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Festive Fare ~ Balushahi (Badusha)

Balushahi

Balushahi

Wishing all my readers a Happy Diwali. May the festival bring you Laughter and joy and may you always be surrounded with family and friends and bask in their love. Celebrate in whatever way you choose, stay safe!

I thought I wouldn’t post any more sweets or savouries. Frankly, my blog has never seen so much activity! but yesterday I did a trial run of Balushahi’s at my MIL’s house and everyone was unanimous with the verdict ~ very good for a first attempt. Not one to be smug with that, I wanted a “very good”. So this morning, after my morning routine, I made a second set. Even if i say so myself, these were almost perfect! Its an easy and forgiving recipe. The only thing to remember is that you do not over mix / overknead the dough and fry the dumplings very slowly on medium heat.

If you know how to make Pooris, this is easier… just make small balls of the dough and deep fry.

I have been fascinated with recipe videos on youtube. I can watch them all day and night. I especially love the ones in Urdu by Shirin Anwar. The format of the programs have changed over the years. She’s now become the elder sister/ aunt and counsellor leaning a lot on prayer (She prays for ages before each program), and her dishes may not be what I may ever make, I cant explain why i watch her videos! I also like the ones by Manjula’s Kitchen from where I got the recipe for Balushahi.

balushahi

balushahi

Balushahi (Makes 12)

Time Taken: 1 hr including resting the dough for 30 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 cup Maida

1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 cup Ghee

1/4 cup Plain Yogurt/ Dahi (make sure it is not sour)

For the Sugar Syrup

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 cup water

4 Green Cardamom’s crushed and remove the peels

A few sprigs of saffron (optional)

1 tablespoon unsalted Pistachios (cut into slivers)

Oil to deep fry

Method:

Mix the maida with the baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the Ghee and rub it in with your fingers lightly till it resembled wet sand. Add the yogurt and mix into a shaggy dough. Do not over-knead the dough. It needs to be shaggy and light to make crisp Balushahis. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

In the meanwhile, make the sugar syrup by heating the water and sugar together. when it has melted add the powdered elaichi and saffron strings. Skim off the scum if any and turn off the heat when it has reached one thread consistency.

Remove the cover from the bowl containing the dough and lightly bring everything together. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. make sure the pieces are no larger than 11/2 inch in diameter. It will expand slightly while frying.

Roll into a circle between your palms, press down slightly and make a dent in the middle with your thumb like a thumbprint jam cookie.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a clean vessel (use a kadai) and test with a small pinch of dough for the right heat. the dough should rise very slowly up and not brown quickly.

The Balushahis have to be fried to a deep golden brown on low-medium heat. If the oil is too hot, they will become overcooked outside and remain undercooked on the inside. Fry about 6 per batch, turning them over gently once or twice to make sure they are evenly fried.

Drain on absobent paper for a minute and while still fairly warm, drench them in the sugar syrup for 5 minutes. Remove them from the sugar syrup and lay them out on a plate. garnish with slivered almonds/ pistachios while still sticky. Store them in an airtight box once they are cooled completely.

Note: The most difficult part for me has been to believe that the shaggy mess of the dough will actually come together after resting to form pillow soft balushahis. I made mine really small and bite sizes and ended up with 16 pieces to a cup of maida.

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How do you prettify your home for festive occasions?

Taking a detour from cooking, I wanted to share a few simple ideas about adding a little bling and cheer for the festival. I am a list maker, I try to be organised, I try my best to finish stuff on time. Most times I succeed, sometimes I fail. I don’t sweat the small stuff. In an earlier life (read – a few years ago) I wanted everything to be perfect ~ the house, the table, kitchen, food, life in general. Almost having a breakdown over it Good sense prevailed and I live to tell the tale. The house is never perfect, but these days, when we have unexpected guests, I don’t scramble around to make it appear like something out of a magazine (which by the way is impossible, because they have teams of people to do that). Living with a domestically challenged K and now a really crazy dog which thinks he owns all the cushions in the house has further drilled down that story!

