26 May 2014

Kebab Shahenshahi

Found this recipe in my very first recipe diary, written quite some years back. Decided to try it out last evening...True to its name, royally delicious...

                                                                     KEBAB SHAHENSHAHI 

Ingredients :

Black chick peas (Kala Chana) - 1 cup
Corn starch - 1 tsp
Chopped Onions - 1/2 cup cup
Chopped ginger - 2 tsps
Chopped garlic - 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Cardamom (Elaichi) powder - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Chopped green chilies - 2 tsps
Bay leaf - 1
Dry Mango powder (Amchur) - 1/2 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Filling :
Chopped mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Chopped cashew nuts - 3 to 4
Green chili - 1
Salt to taste

Method : 

1. Soak the chick peas overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. Drain the water and wash once.

2. In a pressure cooker, add the chick peas, half the chopped onions, ginger, garlic and dry spices - Cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, Bay leaf and Amchur. Mix well and add 1/2 cup water. Pressure cook till the chick peas are tender.

3. Once the pressure has reduced naturally, open the cooker and drain the water completely. Let cool.

4. Grind the chick pea mixture to a semi-fine paste. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining onions, green chilies, coriander leaves and corn starch. Mix well and rest aside for 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Prepare the filling by blending together mint leaves, green chili and a bit of salt. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add the chopped cashew nuts and mix well.

6. Take a small portion of the chick peas mixture and make a small indent in the centre. Place a teaspoonful of the filling and seal well. Shape into a round or cylindrical kebab. Prepare the remaining kebabs similarly.

7. Shallow fry in sufficient oil till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with crisp raw onion salad and chutney.

25 May 2014


Rajma is an Indian name for Kidney beans. But that one word is also enough to make people drool in memory of the typical Punjabi dish, which is kidney beans in rich gravy. Rajma-chaawal is a staple food in most North Indian households.
This recipe is from my mother's diary.....


Ingredients :

Rajma (kidney beans) - 200 gms
Tomatoes - 2 large
Onions - 2 large
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Haldi (turmeric powder) - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Tamarind - 1/2 inch piece
Jeera (cumin seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Chopped dhaniya (coriander)
Anardana(dried pomegranate seeds) - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2" piece
Cardamom pod - 1

Method :

1. Wash and soak beans overnight or for 6-8 hours.

2. Grind onions along with cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.  Blanch and grind tomatoes separately.

3. Pressure cook rajma till well done.

4. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera and let crackle. Now add the ginger paste, fry for about 2 minutes.

5. Add the onion mix and fry till it leaves its raw aroma. Now add tomato puree. Cook for a good 5 to 7 minutes. You will see the gravy gradually separating itself from the oil.

6. Finally add garam masala, mix well and pour this gravy over the cooked rajma in the cooker. Pressure cook up to 1-2 whistles.

7. Serve hot as desired.

24 May 2014

Eggless Brownies

An Eggless brownie recipe that's best served with Vanilla ice cream....yummm
Typically brownies use dark chocolate, but the Morde brand of compound dark chocolate was a bit too...um..dark for my taste. So I've used milk chocolate as well to balance the bitterness.

                       EGGLESS BROWNIE

Ingredients :

Refined flour (Maida) - 1 cup
Softened butter - 1/2 cup
Chopped Dark Chocolate - 1 1/2 cups
Chopped Milk Chocolate - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Castor sugar - 1/4 cup
Beaten curds - 1/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Chopped walnuts - 2 tbsps

Method :

1. Melt dark and milk chocolate over a double boiler.  Pre-heat oven @ 180 deg C

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl.

3. In another bowl,  cream castor sugar and butter till sugar is well dissolved.

4. Add melted chocolate and mix lightly.  Add the curds, vanilla essence walnuts and mix again. Now gradually fold in the flours and make a smooth batter.

5. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake for 10 - 15 minutes...check if done by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean.
If you want it a bit soft, take it out a little earlier.
Remove and let cool slightly.  Before serving,  warm a slice of brownie,  place it on the serving dish. Add a dollop of ice cream and slurp away :-)

23 May 2014

Quick Rice Kheer

Pressed for time, and thinking of a nice kheer to prepare? Here's one of my mother's favourite quick fix kheer recipe....

