Lauki ke kofte ki sabzi (grated bottle gourd dumplings in curry)

Louki, gheeya or bottle gourd… use any name but this vegetable hardly brings smile on anyone’s face. My mother used to prepare this in plain curry form with tomatoes and I always liked it. But other than my mother and me everyone else in the family used to eat it forcibly.

But there is one more way through which we can cook this vegetable and serve to our guests. It’s slightly time consuming but tastes wonderful and no one can deny once served on his\her plate!!!!

Process :

1.To prepare Kofta:
Besan (gram flour)     just enough to bind koftas

Grated bottle gourd 1+1/2cup
Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
Chopped green chillies 1 tsp
salt… as per taste
Asafoetida… a pinch
Coarsely grinded fennel seeds 1/2 tsp

2.Gravy/curry

For paste:

Onion… 1 medium size
Tomatoes…. 3 medium size
Green chillies…. 3 medium size
Ginger…. 1tiny piece
Garlic……. as per your taste (I didn’t add)

Spices :

Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1tbsp +1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Garam masala 1/2 tsp

Green coriander leaves for garnishing.

Process :

Peel and grate bottle gourd.

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Squeeze out all the juice from the grated bottle gourd. Keep this juice safe because we will be using it for curry.

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Mix red chilli powder, salt, hing(asafoetida) , besan (gram flour) and fennel seeds (sauf) in grated bottle gourd and prepare koftas(small balls.)

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Heat oil in a pan and fry these koftas keeping the flame between sim and medium. Once done, keep them aside.
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Now chop onion, tomato, garlic,  ginger and green chillies.

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Grind them in a paste and heat oil in a pan, crackle rai hing jeera and add grinded paste. Add rest of the spices.

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Let this cook on medium heat until it leaves the oil from the sides.

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Now add two cups of water including squeezed out bottle gourd juice and let it boil for 10-15 minutes on sim to medium heat. Add kofta in the gravy after 15 minutes.

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Cook for 5 more minutes on sim heat and take out louki ke kofte ki sabzi in a serving pan and sprinkle green chopped coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice or roti.

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Methi Palak ki sabzi

Green leafy vegetables are my weakness. I can have them in lunch and dinner both. And these nutritious leaves can be cooked in many different ways. We can cook them as normal vegetable, can add them to prepare green paratha, roti or poori, can add them in curd, prepare chutney or add them in salad.
In the morning my next door vegetable vendor sometimes gets really good green leafy vegetables . Yesterday he had clean bunches of methi, palak and pudina. I used mint leaves to prepare dry powder and spinach and fenugreek leaves to prepare sabzi.

Ingredients :
Spinach leaves 2 bunches
Fenugreek leaves 1  bunch
Potato 1
Tomato 2 medium
Green chillies 1
Rai                 1/8 tsp
Hing                a pinch
Jeera                1/4 tsp
Oil                    2 tbsp
Coriander powder 3/4 tsp
Red chilli powder   1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder    1/4 tsp
Salt           as per your taste

Process :
Cut the roots and thick stems and wash spinach and methi leaves. Keep them on a strainer so that all water drains out.

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Once water drains out, chop the leaves.

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Heat oil in a pan and crackle rai, hing jeera. Peel, wash and cut potato into small pieces and add in the pan and let it cook for a minute.

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Add spinach and fenugreek leaves and cover it. Keep the heat on sim. In five minutes the whole bunch of leaves will settle down. Now you will have an idea for how much quantity of spices and salt you need to add.
Add chopped greens chillies, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt according to taste.

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Mix well and cover it again till potatoes become soft.

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Add chopped tomatoes.
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When tomatoes are soft and completely cooked , switch off heat and serve nutritious palak methi ki sabzi.

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Chole (chickpeas with gravy)

Chickpea, kabuli chana, chole…. address them as per your choice, but there is no doubt that this dish has special place in our kitchen.

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We cook them to make our Sunday special, when we have guests for lunch, for birthday parties, kitty parties; they are part of food menu for marriages and restaurants and kids are happy to see them on their plate….

Chole complement rice, bhature and poori very well. Nowadays they are added as a part of salad also. My sister Nandini is a rice eating person. She can have rice every day in lunch and dinner. Except her, my parents and my other siblings are roti lovers. So, rice used to be part of our Sunday lunch followed by chole. Now Nandini is a mother of two children but her love for chole chaawal still remains the same…..😊

Ingredients:

For boiling……

Cabuli chana 200 gm
Water 3+1/2 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Mix of whole spices (saabut ya khade masale)… Black pepper 6…. cloves 4….. anise flower 1……cinnamon stick 2 medium size….. bayleaf 2 black cardamom pods 2

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For cooking :

Rai 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida 1/8 tsp
Onion 1 big size
Tomatoes 2 small size
Green chillies 3-4
Ginger 1 small piece
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder 1 tsp (can increase or decrease as per your taste)

Water     1 cup

Process :

Wash kabuli chana twice and soak it overnight in 2+1/2 cups of water.

