Nadru Yakhni ( Lotus Stem In Yogurt Gravy ) – Two Versions


I love Kashmiri cuisine. Shab Deg, Goshtaba, Rogan Josh, Rista, Yakhni , Dum Olav, Modur Pulav, you name it and I can live on it for the rest of my life. Rich in flavors and mild in taste these dishes are to die for. I so want to learn to cook the non vegetarian dishes but seldom get the chance but I did prepare one of my vegetarian favorites Nadru Yakhni.

This was my second attempt and turned out to be delicious though perhaps not so close to the authentic one Kashmiri pandits make. Preparing gravies for Kashmiri cuisine is a labor of love as it involves slow simmering to get the aromatic flavors from the spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, aniseed, fennel powder, cumin and Hing which gives them a distinct flavor and transforms the dish totally. No Onion, garlic is used in these gravies.

The picture is not very good but I will replace it with a nice one next time when I make the dish. The ones below look better. ūüôā

The taste is awesome that I can assure you.

Anything with curd is a summer favorite and Nadru Yakhni is such a beautiful dish. Lotus stem / bhen / nadroo or nadru in rich yogurt base infused with cardamoms, clove, bay leaves and dry ginger, fennel makes it a delicacy that is beyond compare. A friend told me that it is usually the part of  Koshur Saal. 

Lotus stem may not be very appealing to look at but from inside it is white and has a lovely pattern. Apart from the nice crunch it has loads of iron, dietary fiber and calcium.

I love lotus stem and prepare it the Punjabi way with fried onions, tomatoes and spices or the Sindhi way which is somewhat similar. I also do a stir fry sometimes and make kebabs which can beat any non vegetarian kebabs.

Now the Nadur Yakhni Recipe ¬†(Kashmiri Pandits’ Version)¬†

Ingredients :

Lotus Stem / Bhe / Nadru – 1 Kg (Long Thick and preferably closed at both ends)

Ghee / Clarified Butter / mustard oil – 5 tbs

Dry Ginger Powder (Shonth)  Р1 Р1/1/2 tsp

Black Cardamom Р Seeds from 4 (powdered)

Green Cardamom – seeds from 4 (powdered)

Fennel Powder (Baadyan) Р3 tsp

Clove – 4-5

Asafoetida (Yenga) – 1/4 tsp dissolved in a tsp of water

Full Fat Beaten Curd Р 3 Cups (Room temperature)

Coriander leaves – For garnish

Cinnamon Stick Р 1/2 inch

Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Salt – to taste

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Shahi Zeera – 1 tsp

Water – 3 Cups

Mix whole cardamoms – 2 queen cardamom crushed, 2 green cardamom crushed)

Coriander Leaves – for garnish

Steps –

Wash, scrape and clean the lotus stems. Make sure there is no dirt inside the holes. Use a knitting needle to get rid of that.

Cut them diagonally / Slants   and keep them immersed in lukewarm water or they will lose color and turn brown.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan or pressure cooker put the nadru pieces, 1/2 tsp of salt, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, crushed whole cardamoms, whole peppercorns, salt and two glasses of water. Cook till tender but not mushy. They must retain the crunch. Cooking time will depend on the quality of nadru.

Heat the ghee in a pan and add zeera and asafoetida along with the beaten curd. Keep stirring or the curd will curdle. Let it come to a boil then get a silk like smooth texture.

Add the powdered spices, dry ginger powder, continue to stir. Rub the shahi zeera in palms and add.

Add the boiled nadru along with the spice flavored water.  Continue to boil for at least 10-20 minutes on low heat. There should be thick rich gravy coating the nadru pieces. Check for spices and salt and add if needed.

Remove from heat and spoon it in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves if desired.

Serve with hot rice.

Tips-

You can fry the whole spices in a tablespoon of ghee before adding to the nadru while boiling. Reserve this ghee and pour it on the top of the finished dish before serving.

You can slightly fry the nadru pieces in a little ghee before boiling. They will retain the color and crunch. Do not brown them.

Make sure to blend curd properly so that there are no pieces in it. I usually pulse it in a mixer.

Karusi methi or dried crushed fenugreek leaves are used in the original recipe. Put 1/2 tsp  at the end if using.

