Beverage

Holi; celebrating the Colours of Spring with Thandai (Milk and Nut Based Fragrant Cooling Drink

9:00 AM


It’s that time of the year again when I want to reach home and soak all the festivities and the riot of colours that abides Santiniketan. Come spring and Santiniketan wears on a striking attire of greenery and colours. Amongst all those glowing new leaves with vividly clourful flower the Ashramiks beautifully welcome the spring with colour and music. You might not have ever been to a place like ours where the nature is celebrated through its seasons with song, dance and recitation from the noble laureate poet Tagore. You should once visit Santiniketan to be a part of an age old tradition of blending in the colourful nature with Abir (gulal). 

Holi or Basanta Utsav is a festival to celebrate new life and hope, to blend in with the lustrous clours of nature and to usher in the onset of spring with joy and dance. In Santiniketan students of the university celebrate this festival with immense fervor and zeal. Everyone attired in yellow clothes greet spring with the tune of Rabindra sangeet and later blend in with the colourful nature with abir or gulal. The whole function is so welcoming and exerts s so much of warmth that even visitors who come from all over the world join in the delightful atmosphere. As student I always took part in this festival and always was a part of the morning dance program. Today away from home and my very own environment I understand the meaning and importance of this place to me. The serenity and beauty of this place is very striking and once you are there you could never forget the feeling of waking up to a blissful day to the strains of the poet’s songs or enjoying yourself differently amidst the nature is something very lingering that you would like to remember all your life. Don’t trust me???Well then check these out





(courtesy Youtube.com Thanks Subrata and Rahul)

More about Santiniketan HERE.

Now back to todays recipe. The time I saw this month’s JFI theme of fennel I instantly thought of Kashmiri cuisine which this fragrant spice plays the most important role. So following this thought I googled and prepared Methia Olu Chaman and gravy dish with fresh fenugreek leaves. Potatoes and cottage cheese. The dish came out so well that we devoured the whole quantity silently for dinner without even taking a single picture. So next week I again made the same and this time was very adamant to click before set to eat….but alas again the dish was relished without touching the camera. And the fun part is I don’t even feel guilty as foods are to be enjoyed like this. So that post is sitting pretty in my draft and will come later. Today I share with you a very dear Holi recipe of mine, which is Thandai. This is meant to be a cooling drink to rejuvenate and satisfy your tired limbs from playing Holi. This is a milk based creamy drink, very fragrant with fennels and cardamoms. In Northern part of Indian they put some Bhang or Siddhi  (leaves and flowers (buds) of the female cannabis plant) goli in it which is said to have transcendental properties. Today though friends brought in Bhang ki Thandai but I made my own without Bhang and served it to Hubby after is afternoon nap. It’s a very refreshing drink and am planning to make it more often during summer.

Here is the Recipe

Thandai (serves 2)

Ingredients:
Toned Milk: 11/2 glass
Sugar: 3 tbsp or asper your own taste
Water: ½ glass
Almond: 10 pcs
Cashewnuts: 10 pcs
Charmagaj/ melon seeds: 1 tbsp
Poppy seeds: 1 tsp
Fennel: ½ tsp
Cardamom: 2 pods

Method:
Put the almonds in hot water for 2 minutes and skin them.

Soak almonds, cashews, poppy seeds and melon seeds for min an hour and then grind these with fennel, cardamom and water to very smooth paste.

In a big bowl mix this paste with sugar and milk and stir till sugar dissolves.

Pour in tall glasses and chill for at least an hour before serving.


Sending this refreshing drink for JFI: Fennel to the soon to be bride Siri of Siri's Corner. This lovely event is a brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi.




Before I sign off Wish all of you a very Happy Holi!!!

Update: sending this to Cooking for all seasons Thanda mela.

Bengali

How To Make Amchur (Sundried Mangoes)

10:40 AM


When I got married I was very excited to get a chance to create and run a home from scratch , it was like an elderly version of playing doll house for me. I was working then and only got weekends to care for it. But the too I understood and cared for what goes into my food. I am never fond of fried stuffs but Hubby is a big fan of Chanachur (Bombay Mix?/ fried spicy mixture of peanuts, chips and other chickpea flour based items) and fried fritters. So following my Maa I also started making these at home. Whenever I get time I prepare chanachur and Nimki (Namakpare/ savoury snack) in big quantities to survive us for quite some time. I alos started making my own pickles and Amchurs. Now a day’s my parents and my Brother’s family get their yearly supply of these from me. We get very good quality mangoes in Bangalore and we also have three mango trees in the backyard so every summer I make big batches and send them across to family and friends.

