Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gujarati Dabeli

How was the long weekend everyone? In the UK people got the news of the royal baby and it’s a girl was trending everywhere. I even heard that tower bridge; the most iconic building was glowing pink-cool isn’t it. While the British waited for the good news, we just spent the laziest weekend ever. Instead of taking some individual me-time, we both decided to do things that we both can enjoy equally. Even though we both are cancerian but our choices just never match and opposites attract is the best suited phrase in our case.

-It began with reading; our books have been lying untouched for over a month, so we finally started reading it.
-Watching TV, we both started seeing Bates Motel but never finished it. This weekend, we are done with its three seasons, yes yes, binge watching it was!
-Went for a walk in the rain. Walked for over 2 hours, hand in hand in the park that we both wanted to see since two years, and guess what, it wasn't the park, it was an old cemetery. Imagine woods, tall trees, light wind, rain, narrow paths and graves....sounds exciting? For us, it was a very beautiful experience.
-Naps. All the three days, afternoon naps happened. While the weather gods decided to be cruel this weekend, we just did not care. Blissful naps, what else can you ask for.
-Cooking, just cooked one time in the day. If I made lunch, we did dinner outside and vice versa.

On Saturday I decided to make Dabeli, for two reasons. First, we both relish dabeli equally and second, I knew Mr. Husband could help me in the preparations. (He doesn’t like elaborate cooking).

What is dabeli? Dabeli is an indian burger whose origin is from Gujarat. The filling is made with mashed potatoes, tomatoes and dabeli massala. Dabeli massala is readily available in the indian grocery stores but I always make it fresh, nothing beats the aroma and flavour of freshly grounded spices. Tastewise, it is spicy, sweet, tangy and sour-a perfect balance is what you are looking for.

If not thousand there are hundred ways of making dabeli and no one way is right. For kutch dabeli you need spicy garlic chutney and green chutney is used in ahemdabad style dabeli. In Maharashtra coconut is used in dabeli masala. You can make dabeli filling as per your taste but dabeli massala is always used and you just cant do without it. Bun or pav as we call it in hindi must be used for authentic taste, but since we don't get pav in London, I used burger buns.

Dabeli is just a breeze if you have everything ready. Pomegranates, peanuts, onions, chutney, sev (namkeen) and potatoes stuffing is must for dabeli. On top on the bun goes thin layer of chutney; on it goes thick sheet of potato mixture followed by peanuts, pomegranates, sev and chopped onion. Then this sandwiched bun is heated on a tava/pan with lashings of butter. It is great tea-time snack or even party snack. Keep the dabeli ready and just roast it on the tava when the guests arrive.

I made amdavad style dabeli, like the ones you get on the road; its sweet, spicy and tangy. It’s without garlic chutney and is served with tomato ketchup.  

(Dabeli Massala)
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds/sabut dhaniya
1 dry red chilli/sukhi lal mirch
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 inch peice of cinnamon/dal chini
2 cloves/laung
5 blackpepper corns/kali mirch
4 meduim size potatoes/aloo, boiled
2 meduim size tomatoes/Tamatar, chopped finely
1 tablespoon ginger paste/adrak
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch aseofetdia/hing
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons coriander leaves/hara dhaniya, chopped
1/4 cup green chutney (recipe here)
6 tablespoons roasted peanuts/ moongfali
6 tablespoons pomegranate/annar
1 onion chopped finely
6 tablespoon sev (see notes)

On slow heat dry roast dabeli massala ingredients for 8 minutes. Let it cool. Grind this into fine powder. Keep aside.
Heat a pan. Add 1 tablespoon butter and oil.
Add aseofetida. Add ginger paste. Cook for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Cook till tomatoes are mushy and oil appears on the side.
Mix the grind dabeli massala and cook again for 1 minutes.
Add potatoes. With masher or a fork, keep mixing and mashing the potatoes.
Add in lemon juice and sugar. Cover and cook for 2 minutes on slow heat.
Mix in chopped coriander leaves and the mixture cool down.
Take a bun and slit it into two parts. Spread a thin layer of green chutney on both the parts.
On one part apply the thick layer of potatoes mixture. On another part apply 1 tablespoon each of pomegranate seeds, peanuts, chopped onions and sev. Put the other part on top of another (like a sandwich). Do same with the remaining buns.
Heat a pan and add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. On a medium heat, roast the dabeli/bun on both the sides till it is crisp and golden.
Serve with chutney or ketchup.