                                                              QUICK RICE KHEER

Ingredients :

Cooked Rice - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Mashed ripe banana - 1
Elaichi (Cardamom) powder - 1/2 tsp
Gud (Jaggery) - 1 cup
Shredded coconut or readymade coconut milk powder - 1/4 cup (optional)
Water - 1/2 cup
Chopped Dry fruits - optional

Method :

1. Mash the rice well in a saucepan. Chop the bananas, keep aside.

2. Add 1/2 cup water to the rice along with the jaggery. Cook on a low flame and allow the jaggery to melt. Keep stirring to prevent lumps.

3. When the jaggery is well mixed with the rice and the mixture thickens a bit, add the banana pieces and shredded coconut. Mix well and let cook for just a minute more.

4. Remove from the flame, add cardamom powder and add milk as required, i.e depending on how thick you like your kheer. Garnish with desired dry fruits.

Serve warm or cold.

20 May 2014

Idli Upma

Idli upma, i.e, upma made with crumbled leftover idlis are quite common in most South Indian households.  It's very easy to prepare and equally tasty..


Ingredients :

Crumbled leftover Idlis - 1 cup
Chopped green chili - 1 tsp
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
Chana dal (Split Bengal gram) - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal (Split Black gram) - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Chopped onion - 2 tbsp (optional )
Sesame oil - 2 tsps

Method :

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let crackle.

2. Add chopped green chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the urad and chana dal and fry till golden brown.

3. Now add the chopped onions and fry till translucent and golden brown.

4. Now add the crumbled idli and quickly mix with the onion mixture. If you feel the upma is a bit dry, add a teaspoonful of oil more and cook on a low flame for 4 to 5 minutes more. Check for salt and add only a little bit as the idli would have some salt and sourness in it already.

5. Remove and serve hot.

19 May 2014

Kuzhi Paniyaaram (Appam)

Kuzhi Appams or kuzhi Paniyaarams as they are called, are typically fried dumplings popular as a snack dish in most of South India. They are not to be confused with the Aappam, which are popular in Kerala and look like an upturned Dosa.
The appams come in both spicy and sweet varieties and are prepared in a special stand that has 5 to 7 holes. Nowadays we get the non-stick variety in the market which consumes less oil, but my mother prefers to use her heirloom Appam stand made of Bell metal !!!

Non-stick Paniyaaram Stand

These are pretty easy to make and needless to say, disappear without a trace!!
Following are the usual methods for preparing the Kuzhi Appam or Paniyaarams.

Spicy Take - 

Ingredients : 

Thick leftover Dosa batter (sour the better) - 1 cup
Chopped Green chilies - 2
Salt to taste
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
Peppercorns - 1 tsp (or slightly crushed)
Hing - a pinch
Chopped curry leaves
Oil to fry

Method :

1. Heat an Appam stand on medium flame and pour a little oil in all the holes.

2. In a bowl, add the dosa batter and the remaining ingredients. Do not add any water as we need a thick consistency. If the dosa batter was already slightly runny, add enough rice flour to thicken it. Check for salt, and we are good to go!

3. Carefully pour a bit of the batter using a small ladle into each of the holes, taking care not to splash any oil around. Lower the flame at this point if you feel the oil is too agitated. Cooking this on a high flame right away will cause the appams to become brown quickly without the insides actually getting cooked.

4. Using a clean knife (We use an old bent sweater needle :D ) carefully turn over the appam to let the other side cook. Once both sides are golden brown, remove and drain excess oil.
Serve hot with ketchup or spicy green chutney.

Sweet variety - is on this page

Mixed Red Chutney

This morning Mum opened the fridge, found a quarter red pumpkin, half a red capsicum, 1 carrot that had very cleverly escaped its family and lodged itself at the bottom of the vegetable tray. Sound familiar? Well...fret not, let's turn all these into an interesting accompaniment that goes well with most dishes. Yup, a chutney.
My mother added a twist to it as well...some watermelon rinds. This is the greenish-white portion in between the outer peel and inner red pulp.
The ingredients used for this are common to most spicy chutneys, we are just using them to our advantage here (and clean the fridge too!!!)

