Pakatil Chirota (crisps dipped in sugar syrup)

This is a Maharashtrian dishand my all time favourite. Here is the recipe for you.

You will need:

2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp smoking hot ghee(clarified butter)

2 cups ghee for frying

Beat the ghee and salt together for 2 minutes. Then add the flour and make a nice firm dough.

Let it rest.

For the filling:

4 tbsp ghee

3 tbsp powdered sugar

Mix the above ingredients together.

Making the rotis:

Rice flour for dusting.

Make equal sized rotis of the dough. Sparingly dust the work surface with the rice flour.

Now take the first roti spread the sugar mixture on it. Place another roti on it and do the same.

After arranging four rotis one on top of the other fold it to make a rectangle while brushing the

sugar mixture inside. .

 

Now cut equal size squares and deep fry it in ghee. They should rise and become a little bigger in size. Keep aside.

For the sugar syrup:

2 cups of sugar

water.

Bring to a boil the water and sugar and simmer it until you get a one thread consistency.

Tip: Place a drop of the syrup between your fingers and if a thread forms then the syrup is ready.

Now soak the chirotas in the syrup for about a minute.

Remove it from the syrup and dust it with powdered sugar.

 

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Rabdi Malpoa

DANGER DANGER DANGER

(Reader who are 55+ should not attempt at eating this recipe).

As I had mentioned in my last blog, this is the first recipe my father had and he loved it. So here is how you should make it.

There are three steps to making this recipe:

Rabdi

Malpoa or pancakes

Sugar syrup

For the Rabdi (this can be made a day ahead)

3litres of milk

sugar to taste

Boil the milk so that only 1/2 a litre remains. You will have to stand there and continuously keep stirring it. As the water evaporates, there is a danger of the cream in the milk getting burned. Now that it is ready add the sugar so that it is sweet.

You could eat the rabdi at this stage and it tastes amazing. Garnish it with chopped almonds, cashews and pistachios.

For the Malpoa:

Flour

Sugar to taste.

Clarified butter/ghee

Add the flour to the cooled Rabdi and sugar as per your taste. It should be sweet but not too much. The batter should be of a thick pouring consistency. Just like pancakes.

Now add the ghee to the frying pan ( we want to shallow fry it but please be generous with the ghee) and spoon the batter on the hot pan. The pancakes are ready when both sides turn golden brown. Place the pancakes on a plate and not one on top of the other. They will stick to each other.

For the sugar syrup:

2 cups of sugar

water

saffron (optional)

Add water to the sugar so that it soaks the sugar. Now bring it to a boil and simmer. You will know the syrup is ready when you put it between your fingers and thread is formed. This is called a one thread consistency sugar syrup. This is also the basis of most Indian sweet dishes. Add saffron at this stage.

Now start dipping each pancake or malpoa in to the hot sugar syrup. garnish it with chopped almonds and it is ready to serve.

Excuse me

Just the other day, I received a frantic call from one of my friend’s, ‘Hey, guess what I have found this new weight loss guru, who with very little exercise and practically no diet will make me slim.’ Now, I have been there, where you run to practically everyone from doctors to roadside vendors selling miracle drugs, in the hopes that they are going to make you slim. Now, the point to note here is the use of the phrase ‘make you slim’ rather than ‘ lose some weight’. This means when somebody tells you, ‘oh, you could lose some weight’, it actually means you’d probably lose a couple of kilos and feel good about yourself. However, ‘when somebody says, ‘I’ll make you slim’ it means you are going to be slim. So all of you out there just remember have people said to you that you are going to lose weight or have they said you will be slim.

Coming back to the phone call, I tried to persuade my girlfriend to stay clearin to her. We all know, even those trying to fool themselves, that there are no quick fixes, no free luncheons (i wish there were, I’d go to each one of those), and anyway, who was this women marketing her weight loss therapy or whatever it was like this. If it were the olden days they would have called her a witch, actually a fat witch, although she isn’t really fat.

