Shital's-Kitchen: 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Doodhi Halwa

If you follow Shital's kitchen on Facebook, you know that I love gardening and my husband and I spend lots of time in the backyard doing some organic farming. I like to call it #shitalskitchengarden. We are still learning and experimenting with lots of fruits and vegetables. You might have also seen a picture of my greenhouse with a heater which is specially for my tropical plants to be comfortable in winter. But, why am I talking about plants and gardening in winter??? Yes, I am super excited today.

We have been experimenting with growing bottle gourd/doodhi/lauki since past two years now. Last summer we realized that bottle gourds have male and female flowers and for better crop, we sometimes need to hand pollinate it. Before summer, we put seeds in the soil and let the plant grow. It did well but the entire summer passed by in just growing vines with not a single flower. We were really sad. I had planned to make so many recipes with homegrown doodhi. Doodhi vines took support of our huge pomegranate tree and was super happy. It grew like the story 'Jack and the bean stacks'...it would grow higher and higher and almost about 10-12 feet high on the top of the pomegranate tree. Finally in fall, the plant started flowering, but how would we even be able to pollinate it? We were just glad it flowered and left it on nature (bees) to do the job. But we realized his was a good spot to sow seeds, and we should be ahead of the game next season. I like the idea of vines taking support of the tall and strong trees nearby. They look happy and strong too.

Yes, nature did the job and finally today we were able to harvest our first even medium sized bottle gourd. It was firm and looked great. It was hanging almost 12 feet from the ground, and my husband had to use a tall ladder the pluck it. I just enjoyed taking pictures. :) We were brainstorming on which recipe to make? It had to be a special recipe as the produce was very special too. Homegrown, organic, bottle gourd or doodhi harvested in winter!! My husband wanted a sweet... doodhi halwa and yes it would be a perfect offering for God too to thank Him for this produce.

Finally, after a long time, I am sharing my excitement through this recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups grated doodhi/lauki/bottle gourd/ghiya
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. fresh cream or malai (optional)
6 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
Slivered almonds and pistachios for garnishing
  • Wash, peel, and grate fresh bottle gourd.
  • In a heavy bottom pan heat ghee. Add grated doodhi and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add milk and fresh cream/malai.
  • Mix once and leave it undisturbed simmering till the milk evaporates. Evaporating milk will create some soft mawa in the halwa. Stirring constantly will disturb mawa. Stirring lightly is okay, but do not stir it vigorously. If you do not have malai, add 1/4 cup store bought crumbled mawa to cooking halwa.
  • When moisture evaporates, add 6-7 tbsp sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well.
  • Cook till the moisture is almost gone....this might take around 10 minutes. 
  • Remove in a bowl and garnish with slivered almonds.
Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
Bottle gound vines on our pomegranate tree. Finally, first bottle gourd produced.



Wash, peel, and grate fresh bottle gourd.

A good quality, firm, and seedless bottle gourd.





In a heavy bottom pan heat ghee. Add grated doodhi and saute for 3-4 minutes.


Add milk and fresh cream/malai.

Mix once and leave it undisturbed simmering till the milk evaporates. Evaporating milk will create some soft mawa in the halwa. Stirring constantly will disturb mawa. Stirring lightly is okay, but do not stir it vigorously. If you do not have malai, add 1/4 cup store bought crumbled mawa to cooking halwa.



When moisture evaporates, add 6-7 tbsp sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well.


Cook till the moisture is almost gone... this might take around 10 minutes. 


Remove in a bowl and garnish with slivered almonds.


Enjoy!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Moth Chawal

Publishing a recipe after a long time...yes, you guessed it right, summer break has ended and new school year has started in full swing. Back to School night is over this means I do have some time now to do what I love! I do have a backlog of recipes to post which I will do it soon. :)

Summer was exciting, and while I got a chance to be with friends and socialize, I also had a chance to learn something new and exciting. It all started with an idea...an invitation for a Delhi style chai party from a friend, SM. It was NOT a CHAI PARTY... it was indulging in delicious food. Not just regular food but authentic, traditional, and flavorful Delhi style food served on Delhi style beautiful props. Flavorful, chatpata Gol Gappas set up on a Thela or four wheel cart just like it would be in India and SM and her mom (I will refer her as Auntiji), who was visiting her from Delhi, would make fresh Gol Gappas and serve for all you can eat. I cannot express the fun of the live Gol Gappa counter. Thank you so much SM and Auntiji! I would have just loved to end the chai party here, but that was not the case. There was more food and now chai party turned into dinner. Chole & Kulche,  Dahi Bhalle, gourmet sandwiches, and something very new to me was Moth Chawal. A simple dish which was flavorful and super delicious. Although each and every food item was delicious, Moth Chawal stole my heart. It was a new concept and was very innovative. I could have never imagined Moth to be so tasty. We all expressed our wish to get the recipe from Auntiji. That is when I thought she could be a guest blogger on my page. It would be my pleasure to learn a simple but yet a North Indian specialty and take pictures if Auntiji could make it live. It was my wish, and SM and Auntiji made it happen. I was so happy to be invited over and I reached there with my camera :) I can't thank you both enough!

