Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Pahadi Style Urad Dal Khichdi

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Few days ago, my MIL was remembering her days in Kullu. My FIL was posted there for a few years and lived in a cute little house on the banks of Beas river. She was telling me about the warmth of the neighbours and how they used to exchange dishes they prepared everyday. Since I am a big foodie, any mention of food gets my antennae active. So, I requested her to prepare one of the special dishes she had there. MIL went inside the kitchen and while I made the little one eat and sleep, she came up with the one of most delicious versions of the Khichdi I ever had! I was so hooked on to the Khichdi that I requested her to prepare one more time so that I can post the recipe on my blog. 

Sharing the recipe of Pahadi style Urad Dal Khichdi. This is an easier version by my MIL as she knows I am a lazy chef and a complicated recipe will scare me out!

Khichdi Rice (we used Basmati tukda that we generally use for baby food) - 1 Cup soaked for an hour
Urad Dal with skin - 1/2 Cup, soaked for an hour
Desi Ghee - 2 tbsp
Curry leaves - 4-5
Black peppercorns - 3-4 no.
Cloves - 2-3 no.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Bayleaf - 1 no.
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 2-3 no. 
Ginger - a small piece
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Onion - 1 small
Salt - to taste
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Water - 2 Cups


1. Grind together the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chillies. The mixture should be chopped, not blended. I used my electric chopper. Remember, we do not want a paste.

2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pressure handi.

3. Add the bayleaf, asafoetida, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and cloves.

4. When they begin to splutter, add the chopped onion - garlic - ginger - curry leaves - green chillies mixture.

5. Saute on medium flame for 3-4 minutes. 

6. Add the soaked dal and rice and saute on medium flame for another 2-3 minutes.

7. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well.

8. Add enough water to cover the mixture 1/2" above. Mix well.

9. Cover and cook for one whistle. Let the steam escape on its own from the pressure handi.

Serve piping hot with salad.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Easy Eggless Flower Bread

This flower bread happened by chance! I was desperate to bake my own bread. However, I had not yet purchased a loaf tin, nor did I have a big baking tray (haven't yet found a round one for my microwave). But, when there is a will there is a way. So, we baked it in our flower shaped aluminium cake tin!

With this bread, I resumed baking after 14 years. Read more about it here.

This bread is ideal for tea time. Blame it on our excitement, we enjoyed it with a generous layer of butter and it vanished from the table in few minutes! Despite all the hard work, all I got of the bread was one petal. But that also proves the bread was indeed yum.

Well, without anymore bak bak, let me get onto the recipe.

Ingredients (Made a six petal flower bread)
All purpose flour/Maida - 1 Cup 
Instant Dry Yeast - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Lukewarm milk - 1/2 Cup
Lukewarm water - 1/2 Cup
Clarified butter/Desi Ghee - 1 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp for brushing
Milk - 2 tbsp, for milkwash


1. In a bowl, take sugar, yeast and add lukewarm water. Cover and rest for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Do not move or uncover the bowl while resting. Also, the water should be lukewarm. Too hot or cold water won't activate the yeast and the bread won't rise.

After 10 minutes, the yeast rose and looked like this. 

2. In a separate vessel (since I don't have a big working board, my humble Paraat which I used to knead the chapati dough came handy) take the maida.

3. Add the salt and mix well.

4. Knead a soft dough using lukewarm milk. Preparing the dough is an important step and thankfully, my MIL volunteers for the job and completes it to perfection. She knead the dough for a good 7-8 minutes. The dough started sticking but she continued to knead and we eventually got a soft dough.

5. Add 1 tbsp desi ghee and knead the dough well so that the ghee gets absorbed. This gives a very soft texture to the bread. In fact, we do this even with our chapati dough. Make the dough into a ball. 

6. Cover the dough with a moist cloth and keep in a warm place undisturbed for 2 hours to prove. 

Our dough doubled beautifully after 2 hours.

7. Take the dough in the Paraat and knock off the excess air. 

8. Grease the tin.

9. Put the dough in the greased tin and make small cuts with scissors to give the shape of petals. 

10. Cover with a damp cloth and keep for proving for another 30 minutes.

11. Give milk wash.

12. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

13. Loosen the sides with a knife and smear ghee while the bread is still hot.

14. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut into petals and enjoy with butter!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

My second innings in baking

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No matter how awesome breads I may bake in the future, this bread will always be the closest to my heart! Because with this bread, I resumed baking after 14 long years. Curious? 

