Missal Masala Puri

Let me begin with a little introduction about Masala puri.

It belongs to the same family as sev puri, pani puri, chaat papdi, dahi puri etc.  it belongs to the “chaat family”.

It is popular and widely available in Bangalore and Mysore and surely  in other parts of Karnataka, in various eat outs, restaurants, chaat centers and at those corner side street carts.
Dimly lit by a lantern and people of all ages thronging around by late evening, the subtle aroma of the peas boiling wafting through the air, the  street side cart at the Vidyaranyapuram circle in Mysore was my favorite hangout spot during my high school / college days. 
         The Masala puri and pani puri combination here was to die for and the number of plates and the number of visits to this place has been countless. I could just drown in the Pani and the Masala here! 
 Our whole family were regulars here. my brothers, parents, cousins everyone.
 When I was engaged to be married, the first place I took my then would -be hubby was here! We also invited the Masala puri guy for our wedding! 
The Masala puri, which is our subject matter here , is a plate of crushed chaat papads, topped with crushed boiled potatoes , finely chopped tomatoes and onions and the very key item, which is the sauce , comprising of boiled green peas / white peas.

It is this sauce , which makes the Masala puri  the star that it is! What goes into this sauce, I have no clue. In Some  places the sauce is green and some places it is red. I have even tried to get the recipe from one of the street vendors for the sauce. He gave me some random names of spices like Garam masala, ginger, chilli powder etc, but he did not reveal the procedure or the exact recipe. He frankly said that if he gives out the recipe he would lose customers.  Ofcourse, there is something as trade secret!

So the recipe remains a mystery even today . Also Masala puri is not available in any of the restaurants here in the Usa. Pani puri and other chaats , yes, but Not M P. This makes us miss and crave for masala  puri like crazy. My husband and I even tried to make the sauce in our very own way, but the end result was nothing like the one available back home. 

Disappointed, we had learnt to live without Masala puri here in the USA, until recently and luckily our dear friends N and S introduced us to this very new (new for us) and authentic Marathi dish called the Missal. 

Its a super hot and super spicy gravy of spices and moth beans to be eaten with chopped onions, tomatoes and spicy mixture with a combination of pav

The very first time I tasted this Missal  I was super excited because  1.It was extremely spicy 2. It was delicious and 3. it was so so close in taste to that of the gravy of the Masala puri.

The moment My husband I tasted the missal at our friend’s place, we exchanged looks , which were the looks of a great discovery , the looks of great achievement ! 

And there we had it, the Missal Masala puri. Now, when ever we miss the Masala puri from back home, we have an immediate solution!
The Missal Masala puri.

What we need:

1 packet of Rasoi  magic Missal mix

1 finely chopped onion

1 finely chopped tomato
1 cup of boiled white peas

1 pack of chaat papad/ flat puris

1 small pack of very spicy mixture of your choice

salt, red chilli powder, lemon juice and cilantro finely chopped.

Method:

First make the Missal rassa according to the package instructions, which is very very simple.

Once the Missal is done you are steps away from enjoying the masala puri…ssslurp….

 1.In a  wide bowl, crush about 6 flat puris
2. Pour on top of the flat puris, the prepared missal gravy
3. top with finely chopped onions, boiled white peas and  tomatoes
4. Top it off  with the very spicy Indian mixture

Just before serving, sprinkle some salt, chilli powder and garnish with Cilantro.

It is so nostalgic. Brings back old memories, the place, the teen years, the laughs, the giggles…….drift away  back in time…..
Notes:
When you cook according to package instructions the sauce turns out very watery. So keep boiling for a few more extra minutes to reduce the water content
OR you can mash some boiled peas to thicken the sauce.
Variations:
If you have regular bread, its a great accompaniment with the sauce.
Add Onions and tomatoes as per your taste.

Cool Couscous salad

 
 
This salad is a result of wanting something very cool, very light, very healthy, very filling , less oily, and not Indian!

Ta daa ! couscous salad it is!
 
Of course,  I am not the founder of this recipe. This is an inspired recipe from various sources like food network, the food blogosphere, the Whole foods store and cooking websites. So many thanks to all these sources.
 
The final recipe and the dressing has been adapted to my taste.
 
 
What we need:

1/4 cup of Couscous

1/2 a cup of finely chopped parsley ( I have used both the flat leaf and the curly parsley)

1 Finely chopped onion
 
1 finely chopped cucumber( this depends on the size of the cucumber)
 
1 Finely chopped tomato
 
 
 
 

For the dressing:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp vinegar. ( I have used white vinegar)
salt to taste

Method:

Wash and cook the couscous and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine all the freshly chopped veggies. once the couscous is cooled, give it a nice fluff with a fork. add it to the bowl of veggies. Finally add the dressing and mix. refrigerate and serve chilled.

You will love the juicy, tangy vinaigrette and the fresh aroma of the parsley!



 

The humble Idli.

Looks and tastes so simple. Just three simple ingredients.

Here is how:

What we need

1 Cup of good quality whole urad dal( black gram)

2-21/2 cups of idli rava( available in Indian stores)

salt.

A wet grinder or Mixie.

