Friday 29 June 2012

By Special Request: Daal Parathas

I don't usually write up recipes I haven't recently made but my friend Monica is hosting the FussFreeFlavours Breakfast Club over at her amazing website and she dropped a hint really heavily that she would like me to submit a recipe I have mentioned in the past, but not made recently or blogged ever.  To be honest, I haven't blogged it because it is embarrassingly vague, and erm, basic, but it is true that many people wouldn't think to do it, so here goes...

Daal Parathas.

This is another food idea brought to me by my dear Sis In Law, Sonia, and I guess it would be best on a weekend, or perhaps if eating them cold then anyday.  They make a nice packed snack/breakfast/lunch too.

Imagine you made your preferred daal on Monday evening for supper, and you served it with rice.  But perhaps you ate all the rice, or you there is more daal left than would go with the leftover rice, so you put the left over rice in a tupperware (or "dubba" - a catchl-all word for box, tub, tupperware, container) with the portion of daal to go with it, and you have some daal left.
Or perhaps you want something different or more long-burning than rice and daal (rice always messes with my blood sugar these days), then this would be perfect for you too.

So, either as you clear up on Monday evening, or on Tuesday morning, or whatever morning you want this, or the evening before whatever morning you want this, you empty the left over daal into a large flattish bowl, and then you slowly add your chappatti flour (atta) to this.  Now, I really truly can't tell you how much atta you need, as daal varies in liquidity obviously, and I don't know what amount you have to start with!!!  With a medium thickness daal, like porridge, you'd probably need about double the volume of atta, but basically add small amounts and mix, until you get a soft, not stiff or dry, not sticky dough.  If you have made chappatti before, then that is basically the dough texture you want, allowing for the bits from the daal!

Now refrigerate for 10mins-half an hour if  you can.

When it has rested awhile, heat up your tawa or a good heavy frying pan, and break the dough into pieces about the size made when you make the OK sign with your index finger and thumb. Roll the pieces into flattish balls, and roll out one by one til about 2 mm thick, about a saucer size.  You can make them bigger if you prefer, but my kids get daunted by big looking food.  I find it easier to get a round shape if I flatten the ball on the rolling surface with my palm before rolling with a slight clockwise twisting motion.  I also use a this Indian "belan" rolling pin stick which kinda does the shaping as you roll.

I have a tiny kitchen, so I roll one while the previous one is cooking, but if you have space, roll them all out if you want.  I test the tawa is hot enough by dripping a drop of water onto it, if it fizzes and vanishes, the tawa is hot enough.  As this is a paratha, you will use some oil or ghee to fry these, but remember there will have been one or other in the daal in the first place.

I slap the rolled out paratha onto the tawa and then using a teaspoon of the oil or ghee, I "draw" a circle around the edge of the paratha and spread a little onto the centre of the upper side too.  After about a minute (longer if the paratha is thicker or larger) I lift an edge up and if I see black or brown spots, I flip it over, and repeat the oil/ghee circle ritual.  When the 2nd side is spotted too, I remove the paratha and put it in a chapatti "dubba" to keep warm.  Feel free to store the cooked ones between 2 plates if you don't have such a thing! Repeat until dough used up, or you have enough for your needs, and store dough for the next day.

There, it is honestly is that simple, serve with a dollop of yoghurt and some pickle or chutney, marmite, some salad, veggies, hot cup of tea or whatever takes your fancy!

Here are the links I'm supposed to link to, which inspired this post...

I shall try and add a pic of this next time I make it, but if you try it, do post a pic on Twitter or FB or elsewhere and comment a link to it!

Tuesday 5 June 2012

khichdi kadhi with veg

So some of my foodie Twitter friends have recently been tweeting back and forth about kadhi (a traditional Indian thin soupy sauce served with rice and usually thickened with chickpea flour, but with many regional variations) and khichdi (a mix of lentils and rice, again with MANY variations!) and I have to confess I had never before heard that many people associate the 2 dishes together, and once I thought about it, it made sense.  I know how to make 2 different khichdis, a Bengali one and a Sindhi one (which is unsurprising given my Mother is Bengali and my Father is Sindhi) and I know of the traditional accompaniments for those - for the Bengali yellow khichdi I always have a fried egg - usually on a rainy day. For the Sindhi one we have papadums and lime pickle.  Anyway, the more I looked around and asked around, the more I saw that many Indians serve theirs with some kind of kadhi, and suddenly it made sense as both dishes are quite light and might be not filling enough on their own, but paired together they would complement each other perfectly!

So after a fun afternoon at a slightly damp Jubilee Street Party, where the kids ate their fill but we didn't quite feel we'd had enough, we put the kids to bed, and I whipped up this combo in about 20 mins, basically the kadhi was cooked while the khichdi cooked in the rice cooker.  Here's how I did it.  (Oh I have to add that the recipe was handed to me by my dear Sindhi sister-in-law, who was brought up in Gujerat, but the addition of the veg was mentioned online lots, and I was inspired by Monica Shaw.  My dear SIL posted on Facebook to mention that she also makes a fishhead version which is slightly thicker, omits the sugar and has the addition of pan fried fishheads which give great flavour and goodness.)  In another post I shall post a recipe for some chickpea flour dumplings that can be added to the kadhi is desired too.

So I put 2 cups of rice and half a cup of washed (yellow) moong dal in the rice cooker with 3 slices of ginger and added 3 and a half cups of water and switched it on and let it get on with it.

In small pan, I mixed together a cup of yoghurt with 4 cups of water, a tea strainerful of chickpea flour (about 3 tbs, I used the teastrainer to sieve it so it didn't clump too much) and then I whisked like mad while heating it gently.
Once it was thoroughly mixed, I added a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. 
I then brought the whole mixture to the boil very gently - it is REALLY prone to boiling over - and let it softly boil for a few minutes until it seems to have a sort of "soft" texture and there is no longer a raw taste of chickpea flour in it.

At this point the recipe says to heat some oil or ghee and fry slices of garlic (3-4 cloves for this amount of kadhi) and a teaspoon of mustard seeds, about 7 curry leaves, a sliced green chilli and a couple of little dried red chillies.  These are normally then added to the kadhi.

However for this variation, I now fried a big stir-fry pack of veg containing edamame, cabbage, shredded carrot, pak choi, slices of red onion and stuff in a big pan, added the garlic, mustard seeds and curry leaves as stated above and then we poured the kadhi onto this.

The khichdi was also done by this point, so we served it up, and I shall admit that it was totally yummy, and I followed Monica's lead and had some left-overs for breakfast in the morning too!  One last important note about this, is not to use fresh mild yogurt.  Use yogurt that has been open a few days and has started to sour, or that unopened tub at the back of the fridge that is a few days out of date, obviously, use your judgement and don't get ill, but this dish should taste sour, and mild sweet fresh yogurt just won't do this.