Monday, August 30, 2010

Homemade Puris for Panipuri

My love for Panipuri is inexplicable. Known by different names such as golgappa, phuchka; panipuri is probably the most popular street food in India. Having good puris is the utmost requirement for a good panipuri. I usually use storebought puris, but most of the times they are not so fresh. And that is why I started making my own puris. Of course I don't always make them, as making them is quite a task. But believe me it is so worth it.

Puris for Panipuri are made with a semolina dough. The dough is then rolled and deep fried in oil. I have made these a few times now, and all I can say is they are way better than the puris we buy here at India grocery stores.

Puris for Panipuri
Making the dough is very simple, but what is difficult is rolling it out. To make this dough all you need is semolina, APF, salt and water. Most of the Indian stores carry panipuri flour. If you have that, all you need to do is form a dough. I normally use semolina, but this time I had some leftover panipuri flour from last time, so I used that instead.


(makes about 12o puris of 1.5" diameter)
2 cups semolina
4-5 tbsp APF (more or less as needed to bind the dough together)
1/2 tsp salt
Warm water
Oil for deep frying
( If you use panipuri flour, skip APF)

1. In a bowl take semolina and salt, and soak it in little bit of water for about a minute. Now add APF and make a dough. Put about a quarter teaspoon of oil and knead until smooth. Make sure that the dough is firm.

2. Once dough is formed, let it rest for about 30 minutes.

3. To make puris, take some dough and roll it out very thin. Using a small cookie cutter cut it into individual puris.

4. Heat some oil and deep fry these puris on a medium heat until golden brown.

5. Let cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Remember that this dough is very elastic and keeps stretching back. That is why it is very important to roll it out very thin. If you fry a thick dough, puris will be soft and not as hard as the ones needed for panipuri. If some of the puris don't puff up, don't worry - you can always use them for Ragda puri or Shev puri.

Before you store your puris, check if there are any soft puris in the batch. Sort them out, spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 180-200(F) degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy the fruit of your hard work!

You can find the recipe for Panipuri here.

And now a little quiz time. Can you guess what this is? I got it from the Farmer's market.
I will be back with the answer and a recipe for the above in a couple of days. See you then!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Twist to Dahi Vada

I have always loved watching cooking shows. Remember the 90's, when there were just a couple of food shows on Indian television? I never gave a miss to Sanjeev Kapoor's 'Khana Khazana'. Later when Tarla Dalal's show started I watched that too. If I found something interesting, I would grab whatever paper I could find and jot down the recipe. Later I started keeping a paper and a pen before the show started. Of course I don't need to tell you that I never tried those recipes :P

Then came the time when I developed more interest in cooking and decided that I would try the recipes soon enough. And I did a few actually. I have no memories of what they were or how they turned out. While going through my old recipe journal, I found a few recipes that I had jotted down from these cooking shows. And one such recipe is
'Low Cal Dahi vada'. It is from Tarla Dalal. The funny thing is, years later I found it online and realized how awfully I had written it in my journal :D

Moong Beans Dahi Vada

(adapted from this Tarla Dalal recipe )

Traditionally, Dahi Vada (which is a dumpling soaked in yogurt mix) is made with urad dal but this one is made with green moong. I had some leftover moong sprouts from the week, and I had been wanting to try this recipe since ages. I used the following to make these Dahi Vadas.

For making Vadas you need -
1 cup sprouted green moong beans
2 green chillies
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
A pinch of baking soda (optional)
Salt to taste

1. To make vadas, grind moong and chillies together into a fine paste.
2. Add ginger, cilantro, baking soda and salt, and mix well. The batter looks like this -
3. Now spray the sandwich toaster with oil and put a spoonful of batter into each of the four compartments of the toaster.

4. Once the top side starts to look dry, turn the vadas and let them cook for a couple more minutes. Take them out and put them in cold water for about 2-3 minutes.
5. Take vadas out of water, squeeze them between your palms and take the excess water out. Now put vadas in yogurt mixture.

To make yogurt mix, you would need -
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp dry mint leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
salt to taste

In a deep bowl, mix the above ingredients. Make tempering of 1 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp asafetida and 4-5 curry leaves. Pour this tempering on the yogurt mixture and mix well. Put vadas in and let soak for about 30 minutes. Keep in the fridge to chill. Serve cold.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet Coconut Rice

I am back to blogging after two long months. I was studying the entire summer and am so glad that it is over. So no more studying for me now. The laziness really took over me for a couple weeks after the exam. My poor brain was so tired that I needed to relax for a while.

Over the past couple weeks I haven't been cooking anything much besides regular meals. I have spent those weeks watching movies and tv, going out shopping/window shopping, knitting and sleeping. Now I feel fresh and am all set to try those bookmarked recipes.

Two days back it was Narali Pournima and I thought I should make coconut rice at least this year. Narali Pournima is a Maharashtrian festival. A dish called 'Naralibhaat', which means coconut rice is a special preparation on this day. I remember celebrating even the tiniest festival as a kid. My grandmother used to make all those special dishes associated with each festival. Thinking of those days really makes me nostalgic. My granny made an awesome coconut rice. It's literally been ages since the last time I had it.

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, you would definitely love this rice. Another reason I like it is the combination of coconut and jaggery. I totally enjoy all those foods that have the coconut-jaggery combo. This rice is made by adding a mixture of coconut and jaggery to cooked rice.

Sweet Coconut Rice
To make this rice, you would need the following -
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1.5 cups jaggery
1.5 cups shredded coconut, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)
A pinch of saffron threads soaked in a tablespoon of warm milk
1.5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
5-6 pieces of cloves
1/4 cup mix of cashews and raisins (optional)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1. Before you start, wash the rice two to three times and keep it aside for about 30 minutes.

Cook the rice as you would normally do (1cup rice + 2cups water) and pour saffron milk over it. Now gently mix it with a fork. An alternative to making this rice is to saute washed rice on ghee and then cook it.

In a pan add about 1-2 tsp of ghee, jaggery and coconut. Let it simmer until coconut and jaggery are mixed well. Make sure that there are no lumps of jaggery. Once cooked, the mixture will look like this -

In another pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee and add cloves to it. Add cooked rice and saute for about a minute.

Now pour the mixture of jaggery and coconut over rice and gently mix everything together. Add nuts before mixing. Let it cook for another minute or so.

Add cardamom powder if you like. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I made this rice in a jiffy and forgot adding nuts to it. That is why you don't see any nuts peeking through the rice.