Naivedya: Sweet Appe

Nothing shouts coastal cuisine than an abundance of coconut in it. Other than seafood, that is. But we are still in the festive mood and so lets just stick to the coconut part. If I had any doubts regarding the role coconut plays in our life, they are crushed to smitterens every time I ask my mom for a traditional recipe. And it was replayed again when I asked for the recipe of Goud(Sweet) Appe (dumplings?). These appe are the traditional naivedyam offered to Ganpati during the Chavathi festival. They are made of, among other things, coconut and jaggery which seems to be a recurring theme in all the forms of prasad that is offered to this diety. Of course, growing up they were not my favorite things but as is the case with things, once they were no longer present I missed them. I asked my mom for the recipe so that I could recreate it this year. Now we are all familiar with the way moms tend to dispense recipe nuggets. However, with traditional recipes like these which are made once a year, my mom has exact proportions for all the ingredients except they are in coastal cuisine lingo.

Do you all remember basic geometry theorems? You have one-line theorems that you have to prove using other one-line theorems that could be proved using the current theorem you are trying to prove? You do? Good. Because deciphering the recipe is almost the same. Of course, there are some basic assumptions.

First, the ingredient list.

“Ekka Narla-ka, ek Kilo Goud aNi ek Kilo Rawa”

Translation:

For one coconut, one kilo jaggery and one kilo rawa.

Assumptions:

1) One coconut = gratings of one coconut.
2) Size of said Coconut = medium.
3) Any konkani worth his/her salt would know what a medium coconut is. (Have I not taught you anything, O clueless child of mine?)

Procedure Part 1.

Narla Vatooche, goud ghalnu melNu yevve tai vatooche. Kadeke rawa ghalnu ek pati ghundache

Translation:

Grind coconut, add jaggery and grind till everything is mixed. Finally add rawa and blend once to mix.

Assumptions:

1) 1 kilo Jaggery = 1 kilo jaggery grated.
2) Cardamom not mentioned is cardamom included.
3) Grind coconut = grind coconut till just enough.
4) Any konkani worth his/her salt would know how much is just enough. (Have I not taught you anything, O clueless child of mine?)

Procedure Part 2.

Don ghante puNi bareen kaNu dAvarche. Maagiri hoguru Ujjari toLNu kadche.

Translation:

Keep aside for at least two hours and deep-fry on a low flame.

Assumptions:

1) Deepfrying Fat = Ghee.

The last one is the best because she manages to give the most important tips for the recipe in one sentence. One, to let the mixture rest and two, to deep fry on a slow flame. How do you know when it is cooked? Any Cook worth his/her ……

—-Sorry Mom—–

Goud Appe

The biggest challenge after deciphering the recipe was to convert it into cup measures. Even though I have access to a coconut, the necessary implements for grating it and the enthu to grate it, the output from those proportions would still take us weeks to finish off. The second problem was the deepfrying the mixture. There is essentially no binder ingredient (like flour) in this mixture and it depends on the rawa absorbing all the liquid from the coconut and jaggery to help keep it together. The resting period goes a long way in achieving that. I have cribbed about my bender before and I do it again. In my kitchen, it is doing a job it is not engineered to do. Extra liquids go a long way in achieving this. More liquids means more trouble for the mixture to bind together. So, I decided to forgo the deepfrying to actually making them like appe. Which means access an Aebleskiver pan or the japanese takoyaki pan or the appam pan is essential.

Recipe :

Grind in a blender/ mixie, till the gratings seem like an homogenous mixture and not separate grains

2 cups Coconut gratings

using water, only as required. Once done, add

2 1/2 cups of jaggery, grated

and blend till the jaggery disintegrates. Add

1/2 tsp Cardamom/Elaichi powder, fresh always good.
1 cup Rawa/Sooji

and blend once just to mix everything together. Remove to a bowl and set aside to rest for at least 2 hours. I kept it for 4 hours.

Heat the appam pan. Lower flame to medium-low. Pour

1 tsp melted ghee, in each depression

When the ghee heats up, add

2 tbsp of the mixture, in each depression

This needs to be done very gently, be careful of the splattering ghee. Cook uncovered till the mixture on top changes color. Gently turn the appe over. You might have to slightly scrape the sides of each depression to do that. I use a small knife for the scraping and a spoon to turn it over. Cook until the other side browns up. Remove and drain on paper towels.

This recipe yields 32 appe. This post also joins the Festive cooking series: Ganesh Chaturthi at The Yum Blog.

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Gatte ki Sabzi

I am so late for the JFI-Flour event, its ridiculous. But, as a fellow blogger just told me (I was late for her event,too), Life Interferes…I couldn’t just not post, so I am posting a recipe that was meant for that event, but could’nt make it in time.

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Gatte ki sabzi is an rajasthani dish that I used to have at my friends place when in college. I don’t remember any meal at her home that did not have this dish. This a totally desert dish, as in Rajasthan–Desert of India. There are no vegetables used, just besan dumplings(Gatte) that are used in its place, simmered in a curd sauce. Its tasted just amazing. I had tried a lot to replicate the flavors, but did not succeed until I found these two forums that gave a detailed description of how it should be made. Namely; eGullet and Another Subcontinent.

