Refreshing Tomato and Potato gojju/soup

This year we had a lot of fresh tomatoes from our garden and we really made good use of it by using them in soups, different curries, rasam and salads. The below recipe is a very quick and easy recipe. All you need is some tomatoes, onions and potatoes which makes a simple and refreshing side dish. You can skip potatoes all together if you don't want it, but adding it gives a nice body and texture since it acts like a thickening agent. Tomatoes alone can be very thin and soupy. My mom made this very frequently when we were kids and we enjoyed it so much. I all together forgot about it until now when she made it few days back using the garden fresh tomatoes - it brought back fond memories. This was a new dish for my dear hubby and he too enjoyed it as its refreshing and tastes delicious!

Below is my mom's recipe for tomato gojju.




Ingredients:

10 medium size ripe tomatoes
1 medium size potato, boiled and mashed.
1 medium onion, finely chopped(red onion is preferred)
4 to 5 green chillies, cut into rings
salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped for garnishing

3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves, fresh

Method:

1. In a sauce pan boil water and add the tomatoes. Cook them till tender for about 10 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

2. Take a wide bowl, and when the tomatoes are cooled down, peel the skin and remove the seeds and mash them up really well. To this add the boiled and mashed potatoes and mix everything well.

3. To this, add chopped onions, green chillies and corinader leaves, salt and mix everything until combined.

4. In a small pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When it starts to crackle, add curry leaves and fry for a minute. Turn off the heat. Add this on the Tomato-potato mixture and mix again.

5. Serve with rice or rotis.



P.S: It is usually served in room temperature. We usually make it fresh and consume it as we hardly have any leftovers from it. However, if you make a big batch, then you can refrigerate and serve it. You can serve it either by heating it for a little bit or place it outside much ahead of time before serving so that, it comes back to room temperature and not freezingly cold.

Potato Saung

This is one of my favorite dishes. I would say everyone in my household absolutely loves this dish. This is one of those dishes which can never fail to impress a person who has it for the first time. Batata Saung is a signature konkani dish. The spicy masala made from frying coconut, red chillies and tamarind complements the onions and potatoes so well. Again, my mom made the best saung and she has been making batata saung for us every week now since they have been here and we are not tired of it and will never be :). There are a lot of recipes to make this, some people skip coconut, some add coriander seeds and each has its own taste in variations.



Below is her recipe.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized potatoes, boiled and cut into small cubes
3 medium sized onions chopped

For Masala:

10 red chillies roasted in a tsp of oil(kashmiri and regular) - increase or decrease spice to your taste
2 tsp coconut gratings(dry works too)
Peanut size tamarind
a pinch of brown sugar or jaggery(optional)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Method:

1. Take a heavy bottom kadai/saute pan and heat about 3 tbsp oil, and add the chopped onions. Add some salt and saute till golden.

2. Heat about 1 tsp oil in a kadai/pan and add the coconut gratings and toast it till brown on a medium heat.

3. Then, in a blender add the toasted coconut gratings, red chillies and tamarind. Using little water grind it to a smooth paste.

4. When the onions are brownish, add the boiled chopped potatoes, salt and water and mix well. Let it boil well - approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Add the ground masala and some water, combine everything well. Cover it and cook for sometime, about 10 minutes or so.

Serve with rice and Dalitoy.

Poori bhaaji

Poori(pronounced as 'poo-ree') is a bread made from wheat flour deep fried to golden and lightly crisp until its puffed up like a ball. A perfect poori will be golden in color and will be puffed up. It's a quintessential Indian dish which can be served as breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack or dinner. Yes, people like to serve this or eat this be it any time of the day. It makes a complete meal in itself. Growing up my mom made poori bhaji for breakfast during the weekends and during fasting days, like Sankasti etc., this was our lunch. We loved poori bhaji and as kids used to look forward to weekends. Aloo bhaji is perfect accompaniment for puffed puris. There are a lot of dishes that can served with poori, like Vegetable Korma, Sagu, Peas usli to name a few. But Aloo/potato bhaji is the perfect combo.



