Category Archives: Indian Food

Kansar: Traditional Gujarati Sweet Dish

KANSAR: Traditional Gujarati Sweet Dish

 Sweet Cracked Wheat : Youth booster

If youth came in a bottle, it’d fly off the shelves at every grocery store around. We’d buy it in bulk, filling out refrigerators and stuffing our pantries. There’s no doubt about it: youth would be a best-seller.

Unfortunately, it’s not for sale, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives. One of these is cracked wheat.

Cracked wheat has the unique ability to retain the natural nutrients of whole grains. These include vitamin E (which helps you fight aging), fiber, and vitamin B. It’s also full of antioxidants, another thing that keeps you as young as possible for as long as possible.

Kansar, a traditional Gujarati sweet dish, is a meal that enhances the benefits of cracked wheat. It’s a staple of festivals and weddings in certain parts of India, but it’ll look nice on your kitchen table as well!

Kansar is also believed to bring good luck: eat it before you play the lottery!

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Cooking level: easy

  • Ingredients:
    3/4 cup cracked wheat or wheat germ
    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    4 cups of water
    3 tbsp. of jaggery, or molasses,  or agave nectar, or brown sugar
    2 tsp. white fine sugar in powder form for sprinkling
    3 tbsp. of ghee or unsalted butter*

*For vegans  canola oil can be used as a substitute.

Preparation:

1. Mix cracked wheat and wheat flour.
2. Add 1 tbsp. of ghee or butter into the flour.
3. In a medium sauce pan, boil the water, add jaggery or molasses (or agave nectar for a sugar free recipe).
4. Add cracked wheat to the flour mixture and put the mix into the boiling water.
5. Stir well and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
6. Check that the water is absorbed completely.
7. When finished cooking, sprinkle with ghee/oil and powdered sugar.
Enjoy this sweet dish whenever you can. It only takes twenty minutes with few pots and pans!  It’s a quick fix for a delectable bite – what are you waiting for? Make it tonight!

[Video] How to Make Roti

Watch a step by step video at the bottom of the recipe. Enjoy!

Roti is very healthy and fulfilling. It is staple food all over India.

Roti is more popular today than it ever has been before. There are numerous types of roti that you can make and they all taste equally amazing.

Roti can be made from various different flours: sorghum, corn, whole wheat, all purpose, etc.

This recipe is an everyday healthy version and is traditionally eaten day after day.

I grew up eating roti as tortillas, and never had the bread that is found here.
It is healthy and after a few tries, one can master the art of rolling the roti into a round shape.

Cooking Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12-14

Ingredients:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour sifted
2 Tsp Oil optional
2 TBsp Butter or Ghee to spread
1/4-3/4 Cup Water warm
1/2 Cup Plain Flour to dust roti
Salt (optional)

How to Prepare:

  1. Mix flour, oil and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add water as needed to make the dough a smooth consistency.
  3. Let dough sit for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Knead dough for a few minutes, until it is very smooth and rollable.
  5. Divide dough equally into 12-14 pieces.
  6. Dust them with flour.
  7. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  8. Heat the skillet.
  9. Gently place rolled out roti on the skillet on medium heat.
  10. In few seconds, bubbles will appear. Flip roti over. Let the other side cook for a few seconds and then remove from skillet.
  11. Broil it on an open flame. It will puff up.
  12. Apply ghee or butter and the roti is ready!

Roti can be eaten with Dahl and vegetables – this is what we do.

However, it is also great as a wrap for a burrito.

