Oriyarasoi is on twitter !

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cabbage Poriyal

'Poriyal' or vegetables lightly stir fried with a generous amount of freshly grated coconut is one of my favorites. I call it the south indian version of the oriya 'bhajja'. It is light and healthy. And takes minimum amount of time and effort. While one can make it with various vegetables (especially gourd), Cabbage poriyal is the diah that one encounters most frequently at the South indian restaurants serving thali meals. It is also called 'Thoran' in Kerala.

Last time I made this recipe without using onions ( it was a Monday ) and it turned out pretty well. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10-15 mins

Ingredients - 1 small cabbage (shredded into small pieces), 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut, 2 green chillis, 1 sprig of curry leaves, 4 tbs split urad/channa dal, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 3 tsp oil, salt to taste.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add channa dal/urad dal and fry for 2 minutes till they turn a few shades darker.

Make slits in the green chillis and add them to the wok. Follow with the curry leaves.
Finally add the asafoetida and then the cabbage. Mix in.

Sprinkle salt and turmeric. Mix and cover with lid for 3 minutes.

Remove lid and stir lightly at regular intervals till done.

Enjoy with piping hot rice and sambhar.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chinese Samosa

These days I am happily vacationing in Orissa (Bhubaneshwar to be precise). While the last few days rain had been playing truant ( and forcing us indoors ), the clouds have cleared up this morning and we have been treated to a gorgeous blue sky. It is the right time ( of the year ) for a foodie like me to give in to my weakness(ES) and indulge my taste buds.

While in Orissa I prefer to avoid fried stuff and relish simple meals. I do this in order to save on the calories which I later splurge on the amazing variety of sweets available here. But I could not resist myself from sampling these delicious Chinese samosas from Chappan Bhog . Yeah, you heard it right. It is named 'Chinese samosa'. (Well that's a term coined by the fast food industry that thrives on innovation and the first mover always gets to grab the lion's share of the market pie). Chappan Bhog is a restaurant that serves  'no onion no garlic' fare and is famous for the amazing repertorie of sweets that it stocks.

More on the samosas. It is clearly a case of the packaging being better than the product. These are samosas that have noodles (or chowmein as it is called here ) as the stuffing. While the outer layer was nice and crispy, the noodles were a little too sweet for my taste. I think they would do good to add more chillis to the stuffing. And pairing it up with a nice chutney would really raise the bar.

Have a sneak peek at the stuffing inside these beauties. Guess it looks a little dry ( I would prefer bigger chunks of the vegetables & paneer ):

I will be trying the ones available on the street sides 'thelas' or joints next. Have heard nice things about them. Hope they are better.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Besara ( Vegetables in a light mustard gravy )

Besara is an authentic oriya dish that is light and spicy, all at the same time. It is part of the abhada or the prasad offered to Lord Jaganaath during midday. While the former does not make use of any onion or garlic, I have been generous with garlic in my version.

Also i have skipped ambula in favour of tamarind as the latter adds a lovely color to the dish. This is one recipe which my South Indian friends would really enjoy (Most of them find the Oriya vegetarian fare stuff a little bland). Read on:

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup diced pumpkin, 1 cup diced eggplant, 1 cup sliced potato, 1/2 cup diced pointed gourd,1/2 cup chopped okra, 2 medium sized tomatoes, 4 slit green chillis, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 4 tsp oil, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 dried mangoes slices ( ambula ) or 1 tsp tamarind paste.

For the mustard paste - 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 7 garlic flakes, 1 red chilli.

Preparation - Dry grind the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chilli. Add the garlic flakes and a little water at a time. Grind into a smooth paste.

Add 1/2 cup of water and allow to stand.

Soak the ambula in 1/2 cup water . Or if using tamarind paste dilute it with 1/2 cup water.

Cooking - Heat 3 tsp of oil in a wok. Add the chopped okra and fry on a high flame for 2-3 mins. Add pumpkin, potato, eggplant and pointed gourd. Fry on medium to high flame for 3 minutes. Remove from wok and keep aside.

