Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Chutney of Ripe Guava (Amrood- ki-Chutney)

Guava Chutney
Guava jelly, Guava cheese or Guava chutney or biting to freshly plucked guava, I love immensely. The sprawling branches of guava tree in our govt. house used to be laden with fruits from July to March every year and plucking fresh fruit to make these delicate goodies used to be most delightful. Of course one or two guavas used to be eaten before even they reached to my kitchen. The joy of plucking fruits from tree and savoring them is beyond description.
Chutney of guava has a roasted flavor and the coriander leafs, lemon juice enhances the nutritional value. Guava chutney is a great dip for nachos, pakodas, paranthas or accompaniment with regular Indian meal (We Indiand are very fond of chutney).

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 4-5 minutes (Roasting of Guava)
Servings: 100 gm. Chutney (Approx.)

Nutritional value: (Approximate values)
Cal.: 115
Total fat: 1..42 gm
Potassium: 625 mg
Sodium: 3mg
Carbs: 23gm
Dietary fibers: 69gm
Sugars: 15 gm
Protein: 8 gm
Micro nutrients Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, Iron

Ingredients Required For making Guava Chutney:
  • 150 gm. Guava (1 Medium size)
  • 1 Teaspoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 4-5 Sprigs of Coriander leafs
  • 1-2 Green Chilies (To taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Directions For Making Guava Chutney:
  • Wash and pat dry Guava.
  • Poke the guava with a fork and roast it on gas/oven till the outer cover of guava tirns black and it becomes soft. The juices will start coming out from the places you had poked it.
  • Let the roasted guava cool. During cooling the internal heat of guava will cook it further.
Roasted  Guava
  • Remove the blackened peel and give a wash to ensure all black is gone.
Roasted and Peeled Guava
  • Mas the cooked and cleaned guava and pass the mashed guava through a sieve, till all mashed pulp is collected and seeds are separated.
Roasted Guava Pulp to be used for chutney
  • Discard the seeds.
Roasted Guava seeds to be discarded
  • Wash coriander leafs and shred them. Cut the chilies to pieces.
  • Take
    • Guava pulp
    • Coriander leafs
    • Green Chilies
    • Salt 
in a grinder/mixer and pulse till soft, uniform mixture is obtained.
  • Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, and mix. (Do not pulse after adding lemon juice).
  • Store the chutney in a glass container. It can be stored for 15 days in fridge.
Guava Chutney
  • Enjoy Guava Chutney with Indian Stuffed paranthas/nachos/fried chicken/Fish and chips. The fruity flavor with tang of lemon makes the whole experience worth it.

  • Poke guava before roasting so that the steam formed in it during roasting escapes, and ensuring guava getting cooked right up to the core.
  • Do not try to peel the guava while it is hot, as this may cause hand getting burnt.
  • While peeling the roasted guava put it under running water for easier peeling.
  • The guava chosen for making chutney should be soft not hard.
  • When guavas are kept too long on shelf then they do not taste too good to eat, these can be made to chutney.
  • Check the hotness of green chilies and the sourness of the lemon juice before adding because too hot and sourn will spoil the fruity taste of chutney.
  • Do not pulse after adding lemon juice as the chutney will develop slight bitter atste.

Suggested Variations:
  • Instead of roasting guava can be boiled to softness and mashed without peeling, but the roasted flavor will be surely missing and much nutients will get leached into water while boiling.
  • If you feel the chutney has turned little sourer than your liking then add 1 teaspoon of powder sugar to it and mix.
  • Coriander sprigs can be replaced by 5-6 leafs of fresh mint. Since mint has a strong taste thus just too many leafs will over power the flavor of guava.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Lauki Ki dahi Wali Sabzi (Bottle Gourd savory)

Lauki Ki Dahi wali Sabzi
Lauki (Bottle gourd/calabash/Dudhi) is a vegetable having large amount of water and dietary fibers. It is easy to digest and has a slight sweet taste. Thought many people prefer peeling the Lauki before making the vegetable, it is advisable that choose tender bottle gourd for making vegetable and keep the peel on. The peel has micro-nutrients and dietary fibers. Even if you get the one with hard peel and do not wish to have grainy touch to your vegetable, peel it but do not throw the peel. The peel can be cut to fine strips and a good savory can be made out of it or the peels can be roasted in oven and made to good crisp side dish. Apart from sabji (savory) it can be used to make Koftas-Curry also. I prefer Lauki koftas make using Moong-dal flour, the Koftas come out crispier.
Lauki is not only used to make savory but good dessert like Kheer, Halwa and delicious healthy shake “Deli Milk Shake” http://jyotsna-pant.blogspot.in/2015/02/deli-milk-shake.html
The savory of Lauki can be made with or without adding curd/tomatoes. If sourness is not introduced to the sabji then it comes out a little on the sweeter side due to the sweetness of Lauki. Whatever way it is made Lauki sabji is very tasty and healthy. My daughter-in-law loves the Lauki I make using curd. She loves eating it with not only roti but with chawal (steamed rice) also.
Bottle gourd has tremendous health benifits. It is diuretic, cooling thus soothing to digestive system. Due to plenty of water content in it , it moisturises the skin internally and is reduces the chances of acnes.The fibers in peel help in absorption of water in elementary canal thus reduces the chances of constipation. 

