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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Tilda Brown and Wild Rice flavoured with Curry leaves / Karvepaku Annam

Last year’s new year’s eve was slightly different for me. We were in India and the celebration was more a family gathering rather than a wild party involving alcohol. Well , this meal at a reputed five-star hotel did involve cocktails and spirits but we made sure we consumed alcohol is a more civilised manner to avoid things going out of control. I was really thankful for being sober that night as I could eat to my heart’s content and enjoy the massive buffet the hotel has laid out for the guests. The food was delicious and went on from the restaurant dining area to the garden and across the pool area. Street food, regional food, Indo Chinese, Italian , numerous desert stalls and everything was so delicious. Few dishes have stood out for me, Awadhi Chicken curry and a gongura rice which were very unique and extremely tasty. Out at the kebab counter , I got chatty with the chef who was making yam kebabs and upon enquiry the head chef was from Awadh. No wonder , the Awadhi chicken curry was spot on and the addition of gulouti kebabs made sense. Few minutes later, he introduced me to a telugu chef and we got talking about the Green rice. I was amazed of the different kinds of rice he mentioned and how popular these dishes are getting. The Craze is understandable because buffets have been typically serving pilau rice for so many years, it’s time for change and innovation .

He quickly shared the gongura rice and Karvepaku (curry leaves) rice with me and insisted I should try it at home. Both the recipes are quite easy and quick to whip up. Almost a year has passed and I remembered about these when I was brainstorming about what to do with the several Tilda rice I got given at an event/supperclub hosted by Tilda and Mallika Basu about which you can read more here . I cooked this literally hours before  we were catching a flight to India to attend my brother’s wedding. The intention was to write up the recipe  on the flight and post it immediately 🙂 . But as you can see, that didn’t happen. My laptop proved useless as the volts on the flight to charge was not enough for my laptop charger. There is my excuse to watch three movies in a row, a documentary about foodies while munching on the bread roll and butter Emirates served. As I landed in India I was bombarded with tasks to do for the wedding. Wedding preparations , especially for an Indian wedding in an unknown city managing so many relatives is definitely not a cake walk. However, in the end , it has been a successful event resulting in a very happy couple and our family picture is now complete with the new member joining in. We had the reception in the very popular Golconda resorts in Hyderabad and of course , my main focus was food ! We had two tasting sessions with the chef in order to come up with a perfect reception buffet menu. The chef was extremely cooperative and enjoyed creating specific dishes for us on request. We are really pleased how it all turned out in the end with deliciousness all over the party !

Coming back to the Karvepaku Rice , the main ingredient is of course ‘karvepaku’ ie, the curry leaves. The south Indian in me was already smiling with joy while I was picking and prepping the leaves for the dish because of the amount of leaves I was going to use. In most dishes curry leaves are used to garnish or you saute a few leaves into the curry. But here, the curry leaves are the main ingredient and you can imagine the flavour and aroma that will fill your kitchen shortly after you start cooking this dish. Curry leaves are known for their valuable medicinal values and are widely used in the Ayurvedic medicines. They are believed to aid in hair growth , reduce side effects caused by chemotheraphy, reduce diaherea, help with skin infections and many more. So, it becomes even more important to include the mighty curry leaves into your diet.

I used Tilda Brown Basmati and Wild rice because , we are a family who need their pure Bamsati for every meal. Now to make the transition from pure basmati to wholemeal, I need something delicious and full of flavour to coat the rice with and this curry leaf powder works wonders in that sense. Together with the quality Tilda wholemeal rice you will, even for one second, think that you are having anything less luxurious. So, pick up those curry leaves and get cooking !

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To make the Curry leaf powder you will need :  

1 Bunch fresh curry leaves

11/2 Tsp. Bengal Gram (yellow split gram)

1 Tsp. Seseme Seeds

3-4 Dried Red Chillies

1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 Tsp. Coriander seeds

1/4 Tsp. fenugreek seeds

To finish off the dish : 

Salt to taste

2 Cups Cooked rice (I used Tilda Brown and Wild rice )

4 Tsp. Ghee (clarified butter)

2 – 3 Spoons Roasted Butternut squash cubes

Few roasted peanuts for garnish

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Method :

Heat the pan and dry roast all the lentils and spices except the curry leaves  and keep aside .

The same pan , heat a teaspoon oil and roast the curry leaves

In a grinder , mix all the ingredients and make a fine powder or a little gritty if  you like a bit of texture. Add some salt to taste and there you go , a nice blend of flavourful powder is ready for you to enjoy with rice.

To serve : 

Cook the Tilda Rice as per the directions on the pack and fluff it . While the rice is cooking , dice some butternut squash and roast them in the oven. You can use any seasonal veges in this place to add extra nutritional value to the dish. But the sweet  butternut squash worked well against the strong and spicy curry leaf flavour.

