Sunday, 21 January 2018

737. Chocolate Coated Strawberries

A Belated Happy New Year

   A belated wish is better than none, so a belated Happy New Year to all my friends, family and followers. I've been on a no blogging much required vacation. Sometimes its truly relaxing just to turn your mind off from blogging and any blogging related activity. 

   Hubby and I were supposed to spend Christmas and New Year with my son, daughter in law and her parents. We were on our way to Bali when we received a message from my son that Elodie my daughter in law had met with a motorbike accident. The remaining 4 hours of flight were stressful as we had no idea what had exactly happened. On landing at Denpasar, Bali, we had to head straight to the hospital. After tests, scans and whatever procedures were required, she underwent five hours of surgery. Her jaw was fractured into 5 pieces which the surgeon had to put together without damaging her nerves. However, looking on the bright side we got to spend a lot of quality time with them and her parents. Overall it turned out to be a much needed relaxing holiday. Elodie is recovery well but feel bad for her as she's still on a liquid diet as her jaws are wired up. She's a very strong woman and takes everything in a positive way.

   I was not planning to participate in the 128th theme for FoodieMonday/Bloghop. The theme chosen by Amrita of The Food Samaritan is 3 Ingredient Recipe. However, the foodie in me just emerged and the urge to use the wonderful strawberries that are available everywhere in Mumbai was just too tempting. Every time a vendor with the tokri full of strawberries passed by, I kept on thinking what to make. Finally I settled for chocolate coated strawberries. Having access to my sister in law's kitchen was an added advantage. But I nearly gave up on the idea as while walking on Juhu beach I injured my right toe. Hubby dear volunteered to shop for me. So ultimately the ultra easy recipe materialized. 

   Before I go into the simple and yet an absolute treat, please take some time to check out the new look Amrita has created for her blog. 





CHOCOLATE COATED STRAWBERRIES
16-20 Pieces

16-20 fresh ripe strawberries
1 cup (approx. 150g) dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Wash and dry the strawberries. If the strawberries remain wet, they will not get coated with the chocolate.
  2. Put the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. The bowl should sit into a pan without touching the bottom.
  3. Heat some water in the pan.
  4. Put the bowl with chocolate over the hot water. 
  5. Stir the chocolate over the hot water till it melts.
  6. Add coconut oil and mix well.
  7. Line a plate with parchment paper or grease it with some coconut oil.
  8. Holding the strawberry by the green leaves and stem, dip it in the melted chocolate.
  9. Put it on the prepared plate. 
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 with the remaining strawberries.
  11. Put the strawberries in the fridge to set.
  12. Serve. 
Tips:
  • You can replace the coconut oil with butter or vegetable shortening.
  • Decorate the chocolate dipped strawberries with chopped nuts, sprinkles or drizzle with white chocolate. I didn't decorate it as I had to use only 3 ingredients for this theme.
  • Replace the strawberries with other fruits of your choice.
You may want to check out other strawberry recipes:
mini pancake stacks



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Monday, 1 January 2018

736.Dahi Chura

Happy New Year

A simple healthy Indian style parfait

   For the month of December, the Shhh Cooking Secretly group (initiated by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes) is visiting the state of Bihar. Bihar is in the East of India bordering Nepal. The Ganges flows through this state roughly dividing it into two parts, the east and the west. The three main districts of Bihar are Mithila, Magadh and Bhojpur. Famous for Bhojpuri films, birth place of Goddess Sita (Mithila), Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in the famous Bodh Gaya and the birth place of the Mahavir and Vasupujya Tirthankaras of Jainism.

   Bihari Cuisine is mainly divided into 3 - Bhojpuri, Maithil and Magahi Cuisine. Traditionally a predominantly vegetarian cuisine because of Hindu, Jainism and Buddhist influence. However, meat dishes are common in the Mithila region.Though present day cuisine is influenced by the neighboring states, Bihar is well known for its sattu. Its used to make cool drinks in summer, as a filling for litti chokha and parathas. Famous sweet dishes from Bihar are kheer, tilkut, lai( amaranth ladoos), Chandrakala, khaja, parwal ki mithai to name a few. 

   My partner for this month is a new member to the group Seema, who blogs at Mildly Indian. Besides food recipes, her blog has an interesting travel diary and some droolable reviews. She initially gave me amaranth and jaggery to use as my ingredients. I wanted to make lai but I couldn't get the amaranth to pop well and didn't have time to wait for the popped ones to arrive from amazon. So I asked her replace one ingredient. So finally the ingredients to use were flattened rice or poha and jaggery. Am I glad I got those two ingredients as I prepared dahi chura for the first time. 

   Dahi Chura is so easy to make and its such a delicious and yet healthy breakfast option or one can have it as a dessert too. Adding fruit, nuts and seeds makes it even more interesting and wholesome. I used palm date jaggery.  In Bihar Chura is poha, flattened rice or rice flakes. This dish is usually prepared during Makar Sankranti and served as breakfast. I'm wondering how I missed such an easy and delectable dish! 

   Dahi Chura is fast disappearing from the urban kitchens as it gets replaced by ready made cereals. However, it has many health benefits.  Yogurt cools the digestive system and improves digestion. Helps to strengthen bones and immunity. Chura is easy to digest therefore ideal for old and young people. Chura keeps one full for a longer period of time and is gluten free.

   Here's the recipe for this simple and healthy breakfast treat. I know I'll be including this more often as a breakfast item.