Nadru Yakhni With Pran (Onion Paste) – Wazwan style

This nadru yakhni Wazwan style that I made today is fiery and has browned onion paste in it. This is my version and so looks different from the authentic. I think it looks like a cross between a rogan josh and yakhni curry. ūüôā But, it tastes incredible. Put a little less pran and chilies and you will have a light brownish white original curry.

The Muslims of Kashmir add Pran or Kashmiri Onion paste to their version otherwise the cooking process is same.

To make Pran you need to slice about 450gm of small red onions/ shallots thinly and sprinkle some salt so they release water. Keep them for 3-4 minutes and squeeze out the water. Fry them slowly in ghee till golden brown and  take them out on absorbent kitchen paper to remove excess ghee. Put them in a grinder and make a smooth paste. Add 2 tablespoons of Praan after the zeera crackles and saute it before adding curd. I also add Kashmiri red chilli powder and 2 tsp of whole black pepper corns while boiling the lotus stems so it is fiery and aromatic at the same time.

You can make a quicker version by heating the mustard oil or ghee in the pressure cooker and adding the whole spices, raw lotus stem pieces and frying a bit then adding the pran and then the curd mixture infused with ground spices and salt. Add water and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or till the lotus stem pieces are tender but not mushy. Cook on low – medium flame so that the curd doesn’t curdle. The nadru crunch should remain. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chapati or rice.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Punjabi Kathal Masala | Punjabi Jackfruit Vegetable


Popularly known as “vegetarian’s meat’, this fibrous, starchy and fleshy fruit is one of my favorites. ¬†From tender ones to the absolutely ripe ones Jackfruit is used in variety of dishes from sweet to savory. Even the juice of ripe jackfruit is dried and used to make dishes like fansache¬†sandane. ¬†It is even pickled and the kathal ka achar is one of the best things on earth. I had kathal ki biryani at a friend’s place and it tasted just like the mutton biryani though the hardcore non vegetarian would never call it a biryani for Biryani means rice and Meat. ūüôā Nothing can substitute it. Kathal is one of the many things especially cooked on Holi in UP.

Although in my house only tender baby kathal or slightly more matured one was used for vegetable or kababs I learned to cook the more mature fibrous one from my MIL. It was cooked mostly like meat. The recipe used all the spices used to cook meat. It was cooked on slow fire and given dum. ( the dum pic got deleted accidentally but I will upload it later)

I did variations whenever possible to make the best use of the meaty fruit. Achari kathal being one of them which is cooked exactly like murg achari.

I neither use very tender baby jackfruit nor the very fibrous mature one for this subzi. The jackfruit seeds, that look like chestnuts, should not be very tough to chew. I never liked their plastic like covering.

Note – Get the jackfruit peeled and cut by the vegetable vendor or apply some oil and use a sharp knife to cut. It secretes a sticky resin and things can get very messy if not done properly.

kathal

 

Ingredients –¬†

Green unripe kathal/jakfruit – 1/2 kg

Onion – 2 large

Potatoes – 2 medium size ( optional)

Tomatoes – 5-6 medium size

Ginger – 1 inch ( grated)

Garlic – 7-8 cloves ( grated)

Green chilies – 2-3 ( slit)

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 2 tablespoon

Turmeric / Haldi Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Home made Garam Masala – 1/4 teaspoon

Amchur/ mango powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Asafoetida – 2 pinches

