All posts tagged: chickpea flour

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Salted Caramel Mohanthal

Salted Caramel Mohanthal

My grandfather was a sweet maker. He had big, thick-skinned hands that were made for harvesting sugar canes using a machete and stirring giant pots of bubbling syrup. He never used a sugar thermometer. He could tell it was done just by looking at the consistency of the syrup, perhaps testing it using a little cold water to see if it had a “one-string consistency ” or what a western pastry chef might call the “soft ball stage”. Indian sweet making isn’t for the feint hearted, you see. It’s painstakingly long, laborious, hot and intense work. Stirring, stirring, all the time you’re stirring. No, don’t stop because it will catch on the bottom and your whole mixture will taste scorched. Some of the most revered and expensive ingredients in Indian culture: sugar, milk, ghee and saffron, all wasted. If it was your full-time job and you had a knack for getting distracted, you’d be out of the door faster than you can say, “Oh fudge!”. If you’ve ever stepped inside an Indian sweet shop you’ll be …

Vegan Khandvi (Indian Chickpea Pasta Rolls)

Vegan Khandvi (Indian Chickpea Pasta Rolls)

Hot, sour, sweet and salty; These are the characteristics of the Gujarati dishes I grew up eating. From spongy Khaman Dhokla, to Sev Tameta nu Shaak, chickpea flour plays an integral role in the make up of regional Gujarati food. It’s used for batters and bhajiya (across India), as the basis for Pudla (chickpea flour pancakes) and as a thickener for soups like the yoghurt-based favourite, Kadhi. One thing all of these dishes have in common is that each one is famous for being hot, sour, sweet and salty. Another savoury Gujarati snack that’s known for having these explosive and delicious flavours is Khandvi. It’s a village-style rolled pasta made with chickpea flour and yoghurt (in this case, soy yoghurt) which is always served with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and chillies crackled in hot oil. The sound and smell of the smoking oil hitting the smooth surface of the pasta rolls gives me all the feels. The texture is soft, silky and it melts in your mouth, unlike the wheat pasta we’re …

Gujarati Mohanthal

Okay, round two. Not only is this our second Diwali sweet of the week – it’s also my second time making this Gujarati favourite for my blog. Mohanthal  (pronounced: moHanTHaal) are squares of mace-laced butter fudge made with chickpea flour. A staple in homes during festivals, these sweet pieces of fudge are studded with crunchy pieces of chickpea flour ‘crumble’ or ‘dhrabo’. Mohanthal can be served in two ways: In pieces like the kind here, or loose as a lava-like liquid gold you scoop up with a spoon and nothing more. There’s a time and a place for both. Pieces of Mohanthal are perfect for gifting to friends and family during Diwali. The loose kind is more of a hot dessert served after a traditional Gujarati meal. My favourite way to have it is right after a meal of Aakhu Shaak (whole vegetables stuffed with peanut masala), daal, rice, rotli and sambharo (stir-fried cabbage and carrots with mustard seeds). Heaven. Shop-bought Mohanthal will often be brown in colour but I like my mine to be bright …

Peanut Masala Stuffed Aubergines

Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala

Stuffing baby vegetables with spicy, nutty masala can be a beautiful thing. It’s nothing new, Gujaratis have been popping a tray of them onto their dinner party tables for years. Stuffed vegetables are, and always have been the ultimate show-off dish – the more extensive the variety of veggies you manage to wangle into the dish, the more fabulous you are. I remember when I was little it was just aubergines, potatoes and onions in our family kitchen. As I grew, we became more and more adventurous with what we put in; it all began with bananas (my granddad used to add these back in Mombasa), then we added peas to the sauce, stuffed baby courgettes, okra, paneer (you didn’t really think I’d miss that one out did you?) and no matter what it was, it still tasted amazing. Go ahead, be fabulous and experiment with your stuffed veggie curry. Today I’m downsizing. Not because I can’t be bothered, but because I know these fresh baby aubergines I got from the market (no lie, I …

Khaman

Guess who’s back? Over the next four weeks I’ll be running a series called Indian Cooking Step-by-Step in which I’ll be exploring classic recipes from a handful of Indian regions. Join me as I prepare Khaman – a Gujarati favourite in under 50 minutes. I’m not too proud to admit that I’m a terrible teacher, but when it comes to cooking Indian food, I can’t help but put my two pence in. I become a wannabe Gujarati (hailing from the state of Gujarat in western India) Mary Poppins who’s full of the old-school tips I picked up watching various female family members squabble over how much ginger to put in the daal. Khaman are fluffy, steamed, savoury cakes made with chickpea flour and a divine topping of tempered mustard seeds, sesame seeds, curry leaves, shredded coconut and coriander. The tempered topping is the most magical part of the recipe, as hot oil with sizzling spices is (very carefully) splashed with water, and then drizzled over the top of the delicately-spicy savoury cake. The result is …

Masala Poori

  The world of Indian breads is vast and varied. From rotli to naan, paratha and poori, they can be toasted, baked or fried. Adding herbs and spices is common and I love experiment with different flavours. My favourite kind of poori has got to be infused with turmeric and red chilli and is also known as Masala Poori   Serve with Sukha Aloo (Dry Potato Curry) and creamy yogurt for am amazing breakfast or brunch. Poori is also popularly served with spicy chickpea curry and is eaten with the hands, filling the fried bread with curry and broken from the outside in. Fiddly but delicious.   Traditionally a South Indian bread, they can be made into large discs or little puffy balls. I prefer to make them smaller firstly because they’re cute and secondly, because they rise much more easily which is great if you’re a beginner. Sooji or semolina is added to give the bread a crisp finish and it is popularly eaten with Shrikhand at auspicious times. Let me tell you, that …

