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Friday, January 15, 2010

"Sweet Treats" - TilGul / Sesame Brittle / Sesame Ladoo

So the other day, I was telling 'E' that we are going to make sweets for 'Sankranti' and say 'Tilgul Ghya god Bola' (Custom in Maharashtra meaning:Take these sweets and talk sweetly!). After that, when I go to drop him off at school, first thing he tells his teacher is 'Laloo'( Way he says 'Ladoo"/Sesame ball) and then...'TilGul Ghya god bola'!! It was sooo cute!!!! Obviously his American teacher did not understand exactly what he was saying, but when I told her.....it did put a smile on her face!
Yesterday I made two types of TilGul/ sesame sweets. One was kind of diamond shape brittle made with Light brown sugar and sesame and the other one with sesame,Jaggery, Peanuts, Chana dalia....called Ladoo.
Both had kind of crunchy /crispy texture.I used to love this kind as kid and even now....But there is a way to make softer ladoos too.Haven't tried that yet though.

Til Vadi/ Sesame Brittle

1.5 cups Light brown sugar / can use jaggery/ white sugar as well
1 cups roasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ghee/ clarified butter
1/2tsp Cardamom powder

1) Lightly roast sesame seeds.Let them cool.
2) Lightly grease a flat baking sheet with butter.
3)In a nonstick pan, heat 1/ 2tsp butter, add the light brown sugar.On medium heat let it melt and bubble.
4) Add the sesame seeds, cardamom and mix promptly.Take off heat.
5) Pour on the greased sheet.Spread evenly with buttered spatula or just turning the sheet around.

6) Cut into diamond shapes and let them cool.
7) Carefully break and remove the Sesame brittle from the sheet.

Til Ladoo/ sweet sesame balls

1 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 and 1/4cup jaggery
1/2tsp cardamom powder
1/2cup coarsely crushed peanuts
1/4cup roasted chana dalia
1/2tsp ghee

1) Lightly roast sesame seeds, peanuts, chana dalia.Let the cool. Crush the peanuts coarsely.
2) In a non stick pan, heat 1/2tsp butter, add jaggery.Let it melt and bubble for couple minutes.
3) Add sesame, peanuts, chana dalia, cardamom etc and mix well.Remove off the heat.
4) With buttered hands roll the hot mixture into balls.

Caution: The mixture is reaaallllly HOT! Be carefull not to burn yourself!
(I could actually roll only 7-8  ladoos and then my hand were RED....so just reheated the mixture and poured it on sheet to make brittle)
5) Warm a little if it turns dry and roll into balls again.
6) Or simply pour the hot mixture on buttered sheet and make sesame brittle.

                                               Til Gul ghya God Bola!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Appetizers"- Aloo Tikki with 'Chutney' surprise

I am reading this novel 'The Last Chinese Chef' by Nicole Mones. In the novel along with the 'story' are some details, tricks, history about 'Chinese Cuisine'. They say that no other cuisine controls 'Texture' and some other qualities of food as the 'chinese' way of cooking.Another aspect of some authentic chinese cuisine is to take the diner by 'surprise factor'. When a plate of food comes in front of you....you think it is something...but actually when you eat it...it surprises you completely.....not at all what you have thought about it....it is totally different.Like they carve chicken  into bite size pieces and put them together as though the chicken has never been cut....has crispy skin but 'melt in your mouth' tender meat. ...
I like chinese food...but have yet to discover these 'authenticities' of the great cuisine.....
So....I liked the idea of 'Surprise factor'. My mom made 'Idlies'( fermented rice+lentil cakes) with chutney in the center.She would pour some batter in the stand, then some chutney and then batter again.The 'Idlies' were steamed along with the chutney in the center.They tasted delicious!
Just as a simple try....I made Aloo Tikki's , but stuffed them with Coconut-Mint Chutney.They look like 'Normal' aloo tikkis from outside, but when you bite into them, you get a 'surprise' of Spicy Coconut-mint chutney!!!

For Aloo Tikki:
2-3 Potatoes and mashed smoothly
1/2tsp Cumin seeds
1/4tsp Ajwain seeds
1/4 tsp garlic paste
1/4tsp chili powder
2tbsp Bread crumbs
oil to fry

For Coconut-Mint Chutney
1/3 cup fresh coconut
2tbsp mint paste
2-3 green chilies
2tbsp Cilantro
1tsp garlic-ginger
1/2tsp cumin

1) Mix together Boiled mashed potatoes, cumin, chili powder, garlic paste,bread crumbs salt etc and knead well. Make small balls with depression in the center.
2) Grind together the coconut, mint, cilantro,chilies and other ingredients to make a smooth chutney.
3) Place a 1/2 tsp chutney in the center of the potato ball.

4) Cover the ball with some more potato mixture and gently roll into flat 'Aloo Tikki's'
5) Shallow fry the Aloo tikkis in non stick skillet on medium flame untill golden brown and crispy on the outside.
6) Serve immediately with ketchup/ Hot-sweet sauce.

Take your guest by surprise of coconut-mint chutney inside the Aloo-Tikki's!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Everyday Cooking"- Bitter Gourd Crisps

I know this one is not going to be many peoples favorite.Who likes Bitter Gourd???Not many hands raised up there!!! It is not my 'favorite' either. But you know, it is one of those things that take me back to India....
Back home, once in a while, my mom would make either curry or these crisps with bitter gourd....under the reason that " it cleans out your system"....."it controls blood sugar"...."its good for you" etc etc. I guess all that was true....but as kids...we hardly understood.
Then there was this chain of stores..."Hot Chips" was the name...they would make literally zillion varieties of chips.....from different veggies and fruits.It was awesome how much variety they had. They also sold these 'Bitter Gourd Chips"...

1 small bitter gourd
1/4tsp turmeric
1/4tsp chili powder
1 pinch sugar

1) Slice the bitter gourd as thinly as possible into circles. Hollow out the center and the seeds.
2) On a flat non stick pan heat a thin layer of oil. Arrange the bitter gourd slices on the oil.
3) Season with turmeric, chili powder, salt etc. Let them fry and 'crisp up'.
4) Turn the crisps on the other side.Let it brown and become crisp on very low flame.Press the crisps with flat spatula while they crisp up to squeeze any liquid out.
5) Once they "Crisp up", turn off the flame.