Instant (Microwave) Khaman Dhokla / Savory Chickpea Cake

I don’t know if I’ve admitted it before, but I love my snacks. I’d rather have a couple of light meals that one big one. Back in Bombay, this is very easy to do. We have such a wide variety of snacks from various parts of India. Most of them are readily available at street food carts or other grocery stores and they don’t cost the earth. Most of these snacks are savory. After coming to Australia, I often find myself craving this ever so delicious street food. And here, its almost impossible to find these treats as easily as you find it Bombay. If you do find them, they are ridiculously expensive and a lot of times they disappoint. Given these reasons, I try to make some of these delicious snacks at home. Some I am familiar with making, the others I’m trying to learn.

Today’s post is about one such recipe. Its a cake recipe, but not your regular, run of the mill cake. This is a savory one. And it is made with chickpea flour. It is called Khaman Dhokla and happens to be one of my favorite street foods. Even though I enjoy this recipe, I didn’t know how to make this one. I had to do some reading before I could find a recipe I was happy with. And when I saw this instant recipe, I knew I had found the one. Traditionally, this cake is steamed, but this is a microwave recipe.

This beautiful snack comes together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. It is absolutely delicious. The cake itself is light and super fluffy. The flavors are well balanced and in all, very moreish. If you’ve had dhokla before, you probably love it as much as I do. If you haven’t, you really should give it a try. It is a unique treat and you won’t be disappointed. This treat is served with some Green Mint Chutney and some Tamarind & Date Chutney. You can buy little bottles of the chutneys at any Indian store or click on the links to find the recipes, if you’d like to make some at home. They are very easy to make and taste so much better. Either way, these chutneys are an important part of the dish and not just an accompaniment. Serving it without the chutneys doesn’t do the the dhokla justice.

Instant (Microwave) Khaman Dhokla
Recipe from: Ruchi’s Kitchen

1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 1/2 tbsp semolina
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tbsp sugar
Salt, to taste
1 tsp. crushed ginger and green chillies
1 1/2 tsp Eno (fruit salts – available at any Indian store)
1/2 tsp Citric acid
2 1/2 tbsp Oil
3/4 – 1 cup water (depending on how much is needed to achieve pouring consistency)

For tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp water
2-3 green / red chillies, sliced
1 tbsp oil

In a large mixing bowl, mix the besan, semolina, asafortida, sugar and salt.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger and green chilly to a fine paste. (You can leave the chillies out or deseed the chilly if you don’t want too much heat from the chilly.)

Add the chilly and ginger paste to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and citric acid.

Add the water and mix everything till well blended.

Whisk the batter well to incorporate air into it. It will make a light and fluffy dhokla.

Add the eno (fruit salts) and whisk the batter till it is well incorporated. The batter will get light and frothy. The batter should be of thick dropping / pouring consistency.

Pour the batter in a greased microwave bowl. (I used an 8″ bowl)

Cook for 5-6 minutes. It may take longer depending on the microwave.

Take it out and insert a toothpick to check if it is done, just like you would a regular cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is cooked and if it doesn’t microwave for another 30 seconds.

Allow it to cool.

Traditionally, it is cut into squares. But I tried cutting it into wedges this time and it looks much prettier this way.

Now prepare the tempering.

For the tempering – 

In a pan, heat the oil.

Lower the flame and add the mustard seeds and green / red chillies and let it sputter.

Add the curry leaves and let it fry up on low heat till crisp.

When they are crisp, add the sugar and water. Mix well.

Pour the hot tempering over the dhokla.

Serve with the Green Mint Chutney and Tamarind & Date Chutney.

Enjoy!!!

Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry

Today I have a very humble treat lined up for you. I happen to be a huge fan of beans. Fresh, dried, kidney beans, snakes beans, butter beans the whole lot, really. Growing up, every summer, the family would go to our ancestral home in Goa. We’d look forward to it. Our home had a massive edible garden. Back when I was too little to remember and even before I was born, the family grew a lot of vegetables and fruit. When my grandmother was little, they also had cattle and goats on the property.But in more recent times they had plenty of fruit trees. We had mangoes (a few varities), cashews, coconuts, chickoos, guavas and jackfruits growing. The only vegetables we had was some tapioca, dumsticks (moringa), tamarind and kokum. I have very fond memories of those summers and hope I can someday go back to something like this again. Though I may seem like I’ve digressed, I haven’t, not much. I had to build a setting of sorts 🙂

