Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Methamba : One tangy relish !

Summers are associated with vacations from schools and colleges, holidays to hill stations, lots of play, visiting cousins and having ice-cold water right from the refrigerator! Yes, it has it's own fun! But for me ( and well, a lot more others, i am sure ) Summers meant ( and still does ) Mangoes!!! From the day mangoes would arrive in market, my mother used to convert the kitchen into a "Mangitchen"!!! Aamras along with puri or poli ( chapati) was a daily affair at lunch and dinner. Then there were days of mango milkshake, and mango icecreams. My Mom used to make great mango kulfi too. And of course, the pickle from raw mangoes, the refreshing drink Aam panna ( kairiche panhe http://cookininpajamas.blogspot.in/2014/05/kairiche-panhe-aam-panna.html )  and not to forget The Methamba.

Methamba is a raw mango chutney that is so sour, tangy and sweet that the flavours will burst in your mouth. It is a very simple Maharashtrian recipe. Some even call it "Methi-amba". Methi is fenugreek seeds and Amba is mangoes ( here raw mangoes or kairi are used ). It makes a great accompaniment with rice and daal or makes a great tiffin recipe when spread on a roti and made into a roll. It can also be eaten with a plain paratha or spread on a bread.

Ingredients :

(Makes about 1 n half cups of Methamba )

Raw Mangoes - 2
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Jaggery ( Grated ) - 3/4 cup ( You can even mash the jaggery with hand and mix if the jaggery is soft. Mine was hard, hence i had to grate it and it mixes well this way )
Red chilli powder - a pinch ( optional - just to get a hint of spicy taste )
Turmeric powder - a pinch ( optional )
Water - around 1/2 cup ( Just enough to cook the mangoes and make them soft )
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Recipe :

Peel the skin of the mangoes. Cut the mangoes into medium size pieces ( not too big, not too small - around 1 inch )

Heat oil in a kadhai. Add Mustard seeds, asafoetida and cumin seeds together. When they start to crackle, add the methi ( fenugreek seeds ). 

Saute till the methi is reddish in colour. Now add the chopped mango pieces. 

Saute it well, for about 2-3 minutes, so they get coated with oil and the seasonings.

Now add water and let the mangoes cook. You will know when they turn soft. If needed, add more water, but add little by little, as we don't want our methamba to be too watery. You can cover the kadhai or cook it in open. Mangoes anyway won't take long to cook.

Add in the jaggery and keep stirring continuously as the mixture will start becoming thick, the jaggery will melt. Make sure it doesn't stick to the kadhai.

Now add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix it all well and let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

This can be stored in refrigerator for almost a week. But am sure it won't last a week, as it tastes so yummy that you would want to finish it off soon. 

This is a must-try summer recipe and am sure you all will love it :)

Happy Cooking :) 

 Linking this recipe to Favourite recipe event at Fullscoops and Swathi's event announcement page

Friday, 16 May 2014

Chole Kulcha Pizza Style !

With Birizza making news in the market, and getting all sorts of mixed reviews, fusion dishes are making their way in the kitchen. Birizza is a new dish launched by American restaurant chain Pizza Hut, wherein biryani cooked on a tava is sealed with a baked pizza topped with olive. To be honest, i haven't tried it yet so i have nothing to say about it. But i surely tried this fusion dish of serving Chole kulche in pizza style from the recipe of Chef Harpal Singh.

My Dad always says, " Be a Roman in Rome" which explains the fact that one should adapt to the surroundings and be flexible to whatever comes your way. I always apply this teaching of his when it comes to food and travel.As much as i miss eating Mumbai food in Delhi, i love the rich, masaaledar (full of masalas ), spicy, chatpata khana here. Chole Kulcha is to Delhi what Vada Paav is for mumbai. It is one of the most popular Street food dishes and it does taste terrific! As much as i cook chole often here, chole chaat is one dish i love to snack in too. Just boil the soaked chana, add in chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies, some corriander leaves and some salt. Makes for a great evening snack. 

The same chole chaat served on a readymade pizza bread ( or we even get kulcha breads here ) adds to the presentation and tastes crispy and flavourful too.

Ingredients :

Kulcha bread/Pizza Bread - 1
Chickpeas ( White chana/chole ) - 1 cup ( Soaked overnight )
Onion - 1 medium ( chopped finely )
Tomato - 1 medium ( chopped finely )
Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 1 ( Chopped finely )
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp ( adjust according to taste )
Processed chesse/ Pizza cheese/ Mozarella - to sprinkle ( as required )
Salt - to taste
Butter - To apply on the pizza bread  

Recipe :

Pressure cook the chickpeas till they are soft ( took me about 3 whistles ). What i normally do is add about 1/4 tsp of turmeric ( haldi ) and 1/4 tsp of red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp of garam masala to the water while pressure cooking the chole. This way, i believe, the flavours merge in well. But it is optional. Let it cool and drain the water ( You can use this water to cook any curry later on, so refrigerate this and don't throw it away )

Cut the Kulcha bread or pizza bread into 4 portions. Now heat a tava and place them on it. Brush a little butter on top side of the bread evenly.
Add a little oil to the tava, and toast the bread till it becomes little brown and crisp ( Make sure not to brown it too much or else the bread will become hard )

Take the boiled chickpeas in a bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, onions and green chillies. Mix in some red chilli powder ( If required, according to taste ), the chaat masala and salt. Mix the mixture well. and divide it equally on top of the 4 portions of bread. 

Now add the grated cheese. Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius for 5 minutes. Grease a baking tray with some oil and place the 4 slices of pizza bread on top. Bake at 180 degree celcius till the cheese melts ( took me about 5 minutes ).

