Vegetarian

Ragda Pattice – White Peas with Potato Fritters – Indian Street Food

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I don’t recall exactly when was the first time I had Ragda Patties but I think it was during one of our yearly summer vacations to our Grandparents house. There is one park that was close to my Grandparents house where the street vendors sold this yummy and spicy street food. When you think of a park in U.S., you think of may be an ice Cream truck but if you think of a park in Indian city, you think of all chaat items plus Ice cream. All the vendors shouting over the traffic noise to convince you how their item is the best in the city. When I had never visited U.S., I never realized how much I would miss these scenes but now after spending 15 years here, I miss it so much that I play the scene often in my mind’s eye and decide which vendor I will be visiting first when I am back to my beloved city of Pune. 

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The recipe looks long and tedious but believe me when I say it’s easy. Just soak the Peas night before and it’s practically ready in no time. Hmm, not exactly, but all I am saying is it’s easy. Almost all of it is make ahead. You could make the Ragda the day before and refrigerate. When you want to serve, make the patties and serve as directed below. 

I was running short on time as you know our Saturday mornings are dedicated to the various classes my girls take. I started cooking around mid afternoon for guests coming for dinner. Since my pressure cooker is small, I used Instapot for making Ragda. My original plan was to make Ragda in the slow cooker setting so it will be ready by the time guests arrive for dinner but at the last minute, my nerves gave in and I used the pressure cooker setting to make sure it was really done. I used 20 minutes in Pressure cooker setting and then switched it off. An hour prior to the guests arrival, I added just a little water and kept it on Keep Warm setting. You could always make it on slow cooker setting.

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For Ragda

  • 2 cups white Peas – dry measurement
  • Potato 1 large boiled and cut into pieces
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Cloves 4
  • Chili powder 1 tsp (more per taste)
  • Garam Masala (I used Kitchen King since that’s my favorite and its slightly mild)
  • Jaggery 3 inch piece cut into smaller pieces
  • Tamarind concentrate 2 tsp (make sure you know the strength of the concentrate you are using. Increase or decrease based on your taste and the brand you are using)
  • Salt per taste

For Tempering of Ragda

  • Oil Canola or other neutral oil – 3 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds ½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves about 5
  • Asafetida 1/8 tsp

Patties

  • Potatoes boiled 6 large ( I used yellow potatoes)
  • Mint leaves 6-7
  • Ginger grated 1 ½ tsp
  • Onion cut very small about 1 1/4 cup
  • Chaat Masala  1 tsp
  • Sugar 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt per taste
  • Oil for shallow frying (I used nonstick cooking spray – 2 sprays per batch)

To serve

  • Onion ½ cut into small pieces
  • Tomatoes 2 cut into small pieces
  • Sev a handful for each dish – available in Indian stores
  • Cilantro a handful
  • Date tamarind Chutney 2 tsp per dish
  • Green Chutney 1 tsp per dish or more per taste
  • Garlic Chutney per taste

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Directions:

  • Soak Peas in a container with about 3 inches water above the peas level, the night before.

To make Patties

  • Boil potatoes in pressure cooker. I have a small cooker so sometimes I have to do it 2 batches. Boil them a little bit more than you would for a potato curry.
  • Cut the Onion and grate ginger.
  • Mix Potatoes (smashed), Ginger, onion, Salt, Sugar and chopped Mint and mix well. Form Patties about 2 inch in diameter.
  • Spray Nonstick Spray on your pan and shallow fry the patties until browned. Flip and brown on the other side. It should take about 3 minutes on each side. The potatoes are already cooked so it doesn’t really need the cooking but the process will bring all the flavors together and add some smokiness to it.

To make Ragda

  • If you are using the pressure cooker, add the soaked peas, Bay Leaf and Cloves. Add enough water and Pressure cook for 20 minutes with no venting. Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
  • If you are using Instapot, use closed vent and pressure cook for 20 minutes. I think you could use less if you do not like Peas that are too soft.
  • Once done, make tempering. Heat oil in a small kadai, add Mustard Seeds, Asafetida and Curry leaves. Wait for Mustard seeds to crackle before adding the rest. Pour this mixture over Ragda directly in the Instapot and leave it alone until an hour before the guests arrive. Keep it on “keep warm” that time.

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To serve

Place two or three patties on a plate. Pour 1 cup ragda (for 2 patties) over the Patties. Add  handful of Sev. Sprinkle Tomato, Onion and Cilantro. Top with Tamarind Chutney and Green Chutney.

