Gatte Ki Sabzi| Chickpea Dumpling Curry


I love this delicious gatte ki sabzi from Rajasthan. I have another recipe of the Punjabi version on my blog but this is absolute delight when eaten with hot fresh phulkas smeared with ghee or of course the bajra roti which is traditionally served with this curry. Ghee is healthy and you should use it.  The gattas I made for this recipe are thinner and spicier than the Punjabi ones.

Gatta is chickpea flour dumpling that is steamed or boiled till they float up and become light. One can spice them up or keep them plain. They are so tempting and hard to resist that you may keep munching on them while making the curry and realize that there is more curry than the gattas.

Make some extra dumplings always.  You can use these  gattas or dumplings with other veggies also but this is a basic recipe.

Ingredients : 

For Gatta : 

Besan / Chickpea flour – 1 Cup

Home cultured curd / Yogurt – 1/4 Cup

Fennel seeds powder – 3/4 tsp

Ajwain – 3/4 tsp

Salt – to taste

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Chili powder – to taste

Pinch of hing powder

2 pinches of coarsely ground fresh black pepper corns

For the Curry : 

Ginger and Garlic – 1 tsp each ( grated)

Onion – 1 medium size, chopped fine

Green chilies – 2, slit or chopped

Whole red chilies – 1-2

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tbs

Besan or  Chickpea flour – 2 tbs

Fresh coriander leaves – chopped – 2 tbsp

Method :

For Gatta :

Mix the dry ingredients listen under gatta except the ghee and curd.

Pour ghee evenly and rub it in the mixture. Slowly add beaten curd one spoon at a time to make a firm dough.

Divide the dough in equal parts and roll it in your palms to make a cylindrical shape.  You can make it as thin or thick but I have noticed that the thicker ones don’t cook well from the center when boiled.

Making perfect gatta is a bit tricky at times but you’ll get used to it.

Now take a deep large pan and boil enough water. Once the water boils slowly dunk the gatta in it. You can go about doing some other stuff while they cook in the boiling water. It takes a lot of time. Keep checking in between and the moment gatttas rise up and start floating take them out in a plate to cook. Throw away the water.

Once they cool, cut them into 1 inch long pieces.

Now  to make the curry :

Blend the yogurt and add the powdered masalas and salt in it. Remember that you had added salt in the gattas too. Mix well. Roast the besan and allow it t cool. Now, make a paste with  2 tbsp of buttermilk and add to the curd. DO NOT add more than 1-2 tbs of besan or it will become kadhi. You can omit besan too. I use it just to make sure that the curd doesn’t curdle.

Heat a wok or a kadhayi and put ghee in it.  when the ghee melts, add hing and cumin seeds. When they crackle , add red and green chili, stir and add ginger and garlic. Saute and add the onions. Let the onions brown a little then turn off the gas. Add the curd mixture and give it a nice stir.

Put tit back on flame and keep stirring on low medium heat till the ghee separates from the masala.

Slowly add warm water to make a curry till you get desired consistency. The gravy will thicken once you add gattas so keep that it mind.

Adjust salt and spices to your liking at this point.

Let the curry boil for sometime and then dip in the gatta pieces.

Let it cook for about 5-10 minutes and then garnish it with fresh coriander leaves.

Eat it hot with bajra roti or phulka smeared with ghee. It makes for one hell of a satiating meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Vegetable Red Poha (Flattened Red Rice) Recipe


 

I am a big fan of flattened rice or poha. Not just because it is a nutritious, complete meal but also because it is quick to make. You can make a variety of poha dishes with both red and white rice flakes. The red rice flakes are considered more nutritious than the white ones as they are a concentrated source of folic acid, vitamin B6, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. Adding veggies, soya nuggets or granules, nuts , sprouts or  multi-grains makes it even more rich in nutrition.It is a good source of carbs too and is easy to digest. You can read more about it and try some other recipes here.

Parboiled, dried and flatted these rice flakes provide a healthy, quick cooking breakfast option. So, now that we all know how harmful the commercial white bread is why not shift to the indigenous options available to us? It is rich in fiber, low in gluten and diabetic friendly among other things. It helps to lower cholesterol too.  So, doesn’t it make beaten rice flakes the healthiest food ever?

The russet colored red poha has a lovely nutty flavor. Apart from making regular poha from these beaten rice flakes you can also add them to smoothies, make vadai, cutlets, rolls, upma, laddoos, patties, idlis,  kheer etc.

One can make dadpa poha, kanda poha, batata poha but here we have made simple mixed vegetable poha as part of the healthy breakfast series.

To make this you will need :

(For two large servings)

Dry Red Rice Poha – 1 Cup

Finely chopped French beans – 1/4 cup

Finely Chopped carrots – 1/4 cup

Fresh Green peas – 1/4 Cup

Finely chopped French Beans – 1/4 Cup

Small cubes of boiled potatos – 1/2 cup

Chopped Green chilies – 1 tablepoon

Chopped curry leaves – 1 tablespoon

Minced ginger -1 tablespoon

Chopped Red Onion – 1 cup

(You can add bell peppers and any other veggie you like)

Oil – 2 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafetida – a pinch or two

Lemon – 1

Coriander Greens – finely chopped 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh coconut – for garnishing

Roasted Peanuts – to toss  (A handful)

Salt to taste

Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1 tablespoon ( optional)

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Method : 

I used Pro Nature Organic Red Poha for this recipe.

First take the dry poha in a colander and rinse it under filtered water. Keep aside it a sieve to puff up and soften. ( the time depends on the quality of the rice flakes. If they are thick ones, they may take long )

Now, Heat the oil in a wide pan and tip in mustard seeds and Hing (Asafetida). When the seeds start to crackle ass green chilies, curry leaves, red onion. Stir and let the onion soften a bit and become translucent. Keep the flame low.

