Friday, October 31, 2008

Bullseye (Egg Fry)


Egg is fried with onion, tomato and condiments.

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • ½ small onion finely chopped
  • ½ small tomato finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Red Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp finely Chopped Cilantro leaves
  • Salt To taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a non-sticking pan and fry onion on medium flame until it becomes soft and light brown.
  • Add chopped tomato and fry until tomato is soft.
  • Mix in all of the ingredients.
  • Now spread the onion tomato mix in the pan.
  • Break the egg and slowly drop on the onion tomato mix. Do not stir. Cook uncovered on slow flame for 3-4 minutes till egg yolk solidifies.
  • Garnish with black pepper powder.
  • Serve hot.


Do You Know?

Yolk color of egg is dependent on the diet of the hen; if the diet contains yellow/orange plant pigments known as xanthophylls, then they are deposited in the yolk, coloring it. A colorless diet can produce an almost colorless yolk. Farmers may enhance yolk color with artificial pigments, or with natural supplements rich in lutein (marigold petals are a popular choice), but in most locations, this activity is forbidden.

Difference between Khichri, Khichra and Haleem

Khichdi

In India, the term khichdi is used broadly to imply a ‘mish-mash’ or a mixture of sorts, similar to ‘hodge-podge’ in English. It is commonly considered India’s comfort food.

What is Khichdi:
Khichri is a combination of Rice and legumes cooked together. ‘Lots of Ghee’ is an important ingredient in traditional recipe. Vegetables, nuts and dried fruits can also be added in this. The consistency of the finished product may be very dry like a Biryani, or wet depending on your taste.

Why is it so Popular:
Khichdi makes for a complete one-pot meal. The rice provides the carbohydrates, the lentils provide the protein, and the vegetables add the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A dollop of ghee provides the right amount of fat and calories, which are as important in a diet as any other food-group.

Khichdi is also the first solid that babies are given. Rice and Lentils are simmered, until mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt and is fed to infants to introduce them to ‘adult’ food. Khichri is a popular dish in Pakistan. It is especially cooked for children and people with stomach problems as it is easily digestible compared to other Pakistani dishes, which usually have meat and are spicy.

Khichdi when well cooked with little oil is considered as a light and nutritious dish and is especially popular amongst many who follow Ayurvedic diet practices or Nature Cure.

Variations in Khichdi:
All over India, there are as many recipes for khichdi as there are households. It can be spicy or plain, made with a single lentil or combinations of 2-5 lentils.The most common type of khichdi is Rice and Moong Dal Khichdi.

The important point is you have to select beans that will cook at the same time as the Rice. Special khichdis are often made to celebrate special festival days.

Khichdi is commonly served with another Indian dish called Kadhi. Other common accompaniments are papads (Spicy Indian Crackers), ghee (clarified butter), achar (oil based pickle), and yogurt.

In Rajasthan, the state's farming communities prepares Khichra, as the night mainstay. They prepare khichra with millet grains and moth lentils. Ghee, spice and water are cooked together with millet and lentil. It is a more filling and more potent version of what elsewhere in India is called, khichri (though this uses rice as its base). It is eaten with ghee, and accompanied by either jaggery or kadhi (Khatta)

Khichdi is a very popular dish in Eastern, Northern and Western India. Rice and lentils are simmered until mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt. It is a very plain bland dish, usually served to people, who are ill and given to babies because it is easily digestible. It is also a favorite campfire food owing to the convenience of being able to cook khichdi in a single simmering pot.

The dish is widely prepared in many Indian states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bengal, where it is called khichhuri. Vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, and green peas are commonly added.

In Bengali tradition, it is cooked as a rich gourmet delicacy. It is customary to cook khichhuri for lunch at Saraswati Puja and other popular pujas such as Durga Puja.
Another form of khichdi, popular mostly in western Maharashtra, is made with prawns.

Khichri is a popular dish in Pakistan. It is especially cooked for children and people with stomach problems as it is easily digestible compared to other Pakistani dishes, which usually have meat and are spicy.

In Cuba, they cook Rice and Black beans together.

Kedgeree is a modified form of khichdi, was originated amongst the British colonials in India, as a part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine. It was introduced to the United Kingdom as a popular English breakfast in Victorian times.
Kedgeree is made up of flaked fish, rice, eggs and butter. It is rarely eaten for breakfast now, but is still a popular dish.


Khichra

Khichra is a variation of the dish Haleem, very popular amongst Indian Muslims throughout the world, especially during Ramadan.
Khichra is an extremely popular dish in Pakistan also and it is sold as snack food in bazaars all year around. It is also a special dish, which is prepared during Ramadan and Moharram months of Muslim Hijri calendar and is cooked all night throughout Pakistan.

