Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bombay Street Food Special #9 - Sev Puri

Yup that's right! You thought I had given up on my Bombay Street Food Series, didn't you? The good news is that I haven't. I just don't always remember to take a picture when I make some of these. This time I did. So I can finally share one of my favorites with you. Sev Puri - Sev is just the almost super thin fried noodle like crunchy topping and Puri the flat disc that it sits on. This Sev Puri falls into a broader category of street food called Chaat, which also includes Bhel Puri, Paani Puri and many more. I love them all. Infact everytime I go back home, I have to go get some almost the day I get there. There is only one vendor close to where I grew up that I will ever go to. No one can beat his Chaat in taste. I should check if he's willing to make an appearance on the blog, when I go there next. You have to be careful about where you get your Chaat fix from because of overall hygiene levels of street food in Bombay. But this guy, I can swear by. We've been frequenting his little stall since he started his business, about 30 years ago. If you're skeptical about enjoying these on the street or don't have access to a vendor like this, with a little planning you can enjoy a fantastic version at home.

This little treat is basically an Indian version of nachos, except that these are individually topped with all the fun stuff. The way you eat this is you pick up one Puri and try not to drop off any of the toppings and the whole things goes into your mouth at one go. What you end up with is an explosion of flavors and textures. It is literally a party in your mouth. To make these puris, you'll need to have some boiled potato at hand. You will also need a couple of chutneys. From time to time I make these chutneys at home (I'll add the link in the recipe below), but this time around I'd run out of the home made version and used store bought chutneys. You should be able to find all of the ingredients in your local Indian grocery store. I do hope you try these out. These are best eaten as soon as they are assembled, otherwise they tend to go soggy. You will also notice that your second and third attempts will be better than your first one, because these babies are all about a balance of flavors. Once you've tried them, you'll know what you want to increase or decrease the next time around. The quantities below are not fixed, you can add more or less of any of them to suit your taste. Each plate typically serves one and can easily be doubled or multiplied. The quantities below make 1 plate.

Sev Puri
Serves 1

6-7 puris (also called Papdi)
1 potato, boiled and thinly sliced
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tomato, finely diced
Mint Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Date and Tamarind Chutney (You can find the recipe here)
Fresh coriander, chopped
Some chaat masala / amchur (dried mango) powder
A few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice

Place your puris on your serving plate.

(These puris can be made at home. I haven't tried making them yet. For now, I use the store bought version. I get mine in packets that look like the one below).

Over the puris, arrange a layer of the boiled potato slices. Don't overload the puris. They will get difficult to manage.

Top that with the chopped onion. Use as much or as little as you like. But make sure you use some.

Top this with some chopped tomato.

Now add your green mint chutney. I would start of with small quantities of this as this is on the spicy side.

Now you add the Date and Tamarind Chutney. This is the sweet and tangy stuff, so feel free to add some.

The next layer uses sev. Sev is basically little fried crispy noodles made out of chickpea flour. Again, this can be made at home, but I haven't tried that yet. I simply use a store bought packet.

Add a layer of the sev to the puris.

It's almost done. But there are a couple of flourishes that will take this treat to a whole new level. Sprinkle the puris with a pinch of chaat masala / amchur powder. Use this sparingly as a little goes a long way. Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice. Again with the lime juice, less is more. You can add a bit, taste and add more if needed. However, if you add too much there is no way to balance it out. Lastly garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.

Serve immediately and get ready to be very popular with anyone you might serve this to.

There is only one way to eat these puris. You get a whole puri with its toppings in your mouth at one go.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Recipes for Diwali ... both sweet and savory

In India, the festive season is just around the corner, starting of with Dusshera and moving on to Diwali and finally ending the year with Christmas. So as you can imagine, things start getting pretty hectic right about now. If you are prepping for Dusshera or Diwali, I have a little something to help you with the food aspect of your prep. I have collated a list of much loved recipes from my blog that would be perfect on a platter of treats to share with family and friends.

