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.

The Patholi Pictorial.

This summer I finally did what I had been planning for a long time. I pushed some fresh turmeric root into a pot of soil and prayed. In a classic manifestation of “ask and ye shall receive”, I received. Each of the root turned into a beautiful plant, having at least 10 leaves each. Though the leaves were nowhere near the size that one would get in an Indian market during this season, it didn’t matter because I had the leaves and that means that I could finally make some Paan Patholi.

Patholi is essentially Coconut+Jaggery mixture in rice+coconut paste steamed in turmeric leaves. It is a Konkani specialty and is usually made during Nagpanchami which is when I made these. The magic in this comes from the leaves. It is all about the leaves in fact. They are not just the pot holder here. They impart a very subtle taste to the rice paste during the steaming process that cannot be replicated by any alternative. Well, Banana leaves can be used but it would be a different taste. Good, but not the same. And the aroma, Oh the aroma, to die for. Not before eating a steaming hot patholi, though.

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Turmeric Plants in my patio Garden

For the past four years, I made the patholi in parchment papers in the absence of the turmeric leaves. Shilpa has a great post on that.

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Leaves washed and wiped clean

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Trimmed and lined for the magic

And the magic happens so.

For the rice paste,

Soak

1 cup raw rice

for 1-2 hours. Grind the rice with

1 cup poha/flattened rice
2-3 tbsp of grated fresh coconut
1/2 tsp of Jaggery, grated
salt, a pinch

with as little water as possible,till it forms a smooth paste. With my blender the way it is, I had to add more water and ended up making it more watery than it is upposed to be. It didn’t hurt the end product, but it was messy applying it to the leaf. This paste needs to be not runny at all. You should be able to scoop it up with your fingers and smear it on the leaf, in the leaf’s shape without the paste running over. Once done, keep aside.

For the stuffing,

Mix, slightly crushing it to release the coconut and jaggery juices,

1 cup Fresh coconut gratings
3/4 cup Jaggery gratings
2-3 Cardamom Pods, crushed and powdered

Let the stuffing begin. Line the leaves on a clean table/counter top. Hold the tip of the leaf with your left hand, scoop some of the paste with your right hand and apply the rice paste, starting at the mid vein of the leaf. Start working outwards to follow the shape of the leaves. The hand instructions reverse if you are left-handed, of course. The paste should be applied in as thin a layer as possible without the green of the leaf coming through.Repeat for all leaves.

Wash hands. Have the steamer ready with the water boiling. Scoop the stuffing and put it on the mid-vein of the leaf in a thin line. This is so that when the leaf is folded over, the stuffing is exactly in the middle and the thin line makes sure that the stuffing does not overflow. When the jaggery melts during the steaming, it will start spreading towards a wider surface area.

Fold one side of the leaf over the other length-wise. Press ever so lightly around the periphery of the leaf, so that paste sticks together. Steam for 10-12 minutes till the kitchen smells of all things wonderful. You will know, you will just know.

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Paste applied and stuffing layered on the leaf.

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The leaves folded over the stuffing and ready for steaming

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The patholis steaming away to glory in a traditonal steamer. This is called the ‘peDavaNa’ and was a gift from my mother. A more traditional steamer would have been made of ‘pithili’ (brass, I think).

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A Patholi uncovered and ready to be devoured.

Believe what I say and don’t believe my camera. The photograph does not do justice to the magic that is patholi.

My entry to JFI-Rice, over at Sharmi’s Neivedyam, and RCI-Karnataka at Asha’a Foodies Hope.

Turns out to be a excellent entry to Green Blog project-Summer 2007 over at Deepz, too.

UPDATE Aug 31 :

Just wanted to clarify that you do not eat the actual leaf. You peel the leaf off a steamed patholi, and just eat whats inside. At this point, the leaf has already given all of its magic to the patholi. The actual dish is the steamed rice + coconut paste with the sweet stuffing inside.

