Friday, 11 September 2009

Pasta with Mango Sauce

Pasta here is not the typical Italian pasta, but a desi version of it. Its basically a spiral wheat pasta that is handmade & sun-dried by my husband's aatya (paternal aunt)..  She is very famous in our family for her mastery in the various types of Indian flat breads & also these different shaped noodles. These here, are known as "Sargunde" .. do not know why, but to me all it is is an interesting name. There is also the sevaiyaan type that she makes, and a smaller pasta, but the name escapes my memory.

So this summer on our India trip I got a chance to try these. Aatya had just made a huge batch of sargunde for our family, and we brought it home with us to Bombay. One afternoon, for lunch, we had this with fresh mango pulp (what we call aam-ras).. It was so delicious with a little ghee & a sprinkle of sugar. It was served in place of rice.. as in there was no rice made that day, and we had company over, so my mom-in-law decided to serve this instead. It also acts as a dessert, because of the mango pulp which is perfect.

We made this for a light lunch a couple of weeks ago.. yumm!

You will need:
2 cups sargunde
2-3 cups Mango pulp
Ghee & Sugar for garnish

Bring a few cups of water to a boil. Add the dried pasta & let it cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
Drain & keep aside. You may add a dollop of ghee in the boiling water to keep the pasta from sticking to one another.

If you are making home made mango pulp (like I did):
Soak the ripe mangoes for an hour in water.
Take each mango & gently  press down all over its flesh to loosen the meat from the skin.
Then, when soft all over, cut off the top of the mango & squeeze out all of the pulp.
You may run it under a hand blender to smoothen out the texture or keep as it, which is also fine.
Refrigerate the mango pulp for a good few hours before serving.
If you are using canned/frozen mango pulp, you may proceed to the next stem. If using canned however, just bear in mind that the pulp needs to be cold.

To Serve:
Take the warm noodles in bowl.
Generously top them off with the mango pulp.
Add a good dollop of ghee, and if you like the mango pulp sweeter, a spoonful of sugar.
Mix well & enjoy!

Instead of the 'Sargunde', any type of wheat sevaiya/noodle may be used that you can find in the Indian/Asian grocery store.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Stuffed Banana Curry (Bharela Kela Nu Shaak)

This is a classic from my Mom's kitchen. I miss being back at home & eating this subzi with warm parathas & yummy sweet gujju kadhi!! Well, I had a few too many bananas & since we were in the Paryushan Parva(Jain fasting week) I figured why not!

Its really simple, really..

You will need:
4 just ripe Bananas,
1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp Coriander-Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp Mustard seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida(hing)

Wash the bananas. Cut a slit across the length making sure to keep the top & the bottom intact.
Mix all the dry masala powders together.
Stuff the bananas with the masala mixture. Now cut each banana into 3- 4 parts depending on its size. Retain some of the mixture to add on top while cooking.
Heat a little oil, splutter the mustard seeds.
Add hing, and saute the stuffed banana pieces for a minute.
Add rest of the masalas mixture & give it a toss.
Add about 1/2 to a cup of water (it should not be too thin)
Cook covered until the bananas turn tender.
Enjoy hot with parathas or rice.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Rigatoni in a Mushroom Broccoli Sauce

I love quick pasta dishes. I also love grocery shopping.. So, there are days I fill my reusable grocery sacks with all kinds of fruits & veggies, but do not manage to finish them all while they are still fresh. This recipe is one of those good ones, where you can use a little of this & a little of that & turn it into a delicious dinner.

You will need:
1 lb. of Rigatoni pasta (I used rigatoni, but you can use any shape pasta that you have)
3-4 large tomatoes, stewed & crushed
1 cup Mushrooms of your choice
1-2 cups florets of Broccoli
1 Zucchini, cut into pieces
1 small Onion, diced
5-6 cloves of Garlic, peeled & crushed
Dry Italian seasoning of your choice OR Any fresh herbs that you have - Parsley, Rosemary, Basil, etc
Crushed Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions
Heat a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, sauce the onions & the garlic.
Add the dry seasoning at this point, & cook the mushrooms, broccoli for a few minutes.
Add the zucchini.. continue cooking.
Lastly, add the crushed tomatotoes, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes to taste & cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add the cooked paste, mix well together & Serve hot!

