Monday, October 31, 2011

Jodha a Salad

Connotations huh!
I didn't want to also add "in a Margarita glass" this blog post would be listed as "Jodha a a Margarita glass".Did Akbar indulge in the partaking of liquor?(the language needs to be mellifluous when we speak of or speak with royalty no??)I know not...but the margarita glass is too pretty to let it pass by....

Why Jodha Akbar?The poster of the movie showed and incredibly handsome Hritik Roshan and an ethereal Aishwarya Bachchan.Looking even more beatific in their gorgeous jewellery.
More than the story line I'm sure most women must have gone absolutely gaga over the neck piece that Ash was wearing.This will  refresh your memory...
The rubies ,the pearls and somewhere you'll see the emeralds.Personally I Love the colour green.....not that much in love with the spinach,but then that's a necessary evil.This salad is just like a set of jewels stringed together.
How it came about?Mother dear trying to feed her two daughters spinach...of course.It wasn't to make either of us as strong as Popeye,only to help our poor fatigued eyes.
Enough of the history,the making is more interesting.
For  the 
Jodha a Salad...
you need

250 gms fresh spinach
1 pomegranate -seeded(we only wil be using the seeds you know)
100 gms fresh Cottage Cheese/Paneer(home made is best)
1 tspn pepper corns coarsely ground
a few drops of Tabasco 
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
juice of 1 lemon

here are the seeds of the pomegranate,not that good a yield.This fruit is offered to Goddess Durga,she loves the red seeds,and they are bursting with iron and vitamin C.

That's the spinach,well washed and waiting.We are going to blanch the spinach,and to do so,the first thing to  is to put a sauce pan of water with a teaspoon of salt up to boil.Also keep a pan of cold ,iced water for the end of the blanching process.

When the water comes to a rolling boil,drop a handful of the spinach into the water,in a minute the water will come back to the boil.This is all the time that is needed to blanch the spinach.
That's the colour now,indication enough to take it out.

With  a slotted spoon or a poni as is known in the north quickly gather the spinach and dump it in the cold water.Repeat the process till you use up all the spinach.

Squeeze out all the water out of the spinach, and chop as finely as you can.You will need to unravel the spinach.You don't want clumps .....the poor veggie has just recovered from an ice cold bath.Show it some love.

The Cottage Cheese has been cubed into the same size as the pomegranate seeds,and that's the chopped and separated spinach.
You may BAKE the sesame seeds,but,I'm always in a hurry.So,toasted sesame seeds they were for me.They will pop,change colour and begin to smell wonderful...really nutty aromas will arise from the black pan......
Bringing visions of winter and popcorn and til or sesame  laddoos....
Thats all for another day.

Now all the above into a salad bowl,with the salt and the pepper.

Now a drizzle of the Tabasco sauce and lemon juice.Give it a good mix.

And now serve...

This salad does not need any oil to help absorb the nutrients.Why?Because of the sesame seeds,they are loaded with Good fats.....that's why.I was not about to answer why with "because the sky is so high.".That I leave to irritable elder siblings.

This is one of those things,you know pretty and loaded with benefits .Not like a Bimbette...all good looks and no brains.

Enjoy the Jodha a Salad as a mid morning snack or as a meal.Sit in the garden and watch natures bounty as you eat what else but natures bounty.

Any suggestions about salads or whatever you'd want me to make are always welcome.

So what are you baking today???

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paneer Pakoras -Haldirams Style

You're the Meaning  in my life ,you're the INSPIRATION!...
This is from way back...when I was in pigtails and wore my school backpack like kids in kinder garden.....but the strains of this song still linger...and of course this is inspired.My sneaky eyes saw an unsuspecting cook at a Haldirams outlet prepare a batch of their famous  Paneer Pakoras .So here goes!

