Baked Indian Classic Mathri (Delicious Salty ShortBread Cookies)

In most Indian homes, Mathri is the common snack especially during tea time. These are not sweet but a savory cookies. They are generally deep fried and taste good paired with sour mango pickle. Living in a big family, my mother and my grandmother used to make these cookies. We kids had the duty of pricking the cookies with a knife or fork. Sometimes we used to write our initials with the knife so that we could claim that particular cookie as ours. These fried cookies taste especially delicious fresh from the frying pan. Since they have good shelf-life, my mother used to make a kilogram or two of cookies at a time. She used to store them in an air tight steel container and kept them on the top self of our kitchen cabinet. All her yummy goodies used to be in the top self, safely away from our greedy hands. But we sometimes used to climb to the top self to get those goodies 😉 (only in afternoon when my mother used to take a nap). How precious were the days back then!
Instead of frying, I bake these mathris. Tastewise, they are equally as good and contain less oil. It’s difficulty level? None; it’s very easy to make.
Mathri

Ingredients:
1+1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Semolina
1 tsp Sugar
1-1 1/2 tsp Ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Salt to taste
1/2 Cup Oil or Melted warm Ghee (Clarified Butter)
*for vegans use unflavored oil instead of Ghee
1/2 Cup Warm Water

Method:
Preheat the oven at 375 Degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl mix all the ingredients except oil and water.
Add oil/ghee to the flour mixture and mix well to incorporate. Now gradually add warm water (little by little at a time) to bring the dough together. Do not knead just make a ball of the dough. If the dough becomes very hard add some water. The dough shouldn’t be either soft or too hard to roll.
Put the dough on a slightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin. Roll the dough to the 1/8th inch or desired thickness and cut them into round shapes. Prick the cookies with the fork so that cookies doesn’t puff while cooking.
In a baking tray lay the cookies and bake them on the middle rack for about 12- 15 minutes, After 5-7 mins keep a close eye on these as they brown very quickly. When they are light golden brown then these cookies are done. Cool them in a cooling rack. These have a good self life if kept in an air tight container.
It tastes yum with mango or lemon pickle.
*oven temperature varies from oven to oven so the baking time may differ.

Calcutta Style Chow Mien

I grew up in Calcutta and I love its street food. Whether it is phuchka or jhal muri or chinese or egg roll or mughalai or a typical indian ghugni, each and every food is to die for. I never had enough and especially during Durga Puja these delicacies seemed much tastier. It must be the blessings of Goddess Durga 🙂
We Indians love Chinese food so much that we reinvented Chinese food according to our own Indian taste. And trust me Indian Chinese tastes so good. And this Calcutta style Chow Mien is one of them.
I always make Chow Mien at home but somehow the street taste is always missing. Maybe because I make it hygienic and healthy 🙂
chowmien (Small)
The recipe follows:
The measurements are approximate. You can adjust the ingredients according to your taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups boiled string noodles
1 cup mixed vegetables(shredded cabbage, julienne carrots, thinly sliced bell peppers, green beans cut in 2 inches long)
1 medium sliced onion
1-1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tblsp sesame oil
2-3 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp hot red chili sauce (increase or decrease according to the taste)I use Maggie hot chili sauce
2-3 tsp vinegar ( I used rice vinegar)
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Method:
This recipe will be cooked on high heat.
Put the gas on high heat. Place the wok and add oil.
When the oil is hot add onion and sauté. Do not let the onion burn. When the onion becomes loose add garlic and after few seconds add all the vegetables. Sauté for 3-4 mins. Stir occasionally. When the vegetables look tender add cooked noodles.
Add salt, red chili flakes, black pepper, soy sauce, chili sauce, ketchup. Mix well and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Adjust the spices. Add vinegar and mix everything properly. Turn off the gas and sprinkle some chopped green onion. Drizzle some sesame oil ( it’s totally optional).
Serve hot.
*You can add scramble eggs too.

Minty Mint Chutney

We Indians love all kinds of chutneys. Chutneys can be made with different herbs (like coriander or mint) or vegetables. It is an integral part of our meal. Back in India my grandmother and my mother used to grind herbs and vegetables on a flat stone mortar with a rolling pestle. And with all the spices added in the paste.Yum..an impeccable taste it used to be. The taste still lingers. 🙂 Chutneys are so versatile, you can use them in any cuisine. Use it boldly and freely on salads, subs, marination, tortillas, sandwiches even on pizza and quesadilla, etc. My husband LOVES to eat it on pizza.

There are many ways to make Mint Chutney.You can also mix some coriander leaves. Some recipe also calls for yogurt, but the shelf  life is not good. But when serving it, you can add some yogurt. Yogurt makes chutney creamy and shiny. In my recipe I have added some roasted Bengal gram lentils (from Indian store) but it can easily be replace by roasted peanuts.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

Ingedients:
1 1/2 cup Mint leaves
2 Tblsp Roasted Bengal gram lentils OR Roasted peanuts
2-3 Small green chili(more or less)
1 tsp Sugar
1 inch Ginger
1 Tblsp lemon juice or more for more tanginess
2 tsp sunflower oil
1/4 cup cold water( more if needed to grind)
salt to taste

Method:

Mix all the ingredients and grind together to a fine paste. If needed adjust the seasoning with lemon, salt, or sugar.

