Nankhatai – Eggless,Crunchy, Buttery, Fragrant Cookies..

” Amma , How come we never can make this at home ?” was the question that stumped my mom , a few years ago. An impish curly-haired moppet of say 7 years , asked my mom  this question. Now make no bones about this , my mom had this uncanny ability to plunge into things  that challenged her whole heartedly .. When she had a mind to it 🙂 Nothing is / was impossible was the motto! Usually the task of running a business alongside my dad, her passion for gardening, the occasional tuition lessons at home and oh yes, the new-found interest in baking all were worth the effort. In fact the last passion in particular had  a very profound effect at home … Baking sessions of eggless cakes and cookies and more using the pressure cooker and dry sand method. And add to this the multi-talented grandmom of mine, my mother’s mom would have a gazillion inputs and variations and innovations on the way.  It was  a madcap session at home sometimes punctuated by the heat from the kitchen, laughter and excited talks and voices of the ladies gathered at home and I could be looking at new experiments in jams and jellies or pickles or home-made ketchup to grand desserts and more. Now this was the good old days of Chennai ( Madras) in the late 80’s. At that point the heat and humidity of the Madras weather, compounded by the large cooking sessions could have driven any sane person nuts, but we of course were grandly buffered by the tree-lined streets of my hometown. No A/c at that time folks, just good old ceiling fans, stand fans and hand fans and breeze from the courtyard 🙂

A visit last year to my place of birth though had me cringing of course ! Sigh ! No tree-lined streets , but more and more commercial properties and even more dust .. Why ? Why? must we lose what we have to understand the fragility of all good things in life. Any way I am digressing, the curly-haired moppet, yours truly fast forward a few years down the lane ( Alright, I am being vain, fast forward many years down the lane .. Sigh !!!) with the curly hair being occasionally tamed 🙂 ) was sort of pleaded by the youngest tyke to make something yummy. Pretty please with a cherry on the top!!!!

This after gorging on lemon cupcakes , which we of course generously shared with visiting cousins.

Now remember the question I had asked my mom? Well the subject of discussion was this crunchy, butter drenched, flattened biscuits (Yes, the British influence, what can I say ,these are called biscuits in India ) or cookies was devoured steadily by the ilk of my cousins and self. The goodies in question were brought in by my aunt from Pune. Amidst the gaggling of kids and cousins, there were faint snatches of discussions and baking method. I have no clue on the outcome of this, but for some reason I was treated to this bit of beautiful memory from yesteryears.

When you troll the internet, you will find a gazillion variations if this cookie/shortbread/biscuit . Whole wheat version, the Besan ( chickpea flour ) version, the Sooji ( semolina ) and Besan version. Everyone and their cousin will have some thing on this and more 🙂

But harking back to simpler times,  these cookies are made with butter , APF and sugar as the main ingredients. Yes , whole wheat makes it better (I do have a version I use and will post it as well ), but remember these are the snatches of comfort from a bygone era.. Indulgent at the best . And an occasional indulgence never really harmed anyone .. Occasional being the keyword 🙂

Prep time : 15 min  Bake time : 18-20 min   Yield : 16-20 cookies          

Shelf life : You are joking right ? (Ok if you really want  to, it should stay for about a week and more in an airtight container)

Ingredients :

  • All purpose flour : 1 Cup
  • Unsalted Butter at room temperature : 1 stick = 8 Tbsp.= ½ Cup
  • Salt : a tiny pinch ( to enhance the flavor)
  • Baking Soda : ½ tsp.
  • Fine Granulated sugar : ½ Cup
  • Cardamom pods : 12-14  pounded well to yield a nearly fine powder
  • Saffron strands : a generous pinch, slight warmed and crushed well to be mixed
  • Chopped nuts of your choice : Optional – 2 tsp. for garnish 

Method :

