Saturday, March 3, 2012

Clay Pot Cooking

Clay Pot Cooking is one of the Ancient Cooking Techniques in an unglazed Clay Pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process.
This technique is still followed in most Rural & some Urban parts of India like North India (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh), Central India (Madhya Pradesh), East India (Bihar, West Bengal), North East India (esp. Nagaland) & South India (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu)
In many parts of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi), West Bengal the Tea is served in a small Clay Pot (Kulhad/Kulhar/Shikora)
So as part of keeping up with this Old Tradition of ‘Real Clay Pot Cooking’ & also keeping in mind the Restrictions we have to face in present times, I wanted to incorporate some Recipes our Generation
Clay Pot is used to make Biryani, Curd, Dal Makhni, Saag, Kulfi are cooked on a Slow Fire for long hours together
Also used to Store Water, in South India it’s used in place of a Kal Chatti (means a Pot made of Stone) for Fish Curries, Mashed Greens (Kirai Masayil), Rasam
A popular Sour Stew (Vathal Kuzhambu) made with the Sun Dried & Pickled Green Berries in Tamil (Manathakkali) in English (Black Night Shade) in Hindi (Makoy)
Can replace with Sundakkai (Turkey Berries) or Fried Bitter Gourd (Karela) or Okra (Bhindi)

Be it Coconut Milk based Thai Curries or Cuisine from Africa, Asia, Mediterranean Region Clay Pot used to dominate!
Clay Pots still are prepared by the local Potters (Kumhaars) in India
There are so many benefits of a Clay Pot, they add a Distinctive Earthy Flavour to anything prepared or served in them, they are Environment Friendly unlike Plastic,
We also need to be aware that the Present Day Earthenware could contain poisonous Heavy Metals like Lead, Cadmium
My Grandmother used to have Aluminum, Brass, Copper, Hindalium & Stainless Steel Cooking Ware was used
The revival of Clay Pottery can have a huge impact in improving the Rural Employment..

Friday, March 2, 2012

Holi Hai!!

Holi Hai!!

Holi is the North Indian Festival equivalent of the American Thanksgiving spreading good Health, Togetherness and Love!

Legend goes that Lord Krishna was jealous of Radha’s Fair Complexion so he applied Colours like Chandan Kesar Gulal on her to make her look like him!

Organic Colours:

Dhaani Green- made from Organic Henna, Maida, Tulsi, Turmeric and Herbal Extracts
Gulabi Pink- made from  Organic Beetroot Extract, Carrot Extract, Turmeric, Wheat Extract and Herbal Extracts
Red- made from Rakt Chandan and Rose

Basant Yellow- made from Organic Gram Flour, Maize Flour, Turmeric and Herbal Extracts
Wet Colour- made from Dried Tesu Flowers

Delhi NCR: 

The Brand named Organica offers these safe Organic colors across Delhi NCR regions in the Grocery shops in areas 
Bengali Market, Janpath, Defence Colony Market, Khanna Market Lodhi Colony, Yashwant Place, Chanakya Puri, New Friends Colony, INA Market, South Extension 1, South Ex Part II, Uday Park Market, M-R Block Market GK-1, DDA Market, Masjid Moth GK Part II, SDA Market, Central Market, Lajpat Nagar, JNU Shopping Complex, Malviya Nagar Main Market, Rama Market Munirka, Chittranjan Park, Sector 4 5 12 Dwarka, Sadar Bazar Shastri BazarDelhi Cantt., Pitam Pura, Sector 8 Rohini, Paschim Vihar, Choti Sabji Mandi Janak Puri, Tilak Nagar, Main Mkt. Rajouri Garden, Kirti Nagar, Vishal Cinema Road, Sec.-31 Near Jalvayu Vihar Gurgaon, Sector 30 61 Noida 

Jagdish Goenka, a wholesaler on Valmiki Street in T Nagar, sells Holi Colours made from natural raw material, colours made from natural herbs, scented colours and fluorescent colours as well
Organic colours were available for 50/- for 100 Grams & Normal Colours for 30/- for 100 Grams

Online Shopping for across India:

The Holy Plant (Bhaang) is associated with Lord Shiva’s worship by Hindus

The Traditional Thandai is a Concoction of Almonds, Chilled Milk, Cinnamon, Cashew Nuts, Fennel Seeds, Green Cardamoms, Honey, Melon Seeds, Nutmeg, Pepper, Pistachios, Poppy Seeds, Rose Petals, Saffron, Sugar Syrup 

