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Foxtail Millet and Vegetable Patties ~ Gluten free recipe

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I haven’t disappeared. Just been engulfed with things that happen in my non-blog world. I have opened this window countless times to just say hello or post a recipe, and shut it either because the words didn’t come out right (if at all), or I was too tired to even type out a recipe. 

A couple of years ago I began cooking (infrequently) with Millets. We first began buying and using them because they are nutritious and suited Amma’s diabetic diet. Later when we found our dog Sage was gluten intolerant, we switched him over to rotis made out of a combination of millets and rice flour. Millets now find themselves on the shelf with the other staples in my kitchen. Considering how long I have been cooking with them, I am quite ashamed I haven’t posted too many recipes here.

The easiest way to introduce yourself to millets, is to buy the flour and add it to dosa batter. I discovered foxtail millet and have been using it to replace rice to be eaten with dal, vegetables and curries and make pulav or upma with it. This millet looks like broken rice and is neutral in taste and flavour and hence is a good candidate to take for a test run if you are just starting off on millets. Ofcourse K won’t touch anything non mainstream with a barge-pole and one of the ways I got him to eat foxtail millet was to repeatedly sneak it into patties! He loves cutlets of all kinds, shapes and colours and sizes. 

This pattice recipe is quite simple and versatile enough to accommodate whatever vegetables you may have on hand, so feel free not to stick to the ones I used!

foxtail millet and vegetable patties

foxtail millet and vegetable patties

Foxtail Millet and Vegetable Patties

(Makes 8 medium patties)

Potato                                        2 medium, boiled, peeled and crumbled

Foxtail Millet                          1/2 cup, soaked in water for 2 hours, pressure cooked with 1 cup water for 2-3 whistles

Corn Kernels                           1/4 cup, fresh or frozen

Peas                                             1/4 cup, fresh or frozen

Carrot                                         1/2 cup, grated

Salt and pepper                      to taste

Lemon juice                            1 teaspoon

Fresh coriander leaves       a small bunch, chopped finely

Fresh Ginger                           1/2 inch piece, grated or chopped finely

Cumin Powder                       1/4 teaspoon

Garam Masala                        1/4 teaspoon (optional)

Red Chilli Powder                1/2 teaspoon (adjust according to spice tolerance)

Gram Flour (besan)             1-11/2 tablespoons (adjust according to the requirement for binding)

Oil                                                2-3 tablespoons for frying

Wash and soak the foxtail millet. After 2 hours, pressure cook with 1 cup water for 2-3 whistles. When cooled, fluff with a fork.

Add the peas, corn and grated carrot to a bowl and cook on high power in the microwave oven (or blanch in hot water on a stove top) for 3 minutes.

Crumble the potatoes, add the cooked millets and the rest of the ingredients  except the gram flour. Mix together and do a taste test. Adjust salt and spices according to your preferance. 

take a small portion of the mixture and shape into a patty, if it does not hold shape, add the gram flour with 1/2 tablespoon of water and mix together. Make 8 portions, shape into a round and flatten into a patty. 

Heat a frying pan (I use a non stick one) on medium high heat till hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil swirl the pan so that the oil coats the whole cooking surface. Gently place the patties onto the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes till golden brown. Flip over and fry on the other side too. 

Serve hot with sauce or chutney. 

~

Reader’s of my blog know that I do the disappearing act now and then. It’s some wonder that you are all still here, even if you stumbled upon my blog by chance, please stay, say hello and leave me a comment. A few days ago, we hit the magic number of 10K fans on the facebook page. Those of you who are subscribed to the page will get all the updates as they happen. I have merged the pages of the blog and the classes for the sake of my sanity. So while I apologise for the bombardment of class schedules, hopefully regular programming of recipes, tips and other fun stuff will resume quickly. 

