Category: Bengali Recipes

Dal ka Phara | Dal Fara | Glutenfree and Vegan Lentil Stuffed Steamed Rice Cakes

Dal ka Phara or Fara is a very popular snack if your visiting eastern Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The ‘pithii’ or the filling is made of ‘chana dal’ a.k.a split chick peas. Alternatively, this filling can also be made with ‘urad dal’ a.k.a skinless white lentils. However, it’s  always made using the former in our house. The outer covering that holds the filling in place is made with rice flour a.k.a ‘Chawal ka atta’. These along with some spices and condiments makes for an delicious and tempting dish which is vegan and also gluten free. 🤗

Dal ka Phara | Dal Faara recipe Polkapuffs recipes Steamed dal Phara recipe

The Phara is then either steamed or boiled in some salted water. Some people even choose to shallow or deep fry these dumplings once they are steamed or boiled. However, I do not do that. I feel the actual taste lies in keeping it as it is and thus making it much more healthier than the fried ones! That’s how my Mom makes them…and they taste divine 😘 Yes…most of these traditional recipes that I make come from her kitchen…stuff that I have grown up eating and savour the most!

What I like with these personally is my Mom’s spicy, tangy Pudine aur Dhaniye ki Imli Wali Chutney!  Doesn’t the sound of it make you drool….it’s one of my favourite dips/ chutneys to go with anything savory and I always have a little porcelain potful sitting in my refrigerator 😉

Dal ka Phara | Dal Faara recipe Polkapuffs recipes Steamed dal Phara recipe

So this time when my Mom was visiting us, I told her to teach me how to make these Pharas the traditional way and She did! She made the first couple of them as I watched her closely and then she guided me to make the rest….which obviously don’t look too perfect but I managed!! It’s a little lengthy procedure no doubt, but not very difficult if you follow the little tips.

The filling which is made with chana dal needs to be organised first by soaking the dal for at least 5-6 hours and then so on and so forth…..every bit worth the effort!

I will also share the recipe of the delicious Chutney that you see in the pictures! But that’s not even the best part, the best part is that my Mom modelled for me again…..this is her experienced hand which you had also seen in Vanilla Sponge Cake made in a Pressure Cooker, again her recipe!

So let’s get started….read carefully. It’s simply but a little technical….

Yield: 7-8 pharas

Equipment: a large open mouthed pot, measuring cups/ spoons, a large mixing bowl, a small mixing bowl, a slotted spoon, a basic blender.

Ingredients:

For the outer covering:

1+1/2 cup rice flour (I use store bought)

salt to taste (season carefully, as we will season the filling too)

2 tsp refined oil

warm water as needed to knead a dough

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, take rice flour and season with some salt. Then add oil. Slowly, add the warm water a little at a time and make a dough. This is a Glutenfree flour, hence the dough will break if much pressure is applied. Once the dough comes together, cover it with damp kitchen napkin for 15-20 mins so that the dough absorbs enough moisture.

Dal ka Phara | Dal Faara recipe Polkapuffs recipes Steamed dal Phara recipe

For the filling:

3/4 cup chana Dal (split chick pea)

2″ piece fresh ginger

1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

salt to taste

2-3 nos. green chillies

1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera dana)

a pinch of hing (asafoetida)

Method:

Wash the dal well and soak in about 2 cups of water for 5-6 hours.

Next, drain all the water from the soaked dal.

Place the dal in a blender jar. Add very little water, season with salt, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and hing. Grind them together until you have a smooth paste.

Remove the paste in a small bowl.

Assembling the Phara: 

Keep a small bowl of water handy and weyor fingers and palms well. Take a lemon sized ball of the dough. Using your fingers and palms flatten the dough to a circle of 3″ diameter. The thickness should be approximately 1/2 a cm but not more as they won’t cook well otherwise.

Dal ka Phara | Dal Faara recipe Polkapuffs recipes Steamed dal Phara recipeimg_5564img_5565

Then place about 1-2 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the flattened dough and gently fold over the dough to cover the filling and pinch the edges to secure the filling within.

Do the same for the entire dough and keep the uncooked pharas ready on a plate.

Now, heat about 2 litres of water in a large pot, season it with some salt. Once it comes to a rolling boil, drop 3-4 pharas at a time. Let them boil on medium flame for about 5-8 mins. They will float on the top once they are cooked.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the boiled Pharas from the water and place them on a plate. Cut one of them to see if they are cooked, if the dal is set and looks dry, it means the dal and the rice dough are both cooked well.

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Do the same with the remaining uncooked pharas too, serve them hot with Chutney.

If you wish to steam them, do steam them as you steam Idlis in a idli cooker. Cook time will be 12-15 mins and cut them to check if they are cooked.

For Chutney:

1 cup fresh coriander leaves

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

4-5 cloves garlic

2 nos. green chillies chopped

1 nos. small onion sliced

4-5 tbsp fresh tamarind pulp

salt to taste

water as needed

Method:

Take all the ingredients in a blender jar and blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding more or less water. This Chutney keeps well for 10-12 days in a porcelain or steel or glass jar under refrigeration.

Dal ka Phara | Dal Faara recipe Polkapuffs recipes Steamed dal Phara recipe

This is one of my favorite versions of Dal-Chawal if you ask me! Healthy, filling and delicious 😘

Love,

Shreya💕

 

Thandaai Flavoured Bhapa Doi

Holi is just a week away….and I can feel it in the air! Although I am averse to playing Holi, but I do enjoy the array of food Holi brings with it😜 

Dahi Wada happens to be a personal favorite…along with Thandaai. Last year I had made Thandaai Mousse which had turned out great! 😍

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This is year too, I wanted to create something with Thandaai. I was looking at options online but didn’t really like anything. Just then I thought of Bhapa Doi, the famous Bengali delicacy. It is basically a steamed yogurt & condensed milk pudding sans the gelatine or agar-agar . It’s really easy to do…with hardly any prepping involved.

