Thursday, April 24, 2014

Eggless Flaounes/Cypriot Savoury Easter Cheese Pies

April is a month of Easter and its time to celebrate by baking many Easter special bakes. Most of the European countries have a tradition of baking rich,buttery,eggy sweet bread for Easter and this Easter bread is quite different from the other breads. Yes these Cypriot breads are savouries. Flaounes are savoury cheese pies baked for Greek Orthodox Easter, traditionally made on Good Friday,these cheesy pies are part of fast breaking meal as meat and cheese arent eaten during this time. The cheese traditionally used in these pies is called Flaounes cheese which is produced locally by Cypriot shephers, but this cheese is very difficult to find outside of the country.Flaounes cheese can be substituted with a combination of both hard and softer cheeses, the cheese filling will be very salty, so its better to chose a cheese which is less in salt.

Flaounes cheese can be replaced by Greek cheeses or other cheeses like Halloumi, Cheddar, Italian cheese like Parmesan, Pecorino or either with French cantal cheese. I prepared my eggless Flaounes with a mixture of both cantal and emmental cheese which is easily available here.Couple of ingredients used in Flaounes are Mahleb and Mastic, mahleb is made by powdering the dried pits of wild mediterranean cherry and mastic is the dried resin of a shrub. Both these spices are quite common in Greek and Middle Eastern Cuisine, since there is no substitute for these both ingredients you can skip them in this Flaounes, they doesnt change the taste of this yeasty cheesy pies. These Flaounes are going to be this month's bread for a monthly event called We Knead To Bake by Aparna.

Mattar Kachori/Mattar Ki Kachori - Rajasthan Special

Rajasthan is in Northwestern part of India, its one the largest states which is rich in culture, colourful traditions famous for its grand forts,majestic temples, amazing landscape,splendid costumes and obviously for its delicious cuisines.The cuisine of Rajasthan had its uniqueness and you cant find it anywhere. Rajasthan is a desert and coz of this reason, this states has always faced a scarcity of water, the dearth of water results in the growth of fresh vegetables and fruits. Due to this conditions, the Rajasthani peoples prefer foods that can be preserved easily for days and could be eaten without reheating.They use less water and used milk,buttermilk and calrified butter to cook their dishes which takes the taste of this cuisine to an another level.Rajasthani cuisine is primarily vegetarian in nature and different regions of Rajasthan is famous for different kinds of cuisine.This cuisine is developed under the influence of Rajputs and Brahmins. The royal kitchens o Rajasthan have large number of unique dishes. The Vaishanava, Bishnois, Marwaris and Jains are strictly vegetarians and they developed innvovative vegetarin foods.

Rajasthan is a land where both kinds of dishes find equal prominence. While most Rajasthani families are strict vegetarian by nature, on the other hand the Rajputs or the royal families enjoyed meat in various styles. Popular dishes of Rajasthan is Dal Baati Churma,Dal shorba,Tamatar shorba, rotis, parathas,poori, kachoris etc. Lapsi is an another famous delicacy of Rajasthan made with dalia. Missi rotis, Tikadia are the rotis prepared quite often. Rajasthani people often substitute their wheat rotis with Jowar ki roti, Bajre ki roti, chane ki roti etc.Since Rajasthani heat is unbearable, people prefer homemade drinks, common drinks of Rajasthan are Jal jeera, Pudina Nimbu Pani, Kairi ka Pani. However the cuisine of Rajasthan is so rich in taste and flavor  that you cant describe it in words.Rajasthani sweets have many popular dishes like Firni, Kalakand, Kaju Katli, Mawa kachori,none can resist to these delicious sweets.Ghevar is a special sweet from Jaipur, famous for it unique taste.List of famous Rajasthani sweets are long, am sure one would have already enjoyed their dishes atleast once in their life.For Rajasthan special, i picked this crispy fritters aka Kachoris with spiced green peas. Mattar Kachori,these crispy spiced green peas mixture stuffed in a maida dough goes for a delicious preparation.This post also goes to Vegan Thursdays.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rajma & Jeera Chawal - Punjabi Special

