Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lehsuni Pudina Lachha Paratha/ Minty Garlic Layered flatbread

First things first

I have been absent for far too long. I've missed you all so much! 

*TMI alert*

Being sickly didn't exactly put me in a cooking/ sharing mood. I was down with bronchitis and am happy on the recovery high now. No medicines!! Just some good ole steaming and some tea tree oil and cups n cups of hot soup and tea. The process was slow but at least my body was relatively chemical free. 

I did lapse in between, had some fried chips once, had a grilled cheese once with soup... well, we're all human and then who can resist a good grill cheese! Not me for sure! 

I did stay away from cooking something that I could share here with you unfortunately.  But I'm back baby and have a whole lot to share too! Been craving comfort food so badly, and well here is the epitome of comfort food for moi.

If you've been following my posts, you'll know how much I love having me some good ole Parathas when the weather starts to get cooler and the leaves turn brown. Parathas are unleavened flatbreads that are roasted on a griddle with oil or clarified butter (ghee). Being a punjabi and all, Parathas are my lifeline. We have them for breakfasts usually almost everyday. And we love sprucing them up with all sorts of variations. Check out my versions of different parathas if you're craving for some variety and want to make your meals more nutritious and warm and delicious. 

Aloo Paratha (Potato stuffed Paratha) 
Aloo Pyaaz Paratha (onion and potato Paratha) 
Methi Paneer Paratha (Fenugreek leaves and cottage cheese stuffed Paratha) 
Lachha Paratha (Layered Flatbread) 

Now coming to today's speciality, one of my TOP favourite parathas is this *drumroll please* - Lehsuni Pudina Paratha. I always order this whenever I am eating out Indian food. 

The flavours of garlic infused ghee and fresh mint leaves makes one of the tastiest breads that will ever accompany your Indian veggies and meat curries. There is something about the extra punch of flavour that brings out the best in any and all the dishes accompanying the paratha. The crispy layers and the melt in the mouth interiors make this for an unbelievably rich dining experiences. 

Mind you, this is not an everyday food. Parathas that we have everyday are roasted in just about a few drops of oil. These on the other hand are rich and well, its wise to indulge in them once in awhile. 

Lets get cookin' then shall we! 

Makes: 3 Parathas

Time taken: 45 mins (including resting time) 

Complexity: ***

You'll need

1 1/2 cup wheat flour + extra for dusting
3/4th cup water 
1 cup ghee or clarified butter (used at different stages) 
salt (optional) 
3-4 garlic cloves (grated)
1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves 
Pinch of love

*Learn how to make ghee from butter, scroll to the end of recipe 


Meet the stars of today's recipes! 

We'll first knead the dough. For that, take the wheat flour and add 2 tbsp of ghee to it. If you want to add salt, go ahead. I didn't. 

Rub the flour with the ghee, like you would for a shortcrust pastry. This just ensures the fat is evenly distributed all over and makes the end product flakier.

Gradually add water to the flour and start kneading. Knead for about 5-7 minutes till the dough becomes smooth-ish. Cover with a damp cloth for about 20 mins to allow the gluten to develop and for the dough to become stretchy. 

Meanwhile, grate your garlic cloves. Heat about 4 tbsp of ghee in a skillet on the lowest possible heat 

Add in that grated garlic to it. We want to infuse that ghee with the beautiful fragrant garlic. So let it fry till the edges of the garlic turn golden in colour. 

Take it off the heat and allow to cool. My house was smelling heavenly right about now. One of my favourite smells ever! Set it aside. 

Time to make the parathas! Divide the rested dough into 3 portions. Now you can easily double up the proportions to get more parathas. 

On a flat surface, have some extra flour for dusting handy. Start rolling out one dough ball at a time. We need to roll it out nice and thin. Its going to be pretty wide, more than 12" wide. 

Around 2mm in thickness. When you pick it up, it should be translucent. Keep dusting that extra flour so the paratha doesn't stick. 

Now comes the time to add those gorgeous flavours. Begin by brushing over some of that aromatic garlic ghee with those bits of grated garlic. Ohhh yumm!!! 

Next sprinkle on those chopped mint leaves. You can even use dried mint for this. I just happened to have fresh leaves on hand. Spread them out evenly as possible. 

To shape those parathas, begin by dusting some flour over the open side. 

Start folding in from the edge in a fan shape like this. 

