Kachori (Rajasthani Savory Snack)

Kachori (Rajasthani Savory Snack)

Kachori is an Indian snack similar to samosa (its more famous cousin) but yet different. It is a flaky pastry filled with different spices and lentils. Just like other famous snacks, there are lots of varieties of kachoris in different parts of India. This one is my grandmother’s recipe aka Bhoji wali Kachori and one of her most famous ones. Everyone in our family loves this snack made by my grandmother. I love this kachori so much that I do not eat the kachoris available outside. For me THIS is kachori 🙂

The filling made with besan is what makes this kachori different from the other kachoris. Mostly kachoris are filled with different lentils but this one has no lentils. Roasted gram flour and spices complement the flaky crust perfectly.

Only tricky part with this filling/masala is to roast the gram flour(besan) well. If the besan is not roasted properly, the kachoris will not be fluffy. If it is roasted too much, the taste is ruined. It is very important to keep mixing the besan continuously while you roast it. Our house lives on no onion garlic diet most of the times so no onion in this one. You can add onions to this masala if you like.

The dough for kachori should not be too firm. Soft and pliable dough makes better kachoris. Another trick that I learnt from my grandmother is to roll the kachoris twice (only twice) after you have filled the masala and shaped the kachori. This distributes the filling evenly and each and every kachori puffs when you do this.

These kachoris can be stored up to a week in airtight container. Eat them plain or with chutney of your choice or make a chat by adding yogurt and different chutneys.

Kachori (Rajasthani Savory Snack)

Ingredients

Makes 20 kachoris

For Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp salt

For Masala

  • 2/3 cup gram flour (besan)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp citric acid (nimbu sat)
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 4-5 green chillies coarsely ground
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying

Recipe

For Dough

Mix the all purpose flour, salt, and oil. Add little water at a time and make soft dough. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

For the Masala

Put oil and besan in a thick bottomed pan/non stick pan and mix well. Do not heat the oil before adding the besan. This will help you avoid lumps in the masala. Now switch on the flame and roast the besan and oil mixture for 3-4 minutes on low flame. Roasting time varies according to the heat. The color of the mixture should be light brown. Besan can burn quickly so make sure to keep mixing it nonstop. Switch off the flame. Add green chillies, coriander, red chilli powder, turmeric, citric acid, garam masala, salt, and 1 tbsp water. Mix well. Keep aide to cool.

Divide the dough and masala into 20 equal portions. Take one portion of the dough and stretch it (appx 3 inches) using your fingers. Put one portion of masala in the center and seal the edges and flatten it very lightly.  Roll the kachori twice using a rolling pin. Follow the same process for rest of the kachoris.

Warm oil in a kadhai/thick bottomed pan. Oil should be just warm and not hot when you put the kachoris in for frying. Fry on low flame till the kachoris are golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

 

Kairi ka Takku (Grated Mango Pickle)

Kairi ka Takku (Grated Mango Pickle)

Kairi ka takku or grated mango pickle is an easier and quicker version of the traditional mango pickle which takes lot of time and expertise to make. Takku is made with grated raw mango mixed with powdered spices like mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds. This grated mango pickle usually includes onions too but my mom makes it without onions. This is her summer special recipe of the kairi ka takku which she serves with hot rice, dal, and papad.

Sour raw mangoes give the best results for this recipe.  If the mangoes are not very sour, then you can add citric acid (nimbu ka sat). Choose firm mangoes and peel them before grating the mangoes.  Just like Raw Mango, you can also use grated white radish to make Muli ka takku.

Dry roast the masalas seperately for proper roasting and good flavour. Let the spices cool down completely before grinding them. You can roast and grind the spices in quantity and keep them refrigerated for future use too.

Since the masala has fenugreek and mustard seeds, it will taste slightly bitter when you make it but the bitterness will go away in 24-36 hours. You can keep the takku refrigerated for 2-3 weeks. Make sure to use a clean and dry spoon to serve the takku.  This takku tastes best with hot rice and dal. You can serve it as accompaniment to any Indian meal.

Kairi ka Takku (Grated Mango Pickle)

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cup/300gms raw mango peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp/25gms mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ¼ tsp citric acid (Nimbu sat) (add only if the mango is not sour)
  • 3 tbsp/ 50gms red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp/50gms salt
  • 1/4tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 1 cup/235ml oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chillies broken

Recipe

Dry roast the fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds separately. Cool completely. Grind the mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds to fine powder. Add red chilli, turmeric, salt, and asafetida to this powder and mix well. Keep aside.

