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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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Tilda Basmati Supperclub Hosted by Mallika Basu

My usual gloomy Monday got so much better and fun-filled when I got a chance to accompany a friend to an event hosted by Tilda basmati. What a fun dinner it was ! The guests were lovely and we chatted away about food , recipes and our kitchens. I am always excited around foodies, I love to hear their stories and share mine. Just listening to their inspirations , experiments in their kitchen and their experiences in the food industry gives me an amazing boost of energy and refuel my passion to cook and feed. And how can you miss the bonus happiness when you bump into some of your own foodie pals . At the event I shared the delicious food with Binny, Sujji, Chintal and Suchismita and a few others in the business.

Now, Tilda is a favourite at home, we have tried all kinds of Tilda rice at home. Well, it’s only predictable on part of a girl from the state of Andhra Pradesh where rice forms the integral part of the cuisine to be a fan of quality rice. I remember the days in India, where they were only few brands and Tilda was the most popular one. But then, since we used to get our rice harvested from my grandparents fields , shop bought rice was only on the occasions when we cooked biryani and of course, if you are cooking  the world-famous Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, it has to be cooked using the best quality long grain rice. That’s where Tilda used to come into picture. It used to be a luxury back then and hence we all relished and cherished every special moment we made biryani.

Fast forward to present day in London , Tilda has grown as a brand since then and introduced a variety of products. From a company which catered to the Asian community for their rice fix in the 60’s to a proper British brand which is widely loved and used by everyone to cook dishes from a variety of cuisines. Be it a Basmati rice and Quinoa salad for those summers or a pure Basmati to pour your spicy curry on for those cosy winters , Tilda has become a part of our kitchens forever.  Personally, the ready-made rice was a saviour for me between 2012-2013 when I was travelling a lot for work and literally was living out of suitcases and had only a microwave in the name of kitchen. It’s no different story at home since we buy and consume 20kg bags of Tilda basmati rice in no time, Which I know is actually worrying J . They say simple and small changes go a long way, so I started cooking with the Tilda Brown Basmati and wild rice and it’s actually working ….the rice addicted man of the house enjoyed it yesterday with a spicy Andhra fish curry. Again, I was thinking about this swap for a long time but couldn’t dare to initiate the transition until the Tilda Supper club hosted by Mallika Basu.

The Dinner was set in a really lovely quirky looking venue in Notting hill, done up excellently with bright table covers, fresh flowers and the Tilda touch – the table was studded with some spices alongside the centre pieces. We started off with some finger food, Uttappams and tomato chutney which went really well with the bubbly we were handed over upon arrival. The chatting started and the food enthusiasts armed with cameras/smart phones clicked away with joy at every opportunity in an attempt to seize every fabulous moment of the evening .Of course, all this was happening while we were munching on the yummy Uttappams and the Hara Bhara kababs.

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                    Uttappams, made with fermented rice and served with Tomato chutney

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Gorgeous Mallika Basu handing over ‘Hara Bhara’ Kebabs to the lovely girls , Binny and Chintal

So, I said we were all in awe with the decor and table set up but only until the food started to appear. Mallika has cooked up a storm for us and with each plate of deliciousness arriving at the table we saw ourselves parting with the flower vases one by one 🙂 . We are after all , foodies first and we definitely know our priorities 🙂 The main course had Brown Basmati and Wild rice kichri and rice with Chicken served with a spicy paneer curry , a Bengali style fish in mustard sauce, , Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan with mini aubergines which had a special ‘Mallika’ twist where the sauce was made using unsweetened crunchy peanut butter….yes you read it right …curry with peanut butter 🙂  This is the sort of cooking excites and inspires me, pure creativity and awesomeness !!

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                                                 Panner , spicy and flavourful !

As a wrap up, the desert was good ‘ol Kheer and lovely phirni …both made with rice and both delicious !!  The cherry on teh top, the kind and generous Tilda people have loaded us with different varieties Tilda has on offer and the selection is simply superb and honestly at first I was quiet intrigued by the combinations. But, as I worked with them I really fell in love with them. My favourite is the brown Rice and wild rice with which I made a really good Curry Leaf Flavoured Rice. The dish turned out so nice and is full of goodness. What I love about using brown rice , wild rice is that it just reduces the guilt levels of having carbs to a significant level and there are absolutely no complaints with regards to taste, especially when you are using high quality ingredients like Tilda rice which takes your dish to the next level.

