Friday, December 28, 2007

Eggs - Cauliflower

Do you think Eggs and Cauliflower is an unusual combination? Well, try it out, you would love it! I had this combo at my sister-in-law's place and liked it.



Ingredients
4 hard-boiled eggs (peel the shell, set the eggs aside)
5 cups cauliflower florets (small florets)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Salt - to taste
Red chillie powder - to taste (optional)
3 green chillies - slit lengthwise
Garam masala powder - 2 tsp (I use home-made. Store bought would be fine too)
Chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream

For seasoning:
4 cloves (coarse powder)
2 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp

Curry leaves
  • Heat oil in a wide skillet, sprinkle a pinch of turmeric and fry the boiled eggs until they turn golden. Remove to a plate, make 4 incisions on each egg and set them aside
  • Add the seasoning ingredients to the skillet in the order above
  • Immediately add chopped onion, cover and cook until onion turns soft
  • Add tomatoes, cook until they soften and add cauliflower florets
  • Sprinkle turmeric, salt and slit green chillies - cover and cook until cauliflower is half done
  • Add the eggs, red chillie powder and garam masala powder
  • Adjust salt, mix, cover and cook until cauliflower is done
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and cream, mix well. Turn the heat off
A delicious gravy variety to go with rice!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Paneer - Capsicum Pulav

 
 
Ingredients
Basmatice Rice - 3 cups
Water - 4 1/2 cups

Paneer cubes - 1 cup, 1 ½”  cubes 
Red & Green Bell peppers (capsicum) - 1 cup, diced
Onion - 2 medium, thinly sliced

Salt - to taste

Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Red chillie powder - 1/2 tsp 
Pulav masala - 4 tsp
Butter - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp


For seasoning:
Bay leaves - 3
Cloves (lavang) - 8, coarse powder
Cardamom pods - 4, coarse powder
Dried red chillies - 4, tear and deseed
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Poppy seeds powder - 2 tsp

Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp

Method 
  1. Heat oil in a wide skillet, fry paneer cubes until golden. Remove and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, add capsicum pieces and onion, fry on high heat just until they turn a little soft. Add fried paneer cubes to the skillet.
  3. Add turmeric, salt, 1 tsp pulav masala, red chillie powder and mix well. Let fry for 2 minutes, remove and set aside 
  4. Turn on the electric rice cooker, let heat and add oil
  5. Add seasoning ingredients to the cooker in the order listed above. Fry for a minute until ginger garlic paste loses its raw smell 
  6. Add rice, 3 tsp pulav masala, salt. Mix well and let fry for 5 minutes
  7. Add water, cover and cook until done
  8. Remove rice to a wide tray, spread to cool just a little
  9. In an oven safe dish or tray, apply little butter on all sides
  10. Spread a layer of rice, followed by a layer of paneer and capsicum pieces. Continue layering, ending with layer of rice on top
  11. Cover and steam in the oven, at 250F for 10 minutes
  12. Remove and mix gently

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tomato Perugu kura (Tomato in Yogurt sauce)



Ingredients
5 medium tomatoes, diced (vine ripened or beef steak)
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
chopped coriander leaves
2 or 3 cups yogurt - whisk into a smooth & thick buttermilk
Turmeric 
Salt to taste
4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
for seasoning :
1/4 tsp each - mustard seeds & cumin seeds
1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
curry leaves
1 tbsp oil
  • Heat oil in a saucepan - add mustard and when they crackle, add rest of the seasoning ingredients.
  • Immediately add chopped onion, saute just until the onions turn translucent (should still have a bite to them)
  • Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, salt and green chillies. Cover and cook until tomatoes become soft
  • Remove the lid, let all liquid evaporate, turn the heat off.
  • Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves, let cool and whisk in buttermilk.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cauliflower





Ingredients
5 cups cauliflower florets (big florets)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
turmeric & salt to taste
red chillie powder - to taste
garam masala powder - to taste
chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp oil

For seasoning:
2 cloves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
curry leaves

  • Heat oil in a wide skillet, add the seasoning ingredients. Immediately add chopped onion
  • Cover & cook until onion softens
  • Add tomatoes, cook until they soften & add cauliflower florets
  • Stir in turmeric and salt - cover & cook until done
  • Stir in red chillie powder, garam masala powder & chopped coriander leaves

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chana Dal - Coconut

Everything is good with coconut, right? Here is a very delicious dal-coconut combo! Chana dal with coconut!


