Friday, October 24, 2014

Instant Badam Halwa / Instant Almond Halwa

Quick and easy Almond dessert

On Diwali or any festive occasions we make many sweets and savory items to enjoy with our family and friends. Many sweets are made fresh, while some can be planned and made ahead of time.

Badam ka halwa is a sweet which can be made and stored in the refrigerator and easily remain good for about 15 can just heat it in the microwave and serve to your guests.

Traditionally, almonds are soaked overnight, peeled and then made into a paste. Then the paste is stir fried in ghee and this process takes quite a bit of time and effort. I have learnt this instant type of quick recipe from my mother who is an awesome cook.

You have to grind raw almonds to make a slightly coarse powder and then stir fry in ghee and then sugar and water is added and cooked on medium heat till it thicken .You can also use milk instead of water or use half half both.

Prep time-5 min
Cooking time-20 min
Difficulty level - easy

Badam halwa

  • 100 gms /1 cup - Almonds/badam
  • 1.5 tbsp - Semolina/sooji
  • 5 tbsp - Ghee /Clarified butter 
  • 1/2 cup - Sugar/chini
  • A pinch of - Saffron/kesar
  • 1/2 tsp - Cardamom powder/elaichi
  • 1/2 cup - Milk
  • 1/2 cup - Water
  1. Grind dry almonds in a mixer to make a powder.
  2. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
  3. Add semolina and fry it it become pink in color.
  4. Now add almond powder and stir on low heat till it start giving a nice aroma.
  5. Add milk and water and cook ,keep stirring to avoid lumps
  6. When water start boiling add sugar and saffron.
  7. Cook it started to thicken and almost dries up.
  8. Now add cardamom powder and mix.
  9. Serve hot.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Diwali Special: How to make Raj Kachori / Indian style crispy tacos

Crispy shells dressed with various toppings and chutneys

Raj kachori, as the name suggests, is a royal treat! It is stuffed with a variety of traditional Indian toppings, savory munchies, and a combination of hot and sweet chutneys.

Besides the great taste and variety of textures in the dish, a great part of this dish is that it is assembled live, right in front of the guests. If you have done your preparations right, then it is a very quick and easy dish to assemble and serve. The outer shells of raj kachori, and most of the other ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. The shells in particular, remain fresh for a fortnight so it is good to make them a few days before the festivities.

A mixture of boondis, papadis, boiled potatoes, boiled chickpeas, dahi vadas, sprouts can be stuffed inside the kachori. There is no fix list of components in the stuffings, and you can create your own version from whatever is easily available at hand, or can be prepared easily. You can just add potatoes, sprouts or boondis and some chopped tomatoes to make it a quick, light, and healthy appetizer.

Prep time - 10 min
Cooking time - 20 min
Difficulty level - Medium
Spice level - Medium hot
Cuisine - North Indian
Type - Snack, Street food


To make Raj Kachori-
  • Semolina / Sooji -1 cup
  • Refined flour / Maida - 1 tbsp
  • Gram flour / Besan - 1/4 cup
  • Cooking oil - 2tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Fruit salt / Eno - a pinch of (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
To assemble-
  • Chickpeas / Kabuli chana, boiled- 1 cup
  • Potatoes, boiled- 2 small
  • Dahi vada (only the vadas) - 6 piece
  • Boondi - 3 tbsp
  • Papdi, crushed  -8
  • Namkeen (Bhujiya / Nylon sev) - 3 tbsp
  • Pomegranate seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt / Dahi - 1cup
  • Mint or Coriander Chutney - 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind Chutney (Saunth) - 1/3 cup
  • Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Black salt - 1 tsp

  1. In a bowl add all the ingredients listed to make Raj Kachori.
  2. Mix everything well.
  3. Add just enough water to make medium soft dough.
  4. Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes.
  5. Knead it again and make small balls from the dough.
  6. Roll to make medium thick pooris/discs
  7. Slide the prepared poori in hot oil.
  8. Press with a spatula to help it puff completely.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium low and deep fry in from both sides till golden in colour
  10. When done drain on a paper napkin.
  11. Let them cool down completely.
  12. Beat yogurt and add some salt and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  13. When you want to serve then poke it on top and make a hole  in it.
  14. Add chopped potato,chick peas,dahi vada.
  15. Add some curd and green chutney.
  16. Add some crushed papadi and boondi and fill it till the top.
  17. Again drizzle yogurt,green chutney and tamarind chutney.
  18. Add some bhujiya sev and sprinkle chili powder,cumin powder and black salt.
  19. Garnish with anar dana/pomegranate seeds.
  20. Serve immediately

Friday, October 17, 2014

Guvar Phali aur Aloo ki Subzi / Cluster beans and potatoes in a tomato broth

Cluster beans and potatoes cooked in a tangy tomato curry

Guvar phali/Cluster beans are traditionally a summer vegetable and very easily available in that season. For places where it is not available at all, it is usually available in canned and frozen forms in supermarkets.

These beans are slightly bitter in taste and have a tougher texture as compared to to french beans or long beans. The edge of these beans is especially fibrous, and you'll have to de-string it. This step adds 5-10 minutes to the process, but is very important to ensure that the dish doesn't end up being excessively chewy. Once de-stringed, it is preferable to steam or boil the beans first, in case you to plan to make a stir fry or dry curry.

