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Friday, 28 November 2014

Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry - Punjabi Style)

       
          A favourite comfort meal, Rajma Masala is quite liked by young and old alike. A very popular daily menu in the Punjab region, it is generally had with rice, called "Rajma-Chawal". It also tastes good with naan or tandoori roti. It is a nutritious and a wholesome meal in itself. Just a bowlful of this delectable dish and two rotis is enough to satiate and satisfy your hunger.





  • 1 cup rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste / 1 tomato, pureed
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1" cinnamon stick 
  • 2 green cardamoms 
  • 3-4 cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. dry roasted coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. dry roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), crushed         
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice or to taste
  • coriander leaves, chilies & sliced lemon to garnish





          Boil the rajma in 2 cups water for 7-8 minutes on low flame after the first whistle. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and temper with the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves. Saute for a few seconds.

          Add the onion and fry till light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste, tomato paste and all the powdered masalas, (except kasuri methi and salt), mixed with 1/4 cup water.

          Saute till the oil separates. (If using pureed tomatoes, add it now and saute well till oil leaves the sides of the pan.

          Now add the boiled rajma along with the water in which it was boiled, salt and the kasuri methi. Simmer on low flame for 3-5 minutes.

           Adjust the water according to the consistency desired. When done, add the lime juice and serve, garnished with the sliced onion, chilies and coriander leaves.






       









Parsi Style Mutton Dhansak (Mutton Cooked With Lentils & Vegetables)

          
            This is a signature dish of the Parsi cuisine. Very spicy and tangy, no menu is complete without this delicacy where the mutton is cooked in a combination of two or more lentils and eggplants. Cubed red pumpkin, if preferred can also be added. It can be had both with Parsi biryani or flat bread. Without the mutton, this dish can be termed as a very nutritious dish and also a gourmet delight on a vegetarian platter. So check for a step by step method with pictures to preparing this delicacy,








  • 1/2 cup chana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 1/4 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentil)
  • 10-12 mutton cubes, boiled
  • 1-2 long eggplants, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder
  • handful of mint leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • onion rings & mint leaves to garnish (opt)
      





           Pressure cook the lentils, eggplants, turmeric powder and mint leaves in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes on low flame after the first whistle.

           Whisk the boiled dal. Add the boiled mutton and salt and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till light brown. Add the tomatoes and fry till it is mashed.

          Add the ginger-garlic paste and all the remaining powdered spices mixed with a little water. Saute till oil separates from the sides of the pan.

          Add the boiled dal and tamarind paste mixed with 1/4 cup water. Simmer on low flame for 3-4 minutes. 

          Adjust water according to the consistency desired. This dish calls for a semi thick gravy. Serve, garnished with onion rings and mint leaves.




                 Pressure cook the lentils, eggplants, turmeric powder and mint leaves for 10 
                 minutes on a low flame after the first whistle.



                               The boiled lentils with the eggplants and mint leaves.



                                Whisk the lentils.



                                Add the boiled mutton and salt and keep aside.



                               Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till light brown.



                               Add the tomatoes and continue to fry till it is mashed.



                Add the ginger-garlic paste and all the remaining powdered spices mixed with a
                 little water. Saute till the oil separates.



                               Add the boiled dal and tamarind paste mixed with 1/4 cup water.



                 Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes on low flame. Keep stirring at intervals.






                               Serve, garnished with onion rings and mint leaves.











Gushtaba ( Mutton Balls in Yoghurt Gravy - Kashmiri Style)

       
          This is a traditional Kashmiri delicacy where mutton balls are cooked in a yoghurt based  thin gravy. There are many versions of this dish where onion, turmeric powder and saffron are sometimes used. This exotic dish forms an integral part of a wazwan (Kashmiri platter) and is often served in weddings and special occasions. 

          Fennel powder and dry ginger powder are the dominant spices in this recipe. Garlic juice is sometimes added to balance the flavour. It is a great party recipe and best relished with Kashmiri pulao, some helping of Biryani or any Indian fried flat bread. So check for a step by step pictorial recipe to prepare it. 








  • 1 cup mutton mince
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 tsp. fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mint powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp. roasted coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic juice (opt)
  • 2 cups thick buttermilk, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp. ghee 
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. mint-coriander leaves, chopped








          Mix together the mince, salt to taste, fennel powder, mint powder and ginger powder. Shape into marble sized balls. Keep aside.

          Boil 2 cups of water along with a pinch of salt, bay leaf and cloves. Drop in the prepared  koftas and cook, covered on a low flame for 15-20 minutes.