Ps: Check out my favourite Hyderabadi Biriyani Recipe here which you can make with Tilda Pure Basmati Rice and a spicy Chicken curry to go with it.

Mummy’s Signature Chicken Curry With Grandmum’s signature coconut rice !

Forenote: I cannot count how many of our friends and families are a fan of this amazing yet a very basic chicken curry. A lot of people including me have adapted this recipe but I think this is one dish whose important ingredient is mummy’s  love and vibe to complete it.

chicken curry and rice

Skill Level: Medium

cuisine: Indian

Course: Main

Ingredients:

1 Big Onion finely chopped

1 Big Tomato finely chopped

500 grams Chicken

1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste

1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder

11/2 Tsp Chilli Powder

Salt to taste

3 Tbsp Vegetable oil

preferably a Pressure cooker

Method:

Heat oil in a deep sauce pan or a pressure cooker vessel. Add onions and sweat them. Add a pinch of salt which will help softening them. Let the onions cook well for at least 8 mins, Add the ginger garlic paste and continue to saute for another 2 mins. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 mins. You may add a little water to cook the onions and tomatoes into a fine gravy. Add the garam masala and chilli powder. Mix well, cook well untill the oil seperates.You will end up with a gravy like below.

Gravy

Now that your base is ready , add the chicken. You may want to add some water at this stage if you think the gravy is too thick.  Pressure cook for 3 whistles or 20 mins in a closed sauce pan till the chicken is tender. Both when you pressure cook or in sauce pan, check if the gravy has reached to the desirable consistency or if it’s too watery in the end because the chicken way release some juices. If it is so then leave on medium flame for few more minutes till a desirable gravy consistency is reached. Serve hot with steamed rice, any indian bread or my grandmas’ signature simple coconut rice!

Enjoy!

Caramelised Carrot Pudding

Forenote: Otherwise called ‘gajar Ka halwa’ in hindi , this is a very famous desert in India. It’s got the goodness of loads of fresh carrots, whole milk and nuts. A favourite to the majority of the indian population, this carrot pudding is a must to try.

Caramelised Carrot Pudding

Skill Level: Easy
Cusine: Indian
Course : Desert

Ingredients

500Grams Grated Carrots
2 Cups milk
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1 TbSp Raisans
1 Tbsp Almond flakes
1 Tbsp pistachios

Method:

Soak the raisans, Almond flakes (if they are too dry) and pistachios in water and keep aside.

Heat a deep saucepan and start to boil the water. Add the grated carrots and let it cook till all the water is absorbed. Add milk and let the carrots cook for atleast 30 mins, stirring frequently. Add the sugar and continue to cook till all the sugar is dissolved, milk is absorbed and the carrots are tender. Drain the raisans and nuts and add them to the carrots.

Serve Carrot pudding hot or warm with double cream or Ice cream.

Chilli Chocolate Brownies

Fore Note: Who does’nt like delicious chocolate Brownies?  And if you add a little chilli twist to the Brownies and make them even more scrumptious and interesting. It’s an amzing drama waiting to happen in your mouth. I have tried some chilli chocolates but did’nt like the idea of having chiili flakes or bits of chillie in my brownies. I wanted the amazing chilli flavour to be coming through from all through the chocolate. I needed something which acts like an essence and spreads the chili flovaour evenly and not comprise with the lovely gooey texture of the brownies. After trying all sorts of different methods I took the chilli oil path. It teases your tastebuds with a bursting flavours of chocolate and gooey texture.

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Skill Level: Easy

Makes 12 Brownies

Ingredients:

100 grams Plain  Flour

150 grams Demerara Sugar

100 grams Caster Sugar

50 grams Cocoa

200 grams Unsalted Butter

1/2 tsp Salt

4 Tbsp Golden Syrup

6 Eggs

150 grams Dark Chocolate

For the Chilli oil:

2 1/2 tbsp Chilli flakes

15 ml Olive oil

Method: 

Pre heat the oven at 150 degrees.

