Friday, October 13, 2017

Diwali 2017 Recipes

As Diwali approaches, I'll be sharing a few recipes to help you celebrate the holiday! In many Gujarati households, it is a custom to make a variety of snacks and sweets during Diwali to enjoy with your loved ones.

The first recipe is for Mathiya, a type of savory papad that has a spicy yet sweet crunchy taste.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 1/2 cup mathiya flour / math dal flour
  • 1/2 cup urad dal flour
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour/besan
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds/ ajwain
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white chili powder or coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon papad kharo (soda khar)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying 
  • Warm water as needed (approx 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon )

  1. In a bowl mix the three flours, ghee, carom seeds, white chili powder and sugar
  2. Add papad kharo to warm water 
  3. Add water to knead the dough. In order to get dough stiff, it will need to be pounded with a stone mortar or with your fists. 
  4. After pounding the dough for at least 15 minutes, create small round balls with the dough 
  5. With a rolling pin, roll out the balls into a thin round shape (slightly bigger than the size of a puri)
  6. In a deep wok/kadai, heat the oil on a medium high setting. Fry the mathiya one at a time until they are golden brown
  7. Mathiya is ready to serve
Store mathiya in an air tight container for freshness

Chorafali or fafda is another Diwali specialty in Gujarati households. This gluten free crispy vegan snack is perfect for munching at anytime during the day.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serving: 4 to 6

  • 1 cup gram flour / besan / chana dal flour
  • 1/2 cup split urad dal flour
  • Pinch carom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Pinch soda (baking soda)
  • Pinch crushed black pepper 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon black salt to sprinkle (mix it in a small bowl)
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup water to 1/3 cup water approx
  1. Boil 1/3 cup of water and add baking soda into it. In a bowl mix both flours, add salt, oil, black pepper and carom seeds
  2. When water gets warm, add into flour and knead the dough (dough should be stiff ). Keep aside for 20 minutes
  3. If your dough is still dry, add some oil and pound with stone mortar and stretch to make it soft and smooth. do not add more water 
  4. Make small balls of dough and roll out each ball to very thin roti size (about 5 inches in diameter)
  5. Within each circle, make about 4 to 5 cuts in the middle only while avoiding cutting to the edges OR you can cut them all of the way into wide individual strips
  6. Deep fry in oil on medium flame until golden brown 
  7. Sprinkle red chili powder and black salt on top before serving
Once cool, store in a airtight container. They will keep fresh for about fifteen days.

On to the Diwali sweets! This recipe is for Khajoor (dates) Rolls with nuts. Dates and nuts always make a great combination and provide tremendous amount of nutritious value. While considered a dessert, these rolls are not overly sweet and can also be eaten as a snack. During Diwali, I usually make a roll to add variety to the other snacks and sweets. I just love Diwali as it brings lots of happiness!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serving: 4 (32 pieces)

  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates (khajoor)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped almond
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnut
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cashew
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon condensed milk (optional)
  • Approximately 3 tablespoons Almond, pistachio and coconut powder (to coat the roll)

  1. Heat ghee in a pan, add dates, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Mash the dates a little bit using a potato masher
  2. Add chopped nuts, and continue to saute for 2 to 3 minutes over low to medium heat. 
  3. Add condensed milk (by adding it the texture of roll will be creamy and soft)
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then turn off the stove. 
  5. Apply ghee on the palm of your hand and shape the mixture into a log. Make sure the log is tight and free of air bubbles
  6. Coat the roll with pistachios, almond and coconut powder mixture, 
  7. Cover the roll with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes
  8. Take this roll out of the refrigerator and cut it up into 1/4" thick pieces
  9. Khajoor rolls are ready to serve
You can store it into air tight container up to 15 days. You can also mold this roll in any shape you like.

Ghughra is a traditional Gujarati and popular Diwali sweet. It is also known as Gujia or Karanji. Ghughra is a fried dessert in a dumpling shape filled with coconut and dry fruits. You can also use mawa/ khoya to make the filling. This sweet is a "must have" in our family every Diwali as it is Anisha's, my daughter in-law, favorite. I dedicate this recipe to her.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serving: Make 35 to 40 pieces, depending on the shape

