Dahi Baday – Chickpea Flour Balls in Yogurt

Perhaps one of my favourite Iftaar snacks, for two reasons mainly: awesome taste, and quick preperation time. Make a batter with chickpea flour, deep fry the balls, then add them to yogurt, add a baghaar, and you are done! Simple as that.

Dahi Baday are just a different version of Dahi Wade. Dahi Wade are made with Urad Dal and Dahi Badey are make with Chickpea flour.

If you love Dahi ki Kadi, you will definitely enjoy Dahi Badey.

Dahi Baday – Chickpea Flour Balls in Yogurt

Ingredients:

Chickpea Flour/Gram flour/Besan – 1 cup
Baking Soda – a pinch
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Yogurt – 1 cup
Canola oil
Cilantro – 4 tbsp, finely chopped
For Baghaar/Tempering:
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Dried Red chillies – 2-3, each broken into pieces

Method:

1. In a bowl, add chickpea flour and pour in a little water to make a smooth batter. The batter should be thick and pourable in consistency but not thin. Add baking soda, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder to the batter and mix.
2. In a separate bowl ,whip yogurt with 1/2 cup of water until smooth. Season with salt and pour this yogurt mixture in a serving tray.
3. Heat oil to deep fry in a pan or kadai. (Never deep fry in a non stick pan). As soon as it is hot, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and deep fry them on both sides until they are nicely golden brown in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. The baday are ready.
4. Drop them into yogurt mixture. Make sure that the baday are well coated with yoghurt.
5. Prepare tempering by heating the oil in a small pan and add the ingredients in the list. When the mustard seeds and dried red chillies splutter, pour the sizzling tempering over the baday in yogurt. Allow to soak for an hour after tempering. After an hour serve the baday on individual plates, garnish with chopped cilantro and sprinkle of chaat masala on each of the vada.

This recipe is my contribution to my very onw Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2012 (Season IV) that I hosting on my blog, and also to the Joy From Fasting ToFeasting – V that Lubna is hosting on her blog.

Luv,
Mona

Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney

I simply adore mint leaves. Its clean citrusy taste, refreshing aroma and artistic curly rich green colored leaves, all make me fall in love with it over and over again. I wait for spring/summer time every year so as to plant mint outdoors in pots. It grows easily and vigorously once established and provides me with fresh leaves all summer.

Mint from my garden

The Arabic name for mint is ‘nanaa’. The mint from the holy city of Madinah is famous for its strong and wonderful aroma. During visits to Madinah one can see people selling fresh mint leaves at every corner. The mint is kept fersh covered under wet hessian cloths. Mint that doesnt get sold is dried under the hot sun and sold. People of Madinah enjoy mint as a mouth refreshner, or in teas or in their food.

Clockwise from top: Mint leaves, Dessicated Coconut, Phulay Chane

The below verison is a mild chutney with use of phulay chane and coconut in it. I enjoy this chutney along with idli, dosa, evening snacks, or as a dipping sauce for sandwiches.

Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney – Mint and Coconut Chutney

Phulay Chane – 1/8 cup
Dessicated Coconut/Khopra – 1/4 cup
Roasted Cumin seed/Zeera powder – 1/4 tsp
Small Green Chillies/Hari mirch – 4-5, chopped
Tamarind – walnut sized seedless ball (or) Lemon/Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Fresh Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 2 pods
Tempering/Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds/Rai – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into small pieces
Curry leaves – 4-5, chopped

Method:

1. In a blender, add the first nine ingredients. Pour in a little bit of water to aid in the grinding process and grind until smoothly pureed. Pour the prepared chutney into a serving bowl.
2. Prepare baghaar/tempering: In a pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up add the mustard seeds, broken dried red chillies and chopped curry leaves. Immediately remove from heat and pour this baghaar hot and hissing into the chutney and mix well. Serve along with your favorite snacks. Store the left over if any in the refrigerator for upto a week.

