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).

 

 

 

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Daaleecha Sambaaraa

We all have our ‘comfort foods’ – and Daaleecha Sambaraa or Daaleechi Amti…or, as the Nadkarni family tends to refer to it, “Banda aamti” (after our ancestral hometown of Banda) is one such. A Sunday lunch of fried fish, kuleeth (horsegram) usal, kusbeer, Daaleecha Sambaaraa and Solkadhi….coupled with loud & boisterous conversation as we linger over the food long after our plates are dry…is enough to satiate the simple Nadkarni soul!

So without further ado, I present here a simple dal recipe that is unique in its taste. The interesting thing about this dal preparation is that NO OIL is used!

Version 1: With Drumstick-

Ingredients:

  • Toor Dal – 1 cup
  • Onion, medium size – 1, finely chopped
  • Drumstick – 1, with its skin removed and cut into approx 2 inch pieces. 7-8 pieces is what you would need
  • Fresh grated coconut – 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Green Chillies – 4 to 5
  • Haldi (Turmeric) – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind – size of 1 lemon
  • Coriander
  • Salt to taste

Version 2: With Jackfruit seeds (see further below)

Procedure:

Keep about 1 tsp of the chopped onion aside

Soak the tamarind in some water and keep aside

Pressure cook the dal with some water for 2 whistles. Keep Aside

In a pan, pour about 2 cups of water and add the drumstick pieces, the remaining chopped onion, 2-3 green chillies (slit down the middle), turmeric and salt to taste (should be sufficient for the dal too). Cover with a lid and steam till the drumstick is fully cooked.

Then add the cooked dal and tamarind pulp (from the tamarind soaked earlier) and boil for a good five minutes – till the raw smell of tamarind fades away.

While the above is being steamed & boiled, grind the grated coconut, 1 tspn of chopped onion, 1 or 2 green chillies (depending on how much spice you can take) with a little water. Coarsely grind – take care that it doesn’t become a fine paste. This is known as the ‘Vatap’ or ‘Goli’ in Kokani.

Add this ‘vatap’ to the boiled dal above and bring it to a light boil. Add chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Daaleecha Sambaaraa is best eaten with rice

Daleecha Sambaaraa with Jackfruit Seeds:

Note – Whenever you have Jackfruit, wash the seeds thoroughly and dry them – in the sun, if possible- for a few days and store. You can make a number of delicacies with them and also use them to add some zing to other dishes like this dal or some bhajis (sabjis)

If you are lucky enough to lay your hands on jackfruit seeds, then this is the slight variation in the prep of Daaleecha Sambaaraa:

Remove the fine shell on the jackfruit seeds (if it still remains) and chop them into two or, at max, four pieces. When pressure cooking the dal, cook it with the jackfruit seeds and the chopped onions (unlike in the drumstick version where you cook the onion with the drumsticks)

Rest of the procedure is the same as in the drumstick version of the dal.

kachryaa – so quick n simple!

When you feel like adding a little extra zing to your everyday meal…or you are simply bored of making the ‘same old dish’ from veggies like raw banana, yam, brinjal (eggplant), potato or even pumpkin, kachrya can come to your rescue. That too in a jiffy…

Most regions in India have a variety of this dish. The recipe below is the way it is made in our part of the world.

Ingredients:

  • Any one or more of the following vegetables : Raw Banana, Yam, Potato, Pumpkin or Brinjal (the large variety only). Wash, peel and cut into thick slices (about quarter inch thick) – squarish/rectangular in shape – About 10-12 slices
  • Turmeric (Haldi) – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida (Heeng) – qtr tsp
  • Rice Flour – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – about 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – as required

Procedure:

Add the salt to the vegetable slices and keep aside for 10 minutes. Drain most of the water that gets formed – leaving about 1 tsp of the water with the slices.

Add in the turmeric, chilli powder and asafoetida, mix well and again leave aside for 10-15 mins.

Take rice flour in a plate, roll each slice of the marinaded veggie slice in the rice flour till it is completely coated. Dust the slices so that no thick lumps of rice flour cling to the slices.

Heat 2-3 tsps of oil on a tava (flat pan) and shallow fry the rice flour-coated slices. Cover the tava with a lid and fry on low heat. Usually you can fry about 5-6 slices in one lot (tho it depends on the size of the slices). Turn over the slices after about 5 minutes, when one side of the slices gets done. At any stage, add a teaspoon or two of oil along the sides if you find the oil is not enough – especially after you turn the slices over.

Its important you don’t “hurry up” – let one side get done completely before you turn the slices. Its not a good idea to keep repeatedly turning the slices on the tava – they end up absorbing a lot of oil, rather unnecessarily.

