Gum Berry Pickle – Gunda

Gunda (Gum Berry) is known as ‘Bhokar’ in Marathi. You will often find this pickle in Rajasthan, Gujarat and parts of Maharashtra. These raw fruits are available for a very limited period of 15-20 days in summer and in select cities only.

Gunda pickle is a traditional favourite of Gujarati households. The recipe passes from the one generation to the next.

Unlike most pickles, Gunda is made of cooked Gum berry fruits. Therefore , they have a limited shelf life.

The most tedious part of this recipe is deseeding the fruits.

How to clean Gum Berry;

  1. Pick green Gum berry fruits from the market. Make sure the fruits are not bruised.
  2. Wash and dry them with a cloth.
  3. Remove the stem and make a cross slit on the top.
  4. Take a chop stick, dip it in salt, stick it in the fruit through the slit and scrape the seed out of the fruit.
  5. Once the gum berry is deseeded, apply salt inside using the chop stick.
  6. Repeat this process for all the fruits…

Ingredients for the pickle;

1kg of deseeded Gum Berry fruits

10 tbsp ground nut oil

Spice Mix

1cup Methi daal / kuriya (Fenugreek seeds coarsely ground)

1 ½ cup Rai kuriya (split de-skinned Mustard seeds)

1 cup Red chilli powder

½ cup Salt ½

1 tbsp Hing (asafoetida)

Procedure;

  1. Prepare spice mix by combining together the ingredients mentioned.
  2. Add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the spice mix to get crumb like consistency. This will help spicemix  stick to the fruits.
  3. Fill 3/4th of the Gum berry with the spice mix through the slit. Make sure there is no or little spice on the outer skin of fruit. Keep the remaining spice mix as is.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a bowl. Increase the oil quantity if needed (Once the fruits are  cooked in oil, we are going to add remaining spice mix to it. If oil quantity is not sufficient, the Gunda pickle might turn dry.)
  5. Add stuffed Gum berries to it.
  6. Cover it with a lid and let the fruits simmer for 40-45 minutes on a very low flame. Keep checking and stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the fruits are fully cooked, let them cool naturally.
  8. Add remaining spice mix to it.
  9. The pickle is ready to eat  🙂

Bottle it. Refrigerate and consume as needed. Remember to refrigerate else the pickle will spoil very fast.

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HOT Mango Pickles for HOT Summer

In India, pickles are not just a way to celebrate summers; it’s a celebration of food. Though these condiments are supplementary to the main course, meals without pickles are incomplete and empty pickle jars in homes are frowned upon. Such is the love for pickles.

So this weekend I was home to make mango pickles.

I made two variants of mango pickle ‘Regular’ and ‘Rajasthani’ along with some Gunda (Gum berry) pickle. I will share the recipe for ‘Gunda Pickle’ as a separate post soon.

Three important things before we begin;

  1. We are going to use ‘Ladva’ variety of raw mango. If it not available around you, pick any other variety that is sour.
  2. Though I have specified quantity of salt in the recipe; taste and adjust to the tanginess of the raw mango. Add more salt for sharper tang.
  3. Use refined ground nut oil. Mango pickles are made once a year and are consumed throughout the year. Other regular oils sometime develop a typical odour and pickles tend to taste bitter as the time passes.

Note down the recipe for mango pickles.

Ingredients;

2 kg Raw Mangoes

1 ½ cup salt

1tbsp Turmeric Powder

Ground nut oil as needed

Ingredients A : Spice Mix for the ‘Regular pickle’

1 ½ cup Methi daal / kuriya (fenugreek seeds lightly grinded)

1 cup Rai kuriya  (split de-skinned Mustard seeds)

1 cup Red Chilli Powder

½ cup Salt

1 tbsp Hing (Asafoetida)

                       

Ingredients B: Spice Mix for ‘Rajasthani Pickle’

1 ½ cup Methi daal / kuriya (Fenugreek seeds lightly grinded)

1 cup Rai kuriya  (split de-skinned Mustard seeds)

2/3rd cup Red Chilli Powder

½ cup Salt

1 tbsp Hing (Asafoetida)

1/4th cup Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds) soaked overnight and strained

1/4th Kabuli Chana (Chickpeas) soaked overnight and strained

1/4th cup Kalongi (Onion Seeds)

 ** Each spice mix is for 1 kg of raw mangoes. Make changes to the quantity of the spice mix to adjust to the quantity of the raw mangoes.

Procedure;

Wash raw mangoes, dry them, deseed and cut it into small pieces. Apply 1 ½ cup of salt and 1 tbsp of turmeric powder on the raw mango pieces. Fill the pieces in a jar or bottle and keep it as is for 2 days…..