The different names for this sweet in various regional cuisines,

Konkani – Patholi
Kannadiga – Genesale
? – Paangi

Rava-Coconut Barfi

Some of the readers of this blog just pointed out to me that I have made the biggest goof-up a food blogger can make. Post a pic and not type out the recipe. Yes, I did that. Not only did I do that, I also did it 6 months ago without realizing that the recipe and the post was never updated. I own up to it because other than deleting the post, I really have no other way to deny it. I cannot delete the post because [sigh], it is part of the Jihva-Diwali round up. I am trapped and only because I have no other excuse or a simpler way to write it off, I admit to the transgression, apologize profusely and type out the recipe. Thanks for the polite requests and defer brickbats, if any, to another post ‘cos Anoushka’s listening. Can you find her?

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Roast

1 cup rawa

on a low flame, stirring constantly, till it changes color to a faint pink. Like everything else,it chooses to go from the light pink to burnt brown in that second that you turn to your kid to tell him for the umpteenth time why he can’t have juice before dinner. As soon as it changes color add

1 tbsp Ghee

and mix. My mom does this when she makes rawa laddoos and it seems to fluff up the rawa. I do it because I am a good girl and I do everything my mom tells me to do and because I like quirky things like that. 😀
You need to be quick here. Add the ghee and think about my quirkiness and you will end up with burnt rawa.Add the ghee, mix, raise heat and add

1 cup shredded coconut (fresh is good and recommended, dessicated can be substituted)
1 cup Milk

Let it come to a boil and keep stirring till the rawa absorbs the milk. If you don’t keep stirring, the rawa settles down on the bottom and lumps up. Not good.Add

1/2 to 1 cup Sugar

Equal amounts of rawa:sugar is recommended. Depends on how sweet you want it to be. For me it depends upon how I feel that day. If a pair of pants I really liked at the store didn’t fit that day, I go low. If not, all the way.You know it by now, stir, stir, stir, until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pot. At this point, it helps to know that this is better done in an non-stick type of pot which prevents things from sticking. It starts leaving the side and forms into one big ball. A more knowledgeable person would tell you that this is the soft ball stage of melting sugar, but since I am not that person, I will refrain. Immediately pour it on to a cookie sheet/ tray or the serving plate that didn’t fall on to your head. Spread it evenly across, top with

chopped pistachios

Why pistachios? Because I like them and it looks pretty, thats why. 🙂

Cut it into small squares or diamonds or rhombuses. If you use fresh coconut,they tend to be on the softer than the average burfi and taste more juicy.

Enjoy.

Thanksgiving with Pumpkin Pie

“Its time we jumped on to the Thanksgiving Bandwagon.”

You know the feeling. The feeling of coming home from work knowing what follows is a looooooooonng weekend and since we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, just lazing around and maybe ctaching a thing or two at the black friday sale, if we feel like getting up. You know the feeling. Just as I was reacqauinting myself to that feeling curled up with a cup of chai, the spouse uttered those words. I fought it , of course pretending not to hear it, hoping the idea would die its natural death, at least for the year. And, thats when he would utter those fateful wordss, the words that would seal my fate for today.

” As a food blogger, you should really be into this..”

Boy, the man knew how to push my buttons , didn’t he?…Next thing , I know I am at the grocery store looking at 20 pound turkeys. Now, spurred on by a challenge, I decided to take on thanksgiving. But, I was not so blind that I would take on a 20 pound bird on such short notice. Since, smaller ones were not available, we decided to get a chicken. I chalked out the following menu for our “neither-here-nor-there” thanksgiving. Thats because We are not that innured to the American palate, to do it the traditional way and I didn’t want to ruin thanks giving by slathering everything in sight with all the masalas in my cupboard. it was to be,

Roast Chicken with Gravy

Roasted Veggies Onion, Carrots and Potatoes

Stuffed Brussel Sprouts

Cranberry Chutney

Pumpkin Pie

No stuffing. Didn’t go there. Maybe next year, when I might grow an appreciation for it. For now, my inexperienced palate just can’t fathom how bread soaked in chicken juices would be good eats.

