Appe – श्रावणी सोमवारचा नैवेद्य!

  
The Hindu month – Shravan is the advent of the festival season. Most Hindus abstain from non-veg food and alcohol during this month. 

Most PP families don’t abstain throughout the month, but instead choose to fast and stay vegetarian on specific days. 

Every Monday of Shravan a fast is observed during the day and the fast is broken with a festive vegetarian dinner (had at dusk without uttering a single word… मौन)

This festive dinner is incomplete without a sweet element in the meal (traditionally laid out in a banana leaf). 

Most traditional families make a different sweet every single Monday in Shravan. 

This particular recipe is special to me as it was something my dear late grandmother would cook for the family on श्रावणी सोमवार.. 

Today is the first time I’ve attempted this recipe since she passed away 15 years ago!

You’ll need an Appepatra to cook these… It’s the same thing referred to as a Paniyaram pan in South India…

My recipe is a variant of Laxmibai Dhurandhar’s version in the PP cookery bible – the gruhini mitra… 

  
My recipe yields 15-16 standard sized Appe 

Rawa (Semolina) – 1 cup

Sugar – 1 cup (preferably castor sugar or simply grain sugar briefly blitzed in a grinder)

Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp

Saffron – a few strands (optional)

Coconut Milk (or plain milk) to make a batter

Ghee – for shallow frying

Assorted nuts (cashews and almonds) and raisins 

  
Mix the Rawa and coconut milk to get a pakora like batter.

Soak the Rawa in coconut milk for at least one hour.

Mix in the sugar, cardamom and nuts and soak for a further hour.

Heat the Appepatra on a medium heat and add a few drops of ghee in each depression.

  
Pour in spoonfuls of batter in each depression and cook on a slow flame till golden on one side.

  
You may want to cover the pan for a few minutes since these are not really being deep fried – traditionally when they’re deep fried in ghee, there’s no need to cover…

Once it’s cooked, lift it off the pan and crisp on the other side on a flat nonstick Rawa in a little ghee.

  

Serve once cooled – garnished with some pistachios.

  

करंदीचे मिरवणी – Parbhi style baby prawns in a tangy curry…

This is my adaptation of a Parbhi recipe which is more often than not prepared using bombil… I’ve replaced the bombil with karandi and made a few tweaks to my Mum and Aaji’s recipe… The resultant curry is tangy and pairs perfectly with steaming white rice and simple fried fish on the side.

   
Ingredients (Serves 2)

Grated Coconut – 1 cup (3/4th for coconut milk and 1/4th for paste)

Garlic – 3 cloves (2 for paste and 1 for tempering)

Peppercorns – 5/6 nos 

Tamarind – a small ball (use more /less depending on how sour you’d like it)

Rice flour / 1 tsp rice soaked in water for 20 minutes 

Baby Prawns aka karandi – 1/4 cup

Hing – 1/4 tsp

Oil – 1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves to garnish

 Edit   

  
 
Method 

Grind 1/4 cup coconut to a fine chutney like paste along with 2 cloves of garlic, tamarind and peppercorns and salt to taste. Add a tsp or so of water if required.

Use 3/4 cup coconut to obtain thick and thin extracts (coconut milk) – blend the coconut first with 1/4th cup water and squeeze out the juice… Strain and set aside – this is the thick extract.

Add 3/4 cup water and repeat this process to obtain thin extract. While blending this time around, add the rice / rice flour… Squeeze and strain. 

In a thick bottomed pan, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add hing and a crushed garlic clove. Sauté till golden.

  
Add the ground coconut paste and sauté for a minute. Add the thin extract and bring to a boil.

 Edit   

Add the prawns and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. The prawns should get cooked in a minute or so.

 Edit   

Once the prawns are cooked, add the thick extract and simmer further for 3/4 minutes. Once the thick extract is added, keep the heat gentle and do not allow the curry to come to a boil.

 Edit   

Add the chopped coriander leaves and serve warm with the steamed white rice and some fried fish alongside.