 
Rice with Chana Dal and Majjiga Mirapakaya


Ingredients
Chana dal - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Fresh grated coconut - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium, roughly chopped
Green chillies - 3, slit lengthwise
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

For seasoning/popu
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2, tear and deseed
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Curry leaves - sprig
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method
  1. Wash and soak chana dal in warm water for 30 minutes
  2. In a sauce pan, add chana dal, onion, coconut, green chillies, salt, turmeric and water. Cover and cook just until the dal becomes soft, but not mushy
  3. For seasoning, heat ghee and oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds; when they crackle, add cumin seeds, red chillies, garlic and curry leaves. 
  4. Add this seasoning to the cooked dal, mix. Adjust salt and serve with warm rice.
Majjiga Mirapakaya (green chillies soaked in yogurt and sundried) served alongside, adds a punch!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lima Beans




Ingredients
2 cups baby lima beans (I use frozen)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped or 3 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp dry coconut (add little water & make a paste)
Salt, turmeric – to taste
2 tsp curry masala powder
1 tsp red chillie powder
3 cups water
Chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning:
3 cloves, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 3 garlic cloves-finely chopped, curry leaves
2 tbsp oil

  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add cloves, cumin seeds, garlic, curry leaves
  • Immediately add onion, sauté until onion is soft
  • Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Cover & coook until tomatoes turn soft
  • Add 3 cups water and lima beans, cover & cook until lima beans are soft
  • Stir in coconut paste, curry masala & red chillie powder
  • Add chopped coriander leaves, mix & turn the heat off
Good with puri/rotis

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chana Masala (Chick Peas/Garbanzos)

I make slight variations each time I make Chana Masala or Chole. As a last minute thought, made this simple chana masala to go with rotis; ofcourse, with canned chick peas. Takes very little time and is delicious! With chick peas, you are never disappointed!

Recipe
15oz Chick Peas (wash & drain the canned chick peas)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 tsp tomato paste
Salt, turmeric – to taste
2 tsp Chana masala powder
1 tsp Red chillie powder
A pinch of amchur powder
2 cups water
Chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning:
2 cloves, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 3 garlic cloves-finely chopped, curry leaves
1 tbsp oil

  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add cloves, cumin seeds, garlic, curry leaves
  • Immediately add onion, sauté until onion is soft
  • Stir in tomato paste, salt & turmeric
  • Add 2 cups water, let boil and toss in chick peas
  • Cook until you achieve the desired consistency (thick gravy or thin gravy)
  • Stir in chana masala, red chillie & amchur powders
  • Add chopped coriander leaves, mix & turn the heat off

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Carrots - French Beans

Sometimes we have a very small quantity of each vegetable and can't make good use of it. At such times, I like to incorporate one into another and make a fry or curry. This time it is beans and carrots! We can also add some lima beans or green peas; they would be a nice addition!




Ingredients
French beans - 1/2 cup, chopped
Carrots - 1/2 cup, chopped
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Salt - to taste
Red chillie powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves with tender stems - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
For seasoning/popu
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
Curry leaves

 
Method
  1. Heat oil in a skillet and add seasoning of urad dal, cumin seeds, garlic and curry leaves.
  2. Add finely chopped onion, saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add chopped carrots and french beans, turmeric, salt. Mix, fry for 3 minutes, cover and cook until vegetables soften.
  4. Remove the lid, let fry for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between.
  5. Stir in masala powder, red chillie powder, chopped coriander leaves.  Mix and turn the heat off.
A nice side dish with sambar/rasam.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yogurt (Perugu/Dahi/Curd)

To make curd, Mom always boiled milk for a very long time; until the color of the milk turned into a cream-pink hue.... I had followed her method ever since I started cooking and I continue to do so. A little time consuming, but well worth it! I use 2% milk and here is the secret to a delicious thick curd!

I use steel vessels to boil milk. Rinse the inside of the vessel with just plain water, do not dry the vessel before adding milk. Add milk and place on a small burner, turn the heat on to slightly lower than medium. (This is to avoid milk sticking at the bottom of the vessel) When the milk comes to a boil and a layer forms on top, reduce the heat to right in between low & medium, let boil for 90 minutes. Yes, 90 minutes! Turn the heat off and let cool : In summer, to lukewarm and in winter to a little more warm than lukewarm.

Add a tablespoon of active live culture to the boiled milk, stir well, cover the vessel with a lid and place a bigger vessel (steel or any of our regular saucepans) over the milk vessel, making sure it covers the entire vessel. I just leave it on the stove top... In summers, it takes 4 hours to set and in winters, 4-6 hours. Sometimes, it helps to turn the heat on to medium, only once during the process, for just 30-40 seconds. (Just in case the room temperature has come down, in winters!)


Isn't that a delicious scoop?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Potato - Tomato Curry / Flavoured Rice

For Sunday supper, it was rotis and flavoured rice... I thought it has been a long time since I made Aloo-Tomato, so made this quick and easy gravy variety, to go alongwith rotis. However, made some last minute additions - cream and sour cream...never tried cream with potatoes, was wondering how it would turn out. Nonetheless, it made a nice accompaniment for both, rotis and rice!