  • Cream the butter and  sugar in a big mixing bowl. Cream it well until the sugar granules are nice and invisible in it. The creaming is essential to get the texture and ensure proper baking too. Powdering the sugar absolutely helps, but remember to add a tad less than the 1/2 cup called for.
  • In an another bowl, whisk together sifted all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, crushed cardamom pods, saffron. Whisk it well to aerate it and to ensure even distribution of the soda and the fragrant spices.
  • Add the dry mix into the creamed mixture and form a soft pliable dough. Honestly you should not need any liquids to bind this dough and  this will be  a super soft one. ( yep, it’s loaded with butter)
  • Refrigerate it for say 20 min. ( I believe this would make crispier cookies)
  • Pre heat the oven to 350 deg F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pinch out small globes from this and make a nice smooth cookie balls. Indent  with  the flat side of the fork to lend it your touch. Place it about 2 inches apart from each other to ensure good baking and breathing space.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts( pistachios in my case ) ,
  • Pop it into oven and bake it for about 18-20 min.
  • I baked  mine for 20 min, because we love the crispy-crunchy-melt-in-your mouth kind of cookies. These do not change color much – Careful do not over bake them or burn them ! You just might notice a slight browning at the base of the cookies .
  • The fragrance alone can drive your resistance away 🙂
  • Let it cool on the wire rack(And if you do not keep an eagle eye, a few of them would be sampled and to be just sure again would be sampled again).
  • Store in an airtight container (this happens only when my tykes are away and no one is at home to sample the wares albeit for a short period of time).
  • Enjoy!

( Now please excuse me as a steaming cup of  Ginger Chai is calling my name!!! )

 

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Cold Lettuce, Sprouts, Peppers salad – Chilled, Fresh , Crunchy and Refreshing!

#30days30salads

Sweltering heat and hitting high 90’s. The folks at home resemble the wilted greens of a supermarket long past their fresh -by days. The stove at large is not very inviting ..Need something , quick, refreshing, filling, bursting with flavors and filling !

This is going to be a super quick assembly line post folks, please bear with me 🙂

A quick peek into the chill box reveal a few assorted ingredients:

Ingredients, Assembly,Serving :

 For the salad : Toss all of these in a wide bowl and refrigerate for half an hour if required.

  • 1 cup of Mixed bag of lettuce shredded ( fairly large bite size)
  • 1 cup of fresh green Moong Sprouts – Blanched or microwaved for 3-5 min
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes – halved pieces
  • 1/2 cup of Carrots – Shredded finely as per your taste
  • 1/2 cup of sweet bell pepper (multicolor) – finely sliced in rings or in julienned

For the dressing: Mix all these and pour out on your bowl of salad just before serving

  • Juice of 1-2 Limes/ lemon : tanginess is as per your taste
  • Black pepper roughly pounded or as a coarse powder : 1 tsp
  • Honey ( organic preferred )  : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 – 1 tsp.

Optional :  Adding a a teaspoon of green chutney in the dressing to drizzle over your with this works too

 Optional : Use  any other dressing of your choice . Italian works very well too.

 The idea is to keep it light and refreshing! Dig in, crunch up and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Cupcakes- Light, lemony and so delectable!

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party”  Ron White

When life gives you lemons.. well I would head straight to the vodka on a Friday evening. But it not being a Friday , more like it’s already a Wednesday evening and I -was -not- in-a great- mood – to -experiment, was tempted to make this light and lemony cupcakes… Make no mistakes these are full on, yummy version. After all these were certified simply yummiest by my youngest tyke..( In all fairness he is like that for any of the cupcakes :-)…

Adapted from the Primrose bakery cupcakes book.

 Ingredients: At RT please 🙂

  • Unsalted butter : 1stick =8 Tbsp.
  • Sugar : 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : self rising – 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp.
  • Eggs : 2
  • 2% Milk : 1/3 cup
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice : 2 Tbsp.
  • Lemon Extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon : 1 tsp
  • Sour cream : 1 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Sift the two flours and keep aside in a separate bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar and whip it well till its creamy, pale and real smooth. Should take about 5-7 minutes max.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and whip it in.
  • Add in the lemon juice, extract, milk and sour cream and whip it in for a min or two.
  • Add in the sifted flour and beat well.
  • You will notice a nice, smooth, shiny, cupcake batter.
  • Spoon it into a 12 cupcake prepared pan ( prepare with liners ) about near full or as in my case prepare 15 cupcake liner pans (12+ 3 in another pan).
  • Fill it a tad less than 3/4 full to make smaller bite cupcakes.
  • Bake it at 350 for about 22-25 min. Do the toothpick test to make sure.
  • Remove from the oven and cool it before frosting.
  • I did not do the frosting in this case as I wanted a lighter version. But hey, you can go all out and frost with lemon butter cream.

