July 31, 2019

Video Recipe - How to make Marwari Pithor ki Sabji | Pitod ki Sabji - GF dish

Rajasthan cuisine is evolved around locally available pulses, millets and a bit of dairy that comes from goats / camel milk primarily. The usage of dry spices, dried vegetables / plant parts is prevalent throughout the vegetarian menu canvas of this state. Besan or gramflour also forms a major part of sustainable food in place of veggies. 

So, Gatte ki Sabji, Gatte ka Pulao and today’s dish - Marwari Pithor ke sabji are popular dishes of that cuisine. Today’s no onion, no - garlic dish also comes handy when the refrigerator doesn’t have enough veggies for a meal, and this can be rustled up pretty quickly. 

I was lucky to be given two popular ingredients by my paired blogger Shobha ji. Using gramflour and yoghurt, I made this lip smacking dish. The entire family enjoyed it and kids said it tasted soft and succulent like Paneer. I read on several recipes and youtube videos that the texture of the Pithor closely resembles Paneer. So, for those who don’t like Paneer, this is a clever way to eat paneer. 

This is of course a GF dish, but can also be vegan if the yoghurt here used is a plant based one (rice curd/ cashew curd etc.) So, do make this quick-to-make dish and serve with hot rotis for a very fulfilling meal. 

Also, please do leave your valuable comments and suggestions on the youtube video embedded below too ! 

Marwari Pithor ki Sabji - No Onion-No garlic recipe (Gluten Free, Can be vegan)

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 10 mins, Serves - 3~4

What you need:

For the Pithor:
Oil - 2 tsp
Gramflour - 1 cup (200 g)
Salt - to taste
Ajwain (crushed) - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Kasuri Methi (crushed) - 1 generous tsp
Yoghurt (thick variety) - 2 heaped tablespoon (* Sub with plant based curd for vegan*)
Water - as required to make the batter.
1 FLAT heat-proof / stainless steel plate, greased well 

For the gravy:
1 tomato + 1/2 inch ginger - pureed
Yoghurt - 2 TBSP
Dry spice powders - Red chilli powder (I used Kashmiri) 1 tsp, Dhania power ( 1 TBSP), Jeera powder (1 tsp)
Oil - 3 tsp
Jeera / cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Chopped coriander  - to garnish

How to:
View the youtube video for more detailed steps

(A) To make the Pithor : 
Whisk all the ingredients except water to a paste. Add adequate water to make a slightly thick flowing batter (batter should not be too thick or too thin). 
Heat oil in a non stick pan, add the batter and quickly cook the batter without any lumps on low flame. Once the batter starts leaving the sides, transfer the batter to a greased flat tray. Spread it evenly - not too thick or thin on the plate. Let it cool completely. Midway, using a sharp knife make markings of the size of the pithier (or lentil cakes) that you want. Remove the pieces and meanwhile begin the next stage. 

(B) To make the gravy:
Puree Ginger and 1 tomato without any additional water. Keep aside. Whisk all the dry spice powders (except garam masala) in the yoghurt and keep ready. Heat a non stick pan, add oil. Splutter cumin seeds and slowly add the tomato-ginger mix, saute for 1 min. Now add yoghurt mix and let it simmer on a low flame without the dahi curdling. Once oil starts leaving the sides, add 2 glasses of water, salt and let it simmer for 2-3 mins more, and let it again simmer on very low flame. Now slowly add the cut pithor pieces, salt and cook and cover for just under 1 min. Switch off flame (the pithor is not to be cooked for over 1 min). 
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with roti / Pulav. 

Other Rajasthani dishes you might like on the blog:

This goes to Shhh Secret Cooking Challenge for July 2019. 
Shhh Cooking Secretly a group started by Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes, is where every month food bloggers are paired up and give each other 2 secret ingredients to cook with according to the theme chosen. If you’re interested in joining this exciting group then please leave a message in the comment section. Thank you.

Here's a list of dishes that my fellow bloggers posted for this cuisine:

It was Rajasthani cuisine for the month of July and here is a virtual tour to the state by Shhhh h Cooking Secretly Challenge Group members.