Gujarati Potatoes and Spring Onions Sautéed in Chickpea Flour

      Fresh flavoured, dry curries are done so well by Gujaratis. It’s all about taking simple ingredients and packing in as much flavour as possible. From thalis (3 course meal plates), to dhokras (steamed savoury cakes) and mistan (Indian sweets), the simplicity and variety of Gujarati cuisine is a huge attraction for vegetarians. Around three-quarters of the population of Gujarat are vegetarian for an assortment of reasons. Among religious, economical and health reasons, many Gujarati’s believe that the abundance of nuts, beans and leafy greens available in their region neutralises the need to eat meat. Having said this, Gujarati food is simple, family cooking which can coax the most radical meat-eaters into enjoying a vegetarian meal. This dish is just one of those typical Gujarati specialities which can be adapted according to what produce is in season and available at the time. Chickpea flour curries are great with okra, fresh fenugreek leaves and even whole chilli peppers! That is if you’re feeling brave enough. Why not check out my recipe for Turnip and …

Fresh Field Beans (Vaal) in a Peanut and Yogurt Sauce

Graduation was fantastic! Thank you for all of the congratulations and good luck wishes you left for me. As always, your support is invaluable. Time to start a fresh, new chapter of my life, and the only way to fire up such chapters is with fresh, innovative food. This dish combines firm field beans with a creamy, clean tasting yogurt sauce. Perfect for those who like subtly spiced dishes or those who simply fancy a change from heavily perfumed concoctions.   You can buy field beans from all good Indian grocery or health food shops; they can be found fresh, dried and frozen so keep your beans eyes peeled. Their texture is best described as a cross between white soya beans and cannellini beans. Delicious in soups and stews, they are more popularly added to curries in Gujarati cuisine. The famous young field bean (whole) and aubergine curry (vaalore ringdra) is evidence of its popularity; it has dominated wedding menus for years. And I ain’t gonna question that! Vaal- Mature field beans with the pod removed …

Nankhatai: Spiced Biscuits for Tea

They’re perfect if you’re a chomper, a dunker, or a nibbler. These biscuits were requested by a reader via my Facebook page a long time ago. Wicked me, I’ve only had time to make them now. Nankhatai are a type of Indian tea biscuit. They are most likely to be flavoured with some of the usual suspects- green cardamom, saffron, ground mace… I could go on forever, baby. In my enduring quest to make you all fat and greedy, I’ve not skimped on the butter because there’s no such thing as a calorie-free biscuit. Nope. Not in any country. Although, I’m guessing that if there is, it probably tastes like rabbit bedding. I’ve kept the recipe pretty conventional, apart from the addition of desiccated coconut. So not very conventional, then… Remember to use saffron sparingly, the flavour is very intense and if too much is used, you may end up with a bitter-tasting potpourri-ish-thing-which-I-won’t-call-a-biscuit. Plus, it’s super expensive, so be kind to your pocket. Coarse semolina gives these biscuits a beautiful texture which I simply adore, …

Gujarati-Style Mango Buttermilk Kadhi

Summer may not have graced the UK yet, but it has made a secret appearance in my kitchen. Yesterday I was given a huge box of Alphonso mangoes which are now filling my house with a beautifully sweet and fruity aroma. So with mangoes abundant, what was I to cook? I was scouring my favourite blogs on a mission to seek out an innovative recipe using perfectly ripe mangoes. I was thrilled when I found a South Indian recipe for Mampazha Pulissery by Namitha from Collaborative Curry. Not only did the fruity recipe sound delicious, but the pictures were so striking that I had to rush to the kitchen and feed my curiosity more or less immediately. I admit that I’m a bit of a recipe mutineer, and I almost never follow instructions to the letter *slaps wrist*. As mouth-watering as Namitha’s recipe sounded, I had to incorporate aspects of the traditional Gujarati way of making Kadhi into the recipe. Kadhi is the Gujarati name for the almost-sacred buttermilk soup loved by every Gujarati I …

Spring Chicks and Turnip Babies

Before you think I’ve fallen off my lifelong (21 year old) vegetarian wagon, please allow me to explain that this recipe contains neither spring chicks, nor babies. It does in fact contain spring onions, chickpea flour and baby turnips, so it’s all good. This quick and simple recipe is a great everyday Gujarati favourite in our house and can be made with pretty much any veggies you can think of. I like to use radishes, mooli, bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, fenugreek and if I’m feeling tough enough, whole chillies. I love that the veggies still retain their natural, sweet flavours among the bursts of spice provided by the chickpea flour masala. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Stay tuned for the asafoetida showcase. Baby Turnip and Spring Onion Curry made the Foodbuzz Top 9 on 28th December 2009 (Serves 4) Ingredients Around 15 baby turnips, washed, trimmed and sliced into 1cm pieces 4 spring onions (scallions), washed, trimmed and sliced 1 large tomato, chopped finely 1 cup water ½ tsp dehydrated kasoori methi …