Every summer, snake beans were at the peak of their season. We didn’t grow this but there was a local farmer in the village who did. And he did a fantastic job of it. I loved and to this day love snake beans. We cook this up in a very simple way, a traditional Goan fugad. A fugad has its roots in Portuguese food. It is a stir fry of vegetables with some spices and seasonings and a sprinkling of fresh grated coconut. Most Goan households still cook their vegetables this way. The snake bean version was my favorite. I volunteered to prep 2 massive bundles every single day. Yes, I managed to convince my mother and aunt that I wanted to eat this every single day while I was there and that I would clean it and get it ready to be cooked myself. Thankfully, they obliged and so someone from that good old farmers household would graciously drop off a couple of bundles at the house on their way to the market. The simplicity of the dish may fool you. But the end result is fantastic. In my humble opinion, it is delicious. The beans turn out tender and sweet I’m sure kids would love it too. I could eat it by itself or with steamed rice or chapatis.

I recently managed to get some gorgeous bundles of snake beans and had to make this fugad again and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share it with you. So if you can find some good, fresh snake beans or if you grow them yourself, I hope you try this out.

Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry


3 small bundles of snake beans, the fresher the better
1 large onion, diced
2 fresh green / red chillies
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp olive oil

Break off the ends of the snake beans and break off into inch sized pieces. Rinse through and drain and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Slit the chillies in length, but not all the way through. This way you get all the flavor but not much of the heat.

Let the chillies fry up for a few seconds till they get fragrant.

Add the chopped onions and saute till the onions have softened and get slightly brown on the edges.

Add the snake beans and stir them in for a while. You will see the green color of the beans turn a darker shade.

Add the salt and let the bean stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Add a splash of water, a very small amount to prevent the beans from burning and help them cook through.

Cover the pan and let it cook. Add more water, if needed.

When the beans are almost cooked, add the freshly grated coconut and stir through.

Serve hot as a side dish with some Goan fish curry or prawn curry and rice or with some chapatis.

Some other Fugad recipes –
Cabbage Fugad
Black Channa (Chickpeas) Fugad

Goan Meatball Curry

After what seems like ages, I’m finally back. And it’s good to be back. I was away for a month and spent Christmas with our family in Mumbai, followed by a mandatory trip to Goa and a short stopover at Panchgani. Those of you that follow me on Instagram would have seen some of my pictures there. Those of you that don’t, I would love it if you could join me. I’m on IG as @vaztrisha – Do stop by and say ‘Hi’.

I can’t wait to share more about the trip with you. However, that wonderful trip ended with an anti-climatic couple of days of jet lag followed by 2 weeks of a cold, stubborn cough and a couple of days of a fever. Am I glad that’s over. I hate being unwell mostly, because that means I cannot be up and about cooking and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. But I’m well and truly glad to be back.

One of the first few things I cooked up after getting back on my feet is my beloved Mama’s Meatball Curry. I’ve always loved this curry right from the time I was a little girl. This time when I went to Mumbai, I knew I had to learn this recipe from her. See this is the thing with her recipes, she can whip them up with her eyes closed, but ask her to tell you how she makes it and she may leave out a thing or two, not intentionally of course. So this time around, I got into the kitchen and watched her make it. Yes, I watched her, like a hawk 😉  And I’m happy to report that I got the recipe down and made the curry today and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Ofcourse, nothing can beat the food my Mother makes (even though I follow her recipes to the T, her food always turns out better), but this came pretty close, I tell ya.

This recipe is a little more intricate than most of the recipes I share here, but it is really easy. There are two parts to it – one is making the meatballs and the second is making the curry itself. This curry is full of flavor and goes really well with either plain steamed rice or this fragrant Peas Pulao. If you’re not in the mood for rice, it goes well with some Goan bread (Poee) or dinner rolls too.

Goan Meatball Curry


For the Meatballs – 
1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp red chilly powder
1 egg
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional, though it does add good flavor)

Mix all the ingredients together.

Form the meatballs and set aside.

For the curry – 
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
Tamarind, to taste (Soak tamarind in warm water to form a pulp)
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into large cubes

Grind to a fine, smooth paste (masala) using a little water –
8 Kashmiri chillies (dry red chillies, mildly spiced, but used for its vibrant color)
4 Bedki chillies (dry red chillies, spicy)
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
10 black pepper corns
2″ cinnamon
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato

Heat the oil in a pan and carefully drop the curry leaves in.

