30 April 2006

Mango Pudding

Here I am, continuing with my mango madness. The JFI event at Indira's and the abundance of mangoes in our market egged me on a search for some mango delicasies. This recipe the result of one such search and adapted from the Food section of BBC UK.

This is truly a dessert in a jiffy. The mango pudding with the unbeatable taste of this tropical fruit combined with milk and sugar, crowned with mint leaves- is a beauty, both on the outside and the inside.

Mango pudding adorned by mint leaves


2 cups mango puree (Peel the mangoes, cube and puree )
1 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp gelatin / china grass
200 ml water
Few drops mango essence (optional)
Mint leaves for garnish
Icing sugar for garnish


1. Add the mango puree, milk and sugar into a bowl. Mix well.
2.Dissolve the gelatin in 200 ml hot water thoroughly.
Add the gelatin mixture to the mango mixture and stir.
3. Stir in the mango essence (if using ). Divide the mixture between 5 ramekins and refrigerate for an hour. The pudding should look set and jiggle when shaken.
4.To unmould- dip the bases of ramekins in warm water, run a knife blade to free the pudding from the sides, shake gently and upturn onto a plate.
5. Garnish with mint leaves and sift icing sugar over the top. ( I used just the mint)

Just dig in immediately !

This entry goes for JFI-Mahanandi and Cate's ARF Tuesdays

29 April 2006

Weekend Breakfast Blogging #2 (Mmmm...Mango Pancakes)

Most of India has 3 seasons. The monsoons, the winters and the Mango season. Well, especially so, for mango lovers. I know of people who virtually skip dinners during this season, so that they can stuff themselves with 3-4 mangoes each night.


Some of those luscious ripe ones

They say "Necessity is the mother of invention". I would say- "Abundance is the mother of invention". I invariably come up with a new recipe when I have too much of a particular ingredient. One good thing about living in Bombay is the truck loads of Hapoos (Alphonso mangoes )that arrive into the markets at this time of the year. Alphonso mangoes are considered by many to be the best in terms of sweetness and flavour.

I bought a whole load of mangoes from the veggie market last evening. The wonderful aroma has been inviting me all evening to do something about the mangoes. Also, the Mango JFI at Indira's Mahanandi has been at the back of my mind.

I first thought of baking the mangoes into a cake, or making a mousse for dessert (which is going to be the next escape route for the luscious babies). But no ! I wanted something that would give me instant gratification. That's how the idea for Mango Pancakes was born.

It would tackle 3 issues at once-
1. Start to demolish the huge pile of mangoes
2. An entry for my weekend breakfast blogging
3. Entry for JFI at Mahanandi.

Juicy mangoes grated into flour and spiced with ginger, caressed by butter milk- the end result being a heavenly taste in your mouth...


Grated mango with ginger, Flour with 5 spice, Buttermilk

Mmmm...Mango Pancakes


1 large mango-grated
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1 T grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup sugar ( I used 2 tbsp splenda- the amnt of sugar also depends on the sweetness of your mango)
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups butter milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder (optional)
1/4 tsp mango essence (optional)

Vegetable Oil / Butter for cooking pancakes ( I used Saffola )

Method :

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add to this the grated mango. Mix well. Add the buttermilk slowly and stir so as to avoid any lumps. The consistency of the batter should be such that it sticks to the back of the ladle. Add the mango essence to the batter (if using). Stir well. You can let this batter sit for 15 minutes or so at this stage.

Heat a non stick pan. Grease with butter / oil, pour a ladleful of batter onto the heated pan. Gently spread into a circle taking care not to thin out the pancake. Let it cook for 2-3 min on a slow flame. Turn the pancake and cook the other side for 2-3 min.

This recipe will make around 6-7 pancakes of 6" diameter.

Serve immediately with fresh fruits.


Mango pancakes with sliced cantaloupe for breakfast

You can use milk instead of the buttermilk I guess. Just that if the mango is too acidic, it will split the milk. You may also add jaggery instead of sugar in this recipe.

This is my entry to JFI -Mango at Indira's Mahanandi

25 April 2006

Peerkangai Tuvaiyal

The ridge gourd was never a part of my veggie-shopping list until I started making this traditional south Indian Chutney called Peerkangai Thuvaiyal. The spiciness from the red chillies, the tanginess from the tamarind and the authentic south Indian taste from the asafoetida make it a delight to eat with steaming hot rice dotted with ghee.

