vegetarian

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 !!

Beetroot Gnocchi & Castello white with truffle cheese

So when I trailed my way along with some girlfriends Suchi from Kitchen Karma, Nisha from Kitchenantics and Sandya Hariharan from Sandya’s Kitchen to the Castello Cheese pop up store event, little did I know that I will be so overwhelmed with all the cheese that is on show. The aim of the pop store is to introduce their amazing collection of cheeses from rest of the world to the deprived cheese lovers in UK 🙂 . Honestly, why are these cheeses not in UK? Anyway I hope the lovely people who visited the pop up store in Shoreditch have voted for some good cheese so that they can bring it here for us to devour. The event itself was so much fun and we were personally excited about the spread of different wine and cheese pairings along with other condiments. And to top it up, the pairings were all presented and explained by Matt Day who was very keen in sharing his ideas and giving us tips on how to choose our drinks. We were also handed out a chart which illustrates all the featured pairing which is quiet handy for people who do not take notes at events like this and only focus on eating 🙂 …yes, I have my priorities and I tend to stick to them most of the time :). Talking about priorities, we were also served delicious canapés while the one and only Sapient Gastranout, Stephen gate is showering us with all the information regarding the event and the concept store.

 

Canapé's and the Spread at the event

Canapé’s and the Spread at the event

That night, we returned home satisfied with our cheese and wine intake, lots of inspiration to use the variety of cheese in our culinary experiments, tons of enthusiasm to immediately host a cheese & wine party at home and a gorgeous goody bag filled with a complete set of cheese pairings. While I and my son gobbled almost all of the pineapple halo cheese as a midnight snack, I saved some white truffle cheese for something special which I am so pleased to share it with you today.

Real cheese lovers always argue that cheese has to be enjoyed as it is and usually do not support cooking it. But I am sure I can nudge them to agree with me that cheese sauces play a very significant role for most pastas. Especially, when I tasted the white truffle soft cheese, it was invariably piquant and I instantly decided that I could set it up with some sweet and mild gnocchi and the marriage will have lasting results J and so the story of Beetroot gnocchi and Castello white with Truffle cheese sauce has come into being and my dear lovely readers ……..it was a success.

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

The beetroot Gnocchi recipe was basically worked out looking at various methods out there, but if you want a reference and see what happens in between Indian Simmer has a nice video. Cheese sauce recipe is however, a standard recipe but I deliberately kept it very simple and did not want to twiddle with the flavour of the cheese itself.

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Let’s get cooking:

Ingredients:

Serves 4 portions

For Gnocchi

5 large boiled potatoes – Use good floury kind like Maris piper or King Edward

2 beetroots

1 Cup Plain Flour

1 Egg

For Cheese Sauce:

150 grams Castello White truffle soft Cheese

½ Cup Milk

2 Tbsp Plain Flour

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Method:

For the Gnocchi Let me warn you, it seems tricky and is a very messy job. But home-made gnocchi is always so much better than dried store-bought. The texture is entirely different.

Chop the beet into quarters, place them a sauce pan, cover the lid and let them dry roast on low flame. The moisture in the vegetable should be good enough to facilitate the cooking and should not stick to the pan.

Alternatively, place them on the baking tray and roast them in the oven at about 150 degrees. We need at least some of the juices of the beetroot to be retained. Puree the beetroots without any extra water and keep aside.

Mash the potatoes and run them through the ricer to make a smooth mash. Add the egg, beetroot puree and quarter of the flour.

Knead the dough and keep adding more flour as you knead. Use the rest of the flour only if you need. The dough will not be hard but you should be able to work with it with lots of flour on you worktop.

Divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll it into a thick sausage shape and cut the dough further to form the final gnocchi.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

Now, you can use a fork and run the gnocchi over it to form a shape or roll them into small balls or just leave them as it is like I have. Gives a nice rustic, homemade feel to it isn’t?

At this stage you can either refrigerate the gnocchi or freeze them untill you decide to use them.

Hand made - Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

When you are ready to prepare the gnocchi, fill a deep sauce pan with water, bring it to boil and add the gnocchi . Your gnocchi is ready, as soon as they float to the top. Remove them from heat, drain the water , run them through some cold water and keep aside untill you make your sauce.

For the sauce, in a saucepan, add some unsalted butter. As it melts, add 2 tbsp. of plain flour and stir it for a minute or so, add the milk and keep stirring until there are no lumps. Now for the fun part, turn the heat to low and add the Castello  white with truffle cheese and stir until it forms a lovely silky sauce. Serve immediately, over the beetroot gnocchi and top it with some fresh ground pepper.

 

Beetroot Gnocchi - Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

Beetroot Gnocchi – Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

 

‘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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Spicy Chakri

My  son’s nanny is a wonderful cook. I get my inspiration and exposure to the Gujrati delicacies from her. The other day she brought some Chakri’s and they were delicious. We make chakri’s at home but upon enquiring about the recipe, I was surprised. It was nothing like the south Indian version of Chakri’s. Even though they look alike, they are indeed a yummy Gujarati twist to the south indian Chakri’s. I immediately decided to try them and they came out crunchy , spicy and delicious. I simply loved them , you will too……


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Ingredients :

1/2 Cup Plain Flour

1 1/2 Rice Flour

8 green chillies

Juice of 1 Lemon

Salt to taste

50 grams melted unsalted butter

1 Tsp Coriander

1 Tsp Til /sesame seeds

1/2 Tsp Tumeric

Water to knead the dough

oil to deep fry the chakris

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Method:

Make a paste of green chillies, coriander using the lemon juice.

Combine Plain flour and Rice flour, add salt, sesame seeds, turmeric and mix well.

Add the Chilli paste and melted butter and knead the dough.

Now add about 1/3 cup of water and knead the batter to a tough consistency like you make it for Rotis.

Using a Chakri maker, squeeze the dough through a rough mould on a tray. Roll the string into spirals as you go.

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Heat oil in a deep pan and fry them till golden brown. Let them cool before you store them in a jar. These yummy  Chakri’s keep well till one month……that is if you can resist so long 🙂

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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!