April 25, 2014

Wholewheat Vegetarian Momos from Sikkim | How to Make Veg Momos - a photo Tutorial

Sikkim is a landlocked state with Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the North and East and Bhutan to the East, and India's state of West Bengal to the South. To that effect, the cuisine of Sikkim is therefore influenced by the neighbouring states and is mixture of these states.
location map of Sikkim - Courtesy : Wikipedia
Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepali majority.[7] Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwar and English.[8][9] English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2012 the state has the third-smallest GDP among Indian states,[10] although it is also among the fastest-growing (Source : Wikipedia.org)
Noodle based dishes such as thukpa, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk and wonton are common in Sikkim. Momos – steamed dumplings filled with vegetables, buffalo meat or pork and served with soup – are a popular snack

Today, we explore Sikkim through one of the popular snacks – Veg Momos. Momos are generally made with All Purpose Flour (APF), and also with a combo of Wholewheat and APF. But I  have tried making them today with just Wholewheat  flour. Also a tad thicker than the APF counterparts, it was very healthy. I just tried out a batch which gave me about a dozen momos. Kiddo found it a little spicy, but for the H and me, it was perfect.
BM : 39 ~ Indian State : Sikkim
Recipe : Wholewheat Veg Momos (steamed dumplings)
Dish type :  Snack or Appetiser
Spice Level : Medium
Accompaniment : None or with Soup 

Prep Time : 15-20 mins, Cooking time : 10 mins ; Serves : 3

(A) For the outer cover:
  • Whole Wheat flour – 1.25 cups – sieved with requisite salt
  • Warm water – about ¾ cup
  • Oil – 3 tsp

(B) For the filling
  • Diced veggies (each about 25 gms) : Cabbage, Carrots, French Beans, Cauliflower, Broccoli
  • Onion – 1 medium
  • Capsicum / Bell pepper - medium 1 no.
  • Green chillies – diced fine – 2 medium
  • Black pepper powder – a generous pinch
  • Grated ginger – ½ tsp
  • Diced garlic – 2 tsp
  • Soya sauce – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green Chilli sauce – ½ tsp
  • Spring Onions – 2 TBSP (optional)
  • Oil –2 tsp
How to make Veg Momos - a photo tutorial

For the Cover:
Sieve Wholewheat flour with salt. Add warm water little by little to make a semi soft dough. Add oil and knead once more. Keep covered for 15 mins

For the filling:
While the dough is resting, heat oil in a wok. Saute onions, garlic, ginger, capsicum till the onions slightly caramelize. Then add the rest of the veggies and sauté well. Add salt, but no additional water and cook covered for 5 mins, till they retain the crunch. Add the rest of the spices and sauces. Mix well and let the mixture cool

To make the momos:
Divide the dough into 2 -3 large portions. Roll out each portion into a large circular disc, which isn’t too thick or thin. Using a cookie cutter of desired size, cut out smaller discs (Alternately, you can pinch out smaller tiny portions or the dough and roll them, but I find this method very convenient and time saving).
In a smaller disc, spoon out ¾ tsp of the filling, press the filling into the disc and make a depression. Pinch out pleats as shown in the picture.
Bring the pleats to the top and just twist them once, pressing them at the top to seal the filling.
Work with the rest of the dough in batches and keep the remaining dough covered at all times with preferably a slightly moist muslin cloth.
Meanwhile bring a steamer with adequate water to a rolling boil (you might want to use a bamboo steamer lined with plaintain leaves, but as I didn’t have it, normal Idli plates, greased well worked perfect for me)
Place the prepared momos onto the steamer and steam for 9-11 mins. As I used wholewheat flour, the outer skin turned a tad dark in shade.
If using only APF /Maida, the momos will remain egg white in colour

1)    Mushrooms can also be added to the veg momos
2)    Sweet stuffing can also be made to make sweet momos– add dessicated coconut, some brown sugar, and some roasted nuts.
3)    If too bland, recommend adding a dash of soya sauce or sweet chilli sauce to liven up
4)    Any veggies can be added – it’s totally a personal choice.

April 16, 2014

Masala Bhath from Maharashtra | Spiced rice with gherkins | Main Course Rice Dishes

My first induction to home cooked Maharashtrian cuisine happened at office. My fried Gauri used to carry a special rice preparation for lunch and as loved rice I generally used to polish off her dabba. It happened a few times, till she started packing a lunch box exclusively for me .. And when I was embarrassed enough, she was kind enough to hand me the recipe. Apparently it was called Masala Bhath. I loved it a lot, and wanted to make it at home.

Some months ago, I looked for the recipe and didn’t find it. Archana’s recipe came to the rescue. Although laborious than the original one I had, it was simply superb and all of us enjoyed it. We make a similar version in Bangalore called Vangibhath and add both brinjals and tendli (ivy gourd) to it. But I will stick to her recipe here and make it more often.