Add the chopped veggies except boiled potatoes and cook them covered for a few minutes till they soften a little. ( You can add slightly steamed veggies too.)

Now add the boiled potato cubes, stir well and let everything cook for a while. Add a little salt to it to help in cooking.

Meanwhile, fluff up the poha with fingers and sprinkle turmeric powder, salt and red chili powder. Remember you have added some salt to the veggies too. We don’t want excess salt in it, do we?

Check the veggies for softness and if done , add this poha to them and lightly toss the mixture well till everything is mixed properly.

Add coriander leaves,  minced ginger, sugar and keep it covered on low flame for a few minutes.

Taste for the spice levels and add anything required.

Switch off the flame and let the poha sit for some more time.

Now take it out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coconut / coriander leaves / peanuts and serve hot. Squeeze some lemon juice t oget the most of the mutrients or have it with fresh home cultured curds.

I feel the nutty flavor of red poha gives this dish a unique taste over regular white poha.

Do give it a try and let me know if you liked it. Tell me how you use red rice poha.

Eat Healthy and Fresh. . This is Fig and Banana Smoothie that I had with Poha in my breakfast. Recipe coming soon.

 Note – This version doesn’t have many veggies but the method is the same. 🙂 I was in a rush and forgot to click pix for the blog. Will update when I cook this again.

Don’t add Hing or asafetida for a gluten free version

 

 

 

Taste Of Banaras At ThreeSixtyOne|The Oberoi Gurgaon


I am a big supporter of revival of regional, traditional cuisine and the use of indigenous ingredients in daily meals. When I came to know about Banaras Ka Khana Showcase at ThreeSixtyOne, The Oberoi Gurgaon, curated by Chef Ravitej Nath along with a dear friend, food consultant and writer Sangeeta Khanna, I did not want to miss this opportunity to taste the flavours of the temple town cuisine. My mother was born and brought up there and we decided to bring to her a part of her childhood and youth as a pre-birthday gift. She turns 84 on 31st March.Exif_JPEG_420

They say, when you strongly desire something the universe conspires to bring it to you. A contest won me ‘complimentary meal for two’ making the whole experience even more exciting.

Our Holi inspired Dinner began with Panchamrit which is offered to the devotees at Hindu temples as a blessing from the Gods. It is also used in many religeous rituals. The whiff of tulsi (Holi Basil) and the correct sweetness of milk and honey in the drink was a perfect beginning to what was going to be an unforgettable experience.  We forgot to take the picture of Panchamrit.

The street food or chaats of Banaras in the Chef’s tasting menu left us longing for more. As we dug into Tamatar ki chaat, Chivda matar, chenna ka dahi vada and sumptuous aaloo tikki accompanied with traditional aaloo papad and the four chutneys the first thing that came to mind was the  hot, sour, savoury notes of each dish perfectly balancing each other. Nothing was too overwhelming. Wadiyon ki chatney was an instant hit.

The sublime flavours enhanced the pleasure of eating. Ma promptly gave her seal of approval as she remembered her childhood spent in the lanes of the holy city exploring these very delicacies except the tamatar chaat.

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Sangeeta later told us how the flavours of Gujrat have influenced the local cuisine and why. No wonder the tamatar chaat made me think of a similar dish sev tamatar.ki sabzi. It is amazing to see how the food has interconnections with so many parts of India and not just the city of Varanasi itself.

I loved Harad ki papdi, fara, bajka, bhapouri and bhabra too. We make Bajka at home and call it Lobra. Long time ago in Banaras, Harad ka golgappa was served  to digest all the fantastic chaat that the chaat bhandars fed you and this Harad ki papdi was a perfect revival of that. Excellent in taste and texture.

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The khus ka sherbat, aam panna were delicious but the thandai with special hand crafted portion and pan cocktail made with fresh pan leaves and lemon won my heart. Nowhere can one find something so fantastic. Both the drinks were simply out of the world.

The chefs had divided street food and main course in two distinct segments and the drinks served with them complimented the food perfectly.

We loved the street food totally. My son had never tasted the Banaras cuisine so it was a  unique experience for him. He loved the moong beans filled aaloo tiki and chene ka dahi vada.

I knew that the banaras ki thali was going to be a big sumptuous affair so we lingered with the pan mocktail reminiscing about the city and its culture.

We got both non vegetarian and vegetarian thalis in main course.

The Vegetarian Thali 

The Breads 

I had the vegetarian Thali and was bowled over by matar ka nimona (crushed green peas cooked with ginger and coriander) , Gular ka chokha, aaloo chokha and kaddu ki sabzi. It was very much the ghar ka khana. Each dish balancing the taste of the other. I found the flat breads a bit hard and one of the littis was under-cooked but the rest of amazing.  The khade masale ka pulav, made with short grain aromatic rice called Zeerabutti, had such a sublime flavour it really blew my mind.

I was surprised to see mom relishing the meal with such gusto as she is a very small eater. The khoya, matar, makhane ki sabzi was a delight. I had never tasted it before but my ma gave it 10/10 in taste. She found it as authentic as it could be. The tempered moong daal was just as we make at home. Delicious, to say the least.  Again, I found that the pairing of dishes was done in such a way that the tastes do not overwhelm each other.

The non -veg thali

Non Vegetarian Thali

The non veg thali had sookha jheenga (dried shrimps), motton kalia and sadi litti among other things and my son loved the shrimps and the river sol in mustard gravy.

I would love to go on about each dish but the festival is still on till 26th March at ThreeSixtyOne, The Oberoi Gurgaon and if you are in or around Delhi/NCR, you MUST visit and indulge in the Rivayat of Banaras.