Mix the butter, demerara sugar and caster sugar untill well combined. Add the cocoa, salt , half the flour and 3 eggs and mix. Continue to add the rest of flour and eggs and mix well using a hand held mixer on medium speed and take care so you don’t leave any lumps. Add the golden syrup and mix again for 1 min.

Heat the oilve oil in a deep pan and add the chilli flakes and leave it for 3-5 mins on medium heat on the gas. Take care, so the chillies don’t burn. Take the oil off the heat and cover it tightly with a lid and allow the chilli to infuse into the oil for atleast 15 mins. Then filter the oil and keep aside.

Take a deep saucepan and fill it with a glass of water and start boiling the water. Place a glass bowl over the water and place the chunks of dark chocolate to melt. Make sure the water does not touch the glass bowl or the chocolate may burn and turn into an unpleasant lumpy mixture. Once the chocolate is all melted, Add the chilli oil and mix it well. Add the chocolate and oil mixture to the other mix prepared earlier and fold it with a plastic spoon. You can sprinkle some chilli flakes aswell on the top if you like.

Prepare and grease the baking tray and pour the mixture spreading it evenly. Place it the oven and bake it for 15 mins. Ovens vary so keep an eye on the brownies if you don’t want to burn them. the brownies are done if you can pierce a fork in the middle and it comes out clean. Leave them to cool slightly and cut them into suares and serve warm with cream or vanilla icecream. These brownies keep well untill a week and you can heat them in microwave for 10 secs just before serving.

I am sure you and youe friends would just love these delicious gooey chocolatey chilli brownies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xmas Special

            Christmas is such a wonderfull time of the year when everyone is excited. I just love Christmas because of the kind of spirit and energy it brings along in our surroundings. It is no longer solely related to a religion. It is a tradition which attracts and involves people from different religions and cultures. I am so proud I live in a city of London where people are so multicultural that it is almost impossible to tell what faith they are from. The way the city embraces and celebrates every special occasion is just uneliveable. The city lights up for diwali, is filled up with colours during the holy month of Ramadan and turns into a beautifull musical during december for Christmas and welcomes the new year with breathtaking decorations. One common element which plays a vital role in all of these occasions is Food. Oh! How I love the sweet smell of cookies baking in my kitchen while my son eagarly counts the sleeps remaining until Xmas.

Exchanging gifts is another lovely tradition which is associated with any special occasion and can sometimes become stressfull if you have too much to buy and for too many. It can become a strain on a pocket too. For the past couple of years, I managed to give my gifts a  personal touch by making handmade festive goodies and they have been very successful. People love the fact that you have taken time out for them and made some fine tasting festive looking delicacies only for them.

This year also I have made some goodies which are easy to make and go down well as presents. I shall post the recipes asap. Make them and just wait and watch how much you will be appreciated by the people you share your goodies for Christmas and New year.

These are some of the boxes and jars I made with assorted sweets I made for my friends and family. Contents being : Chilli Chocolate brownies, snowball cookies, sugar coated shells, rocky road.

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Chilli Prawns with chickpea mayonnaise

 

Forenote:

I was lazing off on the sofa browsing through TV channels and came across this cooking programme and loved what the chef cooked. I was so engrossed in it that I did not take any notes and could not find anything on internet about it. A month later, I thought I’d just give it go and tried to create my version of the amazing party food. It was hit with my friends.

Cuisine : Fusion/Modern

Course : Canpes

Skill Level : Low

Ingredients:

Extra virgin Oliv oil

Jumbo Tiger Prawns

Chickpeas

Salt

Lemon

Olive oil

Crushed Garlic

Smoked peprika

Method:

Drain the chickpeas well and rinse.

Using a processor start grinding the chickpeas untill coarse.

Add salt and pe and 2 Tbsp of olive EV oil and grind it.

Keep adding the rest of the oil at intervals till the mixture gets a smooth mayanese texure.

Add the lime and give it another quick grind.

Keep aside

Heat the olive on a flat non stick pan

Add the crushed Garlic and peprika

Holding the prawns with the tail end place them on the pan

Once the prawns are cooked, place them on the plate.

Scoop some chickpea mayo into each canape spoon and place a prawn on top

Alternatively you can toast some crustless bread and use it as a canape base

Or you can just make a lovely sandwich using some great ciabatta bread layering the chic pea mayo and prawns with fresh salad