Cumin Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Mustard Oil for frying

Water – 1 cup

Chopped green coriander leaves – for garnish

Steps- 

  1. Peel and cut the kathal into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces. Make a cut in the seeds if there are large ones or they will burst while frying or slice them if they are not too stubborn). (Be careful with that) Wash and keep aside.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes ( if using) and place them in water.
  3. Heat Mustard oil in a kadhai  and bring it to smoking point, Keep the flame to medium now. ( Mustard oil gives the subzi a unique taste but you may use some other also)
  4. Deep fry the kathal pieces in small batches till they are golden brown but not darker than that. Fry the potatoes too.
  5. Drain the fried jackfruit and potatoes on to a kitchen towel or paper to remove excess oil.
  6. Chop the onions fine.
  7. Grate the tomatoes into a puree.
  8. Remove excess oil fro mthe kadhayi and keep about two tablespoon for making the masala for the sabzi.
  9. Add cumin seeds and when they splutter add hing/asafoetida.
  10. Add chopped onions and green chili.
  11. Fry till golden brown. ( Add a little salt to help in browning)
  12. Add ginger and garlic and fry them along with the onions.
  13. Add red chili and a little water to give that rich brown color to the masala.
  14. Let the mixture cook for a minute and then add  the grounded masalas and the remaining salt.
  15.  stir properly and fry till the oil separates. Keep flame low.
  16. Move the onion mix to a side of kadhayi and add tomato puree.
  17. Stir everything well and let it cook under cover for sometime. ( 5-10 min)
  18. Open the lid and add some of the chopped green coriander leaves. This gives the masala a very nice flavor.
  19.  keep stirring the masala till the water from tomatoes dries out and the masala starts to leave oil. It will become smooth in texture by now.
  20. Add kathal and potato pieces to the masala  and mix well so that the masala gets incorporated in each piece. Add a little water to help in the process.
  21.  cook it on medium high flame , stirring continuously so the vegetable pieces soak up all the fragrant masala.
  22. Add more water to make a thick gravy and cover to cook on slow flame.
  23. Keep checking for the pieces to become tender.
  24. The time depends on the quality of kathal. ( Took 45 mins)
  25. Once the pieces have become tender check for the salt and spices. Add more if required.
  26. The kathal masala can be a thick moist vegetable coated with the masala but dry or you can add some water to make it into a curry. Keep it as thick or thin as you wish.
  27. If you want to dum the vegetable then cover with lid and seal the lid with wheat flour dough so that the steam doesn’t escape.
  28. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes on very low heat then turn off the heat and carefully remove the seal.
  29. Spoon the aromatic punjabi kathal masala vegetable in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining green coriander leaves.
  30. Eat with layered paratha, phulka or rice.
  31. Serve some cooling raita, pickled carrots and sliced onions.

Tip – If you do not wish to fry the kathal and potatoes you can make this recipe with steamed or raw pieces also.

This is a slow cook recipe and a labor of love. Follow the steps and you will have a sumptuous vegetable.

My garam masala has nutmeg, cinnamon, bayleaf, javitri, big black cardamom, green cardamom, dry ginger, cumin, coriander etc. so I do not add khada masala or whole spices.

Some people  add two three tablespoons of thick curd in the masala instead of amchur/mango powder. I make dahiwala kathal as a separate dish.

Enjoy this delicious meaty vegetable while the fruit is still in season.

 

 

 

 

Recipe – Elephant Yam Dumpling Curry (Suran Kofta Curry)


This is a traditional recipe made in many kayastha homes in Uttar Pradesh. Sooran/ Suran/ zamikand/jimikand in hindi or Elephant Foot Yam/Indian Yam in English, is an ugly tropical tuber wit ha thick hide. It is very high in carbohydrates and a good source of proteins, key and trace minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium etc, It also has some vitamins and antioxidants and has high dietary fiber content. Yam is also very low in saturated fats and sodium. You can find all the health benefits on Google. ūüėÄ

I love yam for many reasons, unlike arbi ( Colocasia), yam is easy to digest. I have a sensitive digestive system and yam suits me perfectly. We cook this vegetable in many ways. Mom remembers my granny making sooran ki sabzi and chutney especially during Diwali when they lived in Banaras. She also makes the maharashtriyan or Konkani style of curry. My dad was from Allahabad so we got to eat the delicious kayastha cuisine too. This particular recipe is my innovation of a recipe from my dad’s side.¬† The mixture used¬† for making dumplings or koftas can also be used for making kabab but I don’t add so much of besan (gram flour) to the kabab mixture.

To make the Dumplings/Koftas you will need :

Yam – 400 Grams

Onion – 1 medium (finely chopped)

green chilies – 2 medium (finely chopped)

Ginger – 1 teaspoon (grated)

Salt – to taste

Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon

Amchoor (mango powder) or anardana powder (pomegranate seed powder)  Р1/2 teaspoon

Red chili powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Coriander greens – 2 tablespoons – finely chopped

Besan ( gram flour) – 1/2 cup

For the Curry you will need –

Onion – 1 large (finely chopped)

Tomatoes – 4 big ( grated)

Ginger – 1/2 inch

Garlic – 4-5 pods.