Sprinkle some red chilli powder on top and serve along with ketchup or as it is.

Easy- snack recipe and one wholesome too ! 

Happy Cooking :)


Monday, 12 May 2014

Aam Panna : Kairiche Panhe

I have been missing from the blog for quite sometime!!! Too many engagement kept me on toes! My pet sitting appointments, some invites to events and restaurants, spending quality time at home doing the cleaning stuff and of course hubby-time!

Delhi is known to have extreme climates, and summer time really drowns you down! Keeping yourself hydrated is quite a task when the mercury reaches as high as 47 degrees. So, i decided to make some refreshing aam panna and it did bring back some childhood memories...

Kairiche Panhe ( Kairi- kaccha aam -green mango ) is what we call it in Marathi. This drink occupied a permanent place in our fridge when we were kids. Summer vacations was all about playing, eating mangoes, and sipping on the panhe. Aam panna as it is commonly known as, is a preservative free drink and the concentrate lasts in the fridge for almost a week.

So go ahead, buy some raw mangoes, and make this easy recipe right away to make one awesome summer cooler. 

Ingredients :

Raw Mangoes ( Green Mangoes ) - 2
Sugar - 1 cup ( A lot of people add jaggery which i love to, but hubby likes the one with sugar . You can add grated jaggery or just crush it soft with your hands and mix it. Adjust the sugar according to taste. We normally don't like it too sweet )
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp ( I took 8-10 cardamom seeds and crushed them with mortar and pestle )
Black salt - to taste
Saffron - a few strands ( This is optional but tastes great when you add some )

Recipe :

Wash the mangoes and pressure cook them for 2 whistles with little water ( I added around 3 to 3 n half cups of water ). You can add less water( about 2 cups ) or more too, it will affect the consistency and thickness of the concentrate as we are going to use this water to make the concentrate.

Note : You can add the mangoes as whole or cut them into large pieces. Both ways is fine.

Let it stand for a while, and after all the pressure goes away, remove the lid of pressure cooker. Now mash the mangoes well into a pulp with hands. This would be easy as mangoes become too soft after 2 whistles. 

Note : You can remove the skin of the mangoes while mashing, as some people find the skin bitter. But personally, i keep the skin as it holds a lot of nutrients and i like a little tangy taste. Plus addition of sugar later on negates the bitter taste.

Now transfer the pulp into a mixer and add sugar, cardamom powder and black salt.  A nice smooth pulp is formed. Add saffron and stir to get the nice yellowish-orange colour.

Note : The pressure cooked mangoes are so mushy that you need not use mixer-grinder at times. I only add it to the mixer , so that it mixes well with the sugar. But you can alternatively pulp it with hand and add powdered sugar and then mix all the other ingredients. When adding jaggery, just mix the grated jaggery into the pulp with hands.
No water is added. Store this pulp in refrigerator. When required, Mix 1/4th of the concentrate to 3/4th of chilled water. Put some ice cubes and your drink is ready!
Some people even add mint leaves or roasted cumin powder for garnishing. You can try mixing it according to your taste. 

This drink definately occupies the top list in summers- all natural, fresh and cooling !

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Dudhi Halwa : Akshay Tritiya special

Dudhi, Lauki or Bottle Gourd is one vegetable that has to be cooked with special care, as it doesn't taste delicious when cooked in a simplistic way. So you always add to add some flavours and spice to it to enjoy it's taste. Whenever i buy Dudhi ( for all it's nutritional and medicinal benefits, i don't like to skip buying this vegetable at all ), i either make dudhi kofta curry or dudhi halwa. Recently my Mother-in-law told me one terrific way to make an instant ( and delicious ) dudhi sabzi along with moong daal, i will surely post that recipe soon! But meanwhile, since it's Akshay Tritiya tomorrow, i decided to post some sweet for this auspiscious day!!

Akshay Tritiya is believed to have been the day when Lord Ganesha and Ved Vyas began to write the great "Mahabharata". It is a very holy and auspicious day. For us, Akshay tritiya as kids meant eating sweets, going to temple and putting Rangoli at the door. This day is also associated with buying gold, as Akshay means Infinite ( something which never recedes ). So some charity done on this day surely gets you blessings, and good luck. New ventures started on this day brings in prosperity. So here's wishing you all a Happy Akshay Tritiya and loads of happiness!!!

( Pic taken from Google Images )

Ingredients :

Dudhi - 1 medium sized ( Make sure you always buy Dudhi which is long and elongated and raw without any stains )
Milk - 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup 
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Khoya - 3/4 cup ( I love khoya, and it's taste in the halwa. If you are not a Khoya fan, then add about 1/2 cup. You can skip this completely too and add milkmaid instead of Khoya or readymade pedhas/barfis )
Sugar - 1/2 cup ( we like it little less sweet, adjust according to taste)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashews - for garnishing
Raisins - for garnishing

Recipe :

Wash the Dudhi and remove it's skin. Grate it. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Now remove water from the Dudhi completely.

Heat Ghee in a Kadhai and saute the grated Dudhi in it for about 3-4 minutes on medium flame. 

Now add Milk, mix it well and cook covered till Dudhi is well cooked. Keep stirring in between so it doesn't stick to the kadhai. If you find it too dry, add little milk extra.

Now add the Khoya ( separate/mash it with hands ), mix it well so that no lumps are formed. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Lastly add the sugar, cardamom powder and cashews. Cook till the sugar melts and the mixtures starts forming a ball like halwa.

Serve hot or cold as preffered. Also tastes great with vanilla ice cream if you want to create a fusion dish!

Happy Cooking :)