Peerkangai Thuvaiyal

Before I tell you how to go about making this flavorful chutney, I must tell you a little trivia about this gourd.

The botanical name of Ridge Gourd is Luffa Aegyptica. If this sounds similar to the loofah sponge that adorns our baths- it is no co-incidence. Loofahs are indeed made from the dried ridge gourds after removing the seeds and xylems from inside the gourd. Have a look at the picture beneath-

Peerkangai Thuvaiyal ( Ridge Gourd chutney )

2 medium-large ridge gourds- peel the ridges and slice the gourd roughly
3 dry red chillies
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp udad dal
small piece asafoetida soaked in warm water
marble sized tamarind ball soaked in water
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
pinch of turmeric
sea salt to taste
1 tsp oil

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the fenugreek seeds and the dals. Once the dals turn golden, add the red chillies, turmeric, gourd slices, tamarind and saute for 2 min. Add the salt, saute and cook covered for 7-8 min on a low flame.

Once the vegetable has become tender, remove the skillet contents onto a plate and cool for around 10 min.
Put the cooled contents into a blender and grind to a fine paste.
Peerkangai thuvaiyal is ready !

Slices of gourd sizzling on a skillet

  • Mix it into hot rice with ghee and eat it with an appalam (papad). You can also put it on toast
(Ammani's idea ) or as a spread for the chapati !

  • Its rich in carotene and low on carbohydrates. So, low carb lovers rejoice !

22 April 2006

Weekend Breakfast Blogging - The List

WBB #1 - Announcement Round Up

WBB #2 - Announcement Round Up

WBB #3 - Announcement Round Up

WBB #4 - Announcement Round Up

WBB #5 - Announcement Round Up

WBB #6 Twist in the plate - Announcement Round Up

WBB #7 Baking - Announcement Round Up

WBB #8 Christmas- Announcement Round Up

WBB #9 Eggs - Announcement Round Up

WBB #10 Greens - Announcement Round Up

WBB #11 Summer Fruits - Announcement Round Up

WBB #12 Spice it up - Announcement Round Up [Blog no longer accessible]

WBB #13 Oats - Announcement Round Up

WBB #14 Ethnic twist - Announcement Round Up

WBB #15 Leftovers - Announcement Round Up

WBB # 16 Omelette - Announcement Pending

WBB #17 Cornflakes - Announcement Round Up

WBB #18 Soy - Announcement Round Up

WBB #19 Healthy eats - Announcement Round Up

WBB #20 Balanced breakfasts - Announcement Round Up

WBB #21 Microwave breakfasts- Announcement Round Up

WBB #22 May Mango Madness - Announcement Round Up

WBB #23 Express Breakfasts- Announcement Round Up

WBB #24 Summer Feast - Announcement Round up

WBB # 25 Combi Breakfast - Announcement

WBB # 26 September - Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen

A serving of culture- Coconut chutney

Say coconut and my associations are temples, Kerala, Udipi restaurants, Kozhakattai, coconut shell curtains at West Elm (couldn't ever take them off my mind), weaving coconut leaf mats, sweet coconut water and many many more..

Coconut shell curtains

There are probably more recipes for coconut chutney than the number of Indian Gods. It took several years for me to arrive at the recipe that my taste buds liked best. Not too watery, not too spicy and not too bland. There's nothing more incomplete than a plate of steaming hot idlis or crisp dosas without that perfect coconut chutney.


Half a fresh coconut- Sliced off from the shell
3 tbsp dalia (Pottu kadalai)
2 green chillies
2 cloves garlic
10 fresh curry leaves
few sprigs of cilantro / coriander
Salt as per taste (1/2 - 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp oil, 5-6 curry leaves and 1/2 tsp mustard seeds for garnish

1. Put all ingredients except garnish in a blender with 1/4 cup of water. Grind to a fine paste. Add 1-2 tbsp of water, if consistency is too thick. Remove into a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds start popping, take pan off the flame and spoon the garnish onto the chutney.
3.Serve fresh with steaming hot idlis, dosas, uthapams, upma, medu vadais etc.

This recipe makes about one cup of chutney
Keep refrigerated . This stays fresh for 24-36 hours in the refrigerator.
The key to making this chutney taste best is to use the freshest possible coconut. The slightest stale taste from the coconut will completely spoil the chutney.

