Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Achari Mirch - Instant Green chillies cooked with Five spices ! #beatwinterblues #chilliheat #indianrecipe #fivespices #pickle

Come November and signs of winter clearly visible everywhere, especially in food markets in India. Many times I would tag along with Mum wearing my purple frock style sweater, but mum would make sure that I wear my scarf on my head too to keep my ears warm in temperature around 20C to 22C :) ya, those were the winter days in Gujarat !!

Mostly she would go to same market to get our daily sabzi , near our house where almost 50-60 sabjiwals and frutiwalas set up there cart with fresh produces since early evening. We had fixed time to go the sabji market, everyday 5:30 pm, mum and few ladies from the neighborhood get together and enjoy buying sabzi together.

During winter we would bring so many winter produces like aubergines, cauliflower, fresh green peas, kachi haldi and so many other vegetables with lots of garlic and green chillies. I always noticed that during colder days various kind of chillies were available that time and mum always enjoyed making, Instant zero oil fresh haldi ( Turmeric ) pickle,  fresh chilli pickles or sometimes she would just roast them on skillet, sprinkle little salt and enjoy with her meals.

While I used to see her eating chilli pickle and roasted chillies, alway used to wonder why she is crazily enjoys chillies so much ?  Well, I never asked her , but while I was growing up, I joined her too but not as much as she would eat and then I realized what I was missing on ? As usual I learnt making those dishes very quickly.

In my kitchen I follow same routines as soon as cold winds bring freezing weather, I start making winter warmer delights like Baingan Bhartha , Millet flour Roti, Garlicky aloo - baingan sabji, Garlic chutney, Instant stuffed Chilli Pickle and of course Achari Mirch ! And obviously also perceived myself that why automatically we tend to eat more spicer food during cold days, as chillies help to lift your mood and perfect way beats winter blues, also that capsaicin ( active component that gives chillies their heat ) has number of benefits which are vital for our bodies during winter times like chillies and capsicum are full of vitamin C which we need most to boost our immune system. Studies have also shown that by eating chillies works to speed up our bodies metabolism.


I am so lucky to get almost more than fifty types of chillies available in our markets. Few days back, I think I bought a packet of Turkish chillies , so mild and absouletley fresh, also I bought 8 bunches of fenugreek leaves and aubergine and made Baingan Methi sabzi with Bajra Rotla with garlic Chutney and quickly made Achari Mirch !

Achari Mirch, so simple and easy to prepare in a jiffy. The aroma of cooking chillies are so tempting, tasty and flavourful, without making it spicy, subtle bitterness and tanginess comes from fenugreek seeds and dried mango powder, also so refreshing !

This Achari Mirch goes perfectly with any kind of Paratha or Masala puri.

You will need:-

  • 250 g very mild chillies
  • 2 tbsp. sesame or any oil
  • 1 tsp. panch phoran ( five pickle spices - mustard, cumin, fenugreek, onion and fennel seeds )
  • Pinch hing
  • Pinch turmeric powder
  • Pinch amchoor powder
  • Pinch sugar ( optional )
  • Salt to taste
Method :-
Clean, wash and dry chillies.
Cut into round shape.
Heat oil, add panch phoran and hing.
Once they crackle add cut chillies.
Keep heat high, stir for 2-3 minutes.
Add turmeric powder and salt.
Cook another one minute.
Switch of the heat, add amchoor and sugar.
Stir once agin.
Serve with roti, paratha , puri or Millet roti ( Bajra rotla )

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Monday, 23 November 2015

Coconut and Almond Rice #riceisnice #coconut #almond #simpleyetyummy

Couple of months ago I attended seminar, where people of different nationalities were present too. I met this lovely Nigerian girl Kimmie, who was sitting opposite me and we exchanged smiles. After two hours workshop we had mid morning break for tea and biscuits and had chance to talk to each

After tea break ,she sat next to me for another hour before lunch. During that hour whatever ideas and suggestions we learnt, put them into practice and performed a little play, that was the fun part and I really enjoyed it. Not going into details what we did and learnt but surely met few nice people.