If using fresh herbs, add them last when you add the pasta to the sauce.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Green Undhiyu

'Undhiyu' is typically eaten in winters. However, in the summer months Mom makes this green version of it using Tindora (Ivy Gourd), any Papdi/whole beans available at the time, Raw bananas for a Jain version &/or Potatoes for a non Jain version; Peas, sometimes its with bhindi, sometimes with some Surti lilva beans frozen from winter days.. you get my drift, right?

Anyhow, couple of weeks ago, we had a baby shower for 2 friends and I was asked to bring a mixed vegetable. Most mixed vegetables - like kormas & such tend to be heavy & rich & I was looking for something more lean & this recipe quickly came to mind. The only thing I changed from the way Mom makes it is that I added garlic for flavour & it turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself.

Here is what I used:
2 Raw bananas, cut into 1 inch sticks
2 cups Tindora, cut into slivers
1 cup frozen Surti Lilva beans
1 cup frozen Green Peas
2 cups Sugar snap Peas
4-5 Green Eggplant (if you do not have green, regular ones are fine too)
2 tbsp finely chopped Garlic
1 tsp each of Mustard & Cumin Seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida
1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder, or to taste
1-2 tbsp of Coriander-Cumin Powder
1 tsp of Turmeric
Salt to taste

For the green masala:

1 cup (generous) frozen or fresh shredded coconut
1/2 cup Roasted Peanut powder
1/2 cup Roasted Sesame powder
3/4 cup freshly chopped Coriander leaves
1 tbsp fresh Ginger paste
4-5 Green Chillies, chopped finely

Mix all of the above together & keep aside.

In a big heavy bottom pan/kadhai , heat a couple of tbsp. of oil
Temper the mustard & cumin seeds. Once they flutter, add the asafoetida.
Now add the garlic & fry for 1/2 a minute.
Now add the eggplant & bananas & fry till they start to soften
Next add the tindora & allow to cook
After a few minutes, throw in the papdi
Follow with the Lilva beans & the peas..
Allow to cook all of the above on a medium flame (uncovered if you can help it) till they are almost done.

Add the salt & all the masalas. Mix well.
Finally, add the mixed green masala & cook till you can see the peanuts & the sesame powder turning colour.
Garnish with lime or lemon juice
Serve hot & enjoy!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Stuffed Baby Brinjal

I used to eat this one stuffed brinjal bhaji at a Punjabi friend's house back in my school days in Bombay. It was sweet, sour, & spicy at the same time. I felt a craving for it, but unfortunately I did not remember the recipe, as it has been years since I have eaten or made this. So based on the taste, I tried to put it together. Although it did not taste entirely like my friend's, I was pretty happy with the end result.

You will need:
6-8 baby brinjals (eggplant)
1 small onion, chopped

Grind to paste (do not add water to grind)
2/3 cup roasted peanuts
1 small onion
1 small tomato
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp coriander cumin powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1 small tamarind ball
1 -2 inch piece of jaggery

Heat oil & fry the chopped onion. Cook till it changes colour.
Add the stuffed brinjals to the pan & allow to cook a few minutes.
Now add the remaining paste & enough water to cover the brinjals & cook covered until the brinjals are tender.
Enjoy with rice, roti or a crunchy toast!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Dudhi Na Muthiya

How do I describe what a 'muthiya' is? I would say that it is a dough made out of either a gourd, greens or leftover rice/khichdi. There are various flours used to incorporate it all together, along with different spices. Typically there are 3 types of muthiyas: steamed, boiled (like dumplings) & deep fried.

Dudhi Na Muthiya is one thing I crave of my Mom's. I do make it, but it doesn't turn out nearly as great as hers. It must be all the love :) This is a very typical gujarati dish & is made as a snack with tea. I have seen many people eat this with milk!

For the Muthiyas:
1 small Dudhi, grated & its water completely drained out.
1/8 cup Rawa/Sooji
1/4 cup Dhokla Flour
2/3 cup Wheat Flour
1/8 cup Besan/Chick pea Flour
1/2 cup Methi(fenugreek) Leaves, chopped
1/8 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
Salt, Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Coriander-Cumin Powder - all to taste
1 tbsp Ginger-Green Chilli Paste
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1-2 tbsp Sugar (or to taste)
Juice of 1 Lime
Plain Yogurt - just enough to knead the dough

To Temper:
2-3 tbsp Oil
1 tsp (generous) Mustard & Cumin Seeds each
1 tbsp (generous) Sesame Seeds
4-5 Dried Red Chillies (preferably the little round ones if you have them)
1 Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Cloves
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (optional)
A pinch of Asafoetida


Grate the bottle gourd & squeeze out the water from it.
Add the methi & coriander leaves.
Add all the spices, sugar & lime juice.
Mix in all of the flours.
Add a little yogurt & knead it into a semi-firm dough.
Oil your steaming vessel & spread the dough over it as it is, or shaped into cylinders.