After 2 days….

  1. Strain raw mango pieces. (Store the tangy water in an air tight jar. It will stay good for 4-5 months if you stir it every 2 days. You can use it  to make a variety of  other pickles)
  2. Prepare the spice mix of your choice in a large bowl / plate by combining all the ingredients mentioned (either mix ‘A’ or ‘B’ or both separately in different plates).
  3. Add 3 tbsp of ground nut oil and mix it well with the spice mix.
  4. Apply the spice mix on the raw mango pieces.
  5. Store the spiced pieces in a jar for a day
  6. The next day pour ground nut oil in the jar (don’t mix) till all the pieces are soaked and submerged in oil. A layer of oil should form on the top.
  7. Seal the jar.
  8. Start consuming after 2 days.

Chelsea Buns for the champions

I had no idea what ‘Chelsea buns’ are till I stumbled upon this recipe sometime back while browsing . The name got me curious and I started gathering information.

What better reason to bake these goodies than Chelsea’s surprise victory in UEFA championship?

Chelsea buns are very British buns invented in London. They are made from dried spices and dried fruits and are ideal with afternoon tea (I loved them with black coffee though). The fragrance can sometimes be mistaken for cinnamon rolls.

Chelsea Buns taste somewhat like scones with a nice cinnamon flavor.

The tricky part in this whole recipe I would say is the dough.

 

Let’s get started;

For the DOUGH

2 ½ tsp of fresh yeast

250 ml fresh milk (at room temperature)

400 grams of plain flour

50 grams of granulated sugar

50 grams of melted butter (+ a little more for greasing the pan)

½ tsp of salt (I didn’t use salt. I used salted butter instead. It’s much easier to find in stores)

For the FILLING

50 grams granulated sugar

1 tbsp of cinnamon powder

50 grams mixed dried fruits (only fruits avoid nuts)

 

Preparation before you start

  1. Measure all ingredients
  2. Melt the butter
  3. Add fresh yeast to the milk and whisk till the yeast dissolves completely
  4. Mix cinnamon and sugar together
  5. Grease the tin with melted butter

 

 

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl / pan sieve flour and add sugar to the flour. Mix well.
  2. Add melted butter to the flour and start mixing slowly with hand.
  3. Start pouring milk with one hand and simultaneously start mixing the flour with the other hand.
  4. Knead the dough gently till it comes off the sides of the bowl.
  5. Cover with a cling film and let it rest for 1-2 hours. The dough will rise to double its size in that time.
  6. Once the dough is ready. Roll it on a flat surface.
  7. With a brush, apply generous amount of melted butter on the surface of the dough.
  8. Sprinkle ‘cinnamon-sugar mix’ and dried fruits all over the buttered surface.
  9. Gently, roll the dough along the edges (like a Swiss roll) till the end. Seal the edges.
  10. Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and divide the roll into 9 equal buns.
  11. Place the portions on the buttered tin. Cover with a cling film and leave it for 30-45 mins until they have doubled in size. The gaps between individual portions will vanish; it will look like a big bun muddle.

 

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C
  2. 18.   Bake the buns for 25-30 mins (mine is not a fast heating oven. Fast heating oven will take around 15-20 mins)
  3. Once baked, cool them on the wire rack.

Eat as soon as you can! If you like add a bit of cheese cream icing on the top.

 

Go green with sweets | Doodhi Halwa

 

 

India’s love for sweets is not unknown. There is a sweet for every time of the day, every mood and every occasion. Even if you are the odd one like me who doesn’t have a weakness for sweets, you can’t escape from it for long.

The recipe I am going to share today is an Indian dessert made from a vegetable ‘Lauki’ / ‘Doodhi’ (Bottle gourd).

I know several methods of cooking Doodhi the savoury way. But I haven’t come cross anything except ‘Doodhi-halwa’ for Doodhi in its sweet avatar.

I am not sure what ‘Halwa’ means, but there are many variants of Halwa – Gajar (Carrot) Halwa, Suji (semolina) Halwa, Moong daal halwa, Aate ka (wheat flour) halwa and Badam (almond) halwa. They are all made more or less the same way.

 

Note down the recipe

Ingredients;

350 grams grated Doodhi (bottle gourd)

350 ml Milk

200 grams of Sugar

½ tsp of Elaichi Powder (Cardamom)

A few blanched Pistachios

2 tbsp of Ghee (purified butter)

2 drops of green food colour (optional)

 Preparations before you start

  1. Soak pistachio in a cup full of luke warm water for 30 minutes. Peel and cut into fine pieces.
  2. Wash Doodhi and peel the skin off with a peeler. Then grate.