What is Khichra:
Khichra is made of wheat, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat), lentils and spices. This dish is cooked for seven to eight hours before it is ready to be served. The daylong slow cooking results in a dish which is a paste, in which the taste of the spices and meat blend with the wheat, but the meat remains in the form of chunks.


Haleem

Literally, Haleem mean 'Patient and Merciful'. It is served for breakfast during the month of Moharram and Ramadan, considered ideal to break the fast.
Haleem was originated in Iran and Afghanistan region. It is a thick Persian high calorie dish, which was introduced to India during Akbar period.
Haleem, and a variation called Khichra is very popular in India

What is Haleem:
Haleem is made of Wheat, Meat, Lentils (Split Desi Chickpeas known as 'Chana Dal', skinned split Moong beans known as 'Dhuli Moong Dal', Split skinned Lentils known as 'Lal Masoor Dal'), spices and ghee with lemon juice and/or spicy masala to adjust flavor to the taste of the eater.
This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste like consistency, with the taste of spices and meat blending with wheat.

It is garnished with caramelized onions, chopped fresh cilantro, mint, hot green chili peppers and Garam Masala.
It is served with Lime wedges, Radish, Fresh Ginger sticks and thin slices of onions.

In India, Haleem is made with Goat or Buffalo. In Pakistan, Haleem is made with Beef or Mutton.

The Traditional Recipe:
Whole wheat was crushed in hand operated stone flour mill (Chakki) to make cracked wheat called Dalia. The mutton was chopped coarse, similar to minced or ground meat. The chopped mutton was fried with spices, pre-soaked legumes; the mixture was brought to a boil by adding water. It was left, in a covered pan with a tight fitting lid, to simmer overnight on low heat. After about six to eight hours, the mixture turns into a thick aromatic flavorful soup, with a grainy textured blend of meat, wheat and legumes.

Variations of Haleem:
Haleem is also a traditional starter at Muslim weddings in Hyderabad, and at Muslim functions or parties. It is another delicacy that is relished, besides Biryani in Hyderabad.
Haleem prepared during the Ramadan month in Hyderabad, is very famous and is distributed all over the country. Haleem is sold as snack food in Bazaars all year aroun

In the homes of the Arabs living in the Barkas area of the twin cities of Hyderabad, although both mitthi (sweet) and khari (salted) haleem variants are served for breakfast, even today, but in the majority, the salted option is popularly seen.

In Bangladesh, Haleem has attained a significant level of popularity in the urban centers. It is now a very popular food item in capital Dhaka during Ramadan. The preparation of haleem is complicated. A derivative of haleem, dry fruits and vegetables are used, is also prepared during Ramadan.

In Anatolia, Iran, the Caucasus region and Northern Iraq, types of Haleem are Keshkek and Harisa (Harees).
Harees consists of wheat, meat (or chicken) and salt. The wheat is crushed to make it soft and palatable. It is perhaps the most famous Qatari dish.
Wheat is soaked overnight, and then the meat is washed with filtered water and simmered in a pot 3/4 full of water along with the wheat. The liquid remaining is strained, salt is added, and the entire mixture is beaten. When ready, the mixture is poured into a serving pot and the surface is covered with cinnamon and sugar. Harees is a rich meal and it is filli

Even though Harees was once a traditional dish made at Arab homes, nowadays one can find it on the menu in any Arabic restaurant in Middle East countries.

Harees found its way to Kerala, South India, when the Arabs came here for trade in the 7th century. Harees is a very popular dish among the Muslim population of Malabar Region. It is known by the name "Alsa".

In Hyderabad, India, Harees is known as Haleem.

Difference between Khichri, Khichra and Haleem:
Khichdi is the combination of rice and lentil cooked together. Sometimes vegetables are added to it.
Both Haleem and Khichra are made of wheat, meat, lentils and spices. However, the main difference between Haleem and Khichra is that Haleem is cooked until the meat blends with the lentils, so it becomes more like a thick soup, while Khichra is not blended and so you are able to see and taste the chunks of meat.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Makhanay Ki Kheer (Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding)



Makhana kheer is usually made during 'Mahashivratri' and 'Krishna Janamashtami'.
Lotus seeds are boiled, on low heat with milk and lots of nuts are added.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups white Makhana (puffed Lotus Seeds)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 5 cups full cream milk
  • ½ cup sugar ( or as desired)
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts)
  • 1 tbsp chironji
  • 1 tsp crushed green cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp rose water or drops of kewara essence
  • Pinch of saffron

Method:
  • Heat ghee in frying pan and roast makhana over a low heat for a few minutes until they are light pink in color. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool. Crush them coarsely when cool.
  • Boil milk in another vessel. Add crushed makhana and stir well.
    Leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until milk reduces to half and of a creamy consistency.
  • During this period, stir from time to time so that milk does not stick to the bottom of pan.
    Stir in condensed milk, almonds, and pistachios, saffron and crushed cardamoms.
  • Add sugar if desired. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Adjust the consistency of kheer according to your liking. If kheer is too thick, add some warm milk at this stage. Remove from fire.
  • Garnish with nuts and sprinkle some crushed cardamom.
  • Serve the makhana kheer hot or cold, as desired.

