Rajasthani Mirchi Vada

Mirchi vada is a traditional Rajasthani snack in which a spicy and tangy potato filling is stuffed inside large green chilies and then the chilies are dipped in a chickpea flour batter and deep fried. The weather in Bangalore is a little gloomy from past few days and to make it a little fun, these vada’s were perfect. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Large green chilies – 7-8
Potatoes – 2-3 ( boiled and peeled )
Oil – 2 tbsp and for frying
Cumin seeds – 12 tsp
Heeng Asafoetida – 14 tsp
Saunf Fennel seeds – 12 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 14 tsp
Amchoor dry mango powder – 12 tsp
Fresh coriander – 1 tbsp ( chopped )
Besan chickpea flour – 1 and 12 cup
Red chili powder – 12 tsp
Baking powder – 12 tsp

Method of preparation

Add 2 tbsp oil in a pan.
When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, heeng and fennel seeds.
Add boiled potatoes.
Add salt, turmeric powder, amchoor powder and fresh coriander.
Mash the potatoes and mix with the spices.
Cook for 2 minutes on high heat.
Remove from the pan and cool.

Mix besan, salt to taste and baking powder in a bowl.
Add little water to make a thick batter.
There should be no lumps in the batter.

Make slits in the green chilies.
Remove the seeds carefully without breaking the chilies.
Stuff the chilies with potato mixture.
Coat the chilies with besan batter and deep fry in hot oil till golden brown from both the sides.
Serve hot with green coriander chutney.

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Parmesan and Garlic Croutons

These Parmesan and Garlic croutons are amazingly delicious and very easy to make. Here is how to make them at home with just a few ingredients.

All you need is

White bread slices – 10-12 ( Corners removed and cut into small pieces )
Olive oil – 6 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Garlic powder – 2 tsp ( If garlic powder is not available, use crushed garlic cloves )
Dried oregano – 1 tsp
Dried thyme – 1 tsp
Dried basil – 1 tsp
Parmesan cheese – 1 tbsp ( grated )

Method of preparation

Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees C.
Mix olive oil, salt, garlic powder and dried herbs in a bowl.
Add bread pieces and the oil mixture in a bowl.
Mix well.
Spread the bread pieces on a baking tray in a single layer.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 12-15 minutes till golden brown.
Toss the bread pieces in between for 2-3 times.

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Chatpate Chane

Have these Chatpate Chane for breakfast or for snacks, you are going to love this dish. And the bonus is that these are very healthy. Reduce the chili if making for kids and you have a nice lunchbox option too. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Kale chane Black grams – 1 cup
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 12 tsp
Heeng Asafoetida – 14 tsp
Onion – 12 cup ( chopped )
Tomato – 12 cup
Green chili – 1 ( slit into half )
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 14 tsp
Red chili powder – 12 tsp
Amchoor dry mango powder – 12 tsp
Chana masala – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander – 2 tbsp ( chopped )
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp

Method of preparation

Wash and soak the gram in enough water for 5-6 hours.
Drain the water.
Add the gram in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and a tbsp of salt.
Pressure cook till done.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add cumin seeds and heeng.
When the seeds starts crackling, add onions and fry till slightly browned.
Add tomato and green chili.
Cook for a minute.
Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, amchoor powder, chana masala.
Cook for a minute.
Add the cooked grams and a cup of water.
Adjust the salt according to your taste.
Cook till the grams are dry.
Add coriander and lemon juice.
Serve hot.

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Kesar Elachi Srikhand

Srikhand is a traditional Indian dessert made with hung yogurt. The yogurt is hung in a muslin cloth till it looses most of it’s water and then flavorings and sugar is added to it. Srikhand can be enjoyed as is or can be eaten with poories. Here is the recipe of a delicious Kesar elachi srikhand.

All you need is

Yogurt – 3 cups
Powdered sugar – 12 cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Saffron strands – a good pinch
Milk – 2 tbsp ( warm )
Dry fruit slivers for garnishing

Method of preparation

Hang yogurt in a muslin cloth for 3-4 hours.
Remove the thick yogurt from the cloth in a bowl.
This thick yogurt is called chakka.
Add powdered sugar, cardamom powder and saffron milk in the chakka and mix well.
Transfer the srikhand in the serving bowls.
Garnish with slivered dry fruits.
Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Serve with poories or as such.

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Creamy Tomato Soup

Try this creamy soup, you’ll not be disappointed. It has become a family favorite now and we will be sipping a lot of this during the winters. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Tomato – 3-4 (choose the best ripe and red tomatoes )
Onion – 14 cup ( sliced )
Garlic – 5-6 cloves
Bay leaf – 2
Beet root – 2 small pieces ( it gives a wonderful color to the soup )
Black peppercorns – 12-15
Butter – 1 tbsp
All purpose flour – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 12 tsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Fresh cream – 2 tbsp

Method of preparation

Cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces.
Add them in a pot.
Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, beet root and peppercorns and 3 cups of water in the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Simmer the heat and let it cook for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.
Discard the bay leaves and beet root.
Blend the mixture in a blender.
Strain the mixture through a soup strainer.
Heat butter in a pan.
Add flour and cook for 20-30 seconds.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan and keep whisking to avoid formation of lumps.
Add sugar, salt and black pepper powder.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, till soup thickens a bit.
Add fresh cream and cook for another minute.
Garnish with fresh cream and parsley or coriander leaves.
Serve hot.

You can also add Parmesan and garlic croutons in the soup. they go very well with it and are baked. Here is the recipe.

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Zaffrani Pilaf

This zaffrani pilaf is super easy to make and is a sure shot winner. Serve it with any curry of your choice. Here is the simple recipe.

