June 16, 2010

Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka/Pithla, Jowar Bhakri, Chana Dal-Carrot MW Dal, Besan-Semolina Laddoos

Happy Father's day on the 20th to all adorable daddies!
I would like you to watch something fun to make you all smile for dad's day! Have you heard few of Allan Sherman's hilarious songs "One Hippopotami" and a popular Camp song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" before? He has more like these on YouTube to watch.
Enjoy them while I take a Summer blog break for few weeks! :)

Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka or Pithla/Cilantro-Mint Besan Chutney, my style! :)
Most of you know this recipe for Besan Chutney called "Zhunka (drier chutney) or Pithla (when it has some gravy)", a Maharashtrian delicacy which tastes fabulous with Jowar or Bajri, or mix of flours Bhakris or Pithla even tastes great with Pooris as I have found out. I had surplus of Cilantro leaves and Mint, so I thought I will smother this PithlaZhunka with Cilantro and enjoy it. It was really tasty with strong Cilantro flavor (I love Cilantro!) and hint of Mint, loved with Bhakri. Here is an video of Marathi lady making authentic Pithla and Bhakri.

Here is how I made Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka/Pithla:
1. Roast 1/4 cup Besan/Chickpea flour until it heats thru' or place it on wide plate and Microwave one minute at at time until it heats and cool. Add 1 cup thin Buttemilk or plain water if you don't like to use Buttermilk, 1/2 tsp salt to Besan, beat well until you get a smooth mix without lumps. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1tbsp ghee,1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, pinch of Hing. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, 1-2 green chilli minced, 1-2 garlic minced, saute well until onion is reddish, add 1 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 tsp chilli pd, stir fry for a few seconds.
3. Add 1/2 Turmeric, 1 cup packed chopped Cilantro, 1/4 cup minced Mint leaves, stir for few seconds until wilt.
4. Add Besan and Buttermilk mixture, simmer until it cooks, raw smells disappears and Zhunka thickens. Adjust the salt and heat, take off the heat. It gets thicker as it cools. Add more water and heat if it becomes too thick.
5. If you have used just plain water instead of Buttermilk with Besan, add 1-2 tsp of lemon juice to Pithla/Zhunka and mix well.

Jowar Bhakris:
This delicious Cilantro-Besan chutney can be paired with my Rajgaro flour -Wheat flour Bhakri, or just using Jowar flour like this Jowar Bhakri and this link in Marathi as shown in these video links or as shown below are made with the same method as this Bajra Bhakri I have made and posted before. Look at this roti making video, what a fabulous skill!!

To make Jowar Bhakri:You can also make Bhakri the easy way. Mix a cup or 2 of Jowar flour or Bajri flour or Ragi flour or mix of flours, 1/2 cup Wheat flour (Atta is optional addition for binding since these Bajri or Jowar flour don't have much gluten to bind and roll out easily to make circles. Adding wheat flour makes it easy to roll but not authentic Bhakri recipe which slapped by open palms into shape! :D), enough salt and very hot water to mix and make 6" rounds on a oiled aluminum foil and cook both sides on hot Tava/Griddle.

Microwaved Chana dal-Carrot Dal:

I made this yummy dal following the same recipe from Divya's "Dil Se" blog's "Kadalai Paruppu Kuzhambu" post except added some Carrots and a Tomato to Chana dal and did the whole cooking in the Microwave. This will go to Champa who is hosting "Tried and Tasted-Dilse" event which is the brain child of Zlamushka. Thanks to all of you girls! :)

To Microwave the dal:
1. Add 1/2 cup soaked Chana dal to a big bowl with water with 2 tsp ghee and Microwave first until dal is almost cooked.
2. Then add a cup of sliced Carrots (I had a pack of already sliced) and all the other ingredients as Divya says in her post except seasoning ingredients into dal, mix and microwave until Carrots are soft and cooked well but not mashed. Add salt and Cilantro.
3. Heat another small bowl with 1 tbsp oil, Microwave for 3 mins on high. Add all the other seasoning ingredients as Divya's post lists, keep MWing and mixing until the onions are reddish. Add to the cooked Carrot dal and mix.
Serve dal with plain rice, a raita and with that Besan chutney on the side with a Bhakri. Delicious dinner is ready! :)

I am also sending this Microwaved Chana dal-Carrot dal to this month's host PJ, to an event started by Silpa called "Vegetable Marathon-Carrots" and again sending this to Kamalika who is hosting "MEC-Dals", an event started by Srivalli. Enjoy hosting the events friends.