Do You Know:

Makhana or fox nut or gorgon nut or Euryale ferox, is an annual plant, grown throughout the ponds and low-lying lakes of China, Japan and India as well as parts of Eastern Russia.

The seeds of the plant are starchy, white, small and round, with a brown outer covering. In India, particularly in the northern and western parts of the country, Makhana seeds are often roasted or fried, which causes them to pop like popcorn. They can be consumed either raw or after being stir-baked, often with a sprinkling of oil and spices.

In India Makhana has been widely used in traditional oriental medicine to cure a variety of diseases including kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, excessive leucorrhea and hypo function of the spleen. Recent studies show its antioxidant activities.

Methi Chicken Thighs ( Fenugreek Chicken)



Chicken is cooked with spices and dried fenugreek leaves.

Ingredients :

Method:
  • Clean, remove skin and cut each chicken thigh into two pieces.
  • Heat oil in a pan on medium flame, add sliced onion and fry lightly. When onions are soft stir in the grated garlic and ginger. Add chicken masala, turmeric, chili and coriander powder and tomato paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken thigh pieces and fry stirring constantly until the chicken has turned white.
  • Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done.
  • Add crushed dried fenugreek leaves now and simmer covered for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Serve hot with roti or hot white rice.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Rainbow Salad


What a feast to eyes! It is a fun to collect seven colored ingredients to make this salad…..chose your own choice of ingredients and make it.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup shredded purplish cabbage
  • 1 cup beetroot cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup blue berry fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup shredded orange carrot
  • 1 red pepper cut into thin strips
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Method:
  • Arrange all the ingredients in the form of a rainbow in a flat dish.
  • Add lemon juice, black pepper and salt just before serving.
  • Serve with dip/chutney.

Do You Know?

A red or purplish cabbage is more mild and sweet flavored than other cabbage. It has a round, solid head and is popular for adding color to salads, coleslaw and stir-fries. The leaves on the red cabbage are tougher than the leaves of green cabbage, because of its longer maturity time. Red cabbage is available throughout the year.
The color in purplish cabbage will have a tendency to run when it is cooked. The cabbage turns a purplish blue and turns other foods that it is cooked with to a reddish color. To prevent the red cabbage from discoloring, add lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water.

What are Biryani, Pulao and Tehri

Chicken Biryani
Badiyon Ka Pulao
Aloo, Matar, Gobhi Ki Tehri

Biryani, Pulao and Tehri, belong to a family of primarily South Asian rice dishes made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat/vegetables. Since their method of preparation is different, their outcome is also different.

What is Biryani?
Biryani is primarily a rice dish, made with meat/vegetables, spices and rice (usually basmati). Biryani originated in Persia and might have taken couple of different routes to arrive in India.

Biryani name is derived from the Persian word 'Birian'. In Persian, Birian means 'Fried before Cooking'. To make Biryani, mutton is fried in ghee and par-cooked (Cooked half way). Separately, the Rice is fried in Ghee, and par-cooked (Cooked half way). The rice and meat are layered in a cookware called Handi.

Traditional Biryani:
In the olden days, rice was fried (without washing) in Ghee (Clarified butter). It did two things: it gave rice a nutty flavor and secondly it burned the outside starch layer gelatinizing it.

After the rice is stir-fried, it is boiled in water with spices until half cooked. The meat is marinated in a paste of Papaya, with whole-milk yogurt and spices. Thereafter, the meat may be cooked.The rice and meat are layered in an earthen pot called Handi, with bottom and top layer always of rice. An interlayer of some condiments may be introduced between meat and the rice. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander and mint leaves, apart from ghee, ginger, onion, garlic and yoghurt. The premium varieties include Screwpine (kewara) essence, saffron and rose water may be added to give flowery and herbal aroma. The Handi is sealed and put on the coal embers to cook.

For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies spices is the meat (or beef), chicken, goat, lamb or shrimp. Vegetable Biryani is also equally popular.

The biryani dish is served with Dahi Chutney or Raita, Korma, Curry or a sour dish.

Types of Biryani
Over 30 different types of Biryani have evolved with time.