Meals that are prepared and served with love are the best. We could see how Sangeeta had put her heart and soul in each preparation, going out of the way to procure the finest ingredients to create the original banarasi khana. Hats off to the F&B team of Chef Manish Sharma, Chef Ravitej Nath who recreated this fabulous along with Sangeeta

Now it was time for desserts and conversations with our gracious hostess.

 

As you can see mom had a lovely time reminiscing about Banaras with Sangeeta. They talked about traditions, city heritage, old houses, chawks and gaiyan, old eateries, their childhood and of course the delectable food. I was happy to see my mom enjoying every bit of the experience.

Malaiyyo, a specialty of Banaras, stole the show. Frothy, light as air and delicately tasteful,  it brought back a surge of nostalgia. Ma told that they would get up early morning before sunrise in winter to eat this delicacy which was then served in earthen pot the size of a small diwali diya. We loved the food and we loved the stories.

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The Desserts

Biranji Kheer

Biranji Kheer

The naturally tulsi scented Sankatmochan laddoos and Sri ram Bhandar’s lal peda (especially flown in from Banaras) were out of the world. I enjoyed the hare chane ki barfi which was new for me and the Biranji kheer was a delight. I make it at home but this was ethereal. Adi was bowled over by Malaiyyo.

Three generations in love with the vibrant food and Banaras came home with fondest memories, blissful dinning experience, unconditional love and a bagful of goodies.

I want to congratulate everyone who is part of Rivayat- Indian Culinary Conclave  and Banaras ka khana fest. You have kept the spirit and soul of the cuisine intact. Well done.

Special thanks for the warmth of hospitality by The Oberoi Gurgaon Staff. Thank you Mallika Gowda for your understanding and care.

Those who wish to know more about the dishes that were served here  or want to try making some of them at home, do visit Sangeeta’s blog Banaras ka Khana .

Recipe – Indian Gooseberry |Amla Chutney With Peanuts


Indian gooseberries | Amla | Nellikai, dried or fresh, pickled or raw, I like them in any form. Apart from the usual culinary uses Amla also plays a major role in traditional Indian medicines. Unique in flavour, this lovely neon green fruit is in abundance. The ripe ones have a lovely golden yellowish hue. I have also seen some with a pink tinge or rusty-red, even white.

Though it is exceptionally tart and astringent, the water tastes sweet after a bite or two of this fruit. I love eating it raw with little sprinkle of cayenne pepper and salt. One has to develop a taste for it to eat raw but one can use it splendidly in chutneys, jams, murrabas (preserves), candies or grate it and add to vegetables, rice, daal, soups. salads too. Amla juice is considered very beneficial for many diseases and for cleansing the toxins from the body. Add amla to any of the fresh fruit juices to enhance its taste and nutritional value. The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C (100gm of amla has approx 600mg of Vitamin C, over 240% RDI). One berry may contain Vit C of two oranges. That’s a lot.

The fruit pairs well with many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The classic green chutney with mint/coriander and amla is part of dialy meals across India.

When choosing the fruit, always pick the ones which are not bruised, taut and full to get maximum flavour.

I love to make chutneys of various kinds and you can use amla in a variety of chutneys. This one is with roasted peanuts. You can use soaked raw peanuts too. I prefer the roasted flavour. I didn’t know that peanuts weren’t actually nuts but were part of legumes like beans and that boiling peanuts increases its disease fighting compounds.

Peanuts are heart friendly and I love them in all forms. From simply roasted/boiled/ salted/unsalted ones for munching to adding them in various recipes or even those coated in jaggery. Remind me to make peanut brittle or moongphali ki patti. yummiest thing ever. A few days back I made the first batch of peanut butter and it is vanishing rapidly.

To make Amla Peanut chutney you will need :

Handful of shelled, roasted or soaked peanuts

Raw Amla – 1-2 medium size

Chopped coriander greens –  about 1/2 cup

Garlic pods – 3-4

Ginger – 1/2 inch

Green chilli – 2-3 ( as per taste and hotness)

Salt – as required

Ingredients in a grinder

Ingredients in a grinder

Method : 

You can soak the peanuts in drinking water and use them with the papery skin they have. I roasted the shelled peanuts on low heat till they gave out the toasty aroma. Once roasted, remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts between the palms of your hands. Use peanuts that are clean, not bruised or blemished or broken. Remember to use a handful to roast any nut. Nuts don’t like to be crowded. If you put a large amount they won’t get roasted equally and burn too.

Wash and cut the Amla in wedges. Remove the grape like pit. Chop green chillies, ginger and garlic roughly.

Add all the ingredients in a grinder with a bit of water to make a smooth paste. I do not like the chutneys to be very smooth so I leave them a bit grainy ensuring that the ingredients have grinded properly.

Spoon the chutney in bowl and squeeze some lime over it (half a lime).

Amla Peanut Chutney

Serve it with almost anything. Use it as spreads for sandwiches like I did or pair it with sooji / besan ka cheela.

The chutney goes well with everything.

Everyday Food – Rajma Chawal (Red Kidney Beans With Rice )


I come from a family where rajma, chole, kaali daal (urad daal or mah ki daal) were not the part of daily food. As kids we would head to the nearest dhaba or a small hotel (hatti) to savour these delicacies. When I began to experiment in the kitchen I tried making these “Panjabi dishes” but the taste would never be close to what we had in the dhabbas or at homes of friends. It took me some time to master the art of making perfect rajma, chole and mah ki daal and not to forget the delicious sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. Then there was no looking back. 😀  Rajma chawal or red kidney beans and steamed rice is one of my comfort foods and I relish it like nothing else. When I was younger it was a sunday meal special. Maybe alternate sunday meal. Then I got married into a family where it became an alternate day meal 😀 and I began to long for the simple varan bhat and all the home cooked simple meals from mom’s home.  My MIL wont allow any “peeli daal (yellow daal” unless someone was sick :p but in her absence I began to balance the two different cuisines and it worked well for all of us.

