Friday, June 26, 2009

Faraali Fare with Kokilaben Ambani

On Ekadashi a few days ago, my good friend Kokilaben Ambani gave me a surprise visit. Since she was fasting, I thought of preparing food accordingly. The moment I started preparing for Sabudana Khichdi, she interrupted and insisted that she will cook. She was so persistant I couldn't refuse. Within two hours she managed to create a meal that left me speechless. Instead of the standard fasting food like Sabudana Wada and Khichdi, she served an amazing variety of food, ranging from Dahi Wada to Idli-sambhar!

A great cook, Kokilaben loves cooking for her children and grand children, and is always gracious enough to share her recipes with me. I was so impressed by the faraali fare that was laid out by her, I immediately asked her to teach me some of them. They are so good that you'll want to try them even during your non-fasting days. Try them out during the Shravan month– take my word for it that they will turn out great!


An interesting twist to the regular dahi wada makes this a treat during fast

Serves 5-6

For the wadas
½ cup sanwa millet (samo) flour
¾ cup thickly grated bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi)
1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste
1 tbsp arrowroot flour
Oil for cooking

For the curds
2 cups fresh curds (dahi)
2 tbsp milk
A pinch of rock salt (sendha namak)

For serving
½ cup khajur imli ki chutney
¼ cup green chutney (optional)
1 tsp roasted cumin (jeera) powder

For the garnish
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander (dhania) (optional)

For the curds (dahi)
1. Whisk the curds and milk together till smooth.
2. Add the salt and mix well. Refrigerate to chill.

For the wadas
1. Combine all the ingredients, except oil, in a bowl and mix well.
2. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal portions and shape each portion into a round flat wada.
3. Heat a non-stick pan on a medium flame and cook each wada, using a little oil, till both sides are golden in colour; keep aside.
How to proceed
1. Just before serving soak the wadas in a vessel full of water; drain and squeeze gently.
2. Arrange the wadas on a serving plate and pour the prepared curds, khajur imli ki chutney and green chutney on it.
3. Sprinkle cumin seeds powder.
Serve immediately garnished with coriander.


Surprise yourself with these spongy idlis that taste great with Faraali Sambhar.

Makes approx. 15 idlis

For the idli batter
1 cup sanwa millet (samo)
½ cup sago (sabudana)
1 cup fresh curds (dahi)
2 tsp ginger-green chillies paste
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste

For the stuffing
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tsp ginger-green chillies paste
1 cup boiled and peeled potato cubes
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste

Other ingredients
½ cup roasted peanut powder

For the idli batter
1. Clean and wash the sanwa millet and sago. Drain and keep aside.
2. Combine with the remaining ingredients for the idli and soak for at least 6 hours.

For the stuffing
1. Heat the oil in a broad non-stick kadhai and add the cumin seeds.
2. When they crackle, add the ginger-green chillies paste and sauté for a few seconds.
3. Add potato cubes, sugar, lemon juice, and rock salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Keep aside to cool.
4. Put 1 tbsp of the idli batter into greased idli moulds; layer it with a tbsp of the potato stuffing, sprinkle ½ tsp of roasted peanut powder over this, and top it with a tbsp of the idli batter. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or till done.
Serve hot with Faraali Sambhar.


Prepared with the base of vegetables instead of dal, this spicy sambhar is perfect with Faraali Idli.

Serves 4-6

To be boiled and blended into a smooth purée
1 cup bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi) cubes
1 cup peeled and chopped potato
1 cup peeled and chopped yam (suran)

To be ground into a faraali sambhar powder
5 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds
2 boriya chillies
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tbsp grated dry coconut (kopra)
25mm (1”) stick cinnamon (dalchini)

Other ingredients
½ cup boiled bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi) cubes
½ cup boiled yam (suran) cubes
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-3 boriya chilies
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Heat the prepared purée with 1½ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan; mix well and simmer on a medium flame for 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the bottle gourd, yam, ground sambhar powder and rock salt, mix well and bring to boil.
3. For the tempering, heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds.
4. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the boriya chillies and sauté for a few seconds.
5. Pour the tempering over the boiling sambhar, mix well and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Add the lemon juice and mix well.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paneer Snacks on Itunes

I am happy to say that we have launched one of our latest books, Paneer Snacks on itunes.

I loved the way the book looks on my iphone. Each recipe has great photography to it. You can search through the book for a recipe, increase font size on the iphone for all the recipes. What's incredible is that we allow you to record a voice message for each recipe. You can also add your own note to a recipe.

For those who have iphones, its a must buy.

Happy cooking!!!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Birthaday Celebration!

On the 3rd of June, I started of my day as i normally did. I woke up at 6a.m., went for a walk, got ready and went off to work. Little did I expect, that my team of researchers had planned a surprise birthday party for me. They sneaked in the cake and the snacks inside the office before my arrival. The moment I stepped into the office everyone of them wished "Surprise! Happy Birthday!". I was completely taken aback and was left speechless. I was completely overwhelmed by the love that was showered on me.

As the age advances things like birthdays do not matter much. All that matters is that one continues to get the love and affection of near and dear ones. And I think I have a lot to thank God for. When my team asked me to wish for something before cutting the cake, I really couldn't think of anything except for asking God to help me in my journey of life to help others.