Full Tummy

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Diwali Menu

So last weekend was Diwali, our first diwali since we got married back in May. We had a few diwalis together before, but this was the first since we had gained the status "married". So there I was, trying to recall our diwali menu back in the days when it was Mom's cooking feast. I came up with the following menu for our first special Diwali. It would be Pooris of course - any festive occasion was always marked by pooris, and being a health freak, pretty much now we make it at home only a couple of times a year! And for dessert, my new husband had already made up his mind - he wanted Sevain Kheer (vermicelli kheer/pudding). Now for the main dishes, I flipped through the pages of my memory and nailed down one dish that we couldnt have had Diwali without - "Poori wale Aloo" :-) And added dry Kala Chana to the menu that will go very well with the pooris.


3 cups durum wheat flour
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn ajwain
warm water
2 tspn canola oil

For the dough:
1. In a big mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt and ajwain.
2. Add to this 1 tspn of canola oil, and rub it into the dry flour mix with your clean hands.
3. Keep adding warm water in small quantites, and keep kneading the dough with your fingers and knuckles and fists until medium hard consistency and smoothness is reached.
4. At the end, put 1tspn of oil on your fingers, and do a final kneading.
5. Keep the dough covered until ready to make pooris, best after half an hour of keeping aside.

For turning dough into pooris:
1. Heat some canola oil on High heat in a small wok or in a pan that you can deep fry in.
2. Take small key lime sized balls of the dough, smoothen it out into a circle with your fingers and palm, and dip half of it in the heated oil, roll with a rolling pin into a circle.
3. Put it in the hot oil in the wok and deep fry, turning once in between to get both sides brown.
4. Take out with a slotted spoon to get as much oil out as possible, keep pooris on layers of kitchen tissue to absorb more of the oil out of it.

Note: Pooris reheat very well in a toaster, and taste nice and crisp and freshly made. So I usually make the whole batch of pooris in one go, and store the extra foiled up in the fridge, and reheat in the toaster for the next meal.

Freshly made pooris

Masaledar Kala Chana

For "Kanchaken" which is also "Navratri", our punjabi neighbors would call me and my sister (didi) to their place for lunch or after-school meal. On this day, the punjabi aunties get all the little girls (mind you, no boys) and feed them food. A typical meal for this day is pooris with Suji (semolina) halwa and these masaledar kale chane. A combination of sweet and spicy with the yummy pooris... Yummy!!!

This is one of my savory entries for JFI for Diwali.

1.5 cups dry kala chana
3 cups hot water
2 tspn salt
1 tspn jeera (cumin)
2 tspn chole masala (I use Everest brand)
2 tspn freshly ground coarse dhaniya (coriander seeds)- jeera (cumin) powder (I grind in 1:1 ratio in a coffee grinder and store for 3-4 months)
1.5 tspn red chill powder
1.5 tablespoon canola oil

1. Soak the kala chana in water overnight or at least for 6-8 hours. You can rush this process up by soaking in warm/hot water. They should puff up a little and come alive.
2. In a pressure cooker, boil the kala chana, water and salt for 20-30 minutes at medium high flame.
3. In a pan (I prefer a small diameter but deeper pan, versus a large diameter and shorter pan), add oil. When hot, add jeera, then add the chole masala, dhaniya-jeera powder, red chilli powder.
4. Stir for half a minute, then add the boiled chana with all its water directly into the pan.
5. Let this cook on medium high uncovered.
6. When most of the water is evaporated / absorbed, cover and cook.
7. Turn the stove off when there is around 2 - 3 tablespoons water still left, as this will get abosrbed by the chanas in the next 10 minutes anyways.
8. The end result will be dry chanas with masalas around them.
9. You can garnish with finely chopped cilantro leaves.

Dry Kala Chana

Poori wale Aloo

Yeah thats a wierd name for a dish, but thats what we have called them all along while growing up. They were a must at our house when pooris were being made! No festival is a festival without Pooris and poori wale aloo!

This is one of my savory entries for JFI for Diwali.

4 white potatoes boiled
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tspn jeera (cumin)
1 tspn rai (small reddish brown mustard seeds)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 green chillies, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
0.5 tspn red chilli powder
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
2 tspn salt
1.5 cups of water, heated

1. Peel the boiled potatoes and crush with your hands in small to medium sized pieces. Do NOT chop, just crush messily with your hands.
2. In a pan (use a small diameter and deeper pan versus a large diameter and shallower pan), add oil, let it heat.
3. Add jeera and rai, let it crackle.
4. Add ginger and green chillies.
5. When brownish, add tomatoes and fry till they most of the water is gone.
6. Add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and stir.
7. Add in the potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes with the tomato mix.
8. Add the hot water and let it all boil for 10-15 minutes on medium flame.
9. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.

Poori wale aloo

Sevain Kheer

Sevain is vermicelli that you get in the Indian stores. When we were little, we used to call this "line wali kheer". Still enjoy it as much as I used to back then!!

This is my "sweet" entry for JFI for Diwali.

1/2 cup vermicelli
1 tspn ghee
1/2 gallon 2% reduced fat milk
1/4 cup raisins (golden / black , any will do)
1/4 cup almonds, sliced finely
1 cup sugar
1/2 tspn cardamom powder

1. In a heavy bottom stainless steel pot, add all of the milk and let it boil on medium high for 15-20 minutes.
2. In another pan, heat ghee. Add to it the vermicelli and stir till it is reddish brown, about 1o minutes on medium high flame.
3. Add this vermicelli to the milk. Add sugar, the cardamom powder and the almonts and raisins.
4. Keep cooking on medium and medium-high heat for around an hour. Dont stir too often, stir when you see cream settling down at the top, this makes the kheer thicker.
5. Final result will be around 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of milk you used initially. The kheer will also have turned to the color of a latte.

Note: I usually do not have cardamom powder at home, so I subsititute this with the chai masala, and it tastes wonderful, no worries :)

Sevain Kheer


  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Vee said…

    Hey Welcome!!!

    Ti the blogging world and to the world of wedded bliss...A very nice first diwali indeed. My experience is that whatever you make for the first year, usuallysticks around and becomes your "tradition". Looks like you are well on the way of making yours..

    Thanks for participating!!!

  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger Foodie's Hope said…

    Welcome and happy blogging! Great entry and have fun!:))

  • At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good post.


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