Cooking | Maharashtrian Khandvi

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Maharashtrian Khandavi

Some food memories stay with you for the eternity… and some people leave their mark on your life through the food they cook…you might forget any other traits of that person but usually you will not forget the best dish that someone makes! So is the case of this Khandavi recipe. One of my school teachers used to make this Maharashtrian style fudge and used to distribute among her students on various occassions.. probably this was her favorite dish too…she used to make it quite frequently.

Maharashtrian khandavi is way different from her synonymous which is Gujarati khandavi. This khandavi is a sweet dish made up of sugar cane juice (you read that right!), rice flour and fresh or dried coconut. On the other hand, Gujarati khandavi (which we Maharashtrians refer to as ‘suralichi vadi’) is a savory roll made up of cooking cheak pea flour cooked in buttermilk and stuffed with freshly grated coconut, fresh coriander and then tempered with mustard, cumin and green chilies. Though I like both equally, it must have been ages since I had the recipe I am presenting to you today!

Khandavi is sweet dish which is only mildly sweet and its most commonly sweetened with fresh sugar cane juice…of course, when it is not available one can use jaggery dissolved in water.. but believe me it is nowhere close to this version which uses sugar case juice. Also, you will be presented with this very subtle aqua green color… I was explaining what khandavi is to my neighbor (who quickly became a good friend) during our daily chitchats and I told her about the color and when I made it, it was the exact color I had been dreaming about… I still vividly remember the color and taste when our teacher used to give this to us! I was truly happy that I could recreate those memories…

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Fresh sugar cane juice

So here is what you will need to make this fudge –

  1. Fresh sugarcane juice – 1 cup (ask your juicewala not to add ice, ginger and lemon)
  2. Coarsely ground rice flour – 1/2 cup
  3. Fresh or dry grated coconut – 1/4 cup (I used dry coconut or khobra) plus 1/2 tbsp for garnishing on top
  4. Green cardamom powder – as per your liking
  5. Poppy seeds – a small spoonfull to sprinkle on top
  6. Ghee – 1/2 tbsp plus some more for greasing the tray

Procedure –

  1. A day before you plan to make khandavi, soak 1/2 rice in enough water. Let soak for about 4-6 hours, drain and spread on a kitchen cloth to dry. Once the rice is completely dry, grind to a coarse meal. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a plate or tray by greasing it with ghee. Keep aside.
  3. To make the fudge, heat ghee in a wide pan. Add 1/2 cup rice flour and roast on a slow flame till it changes the color to light pink and it gives a roasted smell.
  4. Turn off the heat. Add 1 cup sugar cane juice and stir well not allowing lumps to form. Quickly add the coconut. Return to heat, keep stirring the mixture. Cover with lid and let it steam cook for a minute or so till all the mixture pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour the mixture into prepared plate/tray and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved coconut and poppy seeds, press a little so that they stick on top of the fudge. Let the fudge cool a little bit. Cut in desired shape with a knife washing it in running water after each cut.
  6. Let the fudge cool down completely. You can refrigerate it for some time if it still looks like not completely set.
  7. This fudge can also be served warm with little more freshly grated coconut and ghee.

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As always, I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions!

Happy cooking~

Prajakta

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General | Using earthenware

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Cooking pot (haandi), water jug and griddle (tawa)

Sometimes I feel that life moves in a circle. What’s old comes back in a new package and what was new becomes old overnight! Be it fashion, food or the way of life! Take the case of earthen pots and pan..for example!
There was a time when food was cooked only in earthen pots… then came the metallic ones.. from ordinary iron to copper, silver and what not. Technologies advanced and we got our hands on non stick ware and now there are lots of options available only in non stick ware. Come to think of it, our very own cast iron pans have made a fancy comeback and you will see at least one recipe using cast iron skillet on pretty much every food blog out there… not that I am complaining!

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Glasses, mugs, bowls and a cute water bottle!

Coming back to the earthenware, Β though in some parts of India, people use earthenware for their daily cooking, Β the trend is cropping in urban India as well.

I myself have a descent collection of earthenware.. from tawa to a cool water bottle I even have a small set of bowls and glasses…

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What better way to flaunt my collection than to show it to you all.πŸ˜‰
But this is just not a show off.. here are some health benefits of cooking/eating in the earthen pots:

  1. As these pots are porous in nature, storing the water in them lets the heat from water to escape and gives you a naturally cooled water which is an healthier alternative to fridge water. The added benefit is that the minerals from the clay get added to the water you are drinking.
  2. Again, as these pots are porous these are best for slow cooking. Pores allow the heat and moisture to distribute evenly through the dish you are preparing which in turn develops a consistent flavor profile. Next time, try cooking your biryani or daal makhani in an earthen pot and you will notice the difference in texture and taste!
  3. As the clay is alkaline in nature, cooking acidic food in earthenware will help balance the pH level of the food, especially try cooking dishes with tomatoes and tamarind etc. in these pots, your food will surely have a deep taste.
  4. Get the supply of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, etc.Β  by cooking in the earthen pots.