DAHI CHURA 
Serves 1

1 cup thick yogurt
½ cup rice flakes (poha, chura, flattened rice)
2-3 tbsp jaggery powder (or honey, brown sugar)
¼ cup chopped fresh fruit of your choice
1 tbsp chopped mixed nuts and seeds


  1. Put the chura in a sieve and wash it under running water.
  2. Leave the chura in the sieve and keep it on the side till required.
  3. Mix yogurt and jaggery together. Add jaggery according to your taste.
  4. Mix in the chura, fruit and seeds and serve chilled.
Tips:
  • You can use brown sugar or honey instead of jaggery.
  • If the yogurt is too thick add 2-3 tsp of milk.
  • I used the broad flat variety of chura but if you use a thicker one then you may need to soak it in 1-2 tbsp of milk before adding to the yogurt. It has to be soft.
You may want to check out other dishes from different states of India:

Koat Pitha - Arunachal Pradesh Cuisine
Punugulu - Andhra Cuisine



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Monday, 25 December 2017

735. Easy Christmas Cake

Merry Christmas Everyone

  This Christmas I'm celebrating it in the Exotic Tropical Island of Bali... yes the Bali where Julia Roberts finds inner peace and balance of love in the movie Eat, Pray and Love. Spending this holiday season with my eldest son, his wife and her parents. The #124th theme Christmas for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group has come just at the right time. Last week before traveling I baked an Easy Christmas Cake and some Cookies. So for this post was contemplating whether I should post the cake first or the cookies. The cake won and the cookies will be posted a bit later. 

  The last time we spent Christmas with my daughter in law and her parents was in Dubai. Family time together is fun and makes any festival more meaningful. My family is spread all over the world and for us to get together as one becomes very difficult because of jobs and number of days they can take off. For quite a while we were planning that the whole family gets together in Bali for Christmas. However, that has not been possible, my other son, my daughter and son in law cannot make it to Bali. On the other side, my daughter in law's brother can't make it. However, there is always hope that one day we will be able to take a holiday together. However, as I am writing this post, I am excited to visit a new place and really looking forward to spending 2 whole weeks with the rest of the family.

   I was supposed to make the proper Christmas Cake but I didn't soak the fruits in time... so perhaps next year! However, there are Christmas Cakes that are made without soaking the fruit. That's why the recipe I'm about to share is so easy, fuss free. The types of dried fruits you use is up to you. I used what my daughter had in her pantry. I was so tempted to buy the dried kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, etc but had to really control myself. I had to clear her pantry as come Feb she is moving to Dubai. 

   So lets get right to the cake without much delay. By the way, I hadn't baked a proper cake for a very long time and when I did, I baked two within a span of nearly 2 weeks. I bake muffins but that's not a true cake. The other cake recipe will hopefully follow.






EASY CHRISTMAS CAKE
Makes 1 big cake (9") or 2 small ones

1¾ cups  plain flour (all purpose flour)
1¼ cup brown sugar
220g butter (salted)
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
2 cups mixed dried fruits ( I used raisins, cranberries, cherries and tutti frutti)
1 cup chopped mixed nuts ( I used almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios)
¼ - ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
zest from one orange
2 tbsp brandy, rum or any alcohol of your choice (optional)

extra flour for dusting 
extra butter for greasing


  1. Prepare the baking tin. For one cake you can use a 9" round tin. I used a 6" round tin and a small loaf tin. Grease the tin lightly with butter. Add about a tsp or so of flour and shake the tin to spread the flour around. Dust the sides too. Tap the tin gently over the sink to remove excess flour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Sieve the flour, spices and baking powder together. 
  4. Mix the nuts and dried fruits together. Add 1 tbsp flour to it and mix it. By doing this the fruit and nuts will not sink to the bottom of the cake while baking.
  5. Cream butter and sugar together till it is nice and fluffy. The color too will become a bit lighter.
  6. Add the zest and one egg. 
  7. Whisk till the egg is mixed into the sugar butter mixture.
  8. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix.
  9. Add the second egg and whisk.
  10. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix.
  11. Add the third egg and whisk.
  12. Add the juice and alcohol. Whisk.
  13. Add remaining flour and fold well.
  14. Add the nuts and fruit mixture and fold it in gently.
  15. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin.
  16. Baking time will vary according to the size of the tin.  9" one will take 55-60 minutes. My 6" one took 45-50 minutes and the small loaf one took 35 minutes.
  17. The top should be nice golden brown color and when you insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake it should come out clean if the cake is done. 
  18. Remove the tin from the oven. Let the cake rest in the tin for 5 minutes.
  19. Then remove it carefully and let it cool down completely on a wire rack. 
  20. Christmas cake is ready to be enjoyed with friends and family.
Tips:
  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Use lemon zest instead of orange zest.
  • Replace the alcohol with juice or water.
You may want to check out the following Christmas recipes:
Dutch Christmas Cookies
Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread

Orange  Chocolate Muffins



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Monday, 18 December 2017

734. Amla Pickle - Gujarati Style

Merry Berries

   Berries in true sense are not the berries we all know... strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. These in the botanical world are known as aggregate fruits. Berries are fruits produced from a single ovary. So in botanical sense tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants, bananas, pumpkins, melons are berries. Did you know that grapes too are berries? Yes they are.

   However for our FoodieMonday/Bloghop #123rd theme, Berries we meant berries that we normally know. We had to prepare something using berries. Berries are small pulpy and often edible fruits. Before food was cultivated, berries were gathered by primitive men as a source of food, many animals feed on berries. It's probably presumed that during prehistoric time men may have sampled berries that animals consumed to supplement their diet.

   Berries are considered power food, having the highest amount of antioxidants. Blackberries, goji berries and Indian Gooseberries (amla) tops the list. Antioxidants help in fighting cancer. Consuming blueberries and strawberries helps to protect brain, helps improve sleep quality as it contains melatonin. Blueberries help to improve memory. Berries help to reduce muscle soreness, prevent stroke, relieve visual fatigue. Its commonly recommended to consume cranberries to fight bladder infections, acai berries improve immune system and relieve arthritic pain.

   Berries like blackberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries, etc are common summer fruits in the temperate regions. However hot or tropical regions too have their share of berries. I remember we had a huge mulberry or setoor tree in our garden and we would pluck the berries and eat them. My grandmother would shout at us as we ate them without washing them! Mulberries(shahtoot, setoor), gooseberries, cape gooseberries, Indian blackberries (jamun), bora berries, West Indian cherries, Himalayan blackberries are a few examples. However, the most common tropical berries I know of are jamun, amla, bora, shahtoot and strawberries.

