Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Momos (Dumplings) with Hot Chutney

Momos, alias dumplings, is a native, traditional Nepali dish but that slowly spread across to places such as Tibet, Bhutan etc mainly the North Eastern parts of India. But now, its famous in many places of India and its slowly catching up in South India as well.

It's similar to the Modhaks that we make during Ganesh Chaturti festival. The difference is mainly in the ingredients and stuffing while both can be either steamed or fried.

Vegetable Momos with Hot Sauce: My First Attempt

For Momos Outer Cover
  • Flour    : 1 cup (200 gms or so)
  • Oil       : 1 tspn
  • Salt      : to taste 
  • Water  : to knead
For Stuffing -- You can have your own choice of vegetables
  • Cabbage             : 1/2 - 1 cup shredded finely
  • Carrot                 : 1 shredded finely (I had to skip since I didn't have it handy)
  • Spring Onions     : 2 full (Instead I used half regular onion)
  • Coriander leaves : a handful (Instead of spring onion leaves)
  • Shimla Mirch      : 1/2 piece (if its a big one) shredded finely 
  • Potato                : Boiled and mashed (optional, typically not used)
  • Garlic                 : 1-2 pods finely chopped
  • Ginger                : 1" finely chopped
  • Pepper Powder  : 1tspn
  • Soya Sauce        : 1 tspn
  • Sugar                 : 1/2 tspn (optional)
  • Salt                    : To taste
  • Oil                     : To fry the vegetables

To make the momos cover / wrapper:
  1. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and knead it with water to make it smooth. Ensure it has the right consistency to roll out. End of it mix the oil and knead it smoothly for another couple of minutes.
  2. Cover the dough with a damp cloth (mulin kinds) and leave it to rest for 15-20 mts at least.
To make the Stuffing:

Method 1:
  1. In a kadai, add a spoon of oil. As it heats up, add garlic and onion. Stir it in moderate flame for a minute. 
  2. To this add all vegetables and sugar (if rqd) and stir again in moderate flame. Then, add salt, soya sauce, pepper, and keep stirring. 
  3. Finally, add the chopped coriander leaves (preferred is spring onion leaves). Stir for 2 seconds and remove from fire. Allow it to cool
Method 2:
  1. In this method, we don't fry the vegetables. We just mix all ingredients mentioned under "Ingredients for Stuffing" and keep them ready. You can skip Soya Sauce if rqd.
To make the vegetable momos:

Electric Cooker Steamer Vessel

  1. Make small balls of the dough like you will for puris. Roll it out to thin sheets. (We can make a big roti size and using any sharp circle shaped lid can cut it into small puris). Ensure the final sheets are thin.
  2. Place a spoon of the stuffing at the center of each sheet.
  3. Fold them to make the momos. It's similar to making the fleets of a saree. I followed a couple of videos on youtube to make the folds. You can refer to : Alternatively, you can fold it like the modhaks as well.
  4. In a steamer or electric cooker or pressure cooker, fill water and allow it to boil.  
  5. Apply some oil to the steaming plate or idli plates and place the momos such that they don't stick to each other. If you are using the electric cooker, then place these plates within the steamer vessel like the one shown to the right here.
  6. When the water boils, place this steaming plate and steam it for 10-15 mts (for Method 2 stuffing) and 10 mts (for Method 1 stuffing). 
  7. The right consistency will be the momos will appear transparent.
To make the momos sauce - Hot Tomato Garlic Chutney

  1. Tomatoes                 : 4 small (diced)
  2. Dried Red Chillies    : 5-6 (as hot as you want the sauce to be)
  3. Garlic                       : 2 -3 cloves 
  4. Ginger                      : 1" (optional)
  5. Vinegar / Lime Juice : 1 tbsp
  6. Salt                          : To Taste
  7. Sugar                       : 1 tspn
  1. Soak the red chillies in water for some time (30 mts at least)
  2. In a pan, saute with just a few drops of oil the diced tomatoes, ginger, garlic (optional step)
  3. In a mixer, add the red chillies, ginger, garlic, lime juice / vinegar and grind it well. After a couple of rounds, add the tomatoes and grind. Ensure the seeds of the chillies are well ground. [Alternatively, some grate the tomatoes, grind the remaining contents and mix them in the end]
Note: My Learning
  • For Momos Stuffing, I used Method 1 but I feel Method 2 will give you more authentic momos because all ingredients will only be steamed. In Method 1, it becomes a mix of fry and steam.
  • For the sauce, I followed another method of soaking the chillies in vinegar. But my suggestion is not to do that because then vinegar's stench and taste overrules the rest. My bad :(
  • Momos cover / wrapper should be as thin as possible else it won't cook well.
Momos are best served hot:) Relish it! 

