Monday, January 15, 2007

Indian Winter # 2 : Ladoos with Green Peas and fresh Green Chick Peas


Vegetarian Ladoos with a 'non-veg' garnishing?

Before I start, let me make a special mention of HareKrishnaji, because
a) he is the only one who guessed 'Green chick peas' (Harbhare in Marathi) as one of the ingredients in these Ladoos right
b) he is a loyal reader of this blog (by 'loyal', I mean somebody who praises you)
c) he blogs from Pune too (the other place being Mumbai).
Thanks, HKji, for being there, and for leaving your comments regularly. I appreciate it.

A special note to the other loyal readers (the number was 5 at the last count, wasn't it?): I appreciate you Guys too. ;-)

Since I am in the mood to appreciate, let me also mention Vidya, who brought it to my notice, that silver leaf, the stuff that I have used to garnish these Ladoos is made in such a way that it is not suitable for vegetarians. Vidya was kind enough to also provide a link which leads to several other ones that prove this fact. What makes me sad, though, is that the Mithai vendors in India, who are well aware of its production process, continue selling sweets covered with silver leaf, inspite of knowing that a large portion of their clientele consists of vegetarians. Whatever happened to social resposiblity?

Anyway, let me just move on with today's recipe now; the post has had to wait pretty long. Ah, that reminds me: Guys, I have a new job now. So, if my posts become erratic and/or infrequent, blame it on my new Boss! :)


Left to right: Green peas, Khoya/Mawa, fresh Green chick peas

Recipe for Ladoos with Green Peas and Green Chick Peas
(adapted from a recipe shown on E-TV Marathi)

Makes 12-15 small Ladoos.


1 cup fresh green peas
1 cup fresh green chick peas (Hara Chana in Hindi)
200 g. Khoya/Mawa
½ cup sugar (The quantity depends also upon the sweetness of both kinds of peas.)
3 tbsp Ghee
powder from 5 cardamoms

For garnishing: 12-15 cashewnut halves (I have used silver leaf, but I don't advocate its use any longer.)


1. Mix both peas in a blender and make fine, smooth paste without adding water.
2. Heat the Ghee in a heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan, and fry the paste in it for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the Khoya and sugar and cook again for a while. Do not cover the pan at any point.


Two-peas paste and Khoya being cooked

4. The mixture is done when it starts moving as one mass when you stir it. Take it off the heat, add the cardamom powder, stir once and let cool.
5. Once the mixture is cool, make pingpong sized Ladoos out of it. If using cashewnuts for garnishing, press one half on every Ladoo.

Serve these Ladoos, and ask your guests/family members to guess the ingredients. And please don't think that they can guess it more easily because they can taste the Ladoos. Nope. None of my family members could guess the ingredients right...not even after consuming two Ladoos.
HEY...hang on a second...did they really need two of them to guess or was that a pretext? Hmmm... that's got me thinking, Guys.

Anyway, enjoy these green beauties, and make sure you finish them soon. They don't really taste great after 3 days. Also, please don't forget to store them in the refrigerator, if you are in a warm place.

In the meanwhile, I hope you had a happy Makarsakranti/ Lohri/ Pongal. I did. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Guessing games might be 'out', but...'s time to give out the answers. And they are (tadaa!)

Green peas (Matar in Hindi / Marathi)
Green chick peas (Hara Chana in Hindi / Harbhare in Marathi)
Khoya / Mawa (both words Hindi)
Cardamom powder

I'll try to put up the recipe this weekend. As for now, it's a little past midnight and I am yawning more than I am breathing. Good night, Fellas...


Outdated...passé...obsolete...yeah, guessing games might be all of that...but a unique preparation like this one calls for a guessing game. It deserves one, actually. You'll agree when I give out the answers. Until then...keep guessing! :)

The colour of the Ladoos comes from the ingredients. No added colour here.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

What blog events do to you... Coconut Bread Burfi


Can you spot me in the picture?

Had it not been for Jihva for Coconut hosted by Ashwini, I would have perhaps never made this Burfi. Why? Because I am not really a dessert person. I mean, I like desserts but I do not really look forward to making them (excluding baked goodies, that is). If you are somebody who has been to my place for lunch or dinner, then you perhaps know that. Although there would be several chutneys and various vegetable preparations in the menu, the dessert would usually be store-bought.

Blog events have changed the scene in my kitchen, though. The urge to make something special and to try out a new recipe for a blog event has resulted in me making various sweets in the last few months. Like I gathered the courage to make Puranpoli only for Jihva for Dal hosted by Sailu. Or like I made Pista Choco Squares only for Jihva for Milk hosted by Vineela.

This time, when Ashwini announced 'Coconut' as the theme, I immediately thought of Undi. And then I said, nah...something new...yes, the event deserves something experiment...
Next moment I was going through all the recipe books on my shelves.
Which one? Which one? Aaaah, this one it's gotta be. Yeah, a Burfi made with coconut and bread(!) that sounds exotic!
So, Coconut Bread Burfi it is. Adapted from the Marathi cookbook 'Annapoorna' by Mangala Barve.

My only problem is that other recipes and foods that I want to blog about never get the chance to see the light of the day. Or they get published some three months after I take the pictures. Like I have made the preparations for at least five posts for my Indian Winter series, but those recipes always have to take a backseat when some event comes up. I hope I get to finish the series while it is still winter here in India (which is just another month or so!).

Anyway, let's proceed to the Recipe for Coconut Bread Burfi for the time being.