Some of these are treats that you will see around the Diwali season, others are so popular, they make an appearance at both Diwali and Christmas. This list comprises of both sweet and savory treats that are easy to make at home. So if you are looking to make something this Diwali to share with your loved ones or, like me, you are in a land far away and are missing out on all these treats, the recipes below will help you re-create some of that deliciousness in your very own home.


Savory / Namkeen

I hope there's a little something here for everybody. 


Sunday, October 2, 2016

SRC: 2-minute Nutella Mug Cake ... with just 4 ingredients

I don't know what I'm most excited about - the SRC reveal, this 2-minute cake, the Nutella in it or that it uses just 4 ingredients. It's safe to say that I'm super happy with this recipe. For this month's SRC assignment I had Cathleen's blog, A Taste of Madness. Picking a recipe for this month's reveal was particularly tough. Cathleen loves baking and is a big fan of anything covered in chocolate, in a nutshell. After spending some time going through her blog, I think we could become good friends. I know we like the same kind of food. How do I know that? Its simple really. I wanted to make (almost) every single recipe I came across on her blog. Seriously, go over to Cathleen's blog and check it out. You can thank me later :) With great difficulty I narrowed my choices for this reveal down to her Coconut Oatmeal Cake, Homemade Caramels, this crazy Smores Brownie Pie, these Gooey Cinnamon Squares and the Nutella Mug Cake. After a lot of deliberation, serious deliberation, the Nutella Mug Cake won.

4 ingredients, a quick stir and 2 minutes later, your kitchen will smell amazing and you'll have a little mug of deliciousness in the form of this cake ready. This recipe was really the obvious choice for this reveal when I think of it, atleast subconsciously. My first mug cake recipe - this 2-minute Chocolate Mug Cake is one of the more popular recipes on my blog. And I know why. The appeal of instant gratification is hard to turn down. So if you lurve your Nutella, treat yourself to this Mug Cake.

2-minute Nutella Mug Cake

4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Nutella
3 tbsp milk

Whisk all the ingredients together. I find it easiest to whisk everything together in a bowl.

Pour the batter into a microwave safe mug.

Microwave for about 90 seconds and see if its done. If its not done, microwave in 30 second increments as needed.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Sweet Potato Brownies (Gluten Free)

I have finally gotten around to writing this post. For some reason these pictures have been lurking somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my computer and kinda got forgotten there. Today, when I was looking for something else, I came across them and realized I hadn't yet shared it with you. So it just had to be done.

We've been trying to be more conscious of what we eat now. No fad diets or deprivation, but we're trying to focus on making better choices. Let me be very clear here, there will still be baked goodies. And lots of regular ones too. All I'm saying is that I'm going to be more open to the slightly healthier variants too. For example, these brownies. I came across this recipe when I was looking for ways to use up a massive box of sweet potatoes I picked up at the growers market at Flemington. The only sweetener in it is maple syrup. The rest of the sweetness comes from the sweet potato and the dates. And that make me happy. I can enjoy a piece because I know whats in it. There are also no eggs in the recipe, so that will make my vegetarian friends from India (the ones that don't eat eggs) very happy. This recipe also uses raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder or chocolate. Though I'm pretty sure you'd be able to substitute them if you so wished. I hear raw cacao is purer and healthier. A quick blitz of ingredients in the food processor, a quick stir in of the dry ingredients and you're ready to bake. That's how easy it is to make these brownies.

Now, the verdict - These are nothing like the typical chocolate brownies you buy at the store or even make at home. They are equally delicious and have a nice gooey texture. They have a slightly different flavor from the sweet potatoes and kinda reminded me of a typical Goan sweet "Dodol" with minimal effort. So if you're up for trying out something a little different, give these sweet potato brownies a go. You won't be disappointed.

Sweet Potato Brownies
Recipe from: Deliciously Ella

2 medium to large sweet potatoes (approx 600g)
2/3 cup ground almonds (I used almond meal)
1/2 cup rice flour (You could also use buckwheat flour)
14 dates
4 tbsp raw cacao
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

You need to use cooked sweet potato for the recipe. You could either roast, boil or stem them till they are nice and soft. I wrapped them in foil and baked them while I had the oven on the previous night.

