Friday, 30 March 2012

Spring Onion Bhajias



I had no plans to make onion bhajias but couldn't resist making them when some friends offered us these freshly grown spring onions yesterday.  This is a quick and easy recipe which makes dangerously tasty onion bhajias.

Ingredients for 2 servings:
Time 30 minutes.


1 bunch of fresh spring Onions
1 cup of chick pea flour
½ cup of fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon mixture of ginger, garlic and green chillies (you can use more if you like hot and spicy food)
1 teaspoon Ajwain (Carom seeds)
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 pinches of soda bi carbonate
Oil for deep frying

Method: 

1.   Cut and prepare the spring onions.  Wash and soak them in cold water for 5-10 minutes.



2. Chop the onions as finely as you can.


3.  Add the chick pea flour, bread crumbs, salt, turmeric, the ginger, garlic and chilly mixture together with the ajwain and whole coriander.


4.  Add a little over ½ a cup of warm water to the mixture.  You may need to add a bit more if the mixture feels a bit dry. Mix well.


5.  Heat the oil in a wok or something similar.

6.  NOW add the soda bicarbonate to 2 teaspoons of warm water and add to the bhajia mixture.  Mix well as this will help make the bhajias soft.

7.  Add one tablespoon of hot oil from the wok to the mixture and stir again.

8.  Now the mixture is ready to fry.  Using a teaspoon, transfer a small amount of mixture at a time into the oil.


9.  The bhajias will fluff up and rise to the top.  Turn them over and cook until golden to dark brown.


10.  Remove the bhajias onto a kitchen paper.


11.  Serve them with your favourite chutney.

Carrots, raw mango and green chillies pickle with mustard (raita gajar, marcha & keri)


A lot of you have been emailing me to ask why I haven't posted any recipes recently. I have been spending a lot of my time chasing bloggers and websites owners who have been using my photographs without my permission and passing them off as theirs. One website even copied my recipe word for word!! Anyway, I am glad to say that most of them have removed the "stolen" pictures and recipe.

This has led me to create a facebook page were any blogger can report copy cat bloggers. If any of you have been a victim of plagiarism, do name and shame those bloggers on this Facebook page. This experience has made to realise that I need to add a large watermark right in the middle of  all my photographs. In my early days of blogging, I hadn't realised that other people could copy and use my pictures. I am now updating all my blog recipes and pictures . I have been spending a lot of time cooking using my blog recipes and updating the recipes and changing some of the photographs. In the coming year - I hope to give my blog/website a facelift. 

Now back to my recipe. This dish is made in all Indian homes and served as a condiment in the main thali. It adds to the flavours of the dishes you have in your thali. Indian thali will have fresh chappatis, puri or any similar bread with 2-3 curries, rice, dalls, chutneys, raita and a sweet dish. Each dish tastes different and adding such pickles, chutneys or papadums helps to balance all the flavours. 

Living in the fens, we get really fresh and sweet carrots straight from the farm so I make this pickle nearly every week. We love this fresh and spicy accompaniment in our thali. The recipe for carrot, chilly and mango pickle is simple and can be made with several combinations. The chilly and carrot is the most popular. Adding raw mangoes to the recipe helps to keep the salad fresh for longer. You can also add raw tindora (Indian Ivy gourd) to the pickle . Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the pickle I had made with tindora!! Different families will have their own version of making this dish. Some like to grind the mustard seeds and use the powder, some may not add the oil. My suggestion is to experiment and find a taste that you like. 

Ingredients: 

2-3 medium carrots 
15-20 fresh green chillies 
1-2 raw mangoes (Use the small ones sold as pickle mangoes as these remain nice and crisp) 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
2 tablespoons of split mustard seeds 
1 -2 teaspoons of salt 
1 teaspoons of turmeric 
2 tablespoons of cooking oil 


Method: 

1. Peel the carrots but leave the skin on the mangoes if it's not marked. 

2. Cut the mangoes and carrots into juliennes and soak them into cold water for 5 minutes. 

3. De stalk the green chillies and slice them into two lengthwise. If the chillies are long, you can cut them into two and soak them in cold water for 5 minutes. Soaking them helps to remove the hot chilly seeds. 

