Aloo Qimah Matar ke Cutlets

Aloo ke Cutlets/Potato croquettes is a popular snack food in India, usually enjoyed as chaat. Whenever I have time on hand, what I do is, prepare these in bulk and freeze or refrigerate them to store for future use. Everyone at home enjoys them as a side-snack to meals, and I have a quick snack on hand.

Aloo Qimah Matar ke Cutlets – Potato croquettes
Makes: 14-15 cutlets

Ingredients:

White Potatoes – 6 or 7
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Cooked peas (fresh or frozen)(thawed if frozen) – 3/4 cup

For Qimah:

Canola oil – 2 tsp
Minced Veal meat – 250 gms
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp

Aloo Qimah Matar ke Cutlets – Potato croquettes

Method:

1. Wash and drain the qimah. In a large sauté pan at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the drained qimah and all the remaining ingredients for qimah and mix well. Let it cook stirring frequently until the qimah is completely cooked and well browned and all the moisture has been dried up. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
2. Wash and drain the potatoes. In a pressure cooker, add the potatoes and pressure cook for a few minutes until the potatoes are soft. make sure that you do not pressure cook for long such that the potatoes burst open. Open the cooker and drain the potatoes in a colander. Once they are warmish to touch, hold the warm potatoes using a kitchen towel in one hand, and peel them using the other hand. Place the peeled potatoes in a mixing bowl. Mash them well. Add the prepared cooled qimah, the cooked peas, black pepper powder and salt. Mix well.

potato+peas+qimah cutlets

cutlets stacked in a food storage box to be refrigerated

3. Shape the prepare potato mixture into patties as shown in the picture. Grease your hand with a little oil to aid in the process. Once the potato mixture is complete and the patties are ready, stack them as shown in the picture in a food storage box, in layers and sheets of aluminium foil separating them (store them this way if you plan to finish them all within one week). To eat, shallow fry a few of the patties in just a few drops of oil in a frying pan on both sides until light brown. Serve warm.

Tip: You can also prepare larger patty shaped potato cutlet and enjoy these shallow fried cutlets sandwiched between burger buns for a quick breakfast.

Tip: If you plan on storing these cutlets for a longer time, arrange the shallow-fried cooked cutlets and freeze them individually for 3 hours. Later, stack them all up in a food storage box and store the frozen cutlets for future use. To use, microwave them for a few minutes before you serve.

Luv,
Mona

Gug/Jaggery

Jaggery, two kinds ~
Huge cylindrical pale gold colored jaggery block; and smaller dark colored jaggery blocks

Gud (as it is called in Urdu language), or Sugarcane jaggery, is as the name suggests unrefined dehydrated sugarcane juice. Sugarcane juice is cooked in large vats in Indian villages until it is reduced to a thick syrup/paste. This paste is then poured into molds of different shapes and sizes, and allowed to cool and solidify into hard blocks. These jaggery blocks are crumbly in texture and have a great caramely flavor that cannot be substituted. Jaggery is an integral constituent just as sugar is in Indian cuisine. I prefer the pale golden colored Jaggery block, made in India product. It is available easily at most of the Indian stores, wrapped in plastic, or jute cloth. Break the huge block of jaggery into smaller pieces using a hammer and an old knife and store in the refrigerator in air-tight containers or zip-lock bags for a long indefinite life.

Have you ever tried Gud ki Chai (Chai sweetened with jaggery instead of refined white sugar)? If you havent, then please do. Such tea has a thicker feel and the flavor that Gud imparts to Chai is phenomenal with a pleasant musky taste.

Luv,
Mona

Basic How To’s: Series VI ~ Homemade Khoa/Mawa

Basic How To: Homemade Khoa/Mawa

Milk and its products like Yogurt, Ghee, Khoa, Paneer are much valued and used very extensively in Indian cooking.

Khoa (also referred to as Khoya/Khawa/Mawa) is reduced milk, reduced to such an extent that it is almost doughy or granular in texture. This concentrated solid is used as the base in most of the Indian sweet preperations like Burfi, Gulab Jamun, Peda, Kalakand, Chumchum, Kalajamun and various other Halwa’s and Mithai’s. It is very easily available in India and sold at the dairy stores or parlours by halwais(milk traders) selling all kinds of Indian diary products like ghee, paneer, curd etc. In Canada, I am lucky enough to find Khoa packets available ready made at most of the Indian stores or Bombay Bazaar.

store brought Khoa packet from Bombay bazaar in Toronto

I prepare two kinds of Khoa at home usually, the ‘Chikna khoa’, and the ‘Daan-e-daar khoa’.
Chikna Khoa: has about 80% mositure and is made by slowly cooking milk uncovered until it is reduced to a doughy mass.
Daan-e-daar Khoa (granular khoa): is made coagulating milk with acid and then slow cooked until all the moisture is evaporated and you are left with granular milk solids.
The rock hard kind of Khoa that you get ready made from the market which even can be grated is called as Batti Khoa.

Many friends and readers of my blog have asked me the procedure to prepare Khoa at home, or its substitutions. Here is a pictorial tutorial for the procedure to prepare Khoa at home:

Chikna Khoa
Makes – 170 gms

Pour 1 liter milk in a heavy bottomed milk saucepan (of you can use any clean heavy bottomed vessel, you can even use a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan) at medium high and let it come to a boil once.

Lower the heat to medium and let cook until the milk is reduced to 1/4th the original quantity. This takes about 1 hour or so and it requires a careful watch to prevent milk from getting burnt, and a constant/very frequent stirring.