Aam in Hindi and Bengali means mangoes and Amchur or dried Mangoes are literally sundried sliced raw mangoes. These are the preserved form, which could be used whole year round in curries and chutneys and has a lovely tangy aroma. These days dried amchur powders are also available in the market.

Both my parents hail from two different coastal districts of Bengal and like any other coastal food they also grew up eating food with a dominating sour taste. In our family its Macher tak (pronounced as 'tak'); a fish dish either prepared with tamarind pulp (also known as Macher Ambol) or with amchur and mustard paste. For my Baba (father), Dada (elder Brother) and Bhai (younger brother) lunch is not complete without this sour tasting fish dish and following this they need a constant supply of Amchur.

Today am sharing how I prepare Amchur and trust me this is as easy as saying 1-2-3. The amchurs in the picture are what I made last summer with the produce from my backyard. I don’t have a step by step picture so will update this post later this Summer when I’ll make another batch.

Amchur

Ingredients:
Raw sour mangoes:  4 pieces
Quantity depends on how much you want to make. Depending on the sourness of the mango generally a piece or two is enough for a curry serving 4 persons.
The quality of mangoes is very crucial for this recipe. The best quality would be very sour, fresh, juicy, hard mangoes with thick flesh.

Salt: ½ cup; salt here works as a preserving agent. Depending on the type of the mangoes you might have to adjust the quantity.

Plenty of Sunlight at-least for 3 consecutive days.

Method:
Wash the mangoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Peel and cut in half or quarter and put in a bowl of water. While peelings make sure no green skin is visible on the body as this will lead to blackening of the prepared amchurs later.

After 15-20 minutes take the pieces out from the water and place in a big bowl (preferably plastic or ceramics) and mix in the salt. Shake vigorously to coat the mango pieces with salt. Cover and leave it overnight.

The raw mangoes will leave a lot of juice. Next morning take out the pieces one by one and place them on a clean plastic sheet (flesh side up) and let them dry for the whole day.

In the evening again put these pieces in the juice. Taste and if needed add more salt to it. Shake well and leave overnight.

For next two days follow the same process or till you get dry mangoes with a white coating of salt on top.

Preserve in an airtight container. This remains good for a long time and by that I mean 2-3 years.

To use in curries: soak the dry mango pieces in water for 15 minutes and mash them with your hand. Use as required. I prepared my Kumro posto’r chatni (sweet n sour chutney made with pumpkin, dried mangoes and poppy seeds paste) with my homemade amchurs.

I thought of preparing Macher tak for this month’s Think Spice: Amchur event hosted by Bhagyashri of Taste buds but she is not accepting non vegetarian recipe so this know how goes to our very dear Think Spice event which is a brainchild of Sunita.

Macher tak recipe coming soon….:-)
  

Bengali

Shukto/ A Bitter Vegetable Curry in Mustard Paste

6:35 AM

A traditional Bengali meal comprises at least five elaborate courses starting with some bitter dish to cleanse your palette and ending with a sweet note with some milk based sweets or dessert. The fisrt course emphasizes on some bitter preparation with ucche or Bitter gourd, Neem leaves. Next come lentils and bhaja or some fried vegetabes like fried potato or brinjal or leafy greens etc, this is followed by vegetable dishes which are mildly spiced like Charchari (skillet charred veggies with mustard paste), Chechki (dry veggies dish cooked in its own juicewith tempering) or Dalna (light gravy item) etc. then comes the ubiquitous Fish dish without which no Bengali meal is complete and this can vary from chhoto macher charchari (small fish with mustard gravy) to Ilish Macher Paturi (hilsa wrapped in bananleaf with spices and coconut). The meat dish follows next and truly Bengalis love their Mutton curry. Chatni mostly are prepared with seasonal vegetables like tomato chatni in winter and mango chatni in summer. Dessert in Bengali households mostly are either Mishti Doi (sweetened red yogurt), Rosogolla or Payes(rice pudding). And after all this heavy eating the meal is said to be digested with some Pan or betel leaf with areca nut and kattha.