Steam on high heat for 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool before trying to handle them. Cut them up into thin rounds.
Muthiayas are ready.

For Crunch lovers(Tempering):
  • Heat the oil in a flat surface pan, follow the usual tempering method.

  • After adding the asafoetida, add the chilli powder.

  • Throw in the muthiyas & cook on medium heat until the muthiyas have gained a brown texture.


I added the Red Chilli Powder to the tempering for 2 reasons - I like the extra kick it gives & also it adds a deeper colour to the Muthiyas.

Muthiyas can be had just steamed as well. Just make sure that they are cooked all the way through. (Insert a knife in the centre of the muthiyas, if it comes out clean then they are cooked completely).

Enjoy them hot, with Tea or Chundo or any pickle of your choice.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Black Til laddoos

As seasons change, we also change our diet. It is the case in India as well. During winters, there are sweets, treats, snacks made that are highly nutritious & also they are meant to warm you up. One such treat that Mummy made for the family was a Black Til (sesame) Laddoos.

You will need:
1 cup Black Sesame seeds, dry roasted
1.5-2 cups seedless Dates
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 cup dry shredded Coconut
1/4 cup Sugar (if needed)

  • Dry roast the Sesame seeds. Once cool, start grinding them.
  • When they start to fall apart, add the dates. Keep grinding. It does not have to be perfect.
  • Take it out on a flat surface. Use your hands to mix it together.
  • Add the almonds & the coconut.
  • Mix it all well together, as if you were forming a dough. {It will bind well, as the sesame seeds will release their oils when you crush them & also the dates with their stickiness does its job. Therefore, no ghee is used here to help form the laddoos}.
  • At this point, if needed, add the powdered sugar. Sugar serves two purposes here - acts as a sweetener (if the dates aren't sweet enough), and also it helps to bind it all together.
  • Roll into laddoos of your desired size. Strong hands does the trick, quicker! My dear husband helped me roll these (I made a huge batch for the Sankrant get together. Thank you).

  • I did not add any sugar to my laddoos as the dates made it sweet enough for me.
  • Mom sometimes used to leave the whole mix in an air-tight container without rolling into laddoos. We'd just take spoonfuls out into little plates to enjoy :)
  • Black sesame seeds have a peculiar smell. It tastes just as great as the white seeds, so don't let that keep you from trying these.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Last summer we went camping & each person was to bring along some snacks for that weekend. I had been itching to try these sweet delicious biscuits, which are such a part childhood & school memories. It also takes me down me down the memory lane to this small shop (an Irani Cafe really) that we had near our place, and the guy would have jars filled with the different varieties of nankhatais or rusks. The camping trip then seemed like the perfect time to experiment with these. I looked up a lot of recipes & finally came up with this one. I baked a container full of these, and they were gone so fast, that I was almost sorry I didn't bake more! Well, I would have, but I had run out of ghee by the time I was done :)

This last weekend I had a tea party for Sankrant (Haldi-Kumkum). So I tried these again, as they seemed to fit the theme. I also made another type of nankhatai, some black til laddoos, chivda & chutney sandwiches. I will share some of these recipes in my later posts. But here is the much requested nankhatai recipe. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

You will need:
21/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2tsp Baking Soda
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder

Mix the powdered sugar & ghee well until it obtains a creamy consistency. Use ghee at room temperature to make this task easy & also helps while measuring.
Then sift the rest of the dry ingredients onto the sugar-ghee mixture & knead it into a dough.
Make small balls out of the dough, flatten then a little & line them up onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.
Allow them to cool completely before handling them.

If you'd like, you may take some nuts & insert them into the biscuits before baking. If you are using powdered nuts, as I did on some of them, wait till they are done baking, and sprinkle the nuts while the biscuits are still hot. This will prevent you from having burnt nutty biscuits :)