From the grocer, I grabbed a bag of tender, green Asparagus. and was planning of baking flan. It was only after the chaotic weather outside had convinced me that baking flan for me would be a waste of time, that I decided to make something that everyone in the family could enjoy instead. So I cooked a broth with the Asparagus and baked Mathri to accompany it. Mathris, or deep-fried savoury biscuits, are popular in India. Mathri is a popular tea-time snack in northern India, and a family favourite throughout the winter months. Mango pickle is a traditional accompaniment to Mathri. Some of the finest Mathri I’ve ever had was made by Rani Amma in Meerut (Uttar Pradesh). As our family’s Dhoban — or washerwoman — Rani Amma was also an incredibly stunning grandma. Regardless of how old she was, her lovely unblemished face with such a permanent yet toothed smile was a lesson in contrast. Her sari, a delicate, pastel floral cotton, was the approved colour scheme for a widow. Even though she appeared to be a softy, she wielded an iron grip on her daughters-in-law despite her soft appearance. It was Queen Amma who brought in our freshly pressed laundry the most of the time while we were in Meerut. Her famed mathris were prepared upon request, and one large batch was designated particularly for my consumption when I returned home from college in Delhi on days off.
Methi mathri (fenugreek-flavoured mathri) is one of the many types of mathris available, but they all have one thing in common: its texture is evenly crunchy but melts in the mouth. Perfect with a light soup.
Items for Asparagus Soup
- Tender asparagus weighing 450 grams
- Water and milk make up 2 quarts of liquid.
- 1 chopped medium red onion
- 10ml of fresh squeezed orange juice
- Flour, 2 Tbsp.
- 1 bouillon cube, preferably vegetarian add salt and black pepper if necessary
- 2 tbsp. of butter/oil or other fat
Soup Making Method
Trim the tops of half of the asparagus to about an inch as well as a half, and reserve for garnish. Slicing the rest of the asparagus is the next step.
Gently cook the chopped onions in one tablespoon of buttery in a medium skillet until they turn pink. The onions don’t need to be browned.
Sauté the asparagus for around a minute on low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the flour and cook for 30 seconds. When the water begins to boil, cover it and simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the stalks is very soft.
Puree in a blender or food processor until completely smooth, then refrigerate.
Stir in the milk and pre-heat for a few minutes, then remove from heat.
Sauté the asparagus heads in the leftover butter in a pan for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are tender.
Pour the soup into dishes and top with steamed asparagus heads for serving.
You can make these baked mathris in 15 minutes in the oven, without any frying, and they have a delicate, biscuit-like texture. If you want the same results, follow the steps listed below, which are based on our CQ (cooking quotient). You can, of course, experiment with other flavourings.
Baked Mathri — Indian-style savoury biscuits made with these ingredients
- Self-rising AP: 1 1/2 cups Flour
- Ginger minced to a fine powder
- 1-2 grated garlic pods
- 1 tbsp. lightly crushed peppercorns
- One-half teaspoon cumin seeds
- Ajwain/weed/carom bishop’s 1/2 teaspoon
- 12 cup oil for frying (I used sunflower)
- 1 little pinch of salt
- full-fat, chilled, 3 tbsp.
Line a baking pan with baking paper and heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place the flour and salt in a large, sturdy bowl that can be used to knead the dough.
Toss in the carom seeds and cayenne, and then add the ginger and garlic.
Well that in the middle of the dough should be made, and oil should be progressively poured in quarters while mixing the wheat into the oil. Once the dough has gone from being like dry granules to moist crumbs, it will keep its shape when squeezed in your fi
Drizzle milk one spoonful at an once, lightly knead the flour, the flour should just come again, in a fluffy sort of manner. The temptation to over-knead is strong.
Roll into balls the size of egg yolks and place on a baking sheet. Spread the dough balls slightly using a dessert spoon. The size and shape of your mathris can be altered based on your current state of mind.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, checking on them every 15 minutes or so, until they’re just beginning to brown around the edges and the top.
Remove the mathris from the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving. They should last about a week if kept in an airtight container.