/body> >

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Matar Karanji Recipe


Matar Karanji is a delicious winter delicacy from Maharashtrian Cuisine. This savory gujiya made using seasonal fresh green peas is an irresistible tea time snack. A flavorful filling is made with green peas , fresh coconut and aromatic spices. I have replaced maida (refined flour )with whole wheat flour to make the outer pockets. The stuffed green peas dumpling so formed is then deep fried until golden brown and crisp. This matar karanji recipe is vegan and onion-garlic free. It tastes good on its own and can be paired with ketchup or any dip of your choice. I have served the matar karanji with lip smacking Khajur Imli Ki chutney / dates and tamarind dip and masala chai.


What is Karanji ?

Karanji is a traditional Maharashtrian fried sweet dumpling made on special occasions like Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi. It is some what similar to North Indian dish - Gujiya. The sweet karanji is usually stuffed with a mixture of sweetened coconut or sweetened khoya and dry fruits. The outer covering is usually made with refined flour, suji and ghee. There is another variation called pudachi karanji which is a layered gujiya. Savory karanji can also be made by stuffing spiced veggies.

What goes into this Matar Karanji ?

Matar Karanji is a winter delicacy made using fresh green peas. I make this karanji twice or thrice every winter. Matar Usal is another green peas curry to enjoy the seasons fresh produce. To make the stuffing of matar karanji, fresh scrapped coconut is added to tempered fresh green peas along with aromatic spices like asafoetida, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Green chilies, ginger, cumin coriander powder and garam masala spice up the stuffing. A bit of sugar, lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves make the green peas stuffing all the more flavorful. The outer covering of karanji is usually made with pastry flour. Here, i have replaced maida with whole wheat flour. Little semolina is added to the whole wheat flour along with salt to taste. Hot oil is added to the flour and incorporated well with the flour to give it a bread crumb like texture. A stiff dough is then kneaded which is allowed to rest for around 30 minutes before shaping it to karanji. Small balls are pinched from the dough and rolled out to a small disc. around 2 tablespoon of the matar stuffing is placed at the center of the disc and then it is shaped into half moon shape. The edges are sealed using some water and shaped artistically to make the karanji. This stuffed dumpling is then deep fried in hot oil on low flame until it is crisp and golden brown from all sides.

                                  

This Maharashtrian style Matar Karanji is a crowd pleaser for sure. I made it recently for my Sankranti Haldi Kumkum gathering and everyone loved it . Below is the spread i served to all the married women who were invited for the occasion.The spread had Vegetable Kuzhi PaniyaramCoconut ChutneyTomato SoupWhole Wheat NankhataiBanana Muffins and Tilgul ladoo apart from these matar karanji.


Green Peas:

Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables. Fresh tender peas are low in calories and are good sources of protein, vitamins, and soluble as well as insoluble fiber. Fresh pods are excellent sources of folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many other essential B complex vitamins. Furthermore, they are rich sources of many minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese.


Savory Affair @ Healthy Wealthy Cuisines

I am apart of a Facebook gourmet group, Healthy Wealthy Cuisine wherein participating bloggers share recipes every fortnight on a pre-decided themes. Savory affair is the current theme suggested by Shalu Jain who is a wonderful person and a versatile food blogger. I am in love with her food styling and food photography. For this theme, she wanted us to share recipes of savory snacks which are generally served at tea time. Winter season is at its peak and i could not think anything better than these delicious matar karnjis that go perfectly with some masala chai on a winter evening. If you have not yet tasted this Maharashtrian winter delicacy, you should to try out this matar karanji recipe before the fresh green peas disappear from the markets.

