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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Chhena (Paneer ) Modak / Ganesh Chaturthi Special Recipe - Festive Cooking


 Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. This is a very auspicious day celebrated to pray the God , so that every new activity that is started is successfully completed without any obstacles (Vighna = Obstacles). Celebrations are traditionally held on the fourth day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada in the Hindu Calendar. At homes in Maharashtra , families install small clay statues for worship during the festival. To please Lord Ganesha , various kind of food is offered as naivedhyam during the Pooja. Modak and Ladoo are supposed to be Lord Ganesh's favourite sweets. 


Modak are small dumplings which are usually stuffed with sweet coconut and dry fruit fillings. Modak can be made in many ways. Traditionally we Maharashtrian make Ukadiche Modak ( Basically steamed rice flour dumplings stuffed with fresh scrapped Coconut , Jaggery and Nuts) and Talaniche Modak (  deep fried , crispy sweet preparation ) . Apart from
 these traditional Modaks, this year i have made Modak using Chena ( Crumbled Paneer) for Naivedhyam to Lord Ganesha.

                                

Chena Modak are sweet delicacies made from Chena ( Cottage Cheese / Paneer). Paneer gives nice creamy and grainy texture to the modak. I have used home made fresh chhena for the recipe. But you may use the store bought Paneer and crumble it for the recipe. This will surely save the time and efforts. This recipe is inspired from my own Instant Kalakand recipe which was a big hit at my place. I have used mould to give the modak shape. If you do not have one, you may just roll out a ball and flatten it slightly to make Paneer peda.

Ingredients:
  • 200 grams Chhena 
  • 1 cup full cream Milk ( boiled)
  • 100 grams Milk powder
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Ghee
  • ½ tsp Cardamom powder
Method:
  1. To make chhena at home , heat 1 litre full cream milk in a wok. Keep stirring the milk , so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. 


 2.  Once the milk comes to a boil , put off the flame. Add 2-3 tbsp of Vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir.

  3.  The milk will curdle and we can see greenish yellow whey which separates. Add few ice cubes to the mixture, to arrest the coagulation process.



4.  Strain the whey and collect the chhena in a muslin cloth.


  5. Gather the kitchen towel from the sides and rinse the chhena very well in running water  to remove the after taste of vinegar or lemon juice.  Squeeze out all the whey from the muslin cloth and keep it under some weight for 10 minutes.




 6.   1 litre full cream milk yield me 200 grams Chhena . Crumble it and keep aside until use.


  7. In a non stick heavy bottom wok take 1 tbsp ghee, 100 gram milk powder , crumbled paneer , 1 cup full cream milk and 1/2 cup sugar. Heat it on a medium flame .


  8. Cook the mixture while continuously stirring on a low to medium flame , until all the moisture evaporates and the mixture is thick and no more sticks to the pan. This will roughly take 10 -12 minutes.



  9. Add the cardamom powder to the peda mixture and put off the flame.


  10. This is the Modak mould i have used to shape the peda dough into Modak.


  11. Once the dough has cooled down enough to handle , pinch out a large gooseberry shape ball and push it from the bottom hole of a greased modak mould. Press the mould and open it . You can see lovely impressions on the modak. Repeat the same process with rest of the dough.



  12. The above quantity yields approx 21 small sized Modaks. Offer them to lord Ganesha and later enjoy it as prasad with your loved ones !


I hope you would give this recipe a try to please Lord Ganesha. Do not forget to give your valuable feed back.

For more Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes, do check my posts on


Wishing a very Happy and Blessed Ganesh Chaturthi festivity to all those who celebrate. May Lord Ganesha shower his blessings on all of us !!



Monday, 29 August 2016

Thalipeeth Bhajani / Roasted Multi Grain Flour Mix Recipe / Maharashtrian Cuisine


Thalipeeth is a typical Maharashtrian pancake . This savoury snack made using multi-grain flour is a powder house of nutrition. It is perfect blend of taste and health. This delicious snack happens to be my family’s favorite breakfast menu.

The multi-grain flour mix used for making Thalipeeth is called Thalipeeth Bhajani in Marathi as it is made after individually dry roasting the whole grains and then grinding them together into a powder. A typical Maharashtrian household will surely have a stock of Thalipeeth Bhajani in its Kitchen pantry. This multi-grain flour mix is very handy and it can be used in making many other delicious snacks like Bhajaniche Vade and  Kothambir Wadi apart from Thalipeeth.
One can find lots of variety in the thalipeeth bhajini recipe and the proportion of the grains used may varry from household to household. Here I am sharing my mom’s recipe of Thalipeeth Bhajani . The recipe calls for use of Pearl millet , Sorghum , Rice , Wheat , split Bengal Gram , skinned and split black gram. The flour is flavored using Coriander and Cumin seeds. This multi-grain flour mix can be made in large batches and stored in airtight containers as it has a good shelf life of 2-3 months. 
Ingredients: Measurement used – 1 cup =200 ml
  • 4 cup Bajra (Pearl Millet)
  • 2 cup Gheu ( Wheat)
  • 2 cup Chaval (Rice)
  • 2 cup Jowar (Sorghum)
  •  1 ½ cup Chana dal (Split Bengal gram)
  •  1 cup dhuli Urad dal (Skinned and split Black gram)
  • 1  cup Coriander seeds
  •  ¾ cup Cumin Seeds

Method:
  1.   Heat a heavy bottom wok and dry roast all the ingredients one by one on a low to medium flame until golden brown in color.