          Whisk the buttermilk, coriander-cumin powder, cardamom powder, ghee, garlic juice and salt to taste. Transfer to a pan and simmer on low flame for 4-5 minutes.

         Add the cooked koftas along with the water in which it was simmered. Continue to cook further for a couple of minutes. 

          When done, add mint-coriander leaves and switch off the flame. Serve with Kashmiri pulao or any Indian bread.




                      Mix together the mince, salt to taste, fennel powder & coriander-cumin 
                      powder. Shape into marble sized balls. Keep aside.



                      Boil 2 cups of water along with a pinch of salt, bay leaf and cloves. Drop 
                      in the prepared koftas and simmer, covered for till 15-20 minutes.



                     Whisk the buttermilk, coriander-cumin powder, cardamom powder, ghee,
                     garlic juice & salt to taste. Transfer to a pan & simmer on low flame for
                     4-5 minutes.



                     Add the cooked koftas along with the water in which it was simmered. 
                     Continue to cook further for a couple of minutes. 



                     When done, add mint-coriander leaves & switch off the flame. 



                 Serve with Kashmiri pulao, some helping of Biryani or any Indian fried flat bread. 












Thursday, 27 November 2014

Green Jackfruit (Kathal) Kebab / Patties

       
           These are some out of the way exotic kebabs made from green Jackfruit / kathal. Very healthy and delicious at the same time, it makes for a perfect appetizer in any in-house party. the leftover kebabs can be turned into kofta curry / kadhi or can be rolled into parathas as a frankie. This serves as a great lunch box meal too. The options are aplenty. Relish them with some chutney or sauce. So check for a step by step guide with pictures to prepare this awesome treat.








  • 1 medium green jackfruit, boiled
  • 2 potatoes, boiled
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • handful of mint leaves & coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fried chana dal (Bengal gram), powdered
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, dry roasted
  • oil to shallow fry





          Mash together the boiled jackfruit and potatoes. Combine with all the other ingredients, except oil. Divide into equal portions and form into round kebabs. Refrigerate for an hour.

          Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry in batches on both sides till golden brown in colour. Serve, with some chutney or sauce.




                  Mash together the boiled jackfruit and potatoes. Combine with all the other                                     ingredients, except oil. 




               Divide into equal portions & form into round kebabs. Refrigerate for an hour.




                Heat 2 tbsp. oil at a time in a non-stick pan and shallow fry in batches on both
                sides till golden brown in colour. Serve, with some chutney or sauce.










Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Tomato Soup With Coriander Stems & Mint Leaves

       
            A refreshing tomato soup with the discarded stems of coriander leaves and some mint leaves. The stems contains more nutrients and essential oils. Hence, the combination of both mint leaves and coriander stems gives this soup a lot of flavour and aroma. Very light on the tummy, if had with some bread sticks or croutons is a perfect dinner meal.






  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup coriander stems, chopped & loosely packed
  • handful of mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice or to taste



          Heat oil in a pan and saute the garlic till it changes colour. Switch off the flame. Add rest of the ingredients and pressure cook for 3 whistles.

          Keep aside to cool. Then blend to a puree and strain. Heat through and add lime juice. Serve hot, preferably with bread sticks.
















Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Lemony Chicken & Bell Pepper Soup


          It is a clear soup with the goodness of chicken, vermicelli and bell peppers. For a veg. version, you can substitute the chicken with mushrooms, peas or just plain bell peppers. The addition of kaffir lime leaves gives a punch and a lemony flavour to this exotic soup. Have it with some bread sticks for a wholesome light meal.





  • 1/2 cup chicken mince
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 7-8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 litre chicken stock / water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • 1/2 cup assorted bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fried vermicelli, broken
  • mint leaves to garnish






          Heat oil in a pan and saute the garlic till it changes colour. Add the onion and stir fry till light brown. Now add the chicken mince, salt and pepper powder and fry till dry.

          Add the stock and lime leaves and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes on medium flame. Add the seviyan and continue to simmer till soft.

          Add the sliced bell peppers and cook for a minute. Serve hot, garnished with mint leaves.

















Salad Fritata - (Omelette in Italian Style)


          Fritata means fried, is an omelette in an Italian style. Here I have used some leftover salads and some beaten eggs to make a delicious breakfast. It can be also had as a tea-time snack. Grated cheese can be topped on the fritata and grilled in the oven to get a golden crust. Shredded and boiled chicken too can be included. 





  • 1 cup leftover salad (bell peppers, cucumber, onion, bean sprouts, boiled potatoes, carrots, spring onions, tomatoes, etc)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil

          Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan and saute the garlic till they change colour. Then add the salad and saute for a minute.

          Mix the salad to the beaten egg along with the salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Heat the remaining oil and pour this egg mix.

          Cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes until set. Place a plate over it and carefully flip it over. Now again carefully place the flipped over fritata on to the pan and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes till done.

          Cut into portion size with a pizza cutter and serve as a tea-time snack or as a breakfast.









Monday, 24 November 2014

Chettinad Mushroom Masala

       
           This is a vegetarian version of the spicy and popular chicken chettinad, a South Indian delicacy from the chettinad region of Tamilnadu. It is prepared with the same masala used to cook the latter. 

          It simply tastes delicious and can be had with plain steamed rice,  chapatti, naan or veg. biryani. As an alternative, any other veggies like boiled and fried potatoes, small eggplants or fried cauliflower can be used.





  • 15-20 button mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh coconut, grated
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1" cinnamon
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 10-15 cashew nuts
  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • coriander leaves and fried cashews to garnish





          Dry roast all the ingredients from coconut to peppercorns till golden brown in colour. Keep aside to cool. Then grind along with the poppy seeds, cashew nuts, ginger and garlic.

          Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till light brown. Add the ground paste and turmeric powder and fry till the oil separates. Then add the tomatoes and continue to saute till well mashed up.

          Add the mushrooms, curry leaves and salt and cook, covered on low flame till dry. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.

















Dal Tadka

       
            A very popular lentil recipe, it differs from one region to the other. There are many versions to it and is also a bit different from one house hold to the other. Whatever the reason, this dal recipe is simply delicious and nutritious too. A comfort food for many, it can be had both with rice or chapatti. When having it with rice, it can be accompanied with some roasted papad.





  • 1/2 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentil)
  • 1/2 cup moong dal (split green gram)
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp; turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 green chilies, split
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Pressure cook both the dals in 2 cups water for 4-5 whistles. Add salt and whisk well. Keep aside.

          Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and temper with 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds, red chilly and urad dal. After it stops spluttering add the asafoetida, onion, ginger, garlic and curry leaves.

          Saute till light brown. Now add the cumin powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder. Sprinkle a little water and saute for a few seconds.

          Add the tomatoes and continue to fry till oil leaves the sides of the pan. Now add the boiled dal, salt and split green chilies.

          Simmer on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the flame, add the lime juice and keep aside.

          Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil and temper with the remaining mustard seeds and cumin seeds. After it stops spluttering, switch off the flame and pour this tempering on the prepared dal. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.







          

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Minestrone Soup - Italian Style

       
           A delicious and a nutritious Italian soup which has all the goodness of vegetables and greens. It serves as a one-pot meal and is very healthy and filling at the same time. Carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or broccoli can also be added to the soup. In short, any vegetables you can lay your hands on.  Boiled and shredded chicken or mutton pieces can also be added for a non-veg. version.





  • 1-2 onions, diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup french beans, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans (rajma), boiled
  • 1/2 cup white chick peas (kabuli chana), boiled
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup assorted Bell peppers, diced
  • 3 1/2  cups stock (vegetable / chicken / mutton)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup pasta, boiled
  • few spinach leaves, chopped
  • few parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary basil)
  • 1 tbsp. cheese, grated







          Blanch the tomatoes in hot water for 5 minutes. Discard the skin and chop them. Heat oil in a deep pan and saute the bay leaves and garlic for a few seconds.

          Add the onion and fry till translucent. Then add the french beans and celery and stir for a minute. Now add the stock and simmer on low flame till the veggies are soft.

          Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and bell peppers and simmer for a minute or two. Then add the  boiled kidney beans, chick peas. boiled pasta, spinach leaves, parsley, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

          Simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve, garnished with grated cheese.










       


    

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Fish In Tomato Gravy - Bengali Style)

       
              This is my version of a simple fish curry in tomato gravy, to be enjoyed with some hot steamed rice. Mustard oil is the medium of cooking to give a traditional Bengali touch to this dish. A sprinkle of panch phoron powder to the end product enhances the flavour.





  • 5- 6 pieces of Rohu fish 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 3-4 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 tsp. roasted panch phoron powder to garnish (opt)





          Marinate the fish with a pinch of salt and turmeric for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish till light brown. Drain and keep aside.

          Temper the same oil with cumin seeds and bay leaf. After it stops sizzling, add the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves. Saute for a few seconds.

          Add the onion and fry till light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste, coriander-cumin powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder mixed with little water. Saute till the oil separates from the sides of the pan.

          Now add the pureed tomatoes and continue to saute till dry. Add 1 1/2 cups water, fried fish, green chilies and salt. Cover and cook on low flame for 4-5 minutes. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves and panch phoron powder.

















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