This weekend, again as usual my mom made this yummy breakfast. Below is her recipe:

Ingredients:

To make pooris:(makes about 20 pooris)

2 cups Whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp suji rava(optiona - this will make pooris crispy)
Water as needed(to knead the flour)
Cooking oil for deep frying(about 3 cups)

Method:

1. In a wide mixing bowl, add salt, wheat flour, suji rava (if adding) and add water little at a time and start to mix to form a dough. Poori dough should be firm and stiff (the idea is you should be able to roll the pooris), so go slow with the water. Add it only as needed. When the dough forms like smooth ball, cover and set it aside for 30 minutes or so.

2. Divide the dough into small balls between your palm till they are smooth without any cracks. On a clean counter surface sprinkle some flour and start rolling out these balls using a rolling pin into 4 to 5 inch circles about 1/4 inch thick.

3. Heat oil in a kadai or deep frying dish(do not fill the dish, just about half should be good enough). When hot(Test for readiness by placing a small piece of dough into the hot oil. If it bubbles and rises to the surface immediately, it is ready). Add the flattened pooris one at a time. The pooris will sink to the bottom, but will rise up immediately. Using the back of a slotted spoon, carefully apply little pressure and submerge the pooris until it puffs up. Slowly, turn it over on the other side. The other side of the poori is usually thicker, so, fry a bit longer until nice and golden. Carefully remove the pooris using the slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain the oil. Repeat the procedure with the remaining pooris. Serve immediately, if possible, or keep warm, covered, until ready serve.

P.S: When fryying, be careful to keep the oil at 350° to 375° for even cooking. If the oil gets too hot, then the poori will brown too fast and may remain doughy add uncooked inside. If the oil is not hot enough, it will not puff up and the dough will absorb a lot of fat.

To make Potato bhaji:

3 medium size potatoes, boiled and chopped to small pieces
1 large onion, chopped finely
4 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp minced ginger and garlic
4 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 tsp urad(black-gram) dal
1/4 tsp chana(bengal-gram) dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
5 to 6 curry leaves
Salt to taste
5 to 6 stalks of Coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnishing

Method:

1. Heat oil in a kadai/pan, add mustard seeds, when it starts sputtering, add cumin seeds, urad dal and chana dal, when they start sizzling, add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger-garlic, turmeric and fry for a minute or two.

2. Add chopped onions and fry until translucent. About 5 to 6 minutes, approximately.

3. Now add chopped potato pieces and mix together. Add about 1/2 cups of water, salt and combine well. Add more water if its too thicky to make a semi-dry dish.

4. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Check salt and adjust if necessary. Add coriander leaves and mix one last time and turn off the heat.

Serve with hot pooris.

Chane Ghashi/ Chickpeas and Jackfruit simmered in coconut sauce

This is an authentic Konkani cuisine. Without this dish any auspicious occasion would be incomplete, I would say. This curry can be prepared using either black chana or white(kabuli) chana. Again a protein rich legume which has a nutty and buttery flavor. You can read a whole lot about it from, here. Typically raw jackfruit is added to the curry along with the chickpeas, but since raw jackfruit is seasonally available only for couple of months, yam or suran is also added which makes it equally tasty and delicious. You can use canned jackfruit and chickpeas as well which is what I ended up for jackfruit.

Chane Ghashi with Kabuli chana:



Chane Ghashi with Black Chana:




Below is my mom's recipe.

Ingredients:

½ cup chickpeas – soaked for about 8 hours(black or kabuli)
½ cup raw jackfruit diced(you can use canned ones)

¾ cup fresh or frozen coconut
4 to 5 dried red chillies
1” tamarind or ½ tsp tamicon paste
5 to 6 fenugreek seeds(optional)
¼ tsp turmeric powder(optional)
4 tsp cooking oil
5 to 6 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste

Method:

1. First of all pressure cook chickpeas and jackfruit for up to 6 whistles or until cooked well. Reserve the water. (If using canned chickpeas, then, drain the water and rinse well and set aside).

2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry fenugreek seeds for about 2 minutes(until it starts to sizzle).