Rajma again became my favorite over chole because of the wholesome feeling it provided. The creamy gently spiced curry with steaming rice in a bowl or a deep dish with maybe a dollop of butter or thick curds was all I needed to cease my troubles.

Rajma or kidney beans curry is synonymous with Panjab and Kashmir too. I love the Bhaderwah Rajma (the small deep red variety from Jammu). I find its strong color, meaty texture and robust flavour just right. We do get chitri wale rajmah and some other varieties too but these work best for me.

The key to making good rajma is that they should be soaked and boiled rightly and cooked with just the touch of spices added to onion and tomatoes. The Kashmiri rajma doesn’t have onions. They use fennel seeds powder that gives the dish a unique flavor.

Red kidney beans are so versatile that they are cooked in variety of ways, as a curry, in salads, in dips, as fillings with veggies and even in a pasta dish. while reading on internet I realized that bean rice esp red kidney beans and rice is popular in many other countries as well. Says a lot about this humble beanie wonder. The very picture of a nicely cooked rajma chawal makes you yearn for it right away. In Delhi you will find roadside pushcart vendors doing a brisk business selling rajma chawal per plate. People throng these pushcarts or small kiosks for a filling no mess lunch/dinner.

This is my version of the hearty rajma chawal. It is simple and tasty one pot meal.

Ingredients:

Red Kidney Beans (Rajma/Rajmah) – 1 cup

Tomatoes – 4 medium finely chopped or (half cup purée)

Onions – 2 medium (finely chopped)

garlic -1/2 inch (2 tsp paste)

Garlic – 3-4 cloves ( 2 tsp paste)

Bay leave 1 or Curry leaves – 5-8

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Butter -1 teaspoon

Ghee – I tablespoon

coriander Powder -2 tsp

Turmeric Powder -1 tsp

Red chili powder or Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsp or  to taste

Salt – to taste

Coriander greens – 1/4 cup finely chopped

Garam Masala – 1 tsp

Asafoetida – generous pinch

Ajwain – 2 pinches

Method : 

Clean and wash the red kidney beans properly under running water and soak in filtered water for 8-10 hours. When in a rush I boil some water for soaking and place the beans in a casserole along with boiling water for 2-4 hours and close the lid properly. It works well. The variety I have used here doesn’t need too much soaking time.

Once the kidney beans or rajma is soaked properly, drain the pinkish water and wash the beans at least twice with fresh water. This ensures the removal of water-soluble phytates which cause flatulence). Always throw away the water in which you soak the beans. 

Pressure cook kidney beans with at least 4-5 cups of water, salt, turmeric powder,  asafitida (hing) and two pinches of ajwain (aids in digestion).Four to five whistles are usually good to soften the rajma. It should be cracked and soft but not mushy.

Now, in a cast iron pot or any heavy bottom pan heat the ghee. Add cumin seeds and hing to hot ghee/oil and when the seeds splutter and give out a nice aroma add bay leave or curry leaves which I have used here along with finely chopped onions. Keep the heat low to medium and stir.Once translucent, add ginger and garlic to it and stir again. You can add a little salt and a 1/2 tsp of sugar and red chili powder here so quicken the browning of the onions. Add a tablespoon of water and give it a stir.  Sugar gives a nice deep color to the gravy and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes too.

Saute the masala till onions are nice and brown, . Add coriander powder, turmeric powder a mix well. Once all the spices are incorporated nicely and the masala browns evenly add the finely chopped tomatoes. Give it a good mix and keep the heat low so that the masala is more flavourful with the juices of onion and tomatoes.

Once the mix starts drying up and leaves the sides of the pot add the boiled rajma to it. Mix everything well and let it simmer on low heat. At this point , add chopped coriander leaves.

Alternately, you can microwave chopped onions, garlic, ginger, a small green chilli and  tomatoes for 5 min in a covered dish then take out and purée them to make a paste. Add this paste to the boiled kidney beans along with the spices for a no oil quick fix. You can add butter while serving. I do this when in a rush.

By now you would be dying to get the aromatic rajma off the heat. The moment you notice a creamy texture to the dish, take it off the heat and serve hot with steamed rice. I have used old pona basmati chawal or 1/4 broken basmati rice here. It is soft, fragrant and easy to digest. The older the raw rice the better it will taste.

Many people love rajma but avoid it as it hard on digestive system but by adding hing, ajwain, curry leaves/bay leave and throwing the soaking water away you can enjoy this fabulous nutritious dish anytime.

Did I tell you that red kidney beans are power packed with healthy nutrients? Like many other beans they have cholesterol lowering fiber, low in fat they are good source of folate, protein, thiamine (vitamin B1), phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. And they taste heavenly.

Do give my recipe a try and let me know how you found it. Include red kidney beans in your daily diet.

Two Delicious Eggplant Recipes – Khatte Meethe Baingan And Baingan Palak Sowa Ki Sabzi


Aubergine/eggplant/brinjal/melanzane/berenjenas, the humble baingan has many names and they come in all shapes and sizes. The colours mostly vary from deep purple, black, cream, light green, bright magenta or even stripes of white and purple. Did you know eggplant is basically a fruit, a variety of nightshade like tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes? Fruit or vegetable, it is one of my favorites. Full of nutrition, eggplants are low in calories and are rich source of antioxidants, folate, vitamins and minerals, They are high on fiber and low on fat. Most of all they are delicious and can be cooked in many ways. It is not the boring veggie you believe it to be.

When buying eggplants look for vivid color, Choose the ones which are light in weight and free of any bruises, scars or discolouration. They should be firm with their calyx cap still green. This ensures that the eggplant is fresh and ripe. Test the ripeness by pressing the skin of the vegetable with your thumb pad, if it springs back the eggplant is ripe. Once cut, place them in a bowl of salt water to remove bitterness. Throw away the water.