                                                       MIXED RED CHUTNEY

Ingredients :

Chopped Red Pumpkin - 1/2 cup
Diced Capsicum - 1/4 cup
Carrot - 1 (chopped)
Chopped Watermelon rinds - 1/2 cup
(Note :  The above are optional, i.e, it is not mandatory to have all four to prepare this chutney)
Spices :
Split Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chili - 1 large
Hing (Asafoetida) - a pinch
Imli (Tamarind) - size of a half a lemon
Salt to taste

Method :

1. Heat 1/4 tsp oil in a pan. Add the urad dal and red chili to it. Fry for about 2 minutes, taking care not to let it blacken. Remove and add the hing. Mix lightly. Let cool.

2. Heat another 2 tbsps oil to the same pan, add the chopped pumpkin, watermelon rinds, carrot and capsicum and saute. Sprinkle a little salt and cover cook on a low flame till the veggies become slightly soft.
Remove and cool.

3. In a mixer jar, add the urad dal, red chili mixture and grind well to a fine powder. Now add the vegetables along with the tamarind piece and salt to taste. Grind to a fine paste without adding any water.
Transfer to a bowl and serve as desired. This can be stored for up to a week when refrigerated.

17 May 2014

Spongy Dosas and Idlis

Idlis and dosas are staple foods of South India, with not just the states but even districts having their own version and variation for the same.
Getting the batter right is crucial for both, which involves - correct proportioning of the ingredients, soaking them for just the right amount of time, grinding them to the correct texture, and then letting the batter rest to ferment.

I list below the typical ingredients and methods we follow for spongy dosas and soft idlis. Drool away!!! [ Click here for Dosa recipe...]



(Makes roughly 15-20 idlis)
Ingredients :

Idli or boiled rice - 2 cups
Whole, washed Urad dal - 1/2 cup (Mum finds Tata I-shakti dal best for this purpose)
Flat poha or flattened rice - 2 tbsps
Sabudana (Sago) - 2 tbsps
Methi (Fenugreek) seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method : 

1. Wash and soak the rice separately for 2 hours

2. Fifteen minutes before you wish to begin grinding the batter, wash the urad dal only once, and soak in 1 1/2 cups of water, along with lightly washed and cleaned flattened rice, methi seeds and sago.

Note : The traditional wet grinder works best for preparing batter in bigger proportions, also because urad dal needs to be ground to a fine paste and can heat up a standard mixer if run for long. But of course, one can make do with a mixer if grinder isn't available.

3. Grind the ural dal, flattened rice, sago and methi seeds first, gradually adding the entire 1 1/2 cups water used for soaking them. The batter should have a spongy consistency and should increase in volume as you keep up the grinding process.
Once done, transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl or vessel.

4. Now grind the rice, this batter can be slightly grainy, only up to a fine semolina texture. Once this is done too, add to the urad dal batter. Mix the two well together. Leave aside till the dough rises, then refrigerate.
It's recommended not to add salt right away, instead add it just before preparing the idlis. This will prevent the batter from becoming sour soon.
To prepare idlis, grease the idli plates lightly with oil, pour a ladle-ful of the batter in each slot and steam cook for about 15 minutes on a medium flame. Then reduce the flame and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the idli plates, let cool a bit, then sprinkle water around the idlis to help remove them easily. Serve hot with chutney :)



South Indian Kadhi

South Indian Kadhi or "Mor Kuzhambu"  as we call it in Tamil Nadu, literally translates into 'buttermilk stew'. It is an interesting preparation made with lightly cooked beaten curds or buttermilk, and tempered with spices and vegetables or urad dal vadis.
Here are two methods we generally follow, the ingredients bit different for both, and the resultant tastes, just as interesting!!

                                                SOUTH INDIAN KADHI (MORKUZHAMBU)

Type A
Ingredients :

Beaten sour curds - 1 cup
Green chilies - 1 long
Grated or chopped coconut - 1 tbsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Arahar dal - 1/2 tbsp
Chana dal - 1/2 tbsp
Curry Leaves - a few
Salt to taste
Haldi - a pinch
For Tempering :
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek (Methi) seeds - 1/2 tsp

Method :

1. Soak coconut, the dals and jeera in a little water to make grinding them a bit easier.

2. Blend them well, along with the green chili in a mixer.

3. Meanwhile add the curds to a thick-bottomed saucepan, add a pinch of haldi, curry leaves and salt to taste and mix well.

4. Add the ground mix to the curds and mix again. Cook on a low flame for about 5 mins, take care not to let the mixture curdle. Remove from fire.

