Monday, 9 March 2020

Mangalore Buns Recipe

Mangalore Buns is a famous breakfast or tea time snack from coastal region of Karnataka (Udupi, Mangalore). Mangalore buns is also known as banana poori prepared using all purpose flour and overripe banana and deep fried in oil.


India has many states and they have different cultures! Once you move from one state to another everything you found to be new and along with that each state has it's specialty on food which you get as a bonus. As we are residing in Karnataka for more than a decade, we explored plenty of food options here and many became our favourites too. Coastal region of Karnataka especially Mangalore and Udupi have plenty of food choices for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. Few years back we visited Kundapur to attend marriage of my husband's friend and really, liked the place very much. We tried local vegetarian cuisine of Mangalore during marriage as well as some non-veg delicacies like chicken and prawn ghee roast in restaurant. We would love revisit the place to explore more.


After coming back to Bangalore the newly wed couple invited us. The girl prepared superb dishes and we relished them. She started with a famous snack, Mangalore Buns which I ate this for the first time and could not resist myself and finally ask the recipe before leaving their house.  The recipe calls for overripe bananas. Normally, whenever I buy bananas there will be one or two overripe at the end. Apart from making Eggless Banana Walnut Cake, I also bake Chocolate Banana Cake and  Eggless Butterless Banana Cake using overripe bananas. 

What are the ingredients you need to prepare Mangalore Buns?


You don't need long list of ingredients to prepare Mangalore buns. Simple ingredients available in our kitchen pantry is used to bake this special Mangalore buns. Overripe bananas are must for this dish. Flour is another major ingredient of this recipe. Apart from these two ingredient, you need curd, baking soda, sugar, pinch of salt and oil for deep frying the banana puris.



Can I replace all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in this recipe?


Yes, you can replace it with whole wheat flour. The recipe actually calls for  all purpose flour as it is light and gives a fluffy bread like texture to the puris for which they are called as buns. Recently, I got a query from one of my reader who asked whether she can replace it with whole wheat flour. I replaced with whole wheat flour and the result is amazing. These buns in the picture are made of whole wheat flour and they are equally good. As whole wheat flour is heavier, it might result in slightly dense texture and slightly lesser fluffiness.  




Can I prepare the dough of Mangalore Buns and store it in the refrigerator?


If you are planning to prepare Mangalore Buns as next morning breakfast then prepare the dough in the evening and leave it in room temperature for overnight. You should allow to ferment the dough which results in bun like texture in your Mangalore buns. When you rest the dough overnight (7 to 8 hours) it ferments and gives a super soft dough. If you put the dough in the refrigerator it will not ferment and you won't get the desired soft fluffy bun texture in your Mangalore buns. 

Also, during winter days, it might take longer time for fermentation than summer days. So try to keep the dough in a warmer place (like inside microwave) during cold days for better fermentation. 

How to serve Mangalore Buns?


Mangalore buns are normally served with coconut chutney or sambar. You can also serve it with aloo palya or vegetable kurma. As Mangalore buns slightly sweet in taste I prefer to have them without any accompaniment just like that. 


How to roll Mangalore Buns?


Though Mangalore buns look alike puri but you have to divide the dough in bigger size balls and roll them little thicker (approximately 1/2 to quarter cm). This helps to create the bun like texture inside the puris. 

Preparation time: 15 minutes + overnight resting time
Cooking time: 20 -25 minutes
Yield: 8-10 (depending on the dough ball size)



Mangalore Buns Recipe /Banana Puris /Leftover Banana Recipe

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour/ Maida (or Whole Wheat Flour) - 11/2 cup + little more for dusting
Curd - 2 to 3 tablespoon
Overripe Banana - 1 big
Sugar - 6 to 7 tablespoon
Baking Soda - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for Deep Frying

Procedure

1. Take over ripe banana in a bowl and use a fork to smash it and make sure it should not contain any lumps.
2. Later add curd and sugar and  blend once again.
3. Sieve the flour along with salt and baking soda. Add the blended mixture into it and prepare a smooth dough. Do not add any water. If the dough becomes very stick you can add little more flour in that.
4. Now cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep in room temperature. Allow to rest it for 7 to 8 hours. So if you want to prepare it for breakfast, make the dough previous night.
5. After 7 to 8 hours, knead the dough once again and divide into equal lemon size balls.
6. Take each ball dust with flour and roll out like puri but it has to be thick.
7. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry them until golden and serve hot.



few Mangalore Buns in a bamboo basket and showing inside texture of the bun

If you try this recipe at home please share your picture and feedback to jhumu.here@gmail.com.  Follow my social media handles Facebook, Instagram to get regular updates.

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Friday, 31 January 2020

Bengali style Nimki or Kucho Nimki Recipe

Bengali style Nimki aka Kucho Nimki is a diamond shaped deep fried popular snack from Bengal. There are different shapes of nimki including elo jhelo nimki, tinkona nimki, kucho nimki to name a few. In Bengali, Nimki is referred to salted snack and Kucho means small size, hence the smaller size diamond cut deep fried salty snack is called kucho nimki.



