Aalu ki tikiya(potato patties stuffed with spicy peas)

Winter season brings a lot more memories from my parent’s  house related to food. We are 4 siblings and we all were great foodies. Dinner used to be the main meal of the day because whole family used to be together at the end of the day and we used to  have it in the kitchen itself because kitchen had wonderful aroma of hot food preparation and all the warmth of cooking.

Other than regular food, menu for winter dinner used to be hot dosa, different varieties of cheela, stuffed parathas or plain parathas and aaloo ki tikiya.

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Aaloo ki tikiya is a type of patty prepared with boiled potatoes and stuffed with spicy boiled peas. It is roasted on heavy tava brushed up with oil. Aalu ki tikiya is a very popular North Indian street snack during winter. It is served with sweet chutney  and spicy coriander chutney. If you want to have it as a full meal, serve chole also along with chutney.

When we shifted to Bangalore around 15 years ago we were staying in a rented house. There I had prepared Aaloo ki tikiya for my daughter’s third birthday party. I guess it was a gathering of 15-16 people. Well, among them nine people were from our house owner’s family. They all were staying together as a joint family with two married sons, their kids and parents.  Guests loved aaloo ki tikiya so much that for next birthday party there was a demand to prepare them again!!

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Well, the reason I prepared aaloo ki tikiya this time was completely different. I wanted to use this tikiya as a filling for veg burger. So I prepared small and thinner tikiya. If you want to prepare them as only snack, prepare slightly bigger in size and don’t flatten them so much.

You must have seen how they are sold in food corners in the market. One big flat heavy bottomed tava completely covered with big sized tikiyas around it and the moment you order, street-food magician😊 will drag one from the edge of tawa and roast it in the middle of tawa till it gets beautiful brown crisp and you will be having a plate of hot crisp and soft tikiya with sweet and spicy chutney and chopped onions… Oh well…. I can visualize the scene!!!

Aren’t you tempted enough to give a try? I am sure you are!! Just have some patience while roasting them on tawa. It is done on sim heat. Some prefer to fry them because frying makes the work fast. But personally I never really like the taste of fried ones and I don’t want to consume so much of oil when there is a better option.

Choice is yours, whatever the way you want to go ahead with!!

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In the list of ingredients I have not mentioned the quantity because you actually don’t need. Add all spices as per your taste buds. I prefer little bit spicy – your choice might be less or very mild …. so add all spices whichever the way you want!!

Ingredients :

Boiled potatoes
Boiled peas
Finely chopped green coriander leaves
Finely chopped green chillies
Finely chopped onions

Salt, dry mango powder(amchoor), dry chilli powder, garam masala, asafoetida (hing) and oil for brushing up.

Process :

Boil potatoes and keep them on a sieve so that excess water get drained out.

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Now boil peas and after boiling keep them also in sieve so that excess water gets drained out. Watery peas and potatoes would create problem in preparing tikiya, so take care of this point.

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Peel boiled potatoes and grate them in a vessel.

Yes, you heard it right! We don’t mash them because in mashed potatoes there are tiny little chunks of potatoes. We need fine thick paste kind of consistency, so we have to grate them.

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Grease your palms and vessel with little bit of oil and slightly knead these grated potatoes and collect them in the shape of a dough.

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In another vessel keep boiled peas along with all spices, chopped chillies and coriander leaves. Slightly mash peas with your fingers while mixing everything together. Filling is ready.

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Grease your hands with oil and take a small portion of potato dough and give it a round shape like ball. Finish potato dough by preparing round shaped balls.

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Now keep one potato ball in your palm, give a cup like shape to your  palm and slowly by tapping from all the sides create some space for the filling.

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Fill-in peas filling in there and slowly and carefully close it back and roll it again between your palms in ball shape. If potatoes are sticking, grease palms with oil. Fill – in all potato balls in the same way.

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Heat heavy bottomed flat tava on medium heat and grease it with oil. Once tava is hot enough, keep all tikiya  (peas filled potato balls)  on it and reduce heat on sim.

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Brush up the upper part of tikiya with oil and spread very little quantity of oil  around all tikiya.

