Panchkuta - An Entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging.


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I came to know about the weekend herb blogging from Srivalli's  Cooking 4 All Seasons blog, which is an event started by Kalyan of kalynskitchen. Being from the state of Rajasthan, I took this opportunity to introduce the quintessential Rajasthani dish of all times - The Panchkuta.
This dish is essentially made up of 5 ingredients found widely across the Great Thar Desert. For ages, this has been the mainstay food of travellers across the desert. It has long shelf life after being cooked and does not require refrigeration unlike other foods. In case you are travelling through Rajasthan, don't be amused if you find your fellow traveller pulling up a box of Panchkuta with pooris/rotis and enjoying his lunch/dinner.

The five ingredients of Panchkuta are sangri, kair, Kumat, Goonda and dry red chillies.

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 Sangri ( Prosopis cineraria ) - Sangri ki phali (pods of the khejari tree) grows in Rajasthan. This is the protein powerhouse of the desert with 53 per cent protein. Linky

Kair ( Capparis decidua ) - This is a wild berry which grows on the shrubs in the Thar. Linky
Kumat ( Acacia Senegal ) - Seeds from the pods of this small deciduous tree. Linky

Other ingredient which form part of the Panchkuta is goonda (Cordia mixa) Linky. With the current place I am in, I couldn't get this.The taste of this dish is slightly different and has to be developed. If you taste it after soaking/boiling them, it might not be that agreeable, but once the dish is ready, the taste comes out really well.


  • 1 cup sangri
  • 1/4 cup kair
  • 1/4 cup kumat
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tea spoon haldi (turmeric) powder
  • 2 tea spoon red chilli powder
  • 2 tea spoon dhaniya (coriander) powder
  • 2 tea spoon amchur(dry mango) powder
  • 1/2 teas spoon cumin seeds
  • pinch of hing (afsofedia)
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • salt to taste.


  • Soak sangri, kair and kumatia in water overnight.

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  • Drain the water. Add 2 cups of fresh water,1 tea spoon salt and 1/2 tea spoon haldi and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water.
  • Heat oil in the pan. Add cumin seeds, hing and red chillies.
  • Add sangri, kair and kumat.
  • Add all spices and amchur powder. cook for 2 minutes.
  • Serve with poori or bajri (millet) roti.

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I made sattu on the occasion of Festival Bade (Kajari) Teej, which is celebrated among us marwaris in Rajasthan on the third day after Raksha bandhan. On this day maidens keep fast for their prospective groom's and married ladies for their husband's long and prosperous life. Ladies decorate there hands with Henna & swings are put on trees. In the evening, women gather to perform pooja of the neem. Once the moon is sighted, then the wife breaks her fast by taking bite of the Sattu sweet offered by her husband. Read more about teej  here.

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Until the 20th century, Sattu was the staple food packed along with travelers proceeding on long journeys. Not only it has long shelf life, it also gives instant a filling feeling. Sattu can be made from various flours like rice flour, wheat flour and gram flour. I made it with roasted gram flour.


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  • 3 cup roasted dalia powder
  • 1.5 cup ghee(clarified butter)
  • 2.5 cup powdered sugar(confectionery sugar)
  • 1/4 cup almond accents
  • 1 tea spoon cardamom powder

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  • Warm the ghee.
  • Mix all the ingredients and make a soft dough.
  • Divide it into 15 portions.
  • Make a boll of each portion, slightly press between the palms and give the shape of patties or any other shape you like.

Paneer Manchurian with Gravy/Paneer chilli


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IMG_0103_edit (Large) (Small) During my college days in Jodhpur, Rajasthan there was only one restaurant - Gypsy who served Chinese dishes. Earlier noodles were the only known Chinese food to me. I can say Gypsy introduced me to the Chinese cuisine. It was my favourite place to hangout with friends...now there are so many restaurants which serve Chinese dishes.. BUT still you will not see street vendors selling Chinese. After my marriage when I came to Hyderabad I was surprised to see many bandi's (street vendors) selling Chinese.... Some how I was hesitate to eat street side food...but so many friends of mine praised about one particular bandi (near Gandhi statue,MG Road Secunderabad) who dishes out delicious Chinese fast food. I tried and found it delicious...so whenever I go there for shopping I made sure to pay a visit to that Chinese food bandi. Besides street vendors there are some fine Chinese restaurants also, like Mainland china. I learnt making ghobi manchurian from my Urmila masiji. After that there was no looking back & I learnt many Chinese dishes from books and friends....Here is one of them.

