Chane ki daal with louki

Chane ki Daal with Louki (split baby chickpeas lentil with bottle gourd) is traditional North Indian cuisine. Louki (Bottle Gourd) is not a welcome vegetable for most of the kids. Well, if there is Lauki ke kofte ki sabzi (grated bottle gourd dumplings in curry) then its a different story altogether. But as kofte ki sabzi involves deep fried preparation we cannot prepare this in our daily regular meals.

Then how to feed kids this very nutritious vegetable? Try to add chana daal along with louki and this dull vegetable will turn into a delicious dish. Just before serving, add one spoon of pure ghee (clarified butter) in this daal and the taste goes to another level.

chane ki daal with louki

There is one more variety of chana daal/split baby chickpea lentil with spinach in the blog – If you are interested, please take a look…Daal paalak (split chickpea lentil with spinach)

Ingrediants:

Chana daal 3/4 cup

Louki 200 grams

Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Water 2 cups

Tadka (seasoning)

Rai (small mustard seeds) 1/2 tsp

Jeera (cumin seeds) 1/2 tsp

Hing (Asafotida) 1/8 tsp

Oil/ghee 3 tbsp

Red chilly powder 1 tsp

turmeric powder 1/8 tsp

Puree

2 tomatoes, 1 onion, 3-4 green chilies, tiny piece of ginger

Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

A few points….
  1. You can reduce the quantity of louki.
  2. Cook chana daal on sim heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes as it takes slightly longer time to get cooked compared to other lentils.
  3. You can also add garlic in the puree.
  4. Ghee can be used to prepare tadka in place of oil.

Process:

Wash chana daal nicely and soak it in two cups of water for an hour. It will puff up nicely in one hour.

chana daalsoaked chana daal

After an hour, wash, peel and chop louki in small pieces. Add turmeric powder and salt in chana daal along with louki pieces and pressure cook it till chana daal becomes soft.

While chana daal is getting cooked, we will prepare tadka.  Wash and chop onion, tomatoes, green chilies and ginger and grind them in a mixer. Heat oil in a pan or wok and crackle rai, hing and jeera.

Add grinded puree in the oil and add turmeric and red chili powder. Cook till the water evaporates leaving only oil.

tadka for chana louki daal is ready

Daal must be cooked by now. Switch off the heat and remove the lid off the pressure cooker once it cools down.

chana daal is ready

Add this louki – daal in the ready tadka. If you feel that consistency is too thick, add hot water. Shift chane ki daal with louki in serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.

chane ki daalki louki

louki aur chana daal

 
Cream cheese made at home

Homemade Cream Cheese

Why do we need to prepare Homemade Cream Cheese? Well, In India good quality cream cheese is very costly, and if you want to prepare cheese cakes, frosting for carrot cake or filling for tarts, you need cream cheese. Can we get the same consistency as market bought? No, homemade cream cheese doesn’t have the same consistency but it comes very close. For the recipe of cream cheese I have followed the post from Gayathri Kumar’s blog  https://gayathriscookspot.com/

Preparing cream cheese is not a difficult task. It just takes one day for the final result, and it is not strenuous work. All you need is full fat hung curd and paneer (cottage cheese). You can prepare these both in your kitchen; so first step is over. Second step is to drain out water content from paneer and hung curd. Third step is to mix both of them and again drain out extra water. Final step is to grind them together and cream cheese is ready. To make it more creamy, add some cream in it. I had prepared this homemade cream cheese first time when I wanted frosting for carrot cake!! How smooth and creamy it is!

During these hard times we don’t know when we will be able to go back to the grocery store and purchase items without any fear. But till then we can keep our spirits high and try certain things which we never thought could be homemade. Good food gives us happiness and positive thinking. So try to prepare this simple recipe of cream cheese and give yourself a treat of wonderful dishes…!

Ingredients :

Full fat milk, vinegar/lemon juice, curd

Process :

Boil milk in a pan and let it cool down after boiling till it is slightly warmer than lukewarm. Add half tbsp curd in it, cover the pan and keep it at a warm place to set. Curd will be ready within 3-4 hours. Pour this curd in a sieve along with muslin cloth spread on it and hang it for 2-3 hours so that water drains out. Later, take out the curd in a bowl and hung curd is ready. Keep this in the fridge until we prepare paneer.