Nimki is the perfect accompaniment with your evening tea or coffee. Nowadays nimkis are available in the market easily and throughout the year. However, earlier it was not the case. Nimkis were synonymous to Durga Puja more specifically to Vijaya Dashami. “Vijaya Dashami” is the last day of Durga Puja (or Dusshera). On this day, idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in water (Visarjan) and it is believed that Goddess Durga returns back to Kailash with her family. After giving farewell to Devi Durga younger seek blessing from elders and elders share love and affection. Homemade sweets (especially narkel naru) and namkeens (varieties of nimki) are distributed. Basically, combination of narkel naru and kucho nimki is a tradition after Vijaya Dashami which is being carried forward for so many years and hopefully, the future generation will also carry forward this legacy.

Though in today’s date nimki is easily available in the market with colourful packaging but my taste buds refuse to approve them. I prefer homemade kucho nimki and every time I crave for nimki I refer to the no fail nimki recipe shared by my mother. Nimki is also a travel friendly snack which you can enjoy in your long distance travel by train or bus. Although nimki is a deep fried snack but I prefer it any day over store bought dry snacks and chips. In future I have planned to bake them and if I succeed I will share it here how to bake the nimkis.  Here is my crispy and crunchy nimki recipe for you all.



What are the ingredients used to prepare Nimki?

Maida or all purpose flour is the primary ingredient of nimki. Other ingredients include ghee, salt, kalonji/nigella seeds, cooking soda and refined oil or vegetable oil for frying. Bengalis have sweet tooth so many people do add a teaspoon of sugar while kneading the dough which gives a sweet and salt taste to the nimki. However, I have skipped sugar here. Also, black salt is optional but if you sprinkle it on top it gives a tongue tickling taste to the nimki.

Is nimki same as namak pare?

Nimki and namak pare is not exactly the same. There is subtle difference between the two (as per my knowledge). Nimki has kalonji (nigella seeds) in it which gives a nice nutty flavour to it. On the other hand, namak pare has either ajwain or crushed black pepper or cumin seeds in it. However, these days many people add ajwain and other spices to the nimki. So somewhere the subtle line of difference is merging over the time period. One more interesting fact is the shape of kucho nimki is diamond (haven’t seen any other shape than diamond shape) however, in case of namak pare it is either rectangular or diamond. Nimki is mainly prepared using maida or all purpose flour. However, namak pare is prepared using all purpose flour as well as whole wheat flour or sometimes using the mix of both flours.

Can I replace all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in Nimki recipe?

Yes you can replace all purpose flour and use wheat flour instead. However, taste will not remain same. All purpose flour or maida is light in texture hence gives a crunchy crispy light snack as outcome.
Also, there are other flours including ragi, oats, bajra can be used as alternative flour to prepare nimki. In future I will share different varieties of nimki.

How can I serve Nimki?

Traditionally, nimki was served along with narkel naru or sweets during the occasion of Vijaya Dashami. You can serve it with hot beverages like tea or coffee. You can also serve it in an assorted dry snack platter along with mathri, mixture and other stuff.



Can I store Nimki?

 Yes you can store nimki upto two weeks. After frying allow them to cool and once they are cool store them into a dry airtight container for two weeks. If you want to store them for longer duration, use less salt in the dough. As we all know salt absorbs moisture and it might make the stored nimkis soft. Also avoid sprinkling black salt on top if you are storing for longer period.


What is cooking soda?

Cooking soda and baking soda both are same. It is sodium bicarbonate. It is used as leaving agent and gives lighter crumbs in biscuits, cookies and cakes.

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr
Servings: 4

Kucho Nimki Recipe or Salted Diamond Cuts Recipe

Ingredients


Maida (all purpose flour) - 2 cups
Ghee - 2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Kalonji (Nigella seeds/ Kalojeere) - 1 teaspoon
Cooking Soda- 1/4 teaspoon
Refined oil for deep frying
Black Salt (optional) – ½ teaspoon for sprinkling on top

Procedure

1. Take maida in a bowl and mix salt, kalonji and cooking soda into it.
2. Then add ghee and make a tight dough by adding water.
3. Now cover the dough with a wet cloth for 30 minutes.
4. Make equal size balls from the dough. Roll each ball like a chapatti.
5. Take a knife and cut the roti horizontally and vertically such a way that it makes diamond shaped small pieces.
6. Repeat the same procedure for other balls which are made from the dough.
7. Now heat oil in a wok and fry the diamond shaped nimki under low to medium flame.
8. When they turn golden brown take out them from oil in a tissue paper to soak the extra oil.
9. You can store them in an air tight container and serve your guest.




