26 November 2006

1-2-3 soup

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel you'd be at peace with the world with a piping hot bowl of soup? Of course you do. Open a can, and there you go!

Have you also wished that that soup could be homemade? Made from scratch so that there is that extra element of satisfaction to it? But nothing too complicated, not too many ingredients, and of course taste really great?? Tall order there?? Actually, no.

My neighbour, back in Singapore, used to make this particular soup quite often, whenever her kids, who were very picky eaters, wanted soup. And once I saw just how easy it was to put together, I had to jot down the recipe, and start making it as and when I wanted a nice hot bowl of soup.

I call it the 1-2-3 soup because that's the proportion of ingredients needed. 1 potato, 2 onions, and 3 tomatoes. And some water, salt and pepper. How much easier can it get?

1-2-3 soup
serves 4

1 potato (peeled)
2 onions (peeled and halved)
3 tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
salt to taste
pepper to garnish

In a cooker, cook potato, onions and tomatoes with just enough water to cover.
Take cooked tomatoes out with a slotted spoon. Peel and discard skins.
Cool the vegetables slightly, and puree in blender, adding tomato paste if using.
Pass through a strainer.
Use water from the cooking to adjust consistency as required.
Heat on a low flame and bring to a simmer.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot.

Make sure the potato, onions and tomatoes are the same size (i.e. all small, all medium or all large)
Tomato paste just gives this soup a richer red colour. Its optional.

Bread and butter pudding

Ever had one of those days when you wanted some comfort food, but didn't want to work too hard at it? I managed to find the perfect dish for those days - bread and butter pudding.

This version is very stripped down, and takes only about 45 minutes to make - less than ten minutes of basic preparations and then the baking time. I call this the perfect recipe for instant gratification.

Bread and Butter Pudding
serves 1

2 slices white bread (crusts removed)
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 150 C.
Butter bread slices. Trim and completely line an oven proof dish with the buttered bread.
Beat remaining ingredients together for the custard.
Pass custard through a fine sieve and pour over bread. Make sure custard covers bread by at least 2 cms.
Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
Bake for 30 minutes, or till tester inserted comes out clean.
Serve warm.

Always ensure that even after soaking, custard completely covers the bread slices. (or pudding might end up slightly dry like this one)
If you use small molds, layer with just one slice/piece of bread in each. Bakes faster.

25 November 2006

Thai Curry

One of my favourite, simple to make, yet slightly fancy, foods is Thai curry.

The key ingredient to a good Thai curry is the curry paste. For those who don't mind a little fish sauce and shrimp paste, there are a lot of options available on the supermarket shelves. For vegetarians like us, that rules out buying readymade paste. After lots of experiments, I came up with a nice curry paste for tangy hot Thai curry.

As long there's some curry paste in the fridge, I don't even have to think about what to cook. I just raid the freezer, take out assorted frozen cut veggies, put them all together, make rice, and lo presto, a nice hot meal ready in less than 20 minutes.

It's really wonderful... especially on a lazy, cold winter day! Piping hot curry, the sweetness of coconut milk hits you first, lulling one into a false sense of complacency before the spice makes its presence known in no uncertain terms. Thats the ideal time to reach for iced tea (or a beer, as a certain self-proclaimed gourmet claims).

Thai Red Curry Paste

15 -20 dry red chillies (or to taste)
1 cup boiling water
10 shallots (peeled)
10 cloves garlic
3 inch piece of fresh ginger (galangal if you can get your hands on some)
6 stalks lemongrass
4 kaffir lime leaves, (or zest from 1 big lemon)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp Oil

Soak the red chilies in boiling water for 15 minutes (or till they are soft). Drain chilies and reserve water.
Finely chop tender part of lemongrass.
Grind chilies, shallots, ginger, garlic, lime leaves (or zest) and the tender portion of the lemongrass, coriander and pepper to a smooth paste, using reserved chili water, one tablespoon at a time, as required.
Transfer to a clean, dry bottle, with a tight fitting lid.
Heat oil and let it cool. Add to the curry paste and stir well.
Can be stored in fridge for about a week.