Stir in some of the curry leaf powder prepared into the rice and add generous amount of ghee and the butternut squash cubes and mix well.

Garnish some peanuts and serve Hot. We ate it with spicy lamb fry and was a treat.

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Few pointers : 

The Curry leaf rice can be enjoyed with a variety of curries and vegetable stir fries . So, it becomes a really versatile dish to serve up at dinners .

The powder can keep well and fresh for up to one – two weeks , so stock up for those lazy night and you could just heat up a ready made rice to cuddle up on the sofa with a hearty meal

I have used both ghee and coconut oil with rice and they are both my favourite . coconut oil works really well with the rice especially of you make the curry to with using coconut oil as well. You can use any oil you wish …like olive oil .

you can use any garnish with cashew nuts as well and some sautéed curry leaves

You can also temper the rice with mustard seeds and more curry leaves if you wish

I hope you like the super simple Rice and I am sure this will come in handy when you need something to lift you up taking only a few minutes of your time.

Take care

Gayathri

Pumpkin and Courgette Croquettes

Hello my dear lovely readers, this morning I woke up to another gloomy day and here’s me wishing that I am tucked in bed, with huge mug of hot chocolate. But hey, after all life is about winter and summer. So I have decided I will just deal with it and get on with the day to day chores. But that’s easier said than done. Weather or weather related topics rather, are hard to run away from. We don’t have a way out apart from dragging our gloomy selves to work in the freezing cold, greet the other gloomy faced colleagues and talk about how bad it is outside.

The only thing that cheers our sick faces is of course piping hot deep fried food! It is almost customary in India to make something hot, spicy and crispy when it rains. Onions bajis are the most favoured on these occasions. I wanted to make something similar and so gawked at all the deep fried recipes available and was amazed of the ongoing croquettes craze going on all over. It was on the fine dining menus, the café menus and on almost all the food blogs. Now, my blogger instinct immediately ordered me to make some. This is of course way back during Halloween last year …err yes, I do leave my posts pending for months. If you have to ask me , this time I will blame it on a really busy work schedule, travelling to meet clients and working in their strange offices and of course a holiday to India which put a beautiful end to the year. And since I have started blabbering, a quick one about the strange offices I mentioned earlier. I said strange because, A. though I have worked with them from our office in London, I have never met anyone there, so it was always a weird ‘guess the face from the voice’ sought game on all the time. And B. there used to be an annoying alarm that would go off in regular intervals which I didn’t have a clue what it was about. Later I was told that the siren was to remind employees to take a coffee break, lunch break etc….how cool is that? Totally different from my big boss back in London office who I definitely think has a spreadsheet to keep record of our coffee and toilet breaks.

OK, so we were talking about me thinking about making some croquettes just after Halloween and for obvious reasons I had loads of pumpkin in the fridge. I have seem pumpkin croquette recipes on the web and it was just that day when all my creative juices were on a high and I whipped up a combination of Pumpkin, Courgette and Cream Cheese croquettes. Trust me, I loved it and was so proud of it.  With that cream cheese texture and the sweetness of pumpkin, they are a melt in the mouth. They are also very easy  to make (well, apart from the grating bit). The croquettes can be made till the last stage and frozen for those cosy evenings or unexpected visitors.

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Ingredients:

1 Cup grated Pumpkin

1 ½ Cup grated Courgette

150grams Cream Cheese

1 Tsp Cumin powder

1 Tsp Ginger powder

1 Egg

1 Cup breadcrumbs Seasoned

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Method:

Mix the grated pumpkin and courgette. Try to use fresh ones, and squeeze all the moisture out of the pumpkin and courgette. Add the cumin powder and the ginger powder. Add the cream cheese and season well.  Now depending on the mixture, if you feel it is a bit runny to make the shapes, feel free add any binding agent like soft white bread or corn flour.  Shape the croquette using your palm. Do use some oil on your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands and makes shaping the croquettes easier.

Dip the croquettes in beaten egg and then generously toss them in breadcrumbs.

Deep fry them in hot vegetable oil until golden brown and serve with any sauce.

To Freeze:

Make the croquettes and place them in the fridge for at least one hour before freezing so they will hold their shape together.

Variations:

  • Add some crushed Chillies for some fiery treat!
  • You can use some boiled peas in them for extra texture
  • Add a herb if you like that fresh flavour
  • Milk or just plain flour can be substituted to egg to coat the croquettes with breadcrumbs

Do let me know if tried these !!

‘Coriander – Makes The Difference’ Book Review And Coriander Tomato Chutney !

