Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai

This is going to be a super quick post from me. It’s been a  long day and I sure hope to wind down soon. The last week’s trip to the grocery store made sure I  got a good pound + or so of these fresh Ivy gourds. They were tender and heaped out in mounds in the produce aisle. Naturally they had to make their way home. We love these cute little veggies at home and my daughter calls these mini cucumbers Doppelganger, but of course you could not eat them raw. We do cook a lot of these at home and they make delicious stir fry as well a part of mixed veggie masala rice.  I have  another recipe up on the  blog  with cashewnuts and black channa. That was awesome as well. You should definitely try it . This time though I  did want to try something a tad different with these. The best part about these veggies are they are pretty much a blank slate waiting to be gourmet-fied :-)..  This is super good as an accompaniment with a light dal tadka and phulkas. Oh my !

Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai - Dry spices mix
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai – Dry spices mix

The prep would definitely consume a bit more of your time , but since it uses dry spices , this is an awesome make ahead dish as well.  And also the end justifies the tiny bit of labor you would have to do..

Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai - split into quarter
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai – split into quarters
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai - filling it with spices
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai – filling it with spices

 

Delicious and absolutely tender cooked ivy gourd stuffed with dry spices and cooked in minimal oil in a covered skillet. Easy, vegan and absolutely lip smacking!!

 

Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai - ready to be cooked
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai – ready to be cooked

Prep time : 30 – 40 min  Cook time : 15 – 20 min  Serves : 4

Ingredients:

Vegetable:

  • Tender Ivy gourd/ Tondli/ Kovakkai : 1 Lb. approximately

Dry spices:

  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.

Dry spice powders:

  • Amchur powder / Dry mango powder : 1  tsp.
  • Red Chili powder : 1 tsp.
  • Dhania  powder  : 1 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1.5 tsp.
  • Sambar powder : 1 tsp. ( optional )
  • Haldi / Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp + more if required

Water:

  • 2 Tbsp. required for cooking

Oil :

  • Oil of your choice : 1.5 – 2 Tbsp.

Garnish :

  • Finely chopped cilantro

Method:

  1. In a bowl add all the ingredients listed in the dry spice powders mix and mix it thoroughly so the salt and spices are evenly distributed.
  2. Wash the vegetables very well, trim the ends and discard any ripe ones if you discover ( they are usually red on the inside).
  3. Slit the gourd/ tondli/ kovakkai vertically into 4 ( like an open flower) without slitting it all the way through. The idea is to create a pocket to retain the spices.
  4. Now stuff the dry spice mix in all of these. This does require you to employ a bit of patience.
  5. Once done , heat a flat bottom cast iron or non stick skillet with a bit of  depth on its side.  Add the oil and the cumin seeds which will sputter on contact with the hot oil.
  6. Slide the stuffed vegetables gently and arrange so they are in a single layer.
  7. If you have left over of the dry spice masala filling you can either store it to be used later or sprinkle all over these .
  8. Add a couple of tablespoons of water by sprinkling all over it and cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  9. Once they are nearly done, remove the cover and let it roast uncovered in the pan. Gently flip the vegetables over to ensure even cooking.
  10. Remove when completely cooked  and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
  11. Serve hot as an accompaniment with soft rotis, dal and steaming hot rice.
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai - Garnish with cilantro and serve
Bharwan Tondli / Spice mix Stuffed IvyGourd / Stuffed Kovakkai – Garnish with cilantro and serve

Bitter gourd/ Karela/ Pavakkai Crispy Skillet fry – Spiced just right & healthy!

Bitter gourd. The name usually sends shivers down the spine of many . Nope not the scary kind but the Yikes! So bitter kind that I do not want to attempt it at home kind !

 Sources quote that ” Momordica charantia” known as bitter melonbitter gourdbitter squash or balsam-pear in English, has number of uses that are thought to be beneficial treatment of diabetes, fever and infections. Widely grown in the Indian sub continent, it is believed to have made it way to China from there. But we love it here at home here. I know 🙂 Cooked the right way it is delectable one, I say . Back in the golden days of my youth it was a staple part of the diet for us when we grew up. I make it a gazillion ways , but this particular one is popular as well as it could be simply rolled up in the flat bread of your choice.

Bitter gourd/ Karela/ Pavakkai Crispy Skillet fry - Spiced just right & healthy!