Serve hot. Goes really well with Daal-rice, Solkadhi-rice or even Chappatis/ Rotis.  Kachrya can be rustled up at the last minute for a meal – and always end up adding that “little extra” to make a meal interesting 🙂

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 🙂

Aambat Batata – a Potato Dish

Continuing on the theme of Devakarya menu from my last post (Ginger Chutney), here is another dish with is also a staple on the menu – Aambat Batata.  ‘Aambat’ means ‘sour’ in Marathi – although, like in most Indian cuisines and, therefore, in Indian languages, there are different types of ‘sour’ tastes – so the actual taste kinda gets lost in translation here. The ‘sourness’ of Aambat Batata is very light…so I guess a closer approximation would be to describe it as ‘tangy’ perhaps? Best is for you to try it out and decide for yourself.

Aambat Batata is a favorite with my sister-in-law. And since she lives outside the country and doesn’t have the time – like most of us – Aai has designed a ‘short-cut’ recipe for her. So am going to give you the original recipe here followed by the ‘short-cut’ one.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes – 3 to 4, medium sized. Cut them into long slices – approximately the length of the potato, about 1/2 inch in breadth and 3/4th cms thick. Tip: If you are dicing the potatoes a couple of hours or more prior to the actual cooking, remember to soak the potatoes in water. It prevents them from darkening.
  • Tamarind – the size of one small lemon. Soak for an hour or so and extract & use the pulpy juice.
  • Coconut – grated, 1 cup
  • Black Pepper Corns – 8 to 10
  • Rice – 1/2 tsp (or 1 tsp of rice flour)
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  • jaggery – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For the Tadka or ‘Phodni’ (as we call it in Marathi):

  • Mustard Seeds (‘Mohri’ or ‘Rai’) – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida (‘Heeng’) – 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek (‘Methi’) granules – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric (‘haldi’) – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – 2 to 2.5 tsps

Procedure:

First make the ‘Goli‘ or ‘Vaatap‘ – which is basically the coconut-based paste that is the basis of most gravies in this region. ‘Vaatap‘ means ‘that which has been ground

Mix the coconut, black peppercorns, and rice (or rice flour) and grind to a fine paste, adding water only as required. The resultant paste should be thick, not watery! Keep aside. You can also make this ‘vaatap’ on an earlier day(s) and store it in the freezer. Only thing is remember to thaw it properly before you make the actual dish.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, allow them to splutter, then add the Methi, Heeng and Haldi. Add the diced potatoes, salt and red chilli powder. Then add enough water to ensure that the potatoes are completely submerged in the water. Steam on a low-to-medium flame till the potatoes are cooked. Remember to cover the pan with a flat lid and pour some water on the lid while steaming. Some varieties of potatoes take a long time to cook – so keep checking and adding   water as required if the potatoes are taking longer to get done.

When the potatoes are near-done, add the tamarind paste and boil for about 5 mins – till the ‘raw’ smell of the tamarind goes away. I asked my mom a silly question at this point – why cant we wait till the potatoes are fully cooked before we add the tamarind paste. She said because the whole thing needs to be boiled for 5 mins after the tamarind paste is added – and if the potatoes have been fully cooked, then they tend to break and dissolve when this boiling is going on. Duh!

Once this is done, add the ‘Vaatap’ – the coconut-based paste – and the jaggery and bring to a light boil over a low flame. As with all coconut-based gravies, make sure you don’t bring this to an ‘active’ or ‘big’ boil.

And your Aambat Batata is ready…

THE SHORT-CUT RECIPE:

The short-cut method basically does away with the ‘Vaatap”

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes- same as the ingredients above
  • Tamarind option – you can use readymade tamarind paste instead of tamarind. Mix 1/2 tsp of tamarind paste in 1/4th cup water and blend well.
  • Coconut Milk – thick, available readymade – 1/2 cup. This is instead of the grated coconut.
  • Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp. This is instead of the whole pepper corns
  • Rice Flour – 1/2 Tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For the Tadka or Phodni – same as given above in the original recipe

Procedure:

Follow the same procedure as given in the original recipe till the stage where you need to add the tamarind paste. Here, use the readymade tamarind paste option as given in the ingredients above.

Next, instead of the ‘Vaatap’, we are going to use the coconut milk. First blend the rice flour into the coconut milk making sure no lumps remain. Add this to the potato mix in the pan, then add the pepper powder and jaggery. Bring to a low boil over a low flame.

Aambat Batata goes well with rotis, rice and even puris.