Thandaai flavoured Bhapa Doi Polkapuffs recipe Bhapa Doi recipe Bengali sweet dish recipe How to make Bhapa Doi at home Holi recipes

I knew that the flavours of Thandaai will go very well with Bhapa Doi, but I still looked up on Google if I can find anything interesting, nada! Couldn’t find anything related, so thought I’d try it anyway, see if it actually works. Surprisingly, it does! This tastes very delicious with hints of the Thandaai flavour and the smoothness of the Bhapa Doi!! 😊😊 So, I decided to blog it too.

Let’s get going….

Please note that I have made a small batch as a trial, double or triple the quantities for a larger batch.

Yield: serves 4

Equipment: a large pressure cooker, a mixing bowl, wired whisk, measuring cups/ spoons, a small blender.

Ingredients:

For the Thandaai Powder:

5-6 nos. almonds

5-6 nos. pistachios

4-5 nos. cashews

3-4 nos. peppercorns

1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)

1/2 tsp watermelon seeds (magaz)

1/2 cardamom pwd

a few strands of saffron

For the Bhapa Doi: (adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup hung curd

200 gms condensed milk

Method:

To make the Thandaai powder, grind all the ingredients mentioned above coarsely in a blender. You can make a fine powder too. Set it aside.

Take about 2-3 cups of water in a large pressure cooker, place the seperator plate at the bottom. Turn on the flame and let the water come to a boil.

Thandaai flavoured Bhapa Doi Polkapuffs recipe Bhapa Doi recipe Bengali sweet dish recipe How to make Bhapa Doi at home Holi recipes

In the meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, take hung curd and beat it well. Then add milk, Thandaai powder and the condensed milk. Whisk them all together until well combined.

Pour this mixture into small single serving bowls or all in a single mould, cover with a cling film, make a few incisions/ cuts on the film to let the steam pass through, place it in the pressure cooker on the seperator plate. Close the lid of the pressure cooker without it weight. Steam it for approximately 35-40 mins on a gentle flame.

Thandaai flavoured Bhapa Doi Polkapuffs recipe Bhapa Doi recipe Bengali sweet dish recipe How to make Bhapa Doi at home Holi recipes

Once done, remove the Bhapa Doi out of the pressure cooker, remove the cling wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for 45-60 mins before serving 😊

Thandaai flavoured Bhapa Doi Polkapuffs recipe Bhapa Doi recipe Bengali sweet dish recipe How to make Bhapa Doi at home Holi recipes

That was easy, wasn’t it!? Hardly took any time to get that going…😁 I strongly recommend trying these once.

Love,

Shreya💞

Rasgulla

Rasgulla happens to be one of my personal favourites when I am thinking of Indian desserts👌 They are so light…spongy & not at all heavy on the palate.

But, making them can be tricky…right from using the right kind of milk to mashing it to perfection! Then making sure that they cook through well!! 😉

Rasgulla recipe Pressure cooker rasgulla recipe Rasgulla in pressure cooker Indian desserts How to make rasgulla Spongy rasgulla recipe Polkapuffs recipe

These were never on my mind…not exactly something I was planning to make, but then…milk splits early one morning & it just pops into mind to give these a go! Looked up some recipes online..and found a really easy recipe & some tips for a first timer like myself😉…but I have adjusted the quantity of sugar as per our liking.

Let’s get going..

️Yield: 7-8 Rasgullas

Equipment: a large plate, a pressure cooker, a ladle, extra bowls, measuring cups/ spoons.

Ingredients:

1 litre milk (I used Amul Toned milk)

1/2 tsp citric acid pwd

2 cup sugar

3-4 cup water

a few strands of saffron to garnish

pistachio to garnish

Method:

Please note that the milk had already split in my case. But to split the milk specially to make these…heat the milk in a large pan, once it comes to a boil, add the citric acid pwd and stir once. The milk will split. Just strain the milk solids in a muslin cloth and wash the solids within the cloth under running water to get rid of any traces of citric acid.

Rasgulla recipe Pressure cooker rasgulla recipe Rasgulla in pressure cooker Indian desserts How to make rasgulla Spongy rasgulla recipe Polkapuffs recipe

Keep the milk solids in the muslin cloth under some weight for 30 mins to remove all the whey. Then transfer the cottage cheese/ paneer on a plate. Mash the paneer with the your hands until it’s soft and a little greasy in texture. Next, divide the mashed paneer in equal parts…about 7-8 and make smooth, crack free balls. Set them aside.

Rasgulla recipe Pressure cooker rasgulla recipe Rasgulla in pressure cooker Indian desserts How to make rasgulla Spongy rasgulla recipe Polkapuffs recipe

Now, add water and sugar in the pressure cooker. Turn the flame on and let the sugar melt. Once the sugar has melted completely & the syrup starts boiling, add the balls one by one. Close the lid and place the weight too. Let it simmer for 10 mins on high flame. Then after the first whistle, lower the flame and let it simmer for another 5-8 mins. Turn off the flame after that. Let the pressure release on its own. Then take out the cooked rasgulla and the syrup and place them in a bowl to cool down completely. You can squeeze them and see how spongy they have turned out to be! They are ready…garnish & serve them chilled!!

Rasgulla recipe Pressure cooker rasgulla recipe Rasgulla in pressure cooker Indian desserts How to make rasgulla Spongy rasgulla recipe Polkapuffs recipe

They taste really nice..and keep well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. You can make these with full-fat milk too.

Love,

Shreya💗

Adapted from Nisha Madhulika.

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