As this is a heavier vegetable to digest, it is always a good idea to add a little ajwain (carom seeds) to the tempering. It helps the digestion, and adds a great taste too.

The version I am posting today is a "wet curry" (or patli / rasedaar subzi). For a dry stir fried version, you may want to look at this link - Guvar phali  ki subzi

Prep time -10 min
Cooking time - 15 min
Difficulty level - easy
Spice level - medium
Cuisine - North Indian
Type - side
Serve - 4

  • 175 gms - Cluster beans/Guvar phali
  • 200 gms - Potato /aloo
  • 175 gm /2 medium - Tomato,chopped
  • 1 tsp - Green chili,chopped
  • 1 tsp - Ginger,chopped
  • 3 tbsp - Cooking oil /tel
  • 3/4 tsp - Cumin/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp - Carom seeds /ajwain
  • 1/4 tsp - Asafoetida /hing
  • 1/2 tsp - Turmeric/haldi
  • 1 tsp - Chili powder /lal mirch
  • 1.5 tsp - Coriander powder /dhaniya
  • To taste - Salt /namak
  • 1 tsp - Lemon juice / numbu ka ras
  • 2 tbsp- Fresh coriander/dhaniya,chopped
  • A pinch of - Sugar/chini
  • 3/4 cup  -Water
  1. Wash and string the guvar phalis
  2. Chop to make big pieces of about 1 inches.
  3. Peel and chop potato into big pieces.
  4. Chop tomatoes in small pieces
  5. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
  6. Add cumin and carom seeds,when they start crackling add asafoetida.
  7. Now add chopped tomatoes and salt and stir fry till tomatoes become soft and mushy.
  8. Now add powdered spices and stir fry till oil start leaving the sides.
  9. Add chopped guvar phali and potatoes.
  10. Mix well and add water.
  11. Mix and pressure cook for about 2-3 whistles or cook till done.
  12. Open the cooker when cool down completely.
  13. Add lemon juice ,pinch of sugar and fresh coriander.
  14. Serve hot.
Serving suggestions-serve with paratha,roti or rice

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kuzhi Paniyaram / Appe / Punugulu (Crispy dumplings made from leftover Idli batter)

A crisp and delicious shallow fried snack made with leftover idli batter

Kuzhi Paniyaram / Appe / Punganalu is a South Indian snack, originally from Chettinad. It is often made with leftover slightly sour Idli batter. It is usually served as a snack at breakfast (or tiffin - as popularly termed in South India). It is made in both sweet and savory versions, with the savory version being the more popular one.

Firstly, to make paniyaram you will need a special paniyaram pan. There are generally 2 types of paniyaram pans available - a traditional iron pan which is quite heavy and takes some time to cook , and a non stick paniyaram pan which is lighter and cooks faster. Both version are easily available in the market. I have the traditional iron one, which I have used for this recipe (pics at the bottom of this post).

Irrespective of the type - a paniyaram pan is a heavy bottom pan with deep holes in it. A little oil is drizzled in these holes and then about 1-2 tbsp (depends on the size of the pan) of prepared batter is added in it. The pan is then placed on medium heat for few minutes to cook the paniyarams. The paniyarams are then turned with a skewer and cooked on the other side too till golden in colour. Paniyarams can be served with coconut chutney,tomato chutney or any dip of your choice.

how to make chittinad kuzhi paniyaram

how to make kuzhi paniyaram

Prep time - 10 min
Cooking time - 15 min
Difficulty level - Easy
Spice level - mild
Cuisine - Indian,south
Type - Snack / Tiffin


Kuzhi Paniyaram

  • 2 cup - Idli batter
  • 3 tbsp - Fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tsp - Green chili, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp - Ginger, chopped
  • 8- 10 -  Curry leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp - Grated coconut
  • 2 tsp -  Cooking oil
  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds / Rai
  • 1 tsp - White lentil / Urad daal
  • 1/4 tsp - Asafoetida / Hing
  • A pinch of  - Fruit salt / Eno
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil in a small pan.
  2. Add mustard seeds and white lentil/urad daal in the oil.
  3. When seeds start crackling add green chili, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  4. Now add this tempering in the idli batter (dropping consistency batter)
  5. Add chopped coriander and ginger and little salt if needed.
  6. Mix well and then add eno just before preparing.
  7. Heat paniyaram pan and drizzle few drops of oil in the non stick paniyaram pan.
  8. Fill the holes with about a tbsp of prepared batter.
  9. Cover with a lid and let it cook on medium heat till it become dry on top and sides become golden.
  10. Now drizzle some oil on the top of the paniyaram.
  11. Turn the side with a fork or skewer stick and cook till it become golden from the bottom.
  12. Remove the cooked paniyarams from the pan .
  13. Serve hot with tomato chutney or coconut chutney.
My Tips-
  • You can also add some grated carrot ,cabbage,spinach or any vegetables of your choice in the batter.
  • Can also add some cashew nuts in the tempering at step-3
 Paniyaram pan-