Friday, 23 June 2017

Pav Bhaji

Some relationships and things remain the same no matter where you are,irrespective of culture,language and traditional practices.On a lighter note,like how you scare kids by telling them that the Police are on their way or how every kid from every generation will always open a cream biscuit and lick the cream from inside,before eating it :).Coming to relationships ,some of them are mostly tricky,like the ones with your in-laws(did u know a funny anagram of the word Mother-in-law - you'll find it at the end of this post:)), or like the one that I'm going to ramble about,the relationship between a Tenant and the Landlord. Due to its proximity to my School we stayed in a Rented house for a real long time,so I have my fair share of experience with dealing with Landlords.I see extremes when it comes to Landlords.mostly there are the nosy types who can get on your nerves,with their overbearing nature,their surprise visits to make sure that you're taking good care of their house or their unsolicited advice on everything pertaining to the house.On the other hand there are people who treat you almost like family just because you stay in their house.I kind of understand the behaviour of the nosy Landlords,especially when they have to rent out their houses to families with kids.It's very similar to the in-law problem,they just can't easily part with their house/kid and strongly believe that only they know what's good for their house or kid .We stayed for almost 10 years in Germany in an apartment where the landlords stayed on the floor just beneath us.They were an elderly couple who lived alone and my landlady was one of the most wonderful person I've ever met. I've never seen her frown at anything, despite both my kids being owls who kept running around even after midnight.She remembered all our birthdays and always made it a point to leave a thoughtful present at our doorstep.There was always something at our doorstep on every occasion,be it Christmas,Easter,Saint Nicholas day or  my daughter's first day at school.She was our Santa.She was the one who used to give me a pat on my back and asked me to Hang-on,during the days when I used to walk around like a zombie, tired and sleepless after taking care of my little ones .I still remember one particular incident.My Landlady was a very industrious person,she was 64 years old,close to retirement from a good job,her garden was well maintained and the whole building was always spic-and-span.She had a nice collection of paintings which she had hung all around her house and the stair case walls.One day when the kids & I were as usual late for school and we were hurrying, I somehow managed to knock a painting down and shatter it's glass frame and damage the painting.I was really scared to tell her that I had damaged the painting,I still remembered how my mother used to hesitate before knocking on our landlord's house when we children had broken something or how she used to dread her visits to our house.But I had to set an example to my children about doing the right thing,so I hesitantly knocked on the door to apologise.She opened it with her usual smile and I hardly let her speak and started with my Sorry and Excuses for damaging her painting.She listened to me as always ,her expression didn't change a bit, she just said:
'Reni ,nicht schlimm ,Das Schlimmste ist den Krieg'
(Not bad at all,the worst thing that can happen is war)
That was all that happened of that incident.The next week she had replaced the painting and never mentioned it ever again.I still remember her wise words.Guess she's one of those people ,thanks to whom we still believe in humanity and the goodness in people.We moved away from her house before sometime.She almost cried when we told her that we were leaving.We have so many fond and beautiful memories of the house which will stay with us forever.Have you ever noticed how our surroundings,like our home,the people we meet everyday and the memories almost become like a part of us and stays with us.Sometimes I just pray that I remain lucky and meet more beautiful souls !
Coming to the recipe,as you would've guessed,I was supposed to post this along with my previous two posts :) This is one of my favourite dishes,it can be whipped up very quickly and has some many veggies in it.We eat it with just some white Bread toasted in Ghee on days when I don't have Pav Buns around. In fact it even pairs up well with Dosa or Chapati.So off to the recipe !!

Recipe adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor
Serves 4 - 6
You'll Need:
Potato -  2 Large (Boiled,peeled,grated or mashed)
Tomato - 2 Big (finely chopped)
Onion - 2 (finely chopped)
Capsicum - 1 (finely chopped)
Green Peas - 3 - 4 tbsp ( boiled)
Cauliflower - 3 big florets (grated)
Green Chillies - 1 - 2 (finely chopped)
Ginger Garlic paste - 2 - 3 tsp
salt to taste
Oil/Butter/Ghee - 1 -2 tbsp
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp (finely chopped)

-Heat the oil in the pan ,when it heats up add the Onion (save a little for garnishing in the end)and a pinch of salt and saute until it turns translucent. Then add the green chilli and ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
-Add 3/4 th of the chopped tomatoes and saute until it turns soft.Add a little water if needed and cover and cook on the low flame until the mixture starts oozing out oil.
-Then add the vegetables and about a cup of water,check for salt and add the required amount.Simmer for around 10 minutes.Then mash all the vegetables with the back of the spoon until all of them are well mashed.
-Add the Pav bhaji masala powder and mix well.Add the tomatoes and let the mixture cook on medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes.Take it off the stove.
To serve:
-Toast the Pav buns(split into two) with butter.
-To the bhaji add the Coriander leaves,the saved onion slices,the butter and squeeze a bit of the lemon.


And if you are still looking for that funny Anagram of the word Mother-in-law it is Woman Hitler :p
Thanks for Stopping by ! Have a lovely day !

