Badeel – Fried Lentil bars from Uttarakhand

The Badeel from Uttarakhand must be the North-Indian cousin to South-India’s Poricha Paruppu Urundai (which I wanted to make as part of the TamilNadu meal last weekend but couldn’t). For Badeel, we grind soaked masoor dal and cook it with onions, chillies and spice powders until a little dry, turn on to a plate, cut into diamond shapes and then fry to crispy, tasty perfection. Sounds like a lot of work, but isn’t really. I really liked Badeel. It’s a nice side with rice. It also makes for a filling nutritious snack that can be packed into kids’ tiffen boxes. Uttarakhand is mostly covered by the Himalayas and has many ancient temples and pilgrimage centres – Badhrinath and Kedarnath among the most auspicious Hindu pilgrimage centres.  Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh and Himalayan areas in 2000. The famous Him Corbett National park is in Uttarakhand. I remember reading Jim Corbett’s “Man eating tigers of Kumaon” as a kid. It made for a fascinating read. Garhwali and Kumaoni are the two major communities in Uttarakhand. Their food comprises a lot of lentils, rice and vegetables. I’ve never tasted Badeel before. So I hope I’ve made as close a replica of the Badeel as they make in Uttarakhand. Close or not, it was tasty.   Prep time: 20 minsCooking time: 25 minsServes: 6 Ingredients Masoor dal – 1 cupGinger garlic paste – 1 tspGreen chillies – 3 chopped fineOnion – 1 large chopped fineTurmeric powder – ¼ tspGaram Masala – ½ tspRed chilli powder – 1 tspCoriander powder – ½ tspSalt to tasteOil – for shallow frying Method 1.      Rinse and soak masoor dal for 2 hours or overnight if that’s convenient. Drain the water and grind the dal to a coarse, chunky paste without adding water or very very little if necessary. 2.      Heat a pan, add 2 tbsp oil and when hot throw in the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste, ground dal, spice powders and salt. Mix well and fry till the dal mixture turns a little dry and leaves the sides of the pan (it shouldn’t get crumbly though). Turn the dal mixture on to an oiled plate, spread it with a flat spatula to a ½ inch thick layer and level it. Let cool. 3.      Cut the cooled dal mixture into diamond shapes....

Sikkim’s Selroti – Deep fried sweet rings

The Selroti is a famous street food in Sikkim. It is this ring shaped deep fried sweet bread made from ground rice, banana and sugar. Getting the ring shape is not easy and predictably my Selroti is anything but ring-shaped. I am not even a “round roti maker”. I realize that that sentence sounds a little funny. I mean I can’t make perfectly round rotis (round that I am now) if my life depended on it. I can make any shape but a round one. These Sel rotis were out of the question. I tried my best in between bouts of yelling at the kids to stop fighting, to switch off Chotta Bheem, to not pour water on the chairs. I couldn’t find a banana (would you believe that?), so I skipped that. A couple of bananas usually lie around on the dining table browning slowly. But that day, there wasn’t a single banana. Like the time I decided on a cake recipe, got the oven preheated oven, measured out flour and sugar, brought eggs to room temperature and then realized I didn’t have butter. “Mise-en-place”, I always misplace (‘cos I am a nutcase). Sikkim is a very small state in the north-eastern part of India. It has a Nepali majority. It is mostly hilly. Now I remember. We’ve been to Gangtok (in Sikkim) on our honeymoon. We went to the Rumtek monastery also. I remember buying a Chinese style kimono type top in the Gangtok market that I never fitted into and which is doing duty as a prop for my Chinese food photos. I never had a chance to try these Sel rotis though. The sel rotis that I made were nice and crispy on the outside and a little chewy. I tried making a small batch as I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out. They were pretty good but they soak up quite a bit of oil. They’re nice to munch on with your tea or coffee. Prep time: 15 mins + overnight soaking Cooking time: 20 mins Makes: 2 dozen rings Ingredients Raw Rice – 1 cup Banana – 1 small (I skipped as I didn’t have it) Sugar – 1/3 cup Ghee – 1/3 cup Cardamom powder – pinch Oil – for deep frying Method 1.      Soak rice overnight. 2.      Grind soaked rice adding a little water to a nearly smooth paste. Add sugar, ghee...