  • 1/2 cup rava/ sooji/ cream of wheat
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (dry)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (cut it in half)
  • 1/4 cup almonds (chopped in food processor)
  • 1/4 cup cashews (chopped in food processor)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (chopped in food processor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder/ elaichi
  • Pinch of  nutmeg powder
  • 4 to 5 strands of saffron 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoon ghee
  • Ghee for frying
  • 2 cups maida flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
  1. Roast the rava in ghee in a pan at low heat, until it becomes light brown in color
  2. Add cardamom powder, almonds, cashews, pistachios, coconuts, raisins, saffron and sugar and mix it all well together. Keep it to a side once mixed.
  3. In a bowl add maida flour, add ghee and mix it well
  4. Knead the dough and divide into small balls (the dough should be stiff)
  5. Keep the dough covered, so it doesn't dry out
  6. Take one ball and roll out into a puri shaped circle. Add some stuffing on the dough and then close it to create a half moon shape.
  7. Keep twisting around the edges to make ghughra in various shapes (you can use ghughra mold to give shape. See picture below)
  8. After you make four to six ghughra, begin frying process. Ghee should be heated in a pan on low/medium heat. Fry thoroughly.
  9. Continue steps 6-8 for remaining dough balls.
  10. Ghughras are ready to serve
Traditional shape and different shapes of ghughra:

Ghughra stuffing:

Ghughra Mold:

Being healthy and staying healthy is easy with this recipe for cereal chevda. It will take care of your munching needs without all the unhealthy calories and fat from fried snacks. This is relatively quick to make and the recipe is easy to follow. It is comprised of a mix of different cereals, some dry fruits and is mildly spiced. It makes quite an enjoyable snack.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 4 cups Corn Flakes
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 cup potato sticks
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup roasted chana dal
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 green chillies chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (mango powder)
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste

                          1. Heat oil in a wide saucepan or kadai over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.
                          2. As the mustard seeds crack, add asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves. Cover the pan for few seconds after you add curry leaves as the mixture will spray outwards.
                          3. Lower the heat to medium low and stir fry for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add raisins, cashews, almonds, peanuts and chana dal. Stir-fry for an additional minute or two.
                          4. Add fennel seeds, sesame seeds, turmeric powder, amachoor powder, garam masala, red chili powder and salt. Mix well for 30 seconds.
                          5. Add both cereals and potato sticks. Stir the mixture gently and mix it well for a minute.
                          6. Turn off the heat and add sugar. Mix it well. The chevda is now ready.
                          7. Let the chevda cool to room temperature before you transfer into a container.

                          Cereal chevda can be kept for several days in an airtight container.

                          Sunday, October 8, 2017

                          Gram Flour Dhokla (with Bitter Gourd Skin)

                          We all love making different kinds of dhoklas. Why? It's such a versatile dish! Dhoklas may be had for breakfast or with evening tea, but on busy days don't we wish there was a faster alternative? Lay your worries to rest with these easy to make dhoklas using a karela's (bitter gourd) scrubbed skin. This dish simply involves assembling the ingredients, mixing them and cooking. So, it is no fuss after all. Karela skin also provides a lot of iron and other friendly nutrients. Try this recipe - it is very tasty and yummy. In my family, we also call this dish, "Gashelu."

                          Preparation time: 10 minutes
                          Cooking time: 10 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
                          • 3/4 cup scrubbed skin of karela (bitter gourd)
                          • 1 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder 
                          • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder for tempering
                          • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeera powder
                          • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
                          • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
                          • 2 tablespoons green coriander leaves, chopped
                          • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
                          • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds for tempering
                          • 1 tablespoon oil for tempering 
                          • Salt to taste
                          • 2 tablespoons oil
                          • 1 teaspoon oil for greasing
                          1. Combine all the ingredients, except fresh coriander leaves, mustard seeds, hing and oil (as noted above) in a mixing bowl. Add four cups of water and make sure that no lumps remain. The batter should be thin.
                          2. On a nonstick pan, at medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add hing. Then, add the batter and stir continuously until the batter gets to a thick consistency similar to soft-rice khichu.
                          3. Grease a thali or plate with oil. Spread the batter evenly. 
                          4. In a small kadai, add 1 tablespoon oil at medium heat. Then, add mustard seeds and when they start to crackle, turn off the stove. Add 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder and sprinkle the mixture on top of the dhokla. Let it cool a little bit. Then, cut into diamond-shaped or square-shaped pieces. The taste should not be bitter, but pleasant.
                          5. Sprinkle the dhokla with fresh coriander leaves and serve.
                          Note: If you want, you may also add garlic, ginger and green chili paste to gram flour batter.