Add 1 tsp of oil to the wok and add the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 minutes till soft. Remove and keep aside.

Add 4-5 cups of water to the wok. Add the mustard paste ( drain the cup slowly into the wok so that the sediments settle down in the bottom of the wok. This removes the bitterness of the mustard seeds. ), salt and turmeric.

Bring the water to a boil and then add the fried vegetables. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the fried tomatoes. Boil for 8-10 minutes or till veggies are a little mushy.

Add the ambula/tamarind and slit green chillis. Boil for 3-4 minutes.

Remove from wok and serve hot with white rice . ( Garnish with coriander leaves/fried boris if desired )

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sagaa Bhajja ( Osa Bara Randha )

Sagaa Bhajja or fried Amaranthus leaves is one of the regular items in a oriya meal. It is a simple and yet flavorful dish. The wide variety of green leafy vegetables available in Orissa add a lot of versatility to this recipe. Kosala sagaa , Leutiya sagga, Khada sagaa, Kalama sagaa, Pita sagaa and Sunisuni sagaa are some of the commonly available ones.

As my grandma said the ideal sagaa bhajja is one in which the leaves should not be bunched together and it should be cooked just right (with a little bite left in it....somewhat like pasta ) and not mushy. She made sure that I perfected this recipe. She is no more but i think about her every time i make this dish.

Usually onions and garlic are added to this recipe but when cooking on a fasting day (osa bara) we rely only on pancha phutana, red chillis and freshly grated coconut to bring alive the flavours of this dish. One has to sure that the oil is heated to the right temperature so that the spices release all their flavours.

During the ongoing Kartika Masa, this is a must have on the Mondays along with a Habisa Dalma and Oou khatta. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10-12 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups of shredded ( finely cut ) sagaa ( I have used Khada sagaa), 2/3 tsp pancha phutana, 2 red chillis, 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut, 3 tsp oil, salt to taste.

Preparation - Heat the oil in a wok. One has to sure that the oil is heated to the right temperature so that the spices release all their flavours. Too cold a temperature will not allow the phutana to splutter while too hot will burn it and ruin the taste.

Add broken red chilli and pancha phutana. Allow the spluttering to start.

Add the shredded sagaa in small batches and mix with the spices.

Cover and cook for 1 minute on medium to high flame. Remove the cover and stir gently to prevent leaves from bunching/sticking together.

Repeat the above step alternately till saga is done and excess water evaporates. Add the salt and mix in. Switch off the flame and sprinkle freshly grated coconut. Mix thoroughly.

Serve hot with arwa anna, Habisa Dalma and Ouu khatta.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aau (Oou) Khatta

Ouu or Dillenia indica is an exotic looking fruit that is found in Asia ( Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh). Even in India it grows only in the states of Orissa, Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It bears fruit in the winter months.

Oou khatta is a very integral part of the Habisa ( Kartika Masa Sombar ) meals. It is added to the Habisa dalma and also made into a khatta ( sweet-sour gravy ). This fruit is said to possess medicinal properties and is touted to be good for diabetics. It is rich in phytochemicals and has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Preparation Time - 30-35 mins

Ingredients - 1 Oou/Aau (elephant apple), 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 dry red chillis, salt to taste, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/3 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin-chilli powder, 1 tsp pancha phutana, 3 tsp cooking oil, coriander/freshly grated coconut for garnishing.

Preparation - Pull away and cut the green petals of the oou ( Need to be careful during this as the liquid that oozes out is quite slippery ). Peel the outer skin and cut into long strips about 1 cm wide. Use a pestle or small stone to slightly crush the pieces.

Grind the mustard and cumin seeds into a smooth paste.

Cooking - Boil 3-4 cups of water with salt and turmeric. Add the crushed Oou pieces to this and boil for 5 mins. Drain off all the water and keep aside. (This takes care of the bitterness/astringency if any )

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pancha phutana and broken red chilli. Allow to splutter.