1. Don't go by the colour of my paste as posted here. I used just 8 chilies as I wanted it slightly bland. The ideal colour is a fiery red!
2. For green curry, use 1 doz green chilies instead of the red. Also add well cleaned coriander roots, and coriander stems (about 1/2 cup) and more basil leaves (about 1/2 cup). No need to soak, chillies. Grind all ingredients to smooth paste as above.

Thai Curry
serves 4

5 tbsp Thai curry paste (or more, for spicier taste)
2 tbsp Oil
1 cup Broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
2 cups mixed cut vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, asparagus, french beans)
1 cup Soya chunks (optional)
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt to taste

Soak soya chunks in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water and keep aside.
Heat oil. Fry curry paste till it loses its raw smell.
Add vegetables, and fry for 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup coconut milk, salt and just enough water to cover vegetables.
Reserve some basil leaves for garnish and add the rest to the curry.
Cover pan and cook vegetables on low heat till done (about 10 minutes).
Add remaining coconut milk and cook on low heat till it starts to simmer.
Garnish with remaining basil leaves.
Serve hot with rice.

1. Other vegetables like eggplants, squash, capsicums and sweet potato can be added to the curry. Go ahead and use any mix that sounds good to you!
2. As a rule of thumb (for one serving) use 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp curry paste, use 1 cup assorted mixed vegetables, and 1/2 cup coconut milk.

16 November 2006

Thank you.. with a Rich fruit-cake

While browsing through assorted blogs, I came across Meeta's Monthly Mingle, themed Give Thanks. I've just spent a good 2 weeks baking one of my favourite dishes, a rich fruit cake, and somehow it seemed just the right thing to contribute to such a lovely theme.

First things first. The thanksgiving!

Thanks are due all over the board. To my parents and sister for always being there for me, to my husband for putting up with ante-natal temper tantrums and emotional outbursts, and to my lovely 3 year old daughter (who for obvious reasons will not be allowed to even sample my culinary genius this time) for just being the sweetheart that she is!

To Kartik, Sangeeta, Soumya and Mythily for years of unconditional friendship and support. To Hemu and Axe who patiently listen to hours of my cribbing about something or the other, to my dearest friend Pons who's going to be a Dad sometime next year, to Sriram for helping me with photography tips n tricks (so the pics look more like food and less like manhole covers or bacteria cultures). And "Thanks" too, to other food bloggers who've dropped by and read my incessant ramblings!

So why did I pick this recipe?? Because it's so perfect, so what if a little off season, as a 'Thank You'. It never fails to warm me, like a sincere 'Thank You'...

Lots of assorted dry fruits, candied fruit and peel, soaked for as long as three weeks in brandy, baked for a long time and then allowed to ripen..... the end result, this simply fantastic cake! From the very first time I tried some, and then tried baking some, this has always been a bit of a challenge. I've spent ages trying to get it just right. I started with the original recipe, took some tips and hints from assorted sources, combined them all, and finally ended up with this gem.

The cake has three major steps. First is the soaking, then the baking and finally the aging! Trust me folks, it's worth every bit of hassle, and is definitely a keeper. The cake itself has a wonderfully long shelf life thanks to all the alcohol that goes into it!

And finally, Thank You Joan aunty, for sharing your family's special christmas cake recipe, inspiring me to higher standards in baking all those years ago and all your valuable baking tips and inputs.

Rich fruit cake

Fruits to soak

600 grams of assorted mixed fruits, candied fruit, candied peel

100 gms golden raisins
100 gms currants
100 gms dried plums (or cherries)
100 gms candied fruit
100 gms candied peel
100 gms dry seedless dates (chopped fine)
1 cup large sooji (rava)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp allspice
500 ml brandy

Lightly dry-roast the sooji and cool to room temperature.
Toss assorted fruits, sugar and spices to mix well.
Keep aside 1/4 cup of mixed fruit.
Toss remaining fruit with sooji.
Put in a bottle with a tight fitting lid.
Pour brandy over fruit till just covered, and top with remaining 1/4 cup fruit.
Keep aside for at least 3 days.