3. Take a blender and grind to a smooth paste coconut, red chillies, tamarind and fenugreek seeds and turmeric with water as needed.

4. Heat a saucepan and add the cooked chickpeas and jackfruit along with the reserved water, add salt and mix well.

5. When it starts boiling, add the blended masala/paste, mix again for about 5 to 10 minutes until the raw smell from the masala fades.

6. Heat 4 tsp oil in a small kadai/pan, when hot, add mustard seeds and when it starts sputtering add the curry leaves and fry lightly for a minute or so, turn off the heat and add this into the chickpea curry, and switch off the heat.

7. Server with rice and pappads.

Corn Bread

Corn bread is a quintessential part of American cuisine particularly in the South-western region. You can read more about it here.

Below is a quick and healthy recipe that one of my good friend shared with me. I used Honey instead of sugar and it was really perfect for us in terms of sweetness. If you intend to bake yours sweet, you can add more of honey or sugar. I added about 1/2 cup of fresh corn kernels and I think that made the bread even more tasty; whenever i took a bite the fresh sweet corn kernels gave a unique flavor and added more taste to it. There are hundreds of recipes out there. You can modify and add different ingredients like cheese, scallions, chillies or jalapenos; I am sure it will taste equally fantastic.





Ingredients:

Combine Dry Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
3 Tbs. honey or sugar
3 Tbs. melted butter/cooking oil
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh corn(optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Stir wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix as it might make the bread hard.

3. Butter a pie plate - 8 inch square casserole, or 8-9 inch round cast iron pan whichever you have.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes. When done, the center should spring up when lightly pressed and the edges will look at little brown.

P.S: If you’re using a glass pie plate or casserole, it can take a little longer to bake.

Vaali Bhuthi

Bhuthi is loved by everyone in my household. We prepare it quite often with Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mushrooms to name a few. I always buy spinach since its known for its health benefits. I usually make dal palak, simple spinach stir-fry with garlic, or Palak paneer, or sometimes ambat, another konkani dish made with ground coconut and tad bit of toor dal.

I had never tried preparing bhuthi with spinach until now. I had heard a relative mention it long back but never really made it. I had a big box of organic spinach sitting in my refrigerator. My parents are here visiting us, and so when I told my mom about Vaali bhuthi, she was all set to prepare it. It was very tasty. Some people make spinach bhuthi with cashews and it adds a nice flavor and makes it even more tasty. I did not add it this time since mine was a last minute decision so skipped it.



Ingredients:

1 pounds spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 medium sized onion chopped.
1/2 cup cashew nuts soaked in warm water Or boiled until done.(optional)

For masala:

½ cups of fresh coconut
5 to 6 fried red chillies (add more if you want it spicy)
¼ tsp tamarind concentrate
2 tsp Coriander seeds
salt to taste
oil for cooking.

Method:

1.Chop the spinach and onions and keep side.

2.Heat oil in a kadai or deep skillet and add the chopped onions and sauté till light brownish. Add the chopped spinach and fry until the it starts wilting about 5 minutes I would say.{You can add cashew nuts at this point]

3.Whilst the onions are browning, in a blender add in the coconut, red chillies, and tamarind & coriander seeds and grind all these ingredients with little water to a fine paste.

4.Add the masala in and little water; mix it all together so that the masala incorporates with the spinach. Cover again and cook further till the masala is cooked. Adjust the spice & salt one last time.

5.Serve with rice & Dali toy or rotis.

Matar Paneer

Who does not like rich and creamy Matar paneer, right? Onions and spices sauteed until brown along with fresh juicy tomatoes and then blended well to a creamy paste and cooked with fresh peas and paneer a.k.a cottage cheese is one of its kind. It is a very popular dish from the North Indian region made its way into the culinary world. The dried fenugreek leaves adds a little magic to this dish and makes it aromatic and flavorful and takes into a different level. We have been having bountiful plum tomatoes and I made good use of them by using it Matar paneer, Tomato soup, Tomato rasam etc., The freshness from the tomatoes made a whole lot of difference to this recipe.



