Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z - Zarda / Sweet Rice


BM # 63
Day : 26
Theme: Regional Cuisine
Cuisine : Sindhi


We are at the last day in our Journey through the Cuisines. Time has flown by and I can't believe we are done with this month long marathon, where I have posted all Sindhi Sweets. It definitely was challenging , but in the process I have learnt all the sweets which I should have learnt long back. Thanks Valli for giving the opportunity ! Coming to the last post I have Zarda. I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.

Zarda is a traditional sweet dish from Pakistan prepared by boiling rice with orange food color. The name Zarda comes from Persian and Urdu . 'Zard' meaning yellow. Zarda is typically served after meals, specially at weddings. One can make it at home and store in frig to be served as a dessert.

After the 1947 partition most of the Hindu Sindhi's migrated to India but the Muslim Sindhi's stayed back in Pakistan. Zarda is a dish mainly prepared by the Muslim Sindhi's, where as Tahiri is a prepared by Hindu Sindhis. We have another version of Zarda which is a The Kashmiri Zarda. The Pakistani Zarda is made with orange peels and orange color, but the Kashmiri Zarda is yellow and made with saffron. It's hard to compare the two, as both are rich and absolutely delicious. The orange flavor in the Pakistani Zarda and the saffron flavor in the Kashmiri Zarda, both highlight the dish.



Zarda

Ingredients
250 gms basmati rice
1/4 tsp orange food color
Peel of 1 orange
300 gms sugar
1/4 cup pure ghee
3 cardamons
3 cloves
1 cup mixed dry fruits
( almonds, pistachios,walnuts, raisins, dry coconut slices )
1/2 tsp orange essence
1 Silver leaf (optional)
3-4 Glazed cherries

Method
Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes.
Put a pot full of water to boil.
As soon as the water boils add the food color and orange peels.
Let boil, add rice.
Let the rice cook to 80%.
Drain the water and discard the orange peels.
Put the rice in another bowl and add sugar.
Mix well.
Heat a pan and add ghee.
Throw in the slightly crushed cardamons and cloves.
Add nuts and roast lightly.
Add raisins , lastly add coconut slices.
Immediately add the rice that has been mixed with sugar.
The sugar will ooze out water.
Cook on very slow fire till all the sugar water has been absorbed and the rice is done.
Serve garnished with more nuts , silver leaf and glazed cherries.




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Friday, April 29, 2016

Y - Yogurt Fruit Cocktail / Matho


BM # 63
Day;25
Theme: Regional Cuisine 
Cuisine : Sindhi

Now this is one alphabet which left me with sleepless nights. My maximum research was for the alphabet 'Y '. I thought of using the English word Yogurt, but since I was doing sweets I dropped it. It was on one of my chats with Alka that she hit the nail on the head. She told me that we have a Matho which is sweet and I could use it under Y. She gave me the recipe which is by Dr. Aroona Reejhsinghani, who is a famous writer with 226 books ! I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.

I used the recipe but tweeted a little by adding some fresh fruit to it. While doing Buffet on the Table, I did a post on Thadri the Sindhi festival,a festival where we cook a day prior to the festival. On Thadri day no fire is lit. This Matho is a part of the Thadri Menu. Some families make salty Matho, while some make sweet. This Matho has a hint of salt, pepper and mustard along with sugar. It also has gram flour vermecilli, which is mildly salted, but without any other spice and is easily available in the stores as Bhel Sev . The Matho needs a little resting time for the flavors to infuse.

For me trying a Matho with salt and sugar , spices ,fruits and nuts was totally new and truly delicious.



Yogurt fruit cocktail / Fruit Matho

Ingredients
21/2 cups curd, whisked
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1 cup gram flour strings, Sev
2 tbsp sliced pistachios
2 tbsp raisins
Few grapes

Method
Beat the curd with 3 cups of water.
Add all spices.
Mix well, adding the rest of ingredients.
Let stand for at least 30 mins for flavors to infuse.
Serve chilled.
Garnish with fruit and nuts.






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Thursday, April 28, 2016

X - Xtra Sweet ! Mithi Boondi /Tiny sweet gram flour dumplings - Sweet served with Sindhi Kadhi Chawara


BM # 63
Day : 24
Theme: Regional Cuisine 
Cuisine : Sindhi

Ah! we are on the toughest alphabet 'X' in our Journey through Cuisines. Frankly speaking I did not do any research on this one, I knew we do not have any words with the alphabet 'X ' in Sindhi script. So I decided to give you the Xtra sweet ! Sweet that is served with the Sindhi meals.I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.

