Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Puran Polis - Sweet Maharashtrian flat bread

When it comes to cooking Indian food, especially Maharashtrian cuisine, there is only person I trust to hand down the yummiest tasting dishes, and that would be my Mom. She makes the most intricate desserts, the most delicate savouries and makes it look like she was just dusting off a speck of dirt....but every time I get a recipe from her, I get this feeling of walking on a ledge, exhilarating and scary.......

This Holi festival, I finally had enough courage to attempt making those really delicate Puran Polis(Puran = stuffing made of Chana dal also called as Bengal Gram Dal I think, Poli = flat bread), because even for people who make these regularly, there are several things than can go wrong, and instead of a delicate golden yellow tastes-like-a-piece-of-heaven bread might end up with a really heavy Paratha with the taste of flour coming through like a normal bread, and thats a strict no no.

Making the stuffing:
1 cup Chana Dal
1 cup Jaggery, 2-3 cups sugar
Cardamom, saffron and nutmeg for flavor( around 1/2 a tsp each, and 7-8 strands of saffron)

Boil chana dal until soft (6-7 cups of water to boil if cooking directly in a vessel, I used a pressure cooker and 1.5 cups of water)
Strain any remaining water from the dal and keep it on the strainer for 10-15 minutes till most of the water is removed.

Add jaggery and sugar to the chana daal and cook over medium heat. The jaggery and sugar will melt and with the Chana daal will form a liquidy mixture.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Puff Away!!

When I started on the quest of making puff pastry I pretty much met an internet stonewall, with grim waggling fingers and heads shaking with pity and reprimand. Dont make it they said, just buy it. You wont be able to do it. ITS NOT EASY.

Well for one, I cant just go to a store and buy puff pastry shells, because we dont get them here. And I love it when someone says it can't be done, it revvs me up, and there is nothing better than looking the challenge in its eye and saying HA! and accompanying it with a small jig...

So I started out by trying to find the proportions....

I finally used these for the dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of lemon juice in 1/2 - 1 cup water
1 tsp butter

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bring on the summer!!!

Well not really.....all that bringing on has brought me a throat that feels like a prickly cactus is breeding super fast there...

But well, it's summer, and I got a free tinned can of pineapple, and I spied cream cheese.....and one thing led to another, and that's how life began...(er....wellll...)

Anyway so I scouted the web for a good cupcake recipe, but I got distracted by some really yummy things and pics, so, when I started in the kitchen with the can of fruit, I was still without any particular recipe or direction(The story has a happy ending.....really...)

So I did what I do best, dumped a stick of butter in sugar, and let my cupcake monster personality take over. I even have a crazy laugh....well it sounds like "wheeeeeeeeeeee", and I maintain it has nothing to do with the sugar rush...!!!

Here's how it went...
(Recipe for 12 cupcakes)
Half a cup of sugar needs half a cup of butter to tango....

An egg, a tablespoon of pureed pineapple, a drop of vanilla essence(that's all that I had left), and 1/2  teaspoon pineapple essence ...