I have used a mortar and pestle to grind it. It gives a coarse texture which I love a lot personally. It is great as a spread on sandwiches.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

You can also grind it in a blender for a smooth texture. Both taste good.
Store it in an air tight glass jar or in a ceramic jar in a refrigerator. Do not store it in any metal or plastic containers or else the chutney will spoil. It will stay good for a week . And if stored in a freezer it will stay good for a month.

Fresh Mint Lemonade

Summer is here. And we need to keep ourselves hydrated all the time. How about a twist on our good old lemonade? A very simple addition which is very refreshing and yummy too.

mint lemonade

Ingredients:

3 cups Water
1/4 warm water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey(can substitute with sugar)
1- 1 1/2 tsp Pink himalayan salt( accordingly your taste)
20-25 mint leaves
1/2 inch fresh ginger

Method:

In a pot add warm water and honey and stir till honey dissolves. Crush mint leaves and ginger in a mortar to a fine paste with pestle.
Then in a serving pitcher add all the ingredients and stir well to incorporate everything.

Serve with crushed ice.

Aam Panna-Raw Mango Juice

 

Summer is here!

Aam Panna/ Raw Mango Juice is a very popular drink in India during summer. It is a great summer cooler to beat the scorching heat. It also has a beneficial remedy in dehydration and heat stroke. I remember when I was a kid and used to come from school on a sunny afternoon, my mother used to give me this flavorful juice. This is my mom’s recipe, but I made it in an easy way.

raw mango juice

Ingredients:

1 large Green Raw Mango

1/3 cup Sugar (you will need more sugar if the mango is too sour, it also depends how tangy you would like it)

salt to taste

2 cups Water

2 tsp lemon juice (if the mango is not sour)

Method:

Peel the mango. De-seed and cut it into pieces.

raw mango

raw mango
raw mango

In a pot, add water and mango pieces. Put it on the stove to boil.

raw mango

Boil it for 15-20 mins, it is done when it pierces easily. Switch off the gas. Let it cool down.

raw mango

Add sugar, salt, and the boiled mango pieces along with the water and blend.

raw mango

If the mixture is too thick you can add 1/4 cup water. It should not be too watery.

raw mango

Adjust the sugar and salt according to your taste. If it is not too tangy you can add lemon juice too. The juice should tastes sweet and tangy. 🙂

Chill before serving. Enjoy.

raw mango juice

 

 

 

Nutritious Wheat Berries Pilaf

Washington D.C. will always remain a monumental city for me. I never get enough with each visit and always look forward to returning. Last time we traveled to D.C for my daughter’s college tours. On one of our free days, we went to see the National Gallery of Art. At the Gallery’s cafeteria, I tried a very delicious wheat berries salad. It reminded me of a similar berry dish my mother used to make, but it used to be sweet. Wheat berries are very adaptable grains and can be versatile to use in any cuisine. Wheat berries are also full of protein and fiber. They have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. I mostly get wheat berries from Indian stores but I recently have also seen them in organic and health stores.

erinkon

 

I always pre soak the berries overnight for easy digestion but it is not necessary. 

Ingredients:

1 cup Wheat berries/Einkorn

3 1/2 cup Water

1 Tbl sp Butter/oil/Ghee

1 small chopped red onion

1 or 2 chopped small green chili

1/2 inch crushed ginger

1/4 cup chopped carrot

1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

salt to taste

2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup cilantro( optional)

Method:

To pre soak is optional.

Boil the water. When it is full boil, add the wheat berries and salt. Reduce the flame to medium low. Cover the lid and let it cook for 30-35 mins. Stir occasionally. After 30 mins check the grains, it should press when pressed with fingers. It should be chewy. If it is hard then let it cook for another 5-10 mins. If needed, add water too. After it is cooked drain the water. In another saute pan heat butter/oil/ghee. Add chopped onion, chili and ginger, then saute for 2 mins till the onion is loose. Add chopped vegetables and saute for another 2- 4 mins. When the vegetables are little tender add the cooked berries and salt and mix properly. Just before turning off the gas add lemon juice and cilantro. If needed adjust the seasoning. You can add black pepper too. Serve.

Cooked wheat berries can be refrigerated for 5-6 days.

Maggie Revisited (Instant Two Minutes Noodles)

Today when my daughter was coming from school she asked me in car, “Mom, Can I have Maggie for the lunch?” I was about to give her an explanation that the ramen-like  instant noodles were not nutritious and that I had prepared a healthy wholesome lunch for her. But, then I thought, hey it’s okay to give her something so yummy once in a while.maggi 1

While I  was preparing it, I suddenly started nostalgically humming, “Maggie Maggie- 2 mins”. Flashback! To… funny 80s television.

Here’s the original advertisement- Enjoy!! (Most Indians will relate 😉 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaRsql3rCls