In beginning of Spring, you start to see various varieties of mango in markets of India. Some unripe varieties are used for making pickles. Some of these mangoes are also used in making chaats, chutneys, curries and salads. This unripe (kachi) mango (keri) nu shaak (curry) is similar to mango chutney but uses pickle masala (made from fenugreek seeds) which is the same masala used for making mango pickle. This curry is a sweet and sour, and we usually eat with khichdi. It goes well with flat bread also, in picture it’s serve with bhakhri.
1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
½ cup or more jaggary or brown sugar
3 tablespoons methi no masalo (fenugreek seed pickle masala)
Peel and cut mango into ¾ inch chunks. Remove as much mango as possible around pit, even if they are small pieces. Taste piece of mango for sourness.
Transfer mango pieces to medium sized sauce pan. Cover with ½ cup water and season with salt. Cover the pan with a lid and cook mango for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternately, you can cook mango in microwave safe bowl. Mango should be soft but not mushy.
Remove mango from pan along with remaining water or keep in the bowl.
Heat oil in the same pan until shimmering, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds and let it pop. Immediately add asafetida and whole chilies. Add mango along with water. If there is not enough water to cover mango, add ¼ cup water. Let it come to boil and add ½ cup jaggery or brown sugar. If mango is too sour, add 1 or 2 tablespoons more jaggery or brown sugar. Add turmeric and chili powder. Stir to combine everything and let mango cook uncovered until jaggery or brown sugar is completely melt, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more water if necessary to avoid contents sticking to pot.
Add pickle masala, dhana-jeeru and let shaak cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Taste shaak and adjust seasoning. It should be sweet and sour with gravy, add more jaggery or sugar and water if necessary. Cook for couple of minutes more. Serve with khichadi and/or flat bread. It stores well in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
Holi festive also known as festival of colors is celebrated in Spring. On the day of Holi, bonfires are lite at night to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Every festival has a special food associated with that occasion. Growing up for me, it was eating boiled whole wheat sev (noodles) with ghee and sugar. The significance of whole wheat noodles is the coming harvest of wheat, even though these noodles will be made from previous harvest. Once new wheat comes to market, people clean and store it for the entire year, mainly in state of Gujarat. Wheat is coated in castor oil to keep it fresh. The wheat is then taken to mills as needed for flour.
During summer, I remember my mother and neighborhood aunties making noodles by hand from whole wheat flour dough. They will sit on a wooden chair especially made for making noodles. Imagine one side of sea-saw resting in place with other side up. The bottom has a rest where you can sit to make noodles. In the top side there are ridges in the wood from where you will roll dough with your hands. Young children would sit on the floor to catch noodles and arrange it on a flat sieve (called chalani). These round jali shaped noodles are then dried in the sun (last picture). Dried noodles are stored in air tight container to use throughout the year. The art of making these noodles by hand is dying. Nowadays noodles are made by machines.
For eating, these noodles are simply boiled in water and serve with ghee and sugar. In the picture, along with noodles methi ni bhaji na gota (fenugreek greens fritters), cilantro chutney, kathi chutney and Green Papaya Cachumber are served. These dishes are not necessarily associated with Holi festival, but gota, which is savory goes very well with sweet noodles. That was the menu for lunch on Holi this year.
The day after holi which is called Dhuleti, is celebrated with color. People color each other with color powder as well as colored water. It turns into friendly competition to see who can color most without getting color on themselves. People’s white clothes and streets are covered in kaleidoscopic colors.
The special beverages associated with this day is thandai. It is a milk based beverage fortified with nuts, seeds and spices.
These cookies are inspired by thandai. The spices used in thandai are cardamom, black pepper, fennel seeds, saffron and white poppy seeds. The nuts used are almonds and pistachios. Seeds used are melon seeds instead I have used pumpkin seeds (papitas).
Toast pumpkin and fennel seeds in a pan, 1-2 minutes. Remove from a pan and let it cool for 10 minutes. In the same pan toast poppy seeds just for 30 seconds. Remove from a heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Combine almond flour, one cup all-purpose flour, ¾ teaspoon each of salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine remaining all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder.
Grind poppy seeds in spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle until ground but not forming a paste. Combine with almond flour mixture.
Grind pumpkin seeds, fennel seeds and pistachio in food processor until finely ground but not forming a paste. Combine this with flour only mixture created in step 2.