Tip : bake this in a mini muffin pan to make it truly bite sized !

 

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Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread – One rise, quick bread!

Rustic , Hearty and truly a family share bread!

Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread – One rise, quick bread! #VRBakealong 

There is something alluring about fresh-baked bread. And when baked at home sans all the preservatives, it’s just wonderful. The smell of it wafting is enough to salivate the toughest critic’s taste buds. Or just to make one feel happy. This is one version of a herbed bread that makes you want to grab a slice after another. A mix of cultures in the bread I say, Italian seasoning, Mexican cheese blend, and a dash of our very own ground black pepper with the occasional sizzle of red pepper flakes. Go on , try it out and let me know 

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour (atta) : 1.5 cups
  • All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
  • Instant yeast : Red Start quick rise , 1 packet
  • Sugar : 3 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp.
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.
  • Black pepper ground : 1 tsp.
  • Italian herbs mix (dried) : 2 tsp.
  • Red pepper flakes : 1/2 tsp. (optional)
  • Milk ( 2%) : 1/2 cup
  • Warm water : 1 cup ( add in stages )
  • Mexican cheese blend grated : 1/2 – 1 cup ( depending on how cheesy you like it)

METHOD

Proofing the yeast:

Typically in instant kind of quick yeast you do not need to proof the yeast. But in this case I did so because I just needed to ensure my yeast was well alive and kicking!

  • Warm the milk with 1/2 cup of water and the sugar. Just ensure the mix is very very warm.
  • To this I added the instant rapid rise yeast , stirred gently and set aside, You will notice the bubbles in about 5-8 min Let the yeast do the job for about 10-12 min. The frothy mix indicates it is a happy camper and ready to work on your bread!

 The dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, sieve together the atta ( I used our very own swaad chakki fresh atta ) and APF and salt.
  • Add in the ground pepper and dries herbs mix.
  • Add in the red pepper flakes if using.
  • Add in the grated cheese and then the olive oil. Mix evenly.
  • Now add water, milk mixture and knead for about 5 – 8 minutes. The dough should be very soft. Add more warm water if needed.
  • I worked this on the one rise principle. Rapid rise yeast typically do not need the punch and re-knead process. If using active dry yeast place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth for about an hour or till the dough becomes double in size. Punch the dough to remove all the air trapped in it and re-knead again for 5-10 minutes. You will end up with a soft pliable dough. If in doubt do the windowpane test for it. However, I used rapid rise instant yeast that does not require this process of re kneading.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
  • Make 2 long log rolls.
  • Braid them together loosely to give the twisted feel.
  • Cover with a damp cheese cloth, kitchen towel and place it in a warm draft free zone  and let it rise for about an hour max. Mine rose in about 45 min to a beautiful double proportion.
  • Bake at 375 deg F for about 30 min. ( give or take another 5 min based on the variables -the flour used, the kind of year, the milk etc.)
  • When you notice the top becoming a nice and even brown, and when you tap the bread pan or the the sides of the bread you get the hollow sound, its done!
  • Set it out to cool !

(Seriously the sight was enough to set my kids were drooling!!!)

 Serving:

On cooling, slice, add a dab of butter or cream cheese and its wonderful for your palate. This bread is moist and slightly dense echoing a bit of the whole wheat breads you get. But this will hold wonderfully to toasting. It’s very light on the cheese effect too as I added just half a cup.But seriously you can add more than a cup that is called for and you will notice the difference. At that time it’s a bit more indulgent I would say. The herbs and the pepper lend their flavor and this is so perfect with your pasta. Or just by itself !

Thought : Shape it into mini logs and you have your very own subway style bread ready to be made into a delectable sandwich!

Shelf Life : I would not expect this last very long as it is made without any preservatives. In any case this would last a mere couple of days at home for me 🙂

Maddur Vadde: Awesome Crunchy spiced disks/patties of flour and semolina that speak to your soul!

