Tag: semolina

WHOLE WHEAT NANKHATAI

Yesterday, I met my B-school gang, most of whom, I was seeing after almost two years, but somehow it just did not feel that long a time. I have been in touch with most of them- on and off, and even though a lot were missing from our circle of friends, it was still like old times. One of my friends just recently got married and he had brought his wife along. The others who had attended his wedding were excitedly narrating the food tales they had at his wedding. Now he is a Jain and in Jain weddings- food is the prime attraction (food heaven it is!). Jaini weddings our known for the rich food served and Jains are known for their hospitality. The food though is completely vegetarian (much to the misfortune of one of my friends who is a chickenaholic!), but nonetheless, the food is delicious.

It was fun catching up on what everyone has been up to. I had a great time- lot of leg pulling, college gossip, laughter, food from the dhaba outside our college- brought back a lot of good memories. 🙂

I know I haven’t been quite regular with blogging- posting after a gap of almost two weeks, is it? Well, I have been travelling. And, to be honest, I haven’t been cooking too much either. There’s the maid here who cooks the food and I am enjoying the break from cooking while it lasts. But, I miss baking. I miss my oven- I really do!

For a while I was thinking of something to make for my in-laws. They are not big fans of baked goods, though they don’t mind the occasional baked treat. Last week I had gone to Dehradun/Haridwar where V’s aunt stays. The last time I was in Haridwar, on a trip with my B-school friends, we went to Rishikesh and I remember having these freshly made Nankhatai (an eggless, delicate and crumbly biscuit, quite popular in India), that a roadside vendor was selling. Strange, I don’t remember an oven there, but I am pretty sure they were freshly made.

Anyways, when I went to Dehradun, I realised Nankhatai would be a perfect thing to make that my in-laws would actually enjoy eating. It was a perfect day to bake something too. Its been raining since morning and it’s the kind of weather where you want to be in a blanket, all cuddled up, sipping hot tea and having warm cookies!

I found a recipe here.

Now, my mom-in-law doesn’t do too much baking, even though she is an excellent cook. Her biryanis are awesome! But she doesn’t bake- so they don’t have an oven in the house. But, their microwave has the option of convection. I haven’t baked anything in a microwave. So was hesitant at first- but thought of giving it a try. The first batch came out too flat and though I did nothing different for the second batch (it was the same dough but since I could only put one dish at a time in the microwave I had to bake in two lots), they still resembled the traditional nankhatai a little, though not as perfectly shaped as the ones you get in shops. Well, that just means more trials in the kitchen.

I served the nankhatai to my in-laws and they loved them. The best part – they are whole wheat! Yes, there is ghee, but well you can’t have it your way all the time, can you? Half of them have already vanished between the two of them! (I am on a strict “I have to lose weight” diet – so these things are not coming near me!). Perfect to have with a cup of hot tea and the rainy day just adds to the charm. 🙂

Read the rest of this entry »

An Indian Treat, Camelback Hike and a lost ring- Exciting Start to 2011

After a year, 2011 is finally here!! (didn’t know I can be corny and rhyme at the same time!) Happy New Year every one! Welcomed the new year partying with our friends in Phoenix. Lots of fun. 🙂

I stopped making new year resolutions long back, mainly because they used to revolve around one theme- my weight. And well, most of you know, how such resolutions end up- being broken. But, this year I decided to give the theme another try with a slightly modified resolution. I am not resolving to lose weight, (with my love for all things baked and fried -don’t think that would be a practical resolution)– so I resolve that out of the 7 days in a week, 5 days I will try to get some form exercise– it could be yoga, running or time spent in the gym. I can almost hear myself saying “yeah right, all the best” in a mocking tone, but this time I am determined! Again I hear the voice: “haha, we will see”. To it I say, “Yes, we will!”