I guess this gives everyone a very clear perception of what food loving Bengalis are. Today am going to share my favourite bitter preparation Shukto, the traditional Vegetable dish with a prominent bitter taste. This is said to cleanse one's palette and is strictly a lunch dish and Bengalis don’t eat bitter and green leafy vegetables for dinner. My mother says its because bitter and leafy vegetables are difficult to digest and dinner should comprise something light. Shukto is also considered to be the most difficult recipe to cook and it’s almost like an achievement for a Bengali girl to cook her shukto perfectly. Before my marriage I never tried my hand in cooking shukto but now it’s almost a ritual to cook it every weekend to satisfy the shukto loving taste buds of my hubby. I believe (like all other daughters) that my maa makes the best shukto in this world and though I cook it almost every week still it’s not even close to her preparation. She cooks it with milk and mustard paste and adds some dry roasted masala at the end to make it more flavorful.

Though this is one of the most famous dishes in Bengali cuisine but different variations can be seen. Almost every Bengali household has their own recipe of shukto. At my in-laws place they cook the shukto with shiuli pata (Parijat Leaves) and my mother in law doesn’t add milk. In our house we cook our shukto with kaanchakola(plantain), potato, shim (broad bin), Sojne danta(drumstick), begun (brinjal), Raddish, bori (sun dried lentil dumplings) and uchche (bitter gourd) and depending on the season we keep on adding veggies like jhinge (ridged gourd),Penpe(Raw Papaya) or lau (bottle gourd). One can change the veggies according to one’s likings but Bittergourd, brinjal, Plantain and sundried lentil dumplings cannot be replaced. It is said that a minimum of five vegetables are required to get that perfect taste.Also if you do not want to add milk then replace it with a pinch of sugar to balance the taste.

One of my cousin brother is a chef in a renowned 5* hotel. During his entrance interview he was asked to name two authentic Bengali dishes that no other region has. He named Shukto and Posto. Again he was asked to tell the two most important ingredient for Shukto, to which he answered Plantain and milk and he got through.

The best compliment I got for my shukto was from my father and a cousin brother. They loved it so much that in spite of having chicken in the menu they insisted on having most of their meals with shukto. Today I made this dish on someone’s request. My friend and her family came for lunch and her Husband liked my shukto preparation earlier and requested to include this in the meal.

Shukto
(serves 4)


Ingredients
Bittergourd: 1/3 cup; cut in thin stripes
Egg Palnt: 1/3 cup: cut in long wedges
Plantain: 1 small; peeled and chopped in long wedges
Potato: 1 small; peeld and chopped in long wedges
Broad Beans: 6-7; cut in small pieces
Carrot: ½ of a small; cut in thin pieces
Drumsticks: 2-3 pieces; cut in 1.5” pcs
Raddish: ½ of a small, cut in wedges
Sundried lentil dumpling (bori/Wadi): a handful; I used red lentil bori
Ginger: 1/2” piece; grated
Milk: 1/3 cup
Ghee: 1 tsp
Oil: 3 tsp
salt

To be grounded together with water
Mustard seeds: 2 tsp 
Poppyseeds: 1 tsp


For tempering:
Panchforon: 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies: 2-3 pcs
Bay leaf: 1 small


For the roasted spice powder:
Paanchforon: ½ teaspoon
Bay leaf: 1 small
Mustard seeds: ½ tsp
Jeera (cumin seeds): ½ teaspoon
Dry roast all the ingredients till the aroma rises. Then dry grind, cover and keep aside.


Method:
Mix the ground mustard-poppy seeds paste with 1/3 cup water and keep aside.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a deep pan and fry the sundried lentil dumpling or wadi till it changes colour. Keep aside.

Fry the bitter gourd pieces till lightly brown and keep aside.

Keeping ½ tsp oil add the rest to the pan and sauté all the veggies with salt and grated ginger till soft. Add the masala paste and mix to coat everything.

Keep on cooking on low flame till a lightly fried aroma comes through. Add 1 cup of water and boil till the juice thicken (approx 4-5 minutes). Add the fried bittergourd pieces and keep this aside.

Now heat ½ tsp oil and put the tempring ingredients, once splutter tip in the vegetables. Check the seasoning till the gravy is thick.

Add the milk, fried wadi and again cook for a couple of minutes. Add the ghee and roasted spice powder at the end and serve hot with steamed rice.

Between the broad bean, raddish and eggplants used in this dish are from my own kitchen garden. The Green patch is producing incredible results.

