Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Sweets

Motichur Ladoo – Boondhi Ladoo Simplified!

Motichur Ladoo.
Motichur Ladoo.

The very first time that I tried this ladoo was when I got a hamper for New Year`s , from a client organisation, while I was working with ICICI Bank. The ladoo had tiny little miniscule pearls all held together with the gooeyness of sugar and ghee to make one heavenly ball of niceness!  Another time, I tasted these ladoos when my brother in law brought a large pack from Kanpur. This version was redolent with the aroma of ghee and the centre was so smooth and goeey with almost no “boondhis”!  My daughter S fell for them and had been pestering me to make them ever since.  When I actually started looking for inspiration on the internet, I realised that Tarla Dalal`s version was pretty much standard and all other version were inspired by hers.  As we do not have the fine Boondhi Ladle that is required for this version, Vah Chef suggests that you sprinkle some hot water so as to crumble it down and then shape them in to ladoos. This version is much more forgiving than the Traditional Boondhi ladoo which requires a certain discipline in terms of temperature of the sugar syrup, consistency of the syrup and of course fashioning the ladoos ! Try Motichur Ladoos this Diwali and you`ll love it!

INGREDIENTS:

For the Boondhi Batter:

1 1/2 Cup of Besan sifted.

1 1/2 Tbsp FIne Rava sifted.

A pinch of Baking Soda.

A pinch of orange food colour.

For the Sugar Syrup:

1 1/4 Cup Sugar.

1 1/2 Cup Water.

Rose Essence.

A pinch of orange food color.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powder.

For the Garnish:

Almond Slivers.

Saffron Strands.

PREPARATION:

  • In a dry bowl combine the sifted besan, rava, baking powder and the orange food colour and add about a cup of water to get the desired consistency.
  • The batter should not be runny or too tight. Set aside.
Boondhi Batter.
Boondhi Batter.
  • For the sugar syrup add sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pan and allow to boil. When it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it stirring every few minutes until it reaches one string consistency.
  • TO check for ONE STRING  consistency, if the syrup between your index finger and thumb stretches to form a string, you`ve reached the desired consistency.
  • Add rose essence, almond slivers and cardamom powder and mix it in. Keep aside.
  • Start making the boondhis by pouring a ladle full of the boondhi batter on to a perforated ladle and press it in to the hot oil.
  • Keep the flame high and make sure to remove the fried boondhi balls before they get too crisp. IF the balls become crisp, then it alters the texture of the motichur ladoos.
  • Dunk them all in to the warm sugar syrup and mix it well to coat the boondhi balls.
  • Wipe the base of the perforated ladle once its been used to make the boondhis  and then re-use.
  • Continue and complete all the boondhis and then add this to the warm sugar syrup and mix well.

ASSEMBLING THE LADOOS:

  • Boil about 3 tbsp of water in a sauce pan and keep it hot.
  • By now the boondhis would have absorbed all the sugar syrup and be not too firm.
  • Add  all the boondhis in to a mixer or food processor , add the boiling water and give it a quick pulse.
  • Transfer the crushed boondhis to a plate and start making ladoos.
  • Fashion ladoos and garnish with almond slivers.
  • Motichur Ladoo is ready and is best eaten warm!
  • Happy Deepavali wishes to one and all.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Restaurant Style Malai Kofta ( Fried Vegetable Balls in Creamy Sauce)

Restaurant Style Malai Kofta.
Restaurant Style Malai Kofta.

Malai Kofta is a rich mughlai dish which consists of panneer/vegetable balls floating in a tomato cashew based gravy. It`s garnished with heavy cream/ malai and served with Jeera Rice, Naan, or Parathas. My older daughter S loves Malai Koftas from restaurants and would never ever give it a pass. Comfort food on weekend nights are almost always Malai Koftas with steaming hot Peas Pulav or TIranga Pulav. This is a combination of methods and madness from many sources which has been adapted to suit my taste buds. The panneer from this recipe has been omitted and I have used simply boiled potatoes as I was out of panneer completely.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE KOFTA:

3/4 Cup boiled potatoes.

1/2 Cup boiled carrots, beans, peas.

1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs. ( I simply pulsed one loaf in the mixer)

2 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Cumin Powder.

3/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

10 Cashews broken in to little pieces.

Finely chopped cilantro.

Salt to taste.

INGREDIENTS FOR MALAI SAUCE:

1 Onion chopped fine.

3 Tomatoes grated or chopped fine.

3/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Ginger.

3/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Garlic.

A pinch of turmeric.

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala.

2 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Cumin Powder.

3/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

10 Cashewnuts powdered.

1/4 Cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream or Malai.

1 Tsp Kasoori Methi.

Salt to taste.

1/4 Tsp Garam Masala.

2 Tsp OIl.

1 Tsp Somph.

PREPARATION OF KOFTA BALLS:

  • Boil vegetables like peas, carrots and beans in the pressure cooker with very minimal water and a little salt. I closed the veggies with a lid and placed the potatoes on top of the plate with just sprinkling water.  The steam is sufficient to cook the veggies.
  • Once cooled, peel the potatoes and mash them seperately. Collect all the remaining boiled veggies – carrots, peas, beans etc and put it inside a thin cotton cloth or a muslin and squeeze out all the water until dry. Collect the water to use in the gravy.
  • To the bowl of mashed potatoes, add the boiled veggies and all the other ingredients needed for Koftas and mash and mix in to a ball.
  • Divide in to little balls large or small enough to fit inside your appam pan.  Alternately you could also deep fry them but I prefer using the Aappam Pan for frying the same.
Kofta Balls fried in the Abelskiver Pan.
Kofta Balls fried in the Abelskiver Pan.
  • Pour oil in to the appam depressions and allow to heat.
  • Shallow fry all the kofta balls on medium heat until they are done on all sides and remove with a spoon on to a dry tissue towel.
  • Alternately, you could roll the kofta balls in cornflour or bread crumbs and deep fry in oil.
Koftas!
Koftas!