In a standalone mixer or hand held mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg at a time and beat until well combined. Add cardamom, black pepper and beat until just combined.
Remove about ⅓ of butter mixture and add to pistachio mixture. Combine with a spatula or hand mixer until it forms dough. If you wish to color the dough you can add green food color.
Add almond flour mixture and beat until well combined. Remove about ½ mixture in emptied almond flour mixture bowl. If you wish to color the dough you can add food color of your choice.
In a mortar and pestle (or with a rolling pin), grind saffron with 1 teaspoon of sugar. In the remaining dough in the mixer bowl, add saffron. Beat until saffron is well combined. If you wish to color the dough you can add orange food color.
Cover three batches of dough separately in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On an approximately 18 by 24-inch parchment paper, arrange 2 to 3 tablespoons of three different doughs in a random pattern. Cover with approximately 18 by 24-inch parchment paper and roll out the dough in a circle of ¼ inch thickness. Cut out cookies in a desired shape. Gather remaining dough after cut outs into a ball. From these make smaller balls with about 2 tablespoons of dough. Refrigerate cookies for at least an hour before baking.
Alternately you can roll out three batches of dough into three to four 6 inches long and 1-inch-wide logs. Make a log by combining one of each color. Cut these logs into 6 equal portions. Twist each portions and formed into a ball. Refrigerate cookies for at least an hour before baking.
Pre heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. If you want crispy cookies bake for 15 to 16 minutes.
If you do not want to go through trouble of making separate batches of dough, just combine all flours after grinding. Once butter, sugar and eggs are beaten, add flour and beat to combine everything to make one dough. Refrigerate dough and cookies (cut outs or balls) similarly as above before baking.
A poke bowl is associated with raw marinated fish, like Ahi or Yellowfin tuna, that’s cubed and served over sticky rice and pickles. It is originated in Hawaii. The meaning of poke is to slice or cut in Hawaiian and this vegetarian version with watermelon makes perfect sense. The combination of sweet watermelon, sour pickles and salty miso is delicious and refreshing in summer.
¼ of large watermelon or an individual size watermelon
1 small avocado, ½ inch diced
½ cup diced cucumber
¼ cup small diced red pepper (optional)
2 cups salad greens or chopped romaine lettuce
4 teaspoons furikake or toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red miso
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 small shallot, diced finely
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno, roughly chopped
Peel and dice watermelon into ¾ inch dice and transfer to a colander with bowl underneath to drain water. Transfer diced cucumber to colander also. Let water drain for 30 to 40 minutes.
Make dressing: Combine ingredients of dressing into a large bowl. Add drained watermelon and cucumber, diced avocado, red pepper to dressing and gently stir.
To serve: Divide greens or lettuce to four salad serving bowls. Top with dressed watermelon with vegetables, dividing among for bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 teaspoon of furikake or sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
New England is famous for lobster rolls during summer. Living in New England I was looking for similar rolls in a vegetarian version which can be served while entertaining or picnicking outside. Why not cauliflower which can mimic same flavor as lobster and when it has become trendy to make rice to pizza crust from cauliflower. These vegetarian rolls use same dressing and crunchy vegetables as of lobster rolls. You can keep dressing and cauliflower florets separate and make dressing with yogurt only for a picnic. Rolls can assembled when ready to eat.
Combine buttermilk, hot sauce and salt to taste in a mixing bowl. Marinate cauliflower florets in buttermilk for 2 to 3 hours.
Combine corn meal, all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and salt to taste in another bowl. Once cauliflower is marinated, drain the florets and transfer to flour mixture. Coat florets with flour and shake off excess flour.
Heat oil for frying in a frying pan until ready to fry. Fry cauliflower florets in 3-4 batches until golden brown. Transfer to paper lined plate to drain excess oil.
To assemble rolls: Toast the hot dog buns on a griddle with butter. Combine mayonnaise and yogurt in a big mixing bowl and whisk to make it smooth. Add red pepper, celery, onion, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and celery salt. Stir to combine. Once excess oil is gone from cauliflower florets, add warm florets to mayo mixture and stir to combine. If you are not ready to serve roll immediately then wait to add florets until you are ready to serve them. Open the top slit of buns and divide the florets filling among four buns. Serve immediately.
Make paneer bhuraji and tikka masala gravy according to directions.