On a different note, Megha from the ‘Food Food Maha Challenge Muqabla’ show that will be telecast on Food food channel had contacted me as they are looking for participants. She says:

“The show is about the competition between male and female cooks and Madhuri Dixit willl be representing the female cook and Sanjeev Kapoor will represent the male cook.The judge of the show is Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor . If any one is interested you can call on 02242769017 between 11 am to 6 pm.
The auditions dates are:
8th July Mumbai
10th July Nagpur
14th July Delhi
17th July Kolkata
20th july Hyderabad
You can also drop a mail at foodfood.mahachallengemuqabla@gmail.com”

This is a great opportunity to participate in a cooking show. If any one is interested, do contact her.

Luv,
Mona

Sambar

Sambar is a delicious richly flavored lentil and vegetable stew, native to South India. Many versions of sambar exist, and each one is just as delicious as the other one. The key for a flavorful sambar is a good sambar masala. Like there exists many versions of garam masala powder, similarly every South Indian household has their own version of the sambar masala. I have always only used the ready made MDH Sambar masala powder that is easily available in stores. But I really loved Padma’s Sambar and since then I have only been using her sambar masala to favor mine. I was so glad to discover the right sambar masala for me.

Idli served along with Sambar

Warm Sambar is a delicious accompaniment to South Indian classics like idli, wada, dosa, or just along with plain simple rice, etc. Today I have made Okra Sambar because I had only okra at hand, but the mixed vegetable sambar is the conventional and most delicious. The addition of a variety of vegetables add their own flavor to the spicy and aromatic sambar. Tamarind is the traditional souring ingredient used, but if unavailable you can use lemon juice.

Sambar – Spicy Lentil and Mixed Vegetables Stew
Adapted from here

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Tomato – 1, large, chopped
Green chillies – 4, chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 3 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4, each broken into half
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (chopped/cubed: brinjal, potato, taro root, bottle guard, radish, zucchini, okra, drumsticks, french beans, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot, etc; peeled & whole pearl onions/shallots; cauliflower or brocolli florets) (I used only okra – 340 gms) (also I did not have shallots so I used 1 large sliced onion instead)
Thick Tamarind pulp – 5 tbsp
Jaggery/gud – 1 tbsp, grated
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Sambar masala:
2 tsps of bengal gram/chana dal
2 tsps of black gram/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds/zeera
3 tsps of coriander seeds/dhaniya
½ tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds/methi
4 dry red chillies/sukhi lal mirch
¾ cup dry desiccated coconut/khopra

Delicious Warm Sambar

Method:

1. In a non stick frying pan dry roast all the spices separately under the heading sambar masala until they are just a few shades darker. Transfer all the roasted spices to a spice grinder and add a little water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside. This is the sambar masala.
2. Wash toor dal in several changes of water. Soak it overnight or for 2-3 hours in surplus fresh cool water. Drain, and wash in several changes of water. Add the washed and soaked toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 tbsp oil, chopped tomato, green chillies, turmeric powder and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Using a whisk or a dal ghotni or an immersion blender, blend the dal into a paste. Keep aside.
3. In a large saucepan at medium high heat, add the remaining oil. As soon as it is warm, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle add the curry leaves and dry red chillies. (If you do not have pearl onions or shallots in hand, add the sliced onions and sauté them until they are pink). Immediately add the prepared mixed vegetables and mix well. Add salt and red chilli powder. Lower the heat to medium and pour in two cups of water. Cover with a lid and let cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind paste and grated jaggery. Now add the toor dal paste prepared earlier along with chopped cilantro and sambar masala. Mix well. Add water to give it a thin consistency. Half cover with a lid and allow it simmer for around 15 minutes more until the vegetables are soft and a good aroma fills your kitchen. Stir frequently and well, as the toor dal tend to sink to the bottom and stick. Serve warm along with plain rice, or dosa, or idli, or wada.

Luv,
Mona

Ambada Dal

One green leafy vegetable that I missed dearly once I had to leave Hyderabad was Ambaday ki bhaji (in Urdu Language) or Hibiscus Cannabinus, also called as Gongura in Telugu. This sour tasting red stemmed leafy vegetable is an Andhra specialty.

Ambaday ki bhaji

Brimming with good nutrients these leaves are good for health. Rich in protein and low in calories, Kenaf leaves have anti bacterial properties and are abundant in iron, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and Vitamin C. The tender leaves can also be used as salad greens.