5. Prepare a tempering by heating 1 tsp oil, preferably sesame, add mustard seeds and let crackle. Add the methi seeds and fry for just a few seconds. Do not let the methi seeds become too brown else they'll lend a dour taste to the kadhi. Pour over the kadhi mixture, and serve.
If available, you can add the urad dal vadis to the tempering before adding methi seeds, let them roast well and then add to the kadhi.
If using vegetables, such as Knol Khol, carrots, pre-cook the vegetables and add to the curd mix and cook along with the ground coconut mixture. Ladies finger or Okra tastes excellent with this kadhi as well, you will need to fry this in a little oil and a pinch of salt and add it to the kadhi along with the ground mixture.

Note  : If using buttermilk and you find the consistency a bit thin, make a paste of 1 tbsp rice flour and water and add to the kadhi, this will thicken it up.

Type B
Ingredients :

Beaten curds - 1 cup
Oil - 1 tsp
Dry Red chilies - 1 long
Urad dal (Split black gram) - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Grated or chopped coconut - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - a few
Salt to taste
Haldi - a pinch
For Tempering :
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

Method :

1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add the red chili and urad dal and roast till the dals become golden brown. Add the methi seeds and fry for just a few seconds. Do not let the methi seeds become too brown.
Let cool, then grind them along with the grated/chopped coconut to a smooth paste.

2. Mix together curds, salt, haldi and curry leaves (plus vegetables as mentioned above - optional) in a saucepan. Cook on a low flame.

3. Add the ground masalas and mix well. Continue stirring on a slow flame for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from fire. Prepare tempering by heating 1 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and let crackle. Pour over the kadhi and serve warm.

15 May 2014

Pudina Naan

Naan is an Indian flat-bread belonging to the category of leavened, baked preparations. In India, it is typically prepared in a clay oven or tandoor, but can also be made using inverted kadhai, cookers and simply by baking in an oven.
Here's a no-soda, no-yeast recipe for Naan. I tried it plain and with mint and coriander leaves. You can try your own variations too.
                                                                   PUDINA NAAN
Ingredients :

Refined flour (Maida) - 2 cups
Curd - 8 tbsps
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 3/4th cup
Baking powder - 2 tsps
Melted Butter - 2 tbsps
Chopped Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Pinch of sugar
Butter for cooking

Method : 

1. Sift together the refined flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl.

2. Add the 2 tbsps butter and mix with hands so that it gets well incorporated with the flour.

3. Make a well in the centre and gradually add the curd, mixing it with the flour simultaneously. Add the milk and mint leaves now and knead into a soft dough. Use water if required. Apply a little ghee (Clarified butter) and gently knead again. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and leave aside for 3 to 4 hours

4. Punch the dough with light hands. Divide into equal portions. Roll it out maintaining the thickness of a pizza, or flatten with greased hands. Apply butter on the naan.

5. Place the naan in a greased baking tray and bake @ 250deg C for 15-20 mins. Alternately, wet the top of the naan generously, instead of applying butter, and stick the wet side firmly on the base of a wide bottomed kadhai or pressure cooker. Place it inverted over the gas flame for about 5-7 mins and check if done.
Serve hot with desired accompaniment.

14 May 2014

Paneer - Baked Beans Lasagne

Baked beans is a breakfast favourite the world over. Actually they are not baked, but stewed!! Made typically with Haricot beans or other popular white beans such as Cannellini and served with tomato sauce and a dash of salt and crushed pepper, for me, it gets as close to heaven as I can imagine..
 I recall with fondness my visits to the UK where I would make a beeline to the Baked beans counter at breakfast !!! It's one preparation that I can never tire of (I know, I know, never say never..but I'll make an exception with the BB :) )
Having bought a Heinz 6-pack, I decided to use them with different variations each weekend. First one, as a Lasagne .......No photograph, sorry :( The dish looked so sumptuous that we dug in right away!!! Just adding one I took of the baked beans instead, LOL..

