Thursday, 21 April 2016

Mirchi ka Salan !


Mirchi ka Salan aka Curried Chilli peppers is a very popular dish from the Hyderabadi Cuisine that is often served along with the famous Hyderabadi Biriyanis. The curry is thick and flavored with peanuts, coconut and the big green chillis (that are less spicy).
Not only with the biriyani, this curry goes well with rotis and other flavored rice varieties too. Different types of chillis are used in this curry depending on the availabitlity. I used the Bajji Mirchi variety that are less spicy. If the chillis you find are very hot then do remove the seeds and veins before using them.


INGREDIENTS

  • 7 to 8 Big Chillis (Bajji Mirchis)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 - 3 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 piece Cinnamon Stick
  • a pinch of hing
  • 2 medium Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Red chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (or extract juice from lemon size tamarind)
  • Coriander leaves to Garnish

To roast and grind to a paste

  • 3 - 4 tbsp Peanuts
  • 2 tbsp White sesame seeds
  • 4 Red Chillis (I  used Byadgi variety for color)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp Grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tomatoes (add only whn grinding)

STEPS

  • Dry roast the peanuts for 2 - 3 minutes and then add the sesame seeds and red chillis and roast for another 5 to 6 minutes in medium flame until they are well roasted.
  • Lastly add grated coconut and roast for a minute or two and turn off stove.


  • Wash the chillis, slit them and remove the seeds and veins. 
  • Drizzle some oil in a pan and fry the chillis (flipping them) till they are partially cooked.


  • Once the roasted ingredients are cooled, add chopped tomatoes and grind them to a smooth paste.


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel / kadai , add cinnamom sticks, cardamom, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the mustard spultters, add finely chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and saute them until they are nicely browned.


  • Add the ground paste and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Close and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes.


  • Add all the spice powders and salt , mix well and close and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes until the masala is well cooked and oil separates.
  • Now add in the tamarind extract to the gravy.


  • Again close and cook for 8 to 10 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind fades and masala is well cooked and oil separates again.
  • Now add in the fried chillis to the gravy.

  • Sprinkle some garam masala and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off stove and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves

NOTES

  • Dry coconut can also be used in place of fresh coconut.
  • Use any variety green chillis as long as they are not very spicy. 
  • Adding tomatoes are optional but they do add volume to the gravy and also adds some tanginess.
  • Instead of adding coriander powder and cumin powder to the gravy, you can also dry roast them along with peanuts and sesame seeds and grind them all together.
  • If there is no ginger garlic paste, then add few cloves of garlic and a piece of ginger along with the ingredients that are ground to paste.



With Love,

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Zucchini & Dill Thepla !


Theplas are inherent part of Gujarati cuisine that are light, healthy and flavorful.Theplas are not paratas and there are lot of difference between them. Theplas are thin and made of wheat flour seasoned with aromatic spices and a leafy vegetable like methi or other vegetables are added in grated form. 
It stays soft for a longer time if properly rolled out and cooked and an excellent option for travel or picnics. 
I have already posted Carrot Thepla, and this time tried with zucchini (courgettes)and the falvorful Dill leaves. This recipe doesn't need to be prepared with both of them, so go ahead and make them with any one of them too. I personally love the flavor of dill and the lovely pattern it makes on the thepla when we roll it out.


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 3/4 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1/4 cup Besan (gram flour)
  • 1/2 cup grated Zucchini (Courgette)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dill leaves
  • salt as needed
  • 3 tbsp thick curd (yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp crushed Chilli n Ginger
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ajwain)
  • 2 tbsp Ghee (or oil) (to cook theplas and also to brush later)

STEPS
  • Grate the Zucchini and squeeze out the extra water.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except ghee and water.
  • Mix well first, you will be able to make dough with the water from yogurt and zucchini. Add extra water little by little as required to form a soft and pliable dough.

  • Rest the dough for 15 - 20 minutes and then make small balls out of them.
  • Roll them out as thin as possible just like how we do chapati, but thinner than that.


  • Place on a greased and hot tawa and cook on one side, flip and apply ghee/oil and cook well flipping a couple of times.

NOTES
  • Using besan (gram flour) is optional and you can just skip it and use only wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding curd and water, you can also add buttermilk if you have it ready.
  • Use the same recipe and just do it with only zucchini or only dill leaves.
  • You can replace ajwain with Jeera too.
  • Feel free to add some garam masala if you like the flavor.
  • Try to roll the thepla very thin to get best results.
  • Fitness freaks please skip ghee and can make it even oil free.
  • Best paired with boondi or Onion Raita or I would even love with some Bindi Raita:)
  • Can be served with just pickle or any subzi / gravy of you choice.



With Love,

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Karunai Kizhangu Mochai Kuzhambu !