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With the help of slight sharp edged flat spatula turn all tikiya upside down and once again brush up with oil. Now you can increase the heat on medium to sim.

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Roast tikiya nicely from both the sides till they become nice brown and crisp. Serve with sweet chutney and spicy coriander chutney.

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What do you think about this popular Indian snack? Have you ever tried it before this way or in a different way .. would love to hear from you all in the comments section 😊😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moong ki daal ke pakode (green lentil fritters)

I love Makar Sankranti festival the most! In Jaipur Makar Sankranti is celebrated in its full galore. Before a month itself you can feel the vibes of the festival in the air. Even a small street corner general store starts selling kites. Immediately after coming back from school, kids will be seen on terrace with their kites till their mother starts calling them to come down because it is going to be very cold – after all it’s peak of winter season. Mothers will be drying up sesame seeds in hot sun for preparing sweets as til ki papdi and til ke ladoo. 

Kids keep their kites ready the previous night of Sankranti itself. Gaajar ka halwa is prepared and split green moong daal is soaked previous night of Sankranti. I remember at my parents’ house we used to take bath with cold fresh tap water early in the morning on the day of Sankranti (a religious custom). Mother used to be busy with her pooja preparations and we used to wait for Sun to come so that sky can be clear of fog. I remember, once my brother, Sunny, and I, tried to fly kite very early in the morning when it was still dark. We found some neighbours also along with their kites on their terrace. But unfortunately because of fog kites became wet and everyone returned disappointed.

Sankranti is the best day to be soaked up in the Sun. Whole day family members are on the terrace. If guests or neighbours visit you, they also join you on the terrace.

Streets are also full of kids – some will be there to fly kites and others to catch the kites. Have you ever caught a kite flying in from somewhere in the sky, and somehow you guessed that it’s going to cross through your territory…it creates such a wonderful scene!! Everyone on your terrace is on full alert, sometimes including your parents, not to leave no stone unturned to catch the incoming kite!!!! And the person who succeeds in catching that kite will have a wonderful sense of proud feeling!!

Whole day will be gone in watching and flying kites, making loud hullabaloo if you are successful in snapping others kite’s string, gossiping, and munching roasted groundnuts, gazak, revadi, til papdi and hot moong ki daal ke pakode /vade.

Oh, I miss so much Makar Sankranti celebration in Jaipur, 😢 I guess I can write a lot about this festival. It is that one festival which is celebrated from morning till night. After sunset also some people fly kites with lamp, even though it gets very cold.

After shifting to Bangalore I hardly saw kids flying kites. But a few days before Sankranti I read that at some place kite festival was being organized. And today when we went out to our nearby shopping complex in Banashankari 3rd stage, I was amazed to see kites being sold in shops. Just like rakhi now there were kites to attract kids with their favorite cartoon characters like Doremon, Dora, Barbies etc. Even our honourable Prime Minister Modi kite was there.

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I really hope that in coming 3-4 four years we might see sky of Bangalore filled with colourful kites on Makar Sankranti.

The main attraction of food in the whole day of Makar Sankranti is ‘chilke vaali hari moong ki daal ke pakode‘. Daal is soaked the previous night, and in the morning it is ground, spices added and this batter is used the whole day for family members and guests to have hot pakode. These are very tasty and crispy and you can have them with your hot evening tea.

Ingredients :

Split green moong daal,  green chillies, ginger, salt, red chilli powder, salt, asafoetida and water.

Process :

Wash nicely and soak daal overnight or just for 2 hours in the morning – it puffs up nicely.

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Add salt, red chilli powder, green chillies, asafoetida and ginger. Without water grind it in a mixer. We need thick batter, so don’t add water while grinding.

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Heat oil in a deep pan and with your finger tips take very small quantity of daal batter and drop it carefully in the hot oil. If this tiny pakoda/fritter floats in the oil, it signifies that oil is hot enough to fry. In the same way fry rest of the pakode. You can use spoon also to drop the batter in oil.

 

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On medium heat fry pakode nicely by turning them upside down.

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Take them out with a handled sieve to drain out extra oil.