Once the milk is reduced to 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to medium low and let cook for some more time, stirring continously, until it is dry and lumpy/doughy.

Remove from heat and transfer the khoa to a cup and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate it for a hour so that it thickens/hardens. Remove the prepared Khoa from the refrigerator transfer to a zip-lock sandwich bag and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately. Normally one liter of milk should give you 125-170 gm of khoya.

fresh and home-made ~ Chikna Khoa

This procedure prepares unsweetened khoa. To prepare sweetened khoa, add desired quantity of sugar on the last stages to sweeten the khoa.

Daan-e-daar Khoa

Pour 1 liter milk in a heavy bottomed milk saucepan (of you can use any clean heavy bottomed vessel, you can even use a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan) at medium high and let it come to a boil once. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice so that the milk curdles and lower the heat to medium and continue cooking. Keep stirring the milk and cook until most of the moisture has been evaporated and the milk is reduced to dry lumpy texture. Remove from heat and transfer the khoa to a cup and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate it for a hour so that it thickens/hardens. Remove the prepared Khoa from the refrigerator transfer to a zip-lock sandwich bag and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately.
Tip: Daan-e-dar khoa can also be prepared from failed yogurt.

A friend of mine had once shared this useful recipe for a quick khoa substitute:

Quick Khoa Substitutes:

1. Add full fat or low fat milk powder and just a little bit of full fat or low fat unsweetened condensed milk/heavy cream to make it into a semi-solid paste in a bowl. Pour this into into a thick milk saucepan at medium low heat. Let cook stirring continously until it is until it is dry and lumpy/doughy. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator so that it thickens/hardens. Shape/cut into blocks and store the khoa blocks in plastic wrap in zip-lock sandwich bags and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately.

2. If all this is not possible, you can simply substitute khoya with equal amounts of milk powder. That should work out fine.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

Luv,
Mona

Besan ke Murkul

I have been enjoying some winter treats from the past few days, first~a light and delicious Pumpkin halwa, then some spicy Besan ke Murkul.

Murkul, or Murukul, are delicious savories that are made with rice flour, or lentil flour or gram flour, etc. There exist various varieties of this crunchy snack. This variety of Murkul is easy to prepare, doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, and at the same time, satisfying.  They are usually prepared at home and stored in air-tight containers for eating. They are also available ready made in Indian stores.

murkul press, with various attachments for different shapes of the murkul

To prepare these savory addictive crunchy snacks at home, special molds are required to press the dough into desired shape into the hot oil to be deep fried. These molds are inexpensive and are available at Indian stores and called as ‘Murkul press’ or ‘Murukku press’. These molds come along with many attachments for different shapes for the murkul. Today I have used the star shaped attachment.

Besan Murkul – Savory Crunchy Gram flour Coils
Makes- about 20 Murkul

Ingredients:

Gram flour/Besan – 3 cups
Cumin seeds – 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Water – 2/3 cup
Canola oil – to deep fry

Murkul, along with a cup of warm tea on a gloomy autumnal afternoon

Method:

1. Heat oil to deep fry in a kadai.
2. In a mixing bowl, add all the above ingredients and mix thoroughly to form a sticky dough like paste.
3. Fill the murkul press with the prepared dough and press into hot oil forming coils. You will get the hang of it with practice. Deep fry a few murkul at a time in the kadai until browned on both sides. Remove using slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined platter. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Once they are all completely cooled, transfer them to an air-tight container to store. Serve as snack.

Tip: Grease the back of the slotted spoon with oil, and press the dough using the mold into circular ring. To fry the murkul, gently invert the spoon over hot oil so that the murkul drops into the oil in perfect shape.

Luv,
Mona

Pumpkin ka Meetha

Pumpkins, during this season are spotted galore at every food market and I had brought a beautiful Pumpkin home a few days back. After enjoying a warming Pumpkin soup, I prepared a simple Pumpkin ka Meetha, just similar to Gajar ka Meetha and Kaddu ka Meetha, and الحمد لله it was delicious.

Pumpkin slices, peeled and cubed

I prepared a very small quantity with left over pumpkin, and it was enough for me and my hubby. If you are thinking of preparing it for a bigger crowd, do increase the quantities accordingly.

Pumpkin ka Meetha/Halwa
Makes- 2 small bowls as in the picture

Ingredients:

Pumpkin – 350 gms, peeled and grated (I used Chinese/Japanese variety Pumpkin, however you can try using any Winter squash or Pumpkin variety instead)
Ghee – 2 tbsp
White Sugar – 1/3 cup
Milk – 1/3 cup
Khoa – 2 tbsp, finely grated
Cardamom seed powder – a pinch
Finely Slivered toasted Pistachio+Almond – 1 tbsp

Pumpkin ka Meetha

Method:

1. Cut pumpkin in slices. Peel and cut into cubes. Grate the cubed pumpkin. My food processor does the job in a jiffy.

grated pumpkin in the food processor bowl

2. In a stainless steel saucepan at medium high heat and add the grated pumpkin and dry roast it stirring it frequently until most of the moisture is evaporated and it is mostly dry. You will also observe a slight change in color and a nice aroma.
3. Pour in ghee and keep stirring it for 3 minutes. Add milk, khoa, sugar and cardamom powder. Let cook stirring frequently until all the milk has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Once the halwa is dry, remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate and serve garnished with toasted slivered nuts.

Suggested Serving: To impress your guests, serve the chilled meetha in mini pastry cases that are easily available in stores. You can name it as ‘Pumpkin Meetha Tarts’.

Luv,
Mona