Lucknow Biryani:
Lucknow Biryani is also called Awadh Biryani. Lucknow Biryani is the footprint of the Muslims of the Moghul Empire left on the eastern part of India. Lucknow Biryani is a form of ‘Pukki Biryani’. Pukki means 'cooked'. Both the meat and rice are cooked separately and then layered and baked. The process also lives up to the name Biryani in Persian meaning 'fry before cooking'.

Basically, it has three steps:

First, the meat is seared in ghee and cooked in water with warm aromatic spices until meat is tender. The meat broth is drained out.

Second, the rice is lightly fried in Ghee and cooked in the meat broth from the previous step.

Third, cooked meat and cooked rice are layered in a Handi. Sweet flavors are added. The Handi is sealed and cooked over low heat. The result is a perfectly cooked meat, rice, and a homogenous flavor of aromatic meat broth, aromatic spices and sweet flavors.

Hyderabad Biryani:
Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most popular versions of non-vegetarian types, especially in India and the Middle East. The Nizam’s kitchen boasted of 49 kinds, which included biryani made from fish, quill, shrimp, deer and hare.

This is called ‘
Kutchi Biryani’. Kutchi means ‘raw’. The process does not adhere to the name Biryani in Persian meaning 'fry before cooking'. Neither the meat, nor the rice is fried before cooking. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices for a few hours. Meat and the meat marinade are put in Handi. The rice is mixed with spiced yogurt. The 'rice and yogurt mixture' is put on top of the meat. The Handi is sealed and cooked over low heat. Eventually, the meat and rice are Dum cooked.

Pukki Biryani is the common type of hyderabadi biryani prepared at homes in India.

The result is very different from Lucknow Biryani. The Lucknow Biryani has a homogenous meat flavor throughout the Biryani while, the Rice in Hyderabad Biryani has more of a yogurt flavor than the meat flavor.

In theory, Hyderabad Biryani is simple to make, but requires a lot of experience. The variables are complicated such as amounts, moisture of yogurt mixture and marinate, and cut of meats. All the variables have to be carefully balanced so everything will cook together and come out perfectly.

Recipe of :

Sindhi Biryani:
The Sindhi variant of biryani is very popular in Pakistani cuisine. In the most popular version of Sindhi Biryani, meat is fried with potatoes, tomatoes and pulp of apricots and this meat mix is then layered with rice.

Malabar Biryani:
Malabar chicken biryani is very popular in Kerala. For Calicut Biryani, the Handi is placed on the embers produced by coconut shell. The seal is broken only when ready to serve.

Bombay Biryani:
Bombay Biryani also includes potatoes and tomatoes like Sindhi Biryani.

In
Iran, this dish is made in Isfahan with baked lung and mutton that is minced and then cooked in a special small pan over the fire. The food is generally eaten with a type of bread, "nan-e taftton".
In
Myanmar, Biryani is known as Danpauk. Locally grown rice is used for the preparation. Thai Muslims prepare it with local ingredients.


Pulao

What is Pulao?
Pulao also called Pilaf, is a dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth. Rice and meat/vegetables are not layered while cooking. It is of Persian origin.

Depending on the local cuisine, it may also contain a variety of meat and vegetables. Pulao and similar dishes are common to Middle Eastern, Central, South Asian, Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.

Traditional Pulao:
Long grain rice is soaked in water. In the meanwhile, the meat fried in Ghee and cooked with aromatic spices in a plenty of water. After the meat is cooked, plenty of broth is left. More water and pre-soaked rice are added. It is boiled and heat turned down to simmer. The rice is basically cooked in meat broth. Nuts like Almonds, Cashews, dried fruits like raisins or apricots may be added. The aromatic spices especially Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Bay leaves are used.

For vegetarians, plain water and aromatic spices are used to cook Vegetables and Rice together. Generally, dried fruits and fried nuts are added. In North India, normally Pulao refers to a Vegetarian Pulao.

Recipe of:

Tehri

Tehri is the name given to the vegetarian version of the rice dish and is very popular in North Indian and Pakistani homes.

Tehri was made with Potatoes and Rice but other vegetables may be added. The dish is Dum-baked in sealed Handi. A garnish layer is added to the top. Tehri is made to taste better with accompaniments such as Raita (yogurt ), Achar (pickle) and Papad.

In
Bangladesh, Tehri refers to Biryani prepared by adding the meat to the rice, as opposed to traditional Biryani where the rice is added to the meat.

Recipe of:

Difference between Biryani, Pulao and Tehri:

In Biryani, boath the meat/vegetables and rice are cooked separately and then they are layered and baked during cooking. The process also lives up to the name Biryani in Persian meaning 'fry before cooking'.

In Pulao, the 'meat/vegetables and rice are stirred' before cooking and both are cooked together without any layer formation.

