Saanzori or Saanza Poli

‘Saanza’ is another name for ‘Sheera’ and a Saanzori is a kind of ‘poli’ or roti made with stuffed Saanza. While its ‘cousin’ – the Puran Poli – is more popular, Saanzori is a special dish that is rarely available outside homes making it all the more special. My mom is an expert at making saanzoris – so I’ve grown up partial to this particular sweet. She decided to make it for a special occasion at home recently…so I managed to capture some parts of the process on video. So here’s a first on the solkadhi blog – an amateur video in addition to the actual recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Saanza or Sheera:

  • Rava (Sooji) – 1 cup (try and use the coarse rava, if possible)
  • Water – 1& 3/4th cups
  • Jaggery – 1&1/4th cups
  • Ghee – 4 tspns
  • Elaichi (Velchi) or Cardamom Powder -1/2 tspn
  • Jayphal (nutmeg) powder – 1/2 tspn
  • Salt – a pinch

For the cover;

  • Maida – 3/4th cup
  • Wheat Flour – 3/4th cup
  • oil – 7-8 tspns
  • salt to taste

Procedure:

Roast the rava in a dry pan for a bit till it gives out an aroma. Keep aside

Making the dough for the cover:

Making the dough for the cover of a saanzori is an involved process. Mix the Maida & Wheat flour, add 3-4 tspns of oil and salt and knead with requisite amount of water to a very very soft consistency. Then again add 2-3 tspns of oil and knead again. Spread the kneaded dough slightly, make some ‘pockets’ in it with your fingers, and add about 2-3 tspns of oil spread into the ‘pockets’. Cover and keep aside. After about 2 hours, once again, knead the dough. Repeat the whole process for at least another round. The final consistency of the dough – after 5-6 hours – should be highly elastic.

Making the Saanza:

Mix the jaggery, ghee, cardamom & nutmeg powder and salt in water and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring while it comes to a boil. Once the jaggery is dissolved, lower the flame and slowly add the roasted rava, stirring continuously. Mix well till it all blends together, cover with a lid and steam.  Stir a couple of times as it steams. The saanza comes together as it cooks into a sort of integrated mass. Cook till it gets a little dry – the saanza should not remain sticky. Remember it has to be stuffed inside dough and rolled into a poli – so it can’t remain sticky. The saaza takes about 5 mins to cook overall.

Keep the cooked saanza aside for 3-4 hours – it needs to cool down completely.

Making the Saanzori:

Make largish ladoos or balls of the saanza. Similarly, make small balls out of the dough. Wrap the dough gently around the saanza ladoos. Keep the wrapped saanza balls on a layer of rice flour else they stick to whichever surface you keep them on. Roll out into polis (rotis) and cook them on the tava like you would regular parathas or rotis, adding ghee while on the tava. The video depicts this saanzori making process.

Saanzoris last for a few days without refrigeration – so they are ideal to carry on a journey too.  They can be eaten as-is – though the make a great combo with lime pickle (or any other pickle, for that matter).

 

 

 

Panha

As summer manifests itself in all its glory in India and all of us look for avenues to beat the heat, a ‘must- have’ drink in this part of the world is ‘Panha’. Known by various names – Kairee Panha or Panhe, Aam-Panna, etc – this drink is also made with subtle variations across regions and households. The recipe below is my mom’s and is something you absolutely CANNOT afford to miss making during these hot summer months.

Combined with Aamba Daal, this makes a great summer evening high tea menu or even a light meal.

Ingredients:

  • Raw Mango or Kairee (Big) – 1
  • Jaggery – same volume as the Raw Mango (see recipe below)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cardamom (Elaichi or velchi) powder – a pinch
  • Nutmeg (Jaiphal) powder – a pinch

Preparation:

Wash the raw mango and pressure cook it (without adding any water). After it cools down, break it open and take out all the raw mango pulp. Measure the volume of pulp and add the same volume of jaggery to it. Blend well and set this mix aside for an hour or so. This lets the jaggery soak properly in the pulp and melt a bit.

Then add salt to taste, and the cardamon & nutmeg powder and mix well – and the base Panha is ready! When you want to make the actual drink, add plain water (just like you would add water to a juice concentrate), top it with ice and serve.

Note:

  • The panha made as above is very thick and lumpy – and needs to be stirred quite a bit when making it into a drink. So some folks run the mix in a mixie with half a cup of water so it blends well and is smooth. You can try doing that.
  • The panha as above does not ‘stay’ for more than a day or so, even in a refrigerator. To ensure it lasts for a week or so, boil the mix slightly – that is, just till the first set of bubbles start. Do NOT do a full-fledged boil. And remember to keep stirring the mix as you bring it to a boil.

So go on..take on the summer with Panha!