You all are familiar with the famous Sindhi Kadhi Chawara , this is the normal Sunday lunch in most Sindhi homes. Normally in routine, we do not serve any sweet with it, but Mithi Boondi is a sweet which is served on special occasions or during weddings.

The Sindhi's normally pour Kadhi over rice , add a couple of spoons of boondi and enjoy the meal. Boondi are small gram flour dumplings, fried to a golden and then immersed in sugar syrup. The sugar syrup should be just enough to be absorbed by these dumplings. This is flavored with cardamon. Pistachios could be added for that nutty flavor.










Mithi Boondi

Ingredients
1 cup Besan
1 tsp ghee
1/2 cup water
Ghee for frying

Syrup
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
Cardamon seeds
Saffron threads

Garnish
Pistachios

Method
Add 1 tsp ghee to the sifted Besan
Add water gradually and making a thick batter.
Keep aside.
Heat ghee .
Hold a large meshed strainer over the ghee and pour the batter into it.
Press the batter a little at a time, you shall see tiny balls in the ghee, fry from low to medium.
Remove with a slotted spoon and put them into the sugar syrup.
Repeat making these tiny balls till the batter gets over.
Set aside till all the boondi has soaked the syrup.
Mix in the cardamon seeds and garnish with pistachios.

Sugar syrup
Put sugar in pan with water.
Boil till the sugar dissolves and forms a one thread consistency syrup.
Remove from heat and add the crushed soaked saffron strands.

Notes
Make sure to wash the strainer every time you finish pouring in one batch.
To restart you should have a clean strainer.




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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W - Wanwah ji Kutti / Dry Fruit Powder





































BM # 63
Day : 23
Theme: Regional Cuisine
Cuisine : Sindhi


With the letter W , I have made Wanwah ji Kutti. This is normally made at the time of a wedding in the family.


Sindhi weddings are one Bollywood affair. Pre wedding celebrations start three to four days prior to the D Day. On the eve of the wedding day some rituals are held at both the bride and grooms house.


In the boys house all relatives and close friends put oil on the grooms head and tear his clothes. This signifies casting away the old life and beginning a new one. This is a very hilarious ceremony where the groom normally wears nice tight jeans , which probably is the third layer. Everyone just waits to tear these clothes, mind you, scissors or sharp tools are totally forbidden.

Wanwah ji Kutti is made by both , the bride and grooms side . When these rituals finish, the Kutti is fed to the groom by his mother. She takes a big amount of Kutti in her palm and the groom tries to eat from it, after a bite , the rest is added back to the bowl.this Kutti is first fed to the most eligible bachelors .and then distributed among everyone. A similar ritual is followed in the brides house also.

Post Wanwah ceremony the groom or the bride are not allowed to move out, but definitely a lot of singing and dancing and partying takes place.

Wanwah ji Kutti is made with lots of dry fruits which are coarsely crushed, along with candy sugar, Cardamon and Choori. Some people even use edible gum to it. I remember when my son was getting married we made a big bowl of it and everyone really enjoyed it. There's is no fixed measurement , one can vary the proportions to suit ones taste. You don't need to have a wedding to make this Kutti, you will simply love to eat it , specially for breakfast. 

I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.



Wanwah ji Kutti

Ingredients
1/4 cup Choori
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup dry dates, pitted
1/8 cup sugar candy or according to taste
1tsp cardamon powder


Method
Roast the flour for choori.
Do not add any sugar.
Grind half the sugar candy to a fine powder.
Coarsely grind the dry fruits.
Mix the Choori ,dry fruits, powdered sugar candy, sugar candy and cardamon powder.





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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V -Varo Gura jo / Jaggery Brittle


BM # 63
Day : 22
Theme: Regional Cuisine
Cuisine : Sindhi



As a young girl I was never very fond of sweets and whenever mom would make something I would not even taste. It was my brothers who loved all sweets . Since I never ate these I never bothered to learn or know about them. Even when I got married I hardly took interest in the sweets my mom in law made. It's only when my daughters got married I felt I should learn to make at least the basic sweets which we have to send to daughters.

During winters Varo is made and sent. We have many versions of Varo. One such version we made for Indian Cooking Challenge. Most versions are where we make them with sugar as the base, but this one is with jaggery. Varo has to be really nice and crunchy, should have some nuts too. Sugar or jaggery is melted and cooked till slightly pink , after adding the required ingredients it is poured in a greased Thali. My friend , Meenu is an expert at sweets and came to teach me this one and a couple of more sweets.

So let's get to the recipe of this Varo with the alphabet V in our journey through the cuisines.I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.


