Ribbon Pakoda

Craving for crunchy stuffs never ends for me, my evening tea is always accompanied by some crunchy snacks(in a small quantity). I know many people out there would have the same habit as myself 🙂 Home made snacks are so yummy and you can eat them happily as you know what is in there and we don’t have to read labels. Yes, thats what I do when I buy stuffs from outside “Read Labels”. Most of the time they are loaded with salt, unwanted oil and preservatives which I try to avoid as much as possible. of course, eating fried stuffs are not healthy as well but snacks which are made at home with fresh ingredients and new oil are better than the one we buy at stores with air filled packaging.

I still remember my mom would never buy snacks from outside, she would always make all the snacks at home in small batches with fresh flour and feed my family. My mom was working full time, 6 days a week, unlike me she would always find time for everything from cooking 3 times a day, to making snacks,to doing all the household works and taking care of us in all ways. So this recipe is very special to me as it is my mom s recipe and  I had tried it for the first time and it turned out so well that I wanted to share it with my friends through my blog.

PRESS FOR RIBBON PAKODA

Press for Ribbon Pakoda

 Ingredients:

Rice Flour – ½ cup

Gram Flour – ¼ cup

Roasted Dalia flour/Gram dal Flour – 2 tbsp (Pottukadalai maavu)

Butter – 2 tbsp

Red chilly powder – 1 tsp

Hing Powder – ½ tsp

Salt – To taste

Water – As needed

 Method:

  1. Sieve the flours together atleast twice to ensure that there are no lumps.
  2. Take a big bowl and add in the sieved flours along with the butter, red chilly powder, salt and hing, mix them well such that it forms a crumbly mixture.
  3. Add water little by little to this mixture and form a dough.
  4. Set this dough aside for 15 mins.
  5. Heat a kadai filled with oil, enough to deep fry the ribbon pakoda over medium heat.
  6. Once the oil is hot,take a golf ball size dough and put it inside the press(I have provided a picture above showing the press and the plate I used).
  7. Squeeze the press over the hot oil such that the ribbon falls into the oil, you can try to make some shapes or just some stripes inside the oil as you like.
  8. Allow it to cook on both sides, flip it with caution such that you don’t spill the oil outside or break the ribbon.
  9. Once they turn light brown and the sizzling of the oil minimizes it means that it has been cooked through.
  10. Take the ribbon pakoda out of the oil and drain them in a paper towel.
  11. Once they are cool, store them in an airtight container.

Crunchy Ribbon Pakoda

 

Notes:

  • The crunchiness varies depending on the amount of butter, if you need it harder you can reduce the butter.
  • You can add garlic paste if you like for some variation.
  • Sesame seeds and cumin seeds can also be added but I wanted to keep it simple so I did not add any of them.

 

Pani Puri

The most famous and common street food of India is Pani Puri. You can find this food in every corner of India. I always have an attachment to pani puri since my childhood as my mom would never allow me to eat from the street vendors and would make me little puris at home filled with the spicy water once in a while. Not having the heart to give up this tradition, I have a monthly ritual of making pani puri’s at home, it gives me immense pleasure to make everything from the scratch and serve it to my family, although its quiet time consuming its worth every bit when we dunk our palates into these pani puri’s.

                              I have already posted the recipe for the puri and chutneys separately, here I am just putting them all together. There are many versions of it and as I write always this is my version of this dish. You can always make your own variations and innovations 🙂 This makes a perfect evening snacks or even appetizer for parties.

Ingredients:

Puri – 10-15

Filling:

Potatoes – 2

Kala Channa – ¼ cup(Soaked and boiled)[optional]

Finely chopped Onion – 2 tbsp

Red chilli powder – ½ tsp

Chat masala – ½ tsp

Coriander leaves – finely chopped

Pani/Spicy water:

Green chutney – 2 tbsp

Tamarind chutney – 2 tbsp

Red chilli powder – 2 tsp (optional)

Chaat masala – 2 tsp (optional)

Water – As needed

Another method for green chutney:

Mint leaves – 1 cup(washed)

ginger – 1 inch

Green chillies – 1

Amchur powder – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

– Grind all the above mentioned ingredients into a smooth paste and mix it with water to make the spicy water for pani puri.