The Culinary Escapades classes have been doing very well. Thank you for your love and support. It all started right here, on this blog. I still remember being super excited when I baked my first ‘edible’ cake. I remember tagging them as ‘baking escapades’ with their own numbers! I cannot believe I am teaching baking and slaying baking demons today. I am grateful for the love and the encouragement I receive each day through this blog. I’m doing multiple classes now, teaching all sorts of recipes from salads to chocolates. I’ve done classes with just one person and groups from corporate offices too. Each class I teach, I learn much more than I give. I’ve gained beautiful friendships and experienced the encouragement of friends who will push me to announce a class or force me to undertake an order for a batch of cupcakes. 

Today in my Dessert making class, I spoke for the first time about how I spent my teens and early twenties trying to prove so hard that I wasn’t a girly girl. I tried to be tough and break every stereotype. People who knew me through school and college gag at the fact that I write a food blog and that I teach cooking. But the truth is, I have found myself in the last 8 odd years, I have made peace with the demons both inside and outside my head, I have learnt to listen to my heart and do what makes me feel good. If this translates into being every form of stereotype, then so be it, because today, it does not make me upset to have a label stuck to me. I know better than to judge my life or that of anyone else’s with a set of words. 

If you want to see the pictures of our dessert making shenanigans, click here

On that note, I wish you a beautiful weekend and wherever in the world you are, stay happy. 

 

 

{Eating Out ~ Review} The Flavours of Kashmir

I was invited to sample the food at the ongoing A Taste of Kashmir ~ Daawat e Wazwaan (a traditional multi-course meal of Kashmiri cuisine) at the Trident in Hitech City, Hyderabad. My last memories of Kashmir are from my trip with my family in the 80′s. I was too young to remember what I ate, but I do have some beautiful memories of staying on a houseboat on the Dal Lake and thinking what a magical and charmed life it would be to go to school on a shikara. We trekked up Gulmarg and came down the slopes on makeshift sleds, not bothering about how dangerous they could be, played in the icy cold waters of Pahalgam and I wear the multicoloured beads my mother bought for me on that trip even now. Such is the magic of Kashmir.

Kanak - The Indian Restaurant at The Trident

Kanak – The Indian Restaurant at The Trident

The Table Setting

The Table Setting

The tables at Kanak, the Indian restaurant at The Trident, had these little shikaras as part of the decor, which was both thoughtful and so significant of the cuisine that was being celebrated.

An array of Chutneys - Chetin

An array of Chutneys – Chetin

A selection of chutneys was brought to the table, of which the Doon Chetin – Walnut chutney was the most unique ~ hung yogurt with salt and dried mint & pieces of coarsely powdered walnut. The flavour of the walnut is surprising and makes for an excellent dip.

Kokkar Kanti

Kokkar Kanti

The Wazwaan Platter began with the Kokkar Kanti ~ succulent cubes of chicken, marinated with Kashmiri spices and tossed with onions and tomato. Succulent and tender, with just the right hint of spice, this had to be a good start to a meal.

Nadir Mand

Nadir Mand

I love lotus stem in any form, it is one of the most widely used ingredients in Kashmiri cuisine, fried, dried, pickled and curried, this is a versatile ingredient. Batter fried marinated Lotus stem or Nadir Manji was served next. The spicy batter a nice contrast to the crunch of fresh lotus stem.

Batter coated and fried florets of both broccoli and cauliflower that was finished off in the tandoor was next. Wasn’t my favourite dish of the day, however the black cumin (one of the main spices used in Kashmiri food) gives it a nice flavour.

Tabak Maaz

Tabak Maaz

The Tabak Maaz ~ Double cooked lamb chops, simmered in a gravy, spiced with Kashmiri spices and shallow fried till crispy had to be the heart stopping dish amongst the starters. Tender fatty succulent pieces of lamb chops, bone in with a hint of cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom was simply divine. The only way to enjoy this dish, is to eat with your hands and not care about who else is watching.

Just as I was reluctant to let go of the lingering flavour of the Tabak Maaz, the main course was served. A plate laden with multiple little bowls, each one containing a curry was laid before me.