There are countless ways to eat Roti:

  • Chips: Cut the cooked roti into strips or wedges, and dip the roti chips into any type of dip! Check out some of the chutneys on our blog.
  • Quesadillas: Use two cooked roti’s to make a quesadilla! Lay one roti down, put your favourite toppings on top, layer the second roti on top, and press or grill the quesadilla until the inside is melted.
  • Burrito: Simply lay your cooked roti down, put any desired toppings on one half of the roti, and roll, until you end up with a burrito! Easy, quick and so delicious.
  • Roti Stir-Fry: Cut the cooked roti up into small wedges or squares. In a saucepan, eat up some oil and fry some of your favourite vegetables. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the roti pieces to the saucepan, and fry them with the vegetables. Add’s a delicious crunch to your typical stir-fry!
  • Roti Lasagna: Place a cooked roti in the bottom of a baking pan. Add your preferred vegetables and sauce, layer with another roti, and continue the layering for as many times as you desire (or can fit in your pan). Then, bake the lasagna in the oven at 190 Celsius, and serve once warm!

There are many other ways to eat and cook with roti, but those are just a few that I think are amazing and take little time and effort!

Watch this video and learn how to make delicious, soft Roti:

Tips: If you are a beginner, first watch someone else make this who is experienced. This video should help.

Also, check out these related posts:

http://www.thevegfusion.com/bhakri-thick-indian-bread/

http://www.thevegfusion.com/bajra-ki-roti-old-fashion-way/

Spiced Up Green Beans

Green Beans
Green Beans are an everyday staple in my household. We cook it almost once a week.  Green beans are also called Fansi Nu Shaak.

Cooking Difficulty Level:  Easy
Cooking Time: 20-25 Minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan

Ingredients:

2 Pounds Fresh Green Beans
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 Small Chopped Onion (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Coriander & Cumin Powder
1 Teaspoon Ajwain
Pinch Asafoetida
Fresh Grated Coconut to garnish
Chopped Cilantro to garnish
Salt to taste
Washed & Cut Green Beans

How to prepare:

  1. Wash, trim, and chop green beans into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan with a lid.
  3. Add Ajwain, Asafoetida, and Green Beans.
  4. Add Salt, Turmeric, Coriander, and Cumin Powder.
  5. Stir well and cover.
  6. Reduce heat to low, mix well, and cook for 10 minutes until done.
  7. Garnish with Cilantro and Chopped Onion.
  8. Slivered Almonds and Shaved Coconut Flakes can also be used as garnish.
  9. An easy variation of this recipe would be to add small cut potatoes, chopped onions, or peas.
  10. It is ideal with Roti,  Rice and any kind of Dals.

Khichdi: A Versatile Rice Dish

Khichdi
Khichdi is a one skillet meal. It is one of the most popular comfort foods in India and even here in the US, khichadi is an ideal meal any time. After a long trip or a hectic weekend, Khichdi is a great Sunday night dinner.
Plain Khichadi is made with Dals only. To make it a larger meal, I add vegetables or whatever I have on hand in my refrigerator. There are many variations using different kinds of Dal and vegetables. But the most commonly used are potatoes, onions, eggplant, peas, and carrots.
This is the recipe of plain Khichdi. Using Shelled Mung Dal adds more fiber to the dish than regular polished Dal. This is the true authentic recipe for Khichdi, which is passed down from generation to generation and eaten with Potato Shaak or Subji.
Rice and Shelled Mung Dal



Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan

Ingredients:

 1/2 Cup Rice
 1/2 Cup Split Mung Dal with Shells
 1/2 Tsp Cumin
 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
    1 Small Piece Grated Ginger
    1 Tsp Clear Butter or Ghee
(For Vegans, use Vegetable Oil)
Salt to taste

How to prepare:

  1. Wash rice and Dal. Soak for two hours.
  2. In a heavy sauce pan, add Rice, Dal, and 4 cups of water.
  3. Add salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, butter, and grated ginger.
  4. If desired, vegetables can be added now.
  5. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir occasionally until done.
Note: If you own a pressure cooker, it is very useful for recipes using rice and beans, like this one. I mix all the ingredients, including the vegetables and spices, in the morning so when I am come home from work, I can just turn on the stove for the pressure cooker.  It takes ten minutes and is ready to eat.
Khichdi goes very well with Kadhi and pickles, and it is often eaten with Potato Subji and Kachumber Salad.  I also like Patak’s Pickles, which are not too spicy and add flavor to the meal.  Papad is also very common with any rice dish.  It is a must, especially with Khichdi. Enjoy!