Dabeli massala can be made ahead of time. It says well in an airtight container for 6 months. If you want you can use this Dabeli Masala.
Nylon sev is used in dabeli recipe, but I used Kohinoor Bikaneri Bhujia.
My husband is allergic to nuts, so I used sunflower seeds for his dabeli instead of peanuts and it taste the same.
Some recipe calls for onions in the potatoes mixture, but I asked once to a roadside vendor and he said not to put onions.

Serving suggestions:
Dabeli can be made ahead of time. Assemble the dabeli and grill it on the pan/tava when guest arrive. This makes it best for party, get-togethers.
You can follow the same recipe and use bread slices instead of buns. Grill and serve this dabeli sandwich. Also take this as a picnic snack if you wish.
Make the whole platter. Serve baked potatoes wedges on side with dabeli.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aloo Matar Ki Subji, Restaurant Style

Nothing beats home cooked food...better if it’s made by your mother. Agree? 7.30 pm and I was back from my accounts tuition class. Maa was in the kitchen, in a printed blue chiffon sari, cooking dinner for us. Very carefully she added spices and gave it a mix. Quickly she kneads the dough and started making piping hot parathas. Oh that moment, when I close my eyes, I can see it all. Quick boil in the curry and she gave a spoon and asked to taste it. I grabbed the spoon and tasted aloo mutter ki subji, she waited for my answer...with spark in my eyes I replied-maa its super yummy, just like restaurant, how do you cook it?  Those little moments between a daughter and a mom, I wish I could freeze them forever.

Years later, she taught me how to make Aloo Mutter ki subji, like hers. Every now and then when I cook this subji, I wish I was a young girl who could go back to those days again. That’s about cooking, it engulfs you in memories and then when you bite into it, everything becomes better. Restaurant style aloo mutter ki subji (potatoes and peas curry) is one of those memorable dishes that happens once a while in my kitchen...it is a not every day curry, you need time and patience to cook this.

So what makes a perfect restaurant style Aloo Mattar Ki Subji?
  • Consistency-it is not dry (sukha) and it is not very watery (rassewali, jholwali) either; it is the balance of two, where you add water only to coat the veggies.
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasturi methi)- you have and have to serve this curry with sprinkle of  kasturi methi.
  • Ginger and garlic paste- this is a must too. For the authentic taste, you need to add ginger garlic paste.
  • Tomato puree- for the restaurant style, tomato puree is what you need; there must be no chunks of tomatoes.
  • Garam Massala- Garam massala is a hot spice mix and it is one of the most important ingredients to make the perfect restaurant style curry.
So to master the perfect taste, please follow the above steps- not that complicated-isn’t it? So, lets see the recipe.

4 medium size potatoes, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup green peas/mutter boiled
2 medium size tomatoes
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida/hing
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 and 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon garam massala (recipe here)
Salt to taste
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi (see notes)

In a blender, blend tomatoes with 4 tablespoons of water, garam massala, coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder into puree.
Heat oil in a wok/kadai. When hot, add cumin seeds. Let it crackle.
Add, bay leaf and asafoetida.
Add ginger garlic paste and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat to slow.
Add tomato and spices puree. Mix. Cover and cook till tomatoes paste become red in colour and oil starts appear on the sides. Approximately for 8 minutes.
Add salt, chopped potatoes and peas. Mix. Add 1 cup water. Cover and cook again for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, cook again for 5 minutes, the spices must have coated the potatoes and peas. If you see it is water, let it boil for more time.
Garnish with kasuri methi and serve.

Cook it on slow heat, this ensures that spices are well blended with potatoes and peas.
You can add chopped coriander leaves as well.
This is a bit on spicy side, feel free to reduce the quantity of red chilli powder as per your taste.
Kasturi methi (dried fenugreek leaves) is easily available in any Indian grocery store. I used MDH one.  

Serving suggestions:
Serve with any Indian bread- roti, parathas, puri or naan.
It is simple in process, but the taste is really elegant, so why not serve in parties.
Goes well with rice as well.
For Punjabi thali, serve it with rice, makke ki rotidal makhani and some chilli pickle.
For gujarati thali, serve it with palak puri, keri nu ras and dhokla.
For rajasthani thali- serve it with jowar ki rotimarwadi Bharwa Bhindi. and parathas.