Heat oil and add dry red chillies, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, switch off the flame and let the oil cool down for 3-4 minutes. Add the masala powder and mix well. Add the grated mango and mix again. Cover and keep aside for 24-36 hours. Mix it occasionally. Once the pickle is done keep it refrigerated. Serve with rice or roti.

 

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Dana Methi ki sabji or Fenugreek seeds curry is an authentic Rajasthani curry made with dry fenugreek seeds, dried fruits like dates, cashews, and raisins, and sugar or jaggery. People in Rajasthan depend a lot of dried foods like fenugreek seeds, and ker sangri due to the hot weather and unavailability of fresh vegetables. These curries are both tasty and nutritious. This is my mom’s recipe of the dana methi sabji. This is kind of fixed curry for festivals and it is also a good option for travelling as it does not need refrigeration.

Fenugreek seeds have a very sharp, bitter, and pungent flavor. It is very important to soak them and wash them well to get rid of the yellow water and bitter taste. My mom’s tip that works everytime for me is to soak the seeds in warm water and wash them thoroughly in a colander under running water. Some people say you shouldn’t touch the seeds while soaking or they will taste bitter. I am yet to try this tip though.

There are different versions of this curry. You can make it sweet and sour (like this one), spicy version without sugar and dry fruits and with papad, with papad and moong dal dumplings called mangodis. You can substitute sugar with jaggery  if you want to make this healthier.

This curry tastes good with puri or whole wheat parathas. You can serve it cold or hot.

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • ½ cup dried fenugreek seeds (dana methi) soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1-2 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 10-12 raisins
  • 2-3 dates chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped raw mango (replace with 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur) if raw mango is not available)
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Drain the water from methi seeds and put them in a strainer. Wash them under running water for 1-2 minutes to drain out the bitter taste.  Keep washing till the water that you drain from the seeds is clear (it should not be yellow)

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadhai. Add curry leaves, dry red chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and cashewnuts. Once the cashews are light brown, add the soaked methi seeds, raw mango pieces, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, raisins, and dates. Mix well and cook for two minutes on low flame. Add sugar and 1 tbsp water. Mix well and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat. Over cooking this curry will spoil its taste. Serve hot with parathas or puri.

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

Moong dal halwa or Dal ka seera as it is called in marwadi is probably one of the best desserts from Rajasthan. It is a dessert made from coarsely ground split yellow moong dal, ghee, sugar, and dry fruits. Given the small list of ingredients, it is not at all a quick dish to prepare. Have loads of time at hand and want to give your arms a workout – then do go for this one. It is worth all the hard work. My mom prepares this in kgs for family and friends and this is her recipe. Very easy to prepare and minimal ingredients but tons of hard work and patience. Want to give it a try? Read on!

Do not reduce the amount of  ghee. It is a very important part of getting it right. Traditional sweets are high on fat and sugar but that is the reason they are unmatched and still so popular. You can replace khoa with condensed milk if khoa is not available. I like to keep it as authentic as possible so that it can match the taste of my mom’s recipe.

Use the husked moong dal and soak it in plenty of water for a good 6-8 hours. I like the seera grainy so I don’t grind the dal too fine. Grinding the dal coarse (resembling sugar) with prevent the seera from becoming sticky and paste like.

The most important part is roasting the ground dal. This is where all the hardwork comes in. You have to make sure that you roast it in on a low flame. Semolina is added to the ghee before adding the dal so that the dal does not stick a lot to the pan. But you need to keep scraping the edges and mixing it non stop till the dal stops sticking to the pan.

By end of appx 30 minutes, you should have nice brown granules of roasted dal. The aroma is enough to tell that the dal is roasted (or over roasted 🙂 )

The color of the roasted dal should be liked the skin of almonds. To make sure that the dal is roasted properly, keep mixing it even if the dal stops sticking to the pan.

The second important thing is the sugar syrup. It should be less than one string (approximately 220 degrees F or 85-90 degrees C. Cool it for couple of minutes before adding the dal.

This is  a winter time dessert and  it tastes good when it’s hot. If it gets too cold or dry, add a table spoon of milk and reheat it. Do not add water to reheat the seera.