For some one who swears by Madras ( now Chennai .. you know all about your loyalty to the birth place and all) , I have these ancestral threads and lineage linking to the grand old city of Mysore and a bit beyond.  A good 20 km or  12 miles or so from the main city of Mysore lies the sleepy village of Nanjangud. I am not exactly sure on the origins of how the lineage was established to this , but the annual or bi-annual journey for our family inevitably includes a car trip from Bangalore to Mysore. On the way of course we stopped for tender coconuts – what a refreshment right down to your soul, and of course Maddur Vade. There is this small joint on the way called Maddur tiffany’s or something similar. The simply serve the very best of this variation. My mom simply loves these. It does not matter what time of the day the trip occurred, a stop for these was always included in the travel itinerary. And yes hot, piping hot, crunchy flat discs browned with deep-frying in the oil but glistening with the tone of  fried onions in these and spiced by green chilies and flavored by curry leaves, cilantro and Jeera.. Oh my! Sure takes you down the memory lane! And no matter how hot the temperature was on the outside, my mom always had it with a cup of steaming hot filter coffee. Always!

It somehow struck me that on FD, I should make these. Just like that ! Sometimes you don’t need a reason for a good thing.. a feel good thing!

So here it goes , the second in the FD series 

#FDMenu

Maddur Vadde: Awesome Crunchy spiced disks/patties of flour and semolina that speak to your soul!

 Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour : 2 cups
  • Rice flour: 1 cup
  • Sooji/ Fine Rava/ Fine semolina: 1 cup
  • Red/yellow/white Onion, medium sized- 1,Finely chopped
  • Green chilies : 4 , Finely chopped
  • Jeera/ Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Oil : 2 tbsp., heated to be mixed in the flour
  • Sour plain yogurt : 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh curry leaves, : 8-10, chopped
  • Asafoetida/Hing: A big pinch
  • Salt : 1 tsp. To be adjusted to taste
  • Cilantro leaves : 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Whisk all the dry ingredients together first. The flours, and sooji and salt and Asafoetida should get mixed well.
  • Add in the chopped onions, curry leaves, cumin seeds and cilantro and mix thoroughly . Now add in the 2 tbsp. of hot oil and gently crumble through the flour .
  • Add in the sour yogurt and add as little water as required to bind the flour to form a smooth dough. You do not need to knead this a lot. Just enough so you have soft pliable one.
  • Portion these out into small lemon sized balls. Flatten them out into thin patties or disks.
  • Deep fry these in medium high heat until they turn golden brown in color.
  • Drain and serve!
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Saffron Kalakkand – Quick and Easy Cheese and Milk Fudge with Saffron and nuts

Fresh, dewy eyed and eyes full of spark a young lady landed on the shores of opportunity in the land of the grand USA some 16 plus years ago. While the young lady has progressed in age , thoughts and wisdom, marked by the appearance of few strands of gray ( honestly, truly, I noticed 5 in total),the spark ala dimmed a bit, but still bright I hope nonetheless.

One of the first people I met, was a happy foodie couple in Boston. At that point, A1 was yet to put in an appearance, and I was happy to meet people ( ignorant of any of the pyramid scheme trap and happily oblivious as well ). While the “come over for tea” turned into recruiting for the scam/scheme and I could not wait to get out faster, I did notice these gorgeous milk burfi’s. I also did sneak in more than one. Hey if I had to sit in and listen to all that yakking on gold and gorgeous things within arm’s reach, might as well do it with some indulgence.

In any case, today on father’s day DH was in a bit of a mood. Happy smiley face, clean counters, dishes done, emptying dishwasher and more. Well no complaints, cause I love this mood. A nice card, a self bought “surprise” on the homey , techy, front and great family time. And I decided to do something that so grandly resembled hours of labor while actually needing a few min of microwave time. The best part was I did not need to hunt for the ingredients. My awesome neighbor/ friend/ b – partner decided to donate to me 3 huge tubs of Ricotta cheese before her trip to India. 2 Thumbs up! I suppose more Ricotta cheese recipes need to be made now!

This has been the perfect day and weekend is done ! But hey summer holidays on and no school tomorrow.. Which means more staying up for the kids.. Love this !

#FDMenu

Saffron Kalakkand – Quick and Easy Cheese and Milk Fudge with Saffron and nuts

Ingredients:

  • Low Fat or Part Skim Ricotta Cheese – 16 oz
  • Non fat Condensed Milk – 14 oz
  • Saffron strands : a pinch
  • Cardamom Pods – 1/2 tsp
  • Pistachios – 6
  • Almonds – 10
  • Ghee or melted butter: 1 tsp to serve as grease

 Method:

 Prep work :

  • In a spice grinder, add in the saffron strands and cardamom seeds and fine grain powder these without adding water.