Enjoy.

xoxox

Banarasi Aloo

Valentine’s frenzy is over in all the blogs by now. Everyone is probably thinking about Easter already but I am enjoying the warmish weather that is blessing the land of Midwest these days. The upcoming week-end is promising to be a whopper 61. I can’t stop thinking about the activities I should plan. Oh, but wait, I think I might be working though since I am on call this week-end. Bummer. Neverthless, it would be nice out and I am sure we would get in a trip to the park for sure.

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I have made the Banarasi Aloo recipe countless times with lots of variations. In the beginning, I used to make it the traditional way by frying the potatoes. Eventually, I found this healthier option without compromising the taste. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

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Ingredients:

  • Potatoes about 5 medium size
  • Tomatoes 3 medium size (I used Roma tomatoes)
  • Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tsp
  • Cashew nuts about 15
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Fennel seed powder 3/4 tsp
  • Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom 6 whole
  • Fenugreek leaves dried (Kasuri Methi) 3 tsp
  • Honey 1 tsp (increase if your tomatoes are too tangy)
  • Oil 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Salt per taste
  • Vegetable broth 2 cups

Directions:

  • Boil and peel the potatoes. Cut them in about 2 inch pieces. If they are bit on the softer side from boiling, make larger pieces.
  • Roast tomatoes on open flame until skin is charred.
  • Puree Tomatoes and Cashew nuts in a blender.
  • Heat Oil on medium flame. Add Cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the whole Cardamom.
  • Add the potatoes and saute gently for 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t move them around too much. If you move them too quickly, they will stick to the bottom.
  • Add Ginger Garlic paste and cook for a minute. I usually add it on the side of the pan directly touching the bottom. It’s my little trick to avoid using several pots and pans.
  • Add the Tomatoes – Cashew Nut Puree and Fenugreek leaves and let it cook for a 3-4 minutes on low to medium flame.
  • Add Fennel seed powder, Chili Powder, Honey and Vegetable Broth. Cook for about 10 minutes gently simmering. Add salt per taste.
  • Serve warm with Roti or Rice.

Enjoy. 

xo

 

 

Lima Bean Curry

I have always been posting recipes on the blog that are somewhat different than what my friends usually make at home. Thinking that my readers are just like my friends. The other day though one of my friends mentioned that she usually doesn’t try the recipes that are out of her comfort zone or they sound different and difficult. I realized then, a lot of my readers may be looking for Indian recipes too. They are probably looking to see some recipes from scratch or maybe they are looking for some variation. Or it’s possible that they have family members that are demanding a twist to their usual recipe. I will, my friends, try to post some Indian recipes that I usually make at home. Some of them are made in a slow cooker and some not.

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When I was in India , I had never heard of or eaten Lima beans. I am sure they exist somewhere in India but I just never had it. When I came to US, I was faced with limited number of vegetables and an ever present question of what to make for lunch/dinner. Slowly I started exploring the frozen section of the grocery store. One of my favorite finds was Lima Beans. I have made warm comforting soup with it and Indian Bean curry with it. Both equally delicious. The beans I feel are somewhat fragile. To be handled with care when marrying them with spices. They are very delicate in flavor . Too spicy and they lose their identity. The recipe below is just as fine as the beans. It’s not too spicy so if you are looking for something that goes with another spicy dish, this one is for you.

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Ingredients:

  • Lima Beans 2 cups (I used frozen – it can be found in most grocery stores)
  • Onion 1 medium chopped 
  • Tomatoes 1 1/2 medium chopped
  • Coconut milk 1 can
  • Garlic Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds 1/8th tsp
  • Asafoetida a pinch
  • Turmeric 1/8th tsp
  • Red Chile powder 1/4th 
  • Coriander powder 1 tsp
  • Honey 1 tsp
  • Tamarind paste 1/8th tsp (if your tamarind paste is not strong increase the amount)
  • Coconut grated 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Oil 1 1/2 tsp
  • Vegetable stock 1 cup (optional)

Directions:

  • Cut Onion and Tomatoes separately and keep aside.
  • Make Ginger Garlic paste if you do not have it premade.
  • In a medium to large saucepan, heat oil on medium flame.
  • Add Mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add Asafetida and Onion. Let Onion cook until translucent. If it starts turning brown, add a drop of water.
  • Add Turmeric and Ginger-Garlic paste and let cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add Red Chile powder, Coriander powder and Honey. Let cook for another minute or so while stirring frequently.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for couple of minutes.
  • Add Lima Beans and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the Vegetable stock or water if you do not have Vegetable stock. Let it come to a boil and them reduce to simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add Coconut Milk, Grated coconut, Honey and Tamarind paste.
  • Let cook while stirring occasionally for another 5-10 minutes or until done.
  • Garnish with Cilantro and some more grated coconut if desired.
  • Serve with Roti or Rice.