Well, let me kill the curiosity..

I am a Hotel Management graduate. Obviously, as part of the curriculum, I learnt to bake so many cakes, breads and cookies. However, it was total "egg" cooking. Those days we were so much obsessed with having a good career that we just focussed on the destination, not the journey. As a result baking was a very procedural thing to get the right grades. Of course, those who wanted to be professional chefs did have a different approach towards the classes. But since those days I was more keen on pursuing MBA after college and wanted to make a career in marketing and communication, baking was a mere task for me which I had to complete perfectly just to get good grades. How foolish of me na! Yes, after 14 years even I think so. But there is a saying that experience is like a comb that life gives when you go bald! So no point hind sighting.

So, what is it that has suddenly transformed me into a crazy baker? 

Well, motherhood is the answer. I once wrote a post on the things motherhood taught me that nothing else did and today I proudly add baking to that list. I wanted to introduce breads to my toddler son. However, I was skeptical about the ingredients used in the commercially available bread. Finally, my chef apron and the baking journals came to my rescue! The Microwave is all smiles as it is finally getting the attention it has deserved all these years. 

Since I have long stopped eating eggs, this second innings in baking is going to be completely eggless! Therefore, I feel like a First year student again, as I research on the ways to get the best results without using eggs.

Sometimes, small initiatives give us so much joy that even money can't buy! The joy of seeing my little one cherish the breads/cakes baked by me is something words cannot explain. 

Such is the magic of motherhood!

Monday, 7 May 2018

Easy Instant Dhokla

I have a childhood connection with Dhokla. In Delhi, whenever we had unannounced army of guests (I say army because kids those days accompanied their parents, unlike these days when kids prefer gadgets to get togethers) usually chai would be prepared at home and snacks ordered from the local market. Most often, the snacks ordered would be piping hot Samosas, Jalebis and Dhokla! 

I remember there was a sweet shop (Aggarwal Sweets) in Munirka, Delhi and whenever Papa and I would pass by, we would get at least half a kilo Dhokla packed and then enjoy at home with Chai! Our taste buds were so used to the Dhokla from our favourite shops that while in Delhi, we never ever felt the need to prepare Dhokla at home!

However, after I moved to Mumbai, like most other foods, I found a difference in the Dhokla served here. Blame it on the numerous places where I tried the Dhokla, but I found the Mumbai walla Dhokla a bit dry and less spongy than its Delhi counterpart. As a popular Hindi saying goes, "Marta Kya na karta", my MIL got into crazy Dhokla experiments and we almost got used to being the guinea pigs of her experiments.

Finally, my dream of having Dhokla of my choice came true when I purchased an Aluminium Cake tin recently. So desperate were we to have Dhokla that we inaugurated the tin with Dhokla instead of a cake! How funny is that! Using an Aluminium tin gave us the desired results as the tin heats faster. 

Here's how we got our instant spongy Dhokla!


Besan/Gramflour - 1 Cup
Semolina/Suji - 2tbsp
Curd/Dahi (Preferably sour) - 3/4 Cup
Turmeric Powder/Haldi - 1 tsp
Salt/Namak - to taste
Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice - juice of 2 lemons
Eno/fruit salt - 1 sachet
Mustard Seeds/Sarson - 1 tsp
Curry leaves/Kadi Patta - 8-10
Green Chillies/Hari Mirch - 2-3, chopped
Green Coriander - 2tbsp, chopped, for garnish
Sugar - 2-3tsp
Water - 1 Cup

Method - 

1. In a mixing bowl, take curd.

2. Add the gramflour, semolina, salt and turmeric powder.

3. Mix well to form a smooth batter. If the batter is thick, some lukewarm water can be added to adjust the consistency.

4. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and juice of 1 lemon. Mix well and rest for 20-30 minutes. 

6. Boil water in a steamer (I used pressure cooker cooker and kept a stand inside). Add 1 sachet Eno to the batter and just slightly fold in one direction. Pour the batter immediately in a greased Aluminium cake tin and steam for 15 minutes on high flame or till the knife poked in the Dhokla comes out clean. 

7. For the tempering, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds, green chillies and chopped curry leaves. 

8. Once they splutter, add 1 cup water. Mix well and bring to a boil. 

9. Add 2-3 tsp sugar (or to taste) and juice of 1 lemon. 

10. Cut the cooled Dhokla into pieces and pour the tadka on it. Garnish with chopped coriander (I haven't as my son doesn't like coriander).