Monday, November 12, 2012

चिवडा/Chivda


चिवडा/Chivda is a traditional snack item from Maharashtra made during Diwali. It is a spicy mixture of पोहा/flattened rice and peanuts, roasted chana dal etc. Easy to make with minimum ingredients, चिवडा needs a little preparation time and no cooking time at all.

Ingredients
2 lb Thin Poha/Flattened Rice/पातळ पोहे
2 Cup Peanuts
1 Cup roasted Chana Dal
15 Green Chili's chopped
10-15 Curry leaves
5 Tbs Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Chili powder
3 Tsp आमचुर/Dry Mango Powder
Salt as per taste
3/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Tbs Mustard Seeds
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder

Method
First step is roasting पोहे /Poha. There are several method for roasting. But I find roasting in oven more convenient and gives good results. Preheat the oven to 360 F. First you will need a चाळणी to separate whole poha from crushed poha which is in the powder form, discard the powder that separates from चाळणी.

Then arrange poha on cookie sheets. You may need to do it in batches. I used 4 cookie sheets and arranged poha in even layer and baked for 20 minutes flipping and tossing with spoon half way through until toasted and crisp. Make sure not to burn them. Remove from the oven and spread on newspaper to cool.
After it's done you will need a big pot to make चिवडा/Chivda. Get all the ingredients ready.
 Heat oil in a large pot, fry peanuts until crip and remove them on cookie sheet on top of toasted poha. Next goes roasted chana dal, fry it for few seconds and remove it on toasted phoa. Fry green chili's until it changes color and them remove them on poha. Now add mustard seeds, once they crackle add Asafoetida, Turmeric powder and curry leaves. Throw in toasted poha along with peanuts, chana dal and green chili's. Add rest of the ingredients, sugar, salt, chili powder, dry mango powder. Shut off the gas. Mix together nicely so that all the flavors are combined and each and every poha is well coated with all the spices. Nice and tasty चिवडा  is ready!! Keep it in a airtight container.

ओल्या नारळाची करंजी

Another sweet prepared for Diwali is करंजी/Karanji. It is a kind of fried dumpling stuffed with sweet coconut filling inside. There are two types of stuffing for करंजी, one is made with fresh grated coconut and another is made from shredded dry coconut. I personally like fresh grated coconut filling so let's get started with it.

Ingredients
Oil for deep frying
For Stuffing
3 Cup shredded fresh coconut( I used frozen shredded coconut, if using frozen don't forget to thaw it first)
2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs milk powder
1/2 Tsp Cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron(optional)

Dough for करंजी/Karanji
1 Cup मैदा/Maida
1 Cup रवा/Semolina
1/4 Cup oil
1 Cup milk(approximately) cold or at room temperature

Method
For stuffing combine shredded coconut and sugar in a large non-stick pan and cook the mixture on medium heat for 20 min, stirring occasionally in between. Towards the end of cooking process add milk powder and stir. You will know it's done when coconut and sugar are well incorporated and stuffing becomes thick. Don't overcook the stuffing otherwise it will be dry. Later add cardamom powder and saffron and mix well. Let the stuffing cool completely.
For the dough combine मैदा/Maida and रवा/Semolina together. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a small pan, pour this hot oil over semolina and maida mixture. Mix it and add milk little by little to knead a stiff dough. Keep it covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After an hour or so take the kneaded dough and break it into pieces and process it in food processor with dough blade on. Or you can also use mixer/blender. This will make the dough soft and easy to roll. Make 1 to 1 /12 inch balls out of this dough and keep them covered with damp cloth to avoid drying.
 Before proceeding further keep your coconut stuffing, large plate and another damp cloth handy. Now take one ball and roll out thin to form a disc.
 Put a spoonful of coconut stuffing on one side of the disc and fold the other side to make a semi-circle. 
Press down the edges securing the stuffing inside. Next cut the edges with the help of  कातण(same spoon that we used for शंकरपाळे ). 
Repeat the same procedure for remaining balls. Keep the prepared Karanji in a plate covered with damp cloth.
 Heat oil in a kadhai and deep fry करंजी to light golden brown color.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

बेसन लाडु/Besan Ladoo

Rich and sweet dessert snack, Ladoo is not only made for Diwali but any time of the year. It is made by roasting gram flour in pure तुप/ghee/clarified butter which gives them rich taste. Than you can add nuts like almonds or raisins to make them extra special. Though, I don't add raisins as it is not a favorite item at my house. I always use लाडु बेसन/ladoo bean as I don't like the texture of ladoo's made from regular besan.