Ingredients
3 medium potatoes (I use Russet potatoes) peel the skin, cube them
3 medium roma tomatoes, diced
3 medium onions, thinly sliced, lengthwise
 
For seasoning :
3 cloves, 2 dried red chillies (tear and deseed), ¼ tsp cumin seeds, 2 garlic cloves (minced), curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
 
Turmeric
Salt - to taste
3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
¼ tsp fennel seeds powder (optional – I like the aroma of fennel and hence add this spice to all my recipes)
2 tbsp light cream
2 heaped teaspoonfuls of light sour cream
Coriander leaves, chopped
 
Heat oil in a wide skillet, add the seasoning ingredients; immediately add sliced onions
  • Saute until onions soften, add diced tomatoes, salt & turmeric
  • Cover and cook until tomatoes soften.
  • Add cubed potatoes, green chillies, fennel seeds powder. Mix, cover and cook until potatoes are tender
  • When done, sprinkle some water, add cream and sour cream; adjust salt, if required
  • Stir in chopped coriander leaves

  • For flavoured rice – I kept it very simple.
    1. Heat oil in electric rice cooker, toss in some whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns, star anise, cumin seeds) and finally, some curry leaves
    2. Add some green peas; saute for a couple of minutes, before adding basmati rice and water
    3. Sprinkle some salt, cover and cook until done. When done, let rest for 5-10 minutes and mix lightly

    Soya Chunks - Vegetable Pulav

    Proteins, Vitamins, Fiber, Carbohydrates - all in one pot! How easy is that?
    I was feeling a little lazy to cook during the weekend and since my toddler son prefers rice, I had decided on this simple, nutritious, one pot meal!



    Ingredients
    2 cups rice (Basmati)
    3 1/2 cups water to cook rice
    1 cup chopped french beans and carrots
    1 cup soya chunks (I use Nutrela)
    (Note : For measurement of rice and water, I always use the CUP that comes with electric rice cooker)
     Turmeric

    Salt to taste
    1/4 tsp red chillie powder (optional)
    2 tsp pulav masala (homemade or store bought)
    4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    2 tbsp butter
    1 tbsp oil

    For seasoning:
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    4 cloves (lavang) coarse powder
    a small sprig of stoneflower (optional)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    10 curry leaves
    1 tsp poppy seeds powder
     
    Method
    1. Soak soya chunks for 15 minutes, in hot water with a pinch of salt. (I normally put soya chunks in a bowl of salted water, microwave on high for 2 minutes) When they are soft, squeeze the water from the soya chunks and rinse them 2-3 times in fresh water. Squeeze excess water, set them aside.
    2. Start electric rice cooker on 'Cooking', add butter and oil. When hot, add the seasoning ingredients. Let fry for a minute
    3. Add chopped carrots, french beans, green chillies, turmeric and salt. Saute for a couple of minutes, cover and cook for 5 minutes
    4. Add washed soya chunks, red chillie powder, mix, cover cook for 5 more minutes
    5. Add washed rice and pulav masala powder. Mix well, let fry for 5 minutes
    6. Add water, adjust salt, cover and cook until done.

    Friday, November 30, 2007

    Chicken Biryani

    The most scrumptious Chicken Biryani you have ever had!! Try it out and you would find yourself making this more often! Well, provided you have the time & patience - Yes, you need lots of them!!

    A caution though; all the cloves, red chillies & green chillies add a lot of spice & heat! When I say lots, I mean LOTS!! You would feel the heat at the back of your throat, for a long time....


    This recipe is a three step process.
    Step 1 : Make the curry
    Step 2 : Cook the biryani rice
    Step 3 : Layer the rice & curry and steam

    Step 1 - Method
    3 Lbs chicken (I use whole chicken - remove skin, cut & clean)

    For onion/masala paste, grind the following together
    1 big onion & 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    3 tsp each, coriander seeds & fennel seeds
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp poppy seed powder
    4 garlic cloves
    5 cloves (lavang)
    3 cardamom (elaichi), skin peeled
    1” piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
    1” piece of ginger
    Less than ¼ tsp nutmeg (jajikaya), crushed
    Less than ¼ tsp mace (japatri), crushed

    For seasoning:
    2 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
    4 cloves (lavang)
    curry leaves


    turmeric, salt, red chillie powder – to taste
    coriander leaves, chopped
    3 tbsp oil (or more, as required)
    water, as required
    • Place chicken pieces in a heated pan, add 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1tsp salt, 1 tsp red chillie powder. Mix well & let most of the liquid evaporate. Set chicken pieces aside
    • Heat oil in a huge pan, add seasoning ingredients… reduce heat and add onion/masala paste
    • Add turmeric, salt, mix & reduce the heat to slightly below medium. Cover & let fry until the paste loses its raw smell, takes some time.
    • Add red chillie powder, mix well and add 4-5 cups water, Increase heat to medium
    • Add chicken pieces, cover & cook until done
    • Remove the lid, let all liquid evaporate, stir in chopped coriander leaves
    • When done, you will see less gravy and more chicken pieces

    Step 2 - Method
    4 cups Basmati rice (lightly washed & drained)
    7-8 cups water to cook the rice (use less or more water as per your preference)

    For seasoning:
    3 tbsp oil (or more, as required)
    8 cloves (lavang), coarse powder
    5 cardamom (elaichi), slightly crushed
    5 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
    4-6 dried Bay leaves
    4 small onions, thinly sliced (lengthwise)
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    3 tsp finely chopped ginger or 2 tsp ginger paste
    15-20 curry leaves


    Turmeric & salt, to taste
    5 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    Biryani masala powder to taste

    • Start electric rice cooker on ‘Cooking’, add 3 tbsp oil
    • When the oil is hot, add the seasoning ingredients, in the order listed above
    • Fry until onions turn translucent
    • Add washed & drained rice, turmeric, salt, green chillies & biryani masala powder
    • Lightly mix & fry rice for 5-10 minutes, making sure the rice doesn’t break apart
    • Add water, cover & cook until done
    • When done, remove the lid & wait for 5-10 minutes
    • Remove the rice into a large bowl or tray

