Mutton mince with green garlic

Mutton mince you’ve heard of but green garlic ? What’s that?

If you walk around the vegetable market these days you will find bunches of fresh garlic – tiny bulbs with long, stringy beards on one end and delicate green leaves on the other. These fresh garlic bulbs were just crying out to me ” buy me! Buy me” .

Being the obliging person I am, I bought them especially since I’d remembered a yummy mutton mince I’d eaten at my dear friend Nilu’s house one day.

Apart from being a dear friend, she is also a great cook. I love going to her house and sampling the delights of her kitchen. One such surprise was a fantastic mince which we had with hot rotis. This dish which is made only in Winter is called “Lassan” or garlic simply because of the huge amount of garlic that goes into it.

So I obliged the garlic and brought them home to enjoy my minced meat and green garlic


Mutton mince with green garlic
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian Bohri
  • 250 g mutton mince
  • 250-300 g fresh green garlic
  • 1 tspn ginger garlic paste
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tspn cumin seed powder
  • 3 eggs
  • Generous amount of ghee
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Here's what you have to do
  1. Wash the mince and boil with garlic ginger paste and salt
  2. Take off heat and add in the finely chopped green garlic and coriander. Stir in the cumin seed powder and allow to slow cook for 5 - 7 minutes
  3. Pour into casserole and just before serving crack open 3 eggs and stir. Pour hot ghee and mix well. The heat will make the eggs cook.
  4. Pour lemon juice on top and serve with hot chapati

As mentioned earlier garlic is very heaty and this dish is perfect for a cold night. But Mumbai’s brief Winter is coming to a close, so go grab the garlic before the chilly winds bid us goodbye!

Besan Laddoos for Diwali

Today I made besan laddoos which are a favourite in our home, particularly with my elder daughter who is always away for the festival. Gram flour is popular all over India and can be found in various shapes, sizes and forms.

The traditional Besan ladoos which we make in Maharashtrian homes are made thus:

  • 4 cups of coarsely ground besan or gram flour
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pure ghee
  • 5-6 strands of saffron
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tspns powdered cardamom
  • 2 tbspns raisins
  • 2 tbspsn slivers of almonds

I sifted the powdered sugar and kept it aside.

I put the ghee in a huge big wok and added the besan and began stirring it on a medium flame till it became golden brown , the ghee separated from the mixture and the whole house was redolent with the aroma of besan browing in pure ghee. I added the saffron strands and stirred it some more.

I then took the wok off the fire and sprinkled the milk into the mixture and quickly stirred it up. I allowed it to cool and when it was still slightly warm,  added the sifted powdered sugar and kneaded it into a smooth dough. I then added the powdered cardamom , raisins and slivers of almonds and rolled them into round balls or ladoos.  

Nota Bene

This made around 2 dozen smallish ladoos so you can increase the quantities if you want more!

Don’t make the mistake of adding the sugar while the mixture is hot – you will land up in a great mess!

While Diwali is the perfect time to make this dish, it is equally popular year round particularly while traveling as these laddoos stay well for a long time.

Diwali’s surprise: Mysore Paak

Once upon a time, an ingenious cook at the Mysore Royal Palace came up with this concoction of chana atta ( besan), ghee and sugar. Fascinated by its sponge like appearance, smooth texture and fantastic taste, it soon became a popular sweet among halwais particularly in South India.

This year I decided to try making Mysore Paak at home as I wanted a break from the traditional laddoo, chakli and shev routine.

I got together

  • 1 cup of finely ground besan
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups ghee

I sifted the besan and kept it aside. I heated a bit of the ghee and rubbed it into the flour.

I added a cup of water to the sugar and made a syrup of single string consistency in a large pan.

In the meanwhile I heated the ghee and brought it to the boil.

While the ghee was heating up and after the syrup was made, I added the flour to the syrup, stirring with a wire whisk to ensure a smooth paste. When the ghee was boiling hot, I added it to the flour and syrup mixture one ladle at a time . I allowed the mixture to cook continuing with the ghee till the mixture began to thicken and get a spongy appearance. Then I took it off the fire and poured it into a cake tray which I had lined with tin foil. While it was still slightly warm, I cut it into squares and when completely cool, stored the Mysore Paak in an airtight tin to be kept for Diwali day.

Nota Bene

I think my Mysore Paak should have been browned a little more and kept cooking for a longer time so that it actually looked like a sponge but I made the mistake of taking a shallow pan rather than a deep bowl which would have prevented the ghee from splattering out!

Shankarpale for Diwali and all year round

My grandmother used to love making these tiny diamond shaped goodies all year round and very often I would come home to the house smelling of them being fried to a crisp golden brown as granny fished  them out of the kadahi with her big zhara or slotted spoon. This year with little P being around to enjoy Diwali and at the age when he appreciates finger food, I decided to make them myself. Made of wholewheat flour and pure home made ghee just slightly sweet, they are the perfect little bites for little tykes on the go.These don’t look too good because I’ve been out of the kitchen and out of practice for a bit, but I assure you they taste great.