Char poblano peppers on open flame of stove or under the boiler. Once blackened, transfer them to zip lock bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let them steam for 10-15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the blackened skin from peppers. Make a slit in middle and remove seeds. Stuff peppers with paneer bhuraji. Transfer them to a baking dish and bake them for 10 to 15 minutes until peppers and filling is warmed through.
To serve, pour about half a cup of gravy on individual serving plate and top with stuffed pepper. Serve with a nan and/or rice.
Ladoos are made thoughout in India at home and also readily available in sweet shops. The round shaped sweet is called ladoo and there are many varieties of ladoo. Different types of ladoos are made depending on occasion and festival. This sweet is favorite of children. It can be eaten as a snack or with a meal as a sweet.
During month of August or September (on the fourth day of Bhadarva Sud in Hindu calendar) comes Ganesh Chaturthi. This year it was on September 2, 2019. Ganesh is the elephant-headed god of wisdom. The festival of Ganesh lasts for 10 days. His favorite food, ladoos, are made and offered to him as prasad. In the region of Maharashtra, special steamed ladoos called modaks are made with rice flour, coconut and jaggery. In Gujarat, ladoos are made with whole wheat flour and jaggery.
Many Indians keep fast during certain days. Sometimes on a day of fast, some people avoid eating regular meals or will eat only one meal and avoid eating food with salt after a meal. On those days to keep strength people may eat fruits, dry fruits and nuts. Whenever my mother had a fast, she used to make shing (peanuts) na ladoos on that day. These peanuts ladoos are quick and easy to make. The recipe can be adapted for other nuts.
2 cups ladoo (coarse whole wheat) flour, available in Indian grocery stores.
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
4 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup or more warm water
1 cup sugar or more or 1 ½ cups jaggery or more shredded with knife
1 cup ghee (clarified butter) or more, melted and warm
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, finely chopped
¼ cup white poppy seeds, for garnish
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine wheat flour, chickpea flour and canola oil in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add water and form into firm dough. Use more water if needed. Knead the dough until smooth. Divide the dough into 14 to 15 equal parts and form into balls. Take one ball into palm of your hand and make a fist with ball. Tightly press the dough with your hand and make oval shaped dough (muthia). Repeat with rest of the dough balls.
Heat oil in a frying pan until hot enough to fry. Fry the muthia, 4 to 5 at a time until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the muthia to a paper towel lined large mixing bowl to drain excess oil. Once all muthia are fried, remove the paper towel. Cover the bowl with a plate and let muthia cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.
Break muthia into smaller pieces with your hands or with a wooden spoon. In a food processor, process small pieces until it resembles wet sand in 3 to 4 batches. Transfer to a big mixing bowl.
Add sugar (skip if you are using jaggery), almonds, cardamom and nutmeg and mix well. Taste ladoo mixture and add more sugar if it is not sweet enough. Make a well in the center and add ¾ cup of ghee. If you are using jaggery, add jaggery in the ghee. With warm ghee, jaggery pieces will start to melt. With hands combine ladoo mixture with jaggery and ghee. Break unmelted pieces of jaggery with hand while mixing and taste ladoo mixture. Add more jaggery if it is not sweet enough.
Take handful of mixture into hand and try to form a ball. If mixture does not stay together then add more ghee until the mixture stays firmly together. With a small ice cream scoop, scoop ladoo mixture and press firmly. Drop it on a plate and form a tight ball (ladoo) with your hands. Repeat the process until all mixture is used.
In a pie dish or a small baking pan spread out poppy seeds. Drop a ladoo on poppy seeds and roll it gently between hands to evenly coat poppy seeds. Transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining ladoo. Let ladoo stand for at least two hours to solidify ghee. It is served as a sweet on special occasions. (makes about 24 ladoo)
Ground peanuts in food processor until like a wet sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add rest of ingredients to ground peanuts. Combine them with your hands. Take handful of mixture into hand and try to form a ball. If mixture does not stay together, add more ghee until the mixture stays firmly together. With a small ice cream scoop, scoop mixture and press firmly. Drop it on your hand and form a tight ball (ladoo) with your hands. Roll between your hands to make it smooth. Repeat the process until all mixture is used.