  
Perfect comfort food for a wet muggy day…

खिम्याचे पातवड – the mutton mince Parbhu variant of the humble अळुवडी

  
Ingredients 

Mutton Mince – 1/4 kg

Channa Dal – 1 cup soaked for 3 hours ground coarsely

Ginger Garlic Paste 1.5 tbsp

Green chillies – 2/3

Coriander leaves – chopped 1/2 cup

Tamarind extract – 2 tbsp

Colocasia Leaves – 9 nos (makes 3 rolls)

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method 

In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients except colocasia leaves and oil to get a coarse filling – somewhat like coarse shami kebab batter

Cut the stalks of the leaves and with a stone/weight, flatten out the veins.

Apply a thin layer of tamarind paste on leaf and spread a generous amount of filling. 

Repeat this process three times with three leaves (detailed steps in earlier prawn Patwad post)

Steam for around 20-25 minutes till done and cool completely.

Once cooled, slice into thin roundels and deep fry!

   
  
   

Preparing Gaboli (गाभोळी) aka Parbhi Caviar…

So here’s the deal – somewhere in the middle of the Mumbai monsoon (around mid-July)… The West Coast Hilsa aka Bhing / Paala makes an appearance in the Mumbai fish markets.

The Parbhus not unlike fish loving Bengalis are fond of their Bhing (which we use to make a sweet-sour curry aka Aatle)

The pièce de résistance however is the gaboli! 

Gaboli is the local (Marathi) name for fish roe… The fish roe commonly used in PP households are from any of the following –

Pomfret (सरंगा), Bombil, Ghol, Rawas, Surmai each of which have a unique flavour and last but not the least the Bhing / Palla Gaboli which is the tastiest of all. 

The Pomfret (spawn in the summers) and Bombil (spawning in the monsoons) Gaboli are usually not sold separately… They’re usually in the fish and you gotta keep your eyes open when your fisherman / woman are cleaning them for you (lest you find they’ve been discarded along with the entrails or worse – set aside for their own consumption)…

Hypercity (at Goregaon) usually sells these separately – you’ll invariably find some Rawas or Surmai Gaboli in stock if you enquire at the fish counter…

Rinse the Gaboli under running water and transfer to a microwaveable container. Make sure the container is large enough to accommodate the entire Gaboli. If it gets too crowded in there, chances are it may burst open while cooking and disintegrate… 

The opened disintegrated version is used in Koli style curries. As for PPs, we prefer ours intact.

Crush around 5-6 cloves of garlic and rub into the Gaboli… Add salt to taste, a tbsp of oil, half a tsp of haldi, 1 tsp of Kashmiri red chilli powder and 1tsp of PP style methkut masala. 

Add around 1/4 cup of water and mix these well.

  

Cover the pan and microwave for around 6-7 minutes on the lowest possible setting. You’ll find that the sac has lost it’s squishy form and become almost hard. (mind you it’s still a pretty delicate affair)

 Cool completely and cut these into 1/2″ thick slices. These are now ready to use…  
Note the uniform colour across the sliced roe. If you see the centre is jelly like – you need to cook slightly longer… Tastes quite disgusting if it stays raw.

These slices may now be used in a Parbhu style methkut curry or coated in some more masala, dabbed in a thin layer of rice flour and pan-fried for a couple of minutes in some oil over a non-stick tawa.

Both versions taste simply divine with some steaming hot rice! 

You could choose to steam the Gaboli instead of using the microwave (slotted vessel over boiling water). The cooking time will be slightly longer with the steaming method.

The cooked slices can be stored in a freezer and used when required. I find they store better cooked rather than raw. 

Will post a follow-up with whatever I end up making with these… 

Homemade Butter Chicken!

Homemade Butter Chicken

One of those simple sinful joys of life… Both Manju and I love our butter chicken… This is undoubtedly our ‘go to’ dish at an unfamiliar place (including at a Bangladeshi hole in the wall joint at Portree in the Isle of Skye – by far the worst butter chicken and the most disgusting dish I’ve ever tasted)

Coming back to this quick and easy version – no long list of ingredients and no major technique to this recipe…. Here goes –

 

Ingredients

Chicken Breast – 500 gms boneless fillets – marinate overnight in 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tbsp dahi, 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste.