Tips & Tricks of making crunchy and crispy Nimki

i. Always knead tight dough instead of a soft one. The dough should be similar like luchi (maida puri) dough.
ii. Fry the nimki under low to medium heat. Avoid frying them on high heat as they might burn.
iii. After cutting the diamond shapes spread them in a big plate otherwise they might get stuck to each other and frying won't be proper. Some of the parts might remain uncooked.

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Friday, 17 January 2020

Easy Pancake Recipe

The basic everyday pancake is prepared with a batter of egg, flour, milk and baking powder. The outcome of this easy pancake recipe is fluffy pancakes which you will love to have for your morning breakfast.


Pancakes served with honey and banana

While digging the history of pancake I came to know the pancake has come a long way, probably from the era of stone age! There are numerous explanations which talk about why it is named as pancake. However, I like the one which says as it is a cake (ingredients are similar or you can say almost same) cooked in a pan so it is called pancake.

Being born in an Indian family, we never grew up eating pancakes. In those days making cake at home used to be a big deal in a suburban town. And my mom  prepares the best Vanilla cake in pressure cooker. As I grew up and started reading more books and watched cookery shows (we did not have easy access to internets at that point of time) I came to know about this beautiful dish. However, I never experimented it in my kitchen. I think I prepared it first only when my toddler daughter requested it after watching famous Peppa Pig Show (where the Daddy Pig's pancake gets stuck on the ceiling). The making of pancake is really easy but I did not succeed on the first attempt. But after going through various recipes and few trial & error methods helped me to get this no-fail recipe of pancake.

I regularly post our daughter's snack box and lunch box stories in my blog's FB handle and Instagram.  Recently when I packed pancake (I did it earlier too), my friends and readers asked the recipe of the same. It is then I realized blog does not have the recipe of pancake. Here I am sharing how to prepare easy pancake from scratch. In future, I will also share varieties of pancake recipes including chocolate pancake, blueberry pancakes, oats pancakes and more.


Pancake Ingredients

Flour: Normally, all purpose flour is used to prepare classic pancakes. However, in recent days people also use whole wheat flour or sometimes all purpose flour and wheat flour both are used in 1:1 ratio. Gluten free flours especially buckwheat flour also replaces the all purpose flour.

Sugar: Granulated white sugar is used in the pancake mixture. You can adjust the sweetness according to your taste buds.

Egg: Egg is also helpful in making the pancake soft and fluffy. Most importantly it adds structure to the pancake.

Baking Powder: Baking powder gives you light and fluffy pancakes.

Salt: Little amount of salt helps to balance the sweetness of the pancake and give a nice flavour to it.

Milk: You can use either low fat milk or whole milk or skimmed milk. Milk is a most important ingredient which helps to prepare the batter.

Melted Butter: You can use either salted or unsalted butter while preparing pancake. In case you are using salted butter, reduce the amount of salt (mentioned in the ingredients) to balance it.

Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds a sweet aroma and taste to the pancake. You can use flavour of your choice.


Easy Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

All purpose flour (Maida) - 11/2 cup
Sugar - 1 or 2 tablespoon
Egg - 1 large
Butter - 3 tablespoon, melted
Baking Powder - 21/2 to 3 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
Milk -11/4 cup


Procedure
1. Take flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and mix them well.
2. Now beat egg in a separated bowl and next slowly add the milk, 1 tablespoon of melted butter and vanilla extract into the mixture. Mix well.
3. Combine dry and wet ingredients to make a smooth batter. Batter there should not have any lump.
4. When the smooth batter is ready, grease a non-stick pan with melted butter and add a ladle full of batter and cook until the bubble appears on the top and edges are bit dry and the bottom is golden brown. At this point flip the pancake and cook the other side.
5. Similarly, make pancakes using remaining batter and drizzle honey or maple syrup on top and serve.

Pancake stack


Tips for making fluffy Pancakes from scratch

1. The first and most important tip is avoid overmixing the batter. Overmixing does not result a light and fluffy pancakes. Take all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them well. Take the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix well. However when you add both of them together you should lightly mix them and there could be small lumps present in the batter.

2. I have seen most people are in curry to flip the pancake. Wait until the bubbles appear on the top and edges are bit dry. At this time you can flip and cook the other side.

3. Do not flip the pancakes repeatedly. You have to flip the pancake only one time once the other side is cooked well.
4. Normally, in many recipes you would see they refer to add the butter in the batter. However, I prefer to add only a tablespoon in the batter and remaining I use to grease the skillet which gives a nice colour to my pancake.

How do I serve pancake?


You can serve your pancake with desired toppings. Here I am sharing some suggestions to serve pancake:
  • Mostly people prefer pancakes topped with syrup. Maple syrup is the popular one. Instead of using syrup, you can also add honey.
  •  Add some freshly chopped fruits like banana, berries on your pancake.
  •  If you have fruit compotes in your pantry, do top your pancake with fruit compotes.
  •  You can also top your pancake with chocolate shavings, chocochips or chocolate syrup. 
  •  Nuts are another option to top your pancakes.
  •  Also, if nothing works for you, you can dust some icing sugar on top however, not a healthy option though.