Besan-Rava Laddoos, a dessert to finish off the meal:
My kids usually love any dessert with Vanilla or Chocolate flavors. Since I don't like sweets generally (except Jamuns and Tiramasu!), I try not to cook too many sweets at home. Whenever kids want any dessert like cakes and cookies, most of the time I just buy it for them at the store. However, Besan Laddoos are one of the few Indian sweets my daughter likes. As soon as she came back home from college after finishing the freshman year, she wanted these so I had made them for her. I made very few laddoos using just 1 cup of Besan and few tbsp of Rava/Semolina.

To make these Besan Laddoos:
1. Heat a non-stick pan, add 4 tbsp ghee. Add 2-3 tbsp fine grained Semolina (Chiroti Rava), roast until slightly reddish but not too much.
2. Turn down the heat. Add 1 cup Besan (Gram flour available in Indian stores, make sure it's fresh. I store it in the fridge in an airtight glass jar) and roast until the raw smell of Besan disappears and Besan roasts to a golden color while constantly stirring the flour.
Note: This process of roasting Besan on medium heat takes about 10-15mins, very imp to get the Besan aromatic and well roasted. If not well roasted, Laddoos taste slightly bitter. So make sure you roast it well. You can also Microwave Besan-Ghee mix on a wide plate, take care not to burn the Besan, keep checking after every 1-2 mins.
3. Add 3/4 cup (or more to your taste) of fine grained light brown sugar to the roasted flour, 3 tbsp finely crushed Almonds, mix well. Mix in 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder.
4. As soon as the sugar melts, flour is thickish, take the pan out of the heat. Mix well, let it cool for 4-5 mins and add 1 tsp of milk to it just to make it wet (add 1 tsp more milk if you find the Besan flour too dry but don't add too much milk) mix well, scoop 2 tbsp of flour and make small balls by squeezing gently with your palm to round shapes.
5. Let them cool, they get firmer. Enjoy.

Movies I watched:
We watched "The Gods must be crazy II", a second movie of the same name on Sunday night. It was hilarious as well but I prefer the the first movie. These 1-2 movies come in one box as "The Gods must be crazy 1 and II". I am not planning to buy any more of these movie series, these 2 are good enough!

"Invictus", on DVD, a movie based on the politics of South Africa and around Rugby World Cup in 1995, which was hosted by South Africa during and right after their internal national conflict and dissolving Apartheid, which united all South Africans as "one team, one country" for the love of the game with new hope for the country with Nelson Mandela as their president.
This movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and with actor Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, all are my favorite guys. Usually I don't watch any movie based on sports but this movie had all that I wanted even though a bit long for my liking (134mins), an interesting movie to watch about inside politics of South Africa even if you are not into game of Rugby. South Africa won the Rugby World cup that year, not without a controversy though! Here is a glimpse of that 1995 game on YouTube video and final highlights. "Invictus" means "Unconquered or undefeated" in Latin.

Books I plan to read this Summer:
"Half of a Yellow Sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This book is quoted as "A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as "the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe," Half of a Yellow Sun recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, and the chilling violence that followed" here in this website. This interesting book was recommended to me by sra. Thanks my friend!:)

"The Bathhouse" by Farnoosh Moshiri.A story about how a Iranian teenage girl who was arrested and kept in an old Bathhouse endured the brutal hardship, narrowly escaped death and survived during the Iranian fundamentalist revolution.

Blog Break!!
That's all for this month. I am taking a blog break from 18th of June to plan and enjoy a Summer vacation with kids. I will be back to blogging around mid July or later. Have a wonderful time until then, take care and keep cool, see you all as soon as possible. Hugs to all you! :))