Khara Sev /Shevu and Deepawali Thindi

Every Deepawali I make loads of goodies to be shared with loved ones and friends. This time on the menu were the usual suspects Kajjaya, Godi Laddu , Seven cups and savory debutantes- Chakkli and Khara Shevu.  Typically either my mother or my MIL would send me Chakkli flour and I did make Chakkli. This time around no one came from India this past year nor did we visit home. So I had to make it myself. Mom suggested me an easy method. I followed it and viola, I had prepared some rustic looking super crunchy Chakklis. Yum.

For now it is Khara Shevu. I do not know why it should be called Shevu, when Sev sounds better. But it is one of those unexplained phenomenons where it might sound weird but tastes fabulous. The best part  of this snack is that even though it looks very complicated, it is rather easy to prepare and also it does not absorb a lot of oil while frying. I love the effect it has on my Deepawali platter.

We will need,

Kadale Hittu / Besan 1 measure
Rice flour 1/4 measure
Ajwain or Jeera (1/2 tsp per cup of Besan)
Salt and chilli powder to taste
Hing a dash
Oil to deep fry

  • Heat the oil in a wok. 
  • Stir in all the ingredients in a wide mouthed steel/glass bowl. Make a well in the center.
  • Once the oil is hot, ladle about 1/4 cup of hot oil into the well in the flour. 
  • Stir the flour carefully to incorporate the hot oil into the flour. 
  • Pour in water a few tablespoons at a time to make a firm dough.
  • Oil the Khara shevu mould. Break orange sized balls of dough and stuff it into the mould. Press the mould to squeeze the khara shevu into desired shape.
  • Gently lower the Khara shevu into hot oil and deep fry till golden brown in color. Remove and drain it over layers of paper towel. 
  • Store it in air tight containers for up to two weeks. I am sure it would not last that long though.

Cranberry Jeera Rice

It is not that I love cranberries. It is just that I happened to buy a bag impulsively at Costco and struggled to finish it until I realized that they could be used everywhere we traditionally use raisins. In fact there are dishes especially the savory ones which gets better with cranberry because of the tartness in the background. It worked especially well in Jeera rice. The color of the cranberries also make the dish pop and festive! So here comes Cranberry Jeera Rice.
We will need,

Basmati Rice 1 cup
Ghee 2 tbsp
Jeera 1 tsp
Cardamon 2
Green chillies 3-4 (slit)
Dried Cranberries a generous handful
Salt to taste
Scallions 2-3 chopped

  • Wash the rice in several changes of water and soak for 15-30 minutes and drain.
  • Heat the ghee in a thick bottom pot or pressure cooker.
  • Throw in the whole spices and the green chillies. Once the spices stop sizzling, throw in the cranberries. Saute for a few seconds and throw in the rice. Stir gently to coat the rice with ghee and is translucent. 
  • Pour in about 1.5 to 2 cups of water (depending on how soft the rice is desired).
  • Adjust salt, cover and cook till the rice is done.
  • Garnish with chopped scallions before serving. Serve it with Sorekayi Kofta Curry .

Kesar Peda

It is the time of the year to go crazy over shopping. Usually by this time I would be having my shopping list ready, would have checked the best prices for the stuff on my list and have a mental map of stores to hits on black Friday. But this time around no such list and I have not even looked for the black Friday flyer. What is wrong with me? Have I grown out of retail therapy? or have I reached some sort of saturation buying stuff that I do not need all because they were on sale? or is it that I have grown slightly more sensible? or that I am just trying to be very sensible right now and end up buying cart full of stuff on the actual day (and be stupid!). No straight forward answers for now, will have to wait and watch.
Till then it is more eating. The season of eating continues. Thanksgiving, quintessential celebration of over eating is round the corner. This time where ever we are (company and program not yet decided, but food will be plentiful wherever we decide to go) I am determined not to over eat. (The probability of which will be ever so slight, unfortunately).  These were some Pedas I made the other day. They were Yummy and ran out pretty fast. They are not uniform. I should have paid more attention to the size. But does it not scream "HOMEMADE" and no one will asked me if I made them. It is quite obvious that you do not get Pedas of differing size/shapes in store. Happy eating everybody.

We will need,

Ghee 3-4 tbsp
Ricotta cheese 2 lbs
Milk Powder 1 cup
Sugar 1-2 cups (I used a little over one cup. But if you prefer your Pedas sweet, use 2 cups or more)
Saffron a generous pinch (crushed)
Milk 2 tbsp
Food color (optional, I do not use food color)
Cardamon 2 (shelled and the seeds crushed)
Pistachios 4-5 for garnish (finely chopped)

  • Freeze the ricotta for a day and thaw it on the kitchen counter for a few hours. By doing this we can easily separate the whey from the milk solids and making Pedas will be faster. 
  • Line a colander with multiple layers of cheese clothes.Pour the ricotta over the colander and drain as much whey as possible.
  • Heat ghee in a non stick pan. Once the ghee is warm, throw in the ricotta, milk powder and sugar. The mixture will be very loose but will thicken pretty fast.Keep stirring constantly to make sure the mixture is not burning.
  • Heat the milk till it is pretty warm and soak the saffron in the warm milk.
  • Once the ricotta mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan, stir in the saffron and crushed cardamon.
  • Remove from heat and once it is cool enough to handle, pinch lime sized (or smaller/bigger) balls of Peda and flatten it slightly between the palms of your hand. 
  • Garnish the Pedas with chopped pistachios. It will last a couple of days at room temperature or about a week in the refrigerator.

Bendekayi Huli Gojju

Deepavali is just round the corner. Wishing you all and your families a very happy Deepavali. This year as usual most of my Deepavali 'tindi' is ready. Just Kajjaya needs to be fried. I will update my Deepavali thali very shortly. Like I said in my previous posts and all my posts at this time of the year, this is my favorite part of the year. It is all about feasting, celebrating with friends and family and a whole lot of cooking. What is there to not love about it! I ending cooking the entire weekend. I was physically tired after standing at a stretch for hours. But at the end of the day I was so happy that I was able to finish everything that I had in mind. The tediousness only added to the festive mood. That is how you should end up feeling on a festival. In fact when I was young and my mom would work crazy during festivals like these, I would ask her to stop being so crazy. Back then my point was if you cannot relax what is the whole point of a holiday? But now I sort of get what she was up to. Now I really do not feel festive if I did not do my share of shopping-cleaning-cooking and getting tired routine. That is what festivals are all about.

Now for some Bendekayi..Bendekayi aka Okra aka Lady's finger is my favorite vegetable. I love them in all form. Bendi-do-Pyaza, Tawa-Bhindi, Bindi-Masala, Bendekayi gojju, chutney, raita, anything and everything! So when ever I find good Bendekayi, I am sure to buy some. This time around I was in a playful mood and tried something slightly different from my usual favorites.

We will need,

Bendekayi/Bendhi 1 lb cleaned and trimmed
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Hing a dash
Ginger grated 1/2 tsp
Green chillies 4-5 (adjust according to taste)
Dhania powder 1/2 tsp
Tamarind extract 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste

  • Heat ghee in a saute pan. Throw in the mustard seeds, Jeera and hing. Once they splutter, throw in the green chillies and the ginger. Saute for a brief second 
  • Throw in the Bendi. Saute till the stickiness disapper. Keep moving the Bhendi on medium high flame.
  • Once the Bendi is no longer sticky, throw in the chilli powder and dhania powder. Saute for a few seconds and then stir in the tamarind extract along with 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and cook to reduce the water a bit. 
  • Adjust salt and remove from heat once the Bhendi is slightly tender. Serve hot with rice /roti.