Add the boiled Oou pieces to the wok and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the mustard-cumin paste and fry for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of water along with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Cover with a lid and allow to cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes. ( Keep checking in between and add more water if required )

Add the sugar and cumin-chilli powder. Cook till the sugar dissolves into the gravy.

Garnish with grated coconut/coriander leaves. Serve with Arwa bhata - Dalma or Bhata - Mutton Curry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quaker Oats New Flavour : Classic Elaichi & Raisins (Product review)

This is the latest flavour of Quaker Oats to hit the shelves. With its rich cardamom flavour, it is quite reminiscent of the traditional Kheer prepared by my mom.

Quaker has a interesting range of flavoured quick oats which come at a pocket friendly price & packaging. Priced at Rupees 10 a pouch, these are designed for one time use thus doing away the need of storage.

Available in both sweet & savory versions, the savory flavours are more inclined towards an older audience. I have no reason to complain as my kiddie laps us the sweet ones ( I have recommended the same to my neighbours and got wonderful feedback from them). It is the easiest way to get some milk into my little ones' tummy who otherwise puts up quite a fight (no amount of drinking chocolate, horlicks, bournvita, or Boost succeeded in masking the smell of milk).

This is one product that I would rate at 5/5 (overall).
Packaging - 4.5/5 ( I find the quantity a little less and have to add a fruit/boiled egg to supplement my breakfast. But quantity is good enough for kids. )
Price - 5/5
Taste - 5/5

Note: This is a product that has added sugar. Diabetics please watch out. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bread Upma

Sandwiched, toasted, dipped in egg/batter and fried, slathered with jam. Does that bring on a sense of 'deja vu'? Yeah we are talking about the very unpretentious bread. Available in varieties like sweet. milk, sandwich, fruit, whole wheat, multi-grain, it is the Holy Grail breakfast for most of us.

Today we will be adding to this repertoire with another easy-breezy bread recipe . And this is one great way of masking that stale bread lying unused in the fridge ( The bread has to be in edible condition....Crumbly is OK Fungus is a strict No-No ). Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10 mins or less

Ingredients - 4 pieces bread, 1 small onion, 1 green chilli, 2 tsp oil, a pinch of mustard seeds, a pinch of cumin seeds, 1/5 tsp red chilli powder, pinch of turmeric, salt to taste.

For garnishing - 1 tbs chopped coriander leaves, 2 tbs freshly grated coconut(optional), 1 tsp lime juice.

Preparation - Cut the onion into thin long pieces. Cut the green chilli into small pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the cumin and mustard seeds. Allow to splutter. Add the chopped onion and fry for 30-40 seconds. Add the green chilli .

Dip the bread slices in water for 1-2 seconds, take it out and squeeze out all the water.

Crumble the soaked bread and add it to the wok. Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped coriander, grated coconut and lime juice. Mix well.

Serve hot .

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Habisa Dalma ( Kartika Masa Special Dalma )

Kartika Masa is perhaps the holiest month in the Hindu Calendar. Fasting on the Mondays of this month has a special significance as mentioned in the Puranas. Most people in Orissa give up non vegetarian items (and also onions and garlic in some cases) for the entire month. If not for the entire month, atleast the last five days or 'Panchuka' as it is called in oriya is strictly abided by many.

Womenfolk usually keep a fast and eat once a day on the Mondays of Kartika masa. Their meals consist of arwa anna, habisa dalma and aau khatta. This is a special kind of Dalma that is prepared without turmeric and the moong dal that is to be used is not roasted as usual. Only a few vegetables are sanctioned for this recipe. As 'Habisa' was primarily observed by widows in the earlier times, certain restrictions are imposed on the diet. But now a days quite a few married women observe the fasts and even a few rare men have started following these customs.