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In the morning they will look like this…

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Don’t throw away water and boil them in pressure cooker in the same water by adding 1 cup more water along with salt, turmeric powder and all whole spices. Personally I don’t add whole spices directly in the cooker. I tie them in a clean piece of cloth and then I add them with chole to boil. This process will help you in avoiding getting whole pieces of spices in your mouth and at the same time let you enjoy the intoxicating flavor of these spices. Boil chole till they are soft.

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While chana is boiling, we can prepare gravy.

Chop onion, tomato and green chillies separately and grate ginger.

Heat 1 tsp oil and sauté chopped onion till it is brown. Take them out and grind in a fine paste. Keep it separately.

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Now grind chopped tomatoes, green chillies and grated ginger.

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Again heat 2 tbsp oil and crackle rai, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies and grated ginger followed by coriander and chili powder.

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Saute it till oil starts leaving the sides – add grinded onion, mix it and add boiled cabuli chana along with its boiled water. Add 1 cup more water, otherwise chole will be very thick. Add salt as per your taste. Keep the heat on sim and let them cook for 10 – 15 minutes

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Switch off the heat and add garam masala. Before serving add finely chopped green coriander leaves.

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Baigan ka bharta (roasted balloon eggplant/brinjal cooked with spices)

For the last two days Apoorva was really sick with cold, cough and throat pain – so I wanted to pack something really good for her school lunch box. At 6:00 in the morning I decided to prepare baigan ka bharta. She doesn’t like baigan ki sabzi (though I don’t spare her for that) but she loves bharta a lot! If I prepare bharta for dinner, she keeps the rice aside and wants to have one extra roti to relish with her favorite bharta.

So when she came back from school I asked her if she liked her lunch. She said that she was barely managing to get some baharta for herself because all her friends wanted their share!!!

Who wouldn’t love to hear such nice stories about his\her cooking😂😂.

But honestly there are so many people who don’t want to eat brinjal veggie, but if you cook this bigger size oval shaped balloon brinjal in a different way, they love it. So, if you are interested in learning how to cook brinjal in such a different way that it becomes every one’s favorite, let’s start…….

Tips:
1. Always buy big size balloon brinjal to prepare bharta.

2. Check brinjal by slightly pressing it; if it’s too hard, don’t buy because there will be many ripened seeds inside and they don’t taste good at all. Buy the one which is fresh and soft.

3. Always check minutely if there is a tiny hole – if it is there, don’t buy….. it means insects have entered inside..and it’s their cave, so leave this cave for them……..generally it happens a lot during rainy season.

4. Keep a careful eye while roasting brinjal… burnt brinjal wouldn’t taste good.

Ingredients :

2 big size brinjals
3 medium size chopped onions
2 medium size chopped tomatoes
3-4 choppped green chillies
1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt… as per your taste

 

3 – 4 tbsp oil
5 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/8 tsp rai

1/8 tsp asafotida

Finely chopped green coriander leaves

Process:

Roast brinjal either in your oven or gas top as per your convenience, till it is soft and tender.

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At the end of the roasting, brinjals will shrink and will be very soft. Make sure not to burn them.

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Keep them aside and let them cool down. Heat up oil in a pan and crackle rai, cumin seeds and asafotida. Add chopped onions and sauté them till they are light brown. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies, grated ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and a pinch of salt. Mix all together and let it cook on sim heat till tomatoes are cooked. Keep on turning this mix upside down in between.

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By now roasted brinjals would have cooled down. Peel out their outer skin carefully and take out all the pulp in a pan and mash it.

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Add this to onion tomato mix and add salt as per your taste. Mix well, cover it and let it cook for 4 – 5 minutes.

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As brinjals are roasted, tomatoes and onions are already cooked, so this 5 minutes time is sufficient to absorb all the flavours by brinjal pulp. Add some finely chopped coriander leaves and mix it. Switch off gas and shift bharta in a serving bowl, sprinkle some more coriander leaves and serve with your meal.

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Mathura ke pede (Indian sweet with dry evaporated milk)

Months of May and June are kind of dull in terms of festivals in India. In North India these two months are very hot, so it’s not even healthy to cook rich food. But from July weather starts changing and rain showers bring a lot of relief. Now you are able to tolerate the heat of kitchen when you are frying snacks to accompany your evening tea.

With monsoon, festivals start with a tap on your desi ghee ka dabba!! Indian festivals are incomplete without homemade sweets for prasad, and Indian authentic sweets means desi ghee, full fat milk, rich dry fruits and nuts and lots of frying.

During my childhood days my parents never bothered about calories. Mother used to cook a lot of stuff during these festivals and we used to relish them for 15 days at least. We used to walk a lot (no school van luxury) and in the evening used to play outdoors. With lots of physical activity we had the capacity to digest all rich heavy food and homemade sweets.

Now in our houses our house help lady does all physical labor, and we have salads and low fat milk!! But still during festivals I try to prepare certain dishes and sweets in traditional ways, so that Apoorva will remember the authentic taste of our traditional sweets.