July 29, 2019

How to make Idiyappam from scratch | Kerala Breakfast - GF, Vegan

Breakfast is a huge deal at my place. Almost all of us wake up to hungry stomachs and look forward to a proper breakfast - every single day !! With due respect, we are not really the oatmeal-cereal-coldmilk kind of family , and expect (and deliver) hot meals for breakfast. Personally, I get cranky if I don't eat my brekkie by 7:30 am (even on a Sunday morning, yes!! :p) . 

Idiyappam or string hoppers is a favourite breakfast for people from Kerala as well as from Mangalore / Coastal Karnataka .Although hailing from Bangalore I always look forward to tasting dishes from neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Andhra, Goa, Tamilnadu and Kerala.

Gluten-free recipes are the rage these days along wth Vegan, Pegan ,Keto, Paleo and a whole lot of named and unnamed diets. Come to think of it, earlier generations didn't give these much of thought, yet incorporated sensible, locally grown grains. Of which Millets  are making a versatile comeback, helping diabetics as well as health-watchers substitute rice sensiby with millets. 

I was leaning heavily towards a bake with gluten free flours this week, and did bake a one too, but thought of presenting some traditional dish that involves the most familiar GF flour I have known - Rice flour. Without labels or any special diets, rice flour was woven into our mainstream meals with Akki Rotti (flattened Rice bread), Morkazhi 1, Morkazhi 2, Ammini Kozhukottai, Instant Crispy Multigrain Dosa, Thenkuzhal, Seedai, and many more snacks made. 

I have made a Kerala special breakfast dish using Rice flour : Idiyappam (or rice flour string hoppers) served with Vegetable Stew (recipe soon!). 


I ate this at several places, but was apprehensive of making it from scratch. Like many traditional recipes, this calls for a bit of practice, but the easy availability of Idiyappam flour (whch is rice flour - just processed differently) makes this a fantastic, light steamed breakfast option. Uses little or no oil and with some stew and a banana (as it is traditionally served thus), makes a complete, filling meal.

Let's get to the recipe now - Idiyappam - a Gluten Free, Vegan Breakfast from Kerala

Prep time - 15 mins, Steaming time - 15 mins, Serves - 2 ~3

What you need:

Idiyappam flour (store bought or homemade,I used the former) - 2 cups
Hot water - as required
Salt - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Oil - 2 tsp

Grease idli plates. Keep water in a idli steamer ready with hot water.
Also grease the inside of the Idiyappam Kozhavi (or even use a chakli press with the thin sieve attachment in place)


How to:
In a large plate, add sieved idiyappam flour, salt. Add hot water little by little to make a soft dough. Don't over knead, yet make a pliable dough. Cover and rest the dough for 10 mins. Make into equal portions and oil your hands well.
Place a portion of the dough into the idyappam maker and press directly onto the greased idly plates in a circular fashion or into individual dimples. Repeat for rest of the dough. Immediately place in a steamer which has water in a rolling boil.
Steam for 10-12 mins.Remove, slowly spoon out the idiyappams and serve hot with stew.

Sending this to #GlutenFreeTreats as the theme for @FoodieMondayBloghop hosted by Sujata who's a master baker herself. Her varieties of cookies is as mind blowing as the sandesh varieties - defintely a haven for people with a sweet tooth. 

July 10, 2019

Kollu Chutney | Horsegram Chutney | GF and Vegan side for Idli and Dosa

Kollu or horse gram is known not only for its diuretic properties, but as an excellent source of vitamins and fibre as part of weight loss. As its a heat-generating ingredient, its used sparingly at our home, although I add the boiled stock often to soups during winters / rainy season. 

Kollu Rasam (Horesegram spiced broth) was a staple at my grandma's and I love it with some ghee and steamed rice. I also used Kollu / horse gram in my Uluva Chaaru biryani which was very well appreciated.

