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Friday, 31 May 2019

Odia Dalma

Dalma is a traditional dish from Indian state of Odisha. It is a very healthy preparation made by cooking mixed vegetables with lentils. Dalma is also a part of Chappan bhog offered in the Puri Jagganath Temple. This Dalma is cooked with tuvar dal (split pigeon pea) and has flavors coming from panch phoran tempering in ghee and the spicy seasoning of roasted cumin and red chili powder. This is an onion garlic free recipe which is very simple to cook. Dalma served with steamed rice topped with dollop of ghee is a soulful and comfort meal in every Odia household. 

Vegetables like pumpkin, raw papaya, potato, drumstick, eggplant ,beans,  raw banana etc are cooked with tuvar/ arahar dal ( split pigeon pea) to make dalma. The cooked dal and veggies are then tempered with panch phoran (5 spice mix) in ghee along with asafoetida (hing) and red chilies. A special spicy seasoning made with roasted cumin and red chili powder is also added to dalma which gives it is characteristic flavor. Finally dalma is garnished with coconut shavings and fresh coriander leaves and served with steamed rice. Dalma may sound like south Indian sambar but taste wise it is very different. Dalma is not tangy and is thick in consistency when compared with Sambar. 

Until a couple of years ago, i hardly knew anything about Odia Cuisine. Thanks to my blogging journey, during which i came across many fellow bloggers who belong to Odisha and through their blogs I came to know about this regional Indian Cuisine. Since then I have cooked many Odia dishes and gradually fell in love with the humble and delectable food of Odhisha. I wish to personally visit this beautiful state sometime and taste its authentic food , especially the temple food served to Lord Jaganatha. 

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Food of Odia cuisine is simple yet flavorful. It uses less oil and is less spicy when compared to other regional Indian Cuisines. Mustard oil is the cooking medium for most of the dishes, but the temple food is cooked in ghee (made of cow's milk). Most of the sweet dishes and desserts are chhena ( crumbled cottage cheese) based. Rice is the staple food of this region and curd is used in many dishes. Panch Phoran ( a special blend 5 spice mix) is widely used for flavouring the dals and curries of this cuisine. Temples of this region make offerings to the presiding deities. The prasada of the Jagannath Temple of puri is well known as is referred to as Maha Prasad, meaning greatest of all prasads. It comprises of 56 dishes , so it is called Chappan Bhoga. 

By now, regular readers of this blog must have guessed that it is month end and the time when i post regional Indian recipe for the Facebook Group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge which i am a part of. This month we were on our virtual trip to Indian State of Odhisha. My partner for this month was Pavani Gunikuntla who blogs at Pavaniskitchen.com . Do check out her blog for some wonderful recipes. Pavani gave me ginger and panch phoran as my secret ingredients and i cooked this delicious and wholesome Dalma using them . In return , I gave her garlic and carom seeds and she cooked Piaji using the two secret ingredients. 

                                                Ssshhh Cooking Secretly

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • 3/4 cup split pigeon pea / tuvar dal
  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced pumpkin
  • 1 raw banana, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sized potato diced
  • 2 small eggplants, chopped
  • 3-4 french beans, cut into 2 inch size
  • 2 drumsticks, peeled and cut 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 teaspoon ghee
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon panch phoran / 5 spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin and red chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon coconut shavings / desiccated coconut for garnishing
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
*Ingredients for the cumin red chili spice mix
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  1. Rinse the dal and soak it in water for 30 minutes. This soaking is optional, but i recommend it as it saves the cooking time. While the dal is soaking, chop the veggies and keep ready.

2. Transfer the soaked dal along with chopped veggies to a pressure cooker. Add a bay leaf, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, turmeric powder and 2 cups water. Cover it with the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium heat.

3. While the dal and veggies are getting cooked we will prepare the spice mix. For that in a pan dry roast the cumin seeds. Once they are golden in color add the dried red chilies and roast everything well for 1-2 minutes. Keep the flame on low and keep stirring, to ensure the cumin seeds and chilies do not burn. Allow the spices to cook down. Now grind them in a grinder jar to a coarse powder. we will use 1 teaspoon of this spice mix in this dalma. Keep the remaining refrigerated in air tight container and use in curries and dal as required.

4. Open the pressure cooker once all the pressure has been released. The dal should be well cooked but veggies should not be mushy and should hold their shape. Add up to 1 cup water if you feel the dal is dry.

5. Now heat ghee in a pan. Add asfoetida / hing to it followed by panch phoran and broken red chilies. Allow the spices to sizzle in ghee for few seconds. Now add the cooked dal and vegetables to this tempering. Add salt to taste and allow the dalma to boil for about 4-5 minutes.

6. Next add the roasted cumin and red chili powder followed by coconut and coriander leaves. Give a good stir and put off the flame.

