Monday, 15 January 2018

Minty Cucumber Bruschetta

Bruschetta (spelled as brusketta) is an appetizer from Central Italy. The noun bruschetta is from the verb in the Roman dialect bruscare which means ‘to roast over coals’. Well bruschetta is not just a toast, rather this is simply and humbly 
toasted bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic, finally this has come to describe the colorful condiment we put on top.




Bruschetta is a fresh, simple and delicious Italian appetizer that can be prepared in minutes and enjoyed any time. In the simplest traditional Italian form, bruschetta requires that bread to be toasted over real coals, then rubbed down with slices of raw garlic cloves, drizzled with olive oil and finished with little salt and freshly crushed pepper. There are various types of bruschetta toppings and the toppings are always served on a single piece of toasted or grilled bread slice. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat etc.





Bruschetta is made up of very simple flavors and is therefore best if you make it with highest quality and freshest ingredients available with you. This time, the theme of Foodie Monday Blog Hop team is decided to be as 'Bruschetta'. So keeping that theme in mind, I chosed some mint and cucumber as my bruschetta toppings along with some tomatoes as well, hence the name is minty cucumber bruschetta. Grilling the bread is not only provides the grill marks, but also more smoky flavor achieves.


The moment the bread comes off the grill, give it a quick rub with a peeled garlic clove (whole or ct into halves). The garlic melts a bit into the warm bread. Not only this is the more authentic way to make bruschetta, also it tastes much better than adding minced garlic to the toppings. Here some diced cucumber, diced tomato, roughly chopped mint leaves, extra virgin olive oil along with salt and freshly crushed black pepper tossed well first and then used as topping.




This is a perfectly delicious party appetizer where a large batch of the topping can be prepared in ahead of time as well as grilling / toasting of bread slices. Just top each baguette slices with toppings at the time of serving or allow your guests to put toppings by their own. This minty cucumber bruschetta is so quick and easy recipe and also perfect as a side dish or simply as a snack. Lets go in details as mentioned below to taste the most amazing refreshed flavor combination of the Minty Cucumber Bruschetta.




Preparation Time : 10 mins  |  Cooking Time : 10 mins

Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Baguette
1 no.
Cucumber (chopped into cube)
1 no.
Tomato (chopped into cube)
1 no.
Mint leaf
3-4 tbsp
Garlic clove
 1 no.
Black pepper
As needed
Salt
As needed
Extra virgin olive oil
As needed


Method :
  1. In a mixing bowl, take chopped cucumber cubes, tomato cubes, roughly chopped mint leaves, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, freshly crushed black pepper and salt. 
  2. Gently toss till everything incorporated well.
  3. Now slice the baguette into 2/3 inch slices and brush the top of each slice with extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Next heat the grill pan over medium heat and then place the baguette slices on the hot grill pan.
  5. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook the other side until both sides are lightly toasted.
  6. Turn off heat.
  7. Arrange all the toasted baguette slices on a large serving platter and rub each slices with freshly halved garlic clove immediately.
  8. Top each slices with the mint cucumber mixture and serve right away !



Notes :

  • Tomato can be omitted from toppings.

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Puran Poli | Lentil stuffed Indian Sweet Flat Bread



Makar Sankranti - the first Indian festival in a new year !!

Makar Sankranti is one of the major Indian harvest festival celebrated on 14th of January of every year (15th January if leap year). This is an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated almost everywhere in the country in numerous cultural forms and different names as well. Every region celebrate it in innumerable ways according to the localization, culture and traditions. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition, so basically the sun enters the sphere of Capricorn zodiac on this day. This holy festival also marks the beginning of warmer and longer days as compared to nights, that means on the
day of Makar Sankranti, the sun starts its journey to the Northern Hemisphere. Devotees take dips in the holy water and offer prayers to the sun as well. 




Makar Sankranti is such a blissful festival celebrated by Hindus with a lot of enthusiasm. This auspicious day is celebrated in different ways all over India as lohri in Punjab, pongal in Tamil Nadu, uttarayan in Gujrat, bihu in Assam, poush parbon in West Bengal. Similar to any other festival in India, Makar Sankranti is incomplete without preparing some delicious traditional delicacies like makara chaula, till ladoo, murmura chiki etc. One of such delicacy is puran poli, the traditional Maharashtrian sweet paratha also known as poli, obbattu, hollige or oligalu in different languages in India.




    Puran means the stuffing and poli is the outer layer. Puran poli is a sweet paratha stuffed with mashed chana dal, jaggery and coconut. The stuffing is flavored with cardamom powder or nutmeg powder. Also the stuffing is made in many variations region wise in different traditional ways in India. Well, instead of using the maida (all purpose flour) here I have used the whole wheat flour. Also some luke warm water is used while kneading the dough to make it much softer. Since my family like the stuffing part to be a grainy texture, so I have not opted the grinding of stuffing. But if you like the smooth texture of the stuffing, then first grind coconut, jaggery and cooked chana dal to a smooth paste and then cook to make a smooth texture puran. This dish has a melt in mouth texture with a sublime sweetness and often eaten as such or served with a spoonful of ghee. Preferably these polis are eaten at breakfast or as a post-meal dessert, particularly during festivals. So lets go in details.


