My Aromatic Kitchen

May 20, 2010

Limbu Nu Galiyu Athanu/Nimbu Ka Achaar/Sweet & Spicy Lemon Pickle (Oil Free)

Filed under: Achaar and Pickles,Authentic Gujarati Dishes — myaromatickitchen @ 12:13 am

Gujarati Cuisine is never complete without a athanu/achaar/pickle and/or sambharo of any kind. Sambharo is nothing but a few veggies stir fried in light oil along with mustard seeds, turmeric and asafoetida, but I shall not be talking about that right now… will post a few sambharo recipes later.
Today I shall be talking about Pickles, there are so many pickles in gujarati cuisine that a whole blog can be dedicated to it… well I don’t intend to do that literally but I’m just making a point to the number of variety of pickles. P loves Lahsan nu athanu (garlic pickle) and I prefer Keri nu Khattu athanu(Mango Pickle). Every household has its own way and recipe of each kind of pickle may it be garlic pickle or mango pickle; mix veg pickle or carrot pickle and these range for spicy to sweet to just tangy…
In old times each pickle was made painstakingly by roasting and grinding each and every individual ingredient and then concocting them to make a wonderful aachaar/pickle, reminds of Egyptians and the Mummification process …. giggles. But during these times of hi-tech age, pickles too have gone hi-tech, proof…. just visit any supermarket isle of Indian food and you shall find ready made bottle pickles, made with preservatives and added vinegar etc…. authentic pickles never had any of these. Won’t admonish those ready made pickles more coz I myself have a couple of them adorning my fridge… šŸ™‚
P and I have never been much of a sweet pickle persons but ever since my mother in law prepared a lovely oil free limbu nu athana a few years back during my visit to India, the mere process of making it made me fall in love with it and the oil free tag was even more attractive than ever before. My mom too made this pickle and in a way by very similar method but you know we kids how we ignore and underestimate our own mom, I literally used to avoid contact of any sort of that pickle and so did my siblings … sorry mum mi šŸ™‚

So talking about the lemon pickle, this pickle has the potential of adding some zing to any regular boring meal. Prepared with just 4 ingredients and placed in sun to bake under pure solar heat, one of the easiest and tastiest pickle I’ve ever made. This pickle tastes much better with jaggery but I didn’t have it in my pantry, so had to settle for sugar instead.

Take 1 1/2 kg lemons, wash them and MAKE SURE TO WIPE EACH LEMON DRY INDIVIDUALLY, after wiping them off let them sit in open air on a counter top or any driest place possible, this will make sure that there is no damp spots on lemons. Cut each lemon into 8 wedges, if you are taking smaller sized limes (kind of those we get in India) cut them into 4 wedges.
Take a large transparent air tight glass jar (make sure its thoroughly dry) big enough to fit in all the lemon wedges and stack the wedges in it.
Add 1/3 cup salt and close the jar and shake well. (This process was done on 23rd april)
Place the Jar in sun for about 20 to 25 days, make sure to shake the jar atleast twice a day. After 20 days check if the lemon wedges for the softness, apply pressure with you thumb and index finger and if they give away the wedges are ready for the next step. If the wedges don’t break off then close the jar and keep them in sun for a week more. The baking of wedges totally depends on the sunlight it receives and the atmospheric conditions, here in Riyadh, which is a middle of dessert there is no scarcity of sun and hence my pickled lemon wedges were ready in just 18-19 days.

Now add in 750 grams or 3 cups white sugar (added on 12th may) close the jar and shake well, keep it in sun for couple 6-7 days or till the sugar has melted and wedges duly marinated in it. Mean while make sure of that shaking the jar twice a day. Keeping in sun at this stage helps to slowly cook sugar and gives it a nice caramelized flavor and texture.

Now on the brink of completion just add in 3 tbs red chilli powder/kashmiri lal mirch (added on 18th may), close the jar and shake well.
Now you can enjoy this pickle whenever you want. What I usually do is that after adding red chilli powder, I let the pickle rest for couple of days in the big jar and then transfer them into smaller individual jars and place them in fridge, this way most of the pickle will remain air tight and fresh while I have just one small jar out for daily consumption.

The best thing about this pickle is, as it ages its nutritional value increases. You can expect it to change into a bit darker shade after a couple of months but it is suppose to happen, so don’t sweat.
This pickle has a self life of upto 5 years in an air tight container and about 9 months to 1 year once its opened, but then it won’t last that long. šŸ™‚

Forgot to take snaps of the big jar (the one in which I prepared the pickle) so this is one of my 4 individual smaller air tight jars.

You can add equal amount of Jaggery instead of sugar for additional benefits of avoiding refined sugar.