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Serve hot and crispy pakode with any sauce or chutney.

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Aalu ki kachori

Whenever at my parent’s house my maternal uncles used to visit us, my mother used to prepare proper UP (Uttar Pradesh) style food. There will be poori, dry potatoes veggie (which used to look like pickle because of extra oil and extra spices) one curry, curd with sugar or boondi ka raita and aalu ki kachori….. and sweet – that my uncles always used to bring, so mother never bothered to prepare.

This whole food served in steel thali (big size plate with edges) used to look so delicious that I always used to think that uncle’s visit should be more often 😋.

Among this whole platter my favorite used to be ‘aalu ki kachori’. I have never tasted such wonderful kachori in any restaurant till now.

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Before marriage I had never attempted to prepare them independently, actually I never dared to do, because I didn’t want to go through a disastrous attempt. But after marriage as we all do many experiments with food in kitchen, I too tried kachori. Taste was very good but a few of them tore and potato filling came out during frying.

Slowly over the years I continued making them and proudly can say that now I can fry every single kachori in perfect shape!!!!!!

Mother’s recipes and tips are always perfect despite the fact that they used to prepare everything with their guess work!!

 

Ingredients

For preparing dough….

Wheat flour 2+1/2 cups
Salt 3/4 tsp
Carom seeds 1 tsp
Oil 2 +1/2 tbsp
Rava 1+1/2 tbsp (optional)
Water 1 cup +1/4 cup

Potato masala :

Boiled Potatoes
Dry mango powder, garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida, chopped green chillies, finely chopped green coriander leaves(optional) and grated ginger(optional).

Oil, to fry

Tips :

1.   We have to knead slightly loose dough than our regular chapati dough. Loose dough will be easy to roll with stuffed potato mix.

2.   If you are feeling that the quantity of water is making dough very loose, then you can reduce some amount of water.

3.   Adding rava adds extra crunch to kachori  but if you don’t have, comfortably leave it.

4.   Make sure that coriander leaves have no water in them, otherwise potato mix will be soggy and it will make rolling difficult. Also, mix will seep out while rolling and frying.

5.  After boiling, keep potatoes in a strainer for some time so that all water drains out. Soggy boiled potatoes are not good for filling.

6.  Do not prepare potato mixture 2-3 hours in advance. Salt in mixture will turn it soggy.

7.  If you are preparing kachori first time, fry one kachori at a time, gain confidence and slowly you can do 2-3 at a time.

Process:

Take wheat flour, salt, carom seeds, rava in a broad pan to prepare the dough. Add oil and mix everything together.

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Now start adding water to knead and prepare slightly loose dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside.

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Peel and mash potatoes and add all spices as per your taste along with chopped green chillies, coriander leaves and grated ginger. Mix everything together and potato mix is ready.

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Start heating oil in a deep pan. During the time oil is getting hot we can start the preparation of filling and rolling kachori.

Take some amount of dough and prepare it like a smooth ball between your palms and roll it little bit with the help of rolling pin . If dough is sticky, use oil to grease your palms and at rolling surface.

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Now add small amount of potato mix on the slightly rolled dough.

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From the edges start collecting the dough with your fingers, bring it at the center, close it and pat it down lightly.

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If required, again grease rolling surfer with oil and very gently roll stuffed dough carefully and evenly from all sides. Evenly rolled kachori will puff up nicely. Be careful that potato mix should not come out while rolling.

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By now oil is hot enough for frying. Make sure that oil is not very hot  otherwise kachori will remain raw from inside. You can check the right temperature of oil by putting a tiny piece of dough in it. If it sinks in the bottom of the pan, oil is not hot enough to fry. If dough becomes brown immediately after adding into the oil , it’s too hot. With experience you will learn!!

Now gently slip kachori from the side of the pan and fry it by turning upside down gently a couple of times till it becomes brown and crisp.

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Sometimes while frying kachori might open up and stuffing can seep out. It happens if you have rolled kachori very thin or it is overstuffed with potato mixture. Don’t panic, take out that damaged kachori and all that stuffing which is floating on oil with laddle and continue frying the rest of the kachoris.

