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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Malpoas and Happy Holi



Festivals invokes nostalgia and memories. Holi/Doul Poornima was much awaited in our home. While growing up, I liked the dry colors or ‘Phag’ in Hindi, as Holi falls under Phagun month according to Hindu calendar. I was never a fan of wet Holi and in secondary school, I almost stopped playing with colours. Don’t take me wrong, I like colors, in fact I adore colors, but when it comes to playing with wet colors, I shy away. Anyways, I always liked Phag and those varied colors of phag sold in small packets- red, yellow, green and orange. When splashed in to the air, smell of Phag intoxicated many minds and souls. Those days phag used to have a sweet aroma, or may be my olfactory nerves were much active then. I could smell that beautiful aroma of Phag.One whiff and the entire mind used to get intoxicated with joy and happiness that surrounded those celebrations on every Holi Mornings.
As the day progressed, I would peek inside kitchen to see what is being cooked there. My mother used to make Gujia, namkeen, Dahi vada etc. on every Holi. Sometimes, I would see her make these ‘Bhaja Malpoas’ as well. I also recalled, once we went to meet up our school teacher in the evening. I was in junior school at that time. I would call her madam A, as she reminds me of a famous Hindi poetess. Both share same name. Madam A, was earnestly making fresh batches of ‘bhaja malpoas’ for her school kids and was serving them warm as well. Those days teacher-student relationships were very cordial and they were almost like our guardians. The joy and satisfaction on my mother’s face and my teacher Madam A’s face is incomparable. These ladies have different aura about themselves.


I have tried to re-create those same ‘bhaja malpoas’ in my kitchen as well. I don’t know if this is something to preserve traditions, or remembering and acknowledging my mother’s and Madam A’s contributions in shaping my future and developing memories, but I like to make them once in a while during festivals.
These Bhaja Malpoas makes me feel the comfort of that bygone era. Festivals indeed invokes feelings and nostalgia. Before I jump to recipe, Wishing everyone a very Happy Holi, Doul Poornima.
This is how I made Bhaja Malpoas.

Bhaja Malpoa/ Mini fried pancake
Recipe requirements
  • 1 cup of self-rising flour/Maida
  • 1 cup of roasted semolina/Sooji
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3-4 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of milk or as required to make the batter
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
  •  2-3 saffron strands (optional)



Method
  • In a big mixing bowl, mix in semolina and self-rising flour. The proportions, I generally take equal in quantity.1:1 for semolina and self-rising flour. If you don’t get self-rising flour, use plain flour but add in about a tsp of baking powder.
  • In a mortal and pestle, coarsely crush fennel seeds.
  • Now add in fennel seeds and sugar to the above. Add whole milk slowly and mixing through, make sure there are no lumps.Add saffron strands if you wish to add.
  •  Make a smooth batter not too thick and not too thin, just like a pancake batter, easy to drop in consistency.
  • Now in a deep bottomed pan, add in cooking oil. Let it heat up.
  • Take about a heaped table spoon of the batter and slowly drop into the hot cooking oil. Let it deep fry for a while. Take them out and drain over kitchen towel.
  • This much of the batter made approx. 20-22 medium size malpoas.
  • Unlike other malpoa which is khoya based and dipped in sugar syrup, these 'Bhaja Malpoas' are very crunchy when relished warm and hot.
  • Store in air tight container stays fresh for 3-4 days.



Happy Cooking Friends and Wishing Everyone - Happy Holi !!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Paneer Makhana Ki Sabzi


Well, we are into a new year and I haven’t yet updated the blog. Let me wish a very happy new year everyone. May you have a happy, healthy, peaceful and joyous 2020.
A fresh start in to a new decade. It makes me pause for a moment to realize that 10 years have passed and in blink of a second, all memories keep flashing by. Well, each year was eventful and memorable and hope the same for you all.Once again- Happy New Year 


I will start this year on a very simple and homely food recipe of Paneer Makhana ki sabzi. As I understand after indulging in loads of sweets and desserts during holiday time, it’s time to go slow on sugar. Paneer a great alternative to chicken or meat can be cooked into a delicious curry.
This paneer makhana was served along with Gobi Aloo-matar -cauliflower potato green peas dry curry.
Now to the recipe
Paneer Makhana Ki sabzi
Recipe requirements
  • 250 Gms of paneer
  • 1 large cup of toasted lotus seeds/makhana in ghee
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ inch ginger
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 1 cup whole cashews
  • 2-3 green chilies

Seasonings
  • 1tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of Kashmiri red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  •  ½ tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  •  1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of Salt or as per taste
  • 2-3 tsp of ghee
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil




Method
  • Cut paneer block into cubes.
  • In a food processor or mixer/grinder, grind onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, quarter cup of cashews and green chilies in to a smooth paste.
  • In a fry pan, add in ghee about 2 tsp, fry the makhana or lotus seeds till they turn little puffy. Take out in a bowl.
  • Now heat up a heavy bottomed fry pan, add cooking oil. Add in cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Add in the prepared paste, add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder, Kashmiri red pepper powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and keep on stir/fry for 10-15 mints at medium high flame. Add in 2 cups of water. Preferably warm water.
  • Add in rest of whole cashews and makhana/ fried lotus seeds and of course paneer pieces.
  • Now cover the pan. Lower the flame and let it cook slowly for about 15-20 mints.
  • At the end add in ghee, garam masala and mix well. Add kasoori methi if you like it as a garnish. You can add green peas also.Serve and enjoy with rotis.


Happy Cooking Friends