   When the topic berries was suggested by fellow member Saswati of Delish Potpourri, I wished I was in Montreal and that too during summer. Our daily breakfast included loads of berries. But as they say, make the best of what is available locally. I decided to use Indian Gooseberry or Amla to prepare a dish for this theme. The ideas running through my mind was an amla drink, amla rice, chutney and finally settled for pickle. Yes finally trying my hands out on pickles and not just the two that I regularly make, chundo and lemon pickle. The other reason I used amla is because back home in Kenya, I don't get really nice huge, juicy amla.

   Amla as mentioned above is rich in antioxidants which help to combat free radicals that are responsible for degenerative diseases and aging. Its rich in Vitamin C and E. Vitamin C helps to fight colds and flus and Vitamin E is good for the skin. Though the berry is sour, it helps to reduce acidity in the stomach. Amla helps to build, repair and sustain the human body. Amla taken with a bit of honey helps to relive asthma and reduces bronchitis complications. Amla strengthens the heart muscles and lowers cholesterol.

   I decided to make the pickle Gujarati style.... no don't worry its not loaded with sugar. Check out the recipe for this really easy pickle. Bottled a jar to take all the way to Bali for my son and daughter in law and the rest we're enjoying with practically everything from parathas, bread to khichdis.









AMLA PICKLE GUJARATI STYLE 
Makes approx 3 cups
recipe idea : Nisha Madhulika

500g(10-12 pieces) Indian Gooseberries (amla)
4 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
4 tbsp mustard seeds (rai)
3 tbsp fennel seeds (valiyari)
2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4 tbsp red chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
2-2½ tbsp salt
1½ -2 cups oil
2-3 tbsp jaggery powder


  1. Wash the amla and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Cut the amla into pieces or segments. Discard the seeds.
  3. Heat 1 cup oil in a pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the chopped amla and let it cook till its a bit soft. Stir it occasionally.
  5. In the meantime, heat a tawa or frying pan over low heat.
  6. Roast the seeds separately till they give out an aroma and are crunchy. I started with coriander, followed by fennel, mustard, fenugreek and nigella. 
  7. Let the seeds cool a bit. 
  8. Process the seeds separately into  coarse powders. Mix the powders.
  9. When the amla becomes a bit soft(don't overcook them), take the pan off the heat. 
  10. Heat the remaining oil till its hot in a another pan.
  11. In the meantime add the ground seeds powder, turmeric powder, asafetida, red chili powder, salt and jaggery to the amla oil mixture. 
  12. Mix well.
  13. Add the hot oil to the amla pickle and mix well.
  14. Once it is cool, spoon into sterilized jars or jar. 
  15. Enjoy the pickle with parathas, rotis, bread, with rice dishes etc.
Tips:
  • There's nothing better than freshly ground spices to make a tasty pickle.
  • I added 2 tbsp of red chili powder and 2 of Kashmiri red chili powder. You can add the hot chili powder if you prefer hot pickle.
  • I reduced the amount of salt as my family does not like pickles that are too salty.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste. 
  • Don't burn the spices when you roast them. Roast them over low heat. 
  • I used sunflower oil. You can replace it with sesame oil or mustard oil or an oil of your choice.

Sending this recipe to the following event:



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

733. Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread#Breadbakers

Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread#BreadBakers

Theme: Whole Grained Holiday Breads

   Whether people would like to admit it or not, December brings about an air of festivities for all. The celebrations begin with ThanksGiving and will end with New Year celebrations. Shops are decorated, Christmas sales are on, friends and relatives share decorated streets, trees, homes photos. One cannot help but get drawn to this seasonal celebration. I consider myself very lucky that I get to enjoy Diwali, Eid and Christmas. As a Hindu living in a predominantly Christian Country and a strong Muslim part of Kenya, I get drawn into celebrating all three festivals.

   When Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds suggested Whole Grained Holiday Breads, I tried looking for recipes where I could use whole grains. There are many recipes out there using spelt and rye flour. I don't get either in Kenya or India. Kalyani suggested that we try and use whole grain as much as possible. I was nearly going to sit this one out as I know 100% wheat festive bread can turn out pretty dense. You know how sometimes light bulb moments happen, well I was rolling out rotis for dinner and suddenly it dawned on me that the flour I'm using is a multigrain flour. Why not use that for the bread, I thought? Well, tweaking an oatmeal bread recipe to fit into a holiday bread, I got this delicious, not so sweet bread and the family enjoyed it for breakfast. You'll laugh at the combination the family requested with the sweet bread, not honey, jam or marmalade but fried eggs with masala (spicy) tea! Oh well!

   Keeping in mind the need to include multi grains in ones diet, many flour companies in India now sell multi grain wheat flour or atta as its commonly called. All Indian households use atta on a daily basis to make flatbreads like parathas, rotis, puris etc. The flour that I used has wheat, finger millet, soya, chickpea,oats,barley and maize. By adding dried cranberries and topping it with orange glace icing, this was definitely a delicious holiday bread. I also added gingerbread spice. Christmas season and no gingerbread spice? That is not possible. The whole house smelt so aromatic while the bread was baking.