7. Serve the delicious dalma with steamed rice topped with dollop of ghee .


Recipe Notes:
  • I have roughly adapted the recipe from here.
  • The more the vegetables you add, the dalma becomes wholesome and delicious. But if you do not find all the vegetables, you can still make dalma with whatever vegetables you have. 
  • The original recipe calls for addition of tomato, i have not added.
  • Traditionally coconut shavings are used for garnishing, i have added desiccated coconut instead.
  • Do not skip the roasted red chilies and cumin  powder seasoning as it adds to the characteristic flavor of dalma.
  • Panch phoran is the special blend of 5 spice mix used in Odia Cusine. It has equal quantities of Cumin seeds(jeera), Mustard Seeds(rai), Fennel Seeds(saunf), Fenugreek Seeds(methi dana) and Onion seeds / Nigella (Kalonji)
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

Checkout the following recipe links for more Odia dishes from this blog


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Watermelon Gazpacho

Beat the heat this Summer with this refreshing chilled Watermelon Gazpacho. Gazpacho is a classic Spanish cold soup made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. In this raw soup, watermelon is blended with tomatoes and veggies like cucumber , onion and bell pepper, seasoned with black pepper and salt to give a healthy, low-fat soup. Watermelon Gazpacho is a perfect treat for the ongoing Summer season where you really do not want to cook elaborate meals. It is easy to digest and sweet and mildly spicy in taste. Making Watermelon Gazpacho is a breeze as all you need is a grinder jar to whip up all the ingredients. Serve it with some green salad and toasted bread for a light refreshing Summer meal. Watermelon Gazpacho can be stored up to 2 days on refrigeration.


 A typical Gazpacho has tomatoes as the main ingredient, here in this Watermelon Gazpacho the flavor of the soup comes from the Summer fruit, Watermelon. I have used cucumber, tomatoes, red onion , red bell pepper, cilantro,  and half green chili along with watermelons to make this soup. The original recipe used jalapeno. The soup is seasoned with black pepper, lime juice , salt and apple cider vinegar. You may add a little olive oil as well while blending to get a creamy texture. I have not added. The soup is then refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before serving. This time is required for the flavors of the Gazpacho to blend. The chilled Watermelon Gazpacho is served in bowls or glasses and garnished with minced veggies and fruits. You may top the soup with feta cheese or sour cream if you wish. Bread sticks, croutons, or toasted bread slice may be paired with this soup along with some green salad to make it a perfect light Summer meal. So, let's get started.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients: Measurements used - 1 cup = 250 ml
  • 3-4 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cucumber , deseeded, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion , chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, deseeded, diced
  • 1/2 green chili
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Reserve 2-3 tablespoon of chopped veggies and fruits for garnishing. Process rest all the ingredients in a grinder jar until you get a smooth lump free puree. Taste and add more seasoning if required.

  2. Transfer the soup to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate it at least for 30 minutes. Serve the chilled watermelon Gazpacho in individual bowls or glasses . Garnish it with minced veggies and fruits and serve either plain or with some toasted bread or croutons and green salad.

  Recipe Notes:
  • I have referred the recipe from here
  • You may strain the soup if you wish to have a velvety texture , i have not.
  • Watermelon Gazpacho can be stored up to 2 days on refrigeration.
  • You may add a little olive oil while blending the soup to get a creamy texture. 
  • You may add fruits like apple and grapes as well to this Gazpacho.
  • Some recipes call for use of a garlic clove as well. I have not used.
  • Refrigerate Watermelon Gazpacho for at least 30 minutes before serving. This time is required for the flavors of the Gazpacho to blend. 
  • The chilled Watermelon Gazpacho is served in bowls or glasses and garnished with minced veggies and fruits. You may top the soup with feta cheese or sour cream if you wish.
  • Bread sticks, croutons, or toasted bread slice may be paired with this soup along with some green salad to make it a perfect light Summer meal. 
Linking this delicious and refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho to the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group of which i am a member. Here,we post recipes every fortnight as per the pre-decided theme. This time it was my turn to suggest the theme. Taking into consideration the ongoing Summer season, i suggested a no-cook theme. As per this theme, we could post any dessert, salad, beverage or snack recipe which does not involve any cooking. This chilled raw-soup from Spanish cuisine is my contribution towards the them. Do check out the following links to find out the creations of my fellow bloggers on this theme.

Avalakki Upkari by Jayashree
Indian Kachumber Salad  by Geetanjali
Avocado Chaat by Shalu


If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

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Monday, 27 May 2019

Msemen - Moroccan Square Pancake Recipe

Msemen is a square shape flat Moroccan pancake. It is crisp and flaky from outside and chewy inside. Msemen is traditionally served for breakfast with honey and butter but can also be had in the evening with Moroccan mint tea or coffee. This is a healthier version of Msemen with whole wheat flour and semolina and is egg-free and without any raising agent like baking soda.

Now before i begin briefing about this recipe, let me answer to the question, which many of my friends and acquaintances keep me asking. They wonder about how i come up with recipes from places i have never been to or recreate a dish which i have not personally tasted. Actually, this is the charm of being a food blogger. You get to learn about new cuisines and experiment with food. But yes, I must admit that there is a lot of research going in behind every new dish. I also have to share the credit of coming up with a new innovative theme every time to the various food groups i am a part of.