All you need is

Long grain Basmati rice – 2 cups
Saffron – a pinch
Milk – 2 tbsp ( hot )
Ghee – 2 tsp
Cloves – 6-7
Black cardamom – 3-4
Black peppercorns – 8-10
Salt – 1 tsp
Vinegar – 2 tsp
Yellow food color – A pinch

Method of preparation

Wash and soak the rice for 12 an hour.
Soak saffron in milk.
Add ghee in a pan.
When the ghee is hot, add cloves, black cardamom and peppercorns.
Cook for 20 seconds.
Drain the rice and add it in the pan.
Add a little less then 2 cups of water.
Add salt and vinegar.
Cover and cook on low heat till rice is 90% done.
Sprinkle the saffron soaked milk and a pinch of yellow food color on top.
Cook for another 3-4 minutes on low heat.
Fluff the rice with a fork.
Serve hot with any curry of your choice.

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Book Review | Around the world with the Tadka Girls

The quote “Food is our common ground, a universal experience” by James Beard fascinated me, and I just could not stop flipping the first few pages and reading the preface and experience of the tadka girls Ranjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujam. The book Around the World with Tadka Girls brings out a confluence of different cultures of the world with the Indian culture. I love the organization of the book, each of the sections depicts this cross cultural influence, just to take an example of left over Khichadi transforming to Sicilian Arancini or whether its Tirangi Kulfi and Chocolate Bark in the same section. What makes the recipes more interesting are the preludes about the around the world experience of tadka girls, upholding the title of the book in every single page.

The book in appearance as a vintage collection explains itself well and gives ideas around how to use it with notes in recipes talking about the tips, variations, substitutions and serving suggestions. The titles of recipes creatively chosen are interesting and sometimes amusing, but not to overwhelm, it talks about where to start when looking for specific kinds.

The book is well laid out with sections like Breakfast & Brunch, Bites and Brews, Soups and Salads, Bread Basket, Pasta ‘n Rice, Signature Tadka, Sweet Treats, Fiesta Fare and Funnibbles. Each of the section has a good variety of recipes. The ingredients in the recipes are laid out in the order they are used (I always prefer them in this way), with clear cooking directions.

For every cook and baker it also includes measurement cheat sheet and has a glossary of words in the end which would definitely help non Indian cooks trying their hands at the recipes from any of the media.

I would even recommend the book to non cooks just to experience from the preludes, it may actually ignite the spark in you to start a new cooking hobby!

The book is available at all the leading book stores and online on Flipkart and Amazon.

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Achari Masala

Achari masala

Achar or pickle has been an Indian tradition and most households have a family recipe for different varieties of pickles. The blend of different spices that is used to pickle is called the achari masala. Apart from using this masala in the pickle, we can use it to enhance the flavor of curries, pulses and make a variety of starters. It gives a typical Achari taste to the dish. Here is the simple recipe to make this masala.

Achari masala

All you need is

Dry red chilies- 16-18
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Onion seeds kalonji – 3 tsp
Fennel seeds saunf – 6 tbsp
Mustard seeds rai – 6 tbsp
Fenugreek methi seeds – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 6 tsp
Salt – 6 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 3 tbsp
Asafoetida heeng – 12 tsp
Dry mango powder  amchoor – 3 tsp

Achari masala

Method of preparation

Dry roast dry red chilies, coriander seeds, onion seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and cumin till slightly browned and fragrant.
Cool for 5 minutes.
Blend in a blender with rest of the ingredients to make a coarse powder.
Store in an airtight container for up to a month in a cool and dry place or refrigerate it for about 2 months.

You can add this powder in curries, dal and can make various starters.

Achari masala

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Aloo Matar ka Paratha

Tired of making plain aloo ke parathe. Add little peas in the filling and enjoy the change. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Salt – 12 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Potato – 12 cup ( Boiled, peeled and grated )
Peas – 12 cup ( boiled )
Garam masala – 12 tsp
Green chili – 1 ( chopped )
Green coriander – 2 tbsp ( chopped )
Oil for frying

Method of preparation

Add whole wheat flour, salt and oil in a bowl.
Mix.
Add water and knead to make a soft dough.
Cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
Mix boiled potato, peas, salt, garam masala, green chili and coriander in a bowl.
Mix nicely.
Make lemon size balls of the dough.
Divide each ball into two pieces.
Dust and roll both the pieces to approx 4-5 inch.
Keep 2 tbsp of filling on one of the rolled piece.
Cover with the another rolled piece.
Seal the ends.
Dust and roll to approx 6 inch disc.
Heat a griddle.
Fry the paratha from both the sides applying little oil till brown spots appear.
Serve hot with curd, achar and butter.

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Bathue ka Raita

Bathua is a green that is available especially during the winter season. It’s very healthy and rich in minerals and vitamins and can be incorporated in out diet in various ways. This bathue ka raita is easy to make and is very refreshing and delicious. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Bathua leaves – 2 cups
Yogurt – 1 cup
Salt to taste
Black salt – 12 tsp
Roasted cumin powder – 14 tsp
Red chili powder – 14 tsp

Method of preparation

Pick the leaves and discard the stems from the bunch of bathua.
Heat water in a pan and when it comes to a boil, add the leaves.
Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Strain.
Grind the leaves in a grinder to make a smooth paste.
Whisk the yogurt till smooth.
Add the bathua puree, salt, black salt, roasted cumin powder and red chili powder.
Add little milk if you want the raita thinner.

Notes – You can also add a green chili while grinding the bathua.
You can give a tadka of cumin seeds and heeng to the raita if you want to make it little different. Just heat a tsp of ghee in a pan. When the ghee is hot, add 12 tsp cumin seeds and a pinch of heeng. Pour this tadka over the prepared raita.

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