Refreshing Lychee Ice Cream

Recipe by Guest Chef Tushar
Summer is the season for ice cream. Last February, I toured New Zealand and I was surprised to find so many different flavors of ice cream. With so many choices available, I tried a new one every day. For those not familiar with lychees, they’re a fruit with fragrant perfume-like taste. Recently, my cousin treated me to this homemade ice cream. I cannot deny that it was delicious.
Fresh lychees

Fresh lychees

Lychee Ice Cream

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes 

Ingredients:

2 cans Drained Lychees
8 oz Cool Whip
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz Condensed Milk
8 oz Evaporated Milk
Flavor/Essence of your choice:
• Optional & Available in most grocery stores
• Pineapple & Pineapple Essence is Recommended
• Pistachio, Almond Powder, and Saffron can also be added

 

How to Prepare:
  1. Mix all ingredients and add to ice cream maker.
  2. Add ice and salt to run ice cream maker.
  3. Let the maker run for 30 minutes.
  4. When finished, if the consistency is soft, store the mixture in the freezer until firm.
  5. Enjoy!

Sabudana Na Vada

Sabudana Na Vada
Sabudana is the Indian term for tapioca. Sabudana Na Vada is a dish traditionally eaten on days when a person is fasting from grains, since it uses potatoes and rice flour instead of wheat flour. However, it has been one of my favorite foods since childhood. They may have a high starch content, but they’re so incredibly tasty, it’s worth it.
Recently, I read an article in The New York Times about a famous place for Sabudana Na Vada near Mumbai, India. One small, local shopkeeper has perfected the recipe to the point that, so far, no one can duplicate it. I recently received some sabudana as a treat from my cousin’s mother and I loved them so much that I had to share the recipe with my readers.
For the most authentic experience, you can make this dish with Sago, a starch extracted from palm stems and most frequently sold in the form of pearls. In Africa, sago is eaten almost every day and in Brazil, I have tasted sago pancakes for breakfast.
If sago proves difficult to find, you can easily use tapioca, which is easy to find in any American grocery store.

Sabudana Na Vada

Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Cooking Time: One Hour

Ingredients:

1 Cup Sabudana or Sago Pearls
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Tsp Green Chili Paste
1 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Ground Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
3 TBsp Rice Flour
Salt to taste
Frying Oil
Soaked Sabudana
Ready For Frying

How to Prepare:

  1. Cover Sabudana with water in a bowl and soak for one hour.
  2. After an hour, spread it on a towel so any excess water will drain.
  3. Boil potatoes and then mash them.
  4. Mix boiled potatoes, sabudana, ground peanuts, and spices.
  5. If the consistency is right, it will form a dough.  It should make almost 10-12 balls.  If it does not form into balls, pieces of bread can be added (but then it is not gluten free). You can also add a little rice flour.
  6. Roll the balls into rice flour and deep fry them in vegetable oil at medium heat.
  7. Enjoy!!!
Delicious with Green and Red Chutney

Click here for cilantro chutney recipe

Papaya Salad

Finished Papaya Salad

Papaya is easily available all over India and Thailand. One of my favorite salads is made with papaya. It is healthy, tasty, and adds exotic flavor to any meal.  I’d like to share my version of the traditional Indian way of making papaya salad.  It is low in fat, packed with antioxidants, and high in vitamins.
Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan
 
Ingredients:
1 Small Slice Green Papaya (check freshness by denting
with fingernail–milk should ooze out)
1 Small Green Chili cut into piece lengthwise
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Mustard Seed
2 Tsp Oil
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida(optional)
Salt to Taste
Fresh Chopped Cilantro

How to prepare:

  1. Wash papaya well. Peel and grate with grater.
  2. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice, and mix together.
  3. In a small butter warmer, add oil on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds, green chili, Asafoetida and turmeric.
  5. Add mixture on top of grated papaya. Add cilantro.
  6. Mix well and serve.