Method:

Soak Urad dal in lots of water for about 6 hours. That’s right. No need for overnight soaking, then forgetting etc etc.

After 6 hours, its ready to grind. A heavy duty wet grinder is really a good investment for making good idlis. Transfer the soaked Urad dal  (black gram) into the grinder. Make sure you drain the soaked liquid into another bowl. Save the liquid. turn on the grinder and grind the dal for about 20 minutes. Here it gets tricky. we need to add very less water yet get a smooth and fluffy batter  filled with air. You can see the batter rising to the top of the grinder. The batter increases in volume. ( You can use the saved liquid for grinding, instead of fresh water) Add water if the batter gets heavy and sticky.

The final stage would be a fluffy, light, airy batter.

While the Dal is grinding soak the Idli rava in water for about 20 minutes.

ThIs step is not quite common but I do it. I mix the soaked Idli rava to the grinding  urad dal . Let the idli rava mix in with the urad dal completely and blend well just for about a minute or two. Not more. you can add some water if the batter gets heavy and gets sticky.

Remember we are looking for a fluffy airy batter.

add salt in the end. transfer the whole batter into a clean container and cover with a lid. let the batter ferment ovenight in a nice, warm humid place.  the oven with lights on Perhaps?

The next day, you might see the batter has risen or may be even overflowed from the container. Cleaning is a hassle, but that’s ok 🙂

Beat the batter with a ladle or a large spoon until all the air escapes. Now the batter will be a thick pourable consistency.

Steam the idlis using the idli  moulds and enjoy with chutney and sambar. Please come back for the recipes of the same 🙂

Making good idlis is hard. Someone said” its hard to be simple”.

The humble idli looks and taste so simple, yet there has to be a lot of care behind its gentle looks.

The time of soaking, the time of grinding, the amount of water, the proportions of the ingredients , the fermenting time , it matters every step of the way.

Only then the final Idlis turn out, soft, fluffy, very light ,very white and melts in your mouth.

My idlis above were not perfect but they were pretty decent.

Never order  Idlis in an Indian restaurant in the USA. they are just not right. They are not the “real Idlis”. Even the best of the best restaurants who claim to be Authentic south Indian do not have the perfect Idlis, in my experience.

Want to have ” real Idli” ? Go to Mysore or Bangalore 🙂

Jolly Cauli :)

 

A simple cauliflower masala make you fall in love all over again, with cauliflower of course 🙂

What we need:

1 small head of cauliflower florets

2 tomatoes, ripe and juicy, cut into cubes

1 onion finely chopped

Spices: turmeric, ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp Rajwadi garam masala( badshah brand), 1 tsp of Tawa fry masala( badshah brand), 1 tsp chilli powder, aamchur(dry mango powder- Optional)

2 tbsp oil

Cilantro, finely chopped to garnish.

 

Method:

1.Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Once hot. add turmeric and cumin. when it splutters add onions and saute till translucent.

2. Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry for few minutes

3. add the cauliflower florets and mix in. Sprinkle some water and cover the pan with a lid. Let the cauliflower cook until “aldente”

4. Now its time to add the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for few minutes until tomatoes become soft and blend with the cauliflower.

5. Add the spices one by one. Chilli powder, garam masala, tawa fry masala, Aamchur( dry mango powder) and salt. Fry for few more minutes. turn off heat

6. Garnish with cilantro

 

Enjoy with rotis or rice!

Easy Restaurant Style Vegetable Biriyani with Tofu

This simple and easy recipe makes you forget dining out.

What we need:

1. 1 cup of mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (beans, peas, carrots, corn)

2. I cup of Cauliflower florets.

3. about 10 chunks of extra firm tofu

4. 1 onion chopped

5. 4 ripe and juicy tomatoes chopped

6. 2, 3 green chillis slit lengthwise

7. spices: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala( rajwadi badshah brand), 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsps Shahi paneer masala( badshah brand), 1 stick cinnamon, 3 cloves, 1 pod cardamom, 1/2 star anise

8. 2 cups of basmati rice cooked and cooled into separate grains.

9. 2 tbsp of oil.

Dont be overwhelmed with the list of ingredients. the actual preparation is quite simple and u will love it.

 

method:

1. In a thick bottomed pan heat 2 tbsp of oil. once oil is hot add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise and saute for few seconds.

2. Now add onion and saute until onions turn translucent

3. Now add the slit green chillis, cauliflower florets and mixed vegetables and saute for few minutes until veggies get tender but not too soft.

4. then add the chopped tomatoes and mix in with all the veggies. Cover with a lid and let them cook for few minutes until tomatoes become very soft an form a gravy. There is no need to add any water.

5. Now add chilli powder, garam masala and shahi paneer masala and salt and stir in the mixture.

6. Finally add the tofu and give a quick stir and let the whole mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

Now you have a beautiful mixed vegetable curry-like base ready to be mixed with rice.

Take the cooked basmati rice and spread on the vegetable mixture . add salt and oil on top and mix the rice well. Turn on the heat and mix the whole rice on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.

Garnish with finely chopped mint.

Your restaurant style biriyani is ready.

tips: add all spices according to your taste. the cauliflower should be tender yet firm. tofu should be added in the end and can be replaced with paneer.