Method:

  1. Make puris as per the link and keep it aside.

  2. For the filling, boil and mash the potatoes, add red chilly powder, chaat masala and finely chopped coriander leaves, onion to it or you can keep the onions and coriander leaves separately as well.

  3. Mix green chutney and tamarind chutney with water in a large bowl, add red chilly powder and chaat masala for nice flavour and tanginess.

  4. Now, take a puri, make a small opening in the centre with your thumb, fill inside with the potato, beans and dip the puri in the spicy water and have it 🙂 🙂

  5. You cannot just try it once, its so refreshing 🙂 it makes you have more again and again.

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Notes:

  • You can also use the store bought pani puri masala(MDH or Everest) and mix them with water to make the spicy water for the puris.

  • You can increase or decrease the spiciness and sourness as per your taste.

  • Fine sev can be sprinkled on the puris before serving for extra crunch. I have used onions for crunchiness here.

Puri for Pani Puri

Pani Puri needs no introduction, its a common street food available in most parts of India. Even the most health cautious people would love to indulge their palate into these puri s. They make perfect appetizer for parties and weddings. These puris are readily available at the grocery stores which you can buy and use it but we never know when was it made or what is it really made of 😦 so I always prefer to make my own puris which is quite easy and simple instead of buying them. Here, I am just writing down the recipe for puri while the whole pani puri recipe will be my next blog post.

Ingredients:

Semolina/fine sooji – ¾ cup

All Purpose Flour – 1 tbsp

Baking soda – A pinch

Salt – ½ tsp

Warm water – As needed

Oil – To deep fry

Method:

  1. In a medium bowl, add the semolina, all purpose flour, baking soda and salt, mix them all well.

  2. Add lukewarm water slowly into the mixture and form a stiff dough. Do not over do the dough.

  3. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and set it aside for 15-20 mins.

  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts like the size of a golf ball and roll them out in a flat surface.

  5. Make sure to roll them out thin and using a small container lid, cut out small circles out of the sheets.

  6. Now our puri s are ready to jump into the oil 🙂

  7. Heat oil in a wide bottom pan over medium heat, add a tiny bit of the dough into the oil and it should rise up slowly, now add the puri s one after the other into the oil.

  8. Lightly press the puri with the stapula such that the air gets out and the puri puffs up. Allow them to cook on both sides.

  9. Drain the puri s in a paper towel. Once they come to room temperature store it in a airtight container.

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Notes:

  • All Purpose flour is just added for the gluten effect so do not add too much of it else your puri’s will not be crispy. Add enough to form the dough.

  • If you are planning to serve for a party, you can make the puri s ahead of time and reheat them in the oven before serving. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees(lowest temperature of your oven) and place the puri’s in a cookie sheet for 10 mins or until the puri gets warm and crunchy.

Raw Banana Chips

WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND WONDERFUL NEW YEAR 2014

Wanted to present a simple recipe on the start of this new year so I thought like why not start with a crunchy recipe, so I decided to write about these Raw/Green Banana chips. This is a very easy and yummy chips which can be made in no time. You will find these chips in all our South Indian wedding menus,it goes well on the side with any rice dish or as a light evening snack. As and when I find fresh green banana s in Indian Grocery store, I buy them and make these chips in bulk which would last me for atleast 3 months 🙂 Lets see how to make these raw banana chips 🙂

Ingredients:

Raw Banana – 2(Peeled and sliced into thin slices)

Oil – To deep fry

To season:

Red Chilly powder – 1  tsp

Salt – To taste

Hing Powder – ¼ tsp

Sliced Raw banana

Sliced Raw banana

Method:

  1. Raw banana turns black when exposed to air after you peel it so to avoid discoloring you can soak them in water.

  2. I prefer to peel them and slice them directly over hot oil which is easier.

  3. Otherwise, Heat oil in a wide bottomed pan over medium flame.

  4. Add a piece of banana chips and check if the oil is hot enough.

  5. Once the oil is ready,  add the banana slices slowly.

  6. Allow them to cook on both sides and until they turn brown.

  7. Drain the chips in a paper towel.

  8. Season the chips with hing, red chilli powder and salt. Toss them well so that all the seasoning stick to the chips.

  9. Store them in an airtight container.

Notes:

  • Try to use a slicer to get thin, even slices.