May 9, 2010

Ringan Nu Bhartu/Baingan Ka Dahiwala Bharta/Eggplant & Yogurt Dip With Fresh Spices

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Dips and Chutneys — myaromatickitchen @ 5:18 pm

Baingan ka bharta is a predominantly Punjabi dish made from eggplant/baingan, grilled over charcoal or direct fire to impart a smoky flavour to the flesh of the eggplant and then cooked with spices and vegetables and served with variety of breads or as a side dish.
But today I shall be making an another version of it, this has a shades of Middle eastern dish called Baba Ghanoush but nevertheless is authentic to Western Indian Cuisine.
P loves this dish and devours every bit of it every time we have it for lunch/dinner. It has sweetness of eggplant, tangy taste from yogurt and green chillies give it a kick of hot and onion is added for its ability to enhance flavors of other fellow ingredients. This dip/side dish is especially prepared during summer time when the sun is blazing hot; yogurt has cooling effect and onion helps combat sun stroke; not to forget that this dish is very light and friendly to our digestive track. This is the only eggplant dish that I prefer eating wholeheartedly, as unlike P I’m a very picky vegetable eater. šŸ™‚

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place 1 large eggplant/baingan on a baking sheet and bake 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, cool, peel, and crush.
Pressure cook the eggplant, cool, peel and crush.
Add 1 large onion chopped finely.
300 gms yogurt
2 green chillies chopped finely.
handful of finely chopped coriander leaves/cilantro
salt to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground peppercorns/kali mirch powder
Mix well and refrigerate it for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Serve it as side dish with any meal of your choice or along with any bread of your choice, tastes lovely with pita and/or paratha.

April 26, 2010

Kanda Pauva/Kanda Pohe

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Breakfast — myaromatickitchen @ 5:56 pm

Yet another breakfast recipe tempered with simple spices, kanda pauva (as called in Gujarati) or kanda pohe (as called in Marathi & Hindi) gives a very nice filling sensation and its easy on stomach too. Usually this dish is made for lazy sunday’s breakfast at my in-laws place back in Baroda. This dish is soo easy its really hard to screw up. šŸ™‚

Wash 2 cups Pohe/pauva/beaten or flattened rice flakes (easily available at Indian stores) in a seive and make sure to drain them immediately. Keep aside.

In a heavy bottom pan heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil, add
1/2 tsp rai/mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds

when they crackle add
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp hing/asafoetida
2 dry red chillies
3 slit green chillies
1 tbs grated ginger

saute for 20 seconds and add
1 large sliced onion
saute for 40 seconds and add in the set aside pauva/pohe
1 tsp haldi/turmeric powder
3 tsp sugar
juice of one medium sized lime
salt to taste
mix well. Sprinkle a little water and let pohe cook for about 2-3 more minutes on medium heat.
Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve it along with a glass of juice of your choice or hot tea or coffee

Use sev to garnish kanda pauva, this will add nice crunch to the dish.
You can also sprinkle daadham/pomegranate to have a nice tropical taste.
Squeeze lill more lime for that extra kick of sour taste and ofcourse a lill bit more Vitamin C won’t harm you anyway. šŸ™‚

April 14, 2010

Bhindi ki Sukhi Sabzi/Stir Fried Okra with Onions/Kanda-Bhinda nu Shaak

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Everyday Subzi — myaromatickitchen @ 5:42 pm

The thing about Bhindi/Okra is that either you love it or you hate it, P is on the love side and I’m on the hate side, rather to say ‘was on the hate side’. I still remember, we had just been married for about 3-4 months and I had just reached Riyadh for the first time and we had started our new life together. I hated bhindi so much that I didn’t even care to know how its prepared, šŸ™‚ I had to call my mother-in-law to ask for the recipe with P liked the most, it wasn’t over there, P forced me to eat same quantity of bhindi sabzi as much as he ate, I’d say not the best dinner!!!

P has a very funny food fundamentals, he says “we have to develop liking for a dish in very specific way, start by eating it little by little and then one day will come you shall like the most dreaded food too!!”, now I guess I agree with him. I love Bhindi but only if it is prepared in a very specific way and is not soggy and gooey.

This is a very simply but tasty recipe, actually simplicity is the key to this recipe, let the vegetable advocate for itself don’t overpower its taste with adding un-necessary spices.

Heat 3 tbs oil in heavy bottom pan

add 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera and let it crackle

now add 1/4 tsp hing/asafoetida and curry leaves

Add 2 small to medium sized chopped onions and 3 tsp of ginger-garlic-green chili paste.

