Festival food

Milk pedas (Doodh peda)

Wish you all a very happy republic day.

“Ohh..today is April 10th, so your exam results must be out. Did you pass? Where are the pedas?” this was a general question for us when we were in primary schools (1st to 7th standard/grade is called primary school in India, I have no idea what it is called in other countries). It was a kind of tradition for us to distribute pedas among neighbors/relatives when we got the results. Not any pedas, it had to be home made smooth, delicious milk pedas. I specifically remember this because I would actually pester aayi to make pedas for me, so that I could give to my favorite neighbors.

Thats not the only occasion when these pedas made their appearance. They were an integral part of any happy occasion for us. Got engaged? distribute pedas. Gave birth to a baby? distribute pedas. There were hundreds of such occasions on which these beauties would make an appearance.

I never understood whats the deal with happiness and pedas. I guess it all started from the fact that milk and sugar are the basic components found in any Indian home. I remember aayi would make them in big bulk. They were always the beautiful creamy color and had melt-in-the-mouth-delicious taste.

So, recently when I was talking to aayi, she reminded me about these pedas. I got all excited about it. Even though she told me to use khoya/khova to make my life easy, I disagreed. I said, I will atleast make it once from scratch. She said it has to be made on a very low heat and takes a very long time.

When she said long time, I thought may be she is talking about 1hr or so, and I thought I can handle it easily. So I started making the pedas on one beautiful evening. I started with 4 cups of milk. I kept it on a medium heat and once in a while gave it good stir. As usual, I was multitasking – doing a thousand things with this. After 1 hr, the milk looked almost the same volume (it must have reduced about 1/2 inch or so, but not at all noticeable at that time). After 2 hrs, it had reduced a bit and the color had started turning slightly red. I knew something went wrong there because aayi’s pedas never had a red color. Along with reducing milk, my patience was also reducing. After 2 and 1/2 hrs, I added sugar and kept on mixing. It still didn’t have any signs of becoming hard. I knew that it had to be cooked till some white edges show up. I stirred and stirred and stirred till it got almost dry. Then I decided its time to take it off the heat. I took it on a plate and tried giving them nice shape. By then, they had already become hard and so red that I was sure if I heated them more, they would completely burn. V, who was looking at me, said, I should make it like pedas and not small balls. (May be it was his lucky day, I didn’t throw a fit at him for saying that).

After that incident I swore that it was my first and last attempt at making pedas. I promptly declared to aayi that she had given me a wrong recipe and how could she do that. I also told her that I have joined “I hate peda” group. Poor aayi, I never imagined she would have felt bad about it. For next two weeks, everyday when I talked to her, she told me how sad she was for all my effort at making pedas didn’t bear fruit. I didn’t take it seriously for 2-3days, but then it got into my little brain that she was infact really sad about it. Not because I wasted 4 cups of milk or because of my oath of not trying it again, but because she knew how much difficult it was to make them and she thought I must be really upset about it. So I assured her that I will try it again some time and this time no matter what, I will make sure it comes out right. She gave me few more tips this time. She said if I want to get them light in color, I should continuously stir the milk and also should make it on a real low heat.

So last week, on a Saturday morning, when we had lost internet and TV connection and having a heavy snowfall, I decided to make this again (well, I needed something to kill the time). I started at 8 AM. This time I kept the heat on medium-low. I kept a continuous watch on it. For the first hour, I stirred the milk once in every 3-5 mins. Then I started mixing continuously. After 15mins, I was exhausted, so pulled a chair near the stove. That didn’t work out very well, because the stove level is higher than the chair, so I had keep my hand in raised position.