                          Saturday, September 30, 2017

                          Bharela Bhinda (Stuffed Okra)

                          Bharela Bhinda is a Jain-friendly recipe comprised of spices, bhindi, yogurt, salt and oil. This recipe is easy in terms of steps, but is time-consuming when it comes to rinsing, drying and then stuffing the bhindi. There is no garam masala powder added in this recipe. Only regular spices such as red chili powder, turmeric powder and dhana-jeera powder. I learned this recipe, using yogurt, from my mother-in-law. Adding yogurt into the masala allows the bhinda to stay green and adds to the taste as well. This bhinda recipe goes well with roti and dal. Enjoy!

                          Prep Time: 20 minutes
                          Cooking time: 25 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 4 1/2 cups Bhinda/ okra
                          • 4 tablespoons oil
                          • 2 tablespoons red chili powder (adjust your heat level)
                          • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
                          • 1 teaspoon jeera/ cumin powder
                          • 3 tablespoons coriander (dhana) powder
                          • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
                          • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
                          • 3 tablespoons yogurt
                          • Pinch of hing
                          • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped green coriander leaves
                          • Salt to taste
                          1. Wash, wipe dry and trim both ends of the bhinda/okra.
                          2. Combine all the spices in a bowl with yogurt and salt. Mix well.
                          3. Slit each bhinda vertically without breaking 
                          4. Fill each bhinda with the spice mixture and then cut each bhinda in half.
                          5. Heat oil on a pan/ kadai. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle, add hing. Then, add the stuffed bhinda and cook on low heat until they are cooked per your preference (my son liked them a little burned).
                          6. Do not cover the bhinda otherwise they will get slimy or gooey.
                          7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
                          8. Serve bharela bhinda hot with roti/ chapatis.

                          Saturday, September 9, 2017

                          Bharelu/ Stuffed Turiya/ Ridge Gourd Nu Shaak

                          Turiya is a very healthy vegetable, but due to it's mushy consistency kids often don't like eating it. You may make stuffed turiya or you may simply chop the turiya and cook the vegetable. My son likes simple chopped turiya, but I prefer stuffed turiya. So here I am sharing a personal favorite - stuffed turiya vegetable - recipe with you all. It is a relatively simple dish, but great with roti, bhakri and bajra rotla. I hope you like this recipe!

                          Prep Time: 10 minutes
                          Cooking Time: 20 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 4 long turiya
                          • 3 tablespoons dhana powder (coriander powder)
                          • 1 tablespoon jeera powder (cumin powder)
                          • 2 tablespoons red chilli powder
                          • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder plus an additional 1/2 teaspoon for later use
                          • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
                          • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
                          • 1 tablespoon gram flour
                          • Pinch of hing
                          • 4 tablespoons oil
                          • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped green coriander leaves
                          • Salt to taste
                          1. First, wash and clean the turiya. Let them dry completely prior to peeling, cutting and cooking.
                          2. Once dry, peel the turiya and cut them in halves. Then, slit them lengthwise keeping the other side intact. (Reference the subsequent photographs if unclear)
                          3. In a bowl, combine all the spices and salt and mix well. Fill the slit portion of the turiya with the spice mix. 
                          4. Heat oil on a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle, add hing and the 1/2 teaspoon portion of turmeric powder.
                          5. Add in all the turiya and mix well. Cover the pan and cook over low flame for 10 minutes or until the turiya is completely cooked (to taste).
                          6. Garnish with coriander leaves.
                          7. Serve hot with roti, paratha or rice.

                          Sunday, August 27, 2017

                          Rotini With Pesto Sauce (Jain)

                          Making Jain pasta with pesto sauce is surprisingly very easy while maintaining flavor. Obviously, we will make this without garlic, onion and spinach in the pesto sauce. Instead, I use basil, mint leaves and parsley. I use rotini pasta, but you may use any pasta of your choice (i.e. penne). You may also add your choice of vegetables in the pasta. Here, I use broccoli, french beans and green bell peppers. I usually don't have pasta, but I truly enjoy this variation. Try this recipe for lunch of dinner - it's a personal favorite!

                          Prep Time: 10 minutes
                          Cooking time: 20 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 10 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
                          • 1-1/2 cups broccoli (cut into small florates)
                          • 1 cup french beans (cut approx. 1-1/2" long)
                          • 1 cup green capsicum (cut approx. 1-1/2" long)
                          • 6 to 7 basil leaves for garnishing
                          • 3 tablespoons olive oil
                          • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
                          • Sea salt to taste
                          • Parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated (optional)
                          For The Pesto:
                          • 1-1/2  cups fresh basil leaves
                          • 1/4 cup parsley
                          • 1/2 cup mint leaves
                          • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
                          • 1/4 cup Parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated (optional)
                          • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
                          • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
                          1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add pasta and cook according to the packaged directions. Drain, but save some water from the pasta (1 to 2 cups) and return the pasta to the pot.
                          2.  Prepare the pesto by adding basil, mint leaves, parsley, pine nuts, cheese, black pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped. 
                          3. With the machine still running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and process until the mixture is a smooth puree. If you feel the mixture is too thick to equally coat the pasta, then add a little more olive oil.
                          4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on a frying pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli, green pepper and french beans. Stir fry and add the pasta. Season with black pepper and salt. 
                          5. Add the pesto and toss until it is uniformly combined/ mixed. If you think it is dry, then add some of the saved pasta water (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
                          6. Garnish with basil leaves and top with additional grated cheese (optional).
                          7. Serve hot with with a side such as cheese bread or garlic bread. ( garlic bread optional)