This is Paneer Pakoras -Haldiram Style I know ,where Peter Cetera fits in?Well Haldirams is the father of all  Fast Food Mithai Joints..Sweet Shops that sell everything sweet and fried- in Delhi,and every thing they have to offer is too marwari,too oily,too laden with nuts and raisins or too sweet.They are probably the only ones to add raisins to all kinds of chaat...No complaints ,but savoury is best left un-meddled with.
Their Paneer Pakoras are no doubt, good ,fortunately god sense prevailed on time and they didn't destroy this with nuts and raisins,problems-Re fried ,Deep fried and of course this being Ranchi....we can only dream!
So here, we cater for small sizes,keeping the sweet and savoury where they should be. APART!
I am aware that most of you have your own successful sets of recipes of making pakoras,but then hey,that's why I,BLOG!
Here's mine ...OK,you can just add or subtract whatever you think will make your own recipe better.
All you need are many people around your coffee table,whatever your poison...tea ,coffee or even a bottle of beer,and the Paneer Pakoras will disappear before you can say BOO! or hello...I wanted another pakora!
This I fell is the best way for food to go,you get all the pleasure from the first few bites and none of the guilt that you partook of too much-Almost like your first kiss...with that longing for more.
Moderation was the word I was looking for,but who doen not love a cute story to go with it.
What an analogy huh? A paneer pakora and your first kiss! But then these are things that you never forget.

For the
Paneer Pakoras -Haldirams  Style...
you need

200 gms / 8 oz fresh Paneer(In Case you are wondering Paneer =Cottage Cheese...homemade or store bought)
2-3 green chillies
1/2 -3/4 inch piece ginger
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp Kasoori Methi( These are dried fenugreek leaves,if you have fresh....great use them)
a small fist full of coriander
1 tsp ajwain or carom seeds
6-7 tbsp /1 cup besan / gram flour
salt and red chili powder to taste
1 pinch turmeric
1/4 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp yogurt(optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Chaat Masala
Oil to shallow or deep fry

Start with the aromatics
You can either chop them fin e or do what I do....use the nut and chili cutter.
BTW,the newspaper is to mop up all the spills and make cleaning up easier.I do not read while cooking.
To all of the above add the chopped coriander.

Now the ajwain/carom seeds.
The kasoori methi,
The spices and ...the magic ingredient...Baking Powder-This makes the batter awesomely crisp!

Now the besan,you can if you want to  ,sieve it...but I couldn't be bothered to...
The yogurt
Now use cold water to make the batter using a whisk.....ensuring you do not have lumps.I have Lemon seasoning,if you do...yay!If you don't...don't fret, use lemon juice.
In the meanwhile put your oil up to heat.
Now the paneer.Cut the paneer into almost cubes.1 inch by 1 inch by 3/4 inch.
Make a small pocket in the cube,ensuring that you don't separate the cube into two pieces.

Smear the insides of the pocket with the chaat masala. Press lightly to close and ensure no air pockets.
Looks really ugly this way...but there is a price you pay for all things good.
Dip the paneer in the batter.removing the extra dripping batter and slide into hot oil.

Turn once.

Cut into triangles to show the masala inside the pakora and serve with ketchup or mustard sauce.Hot ....and enjoy!
In  the left over batter ,I dipped thin slices of potatoes and made alloo ka pakoras.
You can do onion rings,aubergine/brinjal...(our humble baingan ka pakora) cauliflower,fat green chillies....anything.You just need a good batter...and the sky will be your limit.
After 5 minutes..

So what are you baking today???

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Diwali

I may be a little late ...but as it is posted on Indian Roads..."Better Late Than Never"...HAPPY DIWALI.

Well I'm hoping that your Diwali was Happy and that the hangover is not to painful and that you did not loose a lot of money when you gambled a few nights ago.But then there is always a flip side....If you won...well whats to say ...Lucky Lady...Lady Luck smiled on you...and If you are male ...Lucky Dude...and aren't you the lucky one won the money and were smiled at by LADY Luck!
And conversely if you did not win...after cursing all and sundry you can rest happy that soon you will be Lucky in LOVE!If you are female...then maybe someone special will soon kiss the ground you walk on ,and if you are a man...LUCKY BOY!Soon Some babe will be singing that song......I don't think Bipasha Basu would condescend to singing that for you...I'm sure you'd want her to gyrate to the music...whatever.....
Enough Rambling!
Back to a happy and sweet Diwali!
Thanx to the hullabaloo created by the much maligned TV channels ,people have stopped gifting any Mithais...and if you do get something by mistake....Your brain is screaming ADULTRATED.
You cant offer Ferrero Rocher to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi.......