Last year for Christmas, I did not, for the first time in 8 yrs, put up my tree. Only because we had a young pup in the house and I was paranoid he would swallow the ornaments. yet, I didn’t think it was the end of the world, because hey! it isn’t. its an artificial tree with baubles….  That said, I almost always use my favourite accessories, dim lights and candles to make everything look pretty.

More than anything, it is friends and family and a warm welcoming home that is of importance. No amount of decor can make up for a home that is not welcoming to people. Our doors are always open for family and friends, we love having people over and sharing food and fellowship with them. Over the years, I have found, the more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable and inviting your home is.

here are some things I do.


Bring out the serial lights and put them up where you can, doorpost, balcony, over the mantel or behind the TV. I put them amongst my plants in the balcony.

Rangoli and oil wicks in earthen lamps. I bought these inexpensive ones from a craft bazar and have been reusing them for 5 years now.

Flowers – even the ones that you grow in a tiny pot. use this as a centerpiece on your table .

Put your shot glasses to use and float a single flower in them. Here I used flowers that I found growing in the yard next to where I live

diyas

Use T-lights to avoid messes on your table tops. A Glass jar makes for a beautiful decor addition

diyas
Line up a row of diyas on your side tables – please make sure they are not at a level which can cause harm to your children or pets.

Serial Lights again ~ this time inside a glass jar which lights up the bar beautifully

Kofta Pulav

Kofta Pulav

Kofta Pulav

Taking a break from all that sweet and deep fried overload that has been happening on this blog, here is a wonderfully flavoursome Kofta Pulav made from bottle gourd. If you read this blog, you must know that my Kaddu Kofta curry is a never fail recipe and very popular on this blog. When I buy bottlegourd, the race is to use it fast and efficiently because even the small ones tend to be too much for us. Apart from making sambhar with it, or molagootal or the occasional kaddu ka kheer, I fry extra batches of kofta and keep it in the freezer for later use. there are several opinions about freezing cooked food. Especially Indian food. overall gravies do very well and so do pre-made snack items like the veggie fingers or cutlets. The key to keeping bottle gourd koftas well in the freezer is to make sure they are firm and not soggy to begin with. I use besan (chickpea flour) for the binding and it helps keep the koftas firm.

This is a pulav I made with frozen koftas. Fresh will take a little more prep time, but is definitely worth the effort.

Edited to add: I’d originally given the proportions for just one person because I mostly cook only for one at home, changing things up to serve 2 now.

Kaddu Kofta Pulav

Yield: Serves 2

Kaddu Koftas                         – 12 (recipe follows)

Rice                                           – 1 Cup, washed and drained

Green Chilli                            – 1, slit

Onion (large)                         – 1, chopped

Tomato (Large/ 2 small)  – 1, chopped

Ginger garlic paste              -2 teaspoon

Garam masala                       – 1/2 teaspoon or substitute with any other readymade curry powder

Red chilli powder                – 1 teaspoon or according to taste

Coriander powder               – 11/2 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Oil                                               – 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves                           – 6-8

Fresh coriander for the garnish

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add the onions and slit green chilli. Fry for a few minutes till the onions are translucent and add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  2. Add the curry leaves and koftas and brown them in the onion mixture, turning them over a couple of times.
  3. Add the tomato, red chilli powder, garam masala and the coriander powder and toss to coat it well.
  4. Add the washed and drained rice; add salt to taste and 11/2 cup of water. Close the lid of the cooker let it cook for exactly one whistle.
  5. Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release. Once the cooker is open, fluff with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander before packing into a lunch box or serve.
* for non vegetarian options, substitute the koftas with any frozen meat or chicken kebabs etc

For the Koftas

2 cups grated bottle gourd (grate, sprinkle a bit of salt and place in a colander to drain for about 20 mins. Press out the water with the back of a round spoon)

2-3 tablespoons of chickpea flour

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger or 1/3 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 – 1 teaspoon red chilly powder

2-3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped fine

a pinch of asafetida

1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

Put all of the ingredients together and mix with a spoon into a thick batter. it should look and feel like muffin batter, which should allow you to drop it into the appam chatti with two spoons. Heat the appam chatti, put a few drops of oil in each of the depressions. Spoon in one tablespoon of batter into each depression and cook till golden brown. Turn over and fry on the other side as well. You can drizzle a few drops of oil if needed. Set aside and cool.