PREPARATION OF MALAI SAUCE:

  • In a large heavy bottomed kadai, add about 2 tsp of oil. Season with a pinch of jeera and add the finely chopped onions.
  • Add a pinch of salt and saute the onions until brown. The slow browning of the onions are very important to the taste of the sauce.
  • Now add the freshly grated ginger and garlic and allow to saute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, dhania powder, and cumin powder and salt and saute until all the water is evaporated and its well cooked and mushy.
  • If at this point you have inadvertently increased the heat of the stove and you feel that its slightly dry, add a couple spoonfulls of water.
  • Set aside to cool and puree to a smooth consistency.
  • In the same kadai, add more oil, season with shah jeera or somph and add the ground paste.
  • At this point, make sure that the flame is on medium low as the paste might start splattering all around.
  • Add about 1 cup of water, heavy cream / half & half and the ground cashew powder and swirl in to mix.
  • When the sauce bubbles slightly switch off heat and add crushed kasoori methi.
  • When its time to serve , drop the fried and crisp kofta balls in to the Malai sauce, garnished with chopped cilantro and serve.

NOTES:

The Kofta Balls can be made with any available ingredients on hand – Panneer, peas, carrots, beans, quinoa etc. The proportion also can be tweaked around, as long as you are able to fashion it in to a smooth ball.

The Malai sauce has to be ground to a smooth consistency, and not so much like in the picture. My daughter likes the texture and thats the reason my version is not ground all the way.

Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Sweets

Arisi Puttu – Traditional Navarathri Neivedhyam.

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Traditional Arisi Puttu is a very special offering for Devi during Navarathri. It`s also an auspicious dish, which requires a lot of care and patience. Elders of the family say that to make “puttu” is almost like bringing up a daughter – it requires patience, care and nurturing!!! I learnt this dish from my husband`s mother this summer and I had been wanting to make it at our home for Navarathri. I have also had multiple requests from a couple of my readers, so go ahead and try this out folks. Its a little time consuming, but very tasty and wholesome.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Raw Rice.

3/4 Cup – 1 Cup Jaggery.

1/4  Cup Grated Coconut .

1 Tsp Cardamom.

A pinch of turmeric powder.

1/2 Cup Water.

Handful of cashew broken.

1 Tsp Ghee.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the raw rice for about an hour and rinse and drain all the water. Spread it on a large dry towel and allow it to dry for about an hour or so. If you are trying this in cold climates, the trick is for  the towel to be dry and so should all the rice particles.
  • Gather the rice and powder it in the mixie until smooth. In India my Mother in law had ground it in the mill. I did not have that luxury and had to make do with the Prestige Mixer.
  • At this point, the flour should look like this:
Ground Rice Flour.
Ground Rice Flour.

 

  • Now transfer the ground rice flour to a dry kadai and roast it on a medium flame until the flour becomes a dull reddish brown color.
  • Let the flour cool.
  • Meanwhile boil about 3/4 cup of water with a pinch of turmeric.  Allow to cool slightly.
  • Sprinkle the boiled water little by little on to the roasted flour and mix to moisten the flour, Do not make the flour wet, It should still be moist yet not clumpy.
Crumbled Flour before passing through Sieve.
Crumbled Flour before passing through Sieve.

 

  • To aerate the flour and remove lumps, we pass it through a fine seive and use your fingers or a ladle to push the flour through.
  • Collect in a newspaper.

 

  • Now steam the moist flour in idli plates for about 7 mins of high steam. No need of greasing the plates.
  • When done scoop out the flour, crumble and allow to cool in a plate.
Getting ready to be steamed!
Getting ready to be steamed!

 

  • Dissolve 3/4 cup of jaggery in about 3 tbsp of water and keep stirring for about 7-10 minutes, This is an approximate time, as my stove is an electric glass top. A regular LPG stove could take a lot less time.
  • The jaggery has to get to  a “ball” consistency – i.e  add a drop of the boiling jaggery in to a bowl of water, and try to make a ball of that jaggery. If you are able to do this, switch off the flame , add cardamom , mix and pour out the jaggery on to the roasted and steamed flour.

 

  • Add the roasted cashews and slowly mix in the jaggery in to the rice flour.
  • You will see sandy smooth sweet light airy Arisi Puttu. Garnish with the grated coconut which is either fresh, or lightly roasted.

NOTES:

  1. This is a very traditional preparation and is also very delicate, so it takes some patience to get it right. The idea to get grainy sandy “puttu” which is light and not heavy and clumpy.
  2. There are certain important aspects that contribute to the texture – slow roasting of the flour, moistening the flour just right, and of course the jaggery!
  3. I have NOT tried this with the store bought rice flour, but that is an experiment for another day.

 

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Festivals & Significance

Navarathri – Significance & Manifestation- Festival of Dolls.

Anubhavati -Tastes from my kitchen

Navarathri – The name itself conjures to me years and years of tradition locked safely in trunks and cardboard boxes and handed down  from generations. My earliest memory of Navarathri was in Madurai in my grandmother`s home near the Perumal Temple. They had this lovely red oxide floor that I oh so love. Madurai amma used to store her lovely dolls in a heavy trunk in the loft.

Every year Madurai amma and appa would lovingly bring down all the dolls, wrapped  up completely in clean cotton clothes, wipe them down and then set them up on the floor ready to adorn the steps of the “Golu”.  We would then “construct” the shelves of the Golu with various things in the home – Singer Merit Sewing machine table would be the central table. Ovaltine Tins preserved from the earlier years on which a plank would support on, would form the…

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