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes (max.)
Serving: 4 Medium Servings

Nutritional Facts: Omiting Potato amount of Carb and calories can be reduced along with few micro-nutrients)
85 Cal
20.56mg Carb
9 gm. Protein
7 gm. Sugars
1.50 mg. Dietary fiber
25 mg. Calcium
o.25 mg. iron
6ug folates
10 mg Vitamin C
Vitamin K
45.5 mg Potassium
90.6 mg Sodium
0.25 mg Vitamin B6
12 mg. Magnesium
0.7 mg. Zinc

Ingredients Required for Making Lauki-Ki-Dahi Wali Sabji:
  • 500 gm. Tender Lauki (Bottle Gourd)

Bottle gourd
  • 1 Medium size Potato (Optional) (10 gm. approx.)
  • 1 Green Chili
  • 2-3 Sprigs of fresh Coriander leafs
  • 1 cm. Piece of Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ghee (Clarified Butter) Melted not solid
  • 1/2teaspoon Jeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 1/4Teaspoon Hing (Asafetida powder)
  • 1/4teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 200 gm. Thick slightly sour Curd (I use Skimmed milk curd) at room temp. 
  • 1-2 Sprigs of Fresh coriander leafs for garnish

Directions For Making Lauki-KI-Sabji:
  • Wash Coriander leafs, chili and ginger. Chop them finely.
  • Wash Lauki and remove any blemishes fron Lauki surface usinf knife.
  • Chop Lauki to small pieces.

Chopped vegetable 
  • In a pressure cooker take 1/2teaspoon of ghee and heat till very hot.
  • Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Once the seeds had spluttered add
    • Hing
    • Ginger pieces
    • Green chili pieces
    • Chopped coriander leafs
  • Cook for 1 minute with constant stirring. Aroma of spices will start emanating.

Spices and coriander leafs cooking 
  • Add potato pieces and cook for 2 minutes on low flame with stirring two or three times.

Potatoes added and cooked for 2 minutes
  • Add Lauki pieces and stir. Cook for 2 minutes with stirring 3-4 times, so that all spices mix with vegetable.

Lauki (Bottle gourd) added and cooked for 2 minutes
  • Add
    • Turmeric
    • Salt
  • Mix and close the cooker with the lid. Place the weight of cooker on the lid and cook on low flame for 5 minutes (Till it whistles once).

Turmeric and salt added
Ready for cooking on low heat in pressure
  • Switch off the heat and allow the vegetable to cool. Open lid, Lauki and potatoes will have cooked.
  • Mash the vegetable(mostly potatoes) slightly.

Cooked vegetable
After mashing cooked vegetable
  • Whisk  curd (which should be at room temperature) to smooth consistency.
  • Keep the cooker on high heat and add curd.
  • Mix curd and vegetable, and cook with constant stirring for minutes or so. Once the vegetable starts bubbling, switch off the heat.

Curd added and given a boil
  • Do not get startled by slight splitting of curd. This is a natural phenomenon. But if cooked too much after adding curd the curdling will be excessive and the appearance as well as the taste will not be too good.

Lauki ki sabzi ready to be garnished
  • Remove the sabji in a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leafs (Chopped or shredded).
  • Serve with Roti/Parantha or Rice as my daughter-in-law likes.