 Prep work 2:

  • Finely chop the pistachios and almonds in a food processor or spice grinder.

Process:

  • In a microwave safe glass bowl or container, mix the Ricotta Cheese and the Condensed Milk well. I used a wire whisk to break out the lumps and completely homogenized the mix. Took about 5 min or so
  • Cook in the microwave for about 12 minutes uncovered. Keep an eye out for the bubbling mix. Stop and scrape the edges and re-do this process. I did this step in about 5 stage intervals of 3 : 3: 2:2:2 min cooking . I suppose you can go all out and cook in lower intervals, but I just needed to keep a clean microwave oven. No spill mess 🙂
  • Next microwave covered for about 6 min or so. Stop every 2 min , scrape the sides stir and continue.
  • Just before the final 2 min stage add in the cardamom and saffron mix. Cook for a final 2 min. The heat in the cooked milk fudge will release the flavor or the saffron and cardamom and you will see the beautiful color of the saffron permeating the fudge mix.
  • The final stage should resemble soft crumbly mix . Slightly wet and moist mix would be the ideal stage to stop the cooking process.
  • In a square serving container , grease the bottom with ghee or melted unsalted butter. Go easy the grease part. The idea is for easy release of the pieces not to drench it !
  • Pour in the hot fudge mix in the prepped container with grease and add in the crushed nuts mix on the top and pat down to resemble an even surface.
  • Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
  • Cut into beautiful squares and serve!
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Potato and Veggies in a Puff Pastry Basket -Doled up to be eaten!

Sunday afternoons and late afternoons are well just that.. Lazy, indulgent, me-time craving and mostly is the time when I catch up on some reading if possible. Of late though, the only reading I seem to be catching up on is coordinating schedule calendars or even worse – to -do lists! Have you wondered ever as to how to-do lists emulate a certain Hero’s body part from Ramayana? Tale of Hanuman’s tail I say (pun really?) I often wonder if I have this secret capacity that is very very secret, so secret that even I do not know how and where it is hidden, this capacity of mine to add more than I take – Especially in the case of to-do lists, take one out add 5 in? How do you balance the equation? Seriously someday I am going to need a reminder for my reminders…

In any case, a high tea fare in the afternoon resulted in me racking my brains on something different. After all today’s meal was a super delish mixed veg tomato rice and raitha. A one pot meal to satisfy everyone’s taste buds and needs. Packed schedule and lunch and an errant dishwasher left me with very little time for innovation. A quick rummage into the freezer and the pantry yielded the staples , but then again lo behold.. I spied a lone pack of puff pastry sheets. Like a child pouncing on popsicles on a hot summer day, I gleefully pounced on this pack and my mind ran a quick myriad of variations on the menu possibilities each with different degrees of effort in it. Back to the point of Sunday afternoon, I needed to do some quick thinking and with very minimal effort this creation was for all to indulge !

 Here we go…..

For the Basket:

One pack Pepperidge Farm Puff pastry sheets – thawed and ready to be used. Please follow manufacturer’s instructions on these for use.

 For the Filling:

  • Onion: 1, chopped finely
  • Red Potatos : 2,chopped finely
  • Zucchini: 1,chopped finely(optional)
  • Frozen peas and carrot mix: 1/2 cup ,thawed and ready to use.
  • Mint: a few sprigs, chopped finely
  • Cilantro: a handful, chopped finely
  • Oil of choice: 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Kasuri methi: crushed, 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera: 1/2 tsp
  • Pav Bhaji masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp ( optional)
  • Garam masala : 1/2 tsp 

Prepwork :

  • Take out the Pepperidge farm puff pastry sheets and thaw according to instructions.
  • Pre heat the oven to 375 deg F and spray a 12 cup standard muffin pan with cooking spray.You will  need two of these for 2 sheets of puff pastry.

To make the filling :

  • Heat oil in a wok, add in the mustard seeds and jeera seeds. On sputtering of these, add in the chopped onions. Fry them till translucent , add in the chopped zucchini and stir for a min or two.
  • Add in the potatoes ( I microwaved these chopped potatoes for 5 min ro so, to hasten the cooking process) and thawed peas and carrots frozen mix.
  • Stir in gently and cover and cook for about 5 min.
  • Add in the Masalas , salt and stir so they are well mixed in the filling.
  • Add in the crushed kasuri methi and cilantro and mint in the final stage.
  • Toss gently and turn off the flame.

