Rustic Exotic Rajasthani Food

Rajasthan is known for its dessert, castles and palaces but at the same time its food is also awe inspiring.
Scarcity of water or fresh water is not a challenge for the Rajasthani people. I should rather say food is a fine art form in Rajasthan. Best part is that most of the Rajasthani food is whole grain based which makes it very healthy. They make soups, curry, snacks and sweets with whole grain. They make Barfi with corn kernel, fresh green gram! Let us sample some of delicious Rajsthani delicacies.
Kathi rab is a tasty sour and spicy snack, which is made with broken barley or polenta cooked with buttermilk and tempered with masala. Then set like Barfi. Green chilies and fresh coriander makes for good garnish. Nowadays when fresh vegetables are available you can add leafy vegetable of your choice to make it healthier.IMG_20150225_195958[1]

Ghooghri is my favorite snack it can be made with maize, sorghum, millet or wheat. The grains are soaked overnight, then cooked and tempered with onion and garlic, served with a garnish of fresh green coriander and chilies. Green chutney and buttermilk are good accompaniments to this dish.

Bafla is a great steamed dish made with coarse wheat flour. Some oil, dry spices and vegetables are added to coarse wheat flour and balls are made with hard dough. These balls are then cooked in water or dal. Then baflas are baked on either wood fire or oven. Even if you fry them, they hardly absorb any oil. You can store them in fridge for almost a week, just reheat in microwave and eat with any dal, dip or chutney. No need to worry about fiber content of your breakfast. And best part is that you can stuff Baflas with stuffing of your choice. From cheese to chana dal!
Another snack which is a sure winner is vegetable Gatta. In earlier time they used dried vegetables, you can use fresh ones instead. Make sticky dough with gram flour, spices and vegetables of your choice with little oil and curd. Now make one inch diameter rolls with this dough and put them in boiling water. When outer surface looks cottony then turn off the gas and cover the pan. After 10 minute take out the Gattas and cut them into ½ inch thick roundels. Temper with a little oil, asafoetida and cumin seeds or you can eat them just like that, green chutney and lime pickle go very well with Gattas.
Churma is a delicious sweet which can be made with either coarse wheat flour or millet flour. Hard dough is made with skimmed milk, thick roties are made with this dough on slow fire (these roties can be baked in oven also). Then roties are crumbled in mixer. Ghee, jaggery/ brown sugar or powdered sugar and nuts and dry fruits are mixed to this. You can make laddus or keep it as crumble. This is the best way to eat all the seeds and nuts which you otherwise may not like. Even flax seeds taste good with millet churma.
Oliya is rice and curd dish which is made to celebrate onset of summer. Savoury version is more or less like curd rice. Only difference is rice is cooked in night and mixed with small quantity of curd, which adds to its nutritional value. While, sugar dry fruits, saffron and cardamom powder is mixed to beaten curd and slightly over cooked fragrant rice to make Sweet Oliya. It is a very simple yet tasty sweet which is made on seventh day of Holi.
This is just a sample platter from the rustic, exotic Rajasthan, where every family has its own treasure of taste and tongue tickling recipes.

Author – Sapna Surana

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Jauzi Ka Halwa

Mazhar quietly sits behind his desk as crowds drift in to his shop, some to have a taste of the famed Jauzi ka Halwa and other for a takeaway back home for some of the best sweets being made at his shop. The shop, a 100 year old history to it looks old and run down and is bang in the middle of the Nampally Traffic Street in Hyderabad. But the quality of the sweets and no compromise of the items being dished out from his shop which is still a favorite with a lot of the Hyderabadis.
Way back in 1915, a young boy Mohammad Hussain from Turkey decided to set up a sweet shop in Hyderabad. There weren’t any proper roads then, no street lights for illumination. This didn’t stop him from setting up shop in Nampally which was going to transform as on the busiest localities in the modern Hyderabad. He sold all kinds of sweets, but the one that caught the fancy of the people was the Jauzi ka Halwa made with a specialty spice from Turkey called Jauzi. Soon people started thronging in and the news of it reached the ears of the then Nizam (Last Nizam) who himself came down to taste the sweet at the shop.
The shop was obscure, small and didn’t even have a name to it till then. The Nizam was so astounded by the heavenly taste of the sweet that he announced that the shop be named after the nickname of one of his sons. A poster of the letter from the Nizam is displayed at the shop.
The specialty sweet of Hameedi Confectionaries is the Jauzi ka Halwa which isn’t for the light-hearted. Made of loads of ghee and consisting of sprouted wheat flour (samnak), milk, saffron, kewra water and the spices used primarily are Nutmeg, Mace and Elaichi. The halwa is packed with an insane amount of ghee though is a little lighter on the sugar quotient. They also have a Special Jauzi ka Halwa which has double the amount of dry fruits, double the ghee and priced a little more than usual. A lot of effort goes into cooking of the Jauzi ka Halwa which requires a minimum of 5-6 hours of cooking time.
This place is a part of the Hyderabadi heritage in itself. When going over the Hameedi don’t forget to try their Badam ka Halwa and Motichur Ladoo too which are insane. They also make other Hyderabadi delicacies like the Osmania Biscuits and the famous Dum ka Rote. Head for a trip down to Hameedi to savor some of their delicacies and you won’t be disappointed at all.

Author – Food Drifter

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Kaamchor Ki Rasois Se…Special Holi Menu!