Clockwise from top right: White bread slices, grated fresh coconut, whole coconut

Makes 20 (3 cm. X 3 cm.) squares


1 ½ cups grated coconut
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (from approx. 3-4 slices of white bread without the edges)
1 cup sugar
powder from 5-6 cardamoms
a few strands of saffron (optional)
1 tsp Ghee to grease the dish / Thali


1. Mix all ingredients upto powdered cardamoms in a heavy bottomed pan or a non-stick pan. (I used the latter.) Cook uncovered on a medium flame until the mixture starts moving in a mass when stirred. (This process takes only about 10 minutes. The breadcrumbs play a great role in quickly bringing all ingredients together.) Add saffron strands, if using.
2. Grease a small Thali or a shallow dish with the Ghee.
3. Transfer the coconut-breadcrumbs mixture into the Thali, and spread it evenly. Press it with the back of a bowl to make the surface smooth. Let cool.
4. Once cool, cut the Burfi in desired pieces. You could grease the knife with some Ghee to prevent the mixture from sticking to it.

Serve Coconut Bread Burfi as dessert or offer it to kids as a sweet treat after school. Whoever you serve it to will not guess the ingredients right. I mean the bread in it. At least nobody in my family circle did. :)
You could stretch the guessing game to 10 days, because that's how long it keeps fresh without refrigeration in winter.

Let me now hurry to Ashwini's to ask her to include my post in her round-up now. I know, it's late, but I also know that she is kind. :)


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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jihva for Coconut : Undi


This is one more dish that required some getting used to from me. First of all, I had never eaten anything like this before. Secondly, it is eaten with jaggery syrup and fresh butter. "Sorry, with what???", was my first reaction when I saw that combination. The last but not the least, considering that it's an everyday breakfast dish and not a festive sweet, the amount of coconut that goes into it is shocking.

In the beginning of my marriage, I generally used to find the amount of coconut being used in Konkani kitchens really objectionable. I mean, how can you treat coconut(!) just like any other ingredient? How can you finish one entire coconut in a day's cooking????? I must say that it does not disturb me any longer. One reason is habit. Another one is that the consumption of coconut around me has also gone down in the last few years. Because the doctors are shouting 'Cholesterol' clear and loud. :)

Also, I have learnt to respect other cuisines much more. All said and done, some of the dishes in the Konkani cuisine are just unique. For example, Undi. You don't come across dishes like this every day. Neither the combination of accompaniments. Earlier, it was a strict no-no in my kitchen. However, nowadays, I make it once in a while. So that I continue the tradition. So that my daughter gets to know her father's cuisine as well as her mother's. So that me carrying the surname 'Kamath' has more meaning to it.

And cholesterol can wait. I am not going to the gym for nothing, am I? :)


Left to right: Grated fresh coconut and raw rice

Recipe for Undi (pronounced Oun-deeh)

Makes 20 pingpong-sized balls (Serves 2-3)


2 cups raw rice (not parboiled)
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

2 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Urad dal (You could use a sprig of curry leaves instead.)

For the jaggery syrup (Ravo in Konkani):
1 cup jaggery
approx. ½ cup water (Sorry, I do not have exact quantity of water for this one. I will update the post when I make it next time.)
Powder from 4-5 cardamom seeds


1. Soak rice in water for two hours. You could soak it for longer, although it's not really necessary. Actually, in case you are in a hurry, and own a good heavy-duty grinder, then soaking the rice only for 30 minutes suffices too.
2. Grind the soaked rice with grated coconut to a coarse batter. The ground granules of rice should be the size of Idli Rawa or coarse semolina granules.
3. Transfer this batter to another vessel. Add one of water to the grinder, shake, and add this water to the batter. (How much more economical can you get? :) Add salt, and give the mixture a thorough stir.
4. In a thick-bottomed pan or a non-stick Kadhai (I used the latter.), heat the oil. Add mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the fenugreek seeds and Urad dal/curry leaves.
5. Once all mustard seeds have popped, and the fenugreek seeds are a shade of golden brown, add the prepared batter. Cook it uncovered on medium-high heat until much water evaporates and the mixture turns into a thick mass, that is too difficult to be stirred with a spatula.


6. Take the pan off heat and let the mixture in it cool.
7. Divide the cooled mixture into 20 portions and shape these into flattish balls. Press one of the flat sides with a finger to make a depression, so that the centre too cooks well.


Undi ready to be steamed in a pressure-cooker

8. Arrange all these balls in a vessel that fits into your pressure cooker. Alternatively, you could arrange the balls on your Idli stand or on the perforated sheet that comes with your Idli steamer (Pedavan in Konkani).
9. Fill your pressure cooker / Idli steamer with enough water and heat it. Once the water starts boiling, place the vessel / stand with Undi in it. Cover and steam the Undi for good 20 minutes. No shortcuts here. Or else, the Undi will stay unpleasantly uncooked.
10. While the Undi are steaming, you could prepare the jaggery syrup by combining the jaggery and water, and cooking on medium heat until the mixture reaches the consistency of honey. Take the syrup off heat and add powdered cardamom seeds to it.

Serve warm Undi with the jaggery syrup and fresh home-made butter (at room temperature) . The way to eat it is by dipping Undi in the butter first and then into the Ravo/jaggery syrup. The morsel that lands into your mouth is sure to make you look forward to the rest of the day. No, really, I have experienced it. :)


Undi served with jaggery syrup. A simple yet exquisite breakfast.


Since this breakfast dish requires a lot of preparation, it is advisable to do most of it the previous evening. Usually, I finish the preparation until Step 7 the previous night and store the unsteamed Undi in the refrigerator in a container with a tight lid. I prepare the jaggery syrup too (Step 10) the earlier night; it stays fresh outside the fridge for several days. The following morning, I just steam the Undi and voila...breakfast is ready.

Hope you Guys try out this dish and like it. Hope Ashwini likes it too. As my entry, although late, to Jihva for Coconut. :)
And before I leave, let me wish All of You a very Happy New Year!

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