Checkout the following contributions by my fellow bloggers on this theme

                                                        

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10-12 matar karanji

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml

For the outer covering of karanji
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 tablespoon fine semolina
  • 2-3 tablespoon hot oil
  • Salt to taste
For the stuffing
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut, scrapped
  • 2- 3 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon oil + for deep frying
  • Pinch of asafoetida / hing
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Method :
  1. To begin with making the matar karanji, we will start with kneading the dough for the outer covering of the karanji. For that, in a mixing bowl, take whole wheat flour. Add semolina/suji and salt to taste. Mix well. Now heat 2 tablespoon oil and add the hot oil to the flour. Mix it well so that the oil incorporates well with the flour. The flour should appear like bread crumbs. This step of adding hot oil makes the outer covering crisp and flaky.



2. To this flour, add water little at a time and knead the flour into a semi stiff dough.  Cover the dough with a moist muslin cloth and allow it to rest for around 30 minutes.


3. While our dough is resting, we will prepare the green peas filling. For that, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and fennel seeds to it. Once the seeds sizzle, add in asafoetida, followed by the green chili and ginger paste to it. Saute for few seconds. Now lower the flame and add the turmeric powder, garam masala and cumin coriander powder. Stir fry the spices in the oil for around 30 seconds before adding the fresh scrapped coconut to it.



4. Stir the masala well. Now tip in the fresh green peas and saute it with the coconut masala for about 1-2 minutes. Now, add sugar and salt and cover cook for 5-7 minutes or until the peas are soft and tender. Stir the mix in between so that it does not catch the bottom. You may add around 1-2 tablespoon of water if required to the peas while cooking.



5. Once the peas are done through, garnish the matar stuffing with fresh coriander leaves and season it with lemon juice. Put off the flame . Mildly mash the stuffing with a potato masher and allow it cook down completely.



6. After the resting time, knead the dough again for 1-2 minutes. Pinch out small portions of the dough and make equal lemon sized balls out of it. Roll out each dough ball using a rolling pin to a poori size disc. Do not apply oil or flour while rolling out the dough. Place 1-2 tablespoon stuffing in the center of the disc. Brush the edges of the dough disc with water and give it a half moon shape. Seal the edges and cut the karanji with a cutter or shape it in a karanji maker (mould). You may alternatively, give artistic shape to the karanji by pleating the edges or pressing the edges with a fork as shown in the picture below.



7. Make a batch of 4-5 karanjis at a time and then proceed towards frying. You may shape all the karanjis first and deep fry them together. If doing so, make sure you keep the shaped karanjis and the dough covered in a muslin cloth so that they do not dry out.


8. Heat enough oil in a small kadhai (frying wok). Once the oil is hot, tip in 2-3 karanji into it. Do not over crowd while frying. Lower the flame and deep fry the matar karanji until it turns crisp and golden brown from all sides.



9. Remove the karnjis with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on an absorbent sheet. Deep fry all the karanji similarly.


10. Serve the crisp and flaky matar karanjis at tea time on its own or with some dip of your choice. I have served them with masala chai and khajur imli chutney.

                              

Recipe Notes:
  • Matar karanji is typically made during winter season using fresh green peas. However, you may enjoy this delicacy whole year round using frozen peas.
  • You may add some boiled potatoes also along with green peas to make the stuffing as a variation.
  • Lemon juice can be replaced with amchur powder.
  • You may adjust the quantity of spices and green chilies used here as per your spice tolerance.
  • Make sure the dough is rested for atleast 30 minutes before making the karanji and the stuffing is cooled completely before shaping the karanji.
  • Deep fry the karanjis in hot oil on low flame so that they become crisp and flaky.
  • The matar stuffing can also be had as a flavorful side dish with hot pooris or in sandwiches , samosa or kachoris.
  • This is an onion garlic free dish, however you may add minced garlic and finely chopped onions if you wish to.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

If you are looking for more green peas recipes, do check out the following:
                              
                              
                              
                              
                              
                            


Monday, 27 January 2020

Karale (Gurellu) Chutney / Spiced Niger Seeds powder


Karale / Khurasni / Gurellu chutney is a delicious condiment made using Niger seeds and is very popular in parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Roasted niger seeds are pounded with garlic and red chilies to make this fiery hot khurasni chutney with a typical nutty and garlicky flavor. I have added roasted sesame seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds also in this recipe to make this karale chutney all the more healthy and flavorful. This vegan and gluten free podi can be served as a side dish to the main meals or paired with flat breads like bhakrithalipeeth or paratha. You can even use this versatile spice mix as a stuffing in dishes like bharli vangi (stuffed egg plant) or bharvan bhindi (stuffed okra). This niger seeds chutney has a good shelf life and can be stored up to a month on refrigeration in an air tight container.