  2.  The roasting of grains gives a nice aroma and will make your house smell good. 


   3. Allow the grains and spices to cool down completely. Now grind them together to a fine powder in a powder mill . Allow the flour also to cool down and then store it in an airtight container and use as per need.


  For more recipes from the Maharashtrian Cuisine , do check my posts on 


Friday, 26 August 2016

Baked Sathumaavu Veggie Crackers Recipe


Sathu Maavu is the nutritious health mix powder given to babies and toddlers. Made with over 12 natural ingredients( like Rice, Black Urad Dal , Green Gram , Roasted Gram , Moong Dal , Masoor dal , Wheat Dalia , Sago , Horse gram , Corn , Almonds Cashew , Elaichi) ,  Sathumaavu is a super food for babies as it is full of carbohydrates , vitamins, proteins and minerals . A good source of dietary fiber, iron , calcium , molybdenum , magnesium and antioxidants, this health mix is an excellent weight gaining food for babies and toddlers.

Many smart mommies feed their babies and toddlers with this super food in the form of sweet and savoury porridge . But how about making some yummy crackers from this health mix ? Yes we can make tasty crackers using Sathu Maavu . These colorful crackers are made using vegetables like beet root and spinach and are baked ! I have made these crackers using organic Sathumaavu Mix from MyLittleMoppetsfoods. The crackers turned out crunchy and flavorful .Believe me the crackers will disappear in no time . Not only kids , even adults can enjoy these healthy crackers as tea time snacks.

 Check out my recipe to these healthy baked Sathumaavu veggie crackers with step wise pictures at Baked Sathumaavu Veggie Crackers


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Makhane Ki Kheer / Fox Nuts Seeds Pudding


Makhana /Phool Makhana commonly known as lotus seeds or Fox nut (Gorgon nuts) seeds belong to the Lily family which are generally cultivated in low land areas of India , China and Japan for their starchy white seeds which are edible. Lotus seeds are rich in calcium and protein.They regulate blood pressure , have rich anti oxidant properties and benefit spleen kidney and heart.
Source : http://manjumakhana.com/benefits_Fox_nut.php

Makhana are very popular in North India and are generally used as fasting food ( food for vrat) during Navratri fasting. My family loves Makhana and i generally make roasted makhana or Caramelized Makhana ( Meethe Makhane) as tea time snacks. Today i will share a creamy and rich pudding recipe made from this lotus seeds.


Makhane Ki Kheer is basically a sweet pudding in which lotus seeds roasted in little ghee are added to sweetened reduced milk. Makhane ki kheer has a rich creamy texture and is very delicious. A very simple and easy preparation that can be made under 15 minutes and tastes great both hot or chilled. This kheer can be had as a fasting food ( food for vrat or upvas) and is generally served as naivedhyam ( offering to God) to lord Krishna on Janmashtami ( a festival which celebrates birth of lord Krishna).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Makahan / Fox nut seeds
  • 500 ml full cream milk
  • 5 tbsp of sugar (or as per taste)
  • Few strands of Saffron / Kesar
  • 5-7 Cashew nuts
  • 2-3 tbsp Raisins
  • 2-3 tsp sliced Pistachios for garnishing
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom and Nutmeg powder (Sweet Masala)
  • 2 tsp Ghee /clarified butter
Method:
  1. In a non stick wok heat 2 tsp of ghee and fry the cashews in it until they turn golden brown. Remove them and keep aside. 

 2.  Now add the raisins and fry them for a while. Remove them and keep aside.


  3.  Add the fox nuts to the same remaining ghee . Roast the fox nuts for 2-3 minutes on a low to medium flame. Keep stirring. The makhana will become crunchy . Remove them in a plate and allow them to cool down . Add the saffron strands to 2 tbsp of warm milk.


  4.  Add 500 ml of milk to the wok on a medium flame. Let it come to a boil. Lower the flame and cook the milk for 5-7 minutes on low flame . Keep stirring the milk occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the bottom. 


  5. Add sugar to the milk and stir well. Allow the milk to cook for another 1-2 minutes. 


  6.  Add the saffron milk to it.


  7.  Crush few roasted makhana either with hand or in a grinder . Add both the crushed  and whole makhana to the sweetened reduced milk.