 

kadhan – a jaggery and moong dal kheer

I have a weakness for jaggery-based sweets – and kadhan, a jaggery-and-moong dal kheer, comes out tops in this category.  In fact, in my family, I am very rarely asked for suggestions on what sweet to make – ‘cos the answer is always kadhan 🙂

Today is one of those special days when we made Kadhan at home. Today is rather special too – as it is the first monday in the month of Shraavan (as per the Hindu calendar) and it is the festival of  Nag Panchami  as well. My mom always makes something sweet on every monday in the month of Shraavan – so we all quite look forward to these days. And since I have this oh-so-satisfied, all-is-well-with-the-world feeling that comes from having had something wonderful to eat, I decided to pen down the Kadhan recipe without further ado.

This recipe uses Haldi (Turmeric) leaf for added flavour – like in the Shirshira recipe I had posted earlier. The thing about Haldi leaves is they don’t have to be fresh. You can get them whenever you come across them, dry them for a few days in the sun and store them in a dry place. They easily last for a year or so. I know of folks who take dry haldi leaves with them to the US etc too.

Ingredients:

  • Moong Dal (green gram) – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1 to 1.25 cups
  • Milk or Coconut Milk (thick) – 1 to 1.5 cups
  • Cashew pieces – 1 tablespoon
  • Cardamom (Elaichi) Powder – 1/4th tsp
  • Haldi (Turmeric) Leaf – 1, cut into 2 or 3 pieces.
  • Salt to taste

Procedure:

Roast the moong dal in a pan till it turns a light pink in colour. Keep aside and let it cool. Wash it thoroughly then add 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt, the cashew pieces and haldi leaf pieces and pressure cook. Usually, about 3 whistles suffice to cook the dal. It is important that the moong dal remains granular even after it is cooked – should not get ‘mashed’.

Allow the cooked dal to cool down. Then remove the haldi leaves and add the jaggery. I’ve said 1 to 1.25 cups so you can adjust how sweet you want the kadhan to be. Boil this till the jaggery is completely dissolved and blended with the dal – stirring occasionally. But take care that the jaggery is not allowed to thicken!

Once the jaggery is dissolved, add the milk / coconut milk and cardamom powder and bring to a light boil. Do not do a ‘heavy’ boil or the milk curdles.

The coconut milk gives it a unique taste that, IMHO, is unparalleled. However, not all of us have coconut milk at hand, so ordinary milk also works fine.

Kadhan can be eaten nice ‘n hot or even chilled.

To paraphrase Nike, JUST DO IT!! 🙂

Dhondas – a kind of traditional ‘cake’

Ever wondered how a ‘cake’ can be made out of cucumber? Well…this is what Dhondas is made of  – along with jaggery and rava (sooji). And all ye veggies out there – this will gladden your heart as there is no egg involved!

Dhondas is a traditional sweet made in most GSB households – and a huge favorite. You absolutely MUST try this out….

BTW, the cucumber to be used here is the large variety  – which is at least a 3/4th foot long and a couple of inches in diameter. Try not to use the regular small slim ones that we use for salads etc.

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber (Large) – peeled and grated – 1 cup. Note: Retain the water that you get while grating the cucumber as it is also used for this dish
  • Rava (sooji) – 1 cup. Use your regular rava that is ‘medium’ sized. Not the very fine variety nor the coarse one.
  • Jaggery – 1 cup. If it is in a big lumpy form, either grate the jaggery or cut it into pieces.
  • Melted Ghee – 4 tsps
  • Nutmeg – 1/4th tsp
  • Cashewnuts – 8-9, chopped into smaller pieces.
  • Coconut (optional) – cut into small bits or grated – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/4th tsp

Procedure:

Mix the cucumber, cucumber water, jaggery, cashewnuts, coconut and salt in a pan and bring to a boil. Basically heat the mix till the jaggery starts melting and comes to a boil. Stir once in a while. Don’t let it boil too much and thicken – the jaggery should remain ‘liquidy’. Keep this mix aside and allow it to cool down.

In a separate pan, heat the ghee and roast the rava in the ghee till it is well roasted. A good indicator that the rava is well roasted is the wonderful aroma that arises :). Keep aside and allow this also to cool.

Then add the mix to the roasted rava, add in the nutmeg powder and baking soda. (Tip : Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tsp of milk, ensuring no lumps are formed, and then add it to the mix). The resulting batter should be of a cake batter consistency. Sometimes, depending on the variety of rava used, the batter becomes very thick and rather dry. If this happens, add a little milk to soften it.

Bake this like you would bake a regular cake. To test if it is done, put a knife straight thru the dhondas and pull it out. If no remains stick to the knife, it means that your dhondas is done.

BTW, here is an interesting aside. In the earlier days when ordinary folks did not have access to an oven, a variety of contraptions were used for baking. My mom was gifted the one in the picture below at her wedding more than 40 years ago – which she continues to use even today.

Cake Patra – How it looks from outside

Cake Patra – an internal view. Taken just after the dhondas was made

This is put on the gas stove and used for baking.  I remember all cakes in my house being baked in this vessel. In fact, the dhondas pictured below has been baked in this….take a look:

Do try out the dhondas and let me know how it turned out 🙂