Coriander greens – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)

Coriander Powder – 3 heaped table-spoon

Haldi (Turmeric) Powder – 1 teaspoon

Garam Masala – 1/2 Teaspoon

Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Asafetida – 2 pinches

Salt – to taste

Bay leaf – 1 ( if Garam masala doesn’t have it)

Green peas – 1 cup (optional)

Oil – for deep-frying and cooking

To make the Koftas or Dumplings –

Scrub and wash the Yam properly and peal a thick layer of skin. Wash it again to remove any dirt that may have remained from the skin.

Cut the yam in 2 1/2 inch thick broad pieces . Put them in a steamer or pressure cook till soft (2-3 whistles is good) . ( I usually put it in arhar (Toor) daal while cooking. Doing this takes away the itchiness of sooran and gives the dal a very good flavor. )

Once the yam is soft take it out in a plate and cool.

In a bowl place cooled yam pieces and all the ingredients listed under dumplings. Mash the yam well so that you get a smooth mixture. Use your hands. It will make it easier for you to judge the consistency of the mixture and working with fingers will also help the air pass through the mixture and that will make them soft and fluffy.

Once the mixture is ready, make small round dumplings or koftas, about the size of a walnut in its shell, and keep them ready in a plate.

In a kadhai (wok) heat mustard oil or any vegetable oil you use. (If using mustard oil, make sure to bring it to smoking point and then turn the heat down)

Slowly add the dumplings to the hot oil and let them deep fry till golden brown from all over. Keep the flame medium low so that the koftas get cooked from inside too.

Take out the koftas on a kitchen napkin to remove excess oil.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now for the gravy / curry :

In a wide pan heat a little oil ( 4-5 tablespoons) ( use the oil in which you fried the koftas). Once the oil heats add cumin seeds and asafetida.¬†Add finely chopped onions and stir. (you can add bay-leaf if your garam masala doesn’t have it)

When the onions become translucent, add finely chopped or grated ginger and garlic. (I avoid paste)

Let it brown properly. Adding a little salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar helps in browning .

Add red chili powder and a little water ( 2 tablespoons) to give that rich brown color to the gravy. Let it cook for a while. Once the water reduces a bit add coriander powder, haldi powder, garam masala powder and stir. let the masala cook on medium to low heat for a few minutes.

Add tomato purée or grated tomatoes at this point. (I discard the seeds of tomatoes)

Stir the mixture properly so that all the spices get incorporated properly. Cover the pan with lid and let it cook for sometime on medium heat. Once the masala starts leaving the sides and the oil separates, add a little water and peas and finely chopped coriander greens . Mix well and cook for sometime.

Add 2 cups of water to make a thick gravy and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

You can add koftas at this time and cook for another ten minutes before taking¬†the kofta curry out in a¬†bowl to serve. I keep the curry and koftas separate and add them half an hour before serving. That way the koftas don’t dissolve in the curry and taste nice too.

Take out the delicious , soft from inside and crispy from outside yam kofta curry in  serving dish and eat with rice or parathas. You can place the fried koftas in the serving dish and pour the thick hot gravy on top too. Garnish with fresh finely chopped coriander greens.

( There is another tip for the koftas РIf you are preparing this dish to be had later you can half fry the koftas and keep them covered in a bowl.  About half an hour before serving you can deep fry them again and add to the curry.  Koftas stay crisp and it saves time if you are working or need to go out for somewhere. half-done koftas can be kept in the fridge to be used the next day too and will taste exactly like the freshly fried.)

To make the kababs – prepare the mixture as you did for the koftas. You can reduce the amount of besan in this recipe. I add only two tablespoon. The mixture should be gooey for the kebabs to taste good. Trust me you will forget shammi kebabs once you eat these.

Wet your palms and make tikki (cutlets kebabs) from the yam mixture. Keep the edges rough. Brush the non stick frying pan with ghee or oil and gently place the kebabs once the oil/ghee is hot. Keeping the heat medium Рlow. Turn the kebabs when one side is done. They should be golden brown and crisp from both sides. Serve with green chutney and onion rings.

( If using the desi variety of elephant foot yam always apply oil to your hands or use gloves while handling it as it can be very itchy.)

I also make sooram chutney (rarely), chokha and bharit or bharta. Will put up the recipes soon.

Include this healthy vegetable in your daily diet. It can be a good substitute for potato and can be used in Paleo diet too.

How do you cook this vegetable ? Do share your views.