    Preparation Time : 1 hrs   |   Cooking Time : 35 mins 


    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    Wheat flour
    1 cup
    Chana dal (Bengal gram)
    ½ cup
    Jaggery (grated)
    1 cup
    Coconut (grated)
    ½ cup
    Turmeric powder
    ¼ tsp
    Cardamom powder
    ½ tsp
    Oil
    2 ½ tbsp
    Luke warm water
    For kneading
    Salt
    1 pinch
    Ghee
    For smearing



    Method :
    1. In a mixing bowl take wheat flour, salt, turmeric powder and oil (2 tbsp). Mix very well first.
    2. Then using Luke warm water little by little make a smooth and soft dough.
    3. Drizzle rest 1/2 tbsp oil over the dough, cover the bowl and keep aside for at least 1 hour.
    4. Meanwhile, wash and clean chana dal very well. Soak in a bowl with enough water for 30 minutes.
    5. Then drain the water and pressure cook all the soaked chana dal with some water till completely cooked and soft, but not mushy.
    6. Drain out water from pressure cooker completely and then using a masher roughly mash all the cooked chana dal.
    7. Now heat freshly grated coconut, jaggery in a pan.
    8. When jaggery starts melting, add smashed chana dal, ghee and cardamom powder.
    9. Saute over low heat for 5 minutes.
    10. Turn off heat and allow the mixture (puran) to cool down completely.
    11. After 1 hour of resting, knead the dough a bit and make equal size (approximately lemon size) dough balls.
    12. Now take a greased rolling board or just put a parchment paper over the rolling board. Then place one dough ball over the rolling board and make a small thick circle using rolling pin or just pressing by finger.
    13. Place approximately 1-2 tbsp puran (jaggery-coconut-chana dal mixture) in the center of the thick circle. Seal from all side and make a ball again.
    14. Flatten again to a smooth and soft thin circle using rolling pin or pressing gently by fingers.
    15. Heat a griddle / tawa and then place the rolled soft and thin circle gently over it.
    16. Cook both side till golden brown spots appears over low heat and then transfer to a plate.
    17. Similarly prepare rest pooran polis.
    18. Serve these lentil puran poli warm by smearing some ghee over the poli or simply as it is !




    Notes :

    • Always prefer to use luke warm water for a soft ans smooth dough.
    • Instead of using the grainy puran, you can first grind coconut, jaggery and cooked chana dal to a smooth paste and then cook to make a smooth texture puran.
    • Turmeric powder is optional.


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    This 'Puran Poli' is contributed for 40 Healthy Wellthy Cuisines where the theme is 'Makar Sankranti'. Here are more similar recipes shared by our Healthy Wealthy Group members as PongalPal Pongal, Bengali Style Rice Pudding / Nolen Gurer PayeshChana Dal Payasam and Date Palm Jaggery Pudding / Nolen Gurer Payesh.

    Sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday this week co hosted by Diann and Shinta.

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    Monday, 8 January 2018

    Sesame Brown Sugar Ladoo | Til Ladoo using Brown Sugar



    Sesame, in India has been a major cultivar since a long period of time ago. It has various names in various languages like til in Hindi, rassi in Odia, ellu in Tamil etc. These seeds are widely used as a cooking ingredient in Indian cuisines. Consuming white sesame increases warmth in our body. Sesame seeds have many medicinal properties which increases immunity, general as well as physical strength. Half cup of sesame seed contains approximately three times more calcium than half a cup of whole milk. Sesame seeds are also high in magnesium, manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin E, potassium, protein, fiber.






    This is winter time of the year. Consuming white sesame increases warmth in the body. Earlier, winters used to be really cold and people thought it's essential to 'fatten up' in order to survive the cold ;). Now-a-days, though we use variety of things to keep our body warm, still sesame seed ladoo or till ladoo or rassi ladoo are prepared in huge amount. Particularly these ladoos have a strong religious and cultural connection in our society linked to winter harvest festivals like Makar Sankranti, Lohri which are celebrated to thank God for a good harvest. Monday is again here. The Foodie Monday Blog Hop team has come up with a theme as 'Makar Sankranti Special'. So I have prepared some sesame brown sugar ladoo this year and contributed for the theme. Some more Makar Sankranti specials are Puffed Rice Chikki / Murmura Chikki, Makara Chaula (speciality of Odia Cuisine during Makar Sankranti).



    A simple sesame seed ladoo or rassi ladoo or til ke ladoo or til ladoo is traditionally made by roasting sesame seeds, combining them with jaggery syrup and finally rolling them into balls by using a small amount of ghee to prevent them from getting too sticky. But in this recipe, instead of jaggery I have preferred brown sugar to make til ladoo. These are super easy to make and so quickly can be prepared. Eating til ke ladoo during Makar Sankranti festival is also considered as auspicious. Sesame ladoo can also be munched at any time of the day, perfect for kids snacks as well. So below is the details method of preparation of this healthy, crunchy sesame brown sugar ladoo.




