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Masala Puri

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Ever since Shilpa of Aayi’s Recipes posted a recipe for Masala Puri, I had been dying to try it. A friend of hers got this recipe from a gaadi-wala in Vijayanagar, Bangalore and passed it on to her. The recipe is authentic, coming from a gaadiwala, and Shilpa has yummy photos that accompany the recipe.

I didn’t have all the spices called for in the recipe, so I substituted in my own way. I used store bought puris and dream of making these puris at home one day. Sigh, a girl can dream, right? The dish turned out tasty and was gone in minutes! Next time around, I know I need to make this in a larger quantity.

Serves 2

1 cup Green Peas (If you want to use dry peas, soak them overnight. If using frozen peas, soak for 2-3 hours)
1/4 cup Toor Dal
2 cups of Water
1 big Onion, finely chopped
2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
Coriander Leaves, minced
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
Puris (Store bought)
Fine Sev (Store bought)
Dry Spices :
1/2 tsp Cloves
1″ Cinnamon
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Peppercorns

Green Chutney:
1/2 cup of Coriander Leaves
3-4 Green Chillies
1/4 cup of Water

Grind all the ingredients to make spicy, green chutney.

Sweet Chutney:
You can get the recipe from any blog. Here is one. Or use the Smith & Jones Bhel Puri Chutney, like me.

1. Dry roast all the spices.
2. Pressure cook toor dal and peas separately. I mean, in different containers. Nobody is stopping you from pressure cooking them at the same time.
3. Grind the spices and toor dal together. Dal will add some thickness and consistency to the gravy.
4. Transfer the ground spices and dal to a flat bottom pan and heat it.
5. Add the cooked peas, red chilli powder, salt and water and bring it to a boil. Make sure the gravy is not too thick or not too watery.
6. When serving, break 4-5 puris in a plate. Spread a ladle of gravy on the puris. Add the finely chopped onion, tomatoes and coriander leaves. To make it extra spicy, add a bit of green chutney. If you like it a bit sweet, add the sweet chutney. Sprinkle sev generously. Eat!

I am sending this to Nupur’s Blog Bites#3 event. This entry also goes to Priya’s Cooking with Seeds – Cumin seeds hosted at Sara’s Corner this month.


Written by A

May 13, 2010 at 11:01 am


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Jaangri or Imarti or Jaangir is a close relative of Jalebi. Many people assume they are the same, but they are not. While Jaangri is made of urad dal, Jalebi is made from maida and needs overnight fermentation. And, of course, they taste different.

When I saw Harini’s recipe for Jaangri in Blog Bites #2 roundup, I knew I had to try it. I love Jaangri and I didn’t know it was so easy to make. When Nupur announced the third edition of Blog Bites, I decided to try Harini’s recipe for this event. Since the theme of Blog Bites #3 is adaptation, I will explain what change I have made to the original recipe. I did not use food color, but used some saffron to get the color. Simple, huh? This adaptation is more out of necessity – I didn’t have any food color handy and didn’t want to buy either because honestly, how many recipes do you know which call for food color?

Jaangris Ready!

Makes 8-10 pieces


Urad Dal, 1 cup
Rice 1/4, cup
Sugar, 1 cup
Water – Just enough to immerse the sugar
Saffron threads, 8-10
Oil for frying


1. Soak Urad Dal and Rice for 3-4 hours. Drain all the water and transfer to a mixer pot. Grind them finely with as little water as possible. Don’t be impractical and not use water at all – your mixer will curse you. Add a few drops of water at a time until grinding becomes a possibility.
2. Take a thick enough plastic cover and cut a small hole in one corner. You are basically making a cone. If you are familiar with mehndi cones, you know what we are trying to do here. I am sure you can use a cloth for this, but I haven’t tried that method.
3. For the sugar syrup, place sugar in a thick bottomed vessel and add enough water to immerse the sugar. Add the saffron threads to it and heat this. Keep stirring in between and once you get one string consistency, take it off the flame.
4. Heat oil in a wok. Pour some batter into the cone and when the oil is really hot, squeeze out the batter through the hole and try to shape it like jaangri. I know it is easier said than done. Make two rounds at the center and draw petals around it. Fry on low flame till it is golden brown.
5. Dunk the jaangri in the sugar syrup and take it out after 3-4 minutes.
6. Serve the jaangri hot.