Stuffed Capsicum a.k.a Bharwa Shimla Mirch

Been on my cards for while to try the stuffed capsicum veg preparation... Every time, I stop short assuming it requires much time. Last night, I decided to venture into it and to my surprise finished making it within 20-30 mts max. 

We could either cook it using a little oil or bake it. I attempted using the first method.


Capsicum : 2 small
Potato: 2 small boiled and mashed
Onion: 2 small diced 
Ginger: 1" cut into small pieces
Garlic: 3-4 pods cut into small pieces
Green Chillies : 3-4 small cut into pieces
Chillie Powder: 2 tspn
Coriander Powder: 1.5 tspn
Mango Powder : 0.5 tspn
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tspn
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tspn
Kasoori Methi : 2-3 pinch (if dried leaves & this is optional)
Salt : To taste
Oil : 2-3 tbspn


For Filling
  1. Boil the potatoes, peel and mash it well.
  2. In a kadai, add 1 tbspn oil. As it heats up, add onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and fry till brownish. 
  3. Add salt, and all other powders to this and cook for 2 secs
  4. Then add the mashed potatoes and make it into a mix. Cook till the potatoes absorb all masalas (5-7 mts)
  5. Garnish with Kasoori methi
  6. Remove from fire

For Capsicum:
  1. Wash the capsicums. Remove the cap and the stem such that it doesn't split open. Now slowly scoop out the seeds. If rqd, you can make a small slit on the sides and remove it but ensure the slit is not lengthier else stuffing will ooze out
  2. Fill each capsicum with the filling prepared
  3. In a kadai or tawa, add more oil, and place the capsicums. 
  4. Cover and cook. Every once in a while toss it around to ensure all sides are cooked
  5. When done, remove from fire 
  6. Serve with hot rotis or rice
My attempt would say was decent but (a) the slit in one of them became bigger (b) probably baking will be more apt. Will be trying that soon. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

White Pumpkin Halwa

White Pumpkin, which is typically used to make dishes such as sambhar, gravy using coconut and curd, soups, raita, are also used to make some interesting sweet dishes. These include the popular Petha (its like a sugary candy), kheer, and halwa.

I tried to make the popular "Kasi Halwa", which is a halwa cooked using white pumpkin with sugar. This is a famous dish served in Kasi (a place down south) and in marriages. This is my first attempt...


  • White Pumpkin : 2 cups grated
  • Sugar : 1 cup (some add equivalent to the quantity of the grated pumpkin... choose as per your taste)
  • Milk : 1 cup
  • Ghee: 2-3 tspn
  • Saffron : a few strands (optional) in luke warm milk (a tspn)
  • Cardomom : 2-3
  • Raisins: 10
  1. Wash, peel the white pumpkin and grate it. It will leave lots of water. 
  2. In a kadai, add the grated pumpkin either with the water or without. I cooked it with water (Some add a spoon or two of ghee before adding the pumpkin)
  3. After the water is absorbed, add milk and allow the pumpkin to cook further
  4. Milk will be absorbed and the pumpkin will reach a cooked consistency. Then, add sugar and ghee
  5. Add saffron to give the light yellow color. Typically, Kesar powder is added or the food color (orange) but I didn't.
  6. To this add the raisins (some fry and add; but I added it as is)
  7. The ghee will separate. Halwa when taken in a spoon will fall smoothly - that is the consistency
  8. Remove from fire and serve hot (Or you can refrigerate & serve with ice creams)
End Result: Halwa came off well but for the fact that I ended up using a bit more sugar than needed. But some like it this sweet. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ladies Finger aka Bhindi Fry

Ladies finger / Bhindi / Okra is easily one of the relished vegetables. It is both healthy and yummy for our taste budz, given the varieties of dishes you can cook using the same. I am gonna share the very tasty form of bhindi fry that I used to relish while in Delhi.