    Step 3 - Ingredients & Method
    Curry from Step 1
    Biryani Rice from Step 2
    2 pinches of orange food color - mix in 4 tsp water, in a small bowl
    2-3 cups of chopped coriander leaves
    An oven safe, large tray or aluminium foil tray (for layering)
    Melted butter to apply to the inside of the tray


    • Apply a little butter on the bottom and all sides of the large tray
    • Start layering in the following order:
      - spread biryani rice (an even spread)
      - sprinkle food color
      - layer chicken pieces (while layering chicken, make sure not to add too much gravy)
      - sprinkle chopped coriander leaves
    • Start another layer, in the same order as above and continue until you finish the entire rice & curry
    • Make sure you finish the top layer with rice
    • Cover the tray with aluminium foil, steam for 8-10 minutes in a 250 degree preheated oven
    • Remove from the oven, uncover & let sit for 10-15 minutes
    • Mix lightly and transfer to a serving dish

    You have the most delicious chicken biryani, ready to be eaten! Enjoy !!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Aloo-Jeera-Methi (Potato-Cumin seeds-Fenugreek leaves)

    I normally use fresh methi leaves with aloo. This time I added kasoori methi (sundried fenugreek leaves) instead of fresh methi. Loved the aroma & flavour!



     
    • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide skillet, add seasoning of 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1 1/2 tsp jeera, 2 garlic cloves (crushed) & curry leaves
    • Immediately add finely chopped onion pieces (of 1 medium onion) Saute for a couple of minutes
    • Add cubed potatoes (3 medium potatoes, skin peeled)
    • Add turmeric & salt to taste, mix well. Cover and cook until potatoes soften
    • I add some masala powder & red chillie powder, for some spice & heat.
    • Lightly toss and sprinkle 2 tsp kasoori methi
    A good side dish with samabar/rasam

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Chicken

    A simple chicken curry - Mom's recipe! Good with plain rice or fried rice.

    Recipe

    1 Lb chicken, diced (I used boneless, skinless)

    For onion/masala paste, grind the following together
    1 big onion, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp each, coriander seeds & fennel seeds
    ½ tbsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp poppy seed powder
    3 garlic cloves
    ½” ginger piece

    For seasoning:
    2 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
    4 cloves (lavang) slightly crushed
    curry leaves

    turmeric, salt, red chillie powder – to taste
    coriander leaves, chopped
    3 tbsp oil (or more, as required)
    water, as required

    • Place chicken pieces in a heated pan, add ¼ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp red chillie powder. Mix well & let all the liquid evaporate. Set chicken pieces aside
    • Heat oil in a pan, add seasoning ingredients… reduce heat and add onion/masala paste
    • Add turmeric, salt & let fry until the paste loses its raw smell
    • Add red chillie powder, mix well and add 2-3 cups water
    • Add chicken pieces, cover & cook until done
    • Remove the lid, let all liquid evaporate, stir in chopped coriander leaves

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Bell Pepper-Tomato

    When I first tried to make Red Bell Pepper chutney, I tried a recipe from Indira's Mahanandi, with slight variations. Check Indira's recipe here. This time, I followed my usual method with ingredients.


    Recipe
    1 big red bell pepper (cut into chunks)
    4 medium roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp each of urad dal & chana dal
    1 tbsp coriander seeds
    1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
    4 dried red chillies
    6 garlic cloves
    1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    10 curry leaves
    10 green chillies (reduce for less heat)
    tamarind pulp, to taste
    turmeric & salt to taste
    1 cup coriander leaves
    2 tbsp oil

    • Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, coriander & cumin seeds. Lightly roast and add dried red chillies, garlic, curry leaves
    • Add bell pepper, saute for a couple of minutes and add tomato pieces
    • Add salt, turmeric & green chillies. Cover & cook until tomatoes soften
    • Add tamarind pulp, let the liquid evaporate
    • Let cool, add coriander leaves & grind to a slightly coarse paste

    Enjoy with Idli/Dosa or Rice

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Spinach-Asparagus

    I saved some asparagus from earlier day thinking that I can try them in another recipe. Being not so adventurous, I decided to play safe and try with Spinach. The combo turned out quite good!

    Recipe

    1/2 Lb Spinach, chopped (I use baby spinach)
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    10-12 Asparagus stalks, chopped into small pieces (about 3/4")
    6 curry leaves
    4 garlic cloves
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    turmeric & salt to taste
    masala powder to taste
    2 tbsp oil
    2 tbsp milk
    • Heat oil in a skillet, add seasoning of cumin seeds, garlic, curry leaves
    • Immediately add chopped onion, saute until soft
    • Add chopped spinach, turmeric, salt and green chillies
    • Once the spinach wilts, add chopped asparagus and cook until asparagus turns soft
    • Add masala powder, mix well
    • Add milk, mix again and turn the stove off

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Broccoli-Tomato

    Recipe

    3 cups Broccoli florets
    2 roma tomatoes, diced
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    6 curry leaves
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp urad dal
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    salt to taste
    turmeric
    garam masala or curry masala powder, to taste
    2 tbsp oil


    • Heat oil in a saucepan and add seasoning of cumin seeds, urad dal, garlic, curry leaves.
    • Immediately add onion, saute until soft.
    • Add Broccoli florets, green chillies, turmeric & salt. Saute for a couple of minutes.
    • Add tomatoes, cover & cook until tomatoes turn soft.
    • Add masala powder and mix well.
    Good with rice, chapathis/rotis.