During month of August or September (on the eight day of Shravan Vad in Hindu calender) people in India celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. The festival is known as Janmashtami. This year it was on August 24, 2019. People observed fast on that day. The next day which is called Parna, feast is prepared as an offering to god as well as to break a fast. The Panchrav (mixed) shaak (vegetables) is prepared as an offering which includes variety of vegetables available in the market. Only on that day vegetable mongers in Gujarat sell prepared mixed vegetables known as Patrali. All you need to add are root vegetables to make panchrav shaak. In the recipe, quantity of vegetables might seem too much, but as you cook them it will reduce almost in half. If some vegetables are not available, it should be fine. Try not to add onion and garlic. That way you will taste each vegetable separately in the mixed vegetables. Remaining shaak can be frozen for further use.
About 4 to 5 cups of mixed vegetables (like butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, etc.), finely cut
About 5 to 6 cups combined, green peas, green beans, corn kernels, papadi lilva, toover lilva (fresh pigeon peas), choli (Indian long green beans), suran (Indian yam), tindola (green ivy squash), etc. available in frozen section of Indian grocery stores
About 3 to 4 cups of mixed vegetables (like eggplant, potato, sweet potato, taro root, etc.) finely cut
About 2 cups methi (fenugreek leaves), frozen, available in frozen section of Indian grocery stores.
About 1 cup palak (spinach), frozen
2 to 3 jalapeno or serrano chilies, finely chopped
½ cup or more olive oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon asafetida
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons red chili powder
3 teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
Salt to taste
Juice of one lime
½ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
Heat ¼ cup oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, turmeric and 1 teaspoon chili powder. Immediately add first mixed vegetables and green chilies. Season with salt and stir to combine with spices. Cover the pot and let vegetables cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally stir vegetables so they do not stick to bottom.
Uncover pot and add second mixed vegetables. Season with salt and stir to combine with other vegetables. Let vegetables cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally stir vegetables so they do not stick to bottom. If vegetables start to stick to bottom add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time.
Uncover pot and add third mixed vegetables. Season with salt and stir to combine with other vegetables. Let vegetables cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally stir vegetables so they do not stick to bottom. If vegetables start to stick to bottom add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time.
Uncover pot and add methi and palak. Stir to combine with other vegetables and cover pot. Let vegetables cook for 10 to 12 minutes until you start to see oil on side of pot. Occasionally stir vegetables so they do not stick to bottom. If vegetables start to stick to bottom add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time.
Uncover pot and add remaining chili powder and dhana-jeeru. Stir shaak to combine with spices. Taste shaak and add salt if needed. Add lime juice. Let shaak cook on low heat for 10 to 12 minutes. If shaak looks dry, add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time. By the time shaak is fully cooked, it should be glistening with oil. Before serving garnish with cilantro. Serve with warm puri.
This is a basic recipe to cook any vegetable in Gujarati style and it is referred as shaak. Usually there is some kind of a shaak with a meal (Gujarati thali). In vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, okra etc. mustard seeds are used whereas for potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and eggplant etc.; cumin seeds are used. You can cut down amount of oil and adjust seasoning according to your taste. The spices and its amount from recipe works for 3 medium size potatoes, one medium size eggplant, and 30 to 35 green beans (or 1 16 oz. bag of cut green beans or French cut green beans). You can also mix and match vegetables.
1 medium size cabbage (cobish), shredded
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
⅛ teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of coriander and cumin powder)
1 tablespoon cilantro for garnish
In a wok or a frying pan heat the oil until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, turmeric and chili powder. Add cabbage and season with salt. Stir cabbage until coated with oil and spices.
Cover the pan with a lid and let cabbage cook until fork tender, stirring from time to time, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Once cabbage is cooked, uncover, add dhana-jeeru. Stir and let cabbage cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Just before serving garnish the shaak (cabbage) with cilantro. Serve warm with any type of Indian flat bread.
Karela (biiter melons) are usually available during mango season (April to July) in Gujarat. Here in US they are available all year around. This shaak is especially eaten with mango pulp. Both works well together as karela are bitter and mango pulp is sweet. Not all people like this shaak but once you get used to bitterness it is very delicious. It is very enjoyable with warm Rotli(puffed flat bread).
1 lb. karela (bitter melon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
⅛ teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of coriander and cumin powder)
3 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons cashew bits
3 teaspoons sugar or to taste
1 golf ball size jaggery piece, cut into smaller pieces
Wash karela. If karela are fresh and skin does not have any blemishes keep the skin otherwise remove the rough part. Remove ⅛ inch of karela from both ends. Cut bigger karela in half, again cut karela in half and slice into three to four slices. Remove tough seeds while cutting karela. Karela are extremely bitter. If you wish to remove some bitterness, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let it drain in a colander for ½ an hour. Skip salt later in recipe.
