Pav Bhaji Pizza (Vegit Review)

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Recently, in the course of my busy life, I was introduced to some ready to cook snacks that come under the brand name of Vegit. These Snack Mixes are available in India and are a boon for people looking to cook some mouth watering snacks in a jiffy. I received some packets of the snack mixes for review and I must say I simply loved the versatility of these products. Vegit Pav Bhaji is a recent addition to their kitty and apart from Pav Bhaji, one can make a number of recipes using the mix. I tried Pav Bhaji Pizza and the result was something that I totally loved. For those who cannot lay their hands on this timesaver Vegit Mix, wait till I post the recipe of Pav Bhaji made from scratch 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 pack Vegit Pav Bhaji Mix
6 pieces ready Pizza Base
1 small onion (sliced)
1 small tomato (sliced)
2 mushrooms sliced (optional)
3 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese

RECIPE

Follow package instructions and prepare Bhaji from the Vegit Pav Bhaji Mix.

Spread 5 tablespoons of the prepared Bhaji on a ready pizza base.

Top the pizza with onion, tomato and mushroom slices.

Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 10 mins.

Take out the Pizza from oven and sprinkle grated cheese. Bake for another 5 mins till cheese melts.

Serve hot.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

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Tamatar ki Chaat (Banaras/Varanasi/Uttar Pradesh Special)

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We have heard of using tomatoes in salads, in pasta, in curries, in sauces, in various other dishes. But how about tomatoes being used in Chaat? (For my Westerner friends, “Chaat”, according to Wikipedia, means savory snacks typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or food carts in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The word “Chaat” originates from the same word in Hindi, which means “to lick”. Or to slurp. Because Chaats are just so yummy!)

Well, we were talking about tomatoes being used in Chaat. Well, I had never imagined such an innovation was possible. Till I had my first brush with this divine dish in the temple town of Varanasi, a few months after my wedding, when I had gone to visit my in-laws. At first I was a little apprehensive, because I have never been too fond of too many tomatoes cooked together. So much so, that when Hubby brought a spoonful of Tamatar ki Chaat to my lips, I opened my mouth very reluctantly (Only to please him, you know! We’d just got married!). But as soon as the first flavors filled my mouth, I was lost… The tanginess, the sweetness, the spices, the rich, creamy taste, it was all too overwhelming for my tastebuds!

The fling that started over three years back has now culminated into a full-blown love affair. I mean, I can confidently say that Tamatar ki Chaat, or Tamatar/Tamatari, as it is known in different areas, now tops my list of Chaats (after Puchka/Gol Gappe/Pani Puri, of course. But we’ll come to that later!) I had been thinking of this chaat and drooling over it for a long time, but since a visit to Varanasi did not seem to be happening anytime soon, I decided to make it at home. And I’d call it an accomplishment that I got quite close to the original taste in the very first attempt! Well, Chaat from street sides has a distinct taste after all that cannot be recreated 100% at home! But this is the closest you can get to the authentic Banarasi recipe, replicated the way I saw the Chaat-wallah prepare it. Here’s how you can make it:

INGREDIENTS:

3 large ripe tomatoes (finely chopped)
2 medium potatoes (boiled and peeled)
1 large onion (chopped finely)
2 teaspoons ginger (grated)
1 green chili (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts
2 tablespoons chopped raisins
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
2+1 teaspoons roasted cumin powder
2+1 teaspoons roasted coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1+1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon rock/black salt
1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon chaat masala
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt (to taste)
100 grams clarified butter (or unsalted butter)

RECIPE:

Mash the potato and add salt, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder, 1 teaspoon roasted coriander powder and 1 teaspoon red chili powder. Mix well and shape into a large ball. Flatten the ball on your palm. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in an iron frying pan or griddle. (You can use a non-stick pan, too. The iron is just to get a typical Chaat taste!) Cook the flattened potato tikki till the sides are crisp and brown. Remove from the pan on to a plate.

Now add the remaining clarified butter, reserving one tablespoon, in the same pan, and add asafoetida and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add the chopped onion and stir well. Now add the remaining grated ginger and minced green chili. When the onion becomes translucent, add a little water and mash it roughly using a potato masher.

Now add the chopped tomatoes, and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, till the tomatoes become tender. Mash the tomatoes using potato masher till you obtain a pulp.