I let my fruits soak for nearly 2 weeks before baking them. If you live in warm climate, I suggest placing the fruit mix in the fridge, and to soak for a maximum of 3 days.
Rum, or Marsala wine are a fantastic substitute for brandy. Dark rum gives it a lovely dark colour.

The cake mix

250 gms unsalted butter (at room temperature)
250 gms brown sugar
250 gms cake flour
2 tbsp baking powder
5 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp almond essence (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Line 4 loaf pans (3"x3"x8") with greaseproof paper.
Sift cake flour with salt and baking powder. Keep aside.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Beat eggs till frothy.
Add beaten eggs, little at a time, to the butter mix and blend well.
Add the essences and mix well.
Add flour, 4-5 tbsp at a time and mix well after each addition.
Before the final addition of flour, add the fruit mix.
Add the last batch of flour and stir gently till well combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in the bottom rack of oven for about 55 minutes.
If the top layer of the cake seems to be firm, loosely cover pans with foil and continue to bake till tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in pans overnight.

This cake needs to be baked dryer than normal pound cakes. So give it 10-15 minutes more than you nromally would. Do remember to cover with foil so that the upper crust does not char/burn.
If you don't have cake flour, plain or self-raising flour work fine too. If using self-raising flour, just skip the baking powder.

The Ripening

1 cup Brandy/Rum/marsala (optional)

Cool cakes are completely.

If you wish to flavour it further:
Prick holes into cake over regular intervals. Sprinkle liquor of choice over cake.

Double wrap each cake in 2 layers of aluminium foil.
Wrap once more with cling film, and keep in a cool, dry place away from light.
Let cake stand for at least a week before serving.
Store foil and plastic wrapped in airtight containers for upto 2 months.

If you wish to add more liquor to the cake after the baking, be advised that it can be a little intoxicating, and not at all suited to little kids.
I've had people swear that this cake lasts for as long as 6 months, but I've never managed to keep any that long. All gets eaten as soon as I unwrap the first packet after ripening!

The end result is normally darker than the slices shown above, but yours truly could not wait to cut and try it out before ripening it. Also, I haven't seasoned it after baking. That would give it a richer colour.

So anyone game to join me for a nice afternoon tea?? I promise to serve this cake with a pot of nice hot tea. Just perfect for the thoroughly cold weather that we're having right now!

10 November 2006

Chaat cravings - 2

After our panipoori dinner I was left with flat and broken pooris, and I just had to make Masale-poori.

Each time I go to Mysore, the day I land, or the next day at the latest, I make it a point to go the friendly-neighbourhood chaat-wala and have a plate of piping hot Masale-poori. I have to admit that it always tastes better in a streetside gaadi that at a restaurant.

Masale-poori is a great comfort food. Especially so in the cooler months and in the rainy season. Crushed poori, topped with cooked dry green peas, the piping hot masale, spiced potatoes, crunchy chopped onions, tomatoes, crisp sev, sweet 'n sour chutney, a dash of yogurt and a sprinkling of chaat masala and chilli powder. Yum.... now I wish home was a short bus-ride away, or at least a direct flight away! Ah well... I can still dream of that delicious masale-poori, can't I??

The weather co-operated quite well too. It was a nice cool day. And by 5pm it was pitch dark outside, and started to get quite chilly indoors. A nice hot serving of masale-poori, a fairly decent movie on video, and we were all quite happy in our little corner of the world.


Spiced Potatoes
Tamarind-date Chutney
Chickpeas or Dry Green Peas
1/2 cup plain yogurt (beaten)
1 medium onion (chopped fine)
1 tomato (diced)
1 cup nylon sev (or plain sev)
Chaat masala to taste
Chili powder to taste
Chopped coriander or cilantro for garnish

clockwise from top left: spiced potatoes, chickpeas,
chhole-masala (the masalé), tamarind-date chutney

Chickpeas or Dry Green Peas
1 1/2 cup chickpeas (or dry green peas)

Soak and cook peas with a little salt.
Drain, and reserve 1 1/2 cup water.
Keep half the peas aside. Use other half in masale.

