Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spicy Garlic Sev

Spicy...Garlicy...Dead Easy!

If you are new to Diwali Faraal and dont know what to start off with...this is the recipe to go!
It is really quick and easy. Needs no experience and a huge bunch can be fried in less than 10 mins.
Having a chakli press is necessary though...

You can season this dish with any of your favorite spices.

Red chilly powder, Black pepper powder and clove powder make the sev spicy.
You can also add in cumin seeds (jeera) or carom seeds (ajwain) to the dough. Just make sure you roughly crush them before adding. I would suggest rolling them with pressure with a rolling pin. We don't want it super fine. But if there are large pieces of spices, it will just fall out into the oil when you fry the sev.

Your chakli press has 2 discs for making sev. Thicker sev and thinner sev, as shown below. Just remember that if you are using the thinner sev disc, try and avoid whole spices as it is difficult to press the sev out of the chakli press and the spices get clogged inside the contraption.

Now let's get started.

Level: Easy
Serves: 8 - 10 people

2 cups chickpea flour
8 tblsp rice flour
1.5 tsp turmeric powder
2 tblsp garlic powder
2 tblsp red chilly powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
Salt to taste (I used 2 tsp)
2 tsp clarified butter (ghee) / oil (I used ghee)
Warm Water as required
Oil for deep frying
Thin sev disc

Step 1 - Take a flat large pan and fill it with an inch of oil. Start heating it on medium high heat.

Step 2 - In a large bowl, measure out the chickpea flour, rice flour, garlic powder, red chilly powder, black pepper powder, asafoetida and salt. Mix it with a spoon or with your hand till everything is incorporated well.

Step 3 - Add in the clarified butter or oil and mix the ingredients well. It should have a crumbly texture, which indicates that you have mixed all ingredients well with the grease.

Step 4 - Now slowly add in the warm water and start kneading it into a dough, similar to a chapati dough. The final dough should be of a soft texture. Check for salt. If you need to add more salt, don't just sprinkle it into the dough. Mix the salt in a tsp of water, heat the water in the microwave for a few seconds. Mix till the salt dissolves well. Add to the dough and knead well again.

Step 5 - Spray the interiors and the rod of the chakli press with some oil spray or just smear some oil with your hand to make sure the dough comes out well and does not stick to the surface.

Step 6 - Divide the dough into 2 parts, mould it into a cylindrical shape and push the dough into the chakli press. Close the contraption in place. The remaining dough needs to be oiled and covered well. We dont want the dough to form scales on the top while it rests.

Step 7 - Let us check the oil now. By now it should be perfectly hot. Take out a pinch of dough from our resting dough and add it to the oil. It should immediately come up and start sizzling. This indicates the oil is ready. Now take the chakli press and start rotating the rod till it starts squeezing the dough out. Holding the press above the hot oil, quickly squeeze out the dough. Keep moving your hand around so the pan is full of sev.

Step 8 - Let the sev fry for 5 - 10 seconds. With the help of tongs, turn the sev over carefully. Fry for another 10 - 12 seconds. Remove off the pan and place on a tissue lined tray. Start next batch. Make sure you do not brown the sev too much.

Step 9 - When the sev has cooled down, just slightly crush them down with the plams of your hand on the tray, so they break down. You can crush them as small or as long as you like them. Store them in an air tight container and gobble away.

Hope you enjoy munching on these.

Make sure you are careful when you push down the sev into the hot oil. You dont want the chakli press to fall into the hot oil and splash oil all over you. To avoid this, before you start frying, make sure your hands or the chakli press is not oily.

Use a flat pan to fry these, so you can fry a large batch at one time.

When the dough touches the oil, there will be a lot of bubbles. Slowly the bubbles will start disappearing. This is the indication of the sev being cooked. Don't wait too long for the sev to change color here. They might end up burning.

When I was frying the sev, I did not pile them a lot as my pan was very flat. Due to this my cooking time was just a few seconds. If you have a deeper pan, and can pile your sev together into a heap, don't forget to  increase your frying time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brownies Simplified!

If you are looking for that special, no fuss, complication-free brownie recipe... Look no further!
Here is one simple 'Basic Brownie' recipe for you.

Before we get into brownie variation recipes, it is nice to have a trusted basic recipe on hand.

This recipe is tried and tested, quick and has nothing overly fancy in it, to scare you away from baking these.

Great eaten by itself, these brownies taste better warm, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or even with just a warm glass of milk.
Sizzling brownies are just a sizzler plate away when you have this easy-breezy brownie recipe.

This recipe makes a brownie which is denser than a cake, yet not too fudgy! Thats how I like it!
You can add a cup of walnuts or pecans in this batter for a nice crunch.

The coffee in the ingredients is optional and is used only to enhance the chocolate flavor. This quantity does not make it a coffee flavored brownie.

This recipe is dedicated to my sister-in-law who is a die hard fan of these beauties! Its her 'to-go' recipe whenever we have guests over.
And it has NEVER failed to impress!

So lets get baking...

Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 people

200 gms melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1.25 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
1/2 cup plain flour
Pinch of salt

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper or a foil and spray it with some cooking oil.

Step 2 - Crack 3 eggs in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside.

Step 3 - In a large bowl, add the melted butter, cocoa, coffee powder (if using) and sugar and whisk them together till they all combine.

Step 4 - Add in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Whisk together again till well combined.

Step 5 - Add in the pinch of salt and flour. Replace the whisk with a wooden spoon or spatula and mix in together till well combined. Do not over mix. If you do, the brownies will fall flat while baking and that is not what we are getting at.

Step 6 - Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and place it in the oven for 25-30 mins or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the dish comes out with some moist crumbs.

And we are done!
Chop them into large chunks when they cool down and serve warm or cold.

Happy cooking everyone!

I know I am repeating myself here, but do not over mix the batter. We don't want the brownie to be super dense and gooey here. A normal hand whisk works much better than an electric whisk.

If you do not have granulated sugar, you can replace it with normal coarse sugar (regular sugar in India). Just remember that when you add it in the butter in Step 2, you keep whisking it till the sugar blends in.

If you plan to add in some nuts, do so at Step 5, once the flour is well incorporated. And you do not have permission to over mix even here! :)