Apart from the health benefits here are three reasons why you should start using the earthenware:

  1. Compared to all the other cooking devices, earthenware comes in quite cheap.
  2. It makes for a beautiful and elegant display on your dinner table and gives a classy touch to your dinner spread.
  3. Cleaning the earthenware is quite easy, one does not have to use harsh chemicals. Hot water and a good quality dish soap is good enough.

Of course, you will need to take a few precautions while using earthenware:

  1. Never put cold water in a hot earthen pot.
  2. Cool the pot completely before cleaning if you are using room temperature water for cleaning.
  3. Never use metallic cleaning pads or scratchy powders to clean the pot.
  4. Use gentle hand while cleaning.
  5. Rise the temperature slowly when cooking in earthen pots. When needed, use a griddle below the earthen pot, so put the griddle on the stove top, heat it to medium heat and then place the earthen pot.

Go, get yours now! πŸ˜‰

Hope you enjoyed my post about using earthenware for cooking and serving. Please share the word, because sharing is caring!

~Prajakta

DIY/COOKING | HOMEMADE GHEE (CLARIFIED BUTTER)

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Homemade ghee (clarified butter)

Life has come a full circle for me… last year around same time I left my full time job for various reasons. Tomorrow, I start with another inning of my professional life – with the same employer! With that, today being the (kinda) last day of being myself, I set to spend time doing what I truly like – 1. I watered our newly setting-up garden… taking in all the beauty and scents, clicking the pictures of first batch of flowers. 2. I set up on a mission to click pictures of liquid pouring shots – and my subject was ‘ghee’ that I had made yesterday. 3. Writing a blog post about ghee!

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Homemade ghee or clarified butter is a thing of childhood memories and the house that smells like heaven when the ghee is being made. My mother always made batches after batches of ghee…it was a ritual of every week. Back in the days, when refrigerator was a thing of fancy duration between two batches will depend on whether the curds are getting sour. Now, its a matter of week’s time at the most. Making ghee at home is a task of patience… when I was a kid I used to wait for the day when Aai (that’s what we call mother in Marathi) would start with churning the curds into butter and then ghee.

We used to get to lick clean the utensils and a wooden hand-whisk (called ‘ravee’ in Marathi) with the leftover butter once she has removed all but some. Things haven’t changed much here… I separate butter and buttermilk with either food processor or hand mixer and my reward is whatever small amount of butter that is stuck to the pots and blades. πŸ™‚

But first things first, to make homemade butter/ghee, you will need to skim/collect the cream from the milk after boiling and cooling milk. Collect it in a steel pot and keep it refrigerated. Keep on adding the cream for almost a week. Make sure that the cream does not sit out of the refrigerator for too long or else it will either get spoiled or will start tasting bitter. I will strongly suggest to refrigerate the milk once it gets to room temperature, and remove the cream only after at least 6 hours of refrigeration. This ensures that the almost all the cream has gathered on top and you are making the most of the cream content in the milk. Now, you have to add starter to this cream to make the curds.

Alternatively, on the very first day itself you can add starter to the cream and let it curdle. Then when you add the cream on other days, keep the mixture out on your kitchen counter for a couple of hours so the newly added cream also curdles. Remember, in summers curdling will be quick and so, do not keep the mixture out for a long time. Check occasionally and put it in the refrigerator as soon as the mixture is curdled. This is to avoid curd to become too sour.

Once you have enough cream, separate the butter and buttermilk using food processor or hand mixer or traditional wooden whisk. With food processor and hand mixer, its a matter of 1 or 2 minutes that you get the butter. With wooden whisk, it will take 10-20 minutes depending on the fat content and temperature of the curds. Its no rocket science to understand that the butter is separated. You will clearly see small particles of butter gathering leaving the liquid part aside. The liquid part is buttermilk for you…in India, even buttermilk is consumed in various ways – do not throw this out.

Now, how to make ghee?

In a deep steel or non-stick pot put the butter. Put this pot on the stove stop on medium to low heat. Once the butter starts melting put a wooden ladle in the pot. This is to ensure that the melted butter does not overflow. Also, turn the heat to the lowest setting. If the butter comes upto the rim of the pot switch of the flame and let the liquid settle down a bit. Start again!

After about 5 minutes or so, you will see some foam rising on the top. Keep cooking on the low flame till the foam starts disappearing. The ghee is ready when either 1. the liquid becomes transparent and you can see bottom of the pot except for some residue milk fats settling at the bottom, 2. the splattering sound stops completely, 3. the liquid looks golden yellow, or 4. if you sprinkle a few drops of water, it splatters and makes sound, or 5. the fat gathered on the sides of the pot sticks to the pot and starts browning. Residue milk fats can be consumed by adding some sugar – you can make bars/balls or just eat with a spoon!

Switch of the flame. After 5 minutes or so, cover the pot with lid keeping some space to let out the remaining steam. This ensures a nice grainy texture of the ghee once it cools down and solidifies.