    Saturday, November 3, 2007

    Green Rice - All things green!

    For dinner, I wanted to make something quick & different from the usual fare! As I was staring at my freezer, I wondered why not something with peas, lima beans & Indian beans..... so I had decided on rice with all these ingredients and thought some coriander paste would add some color & flavour! Thus emerged this green rice and the result was one tasty rice! Check this out!
    Recipe
    2 cups Indian beans, Lima beans & Peas
    1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    2 ½ cups rice – wash & set aside (I use the regular rice cup from electric rice cooker)
    6 cups water to cook rice (less or more as per your preference)
    coriander & green chillie paste (make a paste of 1 small bunch coriander leaves & 8 green chillies)
    salt, turmeric, pulav masala powder – to taste
    2 tbsp each of butter & oil
    For seasoning : 4 cloves (lavang), ¼ tsp cumin seeds, 4 garlic cloves-minced, 8 curry leaves
    • Start the electric rice cooker on ‘Cooking’ and heat butter & oil
    • Add the seasoning ingredients and chopped onion. Fry onion until translucent
    • Add beans & peas, salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes
    • Add washed rice, turmeric, pulav masala powder, coriander & green chillie paste. Mix well.
    • Add water, adjust salt, cover & cook until done

    Note : Mint would be good too, instead of coriander or both together would be perfect!

    Friday, November 2, 2007

    Asparagus-Moong Dal (Pesara pappu/Yellow split peas)

    I had tried Asparagus in Moong Dal at a friend's (Chithra) place and quite liked it! I thought that was a great way to eat one good, but rather bland vegetable! And so I tried it in my kitchen and discovered a new love for Asparagus. Thanks Chithra, for the inspiration!

    Recipe

    1 cup Moong Dal (wash & soak in water for 30 minutes)
    1 bunch Green Asparagus (remove the tough end, cut into 1/2” rounds)
    1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    salt, turmeric – to taste
    1 tbsp oil
    For seasoning : 1 dried red chillie – broken into pieces, ¼ tsp cumin seeds, ¼ tsp mustard seeds, 3 garlic cloves-chopped, 5 curry leaves

    • Heat oil in a pan, add seasoning ingredients, chopped onion and saute for a couple of minutes
    • Add soaked moong dal, green chillies, a cup of water, salt & turmeric
    • Cover and cook until dal is half cooked
    • Add asparagus, add water if required, cover & cook until done
    • When done, asparagus should be firm to touch, but tender (should not turn mushy) and the dal, at grainy consistency

    Finally, I add a couple of teaspoons of ghee.... and it tastes divine with rice!

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Kheema (Minced Lamb/Goat)

    I cook kheema on its own.... I don't complicate it by adding potatoes or peas and we like it this way. Most of the times, we get lamb kheema, but sometimes we get goat kheema too! This time it is goat! I know there is lot of natural fat in kheema - but when triple washed, most of the fat is lost! I add lots of masala powder (home made or store bought), chillie powder and some spices too for that wonderful spicy aroma!


    Recipe
    1 Lb Kheema
    1 big onion, finely chopped
    oil, as required (Non Veg requires more oil)
    coriander leaves - chopped
    salt, turmeric, red chillie powder, masala powder - to taste
    (Note : if it is store bought masala powder, check Kheema masala powders - they are good)
    For seasoning : 2 dried red chillies - broken into pieces, 6 cloves (lavang)-coarsely crushed, 3 elaichi-slightly crushed, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 5 garlic cloves - minced, 10 curry leaves
    • Heat oil in a pan (I start with 3-4 tbspns and add more later, as required)
    • Add the seasoning ingredients, and add chopped onion. Fry onion until it turns translucent.
    • Add washed kheema, salt, turmeric, red chillie powder, masala powder
    • Cover and cook until done.
    • Add chopped coriander leaves.

    Try this simple method and you would love it! Ofcourse, the taste depends on the right quantity of ingredients - oil, salt, chillie powder, masala powder. Kheema is great with rice, also with chapathis/rotis.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Vankaya-Sorakaya Majjiga Pulusu (Eggplant, Bottlegourd)

    I had accidentally left the yogurt (home made) out for a little longer and it turned sour. With sour yogurt, I instantly think of Majjiga Kura or Majjiga Pulusu - one of my favourite varieties. We can use any vegetable combo - potato, raw plaintain, eggplant, bottlegourd, cluster beans and leafy vegetables too! I had a couple of eggplants & a small bottlegourd, so decided to use them up.