Then like a lightening it flashed… ‘Aayi sits on the kitchen counter(or platform as we called it) to make it easier. Grandma used to keep her stove on the flour and sit with her legs stretched’. Ahh..that was the best position, with your hands at a higher level than the stove. There is no way I could take the stove out from the cabinet, so I followed aayi’s method. That was so cool. Next 3 hrs, I didn’t budge from that position. I even refused to take any calls from India(usually Saturdays we call friends or family). V promptly told them all that I was not going to talk to any of them that day. (well, he must be very happy to enjoy 3-4 hrs of silence at home. After about 2 hrs I realized he was totally immersed in his favorite hobby of browsing without a constant nagging from me, he had not even told me internet connection was back. Anyway…). I got so bored, so I took my laptop in left hand, while continuously stirring the milk with right (V was pretty sure I would either burn the laptop or break it into pieces that day). Well..I have bored you all enough..it was a happy ending story – I had made perfect beautiful pedas :). I was ecstatic, never been so happy for any other dish. Don’t call me crazy if I say I had made 15 pedas in the end. Not very tempting considering it took 4 hrs of hard work and 4 cups of milk. But V was more than happy, he got 4 hrs of lonely time with his laptop, he got to see a break dance(??) after the success and also got to eat delicious pedas.

Moral of the story – “Sabar ka phal meetha hota hai” – The fruit of patience is always sweet. Attempt this only when you have a very high patience. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest patience you have, the amount of patience required for this is about 15.

Be ready to throw it out if it goes wrong, it only comes right with trial and error. If you are angry on someone and you think few hours of silence will calm you down, attempt this :). Do not blame me if you don’t get it right, there is nothing wrong with the recipe, when you remove it from the flame – is the decision maker. If you remove it little early, it does not get hard enough. In that case, you can heat it again and try to give it a shape again. If you take it too late, it becomes hard like rock, so to be safe, better to take it early.

All jokes apart, if you want to make your life easier, use khoya/khova to make this. I think condensed milk also should work fine in this. You can make it little by little, cook the milk for about an hour. Then refrigerate and continue next day, aayi takes sufficient breaks like this to make it easier.

There are other modern ways of doing it – like microwave pedas. I haven’t tried any of these.

Hats off to aayi who would make them very frequently and in very big batches. I am not sure I would reach there any time. As I said, making them in this color is not a small thing and her pedas always had this color.

In the pictures, you can see some cracks on the pedas. Thats the next thing I will work on. I should have taken it out a tad bit early.

Ingredients:

Milk pedas (Doodh peda)

One of the most popular Indian sweets prepared by milk and sugar.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Cardamom powder
  • Ghee

Instructions
 

  • Heat the milk on a medium low heat stirring continuously. (First hour, stir it only once in about 3-5mins but after 1st hr you need to stir continuously).
  • When the milk is reduced to one cup (measure it after approximately 3hrs) to see if it is 1 cup.
  • Then add the sugar. Keep mixing.
  • When it starts leaving edges and looks quite dry, add the cardamom powder.
  • Take it out on a plate greased with ghee.
  • Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Make the pedas.

 

PS: Use whole milk for a better result.
Use thick bottomed pans for reducing milk, since milk sticks to bottom very easily. A wide bottomed pan saves a lot of time.
If you have a large quantity of milk, you can keep the heat on medium initially for about hour or so and keep stirring frequently.
Some people add some dry fruits or saffron/food color to give extra flavor/color to it. I prefer the pure one, so I haven’t used any.

Milk pedas (Doodh peda) Read More »

Shrikhand

I had invited one of our friends for Diwali dinner yesterday. I wanted to make an elaborate dinner for the festival. He and his friend brought a sweet vermicelli payasa with them. Everything was simple but I enjoyed cooking as well as eating it. Here is my entire Diwali spread, since this is a festival spread, I made everything without onion and garlic, ie, a ‘satvik’ food.

In the bowls – Varn, vermicelli paays, shrikhand
In the plate – Puris, capsicum & cauliflower bajjis, muga dali usli, tendli buthi, batate talasani, rice.

Now coming to Shrikhand ..

Shrikhand is a very popular sweet made of hung yogurt and sugar. I have seen this very frequently in Marathi menus. I tasted this for the first time when I was about 14 years old, we were in Mumbai visiting one of our relatives and I had to eat a small bowl of this. I felt it was a torture for me. After that I tried this in different places for 3-4 times and I never liked it. So I decided never to try this again.