                          Friday, August 18, 2017

                          Plain Upma

                          Upma is a quick and common breakfast item originating in the southern part of India. It's preparation involves fusing together a few common ingredients. You may also make it healthier by adding vegetables such as green peas, onions, tomato, corn and/or carrots. However, I like plain upma very much so here I am sharing a plain umma recipe, which I learned from one of my aunt. I like to make upma in ghee, but that is a personal preference. You may use oil.

                          Preparation Time: 5 minutes
                          Cooking time: 15 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 1 cup rava/ semolina/ sooji
                          • 2 tablespoons oil /ghee
                          • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
                          • 1-1/2 tablespoon split urad dal
                          • 5 to 6 curry leaves, finely chopped
                          • 2 to 3 green chilies, chopped
                          • 2 tablespoons fresh green coriander leaves, chopped
                          • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
                          • 4 cups of hot water
                          • Salt to taste
                          1. Heat pan on medium high heat and add oil/ ghee. Then, add mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add urad dal, chopped curry leaves and green chilies. Sauté for a few seconds.
                          2. Add the rava and sauté for a few minutes until the color of the rava changes. Add 4 cups of hot water and salt. Mix well and cover with a lid. 
                          3. Cook on a slow flame for a few minutes while occasionally stirring.
                          4. Add lemon juice, mix well and cook while stirring continuously for one minute. 
                          5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

                          Saturday, August 5, 2017

                          Paneer-Stuffed Green Moong Dal Dosa (Pesarattu Dosa)

                          This Dosa is made with green split moong dal instead of your traditional batter. It is a delicious multi-nutrient breakfast or lunch option that will provide you energy for the whole day. The paneer stuffing will give you protein, which ensures that you will start the day right (and happy!). While it sounds difficult, the dosa is very easy to make. The best thing about this batter is that you don't need to ferment the dal batter.

                          Soaking Time: 2 hours
                          Prep Time: 15 minutes
                          Cooking Time: 20 minutes
                          Servings: 4

                          • 1 cup split green moon dal
                          • 4 green chillies for batter
                          • 1 inch ginger
                          • 1/2 cup fresh green coriander leaves, chopped
                          • 3 to 4 green chilis (adjust spice level according to your taste), chopped
                          • 1 cup onion, chopped
                          • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
                          • 1 cup green capsicum, chopped
                          • 1 cup crumbled paneer or very finely cubed paneer
                          • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
                          • Oil/ ghee for dosa (approx. 1/4 cup)
                          • Salt to taste
                          1. First, soak the dal in water for at least two hours.
                          2. Drain the water and combine the dal with green chilis and ginger. In a blender, add the mixture and a little water. Blend it until it has a smooth paste-like consistency.
                          3. Transfer the batter to a bowl and add salt. Mix it well and keep aside.
                          4. Sauté the paneer in a pan with one teaspoon oil/ghee until it is light brown and keep aside.
                          5. In a pan, add 2 tablespoons oil/ghee with the gas on medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until lightly brown. Then, add the chopped green chili, green capsicum and tomatoes (on high heat so water doesn't release). Sauté for one minute and then add paneer, salt, chaat masala and chopped coriander leaves. Quickly mix it and turn off the stove. Keep the mixture aside.
                          6. Heat a pan or tawa and lightly grease it. Pour one ladleful of batter onto the tawa and spread it around with the back of the ladle. Sprinkle the paneer mixture onto the dosa. Drizzle oil/ghee around the dosa. Cook until the dosa underside turns golden brown. fold the dosa and serve hot with Coconut Chutney or Green Coriander Chutney.
                          7. Repeat with the remaining batter to make more dosas.
                          8. Serve immediately.

                          Photos of green moong dal batter, cubed paneer, sautéed paneer,sautéed onion, next is added green capsicum and tomatoes, ready paneer mixtures.