Sitaphal Kheer

Sitaphal (Custard Apple) Kheer

 

 

Dussera got over last week after a glorious Navaratri celebration all over the country. Navaratri in Tamil households involves lots of preparation from arranging and decorating the Golu to making prasadams (bhog) every single day – twice daily.

We make lots of Sundals (which is a dry salted salad-type preparation with different lentils) as prasadam. People also make different sweets to induce some variety to the prasadams. This time I tried Sitaphal (Custard Apple) Kheer as part of my prasadam. This is the season for custard apples and I got quite tempted to try out this recipe. It turned out to be pretty good and I am sure people who relish kheer would love this one.

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lts whole milk

18 tsps sugar

pulp of 5 custard apples

Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Raisins for garnishing

Method:

Boil milk in a large pan/bowl. After the first boil, add sugar and stir it occasionally till the milk starts reducing. Extract the pulp from all the custard apples by removing the seeds-its quite a task..:). Grind the pulp to a smooth paste and keep it aside.

Once the milk reduces to half its quantity, it will turn light pink in colour. Turn off the gas, add the fruit pulp and stir well. Finally you can garnish it with almonds, pistachios, cashews and raisins, roasted in ghee. This kheer tastes great when served chilled.

Now that fresh custard apples are available in abundance during this season, this recipe is definitely worth a try!!

Cheers!!!

-Bhuvana

 

 

 

Vegan Fish Curry at the Natural Food Festival

Vegan Fish Curry at the Natural Food Festival

I kid you not. Before you guffaw or roll your eyes. Here is the video proof. (There is more about betel dosa at the end of this post)

The Natural Food Festival in Hyderabad happened on Feb 17 and 18. I took the tribe along. Humera and Rayyan were motivated by the food, Rajaa was there to get nice pictures and I was curious. I swear that the millet and jaggery chocolate brownies takes the cake. Put it on your bucket list.

So, it turns out (you didn’t watch the video, did you?) the vegan fish curry was a vegan (fish-less) curry made with the same spices, and vegetables. Yes, I tried tasting it and I finished all of it. It was lip-smacking-ly goooood. But on to the main story, after all, isn’t all food natural? Valid point. Chew on a millet cracker while we explore this.

The natural food festival, should have really been called the Slow Food festival. As opposed to fast food…. food that is chemically laced, unhealthy and more often than not, unethically, factory produced. Food that is heavily promoted by multinational food conglomerates. Slow food is nutritiously tasty food cooked from traditional recipes from local, organically grown crops and grains and naturally raised animals.

It was a surprise in many ways. First, it is not very often that a government decides to promote Natural Foods. We sauntered in at the closing bell of the last day. I was fully expecting to see a deserted place. No, I was surprised !!

DDS
There were many familiar faces. Deccan Development Society was there. For those who came in late (and read Phantom comics), a documentary film maker, Sateesh decided to go native and returned to his village in Zaheerabad district a few decades ago. He started to work with the local farmer women and soon developed an amazing society of empowered women who grow, negotiate, think, make movies and generally give everyone a tough time. Here is one of them talking about their exhibits

Litti Choka
There were quite a few participants from really far off places.  There was this young woman from Siliguri (the pitstop for Darjeeling). She gave us a taste of Litti Choka. This is a dough ball made with whole wheat and stuffed with sattu and other spices and herbs. It is normally roasted over wood fire and served with Ghee . It is best eaten with aloo bharta or baingan bharta accompanied with a generous portion of curd.

Millet Snacks
And there was a phenomenal spread of Millet snacks. Remember the jaggery and millet chocolate brownie I mentioned?? This is the video I shot.

I will update this post later with more pictures from the festival.  I hope to return next year with more of the gang and on both days. Don’t miss it the next year.

– Farhan

Gujiyas for Holi

Gujiyas for Holi

Gujiya is a gujarati sweet dish that is synonymous with Holi and Diwali. It is like a sweet samosa. It keeps well, and hence can be made a couple of days ahead of time. We present to you a healthier version of the dish, without stepping too far from tradition. Enjoy, and wish you a very happy and colourful holi.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup dry fruits(almond,cashew,walnut)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ⅓ cup jaggery
  • ⅓ cup dates
  • ½ tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp sooji or semolina
  • 1 tsp elaichi or cardamom
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cup atta
  • ¼ cup sooji or semolina
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Warm water for kneading
  • 1 tbsp aata with 1 tbsp water, for sealing
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. Dry roast the dry fruits in a pan for 5-7 minutes.Keep it aside and let it cool.
  2. Grind them into a coarse mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a pan.
  4. Add the shredded coconut.
  5. Saute for 5 minutes on low flame and add the roughly chopped dates, jaggery and dry fruits. (Add some cashewnut paste to this if you want a deep rich taste)
  6. Add semolina with 2 tbsp water.
  7. Cook this mixture for 5 minutes on low flame and allow it to cool.
  8. Knead the dough with flour, 2 tbsp oil ,semolina, water and salt.
  9. Add extra flour as needed to keep from sticking to hands and board.
  10. Place the dough in a greased vessel.
  11. Cover with a cloth/plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
  12. Take a small portion and roll it into small round ball. Roll it out and lay it on the inside of a gujiya mould (Grease the mould to make sure that the rolled dough doesn’t stick to it)
  13. Add filling in the rolled pastry.
  14. Seal the edges with flour and water mix.
  15. Brush the gujiya with oil and bake for 10 minutes@160 degree Centigrade.
  16. Heat oil in a small & deep kadai.
  17. Once the oil is hot, add half-baked gujiya to it.
  18. Cook on low flame for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (or skip #15-17 and deep fry the traditional way)