Sunday, November 30, 2014

Murg Musallam - Mughlai Chicken Curry

Today's recipe is  adapted from The Hawkins Recipe Booklet.

I generally tweak the recipe to suit to our requirements. My observation is that this excellent booklet uses black cardamoms rather generously for our taste and I go easy on them as this spice can be little overpowering for us.

Murg Musallaum - Mughlai Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry
1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

Grind to a smooth paste
3 green chilies
5 cloves garlic
2" ginger, peeled

*Above paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Mughlai Garam Masala
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder or Paprika

Roast one after other
3-4 cloves
6 black pepper
1" cinnamon
1 Black Caradamom
8-10 Almonds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds

Fry till uniformly browned
1 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, peeled & thinly sliced

Fried Onion
Roasted Spices

1 tbsp. oil
1 bay leaf

You will also need
2 roma tomatoes, chopped finely or grated

1 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Rinse and cut boneless chicken into pieces. Marinate with the yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least till 4 hours.
2. Roast whole spices one after the other. Set aside.
3. Heat oil and fry onion till uniformly browned.
4. Grind fried onion and roasted spices into fine paste, adding 1/4 cup water.
5. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add a bay leaf. Add ground onion-spices paste. Sauté for 15 minutes.
6. Now add chicken with marinade, and tomatoes.
7. Add 1/2 cup water.
8. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let it drop naturally.
9. Adjust salt. Simmer till the gravy of desired thickness is ready.
10. Garnish with minced cilantro.

Note -
1. This gravy tastes even better the next day. So if possible, make it ready at least a few hours in advance before serving.
2. The original recipe requires chicken pieces to be lightly fried before adding to the masala. If following that step, shake off the excess marinade and fry each chicken piece. Follow the recipe link below for the original recipe.


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Baans Nu Athanu - Gujarati Bamboo Shoots Pickle



Though I am familiar with Bamboo as Vasota (Marathi) or Kirlu (Konkani), I didn't know that my Gujarati family knows about it too. This is called "Baans" in Gujarati which I thought was very poetic. You see, after all, baans makes "baansuri"/Flute.

Baans Nu Athanu
Bamboo Shoots Pickle
1 can Bamboo Shoots (By weight 20 oz., drained 10 oz.)

1/2 cup Gujarati Sambhar Powder/Instant Pickle Mix
2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. asafetida
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1. Drain and rinse the bamboo shoots.
2. Air dry the shoots. Chop them to small pieces.
3. Put chopped shoots in a glass or ceramic bowl.
4. Add Sambhar powder/pickle masala and lemon juice.
5. Mix well and set aside.
6. Heat a small saucepan. Add oil and tempering ingredients. As they sizzle, switch off the gas. Let this oil cool down completely.
7. Pour the cooled oil over the bamboo shoots mixture.
8. Mix well. Adjust salt and lemon juice if required.
9. This pickle can be eaten immediately. But refrigerate any unused pickle.

Note -
1. Do not confuse Gujarati Sambhar Powder with South Indian Sambar powder. Gujarati Sambhar powder is instant pickle mix. You can use readymade pickle masala by Bedekar or K-Pra.
2. Check the salt content of the pickle masala and adjust salt only if needed.
3. Remember that when you make pickle, never add hot tempered oil. It has to cool down completely before adding to the pickle.
4. Refrigerate any unused pickle and use within 2 weeks.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mushroom Brown Rice


"Brown" Rice was made in my family way before we discovered brown Basmati. This "brown" rice was actually a traditional Parsi rice, which gets the characteristic brown color by caramelizing onions. I modified the original recipe to include mushrooms. I also added a San Francisco style Rice-a-Roni touch by adding some angel hair pasta.
I think this addition worked beautifully. This is a very mild rice. So serve with a spicy curry as an accompaniment.
Mushroom Brown Rice
Mushroom and caramelized Onions Pilaf
1/4 cup Angel Hair Pasta
1 cup Basmati Rice
1 1/2 cup sliced baby portbella mushrooms
1/2 tsp coriander-cumin powder

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cups, thinly sliced onion
2 bay leaves
A small pinch of turmeric powder (Optional)
salt to taste

Roast together and crush using mortar and pestle -
1" cinnamon
3 cloves
2 cardamoms