Add the onion and saute on a medium high heat till the onions are translucent.

Add the masala and continue sauteeing for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes and the oil starts to seperate.

Add salt, to taste.

Add water to get it to the desired consistency, depending on how thick or thin you’d like the gravy. Keep in mind that the gravy does thicken a little as it cooks. Err on the side of less, you can always add more water as you need.

Gently place the meatballs in the gravy.

Place the potato cubes in the gravy without smashing the meatballs.

Once the gravy comes to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the curry cook.

After about 15 minutes, check to see if done.

Check and add more salt, if needed.

Add tamarind pulp to taste.

Once ready, garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot.

 Enjoy!!!

**Note: You will be able to find Kashmiri chillies in most Indian shops in Sydney and a few of them carry the Bedki / bedgi variety. If you can’t get your hands on them, substitute with any dry red chillies you have on hand. You may then need to adjust the number of dry red chillies used, to regulate the spice level to your liking.

Prawn Pulao

One whiff of this prawn pulao takes me back years, or is it a couple of decades back to when I was growing up (yikes, I feel old now). My mum used to make this pulao for us. I grew up in a house of prawn lovers. Yes, you heard that right. Mum has a few go to recipes for prawns – this Prawn Chilly fry with Coriander speckled rice (my absolute favorite), a Goan prawn curry (I still cannot get mine to taste like hers so I will get her to make me some for the blog) and this prawn pulao.

This prawn pulao is pretty amazing. It is a meal in itself served with a nice, light, fresh salad alongside. It comes together fast and easy and if you love prawns like us, you’ll be glad to have this recipe to fall back on. Throw in a few drinks and you could make this to serve a crowd too. The recipe below makes 2 generous portions if served as a meal. If you intend making a larger quantity, you just need to keep in mind the rice to water ratio. As long as you use 1 portion of rice to 2 portions of water, you’ll be fine. All the other ingredients can be multiplied and adjusted to suit your taste. As long as the rice and water ratio is right, you will be left with a perfect rice dish. It wont be mushy, the grains will be whole, the rice will be fluffy and all will be well.
Prawn Pulao
Serves 2
For the prawns:
10-12 medium to large prawns, shelled and deveined (5-6 per person) (I used the local Aussie Banana Prawns, but you could use King Prawns or any other type you can get your hands on)
Salt, to taste
Lime / lemon juice to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the rice:
2/3 cups Basmati rice
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom pods
5 pepper corns
2 pieces of cinnamon, about an inch each 
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 green / red chilly, finely sliced (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 1/3 cup water
1-1 1/2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped, to garnish
Marinade the prawns with some salt, a little lime juice, turmeric and chilly powder and keep it aside for 15-30 minutes.
Wash the rice and drain the water. You will need to do this about 2-3 times, till the water runs clear. 
Place a tablespoon of oil in a frying and and when it is hot, carefully place the prawns in the pan without over crowding the pan. Fry the prawns till they turn opaque with a little char and flip them over and let them char on the other side too. This takes just a couple of minutes, don’t leave them unattended. You just want some color on the outside. They don’t need to cook all the way because they will continue to cook with the rice. Take the prawns out of the pan and keep aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pot that you want to cook the rice in. Add the cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, pepper corns and cinnamon. In a few seconds, the spices will smell fragrant. Add the onions to the pot.
Saute the onions till they have softened. 
Add the ginger garlic paste and let it cook of for a minute. 
Add the turmeric powder and the sliced chilly and stir it up.
Add the tomato and stir well. 
Drain the rice and run some fresh cold water through and drain it again. 
Add the rice and the fried prawns to the pot and stir gently till the rice and prawns are coated with the spices. Season with some salt and add the water.
Stir a little and check the seasoning. I taste a little of the stock and see if more salt is needed.
When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it cook till all the water is absorbed. As soon as all the water is absorbed, take the pot of the heat and leave aside covered for a couple of minutes. Loosen the rice gently with a fork.
Serve hot and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the rice just before serving.
Enjoy!!!

Bombay Street Food Special #12 – Papdi Chaat

Now that you can make the very tantalizing Sev Puri at home, I’m eager to show you how to step this already amazing treat up a notch, into something spectacular. The trick is adding a little whipped yogurt. That’s it. So basically, without the yogurt you have what we call Sev Puri and with the yogurt, you have a completely different treat called Papdi Chaat. That’s how easy and simple it is.