Kuzhamubus are always my favorite though Vj is not a big fan of them. They are tangy and spicy and I just love them for that. There are many different types of kuzhambus made in Tamilnadu , and the ingredients used in them are almost the same while the quantity differs giving them different names like puli kuzhambu, kara kuzhambu etc.
Mochai aka Mochaikottai (Field Beans) is variety of beans rich in protein and mostly available in dried form in India. It tastes great in this type of kuzhambu and may or maynot be combined with any other vegetable.
Yam is my another favourite vegetable and I just love it in any form like fried or in stir fry or in such kuzhambus. Its not available much here in London, but during a weekend shopping to Kingsbury I grabbed a big ball of yam and made this yummy kuzhambu.
If you are interested in any other kuzhambu varieties from Tamilnadu do check them out.
Sundaikai Vathalkuzhambu
Araikeerai Kuzhambu
Vendaikai Morekuzhambu
Kathirikai Pulikuzhambu
Manathakkali Vathakuzhambu (No Onion No Garlic)


INGREDIENTS

  • 150 gms mochai (Field Beans)
  • 250 gms Karunai Kizhangu (yam)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (or Cumin Seeds)
  • a pinch of asafoedita
  • few curry leaves
  • 2 Dry red chillis
  • 6 - 7 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Big Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • lemon size tamarind (soak and extract the juice)
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Sambar Powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Kuzhambu Powder (or homemade chilli powder or mix of red chilli powder + Coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Jaggery
  • coriander leaves to garnish

STEPS
  • Soak the beans overnight (approx 10 hours). Next day pressure cook it for 2 - 3 whistles (with little salt) or until they are cooked soft.
  • Heat some oil in a cooker , splutter the mustard seeds and then add some fennel seeds followed by hing (asafoedita)

  •  Add garlic , broken red chillis and saute for few seconds. Then add finely chopped onion and saute until onion becomes transparent and soft.
  • Add the tomatoes and continue sauting until they become soft and mushy.


  •  Next add the yam (karunai Kizhangu) chunks and saute for a minute. Add some water and the spice powders, salt and the tamarind extract.


  • Lastly add the (already cooked) beans and close the cooker and cook for one whistle. Allow the pressure to release on its own. Lastly add jaggery and give a mix.
  • Add fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice.


NOTES

  • The vegetable added here is purely optional and you can make the kuzhambu with just the beans too. Or replace yam with brinjal, it tastes yum as well.
  • Instead of pressure cooking the kuzhambu, you can cook in a heavy bottomed vessel as per your preference. It takes a little more time. For the morning hurry I always prefer pressure cooker for most of the cooking.
  • In case you are cooking in a vessel, then allow the vegetable to cook first adding some water. Once it is more than half cooked, then add salt, spices and tamarind water. Otherwise veggie wont be cooked properly. 
  • Yam take a little longer time to cook, so pressure cooker is just fine. Whereas if using brinjal it cooks faster , so it can be just make in a vessel or kadai.
  • Adjust tanginess (tamarind extract) as per taste. We like it to be more tangy and add more extract. Jaggery is optional but we prefer it whenever there is more tamarind as it balances the taste. 
  • In case you forget to soak the motchai (beans) overnight then just roast them for 5 to 7 minutes in medium flame and then pressure cook it. It will be perfectly cooked. 



With Love,


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Barnyard Millet Idli/Dosa !



 Yet another healthy Millet recipe from my kitchen, Barnyard Millet (Kuthiraivali - Tamil) Idli and Dosa. I brought lots of different varieties of millet from my last India trip and enjoying healthy food these days. Millets are so versatile that I incorporate them into our diet in any form like pongal , puloas, dosas and what not. Millets are small grains that are very nutritious with more fibre content and they are a very good substitute to rice or wheat. They are easy to digest and good for diabetic patients as they release glucose very slowly.
For all healthy recipes do refer HERE . For other breakfast recipes like Idli , upma etc do check out this PAGE

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups Barnyard Millet (Kuthiraivali)
  • 1/2 cup whole urad dal (skinless)
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • salt as needed
  • 2 tsp Channa Dal (if you want to make only dosas)
STEPS
  • Wash the barnyard millet 3 - 4 times well till the water becomes clear. 
  • Wash the urad dal and the fenugreek seeds together. 
  • Soak them all for 4 - 5 hours.
  • Grind the Urad dal adding little water at a time to a smooth and fluffy batter. 

  •  then grind the millet (discarding the water) to a smooth batter. Sprinkle water only if needed. Not sure why when grinding millet it doesnt need more water. If you add more then your batter will be too runny.
  • Add the ground millet batter to the urad dal, add salt and mix well.
  • Allow it to ferment overnight (10 - 12 hrs). In warm countries 8 hours is more than enough. In cold regions do keep the batter in oven or near heater (refer Notes section)

  • Once the batter is well fermented, next morning pour them in greased idli moulds and cook for 10 - 12 minutes.
  • To make dosa, add little water to the batter and dilute it a bit to dosa batter consistency.
  • Spread a ladle of dosa batter in a greased tawa and enjoy your dosa with chutney of your choice.