What is Karale / Gurellu ?

Niger seeds are called as Karale or Khurasni in Marathi and Gurellu or Uchellu in Kannada. These edible seeds are glossy and black in color. They look similar to sunflower seeds in shape.The seeds have a typical nutty flavor and are a good source of important amino acids. The best way of including these healthy seeds in our regular diet is in the form of this chutney.

Health Benefits of Niger Seeds:

There are many health benefits of consuming Niger seeds. Niger seeds is believed to be good for heart health and rheumatism. It heals wounds and reduces inflammation, gives relief from cold and flu and many gastrointestinal issues, boosts immune system and curbs morning sickness. It helps in weight gain and keeps the skin healthy.


What goes into my Karale chutney ?

Traditionally karale chutney in Maharashtrian style is prepared using only niger seeds, garlic, red chilies and salt. It is a fiery hot chutney with nutty taste and dominant garlicky flavors. However, i have also added sesame seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds in this chutney to make it all the more flavorful and healthy. This is basically a dry chutney powder. Sesame seeds can be replaced with peanuts or completely skipped. I have used red chili powder instead of dried red chilies. Addition of curry leaves is purely optional. I love its taste and find this chutney a great way of sneaking a handful of curry leaves in it. 

Serving Suggestions for Karale chutney

This flavorful karale chutney is typically served with Bhajra bhakri /roti or ragi roti but it goes well with any flat bread like chapati, Thalipeeth , cheela or paratha. I love it even with our varan bhaat. This is a dry chutney or podi and you can pair it with South Indian breakfast dishes like idliupma or Pesarattu. This chutney is so versatile that it can be even used as a stuffing in veggies like egg plant and okra to make dishes like bharli vangi or bharwa bhindi.


Condiments Magic on Foodie Monday BlogHop

It is the 231st theme on our Facebook Gourmet group, Foodie Monday Blog Hop. It was Renu's turn to suggest the theme for the week and she suggested that we share our condiment recipes with lesser known ingredients. It could be any pickle, jam, chutney or dip recipe that is less popular or probably a forgotten gem that needs to be brought back to lime light. Khurasni chutney or karale chutney is one such gem which was once regarded as a pantry essential in many parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka and can still flavor up any dull meal. Hence my humble contribution towards this condiments magic theme is this Niger seeds chutney. Mean while do check out Renu's versatli blog, Cookwithrenu for some healthy bakes and wonderful recipes from around the globe.

                                     

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1 1/4 cup chutney

Ingredients:
  • 100 grams Karale / Khurasni /Gurellu/ Niger seeds 
  • 1/2 cup curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 5-7 dry red chilies / 1-2 tablespoon red chili powder or as per taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or as per taste

Method:
  1. Dry roast the Karale / Niger seeds in a pan on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Remove in a plate. Next, add in curry leaves and roast on low flame until the leaves turn crisp and no more moisture is left in them.\


2. Remove the curry leaves and add the sesame seeds and cumin seeds to the pan and dry roast until you hear a popping sound and the seeds turn aromatic. Take care you do not burn the seeds.


3. Remove the seeds in the same plate and allow all the roasted ingredients to cool down completely.  Add the garlic cloves, salt and red chili powder also to the roasted ingredients and either pound in a mortar and pestle or transfer to a grinder jar and pulse to get a coarse chutney. Do not grind the chutney for a long time as the roasted seeds will release oil and the chutney will become like a oily sticky paste which we do not want. Do a taste test at this stage and add more salt or red chili powder if required and pulse one more time.