Though this dish is not the first name that comes to mind, whenever I am thinking of what to cook; Its right at the top of the I-want-something-different-today list. So without much ado, I present “Gatte ki Sabzi”…

For the Gatte

1 cup Besan/Chickpea Flour
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Dhaniya Powder/Coriander
a pinch Hing/Asafetida
a pinch Haldi/turmeric
salt to taste

Mix everything together and form a tough dough using

1 tbsp Buttermilk at a time

Shouldn’t need more than 2 tbsp.

Knead for minute and roll it into a 1″ thick rope. Like so

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Besan Rope before boiling

Take

3 cups water

in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Put the coiled Dough rope into the boiling water carefully. Putting it in boiling water is important or else it will stick to the bottom of the Pot. Continue boiling till the rope rises to the top. Drain reserving a cup of the water. Cool.

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Dough rope after boiling

Cut across the rope to form 1/2″ circles. I sliced at an angle. (I have been watching too much Food Network).

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Sliced Gattes

Heat

3 tbsp Vegetable Oil/Peanut Oil/Canola Oil

in a wide pan. Add the Gattes in a single layer and brown on both sides.

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Pan-fried Gattes

Gattes are Ready.

Gravy

In a bowl, add

1 cup curds
1 tsp Red chilli Powder
1 tsp Dhaniya Powder/Coriander
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Amchur Powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Besan
1 cup of the reserved water from boiling the gattes

Mix thoroughly. Strain, if the besan forms lumps.

Heat in a wide pan, preferably the same pan you fried the gattes in,

2 tsbp Vegetable/Canola/Peanut Oil (Remaining from the frying)

Add, one after the other,

1/4 tsp Rai/Black Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
4-5 Curry Leaves
a pinch Hing/Asafetida
2 tbsp tomato paste

Fry till the mixture leaves oil. Add the curd mixture and the gattes and bring to a boil. Lower flame and simmer till the gravy thickens to desired consistency. Thicker, if serving with rotis/chapatis; thinner if serving with rice.

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Recipe source :
eGullet has a nice step-by-step recipe with photos.
Sangeeta from Another Subcontinent gives detailed explanation to prepare this dish.

Of ‘Maa ka Pyar’ and Gaajar ka Halwa ( And Beetroot, too)

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Two brothers; One a cop, the other on the wrong side of the law. Both brought up in poverty by their hard-working widowed Mother.

The cop tries to convince the other brother to surrender to the law while the gangster tries to convince the cop to join the other side.

Says the gangster to the cop : “Aaj mere paas gaadi hai, Bangla hai, Rupya hai. Tumhare paas kya hai?”
( Today, I have Cars and Bungalows and Money. What do you have?)

Says the Cop to the gangster (Drumroll, Please) : “Mere paas Maa hain aur maa ke haath ka bana gajar ka halwa hai”.
( I have Mother on my side and the Carrot pudding she makes)

For the uniniated, this is the scene from the movie “Deewar” which defines Bollywood, the hindi-language film industry of India. Of course, the carrot pudding part was my addition. The cop doesn’t say that in the actual movie. But hey, he just might have. See, the movie ends with the gangster dying, in the arms of his mother, reminiscing about her gajjar ka halwa (If i remember right. Or was it some other movie where Amitabh dies in the end?). See, every Hindi film protaganist talks about the love for his mother and her “gajjar ka halwa”. At least they did in the 70’s and the 80’s. Almost all movies, introduce the mothers character with her son walking into her kitchen with demands for that delicacy. I had always wondered why gajar ka halwa? Why not anything else? Now, I have a theory.

See, carrots are really cheap in India. So even the more poorer homes can afford to grate some carrots, add some sugar and make this dish. Secondly, most mothers probably thought,” Ok If this is what it takes for them to eat something healthy, then why not?. Eat on, bete(Son)”.Of course, its more healthier counterpart, Beetroot halwa, doesn’t really work. Because, you see, it just looks too healthy. All that fabulous color and you know that, that thing is good for you. How can something that healthy be your favorite food?. Besides, Can you imagine someone saying ,”Maa, tumhare shakunder ke halwe ki yaad aayi”. So, gaajar ka halwa, it was?

Do you agree? Or have you got any other theories? Lemme know…

Don’t discount the beetroot halwa, though. Its amazing served warm with a scoop of ice cold vanilla Icecream on top. Hmmmmmm……Hmmmmmm…Good!!!

For now, heres the recipe

2 cups grated Carrots/Beetroots, Whichever you choose to make.
4 cups Whole Milk
2 cups Sugar
A pinch green cardamom powder
1 tbsp Ghee
Chopped nuts of your choice

I cheat on the sugar part sometime. Add less of the sugar. But, 1:2:1 ratio of Carrots:Milk:Sugar is the ratio my Mom uses for all her veggie Halwas.

Put the carrots and the milk in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer. Until the milk dries up. Basically, you are making khoya (Milk dried into its solids), but its gonna have all the delicious carrot/beetroot flavor in it. This takes about an hour. Once done, add the sugar, cardamom powder and keep stiring and cooking, till the sugar melts and reaches softball stage. Basically, the halwa starts spewing like a volcano spitting lava. Do I have to remind you to watch your hands while you are stirring this? Once it reaches this stage, add the ghee, stir once and take it off the flame. Serve warm. Stays good in the fridge for about a week, but mine never lasts that long.

This is my entry to Revathi’s FMR-Comfort Foods and ARF/ 5-a-day Tuesday at Sweetnicks

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