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How to make Soft and Puffed Puris / Pooris

Who doesn’t like to make soft and puffed puris? Here are few tips which can be followed to make perfect puris. Follow any one of them most suitable for you.

  • Puri dough should be made little harder than chapathi dough. This prevents puri from retaining more oil when it is deep fried. Also once dough is prepared, make the puris immediately. I always follow this method and they always turn out perfect. They don’t even soak any oil.
  • Do not stack the puris one above the other after rolling them (before frying).
  • Mix 1 cup of milk and 1-2 tea spns of sooji(rava) with wheat flour while making the puri dough. Keep the dough aside for sometime. Make puris.
  • Mix a little sugar and rice flour with wheat flour while preparing the dough. Make puris.
  • Prepare puri dough with milk instead of water. Make puris.
  • Add one or two drops of red vinegar to oil while frying puris.

Please click here for detailed puri tutorial.

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How to Clean Crabs

Many readers who read crab recipes here, asked me to explain how I clean crabs. This is an account of how I do it.

I checked in few of American grocery stores. They had the ‘snow crabs’, which were too big compared to what we get in India. I am not sure how they are cooked. Then in the Chinese shop, I found two different kinds, one was ‘Dungeness crabs’, which were again big compared to Indian crabs and were red in color. The crabs which I bought were ‘Blue crabs’ which more or less looked like when we get in our native.

I could find the live crabs there. Since they had the two big legs (not the walking ones) I was a bit worried to clean them when alive (They are the most dangerous ones in the crab. The 10 walking legs are relatively very less harmful. At our native, the two big legs are usually removed and given seperately by the person who catches the crabs). So I kept the crabs in freezer for 2 hrs and then cleaned them.
Here are the step by step pictures.
Always hold the crab like this (when they are alive). If you try to hold in any other way, they can easily bite your hand :).
Still keeping it pressed to ground, pluck the legs.
If the crabs are not alive, hold them like this, to make the cleaning process easier.
In the picture below, the legs in the upper left corner and stomach portion are used and the walking legs in the upper right corner are discarded.
Now, the most difficult part of the cleaning, cleaning of the stomach portion. To make this easier, first remove the flap like thing in the back side of the crab. For that, first the flap has to be loosened. So, hold the crab in the following way, and hit it to some hard edges to slightly break it. (In the blue crabs, it came out easily without any force applied).
Open the flap.
Hold it with flap opened and hit the hard shell to a hard surface to just crack the outer shell as in the following pictures.
Now, hold the down portion firmly with the left hand, and lift the top portion with right hand (this requires a bit of force, first time it might look a bit difficult).
When the shell is opened, it looks like this.
Clean the soft portion (it looks like lungs, I am not sure though) and all the yellowish portion (some people use the yello thing in the gravy which gives thickness to the gravy. But I never use it.
After cleaning, it looks like this. Hold the crab below running water to remove any other unwanted dirt from crab.
Now your crab is ready for using.
My mom makes two pieces from the stomach to make eating easier (only for bigger crabs). For this, hold the cleaned crab like this and twist the right hand in clockwise and left hand in anti-clockwise direction.
Clean the crab once again thoroughly before using.
She also slightly crushs the legs with pestle(beat it just once or twice just to crack the outer shell slightly) to make the eating easier.
Make the Crab gravy / Kurle ambat and enjoy :). (One strange thing I noticed was, the blue legs turned to red after cooking!!!)
I hope after reading this, you can clean the crabs on your own. For any further doubts, leave a comment here and I will be happy to answer them.

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Mistress of Spices – Teppal or Tirphal

This is my entry to “Mistress of spices” event hosted by Mythili.

Why did I select this least known spice?

When I read about this event, two things immediately came to my mind. The first was ‘Asafoetida’, the most famous spice used in most of the Konkani food. The second was Teppal, the most popular ‘Konkani spice’. Now, why am I calling it a ‘Konkani spice’? Because till today I haven’t seen anybody else using this spice. But after reading this and wiki, I came to know, its used in some other cuisines also. I thought I should write about this so that my Non-Konkani readers will get to know about this spice.
We get to see a lot Teppal trees at our native. The trees have very strong thorns. I still remember, when we were kids, we used to fill the fruits of green, fresh teppal into piston like cylinders called “Petnoli“. The piston is pushed to pop the teppal with a ‘phuut’ sound like a bullet. We used to aim it at each other like pistol, unlike any other fruit used in petnoli, teppal hurts more :D.

Mostly grown in : the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka in India.

Part of the plant : These are the fruits of the plant. The tree bears fruits in Monsoon. During this time, the fresh fruits are used for all the dishes. They are dried and stored for the use in other seasons. When dried, they open up and the black colored seeds can be seen. The seeds are discarded and only the outer layer of the fruit is stored.

Appearance : When they are fresh, the fruits are dark green in color. They dry to a dark brown color and split to reveal a creamy white interior.

Medicinal uses: A decoction of teppal is a good cure for dysentery. The spice is known for its anti flatulent properties. (I have picked this up from a book, but haven’t actually seen teppal being used for any medicinal uses).

Uses in kitchen : This is mostly used in Fish preparations and a few vegetarian dishes, with a coconut masala. This has a strong woody aroma, so it should not be ground with coconut (if it is ground by mistake, the dish gets a very strong and biting taste. The tongue starts tingling 😀 ). While using in gravy, these are slightly crushed in 1 tbl spn of water and added to masala. At the time of eating, teppal is not consumed and discarded.
Well, this is all the information I have about the teppal. If you know anything more than this, please feel free to leave a comment here and I will update this post.

Some recipes that make use of teppal are Pumpkin-peas masala(Dudde randayi)fish curry, fish sidedish, chutney,  ridgegourd gravy(gosale ambat), bhende sukke and many more.

Fresh teppal –

fresh teppal1

After drying

fresh teppal2

Seeds separated. Discard the seeds.

fresh teppal3

Dry some more after removing the seeds.

fresh teppal4

Seeds separated. Discard the seeds

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