The Chief Waza ~ Khan Mohammad Rafiq

The Chief Waza ~ Khan Mohammad Rafiq

Chef Khan Mohammad Rafiq, the soft spoken (and handsome!) Chief Waza (Chef) who is bringing this food festival to Hyderabad with his team of six cooks, spoke about his love for the food of his state and how his family has been in the business for the last 6 generations. He spoke of the spices they use, what they bring with them – turmeric, kashmiri cumin, pran – a type of kashmiri leek and what they source locally. Of the significance of slow cooking the gravies till the oil floats to the top and the hand pounding of meat to the desired consistency for certain dishes, some of which take over 6 hours to make.

He spoke with passion about preserving Kashmiri cuisine, about the ‘fursat’ (Leisure) that is missing today to enjoy a meal and that the simplest of ingredients can cook up the most ‘lazeez’ (delicious) dishes if they are made with the attention they need.  He insists the food be eaten hot and that photographs and everything else could wait.

The Main Course

The Main Course

From the left of the bowl ~ Rajmah, Nadur Gadh, Dhanwali Korma, Hind Roganjosh, Rista and Phool Gobhi Yakkhan served with a Khmeeri Roti

The Rajmah, simmered with black cardamom till soft, just melts in the mouth. It is unlike any other rajmah dish one may have had. The variety of rajma is the small beaned Kashmiri Rajma which in my opinion packs more flavour.

Nadur Gadh ~ Chunks of fried fish, simmered in a gravy with lotus stems. This was a very different sort of fish curry where the flavour black cardamom, black cumin and turmeric was dominant. This is a curry best enjoyed with plain steamed  rice.

The Dhanwal Korma, which is chicken simmered in  a yogurt based gravy flavoured liberally with saffron and fresh coriander leaves. The gravy is so flavoursome, that it needs a full bowl of rice / roti to be enjoyed with. I enjoyed this dish and it took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting a chicken dish to win me over. Kashmiri cuisine, is dominated by the use of lamb meat.

Hind Roganjosh

Hind Roganjosh

The Hind Roganjosh was ofcourse the star of this meal. Fiery gravy of Kashmiri red chillies, black cardamom, cumin and saffron, onion and a surprising element of cocks comb, which gives it a deep rich red colour and a very unique flavour. Simmered for hours, until the meat simply falls off the bone, this is Kashmir’s most loved and well known mutton dish. I can safely say that anything with the same name that I may have eaten before, simply pales in comparison. The Roganjosh is a dish that makes this entire meal worth every calorie! Eating this in silence is the only thing I would recommend.

A dumpling of hand pounded lamb meat, in a red gravy ~ Rista was up next. The prominent flavours again as in most of the dishes comes from saffron, black and green cardamom, Kashmiri turmeric and chillies. The flavour of the spices are all there, minus the pungency and heat of chillies. It is a good way to be introduced to the subtle flavours of Indian spices. The texture of the kofta is so soft despite no use of any binders, just lightly flavoured lamb meat, pounded to perfection.

Phool Gobhi Yakkhan

Phool Gobhi Yakkhan

The subtle Phool Gobhi Yakkhan was very tasty, almost elegant. The yogurt gravy is simmered to with cardamom and black cumin and makes for a delightful dish for the vegetarians.

The Kashouri Palow ~ A Kashmiri rice dish with golden fried onion, cashews and raisins is a light yet well flavoured pulav. The khmeeri roti ~ a yeasted flat bread made in the tandoor was a good way to sample the meal, although left to myself I would have eaten everything with Batha ~ plain basmati rice, cooked on dum.

Kesar Firni

Kesar Firni

I had no business to put another spoon of food into my mouth, but who can resist the lure of dessert? Kesar Firni ~ saffron flavoured semolina pudding. This was mildly sweet and so thick, it was evident the milk had been simmered for hours till it thickened as per the Waza’s (chef) satisfaction.

Kashmiri Kahwa

Kashmiri Kahwa

We rounded off the meal with a hot cup of Kahwa ~ Green tea leaves, simmered with saffron, cinnamon & cardamom, poured from a beautiful silver Samovar. I wished I could sit there and savour the flavours for a couple of hours.