18 April 2006

Melt-in-your-mouth Scones

I baked these gorgeous things last night- and Meeta was right about the heavenly aroma.

Great recipe- just that I think I should have used lesser butter.
Will do that experimentation next time over.

Recipe courtesy: What's for lunch honey?

17 April 2006

Vegetable paratha with carrot-garlic spread

My mornings are probably the most mismanaged hours. No matter what time I wake up-I have to go through the morning ritual of a cuppa chai with the papers. The chai stretches until I'm almost through with the newspapers (which come to some total of 40-50 pages of browsing).

Once I'm done with that, my rush hour starts, where in I have to prepare breakfast and a lunch box for the husband. This is always a very high speed activity to achieve the double end point, of taste combined with wholesome nutrition.

For today's lunch box I made a quick mixed grated vegetable paratha with carrot garlic spread. It is a pretty simple thing to make.

This is my first entry to ARF-5-a-day. This recipe is rich in colors from the carrots, fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves-low on oil and high on taste.

Over to the ARF Tuesdays round-up at Sweetnicks

Vegetable parathas:


1- 1.5 cups- Radish, Bottle gourd -grated

Handful of fenugreek (methi) leavesfinely chopped

1 tsp ajwain / omam seeds (called Bishop's weed -click for the picture)

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 cup whole wheat flour

Pinch of turmeric, salt to taste


Bind the dough with the water from the vegetables. Trust me, you don't need any water to bind, if you use the above veggies, infact I had to add some extra flour to make it less soggy.
Just roll out into small thick chapatis and cook them with / without some oil / ghee.

Now, something to go with the parathas. I made this carrot garlic spread in under 5 min.

Carrot Garlic Spread
Inspired by Tarla Dalal's Healthy Breakfasts

2 medium sized carrots-washed, peeled and roughly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped coriander

Grind the carrots, garlic, chilli powder, salt to a coarse paste. Mix in 1/2 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp of finely chopped coriander.

It can't get simpler than that. The sweetness from the carrots, the pungent kick from the garlic and the heat from the red chilli powder make a truly awesome blend of tastes.

This recipe makes upto 3/4 cup of chutney.

Can also serve this as:

Chutney for any parathas, chapatis
Low cal spread for sandwiches
Spicy chutney with Idlis/ Dosas instead of using 'molaga podi' with oil

16 April 2006

Lasooni Dal Palak ( Garlicky lentils with spinach )

This recipe for Lasooni Dal Palak was published in one of the Sunday papers and I knew I had to try it right away. It turned out delicious like the dals you get at fancy Indian restaurants. After all, it is a recipe from one :) 

lasooni dal palak - Indian style dal with spinach and garlic from saffrontrail.com

Lasooni Dal Palak
Recipe courtesy Chef de cuisine, Saffron, JW Marriot, Mumbai


1/2 cup Tur dal
1/3 cup Moong dal
1 bunch fresh spinach -washed-chopped roughly

1 tbsp- garlic finely chopped

1 small onion-finely chopped
1 medium sized tomato-finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped

3 green chillies finely chopped
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp ghee (or oil)
Salt to taste


1. Pressure cook ( or boil ) the dals till soft with half the green chillies and turmeric.

2.In a pan, heat ghee. Add the cumin seeds, once they start popping, add garlic, ginger, remaining green chillies and onions.Fry till onions turn golden brown. Add tomato, spinach, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt. Saute the above mixture till it turns soft and golden.

3.Add the boiled dal mix to the above. Mix well, remove from flame. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

4. Serve hot with phulka rotis or Parathas or steamed rice

The aroma from the garlic and the green colour from the spinach makes this an absolutely irresistable dish. For people who don't relish spinach, this is a great way to eat their greens.

Penne Upma ( Pasta Indian Style )

Each morning, I wonder what do I make for breakfast. Oats / Cereal gets too boring at times. It just so happened that I had some left over boiled Penne pasta and Upma being one of the staple breakfasts at home- i decided to put the two together.

It's just like regular upma, where rawa is substituted by pasta. This recipe would serve two people and taken under 15 minutes to get done.