My friend didn’t budge and finally decided to go with this fat witch. I knew she would come crying back to me about a new failed weight-loss relationship. And I would have to be there, to clear the mess, which actually means to sit with her, soothe her down and eat ice cream. So basically we both would have gained another few kilos. I am already dreading it.

After about six months, I got a call from my friend, and she wanted to meet up over a cup of coffee. I knew what was in store for me. So I decided to go in  with the ‘I am there for you’ expression rather than ‘i told you so’, I so badly wanted to say I told you so, but friends don’t do things like that, bloody friends code. And I knew she would feel better with Radhika around so I decided to let my little monster tag along with me.

When I entered the coffee shop, I couldn’t believe my eyes. My friend had actually lost so much weight, that she was now officially in the slim category. My knees weakened, I could not walk any further. I was really happy for her, but I am only human. I couldn’t stop thinking, WHAT she lost all the weight, WHAT she is looking amazing, WHAT her skin looks so much better than mine, WHAT, WHAT, WHAT. I felt terrible  within and as if this was not enough, my little one had to open her mouth. She said to my friend’ we really need to go shopping for mum, so she can look pretty like you.’ aaaaaaaaggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh…I wanted to scream but I was really happy for my friend.

Yes, there was the exercise and the diet, but what was most important was, that the results were achievable and quick. And yes, my friend couldn’t escape the ordeal of drinking gallons of water everyday. Looks like, the fat witch turned out to be a fat angel.

Bombay French Toast

My daughter hates eating bread, no sandwiches, no buttered toast, nothing. She probably doesn’t even like the sight of it. And I am at a loss of how to make her eat bread so she feels full until lunchtime.

So I came up with this recipe of Bombay French Toast. This is what you will need:

2 Slices of Bread

1 egg

2 tbsp of milk

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp shredded cheese (we prefer cheddar)

1 tbsp butter

salt to taste

Method:

Beat the egg until nice and fluffy. Now add some milk and beat some more. Add all of the ingredients other than cheese.

Dip the bread slices in the egg until covered with mixture. Now put it on the frying pan with the butter. Turn over when done and add the cheese in equal amounts to both the slices.

Serve hot. It is also great from the rainy days.

Indian Disaster

It was a day of romance for my husband and I, and as in most stories there was a villain at the end of it. It was like a lovely green crop swaying in the fields washed away by the torrential rain. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it. I mean I can make so many such statements just to prove to you that what a horrid ending it was to our beautifully planned day.

After a movie and a day full of shopping we decided to end ith with a day of eating at a new Indian restaurant recently opened in our vicinity. A calculated risk, since I have eaten at its sister branch before, and the food there is close to home coked food. Most of you who live in Hong kong and go about eating in Indian restaurants will agree that the Indian food we eat here is made especially to attack our digestive systems.

So we are finally seated in a humble setting waiting for the good waitresses to help us with our orders. There is no sight of a host or a hostess and we soon realize how cruicial is the role to a restaurant. After waiting for just a few minutes the waitress is ready to take our order for beer, papdi chaat, tandoori chicken and a glass of water; considering it an Indian restaurant we should have already been offered water without asking, but hey, I am not complaining. So finally we get the beer and the papdi chaat, still waiting for water. It is a new restaurant, it is possible they haven’t got their water lines yet. If it was Rajasthan I would even say she was off the the nearest water source to get me a glass of water. But we are in good ol Hong kong and the system works, the things are in place, everything happens on time, but not a glass of water. I am thirsty just talking about water (and by the way we are still waiting for the tandoori chicken; the chicken won’t go into the tandoor). I better have a glass of water. Finally we do get the tandoori chicken, turns out the chicken didn’t like the seasoning, I know I didn’t. Still waiting for the glass of water.

By this time we are there for half an hour and the customers have realised that the best way to get service here is to start working themselves. So there was this guy helping himself to the plates, water, napkins, glasses..another few minutes and I bet he would have started taking the orders too. I am still waiting for my glass of water.

