Saturday, August 22, 2015

Phirni (rice custard)

Phirni, has been one of my favourite indian desserts. One of my roommates in Pimpri would get phirni from a famous sweet shop in Mohammad Ali Road. That was the first time I had Phirni. Usually I am not fond of sweets made of milk like basundi or kheer, but this is different.

I looked up many online recipes and they are more or less same.
It is rich and creamy and the best part is it is super easy to make!


  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 1/4 cup rice
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 tbsp cardamom powder
  5. 1 tbsp finely chopped pistachio


  • Soak the rice in water for couple of hours and then grind it to a coarse paste.
  • Heat milk, when it starts to get warm, stir in the rice paste and sugar.
  • Keep stirring it as the milk starts to thicken, you need to keep stirring so that milk doesn't stick to the base of the pan and get burnt. You need to let it cook till the rice is cooked competely and milk has reduced to half, usually takes 15-20 min. Stir in cardamom powder.
  • set it in dessert bowls, garnish with pistachio. 
  • Let it cool down and refrigerate for couple of hours.
  • Enjoy!
I garnished it with raisins as that was only dry fruit i had at home at the time. You may add almonds, raisins etc to the phirni as well.
If you would like some color add saffron.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Usal (Misal) Paav

This is one of my favourite maharashtrian dishes....I didn't think much of it when I lived in India. this is something I had it in Pune. Even though I lived in Mumbai which is also in Maharashtra, we dont really get typical maharashtrian cuisine as Mumbai is really about food from all over India and typical fast food that you get best in bombay, like vada paav, paav bhaji, etc etc.

Coming back to Usal Paav, I think I ate it for the first time at lady's home where I used to go to eat my meals. It is lentils or pulses mixed with spicy soup (Kat) and eaten with paav which is indian bread. traditionally moth beans/ matki are used. They are usually sprouted and then used. I have seen different variations of this recipe, where mixed beans are used.

My variation to the traditional recipe is that I make moong bean usal or a mix of moong and masoor (whole) and do not sprout it. Most of the time i decide what I want to make for dinner after I come home from work, and so I cook mostly without pre-preparation. My recipe is a variation of usal paav recipe from veg recipes of india blog, link is here. This is just the Usal recipe, Paav recipe is here.

USAL Recipe:
  1. 1 cup moong (you may soak it for 8-10 hours, it cooks quicker)
  2. 1 potato boiled
  3. salt
for tempering:
  1. 1/4 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  2. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  3. little less than 1/4 tsp turmeric
  4. 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
  5. pinch of asofetida (hing)
  6. 4-5 curry leaves
  7. 1 green chilly or dried red chilly
For spicy soup (Kat):
  1. 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  2. 2 cups chopped tomato
  3. 1/4 cup shredded coconut (i used dried coconut powder)
  4. 1 green chilly
  5. 2 cloves of garlic
  6. 1/2 tbsp ginger paster
  7. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 tsp red chilly powder
  9. 2 tsp cumin coriander powder
  10. 1/4 tsp garam masala
  11. salt to taste
for tempering:
  1. 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  2. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  3. pinch of asofetida
  4. 4-5 curry leaves
  • Boil the moong in pressure cooker, if you have soaked it 2-3 whistles is fine, if not soaked 4-5 whistles. add salt to taste.
  • In a pan, saute onion, garlic, green chilly, and ginger in some oil.once onions are translucent, add the dry spice powders (turmeric, cumin coriander and red chilly) saute for 1-2 min, so that the spices are roasted. add coconut powder and saute for 1-2 min. add salt
  • then add chopped tomatoes, cover it, add some water if too dry or the mix starts sticking to pan.
  • once the tomatoes are softened, make a paste of this in mix in the blender.
  • Now take some oil in pan for tempering, add all the seeds one after the other (mustard first, once it crackles, cumin seeds, curry leaves and asofetida)
  • then add the paste and saute it for 1 min, then add water to make a thin soup.
  • Add garam masala, and let it simmer for 10-15 min.
  • Once the moong is cooked and cooled, in another pan, take some oil and add the seeds for tempering, again the same order, mustard seeds first, once they crackle, cumin seeds, then curry leaves, turmeric powder, chilly powder, asofetida. add cooked moong beans to mix it well. add the chopped boiled potatoes as well. this doesnt have to be too soupy, so if there is extra water, you can use it in the spicy soup instead of water.
  • serving: take some sprouts in a bowl, add some "kat"/ spicy soup, raw onions on the side, squeeze some lemon juice and top if off with some fried savoury mix.
  • enjoy with bread
  • do not get over whelmed looking at the length of this post. it took me literally half an hour to make the entire dish. you can make it efficiently if you already have boiled moong beans or cook potato and moong bean together in pressure cooker on one of your flames and make the "kat" on the other.
  • for kat too, chop onions first, and start sauteing it, then add chopped garlic, chilly as you chop them, this reduces cooking time over all. Also, none of this needs to be finely chopped as you are going to make the paste in blender.