Refrigerate hung curd
Store hung curd in refrigerator

In another pan, boil milk once again and switch off the heat the moment milk is boiled. Immediately pour vinegar or lemon juice (1 tbsp vinegar for 1 litre milk OR 1 tbsp lemon juice with one tbsp water for 1 litre milk) in hot milk. Milk will curdle – pour it in a sieve with muslin cloth on it. Wash this curdled milk (or chenna in Hindi) nicely in running water so that no taste of vinegar/water remains. Squeeze out water and hang this muslin cloth for 1 to 2 hours so that the remaining water drains out. Paneer will be ready in two hours.

Now measure equal quantity of hung curd and paneer.Mix both of them nicely and again keep it in the fridge overnight wrapped up in a muslin cloth in with a bowl and a strainer.

Take out the bowl in the morning and grind this cream cheese into mixer till it is no more grainy.

Smooth cream cheese is ready!!

To make it more creamy, add little bit of cream and prepare your favorite cheesecake recipes.

Khoya Cheesecake (fusion dessert)

Coconut Cheesecake

 

 

Homemade Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese

Is Cottage Cheese the right English translation for Paneer? We can say both yes and no. Preparing cottage cheese is a long process that also has cream which provides the rich and creamy texture. Compared to Cottage Cheese, paneer preparation is not complex and it is easy to prepare Homemade Paneer. As both paneer and Cottage cheese are prepared by curdling the milk I took the liberty of calling Paneer as Indian Cottage Cheese.

In India, specially in North India, paneer dishes bring smile on dining table. Starting from the breakfast, lunch, evening tea snacks, dinner and even in desserts we can prepare dishes from paneer like Rasgulla and Rasmalai.

Though many brands are available in the market for Paneer, items disappear quickly from shelves courtesy the current lockdown we are going through. So why wait till next delivery time – prepare paneer in your kitchen and cook your favorite paneer dish with homemade fresh paneer!!

Ingredients :

Full fat milk and Vinegar/Lemon juice

For 1 litre milk one tbsp vinegar is required. If you are using lemon juice, add one tbsp water in one tbsp of lemon juice.

Process :

Boil milk in a pan.

When milk is boiled, turn off heat and add vinegar or lemon juice. Milk will curdle immediately.

Spread muslin cloth on a sieve. Pour everything over this muslin cloth and wash this chenna nicely in running water so that no taste of lemon or vinegar remains. Squeeze out all water from chhena.

Now hang this chhena in muslin cloth for one hour so that the rest of the water drains out. If you still find chhena too wet, squeeze water with your hands.

Mash chhena properly. Rub it nicely with your palms so that all the grains of chhena become soft and you can collect it like a dough.

Now shape it in square or round shape and keep it in a strong rimmed steel plate.

Keep this upside down on another flat plate.

Now keep some heavy weight on this and let it settle down for 4-5 hours. I have this water can, so I used it as heavy weight. Heavy weight will help in squeezing out the rest of the water and chenna will firmly settle down.

Remove the weight after 4 hours and Homemade Paneer will be ready. Cut it into cubes and keep it in the freezer in a ziplock bag.

If you are not sure about the firmness of paneer, fry a few pieces. If paneer is not firm, it will scatter else it will remain intact.

Now you don’t have to rush to the shop if your family wants paneer with gravy at the dinning table.

 

Homemade Condensed Milk/Milkmade

Is it possible to prepare Condensed Milk/Milkmade at home?

Yes, it’s a very easy process and takes only half an hour. Homemade Condensed Milk is very economical and can be stored in the fridge for further use.

What is the shelf life of homemade condensed milk?

I am not sure about it. But what is the point in keeping in the fridge if it can be prepared so easily – just prepare whenever you need and enjoy!! Make fresh for a new dish.

Where should condensed milk be used?

There is a long list of desserts in which you can use condensed milk. As an example, you can bake a cake with condensed milk Eggless Vanilla Sponge Cake with Condensed Milk. Moreover, the long traditional method to prepare a few Indian sweets and desserts can be reduced if you use that in your recipe. 

The best part about preparing condensed milk is that it needs only 3 ingredients. These 3 ingredients are always available in your kitchen. So come, let’s prepare Homemade Condensed Milk from scratch…

Ingredients :

Full fat milk 1/2 litre 

Sugar 170 gm

A pinch of baking soda 

A small note:

As we are preparing condensed milk at home, we have the liberty to control the quantity of sugar here. Depending on your taste bud, you can use 150 to 200 gram of sugar for 500 millilitre of milk. 

Process :

Start boiling milk in a pan. As it begins to rise, add sugar and keep stirring on medium to high flame for 15 – 20 minutes. We can keep the flame on sim heat too but the process would take a much longer time.