                                                   PANEER - BAKED BEANS LASAGNA

Baked Beans

Ingredients :

Baked beans -1 can
Chopped capsicum - 1 cup
Blanched and chopped spinach - 1/2 cup
Crumbled Paneer (Indian cheese)  - 1 cup
Grated Cheese - as required
Lasagna sheets  -5 to 6
Olive Oil - 2 tbsps
Salt, pepper to taste
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Roasted cumin seeds powder - 1 tsp
Garlic powder or crushed garlic - 1 tsp

Method : 

1. Soak the lasagna sheets in plain water. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic powder or crushed garlic and saute.

2. Now add the capsicum and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Take care to leave them a bit crunchy.

3. Tip in the baked beans and stir well. Add salt to taste, crushed black pepper, chili powder, cumin seeds powder and mix well. Cover and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and stir again. Check for taste and cook uncovered, stirring in between, till the mixture is quite dry. Once done, remove from fire.
Tip : If the beans mixture is allowed to cook till 3/4th dry, you'll find that the final baked dish holds together quite well and would not at all be squishy.

5. In a greased baking tray, spread soaked lasagna sheets as the first layer. Pour half the baked beans mixture and sprinkle some of the paneer.
Layer some more lasagna sheets and pour in the remaining beans mix, top off with the balance paneer and grated cheese.

6. Bake in an oven @ 200deg C for about 15-20 minutes, or till cheese starts bubbling and browning. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.

13 May 2014

Palak Pav Bhaji

Pav-Bhaji is a typical Mumbai street food and never goes out of fashion. In fact, once's craving for it simply increases with each serving!!

Today's dinner actually started off with me trying to convince my mother that Pav Bhaji will taste just as good with Maggi Bhuna Masala... (It's a working day and I was pressed for time, you see !! :) )
She was sceptical, but once I finished serving the Pav Bhaji...the vessel was half-emtpy in 10 minutes flat!!! Ahem, forgot to mention that I added another twist to it...here it comes...

                                                                PALAK PAV BHAJI

Pav bhaji

Ingredients :

Chopped Spinach - 1 cup
Mixed vegetables (Capsicum, Peas, Potatoes, and carrots) - 2 cups
Maggi Bhuna Masala (Gravy)- 2 packets* (see alternative method below)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Pav Bhaji masala - 2 1/2 tsps
Lemon juice
Chopped onion - 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander - for garnish
Pav buns - as required

Method :

1. Blanch spinach with a pinch of salt and turmeric till the leaves turn soft. Do not discard the water. Once it cools, blend it into a puree.

2. Pressure cook the mixed vegetables with 1 tsp salt and turmeric powder. It is OK to slightly over cook the veggies as we need to mash them anyway.

3. Heat oil in a flat, wide-bottomed pan, add cumin seeds and let crackle. Add the bhuna masala contents and stir well. Let cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the spinach puree and stir well. Let cook again for 3-5 minutes. Add chili powder, salt to taste and finally fold in the vegetables.

5. Mash the vegetables as you go on mixing them with the gravy. Add the pav bhaji masala and add water to adjust consistency. Let cook for 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle chopped coriander and remove from fire.
Note : If you decide to prepare the bhaji well in advance, you will notice that the gravy tightens with time and you might need to add more water to re-adjust the consistency and add spices if need be.

6. Cut the pav buns in half, heat butter in a pan and lightly roast the buns. Serve with hot bhaji along with a lemon wedge and chopped raw onions.

* - If Maggi Bhuna Masala is not available, heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, followed by 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a bit, now add chopped onions or ground onion paste. Let cook for 5-7 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes or tomato puree. After stirring in the spinach puree and veggies, add 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup to add to the zing.

9 May 2014

Stuffed Green Chili Pickle

Continuing from recipe for Stuffed Red Chili Pickle here's the recipe for the green variation. The ingredients required are much less compared to its red sibling but the method is more or less the same.

                                                 STUFFED GREEN CHILI PICKLE

Ingredients :

Green Chilies - 1 KG
Fennel Seeds(Saunf) - 100 gms (Slightly dry roasted and ground)
Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor) - 100 gms
Turmeric powder (Haldi) - 25 gms
Mustard Powder - 100 gms (Dry roast but do not let it splutter, dry grind)
Salt - 75 gms
Oil - 2 cups

1. Wash and pat dry the chilies. Spread out on a platter and let dry. If possible, leave them in the sun for about 15-20 minutes
NOTE : Always wear disposable gloves when handling chilies and spices.