Early, this morning prepped the bird and started work on the pie. And the pie, considering that its my first attempt, looks good. Very simple, too, if you use canned pureed pumpkin. I used a recipe from the back of a can, with some super suggestions from the lady who was shopping in the same aisle as me. She just looked like the person who would make excellent Pumpkin pies for her family. I asked her, if the recipe on the can would make a good pie. She looked at it, and gave me a list and quantity of spices that I should put in it instead of a pumpkin pie spice mix, which the recipe suggested. I talked to her for the longest time and forgot to ask her name. Dear kind-lady-from-the-grocery-store, not that you would even need to look through food blogs , but if you do, thank you so much for some great tips!!!. And let me tell you, it smells amazing and even the husband(& me), not a great pumpkin fan, is looking forward to diving into it. Right now, a small cavity in the pie stands mute testimony to the fact that we didn’t wait for the meal.

Pumpkin pie ( Recipe Source: Back of a can and the kind-Lady-at-the- grocery-store)

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You Need :

1 unbaked 9-inch Deep Dish Pie shell ( I used pillsbury frozen)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

For the filling :

Beat

Two Large Eggs

in a medium bowl. Add

1 can Pureed Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Cloves

Whisk together to make a smooth paste. Make sure the spice is not in a big lump anywhere. Add

1 1/2 cups of half and half

little by little till it all comes together in a smooth paste. Kind-Lady-at-the-grocery-store suggested substituting the 1 can evaporated milk with half and half for a more richer pie. I think she was right.

Pour the mixture into the forzen pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 mins . Lower the temprature to 350, and bake for about 30-40 mins, depending upon your oven, till knife entered in the center comes out clean. Took the whole 40 mins at 350 for me. Cool before serving. The can says, refrigerating is fine, freezing is not. DO NOT FREEZE.

Diwali Treats..by Soumya Somashekar

Presenting, a whole lot of treats from Soumya Somashekar. And all of them cooked with a new born by her side!!..Gosh, the love for food!!!

Chakali

CHAKALI

I make chakali flour in advance & sometime i ask my mother to make it in India & send me.
The ratio is 2:1 Rice:Udad dal. My mother soaks them seperately & dries them in shade for 2
to 3 days. Then she roast them & give for grinding in the Mill. It gives a great aroma. I store it in Freezer for a year sometimes & whenever needed take some flour out & make yummy chakalies. You guys can use the rice flour & Udad dal flour you get in the Indial Grocery Store. I have tried it too which comes out really good, But as you know mom-made things tastes yummmmy.

The other ingds are
Hing,
Salt to taste,
Butter for Mohan,
Til(Sesame seeds),
Oil for frying.

Mix salt & hing in a little water.
Mix flour & til together in a bowl then heat butter in kadai & pour it on the chakali flour.
Let it cool & mix the Hing & salt water & make a batter of chappati consistancy.
Now put the batter in the chakali mould & squeeze to make a round shape chakalies on a plastic sheet.
Deep fry in hot oil. Keep the oil on a medium flame. Turn the on the other side & let it cook. Remove on to dry paper towel,
cool it & store in a air tight container.
This chakali is just salted but if anyone wants can add little Red chilli powder & DhaniaJeera powder. It tastes really good.

Ribbon_pakoda

RIBBON PAKODA

Besan- 2 cups
Rice flour- 1/4 cup

Add other spices according to your taste
Red chilli powder,
DhaniaJeera powder,
hing,
Salt little Ome pudi.
Oil for frying & for Mohan.

Mix all ingds other than oil in a bowl add little by little water & make a batter of chapati’s consistency.
Now put the batter in the mold with Tape/ ribbon pakoda disc & squeez directly in the hot oil. Keep the gas on medium flame… Fry on both sides & drain on a tissue
paper.Cool & store in a airtight container.