Few days back I was experimenting brownies. Manish and Apoorva both were my tasters. I was packing brownie for Apoorva’s snack box daily and more than her, her classmates were very happy. But after some days Manish got so bored with brownie that he requested to prepare some pure traditional Indian sweet. Then one day my favorite blogger Gayathri Kumar posted ‘Mathura ke Pede’ in her blog Cookspot. That post tempted me so much that I decided to prepare them and give a  surprise to Manish .
You might have tasted different varieties of pedas in all cities, but my personal opinion is, that nothing can beat the taste of mathura ke pede.
Manish and Apoorva gave big thumbs up after trying them and I was extremely delighted.

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To prepare peda we need khoya/mawa. I have used homemade khoya for which there is a separate post in my blog Khoya/Mawa. But we can use market bought khoya as well.

To make peda sweet, instead of using powdered sugar I have used boora/tagaar. Boora is prepared with sugar syrup, and it has very fine granuals which add nice crunch in dry sweets like besan ke ladoo. But now it’s difficult to find good quality boora in the market – instead you will find powdered sugar in  the pack. I was lucky to get good quality, so bought two kgs, and I keep on using it occasionally. But you can as well use homemade powdered sugar.

Always remember that if you are using boora, it will soak the moisture of khoya, so while roasting keep enough moisture in it. Otherwise khoya will be dry and it would be difficult to bind it as peda.

I have used Nandini full fat cow’s milk to prepare khoya.

My mother’s precious tip:
If khoya dries up after adding boora/powdered sugar and you are not able to bind it, don’t panic. Add 1 tbsp hot milk in it, if required slightly more, mix everything together and prepare pedas.

Special note for Gayathri Kumar :
Gayathri, Manish has conveyed thanks to you for inspiring me to prepare them!!

Ingredients :

Khoya/Mawa 200 gm
Powder Sugar/Boora(tagaar) 150 gm (this quantity was slightly more for me, so you can reduce)
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Pure ghee 2 tbsp
Milk 4-5 tbsp

Process :

Heat one heavy bottomed pan, add ghee in it, let it melt and add khoya. Adding ghee in the beginning will help khoya not to stick in the pan.

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Keep on roasting khoya till it gets nice brown colour. Don’t let it stick at the bottom of the pan. If khoya is becoming too dry, keep adding 1 tbsp milk to keep its moisture intact as while cooling down khoya becomes slightly dry.IMG_20180709_195514625.jpg

When khoya becomes golden  brown in colour, switch off gas and shift khoya to a separate vessel to cool down.

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Sieve boora or powdered sugar before adding in khoya.

Once khoya is warm enough to touch, add boora or powdered sugar and cardamom powder in it.

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Work little fast here because if khoya cools down completely it will be difficult to bind. Mix everything together and prepare peda in any shape you want.

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If interested, sprinkle or roll them in boora/powdered sugar.

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Surprise your family with this homemade delicious sweet.

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Mirchi ke tipore

My weekend vegetables shopping is never complete until I buy green chillies. I don’t eat very spicy food, but I like green chillies flavor in food more than red chilli powder. Apoorva’s taste for chillies in food has started developing now (courtesy her friends) so sometimes I become too generous and add a little more.
This particular dish ‘Tipore’ takes me back to many childhood memories….. as a kid I used to hate any kind of chillies in food, but when my parents shifted to new house, we found ourselves surrounded by many Rajasthani families. During any special occasion or festival, we used to get invitation for lunch, and their lunch platter always had this special green chillies dish known as, “Mirchi ke Tipore”. These tipore used to be so tasty that my taste buds for chillies started developing… 🌶️🌶️😋😋
I remember one more story related to these “tipore”. I was invited by my dear friend and colleague Anita Modi for their house warming ceremony. I don’t remember the exact reason but their caterer wanted someone who can help him to cut green chillies to prepare tipore. I was completely jobless so I offered help. I guess that I kept on chopping chillies for 40-45 minutes. And when the work was over, my fingers started burning badly because green chillies which are used to prepare tipore are very hot/spicy. Oh God! that was a lesson for life!!! After that I started chopping chillies with my kitchen scissor….

Let’s get to work!

Ingredients:

Green chillies(chopped) 1+1/2 cup
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Rai seeds 1/4 tsp
Dry mango powder 1tbsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1+1/2 tbsp
Fennel seeds 1tbsp (grinded but not powdered)
Asafoetida 1/8 tsp
Salt as per your taste
Oil 3 tbsp
Water 2 cups

Note: Tipore can be cooked only in oil, so if you want to do so, increase the quantity of oil, add water for soaking spices but never add water while cooking.

 

Process:

Wash chillies and keep them on a strainer so that all water dries out.

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Chop them into medium size.

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Collect all dry ingredients except salt, cumin seeds, rai seeds and asafoetida in a vessel.

Add 1cup of water in it and let the spices soak for 1/2 an hour.

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Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and crackle rai seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida.

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Add chopped chillies, soaked spices along with salt and the remaining 1 cup of water.

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Keep the heat on sim, cover the vessel and let it cook on sim heat for 15/20 minutes. In between turn them upside down. Chillies are tender, so they don’t take long time to get cooked.

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Serve them with any meals. Tipore can be kept in the fridge for a week.

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