 NOTES
  • This recipe can be made with other millets like little millet, kodo millet etc. Finger millet (Ragi) needs a different proportion though. Refer HERE to make ragi dosa and idli.
  • If your batter i snot fermented well, idlis will be hard. So in that case add a pinch of baking soda / ENO (fruit salt ) to the batter and make idlis. I generally avoid it as I'm feeding these to my toddler. 
  • There are different types of Urad dal, use only whole skinless Urad dal. The quality of urad dal makes a great difference in the batter.
  • Always add salt immediately after grinding the batter, as salt aids in fermentation. Olden days they use only rock salt in the batter and prefer mixing by hand as it is believed mixing by hand also helps in fermentation.
  • We used to have grinders at home which is specific for grinding the Idli/dosa batter. The urad dal gets ground so well that its increased 2 to 3 times its volume. You can expect that with a normal mixie, but make sure you grind it very soft and fluffy.
  • And do not forget the fenugreek seeds. They help a lot in fermenting the batter and makes the idli soft.
  • Always grind the dal and rice separately. As dal has to be very very smooth and increase in volume when grinding.
  • Also, you can use warm filtered water to grind the dal and rice. 
  • There is no tips needed to ferment the batter if you are in India. But in cold places fermenting the batter is a challenge to most of the people.My batter has fermented and rised well in -1 deg Celsius.
  • Keeping in a warm place helps fermenting. It can be oven or near heater. But I personally prefer heater as there is heat continuously whole night. 
  • If you are keeping in oven, preheat the oven for 200 deg C for 10 minutes and switch off oven. and then place the batter after 5 minutes in the oven and leave it whole night. If you have light in your oven, then leave the lights ON. It will help maintain some warmness inside the oven.
  • I just keep the vessel right in front of the heater vent for maximum 12 hours. And by the time it should be fermented.

With Love,

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Shahi Paneer !



Shahi Paneer is one of the famous and delicious North Indian recipe where Paneer (cottage cheese) is cooked in a thick gravy made of nuts, tomatoes and cream and sometimes yogurt. Shahi means "Royal" and as the name goes this recipe is truly made royal with all the nuts, cream, saffron etc. 
The gravy is not so spicy, and the texture is so creamy and finger licking good. If you are a Paneer lover then do check out the other paneer recipes in the blog.


INGREDIENTS
  • 250 - 300 gms Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  • 6 almonds
  • 12 cashewnuts
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 medium  tomato
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole pepper
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • salt as needed
  • 2 - 3 tbsp yogurt / thick beaten curd
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Cream
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • a pinch of saffron (soaked in warm water)
STEPS

  • Boil half cup of water in a vessel and add the nuts, chillis and chopped onions to it and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes.


  • Throw in the chopped tomato and allow it to simmer for another two minutes.
  • Let it cool and grind everything to a very smooth paste.


  • Meanwhile cut panner into desired shape and keep them immersed in warm water.
  • Soak few strands of saffron in warm water and keep aside.
  • Heat ghee and oil in a pan and add pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper  etc.


  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute, then add the ground puree.
  • Allow the puree to cook for two minutes and then add all the spice powders (except garam masala) and salt.


  • Close and cook the gravy for 8 to 10 minutes in medium flame or till oil separates.
  • Then add the beaten curd / yogurt and give a mix.


  • Again close and cook for 3 - 4 minutes and then sprinkle garam masala and stir in.
  • Add the paneer pieces to the gravy, adjust water and mix well.


  • Add cream to the gravy and mix well. 
  • Also add the soaked saffron , give a mix and simmer for two minutes.
  • Crush the kasuri methi and sprinkle on top, and turn off stove.

NOTES

  • Instead of boiling the onion, tomatoes and cashews , they can be sauted in a tbsp of oil too and then ground to a puree.
  • If there is no Ginger garlic paste available, add few cloves of garlic and piece of ginger to the onion tomato mixture itself and grind together.
  • Serve with rice, pulaos, phulkas or rotis.
  • Adding yogurt is optional , it can be replaced with milk too.
  • The tomato is also optional , and can be made only with onion and nuts mixture.
  • Do not skip the cream and saffron for the royal touch.


With Love,

Green Chutney for Chaats


Green Chutney is indispensable in Indian cuisine, be it for parathas,snacks, starters or chats. It is made in numerous ways depending on one's taste and preferences. Mint, coriander and green chillis are the mandatory ingredients combined with garlic, sometimes onion or tomato. 
I have already posted another method of making Green Chutney where Mint and Coriander are used in equal quantities and ground with chillis and other spices.
This chutney uses only coriander leaves with one tomato added to bring some tanginess. These type of raw chutneys stores well in fridge for 2 to 3 days after which you can freeze them. Sometimes when I have a large batch of coriander I make this and freeze in one time portions. So any day you make some snacks or chats , I quickly thaw one of them and use it.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup tightly packed coriander leaves
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 Green Chillis
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 small piece Ginger
  • salt as needed
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp Chaat Masala
  • 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder

STEPS
  • Blitz together Chillis, tomato , ginger and garlic first.
  • Then add washed fresh coriander leaves , salt, and other spices and grind to a smooth chutney consistency. Add little water if needed when grinding.
  • Thats it !


NOTES
  • Adjust green chillis and garlic as per taste.
  • You can replace tomato with curd too for the tanginess.
  • Serve with any starters or snacks of your choice. For more chutney and snacks recipe refer HERE




With Love,