    Recipe
    2 cups sorakaya pieces (cut into 1.5" squares)
    3 small eggplants, each cut into 4 pieces, lengthwise
    salt, turmeric - to taste
    4 green chillies - slit lengthwise
    2 tbsp oil
    3-4 cups buttermilk
    coriander leaves, chopped
    For seasoning : 1 dried red chillie-broken into pieces, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 3 cloves (lavang), 6 curry leaves
    For masala - grind the following together to make a smooth paste :
    1 medium onion, a small ginger piece, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1tsp poppy seed powder
    • Heat oil in a pan, add seasoning ingredients and immediately add vegetable pieces. Make sure the vegetable pieces are dry. Saute for 5 minutes.
    • Add the masala/onion paste, salt, turmeric and let fry until the onion loses its raw smell.
    • Add green chillies, cover & cook until the vegetables turn soft. (Sprinkle some water, if required)
    • When done, add chopped coriander leaves, turn the stove off.
    • Let cool for some time, add buttermilk, mix well and adjust salt.

    Tastes great - serve with rice!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Sorakaya (Aanapakaya, Bottlegourd, Lauki)

    Recipe

    4 cups sorakaya pieces (cut into 1" pieces)
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 big tomato, roughly chopped
    salt, turmeric, masala powder - to taste
    3 green chillies, (slit or chopped - any which way)
    coriander leaves, chopped
    2 tbsp oil
    2 tbsp milk
    For seasoning : 1 red chillie- broken into pieces, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 6 curry leaves, 3 garlic cloves-chopped

    • Heat oil in a pan and add seasoning ingredients. Add chopped onion immediately, saute until onion turns translucent.
    • Add sorakaya pieces, salt & turmeric, green chillies. Cover and cook until the vegetables are done half way through.
    • Add chopped tomato, masala powder, mix well, cover and cook until done.
    • Add milk, mix & turn the stove off. Add chopped coriander leaves.

    Enjoy the curry with roti/chapathi or rice.

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    Chikkudukaya (Indian broad beans)

    Chikkudukaya is one of those vegetables that we had a lot, growing up. We love this vegetable! Here is a delicious preparation.

    Recipe

    For onion/masala paste:
    1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    1 tsp each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seed powder
    ½ tsp cumin seeds
    ½” ginger piece
    3 garlic cloves
    Grind the above together, to make a smooth paste

    4 cups Chikkudukaya pieces (string them by removing ends, make 1” pieces)
    1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    4 curry leaves
    2 cloves (lavang)
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    Coriander leaves, chopped
    salt to taste;
    2 tbsp Oil
    2 tbsp Milk

    • Heat oil in a pan and add seasoning of red chillie, cloves, curry leaves. Remove pan from the stove and add onion/masala paste. Mix, place the pan on stove, cover & let fry until the onion paste loses its raw smell.
    • Add chopped tomato, cover & cook until tomato softens.
    • Add chikkudukaya pieces, turmeric, salt and green chillies. Mix well; let fry for 5-10 minutes. Add just enough water, cover & cook until done.
    • Add milk, mix and turn the stove off. Finally add coriander leaves.

    Enjoy with rice or roti/chapathi.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Cauliflower with Lima Beans

    Cauliflower by itself can sometimes be a little boring.... and at such times, Lima beans come to the rescue! Lima beans have a delicate flavour that complements any dish. Also, they are a good source of protien and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Here is a simple fry that is quick & easy, for one of those lazy days!
    Recipe
    Cauliflower florets, of 1 whole Cauliflower
    1/2 cup baby lima beans
    1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    6 curry leaves
    salt, turmeric, chillie powder, masala powder
    2 tbsp oil
    chopped coriander leaves
    • Heat oil in a wide skillet, add seasoning of red chillie, cumin seeds
    • Add chopped onion, curry leaves, garlic and let fry until onion turns translucent
    • Add lima beans, cauliflower florets, turmeric & salt, mix well
    • Cover & cook for 5-8 minutes, remove the cover and let fry on medium-high until done (& until all moisture is evaporated)
    • Add masala powder & red chillie powder (quantities to suit your palate), mix and saute for a couple of minutes
    • Turn the stove off, add chopped coriander leaves & mix

    Serve with chapathis/rotis. Equally good with rice!

    Eggs with Cashewnuts

    Eggs are exceptional foods, available year round - they supply protiens, vitamins, minerals.... nutritious, truly versatile & affordable fast food! Here is a simple egg curry with some added spice & flavour!

    Recipe

    4 hard-boiled eggs (peel the shell, set aside)
    3 medium onions (finely chopped)
    1/4 cup cashewnut pieces (halved and broken into pieces)
    2 tbsp masala paste (make a paste of a small onion alongwith 1 tsp each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seed powder, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4" piece of ginger and 3 garlic cloves)
    3 cloves (lavang) - make a coarse powder
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    4 curry leaves
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    salt to taste
    4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    3 tbsp oil
    3 tbsp milk
    chopped coriander leaves

    • Heat oil in a saucepan, sprinkle some turmeric and fry the eggs until they turn golden yellow. Remove the eggs, make an incision and set aside.
    • Lightly fry the cashewnuts, until they turn light brown, remove them and set aside.
    • In the same oil, add seasoning of cloves, cumin seeds & red chillie. Add onion pieces, curry leaves and fry until the onion turns translucent.
    • Add masala paste, green chillies, salt, turmeric - fry further until the paste loses its raw smell.
    • Add fried eggs, cashewnuts, sprinkle some water, simmer, cover & cook for 10-15 minutes.
    • Add milk, mix & turn the stove off.
    • Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.

