Friday, April 17, 2009

Spur a taste for Life!!!

After a hectic day, fast foods are the best option for dinner item. I think with our changing lifestyles most of the families now prefer food that can be prepared and served quickly for supper, though personally we prefer an Indian fast food to anything else as most of it have veggies and are filling OR sometimes I indianise the western dishes too ;). Our meal style includes variety of items like gojjavalakki (type of poha), mandakki oggarane (puffed rice item), vegetable pasta, veg burgers, cutlets or sometimes just a minestrone soup with garlic bread. Easy to cook and exciting to eat :)! This is 1 such item that we generally prepare for our evening meal – its Pav Bhaji.
Pav Bhaji is a famous maharashtrian food – Mumbai’s Pav Bhaji can set anybody’s taste buds tingling. I first tasted this as a kid in Pune on our visit to my aunt’s place during Summer Vacation & had just luved it :). It is available in most of the metropolitan cities in India and also can be found on the menu of most Indian restaurants abroad.

Pav means bread and Bhaji means the vegetable dish – In simple terms Pav Bhaji consists of a spicy vegetable mix in tomato gravy with bread, garnished with cilantro+ finely chopped raw onions+ lemon juice.

I am sure there are varieties of versions of Pav Bhaji prepared in the same family with different tastes.

Commercially bhaji is made on a flat pan called tava and mixing and mashing of the bhaji is done with a masher rather than a ladle. Then the gravy is allowed to simmer on the pan, this is served hot with a dollop of butter on the top. Pav is also roasted on the same tava with sufficient butter and masala.

My style of preparing Pav Bhaji @ home is here –

Serves 2-3
Spice Level – Mild spicy

For the Pav:
6 Pav or white soft rolls
Butter – 3 tbsp

For the Bhaji:
Tomatoes - 2
Onions Р2 (1for the puree, 1for saut̩)
Finely chopped capsicum -1/2
Green Peas -1/3 cup
Sweet corn - 1/3cup
Finely chopped cauliflower + beans = 1cup
Boiled & mashed potato -1medium size
Butter-2 tbspn
Giner garlic paste- 1tspn
Turmeric (haldi) – ½ tspn
Pinch of asafetida
Pav bhaji masala -1tbspn
Red chilly powder - 1tspn(i prefer using kashmiri mirch as it gives out good color)

For garnishing:
Cilantro – 1tb spn
Lemon – 2 wedges
Finely chopped onion -1

Preparation of Bhaji:
  • Heat butter in a pan. Add ginger garlic paste, haldi, hing and sauté the chopped onions on a low-medium heat.
  • Later add chopped capsicum and fry for about 2min.
  • Next add rest of the vegetables, mix well and cook till tender.
  • Meanwhile blend tomatoes and onions into a smooth puree and keep aside.
    Blend in this puree and mashed potatoes in the pan mixture and cook for about 7-10min on low-medium flame. You can add some water to get the desired consistency (Make sure the mixture doesn’t catch the bottom, keep stirring occasionally).
  • Using a masher, mash the vegetables slightly. I prefer to have some chunks so I don’t mash it completely.
  • Then add salt, pav bhaji masala and red chilly powder. Mix well and cook for another 5min or so. Lastly garnish with raw onions + cilantro + lemon juice.
    Roasting Pav:
    Slit open the pav, apply butter in the inside portion of the pav and roast both sides on the hot skillet till golden brown.

    Serving Suggestion:
    Serve Pav Bhaji in a plate, bhaji topped with finely chopped raw onions – cilantro, lemon juice and dollop of butter!

    My SIL, who also enjoys experimenting food suggested that while roasting Pav, you could also add a teaspoon of pav bhaji masala to the melted butter and roast the pav for a spicy flavor.
    Outside India it might not be easy to get Pav, in that case you can substitute with white soft rolls or dinner rolls or any other bread.
    Generally the bhaji gets excess and enters the fridge for leftovers day – It tastes best when heated the next day and served with rotis or chapattis for a change!

    Thus we enjoy Pav Bhaji as a satisfying meal, hope you would do the same. Feel free to suggest any variations or tips or your versions too!

This recipe has been submitted in the Event 'Sunday Snacks - Chaats/Indian Street Foods'

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eat gorgeous & Feel gorgeous :)!!!

My college days were excellent period. Apart from traveling in those heavily crowded BMTC buses…Life was fantastic while we 4 friends sat on a bench chatting, sharing our churmuri packets!

Snacks were available just outside our college gate. Those who have been in B’lore can vouch for a churmuri Gadi/Tela/stall in front of almost every college. And these stalls used to have varieties of snacks like churmuri, tomato masala, bele masala, pineapple masala, nippat masala, sovthekayi masala…that were not available in any of the big shops or restaurants. There was one such Gadi just outside our college gate and an elderly man used to make these snacks so we called it 'Thatha’s Gadi' (thatha in kannada means grandpa). But now heard that he has retired & subsequently his son takes over.