Enjoy.

 

Couscous Salad with Mango and Red Pepper

Happy Summer Solstice.  What else could I be posting today other than a wonderful and filling salad to enjoy on a cool summer night.

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Ingredients:
  • Couscous 1 cup unprepared
  • Mango 1 peeled and cut into small pieces
  • Red Pepper 1 medium cut into small pieces
  • Red onion ½ cut into small pieces
  • Green onion 2 branches cut small
  • Boiled water to make Couscous
  • Salt per taste
  • Pepper per taste

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For the dressing

  • Balsamic Vinegar 3Tbsp
  • Olive Oil 2 Tbsp
  • Honey 2 Tbsp
  • Yellow Mustard 1/2tsp
  • Chili flakes (optional)

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Directions:
  • Prepare Couscous as per package instructions. Usually you have to boil the water, turn off the heat and add Couscous. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and separate it out with a fork.
  • Mix all the Salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Mix all Dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk it to mix properly. It is essential that you use very good Balsamic Vinegar. The taste will substantially be different depending on what Vinegar you used.
  • Pour the dressing over Salad and mix just before serving.

Enjoy !!

xoxo

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How to make Maharashtrian Daal in slow cooker

Don’t you get slightly overwhelmed on the week-ends when you make breakfast and lunch then have to take the kids out to the Beach or a Birthday party and then come home and cook dinner? I certainly do. The best thing to do on those days, start something in your slow cooker before stepping out of the house. That way you have at least a portion of the meal ready when you are back. This daal is perfect  for the kids. It is full of flavor and not too spicy. When I am back from day’s excursion, all I have to do is make quick rice in pressure cooker and kids are ready to be fed. I can make something more for hubs and me later in the evening.

Sometimes, I delay the start time for the slow cooker and make this for week-night so it’s ready when I am back from office with hungry kids in tow.

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Ingredients:

  • Toor Daal 1 cup
  • Goda Masala 1 tsp
  • Jaggery 1 tsp
  • Mustadr seeds black ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida 1/8 tsp
  • Curry Leaves about 4
  • Tamarind concentrate a dash or tamarind piece about 1 inch
  • Green chilies 1 large deseeded and cut in small pieces
  • Oil/Ghee 1 Tbsp
  • Salt per taste
  • Water 4 ½ cups
  • Grated Coconut 1 Tbsp (optional)
  • Coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

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Directions

  • Wash Toor daal 2 -3 times and place it in slow cooker.
  • If you are using Instapot, turn on the sauté function and sauté while you prepare tempering.
  • In a tempering vessel or any other small container which can handle high heat, heat oil/ghee.
  • When oil is hot, add Mustard seeds and Asafetida and wait for 10 seconds while the seeds sputter.
  • Add Curry leaves and Turmeric. Remove from heat.
  • Add this mixture to the Daal in slow cooker and mix well.
  • Add Water, Goda Masala, Jaggery, tamarind, salt and Grated coconut to the Daal.
  • Add the water.
  • Turn on slow cooker and cook for 3 hours on high setting. Alternatively cook for 5 hours on Low setting.

I made it in 3 hours on high setting.

When ready to serve, garnish with Coriander and Enjoy.

xoxo

Misal – Spicy Street food

Misal is a popular Maharashtrian street food item. You will see several shacks selling this snack almost all over the state. In a town called Kolhapur, this snack is especially famous and you see small shops specializing only in this item. Every family apparently has their own special shop that they like to go to about once every 2 weeks or 3 weeks. I would say that’s a lot of loyalty.

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I was in Kolhapur with my husband soon after we got married. We went to visit his cousin and they insisted that we go eat Misal in the absolutely the Best shop in the town. See? told you about loyalty. That Misal was an out of the world experience. Thinking back, I have no idea how I could handle the heat and the spices. After living in U.S. for several years, my taste buds prefer milder taste. The recipe is below is for those who cannot handle the heat of Kolhapuri Misal but would like the taste at the same time. Try it and tell me how it was. I hope you like it as much as my family did.