Bhaang is a natural intoxicant prepared from the Leaves and Flowers (Buds) of the Female Cannabis Plant 

In a Mortar-Pestle, the Cannabis (Buds & Leaves) is ground into a fine Paste which is then added to a mix of Milk, Ghee and Spices
The Traditional Thandai mixed with (Bhaang) is usually prepared in Strong (Gahri) & Mild (Halki) Flavour
Bhang Lassi, Kulfi, Halwa, Jalebis, Laddoo, Sharbat & Savoury items like Golgappa, Pakora, Papads

Dilliwalla’s celebrate Holi with the Classic combination of ‘Rang aur Bhaang ki Masti’
In Delhi, Bhaang can be legally bought from any Government Authorised Shops like in Nizamuddin area,
During Holi, Sweet shops, Paan shops sell Bhaang 

In Rural India, Bhaang is used as an Ayuvedic Treatment for Anxiety to give sound, peaceful Sleep, is also a cure for Fever, Dysentery, Arthritis, Sunstroke, Nausea and Vomiting, Rigid Muscles, Indigestion and is also believed to Fight Depression

In recent times, due to lack of time have an option of the Thandai Mix

Nestle Milkmaid Creations

Nestle Milkmaid Creations

As soon as I saw this AD on TV, I wanted to know what all was included in the Range & trust me all Classics plus some Classics but Surprise Recipes (that we normally may not make at home) are in store for us!
According to one of the leading Indian Newspaper that had this Print ad says that these Mixes are '...Simple 3 Step recipes that serve mouth watering desserts at home'

The classic Milkmaid has always been at home no matter if it is used for Halwa, Kheer, Desserts, or just as a dip for Quick Dessert Fix!
So looking at the Nestle Brand, these Mixes may just make our lives a bit more Easier & Yummier!

After trying at Spencer’s with no luck, finally found only 4 Mixes (excluding the Kulfi Mix) at Nilgiri’s in Chennai
Besan Laddoo Mix
Badaam Kheer Mix
Eggless Cake Mix
Pista Kulfi Mix
Rice Kheer Mix

Nestle Milkmaid Creations: Besan Laddoo

Servings: 6 (12 Laddoo)
Cost: Rs 95

Nestle Milkmaid Creations: Badam Kheer

Servings: 6
Cost: Rs 145

I have to admit we were all waiting to post the Pictures of our Badam Kheer (as well as my Family's reactions)..
Here they go..

Serve Chilled (with may be some extra Blanched & Sliced Almonds & Yes..Raisins!)

Nestle Milkmaid Creations: Rice Kheer

Servings: 6 -7
Cost: Rs 120

Nestle Milkmaid Creations: Eggless Cake

Servings: 10
Cost: Rs 95

Nestle Milkmaid Creations: Pista Kulfi Mix

Servings 6
Cost: Rs 125

Thanks for all the Great Support from Fellow Bloggers & Netizens!! :) 

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Cluster Beans (GoruChikkudukaya Kura) (Gwar Phali Sabzi)

South Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Andhra Cuisine
Cluster Beans (GoruChikkudukaya Kura) (Gwar Phali Sabzi) 
Serves 2

Cluster Beans (GoruChikkudukaya/Gwar Phali)- about 1- ¼ Cups
For Tempering:
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Split Bengal Gram/Split Chick Pea (Chana Dal/Senagapapu)- ½ Tsp.
Split Black Gram (Urad Dal/Menapappu)- ½ Tsp.
Mustard Seeds (Rai/Aavalu)- ½ Tsp.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera/Jeelakarra)- ½ Tsp.
Asafoetida (Hing/Inguva Podi)- a Pinch
Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta/Karvepaku)- 5 to 6 No’s

Wash, Dry, De String both sides & Cut the GoruChikkudukaya into Finely Chopped pieces or half inch diced pieces as desired
In a Pressure Cooker, Add the GoruChikkudukaya, Water & Cook for about 2 Whistles or till the Pieces are Tender

Mix the Tamarind Paste/ Pulp with some Warm Water, Powdered or Grated Jaggery & Keep Aside

In a Non Stick Pan, Heat Oil, Add Chana Dal, Urad Dal & Sauté till the seeds change Colour
Add Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds & Sauté till the seeds Crackle
Add Curry Leaves, Hing, Turmeric Powder, Cooked GoruChikkudukaya, Salt & Combine Well
Cover & Cook for a Couple of Minutes

