Monday, July 24, 2017

Chana Chaat - spicy, tangy protein-rich salad

Story: Something about Indian monsoons screams for hot, spicy chaat items.. or may be it's just me looking for excuses to eat street food. Either way, this week's chana chaat is a winner! Perfect recipe whether you are looking for a spicy, tangy snack or a healthful protein-rich salad.

Source: Thela in Mumbai-Pune Expressway food mall

Time: 20 mins

  • White chana (used for ragda) 1/2 cup
  • Green chana 1/2 cup
  • Kala chana 1/2 cup (seasonal ingredient in monsoon!)
  • Peanuts 1/2 cup
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato  finely chopped
  • handful coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli chopped
  • pinch of black salt
  • regular salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon 
This recipe is as simple as 1-2-3

1. Pressure cook the chana mixture - Not more than 2 whistles, turn off immediately
2. Mix the seasoning ingredients in a bowl with the steaming hot chana-peanut mixture
3. Serve hot - with or without a papad

Of course feel free to change the seasoning as per your taste.

Enjoy this monsoon and what it has to offer in seasonal ingredients!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thai Mango Fried Rice

Story: I am blessed with a foodie family! So when Neeraj and Ketaki came back from their recent trip to Phuket, I wanted to hear all about the food they ate there. A pleasant surprise - they got me recipe kits for Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup

The kits turned out to be perfect! Especially for someone like me who had not cooked Thai food. Encouraged by the results, I started exploring Mango fried rice recipes. Then I found this website  and I was like

Source: Eating Thai Food website - I combined two recipes

Time: Prep Time 30 mins, Cooking Time: 15 mins

  • 1.5 cup short grain rice (I used ambe mohor variety)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp soya sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hot sriracha
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup tender coconut water
  • 1 egg
  • handful cashew nut slices
  • Fresh Basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped scallions (green onion) 
  • Assorted veggies of your choice for the fried rice - I used
    • 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 bell pepper finely sliced
    • one small shallot sliced
    • zucchini cut into small cubes
  • Mango - preferably Totapuri - ripe but firm - peeled & cut into cubes
Half-cook the rice with tsp of oil so that the grains don't stick together. While the rice is cooking in the pot, cut the veggies and keep ready. Mix, soya sauce, oyster sauce and sriracha in a small bowl. Mix coconut milk and coconut water in another bowl.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a wok. Add minced garlic, cashew slices, some scallions and basil leaves. As you can smell the garlic, and cashew starts to sizzle, add half of the soya sauce mixture, half of the fish sauce and saute veggies for a minute till they start to cook. Remove the veggies and keep them on the side.

To the hot pan add a cracked egg and scramble it. Then add the rice and saute it. Add the rest of the soya sauce mixture, fish sauce and scallions. Mix well and add the veggies to the pan. Saute for half a minute and then add the coconut milk mixture. Cover this mixture and let the rice cook and get a bit sticky in the coconut milk.

Finally add mango pieces, lemon juice and remainder of basil leaves. Mix well and cover only for half a min. You don't want the mango to get too soft.

Serve with grilled fish or Tom Yum soup.

PS - lol - I wasn't sure about this experiment so we served the rice alongside Gobi ka paratha :-)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Kairicha Lonacha (Kairi Achar)

Suhana masala kairi aam achar lonacha

Story: Do you ever decide to eat only one round of panipuri - and - more importantly - can you stick to that decision in that moment of weakness when the thelewala is serving the last puri? Or do you say "भैय्या और एक प्लेट देना।" before you realize it? As for me - I don't even bother to put an upper limit when it comes to certain food items.

Like fresh made raw mango pickle (lonacha/achar).. how can you and why should you stop yourself?!

'Tis the achar/pickle making season here in India. I got some fresh raw mangoes from my cousin's farm. I had to make this achar and share with ya'll..

Source: Aai
Time: 6-8 hours
  • 3 raw mangoes - cut into cubes
  • 75 ml sesame oil (may be half katori or so)
  • Suhana lonache masala 200 gm
  • 1/2 tsp hing/asaphoetida powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Recipe: Recipe is relatively simple..

Heat the sesame oil to its smoking point and then let it cool down completely. You can test the temperature of the oil by adding a mustard seed to the oil. The mustard seed will pop once the oil is hot enough.

Apply turmeric powder and a tsp of salt to the raw mango pieces and mix well. Keep this mixture covered for 4-6 hours.

When the mango pieces have soaked-in the turmeric and salt - taste a few pieces - they are just divine!

Mix Suhana lonache masala with the oil and hing. Apply this mixture to the mango pieces and let them sit over night in an air-tight glass container. (I put the bowl in the fridge because I like the mango to be a bit crunchy). Next day mix the achar really well and it's ready to eat. Like any pickle, it only gets better with time.

1. I like my pickles a bit salty - feel free to adjust the salt level as per taste
2. Traditionally there is a lot more oil used in pickles as a preservative. Because we have refrigerators, we can use lot less oil without compromising on taste. I have adjusted the oil quantity accordingly.

Finally, I will leave you with another best-seller pickle recipe - Achar Rangbiranga. Enjoy!