Onions – 2 large blended to a paste without any water
Tomatoes – 3 medium sized puréed in a blender
Cashewnut Paste – 2 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Garam Masala Powder – 1 tbsp
Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp
Fresh cream – 100 mls 
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Butter – 30 gms (1/3rd of an Amul stick)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Elaichi Powder – 1/2 tsp
  
Method 
1. In an oven preheated to 180*c grill the cubed marinated chicken till tender (around 20-25 minutes). Set aside the chicken and deglaze the baking dish with a tsp of cream.
  
2. Heat the oil and butter, add the onion paste and sauté over a medium flame for 20 minutes till its uniformly pink. Add the masalas, ginger-garlic paste, tomato purée and continue to sauté till the oil separates.
3. Cool and blend this paste and strain through a metal strainer to get a smooth texture. Add in the cashew paste and cream, the chicken and pan juices and bring to a gentle simmer.
4. Add the Kasoori methi, honey, lemon juice and adjust seasoning. Add the elaichi powder and stir into the gravy.
Right at the end, smoke with a piece of charcoal and a few drops of ghee for that deep smoky flavour…
Serve with parathas / rice.
  

Parbhi Chicken Pulao

One more weekend – one more excuse to revisit a recipe from my favourite cook-book, the PP gastronomic bible – गृहिणी मित्र! 

I’ve had this at various PP homes right since i was a kid… And every family has their own version with varying tastes and colour!

Here’s mine…

  And here’s the original from the book

  
Ingredients and Prep!

Chicken – 1 kg ( I get my butcher to weigh out a live chicken that’s around 1.5 kg)… I get it portioned into curry cuts, separate the offal (discard or use in a separate dish later) and the bony bits like the neck, rib cage and wings from the meaty leg and breast portions.

4 potatoes – peel and quarter, apply some salt, red chilli, turmeric and PP sambhar, deep fry and set aside.

4 onions – slice length wise and leave aside a tbsp. Deep fry the rest to a golden color, drain and divide into 2 portions.

Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tsp

Haldi – 1 tsp

Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp

Pathare Prabhu Sambhaar Powder – 2 tsp

Assorted nuts-dry fruit (pistachios, almonds, raisins and cashewnuts)

Finely chopped fresh coriander and mint – 4/5 tbsp

  
For marinating the meaty chicken pieces (leg and breast portions) – whisk together 2 tbsp dahi with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp each of red chilli and PP sambhaar, 1 tbsp each of crushed green chilli, ginger and garlic.

Apply the marinade to the meaty chicken pieces and leave it for at least 2-3 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator)

Aromatics to be tied in a potli – 1/2″ sliced ginger, 3-4 crushed garlic pods, 1 tsp each of fennel, coriander and cumin seeds to be tied into a muslin cloth.

    
Aged Basmati Rice – 2 cups – wash and soak in water for half hour, drain and set aside for 10 minutes.

Method

1. Throw the Bony bits of the chicken with the reserved raw onion, a tsp of red chilli, sambhaar and turmeric, half the coriander-mint and the aromatics in a sachet (potli) in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Cook these under pressure for around 20 minutes (1 whistle and simmer for 15 minutes)

  
2. Drain the stock and set aside… (The pressure cooked meat off the bones may be used for a sandwich later). Grind the residual onions and aromatics to a paste and leave aside.

3. Heat 3-4 tsp of ghee in a pressure cooker,  fry the assorted nuts and raisin and set aside.

  
4. Add the marinated meaty chicken pieces and brown over a high flame for 2-3 minutes

  
5. Add in tsp of shahijeera and once it crackles add the drained rice and sauté on a medium flame for around 4-5 minutes 

  
6. Place the browned chicken, ground aromatics, fried potatoes, half the fried onions, half the chopped leaves and add in 4 cups of boiling stock.

  
7. Add salt to taste and pressure cook for 15 minutes (1 whistle and simmer for 10 minutes)

 8. Once the pressure is off, garnish with the rest of the nuts, chopped mint-coriander and fried nuts and raisins

  
Serve hot with some onion and tomato kachumber!