Jaangri being fried


1. You can start with the sugar syrup first. Keep it on low flame so that when the jaangris are fried, your sugar syrup is ready.
2. If you find that the batter is too watery, add some rice flour to it to salvage it. I know it will alter the taste, but altered jaangri is better than no jaangri, right?
3. The sugar syrup should be hot when you put jaangri into it, so you might have to reheat it in between.
4. Since we are not using food color, jaangris will not be as orange as you see in the stores. They will have a mild golden color.
5. Jaangris I made turned out really tasty. The only problem I had with this was they lost their crispiness after a few hours. Store bought jaangris are not soggy, but mine were. I have no idea why and if anyone of you has a clue, please let me know. The next time around, I want to make perfect jaangris!

I am sending this to Nupur’s Blog Bites #3.

Written by A

May 5, 2010 at 9:17 am

Blog Bites #2: Doodhi Kofta

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The first time I had Doodhi Kofta in Potluck restaurant. This was newly opened near our office and we used to go there every other day. The best part about this restaurant was its serving portions. You order a curry and it would be sufficient enough for one person. You don’t have to bother about sharing it with someone or end up wasting it. 3-4 phulkas, one curry, a drink to wash it down, an optional dessert and your lunch is done – sasta aur tikaavu, I mean wholesome and economical. I became a fan of doodhi kofta the moment I tasted it. It didn’t taste like doodhi at all and I found the concept very innovative – vegetable dumplings in gravy that goes well with both roti and rice. When Nupur announced the second blog bites event, I knew I had to make doodhi kofta. I used a lot of recipes as reference, but my recipe is mainly based on Skribles’ recipe.

The original recipe calls for fried koftas. I tend to minimize the use of oil wherever I can, so I tried making koftas in the kuzhi paniyaram skillet. The deep fried koftas were just like bhajis – crispy and oily. The steamed ones were a new taste – they didn’t taste like doodhi, but the combination of doodhi and besan and spices was yummy. So, the choice is yours – diet friendly steamed koftas or the cholesterol rich, deep fried ones.

Doodhi Kofta
Serves 2

For Kofta
1 cup grated Doodhi or Lauki or Bottlegourd
1 cup Besan or Chickpea flour (The actual amount depends on the water content of doodhi)
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Chilly Powder
1/2 tsp Dhaniya Powder
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

For Gravy
2 big Onions
2 big Tomatoes
1 tsp Chilly Powder (I use Everest’s Kashmirilal for gravy. It is rich in color, but mild in hotness, so the gravy is not actually hot, but looks red hot)
A pinch of Garam Masala
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste


1. Shred the bottlegourd and squeeze the water out. The more water you squeeze out, the lesser besan you need. Do not throw away this water. We will add this to the gravy.
2. Add chilly powder, turmeric, salt and dhaniya powder. Let this sit for a few minutes. After adding salt, the water content in bottlegourd will be released. We can add sufficient besan then.
3. Add besan and mix well. If you need more besan, add accordingly.
4. Make lemon sized balls out of this. Deep fry them or steam them in kuzhi-paniyaram skillet.

These koftas can be savored as they are. They taste great with tomato sauce.

Steamed Koftas

Deep Fried Koftas


1. Grind the onions into a fine paste.
2. Puree the tomatoes.
3. Add oil in a saute pan. Once the oil is hot, add the ground onion.
4. After the onion is done, add chilly powder, turmeric, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste.
5. Add the tomato puree.
6. Add water (the one that was squeezed out of bottlegourd) to the gravy. Bring the gravy to a boil.
7. Add the koftas to the gravy. Keep the pan covered and cook over low flame for a few minutes.
8. Koftas absorb water, so adjust water accordingly. Make it more watery if you plan to eat this with rice.
9. Relish it hot with roti or rice.

Written by A

April 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

Blog Bites #2: Instant Dhokla

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My mother-in-law makes these yummy dhoklas which are worth dying for. She doesn’t go the instant way. Instead, she soaks rice, urad dal and chana dal in water for a few hours, grinds these, pours in some sour buttermilk and leaves it to ferment overnight. Basically, a lengthy process that needs to be planned atleast a day in advance. I am a big fan of dhokla and get a craving for it which needs to be satisfied then and there, so I try my hand at instant dhokla. I know there are many varieties of instant dhokla and no matter which one I try I never succeed at making good dhoklas. When Nupur announced the second round of Blog Bites, I decided I will make instant dhokla and succeed at that!

After searching and filtering, I finally decided to use Nanditha’s recipe. It is simple, does not call for too many ingredients and most importantly, has measures for all the ingredients. I tried making the first batch with just 1 cup of besan, which turned out really bad. It was not a problem with the recipe, but with my execution but let’s not get into that. The second batch was twice the size – 2 cups of besan and this one turned out really good. They were fluffy, spongy and yummy. I did very minor changes to the original recipe.