There is this other couple who is waiting all this while to pay for their bill and make an exit. So now they are waiting for their bill and I am still waiting for my glass of water. Meanwhile these two waitresses one after the other every five minutes goes and asks them if they have received the bill. But neither of them gets the bill. So the both of us are still waiting; they with the money in their hand and I with the parched throat. Now its like a competition. Who gets to the finish line first; the bill or the water. I must mention here that my husband has already received a second pint of beer.

Finally we have done the best we could with the tandoori chicken, i.e., finished it. What do you expect from a girl who is on a diet (good thing the chicken had been on a diet too). They say you musn’t starve yourself – it’s not good for weight loss. Our really humble order of palak paneer and 2 rotis is finally jotted down on the piece of paper…I am still waiting and so are my competitors.

After about 15 minutes there is the grand entrance of the host. He seems rather harried, but I look at him as a white dove who will make peace with us all. He goes around trying to get things in order but these stables prove too daunting for this Hercules. His white flag has soothed some while some are ready to battle, actually mostly my competitors and I; we are still waiting.

Now I really want to raise my voice but the waitress comes back saying would we like to place our order for the main course. WHAT…I am hungry…….please feed me. I want to hold her feet and beg for food, instead I just place my order again. That’s the classy thing to do, but I also gently remind her that we had already placed an order and that I am still waiting for my water. By this time everybody has forgotten completely about my competitors..good for me, looks like I will win.

Finally a badly whipped up last minute palak panner, two rotis and a glass of water (hurray I win..I am now awarded the gold medal in the race to wait) is put before us. The palak paneer is missing everything other than palak, paneer and some huge chunks of onion. I lose it by then and I have to confront. Now the thing is I want to be really calm and just say: I know your service was bad because you are understaffed but we cannot swallow this green pulp. So this is what happens: When I start off the host (who is already harried) turns hostile and starts attacking me with words. I wish he knew never to attack a hungry girl on weightloss on the one night when she is out. Neverthless, he has done it and I no longer see him as a white dove, instead there is this man who is standing in front of trying to tell me how real palak paneer is made. So after the battle of words we finally leave with a discounted bill, disappointment on our faces and hungry stomachs in search of food and drinks.

dessert

I have to warn all of you, who wish to follow my dessert recipes that I shall take no responsibility, if it harms or increases your sugar level. That is exactly why I have called this category death by sugar.

I love preparing desserts or sweet dishes. In my summer holidays I had prepared every Indian sweet that was available from the cook book. My father had come home really upset when he saw the grocery bill at the end of the month (thankfully I had made rabdi malpoa which he just loved by the way). At that time I used to live in a small town where the vendors would just have an account for people shopping list and would present a bill at the end of the month. So, throughout the month I would just call up the vendors and ask them to send me whatever I needed like, sugar, milk, clarified butter, almonds, cashews, you name it.

So when he ate the malpoa I said to him thats how I had passed my time throughout the month and he was very proud of me, for until just a few months back I could not make even a single cup of tea.

So, I hope you enjoy making all the sweet dishes and presenting it to your fathers or whoever is the important man in your life or just enjoy it by yourself and have fun.

BBQ

Just the other day, one of our friends had planned a BBQ. I was so happy, because that meant lots of preparation for it; shopping at the Wanchai markets (not exactly the place for a person with strong senses), buying the vegetables and meats, and finally marinating them.

Marinating is such a simple art, which most fail to do accurately. I have tasted marinated meats with no or little salt, lack of spices and basically lack of flavor.

Here are a couple of my favorite marinates.

I      You may need;

1 pound Lamb or chicken

2 tbsp of Crushed or ground – cinnamon, bay leaf, black peppercons, green             cardammom and dry red chilli.

You may substitute the dry red chilli, by using red chilli powder.

juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste.

Let it stand overnight.

II    You may need:

1 pound Pork

crushed 1 inch piece of ginger and and 8 pods of  garlic

3 tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp fish sauce (optional but then it tastes amazing with it)

2 tbsp of lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped onion

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground corriander

Mix well and marinate overnight.

The next day skew the meats on and brush oil on it as you marinate it.