Saute for 1 min and then add 250 gms chopped okra/bhindi

Add salt to taste and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.

Mix well and cook on low flame till okra is tender and done. NEVER PUT A LID WHILE COOKING OKRA OR THE DISH WILL TURN INTO A SOGGY GOOEY DISH.

Once the okra a done add 3 tsp of Dhania-jeera powder/coriander seeds-cumin seeds powder and 1/2 tsp red chili powder

Mix well and turn off the heat.

Serve warm with roti, chappati, naan or paratha of your choice. Tastes great with Dal-Chaval too.

Tips: Add 1/4th tsp of tava masala or garam masala for a more aromatic sabzi.

March 10, 2010

Nylon Khaman-Microwave Recipe

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Microwave Recipes — myaromatickitchen @ 9:08 pm

Healthy snack prepared in a jiffy, sounds like a keeper, yeap I’m talking about gujju dish called khaman. Gujarti food is well known for its sweet and sour taste and unique preparations, Khaman falls in that category.Tasty because it  has sweetness from sugar, tangy taste from citric acid crystals and hot flavor from green chili and ginger. Healthy because it is steam cooked (here microwaved) without excessive oil or frying.
And on top of it, it is prepared from besan which is a very good source of protein. Hence we can say this is a guilt free snack.
Khaman falls into the category of dhokla, along with khatta dhokla, rasia dhokla and more famous these days are tri-colored cheese dhoklas. Usually dhokla are made by fermenting the chickpeas batter but the nylon khaman calls in for chickpea / bengal gram flour and is the easier version compared to other dhokla recipes.
The word “Nylon” perfectly adheres to this khaman because it is very smooth to palate plus airy and tender in texture.
 I had great time cooking this recipe which took less than 12-15 mins from start to finish. šŸ™‚


For Khaman:
1 cup Besan (Bengal gram flour)
2 tbs rava/sooji/semolina
pinch of turmeric powder/haldi powder
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp citric acid crystals/nimbu ke phool
1 tsp ginger-green chili paste
1 1/2 tsp Eno/fruit salt
salt to taste
1 cup water

For Garnish:
handful of chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp of red chili powder/lal mirch powder

For Tempering:
2 tbs oil
1 tbs sesame seeds/ til
1/2 tsp mustard seeds/rai
2 green chillies slit and halved
pinch of asafoetida/hing
3 tbs water

Grease two microwave safe containers of approx 5 to 6 inch diametre and keep aside.
In a big bowl combine all ingredients for khaman except eno, mix well and break any lumps that might have formed in the batter.
Now add eno to the batter and pour 2 tbs of water on it in such a way that eno sizzzles up into a foamy bubbly mix. Now mix the batter well so that eno is fully incorporated in batter.
Pour this batter into two greased containers and wrap it with cling film (if you dont have a cling film then cover the container with microwave safe plate)
Place one container in microwave and Microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 90 seconds and then remove. Repeat this process for second container.
Remove the wrap and let khaman cool down a bit.
Prepare them for tempering by cutting them into square pieces and sprinkling red chilli powder and coriander leaves on them. Keep aside.

For tempering :
Heat oil in a small pan, add rai to it and once it starts to crackle add til, hing and green chillies. Turn of the heat and add 3 tbs of water to it. Pour this tempering mix to prepared khaman.
Serve with chutney of your choice or ketchup, I prefer with green chutney.

March 8, 2010

Urad Dal Hara Masala/ White lentils cooked with ginger, garlic and green chillies

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Dal — myaromatickitchen @ 6:26 pm

How can we vegetarians, fill in our protein needs?!! Anyone’s guess, turn to lentils. Urad dal cooked with all green spices, by green spicies I mean real fresh grown ones… which include green onion, green garlic (dont sweat if you dont have green garlic, add in normal garlic pods as I did), green chillies and ginger and the result is tempting garlicy aromatic dal.
We gujju’s love this dal with bajri rotla/ bajre ki roti. Besides this I love this dal as a sippy side dish and goes great along with any sukhi sabzi  and roti.
Here goes the recipe.

1/2 cup urad dal/white lentils, pressure cooked and lightly mashed
3 green chillies slit in half
1 inch piece of ginger chopped
5 pods of garlic chopped
2 green onions, including the greens, chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds/rai
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 tbs oil for tempering
pinch of asafoetida
handful of chopped fresh coriander, for garnish.

Heat oil in heavy bottom pan and add oil, once it starts to smoke add in mustard and cumin, let them crackle
add in asafoetida. Now add all chopped greens and saute for 1 minute.
Add in lightly mashed urad dal and salt to taste.
Add in 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water and bring it to boil.
Garnish it with chopped coriander and serve hot.