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow split moong dal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup khoa
  • ½ cup ghee
  • 2 tbsp almonds chopped
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder (ilaichi)
  • 1 tsp semolina (rava)
  • 1 cup water

Recipe

Soak the moong dal in water for 6-7 hours. Drain water and grind the mung dal coarsely.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan or a thick kadhai. Add semolina and sauté for 10-20 seconds. Add the moong dal paste and keep mixing it on slow flame till the dal is brown in color. Add khoa and mix again for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the moong dal mixture to another bowl and keep it aside.

To make the sugar syrup, mix sugar with 1 cup water and bring to boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes. The consistency should be less than 1 string (approximately 200 degrees F/85-90 degrees C). Switch off the gas. Let the syrup cool for 2 minutes. Add the moong dal mixture and mix well. Switch on the gas and cook for 2 minutes while mixing continuously. Add almonds and cardamom powder and mix well. Serve hot.

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Mogar is a summer dish from Rajasthan. It is moong dal cooked with raw mango and dry spices. Mogar is indispensable with aamras in any marwadi family. My mom cooks this at least 2 times in a week during summers. We have a fixed menu at home whenever it is aamras for dinner. It is Aamras, mogar, and roti or aamras, mogar, and rice. This is a quick recipe when you don’t want to spend lot of time in the kitchen. The tricky part in this recipe is to not to let the lentils over cook. It has to be cooked only till each grain is cooked but separate.

Moong dal is kind of staple food in Rajasthan. Since it is the local produce, it is used to make, snacks, main course, and even desserts. You can find moong dal pakodi, moong dal kachori, and even moong dal halwa in Rajasthan. Lentils are rich in protein and this particular dal cooks quicker when compared to other lentils. The quick cooking time explains its importance during the hot summers of Rajasthan.

Raw mango has a cooling effect on body and also adds a fresh tangy flavour to the dal. You can also use dry mango powder if raw mango is not available but I prefer the raw mango. Also, the quantity of raw mango in this recipe depends on the sourness of the raw mango so use it as per preference of sourness. You can also add fennel seeds to the tadka. This dish goes well with roti and rice both but I like it more with roti.

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • ½ cup yellow moong dal(Split yellow gram) washed and soaked for two hours
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 tsp red chilli
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp raw mango chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Recipe

Method 1

Drain the water from moong dal. Heat oil in a cooker. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and ginger. Sauté and add asafoetida, dry red chillies, and green chillies. Cook for 30-40 seconds and add chopped raw mango, turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for one minute. Add the moong dal and ¼ cup water. Mix and adjust the seasoning if required. Close the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the gas just before the first whistle. Once the cooker is cooled, open the cooker, add the chopped coriander and mix very lightly. Serve hot with roti or rice and aamras. The trick is to not let the dal over cook. Or else it will get mashed.

Method 2

Boil the dal separately in 2/3 cup water till it is cooked but firm. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and ginger. Sauté and add asafoetida, dry red chillies, and green chillies. Cook for 30-40 seconds and add chopped raw mango, turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked moong dal and mix lightly. Check for seasoning and add the chopped coriander. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Two three days before Diwali, my home resembles a sweet shop. The aroma of the sweets and savories can be felt in the neighborhood. My grandmother, mom, and aunt make lot of sweets and savories to be distributed to family, relatives, friends, employees, friends of friends, the postman, sweeper, and anybody and everybody who comes home to get the Diwali inaam. The most popular of these preparations is chandrakala. I end up eating them for lunch the day they are being made. This is the by far the best mithai/sweet my grandmother makes. No garnishes, no saffron in sugar syrup, plain simple chandrakala which is crispy outside and melts in mouth with each bite. Heaven!

This mithai is a sweet kachori/pastry filled with dry fruits, fried in ghee/oil and dipped in sugar syrup. Its heavy on calories but isn’t Diwali a perfect excuse to indulge.

Folding the chandrakala is an art. I have learnt this from my grandmother. Once you seal two puris with the stuffing inside, gently pinch the edges and twist them to form a pattern. This will make sure that the filling does not come out while frying.

Do not keep these in fridge. They can be stored in an airtight container for few days. Enjoy the sweet treat this Diwali. Wishing you and very happy and sweet Diwali!

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Ingredients

Makes 20 Chandrakalas

  • 1 cup refined flour (maida)
  • ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • Oil for frying

Filling

  • ¼ cup khoa/wava (dried whole milk)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarsely crushed dry fruits
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp ghee (optional)

Mix the refined flour and ghee till it resembles bread crumbs. Add very little water at a time and make a firm dough. The dough should not be very stiff or very soft. It should be of medium consistency. Cover and keep it aside for 15 minutes.