There are a couple of ways to reduce the bitterness if one would like to do so. Scraping the skin helps as well as salting the cut slices and removing the water extruded . I have chosen to retain the natural flavor  and the bitterness as I also believe it retains the maximum health benefits that way.

Bitter gourd/ Karela/ Pavakkai Crispy Skillet fry - Spiced just right & healthy!

Near crispy slices of bitter gourd skillet cooked to retain its natural flavor with a mélange of dry spices and mix. The result  is truly delectable. A perfect accompaniment for soft rotis and mild dal fry and steaming bowl of rice.

Bitter gourd/ Karela/ Pavakkai Crispy Skillet fry - Spiced just right & healthy!

Prep time : 10 minutes   Cooking time : 20 min    Serves : 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Bittergourd or Bitter melon : 5-6
  • Turmeric Powder / Haldi : 1 tsp.
  • Amchur or Dried Mango Powder : 1-1.5 tsp.
  • Jeera/ Cumin powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Dhania/ Coriander seeds powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1.5 tsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1- 1.5 tsp. – Depends n your spice level
  • Besan / Chickpea flour : 1 Tbsp.
  • Powdered Jaggery/ Brown sugar: 1 tsp. ( optional)
  • Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp.
  • Split Urad Dal : 1 tsp.
  • Hing / Asafoetida: A generous pinch
  • Curry leaves : 5-6 . Washed well, patted dry and in pieces.
  • Oil of your choice : 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp. + extra if needed.
  • Fresh Chopped Cilantro for garnish.

Method:

Preparing the Karela/ Pavakkai/Melon:

  1. Wash the vegetable very well and pat dry to remove the moisture from the skin. Trim the ends.
  2. Slice down the center and remove the spongy seed center mass.
  3. Slice each half further into thin strips or you can choose to retain the crescent shape .
  4. Thinly slice the strips to yield half-inch pieces.
  5. Keep aside to be cooked next.

Cooking:

  1. In a big flat skillet ( preferably well seasoned cast iron or non stick ) add the tablespoon of oil and let it heat up. You do not want this smoking so it should only take a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the Asafoetida, it should sizzle and then add the mustard seeds. These will splutter. Add the Split Urad dal next and let it brown for a minute or so.
  3. Add the haldi or turmeric powder next.
  4. Now add the bitter gourd pieces and toss it so the oil is coated evenly. Let it cook for about 6-8 min. You should see them browning about .
  5. Add in the salt now and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You will see hints of moisture and possibly some more because salt will cause to extrude water from the vegetable.
  6. Add the amchur powder, garam masala, dhania powder, jeera powder and chili powder. Toss the vegetables so they coat it evenly and cook for another 5 minutes or so. At this stage if you check the vegetable, a piece would nearly split in half as it should be cooked to near doneness.
  7. Add the sugar if using at this stage and toss it one more time.
  8. Finally sprinkle the besan over the vegetable and cook for another 4 -5 minutes.
  9. The final stage will ensure you do not taste the raw nature of chickpea flour.
  10. Taste for spices and salt and then finally garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice, rotis and dal.

Bitter gourd/ Karela/ Pavakkai Crispy Skillet fry - Spiced just right & healthy!

Notes:

If the bitterness of the melon makes it an unpalatable and unpopular choice in your household perhaps  you can adopt one of the 2 methods cooking it so you can definitely introduce it in your weekly cuisine.

  • Scraping the skin and removing the seeds from the center definitely reduces bitterness quotient for sure. 
  • The other method popularly used is to salt the raw cut pieces of karela and set aside for about 15 minutes or so. This  will cause the water to extrude out and you can squeeze out the pieces party dry and use for cooking. 

Substitutions:

  • No Amchur powder?  : Alternatively a tsp. of tamarind paste dissolved in a about a Tbsp.of water can be used.
  • No Garam Masala? :  Try using Sambar powder instead.

 

Raw Banana Crispy Skillet Fry – Masala Vazhakkai Varuval

Raw Bananas / Kaccha Kela/ Vazhakkai/ Plantains  are a great source of Potassium , Magnesium , Vitamins and more. Infact these are a staple in the tropical parts of the worlds. Make no mistake, this very much different from the unripe green bananas and dessert bananas.  Their skin is tough to peel and you need to use a peeler or knife . They also contain less sugar than the dessert bananas as well. The are often treated akin to potatoes in their usage. Often a staple in many south indian households, there are quite a few preparations of this. Kababs, Podimas, Cutlets, kola vadai . stews and so many more to tease your tease buds!