The leaves are plucked washed and used in cooking, stems discarded. Pairing it along with dal in the current recipe helps reduce the sour taste of these leaves.

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Ambaday ki bhaji/Fresh Kenaf leaves – about 4 cups, tightly packed
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tspGreen chillies – 3, chopped
Salt – to taste
Fresh curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Chana dal – 1 cup
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 1/2 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic pods – 2, finely sliced

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram

Method:

1. Wash and soak the dal in surplus fresh cool water for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse the dal. Now pressure cook the dal in a little water until soft but not mushy. Transfer the cooked dal to a bowl and keep aside.
2. In the same pressure cooker, add the kenaf leaves, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric  powder, salt, curry leaves and just a little bit of water. Pressure cook until the leaves are wilted and then using a dal ghotni or in a mortar and pestle, mash them up thoroughly. Add half the amount of the cooked chana dal and mash it along until smooth. Now add the remaining dal and gently mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. In a small frying pan, prepare the baghaar. Add oil and as soon as it warms up, throw in sliced garlic pods. As soon as it begins to turn into a light red color, add curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Once the spices pop, remove from heat and pour it hot and hissing over the above prepared ambada dal in the serving bowl. Enjoy as a side dish along with meals.

Finally I have been able to spot out two stores that sell this green leafy vegetable in Toronto. Here are the addresses of the stores:
Patel’s Cash and Carry – 416-439-9393
Rexdale grocery store – 416-749-2060
Normally Ambaday ki bhaji or Gongura is available during the months of July to October in Toronto. But they can get it from India and other parts of US.
If you are aware of any more stores that sell it, please let me know.

Luv,
Mona

Gosht ka Achaar

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

I was very little when I had first tasted this pickle at one my aunts place, but I still remember the burst of flavors that made me fall in love with this pickle~ tangy, spicy and simply ambrosial. Since then I have tried to replicate this recipe handed to me by one of my dear grandmother in the family. She had only given me andaaza (rough estimate) amounts of the ingredients being used, a mutti (handful) of that, a mutti of this.

This is one of my most treasured recipes, simple and straightforward procedure, very close to my heart, and that which I have been enjoying since times past. Enjoy this spicy, lemony meat pickle that is sure to entice your taste buds. I hope you all like it as much I do.

Gosht ka Achaar – Veal Meat Pickle

Ingredients:

Boneless Beef/Veal meat – 800 gms, washed, drained, pat dried and cut into small bite-size pieces
Lemon juice – 2 cups, fresh
Garlic cloves – 150 gms, pureed into a smooth paste (with addition of as less water as possible to puree)
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Curry leaves – 20-25, fresh, chopped
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 4
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 3 tbsp
Dry roasted Mustard seed powder – 2 tbsp
Dry roasted Fenugreek seed powder – 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 2 tbsp

Gosht ka achar – Veal Meat Pickle

Method:

1. In a deep glass mixing bowl, add the meat pieces and pour in lemon juice. See that all the meat pieces are nicely covered in the lemon juice. Add more if needed. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day,add garlic paste to the marinating meat.
3. In a large non-stick heavy saucepan pour in oil, and as soon as it warms up add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Within a few seconds add the cumin seed powder, mustard seed powder, fenugreek seed powder, red chilli powder, salt and mix. Immediately add the marinating meat+garlic with all its juices from the mixing bowl and mix well. Let cook partially covered stirring occasionally until the meat is tender. This will take about 35-45 minutes depending on various factors. You can even pressure cook the meat if you want it cooked quick. Keep an eye and remove from heat as soon as the meat is cooked and gravy is thick and clinging to the meat.
4. Let it cool down completely. Transfer to a sterilized glass canning jar and store it in the refrigerator. Use a dry spoon whenever fancied.

Note: Use only Beef/Veal meat for this recipe. I do not suggest using lamb meat or even chicken meat instead.

Enjoy the pickle along with your meals on the side.

This is my first entry to the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival that I am hosting on my blog.

Luv,
Mona