Guest Post – Paan Bahaar (Betel leaf Raita/Yogurt)

Poojan and I met in the virtual world of Facebook on a food group “Chef at Large”, about 3 months ago. Very soon we started interacting and sharing our love for food. As we got to know each other well, we realized we had so much in common, apart from the love for food. He is a kind soul, humble, polite and super talented. I am amazed to see so much of creativity in him! He loves to cook but is not into blogging. so, I thought of sharing one of his lip-smacking and decent recipe with you all 🙂


But before I get to the recipe, here is something about him in his own words.

I am basically from Gujarat, and being a true Gujarati, I am a super foodie, who likes to eat, cook, present and enjoy food in any veg form, as I am a vegetarian. I am having a flair of preparing food since childhood and try to make one or more things in kitchen whenever I get a chance, and sometimes I grab opportunity to do so.

Nicely prepared, neatly presented, colourful dishes always attract me , and I always dig into it to get into detailing. I like to see the food preparations always, and I like to be there and see the total ongoing processes of the fabulous recipes. I like to read and appreciate nicely prepared food stuff always.

I believe having the sixth sense of understanding the wide range of spices, grains, flours and preparation of exquisite and mouth watering delicacies, is the gift of Almighty to the very selected personalities , who conquer the hearts of people, around the world, by selecting and presenting heavenly food to the mankind. And I also believe, a pure heart, a sweet smile and a pinch of love added in the ingredients, at the time of cooking, always helps, making fabulous and out of the world kind dishes, always.


Now comes the recipe!

Ingredients :
Plain whole milk yogurt– 2 Cups
Betel Leaves – 6 to 8
Powdered sugar – 2 tbsp
Gulkand – 1 tbsp
Paan Masala – Sweetened 1 tbsp (tutty fruity, sweet finely crushed betel nuts, sweet chutney, fennel seeds, dried sweetened dates, gulkand)
Roasted Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1/2 tsp
Green Pista Essence – 2/3 drops

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Method :
1. Take 2 cups of the plain yogurt, fresh and not sour, in a bowl.
2. Gently whisk it and bring it to even and thick consistency, there should be no lumps.
3. Finely chop 4 to 5 betel leaves, and keep rest for decoration.
4. Add chopped leaves to the yogurt, and mix gently.
5. Add rest of all the ingredients in curd and mix well, slowly.
6. Take a serving bowl. Transfer the mix in serving bowl, and decorate with chopped betel leaves and a small quantity of sweet paan masala on top.
7. Keep in a fridge, and serve chilled at the time of lunch or dinner.

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Note

  • A couple of drops of essence can be added for colour as well as fragrance.
  • Amount of sugar level can be increased as per required sweetness and taste.
  • I have avoided, but roasted unsalted pistachios can be added in raita, to make it crunchy n nutty. .
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Baked Onion Fritters in Yogurt and Chickpea flour Gravy (Punjabi Kadhi)

Kadhi is a North Indian dish, the gravy of which is made from sour curd and chickpea flour. The chickpea flour along with turmeric powder gives it a brilliant golden yellow colour, while yogurt add to its creamy texture.  Every state in India have their own variations of this dish giving it a unique touch. My mum use to cook it regularly and we all loved the typical U.P. style kadhi with plain chickpea flour fritters. After, I got married and moved to Chandigarh, I learned a new spicy version of Kadhi – Punjabi Kadhi. Delectable, simple and decent version with spices to tickle the taste buds!

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No matter, how much I love eating kadhi I always tried to avoid cooking it on a regular basis because of the amount of oil used up during frying. And, one fine day I decided to try baking the fritters, after getting inspiration from my friend Raj baked onion fritters post. The baked fritters came out totally crispy and I loved the intact flavours of the spices. Trust me, this was the best kadhi I ever had in my life. Totally guilt free indulgence!

Do try out this highly pleasing, sinfully spicy version!

Ingredients:

For the Pakoras

1 cup Chickpea flour
1 tbsp Carom seeds
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1 Small onion, sliced
Salt to taste
Water to make batter

Method

Preheat the oven at 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take a bowl and combine all the ingredients mentioned above. Gradually add water and mix until you get the right consistency of the batter. It should be a little think and not runny.

With the help of a spoon pour out the batter on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between them.

Bake the fritters in the oven for around 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remember to flip the fritters after 15 min of baking to make sure they are cooked on both the sides. The fritters are ready for the kadhi!

For the Kadhi

1 1/2 cup Plain whole milk yogurt, slightly sour
1/2 cup Chickpea flour
5-6 Curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp crushed dried fenugreek leaves (OPTIONAL)
1 tbsp oil (better if you have mustard oil)
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of Aesofatida
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
2 Red chillies
Salt to taste

Method

Take a bowl and to it add besan and yogurt. Whisk it properly to form a smooth batter. Take care to make the batter lump free. Now add turmeric powder, dried fenugreek leaves, salt and whisk it once more.

Heat oil in a non-sticke heavy bottom pan/pot.  Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, ginger, curry leaves and whole red chillies.

Now, slowly pour the chickpea-yogurt mixture into the pan and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture come to a boil.
As soon as it comes to a boil, lower down the heat and let it cook for about 25-30 min. The gravy will gradually thicken. Now, add in the fritters and cook for another 5-10 min.

The kadhi is ready to serve. Enjoy with plain rice or chapati!

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