The trick to a good papdi chaat is getting the right balance with the whipped yogurt. Unfortunately, there is no accurate measure here, because the tartness of the yogurt varies greatly. You could use regular pot set yogurt or greek yogurt here, either way, it has to be plain, unflavored and unsweetened yogurt. I start off with half a cup of yogurt for a single plate of chaat or 1 cup for 2 plates or portions. Trust me here, you’d rather have more of the whipped yogurt dip at hand, instead of falling short or running out of it.

So let’s get straight to it then. The list below is an approximation. You add as much or as little of each of the ingredients to suit your preferences. The quantities below make one plate or 1 portion. You can easily double or multiply the quantities to make more. Also I used chickpeas here, you could use boiled potato instead or a combination of both.

Papdi Chaat
For 1 portion

6-7 puris (also called Papdi)
1/2 cup boiled / canned chickpeas, roughly mashed
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tomato, finely diced
Mint Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Date and Tamarind Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Sev
Fresh coriander, chopped
Some chaat masala / amchur (dried mango) powder
1/2 cup plain, unflavoured and unsweetened yogurt
A pinch of salt
Sugar, to taste (superfine sugar)

To make this chaat, start off my making the yogurt whip. The mixed yogurt needs to sit for about 5 minutes for the flavor to develop.

Place the yogurt, a scant pinch of salt and 1 tsp sugar and stir together to combine. Taste and add more sugar if you need to. You are looking for a slightly tangy, slightly sweet taste with a faint hint of saltiness as well. If your yogurt is not too tart, start with 1/2 tsp sugar and add more if needed. Set the bowl aside while you assemble the chaat.

Place your puris on your serving plate.

(These puris can be made at home. I haven’t tried making them yet. For now, I use the store bought version. I get mine in packets that look like the one below).

Over the puris, arrange the mashed chickpeas in a layer. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the chickpeas layer but here’s one of the boiled potato slices. The trick here too is to not overload the puris. They will get difficult to manage.

Top that with the chopped onion. Use as much or as little as you like. But make sure you use some.

Top this with some chopped tomato.

Now add your green mint chutney. I would start of with small quantities of this as this is on the spicy side.

Now you add the Date and Tamarind Chutney. This is the sweet and tangy stuff, so feel free to add some.

At this stage, add a dollop of the whipped yogurt on each puri. I like a little extra yogurt on mine, but go with what you think you’d enjoy.

The next layer uses sev. Sev is basically little fried crispy noodles made out of chickpea flour. Again, this can be made at home, but I haven’t tried that yet. I simply use a store bought packet.

Add a layer of the sev to the puris.

It’s almost done. But there are a couple of flourishes that will take this treat to a whole new level. Sprinkle the puris with a pinch of chaat masala / amchur powder. Use this sparingly as a little goes a long way. Lastly garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.

Serve immediately.

There is only one way to eat these puris. You get a whole puri with its toppings in your mouth at one go.

Bombay Street Food Special #11 – Sev Puri

Yup that’s right! You thought I had given up on my Bombay Street Food Series, didn’t you? The good news is that I haven’t. I just don’t always remember to take a picture when I make some of these. This time I did. So I can finally share one of my favorites with you. Sev Puri – Sev is just the almost super thin fried noodle like crunchy topping and Puri the flat disc that it sits on. This Sev Puri falls into a broader category of street food called Chaat, which also includes Bhel Puri, Paani Puri and many more. I love them all. Infact everytime I go back home, I have to go get some almost the day I get there. There is only one vendor close to where I grew up that I will ever go to. No one can beat his Chaat in taste. I should check if he’s willing to make an appearance on the blog, when I go there next. You have to be careful about where you get your Chaat fix from because of overall hygiene levels of street food in Bombay. But this guy, I can swear by. We’ve been frequenting his little stall since he started his business, about 30 years ago. If you’re skeptical about enjoying these on the street or don’t have access to a vendor like this, with a little planning you can enjoy a fantastic version at home.