I used to try making few of these at home in the company of my mom & granny and also had the churmuri in the same paper cone (to get that gadi effect ;)) but was never convinced to the Gadi level :d. I always felt that the Thatha used some top secret concoction for his delicious dishes which once our tutor in the class joked about it as, it was his sweat and the hands that he dips in water and the cloth that he uses to wipe his hands bla bla bla. But nothing stopped us 4girls from having those chatpata snacks. Everybody in our class used to tease us saying that we better keep an attendance book near the Thatha’s Gadi also :-p

Chats are one of my favorite snacks, which I can have anytime and every time. I miss those chats I used to have at Bangalore - I tell myself that these are healthy snacks with no oil, no potatoes so that I continue eating them: d. Here goes my simple easy to make 1 plate of nutritious snack.

Tomato Masala
Tomato sliced in round - 1
Onion: 1 small sized finely chopped
Carrot: 1 small grated
Tamarind paste: 1 tbspn (this is a paste of tamarind pulp+jaggery boiled together and cooled)
Green Chutney: 1 tbspn (this is a paste of coriander+green chillies+lemon juice+ginger+cumin seeds+sugar+oil+asafetida+salt)
Lemon juice: 1 tbspn
Sev/fried-spicy groundnut (widely known as congress kadalekaayi beeja): 1/2 cup
Chat masala: 1 tsp
Cilantro: for garnishing
Puffed rice/murmura – 1/4 cup S
Salt to taste

  • Mix chopped onions and grated carrot and keep it in a plate before starting the dish.
  • Primarily, layer the tomato slices with green chutney and tamarind chutney. {Refer the below pic}
  • Then place some of carrot+onion mixture on each slice. Now sprinkle some salt, chat masala (if req you can add some red chilli powder also) & crown it with sev or any other mixture and cilantro
  • Finally garnish with puffed rice and dash of lemon juice.

Tomato Masala

And now its time for the faithful to celebrate resurrection of the Savior – Enjoy Easter with chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs….Happy Holidays :)!!

This recipe has been submitted in the Event 'Sunday Snacks - Chaats/Indian Street Foods'

Friday, April 3, 2009

‘Appetizing, Delicious and completely irresistible – As good as it looks’

Lets take a break from elaborate scrumptious meals to our daily routine quick food :).

Paneer (indian cottage cheese) is very precious for me here in Gibraltar. (Only 1 Store gets it for the whole population). Whenever I find those boxes in the aisle, I just grab to pile them up in my freezer :d. And am forced to do this without any consideration, as I am not good at making paneer at home; though sometimes I do have succeeded in it but the shape and the looks of home made paneer is not so attractive as the commercial one :d {well…sometimes I do get tagged as ‘obsessively organized’ with such childish thoughts :d}

Being vegetarians, paneer forms a very good source of proteins for us. I also use it when I am left with no veggies :d. You can make this dish for a festive five-course affair or just a casual meal for two. It’s an effortless-minimal/basic veggie tasty recipe.
Any guesses on this paneer dish…yes its mouthwatering ‘Mutter Paneer’.

I have this habit of browsing the net for recipes, and I found this particular one quite sometime back which now has become 1 of my patent dishes. Till date all my friends and family members admire this ;) including my little explorer. But for him I make a variation by adding ‘palyada pudi’ (1 of the masalas that kannadigas use) as we don’t have the practise of giving young kids strong masalas.
Here goes the ingredients and method for Mutter Paneer.

Serves 2 to 3 people

Spice Level: Mild spicy


Boiled green peas - 2 cups
Butter - 3tspn
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1tspn
Chopped onion – 1
Chopped Tomatoes – 3
Cardamom – 1
Cloves – 2
Coriander powder – 1tsp
Red chili powder – 1tsp
Garam masala – 1/2tsp
Beaten curds – ¼ cup
Salt to taste
Fried paneer cubes or paneer soaked in warm water for 15min and then cut into cubes – 1 cup

  • Blend onions, ginger garlic paste, cardamom, cloves, and tomatoes into a smooth paste.
  • Heat butter in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow it to splutter. Add turmeric, ground paste and cook until light brown on low-medium heat. Mix little water if required.
  • Add curds while continuously stirring. Then add the dry powders, boiled peas and salt and bring it to boil for 10min.
  • Add Paneer and simmer for 5-6min. Mouthwatering Mutter Paneer is ready!!

    Serving Suggestions: Mutter Paneer tastes great with Roti, Chapatis, Naan and also Jeera rice (Cumin flavored Basmati rice)

    Tip: Soaking paneer in warm water makes it soft.

Enjoy your weekend and see you all next friday!!!

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