About 4-5 months ago, Aruna sent me this recipe. But due to my previous failed attempts, I kept the recipe as it is without trying it. But then, while talking to my cousin day before yesterday, he said his wife had made Shrikhand and somehow I felt like giving this a try. Then hubby said he loves this dish. So I decided to give it a try. I am very happy that I tried. It was very good, my hubby and I instantly loved it this time. I followed Aruna’s recipe exactly. I served it with puris since that seems to be a super hit combo.

Aruna’s personal touch for this recipe is a little amount of sour cream along with yogurt. She said, “Do not forget to use sour cream, it gives the taste. I have tried both with and without using sour cream, but tastes better with it”. But she said if sour cream is not available, you can ignore it. Thanks a lot dear for sending me this. I also loved the almond taste in this. I think I am going to make this often now. Next time I am going to make Amrakhand Shrikhand with mango.

I am sending this to Vee’s Diwali special JFI.

Ingredients:
4 cups ready made yogurt or yogurt made from 1.5ltrs of milk
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coarsely powdered almonds
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
7-8 strands of saffron soaked in about 1 tbl spn warm water

Method:
Take a clean muslin cloth and take the yogurt in it. Tie a knot and hang it so that all the water falls away from the yogurt. Leave it like this for overnight or for about 12hrs. The remaining dry yogurt is called hung yogurt.
In a bowl mix hung yogurt, sour cream, sugar. Mix well.
Add the saffron, cardamom to get a nice saffron color. Now add almonds. Serve with puris.

Serves : 6-7
Preparation time : 10mins (excluding the time to prepare hung yogurt)

PS: – You can add pistachios for this along with almonds. As Aruna had mentioned I had coarsely powdered the almonds, but they can be roughly chopped and added.
– In Mumbai charolis are also added to Shrikhand.
– Mix very well after adding saffron to get a good color. You can also add food color to get a nice yellow color for Shrikhand. I added saffron but didn’t mix it well and didn’t add food color because I like the light color.
– Do not add all sugar at a time. It makes the shrikhand quite sweet, add 1 cup at a time and if required then add more.

Shrikhand Read More »

Rice-milk pudding (Doodh paank)

I am not sure how many of you had the same feelings, but even though I tried my best, I could not get into a Diwali mood this year. For me, Diwali means my dad bring out his colored light bulbs & akashgud/akash butti and tie them neatly on our front porch. Then in the evenings, we would light up small candles or oil lamps on the porch- ‘jaglee‘. Dad also bought us many crackers which we would burn after sunset. It used to be so much fun. For my brother and me, Diwali always signified this fun more than any special kind of food. Yes, we had followed many rituals like udak bharche, abhyanjana snana, gopooja, lakshmi pooja etc – but these were all moderately celebrated so that we loved being part of these.

When I was in India, even though I could not visit my parents every year during my college days, I got into Diwali mood around this time because of all the festivities going around. I still remember one year when I was alone in Bangalore and feeling bored. I sat in our apartment balcony watching all the fireworks and kids burning small crackers. The only horror was some people throwing crackers on the roads when I was driving my two wheeler :(. But apart from that, I loved everything, I even loved the smell of crackers.

In 2005, just before we came to US, I pestered my brother and hubby for crackers. Even though both of them were not interested, they went to the shop and came back with a big box of crackers which was more than what I had expected. Since we were burning crackers almost after 7-8 years, we enjoyed every bit of it.

This year, first of all we had to cancel our India trip which was supposed to be in December, due to various reasons. We were already in not-so-happy mood because of that and then all the missing lights and crackers really got to my nerve. It wont be completely wrong if I said I cooked those Diwali dishes just so that I could post them here. I had to get out of this mood somehow, so I thought of cooking a sweet dish today to cheer both of us.

Dudh paank or dudh pak– pudding is prepared in many Konkani homes during Diwali. Long grained aromatic basmati rice is cooked in milk and then cardamom and/or saffron are added for extra aroma. This comes out to be a lip smacking tasty dish. I think this is also called Pal Payasam.

I am sending this to Vee’s Diwali special JFI.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup basmati rice
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
6-7 strands saffron(optional)
1 tbl spn cashews
1 tbl spn raisins(dry grapes)

Adjust milk and sugar according to taste.

