste. Process it in a food processor if the mixture is not smooth enough. Run the mixture through a filter which will give you a smooth puree.

Add the salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and mix.

Assembling the Pizza:

Spoon the green chutney on the pizza generously, top it up with the  peppers and mushrooms. crush the papdi and place them on the pizza. Top it up with mozzarella cheese and finally drizzle the tamarind sauce. Bake the pizza for 15 mins celsius.

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Enjoy hot pizza and relish the flavours coming through. Feel the heat of green chillies, the freshness of mint from the base, the crunch of the papdi  and the slight sweet and tangy -ness of the tamarind sauce. I just Love it ! You will too…

Chick 65 Pizza Bites

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Pizza, as all know is a world’s top comfort food and is enjoyed by people all over the world. There are different versions of pizza in different countries. Chick 65 pizza is one such attempt by using a spicy indian starter ‘chick 65’ as a topping. Full of flavours and spices, this pizza is a winner. I made a batch of mini bites using the same and it takes our favorite pizza to a different level. You can now serve hot piping pizza bites for tea or as a snack and is so easy to avoid dripping the sauce on yourself . Kids love pizza and is usually served at kids parties. With the pizza bites, I am sure it will only become even more appealing to everyone and will also make great picnic food. I baked this for the Home Bakers Challenge and hope the recipe goes down well with all the foodies there….. Thanks to Divya Prakash who writes at divyasculinaryjourney  and Priya Suresh who writes at priyaeasyntastyrecipes for hosting the challenge this month.

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Ingredients :

All you need is a Pizza assembled and which is ready to go into the oven.

I choose my Chicken 65 pizza to make these pizza bites. Click here for the recipe.

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Method:

Once you have assembled the pizza with your favorite toppings, roll the pizza to make a roll. then secure the ends with the remaining dough and cut the pizza and place each piece on the baking tray. The pizza bites are ready to bake in the over for 10-15mins. serve them hot and keep them coming untill your guests are satisfied.

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Home bakers challenge

Chicken 65 Pizza

Yes I was on a Pizza spree and made this yummy chicken 65 pizza to please my man who dies for anything indian in terms of food. Chicken 65 is a starter ver famous in Indian restaurants. and making it is very easy.

Ingredients

For the Sauce

2 Tsp Garlic Powder

Salt to taste

3-4 Tomatoes

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Black Pepper

1 Tsp Thyme

For the toppings

1 Cup Chicken65 – Click here for the full recipe

Chopped mixed peppers

Sliced Onions

For Pizza Dough:

3 Cups Plain flour

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Chilli flakes

2 Tbsp Active yeast

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Sugar

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Method:

Pizza Dough :

Prepare the yeast by dissolving the sugar and yeast in 250 ml of warm water and leave to rest for 5 mins untill the yeast is active and frothy.

Mix the olive oil , chilli flakes and salt in the flour.

Combine the yeast solution along with some more water if required and knead the dough to a soft consistency. knead the dough at least for 5 mins. Leave it to rest in a warm and dry place for 30 mins.

The dough should be almost double the size after 30 mins. knead the dough again very well for 10 mins and leave it to rise for 30 mins again. Knead the dough again and divide the dough with a dough knife or a work top scraper into 2 or 3 portions according to the size of the pizzas you need. Use plain flour for dusting and start shaping the dough to form a circle using your fist. Use your knuckles to form a rounded circumference. Lift the pizza base on to the stone, mesh or the pan you are baking and prepare to start topping.

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For a stuffed Crust Pizza:

Just use mozzarella cheese along the sides and fold the sides of the pizza. I used grated cheese , but the natural mozzarella balls can be handled more easily to wrap the edges.

For the Pizza Sauce:

Cook the tomatoes in 2 Tbsp of olive oil untill they are soft. Process the puree through a filter which will be used as a base for the sauce.

Heat a Tbsp of  olive oil to a deep pan. Add the tomato puree, garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme with a little water and mix well. Let it cook for 4 mins till all the flavours are released and leave it to cool.

Assembling the Pizza :

Spread the tomato sauce generously on the base and top it with really generous portions of chicken 65 , you can pick and avoid the curry leaves from the original recipe at this stage but do use them in the preparation of chicken 6 because , curry leaves is an important ingredient which ive the whole dish a beautiful flavour. Top it up with the other veges and grated cheese and bake for 15 mins till its done and serve piping hot!