Cooked peas (chickpeas or dried green peas)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp chhole masala
salt to taste

Puree the peas with reserved cooking water.
Add the masalas, adjust salt to taste.
Simmer for 5 minutes.

clockwise from top: fresh beaten yogurt,
diced onions, diced tomatoes

To Assemble

Crush one handful of pooris and spread on plate.
Top with one handful each of chickpeas and spiced potatoes.
Pour 1/2 cup of masale over the peas and potatoes.
Sprinkle sev, onion and tomatoes over the masalé.
Garnish with tamarind chutney, yogurt and garnish with chopped coriander.
Sprinkle chaat masala and chili powder to taste.
Serve immediately.

Simmer the masale just before serving. Or reheat it before serving. There's no zest in this dish if the masale isn't piping hot.

Chaat cravings - 1

During my usual blog checks last week I came across Hema's post on Gol-Gappas. After cribbing for months about non availability of Chaat in this neck of the woods, I decided to surprise A with panipooris for dinner. Was he thrilled! After all, we were eating (any) chaat for the first time since late March this year. He didn't even crib about some of the pooris that were slightly.... er... hmmm... many shades darker than what's usual!

Having started on this without adequate pre-planning, there were some substitutions I'd had to effect. I didn't have any panipoori masala, just that last bit of mint and coriander that I'd been hoarding for over a month, but I went for it anyway! And it didn't turn out too bad.

Making pooris from scratch takes absolutely ages. It took me about 3 hours to make about 120. And it lasted one dinner and one Masala-poori snack the next day! A little too much work for instant gratification.

I did have to tweak the recipe for the pooris (from Hema's blog) a little. And the end result worked fine! Just fine.

(clockwise from top left: Finely chopped onions,
pooris, tamarind-date chutney, Pani)


1 cup sooji
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp wheat flour
1 tbsp rice flour
salt to taste
Rice flour for dusting

Soak sooji in just enough water to wet all the grains. Keep aside for 15 minutes. (10 mins for fine sooji)
Knead the sooji well by rubbing it into the vessel with your palm till it turns creamy white.
Add all purpose flour, wheat flour, rice flour and salt with enough water to make a stiff dough. Dust a clean surface with rice flour and roll into small round bite-sized pooris.
Alternately, roll into one large sheet and cut rounds with a bottle lid/cookie cutter of suitable size (1.5" diameter works fine)
Heat oil.
Deep fry pooris in batches on medium-low heat for about 7-8 minutes, 3-4 minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels, and store in an airtight container once cooled.

Note: some pooris may not puff up evenly, or may not puff up at all. Separate those from the well puffed ones and store separately for Masala-poori or paapdi chaat.


1 cup chhole (soaked, cooked in salt, and drained)
2 medium onions (peeled, chopped fine)
(clockwise from top left: Chhole, potatoes,
tamarind-date chutney, finely chopped onions)

Spiced Potatoes
2 large Potatoes
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp chaat masala
salt to taste

Parboil potatoes. Peel and dice.
Toss well with salt and spices. Keep aside.

Tamarind-date chutney
1 1/2 tbsp Tamarind concentrate
1 big lemon size ball Jaggery
1 cup dates (seedless)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp dry mango powder
1 tsp chaat masala

Soak dates. Discard waxy skin if any, puree in blender.
In a saucepan bring tamarind, jaggery and dates puree to a boil, stirring constantly to remove any lumps.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add seasonings and adjust salt to taste.
Let it cool before serving.

2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp dry mango powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 green chilli
3 tbsp jaljeera
5 cups cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
(L to R: pani, tamarind-date chutney)

Blend mint and coriander leaves, green chilis, jaljeera, dry mango powder, cumin powder and lemon juice to a slightly coarse paste.
Add to water.
Adjust salt to taste.

Break a poori. Fill with potatoes, chhole and chopped onions.
Add tamarind-date chutney to taste.
Dip into prepared pani and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vegetable puffs

Here's a simple snack for a cold, rainy day. Takes hardly any time to put together, and totally delicious.