Put khoa in a microwave safe bowl and heat it on full power for 20-25 seconds. Add sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder immediately and mix well. Keep aside.

You can even fry the khoa in a pan for 1-2 mins and move it to a cool bowl immediately and mix other ingredients.

Divide the dough into 40 portions and roll out small puris (approximately 3 inches). Take two puris at a time. Put one portion of khoa filling in one puri, cover it with the second puri and seal the edges and pinch and fold the sides in a pattern so that the edges do not open while frying. You can use the moulds available in the market.

Heat enough oil in a deep pan/kadhai and fry the chandrakalas few at a time, till they are golden brown. While you are frying the chandrakala, bring to boil the water and sugar for sugar syrup and make a sugar syrup of one thread*.

Once all the chandrakala are fried, poke each chandrakala on top with a fork. This will help it absorb the sugar syrup. Put them in the hot sugar syrup and coat them with sugar syrup on all sides. You can leave the chandrakala in the syrup for few minutes (3-4) and remove it carefully. Garnish with dry fruits or eat as it is.

*Sugar Syrup

Consistency of sugar syrup is very crucial for Indian desserts. You need to be very careful while working with sugar as it gets extremely hot and can even burn your skin. This recipe calls for one thread consistency of sugar syrup.

One thread consistency is when a single thread is formed when you take little syrup between your index finger and thumb and pull apart the fingers gently. The thread should not break.

Second way to test this is, pour the syrup in a small plate with water. If the syrup does not dissolve immediately and dissolves when you try to gather it, it is one thread consistency.

Another simpler way is to use the cooking thermometer. Single thread syrup is approximately 220ºF – 222ºF/104º-105ºC and is used for sweets where it needs to be absorbed

To test the consistency of sugar syrup, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds. Now touch the syrup with a clean index finger to pick a small amount of syrup and bring your thumb and index finger together and pull apart gently.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

When I decided to start a food blog and was thinking of recipes to include, this was the first recipe that came to my mind. Gulab jamun; this is perhaps the best of the sweets that my grandmother makes. I have very fond memories of helping my grandmother roll the gulab jamuns. As an 8-9 year old, I used to feel so proud to have contributed to a recipe.

Though I am not a fan of oily and fried food, this is an exception. I do not prefer gulab jamun made in oil. It has to be made in ghee (clarified butter). I think that is what gives it the yummy taste and aroma. Fresher the ingredients, better the taste. There are various versions of this sweet too. You can stuff it with mishri, chironji, or any other dry fruit of your choice. Though I do not try to modify such time tested recipes, this time I tried using chocolate chips as a stuffing and was happy with the result.

Gulab Jamun can be enjoyed warm and cold both. It particularly goes well with Vanilla Ice-cream. Warm Gulab Jamun with a dollop of Vanilla Ice-cream tastes delicious. What else, it is indeed a quick dessert.

Gulab Jamun

Ingredients

Makes 10 Gulab Jamuns

  • ½ cup dried whole milk (khoya/mawa)
  • 1 tbsp  Indian cottage cheese (paneer)
  • 1 tbsp multipurpose flour (maida)
  • 2 pinches soda
  • 3-4 pinches cardamom powder (ilaichi)
  • Few chocolate chips
  • 8-10 strands of saffron (kesar)
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Pure ghee to fry the gulab jamuns
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • Chopped almonds for topping

Recipe

Crumble or grate mawa and paneer. Add maida, soda, and cardamom powder. Mash all the ingredients using the heel of your palm and keep mixing till you get an even mixture. If you find the mixture too dry, you can add 1 tablespoon water at a time till you get a soft dough. Divide the dough into 10 portions and roll into balls. You can add the stuffing at this time. Press the ball to make a hole, add the stuffing, seal the ends and roll into a ball again making sure there are no cracks.

Heat sufficient ghee in a thick bottomed deep pan/kadai.  Fry on sim gas till golden brown. Do not over crowd the pan. Once you put the gulab jamuns in hot ghee, do not put spoon in the pan till the balls come up in ghee or they will break.  Fry gently and drain and keep aside.

In another pot, heat sugar and water till the syrup becomes light golden. Add saffron strands. Do not over boil the sugar syrup. It should be boiled enough to be sticky. Switch off the gas as soon as the syrup startsbto boil and let it cool a little. Add the gulab jamuns to the syrup when it is warm. Let the gulab jamuns soak in the syrup for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can garnish them with chopped almonds or pistachios.