Raw Banana Crispy Skillet Fry - Vazhakkai Varuval

 Quick to cook, versatile in its prep , chock full of nutrients and economically available – no wonder it is quite popular.

This particular preparation will yield particularly crispy plantain fry without a heavy dose of oil  and has an awesome crunch and flavor  on the surface  and tender texture inside.  This dish is really good paired with steaming rice and a stew or with hot phulkas and a dal. Or simple fry it to an extra few minutes and pick it and eat it as such. Told you, it is that good !  (I have added preparation methods for barbecue and grilling as well. Do check out the notes section) 

Raw Banana Crispy Skillet Fry - Vazhakkai Varuval

Prep time : 10 min  Marinating time :  15 min Cooking time : 15 min  Serves : 4-6

Ingredients:

Vegetables: 

  • Raw Bananas : 5-6, medium to large in size

 For the Marinade:

  • Chickpea flour/ Besan : 1 .5 Tbsp.
  • Rice flour : 1 Tbsp.
  • Sambar powder : 1 tsp + extra as required for spice
  • Kashmiri Chili powder : 1 tsp.
  • Ginger : 1 inch, skinned and grated
  • Water / Yoghurt : 1 Tbsp. + 1 more if required
  • Salt : 1 tsp . + adjusted to taste 

Seasoning and Skillet Frying :

  • Oil : 1 Tbsp. ( you can add more if you think you can take it)
  • Curry leaves : 6-8 ( washed very well )
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Hing/ Asafoetida : A generous pinch

Preparation:

  • Fill a bowl with enough water so it can accommodate the sliced bananas.
  • Trim the ends of the Raw bananas and slice/ peel the skin . Slice it in 1/4 inch thick slices and immerse in water immediately. Why ? Well if you don’t, it will start to blacken very soon.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under the marinade. This will not be watery or thick gooey marinade . It will resemble a wet rub more.
  • Drain the slices and add these to the marinade. Toss it gently so each and every slice gets coated very well. The moisture from the slices will now make the rub more wet and help in the coating . Take care to not add too much water / yoghurt in the initial marinade rub please!
  • Let it sit for about 15 min or so. Once marinated it is ready to get pan-fried.
  • In a wide flat bottomed skillet ( preferably nonstick or well seasoned cast iron will work wonders too ) add a tbsp. of oil ( you can add one more if you would like to) and on heating add the seasonings. Let it splutter and then add the marinated raw banana slices in a  single layer as much as possible.  You will need to cook this on medium high heat and let it brown evenly on one side and flip to the other side to cook it nice and brown again. I initially covered it and cooked it for a couple of minutes to hasten the process and then cooked It uncovered so I could retain the crunch.
  •  Gently toss it please, if not you are more likely to split the thinner sliced ones. In about 15 minutes or so you will have nice and crisp fried sliced of raw banana . Check and adjust for salt if required.
  • Serve it hot with rice or phulkas and a stew !

Raw Banana Crispy Skillet Fry - Vazhakkai Varuval

Notes :

  1. Want to add a twist? Add  a dash of tamarind paste , some saunf or fennel seeds and some garam masala and a whole new burst of flavors happens.
  2. Want to grill this? It would be awesome. Make thicker slices, poke some holes to facilitate the marination and let it sit for about a couple of hours and then proceed to grill.
  3. You can add a thick gooey marinade paste as well made of yoghurt and tandoori masala and skewer barbeque it. It would be really good.
  4. Add some mint and cilantro fine ground to this as well. Totally lip smacking !!

Chole (Channa) Masala – Easy, quick and in 2 versions!

#An Ode to ED – A new series that offers a glimpse in to the myriad of recipes that are from my near and dear and those getting to be there. Welcome!

 A few people in your life you end up meeting virtually – as in cyber space. I happened to meet this whackalicious bunch on a group through ED.  A neat little group/forum where people air everything from recipe request to neighbor issues. A melting pot of emotions is what it is! And so began the conversations and finally brought in that one factor that tie most people in together – Food! While we did get talking about it , I was intrigued enough to weasel out  a few ( and in the future maybe more) of their recipes and stories.

