Saturday, October 3, 2015

kachhe kele ke kabab | raw plantain patties | vegetarian kababs

kachhe kele ke kabab

Vegetarian kababs are much revered for their meaty texture and protein content. Many meaty vegetables can be made into delicious kababs along with some lentils, chickpeas or even cooked beans. Lentils provide a textural base while the fibrous vegetables add the meatiness to these vegetarian kababs and they are great in their own way.

There have been times when I have chosen a vegetarian kabab over the meat kababs as the flavour variation can be very interesting sometimes in the vegetarian kababs. We keep making Kathal ke kabab and kachhe kele ke kababs quite often, but these kababs happen only when the vegetable in question has to be finished and we are in no mood to eat subzi.

lentil kababs

Lentil and nut kababs are made occasionally when we make it a meal with some salad. I even make chickpea kababs quite often to use up any refrigerated boiled chickpeas. Only sooran ke kabab is made on special occasion of Diwali as a tradition and we look forward to it.

This time a young client of mine who is a beginner cook wanted a detailed kachhe kele ke kabab recipe and some raw plantains were going almost black in the fridge. There was no excuse why I should not post a recipe for the girl.

I got them plantains peeled and boiled with chana daal (split chickpeas) to make kababs but again the boiled mix kept waiting in the fridge for 2 days. Finally I made the kababs for a late weekend breakfast. Yes that is not a traditional kabab time but we can decide our own foods at home. Just some chutney and tulsi ginger chai was great with these kababs.

tulsi ginger chai

The resistant starch in the raw plantain (kachha kela) and a good mix of complex carbs and proteins in the chana daal makes these kababs perfect for breakfast if you consider the nutrient profile. That day after this late plantain kabab breakfast we had a grapefruit smoothie for lunch, a couple of teas later in the evening and did not feel like eating any food till dinner time.

(makes 8 kababs, we had leftovers too after the heavy breakfast)

4 medium sized raw plantains (kachhe kele)
50 gm chana daal (split chickpeas)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp coarse pepper powder
1/2 tsp fine cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tsp minced garlic cloves 1 tsp
minced green chillies to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander greens
ghee to shallow fry (2 tbsp for 8 kababs)

kachhe kele ke kabab


The hard variety of raw plantains take longer to cook and the slender ones cook faster, so I normally use soaked chana daal for slender plantains and raw unsoaked chana daal for hard plantains. This time I had some mature hard plantains.

Peel the plantains using a potato peeler so most of the fibrous skin is retained. Peel off only a very thin layer, removing any blackened parts well. Slice the plantains in 1 inch thick pieces.

Rinse the chana daal and mix with plantain slices, put these in a pressure cooker, add salt and 1/2 cup water and pressure cook till done. It takes about 10 minutes after the first whistle. Cool, open the pressure cooker, discard any extra water and mash the mixture. Normally all the water is soaked up while cooking.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except ghee) and make a dough. If the mix feel too watery you can add some sattu (roasted chickpea powder) and adjust seasoning.

Now this dough (mix) can be refrigerated for 2-3 days easily, kababs can be fried when required.

Divide the dough into 8 parts, shape into kababs and shallow fry on a hot griddle with drizzles of ghee, till browned on both sides.

If you want a smooth kabab like galouti you can blend the kabab mix in food processor and skip adding onions.

Serve with chutney of your choice. We had it with kachri ki chutney and amla dhaniya patta ki chutney.

Kachri is a tangy tart small melon that lends well to chutneys with loads of garlic and chillies. Amla was chutnified with some dhaniya patta (coriander greens) and chillies.

Here is a picture of kachri, the melons (Cucumis pubescens) that grow all over India wherever there is arid soil.


More on this small melon later. It will be good to know that dehydrated kachri powder is used as a meat tenderizer and some mutton kabab recipes use the kachri powder for the purpose.

It was a coincidence that a kachri chutney came up with a raw plantain kabab, kachhe kele ke kabab as we call them.