Lauki ki Dahi Wali sabzi

  • Curd should be at room temperature else it will split. 
  • Chop Lauki after you have done rest of the chopping because Lauki decolorizes if kept for long.
  • Do not chop Lauki first and keep it immersed in water, as the nutrients will leach out from Lauki into water.
  • If your Lauki has hard peel just scrape the upper surface, do not remove all the peel, in doing so you are loosing on important nutrients.
  • Remove the seeds only if they are hard, in any case good Lauki for savory is the one with soft interior.
  • Taste the chili before adding as some are too hot, and too hot chili will spoil the sweetness Lauki is associated with.
  • Ginger, chili and coriander leafs (Dhaniya patta) are added to the vegetable for flavor, do not over do them.
  • No water should be added to the Lauki in any stage as it is rich in juices and once it is in cooker the salt helps the juices to be released, Lauki and potatoes will cook in this juice itself.
  • Cooking should be done on low heat. Never on high or medium, else vegetable will get burnt.
  • Adding water will spoil the taste of Lauki sabji.
  • Potato is added to bring some natural starch along with nutrients to the vegetable, which binds the Lauki pieces together.
  • Never add curd or tomato before the vegetable is cooked.

Suggested Variation:
  • Ghee can be replaced with any cooking oil, though this vegetable tastes best when made in ghee.
  • Ghee or oil should be just enough to make the cumin seeds splutter, too much of ghee/oil will spoil the tatse and healthy benefit of Lauki.
  • Potato can be omitted, but the final outcome will be slightly different. The starch of potato binds the vegetable and curd together. Omitting potato will reduce calories and carb in vegetable.
  • Curd can be replaced with 50 ml. paste of tomato puree. If adding tomato puree, then cook the vegetable for 3-4 minutes after adding tomato puree so that the flavor of tomato mix nicely with Lauki.
  • 2 teaspoon ofroasted  flour (Wheat/Rice/Gram) can be added to curd before adding to the cooked vegetable mixture. This avoids curdling of curd. I prefer not to add it thus not shown in my recipe.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Vegetable-Biryani (Rice layered with veggies)

Ready for getting sealed
Mouth starts watering when we think of Biryani. Though biryani is associated with mutton and is a regular fair in festivities of hardcore non-vegetarian people, yet we Indians are so adept in Indianizing very cuisine and making a vegetarian version of non-vegetarian dishes. I have earlier blogged Mushroom–do-pyaja, and chili-mushroom, inspired by their non-vegetarian brethren aka mutton-do-pyaja and chili-chicken. These two preparations were instant hit with my family members who love their chili-chicken as well as mutton-do-pyaja.
For all those who wish to eat biryani but are pure vegetarian I am posting this recipe, with the aim that vegetarians enjoy this delicious way of cooking rice layered with vegetables. Vegans can omit ghee and milk, replacing ghee with oil and milk with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Slow sealed cooking (Dum) time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 6 large servings

