Aloo bonda alias Masala bonda alias Spiced Potato balls.
Bajjis and Bondas are not part of my childhood memories. Don’t mistake it for being health conscious , the true blood carnivore that I am, was into chicken cutlets and meat samosas. I was sent away to a distant land to do my Bachelor Degree and those days spent in a hostel that served only vegetarian food forced me to look out for not so meaty yet tasty vegetarian options for the survival of my snacking habit. Biting into my first Aloo bajji, I must have blamed me for leaving myself devoid of those crunchy golden embodiments of taste for the long 17 years. There I was standing, over joyed at the discovery of a new found favourite. On busy evenings the regular bajji vendor of our hostel would save a few egg bondas and aloo bajjis for me and my friends and this meant we stayed as his loyal customers till the end. Many years later, I still drool over these little packets of comfort but this time there is no “canteen Anna” (that’s what we used to call the guy who owned the snack stall)to sell these straight from the hot bubbling oil. Hence, I have to satisfy myself with something that came from my kitchen.
Makes about 8 small lemon sized balls
For Potato masala
- 4 small potatoes, boiled and mashed
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste
- 2 Green Chillies finely chopped
- 1 sprig of Curry leaf finely chopped
- 1-2 tbsps of finely chopped Coriander leaf
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- A few Mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil + Oil for deep frying
- ½ cup Gram flour
- ¼ cup Rice flour
- A pinch each of Baking powder, Asafoetida, Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- Salt to taste
For the potato masala, heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Add chopped onion, green chillies, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves , coriander leaves and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric powder followed by the mashed potatoes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add salt , mix well and remove from the heat. Make sure the mix is dry to help with the shape of the balls. Prepare small lemon sized balls and keep them aside.
For the batter, mix together all the ingredients listed under the section “For Batter” with enough water to make a thick smooth batter.
Heat oil in a pan for deep frying the bondas, dip each potato ball in the batter ensuring its coated well on all sides and slide carefully into the hot oil. Fry on medium flame until the bonda is golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen towels.
Serve them hot with your favourite chutney, dip or the good ol’ tomato ketchup.
A Daal curry that has all the four common lentils available in an Indian pantry.
A busy Saturday after noon in the kitchen, after an hour long mental negotiation I decided on making Daal and rice.I chopped the onions, slit the green chillies, sliced the garlic and opened my cupboard to scoop out a heap of daal to the pressure cooker. Should I say I was disheartened to see just a spoon of daal where I was hoping for a heaped cup.I am sure there are many of you who would have found yourselves in similar situations. I didn’t want to engage myself in another hour long process of deciding on an alternate dish for the lunch. I braved myself to proceed with the same recipe but with a mix of different Daals to make up the amount of Toor Daal, the original recipe called for. This is how I did it.
- 2 tbsp Mung Daal
- 2 tbsp Masoor Daal
- ¼ cup Toor Daal
- ¼ cup Chana Daal
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Red Chilli powder
- 3-4 Green Chillies , finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped Ginger
- 1 cup finely chopped tomato
- ½ tsp freshly roasted Cumin powder
- 2 tsp Oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Garlic
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 sprig of Curry leaves
- 1 or 2 Red Chilli
- 1 to 2 tsp of Oil/Ghee
Soak all the Daals for about half an hour and cook until soft with the turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan. Sauté the onion, ginger and green chillies for about 3-4 minutes until the onion turn translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, mix in the Cumin powder and fry till the tomatoes are cooked through. Add the cooked Daal into the mixture and boil for about 5 – 6 minutes on low flame .Remove from the heat.
For seasoning, heat oil/ghee in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, when they start to brown add the chopped garlic, curry leaves and red chilli. Fry till the garlic turns brown. Pour the seasoning to the Daal , leave it covered with a lid until it is served.
Panna cotta with glazed pears
It’s not so long ago that I started my affair with this pot of heavenly bliss. We crossed each other’s path in the least expected circumstances. I have been on and off a “low carb diet” for about 2 years now. It was during one of those “I’m strictly on diet” phase that I hesitantly succumbed to the temptation of fresh cream. I was suggested to use cream in moderation, to substitute milk in my coffee and the rest is history. I started enjoying my creamed coffee and our association stood the test of times. Though I am officially off my diet , I haven’t completely come off my obsession with cream in it’s numerous forms. When one is, oh so much in love with fresh cream how can one possibly miss panna cotta – the Italian cooked cream dessert.
This one’s for all those who want to charm their loved ones with this simple yet delicious creation.
- 250 ml Double cream
- 250 ml Whole milk
- 50 to 100 gms Sugar
- 4 leaves/1 tbsp of Gelatine
- 1 Vanilla pod
- 1 Pear , skin peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 2- 3 tbsps Sugar
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- A pinch of Cinnamon powder
- Handful of chocolate shavings
For the Panna cotta , split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds out. Soak the gelatine leaves in about 2-3 tbsps of cold water until soft. If you are using a vegetarian substituent of gelatine follow the instruction on the pack. Place the milk and cream in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer. When the cream mixture is warm add sugar along with the vanilla pod and bring it to boil. Remove from the heat and add the dissolved gelatine into the cream mixture and mix thoroughly until it’s smooth and thickened.
Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or a mould of your desired shape. Leave it to set in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours.
For the glazed pears, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pear slices and fry until both the sides are slightly browned. Add lemon juice , powdered cinnamon and sugar , stir well ensuring all the slices are coated in sugar and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved forming a nice brown syrup.
When it’s ready to be served unmould the panna cotta onto serving plates. To ease unmoulding dip the ramekins in warm water briefly before you turn out onto serving plates. To add that extra wow! factor to this sinfully delicious dessert shower a generous amount of chocolate shavings on the top and serve it with the glazed pears on the side with a drizzle of the syrup left in the pan.
Cooking guilty pleasures – It didn’t take no more than a few minutes to decide on this name. No prizes for guessing the reasons. This is evidently because cooking is my guilty pleasure and I love cooking guilty pleasures. Ever since I realised cooking is my passion I have been thinking of compiling my recipe collection in to a book. The thought process has been active for well over a few years and failed to metamorphose into any action. The sensible lobe of my brain says a blog is more promising than years of “I am still thinking of my recipe book”. And here am with yet another blog about nothing but recipes and more recipes. I whine, crib and mourn about everything but cooking. I cook when I’m happy , I cook when I’m angry too , and it’s proven therapeutic to me 🙂 .Before I hit the ‘publish this post button’ , I would like to thank my Mom, who according to me makes the best comforting dishes , for being my “Ammu”, both my paternal and maternal grand moms for letting me inherit the genetic material ( I wasn’t given a chance to opt out :P) , everyone who has helped me learn something new and my ever critical and rarely appreciating family and friends.