Do now overcook the butter or the ghee will have a burnt taste and not so nice brownish colour.

Let the ghee come to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in cleaned glass or steel containers.

*Ghee is such comfort food and its part of almost every meal at my house. Making it at home is way too economical and anything homemade is always healthy and free of preservatives. I get around 10-12 gms of cream everyday. With about a week’s supply I get around 120 mls of ghee.

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Liquid gold….

I am so thrilled with the results of my first ever “shooting the pouring liquid experiment” that my joy has no bounds…I am smiling ear to ear looking at those pictures. I must thank Lindsay of Pinch of Yum… she has such a detailed post about photographing liquid pouring shots… in fact she has everything amazing on her blog.

On another note, I have promised myself not to get engulfed by my job and not ignore the blog! And I promise you, you will get to read something here every now and then. πŸ™‚ Keep coming to my little space.

~Happy cooking,

Prajakta

Cooking| Dal khichdi – weekend meals made easy…

IMG_2195_1Some of my weekends are too busy to cook anything but one pot meals…honestly, not only my weekend but this time last couple of months have been very very busy… travel, festivals, celebrations, office and what not!

Thankfully when this long weekend was approaching, we thought of spending it lazily – and for me that included less cooking too πŸ˜‰

We both love rice dishes. Those are truely comfort food for us. We also order dal khichdi sometimes when we eat out and don’t want to eat very elaborately.

Simply put dal khichdi is a scrumptious meal and comfort food at its best! This dal khichdi recipe is easy to make and leaves your tummy happy and full! What else one wants on a lazy weekend afternoon?

To be specific this recipe is not exactly a one-pot mean; but it can definitely be made into. Instead of making tomato mixture in a separate pan, you can put all ginger, garlic, green chilies and tomatoes in the same tempering and then add rice and dal. This recipe makes for 2-3 servings per person for two people or single servings for a family of 4-5 persons.

Eat it plain with a dollop of desi ghee (purified butter; and this is a must) or serve it with some pickle, chutney or papad; and enjoy!

IMG_2193_1Here is what you will need –

  1. 1 and 1/4 cup rice*
  2. 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon split moong dal*
  3. approximately 5 to 5 and 1/2 cups water*
  4. 1 medium size tomato
  5. 2 green chilies chopped into small pieces*
  6. 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped finely
  7. 7-8 garlic cloves chopped finely
  8. 3-4 cloves
  9. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. a pinch or two of asafoetida
  12. 1 teaspoon red chili powder*
  13. 3 plus 2 tablespoons desi ghee (clarified butter); little extra for serving
  14. a handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped finely

Here are the step wise instructions –

  1. Clean and soak rice and dal separately in enough water for at least 15-20 minutes
  2. In a deep heavy bottomed pot heat 3 tablespoons desi ghee (clarified butter) on low to medium heat on stove top. When the ghee is hot, reduce heat to low and add turmeric powder and asafoetida and give a quick stir. Now add cloves and saute for a minute or so till cloves leave their smell.
  3. Drain the water from rice and dal; save for further use. Add rice and then dal to the tempering and stir to mix. Keep stirring this mixture till you see that rice is turning pink. Be careful and do not burn rice and dal.
  4. Pour the water used for soaking dal and rice; add more water as needed* (refer notes). Add red chili powder, half of chopped green chilies and salt and mix. Increase heat to maximum and let the mixture boil. Cover with lid keeping a little space to let escape the steam and reduce heat to low again. Keep checking the rice and dal to see if its cooked and stir occasionally to avoid sticking or burning of the khichdi. Also, try to mash khichdi a little every time you stir.
  5. While the khichdi is cooking, add remaining 2 tablespoon ghee in a frying pan. Heat the ghee and then add cumin seeds, finely chopped garlic and saute till it starts turning golden brown. Now add finely chopped ginger, reserved green chilies, and chopped tomato and cook till tomato becomes soft and start breaking down.
  6. Add this tomato and spice mixture to the pot of khichdi and mix thoroughly. At this stage, do a taste test and add red chili powder and salt if needed. Let khichdi and tomato mixture cook together for 3-4 minutes or till the khichdi reaches your desired consistency – we want khichdi to be mushy and soft – we don’t want to dry out all the water.
  7. Serve hot with a dollop of desi ghee, pickle and papad. Enjoy!

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Notes:

  1. You can use any type of rice, I used Surati kolam but I would highly recommend Ambemohor
  2. I have given a loose measurement for dal. I usually use dal in 1/2 proportion to that of rice – so for one cup of rice I would use 1/2 cup dal.
  3. The quantity of water depends on how thick or thin you want your khichdi to be. With the quantity I have specified it makes khichdi just thin enough (but not runny). Adjust the water as per your liking but I would suggest at least 2 and 1/2 times that of total quantity of dal and rice.
  4. Use green chilies and red chili powder as per your taste preferences. The quantity used here along with quantity of ginger makes the recipe quite hot. If you prefer less heat, reduce the use of all three.

Happy cooking~

Prajakta