Am sending this healthy dish to cooking with Seeds: Fenugreek started by Priya and this month guest hosted by SE of Denufood.com.

also this bowl is off to Anita's vegetable Marathon: Eggplant. 

And, Health Nuts challenge 4: bitter better Health of Yasmeen.

Bengali

Karaishutir Kochuri aar Notun Alur Dom

8:27 AM



Koraishunti also known as Matorshunti means green peas and Notun alu or new potatoes both are winter specialty, so this combo meal of green peas stuffed small Indian fried flat bread with new potato curry is a seasonal delicacy. Every Bengali household at least once will make these when green peas are abundant and these small tiny cute potatoes appear in the market after the harvest. Like the availability of fresh green peas in Bangalore, winter in Kolkata is a rare commodity. The mercury never falls below 10 but Romantic Calcuttans love to clad themselves in courful heavy woolens and enjoy every bit of it by visiting the annual book fair or by arranging picnics. No Bengali can think of celebrating the inception of winter without this fried meal. Folowing this tradition I also make it every winter atleast once whenever we get fresh peas in the market.

I won’t blabber much today as am going to share 2 recipes in one post so all my stories are shelved for some future post.

Karaishuti’r Kochuri (serves 2)
Ingredients:
For the dough:
Whole wheat Flour: 3/4 cup
Flour: 1 cup
Oil for shortening: 2 tbsp
Salt: ¼ tsp
water
For stuffing:
Green Peas (shelled): 1 cup
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: ¾ tsp
Salt: as per taste
Bhaja masala: 1 tbsp
Oil: 1 tsp

Oil: for deep frying

Method:
Mix in all the dry ingredients for the dough. Make a well in the center and pour the oil. With your finger tips mix it. Add in water a little at a time to make a soft but firm dough. Knead it for 5 minutes, cover and keep aside.

Now grind the green peas. Mix the ginger paste and cumin powder with 1 tbsp water.

Heat the oil and add in the masala paste. Fry till oil separates at the sides, add the ground peas and salt.

Fry on low heat till all masala gets mixed to the peas. Stir continuously to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.

Once the mixture becomes dry add the bhaja masala, mix in and let it cool.

Now take small balls from the dough, size of a small lemon.  Stuff with the cooked peas and seal by pressing with your finger (Make sure air is not trapped in the ball or they will break while frying) and roll between your palm to form a neat ball. Roll out each ball into small circle as puris.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed deep pan. The heat of the oil is very important for this. To check whether the oil is ready dip a corner of the rolled kochuri in the oil, if it sizzle then the oil is prepared for frying. Increase or decrease the flame to control the heat.

Put the kochuris one by one and fry them with a slotted spatula. To puff it up lightly press the middle of the kachori with the spatula. Fry till golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.

Serve hot.

Notun Alur Dum

Though I made it with small potatoes but this could also be done with any potato. Peel and cut them in cubes and you are ready to cook.

Ingredients:
Small potatoes: 500 gms
Onion: 1 medium
Ginger: 1” pc
Tomato: 1 medium
Curd: 2 tbsp
Coriander powder: ½ tsp
Chilli powder: ½ tsp
Turmeric
Salt
Oil: 3 tbsp
Sugar: 1/3 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: 1/3 tsp
Whole garam masala (cardamom, cinnamon and clove) for tempering: 1-2 pcs each



Method:
Boil or microwave the potatoes skin on, with salt for 7-8 mites. Cool and peel.

In the meantime make a paste with the onion and ginger. Beat the curd and keep aside.

Smear the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Heat 1 tbsp oil and lightly fry these on low till a crisp coating is formed. Drain.

Heat the rest of the oil and temper with the whole garam masala. Once it gives off the aroma add in the spice paste and fry till oil separates.

Add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder and fry for a minute.

Pour in the chopped tomato and salt; give a good stir and cover to cook for another couple of minutes.

Once the tomatoes are soft add the beaten curd and fry to mix everything together.

Tip in the fried potatoes and mix to cover them with the spice mix. Add a cup of water and sugar, cover and simmer till the potatoes are soft and the gravy coats them nicely.

Sprinkle the garam masala powder and serve with the kochuris or parathas.

I also made some spicy cholar daal (Bengal gram) another legendary accompaniment to Kachuris, for Hubby.


Apart from forming our dinner tonight this plate is also off to the beautiful event ‘Combo Meal’ started by Pari of Foodilicious.

Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Black Forest Cake

10:22 AM



Wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day!!!