The experience was just phenomenal! Not just the recipe, but I got to know so much more about the North Indian culture and food. Moth Chawal is a simple layered dish made with Moth or Matki and rice. Moth lentils are cooked with spices to form a gravy. This gravy is then layered with cooked rice, a special spice mix for tangy flavor, chopped onions, and to top it with crisp papdi or puris. It is the combination of flavors, textures, and I would totally categorize it as one of the healthy, protein rich dishes for vegetarians. If you have read my earlier posts you would know what it means. Lentils together with rice make complete proteins for vegetarians. Auntiji said that this simple but yet healthy recipe was made for breakfast or brunch. In the olden days when weddings were elaborate and everything was prepped at home, this recipe was a healthy breakfast for the guests and other family members. That totally makes sense, serving something that is delicious as well as healthy so that everyone is ready to do all the running around and preparing for the wedding ceremonies and fun. It is now one of the popular street foods for commuters and people on the go.

Here is the entire recipe with pictures made in SM's kitchen. Thank you so much Auntiji for such an insightful and delicious recipe, and also for delicious Aam Panna we had while chitchatting. :)

Ingredients

1 cup moth/matki
2-3  tbsp. oil
2-3 medium tomatoes.
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. red chili powder

1/2 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tsp salt.

For special spice mix
3 tbsp amchoor /dry mango powder
1 tbsp Degi mirch /red chili powder
1 tbsp dhania powder /coriander powder
1 tsp. jeera seeds /cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala / spice mix
1/2 tsp. Ajwain/carrom seeds
Mix all the above ingredients and powder it well.

For Garnishing:
1 tbsp. tamarind pulp dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped onions
Crisp papdi or puris
Juice of one lemon

To make moth gravy:
  • Wash and soak moth/matki in 2 cups of water for an hour or two.
  • Chop tomatoes into quarters and  puree them well. Keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add cumin powder and then pureed tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add soaked moth beans to sauteing tomato puree. Mix well
  • Add salt and chili powder. Mix well.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and cook til you hear around 2 whistles. Moth beans do not take very long time to cook. Turn off the heat and let the pressure cool before opening the pressure cooker. 
  • Open the pressure cooker and mix cooked moth well.
Meanwhile get the rice prepped.
  • Heat 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. Add salt to boiling water.
  • Add 1/2 cup washed rice to boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes or till done.
  • Strain the water and keep rice aside in a bowl.
 Get this ready
  • Soak 2 tbsp. tamarind in water or mix 1 tbsp. tamarind pulp in water and keep it aside.
  • Finely chop onions for garnishing.
  • Special spice mix.

To serve use a wide serving bowl or something like a deep dish platter.
  • Spread rice evenly into the serving platter or a bowl.
  • Sprinkle around 1 tbsp. special spice mix over the rice and squeeze a juice of 1/2 lemon.
  • Evenly spread cooked moth gravy over rice.
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of special spice mix and evenly spread 1-2 tbsp. tamarind dissolved in water.
  • Evenly spread chopped onions and sprinkle some special spice mix again and squeeze fresh lemon.
  • Top it off with broken/crush pieces of papdi/puri for crunch. (you could add papdi just before serving so that it would remain crisp)
  • Serve and enjoy!

Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
I was able to take pictures while Auntiji prepared and talked about this recipe.

Wash and soak moth in 2 cups of water for an hour or two.

Chop tomatoes into quarters and  puree them well. Keep it aside.
Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add cumin powder and then pureed tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes.


Add soaked moth beans to sauteing tomato puree. Mix well
Add salt and chili powder. Mix well.


Cover the pressure cooker and cook til you hear around 2 whistles. Moth beans do not take very long time to cook. Turn off the heat and let the pressure cool before opening the pressure cooker. 
Open the pressure cooker and mix cooked moth well.

1 tbsp. tamarind pulp dissolved in 1/2 cup water or 2 tbsp. tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup water.

Heat 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. Add salt to boiling water.
Add 1/2 cup washed rice to boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes or till done.
Strain the water and keep rice aside in a bowl.

To serve use a wide serving bowl.
Spread rice evenly into the serving platter or a bowl.

Sprinkle around 1 tbsp. special spice mix over the rice and squeeze a juice of 1/2 lemon.


Evenly spread cooked moth gravy over rice.


Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of special spice mix and evenly spread 1-2 tbsp. tamarind dissolved in water.


Evenly spread chopped onions and sprinkle some special spice mix again and squeeze fresh lemon.



Top it off with broken/crush pieces of papdi/puri for crunch. (you could add papdi just before serving so that it would remain crisp)

Serve and enjoy!

Auntiji with one of her best recipes. I am so looking forward to learning more authentic recipes from her. Thank you so much!

The pictures of the final dish were taken in SM's beautiful backyard with beautiful flowers around.
SM's passion of gardening and caring for her veggies and plants is seen everywhere!




Enjoy this delicious comfort food!