In between the workshop and during lunch we talked about so many things, but most of us girls talked about food, we exchanged many recipes, shared tips and ideas. Kimmie told me that she loves Indian food and she tried making chapatti at home but she couldn't, so I gave few her tips for it, hope it helps her. She asked me if I have ever tried Nigerian food, I felt bad saying 'No' but quickly asked her if she can give me simple yet delicious recipies of Nigeria.

 She gave me 'Nigerian Coconut Rice'  recipe, very popular dish in every Nigirian household also in parties and events. It's rich in taste and made with tomatoes, peppers, veg stock and fish or meat, also she told me that definitely I can make this dish vegetarian and can alter as long as main ingredient I use which is coconut milk.

And we said our byes and promised each other that she will make perfect round chapattis and I will cook 'Nigerian Coconut Rice'. So I grabbed this perfect opportunity trying my hands on this recipe this Diwali. I wanted to make a rice dish with richness, aromatic yet blends well with Indian palate and goes perfectly with curries and rich daal. I seldom cook this kind of dishes, but when I cook I always make sure I hit the nail on the head ! Glad I prepared this rice for Diwali party as everyone was having second helpings.

 My rice looks more plain boiled but it has this distinctive coconut taste, Simple dish with a wow factor, I added mixed vegetables and almonds and replaced pepper sauce with whole Indian spices but kept original taste by using coconut milk, but coconut flavour has not been overpowered by the spices. Also I omit onion and garlic as my other dishes had full of it, so my Diwali party dinner was Samosa, Kachori, condiments , salad , fried papad , Kaju-khoya , Daal Maharani, Lachha rabdi, roti and of course Coconut and Almond rice !  Simple yet graceful dish for any occasion for your dinner table.

If you like this recipe, I am sure you will like my this recipe too, Sukha Mewa Pulao/Pilaf - Dried fruits and Nuts Pulao/pilaf 

You will need :-

  • 2 cup Basmati rice 
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup steamed mix vegetable
  • 1/8 cup lightly roasted almonds chopped
  • 2 tbsp whole spices ( shahi jeera, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black peppers, black cardamom, bay leaves and start anise  )
  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Method :-
Wash rice under water till water runs clean and set aside to soak for 10-15 minutes.
Boil about 6-7 cups of water and add salt and lemon juice.
Once water starts boiling add rice. Keep heat on high.
After 5-6 minutes rice will be half cooked, turn off the heat.
Strain all the water from the rice using sieve and keep every grain separate. Leave it for few minutes.
Now heat ghee or oil in a heavy bottom kadai or pan and add all the whole spices into.
Once they crackle add steamed veg and saute vegetables for minute or two.
Add coconut milk and let it come to boil, add half cooked rice and mix gently.
Cover the lid, keep heat on low and let the rice cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Maybe once or twice gently stir the rice.
Once all the liquid absorbs and rice is done switch off the heat, and add roasted almonds, and keep lid on.
After 5-6 minutes once again gently fluff up the rice with fork.
Serve hot with any curry or daal.
Enjoy !

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Harrisa roasted Pumpkin and Bulgur Wheat salad #healthy #pumpkin #autumn #lowGI

Diwali means time for indulgence ! Indulge in shopping, celebrations and feasting . Through out the year I keep an eye on my weight and count calories but Diwali is that time when I can not think  of depriving myself but lavishly binge on those delightful delicacies.

Now that festive season is over and Mithai boxes are empty, time reminds me that I have to detox my body and surely go on a long break from sugary and oily indulgence. So once again healthy eating falls in a place for everyone  in the family. Started detox by drinking lots of water, gone on fruits, vegetable and protein packed meals.

After having rich and calorie laden foods, light and nutritious meals works wonder on our tummy and body. So here I am with one of our favourite Pumpkin dish, Packed with lots of fresh herbs, full of flavours , A delicious autumnal dish that is ideal as a lunch.

Do you remember, in my this post I told you about how much I enjoyed myself at the PYO farm and how many winter squash and pumpkins I grabbed and brought them home. I still had couple of small pumpkins with me, so I rightly used them in this dish. It is said that the smaller the pumpkin the more flavoursome it will be !