Tip: If you are using wooden skewers remember to soak them in water.

No bellies for dancing

Did you know that for belly dancing you aren’t suppose to bring in all that extra belly. If thats the case then why call it belly dancing, it could be just any other form of dancing. A simple name like ‘Middle Eastern Dancing’ could be quite as understandable. Why confuse poor souls like us. What would happen to all those people out there to watch belly dancing if a bunch of full bellied women actually started doing the belly dancing. I have one, we could actually call it muscle dancing because thats what it really is.

You don’t need just a lack of belly but you need a high percentage of muscles in your belly to be able to do all those churning movements.  And how could I leave the hips behind, I cant, they are an integral part of the dancing as well. The shimmy will actually prove an excellent exercise for toning the hips. In fact they should come up with a hips toning machine in the gyms based on the principles of belly dancing. I think I Can definitely wait till then.

Blues

Most people hate Mondays. They get the Monday Blues (Of course, they have to get back to work after the weekend). Whereas, I am the happiest when it is Monday because get my daughter goes to school and my husband sets off for work. So it is my sane time from 7:30am to 12:15 thats when my little monster gets home.

I get the Friday night blues. Why you ask? I know what is in store for me come Saturday morning.

My husband who never ever has breakfast throughout the week is hungry from the moment he says the ‘G’ of good morning (although the previous night he has announced he will be eating healthyfor the weekend). And the chef in me starts making a mental lift os his food likes and dislikes and it usually ends up in pancakes with maple syrup. I learned making pancakes from my host parents in Canada. While I am making pancakes my hunger is sky rocketing because I haven’t had my breakfast yet (and I am a breakfast eater) and I am resisting the temptation of going for the buttery maple syrup laden pancakes. So, basically by breakfast I have used up all my will power, there isn’t much to begin with and the weekend has just started. By saturday night I have stuffed myself with a variety foods like Biryani, chocolate mousse, rabri malpoa, and the list continues. I am already dreading Sunday because the chef in me is on fire and my food list has increased for the next day. So basically all the effort that I have taken during the week has gone down the drain, literally.

So here I am stuck in this huge dilemma of feeding my husband( and devour the food myself) or making him eat salads and fruits like I should ideally be eating. If only they sold some will power in stores I’d be a regular customer.

 

Kheema samosas

I am a complete meat lover and as I have said before redder the better. I also love all that is deep fried and samosas being my favourite. So how do I combine the both. I came up with my very own kheema samosa recipe. This is what you will need to duplicate it;

The filling:

750 punds of mince mutton/chiecken ( We actually use a measure called catty but since I dont know how much that weighs I ask the butcher to weigh it for me in pounds).

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp curry leaves (optional)

11/2 tbsp garam masala

11/2 tbsp corriander powder

2 tbsp chilli powder ( i like it a little spicy)

1 tbsp dry mango powder (optional)

4 tbsp corriander/parsley leaves

oil

water

salt to taste.

Method:

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add the onion once they start crackling and fry it. Add the mine meat and brown it nicely and add the rest of the ingredients and pour a litre of water and let it boil till all the water is evaporated and the meat is cooked. We need the mince meat to be dry.

The covering:

1 cup plain flour

3 tbsp oil

1 tsp caraway seeds

salt to taste

water

Method:

Mix salt, caraway seeds and flour and add oil. Now give two minutes of your time to rub the oil in the flour such that all the flour is coated well. Then gradually add water to make a firm dough and let it rest till the minced meat is ready and cooled.

Now make medium sized balls of the dough and roll it to form a circle.

Now cut the circle diametrically.

Now dip your finger in water and put it on the back of the circular side. Overlap it with the other half such that you will have a cone in your hand.

Pinch the overlapping sides and fill it with the mince. Now close the opening and pinch it as well so that the open side is closed and secured.

Finish all the samosas and deep fry it well. Serve it with a green chutney.

This dish can be made a month ahead. Just half fry the samosas and and freeze it in a  zip lock bag. Then you could either bake it for 15 minutes in a 200 deg oven till they are warmed through or fry it again.