Below is my version of Matar Paneer.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion finely chopped(about 3 cups)
Whole spices such as 2 cloves, 1 cardamom, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp poppy seeds, 1" cinnamon stick
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 to 4 medium size ripe tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp kasuri methi(dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp cashew pieces
2 tsp ghee/butter
1 cup boiled peas
1 cup paneer pieces
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder(optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of sugar(optional)
2 tsp cream/malai
salt to taste

Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the whole spices, chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and fry until golden. (add little salt to speed up this process).

2. Meanwhile, heat a griddle and apply a tsp of oil and place the paneer pieces and fry on both the sides till golden. You can deep fry them too, but i prefer this way.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry until they are cooked till soft and melted completely. Add all the powders and fry for a minute or two. Let it cool for sometime and then add this into a blender along with cashew pieces and blend to a smooth paste adding little water.

4. Heat the same pan and, add some ghee or butter and pour the paste and fry on a medium flame. Add about a cup of water to bring it to desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.

5. Add the boiled peas, mix and let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Now add the Paneer pieces, salt and combine everything well together and let it simmer on a low flame for 6 to 10 minutes.

7. Add cream, kasuri methi and mix well and adjust the spice and salt and switch off the heat and let it stand for sometime before serving.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with naan/roti and sliced onions.

Easy breezy vegetable pulao

Now, when it comes to vegetable pulao, there are thousands of recipes out there. Pulao is an easy and tasty one pot dish. Whenever I am in a fix as to what to prepare and run out of ideas, be it a regular day or the days we have unexpected guests, Pulao always comes to my rescue. Everyone in my household loves pulao so i prepare it quite often. This is my Mom's recipe and its really good!



You will need:

2 cups basmati rice (washed and drained)
4 cups hot water(1:2 ratio)
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup vegetables -peas, chopped beans, chopped carrots
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
2 bay leaves
4 tsp cashew pieces
Few strands of Saffron(optional)

Make a coarse paste of the whole spices using a Mortar and pestle:
4 cloves
2 cardamom pods
2" cinnamon stick
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
4 to 5 green chillies
3 cloves of garlic
1" ginger

salt to taste.

Method:

1. Heat butter and oil in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan and add the onions,bay leaves and cashew pieces and saute till golden. [Adding salt to onion will speed up the frying process].

2. Now add the coarse paste and fry until the raw smell fades, about 5 to 8 minutes on a medium heat.

3. Add the drained rice and slowly mix until it is well combined with the browned onion - whole spice mixture. Fry for a 2 to 3 minutes. [Be careful that it doesn't stick to the bottom].

4. Add the vegetables and mix and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Pour boiled water(1:2 ratio), add salt and saffron strands and mix well. Check the salt and adjust everything as desired. Pressure cook for upto 1 whistle. [I pressure cook for 1 whistle and turn off the heat; this makes the rice grains separated and cooks evenly].

Serve with your choice of raita.

Going bananas with Banana Nut bread!

This is one of those breads that is easy to prepare, healthy and delicious. I often let the bananas go ripe on their own so that I can bake a Banana nut bread. Ripe bananas and buttermilk makes the bread moist and naturally sweet. I usually make with whole wheat flour and tastes excellent. Below is a recipe that I found on the internet which claims to be Starbucks Banana bread recipe. As soon as I saw it, I know I had to try, since I love Starbucks' Banana bread. Its very easy and quick and absolutely delicious. I have tried numerous Banana bread recipes but this one is definitely a keeper!



Dry Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour(You can substitute 1 cup with whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup Sugar(original recipe had 11/3 cups but I reduced it to 3/4 since I don't like mine too sweet)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tbsp butter milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe medium-large bananas(mashed)
1/2 c + 1/3 c chopped walnuts(for mixing and garnish)

Method:

1.Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree F. Grease a 9*5*3 loaf pan and dust with flour.

2.Blend together the dry ingredients nicely- flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3.Mix together the egg and sugar and vegetable oil until combined.

4.Add the flour mixture and when blended add the buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until combined.

5.Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Top batter with remaining 1/3 c chopped walnuts.

6.Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan. Serve a slice with a hot cup of coffee or just on its own!