Method:
Wash rice in water and cook it along with cashews in milk on a medium flame mixing occasionally. When the rice is cooked completely (rice should not get mushy), add sugar, raisins. Cook for about 4-5mins and then add saffron. Cook for about 1min and then take off the heat. Add cardamom powder. Serve hot or cold.

Serves : 4-5

Preparation time : 30mins

Rice-milk pudding (Doodh paank) Read More »

Spicy shankarpal(Khara/Theek shankarpal)

This year I had decided to make all the important dishes that can be associated with Diwali. Many of my readers had asked for this recipe and also, once I prepared the sweet version, I had to make the spicy or khara(Kannada) or theek(Konkani) version. These were a favorite of my family.

This shankarpal was a regular at my home when we were kids. We had a special kind of cutter – like in this picture from Vaishali, which was used to cut these. Aayi’s shankarpal were very spicy and all cut in the same shape and size. As a kid, I used to love using this cutter, it was loads of fun. So one of the reasons I love to try these is – they remind me of my blessed childhood.

I have seen some people cut these into long strips instead of these little parallelograms, which is more easier and less time consuming. But I like these small shapes because I feel it is fun. I made these yesterday after returning from my office, I was hoping to do one post a day till Diwali. But by the time I finished this, I felt like I would fall off – 8hrs of work at office + all the work at home does not leave much energy. So I let it go.

This is my spicy entry to Vee’s Diwali special JFI. Till she is fed up of my entries and asks me to stop, I will keep sending her my Diwali entrees, after all I get into this kind of cooking mood very rarely ;).

There are many ways of making this dish. This is aayi’s version.

Ingredients:
1 cup maida or all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 tea spns rice flour
2 tea spns(approx) chili powder
A pinch asafoetida
2 tea spns hot oil + oil for deep frying
A tea spn slightly crushed cumin seeds(optional) – I didn’t add this
Salt

Adjust chili powder according to your taste.

Method:
Mix flours with chili powder, asafoetida, salt and 2 tea spns hot oil. Add enough water to make a dough. Leave the dough for about 30mins.

Take a big ball of the dough and roll into a thin circle. Cut into small parallelograms. Do not stack the pieces one above other.

Heat oil for deep frying. Deep fry the pieces.
When they are cooled to room temperature, store in air tight container.

Preparation time : 1 and 1/2 hrs

Spicy shankarpal(Khara/Theek shankarpal) Read More »

Sweet/GooD shankarpal

GooD (pronounced go-o-D) shankarpal must be another signature sweet made for Diwali in many Marathi/Konkani homes. Last year I had tried these for the first time. But then, I forgot to take pictures, so I could not post it here. I don’t make these dishes very often – once a year is also a very good number according to me, not because I don’t like them, infact I love these too much. But since they take a little bit of patience and time, I avoid even thinking about them.

Aayi makes these thinner than what I made this time, mine have become more like cookies – I just wanted to hurry up things, so I have cut them into thick pieces. Thick or thin, they just taste superb. I remember, while growing up, I used to help her cutting these. She had loads of patience, she would make these goodies often. My brother and I loved to eat them when they were still hot. Now that we both are away from home, she has stopped making these.

Here is how aayi’s shankarpal looks like. This photo was taken by my brother when aayi made these for him.

I am posting all these well in advance to Diwali so that those who want to follow these, have enough time to try these. I am sending this to Vee’s Diwali special JFI.

Ingredients:
1 cup(approx) sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup vanaspathi ghee(dalda) – hydrogenated vegetable oil or normal ghee + oil/ghee/dalda for deep frying
4 cups(approx) maida or all purpose flour
1/2 tea spn salt

The amount of sugar given above makes these very mildly sweet. So increase it if you want to make them more sweet. I didn’t measure flour properly, so if needed, add more/less flour to make the dough. Aayi always uses dalda, which makes these very light and tasty, since I read somewhere about ghee, I mentioned that too.

Method:
Heat sugar with 3/4 cup ghee/dalda and water till the sugar and ghee/dalda melts. Take off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Now add salt, flour and knead it into a tight dough. Keep it aside for 30mins.