Serve Hot!
A Complete Telugu Meal would include this Vegetable coupled with Rice, any Lentil preparation, Andhra Hot Soup (Charu), Fried Papad, Curd!
Can add about a small Pinch of Fenugreek Seeds which is optional in this Recipe

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rustic Desert Style Root Vegetables (Khad Sabzi)

Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Rajasthani Cuisine
Rustic Desert Style Root Vegetables (Khad Sabzi)
Serves 2

Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil/Ghee- 3 Tbsp.
Coriander Seeds- 2 Tsp.
Cumin Seeds- 1 Tbsp.
Garlic- 5 Cloves, Crushed & Roughly Chopped  
Green Chillies- 3, Slit & Roughly Sliced 

For Dry Masala Mix (Turmeric Powder- 2 Tsp., Red Chilli Powder- 3 Tsp. mixed in little Water)

Yam- 1 Medium size, Cut in Chunks

Carrot- 1 Medium, Cut in Chunks
Onion- 1 Medium, Cut in Chunks
Potato- 2 Medium, Cut in Chunks
Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stems- 1 Small Bunch
Lime Juice- 1 

Heat Oil/Ghee, Add Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds & Sauté
Add Garlic, Green Chillies, Turmeric, Red Chilli Powder & Sauté
Add Potato, Yam, Carrot, Onion, Coriander Stems, Lime Juice & Combine all

Cover Cook till done Sprinkle Fresh Coriander Leaves!

Serve Fresh & Hot with Phulkas! 

Inspired from one of Our most loved Food & Travel shows on TV, Aditya Bal's Chakh Le India Kaccha Rasta!

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Gujarati Marwari Style Pumpkin & Potatoes (Aloo Kaddu ki Sabzi)

Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Gujarati/Marwari/Rajasthani Cuisine
Gujarati/Marwari Style Pumpkin & Potatoes (Aloo Kaddu ki Sabzi)
Serves 2

Pumpkin (Kaddu)- 450 Grams, Cubed
Potatoes (Aloo)- 450 Grams, Cubed
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 2 Tbsp.
Bay leaf- 2
Cassia Bark- ½ Inch Stick
Green Cardamoms- 2 to 3
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)- ¼ Tsp.
Nigella/Onion Seeds (Kalonji)- 1 Tsp.
Coriander Powder- 1 Tsp.
Cumin Powder- ½ Tsp.
Hing- a Pinch
Red Chilli Powder- ½ Tsp.
Turmeric Powder- ½ Tsp.
Tomato- 2 Medium, Finely Chopped
Water- ½ Cup
Salt- To Taste
Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)- 1 Tsp.

Heat Ghee, Add Bay leaf, Cassia, Green Cardamoms, Methi Seeds, Onion Seeds & Sauté till the Seeds Crackle
Add Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, Hing, Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder & Sauté
Add Tomato & Cook till they are Tender
Add Potatoes, Pumpkin Water, Cover & Cook for about 20 Minutes or till they are done
Add Salt, Sugar, Amchur Powder & Combine Well
Serve Hot with Phulka, Parantha, or just as a part of a Gujarati Meal!


Another variety of  the Famous American Pumpkin is the Butternut Squash


Another variety of Disco Pumpkin is available which can be used, it tends to be bit more Sweeter

Another Variety comes with a Dark Forest Green Skin with Cream Spots

Traditionally Clarified Butter (Ghee) is used & 
Can add Chat Masala if Amchur is not available

In Rajasthan, this Gravy dish is served with Urad Dal Puris!
In Gujarat, this is served with Puris as well!

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Beetroot (Shalgam) Fry (Vepudu)

South Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Andhra Cuisine
Beetroot (Shalgam) Fry (Vepudu)
Quick & Easy, one of those few 10 Minute Andhra Recipes!
Serves 2

Beetroot (Shalgam)- 2 Medium, Washed, Peeled & Chopped


Green Chillies- 2, Finely Chopped 
Turmeric Powder- ½ Tsp.
Salt- To Taste

Roasted Bengal Gram- Finely Powdered
can use Chick Pea/Gram Flour (Besan) if the above item isn't available

For Tempering:
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)- ½ Tsp.
Split Black Lentil (Urad Dal)- ¼ Tsp.
Mustard Seed (Rai/Sarson)- ½ Tsp.
Cumin Seed (Jeera)- ¼ Tsp.
Curry Leaves- 10 Small
Dried Red Chilli- 1, Broken
Hing- a Pinch

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)