4. Healthy and delicious karale chutney is ready. Serve it as a side dish along side your meals. We love to pair the karale chutney with our methi parathathalipeeth, bajra bhakri and even with Varan Bhat


Recipe Notes:
  • Do not dry roast the niger seeds for a long time as the seeds may turn bitter on doing so.
  • You may skip garlic for a satvik version but otherwise, i would recommend its use for the typical garlicky and spicy flavor.
  • You may add roasted peanuts also in this chutney or use it in place of sesame seeds.
  • Use of curry leaves is purely optional. If you are using them, make sure you rinse the leaves thoroughly with clean water and pat the leaves dry using kitchen towel.
  • This karale chutney has a coarse texture so just pulse it and do not grind it for a long time as the seeds will release oil and the podi will turn  like a sticky oil paste which we are not looking for.
  • Adjust the number of chilies or chilly powder as per your spice tolerance.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.\

More more chutney recipes, do check out the following recipes from this blog
                              
                              
                              
                              
                              
                             
                            
                           
                          


Monday, 20 January 2020

Tofu Bell Pepper Stir-Fry


Stir-fried tofu and bell pepper make up for a delicious and soulful dish that can be enjoyed on its own or served over some steamed rice, noodles or quinoa. Colorful veggies and oven-dried tofu chunks are tossed in a flavorful sauce made up of seasoned orange juice and soy sauce to make this vegan tofu bell pepper stir-fry. Chilly flakes, toasted sesame seeds and crushed black pepper corns beautifully balance the sweet and tangy taste of the sauce. 


Frankly speaking, my family is not a great fan of tofu perhaps as we have grown up relishing on our desi paneer (cottage cheese). I do use tofu in my cooking rarely though but was never satisfied with the cooking technique. My tofu would keep sticking to the wok in stir-fries making it crumbly. But, trust me this tofu bell pepper stir fry was by far the best tofu dish we enjoyed. The reason was that i oven roasted the tofu pieces prior to adding it to my stir fry which made them crusty and chewy with meat like texture. I served the stir-fry over steamed rice and my family had a hearty lunch. I would not mind having it on its own though.

Preparing Tofu for Stir-fry

Use extra firm tofu variety for this stir fry. Rinse it well with water and then tap it between clean kitchen towel or tissue paper to take out all the moisture. Keep changing the tissue if it becomes soggy. Now, cut the tofu block into 1 inch rectangular pieces. Now, arrange the tofu chunks on a greased or lined baking tray and allow it to oven-dry in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes, flipping the sides midway.  Result ? Crusty chewy tofu bites with meat like texture which took up the flavors of the sauce very well. I got this idea of oven-drying the tofu from here. Another way of making tofu flavorful in a stir-fry is to coat it in a slurry of corn starch and then shallow fry it in a pan to get a crusty texture prior to adding it to any stir-fry.


Vegetables that can be used in this Stir-fry

I have used colored bell peppers (red and yellow), yellow onion, garlic, ginger and broccoli in this stir-fry along with oven-dried tofu chunks. You may use any veggie of your choice like, green beans, baby corn, carrots , green onion etc. Remember to chop all the veggies in the same size as that of the tofu bites and toss them on high flame in an open wok so that they retain a bit crispiness and do not turn soggy.


The sauce for the Stir-Fry

A very simple yet flavorful sauce is made by combining just 5 ingredients, Soy-sauce, fresh orange juice, brown sugar, salt and corn flour. A slurry is made and added to the stir fry which coats the veggies and tofu very well giving it a glossy texture and lending a lovely sweet and sour taste to the stir-fry. Chilly flakes, toasted sesame seeds and freshly crushed black pepper corns compliment very well with the sauce.