Tehri is a vegetarian dish prepared by cooking rice with potatoes. Other vegetables may also be added to it. It is common in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Khasta Dal Paratha (Crispy Lentil Pan-Fried Flatbread)



This recipe is especially for the use of leftover chana dal (split Bengal gram). If you once eat this paratha, I am sure, you will make more then required chana dal every time so that you can make these parathas next day.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cooked or boiled chana dal
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil for kneading
  • ½ tsp carom seeds
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ tsp amchur powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup ghee or cooking oil for pan frying

Method:

  • Put whole-wheat flour in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients except ghee or cooking oil for pan-frying and knead the flour. You may not require water to knead the flour if dal is thin. Knead until you get smooth, medium-soft dough. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky or too soft.
  • Add 2 tbsp of oil now and continue to knead. Once the dough is done, put it in a closed container and keep it in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions and roll each portion into a ball between your palms. Use dry flour or oil to make smooth balls.
  • Follow Making Paratha -method II
  • Lightly flour a rolling board and roll out each ball into a 6-7” circle. Now roll it into a finger shaped structure. Coil this into a spiral.
  • Flour the rolling surface again lightly and very gently roll out the spiral into a flat circle about 5-6” in diameter.
  • Heat a griddle and put a paratha over it. Flip the paratha when you see tiny bubbles rising on the surface of the paratha. Drizzle a bit of ghee/oil on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip again and drizzle some more ghee/oil on this surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve hot crispy paratha with Aloo ki Sabji and green coriander chutney.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Paneer 65 ( Stir Fried Cottage Cheese)


It is a great appetizer with a distinctive flavor of curry leaves and green chilies. Marinated paneer (cottage cheese) chunks are stir fried with yogurt and spices.

Ingredients:
1 pound Paneer cut into 1½ " cubes
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp lime juice
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tsp paneer tikka masala
1 cup fresh yogurt (must not be sour)
1/2 tsp garam masala
Pinch of red food color
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2-3 green chilies slit lengthwise
8-10 curry leaves
3 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:
  • Mix the yogurt, ginger garlic paste, lime juice, garam masala, red food color, salt and red chili powder in a bowl and marinate paneer cubes in this for 1 hour.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, green chilies, curry leaves. Fry a little and add the marinated paneer pieces till all yogurt is absorbed.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve as an appetizer.

Do You Know:
Appetizers
are food items, which are served before the main courses of a meal, if there is an extended period between when guests arrive and the meal is served (for example, during a cocktail hour). These might also serve the purpose of sustaining guests during the wait.
Appetizers may be served at the table as a part of the sit-down meal or they may be served before sitting at the table.

Gajar Ka Halwa ( Orange Carrot Pudding)


You can prepare gajar ka halwa in off-season also, using orange carrots, when it is difficult to get pink/red carrots. The strong flavor of orange carrots is subsided to a large extend by boiling and then cooking in ghee.
Carrots are boiled and cooked with khoya powder, sugar; garnished with nuts, raisins; flavored with saffron, rose water.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound carrots
  • ½ cup khoya powder or milk powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp cardamoms powder
  • Pistachios and almonds slivered as required
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water

Method:
  • Crush the boiled carrots lightly.
  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan; add cardamoms when hot.
  • Add carrots and cook stirring constantly. When the ghee starts separating from carrots and carrots begin to change color, add sugar and stir continually until water from the sugar is evaporated.
  • Now mix in khoya powder, saffron, rose water and nuts.
  • Take out in a serving bowl. Garnish with nuts and cardamom powder.
  • Serve hot.
Do You Know:

The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange color from B-carotene, which is metabolized into vitamin A in humans when bile salts are present in the intestines. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants and minerals.

Lack of Vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding Vitamin A back into the diet.

Dahi kay Aloo (Potato in Yogurt Gravy)

This tangy dish is made by cooking boiled potatoes in yogurt sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes boiled, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsps cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cups thick butter milk
  • 2 green chili finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan and add the cumin seeds to it. When the seeds stop spluttering, add the asafetida, red chili flakes, turmeric powder and green chili chopped. Mix and immediately add mashed potato.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and add buttermilk. Stir vigorously to avoid curdling. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Mix in salt and black pepper powder. Take out in a dish.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve hot with any other Sabji and hot Paratha or Poori.