In the good old days, when it rained in the afternoon after college was out, it was understood that we'd all troop down to the friendly neighbourhood bakery and have some nice hot puffs, with a kadak chai. The warm layered pastry with a spicy vegetable filling was always guaranteed to hit the spot and give our spirits the badly needed boost to start cycling back home.

With store bought puff pastry, making this lovely snack becomes a breeze. Do try it out.

Vegetable puffs

3 large potatoes
1 cup frozen cut vegetables (thawed/defrosted)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp garam masala or kitchen king
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Microwave potatoes on high for 8-10 minutes. (potatoes can be parboiled too)
Peel potatoes and coarsely mash.
Heat oil. Add powdered masalas and fry for a few seconds.
Add potatoes and thawed vegetables.
Add salt to taste.
Stir well, and cook till dry.
Keep aside.

1 pack frozen Puff Pastry (thawed)

Preheat oven to 180C.
On a well floured surface, roll out thawed pastry to 3mm thick sheets.
Cut into 2" squares with a pizza cutter.
Taking 2 squares at a time, put 1 1/2 -2 tbsp of filling on one square. Cover with another. Seal edges with wet fingertips.
Transfer to baking tray. Repeat till all pastry and filling are used up.
bake in the lower rack of the oven for 15 mins, or till tops are golden brown.
Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

09 November 2006

Mamma Mia!

Last month, I received the most wonderful hostess gift ever. A's collaborator from Italy was here on a visit, and he gifted me this generously large wedge of the most wonderful Parmigiano Reggiano... rind and all.... And the timing was so brilliant too. I'd been doing the rounds of assorted supermarkets here for a half decent Parmesan for some bread recipes that I wanted to try out.

So I sat with this block of lovely aromatic, pungent cheese in front of me, and between nibbles tried to figure out what to make with it. After a lot of browsing online, I decided on a simple Cream of Vegetable soup, Parmesan rolls and a light Risotto.

Yes, my 3 year old helped too. She saw me kneading the dough for the Parmesan rolls. After the rolls had risen well, I'd kept them aside before putting them in the oven. Next thing I know, she's telling me how she's cooking like me. That did set the alarm bells ringing. I went to the table, and there she was, busy punching down the rolls for her dear Amma. The bread tasted real good, but it was a tad hard and crusty. Next time I make some, I plan to let it rise on a very high surface. Maybe on top of the refrigerator!

A looked rather skeptical while dinner was cooking. And even he loved the end results. He insisted that since his daughter helped with the bread, it tasted great.... so what if it was a challenge to his teeth.

Nothing beats a really great cheese to make a simple dinner something out of the ordinary.

Thanks, Sandro... this is the best gift ever!

There's still a generous chunk of the cheese sitting tight in my refrigerator. I'm waiting for some more inspiration to strike. Suggestions, anyone??

Parmigiano-Reggiano Rolls
makes 6

2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup grated Parmesan (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Keep aside for 7-10 minutes till it turns foamy. Stir in olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix 1 3/4 cups flour with salt and grated cheese. Stir in yeast mixture.
On a well floured surface, knead the dough adding more of the flour as required till the dough loses its stickiness (about 7-8 minutes) and is smooth and pliable.
Divide dough into 6 equal balls, and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to rise till double in volume (1 1/2 hours)
Preaheat oven to 200 deg C.
Bake rolls in the middle of the oven till golden brown.

Notes: A dash of oregano and black pepper gives these rolls a lovely flavour. After dividing dough into rolls, lightly coat each roll with a few drops of olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano and black pepper.

Cream of Vegetable Soup
serves 4

1/4 cup cabbage (finely chopped)
1/4 cup cauliflower (finely chopped)
1 small carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
1 potato (peeled and finely chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
1 cup warm milk
2 +1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp white pepper powder
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt to taste

Make roux:
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour. Keep stirring over low flame ensuring there are no lumps.
When mix starts to bubble, add warm milk, stirring continuously. Simmer for 1 minute.
Add white pepper and keep aside.