This changing profile of the devotees following Habisa has brought about a lot of change in the way this dalma is now prepared. Now people have also started adding turmeric and various vegetables. In fact some married women have this superstitious belief that turmeric should be added for making the dalma auspicious. Defying the very reason why widows are forced to skip adding turmeric. Personally, I don't buy any of this logic. Moreover I can't even use vegetables like Taro and yam as I have developed an allergy to these .

So, I will be sticking to the recipe that my MIL follows ( BTW i have added a pinch of turmeric as my son is a little picky ). Read on:

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cups split moong dal
  • 1/2 cup saru/arbi/colocassia
  • 1/2 cup kancha kadali/raw banana
  • 1/2 cup mati alu/yam
  • 1/2 cup amrutabhanda/raw papaya ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1/2 cup mula/radish (optional) ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 cup kakharu/pumpkin ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1-2 pieces of aau (slightly crushed)
  • 2-3 whole red chillis ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 tsp jeera-lanka gunda ( roasted and powdered cumin seeds and dry red chilli )
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • grated coconut for garnishing

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add broken red chillis, cumin seeds and bay leaf. Fry for 20 seconds. (Skip the above step if you want to keep it really authentic. But it tastes much better this way. The logic behind this step is that Habisa dalma shud not be tempered hence some people add these tempering ingredients while cooking itself. Crazy logic rite ? But when has religion n logic ever gone together !)

Wash and transfer the dal along with 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Wash and add all the vegetables to it. Add the bay leaf too if you are skipping the tempering. Close lid and cook for 1-2 whistles.

Remove from flame and allow steam to escape before opening the lid. Add the crushed ginger, jeera-lanka gunda and grated coconut.

Serve with arwa anna (raw rice) and Oou Khatta / sagaa bhajja.

This is offered as prasad to Dhabaleshwara ( Lord Shiva ) by the devotees before consumption.

This above pic is a earlier one . I have used quite a few vegetables in this one and have also used a bit of tempering !!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dal Rozana (Harada Dali Recipe)

When I am neither fasting nor feasting, I prefer simple meals. A piping hot pot meal with some raita or rice/roti with dal, stir fried vegetables and roasted papad/pickle is enough to make my day. As i usually chop and store the vegetables on the weekends and use pressure cooker for cooking both the rice and dal, the meals take minimum time and effort. ( Tip for bachelors - In order to save time, use a separator to make the rice and dal at the same time. I used to do the same during my bachelor days.)

Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 12-15 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup toor/arhar/harada dal, 1 small onion, 1/3 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 medium sized tomato, 1 tbs chopped coriander roots, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 whole red chillis, 1/5 tsp asafoetida, 2 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, salt to taste. (Optional-1 tbs coriander leaves for garnishing)

Preparation - Wash and clean the toor dal under running water. Keep is soaked for 2 hours.

Chop onion into thin long pieces. Finely chop the tomato.

Cooking - Transfer the toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups water, salt and turmeric.

Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles on medium flame. Remove from flame and allow steam to escape before opening lid. Take a heavy spoon and swish it around to smoothen the dal.

Heat the oil in a tempering/tadka pan. Add broken red chilli, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once seeds start spluttering add the onions followed by the ginger garlic paste. Fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and coriander shoots. Fry till the tomatoes soften a bit.

Add the asafoetida and fry for 5 seconds. Pour it over the contents of the pressure cooker.

Put the pressure cooker over a low flame and allow the contents to come to a boil.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice/rotis.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Khaee Chanda ( Kumar Purnima Special )

Kumar Purnima or the last day of the Shravan masa, marks an important day in the Oriya Calendar. It is a day when unmarried girls keep a fast and offer worship to the Moon. According to folklore, the girls who offer worship as soon as the moon is sighted will get a young and handsome husband. Any delay in the worship results in a bad omen and such girls are said to be destined for a old husband. Anyways this is an old wives tale and i personally do not believe in it.

But it is the 'Khaee Chanda', the primary offering that i personally look forward to on this day. It is a delicious medley of khaee (a kind of puffed rice), ripe bananas, tender cucumber, grated coconut, yogurt and sugar. This is one of the simplest forms of prasadam that I have come across and does not require any cooking but the taste is simply mind-blowing.

Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -  2 cups khaee, 1 ripe banana (peeled), 1 tender cucumber (finely chopped), 1/2 cup grated coconut, 1/2 cup yogurt, 3-4 tsp sugar.

Preparation - Take all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash together so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Transfer the mixture onto a clean plate and give it the shape of a Full moon (round) or a New moon (crescent).

Use this to offer worship to the Moon ( Do it near a Tulsi plant with some flowers, incense sticks and a lighted diya ). Afterwards it is consumed as a prasadam.

Note - It might turn a little dark if kept for sometime due to the presence of ripe bananas. But it does not affect the taste in any way.

Note - I have not used any khaee in this recipe as i could not get any in Blore.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mandiya Pitha ( Ragi/Finger Millet pancakes )

Mandiya or Finger millet is quite popular in Western Orissa. It is rich in calcium and has cooling properties. It is widely consumed during the summer months in the form of 'sherbat' or 'palua' to keep the stomach cool and reducing body heat. In some of the tribal districts of Orissa (like Keonjhar, Kalahandi, etc) it is mixed with fermented rice water and consumed as a popular drink.

It is also made into thin chakulis (savoury) or thick pithas (sweet/dessert). Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 1 hour ( includes 35-40 minutes of standby time )

Ingredients - 1 cup chaula chuna (rice flour), 1 cup mandiya chuna (ragi flour), 1 cup chopped coconut, 1 1/3 cup water, 3 tsp (heaped) sugar, cardamon ( 2 nos), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 tsp ghee.

Preparation - Mix the rice flour and ragi flour in a mixing bowl. Add water little by little and make into a batter of medium consistency (neither too thin nor two thick).

Grind the coconut into a paste and add to the batter. Add sugar, salt and powdered cardamon. Mix well and keep aside for 30-35 minutes.

Divide the batter into 4 parts. Sift in 1/4 tsp of baking powder to each portion of the batter and mix well  just before adding it to the wok.

Cooking - Heat 1/2 tsp ghee in a wok. Add one portion of the batter.

Cover with a lid and cook on one side for 3-4 minutes or till the batter stops being runny.

Flip over to the other side and another 1/2 tsp of ghee. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from wok and allow to cool down for 5-6 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve.

Repeat the process with the remaining portions of the batter.

Note - Add milk instead of water to make the batter. It not only gives a better taste but also makes it more nutritious.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lau santula

This is one of the classic oriya recipes. It is a must have for a postpartum diet and elderly people. Also, since it is a low calorie recipe, it is good for all of us who will be trying to lose some pounds after the festival season is over. Read on:

Preparation Time - 10-15 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups peeled and diced bottle gourd, 1 medium sized onion, 3-5 garlic flakes, 3 tsp chopped coriander leaves, 2 dry red chillis, 1/2 tsp pancha phutana, salt, turmeric, 2 tsp oil.

Preparation - Boil the lauki in a pressure cooker with a little salt and turmeric for 1 whistle. Remove from flame and allow steam to escape. Do not throw away the excess water.

Chop the onion into small pieces. Crush the garlic flakes.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok.

Add the pancha-phutana and broken red chilli . Once the chilli changes it color, add the chopped onion. Fry till translucent.

Add the boiled bottle gourd along with excess water. Cook for 2 mins

Add the crushed garlic and coriander leaves. Remove from flame.

Serve hot with whole wheat/multigrain rotis of a wholesome meal.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mandira Khichudi

Khichdi or Khichudi as it is called in Orissa is a wonderful and healthy one pot meal. One can also add vegetables like beans, carrots, cauliflower and potato to it to up the nutritional content. However the version that is served at temples does not use any veggies. It is the clever use of spices and condiments that makes it super fragrant and delicious.

Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup gobindobhog/sitabhog rice, 1 cup moong dal, 1 tbs cumin seeds, 2-3 bay leaves/annapurna leaves, 2-3 dry red chillis, 1 inch long ginger, 1/2 tsp asafoetida, 2-3 tsp sugar (optional), 1/3 cup raisins, 2-3 tbs ghee, 1/2 tsp turmeric.

Cooking - Heat a frying pan. Dry roast the moong dal till it gives off a faint fragrance. Remove and keep aside to cool down.

Wash the rice and moong dal. Mix in the turmeric and keep in a plate to dry a bit.

Heat 1 tsp ghee in a tadka pan. Add broken red chillis and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the asafoetida and remove from flame. Keep aside.

Heat the remaining ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the rice and moong dal. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add 6-7 cups of boiling water. Add crushed ginger, bay leaves, raisins, salt and the contents of the tadka pan.

Close lid and cook for 3-4 whistles.

Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Stir in the sugar.

Serve with tomato khajuri khatta and sagaa bhajja on Osa bara / fasting days.

This is usually offered as a prasad to Goddess Durga on Ashtami/Navami.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Parwal-Potato Chips

A few days back I blogged about the 'Berhampore Aloo Chips', a Berhampore (Orissa) speciality. It is a wonderful side dish that goes really well with my Osa bara randha (fasting food), i.e., arwa bhata and dalma / khechudi and dahi. This time I prepared the chips with potola(pointed gourd) & kaankada (spine gourd) along with aloo for my Navratri dinner. (The kaankada does not really show up as i only two pieces left from the previous week's)

Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients- 5-6 nos parwal/pointed gourd, 5-6 kaankada/spine gourd, 1 medium sized potatoes, 1 tsp rice flour, 1 tsp corn flour, 1 tsp besan, a pinch of turmeric, 2-3 tsp sesame, 1/5 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, salt to taste, oil for deep frying.

Preparation - Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into thin strips ( thinner than those you make for french fries ). Also peel and cut the parwal into thin strips. Do the same with the kaankada. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients except for oil. Mix together so that all the strips are coated properly.

Cooking - Heat oil in a deep wok.

Add the vegetables in small batches and fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or till they turn crisp.

Remove from wok and keep on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Enjoy them as a side dish for your Ashtami/Navami lunch/dinner.

Makhane ki Kheer

Phool Makhana or Lotus seed is more commonly available in North India where it is used during vrats. As it not regarded as a cereal its atta is also used for making rotis and it finds use even in curries. It can even be consumed as a snack in the roasted form.

It is free from fat and cholesterol, rich in iron and phosphorus and is also a good source of antioxidants. Its nutritional profile makes it ideal for weight-watchers or people suffering from high blood pressure/cholesterol. It also helps digestion, reduces frequent urination, strengthens body and improves energy levels.

I used 'Phool Makhana' to make this delicious and nutritious kheer during the Navratri days. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup phool makhana, 2 cups whole milk (boiled), 3 tsp sugar, 6-7 tbs milk powder/3-4 tbs condensed milk, 1 tbs ghee, handful of almonds, 3-4 glazed cherries, 2 pinch ground nutmeg, 1 pinch cardamon powder.

Preparation - Chop the almonds and cherries.

Cooking - Heat a pan. Add ghee and then the phool makhana. Roast for 3 minutes on a low to medium flame till crisp. Remove and keep aside to cool down.

Crush all the makhana lightly ( do not powder) except for 5-6 nos.

Add the almonds to the pan and roast for 2 minutes.

Bring the milk to a boil. Dissolve the sugar in it.

Add the crushed phool makhana and almonds. Boil for 10-12 minutes on a low flame.

Add the whole/intact phool makhanas and the milk powder along with the nutmeg and cardamon. Remove from flame after 1 minute.