Instant dhokla
Serves 2


1 cup Besan or Gram Flour
1/2 tsp citric acid crystals
1 cup Water – the same cup that was used to measure besan
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
Oil for greasing and tempering
2-3 Green Chillies or according to taste, finely cut or ground to paste
1 tsp Mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
2-3 green chillies, slit in the middle
Coriander leaves,
1/2 tsp Sugar, if you are a fan of sweet-n-sour taste

1. Transfer besan to a large enough bowl. Add 3/4th cup of water to this and make this into a smooth paste.
2. Add the ground green chillies, salt and citric acid to this. Mix well. Add sugar if desired.
3. Add the soda to the remaining 1/4th of water. Mix well. Instead of adding soda directly, we are mixing soda in water and then adding this to besan. This way, soda will mix well with besan.
4. Add the above soda-water mixture to the besan paste and rotate in one direction.
5. After a few moments, you should feel the batter become airy and see it rise.
6. Transfer the contents to a vessel greased with oil.
7. Steam this by keeping it in a pressure cooker (without the weight) for 10-12 minutes.
8. You can even microwave it for 3-4 minutes. The exact time will depend on the power of microwave so make sure you check after every minute if it is done.
9. Allow the dhokla to cool a bit. Make medium sized pieces.
10. In a saute pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, sliced green chillies and curry leaves.
11. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. Tastes better with chutney.

I leave you with a photograph of the dhokla fresh out of the cooker. I don’t have a photograph of the garnished dhoklas because you see, they were gone in seconds.

Written by A

April 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Blog Bites #1: Gajar Halwa in a Rice Cooker

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Nupur at One Hot Stove is hosting an event, Blog Bites. The first part of the event is all about cookers – pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker. This post is my entry to this event.

The rice cooker I have is a wedding gift from my colleagues at my previous company.   This is one of the best wedding gifts I have got. I use it all the time. It is easy to clean and maintain. When I have guests coming over, I make plain rice or any colored rice in this. I leave it alone in the rice cooker and get busy preparing other things. I don’t have to worry about checking on it and re-heating it at lunch time. The rice sits there innocently while the aroma spreads to the entire house and works on your appetite. The bottom line is: rice cookers are a must in every kitchen. Lakshmi and the rest of the gang, thanks for the gift! Hey Lakshmi, you cook some wonderful things with your rice cooker, why don’t you post some of your recipes for us? You can even post an entry for this event.

I am lucky to have been born in a family where there are great cooks and relish-ers in umpteen numbers. Recipes handed down from 3-4 generations which were previously made in kitchens with stone stoves are made even now in modern kitchens with chimneys. And these recipes remain a favorite with all of us even today. I always go back to these tried, tested and relished to the core recipes which give me a comfort zone and confidence that I can get this right.

The ubiquitous gajar halwa is one such dessert which I go back to, no matter what the occasion. If someone is coming over for lunch at a short notice, then I put together the ingredients and get the dessert ready in minutes. Not much preparation needed (apart from grating the carrots and that too is easy if you have a food processor) and a few ingredients which are available in the kitchen all the time. If gajar halwa sounds too plain and boring, then top it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it becomes more interesting. I have always made this in a pressure cooker or in a microwave, but when my cousin said she tried making doodhi halwa in a rice cooker, I got curious. So, I got this recipe from her and tried it myself but replaced doodhi with gajar and it came out exceedingly well. The best part about this recipe is you can reduce its calorie content by not using ghee. Yes, it is possible. You can make gajar halwa without ghee and it tastes great. My cousin doesn’t have a blog, so I can’t post a link to it.

Recipe: Serves 2

1. Carrots – 3-4 or about a quarter kg. Grate all the carrots and put it in a cup just right to hold this. We will use this cup as a measure for the rest of the ingredients. Add the grated carrots to the rice cooker.

2. Add a quarter cup of sugar (the same cup used above). I like halwa which is mildly sweet. If you like it sweeter, add a little more sugar to the rice cooker.

3.  Add a cup of milk.

4. Switch on the rice cooker and let the halwa cook. The sweet aroma will spread within a few minutes!

5. If you just can’t think of halwa without ghee, then this is where you add it. Add a few spoons of ghee to the half-cooked halwa and continue to cook.

6. The rice cooker will switch over to ‘Keep warm’ mode once the halwa is done. If you continue to keep the halwa in the rice cooker, then it might become too dry. It’s better to transfer it to a serving bowl.

7. Garnish the halwa with finely cut almonds and cashews. Enjoy the hot gajar halwa as is or top it up with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and enjoy the hot-n-cold combination.

Written by A

March 15, 2010 at 5:20 am

Posted in Blog Bites, cooking, food