Varo gura jo

Ingredients
250 gms jaggery
8-10 pieces of black raisins
8-10 pieces each of almonds, cashews and pistachios.
1/2 cup Choori

Method
Melt the jaggery in a thick bottomed pan, make sure you do it on slow fire.
Let the jaggery turn to pink color, add 1 tsp of water.
Immediately add choori..
Mix well and remove in a greased plate.
Sprinkle the nuts and raisins.
Let set.
Unmould to serve.



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Monday, April 25, 2016

U - Ubraiyal Mithiyu Gajrun / Boiled Sweet Carrots


BM # 63
Day : 21
Theme: Regional Cuisine 
Cuisine : Sindhi

We have just a couple of days left to finish our Journey through the Cuisines , can't believe we are already at 'U' today.

I have a simple warm dessert for the day, just ideal for winters or those cold evenings. The Delhi carrots have such a deep red color and they look so pretty as well. The word Ubariyal means boiled , Mithi is sweet , Gajru is carrots.so boiled sweet carrots.

This is a dessert that takes me back to my child hood when my granny used to simply cut the Delhi winter carrots into roundels and boil adding sugar and cardamon. Carrots are naturally sweet and boiling them in sugar and Cardamon transfers them into a fantastic dessert, you could call it a simple version of carrot Halwa.I followed my granny's recipe though you could make it more rich by adding saffron and nuts .make it a gourmet dessert, serve it with ice cream .

I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.


Ubariyali Mithi Gajru

Ingredients
1 large red Delhi carrot
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp Cardamon powder

Method
Peel and wash the carrots.
Cut into slices.
Place the carrots in a pot adding sugar, Cardamon powder and 1/2 cup water.
Let boil , cook till the carrots are soft and you have one thread consistency syrup.
The carrots are ready to be served.





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Saturday, April 23, 2016

T - Tahiri / Sweet Rice


BM # 63
Day : 20
Theme: Regional Cuisine 
Cuisine : Sindhi

When it came to the alphabet ' T ' I had a couple of options , but Tahiree , a sweet rice from the Sindhi kitchen was all set on my mind. The rice is sweet , but the sweetness is very mild. Normally basmati rice is used to make Tahiri and different Sindhi communities make Tahiri in different ways. This particular recipe belongs to the Bhai bhand community of Sindh.Tahiri is normally served with Sindhi Sai Bhaji or Waagane Patata, which is a brinjal potato curry.

Tahiri is cooked on special occasions like marriages, mundan or pooja ceremonies. It is also made on festivals like Chaliha, Cheti Chand. Most people prepare it on a every full moon night, which is called Chandra ( moon ).

Tahiri is also distributed as prasad on Cheti Chand. Cheti Chand is the Sindhi New Year and birth anniversary of Jhulelal. Jhulelal lal is the Ishtar Dev of Sindhi community. Sindhi Hindus regard him to be an incarnation of Hindu God Varauna. Since this is the prasad that is served on Cheti Chand let me tell you a little about the celebrations of this festival.

On this day processions are organized, rituals conducted in temples. Lot of cultural programs are held, Bahranas are held. Now what is a Baharana? How is it made and performed? A big Thaali or plate is decorated with offerings. In the centre of the Thaali the idol of Jhulelal is placed . An earthen pot filled with water and covered with a red cloth, kneaded flour in the shape of a cone like shivling, cloves, cardamon sand betel leaves adorn this. Flowers and intense sticks fill the atmosphere with divine aroma.This Bahrana Sahib is carried to the temple with celebratory rituals , with dance merriment and singing. The contents of the Thaal are then immersed in the water as an offering to the Jhulelal lal. Probably on the similar lines of Ganpati Visarjan. Bharanas are also a major function for pre wedding celebrations, where the Thaal is made and lot of singing and dancing takes place . The prasad remains Tahiree . So should we get on to this prasadam?

I am also linking this post to the A-Z Challenge.



Tahiri

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups rice
1 cup sugar
5 cups water
1 cardamon
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp aniseed
3 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp sliced dried coconut
2 tbsp black raisins
2 tbsp almonds
2 tbsp pistachios
4-5 dry dates

Method
Wash and place the rice in a pan with cardamon and pinch of salt.
Cook on full flame, till the rice is nearly done, by now the rice would have absorbed almost all the water.
Simmer the gas and add sugar, cook till rice is completely done.
Fluff the rice with a fork.
Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
Heat ghee , add the nuts and raisins , fry the coconut and aniseed and add to the rice.
Alternatively fry all ingredients separately and garnish the rice.



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