Horse gram is gluten-free, high in iron, calcium, and protein, and contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium; horse gram has the highest calcium content among pulses. It is also a good source of natural antioxidants. One-hundred grams of cooked horse gram has 22 grams of protein, 57 grams of dietary carbohydrates, 287 milligrams of calcium and 7 milligrams of iron.  The study found that horse gram is rich in polyphenols, which have high antioxidant capacity. It also found that horse gram has the ability to reduce high blood sugar following a meal by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and reducing insulin resistance. The majority of antioxidant properties are in the seed coat, and any dish made of whole grain horse gram is better than dishes made from the sprouts, which have less of the anti-diabetic medicinal property. - source : here

Today we have the Kollu Chutney (PS: I wanted to make it as Thuvayal / Thogayal - a denser version of chutney which goes with Rice + sesame Oil) , but added a little additional water so I served this with Thinai Idli (foxtail millet Idli)

As part of the A-Z Recipe Challenge month, we have to choose an ingredient from alphabet H,  and although I had Honey and Harissa as serious contenders, I guess heart is where the hearth is, and I choose Horsegram.

Let's get to this Vegan, GF and plant based chutney. It goes great with Idli / Dosa/ Pongal / Paddu (Paniyaram) and we all loved the tangy-crunchy proteinicious dip with our morning breakfast.

This dish also goes to the MLLA  # 130 event that I am hosting (an event by Lisa. featuring lentils / legumes) all this July.

Readers - if you have any lentil/ legume entries that you would like to share, head to the linky tool here and simply add your recipe !!

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 5 mins, Serves - 4

Kollu / Horsegram - 100 grams
Fresh Grated Coconut - 1/3 cup
Channa Dal / Kadalai Paruppu / Kadalebele - 2 TBSP
Urad Dal / Uddina Bele / Ulutham Paruppu - 3 tsp
Red chillies - 3 to 5 (adjust spice)
Tamarind - a small gooseberry size
Salt - to taste
Jaggery - 1 TBSP
Oil - 2 tsp

Oil - 1 tsp, curry leaves, urad dal 1/2 tsp, mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (skip for GF)

In a pan, dry roast the horse gram for 2-3 mins on low/ medium heat till it becomes warm and slightly turns golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, heat 2 tsp oil, add the dals , chillies, tamarind and fry till the dals turn golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Switch off the flame and add the grated coconut and fry for 1 min (this step is optional, but increases the shelf life of the chutney). 
Cool all roasted ingredients, grind to a coarse paste (with very little water). Add salt and jaggery to taste. Remove to serving bowl.
Make the tempering spluttering the mustard and urad dal with other tempering ingredients. Pour on the chutney. 
Serve with Idli / Dosa / Paniyaram for a GF, Vegan meal :)

Other recipes with Kollu / Horsegram:

Kollu Rasam (Horesegram spiced broth) 

Uluva Chaaru biryani (horse gram broth Biryani)

July 8, 2019

Le Cafe ~ Restaurant Review

Begining a new season of Restaurant reviews. we have a new season of Gourmet Monday. 
 The restuarant chosen is Le Cafe , which is based out of Chembur (east) on the eastern suburbs of Mumbai

 We had been to this restaurant Le Cafe (Mumbai) recently and as it came highly recommended from friends who love continental  / Non-Indian food, our expectations were quite high. 

{The following is my personal review of the same, and this is not a paid review}

What we ordered:
1. Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

2. Hummus platter with pita

3. Oven baked Stuffed Mushrooms
4. Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta 

5. Sweet Potato Poutines

6. Le Cafe Penne Paprika

7. Grilled vegetables

8. Thai Green Curry with Rice

9. Warm Carrot Cake
10. Hazelnut Chocolate Cake slice

11. Mint Tea

The Pluses :

1. The service is quick and the waiters are quite attentive. 
2. The place serves breakfast too  so its quite popular for those lazy Sunday brunches when one is too tired / lazy to cook up a propah-sunday breakfast.
3. Washrooms are spectacularly clean and dry. Better than any 5-star hotels I might add. 
4. This is a menu that would appeal to both veg and non-veg fans, although I wish the dishes were marked  GF, Vegan in the menu itself etc.
5. It has a small display of cakes and tarts from where one can make a selection.
6. In the mornings, the windows open to a small but refreshing city view giving a feel of an European cafe.

