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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Baked Methi Matris / Karva Chauth Special Recipe / Indian Baked Savory Snack / Healthy Tea Time Snack Recipe / Diabetic Recipe

Karva Chauth is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in North India in which married women fast from sunrise to moon rise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon , in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik.

I belong to a Maharashtrian family and fast on Sankashti Chaturthi of every month. (This is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The day celebrated in every Hindu calendar month on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase). Thus Karva Chauth and Sankashti Chaturthi happen to fall on same day. I have always been surrounded by North Indians since i got married and hence celebrate Karva Chauth with them and fast to get blessings from Lord Ganesha. I have seen my friends preparing various yummy delicacies for this occasion , Matris being one of them. I make Modak for lord Ganesha as bhog along with the Matris on Karva Chauth.

Matris are deep fried Punjabi savory snack recipe made from Maida , Salt and oil. To make this snack a guilt free affair i have baked this matris instead of deep frying. To make it more healthy have made the matris using whole Wheat flour instead of Maida. Though these matris are baked, they are very crispy and crunchy. Use of Kasuri methi gives nice aroma and distinctive flavour and the added crushed black Pepper gives spicy kick to the matris making them all the more tasty. These Matris serve great as guilt free tea time snacks . Can be had as it is or with Green Chili Pickle . I use these baked matris to make a chat dish - Dahi Papdi Chat. These baked Methi Matris serve a good Diabetic snack option too .

  • 2 Cup whole Wheat flour( 250 gm)
  • 2-3 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp coarsely crushed black Pepper
  • 2 tsp crushed Kasuri Methi ( dried Fenu Greek leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • Salt to taste.
  1. Dry roast the Kasuri Methi (dried Fenu Greek leaves) on a skillet on low to medium heat until fragrant. Dry roasting the Kasuri Methi enhances its flavors.

   2.  Take whole Wheat flour in a bowl , to it add hot Ghee , roasted and crushed Kasuri Methi , Salt , Baking Soda, and coarsely crushed black Pepper . Mix everything nicely and rub the Ghee to the flour with fingers , to obtain a crumbled mass.

   3.  Knead the flour to a smooth and stiff dough using cold water. Add water gradually with tablespoon. Cover the dough in a plastic wrap and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll out each portion to 1/4 " thickness using a rolling pin. No need to apply flour or oil while rolling the flour.

   5.  Next using a fork poke the rolled out dough evenly. Cut it into desired shapes using cookie cutter . I have cut them into round shape using lid .

 6.  Line the baking tray with a parchment paper and grease it. Now arrange these cut Matris on to it and bake it in a preheated oven at 160 degree Celsius for 20 minutes changing the side midway. I have baked the matris using a convection Microwave, so no preheating required. Keep an eye after 15 minutes of baking as the temperature may vary from oven to oven also if the Matri dough is not evenly rolled out, thinner Matris will bake soon. If you want you can brush the Matris with little oil. Repeat the same for rest of the dough.

   7.  Remove the baked Matris from oven and allow them to cool down . The matris become more crisp after cooling. Transfer them to air tight container.  Serve with tea or enjoy as it is.

Wishing a very happy Karva Chauth to all those who celebrate !!

For more healthy tea time snack recipes do check my posts on
Baked Beetroot Cutlets
Baked Fingermillet Crackers
Meethe Makhane
Egg-less Oatmeal Cookies
Egg-less Butter less Choco Muffins
Egg-less moist carrot Cake
Broccoli Cutlets
Baked Veggie Florets
Pineapple Jam Tarts
Raw Banana Cutlets
Vegetable Momos
Kanda Pohe 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dal Makhani infused with a charcoal smokey Flavour / Punjabi Cuisine

Dal Makhani (Buttery lentil) is a very famous Punjabi delicacy and the finest dal recipes of India. It is a spicy and rich dish made with a combination of whole black lentil(Urad) and red Kidney Beans (Rajma) and is popularly known as Maa ki daal in Punjab. It is cooked with lots of Butter (Makhan) and fresh cream (Malai) which gives a smooth velvety texture and lovely flavor to the dish.The Dal Makhani goes well with any Indian flat bread like Chapati ,Naan,Paratha or with Jeera Rice.

Whenever we go out to dine in an Indian restaurant , Dal makhani is surely on our menu! Traditionally the dal is allowed to cook overnight on a low flame to thicken . Now a days in a fast life we hardly get time and have patience for this. But yes this preparation needs some patience and the flavors come out well if the dal is allowed to simmer for a longer time. So i prefer cooking this Dal Makhani on special occasions and when i have enough time for cooking .

 I have cooked the overnight soaked Urad and Rajma in a pressure cooker for 6-7 whistles along with whole spices . Cooking the dal in this way allows the whole spices to impart their flavors more into the dal. This time i simmered the dal for a longer time than i usually do and tried imparting a charcoal smokey flavor to my Dal Makhani and the taste and fragrance was simply awesome. Infusing the Dal Makhani with wood charcoal smoke (Dhungar method) is very easy and can definitely be tried at home if you are looking for the typical restaurant style flavour in your Dal Makhani.

