Monday, March 31, 2014

Sev Barfi or Singhar Ji Mithai


गुढी पाडव्याच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्या !

Does it matter if I post a Sindhi sweet recipe on a Marathi New year? Would it taste different if I tell you I made it in Diwali and am posting it now? 


No, naa. Then here is the recipe. You have one more sweet recipe to try at home.

Since I spent the first few years of my life in Colaba where besides the Kolis the Sindhis have their base, I grew up feasting on a lot of sweets from the famed Sindhi Mithaiwalas, whether it was Kailash Parbat or Chandu halwai. Then 20 years later Jhama's had us swearing with the hot samosas, juicy jelabis and a lot lot more. The sev barfi was brought home as an odd time treat, never for the religious rituals or naivedya. For the naivedya it has to be pure milk based sweets and this sev barfi had chana atta in the form of sev so was meant only for human consumption.

I don't know what made me think I cannot make it at home. Then I chanced on Alka Keswani's Sindhi Rasoi it sounded so easy so how could I not give it a try. During Diwali I was visiting friends when I made it as gifts for them and packed it into pretty boxes. It definitely is an uncommon sweet and people love the little surprise of a sweet made from sev. 

The key to making it successfully is laying your hands on Feeka sev! That's salt free Sev. The sev is usually savoury snack or topping that goes on the chaats but for this sweet the regular sev will not work.

Again I got lucky to  get Feeka Sev at Jhama's itself and I bought it on stealth lest my Dad who was with me asked me to dump it and buy the ready made Singhar Ji Mithai instead. That would have been easier but a blogger never takes it easy when it comes to food gifts, what say?

So there I was loaded with a kg of Sev and I mean that's a lot. I was home and in the kitchen boiling sugar syrup to make my own Sev barfi. I doubled the quantities as I need a large batch to be given to 3 families. I used vanilla and dropped the food color. My barfi was richer with more mawa.

Ingredients

500 gms Feeka Sev
750 gms mawa
500gms sugar
3 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cashews and almonds for decoration
5-6 cardamoms peeled, seeds separated

In a saucepan measure out the water and add sugar to it. Boil it till sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla extract.

Keep a greased tray ready.

Add the sev to it and stir to mix. Break the mawa into chunks but don't crumble it. Add it into the sev and sugar mix. Stir to even out. 


Transfer the mix into the tray. Level it out. Score the barfi. 

Chop the almonds and split the cashews, decorate as shown or just the way you like. Sprinkle the separated cardamom seeds over the top.

I do not use Varakh or silver foil. Its a choice I make, here is why?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Shahi Makhana


Hi!

It's been a month since the last post so it calls for a special one. Here I am with a recipe of a restaraunt style dish.

May be it's an influence of my friend Chef Lalit's cooking. It's his birthday so thought it appropriate to write this for him.

We both are from Colaba Koliwada which means we have lots of relatives and friends in common besides our love for good food. In the short time that I have been connected with him I have seen a passion for perfection. One day he happened to break a masala dosa while turning it over and I still remember how remorseful he was.

He specializes in Indian cuisine and if you are in Adelaide, Australia you must visit his restaraunt, Sukh Sagar. He has worked with the illustrous names in Mumbai like the Taj, Oberoi and Tendulkar's and his most favorite memory is of cooking for the Mittal wedding in Paris. How I wish I had the opportunity to meet him in person when he visited recently and missed the opportunity to taste the amazing food he churns up!

I will always have a complaint that he promises many things and does not keep his word, he hasn't shared any recipe with me yet. Though I have this one which Vaishali gave me. However I forgive as he is a busy entrepreneur who has seen the hard times and there is no stopping now to what he wants to achieve in life.

We move on to this celebration worthy recipe of Shahi Makhana that you are eagerly waiting for. The gravy is familiar but the Makhana in it is unusual you think, just give it a try and you will tell me you love it.

Ingredients

1 cup Makhana
2 large onions chopped lenghtwise
3-4 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup cashew nuts
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
salt to taste
handful of chopped cilantro

In a kadhai heat the oil, fry the onions to transluscent. Chop the tomatoes and add to the onions. Cook till tomatoes are mushy. Let it cool.

Remove the fried onions and tomatoes into a wet grinder. Add the cashew nuts in along with the spices. Blend to get a paste. Use a little bit of water to grind. Keep aside.


Now toast the Makhana on heat till crisp. Pour in the ground masala paste. Adjust water to a consistency you like. A thick gravy is the best. Finally add salt and cilantro and bring it to a boil. 
This Shahi Makhana pairs well with a crisp Naan/ Kulcha or Punjabi Roti and its lipsmacking with jeera rice or a veg pulao.

There that's my balti of Shahi Makhana, what are you waiting for pick up the ladle and take a dig.

Happy Birthday Chef Lalit Nakhwa! as the clock strikes 12 o'clock  in your part of the world.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Fig and Ricotta Pizza and Tomato Black Olive Mozarella Pizza


I was looking at my label for Pizza and realized I do not post too many pizza recipes and I do not eat too many pizzas anymore. Yes like everyone else my generation I was hooked to all those Pizza brands but one that I most loved was Sicillian. It was a small outlet in our cafeteria at work and they knew how to really bake the pizza base and the topping perfectly this while others used readymade pizza bases.

Recently I was browsing thru two recipe books actually I was just enjoying the pictures when I spotted a recipe for a thin crust dough. I just need to try it and it was so good I though I'd share it with you here.

We, that's Dad and me insist on crisp pizzas, limp will not do for us. So this recipe looked promising. Also I decided to try new toppings along with a standard veggie pizza of Tomato and black olives, dependable as it is.

Ingredients

For the dough (Reference: The Taj Magazine)

100 gms flour
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon yeast
40 ml water

In the magazine all it says is knead the pizza dough and roll it out into a round base. Put on pizza tray.

However here is what I do from my experience of making pizza doughs.

Warm the water for 15 secs in the microwave. Add yeast and sprinkle some flour over it. Let it bloom for 10 mins. Now in a bowl measure out the flour. Slowly add the bubbled yeast liquid into the flour and bring it together in a ball. On a counter place 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour the 1.5 tablespoons olive oil over it. Now remove the dough on the counter and knead together with salt and olive oil for 5 mins. Make a smooth ball and divide into 2 portions.

Roll out the dough into two bases. I made one 8 inch base and another rectangular base.  Line the baking trays with foil if needed and place the base in it. Some trays do not have textured surface and it is tough to clean so I always line with foil.


Toppings for Pizza I

2 Sweet fresh figs sliced
1 cup Ricotta cheese, mine is homemade
2 pinches dried Thyme
2 pinches dried chili flakes
1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar

Bake the pizza base at 300 deg celcius for 15 mins. Remove from oven and sprinkle ricotta cheese. Place the fig slices over the ricotta. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over. Sprinkle the thyme and follow in with chilli flakes. You can either put it into the oven for another 10 mins, till the ricotta bubbles or eat it straight once topped. 

The flavours of this pizza are amazing. Its not your everyday pizza and we loved it with the standard tomato black olive pizza. One was a main the other a wonderful dessert pizza!


Toppings for Pizza II

1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated mozarella and processed cheese mix
2 tomatoes sliced
a handful of olives sliced
2 teaspoons Itallian herbs
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

On the second pizza base spread the tomato sauce, top it with cheese. Lay the tomato slices and spread evenly the olive slices. Dust with mixed Itallian herbs and chili flakes. 

Bake the pizza at 300 deg celsius for 20 mins or till desired crispness.

Enjoy the two pizzas!





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