Press those pleats down to thin them out and then roll them up like so. 

There you have it! All rolled up. This is what is going to give us all the layers. 

Flatten the ball and roll it out till it is about 6"-7" wide. The rolled out paratha will be thicker than when we rolled it out the first time. 

While cooking it on a griddle, add about half a tbsp of ghee on each side and cook till the outer layers become crispy and have brown spots all over them. Roast them on a medium flame for 3-4 minutes so the layers inside also get evenly cooked. As soon as you take the parathas off the griddle, crush them with your hands from the sides. This helps the layers to separate. 

I paired them with Paneer Masala (Cottage cheese Masala)- recipe coming up

and also with Murgh kali mirch (black pepper chicken curry)- coming up

Just look at those layers!

Crispy on the outside and melt in the mouth in the middle

And several other times and it tastes phenomenal!! Indulge! 

*To make ghee out of butter, in a skillet, melt 100 gms or 1 stick of butter and keep it on medium low heat till the butter starts to brown. The milk solids will start turning golden and settling down at the bottom of the skillet. The fats floating on the top is called ghee or clarified butter aka Elixir of Punjab aka All the goodness in the world 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rose Coconut Fudge/ Nariyal Ladoo

The festive season finally begins in India. The revelry makes people giddy with joy. Navratri or the nine nights of dancing started today and Diwali is right around the corner. Funtastic!!! 

Festive season means a lot of holidays from school and also a lot of socializing. Offering home made snacks to your guests and also your perennially hungry growing children was the norm and continues to be so. That means mom used to spend a couple of days making nashtas- snacks. I remember as kids, how my brother and I used to sneak into the kitchen while my mom was preparing the delicious snacks every year for the festive season. As we grew a little older, mom used to enlist our help for making mathris or shakarpaare or seviyan or chakris and whatnot. Rolling out coconut ladoos was my brother's area of expertise. He used to make perfectly round ones and I could never master that skill. 

So today I thought since its the first Navratra, I would try and recreate those delicious ladoos or coconut fudge that take only two ingredients and are ready in about 15 minutes from start to finish.   

I gave it a special touch by placing the fudge ladoos in mini shortcrust tarts filled with chocolate ganache. This was inspired by the very popular neapolitan cake since it looks so pretty, I tried to inculcate the colours and make a delicious fusion dish. You can find my recipe for the tartlets here. They turn out to be utterly buttery, flaky and barely take any time. On to the recipe then! 

Makes: 12-14 ladoos

Time taken: 15 mins

Complexity: **

You'll need

1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut + 1/2 cup coconut extra

3/4th cup condensed milk
2 drops red food colouring
1/2 tsp rose essence
3-4 tbsp coarsely ground pistachios (optional)
Pinch of love 


Have all your ingredients ready. I had made the tartlets a day in advance and you can do the same since the tartlets stay good for upto 10 days approx. I even had the ganache ready. Just take about a cup of semi sweet dark chocolate and melt it in a microwave with 3/4th cup of cream and 1 tbsp butter till everything is smooth and luscious. Set it aside for the time being. 

For the fudge, in a biggish skillet, take your desiccated coconut 

And slow roast it for a minute on medium low heat just to warm up the coconut 

Pour in the the condensed milk gradually 

And very quickly mix it up with the coconut till everything is well combined. The longer the condensed milk cooks, the harder your ladoos will be. I took just around 30 seconds to mix it all up and remove it from the heat. 

Now this is an optional step but I wanted my fudge ladoos to be rose flavoured and pink in colour. So I added in a couple drops rose essence.  

and red food colouring

Mix well and allow to cool for 5-7 minutes. 

Meanwhile coarsely grind the pistachios. Have the now cooled fudge mix and the extra coconut ready. 

To assemble the ladoos, take a heaped tbsp of the fudge mix in your clean hands. 

Shape it into a round and stuff the pistachios in the centre like this. 

Bring up the edges to make a perfect round, well as perfect as you can get. Roll the fudge in the extra desiccated coconut and repeat the procedure for the rest of the material. 

Your coconut fudge or nariyal ke ladoo are done! 

How pretty do they look! 

All ready for the festivities

To make it extra extra special and add the chocolatey goodness, spoon over some of that chocolate ganache into the tartlets and place the ladoo over it. 

Looks decadent, isn't it?!