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Category Archives: festive fare

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)

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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

 

Festive Fare ~ Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

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Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

This is an easy to do variation of the popular 7 cup burfi. I couldn’t get myself to add 3 cups of sugar that the original recipe calls for. For those intimidated by indian sweets, this is a good place to start. One needs to just mix everything together at room temperature and then stir and cook till the desired consistency is achieved.

I added orange peel instead of the traditional elaichi powder and it tasted wonderful. this is my new go to recipe for a quick indian sweet.

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Besan Milk Burfi (Makes 25 pieces)

Besan                                      1 Cup

Milk                                         1 Cup

Sugar                                       2 Cups

Ghee                                        1 Cup

Shredded Coconut            1 Cup (fresh or frozen)

Orange Peel (or powdered cardamom) 1 teaspoon

In a clean large pan, stir all the ingredients together and heat it on a medium flame / heat.

Stir this continuously on medium flame till everything begins to thicken and it begins to leave the sides of the pan.

Reduce the heat when the bubbles appear (be very careful as this is extremely hot).

Take a small teaspoonful of the mixture and shape into a ball when the heat is tolerable and check if it is retaining its shape. If yes, it is ready to be transferred to a plate. If no, continue stirring till the right consistency is achieved.

Grease a flat plate with a spoon of ghee and transfer the mixture onto it. Flatten it with a spoon and allow to cool a little.

Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or diamonds and allow to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Festive Fare ~ Diwali Recipes ~ Namak Paare

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Namak Pare

Namak Pare

Diwali is around the corner and I always watch many beautiful recipes being posted all across blogs for festive cooking. Alas I always stand by and just watch. Going by my last track record, I mostly post after the festivals are over! To remedy that, who would have thought that this daily blogging for NaBloPoMo would help? For the next few days I will be posting easy to do festive fare. All those of you who are scared of traditional cooking, take heed in the fact that I am a novice too! The only thing I have to overcome is my aversion to deep frying!

Namak Paare are fried savoury pastry kind of snacks that can be made ahead and stored in an airtight box for a week or more. The thing with these snacks is that it is pretty straightforward and is made with ingredients that are in our everyday cooking ingredient list. no fancy running to the grocery store for me!

Namak Pare

Namak Pare

Namak Pare (Savoury Crackers)

This recipe makes about 8 cups full of fried namak paare

Maida                               2 cups

Whole Wheat Flour    1 cup

Oil                                      6 Tablespoons

Sooji                                  2 Tablespoons

Salt                                     to taste

Ajwain                              1 teaspoon

Water                                to knead a stiff dough

Oil for frying

Using just enough water mix all ingredients into a medium stiff dough that is pliable. Let the dough rest for an hour

Heat oil in a kadhai, divide the dough into 6 portions and roll out each one like a chapatti about 1/8th inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut through into diamond shapes or strips or squares.

Drop the strips into the hot oil and fry over a medium heat, stirring every now and then.

Remove the fried strips with a slotted spoon when golden – they will darken a shade as they sit continuing to cook as they cool. Store in an airtight tin after they have cooled completely.

Ulli Garelu (Vada) ~ Onion Fritters

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How was the Sankranti / Pongal weekend for you all? I hope everyone had fun and ate atleast as much as I did (so that I can feel less guilty!). It was a mega eating fest for us at the Escapades household. Crazy amounts of food was made and consumed. Even my kadai was filled up with oil for deep frying these Ulli Garelu (Onion Fritters). More because I was doing a festival special article for the newspaper I write for and had to take pictures!

K who is used to not having fried stuff asked me atleast 5 times if the garelu were made at home and not sent by a kind neighbour because he knows I almost never deep fry!

This is a simple stevens recipe and can be whipped up in 20 minutes if you have soaked the husked urad dal earlier. A tea time treat, this is a must have at a festive spread.

Ulli Garelu – Makes about 12-14 garelu

Ingredients:

Skinned Urad Dal – 11/2 cup, washed and soaked for 4 hours

Ginger – I small piece (very finely chopped)
Green chillies – 2-3 (chopped finely)

Onion – 1 medium (chopped finely)

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Strain the water from the dal and grind to a paste sprinkling little water and salt. Do this in two batches so that you get a soft fluffy paste without adding too much water. The batter should be thick.