1. Wash and soak rice till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed saucepan.. Add sugar. Then add sliced onions with bay leaves. Keep stirring on a low flame till onions are brown. This is what will give the characteristic "brown" color to the brown rice. So make sure that it doesn't burn but is uniformly brown.
3. Add pasta and roast for 1 minute. Add rice and roast for another minute.
4. Roast the spices in a separate pan and crush them using mortar and pestle. Make sure they are not powdered.
5. Add crushed spices, turmeric powder - if using,  coriander-cumin powder and salt to the onions. Stir well.
5. Add mushrooms. Sauté till all the moisture is gone. Add 2 cups water.
6. Increase the flame. Adjust salt. Bring to boil. As the water boils, close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put on the pressure. and reduce the flame. After 2 whistles, switch off the gas. If using a saucepan, switch the gas flame to medium - low and cover and let it cook.
7. When the pressure drops completely, open the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork.

Note -
1. Make sure that the spices are just crushed slightly and not powdered to get the right flavor.
2. Turmeric powder - if using - is added in a miniscule quantity as the color of this rice should be caramel brown and not yellow.
3. For richer flavor & non-vegan variation,  use clarified butter/ghee for cooking.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Pumpkin" Masala Milk/Kheer

When we had gone to the local farm for picking pumpkin for Halloween, I asked the lady at the counter if these pumpkins could also be used for cooking. I thought she would know for sure. The lady became flummoxed and hesitantly answered that she generally uses only the canned pumpkins for cooking. Since I hadn't used canned pumpkin then, and wanted to try a recipe for one, I got Libby's canned pumpkin [Note that this is the can containing only pumpkin, does not have any other spices etc.]

I made a couple of recipes using canned pumpkin. Since I had some pumpkin left, I came up with this "masala milk" for the current chilly weather. I wasn't sure if I should call it Pumpkin Masala Milk, Pumpkin Kheer or Pumpkin Eggnog without egg.

A word of caution :- Whatever you do, don't announce that you are serving "Pumpkin" Milk. You may receive a grimace, frown or protest from your family. Instead just say "Masala Milk"... But that's just my two cents!;-)

P.S. This masala milk/kheer tastes delicious and makes a perfect Indian Themed Thanksgiving dessert/drink.

"Pumpkin" Masala Milk/Kheer
4 cups milk [ preferably whole milk or at least 2 %]
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk [Adjust per personal taste]

1/2 cup canned pumpkin paste such as Libby's
1/2 tsp Pumpkin  Pie Spice [Homemade or McCormicks"]

Few strands of saffron

1. Pour milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Bring to boil.
3. Switch gas to low. Add canned pumpkin paste and pumpkin spice.
4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
5. Serve hot, warm or chilled, garnished with saffron strands.

Note -
1. Instead of sweetened condensed milk, sugar can be used. Adjust based on personal sweet tooth!
2. This recipe serves 4 people.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Dhingri Chhole - Chhole with Mushrooms

I added mushroom to my usual chhole masala recipe. I think it worked quite well.

Dhingri Chhole
Mushrooms with Garbanzo Beans
1 1/2 cup Garbanzo beans, soak overnight
7-8 white or baby portbella mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp. Chhole Masala
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste

Grind to a smooth paste
1 1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 kashmiri chilies, soaked in water, till plump
1" ginger, peeled & chopped
1 tomato, roughly chopped

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

1. Pressure cook soaked chikpeas adding adequate water. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, asafoetida and turmeric powder.
3. Add finely chopped onion. Sauté till soft. Add tomatoes. Sauté till pulpy.
4. Add ground paste. Sauté for 20 minutes.
5. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes.
6. Now add cooked chickpeas. Add 1 cup water.
7. Add salt, chili powder and Punjabi Garam Masala.
8. Simmer for about 15 minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.
9. Serve with paratha or roti with lemon wedges.

1. For a change, use big brown chanas instead of kabooli chanas/garbanzo beans.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Goan Fish Curry

Goan Fish Curry in Earthenware Pot
My grandmother used a specific shaped pot for making fish curries. It was called "Langdi"/लंगडी . She used an earthenware as well as brass langdis. The shape was such that all the fish pieces could be placed in a single layer and it was cooked uniformly. Also, These special pots were assigned only for making fish curries as no other pots were ever used for making any non-vegetarian preparation.
Today's recipe is hot, spicy, sour fish curry from Goa.