  • Ladies Fingers : 15 - 20 Small-sized (For this fry, preferred to choose real small ones that can be used as is. If not, you can cut them into pieces of an inch or two max)
  • Onion : 2 big onions diced into small pieces
  • Curd : 2 tspns
  • Chillie Powder : 2-3 tspn (as spicy as desired)
  • Coriander Powder : 1-2 tspn 
  • Mango Powder : 1/2 tspn (optional)
  • Kasoori Methi : 1-2 pinches
  • Salt : To taste
  • Oil : To Fry (4-5 tspn)
  1. Wash and wipe the ladies fingers. If big ones, cut them into 1-2 inches long else can be used as is by removing the stem.
  2. In a kadai, add 2 tspn oil. When hot, add the ladies fingers and curd. Add 1/2 tspn salt and fry it. Till the stickiness is gone and they turn brownish (well cooked).
  3. Remove from fire and keep it aside.
  4. In the same kadai, add 2-3 tspn of oil. As it heats up, add onion. Fry till golden brown. 
  5. To this add the powders and salt (1 tspn or as rqd; remember you have added salt while cooking the ladies fingers in Step 2).
  6. Fry them for a minute or two and then add the ladies finger.
  7. Fry it for another 5-10 mts (if rqd add a tspn of oil) to ensure the masala mixes and ladies finger is well fried and cooked.
  8. Dress it with a pinch or two of kasoori methi (optional) and mix it for 2 seconds.
  9. Remove from fire and serve hot.
This can be had with hot fulkas / rotis and / or dhal rice etc. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stuffed Tawa Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd though bitter is one of the most healthiest vegetable that one must include in their regular diet (Especially if any one in family has diabetics). They come in different sizes; I picked the small ones just to try out...however, the ideal ones for this style of preparation are the medium-long sized ones.

The "Tawa Style" preparation can be made using vegetables such as Bitter gourd, Ladies Fingers, Brinjal etc and is very famous in North Indian marriages etc... I tried making it by the recipe that I read in a recipe book a while ago. There are many other ways to cook the same.

Stuffed Tawa Fry Bitter Gourd

Ingredients: - For Stuffing

  • Bitter Gourd : 4-6 medium length
  • Onion : 2 medium 
  • Ginger, Garlic Paste : 2 tspn
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tspn
  • Red Chillie powder : 1.5 tspn (As spicy as rqd)
  • Coriander powder : 1.5-2 tsp 
  • Mango powder : 1 tspn
  • Salt: To Taste
  • Roasted Gram powder : 1/2 cup (2-4 tspn)
  • Cooking Oil : As required
Ingredients: - For Marination
  • Hung curd : 1 cup (ensure there is no water)
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tspn
  • Salt: to taste
  • Chillie powder : 1/2 tspn (if rqd)
  1. Wash the bitter gourds, and apply salt. Leave it in the fridge for 1 hour (To reduce the bitterness; optional)
  2. Remove it from fridge, cut the end stems and scrap the skin
  3. Make a slit at the middle of the bitter gourds ensuring the ends don't split up. 
  4. Remove the seeds such that it can open up for stuffing
  5. Apply salt again on the inside and outside of the bitter gourds and leave it aside for at least 30 mts (This is mandatory even if you skip Step 1)
  1. Chop the onions into small pieces. In a kadai, add 2 -3 tspn of oil. To this add the onions and fry till they turn golden brown. 
  2. To this add the roasted gram powder and fry it for 1-2 mts
  3. Add Turmeric, Coriander, Chillie, and Mango powders as specified and salt
  4. Add 1-2 tbspn of water and allow it to cook to make a mash
  5. Allow it to cool
     Marination: In a bowl, mix curd with all other ingredients

     Preparing the bitter gourd:
  1. In a kadai, add 3 cups of water. As it boils, add the bitter gourd with some salt and turmeric powder
  2. Allow it to cook for 10 mts and remove from fire. Allow it to cool.
  3. Stuff each bitter gourd with 1-2 tspn of the stuffing mix (As specified under the heading "Stuffing")
  4. Ensure the stuffing doesn't spill out
  5. Use a thread and tie each bitter gourd (optional)
  6. In a tawa or a non-stick kadai, add 2 tbspn of oil. As it heats, place each bitter gourd. 
  7. Allow each side to cook till dark brown
Tawa fry ideally is served hot along with rotis or with rice. In this style, the bitterness is almost removed. Treat yourself to some yummy bitter gourds :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mango Cut Pieces Pickle

Come summer, its time for "mango rains" at least for a few months and many of us try to make the most of it; So, do I :) But there is a certain variety of mango which is available almost through the year except for a few months here & there - the 'kili mooku mango' (the end of this mango appears like the nose of a parrot).