  

Fried Mutton Batata Chops… Rainy Day Indulgence!

  
Been pouring incessantly for the past couple of days… Do you (like me) crave for those deep fried indulgent goodies? 

Here’s my adaptation of an age old recipe from Laxmibai Dhurandhar’s ‘गृहिणी मित्र’… The Pathare Prabhu equivalent of Larousse!

Of course I’ve made a few changes as the original recipe was written for a time when cooking techniques and measures were far different… Here’s a picture of the original recipe from the Book!

 

Here’s the recipe for my version… (Serves 3)

Ingredients

Mutton Chops – 300 gms (6 nos)

Chopped Ginger & Garlic – 1 tsp each

Red chilli powder, Turmeric, Pathare Prabhu Sambhaar Powder – 2 tsp each (1/2 for the mutton and 1/2 for the potatoes)

Whole Garam Masala – Cardamom, Cinnamon, Peppercorns (may be tied in a sachet)

Potatoes – 300 gms (4 medium potatoes) – Boil, peel and grate these

Toasted Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp

Breadcrumbs – 2 tbsp

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method

1. Boil, peel and mash the potatoes, grate while warm over a fine grater. Season with salt to taste and a tsp each of turmeric, red chilli and PP sambhaar powder.

 

2. Add breadcrumbs and toasted cumin seeds and mix well. You should have a dry pliable dough like mash-ball. Set aside.

  
3. Mix together the remaining ingredients (mutton chops, whole garam masala, remaining powdered masalas, chopped ginger and garlic)  with a cup of water and cook till tender in a pressure cooker

  
4. Drain and dry the chops and cool them. The balance stock may be put to other good use. Sprinkle a little salt and season.

5. Divide the potato dough into 6 equal portions and carefully coat each of the chops evenly with the potato mash. 

  
Cover the meaty portion and leave the bony bit sticking out.
  
6. Refrigerate the coated chops for at least 1-2 hours. I find this helps the potatoes stick to the chops and also prevents them from disintegrating while frying.

  
6. Deep Fry the chops on a medium heat till the potato cover is crisp and golden.

  
7. Serve hot with green mint chutney and / or tomato ketchup.

   

शेवळाचे सांभारे

The core ingredient for this PP dish are these exotic seasonal blooms called शेवळं. (Scientific Name – Amorphophallus Commutatus… I found a website referring to this as Dragon Stalk Yam – but can’t find a single site with a recipe)… 

  
The edible flower is definitely an ingredient in some CKP style dishes in addition to being used by Communities along the North Maharashtra Coast (Raigad to say Dahanu). But I haven’t yet located recipes using these from any other place.

The flavour is best described as very very meaty and mushroom like. A lot of people complain that it has a very strong unpleasant flavour (including Manju my wife)… But I guess it’s just one of those acquired tastes you pick up when you start having these things as a kid!
The flowers are increasingly difficult (not to add expensive) to source – a few vendors in each vegetable market especially the vendors from Vasai/Palghar will stock these.

The flower is fairly easy to clean but I’ve heard of a few people being allergic to  touching them (apparently causes itching). They need to be cleaned very carefully though, since most parts of the flower are toxic… Only a part of the fleshy stamen is edible.

   
As you’ll see I the below pictures, the petals and stems need to be discarded. Of the remaining fleshy edible part, very carefully trim off all traces of the yellow dotted bit. Pretty as they are, a small amount of the yellow bits are capable of inducing anywhere from a mild rash / throat itch to severe itching all over the body.

  
When it comes to ingredients like this (growing in the marsh, available only for a few days in the year, are toxic) I keep wondering about the first bloke who decided that this ugly thing was edible!! Hats off to him/her!

   
Once these are cleaned, chop them up and blanch them in a cup of water with a tbsp of tamarind extract. 

  
 
Now these are ready for use. If you’d like to freeze these, deep fry to a crisp in oil and store in an airtight container. They’ll easily last for a year.