Ingredients (serves-2)

  • 200gm Paneer(cottage cheese) cubes, regular or marinated
  • Oil for frying

For Batter

  • 3 tablespoon maida(all purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tea spoon tandoori powder
  • salt to taste

For gravy

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  • 1 onion cut into sguare pieces
  • 1 cup capsicum cut into square pieces
    of any colour
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 2 tea spoon minced garlic
  • 1 tea spoon minced ginger
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tea spoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon tomato chilly sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chilly sauce
  • 1 tea spoon black pepper powder.
  • 1 tea spoon sugar
  • 2 tea spoon corn starch
  • 2 table spoon oil
  • salt to taste


  • Mix all the batter ingredients and make thick batter by adding little water.

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  • Heat the oil in the pan.
  • Dip the paneer cubes in the batter and fry them in oil till they become golden in colour.Spread them out on an absorbent paper and keep aside.

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  • Make thin paste of corn starch by adding cold water. keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in the pan. Keep the gas on high. Add ginger, garlic and green chilly fry them for a min. Add remaining vegetables one by one and fry them.
  • Add salt, sugar, black pepper, , chilly sauce, tomato-chilly sauce, soya sauce, vinegar and 2 cup of water.Bring it to boil.
  • Add corn starch paste and boil for a minute.

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  • Add paneer cubes and serve hot with noodles or rice.

Panner will get soggy if you keep it too long in the gravy ,if you are preparing well ahead of time add paneer in the gravy 10 min before serving.

Dry Paneer Manchurian
Some like Manchurian in dry form.The process is similar to wet Paneer Manchurian preparation. Don't add water and corn starch.

How to marinade Paneer?


  • 1 cup curd
  • 2tea spoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tea spoon tandoori powder
  • 1 tea spoon chat masala
  • 1/2 tea spoon red chilly powder
  • salt to taste


  • Hang the curd in a muslin cloth for 3-4 hours.

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  • Take it in a bowl.It will look exactly like sour cream,mix other ingredients and make a thick paste.
  • Brush the panner cubes with the marinade mix and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours.

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Short Cut

  • If marination seems to be a long process ,you can use masala paneer.IMG_1660 (Small)
  • However the marinated paneer cubes are not required for the 'Wet Paneer Manchurian 'as wet gravy made with sauces, gives flavour to the paneer but if you are making 'Dry Paneer Manchurian', without gravy. I would suggest you to marinade paneer.

Almond Chocolate


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As Rakhi day approaches near, the feeling to be with my brother grows more and more. The festival of Rakhi, also known as Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of August.
The Rakhi thread is a symbol of bond of love and care between brothers & sisters. On this day sisters tie Rakhi(beaded or normal thread) on the wrist of their brothers and pray for their well being and long life; the brothers promise to protect their sisters from harm. My brother is 12 years younger to me, and I love him like a small kid and after tying rakhi, instead of mithai (sweets), I offer him Dairy milk chocolate. I am not with him during this year and what should I do? I decided to make the chocolate bar at home because my brother loves it. This almond chocolate is my brother-in-law favourite too; the last time when he came to US, he took a big jar of these chocolate with him back home.

These videos are for you my beloved brother.


  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 cup milk chocolate
  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 tea spoon butter


  • Mix milk and dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl.

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  • Microwave on high for 30 sec and stir, again keep it for 30 sec and stir and then for another 30 sec and stir.

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  • Mix roasted almonds into the liquid chocolate.
  • Grease the aluminum foil with butter and pour the mixture into it.

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  • Keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Make the marks on the chocolate ,in the way you like to cut your chocolate.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set.
  • Take it out .break it into pieces and enjoy.....

How to roast almonds?

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Keep it in the oven for 5-7 minutes on 350F.

Food Event


This is my entry for the -MEC: Potluck Party event being hosted by Srivalli of Cooking For All Season.

Bharva Karela /Stuffed Bitter Gourd


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This is my mom's recipe. She had learnt from someone that if we cut and immediately cook the karela with its tail, it is less bitter in taste. She tried and found it correct, She has shared this recipe with many of her friends and they also felt the difference in the taste. I never have had problem in eating karela since my childhood. I think that because of my mom only, I have always cherished the karela's sabji.

  • 3-4 bitter gourd
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoon besan(gram flour)
  • 2 tea spoon minced garlic
  • 1 tea spoon minced ginger
  • 1 tea spoon red chilly powder
  • 2 teas spoon dhaniya(coriander) powder
  • 1/2 tea spoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tea spoon amchur (dry mango) powder
  • 1/2 tea spoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • salt to taste


  • Make stuffing mix by mixing all the ingredients in the bowl, except oil,cumin seeds and karelas.
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  • Make a slit in each karela, scoop out the seeds.
  • Stuff the karelas with half of the stuffing mix. keep the remaining mix aside.
  • Heat the oil, add cumin seeds, when they pop add karela one by one.
  • Simmer the heat, keep it on the gas for about 20-25 minutes, keep turning them after every 5 minutes.
  • Now add remaining stuffing  mix, cook for another 5 minutes.
    Serve hot with chapatis.