In a wok or a frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat, about 2 minutes. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 to 40 seconds. Lower the heat to medium. Add turmeric, chili powder and asafetida. Add karela, season with salt and stir everything well. Cover and let karela cook for 10-12 minutes or until karela are tender, stirring occasionally.
Once karela are cooked, add rest of ingredients. Stir everything and let it cook uncovered on low heat until sugar and jaggery is melted and karela looks dry, about 7 to 10 minutes. Karela should be covered in caramel to reduce bitterness. Golden raisins help in reducing bitterness and use of more sugar. Check seasoning and add salt if needed. Serve warm with any type of Indian flat bread.
½ Container (9 oz.) of Coconut whipped topping (defrosted for an hour)
¼ cup coconut cream
¼ cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or rum extract or rum
1 cup pineapple (fresh or canned (drained)), ¼ inch diced
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup toasted sweetened coconut flakes
In a stand mixture, whip mascarpone cheese on medium speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add heavy cream, coconut cream and whipped topping. Whip them on medium speed until everything is well combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Add confectioners sugar and extract or rum. Whipped mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, initially on low speed and then on high speed until light and fluffy.
Add diced pineapple and sweetened coconut and whip for 30 seconds.
Soak ½ of lady fingers one by one in pineapple juice and arrange in single layer in 8 inch sqaure glass baking dish. Adjust the size of lady fingers to fit into single layer if needed. Layer evenly ½ of cream on top of lady fingers.
Repeat step 3 on top of cream one more time. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate alteast 4 hours before serving.
2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted peanuts, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
Zest of one orange, for garnish
Combine egg, AP flour and ½ cup water to make batter for frying tofu. Season batter with salt and hot sauce. It should be thin batter.
Drain water from tofu package and then remove excess water from tofu by putting it between two baking sheets covered with paper towels and weighing it down with cans or a heavy pan. Then cut into ½ inch dice.
Heat oil for frying in a frying pan until hot enough for frying. Coat diced tofu with batter and deep fry in hot oil in 2 to 3 batches, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer tofu to paper toweled lined plate.
Combine soy sauce and corn starch, and make smooth slurry. Set aside.
In a wok, heat 3 tablespoons oil until shimmering on medium high heat. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté them until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar and let it caramelize until light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with mirin and vinegar. Let everything cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add corn starch slurry and ¼ cup of water. Keep stirring and let sauce thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.. If sauce is too thick add more water. Add fried tofu and stir to coat with sauce. Let tofu cook with sauce for 3 to 4 minutes.
Garnish with peanuts, orange zest and cilantro before serving. Serve with steamed rice and broccoli.
The sun starts to move from south to north during December. It is believed that this northerly movement (uttarayana) begins on January 14 (Makar Sakranti). This day is celebrated with kite flying in Gujarat. People fly the kites from their terraces. The sky is filled with colorful kites and there is a international kite flying competition in city of Ahmedabad. Brittle called chikki, made with jaggery, sesame seeds and peanuts is eaten during this festival.
1 cup sesame seeds (til), unhulled to make sesame seeds brittle or
1 cup raw peanuts (shing), without skin to make peanuts brittle
¾ cup jaggery, chopped
1 tablespoon ghee or melted unsalted butter
In a dry frying pan, roast sesame seeds or peanuts on medium heat until light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. (until sesame seeds starts popping). Remove from pan and set aside.
Brush the same pan with ghee or butter. Also brush spatula and rolling pin. If you do not have silicon mat then brush approximately 10 x 12 inch area with ghee or butter on a stone surface.
Heat jaggery on medium high heat until melted (it will be like caramel), 3-4 minutes. Keep heating jaggery until caramel is darker in color for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat to low.
Add sesame seeds or peanuts and stir quickly to combine with caramel. Transfer to silicon mat or brushed area. Roll out into ¼ inch thick approximatly 10 x 12 inch rectangle.
Make cuts with a knife to make 2 x 2 square pieces. Let brittle cool down and once cooled, break the square pieces. Store in air tight container. Enjoy as a snack or a sweet.