Tips:

  • Yogurt can be used to thicken sauces much like heavy cream, but you will need to add some starch to keep it from curdling. This is because yogurt lacks the fat of heavy cream. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch or 1 tablespoon of flour to 1 cup of yogurt before adding to hot liquids. Whisk as it simmers and thickens, and never let it boil.
  • To avoid separation when adding to hot liquids, make sure the yogurt is at room temperature.
  • If the yogurt does separate during cooking, it is sometimes possible to fix it. Make a paste of 1 teaspoon cornstarch or 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tablespoon cold water. Stir paste into separated mixture and heat gently until it thickens and recombines.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Khichdi Paratha ( 'Hodge Podge' Pan-Fried Flatbread)

Made from leftover khichdi, this tasty pan fried bread is great with your favorite pickle and raita/yogurt.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup leftover khichdi
  • ½ tsp carom seeds
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ tsp amchur powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup ghee or cooking oil

Method:
  • Put whole wheat flour in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients except ghee or cooking oil. Add very little water to knead the flour. Knead softly till you get a smooth, medium-soft dough. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky or too soft.
  • Add 2 tbsp of oil now and continue to knead. Once the dough is done, put it in a closed container and keep it in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions and roll each portion into a ball between your palms. Use dry flour or oil to make smooth balls.
  • Lightly flour a rolling board and roll out each ball into a 6-7” circle.
  • Heat a griddle (tawa) and place a paratha on the griddle. Flip the paratha when tiny bubbles rise on the surface. Drizzle a bit of ghee/oil on the top of the paratha and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip the paratha again after few seconds and drizzle ghee on other surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove from the griddle and repeat with the other parathas until all are cooked.
  • Serve hot crispy paratha with raita/yogurt and pickle.

Do You Know?

The word "khichdi" literally means "hodge-podge" or mish-mash. Hodge-podge or not, khichdi makes for a complete one-pot meal. The rice provides the carbohydrates, the lentils provide the protein, the vegetables add the vitamins and minerals and fiber. A dollop of ghee provides the right amount of fat and calories, which are as important in a diet as any other food-group.

Simple Arhar Ki Dal (Pigeon pea Dal)



Arhar dal is cooked with dried unripe mango pieces and tempered

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Arhar or Toor Daal or Pigeon Pea
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 pieces of sabit amchur (dried unripe mango pieces)
  • 3 tbsp melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 dried whole red chili
  • 2 green chilies chopped
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing
  • fresh juice of one lemon

Method:

  • Thoroughly wash the Arhar/toor dal and put into a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water to it. Now add the green chilies, sabit amchur, turmeric powder, salt and 2 tbsp of cooking oil. Stir well.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and set on the stove at a high flame. After the first 'whistle' or ‘pressure release’, reduce the flame to simmer and cook for one more ‘whistle’. Turn off the fire and allow the pressure cooker to cool.
  • Open the pressure cooker when cooled and stir the boiled lentils well to blend into a smooth consistency. If it is too thick, add some warm water and stir until the consistency is right.
  • Prepare tempering for it: Heat the ghee on a medium flame, in a small pan until hot. Add cumin seeds, when spluttering stops add chopped garlic, fry till light brown, add asafetida powder, whole red chili and red chili powder. Pour immediately this tempering mix on to the boiled lentil.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  • Serve with plain boiled rice or roti, chutney and raita.

Do You Know?

In India, split pigeon pea (toor dal) is one of the most popular pulses.
Pigeon peas are nutritionally important, as they contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine and tryptophan. In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food.
The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, then cooked, for a flavor different from the green or dried peas. Sprouting also enhances the digestibility of dried pigeon peas via the reduction of indigestible sugars that would otherwise remain in the cooked dried peas.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bhuna Gosht (Fried Mutton)


Thick gravy is prepared in tomatoes and yogurt. Deghi mirch gives it a color and freshly ground garam masala gives it aroma.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound boneless mutton cut into 1 ½ ” cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 brown cardamoms
  • 2 medium onions finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Deghi Mirch (Red chili Powder)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • ½ cup tomatoes diced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 3 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground garam masala
  • 4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

Method:
  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add bay leaf and brown cardamoms. Fry till they turn brown.
  • Add finely cut onions and finely chopped green chillies. Stir till the onions are well browned.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add diced tomatoes and fry again till tomatoes are pulpy.
  • Stir in red chili powder, turmeric powder. Now add meat and keep frying till tomato juice begins to dry up.
  • Mix in yogurt and continue frying till the meat attains a well-browned look.
  • Add 1 cup of water and salt and pressure cook it for 5-6 minutes on a low fire or till meat is tender.
  • Remove from the fire and if there is still any water left dry it before serving by continuing frying.
  • Add freshly ground garam masala. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve with Sabji, Salad and paratha or tandoori roti.

Do You Know:

Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and milk protein has settled to the bottom. The cooked and clarified butter is then removed from the pan. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and remains moisture-free.
Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter, and is therefore preferred in some cooking applications, such as sautéing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rice Kheer ( Creamy Rice Pudding)


This is the creamy rice pudding flavoured with cardamom and nuts. In South India Kheer is called payasam and East India it is known as Payesh.