The colour of milk will start changing once it starts thickening.

Milk will become quite thick or condensed after 15-20 minutes – switch off the gas at this time and add a pinch of baking soda. There will be some foam after adding baking soda, but that will settle down. Let condensed milk cool down completely.

Once it cools down, there might be a layer of cream (malai) on top of it. So just give it a quick churn in a mixer and you will have smooth, creamy luscious Homemade Condensed Milk. 

Fill it in a dry bottle, keep in the fridge and use in any delicious dessert.

 

Homemade Dry Mint Powder/ Podina ka powder

I had always seen homemade dry Mint powder or podina ka powder in my mom’s spice collection in the kitchen. My mother used to prepare this powder from freshly plucked mint leaves from our kitchen garden. We used to grow mint leaves in a big area that provided us with many leaves enabling us to prepare dry mint powder for the whole year.

Mint is a wonderful aromatic herb and is not at all difficult to grow in your kitchen garden or pots. We can use fresh mint leaves to prepare dry mint powder. Dry mint powder adds excellent flavor to summer drinks like Kachhi keiri ka pana/panna (raw mango beverage), lemon juice, butter milk, water melon juice etc. It can be added in plain curd or any raita.

While drying fresh mint leaves for powder, never dry them directly under the Sun’s heat. Heat kills the aroma of the leaves – so always dry them in a shadowed place. In case of rain, we can dry them in microwave or oven too.

Ingredients :

Fresh mint leaves

Process :

Pluck out fresh leaves of mint from the stems and wash them with running water.

Let them stay in the sieve till the water dries out completely.

Later, spread these leaves on a newspaper or dry cloth to dry out.

Don’t keep these leaves under the direct heat of Sun as that will diminish the flavor of mint. You can keep them under the fan. In the heat of summer, leaves will dry out inside the house too. Leaves will shrink in a day or two, their colour will change and they will look like this…

Now keep them in a broad bowl and let them dry till they become crispy dry.

Rub dry mint leaves with your palms or grind them in a mixer.

Homemade Dry Mint Powder is ready to use!!

As no moisture is left in the leaves, these can be easily stored in an air tight container.

 

Lahsun (garlic) ki chutney

I have always been blessed with good neighbourhood. After my marriage I moved to Chennai and stayed there for 9 months. Later we moved to Jamaica before settling in Bangalore after three years. At all these places I was surrounded by wonderful people in my neighbourhood.

In Jamaica when suddenly my daughter became sick, along with our Indian friends, my Jamaican neighbours were extremely helpful. At the occasion of Apoorva’s 1st birthday celebration my Jamaican neighbours loved Indian food a lot and they requested to pack some for next day.

In Jaipur my parents’ house is blessed  with kind and friendly neighbours and food is shared between us frequently. We developed a taste for authentic Rajasthani cuisine because Rajasthani neighbours used to bring food to our house or we were the frequent visitors in their house at several occasions.

So this year, during summer vacation when I visited my parents’ house, all childhood memories were revived. And I wad very lucky when we got an invitation from the same neighbours for dinner. We relished all authentic delicacies but I still felt that something was missing in the menu. Then my sister pointed out that garlic chutney is not there. I asked them about the missing dish and got the assurance that before I go back to Bangalore I will surely get “Lahsun ki chutney”.

After coming back to Bangalore I was tempted to prepare this chutney. This chutney is cooked with lots of oil, so we can keep it in an air tight container in the fridge and it will last for at least 2 weeks. We can also use it as a part of gravy for vegetables and tadka for lentils.

In Rajasthan if you have seen this chutney, you will find that oil will be floating in the container and chutney is red in colour as lots of dry red chillies are used here. I didn’t want so much of oil, so reduced the quantity of oil and instead of dry red chillies, I have used raw red chillies as they were available in my kitchen.

Ingredients :

Peeled garlic cloves 100 gm
Red chilli 🌶 50 gm
Oil 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Salt as per your taste
Asafoetida 1/8 tsp
One small onion and small tomato 🍅

Keep peeled garlic cloves, red chillies, tomato and onion together.

IMG_20190627_094408651

Chop onion and tomato and grind everything together in a smooth paste.

IMG_20190627_095451313.jpg

In a small wok, heat oil, crackle cumin seeds and asafoetida and add garlic paste. Cook it on sim heat for 15 minutes. Let it cool down completely and use it as any part of your meal.

IMG_20190627_175503674.jpg