Serve hot kachoris with your choice of chutney, sauce or dips!!

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Pyaaz ke pakode(crispy onion bhajji)

Pyaaj ke karare pakode
(crispy onion bhajji)

I have a very interesting story regarding how I learned to prepare these crispy onion bhajji!!! In North India “bhajji” word is not used. You prepare bhajji with potatoes, onion, green chillies or cauliflower…. the word is “pakoda.”

After my marriage I came to Chennai and here I got introduced to the word bhajji. After 10 months staying in Chennai we went to Jamaica. There was an Indian restaurant named Akbar. As an appetizer onion bhajji used to be served. It used to be less oily, and unlike onion pakode, crispy fried slices of onion wrapped with less flour used to be served. We used to enjoy them thoroughly and I always wondered how do they manage to use such less flour and have every slice separate without getting stuck with each other. I tried to replicate at home but failed miserably.

Three years later when when we were settled down in Bangalore, Manish and I were watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s show on TV and there he was cooking the same onion bhajji!!! We both jumped with joy to see the whole process and next weekend this onion bhajji was part of our breakfast!!!!
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Ingredients :
Onions
Oil for frying
Gram flour
salt

Process :
Peel onions and wash them nicely. Chop them vertically in long stripes.
You really need to chop a lot of onions here so take help from your family members…
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Add salt as per your taste in these chopped onion and mix nicely. Now let these salted onions rest for 20-30 minutes.

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During this resting period salt will melt and onions will be wet.

Now start sprinkling gram flour (besan) 1 tbsp at a time on these wet salty onion. We are not going to add water here, so use that much gram flour only which gets mixed with wet onions.

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Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the onion and besan mix. As there is less flour wrapped around onions, bhajjis wouldn’t absorb much oil during frying.

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Serve hot onion bhajji with your choice of chutney or sauce!!!

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Poha/Flattened rice/Attukulu/Avalakki/Chuda/Chiura/Beaten rice/Phovu…….

Almost in every state of India Poha is used as breakfast or as an evening snack. I have my childhood memories with poha. On Doordarshan when “Ramayan” serial commenced, my younger sister Nandini used to prepare very spicy and delicious poha for breakfast every Sunday. She was fussy in her eating habits and so was the first one among us three sisters to pick up cooking (to be free of mother’s cooking😉).

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After my marriage when we were in Chennai Manish requested me to prepare poha for breakfast. I couldn’t say no because I guessed that it is very easy thing to prepare (I had never prepared poha before that 😟).

My first mistake was that I bought thin variety of poha. Second mistake was that I had no idea how much quantity should I take. And we didn’t have landline phone, so I couldn’t call and ask. I ended up preparing completely mashed up poha which was enough for both of us for breakfast and lunch 😶😶.

Some memories are unforgettable!!

Now I can comfortably prepare with medium and thin varieties of poha. I have tasted thicker variety courtesy my good neighbors and it’s quite delicious but I have never tried. But my priority is always to buy medium one.

Ingredients :

Medium poha, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, Asafoetida (hing), rai, oil, raw groundnuts, potato,  onion, curry leaves, green coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Process :

In a strainer take poha and wash it under running water and keep it aside to drain out excess water.

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Peel, wash and cut thin slices of potatoes, onions and green chillies.

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In a pan heat 3-4 tbsp of oil and fry ground nuts.

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Take out the fried groundnuts and in the same hot oil crackle rai, add asafoetida and add cut slices of onions, potatoes, green chillies and curry leaves. Keep the heat on sim and let potatoes become soft.

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Once again wash your already washed poha and keep it aside to drain out excess water.

When onions, potatoes and chillies are cooked, add red chilli and turmeric powder.

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By now excess water from poha would have drained out. Remember that poha should be moist (and not dry) otherwise it wouldn’t be good in taste.

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Add this in potato onion mix along with salt and fried groundnuts. Keep the heat on medium to sim and mix everything well. In the end sprinkle some lemon juice and mix again. (finely cut tomatoes also can be added but no one likes them in my family, so I don’t add).

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Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

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