Notes :-
If you don't want to roast the pumpkin, peel and cut into small cubes and then roast it in the oven.

Recipe adapted from here.

You will need :-

  • 2 small pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Harrisa Paste 
  • 150 g Bulgur wheat rinsed and soaked for half an hour ( I used esmer kalin bulgur wheat which are dark brown in colour )
  • 150 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp. gojji berries
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped parsley 
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped chives
  • 50 g goat cheese  

Method :-
Pre heat oven to gas mark 6, 200C or 180F.
Slice and remove top quarter off the pumpkin and remove seeds from it.
Place the pumpkins on a baking tray, mix one tbsp. of Harrisa paste with 1 tsp. olive oil and mix it.
Brush the inside of Pumpkins with harrisa paste mixture.
Bake pumpkins in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile add bulger wheat in a saucepan along with vegetable stock, gojji berries and cook till tender. keep covered with lid.
Heat remaining oil in a pan, saute onion and garlic for few minutes and add harrisa paste, mix and turn off the heat.
Stir the onion mixture, herbs and goat cheese into cooked bulgur wheat, season well.
Remove the pumpkins from the oven, reduce the oven gas mark to 4, 180C and 160F.
Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin, return to the oven for further 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Serve warm.
Enjoy !

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lachko Mohanthal - Indian Chickpea flour Pudding #diwalisweets # Mithai #yummy #diwalispecial

I am not an overly a religious person, I do not like to talk constantly about any religion or do not  like to take part in too many religious ceremonies or activities, neither I do believe in making big donations to any religious organizations or can remember many full Bhajans or Aartis . Lol, I do not fill our diya with lots of ghee either.  However, I do visit religious buildings for interest and definitely I enjoy it's history, art and talent.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong whether one is an atheist or not, as long as you put humanity before any religion and do not become Kattarpanthi ( fanatic ) and always to have one's way on the name of religion.

Maybe I do not make regular visits to temple or don't keep fast on each and every festival, I still firmly believe that traditions and some rituals are important for a family as long as those belief do not upset or harm anyone, and they provide numerous benefits to the family and to our younger generations ! However I do not go overboard, just pick up few and believe that quality beats to quantity. Not necessarily traditions and rituals has to be religious.  Surely do not try to force or create more stress than joy.

These rituals, traditions and customs creates long lasting memories for everyone and also builds bridges between older and younger generations. Family bond gets stronger, gives comfort and security to us and works as antidote in our worried and fast paced life where we are growing 'Super Children'. It teaches values whether they are religious or secular and it adds some kind of rhythm as you pass down the culture, religious history and some fun filled family traditions to our next generations. Traditions and rituals when they are done rightly,  lends happiness, harmony and magic into our everyday lives.

I have been lucky that I grew up in a family and settled in a family where religion and cast system never was our first priority, but traditions, culture and rituals always plays a big role in our life. There are few traditions passed down from generations in our family, and to perform them in my own home with my own family gives me great pleasure same time makes me nostalgic. To pass down benefits of Nostalgia to our next generations, I need to stock up 'Nostalgia Repository' and there is no other way to fill that repository other than by making and maintaining meaningful traditions, family customs and history and heritage.

And Festival Diwali conjures up a lot of family traditions and Diwali Pujan is one of the tradition and rituals passed down from my parents and grandparents that really drives home the importance of gratitude, we perform pooja to thank God, ( Maa Laxmi ) how grateful we are that we have roof on our head and food to eat. Also we go and watch one Movie during Diwali period, this year we have already seen SPECTRE  planned to watch 'PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO' , purely for to see traditional, colourful and  glamorous dresses :)

My mum and grandparents were specific about offering prasad on Diwali Poojan, it has to be something made with Chickpea flour, either it could be Mohanthal or Magas and that too homemade. And same rituals I follow now too, no matter how many other sweets or Mithai I prepare for Diwali celebrations, but prasad would be Mohanthal or Magas.