This dal goes well with jeera rice and as well as any kind of parathas.

January 27, 2010

Dal Dhokli / Pasta in Lentil soup Indian Style

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Pasta — myaromatickitchen @ 4:59 pm

Consider this as a totally authentic pasta dish not coming from Italy but from heart of India, Gujarat. Fresh pasta simmered in tasty, spicy and aromatic lentil soup, slice of heaven served on plate. The wholesomeness of whole wheat flour and protein rich lentils make this dish extra special.
Gujaraties are well-known for their love of food and the range of dishes which are unique in itself and this dish comes as a proof of it.
Some people describe dal dhokli as a pasta-like dish as I do, but the practice of dropping everyday bread dough into a simmering pot, puts it in the dumpling category too. So its upto you to pick your choice.
This is a one pot dish and a favorite in Gujarat as a Holiday evening dish.
Happy Cooking.

Ingredients :

For Gujarati Dal:
1/2 cup toor dal/arhaar dal/split pigeon peas, pressure cooked/boiled and crushed/churned
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
10-12 curry leaves
2 small round red chillies (boriya)/dry red chillies
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tbs oil
2 tbs peanuts
8 pieces cocum, soaked/2 tbs lemon juice (I used lemon juice)
3 to 4 tbs jaggery (gur)/ sugar
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
4 green chillies, slit
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp grated ginger
salt to taste
Handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves/cilantro for garnishing

For Dhokli:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
2 tbs oil
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
salt to taste

Method :

Preparing Dhokli-
Mix the atta, ajwain, chili powder, salt, turmeric powder oil, asafoetida, oil and add enough water to it to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized portions and roll out the dough, cut it into square or diamond shaped pieces, separate the individual pieces and keep aside on a large tray to dry out.

Preparing Dal-Dhokli-
In a large and deep pan, heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add peanuts, cumin seeds, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, red chillies and finally add the cooked dal.
Add the slit green chillies, grated ginger, turmeric powder, red chili powder, jaggery and lemon juice and plenty of water (around 4 cups).
Add Salt to taste.
Bring it to a boil.

Add the dhokli pieces to the dal and cook it for a few minutes on medium heat until the dal starts to thicken and the dhoklis have softened and cooked. I usually add dhoklis and pressure cook them for 1 whistle.
Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.

Tips :
Serve hot with a dollop of ghee, thats the traditional way of enjoying dal dholki.
Dal dhokli can be prepared using left over gujarati dal, just add 2-2 1/2 cups of water to left over dal and bring it to a boil, adjust the spices if necessary, add in dhoklis and pressure cook for 1 whistle or till dhoklis are cooked.
Prepare double recipe of dhokli and freeze half of it in Ziploc bags for future use. Time saving hmmm!!! so that next time I only need to make some dal and drop in the dhoklis.
In case you have leftover dal dhokli, reheat it with a little water to thin it out.

January 19, 2010

Aloo Methi Subzi

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Everyday Subzi — myaromatickitchen @ 6:37 pm

Winters always remind me of lovely green veggies that we get back in baroda. Palak, methi, tandalja etc are the types of green veggies which are usually a part of evening dishs at our home in baroda. Though palak is readily available here in riyadh, its hard to find fresh methi or tandalja leaves, so my solution to this problem, P’s mom, she sun dries fresh methi leaves for me, Thanks Mom šŸ™‚
So today while surveying my lader I found myself stuck with same veggies and no options so decided to prepare sukhi aloo subzi, then as if miracle happened and dried methi leaves showed their presence by falling off the cabinet while I was trying to get some bowls out of lower cabinet shelf. And so I just soaked it and prepared this mouth watering, simple and aromatic dish.

Ingredients :

2 Large Potatoes Boiled and cubed
1 Small to medium onion chopped to strips
Handful of dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi alternatively can use fresh methi leaves too.
2 tbs til/sesame seeds
2 tbs ginger-chilli paste
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal/white lentils
1 tsp methi seeds/fenugreek seeds
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
3 tbs oil for tempering

Method :
Soak kasuri methi for half an hour.
In a heavy bottom pan heat oil, add urad dal, rai,methi,jeera. When it starts spluttering add asafoetida, ginger-chilli paste, sesame seeds, onion, turmeric and kasuri methi. Let this mix cook on medium flame till the onions are tender and cooked to crunch.Add salt along with boiled-cubed potatoes. Turn off the heat after 4-5 mins.
Serve hot with chappati or paratha of you choice.

Tips :
Goes good with sindhi koki.
Left over can be used to prepare sandwiches or alternatively mash up the left over sabzi and prepare aloo paratha for snacks.