Here’s what I did:

I got together

  •  3 -4   cups of whole wheat flour or maida or a mix of both
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of milk or water
  • 1 cup of pure ghee
  • Ghee for deep frying

I sieved the wheat flour and kept it aside while I put the sugar, ghee and milk in a pan and brought it to a quick boil.

I took the pan off the fire and added as much wheat flour as could be absorbed to make a nice soft dough. Since the liquid was hot, I made sure to use a spoon to stir in the flour! Then I kept the dough aside for a while.

A few hours later, I kneaded the dough once more and then rolled it out into pastry sheets about 2-3 mm thick and ran a pastry cutter wheel through it to make the diamond shapes. In the meanwhile, I kept some ghee in a kadahi to heat up and then slowly added the diamond shapes one by one. I reduced the heat a bit and fried them till the ghee stopped bubbling and the shankarpale turned golden brown.

I took them out with a slotted spoon, draining off excess fat and allowed them to drain and cool on a kitchen towel. Then I stored them in an airtight tin to open up on Diwali day.

Nota Bene

Shankarpale which look simple enough to make can be quite tricky. If you substitute the milk with water as many people like to do, or even reduce the quantity of ghee your shankarpale can become hard enough for you to break a tooth! But if you more or less follow this recipe, you will get perfectly crunchy yet melt in your mouth shankarpale to die for.

Equally misleading is the amount of time you will take- plan for at least half an hour because the shankarpale take time to cook but an easy way out would be to use a wide mouthed shallow kadahi or a deep frying pan which will hold more shankarpale than the regular kadahi!


Hot, steamy and absolutely yummy

All food ( unless of course its icecream or cold cuts ) tastes absolutely yummy when its hot, steaming hot or piping hot, burn your gullet as you swallow hot……you get the drift I’m sure.

But what is absolutely most divine is the fresh coconut stuffed modak that is made in our home only for that time of year when Lord Ganesh comes visiting by. Story has it that Lord Ganesh so stuffed himself with modak that when he was returning home after a heavy dinner one night, on his tiny Mouse( the equivalent of the modern day Beetle or Pinto or Chevrolet – cars that have been named after animals ?) he fell off and his stomach burst open and all the modak came tumbling out. The moon who was the only one watching couldn’t stop himself from laughing and the more he laughed the angrier Lord Ganesh got. He got up cursing the moon ” For your insubordination I shall make sure you don’t shine anymore!”

Immediately the world was plunged into darkness and everything went haywire – the tides, the diurnal cycles of all living creatures indeed the whole world went upside down. So the Gods begged Ganesh to revoke his curse so he modified it such that anyone who sees the moon during the ten days that Ganesh comes down to earth will have to face bad luck.

The world then went back to its ways of the world and Ganesh went back to his happy days. But just to make sure that his stomach doesn’t split open again, he belted it with a snake and gave the world its first snakeskin belt!

Steamed modak have always been hard to resist so it is not surprising that Lord Ganesh stuffed himself so. If you want to follow His example go down to a shop that specialises in Maharashtrian cuisine and ask for a dozen or so steamed modak stuffed with fresh coconut. There are fried modak too make out of flour and there are modak stuffed with dried coconut as well so be very specific that you want Steamed modak with fresh coconut stuffing. However for those of you with a culinary bent, why not make them yourself?

For the stuffing you will need
1 large coconut grated – making sure that the meat is white.
sugar or jaggery to taste
1 tspn powdered cardamom
2-3 strands of saffron

Mix all the ingredients together and set aside till the sugar dissolves. Then heat it on a low flame till the coconut turns translucent and the mixture comes together….

For the pastry you will need
2 cups of rice flour
2 cups water
pinch of salt
1 tspn ghee

Bring the water to the boil  in a saucepan and then briskly add the rice flour stirring quickly to prevent it from becoming lumpy. Add the salt and ghee and turn off the heat and cover the pot and leave to cook in its own heat. When cool empty the dough into a deep dish and knead well to form a smooth sticky dough.

To assemble the modak you will have to make a flat disk the size of  a saucer either with your hand or rolled out thin on a pastry board. Place a tablespoon of the stuffing in the centre of the disc and bring the sides together pinching at regular intervals to make a fluted bowl. Bring the rim of the “bowl” to the centre and close with a sharp point. The modak resembles a garlic bulb. Place the modak in a colander or steamer lined with a moist cloth to prevent sticking and steam for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with a generous drizzling of ghee.

Tip :

Make sure that the dough is kept covered to prevent it from drying out and carefully take out just as much as you need to make a disc. Similarly, once you assemble the modak, keep covered under a moist cloth till you get enough to steam a batch.

I must warn you that making modak sounds easier than it really is. To make the perfectly fine, delicate pastry stuffed just right takes a lot of practice…….So why are you waiting. Get started right away!!!