2. Remove the stems and slit the chilies. De-seed them. If the chilies are quite long and/or narrow, cut them in half to make stuffing easier

3. Heat the oil to smoking point and let cool to room temperature.

4. Mix together the dry spices in a bowl and add a couple spoonfuls of oil, just enough to moisten the spices and hold them together for stuffing.

5. Fill this mixture carefully into the chilies. Arrange them neatly in a large urn or glass/ceramic jar. Pour the cooled oil enough to submerge the chilies. Stir once daily and leave in the sun if possible to prevent moisture.
After about a week, store in the refrigerator. Good for consumption after about 10 days, when the chilies become softer and have absorbed the oil and spices well.

These are some typical Ceramic jars used in India to store pickles.....

Stuffed Red Chilli Pickle

Though it sounds explosive, Bharwaan Mirchi Achaar or Stuffed Chilli Pickle is quite tame (!!) and a wonderful accompaniment for Indian breads in particular. There are two variations to this, the pickle can be made with Red Chillies and Green Chillies alike. The variety of chili best suited for this pickle is the "Bhavnagri Chili" which has its origin in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

It's very spicy and perennially available.
During my years in Delhi I never had problems getting hold of this chili or its brethren that would suit the pickle purpose, but sadly it is not available readily in Chennai, where I live now. I ended up buying it once in Switzerland from a Lebanese shop, and recently from the Dadar vegetable market in Mumbai.
I scoured through many stuffed chili pickle recipes the first time and made a combination that worked best for me. I have used the following recipes for many years now and the result has always been flawless :)

                                                  STUFFED RED CHILLI PICKLE

Ingredients : 

Red Chillies - 1/2 KG
Oil - 2 cups (Best to use Sesame oil)
Chili powder - 30 gms (6 tsps)
Methi seeds - 30 gms (Roasted slightly and ground)
Dry Mango powder (Amchoor) - 50 gms
Garam Masala - 30 gms (6 tsps)
Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 100 gms (Roasted and coarsely ground)
Salt - 50 gms
Mustard powder - 50 gms (Dry roast in a pan for just 2 to 3 minutes, i.e, don't let it splutter, then dry grind)
Jeera powder - 50 gms (slightly roasted and ground)
Juice of 4 lemons, tends to cut down the spice and add some tanginess

1. Wash the chilies well and pat dry. Spread them on big platters and let dry well. The chilies need to be absolutely dry before being pickled, moisture being the sworn enemy of any pickle.
NOTE : Always wear disposable gloves when handling chilies and spices.

2. Once dry, remove the stem from the chilies, make a slit in the centre and de-seed. If the chilies are too long and/or narrow, cut them in half to make stuffing them easier.

3. Heat the oil to smoking point and let cool to room temperature. Keep aside. Meanwhile moisten the dry spices with lemon juice and mix well. To this add about 4 to 5 tbsps of the cooled oil. The remaining oil will be poured over the chilies in the end.

4. Fill the slit chilies tightly with the spice mix. Place them carefully in a large glass or ceramic jar. Once all the chilies have been stuffed, pour the remaining oil over them. As oil acts as the preservative here, if you find that all the chilies are not fully submerged in the oil, heat and cool some more and pour into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean muslin or cheesecloth and seal tightly with the lid.

5. Stir the pickle gently every day taking care not to let the stuffing spill out. If you are not comfortable with doing this in a jar a large urn can be used for the initial resting period. After about a week transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
If the climate where you live is humid and/or wet, it is very important not to store the pickle in a damp, cool place. Whenever possible, keep the urn/jar in the sun when it comes out and stir once. 
The pickle will be ready for consumption in about 2 weeks' time as you will notice the chilies become softer and would have absorbed the oil and spices alike.
The recipe for Stuffed Green Chilies pickle is here....

These are some typical Ceramic jars used in India to store pickles.....

1 May 2014

Mint-Basil Raita

A Refreshing raita (yoghurt sauce) made with mint, coriander and tulsi (Holy Basil). This serves as a superb accompaniment for Indian breads or rice preparations; can also be used as a dip or sauce.

                                                         MINT-BASIL RAITA

Ingredients : 

Whipped Curd - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Pudina leaves - 1/2 cup
Tulsi Leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil, Mustard seeds for tempering

Method :

1. Blend together all the above ingredients except oil and mustard seeds

2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds (1/2 tsp) and let crackle. Pour over the raita and mix well.

