Posts Tagged ‘Yogurt’

Happy Gudi Padwa

Spring time in India is time for new year celebrations. It’s amazing how almost each state has a different name and date to celebrate the occasion. And now that I am married to a Maharashtrian, I celebrate two of them at home. April 4th is Gudi Padwa – the Maharashtrian New Year. And in another 10 days I will be celebrating the Vishu, the New Year’s day according to the Malayalam Calender.

Since April 4th happens to be a weekday, it would have been almost impossible for me to make the special dinner / lunch on the 4th, so we decided to celebrate Gudi Padwa on the night of 3rd April, when it’s already 4th in India so technically the new year has already started!!!

So the menu was Puri with some homemade Shrikhand and some payasam / kheer. This post is dedicated to Shrikhand. It is really easy to make and takes about 10 minutes if you have all the ingredients at hand. And it so happens that Amit and I both LOVE SHRIKHAND, so I can guarantee you that we are going to have shrikhand at home very very often now. This serves about 3 persons. I do not have the exact meassurements but the approximate ones should work just fine. You can adjust the ingredients to suit you taste.

Sorry about the pictures, I am still unpacking (we moved to a new place this weekend) and therefore am still trying to locate the camera.

Ingredients:

  1. 21 ounces fat free greek yogurt (you could also use 2%, but you have to use greek yogurt to get the consistency)
  2. 4-6 tablespoons sour cream (more if required to get the desired sourness for your shrikhand)
  3. 4-6 tablespoons powdered sugar (again this can be adjusted to your liking depending on how sweet you like your shrikhand)
  4. a pinch of nutmeg
  5. 3/4 tsp – 1 1/4 tsp powdered cardamom
  6. a few strings of saffron dissolved in a tsp of just warm milk
  7. slivers of almond / pistachio for garnish

Directions:

  • Whisk the greek yogurt in a bowl till it is a smooth consistency (takes about a minute).
  • Now add 3 tablespoons of sour cream and continue whisking.
  • Next add 4 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whisk.
  • Add the saffron, nutmeg and 3/4 tsp cardamom and whisk till the mixture is throughly mixed.
  • Now comes the taste check, I added about 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cardamom and 1 tbsp sour cream to get my desired taste.
  • Serve this chilled with a few slivers of almond or pistachio.

I served this with some puris and both Amit and I loved it. It tasted exactly like the shrikhand we used to get back home in India. Cheers to greek yogurt for making life so much easier and yummier… I did find quite a few recipes online for shrikhand with different variations. The ones that inspired me most are listed below:

http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2007/11/11/shrikhand/

http://chakali.blogspot.com/2009/04/instant-shrikhand-recipe.html

Happy Gudi Padwa to everyone… And for those who celebrate Ugadi or Cheti Chand, my wishes to you too. In case I missed out on naming any of the other festivals, here’s wishing you a very happy new year!!!

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The Dassera Special

Being a Keralite brought up in Bombay has given me the opportunity to see different festivals celebrated in so many different ways. For instance Dassera, the name itself, can be spelt in so many different ways. I have always associated Dassera with two things, one being Dandiya and another being books (lets say the lack of it). For me Dassera is synonymous with the music and dance that people enjoy for during the entire festival. It does get pretty loud but it is also so pleasing to the eye – the colorfully decorated ‘pandals’, the beautifully dressed up girls and of course the music… You start dancing to the music without much effort, you don’t need to know how to – in fact I am sure Amit (who, I am pretty sure, has two left feet) can also manage pretty well.  I so miss being in India for these festivals.

The other reason for me so looking forward to this particular festival is the way we traditionally celebrate it in Kerala. At home we celebrate it primarily as Saraswati Puja (worshipping the goddess of knowledge). Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami the last three of the ten day festival are celebrated as Saraswati Puja in which books are worshiped. For me it had always been a three day festival at home. When you say worshipping the books, it literally means that, we used to set aside our school books for the puja on the 1st day and then on the 3rd day after the rituals are completed the books are given back to us. And during the three days we are not allowed to study!!! So now you know why, as a kid, this was indeed the most awesome three days.

In Kerala, the books are either kept at home for worshiping, or at the temple. The third day, Vijaya Dashami is also considered to be a very auspicious day to initiate children into the world of books (or rather into reading and writing). This ceremony is called Vidyarambham (which quite literally translates to Vidya – Knowledge, Arambham – beginning).

And then there was the Ayudha Puja (worship of tools, implements, weapons, automobiles, etc) which was also on the same day as the Saraswati puja. Our car used to get decked up in a garland. In fact any automobile you would see on the streets would have the garland.

In fact this festival is celebrated in different ways in different states in India. Since I am no expert, I won’t delve into the details. But it is celebrated with much grandeur in almost all the states.

So that being said, we celebrated Dassera this Sunday at home. And since I was a bit too busy celebration for us meant cooking and then eating some awesome food. I decided on a 3-course meal and I intend to share all three recipes right here. We started off with an appetizer, the main course and of course ended with a sweet dish.

This post is to share the Aloo Mutter recipe that I made thanks to the recipe I found online. The link is given at the end of the blog. The recipe I found was for Mutter Paneer (Indian Cheese with peas) but since the appetizer had paneer, I decided to adapt the recipe for Potatoes and Peas in a Tomato gravy. The recipe takes about 30-40 minutes from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium sized potatoes (cut into chunks and boiled)
  2. 1 cup green peas (cooked)
  3. 2 large tomatoes
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  6. 1″ piece cinnamon
  7. 4-5 cloves
  8. 4-5 green cardamom
  9. 10-15 cashews
  10. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  11. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  12. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  14. 1 cup plain yogurt (make sure the yogurt is not sour)
  15. 2 teaspoons cream (optional)
  16. 1 teaspoon oil
  17. Coriander leaves for garnish
  18. Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cashews in hot water for 10-15 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile cook the potatoes and peas separately.
  • Make a puree of the tomatoes in the blender.
  • Grind the whole spices and cashew to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add the paste to it.
  • Fry the paste for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes (or till the sauce starts getting thick).
  • Add the chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and turmeric powder and let the gravy cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Now add the yogurt and continue stirring on a low flame to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked peas and potatoes and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and garnish with some coriander leaves and serve hot.

Since it was Dassera, I decided to indulge in some puris to go along with this dish. But you can serve this with any form of bread (indian or otherwise).  The ingredients listed above make about 4 servings. The original recipe is  available at http://www.tarladalal.com/Spicy-Mutter-Paneer-15657r. Hope you enjoy this version of Aloo Mutter. Sorry about the pictures, I took it a hurry, as I was worried that we would finish most of it and I won’t have any left to take pictures.