Ingredients Required for Making Vegetable-Biryani:
  • 200 gm Basmati Rice
  • 100 gm. French Beans (10-15 in no.)
  • 100 gm. Carrot (1 large)
  • 100 gm. Capsicum (2 medium size)
  • 100 gm. Shelled peas (1 bowl of 200 ml capacity)
  • 100gm. Cauliflower (3-4 Florets)
  • 100 gm Onions (3 large)
  • 100 gm. Tomatoes (2 -3 medium size)
  • 10-15 nuggets of Nutrela (Soya nuggets)
  • 20-25 Fresh leafs of Mint
  • 8-10 Sprigs of Fresh Coriander
  • 50 ml. Milk
  • 6 Cloves
  • 2 Black Cardamoms
  • 2 One Inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 1-2 parts of star aniseed.
  • 2 Bay leafs
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 2 Teaspoon Ginger paste
  • 2 Teaspoon Garlic paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Jeera powder (Cumin powder)
  • 1 Teaspoon Turrmeric powerd
  • 5-10 Cashew nuts (optional)
  • 5-10 Almonds (optional)
  • 100 gm. Ghee (Clarified butter) / cooking oil
Directions For Making Vegetable-Biryani:
  • Soak the soya nuggets in water and keep aside.
  • Peel and cut onions into long thin slices. Take 10-12 tablespoon of these slices and keep aside for frying.
  • Wash and cut all vegetables except tomatoes and potato to long thin slices.
Some of the veggies for biryani
  • Cut potato to I inch piece.
  • Cut tomatoes finely.
  • Wash rice in flowing water.
  • In a thick bottom container take
    • Rice
    • 2 cloves
    • 1 black cardamom crushed
    • 1 Cinnamon stick
    • 1/2Teaspoon salt
  • Add water to the contents of container till the water level is 2-3 cm. above the rice.
  • Add 50 ml. of milk. Mix nicely and cook on high flame till liquid starts boiling. Stir softly once or twice.
  • Once liquid starts boiling, bring the heat to low and cover the container. Cook till the rice is partially cooked. (On pressing the rice grain between the two fingers it should not mash up completely but be slightly undercooked. Al Dante).
  • Drain off excess of liquid from the cooked rice keep aside for further use. (if rice grains are sticking to each other pass room temperature water through cooked rice to remove surface starch).
Rice cooked for biryani
  • While the rice is cooking, in thick bottom wok take 75 gm. ghee and fry the onion slices kept for frying till they are golden brown.
  • Fry the nuts to golden brown.
  • In the ghee left after frying add
    • Remaining cloves
    • Bay leaf
    • Pinch of Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon stick
    • Crushed one black cardamom
  • Cook on low heat till the spices start spluttering.
  • Immediately add slices of onion and cook till they become transparent.
Onion and whole spices cooking
  • Add paste of garlic and cook on low flame for a minute with continuous stirring.
  • Add ginger paste and cook on low flame with constant stirring for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes and cook with ocassional stiring till tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
Onion and tomatoes cooked with ginger garlic paste
  • Squeeze water completely from Nutrela (soya nuggets) and cook on mmedium flame for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring.
  • Add potatoes, stir and cook on medium flame for a minute or so.
  • Add all vegetables except capsicum and peas and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add capsicum and peas and mix. Cook for 1 minute.
All veggies added and being cooked
  • Add
    • Salt
    • Red chili powder
    • Turmeric
    • Garam masala
    • Jeera powder
    • Finely chopped coriander leafs
    • Shredded mint leafs
  • Mix and cover the container.
Spices added to veggies
  • Let the vegetable mixture with spices cool.
Partially cooked veggies for Biryani
  • In a thick bottom container having good lid put 10 gm. ghee and heat till it melts.
  • Put a layer of rice and press it slightly.
  • Mix the vegetables nicely and then put one layer of vegetables on the top of rice.
Veggies over first layer of rice
  • Repeat till all vegetables are finished.
Second layer of rice over veggies
Last layer of veggies layered
  • Last layer should be of rice.
  • Sprinkle 10-15 ml of milk/water on the top layer of rice.
  • Pour the remaining ghee after melting it, evenly on the top of rice layer.
  • Decorate the top layer with jeera powder, turmeric and green chili.
Layering done ready to be sealed
  • Place the lid on the container and seal with wheat dough.
Sealed and ready for slow cooking
  • Heat a Tawa (iron plate) on the gas and keep the container with rice and vegetable on it.
  • Cook on low flame without disturbing for 30-40 minutes. (Time factor depends upon the heat your cooking stove gives in low heat)
  • Switch off the gas and leave the container on tawa.
Biryani Cooking on low heatover Tawa
Biryani Ready to be served
  • This biryani can be made by baking also.
  • Layer the veggies and rice as said above in a baking dish cover with aluminum foil and seal with wheat dough. Bake at 180 degree centigrade for 15-20 minutes and then switch off the oven.
First layer of rice over ghee
Layering being done
Ready for getting sealed
  • Leave the dish with biryani in oven for 10 minutes the heat of oven will cook it nicely.
  • When ready for meal, break the seal and garnish the piping hot biryani with fried, golden color onion slices, cashew nuts, almonds.
  • Serve with Curd/ raita, papad salad and achar (Pickle).

Vegetable-Biryani with pickle and raita
  • The ratio of rice to vegetables should be 1:2 (minimum) . More the vegetables better the taste of biryani.
  • Do not add pumpkin, gourds, to the biryani as they turn mushy and spoil the biryani.
  • If you wish to add brinjal (Egg plant) then cut them to round slices and place them over the last alyer of biryani.
  • Do not overcook the vegetables as they will cook with rice also. Vegetables in biryani should be slightly crunchy.
  • Rice should be cooked to the state that when you press with fingers a grain in the center should feel under cooked.
  • Rice grains after cooking should be separated not sticking to each other, so excess water while cooking rice is always good. Extra water can be drained easily.
  • Pass cooked rice through water if starch of rice is causing the grains stick to each other.
  • For those who do not take onion and garlic it can be avoided.
  • Milk added to rice enhances the whiteness of rice and grains to separate after cooking.
Suggested Variations:
  • Nutri nuggets (Soya nuggets) can be replaces with pieces of cottage cheese.
  • In case cottage cheese is being used they need not to be fried or cooked before adding to the vegetable mixture.
  • Coriander leafs and mint leafs can be made to paste and added to veggies instead of chopping and shredding, this will give strong flavor of mint and coriander to biryani.
  • Vegans can replace milk with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and the squeezed lemon also can be added to the rice while cooking. Remove the lemon piece before layering.
  • Red, Yellow bell pepper can be added nutritive value and add color to biryani.


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