Egg Shoap – Nagaland breakfast

Egg shoap was among the few north eastern foods that Jagan and kids enjoyed thoroughly. Egg shoap is a little like our potato bonda but without the besan and  with egg in it. Egg shoap I read is a popular Naga breakfast. It is easy, quick and yummy. Anything with potatoes, that is dipped in egg, rolled in bread crumbs and is deep fried has got to be delicious. Nagaland is among the smallest Indian states. It is mostly mountainous and is home to several tribes majority of whom are now christians. Nagamese a form of Assamese is the most widely spoken language in Nagaland. Naga food involves meat and fish which are usually smoked or fermented apart from rice, boiled vegetables and chillies. I really am not sure where this egg shoap fits in that picture but I found it on the net saying it is a popular Naga breakfast and I clung on to it. I really couldn’t risk putting another veggie broth before my family, although we enjoyed the thukpa quite a lot. Jagan liked the egg shoap he had them for lunch. He placed a couple of egg shoap in his chappathi, drizzled some ketchup and rolled it up to make a egg shoap wrap. It was a pretty nice idea and it tasted great. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 15-20 mins Makes: 12-15 egg shoap balls Ingredients Potatoes – 2 medium, boiled, peeled and mashed Eggs – 2 boiled, peeled and mashed roughly Onion – 1 small, chopped fine Green chillies – 3 chopped fine Cumin powder – ½ tsp Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp (optional – I added) Turmeric – ¼ tsp Salt to taste Egg – 1 beaten lightly Bread crumbs – 1 cup Oil – for deep frying Method 1.       Boil two potaoes till tender. Cool, peel and mash them. Set aside. 2.       Boil 2 eggs. To boil eggs, place them in a pan, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 8 minutes. Switch off and cover. Let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Open the lid, run the eggs under cold water and peel them. 3.       Mash the eggs. Add them to the mashed potaoes. Throw in the chopped onions, green chillies, spice powders and salt and mix everything together. Don’t add any water. Makes sure the mixture is thick. If...

Vegetable Momo – Meghalaya

We first had momos on our honeymoon in Darjeeling. Those were the best momos to date. They were piping hot served alongside a spicy red chutney in a small shack overlooking the snow-clad mountains. They were perfect for the cold weather. Since then we’ve had momos at small kiosks outside department stores, in supposedly good Chinese restaurants and at 5-star places and none of them matched those momos we first had. I made chicken momos last year for a party we had at home and they were great. They came very close to the Darjeeling momos if I do say so myself. Everybody loved them. I used the same recipe to make these vegetable momos and these were really nice too, but they don’t evoke the same kind of emotion from my predominantly non-veg family. Meghalaya one of the north-eastern states of India is bounded by Assam in the north and Bangladesh in the south. We’ve been to Shillong the capital of Meghalaya. Shillong is among the few urban areas in Meghalaya. Nearly one-third of the state is covered by forests. The much-repeated Cherrapunjee of our geography lessons is in Meghalaya. Cherrapunjee receives the highest rainfall of all places on earth. So cool. Rice and pork are the most commonly eaten food in Meghalaya. Different varieties of mushrooms that flourish during the monsoon are also used in the cooking. Fermented soyabean paste, fermented fish and different types of herbs are used to add flavour to the dishes. Dishes are sometimes cooked in bamboo cylinders or bamboo leaves which infuse the food with the flavours of bamboo. Momos are popular in all the north-eastern states. I made these vegetable momos and a hot red chilli chutney to go with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination. Prep time: 30 mins Cooking time: 10-12 mins Makes: 15-20 momos Ingredients Carrot – ½ cup chopped into small thin matchsticks Cabbage – 3/4 cup shredded fine Paneer – 100 gm crumbled Ginger – 2 tbsp minced Garlic – 2 tbsp minced Onion – 1 medium finely chopped Soy sauce – 1-1/2 tsp Green chilli sauce – 2 tsp Salt to taste Black Pepper powder – 2 tsp (adjust) Spring onions – 2-3 finely chopped (green & white separated) Oil – 2 tbsp Ingredients – For the cover Maida – 1 cup Salt to taste Water as necessary Oil – 1 tbsp Method 1.      Mix Maida...