Is it possible to freeze the pancakes? 

or

Can I store pancakes in freezer?

You can freeze them  for couple of days. Prepare the pancakes and place them on a butter paper and allow to cool. After that pack each of them with butter paper or parchment paper (helps to avoid sticking) and put in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Before eating reheat the pancakes in microwave or oven for little longer time and serve with your favourite topping. 

Can I replace all purpose flour and use whole wheat flour instead?

 Yes. Obviously you can replace all purpose flour and used whole wheat flour in this pancake recipe. However, the texture won't be same in both. Whole wheat pancake will appear more dense in nature.

Can I make eggless pancake?

Yes. You can make eggless pancake. I will share the recipe soon, keep following my page.


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Till then signing off!! Have a great year ahead...


Monday, 23 December 2019

How to prepare Healthy Trail Mix


Trail mix is a type of snack which has the combination of nuts, dried fruits and seeds and can munch on the go.


Mixture of nuts, dried fruits and seeds is named as 'trail mix' because it's a non-perishable snack item which is easy to carry and fends off hunger due to its dense nature while you travel. While browsing I came to know there were two travellers who lost their path and survived nearly about an year on the stock of nuts and berries. So imagine just a handful of trail mix can keep you filled and fuelled especially during hiking or travelling a long route.

Benefits of Trail Mix while you travel

  •  Light
  •  Portable
  •  Nutrient rich with energy dense ingredients


So does it mean trail mix is only restricted to travellers?


Not  at all! Healthy trail mix is for everyone unless someone is allergic to nuts and other ingredients or have any other medical conditions. Trail mix is just right for your 4 pm hunger pangs when you crave for all the junks 😀. Yes! this happens with me and trail mix helps to avoid me the junk foods.

Homemade Healthy Trail Mix


You can easily prepare this on-the-go snack option at your home. But you might ask, there are plenty of trail mix options available in departmental stores.
 Then, why do you need to prepare healthy trail at home?
Here is why homemade trail mix is way healthier than the store-bought one:
  •  You are not aware of the sources of  each ingredients.
  •  Most of the store bought trail mix contains sugar coated  nuts which are not good for health.
  •  Ingredients are roasted in hydrogenated oils in most of the cases.
  •  They use salt to make it salty in taste and you are not aware of the quality of salt used here.
  •  Moreover, store-bought trail mix packs are heavy for your pocket and mostly available in bulk amount.
When you prepare trail mix at home it automatically becomes healthy because we can address all the above problems.

What are the common ingredients of trail mix?

Trail mix contains nuts, dried fruits and seeds.




Nuts: Nuts are primary ingredient of a trail mix. Nuts are good source of fat, fiber and protein. Hence, nuts can help to boost the energy and keep you full for longer time.  You can use any nuts of your choice in the trail mix. Most popularly used nuts in trail mix are almonds, cashews and peanuts. You can also add pistachios, pecans, walnuts, Brazilian nuts, Macadamaia nuts, etc. Click here to know more about nuts, their nutritional values and calorie counts. 

Dried Fruits: Dried fruits are great source of fiber and contains good amount of antioxidants. Fiber is good for fighting heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer.  Dried fruits have high sugar content and help to increase the blood sugar after a vigorous session of physical activity. Like different types of nuts you can add varieties of dried fruits in your trail mix. You can add different types of berries including cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, golden raisins, black raisins, dried bananas, pineapples, etc are good options.

Seeds: Seeds are also good source of fiber. they contain good fats and many essential vitamins and minerals. So it is good to incorporate different types of seeds in to your diet. Addition of seeds gives earthy flavours and crunchy texture to your trail mix.  Commonly used seeds are pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Additional fun stuffs:  Apart from nuts, dried fruits and seeds, you can also add some fun stuffs to make your trail mix more interesting. You can add chocochips, M&Ms, popcorns, butterscotch chips, pretzels, etc. However, if you want to make a healthy trail mix avoid adding any fun stuffs or additional ingredients.

Do I need to roast the nuts and seeds before adding them to trail mix?

It is not mandatory to roast the nuts and seeds before adding them to trail mix, you can add raw nuts and seeds. However, I prefer to roast the nuts and seeds so that they remain crunchy and increases the shelf life. Avoid roasting them in oil, instead dry roast them for few minutes. After that allow to cool them and add to prepare your trail mix.

Healthy Trail Mix in a bowl
Healthy Trail Mix


Should I add salt and sugar in my trail mix?

Store-bought trail mix contains added salt and sugar. Hence, when you are preparing at home, it's better to avoid adding salt and sugar to make the trail mix healthy. If you want you can add spices to add an extra flavour to your trail mix. You can season the mixture with sea salt, ground ginger, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, cardamom powder or cayenne pepper to make it flavourful.

Storage Instructions

After preparing the trail mix, store it in a dry air-tight container in a cool and dry place. It is good if you store in a glass jar for example mason jar.


