Pakashastra

Pakashastra

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Vegetable Stew - South Indian Style

Vegetable Stew, typically, is a combination of vegetables cooked in a liquid. This recipe is South-Indian styled with the richness of coconut milk, a perfect combination of vegetables and a punch of spices making it a very hearty, healthy and yet delicious side dish.

A bowl full of this stew and freshly steamed Idiyappam (recipe here) is all I need to call it a comfort
food. This stew goes well with Appam (recipe here) too.


Serves : 4


Ingredients:

Carrots - 2
French/String Beans - 10
Potato - 1
Cauliflower, bite sized florets - 10 to 12
Onion - 1
Capsicum - 1 small
Garlic Cloves - 5
Green Chilies - 4
Ginger, minced - 1 teaspoon
Fresh Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Cooking Oil - 1 tablespoon
Bay Leaf - 1
Star Anise - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch long stick
Cloves - 6
Cardamom seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Peppercorns - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Thick Coconut Milk - 750ml
Cashew nut powder - 1 tablespoon

For Seasoning:

Cooking Oil - 1 teaspoon
Musatard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 6
Dry Red Chili - 1
Asafoetida Powder - 1/8 teaspoon


Method:

  1. Cut carrots, beans and potato into small pieces.
  2. Slice onion and capsicum.
  3. Chop garlic cloves.
  4. Slice green chilies
  5. Heat oil in a sauce pan.
  6. Add bay leaf, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves,cardamom seeds and peppercorns. Roast them for 30 seconds.
  7. Add sliced green chilies. Saute until they turn creamish in color.
  8. Add onions and then chopped garlic cloves. Saute until onion slices turn translucent.
  9. Add minced ginger, saute for half a minute.
  10. Add capsicum slices and saute for a minute.
  11. Now add carrot, beans and potato pieces. Also add the cauliflower florets.
  12. Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cup of water, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and let it cook until the vegetables are soft but still a little crunchy. You should be able to insert a toothpick, do not overcook.
  13. Add fresh green peas and continue cooking.
  14. Add cashew nut powder to the coconut milk and mix well so that there are no lumps.
  15. Pour the coconut milk to the cooking vegetables. Set the flame to medium and bring it to a boil.
  16. Turn off the heat.
  17. For seasoning, heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chili pieces.
  18. When mustard seeds stop spluttering add asafoetida powder, mix well and add to the prepared stew.
  19. Serve with idiyappam, appam, dosa or rice.


Notes:

  1. You can use a combination of vegetables as per your preference. Adding cauliflower or cabbage truly makes a difference.
  2.  Coconut milk is what gives this stew a rich flavor, do not compromise on the quality or thickness of the milk.
  3. Once you add coconut milk, do not boil it for too long.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Kaju Pista Rolls


Kaju Pista Roll, an Indian sweet delicacy prepared using cashew nuts and pistachios, never fails to please anyone especially kids.

With the festive season and school vacation starting soon, pin this recipe and prepare them at home soon.

Also, check out my Kaju Katli recipe here.


Yields: 35-40

Ingredients:

Pistachios, unsalted - 1 cup (no shell)
Sugar, powdered - 1/3 cup
Milk Powder - 2 tablespoons
Water - 1/3 cup

Cashew nuts - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Water  - 1/2 cup
Rose Essence - 3 to 4 drops





Method:

  1. Blend pistachios into fine powder. Make sure there are no chunks left over.
  2. Take powdered pistachios, powdered sugar, milk powder and 4 tablespoons of water. Mix it until well combined. If needed, add a little more water (about 2-3 tablespoons max), one tablespoon at a time, kneading the mixture into a soft dough. If you like bright green color,you may add 1-2 drops of green food color. I avoid it at all times.
  3. Now take cashew nuts in a blender and blend it into fine powder. Make sure you do not blend too much as the cashew nut powder will start becoming sticky like a paste. Note that once it is powdered fine, it might look a little coarse, which is OK. Keep it aside.
  4. Grease a wide plate/bowl and the spoon or spatula with little ghee. Keep them aside.
  5. In a pan, boil sugar and water. 
  6. Add rose essence.
  7. Boil until  the sugar syrup reaches single thread consistency. To help check the consistency, take a drop of the liquid between your index finger and thumb and pull your fingers apart. There should be a thread like formation between the two fingers. Or, take 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, pour 1-2 drops of syrup into the water. You should now be able to see thread like or web like formation in the cup. This formation will not dissolve immediately in water.
  8. Add powdered cashew nuts and stir continuously on medium flame until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan.There might be some small lump like formations, which is OK as they will break down on kneading.
  9. Pour into the greased plate/bowl. Do not scratch the pan to remove the left-over mixture. 
  10. Using a spoon/spatula mix it until it cools down until you can handle with your palm. Do not let it cool down too much as the mixture will start hardening. The hotter the mixture the better the result. To help you knead hotter mixture, grease your palm with little ghee and try kneading from the sides and then mix it all together into smooth and a soft dough. If the dough seems to dry at this stage and edges start cracking, add 1 tablespoon milk. Continue to knead until you get a smooth and soft dough. Add another tablespoon of milk if required.
  11. Make a single large ball of this dough and roll it into a 1/4cm thick disc.
  12. Divide the disc into two.
  13. Now divide the pistachio dough into two portions.
  14. Place a portion on greased surface and roll into long cylinder using your both your palms.  Repeat the same for the other portion.
  15. Place a prepared pistachio log on one half of cashew disc and roll it tightly, working toward the cut side (diameter).
  16. Roll it on the surface using your palms to smoothen the outer cover. Pat and even out the sides. 
  17. Repeat steps 14-16 for the remaining portion.
  18. Cut the rolls into 2" long pieces.
  19. Serve and enjoy. These rolls can be stored in an air-tight container for 3-4 days or more than 10-12 days when refrigerated.

Notes:
  1. Always use fresh cashew nuts and pistachios.
  2. Powder the cashew nuts in one-go. Stopping the blender multiple times in between to check if the nuts have powdered well or blending for too long time, can make the powder sticky like paste.
  3. Using rose essence is optional. You can try cardamom powder as a variation.
  4. Silver vark is widely used to decorate these rolls in the market.