Heat remaining butter in saucepan.
Saute onions till onions start to turn transparent.
Add remaining vegetables. Saute for 5 minutes more.
Add stock and simmer for about 5 minutes till vegetables are soft.
Add roux and garlic powder. Mix well.
Add water, if required (a little at a time), to adjust consistency.
Simmer till well combined. Adjust salt to taste.
Sprinkle dried oregano.
Serve hot.

serves 2

1 cup long grained rice
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1 small red capsicum (deseeded and diced)
1 small green capsicum (deseeded and diced)
1/4 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 small onion (chopped fine)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
3 cups vegetable broth/stock
2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings for garnish

Melt butter. (or Heat oil)
Saute onion and garlic till transparent.
Add capsicums, corn and peas and saute till capsicums are slightly soft.
Add rice and saute for one minute. (Make sure rice doesn't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan)
Add 1 cup vegetable broth. Cover and simmer till it's fully absorbed.
Repeat till all broth is used, and rice is fully cooked. Stir in grated cheese.
Serve hot, topped with cheese shavings.

I left out any mention of salt in this recipe. If the vegetable broth/stock is not salty enough for your taste buds, do add some salt with the last addition of broth/stock to the Risotto. This is generally not required.

07 November 2006

Chhole in a jiffy

My little one has started to like Chhole... Glory be!

But she does ask me for chhole at the drop of a hat. Out of the blue she's likely to ask me for some, just as I'm about to start cooking. I have started to store cans of Garbanzo or Ceci beans just on the off chance that I'm asked to make some chhole in a hurry.

This is my solution, very simple uncomplicated, light and very delicious chhole. Takes all of 10 minutes to make! And best of all, no ginger, garlic, onion or tomatoes. This brings down prep time to almost nil. And best of all, very little oil!

Sounds too simple, doesn't it? But it's still very very yummy!

When I do plan to make chhole in advance, I soak some chana for a few hours, and cook it with some salt before following this recipe.

Quick and Tasty Chhole
serves 3

1 cup chana, soaked overnight and cooked with salt, OR,
2 cans Garbanzo or Ceci beans

1 tbsp oil
1" cinnamon
3-4 cloves
2-3 black peppercorns
1 bay-leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pod green cardamom
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp dry mango powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp Chhole/Chana masala
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
salt to taste

Drain beans, if using canned, and rinse. Keep aside.
Mix all powders (coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, turmeric, chilli powder, chana masala ) with a little water and make a smooth paste.
Heat oil. Temper with cinnamon, bay leaf, cumin seeds, cardamom, black pepper and cloves.
Add the masala paste. Add a little water if mixture is too thick.
Fry on low flame till oil separates.
Add chana, potatoes and cover with just enough water.
Adjust salt to taste.
Cover and simmer till potatoes are done (about 7-8 minutes).
Take 1/2 cup cooked chana and potatoes and mash well. Add it back to the simmering chhole.
Adjust consistency with a little more water if required.
Simmer for 2 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

02 November 2006

Kaju-pista burfi

This is the reason I staggered out my Diwali goodies posts... no time! After a couple of prompts, I decided that today, come what may, I should get this done!!

Kaju Pista Burfi

Kaju Burfi
100 gms Cashewnuts
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

Soak cashewnuts in hot water for 15 minutes.
Drain and grind to a fine paste.
In a heavy bottomed pan, make a syrup of one string consistency with 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water.
Add ground cashewnuts and stir on a low flame till mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Before taking off the flame, stir in cardamom powder.
Spread evenly on a greased plate.
Keep aside.

Pista Burfi
100 gms Shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 drop Green food colour (optional)

Soak pistachios in hot water for 15 minutes.
Drain well. Clean and rub off any extra skin left on the pistachios.
Grind to a fine paste.
In a heavy bottomed pan, make a syrup of one string consistency with 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water.
Add ground pistachios and stir on a low flame till mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Before taking off the flame, stir in optional food colour and cardamom powder.
Spread evenly over the cashew burfi.
Let it stand for 5 minutes and cut into pieces while still warm.

Very simple, what??

I haven't used any food-colouring in this preparation, but if you feel you want a nice green, do add a drop or two.
Also, instead of stirring cardamom powder into the burfi, I sprinkled all of it over the first layer before pouring the pista burfi mixture over it.