Friday, 28 February 2014

Achari Gobi - Cauliflower cooked with Pickle Mix ~ Potluck Party, Cyber Style 28th February 2014

Hello readers,

Few years back, when I joined blogger world, thoroughly enjoyed it's routine, spent vast amount of time in hopping over to fellow bloggers posts, recipes and leaving encouraging words on their blogs, also immensely enjoyed and appreciated same support from them too. But now the culture is that we  work and breathe to compete against the rest, we also are caught up in a hectic and busy lifestyle, left with little time and so our priorities have become our passion !

Obviously, I have my priorities too, so for me blogging is not a first priority, however I make sure that I do not get too passionate about priorities that I dont have time to live. For me blogging is my hobby and fun, therefore I am not totally neglecting my blog and top of that one thing I can't ignore or neglect , it's our Potluck Party, Cyber Style, abundantly clear that I eagerly wait for.

Potluck Party, Cyber Style ! Challenge we take twice in the month, not only we are enjoying it by sharing our recipes, but preparing fellow members dishes, discussing about it gives us more pleasure. In my personal view I think this challenge not only boost traffic to our blog and increases loyal readers , but personally I am getting so much out of it, gaining extra skills and knowledge.

The dishes our friends are sharing with us have their personal touch to it and when you prepare same dish you can sense or feel that touch, and that is the biggest achievement, getting whole experience about different taste, touch and texture of that dish, that you may never feel if you don't explore the potluck party.

This month it is my pleasure to cook and share Achari Gobi by Hasna. I wouldn't agree with her saying" finger licking good" in my family opinion is that it's "plate licking good" !!!!! It had unique robust flavour, different from the normal gobi sabji, must prepare to exhilarate the taste buds. Family was so pleased, that this dish is destined to be permanent on our menu from now on. Thank you Hasna(keep smiling) for sharing this lip smacking, healthy and flavoursome dish .

You will need :- ( copying word to word from Hasna's blog )
  • Cauliflower      1 medium
    Onion               1 medium
    Mustard oil        2 tbsp
    Mustard seed     1/2 tsp
    Cumin seeds      1/2 tsp
    Fenugreek seeds/Methi dana/uluva  1/4 tsp
    Fennel seeds/saunf/perumjeerakam  1/2 tsp
    Cumin seeds,roasted & crushed       1tsp
    Onion seeds/kalonji                          1/4tsp
    Asafoetida/ kaayam/hing                  1/4tsp
    Turmeric powder                              1/2tsp
    Salt                                                    1tsp or to taste
    Green chillies                                    2 or more
    Ginger paste                                      1 tsp
    Garlic paste                                       1tsp
    Yogurt                                              3/4 cup
    Red Chilli powder                            1tsp
    Coriander powder                            1tsp
    Coriander leaves for garnishing
Method :-
1. Heat mustard oil a non-stick pan upto its smoking point. Take it out of flame, cool slightly and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, crushed cumin seeds, onion seeds and asafoetida and bring it back to flame. Saute till the seeds splutter. 
2. Add onion and sauté till translucent. 

3. Add cauliflower florets, turmeric powder and salt. 

4. Chop green chilies and add. Sprinkle some water and toss to mix well. 
5. Cover and cook on medium heat for a minute. 
6. Add ginger paste, garlic paste and yogurt. Add red chilli powder and coriander powder (if using) now. Mix well. Cover and cook till cauliflower is done. Cauliflower should be dry and covered well in masalas and hence, the flavour. 
7. Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.
Linking this to Potluck party, Cyber Style !

Happy Cooking :)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bhaidku Masala Khichdi - Savoury Mixed Wholegrain Porridge !

Hello readers,

I did not grow up eating any kind of breakfast, it was always brunch that filled my tummy till the late afternoons. Milk was always available on the table, but me and milk never had a good relationship, while my siblings can gallop litres I would wait happily for brunch.

I grew up in a family where my mum was very busy making the ends meet for us children, those were the days when like most families where breakfast, lunch and dinner were cooked it was different in our house. She did not have that kind of time so instead we were served a meal which was both a breakfast and a lunch around mid morning.

This suited our life style as we siblings were attending school in the afternoon. It was typical household meal which comprised of a dry curry with chapattis of which some was for the school break time.
One can argue that she could have bought many snacks such as biscuits, bread or fried snack, but mum was very health conscious and always kept us away from junk food.