Goan Pomfret Curry
1 medium pomfret, cut into 5-6 pieces
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp lemon juice

Grind to a fine paste
3/4 cup Freshly scraped coconut
5 Kashmiri Chilies
3 byadgi chilies, roasted
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds, roasted
4-5 black pepper,roasted
2-3 cloves garlic or 1 tsp garlic paste
2 tbsp. chopped onion, fried in few drops of oil
1 tsp tamarind paste

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. chopped onion

1. Clean and marinate the pomfret steaks with lemon juice, salt and turmeric powder. Set aside.
2. Roast whole spices. Fry chopped onion in few drops of oil. Grind all the ingredients from coconut to tamarind, using adequate water. The paste should be very fine.
3. Add oil - preferably coconut oil to a saucepan. For authentic flavor, use an earthenware pot - which we call langdi/लंगडी .
4. Sauté onion till golden brown.
5. Add finely ground coconut masala paste and 1/2 cup water.
6. Place marinated pomfret pieces. Adjust water based on the desired consistency.
7. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Adjust salt.
9. Switch off the gas.
10. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. Adjust chilies per your own preference.
2. If you want to make this curry in a hurry, mix paprika, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder, tamarind pulp and garlic paste. Stir in a can of coconut milk. After frying onions, add this mixture and add pomfret pieces.
3. Kashmiri chilies are used for color.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Banana Blossom Vadas

Recently, we hosted a tea party for Gudiya's new school friend and her family. The family has just moved from Chennai. As Gudiya got a new friend, I too got a new friend in her mom. Sujatha got some banana blossom fritters for the tea party. I asked the recipe but forgot to take pictures of Sujatha's banana blossom fritters. These fritters were really delicious. They reminded me of our Daal vade/Chettambade. 

I have shallow fried these "fritters" but feel free to deep fry them if you prefer.

Sujatha's Vazhaipoo Vadai
Banana Blossom Fritters
1 cup Chanda daal, soaked for 6 hours

Grind drained daal with
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asafetida
2-3 green chilies
1/2" ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds

Stir in
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
1 can banana blossom, rinsed, drained, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 green chilies, minced (optional)
salt to taste

Oil for frying


1. Soak chana daal in adequate water for 6 hours.
2. Drain and grind coarsely with turmeric powder, asafetida, chilies, ginger, cumin seeds, coriander seeds. Do not add any water for grinding.
3. Stir in salt, chopped vegetables  and herbs. Mix well.
4. Heat pan or kadhai for shallow/deep frying respectively. Add oil as needed.
5. Spread on the pan or deep fry flattened fritters.
6. Drain and serve as a snack/appetizer or part of a big meal.

Note -
1. If you like heat, add minced green chilies in the batter. Otherwise, just omit the green chilies.
Banana Blossom from the can

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Paneer and Vegetables Taka Tak



Surprisingly, growing up, I don't remember eating anything called "Taka Tak" in Mumbai. Of course, the only dish that would be closest to the sound of "Taka Tak" is obviously the ubiquitous Paav Bhaaji. But then, we called it "Paav Bhaaji" and not "Taka Tak", unless I missed the memo!;-) But these days, this seems to be on every possible menu card.

A friend of mine shared that this dish tastes wonderful when the veggies like cauliflower and potatoes along with paneer are deep fried before adding to the gravy. Of course, anything that is deep fried tastes sinfully delicious! But deep frying didn't justify. So I decided to roast them. Here's my version

Paneer & Vegetables Taka Tak
Indian Cottage Cheese and Vegetables
1 medium head cauliflower
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 cup diced paneer/Indian cottage cheese
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)

Grind to a smooth paste
2 tbsp. cilantro
10 fresh mint leaves
3-4 cloves garlic
1"ginger, peeled
2 green chilies

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced tomatoes

You will also need
1 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
1 tsp Pav bhaaji masala
salt to taste
2 tbsp. yogurt
1/2 tsp crushed kasoori methi
1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp. minced cilantro
Lemon wedges

1. Rinse and dry the vegetables. Peel Potatoes and dice them. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
2. Mix caluflower, potatoes and paneer along with 1 tbsp. oil and turmeric powder.
3. Preheat oven 400F. Spread the vegetables and paneer into a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes.
4. Heat oil on a deep tawa or saucepan.
5. Add cumin seeds. As they sizzle, add onion and ground green paste.
6. Saute till onion is soft. Add tomatoes. Saute till tomatoes are pulpy.
7. Add Kashmiri chili powder, pav bhaji masala and yogurt. Keep frying for 10 minutes.
8. Add salt, kasoori methi, sugar. Keep stirring. Add 1/2 cup water.
9. Add roasted vegetables and green peas.
10. Let them simmer.
11. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. Kasoori Methi is dried fenugreek leaves. They are readily available at the local Indian stores.
2. Please do not use cottage cheese from American supermarket. Indian cottage cheese or Paneer is totally different.
3. For richer taste, use heavy whipping cream instead of yogurt.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pumpkin Biscuits

Back in my days, biscuits were synonymous with Gluco, Marie, Krack-Jack, Monaco, Bourbon and so on. But in America, biscuits are soft rolls that are served at the dinner table. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to add pumpkin to the biscuit recipe.