I love Valentine ’s Day not only because it trademarks the day for LOVE but mainly because on this day I started my journey of setting a new home, this is the day when I first stepped in our house in Bangalore. I still remember the newlywed girl full with anticipation coming to a new city and stepping in a new house. The house didn’t even have the bare necessity items like full plates to have our meals; it only had a TV and a washing machine. That day only we went out to buy some utensils and food items and then we picked up so many things to make the house a comfortable Nest for ourselves. This day certainly has a special place in our lives.  

Apart from this also I always loved Valentine’s Day and believed celebrating relationships. It is very much hyped and commercialized but can we ignore the fact that it acts almost like a refresh button for our relationships. How many times do we remember to make our loved one feel special or tell our parents how special they are to us? So if a day is especially dedicated to this, could that be bad? For me it’s a day to rejoice my relationships with friends and family, to admire the beauty of red roses, to find solace in the gifts that we share and to sit back and soak in the warmth of love. Even if we always love to celebrate our love…one day doesn’t make any harm. Right???

I just got to know that my very dear blogger friend Dolly is celebrating her anniversary today…that’s so romantic of her to get married on Valentine’s Day itself. I wish her Happy Anniversary and many more years of togetherness.

Now here is the recipe of the black forest cake I made for my anniversary. That makes the perfect post for this special Day and for my 50th post.

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients:
Flour: 11/2 cups
Butter/oil: ¾ cup
Powdered sugar: 1 cup and 2 tbsp
Eggs: 3
Semi sweet chocolate: 1 bar (125 gms)
Coco powder: 4 tbsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Coffee powder: 1 tbsp
Water: ½ cup
Whipping cream: 200 gms
Strawberry jam: 4 tbsp
Cherries: for decoration

Method:
Heat the oven at 180 C and butter a heart shaped pan.

Sieve flour, coco powder, baking powder together and keep aside.

Boil the water and dissolve the coffee powder in it. Switch of the heat and let 
it come to room temperature.

Melt the butter with half of the chocolate bar in a double boiler or in microwave. Cream the sugar and the choco-butter mix till smooth.

Mix in the eggs one by one to the butter mixture whipping vigorously in between.

Tip in the dry ingredients in it and fold gently. Also add the coffee mixture and mix to prepare the batter.

Pour in the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or till a toothpick pricked in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake on wire rack for at least 20 minutes.

In the mean time heat ½ cup of water and mix in the jam to get thin strawberry syrup. Cool completely.

Also whip the cream with 2 tbsp of powdered sugar till it starts to form peaks. Keep aside.

Once the cake comes to room temperature take it out from the mould and place on the serving dish. With a big sharp knife cut it to get two layers.
Pour the prepare syrup o the top side of the bottom layer and bottom side of the top layer. Be careful not to make it soggy…just moisten it to make it soft.

With a knife layer some of the whipped cream on the bottom layer. Gently place the op layer on it and press little to secure at place.

Now cover al the sides and top with the whipped cream and put it in the fridge to set at least for an hour.

Before serving chop or grate the remaining chocolate and decorate the cake with cherries.

Your lovely black forest cake is ready. Now soak in all the complements and enjoy this beauty.

Sending this to Priya's Heart for Valentine's Day Event.



I have been showered with some more awards from the lovely Deepa of Foodlyrics, who is an amazing cook and a great food photographer. I don’t know anyone who does not drool at the gorgeous food photos in her page. She has a lovely style of writing, full of warmth and helpful kitchen tips. Thanks a ton dear for your generosity.

I also Thank all of you with this lovely bloom from my garden! 

Fish and Seafood

Broken wheat Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Grilled Tofu/ Fish/ Poached Egg

12:04 PM


Following the menu that I talked about in my last post, today I am sharing the recipe for the second course which is a Moroccan style broken wheat (couscous) salad. I tasted couscous salad first in Olive Bar and Kitchen and was completely hooked, so with my Moroccan theme dinner party thought of doing this my way. I wasn’t having couscous in my pantry and neither Spar Super market nor Spencer was able to supply me this. Thus I decided on broken wheat or Dalia and am glad that I did. It has come out so good that even today we made it again for dinner. This time I served it with fried tofu and poached egg, and we again fell in love with the dish. It’s a complete meal in a platter that serves you carbohydrate, protein and vegetables. It’s truly an amazing dish, which could be whipped up in 30 minutes and therefore makes it perfect for weekday’s dinner too. Guess this will make good lunch box option as well.