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Panakam

Sri Rama Navami is a holy day in the hindu calendar when the birth of Lord Rama  is celebrated. Rama is one incarnation of the lord who has all good reputation and is known for his obedience and respect for elders, his loyalty and love for his wife, his caring nature for his brothers, his sacrifice for family etc,. Hero of the great scripture ‘Ramayana’, Lord Rama also has a great devotee in The Mighty Hanuman and his brother Laxmana. The stories of the trio are very popular are often told to children to inculcate good morals  in them.

So Happy birthday to Lord Ram hope his blessings are bestowed upon everyone. Alongside the usual rituals of offering food, fruits and prayers to the lord , a certain drink called ‘Panakam’ is offered on this special day. It is a traditional drink consumed in summer. Panakam has all ingredients to make a perfect coolant in summers. black pepper corns is one of them which is known for using as a home remedy for sunburns,viral infections, cough etc,.SO , irrespective of the occasion, if you are feeling bit under the weather or by gods grace if we in UK  are blessed with a lot of sun then keep this recipe handy and have this refreshing drink to cool off:)

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Ingredients :

250ml Water

2 Tbsp Powdered Jaggery or mascavado sugar

2 Tsp  Black Pepper corns

3 Cardamom

1 1/2 Tsp Grated coconut

 

Method:

Add  the jaggery to the water and mix untill all the jaggery is dissolved.

Crush the black Peppercorns and cardamom in a mortar and add it to the prepared water. Finally add the grated coconut.

Chill and enjoy on a hot sunny day !

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Sabudana Kichidi – Carbohydrate Rush To Fight Plagiarism

When I first started blogging I was completely oblivious of the talent out there. Over the time I started exploring various food blogs for inspiration and was amazed of the quality of the writing and photographs. When I spoke to some of the food bloggers, I saw the passion they have for food and photography first hand. Being a beginner and a straggler myself in this world, I know how hard it is to reach to a prominent place where some of the bloggers are at the moment. It is extremely appalling to see some naive bloggers to indulge in  a shameful act of plagiarism. Be it content or the lovely photos they click of the picture, it’s sad to see someone being deprived their due credit of their work.

A fellow blogger who I have met recently has started this noble campaign to aggrandize the  awareness and fight plagiarism. I am trying to do my bit by contributing to it by posting this power filled delicious Maharastrian delicacy made of Sabudana or Sago. It is simple and dramatic looking dish. Since the Sago is made out of starch it’s full of carbohydrates and maybe that is the reason why traditionally this particular dish is served during a fast. I know the practice to eat sago kichidi is existing for 100’s of years and has taken place of tradition in most households but once again it reiterates the fact that how a lot of the traditions and rituals from ages ago actually have a purpose to the well-being of the human body to cope. In this case it is choosing a dish which is high in carbohydrates to cope with the fast anyone is observing. So, Let’s look at how sabudana Kichidi is cooked in the most simplest and traditional method.

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Ingredients

300 Grams Sago/Sabudana

Few Curry leaves

Coriander

2 Potatoes

4 Green chillies

10 Cashews

30 grams roasted and unsalted peanuts

1 Tsp Cumin seeds

1 Tbsp Oil

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

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Method

Soak the sago in water for at least 4 hours. Once soaked tie them in a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth and keep it over a bowl to drain all the water. I just hang it to the window and place a bowl underneath so all the water is completely drained. This is to make sure the sago is dry and to avoid a sticky kichidi.

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Once the water is drained, place the sago on a cloth and leave it to dry while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

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Meanwhile crush the peanuts coarsely and keep aside. Halve the green chilies in length and dice the potatoes into small pieces. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in the a deep pan, add the cumin seeds, chillies, curry leaves, cashews and sauté them for 2 mins. Now add the potatoes and et them cook for at least 5 mins or until they are 70% cooked. Once the potatoes are slightly cooked, add the soaked sago , add salt to taste and mix well. You can the peanuts at this point.

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Cover the pan and leave it in medium flame until the sago is completely cooked. The bright white sago we saw in the above pic will now become transparent. Remove from heat, garnish it with coriander and drizzle the lemon juice. Serve hot with some yogurt or it is just as good on it’s own. IMG_2213

Enjoy!