3. Sprinkle red chilli powder and garnish with mint and basil leaves.Serve chilled.

Orange-Mint Pulao

      A Fresh take on Pulao, primarily using orange juice and coconut milk to cook the rice, and optionally served garnished with Broccoli pakodas or dumplings....


Ingredients :

For the Pulao 
Juice of Fresh Oranges - 1 cup
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Ginger-Garlic paste -1 1/2 tsps
Bay leaf - 1
Onions - 2 (Chopped)
Ghee - 3 tbsps
Green chillies - 3 (Slit)
Pudina Leaves - 5 to 6
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Chopped Dhaniya - 2 tbsps
Chopped Tulsi leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For Broccoli pakodas (optional)
Steamed Broccoli florets - 1 cup
Besan - 1tbsp Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Chilli pwd - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Haldi - 1/2 tsp

Whipped Curd - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Pudina leaves - 1/2 cup

Tulsi Leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil, Mustard seeds for tempering

Method : 

1. Wash and soak rice for 10 mins. 

2. Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the cashews till golden brown and keep aside. To the same ghee, add Bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Fry for about 2 minutes. 

3. Grind together green chilies and pudina leaves. Add this to the pan along with the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a bit, then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes. 

4. Add the garam masala, followed by the rice and mix it well with the spices. Stir for 2 minutes, then remove from fire. 

 5. Meanwhile in a saucepan, add together the orange juice and coconut milk and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. 

6. Add this to the rice, along with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Note : The total quantity of liquids should be double the quantity of rice.

7. Add salt, stir once and pressure cook pulao up to 1 whistle, then reduce the flame. Remove from fire after 5-7 more minutes.

8. For the pakodas, mix together besan, cornflour, chilli powder, salt, garam masala and haldi. Add the broccoli florets and coat them well with the mix. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

9. To make the raita, grind together dhaniya, pudina and tulsi leaves along with 2 tbsps of curd. Add this paste to the rest of the curd and temper with oil and mustard seeds.

10. Once the pulao is cooked, prepare the pakodas by dipping the marinated florets in maida paste and deep frying till golden brown. Drain excess oil.

11. Transfer the pulao to a serving bowl and add the broccoli pakodas, mix lightly. Garnish with chopped dhaniya, Tulsi leaves and cashewnuts. Serve hot with raita and rice crisps.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a timeless and classic Indian recipe. The very name conjures up images of succulent paneer cubes floating around in a rich spinach gravy. This recipe is timeless for me too as it's from my mother's recipe repository :) Without further ado, let's get started !!!

Tips on making paneer at home mentioned in this blog...

                                                                   PALAK PANEER

Palak Paneer

Ingredients :

Chopped Fresh spinach - 2 cups
(I've come across frozen spinach cubes or leaves available in supermarkets abroad, these can be used too)
Paneer (Indian cheese) - 200 gms (Cubed)
Onion - 1 (medium)
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Tomatoes - 2 (medium)
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick or 1 tsp of powder
Green chillies - 2 to 3
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsps

Note : If using fresh spinach leaves, it's imperative to wash them well before use. Also it's recommended to always blanch the greens than pressure cook them, in order to retain maximum nutrients.

Method :

1. Wash and drain the spinach. If using equivalent amount of frozen spinach cubes, directly dissolve them in water.

2. Chop the onion and blend in a mixer along with ginger, green chillies and cinnamon.

3. Blanch and de-seed tomatoes. Drain the excess water and chop the tomatoes. Blend along with the spinach and turmeric powder to make a smooth puree.

4. Heat oil in a pan. Add the ground onion paste and fry for 5 to 7 minutes till the raw aroma leaves the mixture.

5. Meanwhile heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and lightly saute the paneer pieces till light golden. Immediately transfer to a saucepan full of boiling water. This will remove the excess oil from the paneer and also make it soft and absorbent. Let them soak for about 7 to 8 minutes, drain on a tissue paper.
Alternatively, you can use the paneer cubes as is, i.e without frying, to suit your tastes.

6. To the onion gravy, add the spinach puree and cook for about 5 more minutes. Now drop in the paneer pieces gradually, stirring the gravy simultaneously. Cover cook for 4 to 5 more minutes.
Remove and serve with any Indian bread or rice.