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup Basmati rice soaked for 30 minutes
  • ½ litre full cream milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • Few strands of saffron
  • ¼ cup blanched and slivered almonds
  • Few raisins
  • 1 tsp chironji
  • ½ cup sugar (adjust according to taste)
  • 1 tbsp rose water or 1 tsp kewara water

Method:
  • Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes. Cook rice in pressure cooker adding 1 ½ cup of water.
  • In a large saucepan add milk , condensed milk and sugar. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Now add the cooked rice and simmer till the kheer is creamy.
  • Add almonds and raisins. Stir and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the fire. Allow the kheer to cool down.
  • Sprinkle cardamom powder, saffron and rose water.
  • Chill in refrigerator and serve.

Do You Know:
Kewra plant belongs to screw pine (umbrella tree) family native to southern Asia. It is a shrub with fragrant flowers.

Kewra flowers have a sweet, perfumed odour with a pleasant quality similar to rose flowers but kewra is more fruity. These are used as perfumed aromatic oil (kewra oil) and fragrant distillation (otto) called "keorra-ka-arak". These are stimulant and antispasmodic and are used in headache and rheumatism.

Male flowers are almost exclusively used in the form of a aqueous distillate called kewra water or pandanus flower water. The kewra water is used to flavour food.

The flower is mentioned in the Brahma’s story as the cursed flower. Kewra, also known as ketaki is a forbidden flower cursed by Lord Shiva for bearing a false witness of Lord Brahma. According to a legend, Lord Vishnu was lying on the serpent couch in the sea of eternity. Lord Brahma, while passing by felt insulted when Lord Vishnu neither rose nor greeted him. Both flew into rage over the question of supremacy and this led to a fight.



Horrified Devas rushed to Lord Shiva for aid. On the request of Devas, Lord Shiva proceeded to the battlefield and in the midst of battle, Lord Shiva assumed the form of a huge pillar of light. Both Brahma and Vishnu were awestruck by the cosmic pillar of light. Vishnu had to admit the defeat because he was unable to explore the limits of the mighty pillar of light whereas Brahma on his journey upwards came across ketaki flower waifing down slowly.

Inquiring from the flower from where she had come from, ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of huge pillar of light.

Although Brahma was unable to find the uppermost limits of the cosmic pillar, he decided to take the flower back to Vishnu to bear witness that Brahma had reached the top of the pillar. Brahma gloated over the defeated Vishnu. This infuriated Shiva. Brahma was punished for telling lie and the creator was banned from being worshipped.

Similarly, ketaki was also cursed that she would never again be used in worship of Shiva. Thus, ketaki is debarred forever from being offered in worship.

Gobhi Matar Paratha (Pan-fried Flatbread Stuffed with Cauliflower and Peas)

If you have leftover cauliflower peas curry from the previous meal, utilize it by making stuffed parathas next morning during breakfast. Otherwise, get the cauliflower and green peas from the market and enjoy parathas with pickle and yogurt.

Ingredients:

To prepare dough:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Warm water to knead

To prepare stuffing:

  • 1 cup blanched cauliflower
  • ½ cup blanched or frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tsp raw mango powder (amchur)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp grated ginger or ½ tsp dry ginger powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped

To pan fry:

  • Ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil to pan-fry parathas
Method:
  • Prepare Stuffing:
  • Mix the blanched cauliflower and peas with the red chili powder, garam masala, raw mango powder, green chilies, grated ginger, coriander, and salt. Mix well. Divide stuffing mixture in equal sized 4-5 portions and keep aside.
  • Follow Making Paratha - Method VI
  • Knead the whole-wheat flour into smooth dough using warm water and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 equal sized small balls. Flour a clean surface and roll each ball out into a circle (like pancakes) about 2-3" in diameter.
  • Place generous amount of stuffing on one circle of dough and cover with the other. Press gently around the edges.
  • Carefully roll out the stuffed circles into paratha, sprinkling whole-wheat flour on the surface, to avoid sticking of paratha with rolling pin.
  • Heat a griddle (tawa) and place a paratha on the griddle. Flip the paratha when tiny bubbles rise on the surface... Drizzle a bit of ghee/oil on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip the paratha again after few seconds and drizzle ghee on this surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove from the griddle and repeat with the other parathas until all are cooked.
  • Serve with raita/plain yogurt and/or pickle and /or aloo sabji (curry).

Note:
For convenience roll out as many parathas as you like. Stack them placing a layer of cling film or butter paper between them, and pan-fry when it is required.