Ingredients :

Over 1 cup boiled / leftover pasta (Penne/ Fucilli / Macaroni )
1 medium sized carrot-finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
2-3 springs-spring onions-finely chopped
10-12 French beans-finely chopped
Pinch of turmeric
8-10 Cashewnuts / Handful peanuts ( Optional)
For tempering: 1 tsp Udad dal, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds (Rai), 1 tsp green chillies-finely chopped , 1/2 tsp ginger-finely chopped, Few curry leaves
1 tbsp Cilantro / coriander-finely chopped
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in non-stick pan. Add mustard seeds-once they pop, add udad dal,curry leaves, cashews, ginger, green chillies.
2.Once udad dal and cashews turn golden, add the vegetables, turmeric, salt. Sprinkle some water, and keep a lid on the pan so that the vegetables cook fast. This will take around 4-5 min.
3.Once the vegetables are cooked, add the boiled pasta, and toss around so that all the spices are evenly coated.
4. Take the pan off flame, garnish with coriander and serve piping hot.

A cup of filter coffee will give good company to this Penne Upma!

My version of Coconut Chai Cake

I was tempted to try out Fat Free Vegan's Coconut Chai cake from the word go ! On the day I was to go to mom's house- I found the perfect excuse to bake this one.

I just tweaked the ingredients a bit, as per their availability at home. The result was a wonderfully aromatic kitchen and a heart-warming taste. The blending of several strong tastes like tea, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla is like pot-pourri for the senses.

This one is definitely worth trying. I'm just going to find reasons to bake this cake again and again


1 cup strong tea infused with ginger ( I boiled one and half cups water with 2 tsp tea leaves and some pounded fresh ginger)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup Quaker oats

1/2 cup gram flour (besan)- Used this instead of all purpose four, since I don't stock it at home

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/3 cup soymilk - I haven't seen applesauce on our local grocery store shelves- so just substituted with another liquid like soymilk

1 tbsp vinegar

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut -dessicated

3/4 cup sugar-instead of stevia


Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F.

Grease a cake tin.

Combine dry ingredients-wheat flour through cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Mix chai, soymilk, vinegar, sugar, essences and coconut in a large bowl. The vinegar may curdle the soymilk a bit, but it does no harm to the recipe. Blend the above ingredients well.

Add the dry mix to the wet, mix well.

Pour mixture into greased tin and sprinkle some coconut on the top.

Bake for 25 min or until a tester comes out clean.

Serve warm as a tea time cake or serve with vanilla icecream for a yummy dessert.

14 April 2006

Celebrating Tamil New Year with Payasam

Payasam (read what Wikipedia has to say) especially in the South of India is considered to be God's favorite food. Hence it generally occupies center stage in most festivals.
My mom makes the regular Paal Payasam- which is made with cooked rice and milk, or Semiya Payasam- made with vermicilli and milk. In most payasams, milk is kept at a simmer for a long time, so that it gets the pinkish hue and tastes rich.
My payasam is a quicker version and uses cashewnuts instead of the traditional rice or vermicilli.

Cashewnut Payasam
4 cups 2% milk ( i prefer this, you could use whole milk too)
3 tbsp sugar
8-10 cashewnuts
Few strands saffron
1 tbsp raisins
1/4 tsp Almond essence (optional )


1. Preparing cashew paste- If you have soaked the cashews overnight / for few hours, they are ready to be ground with 1/2 cup of milk, into a very fine paste. If you are a last minute person like me, you could soak them in a little water and microwave on HIGH for 3 min. Let them remain in that hot water for 5-10 more minutes. Once cooled, grind them with some milk as above.

2. Boil the milk on the side in a heavy bottomed pan. Once boiled, let it simmer. Add the sugar, saffron and raisins. Add the cashew paste. Make sure you keep stirring so that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

3. Let the milk simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the almond essence. The cashew paste will thicken the milk such that it will stick to the back of the ladle. It's time to remove it from the flame.

4.Garnish with 2-3 strands of saffron and a Holy Basil leaf. Offer it to the Gods and then enjoy chilled.

Putthandu Nal Vazhthugal!

12 April 2006

Versatile coriander-mint chutney

The jar of green goodness
Coriander or cilantro is one of the most fragrant herbs- that can add the freshness and zing to any recipe. I'd like to call it The Green Goddess. Mostly used in Asian dishes- it is found in abundance in Indian vegetable markets. Infact most markets have that distinct strong aroma of this herb as you pass by them.
Here in summers, corander being the delicate herb that is, doesn't stay fresh for long even when refrigerated. The best way to preserve its goodness and freshness is to grind it into a chutney and then preserve it for a week in a clean jar in the fridge.
3 cups coriander / cilantro leaves- washed clean and chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves-washed
2 hot green chillies
4 fat cloves garlic
2 tbsp dalia (pottu kadalai )
Generous pinch of turmeric powder
Half a lemon
Sea salt as per requirement
Put all the ingredients in a blender and grind to a very fine paste with a little water. Store in a clean jar in the fridge. The turmeric and lemon help in retaining the green color, else this chutney has the tendency to turn black with oxidation.