Bhutte ke Khees | Spiced Sweet corn – Madhya Pradesh street food

First up, a few updates on what’s happening in life..  It was my dad’s birthday last Sunday and I made a Madeira cake for him. It turned out great, looked exactly like McRennet’s Madeira cake and tasted great too. I made an exception and did not run away with it for a photo session. I was in a hurry, as we were getting my son’s cast removed that day and we had to be at the doctor’s at 9:00 am. I don’t even make it to office by that time. But Sunday, we actually made it by 9:00 am. I grabbed the Madeira cake hot from the oven, dropped it into a plastic cover, pan and all and took it along. My son is finally free from his PoP cast but in 1 and half months he seems to have turned a leftie. He still uses his left hand to race his little cars. I am relieved to be able to give him a bath without having to hold up his hand. I really wish he’d slow down. I worry about the little fellow. If you’re wondering, he is 2-1/2.  Today’s recipe is not much of a recipe but it’s a nice variation of sweet corn to have up your sleeve. It’s sweet corn slightly differently spiced. This bhutte ke khees is a popular street food in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is one of India’s biggest states bang in the centre of India. Its claim to fame is that it’s old and historic and has a number of world heritage sites including the Kajuraho temple and the stupas at Sanchi.  There are quite a few variations of Bhutte ke Khees on the internet that are a little more involved. I picked mine from a Nita Mehta book and it is almost too simple.  Jagan yelled at me today – “You need not photograph every single thing you cook”. He was waiting for his lunch box and I ran upstairs with my bhutte ka khees for some urgent passport photos for the blog. I clicked a few random shots and hurried back down, spooned some bhutte ke khees into his lunch box (as thanks for waiting) along with his chappathi and cauliflower curry and then handed it to him. I told him “Today it is Madhya Pradesh” and Bhutte ke khees has to go on air today! He glared. He doesn’t...

Dal Poori – Jharkand

I love fried anything but I am very skimpy with oil. I feel terribly guilty emptying a quarter of the 1 litre oil pack for making vadais or pooris. I sometimes overcome my “fried-manic-oil-phobic” concerns and go ahead and fry away. I did with this dal poori I found at gayathri’s blog and I loved it. The dal poori is beautiful. These are golden pooris stuffed with a subtly spiced channa dal mixture. The dal poori has so much going on on its own that it really didn’t need an accompaniment but if I did serve it with something, the something had to be fresh and simple. I made a tomato oambal and it seemed to be the best thing that happened to the Dal Poori. They were lovely together, the two of them. Cutest pair ever. Made for each other. I conveniently used Bihar’s Dal Poori for Jharkand as I’ve heard they’re very similar. After all Jharkand was part of Bihar up until 2000. Jharkand means “Land of forests” and it accounts for 40% of India’s mineral resources. Funny that many of the newly formed states are rich in mineral resources and majority of the people are poor. A convenient combination. Nevertheless, Dal pooris are delicious and are a must try. Prep time: 30 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients – Poori Wheat flour – 2 cupsBlack sesame seeds – ¼ tspSalt – a pinchWater as neededOil – for deep frying Ingredients – Stuffing Channa dal/Kadalai paruppu – ½ cupOnion – 1 medium chopped fineGreen chillies – 2 chopped fineCumin seeds/Jeera – ½ tspTurmeric powder – ¼ tspSalt to tasteGaram Masala – ½ tspOil – 2 tsp Method 1.      Combine wheat flour, salt and sesame seeds in a bowl and add water little at a time to make a soft firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for half an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling. 2.      Pressure cook channa dal till soft. Drain the water and mash the dal. Set aside. 3.      To a pan, add oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. After about half a minute, add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Then add the mashed dal, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Cook on low heat till the dal mixture is quite dry and starts leaving the sides of the pan...