To make this curry you’ll need the following ingredients –

Chopped and Blanched shewal – 1 cup

Chopped Onions – 1.5 cup 

Tamarind Extract – 0.5 cup

Red chilli Powder – 2 tsp

Parbhi Sambhaar – 2 tsp

Oil – 4 tbsp

Prawns (preferably karandi) – 0.5 cup

Coconut Milk – use half a grated coconut (thin second extract 1.5 cup & thick first extract 1 cup)

Besan – 2 tbsp (dissolve in thin extract and make a slurry)

Hing – 1 pinch

  
Method

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add a pinch of hing and chopped onions – sauté on a medium flame till the onions are pink (add some salt so that the water leaches out and they caramelise quicker)

   
Add the blanched shewale and tamarind and continue to fry stirring constantly for around 10 minutes.

   
Add the powdered masalas (red chilli and sambhaar) and continue frying till the oil separates and the mixture comes together. 

  
The entire process takes around 30-40 minutes. (You could even choose to cool and freeze the mix at this point instead of just the fried shewale – will last around 6 months)

   
The final cooked mix should look like this.

  
My mom claims that making a purée of this mix intensifies the flavour and also further reduces any chances of the residual  itchiness coming through – but I do know of families who use this mix as-is without caring to purée. But to follow the method used in our family, blend the mix once to a chutney like paste. 

  
Combine this with the thin extract besan slurry and bring to a bubbling simmer.

   
Add the prawns and the thick extract, adjust the seasoning and simmer gently for a couple of more minutes till the prawns are cooked through.

   
Serve once slightly cooled with steaming white rice. Tastes best with some crisp fried fish..

   

My personal favourite – some crisp fried suka bombil!

Prawn Patwad – the PP obsession with prawns continues…

There are many variants of this dish across the West Coast… Parsis refer to these as Patrel. They’re called अळु वडी in Marathi and Patrode in Konkani.

All variants are essentially colocasia (or taro) leaves stuffed with a spiced besan filling and use tamarind to negate the toxic effects of the oxalates present in them (which may cause allergic reactions ranging from a minor throat itch to anaphylactic shock and seizures depending on the individual if eaten raw.

Yet this is a delicacy widely enjoyed by many across India… Cooking the leaves minimises the toxic effects and the use of tamarind renders them completely harmless.

Like all things #pathareprabhu these are non-veg and made with a stuffing of minced meat, deboned bombil or as in this recipe with prawns.

Warning: this is not a quick fix recipe. Needs some time and patience, not too difficult and simply delicious!

Ingredients: (for 1 roll)

Colocasia leaves – 5 nos (there are 2 variants commonly available in the markets, the tender green ones which are used to make a curry and the purple stemmed ones which are used in making these patwad)

Besan – 1 cup – traditionally one would use ground chana dal soaked overnight. I find that the coarse besan available in Marathi stores (used for laddoos) works really well and reduces effort significantly

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Dhania and Jeera powders – 1 tsp each

Red Chilli Powder and Parbhi Sambar – 1 heaped tbsp each

Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Tamarind pulp – use a lime sized ball and extract pulp. You will need around 4 tbsp

Onion – 1 finely chopped

Coriander – 1 cup finely chopped

Karandi (tiny prawns) – 1/2 cup de-shelled and cleaned (if using large prawns, just chop them fine)

Oil – 1 tbsp for the dough and for deep frying

Salt to taste

Water as required

Method

Mix all the masala powders (turmeric, dhania, jeera, red chilli, sambar)  and add some water to make a stiff dough.

This needs to rest for a couple of hours (2 at least) so that the besan soaks well.

Add the onions, prawns, salt, a tbsp of oil and a tbsp of tamarind pulp and enough water to make a paste from the previously stiff dough. The paste has to be a spreading consistency (just slightly stiffer than say a kanda bhajia batter).

On a large flat surface use a rolling pin to flatten out the taro leaves. These have several prominent veins which may get in the way of rolling the ‘unda’ (patwad roll).

Use the largest leaf first – this should preferably not have any tears or cracks. Lay out the flattened leaf bright shiny side face-down on a flat working surface.

Splash the leaf surface with a tbsp of tamarind pulp and spread evenly (like you would butter a slice of bread).