Fortunately, the first day of the new year was spent doing just that- showing my inner self that yes I can do it. Even though we had a late night (slept at 4 in the morning), and slightly hung over from the New Year party, I was up on 1st morning (well it was almost noon 😉 ), ready to hike the Camelback mountain in Phoenix.

Camelback Mountain, the best-known feature of the Phoenix skyline and the city’s highest point, is an irresistible lure to hard-core hikers, fitness fanatics and tantalized tourists. Both routes to the summit, Echo and Cholla, though fairly short, are among the steepest trails in Arizona, guaranteed to leave even the fittest of the fit huffing and puffing as they slog their way to the top. The first mile and a half of the Cholla trail, though steep in places, is easy enough for the most casual of hikers to enjoy. But the final quarter-mile is rather nasty, requiring a fair amount of scrambling along a bouldery ridgeline to the top. It is a 3.5 miles round trip for the Cholla Trail.

I managed to complete the trail, exceeding V’s expectations (he thought I would give up half-way. But I didn’t!) , and all was going according to plan! Good start to the new year.

The next day though, things went from good to bad. Woke up with a sore body, feeling pain in muscles I never knew existed in those parts of my body. That was still fine. It turned bad when, on our way back from Phoenix, I realised my yellow sapphire gold ring missing! I knew I had it in the morning before we left our friends’ house but somewhere on the way, the ring slipped from my fingers (well, the positive: I lost weight from a one day hiking trip! The negative: at the cost of a very expensive ring!) Anyways both V and I were very upset, but then things like this happen. I never wanted to wear the ring but V told me to, because he believes that the stone would be good for my overall prosperity and good luck. Since I don’t believe in such things, I wasn’t too keen. On his insistence I wore it. The irony is that once lost, I feel its a bad omen and my prosperity would be affected ( well, not that I was working or anything, but still, any chance of finding a job would get lost). Well, ok, I am not THAT superstitious but I would have felt more sure of my prosperity and my luck if the ring was in my fingers. Anyways, that too, we shall see!

Coming to today, I decided on treating V and myself to some real Indian comfort food: Poori, sookhe kale chane and Sooji ka Halwa .

Poori is a deep fried unleavened flat bread eaten in India. The dough is made of whole wheat flour, water, salt and a little ghee (clarified butter). One can also add carom seeds (Ajwain), like I did, for an added flavor.

Sookhe Kale chane is a north Indian dish, popularly made during Ashtami, (a Hindu festival) as part of Kanjak puja ( a ceremony performed for little girls). Generally, it is made sans salt (it is a fasting period and salt is not allowed). The salt is replaced with black salt (kala namak). Also, traditionally, ginger and tomatoes nor onions are used, but I have added them in my recipe (well, since we are not fasting!)

Sooji ka Halwa is a sweet dish very,very popular in most Indian households. It is also one of V’s favorites. Unfortunately for him, my first few attempts at the halwa have been disastrous. Its a tradition for newly weds to cook halwa for the husband’s family. Now, before marriage I had never entered the kitchen to cook, to bake-yes, but to cook, never. Well, probably once or twice, but that’s it. So, when I decided to make something for V’s family, I had no idea where to begin! Luckily, my in-laws had gone out of the house and the cook helped me making the halwa. Actually, I tried once, but it was a mess. So, had to take the cook’s help! Surprisingly, its very easy to make but also very easy to mess up. Fortunately, this time I found the microwave version of the recipe and thought to myself, I can;t goof up with this. And what would you know- I did! But, only slightly and because I had to third the recipe as I only had 2 cups of milk in the fridge. I also burnt the almonds in the microwave (I knew something was burning- but multi-tasking to prepare food in time for V’s lunch just ended up burning the almonds- but luckily, only a few!) The end result, though, was unexpectedly, pretty good. Actually very good!

Update: Just spoke with my mother-in-law and it turns out that losing a stone ring is good if it happens in the natural course of your day. It means all the bad energies leave you with that stone. Hmm.. 2011 looks promising! 😉

Read the rest of this entry »