Add the chopped onions, finely chopped ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies to the batter and mix well.

In a kadai, add oil enough for deep frying and heat well.

Wet your hands with water and take a lemon sized ball and flatten it into a vada on a sheet of plastic or a banana leaf.

Make a hole in the centre of the gare so that it cooks evenly all over Slowly drop it into the hot oil carefully and fry it on both sides on medium heat to a golden brown colour.

Drain onto paper towels and serve hot with sauce or chutney.

Sakranthi Subhakankshalu – Khara Pongal and Chakkara Pongal

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What better way to say hello with a post for the festival of the bounty of the earth? How are you doing? I hope the new (old) year is treating you all well. I had high hopes of wonderful things and posts for the close of the year and the beginning of the year… but nothing worked out till this morning and here I am banging away at the keyboard on the morning of Bhogi… when we shed all things old, Consign the waste to flames and begin afresh.

The four day festival of Sankranti is celebrated in my home state of Andhra Pradesh with much fervor.  The agrarian background making it one of the most important festivals for us. The embers of yesterday’s fires on the roads of our colony told me Lohri was celebrated, I have been invited to a Maharashtrian neighbour’s house for haldi and kumkum for Sankrant… almost every state of this country will celebrate it in some form over the next few days.

I love that my family made it a point to make something special to mark both Hindu and Christian festivals. Even if we didnt follow the religious rituals, it was a cultural thing to do and i am grateful for the exposure. For my far from agrarian upbringing, mostly urban perspective of everything, this has held me in good stead. I think it is important for me to acknowledge and be grateful for the sheer manual labour that goes into tilling the land to put food on my table. So today i celebrate that. Traditionally newly harvested rice and dal and new jaggery is used… but if like me you have had a block of jaggery sitting in your kitchen shelves getting darker over 6 months, here is your chance to use it.

I’ve posted both Venn (Khara) Pongal and Chakkara Pongal on the blog before… but i must say what i am posting today is a much improved recipe….not to mention better pictures….these are easy versions… for the ever busy urban dweller!

To make both the forms of sweet and savoury pongal, the starting point is the same…. rice and dal to be cooked together. they then take their seperate avatars bathed in jaggery and spices.

Makes 3 servings each

11/2 cup rice, washed and soaked for 10 minutes

2/3 cup split moong dal, washed and soaked for 10 minutes

1 cup milk

3 cups water

Place the washed rice and dal in a vessel, add the water and milk. Place this in a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles till well cooked, but not yet mushy. you can skip the milk and use only water, the milk makes it very creamy. the rice and dal can also be cooked in an electric rice cooker or stove top.

Once the pressure has released, remove the cooked rice and dal and portion it 2:1 for the khara pongal and chakkara pongal respectively

Khara Pongal 

Ghee – 2 tablespoons

Ginger – 1 small piece

Green chillies – 2

Whole Black Peppercorns – 1 teaspoon

Whole Cumin – 1 teaspoon

Curry leaves – a few

In a mortar and pestle, or with a rolling pin, crush the ginger and green chillies roughly.

In a tempering pan, heat the ghee, add the cumin and black pepper, after a few seconds, add the crushed ginger, green chillies and the curry leaves.

Saute till everything is toasted and the curry leaves are crisp.

Pour this over the cooked rice and dal and mix well. Add ¼ cup of water if needed to make it creamy. Serve hot with chutney.

Chakkara Pongal

Jaggery – 1 cup, grated

Ghee – 2 tablespoons

Golden Raisins and Cashewnuts – ¼ cup

In a pan, add 1/2 cup water to the grated jaggery heat till the jaggery has melted. Strain with a sieve to remove impurities.

Add the cooked rice and dal to the jaggery and mix well till everything is incorporated.

In a small pan, heat the ghee and add the raisins and cashews. Fry till golden brown and pour this over the pongal. Mix well, serve warm.

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