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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Bhakarwadi / Vegetarian Snack Recipe / Maharashtrian Cuisine

With festive season around , we generally tend to cook and eat lots of sweet delicacies . And then there is an urge to eat some chatpatta snacks to balance the sweetness !! So here's a  recipe of  a spicy and tangy snack dish - Bhakarwadi to satisfy such cravings.

Never had thought that I would make this dish at home. I have always relished on Bhakarwadis from Pune's Chitale Bandhu and would stock this yummy snack whenever I would visit my Mumma's place. But since the time I started this food blog , I get opportunity to try hands on all such recipes.

Bhakarwadi  are actually fried rolls stuffed with spicy and tangy mixture of coconut and poppy seeds. Can be served as a tea time snacks or as festive snacks during festivals like Diwali and Holi. You can also bake the Bhakarwadi to cut down calories.

After browsing on Internet, I came across many recipes and after trying , testing and modifying, settled down to this recipe. Very easy to follow and does not involve any rocket science, (as I had always thought). Only it requires little efforts but tastes awesome and can be stored and kept for about a month or so in air tight container.

Ingredients: Yields 25-30 medium size Bhakarwadis
                     (Measurements 1 Cup - 250ml)

For Cover -
  • Chick Pea flour / Besan - 1 Cup
  • Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
  • Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
  • Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil 3 tbsp  
For Stuffing -
  • Fresh Coconut, Scrapped - 2 tbsp
  • Poppy Seeds/ Khus Khus - 2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds / Saunf- 1tbsp
  • Sesame seeds / Til -1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds / Dhaniya-1Tbsp
  • Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder - 3 tsp
  • Black Pepper corns / Sabut Kali Mirch- 1tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Saunt Powder / Dry Ginger powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Juice from lemon - 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  1.  Take all the ingredients to make the covering of the Bhakarwadi roll in a mixing bowl and mix well and work with palms to form a crumbled mass. Now using little water knead the flour into a stiff dough. Keep the dough aside for 10 minutes.

    2.  Dry roast the Sesame seeds, Coriander seeds, Fennel seeds, Cumin seeds and add to the grinder along with scrapped Coconut, Red Chili powder, Hing, black Pepper corn and Sugar and grind to a coarse mixture.To this mixture now add the Raw mango powder/ Aamchur powder , salt and Dry ginger powder and lemon juice and mix well. (The lemon juice not only adds to the tangy flavor but also helps the stuffing to stick well to the covering.) The stuffing is ready.

   3.  Divide the dough and the stuffing into 3 equal parts and roll out each part of dough into a round using oil.

    4.  Spread out one part of the stuffing evenly on the chapati and press little with fingers and the start rolling the chapati holding tightly making sure that the stuffing is tightly packed in the roll without any gaps. 

  5.  Using a sharp knife cut equal portions of the roll of desired length.  Press the open ends of each roll a little to ensure the stuffing is not coming out. Similarly repeat the process for the rest two portion of dough and stuffing. 

   6.  Heat up oil in a kadhai or deep frying wok and deep fry the Bhakarwadi's on low to medium heat. This work needs patience. It will take around 10-12 minutes per batch. If you fry the Bhakarwadi at high heat the Bhakarwadi will remain uncooked from inside and become soft afterward. So to get crispy Bhakarwadi , fry them on low to medium heat until they turn golden brown .

       7.  Remove the Bhakarwadi on absorbent paper and allow to cool down. Now Transfer them to airtight container. Enjoy the crispy tangy and spicy snacks with tea or just as it is !!

  • Traditionally the procedure to make Bhakarwadi involves steaming the stuffed rolls for 20 minutes and then cutting into bite size pieces and then deep frying them. Also thick tamarind pulp with grated jaggery , clove and Cinnamon powder is mixed together and this paste is applied on the rolled out chapati before spreading the stuffing. I have modified the recipe for ease and as per the taste of my family.
  • If you wish to bake the Bhakarwadi instead of frying, add 1/2 tsp baking powder to the flour before kneading the dough and follow same procedure as above and arrange all the Bhakarwadi's on baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes at 180 degree Celsius. Turn the side in between so that the bhakarwadi becomes golden brown and crisp from both sides.
  • You can use grated  dry coconut instead of the scrapped fresh one.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sweet Coconut Rice / Narali Bhat / Raksha Bandhan - Narali Poornima Special / Festive Cooking / Traditional Maharashtrian Cuisine

 Raksha Bandhan festival is a day dedicated to express the immaculate love and affection shared between a brother and a sister. In India it is celebrated every year on full moon day of Hindu month of Shravan. Sisters tie a sacred thread called rakhi on their brothers wrist and pray for their long life and well being . Brothers in return promise to protect their sisters from all harms and give them rakhi gifts. This day is also an occasion for family get together and yummy lip smacking delicacies.