GINGERBREAD AND OATMEAL BREAD
Makes 1 loaf

2½ cups multi grain flour (multi grain atta)
¾ cup oats
2¼ tsp dried active yeast
1½ cups warm milk
1 egg
4 tbsp melted butter
½ tsp salt
¼ cup honey (or molasses)
½ cup dried cranberries

For the Gingerbread Spice Mixture:
1½ tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp orange zest

For Orange Glace Icing:
½ cup powdered or icing sugar
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
¼ tsp orange zest

extra flour for dusting
extra butter for greasing


  1. Take a ¼ cup of the warm milk. Add a tsp of honey and mix well. Add the yeast. Cover and let the yeast ferment for 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
  2. Add oats to the remaining warm milk and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Mix flour, all of the gingerbread spice and salt in a bowl.
  4. Beat the egg and add it to the oat mixture. 
  5. Add honey, melted butter and the yeast mixture to the oat mixture. Mix well.
  6. Add the oat mixture to the flour and form a dough.
  7. Dust the worktop with little flour and knead the dough for 15 minutes by hand (or 10 minutes if you're using the machine) till it is smooth. 
  8. Form the dough into a round shape. Rub some butter over it.
  9. Grease a bowl with some butter. Put the dough into the bowl. 
  10. Cover and let it rise till its double in size. Mine took 2 hours because of the slightly cold weather.
  11. Dust the worktop with little flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and deflate it.
  12. Add the cranberries and knead it gently.
  13. At this stage you can either use a loaf tin or make a round shape. I decided to make it round.
  14. Grease a baking tray with some butter. Place the shaped dough on it. 
  15. Let the dough rise again for 45 - 60 mins.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  17. Brush the top of the risen dough with some milk.
  18. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes or till the top is golden brown. 
  19. Tap the bread at the bottom and it should hollow if done.
  20. Let the bread cool down completely. 
  21. To prepare the icing, mix the sugar and orange juice till you get a thick creamy mixture. It should coat the back of the spoon.
  22. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
  23. Slice and serve. 

Tips:
  • The amount of water required may vary from flour to flour. 
  • I used honey instead of molasses.
  • As no plain or all purpose flour was used, the bread will be a little dense.

Check out more exciting Whole Grained Holiday Breads made by Fellow Bakers:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers






Monday, 11 December 2017

732. Santula - Odia Style Mixed Vegetable Curry

Those Tiny Spices Make All The Difference

   It's really amazing how addition of small amounts of spices can make a dish taste so different. Every Indian household has it own spice (masala) box or dabba (tin) which we use for our everyday cooking. Some spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder will be standard in any spice box. The variations come with the other spices. Don't get me wrong, all the spices are used all over India but in some cuisine some spices are used in a larger quantity than others. My spice box has the typical  spices that will be found in the masala dabba of most Gujaratis. Mustard seeds(rai), Cumin seeds (jeeru), fenugreek seeds (methi), carom seeds (ajmo), turmeric powder (hardar), red chili powder (lal marchu) and coriander cumin powder (dhana jiru). The latter we tend to use in almost all the curry/ shaak dishes we prepare.

   Why am I talking about spices? Well, I discovered a whole new combination of flavors when I made Santula for our Sunday dinner. Basically, the vegetables used to make santula can be anything from your commonly available veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, beans, carrots to some uncommon vegetables like broad beans, or what is available in your area. Santula is a healthy full of vegetables curry and so easy to make. 

   I was talking to my daughter's best friend who is an Odia about the FoodieMonday/Bloghop's #122nd theme on Odia Cuisine which was selected by fellow member Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook. I  tried my hand at Chenna Poda and asked Nami's friend to taste it. The taste was bang on but it did not have the burnt sugar taste and also it sank a bit after cooling. 

   She was kind enough to send other suggestions too. There was Palanga Saga Besara(which I have to try when I get badi), Chakuli Pitha, Dalma and Santula. She makes santula often so I decided to make that after my second attempt at chenna poda didn't turn out as expected. Second time round got the nice burnt crust but it was a bit dry. However, it disappeared fast into everyone's tummy. Its one recipe I'll have to try again to get it perfect. 

   For Santula I picked vegetables that the sabjiwala brought. I decided to use potato, brinjal, carrot, pumpkin, drumsticks, ash gourd along with tomato and onion. One can add raw banana, raw papaya, flat beans, bottle gourd, ridge gourd etc. This curry was so flavorful though I used small quantities of spices. This curry or stew is super healthy. The secret spice combination is called pancha phutana which literally translates as five spices. Cumin, mustard, fenugreek, aniseeds and nigella (kalonji) are used in equal proportions to make this spice mixture. Did I mention that's so easy to make this curry. I think it took me longer to peel and cut the pumpkin than it took for the curry to get ready. 

So lets get to the simple  and yet tasty and healthy recipe.



Panch Phutana





SANTULA - ODIA STYLE MIXED VEGETABLE CURRY
Serves 4-6

1 large potato - peel and cut into cubes
1 medium brinjal(eggplant) - cut into cubes
250g (2 cups) pumpkin cubes -peel and cut into cubes
1 medium carrot - peeled and diced
1 drumstick cut into about 2-3" pieces
100g any gourd of your choice (I used ash gourd)-peel and cut into cubes
I medium onion - peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 green chillis
1-2 dry red chillis
1 large tomato - cut into chunks
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp pancha phutana (equal proportions of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, nigella seeds)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-1½ tsp salt
¼  tsp asafetida (hing)
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin powder
water as required

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Keep them in water till required so that they do not discolor except for the tomatoes, onion, chillis, ginger and garlic. 
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. As soon as the oil is hot, add the pancha phutana and dry red chillis.
  4. Add asafetida and the onions.
  5. Stir fry the onions till they become soft and turn light golden in colour.
  6. In the meantime drain out the water from the vegetables.
  7. Add garlic, ginger and green chillis. Mix well.
  8. Add the vegetables (except for the chopped tomato), turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  10. Mix again and add tomatoes. If the mixture is dry add 1-2 cups of water. The amount will depend on how much liquid you want.
  11. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for a further 7-10 minutes.
  12. By now all the vegetables should be cooked. 
  13. Add cumin powder and mix well. 
  14. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice, roti or puri.
Tips:
  • If you don't like mustard oil, use normal vegetable oil or ghee.
  • Use vegetables of your choice. The above recipe is just a rough guideline.
  • Make sure you cut the vegetables in equal size as much as you can. That ensures equal cooking.
  • I used ¼ tsp each of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and nigella seeds to get 1 tbsp of pancha phutana.
You may want to check out other vegetable curries/stews:
Sai Bhaji - Sindhi Cuisine

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

737. Chocolate Coated Strawberries

A Belated Happy New Year

   A belated wish is better than none, so a belated Happy New Year to all my friends, family and followers. I've been on a no blogging much required vacation. Sometimes its truly relaxing just to turn your mind off from blogging and any blogging related activity. 

