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Pani Puri | Gol Gappa


Pani puri is one of the most popular street foods of India. It is known by different names in different parts of India, like in North India it is known as gol gappa, phucka in Eastern Indian and bataasha in the Western region. Pani puri literally translates to deep fried dough balls in water. Crispy and deep fried small puris are filled with a single or a combination of fillings like potato, chickpeas, ragda, moong sprouts, onion, coriander which are then dunked in a sweet, sour and spicy water made of mint, coriander, tamarind and some spices.

For this month's South Vs North Challenge, Prachi of Prachi's Veg Kitchen suggested pani puri with 4 kinds of water. Since raw mangoes are not in season here, I decided to make just the sour and spicy pani. Pani puri is my favorite street food and one of the things I miss being away from India. Though I do enjoy them at  local chaat shops here, I loved these home made pani puri much more. Now let's see how to make pani puri at home from scratch.

PANI PURI / GOL GAPPA RECIPE

{ Deep fried, hollow and crispy puris filled with spiced potato, chickpeas and onion dunked in a tangy and spicy mint-coriander-tamarind water }


Ingredients:

For the puri:
1 cup semolina / rava
¼ cup all purpose flour / maida
¼ tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

For the pani:
½ cup mint leaves
¼ cup coriander leaves
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chaat powder
Black salt to taste
2 tsp sugar
2 cup water
½ cup boondi / fried gram balls

For the stuffing:
1 large potato, boiled and cubed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup cooked white chickpeas
½ tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Method:

To make puri:

1. In a bowl, mix semolina, maida, baking soda, salt and mix well. Add water little by little and knead to stiff dough. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Knead the dough again and divide the dough into lemon sized balls. Take a ball and roll out into a thin circle. Cut out round discs using a round cookie cutter or small bowl .

3. Cover the cut out pooris with a cloth and proceed making round discs from the remaining dough. Keep the cut out puris covered with cloth until frying.

4. Heat oil in a kadai and fry 4-5 puris at a time . Once it puffs and turns golden brown, flip over and cook other side to golden brown.

5. Remove and drain the excess oil on a tissue paper. Cool and store the puris in an airtight container.

To make pani:

1. Grind mint leaves, coriander leaves, tamarind adding little water to a smooth paste.

2. Transfer the paste to a large bowl and add water. Add red chilly powder, cumin powder, chaat powder, black salt and mix well.

3. Chill the pani for 30 minutes. Then add the boondi. If serving later, add boondi at the time of serving.

To make stuffing:

1. In a bowl, mix the potatoes with cumin powder, ½ tsp red chilly powder, chaat masala, salt and coriander leaves.

2. In another bowl, mix chickpeas with ½ tsp red chilly powder and salt.

To assemble pani puri:

Crack the center of the puri with your thumb or a spoon. Stuff with potato, chickpeas and onion. Dip in the pani and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips
  • Keep the puris covered all the time with a cloth to prevent them from drying out.
  • Refrigerating the pani helps in blending the flavors.
  • Other stuffing that we can add are boiled moong sprouts and ragda. You can also add some sweet chutney to the stuffing.
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Mysore Rasam


Rasam is a staple in South Indian cuisine, often served as the second course to rice. Nothing can beat the comfort of hot piping rasam, especially when paired with a potato fry! Today am sharing the recipe for mysore rasam, also called arachuvitta rasam, which is bit different from other rasam varieties.

Mysore rasam has fresh coconut and jaggery. A freshly ground masala is made with coconut and other fresh spices which enhances the taste of the rasam. Any mezhukkupurati or no coconut-based vegetable stir-fry goes well this rasam, but the best combo for this rasam is potato fry. Let's see how to make this flavorful mysore rasam.

Potato fry recipes to pair with mysore rasam:

MYSORE RASAM RECIPE

{ Rasam with freshly ground spices, coconut, tomato and jaggery }
Serves 3-4


Ingredients:

1 large tomato, chopped
½ tbsp tamarind paste / gooseberry sized tamarind
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup toor dal / pigeon peas
½ tsp jaggery
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

To roast and grind:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp chana dal / kadalai paruppu
2-3 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp grated coconut
Pinch of asafoetida / hing

For the tempering:
1 tsp ghee
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
2 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves

Method:

1. Wash and pressure cook the dal with 1 cup water and a pinch of  turmeric powder. Mash well and set aside.

3. In a pan, add all ingredients except coconut and roast till dal turns golden. Add coconut and stir for a minute. Cool and grind to a smooth paste with little water.

3. Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of warm water and extract the tamarind juice. If using tamarind paste, dissolve in 2 cups warm water.

4. Add this tamarind water to a vessel, along with tomato, turmeric powder, asafoetida, few curry leaves, salt and 1 cup water. Bring to boil.

5. Once it comes boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatoes have become soft.

6. Add the ground paste, jaggery and simmer again for 4-5 minutes. Then add the cooked dal and adjust the salt.

7. Simmer till the rasam starts to froth up. Remove from heat and add the coriander leaves.

8. In a small pan, heat ghee and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add red chilly, jeera and curry leaves. Pour over the rasam.