What remained after the meal are the flavours – the unmistakeably liberal use of saffron (for which Kashmir is very famous), black cumin and cardamom. Each dish is slow cooked till the maximum flavour has been extracted, this is not a meal that can be prepared in a hurry or eaten on the go. One has to have the patience to put the brakes on a rushed pace of things, to sit down and savour a Kashmiri Wazwaan.

Chef Rafiq is in Hyderabad till the 25th of February to serve this wonderfully rich cuisine. He hopes to make Kashmiri cuisine more sought after than it already is.

Do not miss going to Kanak, at the Trident in Hyderabad. They are open only for dinner with both A la Carte and a specially put together Wazwaan Platter on offer.

A Taste of Kashmir (Kashmir Food Festival) at Kanak, The Trident, Hitech City, Hyderabad

Recommendations: Tabak Maaz (appetizer – non veg) and Nadir Mand (appetizer – veg)

(Main course – veg) ~ Phool Gobhi Yakkhan & Rajmah

(Main course – non veg) ~ Hind Roganjosh, Dhanwal Korma & Rista

Price per person (excluding tax): INR 1875 (without alcohol) for the Wazwaan platter

Hours: 7.30 pm to midnight.
Location: Hitech City, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

{Quick Cooking} Pav Bhaji Masala Pulao

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A few days ago, I was busy with work and suddenly realised I had not made lunch but was ravenous. I could have made upma. I make it well even when I add purple coloured veggies to it! But any chance to dig into a rice dish will not be lost. I’m a one dish meal queen. I love the convenience and the versatility of a one dish meal. My preference of carb is of course rice. Which self respecting south Indian will not turn to rice? 

I generally use one particular masala in most of my preparations ~ curries, dals, rice and anything else I may be cooking. It could be the sambar powder using my MIL’s recipe (contrary to purists, I make it and stock it in the freezer minus the coconut for a month) or egg roast masala that I so love or as in this case, pav bhaji masala, a packet of which I had opened and wanted to use at every opportunity.

A masala to me is just something to zing up a dish. Usually, most masalas have a base of coriander, cumin, chillies. the add ons are usually an assortment of garam masala. For instance, pav bhaji has a bit of amchur (dried mango powder) and hence will be slightly sour as opposed to a sambar powder which has roasted channa dal and is great to thicken curries! So depending on my instinct, I reach out and add a few spoons of a masala to whatever I may be cooking.

When I was writing this post, I did an online search and found that pav bhaji masala is used to make a rice dish called Tava Pulao. I have not tasted it, but most recipes call for cooked basmati rice to be sauteed with the masala. When cooked with the raw rice and vegetables, this dish has a milder flavour and takes lesser time!

My neighbourhood supermarket is doing a ‘buy one get one’ offer on a brand of basmati and I decided to be indulgent. This pulao will taste just as good with regular rice as well.

Pav Bhaji Masala Pulao (serves 2, time taken: 20 minutes)

Basmati Rice                    1 cup, washed and soaked in water for 5 minutes

Vegetables                        1 cup ( I used equal parts of mushrooms, cauliflower florets, frozen corn kernels)

Onion                                  1 medium, sliced

Green Chilli                       1, slit lengthwise

Salt to taste

Pav Bhaji Masala            11/2 teaspoons

Ginger Garlic Paste        1 teaspoon

Mint Leaves                       2 tablespoons

Oil / Ghee                            1 tablespoon

Bay Leaf                               1

Cloves and green cardamom 2 each

Cinnamon stick               1 small piece

Shahi Jeera                       1/2 teaspoon

In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee/ oil and when hot add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and shahi jeera. Saute for a few seconds.

Add the sliced onions and green chilli and saute till onions are translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.

Add the vegetables, mint leaves and the pav bhaji masala and saute for 1 minute.