Next spread out an even layer of around 2 tbsp of the besan-prawn paste over the leaf.

Use a smaller leaf and stick this on top of the first leaf. The second leaf (again shiny side face down, veiny side face up) needs to be inverted over the first leaf (you’ll now have tipped ends of the leaves on either side.

The next step is optional and I find it really helps in sealing the besan paste in the final roll.

Tear off one leaf and stick bits onto the exposed part of the first leaf (refer image below) till the entire exposed besan is covered  with leaf.

Repeat the same ‘paste spreading’ procedure 2-3 times to yield a roll with 3-4 entire leaves and bits of the 4th or 5th leaf.

Now carefully fold in the open sides to ensure that there is no open edge at the sides.

Start folding the leaves with stuffing into a tight roll.

Steam this roll in a steamer for around 20 minutes. Insert a sharp knife into the centre- if it comes out clean – you know it’s done…

What you see in this image is a beautiful antique steamer (fully functional) which belonged to my  Aaji and is at least 75 years old.

Let the steamed rolls cool completely before using them any further. If you try to cut them while they’re still warm, they tend to break.


Cut the cooled rolls into 1 cm thick slices.


Deep fry the slices over a medium flame till they’re golden brown and crisp.

Enjoy these crisp packets of goodness with some fresh green chutney and / or ketchup (the purists will kill me for the ketchup… But they really go quite well)

P.S. – you may notice that a lot of these images look professionally shot… Well they are. These images are courtesy APB cook studio where this batch was prepared as part of the buffet lunch catered by yours truly at their Culinary legacy series’ Maharashtrian Mejwani event, put together by their Chief Foodie – Ms. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal and her team.

Please do visit the APB Cook Studio Facebook page for more pictures and details of the grand event held last week.

And last but not the least, the first image of the fried patwad were clicked by my dear friend and blogger Sassyfork, without whom I wouldn’t be part of this event…  Do visit these pages for details on the event.

खिम्यातली भरली वांगी… Eggplant cooked in mince… 

 Around this time of the year if you visit the vegetable markets in Mumbai, you may chance upon this white variety of eggplant aka baingan. My wife’s been curious about these for the longest time since growing up in Pune, she’d never had these as a kid. 

  
Here’s a dish I made with these last week and added it to my wife’s list of strange (for her) list of #PatharePrabhu vegetables cooked with a non-veg ingredient still retaining the character of the veggie… 

This is not a traditional recipe… It’s my take on a lost recipe my Aaji would make many years ago (using the same 2 core ingredients)!

Ingredients 

White brinjals aka eggplant – 1/4  kg (any small variety brinjal will do)

Keema (minced goat mutton)  – 1/4 kg

Besan or Ground Chana Dal – 4 tbsp

Onions – 2 nos chopped fine

Green chillies- 2 nos chopped fine

Coriander- a small bunch 

Hing – a pinch

Red chilli powder 

Turmeric 

Parbhi Sambar powder

You’ll need around 1/4 kg of these small white brinjals… Prepare them for the recipe by getting rid of the stem and green bits on them (the stalks)

Mix together a chopped onion, some soaked and ground chana dal or besan, a finely chopped chilli, a handful of chopped coriander, a tsp of tamarind paste. Stuff this mix into the brinjals (slit them with a criss-cross cut without cutting all the way through. 

  

This is how they’ll look once stuffed – ready to cook with your kheema (goat mince)…

  

Heat a tbsp of oil, add a pinch of hing and sauté a finely chopped onion in this. Once the onion is translucent, add half a tsp haldi and a tsp each of red chilli powder and Parbhi sambar. Fry this for a minute over a medium flame.

  

Add around 1/4 kg mutton mince to the sautéed onion and masala, a good glug of water and the stuffed brinjal.

  

Add some chopped coriander, cover and cook till the mince and brinjals are cooked through. 

   

Adjust the gravy to a consistency you desire and serve hot… 

I like this slightly runny with some Steamed white rice or slightly dry with chapatis…

Unusual for sure … Ridiculously easy to cook and great tasting