Pumpkin Biscuits
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice

Cut into small pieces
5 tbsp. chilled butter

3/4 cup canned pumpkin, such as Libby's
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp. honey

1. Preheat oven 400 F
2. Mix dry ingredients.
3. Add cut butter to the flour mixture. Mix till it resembles coarse meal.
4. Whisk buttermilk, honey and pumpkin puree.
5. Add wet ingredients to the flour. Mix till moist.
6. Knead on a floured surface.

7. Roll into a rectangle using dry flour as needed.
8. Fold into a triangle and roll again to a rectangle.
9. Using biscuit cutter, or small ramekin, cut uniform 15 circles.
10. Line a parchment paper with a baking sheet.
11. Place the rounds 1" apart on the baking sheet.
12. Bake for about 14 minutes.
13. Serve hot off the oven.

Note -
1. Bake the remnants of the dough as well. They make fun "guess this animal" biscuits.

2. I used Libby's canned pumpkin. Make sure that they do not have any ingredients other than pumpkin.
3. If using readymade, pumpkin spice mix, I recommend McCormick brand.

Cooking Light

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Spiced Indian Chai

After conjuring my own Pumpkin Spice Mix, what do you think I made first? Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Muffin, Pumpkin Bundt Cake or Pumpkin Bread? Well, here' the surprise. I decided to make myself a cup of tea. Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger - these spices are used for making Indian tea. Allspice was a little different but then I am adventurous for sure. I loved the flavor of my tea.

Pumpkin Spiced Indian Chai
1 cup water
1/2 - 1 tsp Tea powder of your favorite brand
A generous pinch of Pumpkin Spice Mix
Sugar to taste

1/4 cup milk - preferably 2 %

1. Bring water to boil.
2. Add spices, sugar per choice and tea powder.
3. Add milk and simmer for another 5 minutes .
4. Let it steep.
5. Serve hot.

Note -
1. You can add a pinch of cardamom powder if you prefer.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

American Masala : Apple Pie Spice & Pumpkin Spice

Apple Pie Spice

Around this time of the year, two spice mixes dominate American grocery stores. Apple Spice and Pumpkin Spice. Just as the recipe of spice mix changes from family to family, household to household, shop to shop in India, these two American spice mixes also vary. 

I used only three spices to make an Apple Pie Spice and additional one ingredient to make a pumpkin spice. Bakers are known to add clove powder, cardamom powder  based on their individual preference.

Apple Pie Spice
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1. Mix all the spice powders.
2. Store in an airtight container.

Note -
1. A pinch of cardamom powder can also be added.

Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin Spice
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground dry ginger
1/2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground all spice
1. Mix all the ingredients
2. Store in an airtight container.
Note -
1. Clove powder and/or cardamom powder can also be added.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving special American Desi Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday of November in the United States. This festival celebrates harvest while paying tribute to the family and heritage. This is the festival to reflect upon the many blessings in our life and give thanks. Most commonly featured fruit/vegetables/meat are Green beans, Cranberry, Pumpkin, Pecans, Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans, Corn & turkey.
This is my attempt to use these American harvest vegetables and create dishes with a desi twist while paying homage to my own Indian roots.

Batatya Gojju/Salad
Baked Potato
Hasselback Potatoes


Bangde Udid Methi - Mackerel Curry


A heap of plain, steamed rice and Bangde Udid Methi -  Spicy, hot Mackerel curry with coconut and roasted spices - make a seafood lover realize that one doesn't need too much to feel content in this world. This curry tastes even more delicious when it's a day old as all the spices are nicely marinated. But that's possible only if you are willing to wait another day.