    Preparation Time : 5 mins  |  Cooking Time : 10 mins

    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    Sesame seed
    1 cup
    Brown sugar
    ¾ cup
    Water
    ½ cup
    Cardamom powder (optional)
    ½ tsp
    Oil
    For greasing


    Method :
    1. In a pan first dry roast all the sesame seeds until light brown taking care not to burn.
    2. Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
    3. Next in the same pan, add water and brown sugar over low heat.
    4. Soon brown sugar starts caramelizing. 
    5. Continue till a drop of hot syrup forms a ball in a bowl of water.
    6. Turn off heat and immediately add all the roasted sesame seeds and cardamom powder.
    7. Mix everything very well quickly, transfer to a plate and allow to cool a bit.
    8. When the mixture is still warm, grease palm with oil and start making round balls depending upon the desired size.
    9. Serve or store in an air tight container for later !




    Notes :

    • Sesame are roasted very quickly, making some crackling sounds. So be careful not to burn these seeds which results in a bitter taste of the ladoo.
    • Some roughly broken peanuts (roasted) can be added to the mixture before making ladoos for some crunch.
    • Jaggery or normal sugar can be used instead of brown sugar.


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    Sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday this week co hosted by Mollie and Petra.

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    Tuesday, 2 January 2018

    Kala Chana Ghugni | Black Chickpea Curry



    India is known for its diversity not only in terms of culture, religion but also for its food as well.  Each state in the country boasts of its own mouth-watering cuisine. Bihari cuisine belongs to Bihar state of Indian subcontinent. Sweets from this region are specially famous. Bihari cuisine is usually vegetarian due to majority Hindus and major Buddhism influence in the region. This cuisine is a mixture of North Indian and East Indian cuisine. The common cooking oil used is mustard oil. Some famous Bihari cuisines are litti chokha, chana ghugni, dal peetha, aloo chokha, baingan chokha, parwal ki mithai, khaja etc.





    Well, the December month challenge in Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge  group is 'Bihari Cuisine'. For this theme, my partner is Veena di who gave me 2 secret ingredients as Black chickpea and cumin seed. So Using these two ingredients, I prepared the most famous kala chana ghugni from Bihari cuisine. Ghugni is the most popular evening snack mostly in the eastern part of India. There is some variations in the ghugni in the state of Bihar, Bengal, Odisha.



     Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge


    Traditionally, this is made of black chickpeas soaked in water and then sauted in mustard oil in a pan. All kinds of garam masala made as paste in a mortar-pestle, is used for flavoring and some soaked chana is also ground to form a paste used as thickener. This thickens the masala and makes gravy as per desired consistency. Finally after some garnishing, this snack is served as it is or sometimes this is served along with some steamed rice or hot roti. Kala chana ghugni is a spicy as well as tangy evening snack. Extremely common yet equally delicious, this mouth-watering snack is prepared in almost every household of Bihar. Below is the details method of preparation of this healthy vegetarian snack, Bihari kala chana ghugni.





    Preparation Time : 15 mins  |  Soaking Time : 8 hrs  |  Cooking Time : 30 mins

    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    Black chickpea
    1 cup
    Onion (finely chopped)
    1 cup + some for garnishing
    Tomato (finely chopped)
    ¾ cup
    Ginger garlic paste
    ½ tsp
    Turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp
    Coriander powder
    1 tbsp
    Cumin powder
    1 tsp
    Red chili powder
    ½ tsp
    Garam masala powder
    ½ tsp
    Cumin seed
    ½ tsp
    Bay leaf
    1 no.
    Cinnamon
    1 inch
    Green chili (finely chopped)
    For garnishing
    Coriander leaf (finely chopped)
    For garnishing
    Lemon juice (finely chopped)
    For garnishing
    Salt
    As needed
    Water
    As needed


    Method :
    1. Clean well and then soak all the black chick peas or kala chana for at least 7-8 hours or overnight.
    2. In a pressure cooker, take all the soaked and drained black chickpeas along with 1 pinch turmeric powder and enough water (around 3-4 cup). 
    3. Cook till chickpeas are just done. Drain all the boiled chana, but reserve the liquid(water) for later use.
    4. Heat mustard oil in a pan.
    5. Then add bay leaf, cinnamon and cumin seed and allow to splutter.
    6. Add finely chopped onion and saute till onion turns translucent.
    7. Next add ginger-garlic paste and cook until raw smell goes away.
    8. Add finely chopped tomatoes and mix everything well.
    9. Cook till tomatoes turn mushy and whole mixture looks like a paste.
    10. Next add coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Mix everything well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
    11. Now add boiled and drained black chickpeas and stir continuously so that the masala'll coated well to each kaala chana.
    12. Then add 1/2 cup of reserved cooked water, salt and mix well.
    13. Simmer for 15 minutes, further water can be added if desired consistency of the ghugni is not there. 
    14. Turn off heat. Finally sprinkle garam masala powder and give a quick stir.
    15. While serving, put some finely chopped onion, coriander leaves, green chilies and some fresh lemon juice on top of the ghugni in the serving platter. Serve as it is or with hot roti or steamed rice !



    Notes :

    • Addition of tomato can be totally omitted.
    • Also tomato puree can be used instead of finely chopped tomatoes.


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