4. Sieve the carrots and mangoes. 

5. For the chillies, remove the chillies using a spoon. This way, any chilly seeds will be at the bottom of the pan and not get added to the pickle. 

6. Transfer all the prepared carrots, mangoes and chillies to a mixing bowl. 

7. Add the salt, turmeric, lemon juice and split mustard seeds and mix well. 

8. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and allow to cool very slightly so that it doesn't splutter when adding to the mixture. 

9. Add this oil to the mixture and stir well. 

10. Adding the warm oil helps to release the flavours from all the spices and also coats the spices to all the vegetables. 

11. Transfer this pickle to a clean bottle and eat after 24 hours. This freshly made pickle can remain edible for a week if kept in the fridge.







Friday, 23 March 2012

Mango Chundo (Mango preserve) – Microwave version




Most Indian dishes are accompanied by chutneys and pickles of some sort. Some are made fresh on the day and some last longer. This Mango Chundo is a popular preserve from the Gujarat side of India. It has a sweet and sour taste and if made correctly, can last a long time. I tend to make it and keep in small jars rather than putting it all in one big jar. By using a bottle at a time, the preserve lasts longer. This chundo is best made with raw mangoes. I bought some at the Asian stores and they are called Rajapuri mangoes.  These mangoes have a small stone and lots of pulp so although they may be expensive, they are worth it as you get a lot of mango pulp and mangoes have the taste and  aroma you can only dream of.


Ingredients for about 2 Jam jars worth of Chundo (approximately a 1,000 grams)


2 large Rajapuri or similar mangoes (the grated weight of the 2 mangoes was 775 grams)
700 grams sugar (you could use another 50 grams less too!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons chilly powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5-8 cloves
5-8 cinnamon sticks
Teaspoon of cardamom seeds
5-8 whole pepper cones
1 tablespoon sunflower oil


Method


1. Peel the mangoes and wash them whole and dry them with a kitchen paper.


2. Grate the mangoes and weigh them. (This is essential as you need to use sugar slightly less than the weight of the mangoes) 




3. Add the salt and turmeric to the grated mango and mix well.


4. Keep this covered for 30 minutes.


5. The salt will make the mango mixture runny.


6. Now add the sugar. The amount of sugar depends on the weight of the grated mango. Most recipes ask for one and a half times the weight of the mango. My advice is to use at least 100 grams less than the weight of the mangoes. This is for 2 reasons – one is for health reasons. Too much sugar can’t be good for anyone!! Another is that the pickle needs to be sweet and sour and for that reason – go easy on the sugar.





7. When you mix the sugar, the mixture will become even runnier.


8. Transfer this to a large microwave dish with a lid. The timings for cooking in  the microwave will depend on the weight of the mango and sugar mixture plus the size and speed of your microwave.



9. Microwave this mixture on a high for 10 minutes, remove and stir the mixture. The mixture will still look quite runny.


10. Again microwave on high for 10 minutes, remove and stir the mixture.


11. By now, you’ll notice that the mixture is starting to look darker and thicker
.


12. Keep repeating the microwave cooking and stirring for 5 minutes at a time.




13.  My chundo took about 35 - 38 minutes to cook.  When only a small amount of moisture remains, stir and leave the mixture to cool. You will notice that it continues to thicken and the consistency of the chundo will look similar to marmalade.





14. Whilst it’s cooling, add the chilly powder. The amount of chilly powder shouldn’t over power the sweet and sour taste so add one teaspoon and then the second one if you feel it needs an extra kick! .


Now prepare the tempering with the spices:



15. In another microwave dish, add the spices -cinnamon, cardamom, whole peppercones, cloves and cumin. Warm these spices for a minute. This will release the oils in the spices and produce a lovely aroma.



16. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the spices and heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.


17. Now add this spice mixture to the mango chundo and stir.





18. Once this mixture cools, transfer the chundo to clean sterilized bottles and enjoy with any Indian dish.





Like all my recipes, I take great pride in givng you as many details as I can so that you can easily follow the instructions and also have the confidence that the recipe will work.  I hope that when you follow any of my recipes, you will let me have your opinion on how the dish turned out!