Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pani Puri

Oooh! Yum! Just thinking about it makes me drool. Looks like I am going to drool all over my laptop. Shoot!

Pani puri is my favourite-est food eva! I can have it any time of the day, 'n' number of times without getting bored. Hell, I even argued with my husband about how it is healthy and not junk food. There's white peas which are complete proteins, there's mint and coriander which means green leafy vegetables. There are chillies which account for Vitamin C. There is tamarind, dates and jaggery which are all rich sources of iron. I have become a believer. Pani puri is healthy food. It helps my bowels move. Fact!!

Anyways jumping to the recipe.

What you will need

  • Semolina Puris

Semolina Puris

  • White peas (one cup) soaked for eight hours

White peas

  • Potatoes about 2 medium sized 
  • Turmeric powder about 1/2 tsp
  • Dates about 1 cup
  • Tamarind about 1 small lemon sized ball
  • Jaggery about 1 cup grated 


  • 1 litre water
  • Mint 1 bunch
  • Coriander 1 bunch
  • Green chillies about 5 small
  • Ginger about 1 inch piece
  • Tamarind paste about 1/4th cup
  • Roasted cumin powder about 3 tsp
  • Rock Salt as per taste
Rock salt

  • Khaara boondi (optional)

Khaara Boondi

How to proceed
  • Boil the white peas with water enough to cover the peas, in a pressure cooker. Let the whistle of the pressure cooker release steam once. Then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for ten minutes. 
  • Boil the potatoes and peel them
  • Mash the potatoes, add the cooked peas and turmeric and adjust the salt. Keep aside
  • Cook the dates and tamarind together along with the jaggery in one cup of water. Remove the seeds (both date and tamarind) and blend the mixture in a food processor till it becomes smooth and free of lumps. This is your sweet and tangy chutney. Keep this aside too.
  • Finally grind together the mint, coriander, cumin powder, tamarind paste, ginger and green chillies. Add this paste to one litre of water. Add rock salt to taste.
  • Chill this above liquid (pani) in the refrigerator. 
  • Optional, when serving you can add khara boondi to the pani.
How to serve

Ha! Indians needn't be told how to serve pani puri. They grow up watching their neighbourhood panipuriwala do it for them. 

But for everyone else... Here's a video.

Fill it, dunk it, then dump it! As easy as that!

Happy Cooking!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Homemade Lollipops - Sugar Candy without thermometer

I am planning a princess themed party for my daughter, and while doing research for party ideas, I came across this idea. It was fun, and it was easy. But the first time I made it, it didn't turn out quite right. I didn't have the candy thermometer, so I could not record the actual temperature. Making candy needs accurate temperature readings, I am told. But when I searched again, I found what is called the 'cold water test'. This time, I did it properly, and the lollipops have turned out fantastic.

Imagine the possibilities! You can use so many different flavours, and use a combination of colours to make something like a rainbow lollipop.

But for starters, and to be on the safe side, I made a strawberry flavoured lollipop in rose pink colour. It looks good, to me it even tastes good. But I am wondering how Saee will receive it. She has been gone on a vacation for seven days, and I am missing her like crazy!

What you will need:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4th tsp flavouring
  • a few drops of FDA approved food colour
  • lollipop moulds (or tin foil)
  • lollipop sticks (or toothpicks)
  • a little oil for greasing
  • a bowl of cold water
In a saucepan, take the sugar, water and corn syrup and place it on heat. Do not stir too much. Let it come to a boil and allow it to boil for about five minutes. Keep a bowl of cold water handy.

Meanwhile, grease the lollipop with a little oil. Do not use too much oil, you do not want oil flavored lollies. Place each stick in each mould. (Incase you do not have moulds, lay a tin foil flat on your working surface, and grease it with a little oil. Place lollipop sticks or toothpicks about 2 inches apart.)

Test the candy by dropping a small amount in the cold water. If it forms a blob at the base without forming a thread, it is still not done. Continue to boil for a minute or two and check again.

The drop should form a thread while going down in the water. This thread should crack when you break it in two. It should not bend and crack, just crack.

That is how you know your candy is done. Add the flavouring and colouring and mix it well. You have to be fast at this stage. Let the mixture sit a while, so that the bubbles settle. Once the larger bubbles have settled, pour out the mixture directly into the moulds or over the tin foil. 

It should take about ten minutes to set. Do not keep it in the refrigerator. Once set, remove carefully from the moulds, cover each with a plastic pouch and store in an airtight container. 

Your lollipops are ready!

Happy cooking!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sabudana Papdi

Face it. I love my papads and pickles. There doesn't seem to be a way in the near future that I may lose my weight. But I am too loathe to give up my fried and oily delicacies. I usually need something deep fried even on days I fast. These papdis are for those days.

What you will need

  • 2 cups sabudana (sago)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
Soak sabudana with water enough to cover upto 1 inch above the level. Let them soak for about two hours.

Now drain that water and add about 3 cups of water to it and bring it to a boil. Add cumin seeds and salt. Cook the mixture till the sago turns translucent and the mixture thickens a bit.

Soread out thick plastic sheets on a bed sheet. Pour a ladleful of mixture at a time and spread it into an even circle. Make such small portions till the mixture is completely used up.

Now set it under direct sunlight to dry.  This may take about 2 to 3 days. 

Store in an airtight container.

When serving, deep fry them in groundnut oil. When they turn crisp, they are good to go.

Happy cooking!

Khichiya Papad

I love eating at roadside dhabas. In particular, I love eating at this dhaba called Kathiyawad ne Angane, which falls en route Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway, just a couple of meters after the Bhayandar bridge. The best thing about this place is their simplicity. No frills, no decorations, just lovely delicious food. Their bajra no rotlo is to die for. Amply slathered with ghee, this rotlo is soft, and tastes great with their sev kanda tameta nu shaak, or lasaniya bateta. They serve you freshly made maakhan with sugar as their dessert and no Kutchchi meal is complete without a bottle of chilled buttermilk.

I had this papad here for the first time, and I have yet to get over the taste. It is crisp, but the crispiness can't be measured with the yardstick of crispiness of regular papads. This one has crunch, and a mild taste. A taste that tingles on your tongue, and delights your teeth. I was craving these for a while. Now that it is the peak of summer here in India, and by that virtue, time for pickles and papads and the likes, I decided to try and see if I could make them.

I found a good recipe on youtube by Bhavana.  I tried following the same step by step.

Here's what I did.

What you'll need

  • 1 and 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 3 tsp green chilli paste
  • 2 tsp papad khaar (you can find it at your local grocery store)
  • salt to taste
Boil the water and to it, add all the ingredients except the rice flour. Add salt a little less than you would normally use. You can taste the dough later to determine if you need more. I think you should keep the salt a wee bit on the low side, because as the papad dries, it becomes saltier. 

Once the water boils, take it off the heat, and pour it slowly into the rice flour and mix it. Knead the dough a bit, and then shape into medium sized balls. Flatten them a bit with the palms of your hand and  make a hole in the center. You can use a bit of cold water on your palms if the dough gets too sticky.

Steam the dough balls in a steamer for about 30 minutes. Remove them from the steamer while they are hot and knead them with the help of a steel glass.

Now using a little oil on your palms, make small balls out of the dough and roll them thin with a rolling pin. Be very gentle, you don't want the papads to tear. But make them as thin as possible.

Place them on a plastic sheet and keep the plastic sheet under direct sunlight so that the papads dry completely. This make take about 2 to 3 days. Make sure that the papads are completely dry.

You can store these papads in an airtight container for about a year.

Whenever you want to eat them, just remove as many as you want, and deep fry them in oil and serve!

Happy cooking!