This Diwali I prepared Thor and Habshi halwa, they were delicious ! There was a lot of nice words I did get to hear for Thor, One of my daughter's friend said that to everyone 'Thor was the food of gods' ! Also it was praised that 'Thor is one of the finest Mithai that you've made' !
I would say traditions and rituals also keeps traditional and authentic recipes floating in our lives and on our menus. So this year with keeping family tradition in mind , I prepared 'Lachko Mohanthal' 'Lachko means thick and smooth' same ingredients and method, instead of set pieces, Lachko Mohanthal is scoop with a spoon and served warm in a bowl.

I've been told by elders that Mohanthal was Lord Krishna's favourite sweet , that is why it's called Mohanthal as Lord Krishna was (aka) Mohan ! Everything and anything I need to know to prepare Mohanthal, I learnt from my Mum, I would watch like a hawk as soon as Mum starts preparing Mohanthal from very first step when she would make Dhabo in Chickpea flour to the last step when she would pour Mohanthal mix in a greased plate to set. Oh yes, also I would take great care to keep an eye on that plate whether Mohanthal set or not.

Many thinks that to get Mohanthal right it's not an easy job, yes I agree, to whirl  up right consistency sugar syrup ( chasani ) and not to make any mistakes while roasting chick pea flour is no child play, but if you can fetch lots of patience, little bit of confidence ( sometime over confidence does not work ) and accuracy in measurements, will not stop you in making and succeeding this recipe.

Lachko Mohanthal is as tasty and delicious as set Mohanthal, warm Mohanthal gives that unique aroma and flavour. Ingredients and methods are same too, only little change in making sugar syrup ( Chasni ) for Lachko Mohanthal chasni should be just like Gulab Jamun consistency.

Notes :-
Besan will work as well, if you can not find coarse chick pea flour.      

You will need :-

  • 1 cup coarse chick pea flour 
  • 2 tbsp melted desi ghee
  • 1-2 tbsp lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup Desi Ghee
  • 1/2 cup homemade khoya or Mawa
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg powder
  • Pinch javentri powder
  • Few saffron threads
  • 2-3 tbsp. almond and pistachio slivers
Method :-
Place chick pea flour in a bowl, add melted ghee and warm milk. 
Mix gently and leave it aside for half an hour. ( This procedure call Dhabo devo )
Rub chickpea flour mixture with your fingertips to make crumbly.
Sieve chickpea flour mixture in special mohantaal sieve. 
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/4 cup desi ghee and roast chickpea flour for at least 35-40 mins on a very low heat until a roasting aroma is reached and the flour should be a light brown colour.  DO NOT BE HASTY during this step.
After roasting, add grated mawa or khoya to mixture and roast for a further 7-8 mins. 
Meanwhile start making the sugar syrup on medium heat, by placing sugar and water in a pan.
As soon as sugar dissolves properly switch of the heat.
Gently pour the sugar syrup and saffron into roasted Mohanthal mixture and keep stirring.
Switch off the heat, but keep continue stirring.
After 3-4 minutes you will see mixture getting thicker.
Add cardamom, nutmeg and javentri powder, mix well.
Let it cool for couple of minutes.
Serve in a serving bowl and garnish with almond and pistachio slivers.
Enjoy ! 


Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Monday, 16 November 2015

Paan Prasad

Laxmi Poojan or Deepawali Poojan is one of the important rituals, which is performed during Diwali.
It is recommended that pooja vidhi should be done at an auspicious time on either  Dhanteras or actual Deepavali day. We perform pooja either day, this year it was on Diwali day.

For Pooja vidhi you require few important items such as diya, ghee, flowers and of course lots of prasad. Along with some homemade mithai I prepared Paan and coconut prasad. I have seen mostly coconut and fruit prasad given in pieces, instead I grated and added finely chopped paan and sprinkled pomegranate seeds and very little sugar, mixed it and voila !

Really not much of a recipe, however I'll give you an idea how I put it all together.

Notes :-
You can add finely chopped glaced cherries as well.

You will need :-

  • 1 coconut
  • 2-3 Paan ( nagarvel )
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sugar  

Method :-
Grate coconut, add finely chopped paan and add pomegranate seeds and sugar.
Mix well.
Offer and serve as prasad.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)


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