Procedure

  1. Heat ghee in a think bottomed vessel on a low flame. Careful not to burn the ghee.
  2. Add grated Doodhi to ghee and sauté it for 5 minutes.
  3. Add milk and stir. Keep stirring till the water content in the milk evaporates. This should take around 15 minutes. You can keep switching between low and medium flame as needed.
  4. Add 150 grams of sugar to begin with. Taste and add remaining 50 grams if you want it sweeter.
  5. Sugar will make the mixture a bit thin as sugar will release water.
  6. Mix till the water dries completely.
  7. Add 2 drops of green food colour. This is an optional step. Doodhi after cooking turns to a shade of pale green-brown. Food colour will add visual appeal if you are cooking for an occasion.
  8. Add Elaichi powder.
  9. Once water dries completely, the mixture will become shiny and will come off the vessel smoothly. Switch off the burner and let the halwa cool.
  10. Mix pistachios.

Serve hot or cold.

You can replicate this recipe for Gajar halwa simply by replacing doodhi with Gajar and don’t forget to replace the green color!

The soupy pasta of Gujarat | Daal-Dhokli

‘Daal-Dhokli’ captures the essence of Gujarati food with its sweet, hot and tangy taste. The dish is also known as ‘Chikholya’ in Maharashtra, cooked with tamarind instead of dried kokam for souring agent.

Daal-Dhokli is the Indian counterpart of the Italian Pasta. Pasta is made in two parts – it has a sauce of your choice and pasta shapes freshly made from semolina or all purpose flour. The composition is just the same for Daal-Dhokli but the set of ingredients are entirely different.

The sauce here is a sweet-tangy Daal (lentil). Wheat flour dough is knead, rolled and cut into squares the size of ravioli. These squares are called ‘Dhokli’. Unlike pasta which is boiled before adding to the sauce, the Dhoklis are cooked in the Daal itself.

Let’s begin then.

Dough for the Dhoklis

2 cups of wheat flour for dough

½ cup of extra flour for rolling out

2 tsp oil

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Water as needed

  1. Sift the wheat flour in a large plate. Make a well in the centre. Add all the ingredients and began mixing and kneading the dough. Go on adding little water as you knead the dough. The dough should be medium firm i.e. the same as paratha / puri dough and little softer than pasta dough
  2. Once the dough is ready, wrap it with a cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.


Daal

This is the basic sweet Daal that comes in Gujarati thali.

 

1cup Toor daal (split pigeon peas)

2 cups of water

1 long Green Chilli spilt vertically in the centre

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

2 dried kokam

1/3rd cup Jaggery

2-3 Curry leaves

2 tsp of finely cut Coriander leaves

½ inch of Ginger

  1. Add water to daal and pressure cook it for 10-15 mins till the daal is fully cooked.
  2. Mash the cooked daal finely and add it to a cooking vessel (don’t put it on the burner yet)
  3. Add 4 cups of water and all the remaining ingredients, mix well and bring it to boil. Let it simmer as you prepare for tadka.

 

The Tempering / Tadka

3 tsp of Ghee ( oil is fine too but ghee tastes better)

½ tsp of Coriander seeds

½ tsp of Cumin seeds

½ tsp of Fenugreek seeds

½ inch Cinnamon

2 Cloves

  1. Heat ghee on a low flame in tempering pan. Add other ingredients and wait till the coriander seeds crackle. Once the crackling sound reaches optimum, take it off the heat and add tadka to the boiling Daal.
  2. Let the Daal cook on a low flame. While Daal is cooking let’s roll the dough and make Dhoklis
  1. Remove the cling film and cut the dough in balls of equal portion- 3” diameter approximately
  2. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface, put one ball on it and sprinkle some flour on the ball as well. Flatten it with a rolling pin. Keep sprinkling flour as needed else the dough will stick to the rolling pin or to the surface. Do not flip sides. Make the dough evenly thin.
  3. With a knife, draw vertical and horizontal lines of 5-6 cms width on the flattened dough to get Dhokli squares.
  4. Peel the squares off the surface and add them the boiling Daal. It will take around 2 minutes for Dhoklis to cook.
  5. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough balls.
  6. Once the Dhokli is cooked. Turn the heat off.

Sprinkle some coriander and Daal-Dhokli is ready to eat, you won’t need rice or bread to accompany it. This is my favourite meal when I am home alone  🙂

If you like Daal-Dhokli, try another variant – Daal-Dhokli with Fried dumplings

Who does Biryani belong to?