This was continued through the weekends and holiday periods too, although the food was more varied . Different type of rice dishes , khichdi and Bhaidku was served to us with a dollop of ghee. Mum would prepare recipes which are easy and quick to make yet they bursts with lots of goodness.

We siblings were more than happy to devour plate of Bhaidku and chaas ( yogurt drink ). As I grew older, I started to take over the kitchen and cooking side of things, three meals of the day were regular in our home and mum was more than happy :) !

Bhaidku in Gujarati, Daliya in Hindi translates Spicy porridge made with mixed grains or their coarse flour like wheat, millet, barley, rice, and oats, but mum used to prepare with broken grains, so I am used to with that texture and taste.  This dish can be made either plain or savoury, today I am sharing savoury version.

Bhaidku can be served as a breakfast or lunch and if you are having low carb meal at dinner time this is the dish ! An extremely tasty and delicious, packed with health benefits and highly recommend for diabetic people or to prevent, since all the ingredients either has low GI or they have complex carb. It keeps you fuller for longer, so there are no hunger calls for a long time and saves you from attacking some nasty junks, while goodness of colourful vegetables lends you plenty of vitamins and minerals.

I have slightly moved away from the original recipe and added my own touch to it by adding few more grains as an experiment, as it turned out it was approved by family, there could not be a better way to add some more extra healthicious crunch in your diet to follow the slogan Eat nutritious, Feel Fabulous !

You will need :- Bhaidku Mix
  • 1/2 cup Broken wheat or Bulger wheat
  • 1/2 cup Steel cut Oats ( optional ) I order online
  • 1/2 cup Millet ( Bajra )
  • 1/2 cup shorghum ( Jowar )
  • 1/2 cup Pearl Barley
  • 1/2 cup quinoa 
  • 1 cup split green moong daal
  • 1/2 cup moth/muth/matki beans 
Method :-
Mix everything and store in a air tight container.

You will need :- Bhaidku Masala Khichdi
  • 1 cup Bhaidku mix
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. green chilli, ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic chutney or garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. ghee or oil
  • 1 cup steamed vegetables ( peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli , sweet corn )
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped capsicum
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2-3 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Method :-
Place one cup bhaidku mix in a heavy based pan and dry roast for 5-6 minutes or you get slight toasting aroma .
Add 1 cup water and switch off the heat and leave it aside to soak at least 4-5 hours. I leave it overnight.
Place soaked bhaidku mix in a pressure cooker and add 1/2 cup water and salt and cook till 3 whistle goes off.
Let the pressure cooker cool naturally.
Heat ghee or oil in a kadai , add chilli-ginger paste and garlic chutney. sauté for few seconds, add onion and fry till light brown.
Add capsicum and cook for 2 minutes, add tomatoes and cook on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, now add all the other steamed vegetables and mix.
Add salt and garam masala mix well and cook further for one minute.
Add lemon juice and cooked bhaidku and give it a stir.
Switch of the heat, garnish with chopped coriander and serve warm with plain or masala chaas.
Enjoy !

Note :-
Onion and garlic can be omitted , instead use celery or shredded cabbage.
BOILED Potatoes AND any other  can be added too.

Linking this healthy and tasty dish to challenge Eat Nutritious, Feel fabulous , brainchild of ME and Nivedita, this month hosted by Nivedita.

Happy Cooking :)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Bombay Ice and Golden Halwa - Sweets for your Sweet !

Hello readers,

There is no denying that the craze surrounding Valentine's Day has caught on the fancy of young India and it's younger generations in recent years, while some say perhaps worst time for elders still coping with the sights of unabashed public display of affection by today's youngsters. While a lot of newsprint and airtime may be wasted on debating its pros and cons.

If I go and look back to my time in India which is almost 25 years ago Valentine's day was an alien in our city or community or at least where I grew up. That time we hardly exchanged even birthday cards,  the famous card shop Archie's was only opened that time and to enter that shop for people like me very unlikely. It was believed that you need to be rich to enter that shop, and good knowledge how to buy all those cards and gifts.

Lol, I only came to know about Valentines day when I married and stayed back in India for few months to clear my visa's to reunite with my husband. He left India in January and in early February, our postman started making frequent visits to our home, almost everyday I was receiving cards from hubby, images with hearts,rose flowers, cupid and love birds. I was surprised and quite shy to tell anyone or to show these cards, just kept putting aside so no one in the family can find out. Every single time he called, he asks me did you received the card, I just say yes because I didn't know how to answer him or what to do in return, but I am sure he didn't mind or even he did, he never mentioned to me.