Notes and Tips
  • Cook the rasam in low heat, do not boil it.
  • Add more water and adjust the consistency if the rasam is thick.
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Corn Spinach Pulao | Makai Palak Pulao


Sweet corn and spinach pulao is a healthy and nutrient packed yet delicious flavorful one pot meal. Greens are one of the most essential and nutritious foods to include in our meals, but we sometimes forget it and don't have enough. This pulao is quite easy to make and if you have leftover rice, this can be done in very less time. It makes a great lunchbox recipe too.

The freshly ground spices lends a beautiful flavor and aroma to this pulao. Addition of juicy sweet corn balances the spices and makes it colorful and inviting, so even the choosy eaters will not shy away from eating this pulao. This healthy and mildly spiced pulao is very filling and contains all the necessary nutrients. Serve the pulao with a bowl of raita and papad.

CORN SPINACH / MAKAI PALAK PULAO RECIPE

{ Pulao with spinach and sweet corn, with freshly ground spices }
Serves 3-4


Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
1 bunch (150-200 gms) spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup sweet corn
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
¼ cup tomato puree
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp fennel seeds / sombu
3 dry red chillies
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 clove
4-5 black peppercorn

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and cook the rice. Spread the rice on a plate and allow to cool.

2. Dry roast the spices until nice aroma comes and the spices are slightly golden. Cool and grind to a powder using a mortar-pestle or mixie.

3. Cook the corn kernels adding little water until soft. Or microwave them for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

4. In a pan, heat oil and butter. Add bay leaf and after few seconds add onion. Fry till it turns soft and translucent.

5. Add green chilly, ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes. Then add tomato puree, turmeric powder and fry for 3-4 minutes.

6. Then add the ground spice powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook till it wilts. Add corn and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

7. Add the cooked rice, salt and gently combine everything. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.

Notes and Tips
  • Squeeze some lemon at the end if you like bit of tang to the pulao.
  • Do not cook the spinach for long time, just enough till the leaves wilts, otherwise it will turn bitter.
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Indian Style Vegetable Masala Pasta


Masala pasta is a delicious and flavorful fusion pasta cooked the Indian way with our spice powders. The cooked pasta is tossed with onion, ginger-garlic, tomato puree, vegetables, Indian spices and garnished with coriander leaves. This hot and masaledar pasta is a refreshing change from the traditional Italian style pastas.

You can use any variety of pasta for this recipe, but I like small variety pasta like shell pasta or macaroni for this masala pasta. Kids would love this colorful pasta and you can easily sneak in any vegetable into this. This masala pasta is makes a great lunchbox option too. Now let's see how to make this easy Indian style masala pasta.


INDIAN MASALA VEGETABLE PASTA RECIPE

{ Indian style masala pasta with Indian spices, mixed vegetables and herbs }
Serves 3-4


Ingredients:

400 gms / 2 cups pasta
2 cups mixed vegetables
1 small-sized onion, finely chopped
½ cup tomato puree
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp kasuri methi / dry fenugreek leaves
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions given in the packet. Drain and keep aside.

2. Heat oil and add onions. Fry till they turn soft. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute.

3. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the vegetables and fry for 3-4 minutes.

4. Now add the tomato puree, kasuri methi and salt. Cover and cook till the vegetables are just cooked.

5. Add the cooked pasta, garam masala, pepper powder and combine well. Adjust the salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Notes and Tips
  • I have used carrot, beans, cauliflower, green peas, sweet corn and capsicum. You can add other vegetables like broccoli, baby corn, spinach etc.
  • Do not overcook the vegetables. Its should retain some of the crunchiness.
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Mushroom Pepper Fry | Kalan Milagu Varuval


Kalan milagu varuval is spicy stir-fry made with mushrooms flavored with freshly ground peppercorns along with little fennel seeds and cumin seeds. This easy to cook dish can be prepared in very less time and makes a great side dish to chapathi, mildly spiced pulaos and plain rice.

Mushrooms are low in calories, have low carbohydrates and fat-free, thus helps in weight loss and increases the strength of your immune system. They are very low in sodium and are a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and many other important nutrients. Black pepper, on the other hand, aids in digestion, weight loss and has many other medicinal benefits. 

This fry is not meant for those who can't tolerate spice! It's a very spicy fry with a strong edge on pepper, so check out the notes for a mildly spiced fry. Serve this hot with chapathi, some sliced cucumbers and a glass of sweet lassi for a complete hearty meal!

MUSHROOM PEPPER FRY RECIPE

{ Spicy mushroom and capsicum fry with freshly ground black peppercorn }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

250 grams mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
2-3 green chillies, slit
1 sprig curry leaves
1 medium capsicum, thinly sliced
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 ½ tsp black peppercorn
½ tsp fennel seeds / sombu
¼ tsp cumin seeds / cumin

Method:

1. Dry roast the pepper, fennel and cumin until to turn golden. Cool and grind to a coarse powder using a mortar-pestle or  mixie. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves and fry for few seconds.

