Sooji/Rava Dhokla

DSC_0797

A pending post, yet once again, from before I disappeared for more than a month. Not that I was doing anything significant. I was busy… just busy with something or the other and then came all the festivities and celebrations and of course the main reason – I was playing games on my iPad. Games which are silly but addictive like Candy Crush. And that doesn’t mean I had not been cooking. Infact I have cooked and clicked a lot in these few weeks, just never got around to write about them. And then yesterday when B left for a week long office trip and the lives on the Candy Crush game had expired and would not be active for 2-3 days (because of the date manipulations that I did … oh I really dont want to get into e) I realized I had blog which needed reviving badly. So here I am.. almost about to delete the games from the iPad and I find this draft lying unfinished from one afternoon. Here it goes.

DSC_0813

Dhokla is a snack from the Western parts of India, mainly Gujarat. It is usually made from fermented batter of rice and pulses, but we the Gen X folks have a quick and easy version for everything which does not take long hours of fermentation. My recipe here is made of Sooji/ Semolina/ Cream of wheat and I use fruit salt/ENO , though I have read that baking salt can also be used which is something that I still have to try out. Usually a dhokla steamer/stand comes very handy but I have a makeshift arrangement (explained below) for steaming the dhoklas that I have now got a hang of. Also you can make it in a microwave though I still have to try that out. Dhoklas are great for serving with evening tea or for breakfast and I usually serve it with a coconut chutney or a mint-coroander-tamarind chutney.

DSC_0815-001

Ingredients:

  • Sooji / Semolina – 1 cup
  • Ajwain / Carom Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Yougurt, well beaten – 1/2 cup
  • Ginger – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Green Chillies – 2 or to taste, finely chopped
  • Water – 1/2 cup approx. or as required
  • Oil / Spray Oil
  • Eno fruit salt – 1 tsp

For Seasoning:

  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds or Cumin Seeds (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves, roughly chopped – handful

For Garnishing: optional

  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
  • Coconut flakes or grated coconut

DSC_0803

Method:

  • Combine sooji, ajwain and oil in a mixing bowl till they are well mixed and there are no lumps.
  • In a separate bowl beat the yogurt well, add ginger, turmeric powder, salt and green chillies and mix well.
  • Mix the yogurt mixture with the sooji mixture and till everything is well mixed.
  • Gradually add sufficient water to make a thick batter (like idli batter). Let the batter rest for 20 mins.
  • Meanwhile prepare the dhokla stand by oiling the plates lightly. I do not have a dhokla stand so here is my makeshift arranegement. I use a steel tiffin box and spray oil the base and a normal pot with a lid where my tiffin box fits nicely. I place the lid of the steel tiffin box in the boiling water (top side facing up) and then place the box with the dhokla batter on top of the lid uncovered. You can use any plate or bowl instead of the lid and then place the steel box on top of it. Instead of the pot you can also use  a tall pressure cooker without the whistle.
  • Fill the steamer or pressure cooker or the pot with 1 to 1 1/2inch of water and Bring it to a boil.
  • Once the water comes to a boil add eno to the batter and mix well. Immediately pour the batter into the stands / tiffin box
  • Place the stand inside the steamer / pressure cooker /pot and cover the lid and steam for 12-15 mins approx. Test the ‘doneness’ by inserting a toothpick till it comes out clean.
  • Once done remove the stands or the tiffin box and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the seasoning by heat 1 tbsp of oil and tempering it with curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds.
  • Taking a knife gently loosen up the edges of the dhokla and take the whole thing out on a plate.
  • Pour the seasoning on top of it and garnish with chooped coriander leaves and grated coconut.
  • Cut it into square pieces and serve it with any chutney of your choice. I use a coconut chutney or a mint-coroander-tamarind chutney.
Advertisements

Choshi pithey (with sooji and narkol) / Dessert with semolina and coconut

April 15thPoila Boishakh – the first day of the Bengali calendar.

Subho Noboborsho – Happy Bengali New Year.

New clothes, cultural events, authentic bengali food, lots of sweets – that is how we commemorate this day.

Oceans apart, sitting where I am, it makes no difference. So… I thought of having my own celebration. Right now I have songs of Rabindranath Tagore playing in the laptop, will be making some spicy chicken and fish starters and will invite our Bengali neighbors for the evening. The main attraction of the menu will be the sweet dish that I prepared last night  Choshi Pithey. This is usually made in winters, but I believe there is never a better time for sweets than now.. and specially today! This preparation is a bit time taking and my husband was not sure if it was worth the effort. Finally I let him taste it and well the expression on his face said it all – it definitely is worth all the effort.

O Lord – Bless us with lots of love and laughter.

Ingredients:

For making the syrup –

  • Milk – 1.5 litres
  • Sugar – to taste
  • Green cardamom – 4-6
  • Bay leaf – 1 or 2

For making the choshi –

  • Grated coconut – 3/4th cup or If using coconut powder add lukewarm milk (1/4th cup or more approx.) to 3/4th cup of coconut powder so that it wets, soak for almost one hour
  • Sooji/Semolina – 3/4th cup + little more
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup (or to taste)
  • Milk (cold/at room temp.) – 1 tbsp (or a little more if required)

Method:

For making the choshi –

  • Mix all the ingredients and let it soak for 2 hours.
  • Heat a pan, keeping it on low flame add the above mixture.
  • Keep stirring till all the moisture evaporates and it almost solidifies into a dough like mixture.  Test it by taking a little amount and try to make a roll. If it holds then it is ready for the next step or else let it solidify more.
  • Once done, remove the pan from the flame and let it cool  down completely.
  • Make small elliptical balls (as shown in the picture) by rolling small amount of the dried mixture in the palm of your hand/finger, and keep aside in a plate or flat tray. These are called ‘choshi’.

Note:

  • This might take some time but be patient and try to keep the balls small so that they can be cooked well later  on.
  • In case the mixture sticks to the palm/finger dust your hands with some flour .
  • It is preferable to keep aside the ‘choshi’ for an hour or so before proceeding. I generally make the choshi the previous day of making the dish.
  • Ensure that the ‘choshi’ do not crowd over each other, they are soft and hence should not get mashed.
  • If the mixture gets mashed while making the choshi, cook it again in the pan on low heat and let it solidify more.

For making the syrup –

  • Boil milk in a thick bottom pan. Do not concentrate it.
  • Add sugar (to taste) and then add ‘choshi’. Do not use spoon or ladle to add the choshi, just tilt the late and pour them over. Next is a 3 step process that leads to completion of making this dessert.
  • After pouring the choshi sinks to the bottom. Do not stir at this stage. Just let it cook.
  • Then the choshi gradually comes to the surface and floats. At this stage stir slightly with a ladle/spoon only once or twice. Taste a little bit and add more sugar if required at this step only. Let it stand till all the choshi starts floating.
  • Lastly all the choshi sink to the bottom again indicating completion of cooking. Stir once with a spoon, if the milk is thin (dilute), since sooji soak in lot of milk and gradually thicken with time.

Note:

  • The first time when I made it I could not identify the 3rd step. So I let it cook for a while till the choshi was properly cooked. It tasted perfectly fine. So no need to bother if the last step is not easily identified.
  • Serve it after 4-5 hours of making so that the choshi soaks in the milk completely, preferably let the ‘choshi’ soak milk overnight.