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Ingredients:
Serves 2

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  • Moth Beans/Matki  1 cup dry
  • Onion 1 large chopped into small pieces – divided
  • Tomato 2 medium – chopped into small pieces – divided
  • Farsan/Fried snack available in Indian stores
  • Cilantro a handful per taste
  • Lemon juice 2 Tbsp – divided
  • Bread – preferably white 3 slices per person
  • Oil 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala 2 tsp
  • Date-Tamarind chutney – available in Indian stores

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For the Spicy Gravy mixture
  • Ginger paste ½ tsp
  • Garlic paste ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon ½ inch
  • Cloves 3
  • Black Pepper powder ½ tsp
  • Bayleaf 1 large
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder ½ tsp
  • Dry coconut powder 1 Tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 to 2 tsp per taste. Use more if you need more spicy/hot gravy
  • Oil 1 Tbsp
  • Salt per taste

Directions:

  • Soak Moth beans in water overnight with water coming about 3 fingers above the level of beans
  • Next day pour out extra water, wrap the beans in double folded paper towel, place it back in the same utensil you had soaked them in and place the container  in the oven. Do not turn on the oven.
  • After 7-8 hours, remove the beans from oven and they should have sprouted.
  • Place the sprouted beans in the pressure cooker with water about 2 fingers above the levels of beans and cook for 3 whistles. Remove from the heat and let the steam get out on its own cooking the beans fully.
  • While the beans are cooking, cut the Onion and Tomato.
  • Grind the dry spices for the gravy in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • You will need two separate containers. In one of the containers, heat 1Tbsp of oil and add all the ground spices except Red Chili powder.
  • Once they have turned fragrant, add Onion and half the Tomato. Let it cook for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally so as not to burn.
  • Add the coconut and sauté for another minute.
  • Finally add the Red chili powder and 1 to 1 1/2 cup of water. Remove from the heat and keep aside.
  • Once cooled, pour the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed add a bit more oil.
  • In the smaller container, heat ½ Tbsp oil, add Onion and sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the Garam Masala and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add Sprouted and cooked Moth beans and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
  • Finally add a splash of Lemon juice and remove from heat.
  • To serve, place 1/2 cup of Moth beans mixture in a bowl, top it with as much gravy as you would like, generally about 1/2 cup. Remember its very spicy and hot.
  • Then top it with Frasan, Onion, Tomato, Cilantro and a splash of lemon juice.
  • Add Date Tamarind chutney if you like it but a lot of people don’t.
  • Enjoy with Bread slices.
  • If you find it too spicy, you can add a dollop of yogurt on top.

Enjoy

xoxo

 

 

Besan Ladoo

Diwali is approaching really fast. The last three months of the year get super busy with Halloween. Diwali, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming so quickly one after the other. Our house goes through a rapid change in decorations based on the approaching festival. N always laughs when I am hurrying up to take down one style decoration pieces to hang the next.

I haven’t been celebrating all the Indian festivals since I moved to U.S. mainly because the festivals fall on week-days and it’s tough to take time off work. Diwali has been consistently an exception. Now that my little girls are growing up I feel the need to instill the Indian traditions into them to give them some sort of cultural rooting. Perhaps it’s time to celebrate more festivals 🙂

Following my mother’s tradition, I re-organized and deep cleaned the kitchen. I am planning to make a few Diwali faral items and started off with Besan Ladoo. These are N’s most favorite. This is my mother’s recipe that has never failed me. For the first 3 years of our marriage, I used to ask her for the recipe, write it down carefully so i could find it on time next year only to have forgotten where I kept it. As time passed by, I learned to organize my recipes but it is still a running joke in my family.

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In the next post, I am planning to also show you how I approached Diwali gifts this time so stay tuned for that. Here is the recipe for Besan Ladoo.

Few notes for the recipe. Make sure Gram flour is slightly coarse and not very fine. When you are measuring the ingredients, make sure you are using the same or similar cup for measuring. I am all for eyeballing the ingredients but for this one I would urge you to stick to the recipe. when you use the saucepan, use a much larger one than the one you would usually use.

Makes about 40 ladoos that can fit in mini cupcake liner.

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Ingredients:

Besan aka Gram Flour 4 cups

Ghee aka clarified Butter 1 3/4 cups

Powdered Sugar 3 cups

Milk room temperature 1/4 cup

Green Cardamom about 10 peeled and crushed

Raisins about 1 per ladoo

You can also add pistachios in addition to or instead of Raisins.

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Directions
  • In a large saucepan, heat Ghee on a medium flame.
  • Add all of the Gram flour and cook while stirring continuously but not vigorously. You have give time to let the Gram flour cook. Depending on the flame and type of stove, it may take upto 30 minutes.
  • Once Gram flour has turned color and is fragrant, add milk in splashes. Remove from heat.
  • Mix and add Sugar. Mix very well ensuring there are no sugar lumps in the dough.
  • Add Cardamom and let it sit for a while until the mixture is warm to touch. Do not let the mixture get cold.
  • Once warm, make balls of a desired size using the palms of your hands.
  • I put these in cupcake liner to make them look pretty. You can store them in an airtight container and stay fresh up to a week.

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P2

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xoxo

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