 And here I present one such version of Chole/ Kabule channa/ Garbanzo beans.. Call it what you may, but there are enough recipes floating around in the internet to feed you and your family for the next 7 generations with enough twists and variations in each. But that’s the  beauty of such a ubiquitous dish – we all have our own special take on it.

 Presenting one such variation – in Shrad’z words – Awesome Chole for Aloo Tikki.

This is best served with aloo tikki and chutney to provide the tanginess and sass in your dish!

Chole Masala

 Shradz ke Tikki Wale Chole 

 Ingredients:

  • Dry Garbanzo beans (white) : 2 cups
  • Turmeric : 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1 tsp.
  • Chole Masala : 2 – 3tsp.
  • Oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Amchur : 1/4 tsp
  • Black Cloves : 3
  • Bay leaves : 2
  • Black peppercorns: 2

Method:

  • Soak 2 cups of Kabuli channa overnight or at least for 8 hours in a good amount of water, and preferably in a wide pan.
  • Rinse them well and put to boil in the pressure cooker with a tsp of salt and turmeric and bay leaves, Use a couple of cups of water or as much requires so it boils well in it.
  • Let the chole boil for at  least 5-10 minutes before you pressure cook them in medium to high flame. We need these cooked well and not al dente.  Check them to see if they are cooked to a slightly mushy consistency, then you are done.
  • In a heavy bottomed kadhai add 2 tbsp of oil and the dry spices. Add in the masala as well and then add in the boiled garbanzo beans and stir .
  • Mush in the chole a bit to get the required consistency and add in red chili powder for a bit more for of a spicier version.

To serve:

Best served served over a couple of aloo tikkis garnished with imli and green chutney and fresh cilantro and spices.

 Quick version 2: Jay’s jugaad chole 

  • Garbanzo beans or kabuli channa : 2 cups
  • Big red onion ( diced) : 1
  • Tomatoes : Big red ones : 3-4 ( diced)
  • Chole Masala: 2-3 Tsp.
  • Oil : 1 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp.
  • Bay leaves : 1-2
  • Cinnamon stick: 1/2 inch
  • Black Cloves : 2
  • Green cardamom: 1
  • Fresh chopped cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Salt : to taste
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.

 Method:

  • Soak the Kabuli channa or white chole overnight in about 6 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook the chole with a tsp. of salt, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamom in about 2-3 cups of water. Once cooked, drain the water and reserve to be added to the stew if desired to bring it to the right consistency. Also remove about 3 tbsp. of the cooked chole aside to be added to the grind mix.
  • In a big saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil and sauté 3/4th of the cut onions until translucent and then add in the chopped tomatoes as well. The tomatoes need to cook well and lose much of its water content. Remove and keep aside to cool for grinding.
  • In the saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil and add in the remaining 1/4th of the chopped onions and sauté well until translucent.
  • Add in the chole masala and stir it for a minute or two and now add in the  cooked chole. Also add in the reserved stock to bring it to a nice boil.
  • Meanwhile grind the sautéed onions and tomatoes along with the reserved 3 Tbsp. of boiled beans to a smooth paste.
  • Add this to the boiling mix of beans and masala and cover and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.
  • The resulting mix is a thick stew of beans and gravy and is delectable.
  • Serve garnished with cilantro and a wedge of lime.
  • Goes great with kulcha. rotis,pooris.. or just eat out of a bowl!
Chole Masala served with Kulcha
Chole Masala served with Kulcha

Veggies and Cheese stuffed Pinwheels – Spiced,Eggless,Whole wheat and Irresistible!

 This should have been one of those soul inspiring or a post with a deep message or something thereof. Truth be told, I was one heck of a distracted soul yesterday and goofed up on a couple of things including the prep on what I needed to do . But hey all is well that ends well right?? Plus it’s the weekend and we can all afford to go a wee bit crazy after a week of 5.30 AM alarming alarms..  Keeping it short and simple.. Just so you know while this was happening, I think Mrs. Doubtfire would have been awfully proud of me. Disaster not withstanding and leaky taps not holding me back , no sir I do not know what you are talking about the orange cup. I think Mr. Bean was channeled and changed genders in my kitchen today 🙂  So did feel like some sort of metaphysical channeling happened right there and I survived and saved the day ! Excuse me while I try and pat my back 🙂

 

So here it goes.. This one is awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper. Pinwheels of somewhat flaky and slightly crispy, tender, baked bread encasing spicy veg filling tempered with cheese. Absolutely sinful ( on a diet, well not really ) and so worth it ! An absolute crowd pleaser and kid certified recipe ! Perfect for starter and evening snack. Make it a winner with a cup of hot steaming ginger chai – Cure all for all times !