Mysore_pak__side_view_with_3_layer_colours_

MYSORE PAK

Besan- 1 cup
Sugar- 2 cups
Ghee – 3 cups
Some cardmom powder

Instead of using 3 cups of Ghee u can use 2 cups of ghee & 1 cup of cooking oil (not olive oil).
Take sugar in a thick bottom Kadai add little water very little just to wet the sugar. On another stove keep a vessel with ghee to heat it it should be hot enough but don’t burn it.
Now simultaneously keep stirring the sugar syrup it should be thick. Now the sugar syrup will start frothing and start to come off from the sides of the kadai. Slowly pour the ghee into the kadai, while stirring continuously. Add some more ghee & immediately add the besan & stirr
continously, u should do it really fast otherwise the besan will form lumps. Again slowly pour the ghee into the kadai, while stirring continuously.Add more & more ghee till the mixture starts leaving the ghee out, & no more ghee is left in the other vessel. Once it will no more absorb
the ghee, within few minutes, the entire mixture will harden a bit and become thick. Take it off the stove and pour it onto a flat greased plate/vessel (u have to pour it in such a way that the
mixture willfall in the Plate in a layered form the way it was in the kadai)and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes. While it is still hot, draw the lines with a sharp life to make small rectangular shape(b’cas it will be layered in three colours from bottom to top & looks
good if its in rectangular shape). After it is cool, you can take out the pieces and store them in an air-tight container.

Karanji…By Sharmila P

Presenting, Sharmila, whose entry karanji comes complete with step-by-step pictures!!!

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Hi folks,

I stumbled upon this great blogging world since a friend of mine, SaffronHut, started her blog. Since then I have been hooked. I read the blogs whenever I can find the time, in between work and kids and other things. I don’t have a blog, well at least not a food blog. I do have a blog for posting pictures and write-ups to my family. Also, with all the Diwali things and usual humdrum of life, I just read about this jihva. Since Vee is doing a post-Diwali round up I thought I’d send my entry even though it is a little late.

For Diwali, traditionally in Mumbai, India we make karangis (which we call Shingdi), nankatai, chivda, chakli and mathlele besan laadoo which is made from powdered dalia. Our (Maharashtrian Pathare Prabhu) karangi’s are a little different from the traditional Marathi Karangi’s. There are 2 kinds of fillings – 1 is made of coconut and sugar, and the other is made of dudhi halwa. And not just that but the karangis are not fried in oil but baked. My mom makes really yummy ones the traditional way where the cover is made out of wheat dough. She makes the dough into large chapati like flat rounds, then applies a thin layer of ghee to it, then another layer of a wheat chapati followed by some more ghee and a 3rd layer. That gives it the crisp flakiness when the karangis are baked in the oven.

Over the years, I have made karangis and nankatai every year for Diwali, though I have changed the recipe to suit our fast paced lives here in the US. So instead of making the cover the way my mom does, I use Pillsbury pie crust. Also, with coconut being notorious for cholesterol, I only make the dudhi halva filling.

Recipe makes 30

1 packet Pillsbury pie crush dough

Dudhi halva

2 medium sized dudhi (opo squash). After grating should be about 3.5 cups or so.

1/2 stick of butter

1.5 cups of sugar.

1 small container of non-fat ricotta cheese.

1 tsp cardamom powder

Skin the dudhis and de-seed them. Grate them in a food processor. Put a little ghee in the bottom of a pressure pan or thick bottomed pan and let it melt. Add the grated dudhis. Toss it around in the ghee. Close the pressure pan and let it cook. (No whistle). Once the dudhi looks like it is cooked, keep the pan open and let the water dry up on high heat. Then add the sugar and some cardamom powder. If you used unsalter butter, add a 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well and let the sugar melt and get syrupy. Meanwhile put the ricotta cheese in a microwavable bowl. Spread it out so that it is in a thin layer. Microwave on high for 4-5 min. It starts to get a little crumbly. Break the crumbs up and mix it up and repeat till the mixture is dry but not brown. Add that (as the mawa) to the squash mixture and mix well. Once all the water from the sugar syrup gets evaporated, you will have your dudhi halva ready to go. It needs to be a little more on the sweet side to balance off the salty pie crust dough.