Bangde Udid Methi
Mackerel Curry
4 Indian Mackerels, cleaned, halved,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Roast these spices in few drops of coconut oil
1 tsp urad daal
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp raw rice
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
7-8 black peppercorns
15 byadgi chilies
3 Kashmiri Chilies (for color)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Grind roasted spice with
3/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 tbsp. tamarind pulp

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup finely minced onion

A few drops of coconut oil

1. Clean and halve mackerels. Make a few gashes. Marinate with salt and turmeric powder till ready to use. Refrigerate.
2. In an iron or cast iron kadhai or pan, roast spices, rice , daal one after the other, using few drops of coconut oil. Urad daal should turn golden brown but not black. Use medium heat.
3. Grind above roasted spices with coconut and tamarind pulp. Add water as necessary to make a fine paste.
4. Heat oil in a wide saucepan. Add onion and sauté till soft.
5. Add ground coconut paste.
6. Place marinated mackerels, making sure that they are placed in a single layer.
7. Add 1 cup water and salt to taste. Bring to boil.
8. Let it simmer for 10 minutes - adjust consistency of the curry as desired.
9. Drizzle few drops of coconut oil.

Note -
1. Make sure to roast spices, daal, rice, chilies etc. separately and not all together.
2. This curry is very hot. Adjust chilies per your taste.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Harabhara Paratha

Harabhara Paratha with Daal Makhni

Sometimes, when I make a particular dish, I already have a follow-up dish in mind. It saves my time and energy. For example, when I make harabhara kabab, I, intentionally make stuffing more than required. I use it later for making harabhara paratha. [Sometimes I also use it for stuffing tomatoes]

Harabhara Paratha
Lush Green Flat Bread
1 cup Chapati Dough
1 cup Harabhara Kabab Stuffing

Oil as needed for roasting.

Rice flour or wheat flour for dredging

Suggested Accompaniment
Daal Makhni

1. Use instructions here to make chapatti dough.
2. Use instructions here to make Harabhara Kabab stuffing
3. Make uniform number of chapati dough balls, and equal number of harabhara stuffing balls.
4. Using flour as needed for dredging, roll a chapati dough ball into a small disc.
5. Place harabhara stuffing in the middle. Bring the disc together to make a pouch, roll into a sphere, dredge into flour and roll into a thick flat bread.
6. Place on a hot tawa/pan and roast on both sides till brown spots appear. Use oil as needed for roasting.
7. Serve with Daal Makhni, salad and achar for a complete meal.

Note -
1. The roasted parathas can be frozen for future use.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Raw Mango Quinoa

I substitute cooked quinoa for making many South India inspired fried rice recipes. Raw Mango Rice is made in South Indian kitchens by tempering rice with spices, curry leaves, raw peanuts and raw mango. Cooked quinoa tastes equally delicious. I have used rainbow quinoa here for variety, but even usual quinoa works just fine.
Raw Mango Quinoa
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled completely
1 cup grated raw mango
salt to taste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2-3 red chilies, halved
1 tsp. chana daal
1 tsp. urad daal
1/4 tsp. asafetida
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 tbsp. raw peanuts
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1. Heat oil in a wok. Add spices, daals, curry leaves and peanuts.
2. As they splutter, and peanuts appear crispy, add grated raw mango. Stir fry for a minute.
3. Add cooked quinoa, salt to taste.
4. Mix well. Cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro.
Note -
1. Use raw mango from the Indian stores. Green mangoes available at American super markets do not have the required tartness and firmness.
Cooked Rainbow Quinoa

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Harabhara Kabab - Lush Green Kababs

I was an ardent fan of Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khajana in early nineties. Due to my utmost devotion to his show, I was introduced to Harabhara Kabab, Hazarvi Kabab, Shyam Savera, Rajma Rasmisa and many  delicacies which are eponymous with him. I was still a student that time, I would follow his recipes and create his signature dishes. Now, I am a mother who is looking for healthy recipes and don't have too much time on hand. I still like to create those dishes, but I use my own twists trying to keep pantry and health in check.

This is my version of Harabhara Kabab:-


Harabhara Kababs
Lush Green Kababs
2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, boiled, Peeled
1 bunch  spinach , fresh or frozen
1 cup green peas
1 cup cilantro
5-6 fresh mint leaves (optional)
3 green chilies
3 cloves garlic
1" ginger, peeled

1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste

Oil for frying

1. Pressure cook potatoes, green peas and spinach.
2. Peel potatoes. Grate them using coarse side of the grater. Set aside.
3. Drain spinach leaves. Grind drained spinach with green peas, cilantro, ginger, garlic, mint - if using and green chilies. Make a smooth green paste.
4. Add green paste to grated potatoes. Add garam masala, chaat masala, corn starch, lemon juice and salt. Knead well.
5. Make uniform balls. Flatten them a bit and place on a hot pan.
6. Drizzle oil as needed to cook on both sides till desired crispness.
7. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or chutney of your choice. Make a complete meal by stuffing in a bun or slider roll, adding lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and a slice of cheese if you please.