Matar Kulcha – Delhi Street Food

Matar Kulcha I read is one among the most popular street food items in Delhi. I tried Dassana’s recipe from her popular site and it turned out real nice. I loved the toppings that go over the matar – chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, ginger juliennes, coriander leaves and lemon juice. The toppings list is as long as the ingredient list but I think the toppings are what rock the show here. The toppings are definitely not optional. Delhi is the only city up north that I’ve travelled to in my entire lifetime and that more than a couple of times and I am still terrified of the place. It’s huge, fast and aggressive. I was totally out of place. I often gloat to my husband that I can speak Hindi but I can only count till 10 and beyond that I know only in 10’s (vaguely that too). I can’t even catch an auto if I wanted to. But I’ve read about the Delhi street food scene and the shopping possibilities and I really am tempted to visit Delhi. I might when I can afford a Hindi translator, like those politicians have beside them. Prep time: 20 minsCooking time: 45 minsServes: 4 Kulcha – Ingredients Maida/All purpose flour – 2-1/2 cupsYogurt – 4 tbspBaking powder – ½ tspBaking soda – ½ tspSugar – 2 tspSalt to taste (Use black salt if you have, I didn’t so I used regular salt)Nigella seeds – 1/4 tspWater – as required to make a doughOil – for frying the kulchas Matar gravy – Ingredients Dried white peas – 1-1/2 cups soaked overnightCumin seeds – ½ tspCumin powder – ½ tspRed chilli powder – 1 tspSalt to tasteDry mango powder – ¼ tspGaram masala powder – ½ tsp Jaljeera chutney – Ingredients Mint leaves – ½ cupCumin seeds – 1 tspFennel seeds/Saunf – 1 tspBlack cardamom – 1 (only the seed, discard the outer cover)Whole dry red chilli – 1Whole Black peppercorns – ¼ tspAmchur powder – ¼ tspTamarind – small marble sized Toppings Onion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineGreen chilli – 1 slit or chopped fineGinger – ½ inch cut into juliennesLemon – 1 cut into wedgesCoriander leaves – a handful chopped Method 1.      To make the kulchas, combine all ingredients except water and oil under “Kulcha” in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and...

Rice pakoras | Chhattisgarh snack

One of the recently formed states, recent meaning after I was born, Chhattisgarh spelled with the double h (somebody please explain how the extra h adds anything) was part of Madhya Pradesh up until 2000. Is it only in India that we go about bifurcating, trifurcating states every now and then or does it happen all over the world? Apart from creating extra elections which is maybe what they’re all about, I really don’t see how these divisions do anything. What if they want to break up Tamil-Nadu? Scary! Thenganadu, Manganadu, Nellikanadu.. Nooo! What’s a state without the subtle differences in the language/lingo, the ever so slightly different curries, the wonderfully different customs?   I may not know the problems of Chhattisgarh, what life is in Chhattisgarhis but I can say one thing for certain.. . . . You make damn good rice pakoras. Keep it up. Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe. I made these rice pakoras one weekend for tea and they were ready in under 20 mins. It will likely take you lesser because I am scatterbrained and I search for salt when it is right under my nose. These rice pakoras are nice and crispy if you make them the right shape. Make them round and you’ll have doughy fritters. Make them small and flatten them instead and they’ll turn out perfect. Fry on medium low heat for best results. Serve hot with ketchup or just as is alongside tea or coffee. Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 10 mins Serves: 3-4 Ingredients Rice Flour – 1 cupOnion – 1 large chopped fineGreen chillies – 2 chopped fineCoriander leaves – a handful choppedCumin powder – ½ tspRed chilli powder – 1 tsp (I added. Not part of original recipe)Yogurt – 3 tbspWater as necessarySalt to tasteOil – for deep frying Method 1.      Mix together rice flour, chopped onions, green chillies, chopped coriander leaves, cumin powder, salt and red chilli powder. Add yogurt and mix. Add water little at a time to make a thickish batter of dropping consistency. 2.      Heat oil in a heavy bottomed kadai/pan. When hot, drop teaspoon sized portions of the batter into the oil. Fry till golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to absorbent paper. Serve hot. Notes 1.      I found that round pakoras were somewhat soft and doughy. So I flattened them between my fingers into random shaped coin...