They may line your pockets with the moolah to buy the chocolates but I'm, sure Lord Ganesh loves his modak.
So You need the Desi!

Thats what I realised at 2 in the afternoon...after exchanging all varieties of chocolates...BTW...some of my friends had Egg less Date Cake for Diwali...
courtesy baketitude.
Same predicament....where's the Desi mithai???
No way was I ready to face the traffic and waste an hour for 5 pieces of mithai,so the only option-MAKE.Dug out an old diary in which I used to write recipes hen sweet child o'mine was a toddler....No I could still read the stuff I am not that old mind you that my Diary Entries are illegible!
And found what I was looking for...thank God for Sanjeev Kapoor.He was the god of Indian cooking on TV years ago...I don't know about the TV channel,not seen not heard.
These were Raghavdas Laddoos err Suji and Nariyal ke laddoos...or more eloquently said
Semolina Coconut Laddoos.
Despite the nomenclature,they were interesting Blame my Kerala Connection...I love all things Coconut.
But the amount of sugar and Desi ghee almost gave me angina.
Modifications !The necessary evil.
But you've got to admit they did look pretty...and say it...the candles were looking awesome too.
My guests had this platter as an alternative...I hope you would want to sample the home made Raghav Das Laddoos.
I know Diwali is now long gone,but you can still practise for another time.
Wont you like to try??
For the
Semolina Coconut Laddoos...
you need

2 1/2 cups semolina...the cup size does not really matter here...but I used standard Indian Chai cups,180 mils to be precise
1 1/2 cups sugar(sanjeev kapoor used the same amount of sugar as he did semolina...but I deferred)
3/4 cup water
2 cardamom pods peeled
1 cup shredded coconut-fresh(mine was fresh from the freezer)
3-4 tbsp raisins
2  tbsp Ghee(he used 3/4 cup of ghee...if you have the courage or are seriously under weight-go ahead!)
That's ALL Folks!

All you need to do is measure up the 1 cup of coconut and dry roast in a pan...dry-Coconut has enough fat of its own,if you did not know....
And keep stirring on l;ow heat till it releases its heady aromas and begins to turn brownish golden..
In the meanwhile mix the sugar and the water in a sauce pan and set to boil,it has to boil down to a one thread consistency.I did not have the patience to wait that long.
Some flecks of coconut in the sugar syrup...not too keen on washing the dishes as the maid had taken off for Diwali.So that's the toasted coconut.
And the cardamom peeled...the little seeds are quite ugly.

The semolina now being roasted,without the ghee.This way the semolina absorbs a little less ghee,trick learnt from my mum.

Once the raw smell is almost out then add the ghee,since the ghee is less you have to struggle a bit in the stirring.

Now you stirring till the semolina  roasts till it turns a little reddish brown and you started getting a little toasty smell.
The sugar syrup boiling away  to glory...

Now add the roasted coconut to the semolina and mix well ,in the meanwhile sugar syrup should be now almost one thread consistency.Also add in the raisins at this stage.One thread as in take a drop of between your forefinger and thumb and open get one thread.
Me,I'm not that into complications...when the syrup was Almost the needed consistency(Think Jalebi Syrup or Gulab jamun Syrup) I poured the syrup into the coconut and semolina mix.Now no pix of the mixing,suffice to say it has to be a QRA...a.k.a .Quick Reflex Action.
The Reflex always reminds me of Duran Duran...OMG what crap we loved when we were young...

Being mixed...
And now poured into a cold cool down.Hot sugar is way hotter than you think so be careful.
Wait for at least 15-20 minutes ,and with lightly oiled hands shape a bit of the laddoo mix a WWF wrestling match...only your opponent is the laddoo....Uneven shapes..OK, asymmetry is also good.

They tasted nice..well nobody said they did not ,and Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi were hopefully the year ahead should be good.
Diwali long gone ,no bake but still.

So what are you baking today???

Until the next

Until the next


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