This little treat is basically an Indian version of nachos, except that these are individually topped with all the fun stuff. The way you eat this is you pick up one Puri and try not to drop off any of the toppings and the whole things goes into your mouth at one go. What you end up with is an explosion of flavors and textures. It is literally a party in your mouth. To make these puris, you’ll need to have some boiled potato at hand. You will also need a couple of chutneys. From time to time I make these chutneys at home (I’ll add the link in the recipe below), but this time around I’d run out of the home made version and used store bought chutneys. You should be able to find all of the ingredients in your local Indian grocery store. I do hope you try these out. These are best eaten as soon as they are assembled, otherwise they tend to go soggy. You will also notice that your second and third attempts will be better than your first one, because these babies are all about a balance of flavors. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll know what you want to increase or decrease the next time around. The quantities below are not fixed, you can add more or less of any of them to suit your taste. Each plate typically serves one and can easily be doubled or multiplied. The quantities below make 1 plate.

Sev Puri
Serves 1

6-7 puris (also called Papdi)
1 potato, boiled and thinly sliced
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tomato, finely diced
Mint Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Date and Tamarind Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Sev
Fresh coriander, chopped
Some chaat masala / amchur (dried mango) powder
A few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice

Place your puris on your serving plate.

(These puris can be made at home. I haven’t tried making them yet. For now, I use the store bought version. I get mine in packets that look like the one below).

Over the puris, arrange a layer of the boiled potato slices. Don’t overload the puris. They will get difficult to manage.

Top that with the chopped onion. Use as much or as little as you like. But make sure you use some.

Top this with some chopped tomato.

Now add your green mint chutney. I would start of with small quantities of this as this is on the spicy side.

Now you add the Date and Tamarind Chutney. This is the sweet and tangy stuff, so feel free to add some.

The next layer uses sev. Sev is basically little fried crispy noodles made out of chickpea flour. Again, this can be made at home, but I haven’t tried that yet. I simply use a store bought packet.

Add a layer of the sev to the puris.

It’s almost done. But there are a couple of flourishes that will take this treat to a whole new level. Sprinkle the puris with a pinch of chaat masala / amchur powder. Use this sparingly as a little goes a long way. Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice. Again with the lime juice, less is more. You can add a bit, taste and add more if needed. However, if you add too much there is no way to balance it out. Lastly garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.

Serve immediately and get ready to be very popular with anyone you might serve this to.

There is only one way to eat these puris. You get a whole puri with its toppings in your mouth at one go.

Recipes for Diwali … both sweet and savory

In India, the festive season is just around the corner, starting of with Dusshera and moving on to Diwali and finally ending the year with Christmas. So as you can imagine, things start getting pretty hectic right about now. If you are prepping for Dusshera or Diwali, I have a little something to help you with the food aspect of your prep. I have collated a list of much loved recipes from my blog that would be perfect on a platter of treats to share with family and friends.

Some of these are treats that you will see around the Diwali season, others are so popular, they make an appearance at both Diwali and Christmas. This list comprises of both sweet and savory treats that are easy to make at home. So if you are looking to make something this Diwali to share with your loved ones or, like me, you are in a land far away and are missing out on all these treats, the recipes below will help you re-create some of that deliciousness in your very own home.
Sweets – 

Savory / Namkeen – 
I hope there’s a little something here for everybody. 
Enjoy!!!

Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe

Back when I was in Bombay, Christmas time was always pretty hectic. Who am I kidding? Hectic doesn’t even start to describe it. It used to be insanely manic. See I used to run a home based business and take orders for Christmas sweets. And come December, activity levels in the kitchen would kick into overdrive. Okay so you’re probably wondering why I’m headed with this. Well during these insanely busy periods, I was fortunate enough to have my parents cook for us and on one such day my Dad brought over a bunch of yumminess and this Black Chana Fugad was one such dish.

A Black Chana Fugad is simple and humble dish. That being said, I loved it. What is this Black Chana Fugad? Black Channa is just Black (dark) chickpeas. Fugad is a Goan version of a stir fry with grated coconut. Now, I haven’t been able to get the recipe that my Dad used, but with a little help from the internet, I found a recipe that actually came quite close. Maybe when I visit my parents next, I will get my Dad’s version of the recipe, but for now, I’m happy to use this recipe. 
You could use canned black chickpeas if you can find any. I use the dried version. 


Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe
Recipe from: Tickle My Senses
1 cup (dried) black chickpeas 
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
8 curry leaves
5 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilly powder (this is a mild red chilly powder, if you don’t have access to this use a smaller quantity of red chilly powder, to taste)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind extract
1 tsp jaggery / palm sugar
1/4 cup grated coconut
Salt, to taste
Wash the black chickpeas in water and drain a couple of times.

Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight (or about 8 hours). Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the chickpeas and use a large bowl because the chickpeas will expand in size.

Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas fresh water and drain again.

Place the chickpeas in the pressure cooker with the water level about 1 inch over the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 whole dried red chillies (preferable Kashmiri chillies) and pressure cook till tender.
**Every pressure cooker is different so I can’t give you an accurate amount of time it will need to cook. I use a WMF pressure cooker and when the pressure builds to the gentle cooking pressure point, I turn it down to a simmer and leave it to cook for about 4 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, just cook the chickpeas in ample amount of salted water till tender. Use your manufacturers instructions to gauge how long to pressure cook the chickpeas.

Release the pressure and after the pressure has completely died down, carefully open the cooker.

Drain the chickpeas and reserve about a cup of the stock.

To make the fugad –


Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat.

Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.

Now add the curry leaves and crushed garlic cloves. (You just want the cloves bruised and popped open, you do not want to mince it or make a paste.)

Now add the onion and saute till soft and translucent.

Add the chilly, coriander, cumin, black pepper and turmeric powders and stir well.

Now add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook this till the tomato has softened a little.

Add the drained chickpeas and stir well.

Add the tamarind paste gradually and to taste. (You may or may not need all of it, depending on the tartness of the tomato you have used.)

Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock and let it all cook down for a minute or so.

Check for salt and add more, if needed.

Add the grated coconut and stir well. If you want more gravy you could add a little more stock.

We usually have this dish on the dry side, so we let the stock cook down completely.

Once the coconut has cooked for a couple of minutes, take off the heat and serve hot.

This dish goes beautifully with chapatis or rotis.

Enjoy!

Eggplant Pickle

For years now, I’ve envied folks that can make good pickles. In our home we always enjoy a good pickle, but that is one thing my mother never made much of, when we were growing up. She had a few good recipes but seldom made them. She made a real good green chilly pickle and a Goan pickle using prawns and another one using fish. So most of the time we ended up using store bought pickle. We didn’t have a choice really. I didn’t care much for the store bought variety, expect for a certain kind we got in Goa, but those trips usually happened once a year.

Then one year, a dear friend of mine had to visit her aunt who lived an hour and a half away from where we lived and she asked me to go with her. At lunch, she served up a home made eggplant pickle that I fell in love with. I must have been about 16 years old then, so it never really occurred to me to ask her how she made it, nor did I have access to the tonnes of information that is accessible on the internet in today’s day and age. But over the years, I’d think about that wonderful pickle and often wondered if I would every find something similar again.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I got a fantastic deal on some eggplant and picked up a couple of large ones. I originally thought I’d grill it and store it in some olive oil with some herbs. But I ran out of time and it got to the stage where we were to leave for our holiday the very next day. What I haven’t told you yet is that a few weeks prior to that I came across a recipe for a Goan eggplant pickle, which I glanced at and moved on without making much of it. Since grilling and preserving the eggplant in such a short time frame was out of the question, I thought about that recipe and dug around for it.

I was a little sceptical since I’d never made a pickle before. But I figured I had nothing to lose but trying my hand at it this once. I always thought it was a daunting process. I was amazed at how simple this recipe was. A few spices, a little cooking and a week of maturing. We got back from our holiday to a really fabulous pickle. Very similar to my friend’s aunt’s version. This recipe is a keeper. I made a few changes to the recipe and the one below, reflects those changes. It’s safe to say that I’m very happy with this first attempt and can’t wait to try out some more as and when we need to replenish our stock. This pickle is mildly spiced and sweet at the same time and is a wonderful accompaniment to a simple dal and rice or any meal really. 🙂

Eggplant Pickle
Adapted from: Erica’s Yummy Food


2 large eggplants
20 cloves of garlic
2 pieces of ginger, each about 3″ long
1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp cumin seeds
12 cloves
4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 heaping tsp mustard seeds
A handful of curry leaves
4 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Prep a glass bottle but thoroughly washing and making sure it is completely dry. (You could use mason jars if you like.) Any moisture on the bottle will result in your pickle going bad. It will get moudly and you wont be able to eat it. I simply place the bottle in a dishwasher and it is perfectly washed and bone dry.

Cut the eggplant into cubes (about 1/2″).

Sprinkle the eggplant with 4 tsp of salt and toss well. Set this aside for 2 hours.

You can now prep the rest of your ingredients, while you wait for the eggplant to discard all the excess moisture.

Peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic.

Using a mixer / food processor, grind the ginger, garlic, fenugreek leaves, cumin seeds, cloves, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and vinegar to a paste.

After 2 hours, you will notice that the eggplant has released a lot of moisture. Drain all the liquid from the eggplants and gently squeeze the eggplant to get rid of any liquid. You want to be gentle and let the cubes retain their shape but still discard and excess liquid.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Lower the heat to a medium low.

Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.

When they are sputtering, carefully add the curry leaves.

Add the spice paste and cook on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes. But cooking the paste first, you are left with a mellow flavour and not a sharp tartness of the vinegar. Stir frequently.

Add the eggplant cubes and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir gently every now and then to mix well, but be careful to not break down the eggplant pieces. After cooking for 10 minutes,  the eggplant cubes should be tender but will still somewhat retain their shape and not be too mushy.

Add the sugar to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes and now you will see the oil separating at the sides of the pan.

Take off the heat and spoon the hot pickle into the prepared glass bottles. Cover the bottle and leave it on your counter to cool. (Bottling it when it is still hot creates a vacuum when the mix cools and ensures your pickle has a good shelf life.)

When it has completely cooled, you can store it in the fridge. I left mine to mature for a week while we were away.

Enjoy!!!

Now, do your pickle loving self a favour and try this recipe out soon. You can thank me later. 🙂

Garlic Karasev

After spending a little more than 30 years in Mumbai, when I was born and brought up, we moved to our new home – Australia. Nothing gives me greater joy than calling Australia home. But every once in a while, I go through phases where I miss Indian food. We cook a lot of Indian food at home. But what I was missing was the easily available street food that Mumbai is famous for – it’s Chat and idli/vada/dosas. Another thing I tend to miss is the Indian Mithai (sweets) and farsaan (savoury munchies). The Indian stores here stock them, but they’re usually not as fresh as they should be, or as tasty. You also end up spending a fair bit on them. I decided it was time that I learnt to make the things I love, myself. To my surprise, I found that a lot of these recipes are fairly easy. With a little research online, I am now well on my way to making a lot of these goodies myself. Today I’m making some Garlic Karasev.

I tried my hand at an easy version of the Gulab Jamun which you can check out here. I was so stoked with the results, I knew I couldn’t stop there. So the very next day, I decided to try out something savoury. I found this recipe through Pinterest and at the same time I tried out a recipe for Methi Mathri. The Methi Mathri flopped, but I think I know what possible caused that to fail. But this Garlic Karasev, was spot on. I love garlic and that garlicky flavour came through beautifully. I stuck to the ingredient list in the original recipe, but made a few modifications to the process. This made the process easier with no impact on the resulting flavour or texture. I was very pleased with the results. It is hard to stop snacking on this garlic karasev with your afternoon cup of tea. This recipe is an absolute keeper. It yields a fairly big batch within a short time too.

Garlic Karasev
Adapted from: The Chef and Her Kitchen

2 1/2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
1 cup rice flour
2 tsp melted ghee (clarified butter)
2 tsp red chilli powder
3 large cloves of garlic, finely grated
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp approx.)
Oil, for deep frying

Heat oil in a wok for deep frying. While the oil is heating, prepare the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, place the besan, rice flour, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well.

Add the grated garlic and mix to distribute evenly.

Add the melted ghee next. Again mix well.

Gradually add a little water and knead to a dough. The dough shouldn’t be too tight or too soft. It will be a little sticky, which is fine.

Divide the dough into 2-3 portions. I had 3 portions, one was in the chakli press.

For this recipe, you need to use the form with slightly larger holes. You may have one with 3 larger holes or multiple ones. I’ve indicated the one I used.

By now, the oil should have heated. Insert the form you are using first. Add the dough. Then simply turn the handle on the top while moving your arm slightly to form a little circular nest directly in the hot oil. Don’t overlap the dough too much or it wont fry well. Turn the heat to medium.

When it starts to turn a light golden brown, carefully turn over with a slotted spoon.

When it has cooked on both sides to a golden brown colour, take it off the heat using a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.

Continue the process with the rest of the dough.

Once it has cooled completely, you can break it up gently into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.

You’ve got yourself a couple of weeks worth of munchies. And the best part is, you know exactly what is in it, no artificial flavouring or preservatives. That makes me very happy.

So go ahead, try this recipe and let me know what you think of it.