Before getting to the recipe, let me share something that I found very interesting…

Ever wondered what gender some everyday objects might be? NO??? Read what Femina thinks

Ziplock bags: Male because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

Tyres: Male, because they go bald and are often over inflated.

Hot air balloon: Male, because to get it to anywhere you have to light a fire 
under it and, ofcourse there’s the hot air part.

Sponges: female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.

Web page: Female, because t always getting hit on.

Subway: male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

Hourglass: female, because over time the weight shifts to the bottom.

Hammer: Male, because it hasn’t changed much over the last 5000 years but 
its handy to have around.

Remote Control: Female ha you thought its male? But consider this-it gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while doesn’t always know the right buttons to push he keeps on trying…

Now the Recipe:

Broken Wheat Salad with Grilled Veggies n Grilled Tofu/ Fish/ Poached Egg
(serves 2 as a main Meal)


Ingredients:                                                                              
Broken wheat (choose the one with bigger grains): 2 cups
Onion: 1 medium
Baby Carrots: 7-8 pieces
Baby potatoes: 7-8 pieces
French Beans: 15-16 pieces
Cucumber: 1 small
Almonds: 10-12 pieces
Garlic: 2 cloves
Parsley: handful
Mint leaves: handful
Freshly ground pepper: 2 tsp
Stock Cube (I used Maggi): 1 pack
Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
Caraway seeds: 1/3 tsp
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Lemon: 1
Salt
Fish fillets: 2 pieces OR
Tofu: 2 pieces OR
Eggs: 2 nos.



Method:
Prepare veggies and Fish/ Tofu
If using fish or Tofu marinate it with little olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper for 10 minutes. After this take them in  silver foil and make a packet. Place this in an ovenproof pan.

Wash carrots, potatoes and beans properly, smear with little olive oils, salt and pepper powder. Place in a separate ovenproof pan or tray in single layer.

Preheat the oven for 220 C and put the veggies and fish/tofu for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes check if the veggies are done and take them out.

Open the silver foil packet containing the tofu or fish and again bake for 10 minutes till they are lightly crisp and brown.

Prepare the Broken Wheat
While the veggies and fish/tofu is baking, peel and chop onion, parsley, mint leaves, almonds, cucumber and garlic. Keep everything separate.

Heat a pressure cooker with 1tbsp oil and temper with caraway and cumin seeds. Add in the garlic, half the onion and pepper powder. Fry till they loose colour.

Put little mint and parsley and also crumble in the stock cube. Give it a good stir and tip in the washed broken wheat.

Mix everything together and add 31/2 cups of water. Check the seasoning.

Cover and cook on medium for one whistle. Let it cool on its own and then open the lid.

Fluff up with a fork. Mix in the chopped cucumber, onion and almonds.

Preparing the veggies
Now heat the leftover 1 tbsp oil and temper with a little chopped garlic, pepper powder and parsley.

Add all the veggies and sauté on medium till they get a thin crisp layer.

If using egg then poach it just before serving.

Assembling
Put a layer of Broken wheat salad. Top with Fish/ Tofu or Poached egg and serve with the grilled veggies.

Have a satisfying quick and healthy meal while watching your favorite program on TV.

Am sending this to No Croutons Required: Copycat.


Show me your Salad at Divy's Dilse and


Carnival of Salads at Sudeshna's Cook like a bong.

Chutney Pickle n Preserves

Moroccan Harira with spicy Harissa paste

11:21 AM



Last month we celebrated our anniversary.  Sometimes am amazed to realize how time flies. It seems only yesterday that all our friends and relatives gathered to bless us for our new journey and now we have our 10 months old to cuddle. When I first stepped in the house in Bangalore there was nothing except a gas oven, TV and the mattress. Then slowly we ordered furniture, bought utensils, decorated the place to suit our taste and now we have a house that we can call HOME.

Anniversary for us is a very important and private affair and we love to spend it together with gifts, good food and candle lights. Every year I give him a surprise party cooking something that I never tried before. I was quite in a dilemma as what to prepare this year. For work he often has to go to Israel and he completely is smitten by the various cuisines available there. Sometimes back he mentioned of this spicy Moroccan food which he loved very much, so I thought of trying Moroccan theme this year. Recently a great joint has opened up here called Mezze where they serve great Mediterranean cuisine and we simply love the couscous salad out there. Following all these the menu for our anniversary was

Harira with Harissa Paste

Broken wheat salad with grilled vegetables and fish (my take on couscous salad)

And for a sweet ending Black Forset Cake.