   Hubby and I were supposed to spend Christmas and New Year with my son, daughter in law and her parents. We were on our way to Bali when we received a message from my son that Elodie my daughter in law had met with a motorbike accident. The remaining 4 hours of flight were stressful as we had no idea what had exactly happened. On landing at Denpasar, Bali, we had to head straight to the hospital. After tests, scans and whatever procedures were required, she underwent five hours of surgery. Her jaw was fractured into 5 pieces which the surgeon had to put together without damaging her nerves. However, looking on the bright side we got to spend a lot of quality time with them and her parents. Overall it turned out to be a much needed relaxing holiday. Elodie is recovery well but feel bad for her as she's still on a liquid diet as her jaws are wired up. She's a very strong woman and takes everything in a positive way.

   I was not planning to participate in the 128th theme for FoodieMonday/Bloghop. The theme chosen by Amrita of The Food Samaritan is 3 Ingredient Recipe. However, the foodie in me just emerged and the urge to use the wonderful strawberries that are available everywhere in Mumbai was just too tempting. Every time a vendor with the tokri full of strawberries passed by, I kept on thinking what to make. Finally I settled for chocolate coated strawberries. Having access to my sister in law's kitchen was an added advantage. But I nearly gave up on the idea as while walking on Juhu beach I injured my right toe. Hubby dear volunteered to shop for me. So ultimately the ultra easy recipe materialized. 

   Before I go into the simple and yet an absolute treat, please take some time to check out the new look Amrita has created for her blog. 





CHOCOLATE COATED STRAWBERRIES
16-20 Pieces

16-20 fresh ripe strawberries
1 cup (approx. 150g) dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Wash and dry the strawberries. If the strawberries remain wet, they will not get coated with the chocolate.
  2. Put the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. The bowl should sit into a pan without touching the bottom.
  3. Heat some water in the pan.
  4. Put the bowl with chocolate over the hot water. 
  5. Stir the chocolate over the hot water till it melts.
  6. Add coconut oil and mix well.
  7. Line a plate with parchment paper or grease it with some coconut oil.
  8. Holding the strawberry by the green leaves and stem, dip it in the melted chocolate.
  9. Put it on the prepared plate. 
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 with the remaining strawberries.
  11. Put the strawberries in the fridge to set.
  12. Serve. 
Tips:
  • You can replace the coconut oil with butter or vegetable shortening.
  • Decorate the chocolate dipped strawberries with chopped nuts, sprinkles or drizzle with white chocolate. I didn't decorate it as I had to use only 3 ingredients for this theme.
  • Replace the strawberries with other fruits of your choice.
You may want to check out other strawberry recipes:
mini pancake stacks



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Monday, 1 January 2018

736.Dahi Chura

Happy New Year

A simple healthy Indian style parfait

   For the month of December, the Shhh Cooking Secretly group (initiated by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes) is visiting the state of Bihar. Bihar is in the East of India bordering Nepal. The Ganges flows through this state roughly dividing it into two parts, the east and the west. The three main districts of Bihar are Mithila, Magadh and Bhojpur. Famous for Bhojpuri films, birth place of Goddess Sita (Mithila), Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in the famous Bodh Gaya and the birth place of the Mahavir and Vasupujya Tirthankaras of Jainism.

   Bihari Cuisine is mainly divided into 3 - Bhojpuri, Maithil and Magahi Cuisine. Traditionally a predominantly vegetarian cuisine because of Hindu, Jainism and Buddhist influence. However, meat dishes are common in the Mithila region.Though present day cuisine is influenced by the neighboring states, Bihar is well known for its sattu. Its used to make cool drinks in summer, as a filling for litti chokha and parathas. Famous sweet dishes from Bihar are kheer, tilkut, lai( amaranth ladoos), Chandrakala, khaja, parwal ki mithai to name a few. 

   My partner for this month is a new member to the group Seema, who blogs at Mildly Indian. Besides food recipes, her blog has an interesting travel diary and some droolable reviews. She initially gave me amaranth and jaggery to use as my ingredients. I wanted to make lai but I couldn't get the amaranth to pop well and didn't have time to wait for the popped ones to arrive from amazon. So I asked her replace one ingredient. So finally the ingredients to use were flattened rice or poha and jaggery. Am I glad I got those two ingredients as I prepared dahi chura for the first time. 

   Dahi Chura is so easy to make and its such a delicious and yet healthy breakfast option or one can have it as a dessert too. Adding fruit, nuts and seeds makes it even more interesting and wholesome. I used palm date jaggery.  In Bihar Chura is poha, flattened rice or rice flakes. This dish is usually prepared during Makar Sankranti and served as breakfast. I'm wondering how I missed such an easy and delectable dish! 

   Dahi Chura is fast disappearing from the urban kitchens as it gets replaced by ready made cereals. However, it has many health benefits.  Yogurt cools the digestive system and improves digestion. Helps to strengthen bones and immunity. Chura is easy to digest therefore ideal for old and young people. Chura keeps one full for a longer period of time and is gluten free.

   Here's the recipe for this simple and healthy breakfast treat. I know I'll be including this more often as a breakfast item.







