Coconut treats

Diwali the Indian festival of lights is a time of year for families to get together and a time to binge on sweets and savouries with reckless abandon.   It is traditional to make some sweets and savouries and offer it to guests when they visit during the Diwali festival.  Anna and I both wanted to carry on the tradition of  our mothers and grandmothers  to make something afresh rather than buy ready made sweets which we have in the past.   Here are a couple of quick recipes with coconut which are easy to make and sure to impress!

PS.  The macaroon is not a typical Diwali treat but something we made as a housewarming treat for a couple of dear friends of ours.

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Coconut barfi

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee

How much will I make?

16-20 pieces (thinly sliced)

How do I make it?

Heat the sugar in a pan with a quarter cup of water till it dissolves and begins to form a thick syrup (should form a string when a spoon is dipped in and pulled out or if brave test between fingers – warning the syrup is piping hot).   Reduce the heat to low and then add the coconut and cardamom powder.  Keep stirring till the mixture leaves the side of the pan (shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes).   Add the ghee, stir and take of the heat.   Transfer the mixture onto a tray lined with grease proof paper and spread the mixture evenly (rule of thumb – aim for a height of 5 cm).  Allow to cool before cutting into pieces with a pizza cutter.  Enjoy.

PS For a juicier barfi replace desiccated coconut with freshly grated.

Coconut macaroons (recipe from Whitworth’s desiccated coconut pack)

What do I need to make it?

  • 80 gms desiccated coconut
  • 50 gms caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Zest of a lime
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 medium egg white beaten till soft and not stiff

How many will I make?

12-16 depending on size

How do I make it?

Pre heat oven to 180 degree Centigrade.   Fold all the ingredients into the beaten egg white till you get a semi moist mixture (add more beaten egg white if the mixtures seems dry).  Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and place it 5 cm apart on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper.   Cook for fifteen minutes till the macaroons start to brown.   Allow to cool before serving.

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Gluten free rotis with dudhi subji

Having searched the web for alternatives to wheat rotis we stumbled upon a recipe for gluten free rotis made from sorghum (jowar) flour and amaranth (rajgaro/rajgira) flour.   We were both surprised with the pleasant outcome and questioned why we hadn’t done this before.  We have also included a recipe for a dudhi (calabash or bottle gourd) subji  to go with the rotis.  We are excited with this discovery as we can include it in future dinner parties and not rely on rice only.

Bottle-Gourd-Doodhi-

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Gluten free rotis

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthum gum
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

6 rotis – depending on size

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with some cold water to form a dough.   Roll out into discs and cook on skillet.   Add a bit of ghee to both sides to ensure a softer roti.

 

Dudhi subji

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 long dudhi peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 small tomatoes (pureed)
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Whole garam masala (5 cloves, 5 green cardamoms, 1″ piece of cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves)
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the dudhi and keep aside.   Grind the onion, garlic and ginger into a paste.  Heat ghee in a pan and add whole garam masala and saute for a few minutes before adding the ground paste.   Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes till the paste is cooked through and begins to brown.   Dissolve the coriander, chilli, cumin and turmeric in 60 ml of water and add to the pan.   Stir the paste for another couple of minutes before adding the pureed tomatoes.   Continue to cook for 10 minutes till the fat leaves the masala.   Add the yoghurt and stir in the par boiled dudhi and peas and simmer for 15 minutes.   Sprinkle the garam masala powder, adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander.

Indian comfort food – dhal chawal (lentils with rice)

As the title suggests this is the Indian equivalent to chicken soup.  Ask many an Indian and they will extol the virtues of dhal chawal as most of us were brought up on something similar through our childhood.  Anna and I revert to it as it is one of the simplest dishes to make and thoroughly satisfying and comforting.

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Mixed dhal

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup tuar dhal
  • 1/4 cup moong dhal
  • 1/4 cup horse gram
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves chopped
  • Bunch of chives chopped (save 1/4th for garnish)
  • 1 tsp dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste

 For the tempering

  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Put all ingredients in a vessel and add two cups of water before pressure cooking.    Heat pan, add ghee, asafoetida and dry red chilies and saute for  a minute.  Add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes before adding cooked dhal.  Garnish the dish with the remaining chopped chives and serve with boiled rice or pilaf of your choice.

Jeera Peas Pilaf

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice washed and drained
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 100 gms fresh peas shelled
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 4-5 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • Piece of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3

How do I make it?

Heat pan, add ghee and cumin seeds and saute for 30 seconds before adding the remaining dry ingredients.    Saute for a minute and then add sliced onions and cook for a couple of minutes before adding shelled peas and washed rice.  Saute for two to three minutes till rice turns into a white colour before transferring into rice cooker.  Add three cups of water and salt to taste.  Stir the rice when done and serve with dahl.