No one knows for sure. If you dissect the recipe to understand its roots, you will be misled.

The spicy richness of Biryani points its origin to Northern part of India. This part of India is known for its wheat consumption and a delicacy with Rice at its heart Rice cannot possibly belong to North India. Also, the place famous for its Biryanis is down south… Hyderabad.

I would like to believe Mogul invaders (or may be Persians as the word “Biryani” is derived from some Persian word) brought Biryani to India along with the other culinary treasures.

There are two methods of cooking Biryani. ‘Kaccha Biryani’ where meat and rice both in their row form is cooked together. The other one is ‘Pucca Biryani’ where meat and rice are cooked separately and then steamed together.

I cook Biryani by the ‘Pucca’ method.

Ingredients

500 grams of chicken with bones

300 grams of long grained Basmati rice

5 large onions (preferably Red onions)

4 tbsp of oil

2 tbsp of ghee (purified butter)

3 tsp garam masala (ingredients and method covered below)

3 tsp red chilli powder

Marinate (ingredients and method covered below)

1 tsp of saffron

½ cup split cashews

Asafoetida – a pinch

The entire recipe is broken into multiple steps. Always marinate chicken and soak rice first. You can shuffle the order for the rest as convenient.

Step A:  Marinate Chicken

½ tbsp green chilli paste

½ tbsp. ginger garlic paste

½ tsp of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp fresh thick curd

  1. Wash and clean chicken pieces and add them to a large bowl.
  2. Add marinate and mix well.
  3. Cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Step B:  Soak Rice

  1. Soak rice in water for 2 hours. It is ok if you end up adding lot of water to rice at this stage. We are going to drain the excess water before cooking.

Step C:  Onion Paste

  1. Cut onions into thick slices. Add 1 tbsp of oil in a small pan and shallow fry the onions till dark brown (little more than golden brown). Keep switching from medium to low flame as needed. Be careful not to burn the onions.
  2. Let the onions cool. Then grind to a fine paste.

Step D:  Garam Masala Powder.

2 tsp Cumin seeds

2 bay leaf

5-6 cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 large cardamoms without seeds

  1. Lightly roast all the ingredients either together or individually on a low flame (without oil). Approximately for about a minute.
  2. Let it cool and then grind into a fine powder.

Step E:  Ready Garnish

  • Take a cup full of water and add few strands of Saffron to it. Saffron gives better colour if soaked in water. Leave it for an hour.
  • Finely slice one large onion. Deep fry and keep it ready for garnish.
  • Deep fry cashews till they turn brown and keep aside for garnish.

Step F:  Cook chicken.

  1. Heat oil (all 4 tbsp) in a cooking vessel. Once the oil heats up add 1 bay leaf and a pinch of asafoetida.
  2. Add marinated chicken to the oil. Mix well. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Open the lid; stir chicken a bit to avoid burning. Cover with the lid again and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add onion paster, garam masala, chilli powder and salt (if needed) and mix well.
  5. Cover with lid and let it cook for 4-5 mins. Keep checking at regular intervals.
  6. As chicken starts to cook, it initially releases water. Slowly chicken cooks in its own juices and the water dries out. Avoid adding water.
  7. Chicken will take approximately 20-30 minutes to cook.
  8. Make sure that the gravy is thick and oily. After the chicken is cooked fully, if you feel that the gravy is watery, remove the lid and let all the excess water burn.

 

Step G:  Cook rice

  1. Drain excess water from the soaked rice.
  2. Add Ghee to a cooking bowl. Ghee has a very low smoking (cooking) point (almost same as butter) make sure you have all your ingredients handy before you start heating ghee.
  3. Add 1 bay leaf. Add rice. Add water in the same quantity as rice.
  4. Cover with lid and let the rice cook. Rice will cook very fast as we have soaked it.
  5. We are going to half cook the rice. It will take around 3-4 minutes.
  6. Once the rice is half cooked. Let it cool. Don’t cover it else the grains will stick together.

The final step: Layering

  1. In a thick bottomed vessel or Handi, add a layer of half the quantity of rice and a sprinkle few spoons of saffron water on the top.
  2. The second layer will be of chicken. Add all the chicken on the top of rice layer.
  3. The final layer is of rice again. Layer the remaining rice on the top of the chicken. Sprinkle remaining saffron water with strands on the rice.
  4. Garnish the top layer with fried onions and cashews.
  5. Cover with a lid and let it cook on a very low flame for 10 minutes.

You can mix all the layers before serving. Serve with some sliced onions tempered with salt and pepper and a lemon wedge. Yummy !

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