                         

Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as Spring festival in mainland China and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Chinese New Year is the grandest festival in China, with a 7 day long holiday. I have many delightful memories of Chinese New Year celebrations during our stay in Penang, Malaysia.  It's was a delight to watch the Chinese temples, malls and other public places decked in iconic red lanterns, the loud fireworks and massive banquets and parades. In 2020 Chinese New Year festival falls on January 25. It is the year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac, which features a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a specific animal. Following is the pic of the famous Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang during the time of Chinese New Year. Here's wishing a very blessed Rat year to all those who celebrate ! " Gong Xi Fa Chai "

                              

Related event : Chinese New Year @ Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Like Christmas in Western countries, Chinese New Year is a time to be home with family, chatting, drinking, cooking, and enjoying a hearty meal together. Considering this Preethi di who blogs at Preethicuisine suggested that we celebrate Chinese New Year on our Gourmet Facebook group, Foodie Monday Blog Hop by showcasing the dishes typically prepared for the festivity. I already have the traditional Pineapple Jam Tarts on the blog. These Malaysian style festive pineapple cookies are considered as sign of prosperity and made specifically for the Chinese new Year. This time, I prepared this colorful and flavorful tofu bell pepper stir-fry for the theme which is a simple vegetarian dish that is one of the vegetarian dishes served either on its own or as a side dish over rice or noodles during Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, do check out Preethi di's Chinese Style steamed eggplant which i am going to try out next. You would also love her Mixed lentil masala vada recipe.  

                                
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams extra firm tofu 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. First we will begin with preparing the tofu for the stir fry. For that rinse the tofu well with clean drinking water and then press it in a clean kitchen towel or between tissue papers to remove most of the moisture from it. Keep changing the tissue papers if it gets soggy.



2. Now, chop the tofu into 1 inch long rectangular pieces and arrange them on a greased or lined baking tray.



3. Transfer the baking tray in a preheated oven and allow the tofu pieces to roast at 200 degrees Celsius for around 20-25 minutes. Flip the tofu pieces midway so that they become golden brown from all sides.


4. Mean while, we will prepare the sauce and chop the veggies for the stir fry. In a mixing bowl take the orange juice and add salt, brown sugar and soy sauce to it. Give a good stir. Add corn flout to this and blend well until you get a lump free slurry. Our sauce is ready. Peel and slice the onion. Peep and grate the ginger and mine or slice the garlic. Keep aside. Rinse, deseed and chop the bell peppers lengthwise. Make sure all the veggies are cut into the size as that of the tofu. Rinse and chop the broccoli into florets. Keep all the ingredients of the stir-fry handy.


5. When our tofu is ready, heat oil in a wok and add grated ginger and minced garlic to it. Saute for few seconds. Now, add the sliced onions and stir fry for about 1 minute on high flame.


6. Next, add the colored bell peppers and broccoli and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on high flame before stirring in the sauce.



7. Lastly tip in the oven roasted tofu pieces followed by chili flakes, toasted sesame seeds and crushed black pepper. Blend everything very well until the sauce coats evenly to all the veggies and tofu pieces. You may do a taste test at this stage and add more seasonings if required as per your liking. Simmer and allow to stir fry to cook for another 3-5 minutes and put off the flame.



8. Serve the delicious tofu bell pepper stir-fry on its own or as a side dish over steamed rice or noodles and enjoy with your loved ones !

                       

Recipe Notes:
  • I have roughly adapted the recipe from here.
  • I have oven roasted the tofu prior to adding it to the stir fry. Another way of making tofu flavorful is to coat it in a slurry of corn starch and then shallow fry it in a pan to get a crusty texture prior to adding it to any stir-fry.
  • I have used colored bell peppers (red and yellow), yellow onion, garlic, ginger and broccoli in this stir-fry along with oven-dried tofu chunks. You may use any veggie of your choice like, green beans, baby corn, carrots , green onion etc. 
  • Remember to chop all the veggies in the same size as that of the tofu bites and toss them on high flame in an open wok so that they retain a bit crispiness and do not turn soggy.
  • Serve the delicious tofu bell pepper stir-fry on its own or as a side dish over steamed rice or noodles or cooked quinoa for a soulful meal. 
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
Related Posts:
                              
                              
                             
                              
                              


poonambachhav.blogspot.com