    Enjoy the curry with rice! (You can leave the eggs whole or halve them)

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Methi leaves in Moong Dal

    Methi is probably one of the easiest leafy vegetables to be produced in your own garden. The methi plants from our patio garden came to my rescue when I was left with no vegetables in the refrigerator! All leafy vegetables are good with Moong Dal, so here is a simple, tasty & nutritious Methi Dal.

    Recipe

    2 cups of Methi leaves (pick just the leaves, no stems)
    1 cup Moong Dal (wash & soak dal in water for 20-30 minutes)
    1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    ½ tsp mustard seeds
    ½ tsp cumin seeds
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    4 curry leaves
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    ¼ tsp turmeric
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp oil

    Heat oil in a pan and add seasoning of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chillie & curry leaves. Add chopped onion & garlic and let fry for a couple of minutes. Add washed methi leaves and let fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the soaked moong dal, turmeric, salt, green chillies and a cup of water. Cover & let cook until the dal turns soft. Mix & turn the stove off. Serve dal with ghee, alongside rice. (If you like a smooth consistency of dal, mash the end product with a spatula)

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Chemadumpa Pulusu (Arbi/Taro root)

    One of my favourites... Indian arbi has nice flavour & taste. I did not come across that variety, here in US! Earlier, I would buy the very big arbi that we get at our local grocers, but now I use the frozen one available at Indian grocer... less work - no boiling, peeling etc. Here comes something sweet & sour!

    Recipe

    1 big onion, roughly chopped
    1/2 " ginger piece
    3 garlic cloves
    1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
    1 tsp fennel seeds
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp poppy seed powder

    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    3 cloves, slightly crushed
    1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    4 curry leaves

    1 pack of frozen Arbi (thaw before use)
    2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    3 tbsp tamarind extract
    1" cube of jaggery
    salt to taste
    coriander leaves, chopped
    2 tbsp oil
    4 cups water

    Grind onion to a smooth paste alongwith ginger, garlic, poppy seeds, coriander, fennel & cumin seeds.
    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of cloves, red chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds & curry leaves. Add the onion paste, salt & turmeric, mix well. Let fry until the onion paste loses its raw smell. Add chopped tomatoes, cover and cook until the tomatoes turn soft. Add water, tamarind extract, jaggery, green chillies and adjust salt if required. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add thawed arbi, simmer and let the liquid come to a desired consistency. Takes approx. 25-30 minutes. Turn the stove off, add coriander leaves. This sauce goes well with rice.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Bacchali kura

    I dont know the english name for this vegetable (probably Indian Spinach?) and am not sure if we get this vegetable in US! The leaves are dark & thick... they can be small & palm sized too! Here is a simple curry recipe with tamarind sauce & mustard seeds powder - it is slightly sour & pungent and is truly tasty.


    Recipe

    6 cups of finely chopped bacchali kura, alongwith tender stems
    1 big onion - finely chopped
    2 dried red chillies - broken into pieces
    1/2 tsp urad dal
    1/4 tsp each of cumin seeds, turmeric
    3 garlic cloves - minced
    4 curry leaves
    4 green chillies - slit lengthwise
    2 tbsp tamarind extract
    salt to taste
    1/4 tsp of garam masala powder
    1 1/2 tsp of mustard seed powder (dry roast, let cool and make powder)
    1 tbsp oil

    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of dried red chillies, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves. Add onion & garlic, saute until onion turns translucent. Add chopped bacchali kura, green chillies, salt, turmeric - mix and cook uncovered, for approx. 10-15 minutes. Add garam masala powder, tamarind extract, saute for a couple of minutes until the liquid evaporates, turn the stove off. Add mustard seeds powder, mix well. This tasty curry is good with rice.

    Thotakura (Red leaves / Red Spinach / Amaranthus)

    In US, I had first seen thotakura in California, it was sold as Red leaves. Never tried them though! Haven't seen this leaf after moving to Midwest, until I came across Rajani's garden.
    Adding green leaves to dal is very common, but there are many more ways to cook leafy vegetables. Here is a simple recipe for thotakura. And by the way, I read somewhere that thotakura has folic acid, iron, calcium, amino acids, beta carotenes, Vitamins A, B1, B2, C. Good reason to eat this leafy vegetable, right?

    Recipe

    4 cups finely chopped Thotakura, alongwith tender stems
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    ¼ tsp cumin seeds
    ½ tsp urad dal
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    4 curry leaves
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    ¼ tsp turmeric
    Salt to taste
    1-2 tbsp Oil

    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of dried red chillies, cumin, urad dal, garlic & curry leaves. Add chopped onion and saute until onion turns translucent, add chopped thotakura and green chillies. Add turmeric, salt and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. I had noticed there was not much water content in thotakura and hence it made a perfect fry! You can add a tbsp of milk before removing from heat, to make it a curry! Either preparation is good with rice/chapathis.