Recipes you can make with Trail mix

Trail mix itself is a good snacking option. If you are making a large quantity of trail mix you can also use it to prepare other snacking options.
  •  You can make chocolate (dark or white chocolate) bark using your homemade trail mix mixture
  •  Homemade trail mix can be added while you are making your granola bar or energy bars.
  •  You can use it as topping while baking a homemade loaf cake or muffin.
  •  They come handy when you are making some no bake truffles. 
After knowing the benefits let's learn how to make trail mix. It's kind of a DIY weekend project! Check the ingredients given here and if you don't have all of them try to get them otherwise you can do it your way with less ingredients over the weekend and pack it in a small box and carry to your office on Monday morning. While your stomach starts growling at 4 pm you can snack healthy on your trail mix and stop your binge eating habit. These days the major problem is travel time especially in Tier I & 2 cities. So keep a box of trail mix in your bag which will be helpful while you travel. 

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


How to prepare Healthy Trail Mix

Healthy Trail Mix Recipe

Ingredients

Almonds - 1/2 cup
Cashew Nuts - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cup
Golden Raisins - 3 tablespoons
Black Raisins - 3 tablespoons
Dried Cranberries - 3 tablespoons
Dried Blueberries -3 tablespoons
Sunflower Seeds - 2 tablespoons
Melon Seeds - 2 tablespoons

Procedure

1. Dry roast almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds and melon seeds each separately and aloow to cool down.
2. Once they are cool add all the nuts, dried fruits and seeds in a big bowl. Give them a good mix. Alternatively, you can take all the ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake well to mix them.
3. Take a dry airtight container and store it.


Saturday, 30 November 2019

Bengali style Pumpkin Fritters or Kumror Telebhaja (কুমড়োর তেলেভাজা)

Bengali style Pumpkin Fritters aka Kumror Telebhaja (কুমড়োর তেলেভাজা) is a popular snack option from Bengal. Thinly sliced pumpkin pieces are dipped into gram flour batter and deep fried in oil. Like Beguni and Alur chop, kumror telebhaja is equally famous in Bengal but not very popular in internet. I am not sure why people have given less importance to kumror telebhaja. The recipe is quite similar to beguni, probably that is the reason it did not come to the lime light. Though both recipes are similar but each vegetable has its own taste. Like you get different varieties of beans or gourds but when you cook them individually each have a distinct taste. Isn't it? So I thought it won't be fair if I don't share the recipe of Bengali style Pumpkin Fritters aka Kumror telebhaja especially when internet is already flooded with plenty of Pumpkin recipes




In Bengali cuisine, there are plenty of dishes cooked with pumpkin. Some of the recipes are no onion no garlic recipes. On the day of Durga Ashtami often Luchi (Maida Puri) is paired with a no onion no garlic Pumpkin curry known as Kumror Chokka. Another popular pumpkin recipe goes very well with plain rice, we call it Kumro bhate. This is similar to Aloo Chokha. Boil pumpkin and smash it well. You can also add smashed potato in it. In a pan add mustard oil (little), add dry red chill and slice onions along with salt. Fry them and add it to the mashed pumpkin. Tada! it's ready.. Try it and then tell me you don't love pumpkin😉 (yes I am confident you will like it for sure). 


Kumror telebhaja on banana leaf


While writing this post, I was taken back to the memory lane of my girlhood and here I am sharing few of the glimpses from past. Telebhaja commonly called fritters like beguni, chop, pakoras, etc in Bengali is popular across the state (West Bengal). Each para (colony) has their own telebhaja shop (omuk kaku ba omuk dada r dokan) which is normally located at the corner of road under an old big banyan tree (bot tolay morer mathay dokan). Sometimes more than two (or sometimes numerous) if it's bigger area. Once it's evening these shops will be crowded like anything and a gloomy day can double up the crowd. Are you wondering why these kind of simple shops would be crowded?  The reason is we did not grow up eating pasta, pizza, french fry or any other fancy stuffs as snack, so these telebhajas were (are) our ultimate snack companion. When I look back I think how things have changed over the period of time. Before I share the recipe, I will share more details about Bengali style Pumpkin Fritters or Kumror telebhaja.

What is the difference between Beguni and Kumror Telebhaja?

Beguni is the fritters prepared using brinjal or egg-plant whereas Kumror Telebhaja is prepared using Yellow Colour Pumpkin. Though batter used in both fritters recipe is same, the taste of each fritter is distinct. Normally, the pumpkin has a sweetness, so the fritter's taste is slight sweet and salty. If you have not tried it, then I would say please give it a try. 



What are the Ingredients required to prepare Pumpkin Fritters or Kumror Telebhaja?