Truth behind...
Truth behind…

Prep time : 30 minutes    Dough rising time : 110 minutes   Baking time : 20 min  Serves 4-6

 Ingredients (Makes 12-14 pinwheels)

 For the Dough:-

  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour (I used KA)
  • 1/2  cup of APF  + 1/2  more cup  as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain  or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves fine crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2-3 Tbsp. cup of warm water- as needed for the dough
  • Flour for dusting if required

For the filling :- (Makes about 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 cup of grated cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of Broccoli slaw
  4. 1/4 cup of carrots and green peas
  5. 1/2 cup of onion finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp of Pav Bhaji masala 
  8. 1/2 Tsp of Red Chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. of salt and more if required adjusted to taste
  10. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup shredded cheese blend

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend

Method :

First Rise and Dough:

  • Proofing the yeast : Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. This shows the yeast is active and proofing is especially necessary because we are using active dry yeast. If you do not see the frothing in about 5 minute, re do this step. No happy yeast, no bread rise!
  • Mixing the flours: In a  mixing bowl of your stand mixer (if using) or simply any large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of APF and whisk it to ensure that they thoroughly mixed . Reserve  the second 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to add as needed. This is especially useful when we do not weigh out the flours and use volumetric measurement.
  • Add Ajwain, Jeera and  crushed Kasuri methi ( fine crushed between the palms of your hands) to the sifted flour . Whisk once again to aerate and thoroughly distribute the spices.
  • In the mixer/  large bowl now add the salt. Add in the oil and whisk it once

Kneading and first rise: 

  • Now add in the yeast mix and 1/4 cup of  warm water to the flour mix.
  • Mix it thoroughly and knead well till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough. Adjust the water or flour level to ensure the dough is not dry or too sticky. With so much whole wheat in this mix, the pliability will not be comparable to the one using APF exclusively.
  • In a well oiled pan or the same mixing bowl rest the dough ( cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm, dry, dark place) for at least 90 minutes until it is doubled in size.

 For the filling : ( while the dough is rising )

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and sauté them very well. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, bell pepper , grated cauliflower, peas and carrots and broccoli slaw in succession.
  • Salt it to ensure it cooks well , but retains its crunchiness.
  • Add in the masalas and chili powder and toss it well so it all comes together and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so,
  • Turn off the heat and stir it well .

For the Pinwheels / Second Rise:

  • Line a large rectangular baking pan or two if desired with parchment paper or baking liner.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and knead it well for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Roll it out on a floured surface or a lightly greased surface  to make a rectangle .
  • Spread out the cooled filling on it .
  • Top it off with 1/2 cup of cheese that has been shredded. I used the 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend here.
  • Make a jelly roll by rolling from the short end first.
  • Pinch the end of the seams to seal it.
  • Using a very sharp knife , slice it into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices.
  • You should now see concentric rings of dough and filling.
  • Lift them carefully and place it on the baking pan about 3-4 inches part. Absolutely no touching each other !
  • Cover again with the damp cloth and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Baking:

  • When the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Once the second rise is done ( there is an obvious increase in size , but it will not double or so), top with some cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes , until golden brown. 

Once baked, carefully remove them from the tray and let cool on a rack.

Make a steaming hot cup of tea/ coffee/ anything else and Enjoy!

 

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Minty Masala Medhu Vada – Urad Dal Doughnuts ???

This post has been languishing in the drafts for a fair bit of time. In all fairness there are other posts that have to take precedence, but I seems to channel the bit of ADCD.. The attention deficient cleaning disorder ! Only in this case it seems to be on the case of cleaning up my drafts folder.

My little(st) imp turned all of 6 a few weeks back ! And since we have 2 May born in the family, I try to keep the birthday celebrations menu a bit diverse, this one was created for A3 ..This child has sweet teeth.. No seriously, he can dig into anything sweet, but he also loves these Vadai or Urad dal doughnuts  or fried dumplings for lack of a better term.