Method:

  • Spread out the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut them in to strips of 2-3 inches. One sheet yielded 12 strips. This recipe yields about 24 of these baskets.
  • Place each cut strip of puff pastry sheet in the cup of muffin pan. Sort of molding it slightly to naturally hug the shape of the indention.
  • Scoop out a tsp or so filling and fill it in the cup. Repeat this process so you have distributed it amongst the 24 muffin cup baskets .
  • Bake it in the oven for about 20 min or so.
  • Once done, you should have light browning of the pastry sheets. Let it stand in the oven for a min and then remove it . Now you will notice the nice browning of the sheets.
  • Let these cool out for about 5 min or so.
  • Gently scoop out these baskets…
  • Serve them warm with a cup of ice-cold coffee …

Notes:

  • Don’t have 2 muffin pans? Just do it batches. Just make sure the other sheet is refrigerated until use.
  • Don’t have the patience to do it in batches? Then make 12 of these baskets and make pinwheels of another sheet..
  • Have left over chole? Try baking it in these cups. Just ensure the filling is not too runny.
  • Make it more different? Try it with paneer spiced up..
  • This is pretty much a blank canvas and waiting for your master touch!
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Tomato, Onion and Carrot Chutney – Simple,Quick and Awesome!

#BacktoBasics

Superfast, Super quick , Super delish and uses ingredients most often found in your pantry . The best part about this is the fact that it is so versatile and has a burst of flavors all in one. You can keep the consistency thick enough to make it into a sandwich spread, or add a dollop on your burger when grilling. Or thin it out a bit and it become the most awesome chutney for Idli, Dosa(i), Adai, Upma .. You name it! Slightly vary the flavor and you have a super hit dip on your hands for those multi grain chips.. Oh! you can let your imagination run wild. But trust me, this is one chutney you will not regret to add to your list of must- do’s or repertoire.

 Ingredients:

  • Channa Dal or skinned peanuts : 1 Tbsp
  • tamarind paste : 1/2 tsp
  • Onion : 1 big , Chopped fine
  • Tomato: 1 big Chopped fine
  • Carrots: 1 big, peeled, Chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, Chopped fine
  • Mint: 1/4 cup ,Chopped fine
  • Oil: 2 tsp
  • Green chilies : 2
  • Red Bydagi chilies : 2
  • Salt : 1 tsp

Method:

  • In a skillet, heat one tsp of oil and fry the channa dal or peanuts if using to golden brown.
  • Also add in the red Bydagi chilies and fry them.  Next add in the green chilies to fry it a bit more.
  • Scoop it all out in a plate to cool it down a bit.
  • Add in one more tsp of oil in the same skillet and fry the onions, tomatoes and carrots in the  sequential order. Take care to ensure these are nicely cooked/sautéed.
  • Turn off the flame and add in the chopped cilantro and mint and stir it in. The residential heat in the pan is enough to slightly wither the greens and take the edge of the raw nature of it.
  • Scoop this out on a second plate to cool the contents.
  • In a blender, dry grind the channa dal  or peanuts with the red chilies initially into a dry rough grind. Next add in the green chilies, tamarind paste, sautéed veggies and salt and blend very well without water.
  • Add in a few tablespoons of water to thin out according to need , but ensure it is given a final whirl in the blender before use.
  • That’s it! Simple and ready for a multitude of uses.

Notes:

  • Don’t’ have channa dal or peanuts? Try using split urad dal or  almonds. Works like a charm and don’t be shy to experiment a bit.
  • Don’t have red Bydagi chiles?Add in a tsp of kashmiri mirch powder or simply exclude it from the recipe.
  • Mint and cilantro can be mutually exclusive in this recipe or added with a bit of sweet basil and you have a completely different flavor.
  • Add in sautéed ginger and introduce a new variation to this.Want to add garlic? Yes yes you may do so, but ensure again it is sautéed very well.
  • Uses: sandwich spread, relish, topping, accompaniment to dosas, idli, rotis, upma and more, dip for multi grain chips and crackers, veggie dips.
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