There are so many delicious dishes you can make with eggplants. You can grill them with herbs, bake with cheese, roast and mash to make baba ghaoush, eggplant mash or baingan bharta/chokha, use variety of ingredients,to stuff them or you can make eggplant sauce to top up the pizzas/sandwiches etc. Aubergine dip is one of my favorites and so are these two recipes from my Indian kitchen.

The sweet and sour eggplant or khatte meethe baingan is an explosion of tastes. I love the sweet tangy flavours spiced up with chili and other spices. The tamarind/tomatoes and jaggery give the dish a unique texture and flavor. I love garlic and it pairs beautifully with aubergines.

1. Sweet and Sour Eggplant Vegetable

The khatte meethe baingan have two variations. One is made with Tamarind and jaggery and the one here uses tomatoes instead of tamarind. Chokh Vagun is a traditional Kashmiri baingan recipe that uses tamarind and fennel seeds. This is a variation of the same.

Ingredients :

Baby eggplants – 8-10

Tomatoes – 1/2 cup finely chopped

Ginger – 1/2 inch (grated)

Garlic – 4 cloves (grated)

Red Onions – 2 medium size ( finely chopped)

Corriander Greens – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)

Curry Leaves – 6-8

Fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Onion Seeds (kalounji) – 1/4 teaspoon

Mustard Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Jaggery – 2 tablespoon (shredded or granules)

Salt – to taste

Whole Dry Red chili -1

Hing/asafoetida – generous pinch

Red Chili Powder – to taste

Coriander Powder – 2 tablespoon

Garam Masala Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon (you can use any other oil too)

Method :

Wash and remove the stems of the eggplants.

Slice them lengthwise in 2 inch slices and put them in a bowl of salted water). Discard the water before using the vegetable slices.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan (Kadhayi) and once it begins to smoke lower the flame. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When they start to crackle add dry red chili ,curry leaves and onion.

Stir the onions on low heat till they become translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir.

Add salt to help it become brown. When the mixture turns golden brown add red chili powder and a tablespoon of water. Mix well. This will give color to the masala. Cook on low heat for a few minutes then add the other dry masalas. Mix well and let it cook for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes. Mix well.

Cover and let it simmer for a few minutes. When the tomatoes become soft and mushy and the masala is fully absorbed add half a cup of water to it and mix. Let it cook for 5-8 minutes.

At this point stir in the eggplant slices and cover. Let it cook till the eggplant slices become tender. Now add jaggery and mix well. If the tomatoes are not sour ones then add a teaspoon of amchoor or mango powder at this point. You can replace tomatoes with tamarind taste too. I dissolve jaggery in tamarind water and add that instead of tomatoes at times.

Remember that sometimes the vegetables dont soften once the souring agent is added so it is better to let them tenderize before adding any sour thing.

Cover the curry and let cook for a while untill all the spices and other ingredients blend well.

Open the lid and add chopped coriander greens. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes then turn off the heat.

You can make it dry or a little curried per your liking.

Serve it hot with fresh phulka/paratha or steamed rice.

2. Sweet And Sour Eggplant With Winter Greens 

The second delicious vegetable with eggplant today is speciality of Varanasi or Benares as we know it. Aaloo bhanta saag (Thanks Sangeeta Khanna for reminding me this name) is mostly eaten with kachoris there. The preparation is a staple of Uttarpradesh and Bihar and usually prepared during Diwali when the market is brimming with fresh tender winter greens. It is a mushy vegetable made with baby potatoes, spinach, fresh dill greens and masala badi (A condiment- a dehydrated lentil cake).  My version doesn’t have potatoes. The spinach and wispy fern like dill greens (sowa) give it a unique flavour.

Dill leaves / shepoo/ sowa has a strong but pleasant anise-like flavour. Usually it is used in combination with spinach. I use it for making pakodas (dumplings) and for aloo sowa veggie too. Both the green have a high nutrient content. The dill springs have many essential volatile oils which are good for health. It also has vitamin A,C, B6, manganese, folate, copper, calcium and iron. Spinach on the other hand is full of phytonutrients. omega3 fatty acids among other things.

To make this wonderful veggie you will need

Ingredients :

A medium size round eggplant

Spinach leaves – 250 gm

sowa or fresh dill greens 100 gms

ginger – 1 tablespoon grated

garlic – 3 cloves finely chopped

onion – 1 roughly chopped

Dry red chili whole -1

cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp

fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp

Generous pinch of hing or asafoetida

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt – to taste

Mustard oil – 1-2 tablespoon

Method –

Wash, clean and chop the spinach and dill greens. Keep aside.

Wash and cut the eggplant in small cubes. Put them in salted water.

Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil in a kadhai or cast iron wok. Once the oil begins to smoke lower the heat and add, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and whole red chili. When the seeds begin to crackle add onion, garlic and ginger. Stir well.

Add chopped onions and just when they turn translucent add the chopped brinjals Add salt , turmeric powder and cover. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat then open the lid and add the greens. Stir well.

Dry roast fennel seed and onion seeds slightly and crush them in a mortar. Add this now.

Let it cook covered for a few minutes so the spices get absorbed in the vegetables (around 20 min) and then give it a stir after removing the lid.

You can make this wonderful veggie dry or coated with masala. I have not added the badi in this version but if you do then crush the badi (I use the amritsari urad dal badi) and in a little oil turn in over with crushed garlic till it browns. Add this to the vegetable and let the flavours seep in.

Serve it hot with Jowar bhakri/ roti/ poori or kachori. Winter greens taste best with flatbreads (roti/bhakri) made with sorghum, pearl millet and Indian corn flour. These are best for people following paleo or gluten-free diet and taste wonderful too.

If you make any of these, do let me know how they turned out. Any suggestions are welcome.

Enjoy! 

