White vatana sundal

2 cups White vatana (Whole yellow peas, the peas look quite similar to garbanzo beans ( chick peas), except that they are smaller in size and white in colour.
2 Onions
3 Tomatoes
2 - 3 Green chilies
1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
½ tsp Amchur/Dry mango powder
½ tsp Cumin-coriander Powder
½ tsp Garam masala
¼ tsp Red chili powder

Soak white vatna over night. Cook in a pressure cooker with salt with a pinch of turmeric till they are soft. Do not overcook; just about right otherwise they become very mushy. Drain and keep aside.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a non-stick pan and make tadka with mustard seeds and jeera. When it starts to sizzle, add very finely chopped onions and chilies. Keep stirring at medium heat till the onions are translucent. Add ginger- garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Then add cut tomatoes, cook for a few minutes and then add amchur powder, cumin- coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder and salt.

Mix in cooked vatna, taste for salt and adjust the seasonings. Add some lemon juice and garnish with coriander, serve hot.

This is a very filling dish, a pot dish that can be eaten as is or can be served with roti. The same base can be made like a gravy dish by adding water and can be served over potato patties. This is the famous ragda patties on Mumbai streets!

Cashewnut chikki

Srirama Navami Subhakanshalu (03/24/2010)

Chikki is a traditional Indian sweet prepared with any edible nuts or with mixed nuts and sugar/jaggery. The preparation is quite simple. These are finger deserts that are hassle free and easy to eat!

Cashew nuts, like all nuts, are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They are rich in mono-unsaturated fat which may help protect the heart. Cashew nuts are also a good source of potassium, B vitamins and folate. They contain useful amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and copper. (source: Wiki)

I have to mention here the chikki made in Lonavala, Pune. They are simply mouth watering and will leave us craving for more! One piece is never quite satisfying. I love their pistachio, mixed nuts chikki.

Traditional chikki are made with peanuts but, I am a cashew person, so..

1 cup - Roasted cashewnuts (sliced or whole)
1 ¼ cup - Jaggery
2 tsp Ghee

Roast the nuts on low flame in ghee and in the case of peanuts remove the skin.

Take grated jaggery in a kadai and add ¼ cup water and on medium flame bring to a boil till it thickens. Perform the ball test, drop some syrup drops in cold water and try to roll it to form a ball if it is like a string, it needs to be cooked a bit more.

Filter the jaggery syrup to remove any impurities. (Avoid if you trust the jaggery). I buy mine at the same store always!

Once the syrup is ready, add a tsp of ghee to the syrup switch off the flame and immediately add the roasted cashew nuts. Stir and mix well.

Grease a parchment paper and pour the hot mixture on it. Roll it with a rolling pin and let the temperature of the mixture come down. Lumps of mixture can be rolled into a ball in the palm of your hand or cut into any desired shape.

Store in an air tight box, they have a good shelf life.