Things you can do with coriander chutney:

  • Make yummy cucumber sandwiches with chutney spread on slices of bread
  • Serve a dip with snacks like cutlets, samosas or with parathas
  • Use it as a marinade - Coat paneer pieces/ fish fillets / chicken breasts with this chutney and marinate for 30 min, before you throw them on the grill-for that uniquely Indian tandoori taste

Thakkali chutney ( Spicy tomato chutney )

The Beginning

The end

Will post recipe soon

8 April 2006

Baba Ganouj- and this is no godman

The first time I came across Baba Ganouj ( Pronounced "Ga-NOOSH" )was in BASHA, a Greek restaurant in Rochester, NY-where they had accidentally brought this onto our table instead of Hummus. One taste of the stuff and I knew that it was surely smoked brinjal and not chickpeas that I was tasting.

Baba Ganouj is a classic Mediterranean eggplant dip. It's silky, smokey and bursting with flavour. Here goes my version :

1 mid-sized eggplant / brinjal
2 tbsp sesame seeds- roasted
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp thick yogurt
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly minced parsely / coriander


1. Roasting the brinjal- Doing it on a direct flame or the grill gives the best smokey taste.
Place the brinjal on a medium flame, and rotate regularly so that the skin gets evenly blistered. It will take about 10-12 min for the entire brinjal to get roasted and soft from within.

However you can roast it on a lightly greased baking sheet by slitting it in half lengthwise at 350 F. I prefer to broil rather than bake, for that browning effect.

Peel off the blistered skin, chop roughly and keep aside.

2.Assembling the ingredients- In a blender, roughly grind the roasted sesame seeds. Then add the chopped roasted brinjal and all other ingredients except parsely/ coriander and olive oil. Blend to a smooth paste.

3. Finale-Remove the paste onto a shallow dish. Mix in the olive oil. Garnish with minced parsely / coriander and a swirl of some more olive oil.

Serving suggestion-
Serve the chilled Baba Ganouj with warm pita bread brushed with olive oil. If pita bread is not readily available, you can either serve it with toasted slices of a whole wheat bread / foccasia or whole wheat crackers.

Last evening, I served it to my guests with wedges of garlic bread toasted till warm. They loved it!

The original recipe calls for Tahini, which a sesame seed paste in olive oil. Since Tahini is not easily available in grocery stores in India, I ground roasted sesame seeds along with other ingredients. I did not find much of a taste deviation from the original.

(2011 update)
Al Fez brand of Tahini is now available in most supermarkets in cities, such as Nature's Basket.

6 April 2006

Milking the beans

Indira's post on Making soya milk at home was really inspiring.

I immediately asked our local grocer to send me a kilo of soya beans. I followed the instructions as per the post except for completely skinning all soaked beans. Firstly skins wouldn't come out too easily and the skins that did come off, would not float to the top. So I just managed to skin as much as I could.

It involved quite some time & effort-and generous splashes of the mixture all around my kitchen, but the end result very satisfying indeed.

Two cups of soya beans yielded over 1L of milk.

Guess what- I also got a bowl full of cholesterol free soy cream FREE! All from the 'malai' / 'aadai' that I kept collecting during the simmering stage. It shall be put to good use in some soup or curry.

I'm also left with a huge bowl full of sediment that was left behind after filtering. Its too soft and fluffy to throw away. Yet to think of something to do with it. Ideas anybody?

Thanks Indira!

5 April 2006

Tropical salad and Cucumber sandwiches

I decided to do the GM diet this week and detoxify my system of all the street food that I've been hogging since I came back to Bombay few months ago. The word "unlimited" fruits and veggies was what caught my eye- as I have no appetite for fasting !

Since today is-"Eat fruits and veggies-as much as you like" Day- my menu was planned as so.