Heat dalda/ghee for deep frying (I used 1/2 dalda + 1/2 oil).
Knead the dough well. Take a big ball and roll it into a round of desired thickness (if required, dust lightly with dry flour).
Dip the edge of a knife in dry loose flour(this avoids sticking) and cut into square pieces.

Deep fry the pieces in oil till they are dark brown. Take out on a paper towel.
Allow them to cool to room temperature and then store in air tight container.

Preparation time : 2hrs

PS: This measurement makes fairly large batch of shankarpals. So if it is your first time, start with half the quantity mentioned above.

Sweet/GooD shankarpal Read More »

Mysore pak

Mysore pak or Mysore paak must be one of the most popular sweets in Karnataka. It is one of my all time favorite sweets. But there are different kinds of Mysore pak available in market. When I was a kid, they were always long rectangular shaped(as in this picture). They used to be solid, very porous, melt in the mouth kind of sweets. But these days we get them either like semi solid ones with dripping ghee or even if they are solid ones, they don’t have pores in them, so they are too hard, they are very light in color (almost the color of besan). Somehow I don’t like this variety. Though both are still Mysore paks and there are many fans for both types, but I like only the first one.

Since this is my hubby’s favorite too, I asked my aayi if she knew how to make these. She said when she was just married, she used to make these very regularly. When she was here, she even wanted to give me a demo, but somehow we never got to make this at that time. She gave me the exact steps to make this. She also said after sometime she had stopped making these at home since they were readily available in markets and also she clearly knew the response to any sweets at our home.

So after keeping this recipe without being tried for about 4-5months, I thought it is high time to give it a try. Since there are just 6 days left for Diwali, I thought this is the best time. Frankly, I didn’t have much hopes when I started. Even though I have 100% faith in my aayi’s recipes, I have a natural talent for messing up the dishes. These got ready in about 45mins and I had got one of the best Mysore paks, just the way I loved them. They were very porous, light, solid, crunchy. I have cut them in the shape available in bakeries, the color also came out perfect.

If I say I am on 7th sky, it won’t be wrong. Two days straight, I have been very happy. Yesterday, I had a major breakthrough in my project and I almost danced in front of everyone. My boss, who always thinks I am a quiet girl, started laughing when I was jumping with joy. Today, even though a mere sweet is nothing compared to that success, I am too happy, just can’t express in words :).

This is my first entry to Vee’s Diwali special JFI. I did a lot of circus today to take pictures with one hand while I was mixing the contents with other hand. So pardon the poor quality of most of the photos.

Ingredients:
1 cup gram flour(besan)
1 cup sugar
1 cup ghee
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Normally 2 cups of ghee for 1 cup flour is used, I think that makes the texture still better. But I am very satisfied with the texture for amount of ghee I used.

Method:
Heat 1 tea spn ghee and add gram flour.

On a medium flame, fry till nice aroma comes out of it and it turns slightly brownish. Take care not to burn, it burns easily, so make sure to keep stirring it. Take it out on a plate and keep aside.

Mix sugar with 1/2 cup water and bring it to boil, keep mixing with a spoon.

When it is boiling, and you can see rapid boiling, add the fried four and mix (do not wait till it forms syrup).

 

Now add 1 tbl spn ghee at a time, keep mixing all the time. When all ghee is done, keep mixing continuously. If you stop mixing for a min, you will see the mixture has lots of air in it and when you start mixing again, the air goes off.

 

When the mixture starts leaving edges and looks a bit dry, add cardamom, mix well and pour it into a greased plate and flatten immediately.

Keep the plate tilted at an angle, this way, all the extra ghee comes out of the Mysore pak and you get very dry pieces. Cut into desired shapes.

 

Makes about 12-14 pieces
Preparation time : 45mins

PS: These are some very important notes to keep in mind
– If the flour remains half fried(roasted), it gives a different taste. So make sure not to skip the first step of frying/roasting it well.
– The plate where you pour the mixture should be greased with ghee and kept ready before you even start heating the water because you cannot spend time on greasing it when the mixture is ready to be poured. You have to work very fast at this point.
– Always keep the plate at an angle to remove extra ghee.
– Never try to make this dish on a high flame, it gets burnt very easily, so start with a cool, patient mind :D.
– Cut into pieces when it is still warm. When it is completely cooled, it crumbles very easily.
– Take out from the heat when the mixture looks quite dry and looks like froth. If you take out early, it wont get solid after cooling. This step comes only with practice. 