    Thotakura, Bacchali kura, Gongura

    Our neighbor (Rajani) has a wonderful patio garden with all the above leafy produce! Gongura plants have grown almost 10 feet tall, and that too in a pot! Well, her wonderful vegetable produce in & around the patio motivated me to have my own garden, so I had promptly requested Rajani for some seeds. She was very kind, she distributed some of her locally grown, Indian produce and so I could lay my hands on Thotakura and Bacchali kura for the first time ever, in US!

    Some photographs of Rajani’s garden!
    Gongura plants in a Pot!

    Bacchali in a pot, Teega Bacchali, Thotakura, Dosa paadu

    Bacchali
    Thotakura, Pudina

    Sunday, October 7, 2007

    Royyala Pulao (Shrimp Pulav)

    With the cleaned & cooked shrimp available here, it is a cinch to make this Pulao. All the wonderful spices make this dish very aromatic and flavourful!

    Recipe

    3 cups Basmati rice (washed lightly & drained) (use the regular cup that comes with electric rice cooker)
    6 cups water
    1 Lb shrimp (cleaned & cooked - medium size)
    2 medium sized onions - thinly sliced, lengthwise
    2" ginger piece - finely chopped
    1 whole, small garlic bulb - minced
    5 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
    4 cloves (lavang) - coarse powder
    3 cardamom pods (elaichi) - coarse powder
    2 small stalks of curry leaves
    4-6 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp shahjeera powder
    2 tsp Pulao masala powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp red chillie powder
    salt to taste
    5 tbsp oil

    Heat a saucepan, add thawed shrimp & add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp red chillie powder. Mix well and let all the liquid evaporate. Turn the stove off, set the shrimp aside.
    Put the electric rice cooker on 'Cooking' & add oil. When the oil is hot, add dried red chillies, cloves, cardamom, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, bay leaves & onion slices. Saute until onions turn translucent, then add the shrimp (set aside earlier), add washed rice, mix and add 1/4 tsp turmeric, shahjeera powder, pulao masala powder and salt. Fry the rice for 5 minutes, add water, cover & cook until done. Mix lightly when done & enjoy the delicious pulao!

    Wednesday, October 3, 2007

    Potlakaya (Snake Gourd)

    Snake gourd is one of those vegetables (fresh ones') that we dont get at our local grocer's. Of late, our grocer has been stocking up most of the Indian vegetables, in frozen form and Snake gourd was one of the latest additions in his freezer. "After a long time....." I thought, and so, a pack made its way into my kitchen.......

    Recipe

    3 cups of snake gourd pieces (I used frozen, 12 oz pack – cut the rings into ½” pieces)
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    ½ tsp cumin seeds
    1 dried red chillie, broken into pieces
    4 curry leaves
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    Salt to taste
    3 tsp fresh, grated coconut
    1 tbsp oil

    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of cumin seeds, red chillie and curry leaves. Add chopped onion and garlic, sauté until onion turns translucent. Add vegetable pieces, green chillies, salt & turmeric. Sauté & cook on medium heat, until the vegetable pieces turn soft (takes approx. 15-20 minutes.) Add fresh, grated coconut, sauté for a couple of minutes and turn the stove off. This variety is perfect as a side dish or as an accompaniment for rotis.

    Monday, October 1, 2007

    Sorakaya curry (Lauki / Dudhi / Bottlegourd)

    Sorakaya or Bottlegourd is available in abundance, all year round. It is slightly sweet and has high water content. Here is a tasty recipe of this simple, yet versatile vegetable!

    Recipe

    5 cups of Sorakaya pieces (peel the skin off the vegetable, cut into small cubes)
    1 tsp urad dal
    ½ tsp cumin seeds
    2 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
    6 curry leaves
    4 garlic cloves & 2” ginger piece (make a coarse paste)
    Salt to taste
    3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
    4 tsp sesame seed power (dry toast white sesame seeds until light brown, let cool and grind to a coarse powder)
    1 tsp oil
    3 tbsp milk

    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of urad dal, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Let fry and add vegetable pieces, salt & green chillies. Mix, cover and cook until done - when done, the vegetable pieces should be firm and not too soft. Add sesame seed powder, mix and add milk. Mix again and turn the stove off. Enjoy this curry with rice/rotis.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Spinach Fry

    When we think of Calcium, we instantly think of Milk and other Dairy products. But do you know that Spinach is a good source of Calcium too? Packed with Iron, Folic acid and Calcium, Spinach sure is one powerful Leaf! We all use Spinach in dals..... here is yet another easy preparation.
    Recipe

    1 box (10 oz) of frozen, chopped spinach
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves
    1/2 tsp urad dal
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    4 curry leaves
    3 green chillies (slit lengthwise)
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    salt to taste
    1 tbsp Oil

    Thaw frozen spinach, squeeze water, and set the spinach aside.
    Heat oil in a saucepan, add seasoning of urad dal, cumin seeds, chopped garlic & curry leaves. Add onion and saute until onion turns translucent. Add spinach, salt & turmeric, green chillies and let fry for 10-15 minutes. If you dont like plain spinach flavour, add a 1/4 tsp of your favourite garam masala powder. This fry can be had with rice.