Ingredients
3 Cup Ladoo Besan
1 Cup तुप
1/2 Cup milk
2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup chopped Almonds

Method
In a pot combine together तुप and besan. Fry it on low-medium heat. This will take time, as you don't want to burn the mixture. Fry it until you get nice light brown color, will take about 20-25 minutes(it seems a lot but you will need to fry them on medium heat all the way through, color and taste of ladoo depends on this important step). Add chopped almonds half way through cooking besan so that they get nice and toasted. Once done, shut off the gas and add milk(adding milk makes these ladoos soft and delicious). Let the mixture cool slightly and then add powdered sugar, mix it and leave it aside until the mixture is completely cool enough to handle. Later combine the whole mixture with your hand and mix it nicely like you would knead a dough, by doing this ladoo's will be light and soft. Take a palm full of mixture and start pressing it to make round shape ladoo's. This recipe will yield around 20 medium size ladoo depending on what size you make. 

गोड शंकरपाळे/Sweet Shankarpale

Recipe for sweet shankarpale is pretty simple and has same procedure like खारे शंकरपाळे /khare shankarpale. As the name suggests these shankarpale are sweet but not too sweet like लाडु /ladoo. Today's sweet shankarpale recipe will make approximately around 3lb.

Ingredients
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup oil
4 1/2 Cup मैदा/All Purpose Flour/Maida
Oil for deep frying

Method
Combine sugar,milk, 3/4 cup oil and bring it to low boil. Once boiled shut off the gas. Leave it aside for few minutes. Next add मैदा/Maida little by little into the liquid to make a stiff dough. You will need only that much maida that will fit into the liquid and stiff dough is formed. 4 1/2 cup maida was required for the above mentioned liquid but it will depend on how heaping cups of maida you take. So just remember to keep adding maida until you get a nice stiff dough. Keep this dough covered aside for couple of hrs. Here are couple of photo's to give you the idea.

 After all maida is added you will get stiff dough like this.

Next procedure is same as खारे शंकरपाळे  You will need that special spoon called as कातण in Marathi. Divide the dough into equal balls and roll out each ball into 7-8 inch circle into medium thickness. Now use the spoon and make shankarpale's out of it. Make a big batch of shankarpale from couple of balls and spread it on newspaper and then deep fry them in batches. Repeat the smae procedure for the the whole dough. Nice and crisp गोड शंकरपाळे are ready for Diwali!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

खारे शंकरपाळे

Another Faraal item that I made today was खारे शंकरपाळे. शंकरपाळे/Shankarpale come in 2 varieties, sweet and savory. Both have same diamond shape and you will need a special spoon or कातण as we say in Marathi to give that shape.
शंकरपाळे is an all time favorite with kids be it savory or sweet. 

Ingredients
2 Cup मैदा/All Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp जिरं/Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp मिरपुड/pepper
Salt as per taste
Water for kneading the dough(approximately little more than 1/2 cup)
4 tbs oil
Oil for deep frying

Method
In a pan combine all the ingredients together except oil. Heat 4 tbs oil until smoking hot. Pour this hot oil in a pan with all the ingredients and mix. Now slowly add water little by little and knead it into a semi-soft dough. Keep it covered for 1/2 an hour. 

Next divide the dough into equal balls.
Roll out one ball into 7 to 8 inch thin circle.

Now use that special spoon/कातण and cut horizontally and vertically making diamond shape शंकरपाळे.

 The end result will look like this.
Repeat the same procedure for the remaining balls. Meanwhile heat oil in a Kadhai to deep fry. Fry these diamond shape शंकरपाळे in hot oil over medium heat until golden brown color and crisp. Store them in a airtight container.

Diwali Faraal

'Diwali' popularly known as festival of lights outside India is the most awaited holiday for every Hindu. It is that time of the year where you shop for new clothes, clean and decorate the house with lights and lanterns. Whole house is filled with wonderful aroma of sweet and savory items known as फराळ/Faraal in Marathi  prepared for Diwali. There are five special days in Diwali, each having significance of it's own.
1.  धनत्रयोदशी
2. नर्कचतुर्दशी
3. लक्ष्मीपुजन
4. बलीप्रतिपदा
5. भाऊबीज
I still remember Diwali celebrations from my childhood. Getting up early in the morning before sunrise, getting ready and then lighting up some fire crackers. After that we use to have फराळ made by mom. Those were some good old days. So on this auspicious holiday of Diwali I will be posting all the Faraal/फराळ items that I make.