DAHI CHURA 
Serves 1

1 cup thick yogurt
½ cup rice flakes (poha, chura, flattened rice)
2-3 tbsp jaggery powder (or honey, brown sugar)
¼ cup chopped fresh fruit of your choice
1 tbsp chopped mixed nuts and seeds


  1. Put the chura in a sieve and wash it under running water.
  2. Leave the chura in the sieve and keep it on the side till required.
  3. Mix yogurt and jaggery together. Add jaggery according to your taste.
  4. Mix in the chura, fruit and seeds and serve chilled.
Tips:
  • You can use brown sugar or honey instead of jaggery.
  • If the yogurt is too thick add 2-3 tsp of milk.
  • I used the broad flat variety of chura but if you use a thicker one then you may need to soak it in 1-2 tbsp of milk before adding to the yogurt. It has to be soft.
You may want to check out other dishes from different states of India:

Koat Pitha - Arunachal Pradesh Cuisine
Punugulu - Andhra Cuisine



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Monday, 25 December 2017

735. Easy Christmas Cake

Merry Christmas Everyone

  This Christmas I'm celebrating it in the Exotic Tropical Island of Bali... yes the Bali where Julia Roberts finds inner peace and balance of love in the movie Eat, Pray and Love. Spending this holiday season with my eldest son, his wife and her parents. The #124th theme Christmas for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group has come just at the right time. Last week before traveling I baked an Easy Christmas Cake and some Cookies. So for this post was contemplating whether I should post the cake first or the cookies. The cake won and the cookies will be posted a bit later. 

  The last time we spent Christmas with my daughter in law and her parents was in Dubai. Family time together is fun and makes any festival more meaningful. My family is spread all over the world and for us to get together as one becomes very difficult because of jobs and number of days they can take off. For quite a while we were planning that the whole family gets together in Bali for Christmas. However, that has not been possible, my other son, my daughter and son in law cannot make it to Bali. On the other side, my daughter in law's brother can't make it. However, there is always hope that one day we will be able to take a holiday together. However, as I am writing this post, I am excited to visit a new place and really looking forward to spending 2 whole weeks with the rest of the family.

   I was supposed to make the proper Christmas Cake but I didn't soak the fruits in time... so perhaps next year! However, there are Christmas Cakes that are made without soaking the fruit. That's why the recipe I'm about to share is so easy, fuss free. The types of dried fruits you use is up to you. I used what my daughter had in her pantry. I was so tempted to buy the dried kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, etc but had to really control myself. I had to clear her pantry as come Feb she is moving to Dubai. 

   So lets get right to the cake without much delay. By the way, I hadn't baked a proper cake for a very long time and when I did, I baked two within a span of nearly 2 weeks. I bake muffins but that's not a true cake. The other cake recipe will hopefully follow.






EASY CHRISTMAS CAKE
Makes 1 big cake (9") or 2 small ones

1¾ cups  plain flour (all purpose flour)
1¼ cup brown sugar
220g butter (salted)
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
2 cups mixed dried fruits ( I used raisins, cranberries, cherries and tutti frutti)
1 cup chopped mixed nuts ( I used almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios)
¼ - ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
zest from one orange
2 tbsp brandy, rum or any alcohol of your choice (optional)

extra flour for dusting 
extra butter for greasing


  1. Prepare the baking tin. For one cake you can use a 9" round tin. I used a 6" round tin and a small loaf tin. Grease the tin lightly with butter. Add about a tsp or so of flour and shake the tin to spread the flour around. Dust the sides too. Tap the tin gently over the sink to remove excess flour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Sieve the flour, spices and baking powder together. 
  4. Mix the nuts and dried fruits together. Add 1 tbsp flour to it and mix it. By doing this the fruit and nuts will not sink to the bottom of the cake while baking.
  5. Cream butter and sugar together till it is nice and fluffy. The color too will become a bit lighter.
  6. Add the zest and one egg. 
  7. Whisk till the egg is mixed into the sugar butter mixture.
  8. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix.
  9. Add the second egg and whisk.
  10. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix.
  11. Add the third egg and whisk.
  12. Add the juice and alcohol. Whisk.
  13. Add remaining flour and fold well.
  14. Add the nuts and fruit mixture and fold it in gently.
  15. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin.
  16. Baking time will vary according to the size of the tin.  9" one will take 55-60 minutes. My 6" one took 45-50 minutes and the small loaf one took 35 minutes.
  17. The top should be nice golden brown color and when you insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake it should come out clean if the cake is done. 
  18. Remove the tin from the oven. Let the cake rest in the tin for 5 minutes.
  19. Then remove it carefully and let it cool down completely on a wire rack. 
  20. Christmas cake is ready to be enjoyed with friends and family.
Tips:
  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Use lemon zest instead of orange zest.
  • Replace the alcohol with juice or water.
You may want to check out the following Christmas recipes:
Dutch Christmas Cookies
Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread

Orange  Chocolate Muffins



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Monday, 18 December 2017

734. Amla Pickle - Gujarati Style

Merry Berries

   Berries in true sense are not the berries we all know... strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. These in the botanical world are known as aggregate fruits. Berries are fruits produced from a single ovary. So in botanical sense tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants, bananas, pumpkins, melons are berries. Did you know that grapes too are berries? Yes they are.

   However for our FoodieMonday/Bloghop #123rd theme, Berries we meant berries that we normally know. We had to prepare something using berries. Berries are small pulpy and often edible fruits. Before food was cultivated, berries were gathered by primitive men as a source of food, many animals feed on berries. It's probably presumed that during prehistoric time men may have sampled berries that animals consumed to supplement their diet.

   Berries are considered power food, having the highest amount of antioxidants. Blackberries, goji berries and Indian Gooseberries (amla) tops the list. Antioxidants help in fighting cancer. Consuming blueberries and strawberries helps to protect brain, helps improve sleep quality as it contains melatonin. Blueberries help to improve memory. Berries help to reduce muscle soreness, prevent stroke, relieve visual fatigue. Its commonly recommended to consume cranberries to fight bladder infections, acai berries improve immune system and relieve arthritic pain.

   Berries like blackberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries, etc are common summer fruits in the temperate regions. However hot or tropical regions too have their share of berries. I remember we had a huge mulberry or setoor tree in our garden and we would pluck the berries and eat them. My grandmother would shout at us as we ate them without washing them! Mulberries(shahtoot, setoor), gooseberries, cape gooseberries, Indian blackberries (jamun), bora berries, West Indian cherries, Himalayan blackberries are a few examples. However, the most common tropical berries I know of are jamun, amla, bora, shahtoot and strawberries.