Protein Packed Egg Curry With Soya Granules (Soya Keema)


I love eggs in all form. Apart from the nutritional benefits they are the most versatile food I know of. You can use them in variety of recipes and in hundreds of ways. Hard boiled eggs simmered in rich, savory, spicy tomato gravy is a dish I can eat any time of the day. Spiced up eggs are pure bliss. I love them and so do my boys.

A satisfying meal that you can make without much difficulty. Soya granules are the added bonus in this recipe. Apart from adding more protein and taste to the dish, they also help the aromatic gravy to thicken. They are the vegetarian version of our good old mutton or chicken keema. If cooked well, they even taste like their non vegetarian cousins. 😀

I used Nutrela soya granules here with fresh green sweet peas. The blend of spices and herbs, coriander in this case makes this dish outstanding in texture and flavor.

Soya chunks or granules are best source of vegetarian protein. If you omit eggs and add baby potatoes, this can be a great dish for the vegetarians too.

To make this Eggilicious dish you will need :

hard boiled eggs – 6

soya granules – 1/4 cup

fresh green peas – 1/2 cup

3 large tomatoes

One large red onion

Garlic cloves – 3

Ginger  – 1/2 inch

Coriander greens – 3 sprigs

green chili -2 small

Crushed black pepper corns – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon

turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

coriander powder – 2 tablespoon

bay leaf -1

cumin seeds -1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 2 tablespoon (olive or any other oil you use)

salt – to taste

3-4 cups of water

Direction –

Boil the eggs with a teaspoon of salt in the water. Once done, cool and peel the shells. Cut the eggs into halves (optional)

While the eggs are boiling,

boil some water with a little salt and add the soya granules to it. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. The water should be double the amount of granules as they will fluff up while soaking. Keep for 15 – 20 minutes and then pour the granules in a sieve and squeeze to remove all excess water. Cover and keep aside.

Chop the onion finely. slit the green chili vertically. Grate the tomatoes. Grate ginger and garlic.  Chop the coriander greens fine.

In a pan heat some oil, add bay leaf and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter add the chopped onions. Saute on low-medium heat till translucent. Let it cook slowly so that the onions release their sweetness.

Stir in freshly grated ginger and garlic.  You can add paste too but the flavor would differ.

Add salt and fry the ingredients till they are crispy, golden brown. Add red chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir.

Adding chili at this stage gives the gravy a nice color. Salt helps the onions to cook and brown nicely.

Add the powdered spices and freshly crushed peppercorns at this point. Keep the heat at medium or low so the masala doesn’t get burnt.

Mix the spices and the onions nicely. fry for a few minutes and add 1/4 cup water. Let it simmer for five minutes.

Add pureed tomatoes and slit green chili.

Stir well so that all the spices are nicely absorbed by the mixture.

Let it slowly cook till the oil floats to the top and masala begins to leave the sides of the pan. By now the masala will be nicely browned. Remember to keep stirring it. It will take anywhere between 10-15 minutes.

Add previously soaked and drained soya granules. Mix well. Keep it covered for a few minutes and then add the peas. Stir the mixture properly, add a little water and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Once the peas are slightly soft add two cups of water to make the curry. Let it boil on high flame for two minutes and then simmer for another 10 minutes.

Slide in the eggs at this point of time. I have used whole eggs but you can cut them in two halves. While using whole eggs, make some gentle cuts on the egg while for the masala to seep in.

Add the chopped coriander greens. (I chop the tender stems along with the leaves. It gives a unique flavor.)

Let the egg curry simmer till the desired consistency is reached.

Remember that the soya granules will soak up the curry so keep the consistency accordingly.

Spoon it in a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve this finger licking hot egg curry on a bed of steamed rice, or with parathas or multi-grain roti.

if you wish you can reduce the gravy and let the rich masala soya granules and green peas wrap themselves around the eggs for a lovely egg masala dish.

Almost anyone can make this sumptuous egg curry. Do let me know if you try it. Those who make the vegetarian version of this curry, please let me know how it tasted.

Those who do not have access to Indian spices can use the ready made curry powder. Each preparation will taste different. There are many versions of this awesome dish.

Tell me how you make egg curry at your home.

Sambar – A Mélange of Textures And Flavours In A Pot


I was talking to someone about Indian cuisine and the ‘authentic’ recipes for various dishes was the main point of discussion. I think the cuisine has evolved so much over the ages that it is difficult to call anything authentic. Each household has their particular way of preparing a dish which can’t be replicated. Even within a state, the taste and method of a preparing a particular dish changes almost every twenty kilometers or so.

Take the utterly delicious sambar, a dish that spans more than one state. The recipe for this humble yet very popular dish varies even in the state of Tamilnadu where it originate from. There are some basic things that go into it but ultimately each sambar is unique in its taste and texture and an assortment of seasonal vegetables goes into it depending on personal taste, availability and season.

I love sambar and eat it with plain rice, idli, vada, dosa or sometime l just indulge in a hot bowl of sambar with no accompaniments. It is filling and nutritious. A one pot meal. Soaked poha stirred in sambar is an interesting combination I discovered. Well, I don’t know if you would like to experiment but I enjoyed the taste.

I make my version of this South Indian delicacy. In cooking this way, the veggies get infused with the spices and taste incredible. I use both the wet sambar masala and the dry one. Both add a distinct taste to the dish. This recipe uses the dry sambar masala and fresh brown tamarind we find in the northern states. (not the paste)

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To make this sambar You will need :

Toovar / Arhar / Pigeon pea lentil – 3/4 cup

Assortment of vegetables –

8-10 shallots

drumstick – 2 cut into  inch long pieces

diced red pumpkin – 1/4 cup

diced bottle gourd – 1/4 cup

diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup (small) 1/4 cup ( bit size pieces)

diced french beans – 1/4 cup

diced red onion – 1/4 cup

diced carrot – 1/4 cup

Fresh ginger and garlic – 1 1/2 tablespoon grated fine

tamarind  extract –  1/2 cup

Powder Ingredients :

red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Sambar Powder – 2 table-spoon ( to taste)

turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon

asafoetida powder – 2 pinch

For tempering/ seasoning:

curry leaves – 2 springs (6-10 leaves)

Whole red chilies – 1-2

mustard seed – 1/2 teaspoon

fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

asafoetida / hing – generous amount ( about 3 pinches of powder)

The preparation and collecting ingredients for sambar is the daunting task but after that it’s easy to assemble.