So I came to know everything about this globally popular Valentine's day when I settled here in UK and understood madness about it.  After so many years of togetherness now, we don't need to whisper or buy those cards to say that we love each other. Every single day it shows in our commitment , behaviour and care that we take for each other is good enough for both of us. We stand together thick and thin no matter what life throws at us. I feel content that he brings tea up in the morning and he is more than content by the food I serve, so this is our way of Valentines day everyday !!!!!

                     We are wishing a very Happy Valentine's Day to our readers !

What more better way to celebrate this day with these delicious, mouth watering, irresistible home made Ice halwa aka Bombay Halwa with the goodness of fresh ingredients. This wonderful and rich treat, favourite of both of us and our kids, a lovely change from chocolates on this day !

Ice Halwa, Golden halwa - they look like they cost a fortune but are easy to make. These make gorgeous edible gifts, tie with festive ribbons and present them to friends or your loved ones and indulge in the glory of doing a fine deed..:) definitely you'll receive lots of 'oohs' and 'aahs' !!

Ice Halwa is one of my and hubby's favourite since our childhood, every single visit by my dad to home from Bombay, always a big tin of famous Ice and golden halwa from Mohanlal S Mithaiwala was a must amongst other treats for us. Same routine started with me, every single visit to India, I never failed to bring a few packets of this halwa for hubby and kids until it was available in London.

Delectable and  moreish thin slices of Ice halwa , we never get bored of. It was my hubby's dream that if I can make at home, it would make him very happy. So I tried many times , sometimes I got successes and sometimes for one or the other reason I failed to achieve same texture and taste as the original recipe.  But with practise and few key rules that I applied, past few years I am having same results every time. See Notes for key rules.

 You will need :-
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup  cold milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup  pure ghee (homemade)
  • 1 cup sugar (do no even think about taking 1tsp less, I've made that mistake in the past and disappointed results I had)
  • 1/4 cup slivers of almond and pistachio
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds lightly crushed
  • 10-12 saffron threads for golden halwa
  • Pinch of yellow food colour for golden halwa  

Method :-
Keep ready butter or greaseproof paper and rolling pin on a smooth surface.
Take a non stick pan, add ghee and melt for few seconds on a heat. Switch off the heat.
Add flour, sugar and milk. (add food colour if you're making golden halwa). Mix well.
Once again turn the heat ON and start cooking the mixture, keep stirring continuously on a medium heat and make sure there is no lumps formed.
While on heat keep mixing until the runny content turns to a thick mass.
switch off the heat and quickly transfer the mixture on a butter paper.
Now lay another butter paper on the mixture and quickly start rolling mixture, remove upper paper and generously sprinkle almond and pistachio slivers, cardamom seeds and saffron (for golden halwa) and once again lay the paper on the half rolled mixture.
Again roll out the mixture gently and roll to a 2-3 cm thickness and carefully lift off top layered paper.
Let it cool for few minutes, then cut the halwa squares but do not lift or remove.
Allow halwa squares to cool completely (here I keep at least 4-5 hours, depends which country you are in if warm weather it will take more time)
When they are ready you'll see shiny surface , dry and stiff enough to lift.
Carefully lift each piece and pile interleaved with greaseproof paper between each slice and store in a air tight container or tie with festive ribbons and present them in a beautiful decorated box to friends or your loved ones and indulge in the glory of doing a fine deed..:)

Note :-
I tried various supermarket plain flours , every time I achieved different texture, so I now I stick with only one supermarket's flour, which gave me an excellent result. In UK I use Tesco brand plain flour but not the value one.
I use only homemade ghee made from organic butter.
make sure you stick with accurate measurements, one spoon here and there your dish can get ruined.  

Happy Cooking :)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Mixed beans sprouts curry, Gujarati style - 10th February Potluck Party, Cyber Style!

Hello readers,

Mixed beans sprouts are packed with protein and storehouse of nutrients. Beans sprouts are abundant in nutritional substances and they have a very good potential efficacy to maintain and promote good health and prevent various major health problems like cancer, heart problems and osteoporosis. Beans sprout are excellent for maintaining good skin, digestion and helps to loose weight.

Mixed beans sprout curry, the lovely creamy richness of this curry has always been hit with everyone in my family. Mild flavoured, delicious curry which conveniently cooks quickly too.

Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey
Click on me !
Today I want to introduce this simple Guajarati style, yet very tasty curry to my friends of Potluck Party, Cyber Style ! I hope you guys like it.

I have used about 15-16 types of different beans, but you can use whatever you can find in your kitchen. To make one cup quantity take few beans of each. In my opinion it's the best way to introduce some variety of beans in your diet without compromising on taste.

You will need :-
  • 250 g mixed beans sprout ( see here how to sprout beans at home )
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp. green chilli, garlic and ginger paste
  • Pinch of hing
  • 1/2 tsp. Kasoori methi
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. roasted peanuts crushed
  • Handful of fresh finely chopped fresh coriander
Method :-
Wash mixed sprouts with clean water, then place in a food processor and process till you get coarse mixture.
Heat oil in a heavy based pan or kadai, add cumin seeds and hing when they crackle add kasoori methi, chilli, garlic and ginger paste.
Sauté the paste for few seconds and add crushed mixed sprouts.
Mix gently and add one cup water, cover with lid and cook for 8-10 minutes. If mixture gets thicker or dryer add more water.
Now add milk, salt, turmeric, garma masala and sugar.
Once again cover with lid and cook for more 7-8 minutes.
The curry should be nice and thick like cake or idly batter.
Check seasoning and see if sprouts has been cooked well, if not cook further 3-4 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add lemon juice and garnish with roasted peanuts and coriander.
Serve hot with roti and plenty salad to make wholesome meal or can be enjoy on it's own.

Happy Cooking :)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Versatile Garlic Chutney / Masala - Ramp Up The Red !

Hello readers,

Today is Ramp Up The Red Day! The event where the UK gets together to raise money to fund heart research. And rightly so, circulatory diseases are the leading causes of death in the UK (in 2010). My son went into school wearing red! My daughter is a volunteer at the British Heart Foundation for the past year and a half now.

The idea is to raise money for babies born with heart problems and to those who struggle with heart failure.

In heart disease, or coronary heart disease, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart become blocked, preventing blood reaching the heart. They can become blocked with fatty deposits. These fatty deposits can be caused because of a bad diet and lack of exercise. Eating foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat can cause this problem.

The two main players in preventing heart disease is to eat healthily and to take part in exercise, something that we can all manage and control! Obviously as a foodie, I think about foods that can prevent these things from happening, so whilst I make a cheeky and sinful treat, I always go back to my healthy recipes!

To reduce your risk of developing heart disease, there are numerous types of food recommended by the health experts and dieticians. Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fatty fish, and teas are just as important as an abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs in many colours, shape and sizes, While we are discussing about good and healthy foods, how can we forget Garlic !

Garlic is one of the most valuable, humble and versatile food on the planet, widely recognised for it's health enhancing supplement.  Garlic is an excellent herb to create and maintain overall health. Any description of garlic is incomplete without mentioning its medicinal values.  Either you want to treat infections, loose weight , protect your heart, combat many allergies or want to reduce your sugar levels then make garlic your best friend and give it a cosy place in your kitchen ! There are awful lot of benefits of Garlic, as long as you add in your everyday diet, you'll have a priceless medicine !!!

Indian cooking is incomplete without garlic, very strong flavoured and bitter taste but adds and unbelievable flavour to that dish ! Either incorporate in curries, daals or chutneys , garlic enhances the taste.

By now you must know where I am heading? Mum's recipe of Versatile Garlic Chutney, this chutney of hers was quite popular amongst family and neighbours. She used to prepare twice a year, this chutney can survive easily for six month, so she would prepare them in big batches and use it whenever required. After I came here, I found out that my MIL loved it too. Enjoy with any meal or use in many recipes when recipe calls for. I particularly love it with Millet flour roti and any type of khichdi.

Ramp Up The Red !
This chutney can only be prepare by hands, sorry guys no electric gadgets for you, use pestle and mortar ! Not to worry, while you pound this chutney you'll get nice work out for your biceps. Put your favourite tracks on and after all we want to keep our heart happy :)

You will need :-
  • 25-30 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 tbsp. red chilli powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder ( or adjust to your liking )
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
Method :-

First ground garlic, using pestle and mortar.
When you see coarse garlic add sesame seeds and ground more.
Add salt and chilli powder and ground once more til every things blends together.
Serve or transfer in a air tight container and store up to six months in the fridge.
Enjoy !!

Happy Cooking :)


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