Now add salt, rock/black salt, sugar, black pepper, the remaining cumin and coriander powders, 1 tsp red chili powder and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and mix well.

Add the prepared potato tikki and mash again till the potato mixes well with the tomatoes. Add chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

In another pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon clarified butter and fry the nuts till they are light golden in colour. Transfer this to the tomato-potato pulp and mash one final time, mixing well. By now, the aroma should leave you drooling! 😉

Add a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala for some added tanginess.

Transfer to serving dish and serve steaming hot. Gobble up fast, because this Chaat loses its taste as it cools.

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You can garnish Tamatar ki Chaat with crushed Namakpare, or serve it plain, without any topping. You will love it any which way you eat it!

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

NOTE: This Chaat is not for people who don’t enjoy eating rich, calorie-laden food. But since this year is going past us, a one-time indulgence won’t hurt! 😉 Try making this Chaat, just to know what a delightful dish this is!

Matar Kulcha (New Delhi Special)

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If there was to be a poll on Delhi’s favorite breakfast, the hands-down winner would be Matar Kulcha. A popular North Indian street food comprising curried dried white peas and fermented flat bread, Matar Kulcha is sold in makeshift stalls all around Delhi. Vendors begin their sales from early in the morning and do brisk business till late in the evening, as this versatile dish can be had for breakfast, as a light lunch, as well as an evening snack. Although I am a BIG Matar Kulcha fan, I prefer not eating on the roadside and make my own at home. If I can get the same taste without compromising on the hygiene, why not! 😉 And once I share the recipe with you, you will want to make it at home too. Just because it is too simple a recipe! Here’s how you can make it:

INGREDIENTS:

FOR MATAR (Matar is the Hindi word for Peas!)

1 cup dried white peas (these look like chickpeas but are smaller in size)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 green chili (minced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons roasted cumin powder
1 teaspoon roasted coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon mint-coriander paste (fresh mint leaves and fresh coriander leaves ground together into a fine paste)
1 teaspoon rock/black salt
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 black cardamoms (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
1 liter water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Coriander leaves, ginger julienne (to garnish)

FOR KULCHA (Fermented Flat Bread)

1-1/2 cup refined flour
1/4 cup yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup warm water
Salt (a pinch)
1 tablespoon coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

RECIPE:

To make Kulcha, mix 2 tablespoons flour with yogurt, baking soda, vinegar and salt. Set aside for 10 mins,

Add this mixture to the remaining flour, and adding a little warm water, knead into a soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 1 hour, or till the dough doubles in size. (Since we are not adding yeast to this dough, and fermenting it with the help of baking soda and yogurt, Kulcha will remain soft for a long time.)

Grease your palms with a little oil and divide the dough into lime sized balls.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the balls into circles, around 4-5 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch in thickness.

Preheat oven at 175 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a Silicon baking sheet.

Sprinkle some coriander leaves over each Kulcha and press it down with your fingers.

Arrange on the baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or till the Kulcha puffs up.

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NOTE: You can store these flat breads for 4-5 days in refrigerator. So you can make batches in advance and use as and when required. You can also cook these Kulchas on a griddle, flipping over before brown spots start appearing on each side.

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To make Matar, soak the dried white peas in water for 6-7 hours. Drain the water and pressure cook the peas with turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt till the peas are soft.

In a bowl, mix together tamarind paste, mint-coriander paste, 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder and rock/black salt. Add a little water to make a Chutney.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute. Now add green chili and chopped onion, reserving a little for garnish.

When onion turns translucent, add the chopped tomatoes, again reserving some of it for garnish.

When tomatoes become tender, add crushed black cardamom, cinnamon powder, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, red chili powder, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Add 1 cup water and cook covered on high for 3 minutes.

Now add the cooked dried white peas and mix well with the rest of the ingredients, mashing it gently with a spoon as you stir. When all the ingredients have mixed well, add the tamarind chutney that we had prepared. Mix well.

Pour a ladle full of the curried Matar in a bowl and garnish with chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped coriander leaves and ginger julienne.

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Serve steaming hot with Kulcha. And dig into bliss on a cold, winter morning! 😉

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

NOTE: This dish can be made 100% oil free. You just need to add the cooked peas to a pan, add a little extra water and cook for another 5 mins with the chopped onion, tomato, ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Also, skip adding cumin seeds. Follow the rest of the procedure to get a delicious, guilt-free, healthy and wholesome meal.