 Kumro or yellow pumpkin is the primary ingredient. You also need besan (gram flour) and certain spices (red chilli powder, turmeric powder, black salt, salt., nigella seeds). The speciality of these telebhajas is they are super crispy which makes it more delectable. Add rice flour and a pinch of cooking soda to make the fritters crispy. I will tell you one more hack to make your pakora or fritters crispy. When you are heating up oil to fry the fritters, take spoonful of hot oil and add it to the batter and mix well. This I have learnt from my mother. Most importantly you need oil to deep fry the fritters. You can either use mustard oil or any vegetable oil of your choice.

How do I serve Kumror Telebhaja?

 Kumror Telebhaja is a perfect evening snack. So you can munch them just like that or with a cup of hot tea or coffee. Bengalis prefer this snack with a bowl of muri (puffed rice). Actually in Bengal, muri  is a staple food, mostly taken as breakfast or evening munchies with some telebhaja (beguni, chop, pyanji, etc). Some people find it weird that how puffed rice could be breakfast option. I think this is purely based on the geography, climate condition, economy of a place. West Bengal is highest producer of rice and that is a primary reason why people of Bengal prefer has rice based diet. Also the state is pretty hot and humid. This is another reason to consume more rice based products for better digestion.

Pumpkin fritters served with puffed rice


Important Tips and Tricks for Kumror Telebhaja

  • The most important tip for this recipe is to thinly slice  the pumpkin pieces. Otherwise, it will be difficult to coat with the batter. Also, if it is a thicker slice it might remain uncooked.
  •  Though kumror telebhaja is an easy recipe, but batter play a crucial role in it. Take all the dry ingredients for batter in a bowl and mix them well. Always add little by little water and make a smooth batter. If you put too much water, the batter will be runny and too less water also will not give a proper consistency to the batter. If you had added extra water by mistake add little gram flour  to adjust the consistency. 
  •  Frying the fritters under medium flame gives you good fritters. If you fry them on high flame, inside will remain uncooked and outer coating will be burnt. So be patient and fry the fritters. 
  • Avoid adding too many fritters in the pan at the one go. Sides of the fritters won't be cooked and they might get attached with each other. 

Bengali style Pumpkin Fritters or Kumror Telebhaja (কুমড়োর তেলেভাজা)

Ingredients
Pumpkin pieces - rectangular shape, thin  pieces 10-12 nos
Gram Flour (Besan) - 1 cup
Rice Flour - 2 tablespoon
Nigella seeds / Kalonji/ Kalo jeera - 1/2 teaspoon
Cooking soda - a pinch
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder - 1/3 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Black salt - To sprinkle on top
Mustard oil/ Refined oil - 2 cups
Water as required


Procedure (How to make Pumpkin Fritters / Kumror Telebhaja)

1. Cut the pumpkin into rectangular shaped thin pieces and marinate with little salt for few minutes.


2. Now take gram flour in a bowl and rice flour, add salt, cooking soda, turmeric powder, chilli powder and nigella seeds. Mix all the dry ingredients.
3. Slowly add water and mix thoroughly to make a medium to thick consistency batter. Batter should be smooth. There should not be any lump in the batter.
4. Heat oil in a wok and add a spoonful of hot oil into batter and mix well.
5. Now dip each pumpkin slice into the batter and coat them well, deep fry them until both sides are golden in colour.
6. Sprinkle black salt and serve them as snacks.


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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Easy Stovetop Granola Recipe

Granola is a type of breakfast cereal which contains grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits. An easy and quick granola recipe made on stovetop is handy for your busy and lazy days. In this blogpost I will share how to prepare granola on stovetop at your home. I will also share the detailed tips and tricks and answer many questions commonly asked while making granola.



When you get up late in the morning and totally puzzled what to have for breakfast, at that moment of time, the box of granola kept on your kitchen counter top saves your day. Granola has become morning companion in almost every household especially if  you are a working professional (who works in the morning shift! most of us) or if you are mother of a school going kid or if you stay in a hostel!

While talking about hostel I remember my hostel days in Kolkata and Chennai. In Chennai we had  food service along with boarding so never worried about food. But in Kolkata it was a private paying guest which provided only accommodation and we had our kitchen. We used to really busy with our study, college and tuition so hardly we used to get time make our own meals. We used to order lunch and dinner from a 'dabbawalla', but breakfast was a problem.  Back then breakfast cereals have just entered Indian market and gaining popularity. So that was an easy option for us but there was no variety at that point of time so I was bored with the same thing everyday. Wish muesli or granola would have been there at that point of time. Only few years ago I came to know about muesli and granola and not only me even my husband (who hates age old breakfast cereals like cornflakes) both liked the taste and it was very handy for our busy days. But many of you may not the difference between granola and muesli.

Granola in Airtight Container


What's the difference between granola and muesli?

Muesli and Granola both are great breakfast options and can be either served with milk or yogurt. Muesli is an uncooked breakfast cereal which contains different types of grains (oats and mostly in the form of flakes like corn flakes, wheat flakes, rice flakes etc), nuts, seeds and dried fruits. On the other hand, granola is a cooked (baked) cereal which consists of grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits with added sweeteners and oils for binding them together. As granola has binding agents, here oats stick together in clusters whereas muesli is a loose type of mixture.

