Saturday, September 2, 2017

Panchamrut

Many a times, when mention 'Panchamrut' we mistake this dish to the traditional Panchamrut which consists of Milk, Yogurt, Ghee, Honey and Sugar. However, in Maharashtrian cuisine, Panchamrut is also served as a side dish along with the traditional meal and is not made from any of the abovementioned ingredients.  Panchamrut is a sweet, sour and spicy dish made with a combination of nuts and spices.

The word 'Panchamrut' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Pancha' which means five and 'Amrit' which means immortal nectar of Gods. As the name suggests, Panchamrut is a blend of five tastes and is made from five major ingredients. This recipe differs from region to region with some minor alterations. 

Panchamrut is not an everyday delicacy and is reserved for special Maharashtrian festive occasions. 

Approx. Time: 20 - 25 minutes (excluding pre-preparation)

Yield: Approx. 3 cups 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Dried Coconut slices
1/4 cup chopped Green Chillies
1/2 cup roasted Peanuts (peel removed)
1/4 cup Cashew nuts
1/4 cup Golden Raisins and Black Raisins (Black raisins optional)
1/2 cup Roasted Sesame Seeds powder
1 cup Tamarind pulp / Tamarind Extract (चिंचेचा कोळ)
1 to 2 cups Water
tbspn Maharashtrian Black Masala (Goda Masala) 
1/2 cup Jaggery 
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
2 tbspns Vegetable Oil 
1/2 tspn Mustard Seeds
1/4 tspn Asafoetida Powder
1/2 tspn Turmeric Powder
10-12 Curry leaves

Method:
Pre-Preparation:
1. To extract 1 cup of Tamarind Pulp, take half cup of Tamarind pods in a bowl.  Add a cup of warm water to it. Soak it for approx. 15-20 minutes or till the tamarind softens. Mash the Tamarind and strain the pulp. Discard the black coloured seeds and the fibrous part. The output you get after straining is the Tamarind pulp.
2. To make Sesame Seeds Powder, dry roast half a cup of Sesame Seeds in a pan till it turns crisp. Once it cools down, blend it in a mixer to make a coarse powder.
3. To roast Peanuts, add peanuts to a pan. Stir it frequently on a medium flame. Roast it till it turns light brown and then allow it to cool. Ensure that the Peanuts does not over roasted.

To make Panchamrut:
Heat oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is heated, add the Mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the Asafoetida powder, Turmeric Powder and Curry leaves. Then add the chopped Green Chillies and dried Coconut slices. Cook the Coconut slices for 2-3 minutes. Then add the Tamarind pulp and water. Bring it to a boil. 

Add the roasted Peanuts, Cashew nuts, Golden and black raisins, roasted Sesame Seeds powder and simmer. Adjust the consistency by adding water, if required. Simmer it for a while so that the nuts become slightly soft. Finally add the Maharashtrian Black Masala (Goda Masala), Jaggery and salt to taste. Cook it on medium heat to get the desired consistency. It should neither be very thick or nor watery. Switch off the flame and serve at room temperature. 

Notes:
1. Panchamrut has a shelf life of 5-6 days. It can be stored in an air-tight container. 

Stepwise Pictures:

























Thursday, August 31, 2017

Masale Bhaat

The word 'Masale' in Marathi means spices and 'Bhaat' means Rice.  As the name suggests, its a spicy and flavourful variety of rice. Traditionally, Masale Bhaat is made with either Ivy Gourd or Egg Plant / Aubergine along with Green Peas or Potatoes. Masale Bhaat is called 'Tondli Bhaat' when made with Ivy Gourd and 'Vangi Bhaat' when made with Aubergine. However, usage of vegetables like Carrots, Tomatoes, Cauliflower, French Beans, etc.should be avoided as it takes away the authentic taste and will make it taste like regular Pulao. This rice can also be made without using any vegetables as well.  

Masale Bhaat is not a every day delicacy and is reserved especially for special occasions like weddings, thread ceremonies, mangalagaur, poojas and so on. Onion and Garlic is not used in the preparation of this recipe as this served as an offering to God. Although, some regions of Maharashtra use Onion Garlic in their preparation. 


Approx. Time: 30 minutes (excluding pre-preparation)

Yield: 3-4 people

Ingredients:
2 cups Basmati Rice 
5 cups Water (2.5 times of rice)
3/4 cup vertically chopped Ivy Gourd (Scarlet Gourd / Tondli) 
3/4 cup Green Peas 
tbspn Maharashtrian Black Masala (Goda Masala) 
1/2 cup Cashew nuts
1/2 cup Full Cream Yoghurt (Curd/ Dahi)
1/2 cup scrapped fresh Coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro (Coriander leaves)
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
4 tbspns Vegetable Oil 
1/2 tspn Mustard Seeds
1/2 tspn Cumin seeds (or Royal Cumin i.e. Shahjeera)
1/4 tspn Asafoetida Powder
1 tspn Turmeric Powder
10-12 Curry leaves
4 chopped Green Chillies

For Garnishing:
Freshly scrapped Coconut
Finely chopped fresh Cilantro 
Ghee  (Sajuk Tup)
Lemon wedge

Optional Ingredients:
1 tspn Coriander Cumin Powder
1 tspn Sugar 

Method:
Wash Rice with plain water in a colander and drain. Keep it aside for 10-15 minutes. 

Heat oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is heated, add the Mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add then Cumin seeds, Asafoetida powder, Turmeric Powder, Curry leaves and chopped Green chillies. Then add the vertically chopped Ivy Gourd and Green Peas. Saute it for 2 minutes. Then add the washed Basmati rice and saute it for 3-4 minutes. Also stir in the Salt, Cashew nuts and Black Masala (Goda Masala). 

Simultaneously, keep a little more than 5 cups of water to boil so that it gets reduced to 5 cups at the boiling stage. Use of hot water makes this rice more light and each grain gets separated. 

Pour in the boiling water to the uncooked rice mixture. Finally add the Yoghurt and stir. At this point check and adjust the seasoning by tasting the water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the rice on medium low heat. The rice gets cooked in approximately 15 minutes . Avoid stirring the rice in between as it leads to breaking of rice grains. Once done, add the scrapped fresh Coconut and finely chopped Cilantro. Turn off the flame. While serving, drizzle a teaspoon of Ghee and garnish it with scrapped coconut and chopped Cilantro with a lemon wedge alongside. 

Notes:
1. In case Maharashtrian Goda Masala is not available, you may use Garam Masala. Even combination of Goda Masala and Garam Masala tastes good. 
2. The measure of water i.e. 2.5 times of rice is for old Basmati Rice. The same may have to be modified according to the age and type of rice. 
3. Masale Bhaat can be made without using Ivy Gourd or Green Peas also. It tastes equally good. 
4. The optional ingredient - Coriander-Cumin powder should be added along with Goda Masala and Sugar should be added at the end along with scrapped Coconut and Cilantro. 
5. You may also add a Bay leaf and few Cloves in tempering. 

Stepwise Pictures:























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