Friday, October 2, 2015

jaggery coated almonds | easy to make natural unprocessed snack

Jaggery coated almonds

Caramel coated and chocolate coated nuts you must have eaten a lot and must have exchanged as gifts too. Jaggery coated almonds are a better way to consume sweetened nuts without the emulsifiers and preservatives in the industrially produced coated nuts.

Come winter and North India starts stocking up nuts although it is much more sensible to keep eating nuts throughout the year. But there is a tradition of making panjeeris and laddus using an assortment of nuts in all North Indian families, some spices and edible gum etc is added to prepare oneself for the colder climes that we pretend to enjoy a lot.

In fact our winters are just a respite from the dreaded sultry summer that seems to drain all energy from us. Mangoes are the only solace. And then we enjoy our winters with rich foods of all sorts.

I made these jaggery coated almonds for another reason. I added a few spices to the jaggery syrup to help my frequent headaches and I am glad it is proving good. Long back a friend of mine had suggested a panjeeri made of almonds, poppy seeds and pepper corns when she came to know about my migraine. I remember I was breastfeeding Mithi during that time and used to be hungry all the time. I just started taking a few raw almonds, a spoonful of poppy seeds and a few peppercorns and chewing them all together for a while. Making a panjeeri felt too much work but when this mix helped my migraine I started stocking up this panjeeri and religiously had a spoonful everyday with milk.

But then life kept throwing other challenges and I forgot doing all of that, so much so that I couldn't even remember this magical almond panjeeri that had helped me some 15 years ago. Recently I asked friends on my facebook wall about migraine cures and one of those suggestions was about a panjeeri. It took me back in time and brought back my old panjeeri recipe.

almond panjeeri for migraine

I add a bit of nutmeg too to the panjeeri whose recipe is simple. Raw almonds, poppy seeds, black peppercorns and nutmeg are powdered together in mixie and kept in airtight jars. I make about 200 gm at a time and keep refreshing the stock as it takes just about 5 minutes to make it. If you want the recipe of this panjeeri you can ask in comments, I will update the exact recipe here.

This time when I made these jaggery coated almonds I thought of using some of the pajeeri ingredients so this snack helps me with the bigger issue too. The good news is that it has been working fine. But this snack is for everyone and can be made without these spices too.

(enough to last a month for a family of 2 if they eat sensibly)

250 gm raw almonds
150 gm jaggery
50 gm poppy seeds
5 gm (2 level tsp) ginger powder, you can add more
dash or nutmeg powder
dash of clove powder
pinch of salt


Dry roast the almonds on very low heat for about 10 minutes. Cool.
You can roast for longer if you like very crunchy roasted almonds.

Chop the jaggery using a sturdy knife. I use my cleaver for this sweet job :-)

Transfer the chopped jaggery to a deep pan (kadhai) and add just 2 tbsp water to wet the jaggery so it starts melting.

Now place the pan over stove and start stirring it once in a while. The jaggery melts and starts simmering. After about 5 minutes the jaggery mix will start bubbling and then frothing.
The syrup is ready.
To test the readiness of syrup you can drop a small droplet in chilled water and check it. The droplet should get solid immediately. Take off the stove.

Jaggery coated almonds

Now add all the spices and poppy seeds in the jaggery and mix vigorously. Add the almonds too and stir to coat them all. Keep stirring till the mix looks dry and all almonds are coated. It takes just a couple of minutes.

You may get some loose dry jaggery mix at the bottom of the pan but that is okay. It will be like a spiced sugar you can add to your cereal.

This is an addictive snack trust me. Be warned and be prepared for people stealing it from the jar. Keep it safe if you don't want kids getting loosies after eating too much almonds and adults refusing to have dinner after handfuls of jaggery coated almonds for evening snack.

Jaggery coated almonds

Ration it. All good things are rationed in life. Jaggery coated almonds are precious.