Have you ever stumbled upon a proverb posted by a friend on Facebook or read an article in the morning news paper on the way to work and thought someone has just peeped into your heart and narrated what is going on in there ? I am sure you would agree that those little sayings and words of motivation by someone who are unknown to you and your situation are so true and sometimes give you  that extra push to keep you going.Well, I have had lot of experiences like that but only a person with a great foresight like  Ms. Pinky Lilani who is the founder of  Spice Magic  will compile all the words of wisdom into a book to feed your soul


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It was two months back, when  my younger brother  mentioned about her book ‘Coriander ….makes a difference’ , and like the arrogant elder sister as I was…I just went  ‘OK  it’s a book with recipes using coriander, I can google and I will get 100’s’ what is so special about this book?’ . But when I learned it is a unique compilation of proverbs and sayings which can motivate you, guide you and lead you to success and has great recipes  I immediately showed interest. It was a unique idea to relate a certain herb to real life situations.And it only took me two minutes to order a book from her website and was waiting eagerly for the delivery while watching  YouTube videos of Pinky Lilani’s talks. I was full of admiration  by the way she talked about some essential traits that one  should possess to be able be satisfied with oneself at the end of the everyday.

My brother who is also an Art of living Volunteer later told me about a talk they were organizing by Pinky Lilani, I honestly didn’t want to miss but I was so under the weather that I just couldn’t pick myself up to the venue.Happy for the people who made it and congratulations to the team Yes+ London for organising such a wonderful event.Well again, thanks to my brother , I did get a gift wrapped Spice box from Spice Magic Bazar

The book draws the reader’s attention to these traits like Kindness, friendship, Enthusiasm, Appreciation through various proverbs from all over the world and sayings by  people who have achieved excellence in their respective fields. It feels so right when Pinky Lilani  compares Coriander to  a proverb or a personal trait where the former makes the difference in your dish and the later, in your life. And if you think about, it is so true when it comes to coriander, because most the times it is such an underated herb that it is often considered optional in recipes. Then again , add it to a curry even if it is 10 seconds before you serve the dish, the herb lifts the dish to a completely different level. And who knew Coriander, as a herb has many medicinal benefits? Rich in Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and many more, the details of which you can find the book in a  section called ‘The herb itself’ and a lot more about how to store different forms of coriander ie..the seeds, the powder etc,.Guy’s it is a good book. I like  Originality,  I like Personality and I like the Power and this book and The woman behind it seem to have all three.AND I really like the way the book is called ‘Coriander ….makes the difference’ and not ‘Cilantro …makes the difference’ 🙂

For me when it’s about coriander and cooking, there is one dish which comes to my mind that my mum usually cooks in which the coriander plays the lead role and not  just an optional herb or spice. And Since we are talking all about coriander today, I would like to share the recipe of ‘Coriander and Tomato chutney’ with you guys. This is a very simple recipe with minimum ingredients and quick to make aswell. And you know what, reduce the quantity of tomatoes and the same recipe will make a great fresh pesto with indian flavours!

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So here we go, go ahead and try the recipe and fill your kitchen with the fresh aroma of coriander……..

You will need:

1 Bunch Coriander chopped

Salt To taste

4 Tomatoes halved

1 Garlic clove

4 Green Chilli

1 Tsp Cumin

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Method:

Heat oil in a deep dish and add the garlic clove, green chillies and cumin seeds. let them cook for 1/2  min and add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are starting to cook and letting the juices out, add the coriander and salt. Mix everything and cover the pan with a lid for 3-5 mins. The coriander will not take much time to cook. Take it off the heat and let the mixture to cool. Use a mortar or a mixer to make a chutney. Chutney’s usually are at their best when they are blended coarsely and not made in a smooth paste.That is the reason if I have time and patience I tend to do it in a mortar. Just look at how rustic, fresh and delicious it looks!

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Ravva Laddu


I have known and ate Ravva laddus since my brother was a baby and used to mispronounce them as ‘lavva laddu’ . It was a pleasant nostalgia, when I made these yesterday and my son asked me what they are and repeated ‘Mummy Lavva laddus are yummy’. We burst out laughing, all eyes were on my brother at once teasing him.  They are quick , easy and have a great texture. The laddus keep well for a minimum of two weeks.

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This recipe makes about 15 laddus but if you are like me, who is shaping the ladus with one hand and galloping a laddu using the other, then you will end up with 12 🙂

Ingredients :

1 Cup rava/Sooji/Semolina

1/2 Cup Grated coconut

1/3 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar or more according to you taste

3 Cardomoms – Ground

2 Tbsp Cashew Halves

1 Tbsp Ghee/ butter

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Method:

In a pan , heat the ghee and roast the cashews. Add the grated coconut and cardomom powder. Toss them for a min.

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Add the semolina and keep stirring for 2 mins untill the semolina is roasted. Add the sugar and then half the milk. Mix well and take it off the heat. Add the rest of the milk the stirr well. Shape the laddus when the mixture is warm enough to handle. Enjoy fresh and warm ARV Laddus or  leave them to dry. You can store the laddus in an air tight container and enjoy!

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