Our experience: 

1. The quality of the food was reasonably good, although the portions were abysmally small across all dishes.  Small plates is misleading here, I think they might have been better termed "tiny plates". For a family of 4 very hungry diners, we kept ordering dishes (listed above) but each dish was so tiny we were compelled to order another
2. The thai green curry could have been delicious if only there were some veggies with it. Sadly, it reeked of crushed lemon grass stalks that we needed to constantly pull out while chewing ! not appetising at all, pun intended. 
3. The soup was just so-so. It lacked a certain body that's usually in a broth / soup. I personally found it too tarty and watery. 
4. The tomato bruschetta could be named toastie-cheese. it was too small and tiny to even appreciate it. 
5. The mint tea was fresh (PS : fresh mint and hot water !! - you can't go wrong with that)
6. The much touted Sweet potato Poutines were soggy, sad and totally unappetising !! 

Verdict (all ratings out of 5)

Service - 4/5 
Quality of food - 3.5 / 5
Quantity of food / Value for money - 2 / 5 
Cleanliness / hygiene - 3.5 / 5
Wheelchair accessible - didn't check (the cafe is on the first floor)

Overall, speaking:
Definitely tasty food, but not value for money. Would choose other options in the locality if I need to eat Continental food

Baked Tandoori Gobhi | Gluten Free Appetisers

Tandoori gobi starter is a much loved dish at home and we make it often , more so during the monsoons / brief winter weeks that’s in our city. Baking and not deep frying makes it even more appealing and guilt free. Today, as we explore monsoon/friendly snacks via the 203rd week #RimJhimBarse @FoodieMondayBloghop (suggested by Preethi), this is a dish that would be a hit at your potlucks.

I have served this with Dahiwali Hari Chutney - a  no-cook 5 min easy-peasy dip (recipe here) - and the baked treat simply flew off the plate in no time. You could also bake in an air fryer or deep fry if you wish. 

Similar baked savoury appetisers on the blog:

Baked Tandoori Malai Broccoli
Baked Gobi Manchurian
Idli Manchurian
Baked Cornflakes Chivda
Baked Falafels
Cajun Spiced Cheesy Aubergine Pizza
Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes
Baked Tandoori Veg Platter
Baked Shammi Kebabs
Baked Gobi Musallam

Let’s see how to make this -

GF baked tandoori gobhi (Baked GF Cauliflower appetiser, Indian style) - Can be vegan too ! 

Prep time - 15 Mins, marination time - 30-60 Mins, bake time - 18~22 mins per batch 

What you need:

Cauliflower -1 large / 400-500 grams - cut into medium sized florets 
Oil - 5 tsp + 2 tsp for basting 


Marination :
Hung yoghurt - 200 grams (use cashew curd for a vegan version)
Salt - to taste 
Besan / chickpea flour - 3 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp (optional, i didn’t use)
Red chilli powder, chaat masala , tandoori masala, black salt - to taste
Coriander powder - 1 tsp 
Crushed kasuri methi - 1 tsp 
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

How to:
Blanch the florets in turmeric-tinted salt water till tender. Drain completely and wipe the florets gently with a kitchen towel or tissues of all excess water. 
In a bowl, whisk yoghurt well with salt and all the spices for the marination plus half the oil. Add the blanched florets and gently mix so the marination is covered on all florets. Cover tight and keep aside for 30-60 mins (refrigeration works best) . Without adding salt, you may marinate overnight too. 
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a baking tray with foil / parchment / silpat. Brush the remaining oil gently over the florets. Now place the individual florets without overlapping and bake for 18-21 mins, basting them and overturning them mid-way till they are crisp. Repeat for another batch if your tray is smaller. 
Serve immediately / warm with green chutney or dahi wala chutney. 

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