I usually make this the night before and then make the Karangi’s in the morning.

To make the karangi’s, unroll the Pillsbury pie crust and re-roll it much tighter than it was.

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Now cut the roll into 2cm pieces. 1 roll makes about 15.

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Take each piece and place it such that the rolled side is still on the sides. Press it a little bit and roll it out into a small oval puri shaped flat.

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Put a spoonful of the halva on 1 side near the center.

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Fold over the other end to make a D shaped karangi.

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Flute the ends of the karangi to seal them or trim with a pie cutter.

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Make all 15 and then bake them in a pre-heated over 375 F middle rack till they are slightly brown (takes about 20-25 minutes per batch).

Penuri..By Anupama Anantharaman

If you have gone through the Diwali round up , you have seen an entry by Anupama Anantharaman, who has been grouped as an Individual participant. She sent in the recipe for penuri, which I am reproducing here in Anupama’s words. Penuri’s are these yummy treats that are flaky and sweet and really tedious to make. Anupama gives away her secrets for making these and they look gorgeous.

In her own words, she doesn’t have a blog yet. So, we can look forward to this amazing cook joining the blogging community sooner if not later. Here’s a glimpse , though, of the kind of food we can expect when she does decide to join in.

Over to Anupama…

Here is the recipe for this months JFI event. The dish is “sweet
penuri.” This one’s a winner. It’s heavenly aroma will fill you with
the Diwali spirit of joy and sharing.

Penuri

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour/maida
1.5 tbsp ghee (I suggest you use pure, home-made ghee unless you are
absolutely sure that you can buy high-quality, authentic ghee from
outside)
2 tbsp rice flour
3 cups regular sugar for syrup
½ cup powdered sugar
8 cardamoms (Optional)

This recipe will make approx. 45 penuris penuris, each about 2.5
diameter in size. I think this size is perfect because a smaller size
will leave you wanting for a few extra bites and a bigger size will
make you hate yourself for breaking that resolve to watch your calories.
Who says you can’t have best of both worlds?

Procedure

The secret of making crispy and flaky penuri lies in the dough and the
sugar syrup. The dough should be pliable yet stiff and the sugar syrup
should be of 1-thread consistency, no less, no more.

1. In a mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of plain flour and 1.5 table spoons
ghee thoroughly well with your palm and fingers. This will take about 3
minutes. Knead a stiff dough by adding about 3/4 cup water. You will be
tempted to add more water because it gets quite tough to knead this
into a stiff dough. Resist this temptation and you will be glad you did.
Knead the dough well for about 7-8 minutes, at the end of which, it
willfeel smooth and pliable.

2. In a sauce pan, mix 3 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Boil it
on medium-high heat to get 1 thread consistency. For me, this took
about 12 minutes. Remove the sauce pan from stove.

3. Pull a golf-ball size ball from the dough, roll it into a thin
puri of about 5 inch diameter. Spread ghee on top of the puri. Then
sprinkle some rice flour on the puri (about 1/8th of tea spoon). Make a
second 5 inch diameter puri and put it on top of the first puri. Spreak
ghee and sprinkle rice flour. Now make a third puri of about 4 inch
diameter and put it on top of the second puri. Spread ghee on top. Now
roll all the three puris tightly and make ½ inch divisions. You should
get about 8 of these. Take each division and keep the side with curved
lines facing you, on top. Press the piece with your palm and then roll
into a puri of about 4 inch diameter. Repeat this for all pieces. Fry
few puris at a time. Once done, dry them on a paper towel for about 3
minutes and then immerse these puris in the sugar syrup until the next
round of puris is ready. Arrange the puris on a flat plate.

4. Repeat the 3rd step for the rest of the dough.

5. Once all puris are done, sprinkle some powdered sugar on each of
the puris. If you like, you can sprinkle powdered cardamoms as well.

Variation:
Instead of dipping the fried penuris in the sugar syrup, you can
sprinkle 1 tea spoon sugar on both sides of the puris and arrange them
on a platter.