Peel the sweet potato and cut them into chunks and add them to a food processor along with the pitted dates. Process this you are left with a nice creamy mixture.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir together.

Add the sweet potato and date paste and mix this thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter in a lined baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or till a skewer pierced in the center comes out dry.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the brownies cool in the dish itself for about 10-20 minutes to set.

Take it out of the pan and let it cool down some more before cutting into pieces.


Monday, September 19, 2016


Finally, finally I got around to making these beauties. I've wanted to make these for a few years now. Yes, you heard me, a few years. See, here's something I have to admit. I have a 'must try' list of recipes that gets longer with time and I can barely decide which one to make first. So finally, while juggling with all of what life has to throw at me, I got around to make these cookies.

See, here's the thing. I've sorta lost my baking mojo recently. But, I'm glad to say that has changed with these cookies. I just woke up one day and decided that I was going to make them. They were really easy to make. I stuck to the recipe, or atleast that was the intention, but as luck would have it I didn't have the light brown sugar that this recipe calls for. I thought I did, but what I had was 2 packets of dark brown sugar. I was dead set on making these cookies and I wasn't going to let the brownness of the sugar get in the way :)  That is why these cookies don't look like the typical Snickerdoodles, but I'm sure that had no impact on the taste. These cookies were really good. I'm so happy that I finally got around to trying them out. They outer crust was perfect and cinnamony (pretty sure I just made that word up) while the inside was light and pillowy soft. Go ahead and try it out. It is a recipe that's perfect for the holidays.

I had almost forgotten how good it is to bake at home. Nothing compares to home baked goodies. Having found my absconding baking mojo, I hope to bake a few more yummies soon.

Recipe from: Cookies & Cups
Yields 20

1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (the original recipe calls for light brown sugar)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt (I just added a pinch since I used salted butter)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 3/4 cup flour

Cinnamon Sugar - 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper and set aside. You could use a silicone mat if you have one.

Beat the butter and sugars till light and fluffy. 

Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat again. Scrape down the sides while you're mixing the dough.

Add in the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon powder and mix well.

Add the flour and mix it slowly only till just combined.

In another small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon powder to make the cinnamon sugar and stir till well combined.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, measure about 2 tbsp of the cookie dough and roll into a ball.

Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar mix and place on the prepared cookie tray. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the tray.

Bake for 10 minutes or till the edges are slightly golden. The centers may seem undercooked but they will set as the cookies cool.

If you like your cookies crisper then bake for an additional 2 minutes.

I baked them for 10 minutes and the cookies were perfect.


This recipe has been linked with -
Hearth and Soul 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe

Back when I was in Bombay, Christmas time was always pretty hectic. Who am I kidding? Hectic doesn't even start to describe it. It used to be insanely manic. See I used to run a home based business and take orders for Christmas sweets. And come December, activity levels in the kitchen would kick into overdrive. Okay so you're probably wondering why I'm headed with this. Well during these insanely busy periods, I was fortunate enough to have my parents cook for us and on one such day my Dad brought over a bunch of yumminess and this Black Chana Fugad was one such dish.

A Black Chana Fugad is simple and humble dish. That being said, I loved it. What is this Black Chana Fugad? Black Channa is just Black (dark) chickpeas. Fugad is a Goan version of a stir fry with grated coconut. Now, I haven't been able to get the recipe that my Dad used, but with a little help from the internet, I found a recipe that actually came quite close. Maybe when I visit my parents next, I will get my Dad's version of the recipe, but for now, I'm happy to use this recipe. 

You could use canned black chickpeas if you can find any. I use the dried version. 

Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe
Recipe from: Tickle My Senses
1 cup (dried) black chickpeas 
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
8 curry leaves
5 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilly powder (this is a mild red chilly powder, if you don't have access to this use a smaller quantity of red chilly powder, to taste)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind extract
1 tsp jaggery / sugar
1/4 cup grated coconut
Salt, to taste

Wash the black chickpeas in water and drain a couple of times.

Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight (or about 8 hours). Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the chickpeas and use a large bowl because the chickpeas will expand in size.

Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas fresh water and drain again.

Place the chickpeas in the pressure cooker with the water level about 1 inch over the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 whole dried red chillies (preferable Kashmiri chillies) and pressure cook till tender.
**Every pressure cooker is different so I can't give you an accurate amount of time it will need to cook. I use a WMF pressure cooker and when the pressure builds to the gentle cooking pressure point, I turn it down to a simmer and leave it to cook for about 4 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, just cook the chickpeas in ample amount of salted water till tender. Use your manufacturers instructions to gauge how long to pressure cook the chickpeas.

Release the pressure and after the pressure has completely died down, carefully open the cooker.

Drain the chickpeas and reserve about a cup of the stock.

To make the fugad -

Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat.transclucent

Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.

Now add the curry leaves and crushed garlic cloves. (You just want the cloves bruised and popped open, you do not want to mince it or make a paste.)

Now add the onion and saute till soft and translucent.

Add the chilly, coriander, cumin, black pepper and turmeric powders and stir well.

Now add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook this till the tomato has softened a little.

Add the drained chickpeas and stir well.

Add the tamarind paste gradually and to taste. (You may or may not need all of it, depending on the tartness of the tomato you have used.)

Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock and let it all cook down for a minute or so.

Check for salt and add more, if needed.

Add the grated coconut and stir well. If you want more gravy you could add a little more stock.

We usually have this dish on the dry side, so we let the stock cook down completely.

Once the coconut has cooked for a couple of minutes, take off the heat and serve hot.

This dish goes beautifully with chapatis or rotis.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Oreo Truffles

I have a little confession. A few years ago, I used to not like Oreo biscuits very much. There!!! I said it. But wait, I must also say this. A few months ago, I sorta flipped a switch. I happened to try one again, and I must say, I didn't mind it at all. Don't ask me what happened or how it did, but I can now say I actually like Oreo biscuits. So it was time that I reworked what was originally a recipe that used Oreos, which, when I first made, I actually substituted with another biscuit. But recently, I made them again using the real thing.

Sometime in August, we were celebrating a couple of birthdays at work and I decided I was going to bring a batch of these to the celebration. I was a little skeptical of how they would be received, but I shouldn't have been. They disappeared. Not everyone had an opportunity to grab one, but some clever ones managed to get seconds, maybe thirds ;) Those that had a chance to try them out, absolutely loved them. So turns out I didn't have to worry about these at all. I've had a few people ask me for the recipe more than once. So I'm actually doing another post for it.

This is one of the easier treats I've made and if you have to take something sweet to a potluck, may I recommend making these. They will be an instant hit. Be warned, they are really moreish. You wont be able to stop at one.

Oreo Truffles
(Makes 1 dozen)

200g Oreo cookies (each packet is 137g, I just used 2 packets)
60g cream cheese
200g chocolate (I used 100g milk chocolate and 100g dark chocolate but you could use all milk or all dark or any ratio you prefer)
1/4 cup Candy melts (I used Yellow melts)

Blitz the cookies in a food processor till it reaches a fine crumb state. (If you don't have a food processor, place the cookies in a ziplock bag and pound on them using a rolling pin.)

Stir in the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.

Roll them into balls. Refrigerate them for an hour so that the firm up.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds and stir. Then as needed microwave in 30 second increments stirring inbetween till the chocolate melts. The stirring helps the chocolate melt.

Line a cookie sheet tray with parchment paper.

Dip the cookie balls in the melted chocolate. Using a fork, let the excess chocolate drip off and leave them to set on the parchment lined tray. You can serve them up as they are or decorate them with sprinkles or chocolate then do that at this stage and leave it to set.

If you want to use sprinkles to decorate them, sprinkle them on the truffles just after you dip them in chocolate.

If you want to drizzle some chocolate or candy melts over, microwave them in a microwave safe bowl according to the package instructions. Pour it into an icing bag or a small ziplock bag, snip off the tip of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the truffles. Leave to set.