Ria's Collection: January 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Pani Puri
Iam happily getting used to this. Being lazy and not cooking elaborate!I would love to be like this forever but sometimes when I think of my bloggie and it's future, I get excited and plan on cooking something different.A lot of times, cooking happens but I won't get the time to photograph what I cook. Therefore,my blog was inactive for a good part of this month :-D
Pani Puri
For the past few days, something was on my mind and I had to make it,as always, from scratch!It was our favourite Pani Puri! If you like Chaats, you will love Pani Puris! In India,it's usually sold by the plate (with a specific number of Puris on it) but when you make it at home, you are the one who decides how many puris should be on a plate! I should rather keep quite than blurt out the number of puris on my plate :-)

Of course, we shared it with our friends too! What's special in cooking something special and not sharing it with people you like? I must say, they all loved it.It was an instant hit with the two of us. The tangy spicy Pani (water) was so so good! This is a messy thing to eat and you have to eat it the messy way, with your fingers.
Pani Puri
This time, when Amma and I went to Delhi, we stopped by the India Gate and the first thing we did there was to eat Pani Puris from a roadside vendor. It was YUM!They store the Pani in earthenware pots so it remains very very cool,making this wonderfully spicy tangy crunchy thing super duper delicious! This is so so simple to make at home and this recipe is just plain wonderful!

Pani PuriRecipe Source: Manjula's Kitchen

For Puris
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c semolina/rava
About 1/4-1/2 c water

Method: Mix the dry ingredients together, in a bowl. Add enough water to it to form a smooth yet firm dough. Knead to make it soft,about a minute or so.Cover it with a damp towel and leave it aside for 10 mins. Form 60 tiny balls and roll out into small circles, around 2 inches in diameter. Keep these under a damp towel or else they will get dry.Fry them in hot oil. Add one circle at a time and press down with a slotted spoon till it puffs up, then turn it and let it continue frying while you add the next circle of dough.Remove when they turn golden brown in colour.Reserve.

For the Pani/Spicy Water
1c mint leaves
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp tamarind syrup
5 green chilies
1 tsp black salt
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
1/8 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp roasted cumin powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups water

Method: Blend all the ingredients with just enough water. Check for seasonings, it should be spicy. Strain the mixture and add the remaining water. Chill overnight for best results.

Assembly: You can use boiled channa/boiled and mashed potatoes for stuffing. Drizzle some Khatta Meeta chutney and top with some diced red onions, cilantro and sev.Dip into the spicy water and enjoy!
Pani Puri

I don't care whether it's summer or winter to have chaats! I am game for it anytime. How about you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Parippu Vada

Back while I was working, every evening we would have some snack sponsored by someone in our office. I used to wait for that time of the day because it always used to be something hot like a Pazhampori/ Ethakkappam/Banana Fritters,Potato Bondas or Parippu Vadas. Babu Chetan was the one who brought us these snacks and Shyja Chechy would bring in the tea. Ah! Those were the days! :-)
Parippu Vada

A few days ago, I was thinking about those tiny parippu vadas I used to have at work. Babu Chetan bought it from a tea stall which is very popular for their parippu vadas. They were really small but very crisp and tasty. There's a widespread talk among people that parippu vada is shaped in armpits! I am sure people were kidding when they told me that but while I was shaping the vadas today, I was smiling over that. Whatever! I shaped them in my palm and made sure they don't look alike as I wanted them to look rustic !
My own recipe

2 c Toor dal, washed and soaked for 2 hours
4 green chilies, chopped fine
5-6 pearl onions/shallots, chopped fine
1 sprig of curry leaves, torn up
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method: Drain the dal completely.Keep aside 1/2 cup of the soaked dal and grind the remaining soaked dal to a coarse paste without adding any water.Add the remaining ingredients and form small patties. Deep fry in hot oil.

It was crisp on the outside and soft inside, a perfect accompaniment for your chai! If you'd like, have a baby banana too, along with these...that's the way a lot of people prefer to eat.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Gulab jamun
If you noticed the title, I have mentioned that these Gulab Jamuns are made from scratch. It's just to avoid any confusions that I had when I was searching online for gulab jamun recipes. Many claimed it to be homemade (in the literal sense) and when I reached the recipe part,it asked for xyz brand of Gulab Jamun mix. I can get away with a readymade mix and I have done that many times before but knowing the person that I am, I have to make things at home, if it's possible :) I have searched high and low for a reliable source for it's recipe and have tried quite a few and I must say all of them were disasters. The main problems were a super sticky/stiff/dry dough or gulab jamuns not soaking the syrup.
Gulab Jamuns
Ateast once a week, there would be these experiments in our kitchen and when Jobin comes back home, instead of saying a 'Hello' it used to be 'This is the last time I'm ever going to try this!'. Everything went wrong but I never gave up. So after that, when he opened the main door,he would sniff, smile and say,'I thought last time was the last time!'.
Gulab jamuns
So after many a 'last' time, I got hold of a proportion which worked like a charm for me! You will have to be careful about the consistency of the dough or else it will break while frying.If that happens, add a little more flour to the dough and fry another one.
My own recipe

For the dumplings
1 1/4 c milk powder (Use Everyday- It's available at Indian grocery stores)
1/2 c all purpose flour/ maida
A good pinch of baking soda
3 tbsp cold butter
A few drops of cold milk (not more than 3 tbsp)

Method:Mix together milk together, flour and baking soda. Add the cold butter and rub it well into the flour.It will change the texture of the flour. Add milk little by little( you may or maynot need all of it) and form a smooth yet firm dough. Divide into 25 smooth small balls and deep fry in hot oil.Add the fried dumplings into hot syrup (recipe below) and leave aside for 30 mins.

The  oil should not be very hot or else the centre wouldn't be cooked completely. Add a ball of dough into the hot oil, it should settle at the bottom and rise slowly at the count of 10.That is the perfect temperature for frying the dumplings.

For the sugar syrup
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 water
5 green cardamom pods, crushed

Method: Boil together for 5 mins and keep warm on low heat.
Serve warm or chilled.It's delicious when served with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

You can flavour the syrup with Rose water too.

The end result was melt-in-your-mouth Gulab Jamuns. The centres were perfectly cooked and the syrup was well absorbed making the dumplings pleasantly sweet. We really love these homemade Gulab Jamuns,especially Jobin! If at any point you feel that the dough is breaking during frying, add some more flour to the dough and knead it in. Your problem will be solved! :-)
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