I will provide the recipes one by one. This time it’s the much loved Harira Soup which is a spicy Lentil soup with vegetables and chicken or beef. This is mainly eaten to break the all day fast during Muslim Holy month Ramadan. Though am just introduced to Moroccan cuisine but I must admit am just hooked to this spicy, aromatic and hearty food. This cuisine uses a lot of spices, herbs, olive oils and dry fruits. No dish is complete without cumin, saffron, mint and parsley. A traditional Moroccan meal will start with salad or soup and followed by Tazine either with couscous or bread. Bread is very important in their meal and almost eaten with every meal. The desserts are mostly prepared with dry fruits which are abundant in the area and they like to sip in sweet mint tea the whole day as a ritual. Harira is generally made with chicken. Beef or lamb but I made a vegetarian version and we just loved, loved and loved this dish. Though we ate it as a first course but with some bread this could be a meal in itself. It’s a thick hearty soup with all the goodness of proteins from lentils, vitamins and minerals from veggies, carbohydrate from pasta and flavor from the herbs. A complete healthy meal that gives you everything in a bowl. A must try if you like soups and as for us we are going to make it again and again and again.

While I was searching for Moroccan Harira I got this where it is suggested to serve it with Harissa, a North African chilli sauce made with chillies, herbs and tomatoes. This very hot spice paste is well known in Europe and America as they are now a day’s available off the rack in tubes.

Now let’s go to the recipe

Harira with hot Harissa paste (serves 2 as a main meal)

Ingredients:
Red Lentil (Masur): 8 tbsp
Chickpeas: a handful
Onion: 1 small
Tomato: 2 medium
Celery: 1 stalk
Mint leaves: a handful
Parsley: a handful
Coriander leaves: a handful
Potato: 1 small
Squash: ½
Beans: 6-7
Carrot: 1 big
Caraway seeds: ½ tsp
Cumin powder: 1/3 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/3 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/3 tsp
Ground ginger: ½ tsp
Rice noodles/vermicelli/small pasta: a handful; I used broken spaghetti
pepper corn: 6-7 pieces
stock cube: 1 (I used Maggi vegetable stock cube)
whole wheat flour: 2 tbsp
a pinch of saffron
olive oil: 1 tbsp
salt to taste
Lemon: to serve

(I know this is a long list but these are things which are very common in almost all kitchens.)

Method: soak the chickpeas for 3-4 hours and cook with salt for 2 whistles. Keep aside.

Chop the veggies in small pieces. Chop the herbs roughly and keep aside.
Pick and wash the red lentil and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a big pan and add the caraway seeds. When crackle, add the chopped onion and celery. Fry till onions are light pink.

Add in the ginger, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric powder. Fry on low till a nice fragrance come through.

Add all the veggies and salt. Mix everything together. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.

Once the veggies are a little dry add in drained red lentil. Stir till the lentils change the colour.

Add a liter of warm water. Break in the stock cube and stir till it dissolve. Put the whole tomatoes in the pan and let it cook covered on medium.

Once the lentil is cooked but still hold the shape (about 7-9 minutes) smash the tomatoes with your spatula and tip in the herbs, spaghetti, saffron and chickpeas.

Again cover and let it cook till the red lentils totally dissolves and gives a smooth consistency to the soup.

Now mix the flour in 1/3 cup water and mix in the soup to thicken it. Boil for another couple of minutes and your hearty harira is ready to be served.

Harissa Paste

Ingredients:
Dry red Chilies:  10 pieces
Fat cloves of garlic: 4 pieces
Caraway seeds: ½ tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Mint leaves: a handful
Parsley: a handful
Tomato: 1 big
Salt
Olive oil: 1 tbsp

Mehod:
Soak the chillies in water for 10 minutes and drain the water.

Rub the tomato with little oil and burn it on stove top till the skin is black.

Tip in everything in a mixer and grind to a smooth paste.

Done

Now serve the Harira with this spice mix and lemon wedges. Taste the fruit of your labour and enjoy tasty wholesome goodness in every spoonful.

these hot bowl is off to Susan's MLLA: 20 guest hosted by Crispy cook for February.


Also sending this to Joanne's regional cooking event: middle eastern food.


Have a great Sunday friends!

Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images