Tip:  Green papaya is available in an Asian store near you.

Ridge Gourd (Loofah!) Chutney

 

Ridge Gourd Chutney
No meal with complete without chutney. It is a must-have condiment that is tantalizing to the taste buds and also packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Chutney tastes very good with meals or you can use it as a sandwich spread. Foodies will enjoy making this recipe as a novel addition for many dishes.
The Ridge Gourd is also known as a “loofah”–yes, the same loofah you use in the shower! When they aren’t all dried out, they’re similar to cucumbers, but more fibrous.
Peel of Ridge Gourd
Ridge Gourd Chutney

 

Ingredients:
3 Peels Ridge Gourds (fresh ones are always better)
1 Small Piece Ginger
1 Small Green Chili
2 TBsp Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
How to Prepare:
  1. Wash the peel of the Ridge Gourds thoroughly.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and blend the mixture well in a blender.
  3. Enjoy!

Upama Cream of Wheat

This is a tasty breakfast for everyday because it is so fast to whip up. The people of Gujarat and Southern India love this dish so much that it is served as a staple daily.

Cooking Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

4 TBsp Oil
1 Cup Cream of Wheat
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Urad Dal
6 Curry Leaves
1/2 TBsp Ginger
1/2 TBsp Green Chili, minced
Chopped Coriander
3/4 Cups Frozen Corn
Salt to taste
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1 1/2 Cups Yogurt
1 1/2 Cups Water

How to Prepare:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
  2. Roast mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves green chili.
  3. Add cream of wheat (called suji) and roast until golden brown. Do not overcook.
  4. Add salt, turmeric and corn.
  5. Mix water and yogurt together. Gently stir yogurt water into mixture.
  6. Stir well so it does not form any lumps.
  7. Let it cook for 3 minutes over low heat.
  8. To garnish, add some chopped cilantro leaves at the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Now pour the cooked upama into the bowl. Gently press.
  10. Flip over onto a plate.
  11. If desired serve with cilantro chutney.

Tips: Cream of wheat uses less water. Suji from the Indian Grocery store sometimes uses little bit more water. Adjust water accordingly.

Biryani –The Dish of Kings and Queens — Made in 30 Minutes!

Rice dishes are popular all over the world, especially in Asia where the rice is flavorful and aromatic. In India, Basmati Rice is famous for its long grain kernels. This recipe is made with basmati rice, but any kind will work as well. Pullav (also known as pilaf) is a dish available in all Indian restaurants. Biryani is known for being served to all the kings and queens because it has rich ingredients like nuts and saffron. This is my simple version of Biryani Made Easy.



Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4-6
Recipe Type: Vegan, Gluten free
Difficulty Level: Easy

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp Oil or Clear Butter
1 Small Potato, cubed
1 Small Onion, cubed
1 Cup Cut Green Beans, Carrots, Peas, etc
1 Cup Cooked Navy/Black beans
2 Cups Uncooked Rice
Salt
Pepper
Lemon Juice
1 Stick Cinnamon
2 Cloves
To Taste Green Chili
To Taste Ginger
To Taste Garlic
2 pods Cardamom
2 Tbsp Cumin Powder
Garam Masala (optional)
Chopped Cilantro
Cashews (optional)
Raisins (optional)
Saffron (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Wash rice well and soak for one hour.
  2. Heat oil, then add spices and fry them.
  3. Add veggies and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add drained navy beans, rice, and 6 cups of water. Stir and mix well.
  5. Stir frequently, bringing to a boil over high heat.  Then reduce the heat.
  6. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Garnish with cashews, raisins, bell peppers, and/or onion rings.
  8. Enjoy!!!

Tips:  

  • This dish goes well with soup, curry, raita.
  • Bell peppers of different colors, cauliflower, and/or broccoli can be added for more vegetable options.