BM : 39 ~ Indian State : Maharashtra
Recipe : Masala Bhath (spiced rice with Gherkins / Ivygourd / Tendli)
Dish type :  Main Course
Served with : Plain Curd
Spice Level : Medium to spicy
Prep Time : 15-20 mins, Cooking time : 15 mins ; Serves : 4
Recipe Source : Archana

Ingredients: (Archana’s recipe with minor changes)
  • 1/2 cup Copra, grated i.e. dry coconut
  • 9 cloves
  • 3 stick (each 2 ½ cm) cinnamon
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds/til
  • 5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp asafetida/hing
  • 5 green chillies slit
  • 200 grams gherkins cut into quarters (I cut lengthwise)
  • 2 cups basmati rice washed and left to drain for ½ hr
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP cashew nuts
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup coconut grated (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped

  1. Dry roast Copra for 1 min till its dry. Take it off the flame into a dry plate, and dry roast cloves, cinnamon, sesame, coriander seeds, cumin seeds separately for 2 mins. Powder all this in a spice grinder.
  2. In a non stick pan, add oil. Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, chillies, cashewnuts. When the cashews start browning a bit, add tendli and fry for 4 minutes. Then add spice powder and rice and fry. Add salt.
  3. Now add water and cook covered for 12-15 mins on low / Medium heat till done. (if making in a pressure cooker, give one whistle and cook on medium heat for 4-5 mins)
  4. Fluff the grains and garnish with coriander and coconut.
  5. Serve hot with chilled curds. I served it with onion-tomato raita :)

April 15, 2014

Indori Poha | A scrumptious breakfast from Madhya Pradesh

Some dishes pep you up. Others wake you up ! In the case of Indori Poha, literally so.

It was to be a lazy Sunday morning, but life with a toddler is even more unpredictable. She was up at 4:45 am with no intention to go back to sleep. Not wanting to wake up the household, the smartphone came to the rescue while the kid played with her toys.

After the usual narcissism trips on FB, and checking the email, a post by Sukanya just popped out – Indori Poha.

Now, having been to Bhopal several times and pigged out several times at the Khau Galli (eat –street) laden with Poha and Jalebi and other delicacies, Indori Poha was simply calling out to me.

I couldn’t wait till the husband got up and prepared his Filter Coffee to try out this – this must have been the shortest time in which a bookmarked recipe had been tried out. Even mom and S who are not great fans of Poha gave it a thumbs up, and it has featured since regularly on our breakfast menu – Sunday or no Sunday.

How is it different from the normal Poha ? Well, read on to find out as we travel to Madhya Pradesh (MP) today on our Indian Odyssey Blogging Marathon.

MP is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore. Nicknamed the "heart of India" due to its geographical location in India, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in the country by area. With over 75 million inhabitants, it is the sixth largest state in India by population. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.

Indore traces its roots to its 16th century founding as a trading hub between the Deccan and Delhi. The city and its surroundings came under Maratha Empire on 18 May 1724 after Maratha Peshwa assumed the full control of Malwa. During the days of the British Raj it was a 19 Gun Salute (21 locally) princely state (a rare high rank) ruled by the Maratha Holkar dynasty, until they acceded to the Union of India. Indore served as the capital of the Madhya Bharat from 1950 until 1956. (source : Wiki)

BM : 39 ~ Indian State : Madhya Pradesh
Recipe : Indori Poha (savoury flattened rice snack)
Dish type :  Breakfast or evening Snack
Served with : Plain Curd
Spice Level : Medium to spicy
Prep Time : 15-20 mins, Cooking time : 15 mins ; Serves : 3
Recipe Source : Sukanya

  • Flattened Rice – 2 cups (Thick variety)
  • Potato – diced – 1 no
  • Onion – finely chopped – 1 large
  • Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cashewnuts– a handful
  • Sugar – 2 TBSP
  • Coconut – freshly grated – 2 TBSP
  • Salt – to taste
  • Seasoning : Mustard seeds, cumin (jeera), curry leaves
  • Finely chopped chillies – 4 to 5 (adjust spice)
  • Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  • Roasted peanuts (deskinned) – ¼ cup
  • Chopped coriander – 2 TBSP
  • Oil – 2 TBSP 
  • Lemon juice – 2 TBSP
  • Pomogranate pearls – for garnish (I skipped this)
  • Sev / Ompodi – to top 

  1. Wash and soak the poha in a colander for 5 – 6  mins
  2. Meanwhile, crush the peanuts coarsely and keep aside.
  3. In a pan, heat oil, and prepare the tempering, add the turmeric, curry leaves, fennel seeds and cashewnuts and chillies as well.
  4. Once the cashews brown a bit, add the chopped onions and potatoes and fry for 8-10 mins till potatoes turn soft.
  5. Add salt and sugar and sprinkle some water and cook the potato for 3-4 mins till almost done but has a bite.
  6. Now add the drained poha, coconut , crushed peanuts, chopped coriander and mix well
  7. Adjust spice, switch off from the flame and add popmogranate pearls and lemon juice.
  8. Top with Sev / Ghatia / Ompodi and serve immediately


I topped it with raw onions as well to give it a crunch.

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