Short Video for Dal Makhani

Preparation Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6

  • 1 Cup whole Urad (whole black Lentil)
  • 1/4 cup  Rajma (Kidney Beans)
  • 2 large Onions finely chopped / pureed 
  • 3 Tomatoes pureed
  • 1 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped or grated Ginger
  • 1 tsp finely chopped or minced Garlic
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped /optional
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 small stick of Cinnamon
  • 2-3 black Pepper corns
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 1 tsp Coriander Cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp of crushed Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 -3 tbsp of fresh Cream
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • 2-3 Ginger julienne to garnish
  • Salt to taste
For imparting Smokey flavor: 
  • 1 small piece of wood charcoal
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  1. Clean , wash and soak the whole Urad and Rajma overnight in enough water.

    2.  Drain and place the soaked lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker , add salt and whole spices (Bay leaf , clove , black Cardamom , Cinnamon and black Pepper corns) and pressure cook for 6 -7 whistles or until the dals are thoroughly cooked.

   3.  Let the pressure cooker cool down before opening the lid. To test whether the dal and rajma is cooked , try to mash it with your fingers, if it is well mashed it is cooked perfectly. If not,add more water and cook the dal again for 2-3 whistles. With a wooden ladle mash the dal nicely and keep aside. 

  4.  In a deep wok or thick bottom sauce pan heat 2 tbsp of butter/ghee on a low heat and add the cumin seeds. Once they crackle add the finely chopped garlic and ginger and saute till the raw smell goes.

  5 . Now add in the finely chopped green chilies followed by pureed Onions and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the Onions turn translucent.

  6.  Next add tomato puree , saute for a while , add turmeric powder , red Chili powder , Cumin Coriander powder and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.

    7.  Add in the cooked and mashed lentils into it . Mix well and around 2 cups of water to make it to your desired consistency. Add salt to this , be cautious as we have already added salt while cooking the lentils.

8.Simmer the dal for 15-20 minutes while stirring intermittently. Lastly add butter and fresh cream, give a quick stir. Garnish with kasuri methi, cook for another 1 minute and put off the flame. 

    9. Now for imparting the Dal Makhani with a Charcoal smokey flavour , i have followed the Dhungar method which is a very easy technique for smoking food . Have used small piece of natural charcoal lump for this. All you have to do is , place the piece of natural charcoal directly on top of a gas burner. With the heat on full , burn the charcoal directly over the flames. You can turn the Charcoal using long tongs to make sure flame reach all sides of the Charcoal.

   10. Put off the flame, place a small bowl or small plate over the Dal Makhani and with the help of tongs place this coal piece on it. Immediately pour 1 tsp of ghee or butter over this hot coal piece. The coal will immediately start emitting dense white smoke, cover the sauce pan with a lid. The smoke trapped inside will infuse a unique smokey flavor into the Dal Makhani. If you are using this technique for the first time , try smoking the food only for a minute or so. I generally smoke the Dal Makhani for about 5 minutes . After 5 minutes, open the lid and remove the bowl of coal.

  11. Garnish the Dal Makhani with fresh chopped Coriander, Ginger julienne and fresh Cream. Serve hot with Chapati , Naan or any Rice dish.

  For more dishes from Punjabi Cuisine and Rich Gravy dishes, do check my posts on Paneer Makhanwala , Kashmiri Dum Aloo , Kadai Paneer , Pindi chole.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween Chocolate Pudding Cups / Eggless Chocolate Pudding Dessert Recipe / Healthy Kids Recipes

Halloween is just around the corner and kids are full of excitement . Chinmay is no exception to it. Today he was busy in making Halloween craft during his play time ..to add in to his excitement i thought of making his favourite Chocolate Pudding . Upon browsing the internet got some ideas to match the theme. Had some Sweet Limes laying in my fridge which were perfect to use as molds for my Chocolate Pudding. Job of decorating Jack-o-Lantern faces on them was done by my boy..Voila !!!  here i am with my easy peasy Halloween Chocolate Pudding Cups !

For Chocolate Pudding:
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Milk (300 ml)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Custard Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
6 Sweet Limes / Mandarins to make pudding molds

  1. With a sharp knife cut the top 1/2" off the Sweet Limes. Using as small spoon , scoop out the sweet Lime flesh. We can use this flesh while making juice. 

   2.  In a mixing bowl take Cocoa powder and Custard powder . Mix them together and add in 1/2 cup milk and Vanilla essence to it and keep whisking until a smooth paste is formed without any lumps.

  3.  In a sauce pan or wok add the sugar and remaining 1 cup milk and mix well and heat on low to medium heat. Once it boils lower the flame and gradually add the prepared choco mix . Keep stirring continuously and cook until a thick glossy mixture is formed. Put off the flame.

  4.  Line the hollowed Sweet limes with a cling wrap or muffin liner and spoon the pudding mixture into each. cover with their chopped off lids and refrigerate at least for an hour before serving.

  4.  To serve, poke a hole in the lid where the stem of sweet lime was and insert the top end of a fancy tooth pick or fruit pick to make the "Pumpkin stem". You may use green straw pieces or Mint leaves in its place. Paint a Jack - O - lantern face on the molds using a paint brush and black food color.

 5.  I filled only 3 Sweet limes with the pudding mixture and poured the remaining in a rinsed glass.  (Rinsing the cup or bowl with water prior to adding the pudding mixture avoids sticking of pudding to the container.)

 6. Let it cool down a little , cover with a cling film and refrigerate to set.

  7.  Serve chilled with any of your favourite fruit like Strawberry or Mango. I have served it with Truti Fruti.

If you are looking for more recipes using Cocoa powder do check my posts on Choco Muffins , Ragi Chocolate Milk Shake .