Mysore pak Read More »

Rice-chana dal pudding (Tandla-chane dali paays or Madagane)

Tandul – rice, chane dalichana dal, paays – pudding also called as madagane, is one of the offerings I made for the Ganesh festival. Infact I had this on my to-do list for a long time now. Since it is one of the dishes made for the festival at my in-laws’ home, I finally prepared it. My aayi makes this pudding frequently for different festivals at home. On one particular pooja(we call it devakarya), some rice vades – which are made soggy just to be paired with this pudding, are served with this. So while eating, you dip the vades in this paays and enjoy the combo. Ohh, this combination is just delicious. I didn’t have the patience of making vades, so I prepared this alone, without the combination of pays-vades

The traditional way is to soak rice for few hours, then grind it to a coarse or a smooth paste and then cook it with jaggery, cooked chana dal, coconut milk and cardamom. But these days people use either rice rava or rice flour to speed up cooking time. I like the rava/coarse paste version better because it gives a little body to the dish. The cooked chana dal that you bite into while having this pays, provides a very unique experience.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup thick coconut milk(ready made) or milk from about 3/4 cup coconut
3-4 tbl spns jaggery(approx)
2 tbl spns chana dal
1 tea spn cashew pieces
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Method:
Soak the rice for about 4-5 hrs. Grind it to a coarse paste by adding enough water.
Cook chana dal and cashews in cooker with a little water. Dal should be completely cooked but should not be mashed.
Heat the rice paste with enough water on medium flame. Keep mixing it with a spoon (if you stop mixing, the paste becomes lumps. So take care). When the mixture is cooked, (when it is cooked the color becomes slightly transparent) add jaggery, chana dal, cashews, and mix well. Cook till all jaggery gets melted and mixed with it. Add more water if necessary, and do not let the mixture become too thick. Add coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and add cardamom powder. Mix well.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

Home made coconut milk:
Grind fresh/frozen coconut with a cup of water to a coarse paste. Sieve the paste and squeeze all the liquid off the particles. Again add little more water and repeat.

Rice-chana dal pudding (Tandla-chane dali paays or Madagane) Read More »

Nevri/Karjikayi/Karanji

Wish you all a very happy Ganesh chaturthi.

Read about how Gauri tadige/Vayna pooja and Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated in Konkani homes(I am very specific to how it is celebrated at my home, every one has their own method of celebrating it, which is going on from generations). This festival is one of the very popular festivals of Hindu calendar year. From the day we came to US, we terribly miss all the festivities here. So I try to celebrate few of the important festivals in a small way here.

The Ganesha idols are kept in only few homes who are following the traditions for generations now. At my parents’ home, we don’t have this tradition, but we follow Vayna pooja. At my in-laws’ home, we bring home the Ganesha idol, but we don’t follow Vayna pooja.

The Ganesha festival would start with the loud speakers playing all Ganesha songs on these days. Every place we could see the festivities going on. The songs, the procession in which idol was brought home, the pooja bells, the fire crackers going on would make these days very special. We all kids would enjoy going to see the idols and always had a competition going on to see who saw more idols :).

Anyway, this year, I made a simple spread, where I picked up few very important dishes that are cooked at my in-laws’ place. I wanted to create a small festival environment at home. I picked these because for my husband, these dishes are a part of the festival. Then we did a small pooja, we played sukhakarta dukhaharta song in the background.

The above picture shows, rice(with the tulsi/holy basil leaves), mooga mole randayi, rice-chana dal paays, dali thoy, modak, nevri, idlis. Traditionally, khotte or hittuidlis cooked in jackfruit leaves are served on this day. Along with these idlis, fresh scraped coconut mixed with asafoetida water, coconut oil, ginger, green chilies, salt is served. While eating, these tasty coconut scrapings are mixed with powdered idli and savored by dipping it in the mooga mole randayi.