*if you do not have an appam pan, you could shallow fry the koftas in a few tablespoons of oil. Deep frying too is always an option!

Festive Fare ~ Bobatlu (Puranpoli)

Posted on

I’d made this for sankranti when I did a festival spread for the newspaper that I write for. What i like is that you can use maida or whole wheat flour for the outer covering or a combination. I love this freshly made and piping hot off the tava with a dab of ghee… also love it with a little milk when it is sitting in the fridge!

Bobbattu or Puranpoli (makes 6-7 medium ones)

For the filling

Chana dal/bengal gram – 1 cup (soaked in water for an hour and drained)

Sugar – 1 cup

Cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon

Salt – a pinch

For the covering

Maida – 1 1/4 cups

Oil – 3-4 tablespoons

Ghee – 1 tablespoon

Pressure cook channa dal adding a cup of water till the dal turns very soft. Grind to a fine paste.

Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, add the ground dal paste and sugar and cook till they blend and form a thick lump like paste with no moisture left. Keep stirring on slow flame.

Add cardamom powder and salt and combine. Cool and make small lemon sized balls for stuffing. Keep aside.

Combine the maida, pinch of salt, oil and enough water to make a very soft and sticky dough(softer than puri dough).

Knead well and keep aside for one or two hours.

Grease your hand with oil and pinch a small portion of dough and flatten it into a 2″ disc. Place a ball of channa dal stuffing in the centre and draw the edges of the dough from all sides to cover the stuffing completely.

Take a plastic sheet or a plantain leaf and gently flatten each ball carefully with your fingers to form a 6″ diamater flat circular roti/bobattu/poli. You can also roll gently with a rolling pin.

Heat a tawa and fry it on low flame such that its roasted on both sides till brown spots appear. Smear oil over the bobbatu while frying.
Serve warm with ghee. Store them in an air tight container or in the refrigerator. Stays fresh for a few days.

This is part of the blogging marathon… have stopped to catch my breath a bit!

Festive Fare ~ Nippattu ~ Savoury

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Nippattu

Nippattu

This is one more quick and easy recipe. I’ve always loved Nippattus or Thattai like they are called in Tamil Nadu. Popular as an evening snack. I made these from one cup of rice flour and was amazed at the quantity they produced! if you can mix a dough and deep fry, these are your friends! Do try it and let me know how they turned out.

Nippattu

Nippattu

Nippattu (Makes about 2 dozen)

Rice Flour                               1 Cup

Putnalu Pappu Powder      3 Tablespoons (Roasted Channa Dal)

Urad Dal Powder                  3 Tablespoons

Water                                        As needed, about 1 Cup

Red Chilli Powder                ½ teaspoon (adjust according to taste)

Hing / Asafetida                   ¼ teaspoon

Roasted Channa Dal            2 Tablespoons (soaked in water for 30 minutes)

Ghee or Butter                       1 Teaspoon

Curry Leaves                          5-6, torn into bits

Salt                                              to taste

Channa Dal                              2 Tablespoons (soaked in water for 2 hours, drain before use)

Oil                                                for deep frying

Mix together the salt, asafetida, red chilli powder, soaked and drained channa dal, putnalu pappu powder, urad dal powder and rice flour. Bring a cup of water to boil and add the dry powder mixes to it. Stir to combine with a spoon.

Cover it with a lid and turn off the heat. Allow it to cool completely.

Once cool, add the rest of the ingredients and knead into a smooth dough.

Divide the dough into small lemon sized balls and between two sheets of well oiled plastic or aluminium foil or a banana leaf, press into a thin disc with your fingers.

Heat the oil for frying in a pan, put a pinch of dough to test the readiness. If the oil is ready, the dough will rise immediately to the top.

Prick the rolled out dough with a fork to prevent it from puffing up. Drop a couple at a time into the hot oil and fry gently on medium heat till they are golden brown.

Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat till all the dough is used up.

Cool and store in an airtight container

 

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