Shital's-Kitchen

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Coconut Chikki

As the winter sets in, we use lot of jaggery at home. So many delicious goodies made of jaggery. With iron and vitamin C, jaggery has qualities to keep the body warm. Mom would encourage us to have lot of ghee and gud during winters. Don't forget the gud, ghee and bajra rotla... It is the ultimate winter food for Gujaratis.

With Makar Sankranti time when we make lots of chikkis and brittles at home, Gud/jaggery is the important ingredient. Filled with nutritional values and benefits, jaggery is a must to use in every home. Every culture has their way of using jaggery... in tea, in chikki, in gujarati dal, puran poli, in masala gud from north and many more.

I was just watching one of Rujuta Diwekar's live video of Facebook where she explains how ghee and gud and important for our body specially during winter, and this recipe is a good example to incorporate these main ingredients in day-to-day life. I love her logical explanations just like what our parents told us and our ancestors did. This chikki can be a wonderful snack or dessert after a meal.

While it is chikki time, and remembering all the chikki flavors from Lanavala, I tried to make coconut chikki. Here is the recipe...simple, easy, and quick.

Ingredients
1 cup finely chopped jaggery
1 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp. ghee
  • In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast coconut for 1-2 minutes. Remove in a plate.
  • Heat ghee and finely chopped or powdered jaggery in a pan. Let it melt completely. Check for hard ball consistency. Since I use organic powdered jaggery. Melting gud/jaggery is enough. I do not have to heat it a lot. If you are using very soft jaggery, you will have to stir it slightly longer after melting it to form a hard and crisp chikki.
  • Add roasted coconut and stir well to mix.
  • Remove in a greased pan and pat chikki tightly with a flat side of a greased bowl.
  • Cut into pieces while still warm.
  • Cool and remove the pieces from the tray. 
  • Store in a container and enjoy!

  Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast coconut for 1-2 minutes. Remove in a plate.


Heat ghee and finely chopped or powdered jaggery in a pan. Let it melt completely. Check for hard ball consistency. Since I use organic powdered jaggery. Melting gud is enough. I do not have to heat it a lot. If you are using very soft jaggery, you will have to stir it slightly longer after melting it to form a hard and crisp chikki.


Add roasted coconut and stir well to mix.

Remove in a greased pan and pat chikki tightly with a flat side of a greased bowl.



Cut into pieces while still warm.

Cool and remove the pieces from the tray.

Enjoy!!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gobi Paratha

Garma Garam Parathas are best in winters. Stuffed with veggies, these whole wheat parathas are my family's favorite. In fact, I just realized that I make stuffed parathas very often. They are easy to make to take hot lunches to work, easy to heat, and easy to eat too. Shu loves them, and I love making these for him!!

Cauliflower has a peculiar taste...some people love it where as some do not. We love it!! Rustic Aloo Gobi with tandoori roti is also our favorite. Type 'Gobi' under 'Look up a recipe' search box on the right of this screen, and check out various recipes I have made using cauliflower: tikka, manchurian, tandoori, sabzi, and now paratha.

These parathas are very easy to make. Although I used a manual food processor to mince veggies, you can use a mixer grinder on pulse setting to mince it or finally chop or grate them.

Ingredients: (makes around 8-10 parathas)
1 medium to large cauliflower
1 large onion
1 inch ginger
1-2 green chilies
Handful of cilantro
Juice of fresh lemon
1+1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tbsp. garam masala
3 cup whole wheat flour
1+1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil
Water to make soft dough (around 1+3/4 cup, depending of type of flour you use)
Ghee or oil for frying paratha

Accompaniments:
Plain yogurt, sliced onions, lemon pickle

To make the dough:
Mix whole wheat flour with salt and oil. Add water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. Cover and leave it aside for least 15-20 minutes.

To make the stuffing:
  • Remove cauliflower florets. and wash them well under water. Soak in salt water if needed to get rid of hidden guests :)
  • In a food processor add cauliflower florets, roughly chopped onion, ginger, green chilies and cilantro, and finely mince and mix all together. This should yield around 3-4 cups of minced veggies.
  • Remove in a bowl, add salt, chili powder, garam masala and juice of fresh lemon. Mix well and let it rest for some time ( around 10 minutes). This process lets out moisture, which can be squeezed out later while rolling paratha.

To make parathas: 
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 parts and roughly divide the stuffing too.
  • Keep dry flour, oil or ghee by the side while making and frying parathas.
  • Heat the griddle.
  • Take 1 part of the dough. Dip into dry flour and roll into 4 inch disc.
  • Take 1 part of stuffing in your palms and squeeze out the moisture. 
  • Place the stuffing in the center of the rolled dough. Bring the dough sides together and press them to fuse the dough.  
  • Gently press it. Use little dry flour and gently roll to form 6 inch diameter paratha.
  • Place on hot griddle at medium heat. Wait for 2 minutes and flip the paratha. Add ghee or oil on top of the paratha, Flip and add ghee or oil on the other side. Flip and fry paratha till it is golden brown and done.
  • Serve with chilled yogurt, sliced onions, and pickle of your choice.
  • Enjoy!!

Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
Remove cauliflower florets. and wash them well under water. Soak in salt water if needed to get rid of hidden guests :)
In a food processor add cauliflower florets, roughly chopped onion, ginger, green chilies and cilantro, and finely mince and mix all together. This should yield around 3-4 cups of minced veggies.

This is a Wonder Chef manual food processor. I also have my 13 years old Cuisinart food processor that i love it. It just make mincing veggies easy on a busy weekday. It is easy to clean too... i just rinse it and put it in the dishwasher.