  • Seasoning can be done as per your taste, you can replace red chilly powder with black pepper or paprika as well.

Seasoned chips with salt, hing and chilli powder

Seasoned chips with salt, hing and chilli powder

Dal vada(Masal Vadai)

Its always good to indulge in some hot, spicy and crunchy snacks during  a cold evening, Last evening it was raining in New York so I had to sit at home doing nothing which made me cook these yummy vada’s for my evening snacks. Masal vadai with a hot cup of tea is a marriage made in heaven. I always make these like 20 or something and store it in zip locks and use them for lunch now and then as it goes well as a side dish for any rice dish you make. This recipe is quite popular in South India, every household has their own recipe and modify  it according to their taste. So feel free to experiment and try to manipulate in different ways you like 🙂

Ingredients:

To grind:

Channa dal(Split Bengal Gram) – ½ cup (Soaked for 3 hrs)

Red chillies – 2

Fennel seeds – ½ tsp

Hing powder – a pinch

Salt – To taste

Add to the batter:

Onion or shallots – 1 (Finely chopped)

Coriander – few leaves (Finely chopped)

Curry leaves – few sprigs(Finely chopped)

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Method:

  1. Drain the channa dal completely and add it to a blender along with red chillies, fennel seeds, salt and hing powder. Pulse it twice or thrice until it gets grinded but not into a smooth paste, you should able to see few channa dals.

  2. Transfer the contents of the blender to a bowl and add finely chopped onions/shallots, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Mix them all together.

  3. Take a wide bottomed pan, pour enough oil to deep fry the vadas.

  4. Make sure the oil is hot enough when you drop the vada, if not, the vada s are going to be soggy and not crispy.

  5. To test the oil, put a small amount of batter into the oil it should raise to the surface which means the oil is hot enough.

  6. Now make round discs of the batter in your palm and slide it carefully into the oil, you can use plastic sheets as well to make the vada.

  7. Allow them to get cooked, once the oil sizzling minimizes, turn the vada on the other side and allow them to cook on both sides.

  8. Drain them in a paper towel, serve these vadas hot with ketchup.

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Notes:

  • Be cautious in the amount of channa dal you soak as they increase in quantity after soaking for 3 hours 🙂

  • Do not add too much water while grinding the dal, just add a tablespoon or two.

  • You can add finely chopped cabbage, beetroot or carrot to this vada for a nice variation.

Thayir Vadai

Spicy donut dipped in Yogurt sauce is the English translation for thayir vadai. This snack is my all time favourite, you can serve it as an appetizer/starter in parties as it looks very colourful and tastes heavenly.In South India, we always make this thayir vadai for feasts when guests come to our house or during weddings as this is supposed to be a grand dish which is made for special occasions and for special people 🙂 So here I am presenting this dish to all my special readers and friends out there.

Ingredients:

Serves – 2

Medhu vada – 4

Yogurt – ½ cup

Ginger – 1 inch piece

Green chillies – 2

Hing Powder – A pinch

Salt – To taste

For Garnish:

Cilantro or coriander leaves – as needed

Boondi – As per taste.

Method:

Yogurt Mixture:

  1. Take thick yogurt in a vessel and whisk it nicely by adding few tablespoon of water, the consistency should not be watery but very thick and creamy.

  2. In a blender, add some green chillies, ginger, hing powder and salt, grind this mixture into a smooth paste by adding little water to it. You can adjust the amount of green chillies and salt as per your taste.