How to use granola?

 This is a common question people often ask that how to eat granola or how do I use granola. Here I am sharing various ways to eat granola:

1. Breakfast: Granola is a great breakfast option. You can add yogurt or milk to it and top it with fresh fruits like banana, apple, kiwi, etc and have it for breakfast which is the most popular way to eat granola.



2. Granola Bars: Have you heard of granola bars? These are really great to have as snacks. It gives instant energy and perfect for kids when they come home after playing.

3. Smoothies: If you love smoothies, you can top your smoothies with a fistful of granola and this will make your smoothies more tasty and filling.

4. Salads: You can also add granola to your salad bowls and it will give you an extra crunch!

5. Desserts:  Summers are for popsicles! Isn't it? You can add granola to your popsicles too. Apart from that, you can add it your breakfast muffins or to your truffles or add an extra layer in your parfait!

Basically, granola is pretty flexible! You can add granola to anything and everything and enjoy your meal. If you do not like any of the options, you can simply munch them (the way I do it sometimes😁)


If you are looking for some easy breakfast options, click here: Breakfast Ideas

What are the ingredients you need to prepare granola at home?

As I mentioned earlier, the granola contains grains, varieties of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, sweetener, and oil or butter. Predominantly, oats is used in granola and sometimes wheat flakes, barley flakes, cornflakes, etc are also used as grains. You can use any nuts or mixed nuts of your choice. People normally use almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc in their granola. There are varieties of dry fruits including golden & black raisins, berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, etc), dried kiwi, etc or any dried fruits of your choice can be added to granola. Similarly, different types of seeds including pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, etc can be part of your granola. Any sweetener especially honey and maple syrup is used in granola. Butter or oil is also used while cooking granola. Apart from the above ingredients many add certain fun ingredients including chocochips, M&M etc to make their granola more interesting. Many add sea salt or spice like cinnamon to add a different taste to their granola.



Why should you prepare granola at home?

You might say granola is readily available in any super market or departmental store so why should I prepare Granola at home. My answer to this question is the homemade tastes the best! Also you can customize the ingredients as per your choice which will not be possible for the store bought granola. You can also adjust the sweetener when you are making at your own kitchen. Do you agree with me now ?


What is special in Stovetop Granola Recipe?

Most of the granola recipes available in the internet calls for baking. However, many of the Indian household does not have oven till date as Indian recipes mostly done on stovetop. So they should not deprived from the taste of homemade granola.

Now let's learn how to make stovetop granola at home. I am sharing the easiest stovetop granola recipe which you can prepare at your home without an oven.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 mins

Easy Stovetop Granola Recipe

Ingredients
Rolled Oats - 2 cups
Sunflower seeds - 2 tablespoon
Dry Fruit Mix - 2/3 cup (golden & black raisins, cranberries)
Almonds - 10 to 15
Honey - 1/4 cup
Butter - 3 tablespoon

Procedure
1. Dry roast the almonds and finely slice them.
2. Now melt butter and add the melted butter with honey in a bowl.
3. Also dry roast rolled oats and sunflower seeds until the colour changes slightly.
4. Next add honey-butter mixture into it and coat the oats mixture nicely.
5. Cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes under low flame. The colour of the mixture will turn into golden brown.
6. Switch off the gas and allow the mixture to cool.
7. Now the granola mixture becomes chunky so break the chunks using your fingers.
8. Next add the chopped almond and dry fruits in the granola mixture and store it in a air tight container. Easy homemade stovetop granola mixture is ready.

Granola in a bowl
Stovetop Granola
If you like this recipe and prepared at your home, do share the picture with me (email: jhumu.here@gmail.com). You can also tag me in your social media and share this post as much as possible.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Bengali Misti Goja or মিষ্টি গজা

Misti goja is a popular sweet from Bengal. Goja is made of flour, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup. Festival of lights (Deepavali) has already kick started with today's Dhanteras.


I believe you have cleaned your home, decked all the corners of your home with your favourite decors, completed shopping gifts and decided your dress and accessories to match them. Enjoy the festival to the fullest whatever you prefer them by keeping all your grief aside. Diwali or Deepavali is all about good things, celebrates good over evil. The festival of light is incomplete without good food. It's a tradition to prepare snacks and sweets to celebrate the occasion. Different types of savoury snacks including Nimki, Triangular Nimki, Methi Mathri, Elo Jhelo, Sukhi Kachori  are prepared during this festival.

In olden days, women of the house used to start the preparations a week or 10 days ahead of the festival and used make all the sweets and snacks in bulk and stored into containers. As I told last year too, during Diwali we Bengalis celebrate Kali Puja. Now I am out of Bengal for more than a decade and observed the significance of the festival of lights and it's rituals. I observed during Diwali the sweet items are either made of nuts and dry fruits or khoya or deep fried.



