Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bhel!

This dish doesn't need an introduction. One of the oldest street foods around, bhel started many a street food lari (thela). And most of them, whether they are from Kashmir or Tamil Nadu, say Bombay bhel. As much as I love the street version my home made one is a favorite too. And its really quick and easy to make. Most of the items in the dish have a reasonable shelf life. And chutneys, tomatoes and onions are usually a staple in the pantry and fridge. We usually make it on Sundays when a leisurely lunch takes long to digest. 
Kurmura, in the street version are in the raw form. I season them for extra flavor. The sev I use is also of the thicker variety, not the typical nylon sev available outside. Peanuts and anardana add a crunch and sweet, juicy bite to the dish. 

Ingredients:

A big bowl (6 cups) of kurmura, (puffed rice), about 3 cups per person
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 cup thick sev
1 large tomato, diced fine
1 large onion, diced fine
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
Tamarind chutney
Coriander, chopped fine (optional)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds, anardana (optional)
1/3 cup fried peanuts (optional)
Salt

Heat oil in a large wok. Add jeera and when it starts to crackle, add turmeric, chili powder and salt. Then add the kurmura and mix well. The entire batch should be evenly golden in color. 
In a large mixing bowl, put the kurmura, tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, potato, onions, tomato, peanuts, anardana, coriander and sev. Save some anardana, sev, onions and tomato for garnish. Mix evenly but with a light hand. You can use a spoon or mix by hand. Taste and adjust for taste. Serve in a bowl and garnish with sev, anardana, tomatoes and onions. Eat immediately else it will get soggy. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Green Coriander Chutney

Looking at my posts I was thinking how did I miss the evergreen Chutney? The one which finds place at every meal - an elaborate thali, a garam samosa or dhokla and even street food like sandwich and bhel. Surely I have to post that. The prep for coriander is the same as in this chutney, a few delicate stalks are fine. And as always the fresher the ingredients, the better tasting chutney it will be. The secret ingredient in this dish is ganthiya (Gujarati snack item made out of gram flour), which gives it a thick texture and some body. If you dont have that, you can also add some roasted gram (chana). So here goes...

Ingredients:

1 thick bunch coriander, washed, cleaned and plucked
1/2 inch stalk ginger
1-2 green chilies (1 for medium 2 for hot!)
2-3 thick ganthiya (or handful of thin ones)
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of sugar
Salt
Water to grind

Place all the items (except water) in a blender and pulse a few times. Add a little water and blend till it is a fine paste. Add water as required. Enjoy!

Variation:
If you are making this as a side for a meal, add a small clove of garlic for added flavor. It tastes good with hot items too but avoid it when eating with bhel or sandwich or sev puri.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mini Pizza

This pint size version of the large pizza makes a delightful presentation. The method to make it is simple and when paired with some interesting variety of toppings, it will find a place in any party menu. It is loved by young and old alike.

A couple of pointers for when you make these. Chop the vegetables in a small dice. This will allow the vegetables to be spread well. Roll out a large pizza base and use a cutter to make uniformly sized mini bases. Match your toppings to the type of party you are throwing. 

Here are some options:
These are great at birthday parties. Here are some topping options for older kids and adults.
Green Peppers and Onions
Red peppers, Mushrooms and Olives
Pineapple and Jalapeno
Tomato and Spinach

These are great for an fusion or a Indian get-together. For a twist, use naan instead of pizza base.

When it is an event centered around cocktails or sangria, this will be a hands down winner. Be careful to make the pizza small enough to be eaten in only two bites.
Hope you make these at your next party!
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