  3. Add this mixture to the yogurt and set it aside.

Vadai:

  1. Make Medhu Vada as per the instructions specified in my previous post.

  2. Soak them in hot water just for a min and squeeze out the water gently. (Do not show your muscle power here and squeeze it very hard, be very gentle,this step is just to remove excess water and let the yogurt mixture seep in)

  3. Transfer the soaked vada into the yogurt mixture. Ensure that the vada is not too hot when you add it into the yogurt mixture as it might cuddle the yogurt.

  4. Garnish this with coriander leaves and boondi(Spicy round gram flour balls deep fried in oil).

Notes:

  • There are many variations to thayir vadai but this is just my way of doing it. You can experiment many ideas and make it more creative and innovative as you like 🙂

  • If you don’t have boondi don’t worry it is just for crunchiness, you can replace it with anything that you like as a topping.

  • This stays well in refrigerator for 2 days.

Healthy Puran Poli

Puran poli is my all time favourite dish which brings back my childhood memories where me and my sister used to help my mom when she makes this dish, it would be fun to make the stuffing and roll them evenly. This is one easy sweet dish i make very often. Since I have named this dish “Healthy”, I would have to do some justification for that so I have prepared this dish with whole wheat flour partly by replacing the All purpose flour and added jaggery(palm sugar) in the filling which is rich in iron. Puran poli does not require much of a preparation it can be prepared in a jiffy and served warm as a dessert.

Ingredients:

For Dough:

Wheat flour – ½ cup

All Purpose flour – ½ cup

Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Salt – a pinch

Water – As needed

For Filling:

Channa dal – ½ cup (Soaked and boiled)

Grated Jaggery – ½ cup

Coconut – ¼ cup

Cardamom pods – 4

Salt – A pinch

Method:

Dough:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients mentioned for the dough in a vessel and mix well.

  2. Drizzle oil over it and mix well such that the oil gets well incorporated and does not form lumps.

  3. Then add water little by little to the flour mixture and form a stiff dough. If the dough becomes sticky add more flour and make it soft and firm.

  4. Wrap the dough in a plastic foil and set it aside for 20 mins.

Filling:

  1. Soak the channa dal for half an hour and boil it in a vessel or pressure cook the dal until it is completely cooked but the dal should retain its shape and should not be mushy.

  2. Drain the channa dal completely and add to a blender along with a pinch of salt ,cardamom pods and pulse them so that they get mixed well.

  3. Add in the grated coconut to the blended mixture and mix well.

  4. Add the jaggery to the kadai and add little water to it such that the jaggery melts.Strain this mixture to remove any impurities. (This step is purely optional)

  5. Heat the jaggery mixture and allow it to boil and thicken, then add in the dal mixture and cook on medium flame so that the mixture becomes thick.

  6. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool.

  7. Divide the filling into small round portions and keep it aside.

Puran Poli :

  1. Divide the dough into small portions of equal size.

  2. Roll them into small discs and place the filling in the centre.

  3. Close the filling by bringing in the sides of the dough towards the centre and again form a neat round.

  4. Roll this dough slowly by adding some flour or oil such that the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling surface.

  5. Heat a skillet on medium heat and place the poli on it, allow it to cook on both sides by adding clarified butter/ ghee around it. You can see brown specks on both sides once it gets cooked well.

  6. Serve it warm with some butter.

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Notes:

  • Channa dal can be replaced with boiled sweet potatoes as well.

  • The flavour of cardamom is vital so do not skip this ingredient.

  • This can be done completely with all purpose flour or with whole wheat flour, I have added All purpose flour as it makes rolling the dough easier.

  • Salt enhances the taste of sugar, so for any sweet dish we need to add a pinch of salt which makes the dish very tasty.

  • Puran poli can be refrigerated and it keeps well atleast for 5 days.