Add the rice, salt and 2 cups of hot water and stir. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and put on the whistle. Cook on high heat for one whistle and turn down the heat for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Wait for the pressure to release, open the lid of the pressure cooker and fluff gently with a fork. Serve this pulao hot with a side dish of choice or just plain raita.

 

 

 

A Subtle Thai Experience ~ Amara, The Trident – Hyderabad

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Minimalistic decor

Minimalistic decor

I walked in to a pleasantly minimalistic All day dining restaurant Amara at The Trident Hyderabad and the first thing that struck me was the massively high ceilings with natural light flowing in. On a winter afternoon this is a good thing. I was invited to sample the food at their ongoing Thai Food Festival and it being my favourite cuisine, I was excited.

The Trident opened a while ago in Hyderabad and this was my first visit to their property. Live music softly playing (by a very talented girl who sang covers of Adele which in my book is a high standard to live up to), I was seated at a table that overlooked Hitech City’s main road with pleasant views, any time of the day.

Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaf Green Tea

Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaf Green Tea

We were served a tasting menu of their signature offerings. We began with a refreshing lemon grass iced tea with kaffir lime leaves. Lemongrass is one of my favourite herbs and I always look forward to sampling it used in varied ways. We were off to a good start. Next came a bowl of steaming hot Tom Yum Gai, a clear spicy soup, flavoured with lemon grass, galangal and bird eye chilli. This soup can be had in Shrimp / chicken or vegetarian variant. The flavours are sharp, robust and multi layered. I enjoyed this even tho I am not particularly fond of soups. I’d decided to politely down a few spoonfuls, but I finished almost the entire bowl, because it was so good. Again the lemongrass stood out in this soup which for me is a good thing!

Salads and Appetizers

Salads and Appetizers

We were served the salad and appetizers next. The classic Som Tam ~ Raw Papaya Salad and a Pomelo Salad.

Pomelo Salad

Pomelo Salad

The flavours of the Pomelo Salad blew me away ~ flavoured with tamarind pulp and garnished with fried onions.Mildly sweet, sour and salty, the deep fried onions elevated the simple salad many notches. Pomelo is not easily available in the market and is rarely if ever seen in restaurant offerings. This is a refreshingly light salad. 

Som Tam is usually the first item to be offered to anyone sampling Thai food and is quite well loved. The shredded papaya was crisp and the flavours nice. Well made, this salad came a far second only because of the fabulous Pomelo Salad which I would highly recommend. 

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

For the starters we had the Chicken satay, served in a little shot glass with the peanut sauce at the bottom. I loved the presentation, but the satay was a little dry and I must say I have had better.

The Pandan Chicken was little nuggets of succulent chicken, marinated with pandan and fried wrapped in a pandan leaf. This was light, succulent and the subtle flavours of pandan shone through with no over powering of any seasoning.

The Main Course ~ Thai Green Curry, Beef Tenderloin and Braised Pork with Jasmine Rice

The Main Course ~ Thai Green Curry, Beef Tenderloin and Braised Pork with Jasmine Rice

For the main course, we tried the classic Green Thai Curry. Chicken and vegetables simmered in a green curry paste with coconut milk. While this is a classic dish, it is easy to get it wrong. The balance of flavours of the basil, lemongrass and galangal along with the other spices is so important. This curry is very unassuming, but very easy to mess up. I must say, after a taste of this with some Jasmine rice, I wanted to shut out all coversation and just drink the curry. It was so well made. Light, creamy with a hint of the well balanced ingredients and so many flavours, yet so subtle.

Chef Jitu Phukan

Chef Jitu Phukan

Chef Jitu Phukan who is in Hyderabad to oversee the food festival specialises in Pan Asian food. He has spent over 10 years at The Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai’s India Jones, their Pan Asian speciality restaurant. All the dishes at the festival have been carefully selected by him to showcase the best of Thai cuisine. The Thai ingredients are sourced directly from Thailand and the freshest of produce is used. For instance, their seas food is flown in daily from Vizag, to ensure they use only the best ingredients in their recipes.