3. Then add onions and fry till they slightly turn brown. Then add capsicum and saute for 3-4 minutes.

4. Now add the mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and fry for a minute.

5. Add salt and cook till the mushrooms are soft and most of the water has evaporated.

6. Add the ground pepper-fennel-cumin powder and fry for another 2-3 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not add water to cook the mushrooms. The mushroom will ooze out water which is enough to cook it.
  • The curry is really spicy; for a less spicy version, reduce the peppercorns to 1 tsp and use just 1 green chilly.
  • You can use any variety of mushroom, but I prefer button or cup mushroom.
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Kartoffelpuffer | Bavarian Potato Pancakes


This month we are heading to Germany for the International Food Challenge and we are exploring Bavarian cuisine, hosted by Saraswati of Sara's Kitchen. Bavarian cuisine typically includes meat, bread and potato dishes with the prominent use of flour. Sara suggested few authentic recipes from the Bavarian cuisine and out of them I made these Bavarian style potato pancakes.

Kartoffelpuffer are German potato pancakes made from grated potatoes, onions, eggs and flour. They are also called reibekuchen or kartoffenkuche. These pancakes are very popular in Germany especially during colder months and are usually found at outdoor markets and festivals. Serve the pancakes hot with your breakfast or as a light snack along with apple sauce, berry jam or some honey.

GERMAN POTATO PANCAKE RECIPE

{ Bavarian style pancakes with potato, onion, egg and flour }
Recipe Source ~ Winey Tomato
Makes 6 pancakes


Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes
1 large onion
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
2-3 tbsp flour
1 tsp pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil for frying

Method:

1. Peel and grate potatoes. Spread out a large muslin or cotton dish towel and put the potatoes in it.

2. Pick up the four corners and gather the edges. Twist the towel over the sink and squeeze the potatoes. Continue squeezing until the potatoes feel very dry to touch.

3. Grate and squeeze the moisture out of the onion in the same way.

4. Put potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well with your hands.

5. Heat 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat. Take around half cup of potato mixture and roll into a ball. Flatten into a patty and fry on each side until golden brown.

Notes and Tips
  • If your potatoes are very large, add another egg white.
  • If you are skipping the eggs, add more flour to bind.
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Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie


Breakfast smoothies are perfect on the go option for busy mornings. Just toss all ingredients in the blender and blend! A filling smoothie makes a healthy start to the day and keeps you going all morning. Also smoothies are so versatile, just by varying the ingredients, you can enjoy a different flavored smoothie each day and you will never get bored.

Now if you are a regular follower on my blog, you can see I have posted a variety of breakfast smoothie recipes. Recently I have started including oats in my smoothies and am absolutely loving it. If you are trying to lose weight or looking for a post work-out light meal, oatmeal smoothies are a great option. I recommend old fashioned rolled oats over instant or quick oats as they are less processed and better. The goodness of strawberries and banana makes this oatmeal smoothie even more nutritious!


STRAWBERRY BANANA OATMEAL SMOOTHIE RECIPE

{ Low-fat breakfast smoothie with oats, strawberries and banana }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

10-12 strawberries
1 large banana
½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cup low fat milk
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp almond essence

Method:

1. Toast the oats on low flame for a minute. Set aside to cool.

2. Blend the oats, almond essence and ½ cup milk in a blender until well combined.

3. Then add strawberries, chopped banana, honey, remaining milk and blend until smooth.

Notes and Tips
  • Toasting the oats is optional, you can skip it.
  • You can use vanilla essence instead of almond essence.
  • If you prefer a smooth smoothie, powder the oats and blend with rest of ingredients.
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Andhra Pesarattu | Green Moong Dal Dosa


Pesarattu is a popular Andhra breakfast item. This dosa is made with whole green gram and a fistful of rice which adds in some crispiness to the dosa. A variety of pesarattu served with rava upma is known as MLA pesarattu. Pesarattu is usually served with allam pachadi, the Andhra ginger pickle.

This healthy dosa is full of protein and makes a nutritious and filling breakfast. This dosa requires no fermentation unlike normal dosa batter, so make dosa instantly with these batter. If you are not using this batter immediately, then store it in the refrigerator. Ginger pickle is the best accompaniment for this dosa but coconut chutney or peanut chutney also goes well with pesarattu.


ANDHRA PESARATTU DOSA RECIPE

{ Whole green gram and rice crepes with ginger, green chilies and onions }
Makes 8-10 dosa


Ingredients:

1 cup whole green gram / green moong dal
¼ cup raw rice
2-3 green chillies
1 inch ginger
3-4 sprigs of coriander
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil to drizzle

Method:

1. Wash the moong dal and rice together and soak overnight.

2. Drain the water and grind along with green chillies, ginger, coriander leaves, asafoetida and salt adding little water to a slightly coarse batter.

3. Mix in the chopped onions, coriander leaves and adjust the salt. Add water if the batter is too thick. The batter should be little thicker than dosa batter.

4. Heat a dosa tawa and take a laddle full of batter. Spread into a dosa and drizzle some oil. Cook till both sides are cooked and browned.

Notes and Tips
  • You can mix in some rice flour into the batter, instead of the raw rice.
  • Adding 1 or 2 cloves of garlic enhances the taste of the dosa.
  • If you prefer a thinner and crsipier dosa, spread the batter thinly. 
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