Bura Na Mano Holi Hai! Holi is a festival which is celebrated by almost everyone in India with much enthusiasm. A true Holi celebration time and again starts in the wee hours of the morning when kids and adults alike spend hours filling water balloons in preparation of the day ahead. Then come the drums of coloured water…pichkaris and of course the Gulaal!
I remember as a kid, I never cared about coloured hands, face, legs at all… just used to get in house every few minutes and grab the yummy treats and run away to play further. The houses used to be mess for next couple of days and it was fun to even recognize each other for next couple of days, due to layers and layers of colours…
The festival of Holi is widely popular for vibrant colours and endless moments of joy. But a Holi is absolutely incomplete without some of the trademark Holi delicacies… Though the traditional recipes vary from family to family and place to place, one thing that remains the same is the zeal with which these delicacies are prepared for this occasion. The most popular desserts of Holi is ‘Gujhia’, which is a must for every Indian home during the season. Then, there are aloo chaat…papris…dahi vade or dahi-bhalles that are prepared on the occasion. The intoxicating bhang-ke-vade…thadai… the sauf and bhang sharabat just adds to the entire Holi celebration.
Here comes quick recipe for traditional dahi-bhalles in Special Holi Menu!
Kaamchor Ki Rasoi Se: Instant Chilled Chatpatte Bread Dahi Bhalle! (NO SOAKING OF DAL AND NO FRYING)
• Brown Bread: 2 slice (per vada one slice)
• Curd: 1/2 cup (whisked and chilled)
• Sugar: 2-3 tsp (To mix in the curd)
• Chat Masala: 1 -2 tsp
• Mithi Chutney: 1 -2 tsp
• Green Chutney: 1 -2 tsp
• Water: To soak break
• Salt and Red chilli powder: To Garnish
1. Take curd (drain the water) add sugar and beat it until smooth, once done keep it in the refrigerator to chill.
2. Take water mix chat masala and soak brown bread in it, rinse extra water and make tight bhalla/vada of bread with your hand, and keep it aside.
3. Now, soak these bread bhallas/vadas in chilled curd for 1/2 -1 minute and place them in serving plate. Pour mithi chutney, green chutney, sprinkle chat masala, salt and red chilli powder.
4. PumpaRrraAaa Chilled and Chatpatta Bread Dahi Bhallas are ready. Serve immediately.
Tip: You can use dahi ka pani to soak the bread, this will add more taste to the bread. And SShshSHhsh! Keep the secret that the Bhallas are made of bread with you! 

Have a safe and colourful Holi!

Author: Tipti Aggarwal

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Gujrati Food,Beyond Fafda and Thepla

Gujarati food is considered to be very oily while truth is just opposite. Gujarat has perhaps the biggest kitty of steamed, baked and boiled food.
And most of these snacks are complete food by themselves. Not only are they made with lots of fresh vegetables but they have a perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates.
Let us start with Handwo, it is rice and lentil scone type dish with lots of fresh vegetables and spices. This baked Gujarati dish is very tasty and is a complete meal by itself. Good thing about Handwo is that you can use a large number of fresh vegetables in different combination. Final taste will always be different depending upon the vegetables and spices you use. Not only this, you can store Handwo for up to a week in refrigerator. And if you want to experiment, you can even change the proportions and combination of cereals and pulses to alter it to your taste and diet type.
Patra is a very tasty steamed dish made with either gram flour or rice and pulse mix. Batter is applied to fresh colocasia (Arvi in Hindi) leaves and then steamed for few minutes and a tasty snack is ready just like that. You can temper it with as much oil as your diet permits.
Muthiya makes for not only a great anytime snack but it is also a very healthy food, made of high fiber cereal, pulses and fresh vegetables. Muthiya is basically a dumpling of broken wheat, mixed with pulses of your choice and fresh greens of the season. You can eat Muthiya with or without tempering, infact many prefer eating Muthiya with raw oil. Traditionally, sesame seeds and nuts are also added to the Muthiya, that further enhance the nutritional value of the dish.
Rab or Chas-kanaki is another soup like dish which has different names in different areas of Gujarat where barley, sorghum or other coarse grains are broken and then cooked with buttermilk. Salt and freshly ground cumin seeds are added to this thick soup and that makes it great comfort food which is healthy to the core.
The famous Dal-Dhokli is also a really comforting food and is very healthy too. Whole wheat dumplings are cooked in pulse of choice and then tempered with fresh herbs and spices. Wheat dumplings give you enough space to play with vegetables, alternately just a salad as accompaniment also works well.
Khamani is a dish made by Dhokla crumble. And it is one of the tastiest snacks and still so simple and easy to make. Mix fresh ginger, garlic and green-chili paste with lime juice and sugar. Now add Dhokla crumble to it, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds, nuts, small pieces of cucumber and thin sev. It is Gujarat’s answer to chats of north India.
On dessert side you have Lapsi, which is broken wheat cooked with ghee, jaggery and dry fruits.
Then there is Sukhdi, where whole wheat flour is sautéed in ghee, then dry fruits and jaggery are added and this mixture is set in a plate. Then you can cut pieces and store it in jar. This lasts for few weeks and if you mix in healthy seeds and nuts, it becomes a good substitute for breakfast bars/nutrition bars. Quantity of ghee can be adjusted as per personal choice and part jaggery can be substituted with honey.
In next issue we shall discuss the healthy dishes from Rajasthan. Till then enjoy food wisely and nicely.

Author – Sapna Surana