  8.  Add the fried raisins and cashews.  Mix well and cook the kheer for 1-2 minutes. Add the Sweet Masala( Cardamom and nutmeg powder) and put off the flame.


  9.  Garnish the makhana kheer with sliced pistachios . Serve hot or cold and enjoy the creamy delicious Mahana Kheer with your loved ones !



I hope you would love to try out this easy Makhane Ki Kheer . Do not forget to give your valuable feed back.
For more kheer recipes , do check my posts on




Thursday, 18 August 2016

Dal Pakwan / Sindhi Breakfast Recipe


Dal Pakwan is a popular Sindhi Breakfast dish. It is basically a flavored crisp fried snacks (Pakwan) served with a spicy dal ( Chana dal / Bengal gram) topped with a sweet and tangy Dates and Tamarind Chutney. Doesn’t this combo sound delicious ? This snacks is indeed very tasty and i generally make it as my Sunday brunch . 


Pakwan is usually made with refined flour but I have added the whole wheat flour and plain flour in equal quantities. Also have added suji which make the pakwan more crispy. Pakwan get flavors from the Cumin seeds and crushed black pepper and addition of ghee and milk while kneading the dough imparts a nice texture and rich taste to the pakwan.

The dal which is served with pakwan is a simple cooked chana dal ( Bengal gram) which is spiced up with green chilies and spice powders . Dry mango powder (Amchur) powder gives a slight tangy tasty to the dal. This dal is onion garlic free. 


  Dal Pakwan serves one of the best menus for brunch and kitty Parties . Can also be served for lunch or as an after school snacks for kids . A lip smacking tamarind and dates chutney is drizzled on the dal along with finely chopped onions while serving. Usually a green Coriander Chutney is also served. All in all , Dal Pakwan is an irresistible dish and tastes awesome when had with our loved ones :)

Ingredients

For the Dal :

  • 1 cup Bengal gram / Chana Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder / Haldi
  • Pinch of Asafoetida / Hing
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp of dry mango powder / Aamchur powder
  • 1/2 tsp of roasted Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2-3 split green Chilies
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp of finely chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp of clarified Butter / Ghee
  • 1/2 inch root Ginger (made into juliennes) (optional)
  • Salt to taste
For the Pakwan:

  • 1/2 cup Whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Refined flour / Maida
  • 2 tbsp of Semolina / Suji
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp crushed Black Pepper
  • 1-2 tsp of clarified Butter / Ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup milk or water for kneading or as required.
  • Oil for deep frying
For serving:

 Method

For making the Dal :

  1. Rinse the dal thoroughly and soak it in water for 3-4 hours. Soaking reduces the cooking time.

     2.  In a pressure pan add the soaked dal with 1 1/2 cup of water , turmeric powder , asafoetida powder and few drops of ghee. Pressure cook the dal for 2-3 whistles. You can also cook the dal in an open vessel. The dal should be cooked well but the grains should be separate.



   3.  Menwhile in a mixing bowl , take the whole wheat flour , refined flour and suji. Mix the flours, to this add the ghee , salt , cumin seeds and black pepper powder. Using milk or water knead the flour into a firm dough. 



  4.  Cover and keep the dough for 10 minutes.
 

  5.  By this time our dal must be cooked. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening the lid. Transfer the dal to a pan or wok. Add salt and spice powders to the dal and stir well. Add 1 cup water or as per requirement. Simmer the dal on low flame for 5-7 minutes or till the desired consistency is attained. The dal thickens on cooling, so adjust accordingly.


  6.  Knead the dough which is resting for 10 minutes for a few seconds. Make gooseberry size balls and roll out each ball into a 5 inch diameter disc or circle. Prick the disk all over with fork. This is to limit the puri from puffing up and thus become more crispy.


  7.  Repeat the same for rest of the dough. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Deep fry the pakwan in it until they become golden brown from both sides. Allow the pakwan to drain on an absorbent paper to remove excess oil. The pakwan become crisp on cooling. Transfer them to an air tight container, once they cool down.
 

  8. Now our dal which is on simmer for 7 minutes , is thick enough .In another pan heat ghee on a low to medium flame. Add cumin seeds to it. Once the seeds crackle , add the split green chilies and saute for about 30 seconds. Put off the flame. Pour this tempering over the dal. Give a quick stir. Garnish it with finely chopped coriander leaves and ginger juliennes. 


 9.  Serve the crispy pakwan with hot dal along with finely chopped onions and Khajur Imli Chutney / Dates and Tamarind Chutney and enjoy this tasty sindhi dish with your loved ones !


  Notes:

  • The pakwan last upto 15 days in an air tight container at room temperature. Apart from having them with this dal , they can also be had as it is as tea time snacks.
  • The dal can be served along with roti , paratha or rice, if you do not want to have deep fried pakwan with it.

 For more such recipes, do check my posts on


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