  • A salad put together by mixing roasted green peppers (capsicum), segments of sweet lime and watermelon
  • Cucumber sandwiches with a twist- Here I used the cucumber slices instead of bread with a surprise spread

Ingredients for Tropical Salad:

2 large green peppers ( capsicums)

2 Sweet limes-deseeded and semented

2 cups of watermelon -deseeded and cut into 1/2" sticks

Few mint leaves


Mixed dried herbs ( I used thyme, oregano and basil)

Salt to taste


Roast the green peppers- either on the flame or using Broil function in Oven. The skin will blister and start to turn brown. After the peppers have turned uniformly brown, put them into a paper bag and seal. This process helps in peeling most of the skin due to the heat in the bag. If you don't have a paper bag handy, just let it cool and peel the brown blistered skin off.

The pepper will be soft and have a smoky aroma. Remove the seeds from within and cut into sticks.

In a bowl, mix the roasted peppers, sweet lime and water melon segments. Toss with finely chopped mint leaves, herbs, pepper and salt.

Serve chilled.

Ingredients for the Cucumber sandwiches:

2 large cucumbers-peeled and cut into rectangles / slices

3 small brinjals / 1 medium sized brinjal ( I used the ones that the store had labelled as Nagpur Brinjals)

2 red tomatoes (i used an extra green tomato)-copped roughly

1 medium sized onion-chopped roughly

4 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 large green chilli

Roast the brinjals as for baingan bharta. Cool and peel off skins. Mash the softened flesh and keep aside

Grind the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, chilli into a fine paste. Put the paste onto a heated kadai / pan. I didn't use any oil, since the diet asked for it. You may add 1 tsp of oil, and temper some jeera before adding the paste.

On a medium flame, let the paste dry up considerably, before adding the mashed brinjals. At this stage add a pinch of turmeric powder and red chilli powder.

Let the mixture simmer on a low flame till all the liquid evaporates.

Once the mixture cools off-you can either serve it as a dip for the cucumber sticks, or apply it as a spread on cucumber slices. Either way its fun, and this is guilt-free fun!!

Saffron Trail Tip:

To speed up the salad, you may choose to use raw capsicum instead of roasting them.

If you don't have sweet limes, you can very well substitute with oranges.

Remember, the more number of colors you can see on your plate, the healthier your food is ! And here we are not talking about the colors of crockery!!!

4 April 2006

Spinning the wheel

Colocassia pinwheels / Aloo wadi

This is a traditional Maharashtrian recipe considered to be quite a time consuming one.

Sometimes, things that seem very difficult to do aren't so and vice versa. Fortunately, making wheels out of colocasia leaves turned out to be the former.

Last Saturday, as I was doing my weekly vegetable shopping in the market, I spotted the Colocasia leaves. Aloo wadi is probably Colocassia's only claim to fame. Since I had never tried to make it before, I tried to give it a shot. Google was the best bet. Several recipes came up, after going through most of them, I decided to go ahead and do it my way!

It's the technique that matters here more than the ingredients- and hence the pictorial depiction.

These are beautiful, large green leaves with pinkish thick stems. Take about 8 leaves, wash them thoroughly.
Cut off the stems and slice off some of the central thick veins.
Flatten the leaves with rolling pin and keep them upside down.
The paste- Mix in a bowl one cup of gram flour ( besan ), 1/2 cup of rice / wheat flour, 1 tbsp tamarind paste, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, 2 tbsp grated jaggery, 1 tsp of red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder / garam masala / 5 spice powder, salt to taste
Add few tspns of water to make a thick paste with the above ingredients.

Coat the back of each leaf with this paste, and place one leaf over the other. Make two stacks of 4 leaves each.

Fold up the bases and tightly roll the stacks from the base towards tip. You may secure the rolls with some twine.

These rolls need to be steamed for about 30-40 minutes until a toothpicked poked in the roll comes out clean.
If your cooker / steamer is not big enough to carry the whole roll, you may cut them in half and then place it a vessel, the way I did. Keep the vessel in the cooker with water, such that there is no water in the vessel. Remove the whistle from the cooker lid and let it steam

Once cooled, cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices. Garnish with a tempering of mustard seeds, sesame seeds. You may also add finely chopped coriander, and grated coconut to the garnishing.
Serve hot with a slice of lime.
Saffron Trail Tip
This is an extremely healthy snack, rich in iron and protein, and can be made with just one tsp of oil that is required for the garnish !! Took me all of an hour from start to finish including the 35 min of steaming time.
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