For instance, let's take the example of this particular dish. I have never been to Morocco, nor i have tasted these pancakes earlier, nor had i heard of them before. It was when the #197th theme for this week for Foodie Monday Blog Hop had been decided as Get In Shape. This unique theme was suggested by Kalyani who blogs at SizzlingTasteBuds. As per the theme, we had to make a dish that was best represented in any of the geometric shapes like square, rectangle, circle, etc. Kalyani also stated that either we could stick to traditional shapes of the dishes or think out of the box and give new dimensional shape to a dish. Now the first thought which popped my mind was, that i would make some pancake for the theme as my son loves them and because pancakes are usually round. On the second thought, just for fun, i thought i will make it in different shape and then i googled square shape pancake. And guess what, there actually existed a square-shaped pancake from Morocco and so this is how i  finalized this dish for the theme. Meanwhile, do check out Kalyani's blog for wide varieties of wonderful recipes from around the globe.
 I read about 6-7 blogs and articles on the Internet about these traditional Moroccan pancakes. All the recipes were with all purpose flour. Some used yeast, some egg and others baking soda. As i have stopped buying Maida ( APF) completely from last 2 years, i decided to experiment with the recipe. Here i have used whole wheat flour instead of APF, fine semolina and salt along with little butter and oil. These pancakes are unique because they are flattened out using fingers on the working platform and no rolling pin is used in the entire recipe. Doesn't it sound interesting? At first, the dough is made with whole wheat flour, semolina, salt, and water. The dough is allowed to rest for 15 minutes after which a little butter is added to the dough and is worked on until it becomes smooth and elastic. The dough balls are brushed with oil and rested again before shaping them. Now each dough ball is flattened out thin on a greased surface with fingers into a round shape. Butter and semolina are applied on it and then it is folded thrice to get a square shape. The semolina, butter layer helps the layers separate on roasting. Lastly, this square-shaped dough is again spread out with fingers on the working platform and then roasted on a skillet with oil, flipped multiple times and cooked until it becomes crisp, fluffy and flaky.

The traditional recipes use a lot of oil while pan frying these pancakes to make them crisp. I have used fat in moderation and still quite happy with the outcome. The recipe is a bit laborious but trust me the end results are worth all the energy and time going in. I can guarantee you one thing for sure that these pancakes are very addictive and once you taste them, you and your family will keep asking for more. You need to try it to out to believe me. These flaky and crispy pancakes are a breakfast staple in Morocco. They are eaten with argan oil or with softened butter and dipped in honey. The pancakes taste best when served hot or warm as on cooling they are no crisper and turn chewy and hard. I would recommend reheating the leftovers if any, from both sides on a heated skillet with little oil until they turn crisp and flaky. So without further ado, let's get started.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Oil for roasting the pancakes
  1. In a mixing bowl, take whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup semolina, salt, and sugar. Mix well and using cold water knead the flour into a semi-soft dough. Keep the dough covered for 10-15 minutes.

2. Next, add 1 tablespoon butter to the dough and work it on a kitchen platform. Knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough becomes elastic and soft.

3. Pinch out equal portions of the dough and shape them into balls. Brush these dough balls with oil and keep covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take a dough ball and place it on a greased work platform. Oil your fingers and flatten the dough ball as a thin sheet of a round shape. Now apply softened butter on the dough circle and spread semolina over it. This butter semolina layer ensures the layers remain distinct on cooking.

4. Now fold one side of the dough towards the center. Fold the opposite side over the first side. Now using tips of your fingers, gently press on this strip to elongate it. Next, fold one side of this strip towards the center. fold the opposite side of the strip as well. Now we have a rectangular strip. Fold it last time to get a perfect square.

5. Now make squares will all dough portions similarly. When ready to cook the Msemen, preheat a greased skillet over low to medium heat. Now take a dough square and using your palm or fingertips flatten the square further until it triples in size. Place it over the heated skillet and let it cook on one side until it turns golden in color.

6. Flip the Msemen and cook on the other side as well. Now apply little oil and press the Msemen using spatula or cotton cloth. Keep flipping and cooking the Msemen multiple times so that it turns crisp and flaky. The Msemen rises and becomes fluffy when cooked in this manner. Make sure the flame is low or else the Msemen will harden from outside and remain raw and uncooked from within.

  7. Cook all the Msemen similarly and serve warm with softened butter and honey.


Recipe Notes:
  • I have adapted the recipe from here. I have replaced the plain flour( APF / Maida) with whole wheat flour and cut down the oil quantity.
  • The pancakes taste best when served hot or warm as on cooling they are no crisper and turn chewy and hard. I would recommend reheating the leftovers if any, from both sides on a heated skillet with little oil until they turn crisp and flaky. 
  • The butter and semolina layer while making the Msemen ensures that the layers remain distinct on cooking. If you do not want to use butter, at least spread semolina between the layers to keep them separated.
  • Keep the dough balls and uncooked Msemen covered with a moist cloth while working to make sure they do not dry out.

If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

Check out the following links for more pancake recipes from this blog.