Note -
1. Traditionally, a pinch of baking soda is added while cooking spinach and peas to retain the green color. I don't add baking soda.
2. I use a shortcut to grind my vegetable and herbs into a single paste.
3. I use harabhara kabab potato mixture as a stuffing for making parathas or stuffing for tomatoes to make stuffed tomatoes.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leeli Dungli nu Raitu - Gujarati Spring Onion Salad

Gujarat meets Punjab: Bataka Thepla, Chhole & Leeli Dungli nu raitu
Today's recipe is a simple salad of spring onions/scallions. Make sure to minced it nicely since we are using it raw.
Leeli Dungli nu Raitu
Scallions Salad
1 spring onion, minced both green and white part
1 firm roma tomato, chopped finely
Whisk together
1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ginger-green chile paste
1. Chop vegetables finely.
2. Whisk yogurt with remaining ingredients
3. Add chopped vegetables. Mix well.
4. Serve as an accompaniment with the main meal.
Note -
1. Depending on personal preference, adjust sugar.
2. Mince spring onion very finely to avoid big chunks of raw greens.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tikhta Saanja - Maharashtrian Upma



Tikhta Sanja is to Maharashtra what Upma is to South India. However, this savory Maharashtrian breakfast/snack has turmeric. Some people also add potatoes in addition to green peas.  In my family, both tikhta sanja and goda sanja (also known as shira) are always served with a dollop of homemade kairi or mirchi pickle.

Tikhta Sanja
Breakfast Porridge Maharashtrian way
1 cup coarse rawa/semolina
salt to taste
1 cup green peas (frozen ok)
1 tsp sugar or to taste

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 red chili, halved
2 green chilies, slit
2 sprigs of curry leaves, torn
1/2 tbsp. grated ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
Lemon wedges per individual serving

1. Roast rava for few minutes. Set aside. If your rawa packet already is pre-roasted, omit this step.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok/saucepan.
3. Add all the ingredients for tempering one after the other. As they sizzle, keep on stirring till onion is soft.
4. Add rawa and stir fry for 2 minutes
5. Now add frozen green peas. Keep sautéing for 2 more minutes till peas don't appear frozen.
6. Add salt and sugar. Now add 2 cup hot water. Keep the gas to the lowest.
7. Keep on stirring till pudding like consistency is reached.
8. Cover and cook for additional 5 minutes.
9. Serve warm tikhta sanja , garnished with coconut and cilantro.
10. Serve with lemon wedges and a pickle of your choice.
Note -
1. I used frozen green peas for the above recipe. If using fresh peas, add them after step 3, before adding rava. Cook the peas first, before adding rava.
2. Variation - Try my Microwave version using dalia/broken wheat .

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Baghare Baingan - Hyderabadi Eggplant Curry


Baghare Baingan is Hyderabad style eggplant curry. In my version, instead of deep frying the eggplants, I lightly fry them in a spoonful of oil.  Serve with chapati or plain rice.
Baghare Baingan
Hyderabadi Eggplant Curry
10 - 12 baby eggplants, stems removed, 2 slits keeping each eggplant in tact
1/2 tbsp. oil
Roast one after the other
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. peanuts
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tbsp. coconut
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
8-10 fenugreek seeds
1/2" ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup onion
4-5 byadgi chilies
1 sprig curry leaves
Grind the roasted ingredients with
1/2 tbsp. tamarind pulp
2 tbsp. water

You will also need
salt to taste
1 tbsp. jaggery

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. asafetida
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 cup minced onion
2 sprigs curry leaves

1 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Rinse eggplants. Dry eggplants completely. Cut off the stems. Make two slits, leaving each eggplant intact.
2. Heat a pan. Add 1/2 tbsp. oil. Spread eggplants in a single layer. Fry till they are uniformly browned - not necessarily cooked. Set them aside. 
3. Roast all the spices, coconut, onion one after the other.
4. Grind them with tamarind and water.
5. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the ingredients for tempering. Add onion and curry leaves. Sauté till onion is soft.
6. Add ground paste, 1 cup water and fried eggplants. Bring to boil. Switch gas to low. Cover and let it cook till eggplants are cooked but not mushy.
7. Add salt and jaggery to taste. Simmer till gravy is thick.
8. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. Traditionally eggplants are deep fried before adding to the gravy.

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