This day is also celebrated as Narali Poornima in Maharashtra . After days of heavy rains and strong winds, the sea become calm. On this day the boats are allowed to sail into the sea again. But before doing so , the sea is worshipped by throwing a coconut (Naral) into the water to appease the Sea God. Many traditional sweet dishes are made for this occasion. Mostly the sweets made up of fresh coconut are prepared. I have already shared the Fresh Coconut Fudge / Nariyal Barfi and Suji and Coconut Ladoo recipes on my blog.

Today I am going to share a sweet rice recipe made with fresh coconut and Jaggery. This is a typical Maharashtrian dish and we offer this as Naivedhyam on Narali Pournima . Narali Bhat is an irresistible dish which is a blend of rich flavours of Green Cardamom , Saffron and spices like Clove and Cinnamon. Dry fruits and raisins add to the richness of the dish . The recipe calls for cooking the rice in coconut milk instead of water and sweetened using Jaggery.  This is my Mumma's recipe.

Ingredients: Serves 4
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup freshly scrapped Coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup thin Coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Jaggery / gud
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • Few Saffron strands / Keshar dissolved in 2-3tbsp warm milk
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2-3 small pieces of Cinnamon stick / dalchini
  • 4-5 green Cardamom/ hari elaichi
  • Few Cashew nuts and Raisins
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom and Nutmeg powder
  • Pinch of salt

  1. Soak the Basmati rice for 15 minutes , drain and keep aside. To make Coconut milk at home,  scrape or grate the fresh coconut and grind it in the grinder with very little water. Strain this to get thick Coconut milk. Now again add more water and pulse the same scraped coconut to get thin coconut milk. Add the grated Jaggery to the thick Coconut milk and mix properly. Also in a small bowl add few saffron strands to 2-3 tbsp warm milk.

   2. Heat up 2 tbsp Ghee in a non stick wok on medium heat and add the spices - Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, cloves and dry fruits and fry until fragrant. 

    3.  Add the soaked and drained rice and stir well for 1-2 minutes.

  4.  Now add the thin Coconut milk and pinch of salt to the rice, cover the wok with a lid and cook the rice to 80 %.

  5.  At this stage add the jaggery mixed thick coconut milk and saffron milk to the rice. It is very important to note that if you add the jaggery to the rice before this stage..then the rice will not cook properly. So add the jaggery mixed thick coconut milk to the rice only once it is almost cooked. I came to know this from by previous experience. Once I had mistakenly added the jaggery mixed coconut milk to the rice in the step 4 and then all my efforts to completely cook the rice went in vain.

  6.  The rice may look watery but do not worry, the Jaggery will coat nicely to the rice and all the coconut milk will be soaked up within 2-3 minutes. Now lastly add the scrapped coconut and 1/2 tsp cardamom and nutmeg powder to the rice. Mix well and cook for 1 more minute.

 7.  Serve it either hot or cold and enjoy. The dish acts both as a main course and as a sweet dish. I usually serve it with some spicy and rich gravy dish like Paneer Makhanwala or Kahmiri Dum Aloo and chapati.

Wishing a very Happy Raksha Bandhan and Narali Poornima to all those who celebrate!!

If you are looking for some more traditional and festive Maharashtrian recipes, check out my Anarsa, Shrikhand, Kanole , Narali Pakatle Ladoo , Naralachi barfi

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Semolina and Coconut Ladoos / Naralipaakatle Ladoo - Raksha Bandhan Special - Festive Cooking

Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit literally means "the tie or knot of protection". It is an ancient Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters. On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother's wrist. This symbolises the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well -being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her. The festival falls on the full moon day ( Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calender.