And I try and create, inculcate, mix and match a few of the flavors to keep it diverse for him as much as possible ..

So here goes..

 Ingredients:

  • Urad dal split or whole : 1.25 cups
  • Brown  basmati rice : a handful
  • Whole Black peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
  • Onion: Chopped finely, 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Cilantro: Chopped finely ,1/4 cup
  • Fresh Mint : Chopped finely , 1/4 cup
  • Green Cabbage: Chopped finely, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Ginger: 1 inch, peeled grated finely
  • Salt : 1 tsp and adjusted to taste

Preparation:

  • Soak the Urad Dal, rice and pepper corns in a 3 cups of water for a couple of hours.
  • Once it is soaked very well and has completely hydrated itself, drain the water and reserve if required for grinding.
  • Grind it to a thick dough consistency in a blender . Use as little water as possible . Using the south indian style wet grinder would yield the fluffy dough very well, but a blender works very well too.
  • The batter would resemble a very thick pancake batter. Add salt and fluff it up with a fork or whisk.  Air incorporated this way would actually yield the  airy and puffy vadai kind. Plus the addition of rice, would give you the crispier outer texture.
  • Add in all the chopped ingredients and stir in gently.
  • Fry these dumplings your style – doughnut style or simple blobs in hot oil.Just ensure they are fried until golden brown in medium hot oil!
  • That’s it ! Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with a relish of your choice !

Notes:

This is seriously a very forgiving recipe. Add in grated carrots, chopped spinach, onions for another flavor. Can take up more heat? Add in fine diced Jalapeños!

 

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Thandai Chai Masala Eggless Cake – Of Friendship, Gossip and More!

Ever wonder how some people just cross paths for a reason.. Or for no reason! When we first moved to NC, we left behind a horde of family and friends in California. Sunny California and the Bay area was teeming with our friends, family, friends of family and family of our friends.. (You get  the drift)

I thought I loved people ( well most of them anyways 🙂 ) and then I meet DH and his family . They simply dwarfed mine. These guys seriously loved people and people seriously loved them. We just became one big crazy family.. Crazy alright !!

The move therefore while we welcomed it, definitely created a pang in our hearts. So just about 2 months of our moving into this new neighborhood in a new state all the way on the opposite coast, a lady in a min-van filled with chirpy kids stopped my MIL on the street , welcomed her home for chai – a cup of tea and some company. My MIL, though could not take up on it but I happened to meet this lady , our neighbor soon thereafter and so began a wonderful friendship.

 Here’s a toast to one of the finest to have crossed ( and stayed in) my path!

“Dear SP, you are one heck of woman ! I love your chai addiction, your margarita madness and your steadfast company!  Filled with many moments of laughter, lunches, crazy talks and some more crazy moments – or shall I say sparkling moments of insobriety.. Dialing in thin air and holding conversations to yourself, monologues and more… You go girl!

While I did want to bake a chai cake ( I promise, I will do it soon), I experimented this on a lark and got to combine your favorite flavors of chai masala and Thandai ..

Happy Happy Birthday Dear SP and please have your “Queen” moment soon.. For I cannot wait to witness it !”

( This recipe is an amalgamation and innovation of a recipe from ED site  and my eggless recipe cake)

Chai Masala Thandai Spice Cake Ingredients:

  • Self rising APF : 2 cups
  • Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
  • Butter : 1/2 cup  (Melted)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
  • 1% Milk : 1 cup
  • Thandai masala : 1 tsp
  • Chai Masala : 1 tsp
  • Saffron : crushed, a few strands
  • Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped 

Method:

  • Preheat the overn to 350 deg F.  Spay oil  and dust flour on the pan of your choice. I used a 9 inch round pan for this.
  • Sift the APF and Baking Soda together
  • Dry whisk it with Thandai Masala, Chai Masala and Saffron  Strands
  • Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the milk and condensed milk.
  • Stir it in gently so the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Now add in half the chopped walnuts in this and stir it in.
  • Add in the batter into the pan.
  • Add in the rest of the chopped walnuts – sprinkle on the surface
  • Bake it in the oven for 35 min or so at 350 deg F.

 Notes:

Please keep an eye on the oven as the quality of the flour and materials used could cause slight variations in the baking time.

Mine took about 38 min to bake. In hindsight, I think I should have reduced the temp from 350 to 325 midway during the baking  process. I have read that this would ensure more even baking .

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