January 14, 2010

Chikki- Caramelized peanut bars

Filed under: Authentic Gujarati Dishes,Sweets — myaromatickitchen @ 12:26 am

Chikki, Uttarayan(kite flying festival) favorite, is a ready to eat Indian sweet. Chikki has given International fame to places like Matheran, Karjat and Lonavala (places near Mumbai), which are world renouned exporters of different kinds of chikki’s.
Traditionally, Gujju’s prepare chikki during the month of January especially during uttarayan time. Talking about uttarayan, HAPPY UTTARAYAN TO ALL, what is uttarayan without patang, manja, phirki, chikki, sherdi and boar… ahh getting nostalgic. Coming back to chikki, it is prepared using either sugar or jaggery (traditional unrefined non-centrifugal sugar used in india, sri lanka, pakistan and even south america) either/along with sesame seeds, peanuts, cashew, almonds, pistachios, coconut, puffed rice, etc.

Brazil is famous for “PĆ©-de-moleque” a traditional sweet from the Brazilian cuisine made of peanuts and jaggery or molasses similar to indian chikki, rather to say one and the same.

Chikki prepared with jaggery is deemed to have more beneficial properties than one prepared with sugar, as jaggery retains more mineral salts and is absorbed in blood at slower rate than sugar. Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections too.
Whatever the reasons, I and P both like our chikki’s made from jaggery.

Ingredients :

2 cups Peanuts (roasted, chaffed and coarsely pounded)
1 1/2 cups Jaggery
1 tbs Ghee/clarified butter
Few Drops of edible oil for oiling the surface to work on for spreading the chikki(prefer groundnut oil or corn oil, oils like olive oil have a very specific taste and aroma to it so avoid it)

Method :
In a heavy bottom pan add ghee and jaggery, let the jaggery melt and bubble up for a minute or two, stir in every few seconds. Now ladle out a drop of jaggery on any plate or counter top and see if it sticks to it or not, if it sticks let the jaggery bubble for a bit longer, but if the jaggery forms a nice non sticky ball add pounded peanuts. Turn off the heat and mix well.
Now place this mixture on nicely oiled surface and with the help of rolling pin roll out chikki to desired thickness. But before you start rolling take care this mix will be very hot so let it just cool for 1 minute or so. Take care not to burn yourself.
Break up the pieces of the rolled out chikki once it has cooled off or you can also cut the pieces while its rolled and still hot. I prefer to break it into pieces gives me the feel of “MA ke haath ka bana”, choice is yours.

Add 2 tbs of sugar to make chikki more crunchier.
While making Sesame/til chikki the proportion will be 2 cups til and 1 cup jaggery.
Once you place the chikki mixture on oiled surface, oil you hands too and tap on top of chikki to make it a nice round flat ball this will make the process of rolling out easy.
Store it in an air tight container. Shelf life upto 15-17 days, if it lasts that long. šŸ™‚

January 11, 2010

Athela Marcha (Pickled green chillies)

Filed under: Achaar and Pickles,Authentic Gujarati Dishes — myaromatickitchen @ 3:41 pm

Athela Marcha sounds and tastes amazing with any dish which is bland, such as plain khichdi or varan dal and rice. Athela marcha which literally means pickled chillies add instant kick of spiciness to any food. The Recipe which I have used is an authentic Gujarati Recipe and is followed by my mom and my M-I-L equally. I bet pickles never were more simplier than this!!!

Ingredients :

250 gms Vadhwani lila marcha/jalapeno peppers/jada marcha
75 gms rai na kuriya / split mustard seeds
1 to 1 1/2 tbs of salt (adjust as per your taste)
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp Hing / asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

Method :

Wash and dry chillies, slit them length wise remove the seeds from prepping them to be pickled.
Now toss all other ingredients into a wide utensil and mix them well, here “well” means really well, for about 5 to 7 minutes. mix them using your hand, esp your palms as this process helps in utilizing body heat in melting salt quicker and more uniformly.
Add in the slit chillies and mix them well with the prepared achari mixture.
Store this in glass jars at room temperature for 2 days and there after in refrigerator for upto 20 days.

Tips :

Storing pickle at room temperature for 2 days is crucial coz this gives time for chilles to nicely marinate and absord all the flavors.
Make sure to shake up the pickle jar during these 2 days.
You can add 1 tbs of split fenugreek seeds to this pickle too, if you prefer a bit bitter kick in your pickles.
This pickle can be served with any kind of parathas, snacks and goes good with everyday food as a side dish. It can also be chopped into bits and added to veggie raita and used as one of the topping on pizza etc. Just let your imagination go wild!!

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