Allow to cool down. (one can also refrigerate it)

Garnish with the cherries and serve.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Important Oriya Festivals & Special Recipes

Each festival/celebration/occasion calls for a special recipe/dish. While some of these are traditional in nature and have been handed down from generation to generation, we all do have some family favorites. Staying in nuclear families and away from Orissa makes it difficult for many of us to stick to the traditional recipes as either the awareness/recipe/ingredient eludes us. While the last one is beyond our reach, this list is an attempt on my part to create awareness about such traditional recipes. The list is not comprehensive and i would appreciate any useful inputs/additions. Read on for the list:

Makar Sankranti (January) - Makara Chaula (makara-chaula)
Samba Dasami (January) - Ghadaghadiya Tarkari
Saraswati Puja (January) - Chuda Ghasa(chuda ghasa)
Shivratri (March) - Panchamrita(panchamrit)
Dola Jatra (March) - Amba panna
Mahabisuba/Panaa Sankranti - Bela Panaa/Chattua Panna(bela panaa)
Ram Nabami (April) - Chaula Kheeri (chaulaa kheeri)
Rajaa (June)- Janta Poda pitha(janta poda pitha), Budha chakuli (buddha chakuli), Saru chakuli(saru chakuli
Ratha Jatra (June-July) - Poda pitha (Poda pitha)
Bahuda Jatra (July) - Chakuli (Leuta pitha)
Jyesta Purnima - Chaula Kheeri
Ganesh Puja - Rasi ladoo, Chuda ghasa
Dwitibahana Osa - Pariba Ghanta(pariba ghanta)
Durgasthami - Kanika (kanika)/Khechudi (khichudi)
Kumar Purnima - Khaee Chanda
Kartika Somabar - Muga Dalma/Habisa Dalma, Aau khatta
Prathamasthami - Enduri Pitha (enduri pitha)
Manabasa Gurubar (November - December)- Gaintha/Attakali, Kakara, chakuli, Dahi Pakala, Sagaa, Khechudi
Dhanu Sankranti (December-January) - Dhanu Muaa

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chaunk wala Raita

This is one of my favorite raita recipes and one that i usually make on a Osa-bara (Vrat) as it does not use onion. As is quite common in Orissa, I use a lot of tempering to add flavour to this otherwise plain Cucumber raita. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10 minutes or less

Ingredients - 1 medium sized cucumber, 2/3 cup fresh yogurt, 1 tbs chopped coriander roots, 1 sprig of curry leaves, 1/2 inch long ginger, 2-3 green chillis, pinch of asafoetida, 1 tsp mustard seeds, salt to taste, 1-2 tsp oil.

Preparation - Peel and cut the cucumber into small pieces.

Take the yogurt into a mixing bowl. Add salt and whisk lightly. Add the cucumber pieces.

Take the green chillis, coriander shoots and ginger in a mortar and use a pestle to crush them lightly. Alternatively use a small stone to crush the ingredients.

Cooking - Heat oil in a tempering pan (if you do not have one, use a small frying pan instead). Add the mustard seeds and when they start spluttering add the crushed ingredients. Fry for 1 minute till they release all the flavours.

Add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Remove from the stove and allow to cool for 1 minute. Pour over the contents of the mixing bowl. Mix in the tempering, add a little water if the raita is too thick and adjust the salt if required.

Serve with rice/rotis/puris/parathas and curry.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Chocolate Halwa

Everyone loves chocolate, age/gender being no bar. And it is being  incorporated in Indian desserts in a big way. Chocolate burfi, chocolate sandesh, chocolate lassi are some of the common examples. My kid is no exception to this rule and i try to use this flavor to camouflage items that he normally avoids.

This is one of my kid's favorite. And it is super easy to prepare. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10-12 mins

Ingredients - 3 tbs semolina/suji, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tbs almond meal, 2 tsp chopped cherries/tutti-frutti, 3 tsp sugar, 1 cup milk,  10-12 drops vanilla essence, 1-2 tsp butter .

Cooking - Dry roast the semolina and almond meal on a pan. Remove and keep aside.

Heat the milk in a wok. Take a few teaspoons of the warm milk in a cup, add the cocoa powder and dissolve it. Pour the chocolate mix back into the wok.