Punjab, a state from Northern India and shares its border with Himachal Pradesh,Haryana and Rajasthan in east,south and southwest and Paksitani province of Punjab in the west.Their cuisine is well known for the varieties of foods. Staple food of a Punjabi is chappathi or roti, they use different wheat in making them and use rice only for special occasions. Some Punjabis are strictly vegetarian while a group of Punjabis consumes non vegetarian foods. You will be able to taste varieties of spices in homemade foods while the foods cooked in Punjabi restaurants aka dhabbas will be filled with cream and butter. Since rotis are the staple food of Punjabis they use either wheat or maize,they consume dals like yellow moongdal and black gram in their cuisine often. Milk based dishes are very popular in Punjabi food. This cuisine will also have rustivc touch,in rural areas people will use tandoors to cook their dishes,this method of cooking food gives a fabulous taste and hence tandoor dishes are world famous dishes liked by many peoples around the world.

Punjabi foods are rich in proteins and the famous dishes prepared with pulses,beans and legumes are Dal Makhani,choley,Dal Amritsari,Rajma, Sarson da saag,while the famous breads are Naans,parathas,Kulcha, Tandoori roti, Pulka. Do you know the popular combination dishes of Punjab?, Sarson do saag with makki ke rotis (mustard greens with corn roti), Bhatura and pindi chole (puffy maida puri with channa) Rajma with Jeera chawal (red kidney beans with cumin rice) Aloo paratha with dahi (potato paratha with curd) Dal Makhani with tandoori roti (black gram& red beans curry with roti cooked in tandoor oven). Their food is not complete with pickle,salad and definitely lassi. Punjabis are font of breads,but still they cook rice to have with rajma or just flavor them with cumin,fried onions. During winter, rice is cooked like a sweet dish with jaggery, sugar cane juic and this dish is calle Rao ki kheer.I picked a traditional Punjabi dish Rajma, which i served with cumin rice for our lunch. Both makes a prefect pair and we had a satisfying lunch.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Potato Assaadu & Chicken Puttu - Pondicherry Special

Pondicherry - this place is very special to me, yes its my hometown. Pondicherry is in Southern part of India, its one among the Union territory, we have our chief minister and a chief secretariat.Pondicherry, heavily influenced by French, we have the street names in French, yes The french way of life left a deep impact in our lifestyle and in our cuisine. Pondicherry cuisine, is a mixed cuisine of French, Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala and with some Bengali touch too.Pondicherry cuisine involves many spices,obviously gravies and side dishes are prepared basically with  mixed paste  of coconut,poppy seeds and cashewnuts or simply stir fries have grated coconut definitely in it thus this cuisine have very rich flavourful dishes.Pondicherry is one of the famous tourist place and now its one of the fetish place for movie shootings,you cant miss a movie shooting atleast once a week, because of this many 5 stars hotels are showing their head here and there in Pondicherry. Pondicherry is called French Riviera of the East.

Been born in Pondicherry, i have been pampered by many traditional dishes and when i was about to chose a traditional dish i picked Assaadu which means literally Kurma. Christian community in Pondicherry calls their kurma as assaadu and this dish is prominently prepared with meats or seafoods, but i prepared mine simply with potatoes. You might have heard the name kavappu which means bhajji, the gramflour coated fritters. Most important spices cooked in this cuisine is peppercorns,fennel seeds, cumin seeds,poppy seeds,coriander seeds. Since Pondicherry is situated near Bay of Bengal, we are seafood lovers and we get super fresh seafoods. My today's post from my place is Potato Assaadu and chicken puttu aka shredded chicken, actually we make puttu  with shark fish/Sura meen which is quite famous in my place, i simply replaced the shark fish with chicken.Both dishes served with rice makes a satisfying meal definitely.