Many types of  traditional dishes are prepared for the Rakhi festival . Most of the sweets are made using coconut. I usually prepare Nariyal Barfi on this day. This year I have made the Ladoos made of Suji and fresh Coconut. This is a traditional Maharashtrian dish where sweet balls made up of roasted Semolina and Coconut are combined with sugar syrup , ghee and dry fruits . This melt in mouth ladoos are all time favourite in my house and are easy to make . You may also check out my Dry Fruits Ladoo recipe.

Ingredients: (1 Cup - 200 ml)
  • Suji / Semolina - 2 cup
  • Fresh Coconut , Scrapped- 1 cup
  • Sugar- 1 1/2 cup
  • Ghee- 1/2  cup
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Nuts of your choice (slices or crushed into small pieces)+ Raisins - 3/4 cup
  • Cardamom and Nutmeg powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Few Saffron strands(optional) 

  1. Heat ghee in a non stick wok and add Semolina to it. Roast it on a low to medium flame until fragrant and it turns pinkish. Do not burn it.

   2.  Now add the scraped coconut to the roasted Semolina and keep stirring continuously until there is no more moisture left in the mixture. Now add the nuts and raisins. Mix them and roast the mixture again for 1 more minute. 

  3.   In a separate sauce pan take sugar , add water to it and put on the flame. Add few saffron strands, at this stage. Make the sugar syrup to one string consistency . This step can be simultaneously done , when the Semolina is been roasted, to save time.

     4.  To check the one string consistency of sugar syrup, take a drop of syrup between your thumb and index finger and slowly try to pull your index finger, if you get one string formed between the 2 , you have attained the correct  consistency. Be careful while handling the hot syrup.

  4.  Add the sugar syrup to the mixture, mix properly and cook for 1-2 minutes and then turn off the flame. Let this mixture rest for 1-2 hours.

   5.  After 1-2 hrs the Suji soaks up all the syrup and becomes dry enough to roll into ladoos. 



   6.   These Ladoos last up to 1-2 weeks on refrigeration.

If you are looking for some more traditional sweet festive dishes, then check out my Suji Kheer , Sponge Rasgulla , Apple Rabadi , Coconut barfi , Dry Fruits Ladoo , Shahi Lapsi Kheer

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Strawberry Milkshake

Last weekend I had been on a family trip to Cameron Highlands , a beautiful hill station in Malaysia . Apart from its scenic beauty , Cameron Highlands is known for spectacular Tea plantations, Strawberry farms , Colorful flower gardens and fresh vegetables. We enjoyed the cool climate and munched on irresistible fresh juicy Strawberries . 

Back home we bought loads of fresh veggies and Strawberries. The fresh red strawberries were very sweet and juicy. So I made up my mind to try out some recipes using these berries. To begin with , I made a quick and simple milkshake.

Strawberry Milkshake is a cool and creamy drink which can be served at breakfast or as a reward after a workout ! It is not only a refreshing and energetic drink but also is a visual treat. The baby pink color of the strawberry shake can brighten up any lazy day. Specially kids love it. The recipe is very easy and requires just chilled milk , sugar and Strawberries. Quantity of sugar to be added depends on the sweetness of Strawberries. Select big and red strawberries which are sweet. 

Ingredients: Serves 2
  • 12-15  medium to large size Strawberries
  • Chilled low fat milk - 2 cups (1 cup - 200 ml)
  • Sugar - 3-4 tbsp (or as required)
  1. Rinse the Strawberries and drain. 
     2.  Remove the top green part of the Strawberries, this process is called hulling.

   3.   Roughly chop the Strawberries.

    4.  Add the chopped Strawberries to the mixer or blender along with chilled milk and sugar and blend until smooth  and creamy. Add sugar as per required. If the berries are sweet add less sugar and vice verse. Also make sure the milk is chilled or else there are chances of curdling of milk.

   5. Pour the Strawberry milk shake into 2 tall glasses and serve immediately . Alternatively you can also add some vanilla ice cream or strawberry ice cream in the blender to make Strawberry Ice cream Milkshake. 

  6. You can garnish the shake with some Strawberry chunks or enjoy it as it is.

   If you are looking for some more refreshing beverages, you may check my Dragon fruit and Banana SmoothieMiracle Juice , Rambutan and Banana Milkshake.