   When the topic berries was suggested by fellow member Saswati of Delish Potpourri, I wished I was in Montreal and that too during summer. Our daily breakfast included loads of berries. But as they say, make the best of what is available locally. I decided to use Indian Gooseberry or Amla to prepare a dish for this theme. The ideas running through my mind was an amla drink, amla rice, chutney and finally settled for pickle. Yes finally trying my hands out on pickles and not just the two that I regularly make, chundo and lemon pickle. The other reason I used amla is because back home in Kenya, I don't get really nice huge, juicy amla.

   Amla as mentioned above is rich in antioxidants which help to combat free radicals that are responsible for degenerative diseases and aging. Its rich in Vitamin C and E. Vitamin C helps to fight colds and flus and Vitamin E is good for the skin. Though the berry is sour, it helps to reduce acidity in the stomach. Amla helps to build, repair and sustain the human body. Amla taken with a bit of honey helps to relive asthma and reduces bronchitis complications. Amla strengthens the heart muscles and lowers cholesterol.

   I decided to make the pickle Gujarati style.... no don't worry its not loaded with sugar. Check out the recipe for this really easy pickle. Bottled a jar to take all the way to Bali for my son and daughter in law and the rest we're enjoying with practically everything from parathas, bread to khichdis.









AMLA PICKLE GUJARATI STYLE 
Makes approx 3 cups
recipe idea : Nisha Madhulika

500g(10-12 pieces) Indian Gooseberries (amla)
4 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
4 tbsp mustard seeds (rai)
3 tbsp fennel seeds (valiyari)
2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4 tbsp red chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
2-2½ tbsp salt
1½ -2 cups oil
2-3 tbsp jaggery powder


  1. Wash the amla and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Cut the amla into pieces or segments. Discard the seeds.
  3. Heat 1 cup oil in a pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the chopped amla and let it cook till its a bit soft. Stir it occasionally.
  5. In the meantime, heat a tawa or frying pan over low heat.
  6. Roast the seeds separately till they give out an aroma and are crunchy. I started with coriander, followed by fennel, mustard, fenugreek and nigella. 
  7. Let the seeds cool a bit. 
  8. Process the seeds separately into  coarse powders. Mix the powders.
  9. When the amla becomes a bit soft(don't overcook them), take the pan off the heat. 
  10. Heat the remaining oil till its hot in a another pan.
  11. In the meantime add the ground seeds powder, turmeric powder, asafetida, red chili powder, salt and jaggery to the amla oil mixture. 
  12. Mix well.
  13. Add the hot oil to the amla pickle and mix well.
  14. Once it is cool, spoon into sterilized jars or jar. 
  15. Enjoy the pickle with parathas, rotis, bread, with rice dishes etc.
Tips:
  • There's nothing better than freshly ground spices to make a tasty pickle.
  • I added 2 tbsp of red chili powder and 2 of Kashmiri red chili powder. You can add the hot chili powder if you prefer hot pickle.
  • I reduced the amount of salt as my family does not like pickles that are too salty.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste. 
  • Don't burn the spices when you roast them. Roast them over low heat. 
  • I used sunflower oil. You can replace it with sesame oil or mustard oil or an oil of your choice.

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

733. Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread#Breadbakers

Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread#BreadBakers

Theme: Whole Grained Holiday Breads

   Whether people would like to admit it or not, December brings about an air of festivities for all. The celebrations begin with ThanksGiving and will end with New Year celebrations. Shops are decorated, Christmas sales are on, friends and relatives share decorated streets, trees, homes photos. One cannot help but get drawn to this seasonal celebration. I consider myself very lucky that I get to enjoy Diwali, Eid and Christmas. As a Hindu living in a predominantly Christian Country and a strong Muslim part of Kenya, I get drawn into celebrating all three festivals.

   When Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds suggested Whole Grained Holiday Breads, I tried looking for recipes where I could use whole grains. There are many recipes out there using spelt and rye flour. I don't get either in Kenya or India. Kalyani suggested that we try and use whole grain as much as possible. I was nearly going to sit this one out as I know 100% wheat festive bread can turn out pretty dense. You know how sometimes light bulb moments happen, well I was rolling out rotis for dinner and suddenly it dawned on me that the flour I'm using is a multigrain flour. Why not use that for the bread, I thought? Well, tweaking an oatmeal bread recipe to fit into a holiday bread, I got this delicious, not so sweet bread and the family enjoyed it for breakfast. You'll laugh at the combination the family requested with the sweet bread, not honey, jam or marmalade but fried eggs with masala (spicy) tea! Oh well!

   Keeping in mind the need to include multi grains in ones diet, many flour companies in India now sell multi grain wheat flour or atta as its commonly called. All Indian households use atta on a daily basis to make flatbreads like parathas, rotis, puris etc. The flour that I used has wheat, finger millet, soya, chickpea,oats,barley and maize. By adding dried cranberries and topping it with orange glace icing, this was definitely a delicious holiday bread. I also added gingerbread spice. Christmas season and no gingerbread spice? That is not possible. The whole house smelt so aromatic while the bread was baking.