This mango can be used in many ways:

  • Just slice them, sprinkle some chillie powder and salt and relish (prevalent near the beaches of Chennai etc)
  • Grate it to make some delicious salad (with other veg of your preference or ginger or alone with chilli powder / green chillie etc)
  • An instant pickle that can be relished with curd rice etc. Wash the mangoes, clean, cut it into cubes. In a container, add these diced pieces, diced green chillies (preferably moderate spicy ones), salt to taste and shake to mix all ingredients. Leave it to soak for 30 mts to 1 hour before using. Have it with curd rice (best companion) or any other form of rice mix you might have -- especially when you have pazhaya soru (left over rice soaked in water during the night & consumed next day morning with butter milk, salt and this pickle)
  • Grate it and make Mango Thokku (will share the recipe when I prepare this) using either Red Chillies or Green Chillies
  • Cut it into small pieces, add it to any sprouts that you may have 
  • If its moderate ripe you can cut it into small dices, add some chillie powder, salt, and a few spoons of coconut oil -- you can add a bit of sugar if it is tangy (this is a Kerala style preparation)
  • Many more such uses...
Here, am going to share the recipe to prepare Cut Piece Pickle using Red Chillie powder. You will find these served in many of the South Indian marriages and functions. Ideally, this is an instant pickle and is for short term use. However, you can refrigerate and use it for a little longer. 

  1. Kili mooku mangoes : 2 (Regular size)
  2. Red Chillie Powder : 1-2 tbspn (or as spicy as you need and as tangy the mangoes are)
  3. Salt : to taste
  4. Asafoetida/ Hing: 1 tspn
  5. Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tspn
  6. Feenugreek Powder : 1-2 tspn (Dry roast feenugreek seeds and powder it)
  7. Mustard Seeds Powder: 1 tspn (Dry roast and powder)
  8. Sesame Oil (Til /gingely Oil): 1/2 cup (you can add more later if rqd)
  1. Wash and wipe the mangoes
  2. Put them into small pieces (as small as you like) & place them in a vessel 
   *** Style 1***
  1. Add turmeric, chillie, hing, salt, feenugreek and mustard powder to the cut mangoes. Shake it to ensure its mixed
  2. In a kadai, heat the oil. As it heats up, remove from fire and pour it into this mixed mangoes
  3. Shake it well & allow it to cool
  4. Once cool, place it in air tight container -- Refrigerate it to use for longer periods. 
 *** Style 2***
  1. Add salt to the cut mangoes. Shake it to ensure its mixed and keep it aside.
  2. In a kadai, heat the oil. As it heats up, reduce the flame, and add chillie, turmeric, feenugreek, and mustard powders and finally hing. Immediately, remove from fire and pour it into the salted mangoes.
  3. Shake it well & allow it to cool
  4. Once cool, place it in air tight container -- Refrigerate it to use for longer periods. 

Crispy Puff alias Pastry

One of the famous, preferred and favorite snacks in many parts of India is the hot pastry alias puff with different stuffing including vegetables or non veg choices. A hot puff along with a hot cup of tea is a bliss especially during rainy and / or winter season :)

Me and Sangee (my partner in all my kitchen attempts) wanted to try and make these crispy puffs in our kitchen using the OTG. It's been on our "To Experiment" list for long which we tested some time ago. The results, I would say, was a hands-down win-win because our darling little princess loved it and so did we.

We zeroed in on 'Vah Chef's' recipe (IPR of his) when we decided to test this out. Believe me, his video is definitely a novice-guide. You just need to follow him step by step to get yummy puffs. So, am not going to repeat the procedure here but share the video of his which we followed with little customization of ours: -- Copy Paste this link to view the video.
[Thanks Chef, it was really easy to follow and puffs were yummy / tummy.]

Be prepared to put in a bit of effort because it requires that to make these puff sheets. Once the sheets are ready, you can go ahead and make the pastry with a stuffing of your choice. We tried Vegetarian stuffing using readily available vegetables such as potatoes etc.