To make tamarind extract :

Take about two tablespoon of tightly packed tamarind and soak it in 1/2 cup boiling water, cover and keep for 10 minutes. Gently massage the soaked tamarind and squeeze out the pulp till all the pulp gets released into the water. Run it through the sieve to remove any particles. You will have a nice extract to add to the dish. You can use the ready-made paste too but the taste will differ than this one. (I use the waste to clean brass artifacts and utensils.)

Instructions :

Wash and soak toor daal ( I use the I-Shakti unpolished daal) fo 10-20 minutes. You can mix yellow moong daal or the pink lentil with toor to get another variation in taste)

Drain the water and rinse it again.

In a pressure cooker add daal, 3 cups of water, 2 pinches of hing, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles ( depends on the quality of daal and the cooker) It must become soft when done.

Stir it into a smooth paste with a ladle or the sambar won’t taste nice.

While the daal is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Wash and dice all the vegetables you want to use. As I do not pressure cook them, I steam the drumsticks separately if using. I don’t add it to daal while pressure cooking as sometimes drumsticks are bitter in taste.

Put a deep pan on medium heat and add some oil ( 1 tablespoon). Once it heats up, add a little mustard seeds, half of the curry leaves and 1 whole red chili. When the seeds begin to splutter add the chopped red onion, shallots and stir.

When the onions become translucent, add ginger and garlic ( you can add it to the daal while pressure cooking it too).

Add all the vegetables and give it a good mix. (don’t add the bigger tomato pieces yet)

Add all the powdered spices, a bit of salt and stir. This ensures that the veggies absorb all the flavors of the spices. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook till vegetables become soft but not squishy. Add the tomatoes at this point. Stir it properly and let it simmer for a few minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables.

Now, add the daal and the tamarind extract to this mélange  of vegetables. Give it a good stir and add water as required to make a nice, thick flowing sambar. You can adjust the quantity of water as per your liking. I prefer my sambar slightly thick. ( remember the sambar masala and the veggies will soak up the liquid, so adjust accordingly.

Let the sambar come to boil and then simmer it for some more time.

Meanwhile place a tempering pan on medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil. Add a hing, mustard and fenugreek seeds, whole red chili, remaining curry leaves and then pour this tempering over the cooked sambar. I divide the tempering in two parts, first while cooking the veggies, then at the end to make it more flavorful. You can choose your own way. Adding tempering at the end ensures a great everlasting aroma and flavor.

Garnish the delicious, aromatic sambar with fresh coriander greens and serve hot with steamed rice, idli, vada or dosa.

Always add the tamarind extract after the vegetables have cooked. I use half of it first and add more if needed.  You can adjust the spices and sourness of sambar according to your taste. Dice all the vegetables the same size to ensure uiniform cooking.

Sambar stays good for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.  I usually make a little extra and keep it in the fridge to use it the next day with some other accompaniment.

Sambar Masala (podi) – Those who use the readymade variety I recommend Catch and MTR. I grind my masala for aamti as well as sambar. Will share the recipe in some other post. I had this yummy sambar with MTR rava idli and dry chutney. Didn’t have time to make the idli batter at home this time. We can later have an idli, vada recipe post too. Not to forget the lip smacking chutnies. 😀

Do let me know if you make this.

Now all this writing has made me very hungry so I am sneaking away to dunk some fresh idlies in the delicious sambar and enjoy my lunch.

Catch you later. 🙂

Recipes With Fresh Corn – 1 – Grated Corncob Snack ( Bhutte ki Kees)


Even before the monsoon rains drench the city Delhi sees the street vendors selling fresh corn on cob. Mostly we all love to eat bhutta or corn on cob freshly roasted on coal fire and smeared lavishly with special masala and lemon juice. The whole process is like visual poetry. The aroma rising from the hot corn on cobs is irresistible. Roasted corncobs are one healthiest and cheapest street foods. I love fresh corn and often bring the tender ones home to make various dishes. Mom can’t eat corncob because of her teeth issues so we often boil them and dip them in delectable tamarind chutney or smear butter over it, sprinkle some salt and pepper or anything one wants including cayenne pepper and just dig in.

Bhutte ka kees or makyache kanasachi kees or corn upma or grated corn snack is one of the dishes that I usually make during rainy evenings. So today was a corny Tuesday and I had some lovely tender corn cobs laying in the kitchen. Yesterday I had boiled some of them so today I decided to make this very delicious and easy snack. Kees is a speciality of Indore city in Madhya Pradesh though it is a maharashtriyan preparation. Indore is a food paradise famous for its culinary range and I remember visiting a number of eating joints with my aunt during my stay there.

To choose tender corns one should look for bright green tightly wrapped husks, pull the husk a bit and press the kernel gently. If a little milk oozes out and the kernel is bright and plump then it is good to eat. Also the silk tassels should be light brown and sticky to touch. Black ones indicate old, stale corn. It would be hard and tasteless.