GINGERBREAD AND OATMEAL BREAD
Makes 1 loaf

2½ cups multi grain flour (multi grain atta)
¾ cup oats
2¼ tsp dried active yeast
1½ cups warm milk
1 egg
4 tbsp melted butter
½ tsp salt
¼ cup honey (or molasses)
½ cup dried cranberries

For the Gingerbread Spice Mixture:
1½ tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp orange zest

For Orange Glace Icing:
½ cup powdered or icing sugar
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
¼ tsp orange zest

extra flour for dusting
extra butter for greasing


  1. Take a ¼ cup of the warm milk. Add a tsp of honey and mix well. Add the yeast. Cover and let the yeast ferment for 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
  2. Add oats to the remaining warm milk and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Mix flour, all of the gingerbread spice and salt in a bowl.
  4. Beat the egg and add it to the oat mixture. 
  5. Add honey, melted butter and the yeast mixture to the oat mixture. Mix well.
  6. Add the oat mixture to the flour and form a dough.
  7. Dust the worktop with little flour and knead the dough for 15 minutes by hand (or 10 minutes if you're using the machine) till it is smooth. 
  8. Form the dough into a round shape. Rub some butter over it.
  9. Grease a bowl with some butter. Put the dough into the bowl. 
  10. Cover and let it rise till its double in size. Mine took 2 hours because of the slightly cold weather.
  11. Dust the worktop with little flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and deflate it.
  12. Add the cranberries and knead it gently.
  13. At this stage you can either use a loaf tin or make a round shape. I decided to make it round.
  14. Grease a baking tray with some butter. Place the shaped dough on it. 
  15. Let the dough rise again for 45 - 60 mins.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  17. Brush the top of the risen dough with some milk.
  18. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes or till the top is golden brown. 
  19. Tap the bread at the bottom and it should hollow if done.
  20. Let the bread cool down completely. 
  21. To prepare the icing, mix the sugar and orange juice till you get a thick creamy mixture. It should coat the back of the spoon.
  22. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
  23. Slice and serve. 

Tips:
  • The amount of water required may vary from flour to flour. 
  • I used honey instead of molasses.
  • As no plain or all purpose flour was used, the bread will be a little dense.

Check out more exciting Whole Grained Holiday Breads made by Fellow Bakers:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers






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Monday, 11 December 2017

732. Santula - Odia Style Mixed Vegetable Curry

Those Tiny Spices Make All The Difference

   It's really amazing how addition of small amounts of spices can make a dish taste so different. Every Indian household has it own spice (masala) box or dabba (tin) which we use for our everyday cooking. Some spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder will be standard in any spice box. The variations come with the other spices. Don't get me wrong, all the spices are used all over India but in some cuisine some spices are used in a larger quantity than others. My spice box has the typical  spices that will be found in the masala dabba of most Gujaratis. Mustard seeds(rai), Cumin seeds (jeeru), fenugreek seeds (methi), carom seeds (ajmo), turmeric powder (hardar), red chili powder (lal marchu) and coriander cumin powder (dhana jiru). The latter we tend to use in almost all the curry/ shaak dishes we prepare.

   Why am I talking about spices? Well, I discovered a whole new combination of flavors when I made Santula for our Sunday dinner. Basically, the vegetables used to make santula can be anything from your commonly available veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, beans, carrots to some uncommon vegetables like broad beans, or what is available in your area. Santula is a healthy full of vegetables curry and so easy to make. 

   I was talking to my daughter's best friend who is an Odia about the FoodieMonday/Bloghop's #122nd theme on Odia Cuisine which was selected by fellow member Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook. I  tried my hand at Chenna Poda and asked Nami's friend to taste it. The taste was bang on but it did not have the burnt sugar taste and also it sank a bit after cooling. 

   She was kind enough to send other suggestions too. There was Palanga Saga Besara(which I have to try when I get badi), Chakuli Pitha, Dalma and Santula. She makes santula often so I decided to make that after my second attempt at chenna poda didn't turn out as expected. Second time round got the nice burnt crust but it was a bit dry. However, it disappeared fast into everyone's tummy. Its one recipe I'll have to try again to get it perfect. 

   For Santula I picked vegetables that the sabjiwala brought. I decided to use potato, brinjal, carrot, pumpkin, drumsticks, ash gourd along with tomato and onion. One can add raw banana, raw papaya, flat beans, bottle gourd, ridge gourd etc. This curry was so flavorful though I used small quantities of spices. This curry or stew is super healthy. The secret spice combination is called pancha phutana which literally translates as five spices. Cumin, mustard, fenugreek, aniseeds and nigella (kalonji) are used in equal proportions to make this spice mixture. Did I mention that's so easy to make this curry. I think it took me longer to peel and cut the pumpkin than it took for the curry to get ready. 

So lets get to the simple  and yet tasty and healthy recipe.



Panch Phutana





SANTULA - ODIA STYLE MIXED VEGETABLE CURRY
Serves 4-6

1 large potato - peel and cut into cubes
1 medium brinjal(eggplant) - cut into cubes
250g (2 cups) pumpkin cubes -peel and cut into cubes
1 medium carrot - peeled and diced
1 drumstick cut into about 2-3" pieces
100g any gourd of your choice (I used ash gourd)-peel and cut into cubes
I medium onion - peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 green chillis
1-2 dry red chillis
1 large tomato - cut into chunks
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp pancha phutana (equal proportions of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, nigella seeds)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-1½ tsp salt
¼  tsp asafetida (hing)
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin powder
water as required

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Keep them in water till required so that they do not discolor except for the tomatoes, onion, chillis, ginger and garlic. 
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. As soon as the oil is hot, add the pancha phutana and dry red chillis.
  4. Add asafetida and the onions.
  5. Stir fry the onions till they become soft and turn light golden in colour.
  6. In the meantime drain out the water from the vegetables.
  7. Add garlic, ginger and green chillis. Mix well.
  8. Add the vegetables (except for the chopped tomato), turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  10. Mix again and add tomatoes. If the mixture is dry add 1-2 cups of water. The amount will depend on how much liquid you want.
  11. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for a further 7-10 minutes.
  12. By now all the vegetables should be cooked. 
  13. Add cumin powder and mix well. 
  14. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice, roti or puri.
Tips:
  • If you don't like mustard oil, use normal vegetable oil or ghee.
  • Use vegetables of your choice. The above recipe is just a rough guideline.
  • Make sure you cut the vegetables in equal size as much as you can. That ensures equal cooking.
  • I used ¼ tsp each of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and nigella seeds to get 1 tbsp of pancha phutana.
You may want to check out other vegetable curries/stews:
Sai Bhaji - Sindhi Cuisine

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