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Eggless Pav Buns - Eggless Dinner rolls

I would probably call baking the magical part of Cooking.I still remember how I wished to bake a cake even before I got into serious cooking.It fills you with a kind of child like pleasure to mix all the carefully measured ingredients and watch it turn into a beautiful cake,which you could further decorate and beautify. I've never tried to understand the chemistry behind it,though professional bakers would know how the moisture,temperature and alkalinity of the ingredients play a beautiful role in making a delectable baked good.Off late I'm into what I'll call the 'yeast craze' in other words I've started baking buns and breads.It's seriously wonderful to watch the dough puff up and then knock the air out of it and knead and shape to bake into lovely breads and buns,a child would call it magic.I feel that as we grow older we stop noticing the magic around us,it's everywhere in the flowers that suddenly pop up after months of cold winter, in the clouds that form lovely shapes as they move ,everywhere around us in nature.But as we get older ,responsibilities and tough times,kind of takes the magic out of life.Sometimes when I look into the mirror,I wonder what happened to the younger careless person who used to look back.Life hasn't taken the optimism out of me,but it's definitely made me more realistic.The other day I was walking around with my daughter on a nice warm day ,when we passed along this house with a huge garden and a tree house,swing and everything that a  kid would wish for.My daughter looked at it and told me
                   'Mummy,how I wished we had it'.
I,being the boring mother who wouldn't miss the chance to teach my child about life and values,promptly started lecturing her with 
             'There will always be people with things better than us,we should learn to be happy with what we have as every little thing that we have is a blessing'
And then the righteous mature realist in me woke up and I added
              'Moreover we don't have that kind of money'
She looked at me for a moment and said enthusiastically 
'Mummy but we don't money,we only need a magic wand'
It was then that it hit me,that no amount of reading Harry potter books was going to save me,I was getting old :).I guess to stay happy ,it's very important to keep the child in you alive and your soul young.I know that that's more easier said than done,when your running around the whole day with kids to take care of,keeping a house,work and combating weight gain,hair loss and every other problem that seems to pop up with each passing year,the last thing you think about is magic(and clouds):)But guess all of us have to make time for something which we find magical.Baking is my way of keeping the magic alive,I bake a lot although I hardly post any of it,cause we end up eating most of the stuff when it's hot out of the oven :)So off to the recipe....         

Makes about 10 - 12
You'll need:
All purpose Flour - 250 g
Milk - 200 ml
Yeast - 2 tsp - 4 gm
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Butter - 4 Tbsp
salt - 1 tsp
Some butter,oil and milk to brush

-Warm the milk,make sure it's lukewarm and not hot,add the yeast and sugar and mix well.Let it sit for 10 - 15 minutes.After 15 minutes the mixture should be frothy.If not please make a new mixture,as fresh or good yeast would froth.
-Add the Flour,salt and mix well.Add the frothy yeast mixture and knead with your hand,or with a dough hook on your beater .knead until the mixture starts coming together.It will be sticky.
-Now add the butter and further knead for a few minutes.
-Now dust your hands with flour and knead the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes,it will a bit sticky,but knead without adding any extra flour.
-Then keep it in a big bowl and cover with a damp cloth or Plastic foil and let it rise in a warm place until it is double it's size.
-Now take it out punch and knead again for a few minutes,adding very little flour if needed.Divide the dough into 12- 14 pieces and shape it into small balls and arrange them on a greased/lined with baking paper.Place them about 2- 3 cm apart,pretty close.Cover them with a damp cloth and let them again rise in a warm place for an hour.For Hamburger buns you can round them and place them a little more apart,like the ones in my picture.
-Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 200° C.Carefully remove the damp cloth since it tends to stick.Brush with a little milk and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C.
-Then take them out,brush them with a little butter and let them cool.

Note:If you stay in a cool place,to let the dough rise:
-you can keep them near the heater (or)
-Preheat the oven at the lowest temperature for a few minutes,then switch it off and only switch on the oven light and let the dough rise inside the oven.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice time Baking!

Pav Bhaji Masala Powder

I'm old school when it comes to cooking,I still believe in making my own spice mixes and preserves at home.After living for almost 10 years away from India ,in a small city with a tiny Asian shop,I felt outdated when I looked at the products stocked on the shelves of the Indian shop here,I felt like someone who was returning back home after years in exile.The market is flooded with products ,there seems to be a ready mix and spice powder for every dish.As much as I'd agree that it would make the job of a busy person easy,I still strongly believe that nothing beats the flavours that a homemade spice mix infuses in a dish.I remember going as a kid along with my mother to the big Grain Mills to grind rice flour and spice powder.It used to be one of those sultry places with the smell of spice powders clinging heavily in the air. There are few of those mills left around now with many people opting for ready made stuff.My mom still grinds her powders in these mills and packs me with them when I visit her.Despite being a working mother she still found or made time for these little chores because she strongly believes, that these things which appear to be trivial actually play an important  role in our health.So anything ready made was very rare in our house ,just like eating out :) I usually stock a little of this spice powder in my cupboard,I love sprinkling a pinch of it in many quick dishes.I make it in small batches to keep the flavour fresh.So off to the recipe !

You'll Need:
Recipe Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor
Armchoor Powder/Dry Mango Powder  - 3 Tbsp
Whole Pepper Corns - 1 tsp
Whole red Chilli - 20 - 25
Cumin Seeds -  4 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks - 10 ( each 3 cm)
Salt - 2 tsp
Black Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 40 - 50
Curry leaves - 10 - 12
Bay Leaves - 4
Fennel Seeds - 2 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsp

-In a pan on low heat,dry roast the ingredients either one after the other separately or together until they release a nice aroma,Make sure that they don't get burnt.
-Let them cool and grind to a fine powder
-Store in an airtight container

Thanks for Stopping by ! Happy Cooking !
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