To make this wonderful healthy snack you need :

3-4 Fresh corn cobs ( you can use corn kernels and sweet corn also)

1-2 green chillies

1 teaspoon Mustard seeds

A pinch of Hing or asafoetida

3-4 Curry leaves

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

One medium size onion (roughly chopped)

2 tablespoon Oil

One inch Fresh ginger (grated)

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder

Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

One lemon for garnish

Freshly grated coconut  for garnish

1/4 cup Water

To make the kees/upma or snack 

First remove the husk and silks from the corncob and grate the kernels. You can use corn pealer and give the hernels one round in the mixer too. I simply grate them. If tender they will not need any churn in the mixer.

Roughly chop the onion and grate the ginger. Cut the green chillies in medium or small pieces.

In a non stick thick bottom pan heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter add heeng(asafoetida), curry leaves and green chilli pieces. Toss them and add chopped onions. Keep the flame medium. The mixture tends to stick to the pan but do not try to scratch it as it will spoil the taste and texture of the kees.

(Some people add milk to kees after adding the grated corn to the pan. If you wish you can add 1/2 cup of milk and let it cook till all moisture evaporates. I prefer to use water, just enough to keep it moist. The milk in corn kernels is what makes this dish savory. While using sweet corn kernels one may need some liquid to make the mixture soft)

Once the onions are translucent, add the coarse mixture of grated corn and grated ginger.

Stir it a few times and add salt, red chili powder to it. Stir again and cook covered for 5 minutes.

Open the lid and see if the kees ( mixture ) is very dry sprinkle some water over it. If it is too moist cook it uncovered for a while.

Once the corn mixture is cooked (takes about 10 mins) turn off the heat and keep it covered for a few minutes.

Serve immediately garnished with fresh coriander leaves, grated fresh coconut and lime.

A perfect snack for breakfast or a rainy evening.

Enjoy this healthy, delicious snack fresh and hot.

Recipe – Gatte Ki Sabzi (Chickpea Flour Dumpling Curry)


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I love gatte ki sabzi as much as I love kadhi pakoda . Usually I keep both the besan dishes simple but sometimes I add veggies to give the original one some new flavor and texture. The traditional gatta curry is a staple dish from Rajasthan made with chickpea flour dumplings dunked in thick yogurt gravy with spices. A delicious blend of flavours. I have someone with lactose intolerance so I made this particular one with onion and tomato gravy which is equally delightful in taste. I am giving both versions here.

The dish can be had with rice or roti. You can make it with a little gravy or just let the gattas soak in all the spiced curry and use it as a dry vegetable.

Ingredients :

To make Gatta you will need:

Besan (chickpea flour) – 1 Cup

Dry roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Oil – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida – A Pinch

Salt to Taste

Water – Enough to make a semi hard dough ( I sometimes use Mattha/Tak/whisked curd instead of water)

For the onion tomato base gravy you will need :

Onion – 1 Big (finely chopped)

Tomatoes – 3-4 Medium Size ( grated or puréed )

Ginger – 1/2 inch (grated)

Garlic – 2-3 cloves (grated)

Fresh coriander leaves – 1/4 cup

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 1 Heaped Teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon or to taste

Asafoetida Powder – A pinch

Cumin Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon

Mustard Oil – 2 Tablespoon (You can use any other oil too)

Method 

To prepare the gatta or dumplings

Take a big mixing bowl and throw in all the ingredients listed for making the dumplings (gatta) except the dahi/mattha/tak(buttermilk) or water.

Mix them well.

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Now slowly add the prefered liquid or curd as you bind the chickpea flour. Add enough to make a dough which is neither too hard nor too soft. Stiff enough to roll out like sausages. 1inch thickness is okay. You can roll them out longer too. I find this size convenient to handle.

Now take a heavy bottom pan and boil enough water in it to cover the rounded gatta strips. Delicately slide the sausage like strips into boiling water and let them boil for at least 20-30 mins.

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Once done the gatta strips will turn white in colour and float to the top. This is the time to take them out slowly in a plate and let them dry.

Once dry cut them in to smaller pieces. ( some people fry these before adding to the curry. i keep it oil free.)

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Keep them aside and prepare the curry now.

For the curry 

Put a heavy bottom pan on heat and add the oil. Once the mustard oil reaches smoking point add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Add chopped onions. Add salt at this time. It helps the onion to brown quicker. Once the onion turns golden brown add ginger and garlic and saute it too. Add red chili powder and a little water so that the mixture doesn’t burn.It also lifts the spices. Lower the flame and let it cook for a while then add the grated tomatoes. Stir properly and let it simmer on low flame. Keep it covered. Once the mixture seems cooked , add the spices (haldi, coriander) Mix well.

Cook it till the oil starts separating from the masala. Once it reaches that stage add gattas and stir. Do it slowly so the gattas don’t break. Cover and let the dumplings soak in the flavours.

After five-ten minutes stir it again. ( At this stage you can leave out adding the liquid and enjoy the semi dry veggie with rotis/ parathas etc. Garnishing it with chopped coriander ) Or add warm water to the mixture to make a thick gravy. Stirring in as you add the liquid. Keep the flame high and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes then reduce the heat.

Once the gravy is thick and the aromas begin to fill your kitchen it is time to turn off the gas and garnish the gatta curry with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

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Enjoy the curry with rice or roti.

To make the Curd gravy you need 

Whisked Curd – 1 cup instead of water. All other ingredients remain the same.

Heat oil ( or Ghee which I prefer when using curd), add hing, cumin seeds and a whole red chili. Once the seeds splutter, add chopped onion , ginger, garlic and fry till golden brown, add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder,salt and sprinkle a little water to deglaze the pan.and lift the spices. Fry it till it leaves oil. Gently tip in the whisked curd little by little. Keep stirring so it doesn’t curdle.

Keep the flame low. Stir till the masala is integrated properly Add a little water if needed to prepare the thick gravy. Let it boil for sometime and then tip in the gatta pieces. Let it simmer on slow flame for at least 10 minutes. Keep it covered.

Once done remove from flame and garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves before serving.