I am sending this to Lakshmi’s Ganesh festival event.

Ingredients:
1 cup maida
Salt
Oil for deep frying

Stuffing:
3/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup jaggery
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder
1 tea spn sesame seeds(til)

Method:
Heat 2 tbl spns of oil and add it to maida. Mix it very well till all the maida gets the oil. Add salt and water to make it a very stiff dough. Keep aside the dough for around 1/2 an hour.
Roast the sesame seeds lightly. Heat jaggery and coconut together till jaggery melts and forms a uniform mixture with coconut. Mix sesame seeds. Remove from fire and add cardamom powder. Mix well.
Take small balls of the dough, roll it into rounds (do not make the covering too thick). On the left side, keep the stuffing as shown.

Fold the right side, and press down the edges.

Heat oil and deep fry the nevris.

———- * ———-

For those who are interested to listen to the aarti songs and bring back those memories,

Sukhakarta dukhaharta(Jai dev Jai dev) aarti

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Sukhakarta dukhaharta song(Jai dev Jai dev)

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Following are links to Ganesha chaturthi songs which I remember vividly from childhood. They are closely associated with this festival.

A website on Ganesh Chaturthi, related information and eCards

Nevri/Karjikayi/Karanji Read More »

Sweetened popcorn powder (Layya piTTo)

I wish all my readers a happy Sri Krishna Janmashtami. Read more about this festival and how we celebrate at my old post about Janmashtami. This being my all time favorite festival, I thought of making at least one dish that is always associated with this festival at my home.

Layyi/layya(Konkani) or araLu/hodlu(Kannada) is a kind of unsalted popcorn. Two types of popcorn are usually available. One variety is made from corn and the other one is made from rice(well, I can’t call these popcorns because they are not popped corns, but they look similar to the corn versions). The rice variety is readily available at my native. The coarse powder of these popcorns can also be found ready made in market. But here I got the corn ones and I ground them to a coarse powder.

Layya(popcorn) piTTo(powder) is one of the offerings – prasad, made on the Janmashtami at my home. My aayi makes it in a big batch and this is distributed among neighbors and servants the next day. The coarse powder of popcorn is sweetened with molasses (paTTal gooD – the black colored liquid jaggery) or normal jaggery, fresh scraped coconut and a big dollop of ghee. Whoever offers this to god, puts 1-2 leaves of tulsi – holy basil into it, signifying god has accepted the offering. The whole procedure takes this simple dish into a amazingly tasty sweet which is hard to resist.

Here I make this dish once in a week or so, since both my husband and I are absolute fans of this dish. I usually serve it for evening snack, after we return from office with a hungry stomach but in no mood to cook some elaborate dishes and eat.

Ingredients:
2 cups unsalted popcorn powder (layya pitto or juwar dhani)
2 tbl spns jaggery
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1 tea spn ghee
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder

Method:
Coarsely powder the unsalted popcorn.
Mix jaggery and coconut well using your hand. Now add ghee, popcorn powder and cardamom powder. Mix very well with hand. Serve.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 10mins

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Spiced black chana(Chane usli/usal)

Chane usli – is one of the dishes that is served in temples during Ram Navami and other festivals. This is one of my all time favorite dishes to cook as well as eat. The temple version has a tinge of sweetness sometimes. Perfectly cooked black chick peas are spiced very lightly and garnished with coconut to get this very tasty dish.

There are many ways of making this dish. I think it varies from temple to temple. But I am posting here the simplest possible and tastiest version that I have tasted. Aayi makes this as a side dish for lunch/dinner, we don’t make it sweet though. This can also be eaten alone as a filling snack. This recipe was on the queue for a long time now, today when I saw a request for this recipe, I thought of posting it.

Ingredients:
1 cup black chick peas(chane)
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
A pinch asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
3-4 green chilies
1/4 tea spn sugar/jaggery(optional)
2-3 tbl spns fresh/frozen coconut
A little oil
Salt

Method:
Soak black chane overnight and pressure cook them till they are soft.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, green chilies, asafoetida. Now add cooked chane, salt, sugar/jaggery and cook for 5-6mins. Garnish with coconut, mix well and serve.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins

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