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Medhu vada / Indian Spicy donuts

Medhu vada or ulundhu vadai is made from urad dhal, I have specially named them as Indian spicy donut based on its taste and shape. Traditionally, In my home, the urad dhal is grinded in stone grinder (kal ural) to which water is sprinkled little by little and grinded slowly for about 20 minutes and the spices(chillies, salt ,curry leaves… etc) are added finally and grinded to a smooth paste. The vadai made from these stone grinded batter is so soft, fluffy and golden brown in colour and stays soft even when it is stored and reheated. Unfortunately, in our fast paced life, it is not possible to use the traditional ways on a regular basis so I opt-in for the easy blender way to make the batter which is quick and convenient. The vadai is made by deep frying in oil since we don’t consume this on a daily basis so its alright to indulge in such oily temptations once in awhile. The vada’s are made with urad dhal which are rich in protein, so its good to point out such things to eat these deep fried snacks 🙂 lets get started with the recipe:

Ingredients:

Urad Dhal – ½ cup (White Whole)

Green chillies – 2

Salt – To taste

Hing Powder – ¼ tsp

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Coriander leaves – 2 springs

Oil – For deep frying

Method:

  1. Soak the Urad Dhal for 4 hours and drain the water completely. They double in quantity when you soak the urad dhal.

  2. To a blender, add the urad dhal, green chillies, salt and hing powder, by sprinkling little water, grind it into a smooth paste.

  3. Add finely chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves to the batter and mix well.

  4. Pour oil in a deep bottomed kadai, enough to fry the vada over medium flame.

  5. Wet your hands in water and take a small portion of the batter in your hand and make a small hole in the center with your thumb finger and slide the vadai into the oil. Be careful not to touch the oil with your fingers.

  6. Fry both sides of the vada until it turns golden brown and place them in a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

  7. Serve hot with Sambhar and Coconut chutney.

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Notes:

  • It is best to grind the batter in a wet grinder, if you are using a mixie or a blender use cold water to grind it which makes the vada very soft.

  • Finely chopped onions or shallots or grated carrots can also be added to the batter for some variations.

  • Green chillies can be replaced by whole peppercorns as well.

Ragi Cookies(Eggless)

Ragi or Finger Millet is highly nutritious as it is rich in calcium, protein, minerals and iron which makes it one of the most healthy and easily digestible food but unfortunately it has a very bland taste and needs some extra ingredients to make it more delectable. When I was a kid, I would always find reasons to avoid anything made of ragi…. I would even tell my mother that “I get rashes on my skin if I eat ragi” 🙂 my mother who was very persistent, would turn a deaf ear to all my stories and would make me eat every bite of my ragi food…. Stories apart, these days I include ragi in my diet atleast once in a week in some form or the other, cookies are the easiest way to incorporate ragi to your diet, so I tried these ragi cookies, to my surprise they turned out great and I make these cookies almost every week. Lets get started with the ingredients first:

Ingredients:

Ragi Flour – 1/2 cup

Whole Wheat flour – 1/2 cup

Brown Sugar – 1/2 – 3/4 cup(as per taste)

Flax seed meal – 1tbsp

Ginger Powder – 1tsp

Salt – a pinch

Baking Powder – 1/2  tsp

Oil – 1/4 cup (Can be replaced with butter as well)

Milk – 2 tbsp(optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the oil to it and mix them together, this will form a crumbly mixture which will not hold it s shape when pressed in our palms.
  3. Add water or milk to this mixture and make a smooth dough.
  4. Make flat rounds out of the dough and arrange them in a cookie tray and bake the cookies for 12-15 mins.

Picture 1 -Before baking – Cookies arranged in the tray, ready to get into the oven

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Picture 2 – Baked cookies

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Notes:

  • I love the flavor of ginger in anything, so I have used ginger powder in my recipe, feel free to replace it with cardamom powder,vanilla extract or even rose essence.
  • Everyone s oven is different so the baking time varies,keep an eye on your cookies after ten mins, you cannot expect any colour change as the ragi flour is already dark in colour so timing is key for the cookies to be cooked properly.
  • You can add chocolate chip or even walnut to make it more delicious.

Enjoy!!