Hormuk Phak ~ Vegetables cooked with spices and steamed in a tender coconut

Hormuk Phak ~ Vegetables cooked with spices and steamed in a tender coconut

Hormonk phak ~ Minced vegetables steamed with thai spices in the shell of a tender coconut for about 3-4 hours is a vegetarian’s delight. A creamy medley of vegetables cooked with coconut milk again and steamed in the shell of a tender coconut which imparts it flavour to this dish. This again is best savoured with the jasmine rice, lightly flavoured with kaffir lime leaves.

We tasted a bit of the Pad Krapow nua ~ Minced beef spiced with hot basil (krapow) and thai bird eye chilli. The tender loin is beautifully complimented with the heat of the chilli and is a delightfully spicy side dish. I say delightfully because the spice adds a lovely dimension without being over poweringly hot.

The Graduk pat king mu ~ Braised pork (spare ribs) with thai ginger was for me the highlight of this meal. The slow cooked pork ribs, succulent and well flavoured were done to perfection. So much so that I completely ignored everything else at the table for a few minutes. This is the dish pork lovers should not miss. It is soft, succulent and flavoursome all in one go.

I had a small taste of the Phad Thai Noodles ~ the best known noodle dish of Thailand. Everywhere in Thailand, street vendors make wonderful Phad Thai which is a testament to its popularity. Liberal with egg and bean sprouts and best enjoyed with a twist of lemon, these mildly sweet, spicy and tangy flat noodles with a smattering of peanuts were just about ok. Maybe the fine flavours of the other dishes just towered over the ordinariness of the Phad Thai noodles, but this did not entice me beyond a few forkfuls.

After declaring that I had no business to be eating anything else, I was coaxed into trying out their signature mocktail which is a lemongrass martini. The flavours again are my favourite and I was wishing it wasn’t just a mocktail!

The dessert platter

The dessert platter

Desserts arrived on a platter and comprised of a gorgeous trio. The Kaffir Lime scented Chocolate Pave is everything decadent that a chocolate lover would crave for. Made from the finest belgian chocolate, this mousse is rich, goey and mildly scented.

I was delighted to spot Tab tim krob, my favourite of all the thai desserts. Little nuggets of water chestnuts, simmered in a rose syrup and coconut milk. This is a mildly sweet dessert and is best served chilled. the flavours and textures are unlike anything else you have had. While the Indian palette is familiar with rose syrup, to experience it this subtle is very unique. The water chestnuts are crunchy and take on the sweetness of the syrup and the coconut milk just makes the dessert indulgent.

Watermelon Lemongrass Sorbet

Watermelon Lemongrass Sorbet

Lemongrass and Watermelon sorbet was served with a crisp wafer made of watermelon rind and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The sorbet was very refreshing and a fitting way to end the fabulous meal

The beauty of this meal was the subtlety of flavours and textures. Indians are used to strong and robust flavours in their every day food. The delicacy of flavours comes through in multiple layers and is so refreshing.

Amara has a refreshingly uncluttered vibe to it which reflects in their food. Uncluttered and subtle are the words that best describe this dining experience. Under the aegis of Executive Chef Arjun Yadava, who has been with the group for over 15 years both in India and abroad, the attention to detail while offering authenticity in these refined classical favourites is evident.

If you love Thai food or are looking to sample a cuisine with subtle flavours, do not miss this festival which is on till the end of this month.

Taste of Thailand (Thai Food Festival) at Amara, The Trident, Hitech City, Hyderabad

Recommendations: Drinks ~ Lemongrass Martini (mocktail) and the Lemongrass Kaffir Lime Green Tea, Pomelo Salad, Pandan Chicken (appetizer), Hormonk phak ~ Minced vegetables steamed with Thai spices (main course), Graduk pat king mu ~ Braised pork (spare ribs) with thai ginger (main course), Watermelon and Lemongrass Sorbet (dessert) and Tab tim krob (water chestnuts in rose syrup and coconut milk)

Price per person (excluding tax): INR 1400 (without alcohol)

Hours: 12 noon to 3 pm, 7.30 pm to midnight.
Location: Hitech City, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

Easy Dahi Kadhi with Fresh Coriander Leaves Pakora Recipe

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Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

On Sankranthi this year, I was an incarnation of a sloth bear. I usually like to celebrate the festival because it teaches us to be thankful and grateful to the earth for its produce, the farmer who tills the land and the animals who work with the farmer. I am an spoilt urban brat, but as I grow older, I am beginning to appreciate these things.