Remove in a bowl, add salt, chili powder, garam masala and juice of fresh lemon. Mix well and let it rest for some time ( around 10 minutes). This process lets out moisture, which can be squeezed out later while rolling paratha.


Mix whole wheat flour with salt and oil. Add water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. Cover and leave it aside for least 15-20 minutes.



Take 1 part of the dough. Dip into dry flour and roll into 4 inch disc.

Take 1 part of stuffing in your palms and squeeze out the moisture. 
Yes, I wash and wipe my hands dry every time after this step. I have OCD for clean utensils which means I cannot touch the rooling pin or spatula with wet or with stuffing bits on my hand. :)

Place the stuffing in the center of the rolled dough. Bring the dough sides together and press them to fuse the dough.


Gently press it. Use little dry flour and gently roll to form 6 inch diameter paratha.

Place on hot griddle at medium heat. Wait for 2 minutes and flip the paratha. Add ghee or oil on top of the paratha, Flip and add ghee or oil on the other side. Flip and fry paratha till it is golden brown and done.



Serve with chilled yogurt, sliced onions, and pickle of your choice.



Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Vegetarian Phở

Phở: We see this as a restaurant name very often in Northern California. I knew that it was an Asian dish which is pronounced as 'PH' and not 'FO'. But, little did I ever imagined that these restaurants would also serve a vegetarian version of the this dish. Maybe because of vegetarian/ vegan population in California, Pho is very popular here! 

While on a discussion with my friends few days back, we decided to go for Pho. It is a perfect winter comforting food. I said I have never had Pho, always very skeptical to go to an Asian restaurant as I am not sure of the broth or sauce they would use. The discussion made me very curious... I searched more on Pho from Vietnamese food bloggers, and I realized I love Pho! 

Pho is a rice noodle soup which I would normally have a my husband's cafeteria. In fact, I would specially go there to enjoy a hot bowl of hot noodle soup. They would refer to this as Soup Bowl. We could select the topping and with freshly boiled rice noodles and veggie broth, Pho was served in a large bowl. I would also add some chili paste to mine as I like it spicy :) 

Why did I not think earlier of making this at home?? I make veggie broth all the time for wonton soup and dumpling soup... so this would just be very easy.

Pho is a rice noodle bowl which is served with aromatic meat broth, slices of meat, and some veggies. I watched YouTube videos and found that people in Vietnam start their day with hot bowl of Pho. How comforting and delicious!!

So with my knowledge and style of veggie broth, I was on a mission to make Vegetarian Pho. The next part was selecting noodles...there were so many types. So while I stood in the Asian food aisle at Sprouts market, I started Googling for the rice noodles used in Pho. Check the links below. These bloggers have explained the Importance of Banh Pho. Pho means rice noodles and Banh Pho are flat noodles used in a bowl of Pho. 

"One can say that pho is not pho without the correct banh pho rice noodles in it." This sentence is from the website, Loving Pho:  Information about pho noodles

"How to buy Pho rice noodles?" Viet World KitchenTypes of Pho Rice noodles

Here is my recipe of making Vegetarian Pho:

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
5 cloves garlic
2 inch ginger
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 stalks of Lemon grass
1 star anise
6 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp.oil

To serve:
Bean sprouts
Pho noodles (flat narrow rice noodles)
Chopped cilantro
Chopped onion greens
Sliced Serrano or Jalepeno
Baby Bok Choy
Sliced mushrooms
Pan seared Tofu
  • Finely chop veggies. Saute in a tbsp. of oil. Add lemongrass and star anise. Add 6 cups of water and salt, and simmer for for 45 minutes. Strain the veggies. Boil the broth before pouring in the Pho bowl and some pepper powder.
  • Soak some rice noodles in a bowl of water for an hour. This makes the noodles soft and cooking them will take very little time. 
  • Add soaked and softened noodles in a boiling water. Stir and let the noodles cook for 30-45 seconds.
  • Get all the water off the noodles. Place hot noodles in a large serving bowl. Since noodles are the main part of the dish, they should be plently.
  • Add toppings of your choice.
  • Bean sprouts, mushrooms, bok choy, onion greens, cilantro, lime, green chilies.  
  • Add tofu, brocolli, or veggies of your choice.
  • Pour hot veggie broth over the veggies and noodles and serve.
  • Add some spicy chili paste or sriracha.
 Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
To make veggie broth.
Finely chop veggies. Saute in a tbsp. of oil. Add lemongrass and star anise. Add 6 cups of water and salt, and simmer for for 45 minutes. Strain the veggies. Boil the broth before pouring in the Pho bowl and add some pepper powder.




Here is a pack of dried rice noodles. Soak some rice noodles in a bowl of water for an hour. This makes the noodles soft and cooking them will take very little time. 
Bánh Phở


Add soaked and softened noodles in a boiling water. Stir and let the noodles cook for 30-45 seconds.


Get all the water off the noodles. Place hot noodles in a large serving bowl. Since noodles are the main part of the dish, they should be plently.
Add toppings of your choice.
Bean sprouts, mushrooms, bok choy, onion greens, cilantro, lime, green chilies.  
Add tofu, brocolli, or veggies of your choice.


Pour hot veggie broth over the veggies and noodles and serve.


Here is my homemade spicy chili or schezwan sauce
http://shitals-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/08/schezwan-sauce.html

Add some spicy chili paste or sriracha.
Squeeze some lime juice.



Enjoy this hot bowl of Phở!!