Add sugar, vanilla essence, almond meal and roasted semolina. Stir the contents for 3-4 minutes on a low to medium flame till a viscous mixture is formed (this will harden further on cooling). Stir in the butter and cherries/tutti-frutti.

Allow to cool down slightly and then fill into molds. Remove from mold when ready to serve.

Serve warm or chilled. (Garnish with nuts if desired.)

Sending this recipe to Chandrani's event Festive Treats for the month of Sep-Oct. Read more about her events.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Khatti Meethi Dal

The humble 'Dalma' (link here) used to reign supreme on my menu on the fasting (Osa-bara) days till I discovered its tantalizing Western counterpart. Like a willful seductress it threatens to steer me away from my ever dependable wife 'dalma'. When I first glimpsed her while leafing through a Tarla Dalal cookbook, i was hardly impressed. But the supremely impossible task of feeding vegetables to my kiddie made me try it out. And i have been re-visting her ever since while side-stepping the risk that it poses to my digestive system ( Tamarind and my system are not exactly compatible ). But for the more fortunate beings, this tangy-sweet-spicy Gujrati Dal is a must try.

With Mahalaya today, the nine day Navaratri fasting/celebrations have begun and most of us will be avoiding the use of onion/garlic in our meals/snacks. I have adapted the original recipe for fasting days as the former makes use of onions. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup toor dal, 1/2 cup whole/skinless masoor dal, 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin, 1/2 cup diced carrot, 1/2 cup diced eggplant, 1/2 cup peeled and diced raw banana, 1 cup diced potato, 2 tbs powdered jaggery, 1 1/2 tbs tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt to taste.

For tempering - 3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 whole red chillis, 3 cloves, 1 inch long cinnamon stick, 2 sprigs of curry leaves, a pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional).

Preparation - Take the jaggery and tamarind in a bowl. Add 5-6 tbs water and make it into a paste.

Cooking - Wash and transfer the dals to a pressure cooker with 2-3 cups water. Add salt and turmeric .Cook for 2-3 whistles.

Allow to stand till steam escapes. Open lid and beat the dal with a heavy spoon to get a smooth mixture.

Boil the vegetables with 2-3 cups of water, little salt and turmeric. Remove from stove when done.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds, broken red chilli, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for 20-30 seconds. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves followed by red chilli powder.

Add the dal an boiled vegetables to the wok. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

Add jaggery-tamarind paste. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Remove from flame and serve with rice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chinguri Chura

'Chuna Chinguri' or the tiny prawns are very difficult to come by in Banglore. So when I found a fresh lot at my nearest Bengali Fish stall, I was delighted. These tiny prawns are sweeter than the big ones and can be fried to a very crisp texture. Also, I find it easy to clean the lot. One just needs to pinch off the heads and wash them in lots of fresh water to remove the sands.

This is a very delicious 'Chinguri Chura' I made with them. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - 250-300 gm tiny prawns, 1/4 tsp turmeric, salt to taste, 1 medium sized onion, 3-4 green chillis, 4-5 garlic flakes (peeled), 2 tbs chopped coriander leaves, 3-4 tsp oil.

Preparation - Take the cleaned prawns in a mixing bowl. Add salt and turmeric, mix well and keep aside for 5 minutes.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Cooking- Heat a non-stick frying pan. Add the oil.

Add the marinated prawns (do not any any of the liquid that oozed out during marination). Fry for 6-8 minutes till crisp. Remove from flame and allow to cool down.

Transfer the fried prawns into a grinder jar. Add onions, broken green chilli, coriander leaves and garlic flakes. Buzz for a few seconds till they turn into a coarse powder. (Do not worry if you have a few prawns still intact.)

Serve with white rice and dal (or even better eat it with Dahi Pakhala).

Featured Post

Green Papaya Laddoos (SugarFree recipe)

Mom is undoubtedly the dessert specialist at home. God forbid, if she takes to blogging, she could give a lot of folks a run for their mone...