Anyway, back to the oscillation between being grateful and a sloth, I settled to being a grateful slothful person. Veering towards ordering in some biryani for lunch, I had a sudden need to not waste the day and mark its significance. I quickly washed the rice and moon dal and put the cooker on to take care of the pongal. And debated if it was too lame to serve it with pickle and ghee. I baulked myself!

So a quick yogurt based kadhi it was going to be, sassed up with bhajiyas. Those of you who (still) read this blog, or know anything at all about me will know how far I run away from deep frying. There are only those times when I am guilted into filling a frying pan with oil, or feeling particularly indulgent that I actually get down to doing something that involves more than a few teaspoons of oil. Back to the bhajiyas / pakoras /fritters. Call them whatever you want. Dumplings spiced and fried before being added to the yogurt curry takes it up several notches and is a favourite way to eat pongal and or khichdi.

I brought out my appam chatti, the special little vessel that is similar to an Aebleskiver pan and is used to make paniyarams both sweet and savoury. I’ve used it to make vadas for my very popular Cheater’s Dahi Vada and kofta’s for the Creamy kofta curry recipe here.

The result was a kadhi with all the taste of the real deal, yet none of the deep frying! Win in my opinion!

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi Kadhi with Pakoras (non deep fried)

(Serves 3 as a side dish, Time taken: 10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes of cooking time)

The (non fried) pakoras

The (non fried) pakoras

For the (non deep fried pakoras – Makes about 20)

Besan / ChickpeaFlour – 1 cup

Coriander Leaves (washed and stems removed) - 1 cup loosely packed

Onion, finely sliced - 1 medium 

Ajwain / Carom Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida - a pinch 

Salt to taste

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Baking Soda – a pinch

Water as required to make a batter

Mix together all the ingredients listed and make a batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be like dosa / pancake batter.

Heat the appam chatti and add a few drops to each indent. When hot enough, drop the batter into the indents to fill 2/3 of it, using a spoon.

Allow to cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes or till the edges turn golden. Drizzle a few drops of oil around each pakora, using a blunt knife, ease them around the corner and flip over.

Cook for another couple of minutes, till done. Poke the centre with a toothpick to check that it has cooked through. Remove onto a plate. Repeat till all the batter has been used up.

These pakoras can be served as is or used in the kadhi.

For the Kadhi:

Yogurt, whisked smoothly - 1 Cup 

Chickpea / Gram Flour (Besan) - 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh Ginger - 1/2 teaspoon 

Salt to taste

A pinch of Turmeric powder

Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida / hing - a pinch

Whole Cumin - 1 teaspoon  

Dried Red Chillies - 

A few curry leaves and a sprig of fresh coriander leaves

Ghee / Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon

In a bowl large enough for 4 cups of water, add the yogurt and 11/2 cup water, besan flour, grated ginger, asafetida, turmeric and red chilli powders and half the salt.

Using a whisk, whisk everything together to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.

In a kadai, pour this yogurt mix, and gently cook, stirring often, till it comes to a gentle boil. Cook for about 6-7 minutes on the lowest heat possible. The stirring ensures the heat is evenly distributed and the gram flour cooks through without clumping up.

Taste to check that the rawness of the gram flour has disappeared. Simmer for a minute and turn off the flame & add the fresh coriander leaves to it. Set aside and add the pakoras.

Heat the ghee / vegetable oil in the tempering pan. When hot enough, add the cumin and wait for it to turn dark, put in the curry leaves and dried red chillies. Take off the heat and all this to the kadhi. Serve hot with Pongal or even plain steamed rice or rotis.

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