Kadalai Adai – Chickpea Pancakes | Somberi series

I am back with another somberi recipe – an easy 10 minute recipe that is as tasty as it is quick. These are like bajjis which are made like omelettes but without the vegetable. And we’re calling them Adais. Ok. However much I try to spin these, these are basically, fundamentally , finally bajji batter adais but with a generous helping of sautéed onions and green chillies mixed in. These are small adais the size of mini oothappams. We make these at my Mom’s place for those in-between times, when we’re feeling hungry but we don’t want to eat a full meal and we also don’t want to spend too much time making something. We sometimes serve these as a side dish with rice just like an omelette and I like it that way too. But if you want to go the conventional way serve it with a simple coconut chutney. But it really doesn’t need any side. You could serve this with tea or coffee in the evening. For hungry kids coming home from school, serve these with ketchup. Whatever you do, serve these hot. I am sending these to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon for the theme – After school bites. Prep time: 5 minsCooking time: 5 minsMakes: 5  mini adais Ingredients Kadalai Maavu/Chickpea Flour – 1/2 cupOnion – 1 small chopped fineGreen chilly – 1 chopped fineTurmeric powder – ¼ tspSalt to tasteWater as necessaryOil – 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp Method 1.      In a bowl, take kadalai maavu/chickpea flour and add water to make a batter similar in consistency to the bajji batter maybe slightly thicker. 2.      Add salt and turmeric powder and mix well. 3.      In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and sauté the chopped onions and green chillies till the onions turn translucent. Dump the sautéed mixture into the batter and mix well. 4.      Heat a tawa and pour a ladle of the batter and spread to make a small adai/pancake the size of an oothappam but about half an oothappam’s thickness. These adais are slightly thicker than the dosa but not too thick. Drizzle a little oil around the edges and cook on low for a minute or till the bottom has brown spots and the edges are a little crisp. Then flip and cook the other side in the same way. Remove on to a plate. Continue making adais with the remaining batter....

Cumin and black pepper seasoned Black gram Vadai – Milagu muzhu ulundhu Vadai

Specked with cumin and black pepper, this black gram vadai is crisp on the outside, a little chewy on the inside and an excellent tea-time snack. It tastes great with coconut chutney. It’s a nice way to use up your whole black gram other than Dal Makhani. I like most dals but unfortunately not the rest of my family. If you’re like me and you don’t have many takers for Dal Makhani in your family, because your family is the idli-vadakari kind and not the roti-dal kind, then here is one great way to spin the black gram.  Prep Time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 mins:Serves: 7-8 Ingredients Whole Black gram – 1 cup soaked overnight in water Cumin/Jeera – 1 tspWhole Black Pepper – 1/2 tspSalt to tasteOil for frying Method 1.      Rinse the soaked black gram in 2 changes of water. Grind the rinsed whole black gram in a mixer grinder without adding any water to a thick, coarse batter in batches. With the last batch, add the cumin, whole black pepper and salt and grind. 2.      Have a medium bowl with water handy for wetting your hands in between making vadais. In a deep kadai, add oil for deep frying. When the oil is hot, take a lemon sized ball of the batter and flatten on your palm. Make these vadais as thin as possible and make a hole in the centre of the vadai and gently drop the vadai into the oil. Make more vadais and drop into the kadai making sure not to crowd the kadai too much. Reduce heat to medium-high. 3.      Flip over the vadais halfway through. When the vadais turn golden brown use a slotted spoon to remove the vadais to absorbent paper. 4.      Make vadais with the rest of the batter and fry in batches. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
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