Blogging has given me the opportunity to know my country (India) very well. Earlier the knowledge was confined only to certain regions including vastly about where I have born and grown up and visited to the states for studies or work or where I am residing now. Rest of India prepares snack during Diwali whereas we (Bengalis) mostly prepare them during Durga Puja especially for Vijaya Dashami. West Bengal is a warehouse of sweets (I think everyone would agree to this) and they are freshly made in shops and not heavy on your pocket too. So mostly Bengali households completely depend on sweet shops for their regular or festive needs of sweets. This scene was different in 60's, 70's or even in 80's when our grandmas used to prepare most of the delicacies at home. Off late the scenario started changing when sweet shops ruled over the sweet buds of Bengali nuclear family. Let's go to the recipe details now.

All about Goja

There are different types of goja available. They are different shapes and sizes, hence the way of preparations are also different. However, one thing is common in all types of goja i.e. each of them has layers in it. Today I am sharing the recipe of Bengal special Misti Goja. Have you ever visited a fair in Bengal's village? If yes, then you know those fairs are incomplete with the presence of jalebi, omriti, Bonde or Sweet Boondi and Goja.



This is made using all purpose flour or maida. You need very few ingredients to prepare goja. Prepare a rough (not smooth like luchi or poori) dough using maida, ghee, baking soda and drizzles of water. Then create the layers of goja which is the actual trick of the recipe. The goja has several layers inside it just like the puff pastry sheets and making of goja is also same like puff pastry. Today we are exposed to global cuisine and amazed to see the layers in puff pastry and learned it. If we see our own Indian cuisine we find similar kind of techniques have been used here too. Similarly, the use of ghee in goja reminds me the use of butter in every layer of puff pastry sheets. I am not aware about the origin of goja (I mean when the people of Bengal started making it) just to understand whether it was the impact of European colonialism. More you make layers in goja, it becomes flaky and crisp while you fry and ensures the proper absorption of sugar syrup.

Goja served in stoneware

After making the layers the dough is spread in rectangular manner with a half or quarter inch of thickness. Later it was cut using knife to make pieces and deep fried in oil. Frying of goja is also tricky. Avoid heating the oil too much before you add the goja in them. When your oil start bubbling at the bottom, add the gojas and maintain low heat while you fry. Slow heat will allow to open up the layers you had created in the dough, so have patience. Avoid overcrowding your wok and slowly fry all the sides till they are golden in colour. Take out one batch and allow them to cool before adding them into sugar syrup. In the meanwhile add another batch for frying. One more important point to remember when you are adding the gojas into sugar syrup it should not be hot instead it should be warm or room temperature. Allow them to soak for 15 to 20 minutes and later take them out from syrup and serve.

The shelf life of Goja is more than any sweet prepared using chena (cottage cheese) or milk. Deep frying for longer time and soaking in sugar syrup (not thin syrup) reduce the chance of getting spoiled.

Here is the step by step recipe along with pictures  of misti goja.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Yields: 10 to 12 (depending on the size and thickness)


Bengali Misti Goja or মিষ্টি গজা

Ingredients

Maida/All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
Baking Soda - 1/4 teaspoon
Ghee - 1/4 cup
Refined Oil - 3 cups, deep frying
Water as required

For Sugar syrup

Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup water

Procedure

Sugar Syrup

Take one cup sugar and one cup water in a pan and boil it until dissolves. The sugar syrup should not be too thin or thick so boil it for few minutes. Once done, switch off the gas and keep it aside.

Steps of making Bengali Misti Goja

1. Take 1 cup of flour in a bowl and add pinch of baking soda and mix well.

2. Next add ghee into the mixture and mix it well with your palm until the mixture appears crumb like texture.

3. Now add water using a teaspoon little by little as the dough has to be hard in texture and it will have cracks unlike the smooth dough of Poori.

4. Next take the dough on a flat kitchen platform and spread it in circle shape by tapping with your fingers.
5. Now take a knife and cut the circle into half circle and further make halves of the half circles.

6. At present, you have four pieces of dough and stack them on each other so again it formed dough ball.

See the layers it has formed already

7. Now repeat step 4 to 6 for 4 to 5 times. This will create the layers inside goja.
8. After repeating those steps now spread the dough ball in a square shape with a 1/2 or quarter inch thickness and cut it into square or rectangular pieces.


9. Heat oil in a wok and add few rectangular pieces in the oil and slowly fry them till they are golden from all sides.


10. Now take them out from the oil and allow to cool for sometime before adding them to the sugar syrup.

11. Allow to soak them in sugar syrup for 15 to 20 minutes and take them out and serve.


If you have tried any recipe from my blog, do share pictures and tag me in social media Motions and Emotions Facebook, Instagram of Motions and Emotions or you can also send the pictures via email to jhumu.here@gmail.com

Wishing all my readers and well-wishers a very Happy and Prosperous Deepavali!

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