Do You Know?
Cauliflower is linked with lower rates of cancer. They can also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, counter anaemia and help regulate blood pressure.
Raw or lightly cooked cauliflower can be eaten three or more times per week. It is low in calories and can therefore be eaten fairly freely.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aloo Methi (Diced Potatoes with Fenugreek Leaves)


In a season when you do not get fresh fenugreek leaves, aloo methi curry can be made with dried (dehydrated) fenugreek leaves which are easily available in Indian Grocery Stores.

Ingredients:
  • 2 large potatoes peeled and diced ½” square pieces
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 3-4 tbsp dehydrated fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil or any other cooking oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 whole dried large red chili

Method:
  • Soak the dehydrated fenugreek leaves in a bowl filled with cold water for about 10 minutes. The dirt and sand clinged to leaves will settle down. This also helps in freshening the leaves and releasing their aroma. Remove leaves carefully from the surface of water, without disturbing the water, and squeeze them a little between the palms so that extra water is removed.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add asafetida and whole dried red chili. Immediately add chopped garlic and fry until medium brown. Do not burn the garlic otherwise it will become bitter.
  • As soon as the garlic changes color put in diced potatoes, and fry till pink over low heat. Potatoes should be more than half done after frying.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt. Fry for half a minute and then add the fenugreek leaves. There is no need to add any water as the leaves themselves will be moist from the soaking.
  • Cook slowly over low heat in a covered pan, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes till potatoes are tender.
  • This dish doesn't have gravy. When it is finished the potatoes will be cooked through and the fenugreek leaves should be clinging to them.
  • Serve with plain parathas.

Note:

The proportion of potato and fenugreek leaves in a curry depends on ones choice but when dried leaves are used potatoes should be more and the fenugreek leaves should be clinging to them only.
Be careful not to overcook the fenugreek it will turn bitter.

Do You Know?

Fenugreek is commonly known as methi in Hindi. It is used both as an herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). It is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop.
Fenugreek has been used traditionally to treat diabetes, coughs, congestion, bronchitis, fever, high blood pressure, headaches/migraines, diarrhea, flatulence, anaemia, irregular menstrual cycles and arthritis, to ease labor pains and menstruation pain, and as an appetite stimulant.
Fenugreek has also been used as an external poultice to control inflammation and dandruff.

Baingan ka Bhartha( Mashed Roasted Eggplant)


Roasted and mashed eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes and spices makes the Indian dish Baingan ka Bhartha.

Ingredients:
  • 1 large ( 1 pound) aubergine
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1” ginger finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp Baingan Bharta Masala
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:
  • Roast a large aubergine on low fire on all sides till the skin turns black. Remove from fire and peel off the skin. Chop into large chunks.
  • Heat 4 tbsp cooking oil in a wok or kadhai and fry chopped onion till it is golden brown. Add chopped ginger, chopped green chilies, chopped cilantro leaves and chopped tomatoes and fry till soft.
  • Add aubergine pieces and peas. Sprinkle 2 tbsp Baingan Bhartaa Masala and salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and cook till it turns light brown.
  • Garnish with ginger juliennes and serve with paratha.


Do You Know?

It is believed that Aubergine (Eggplant) contains properties that may help reduce cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure and protect the heart as well as containing anti-cancerous properties.Aubergines supply the heart protective nutrient, Vitamin E.
Aubergine is also a very useful source of potassium, which helps keep blood pressure at normal levels. Aubergine contains Vitamin K, which helps promote blood clotting and stops bleeding.

Eating Aubergine is reported to counteract detrimental blood effects from fatty foods.It features antibacterial properties, which may increase the amount of urine passed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thirty Minutes Chicken


Thirty minutes chicken ……this name was given to a chicken dish made by my youngest son Punit, who used to cook food during his bachelor days while doing his Masters in USA. In thirty minutes along with cooking chicken he used to make rice and salad for himself and his room mates.
It a simple recipe, where chicken is flavored by chicken tikka masala and coriander powder.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound chicken boneless cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp chicken tikka masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves (Optional)

Method:
  • Mix salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, 1 tsp chicken tikka masala and 2 tbsp oil in a bowl and rub the mixture on chicken pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to marinate.
  • Meanwhile heat remaining oil in a pressure cooker, fry onion till golden brown.
  • Add marinated chicken pieces, stir and add yogurt. Mix well and pressure cook for two whistles or till chicken is tender.
  • Open the cooker when it is cooled. Add remaining tikka masala and coriander powder. Adjust consistency of gravy by adding water according to your requirement.
  • Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Serve hot with plain white rice.

Tips for Marinating Chicken:
If marinating time is longer than one hour, place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator.
Reduce oil in the marinade for more flavor. The best marinade (unlike the best salad dressing) is about half oil and half acid.
Chicken shouldn't be marinated longer than called for in the recipe. The chicken can become mushy if marinated too long, as the acid breaks down the flesh.

Do You Know?

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned liquid (marinade) before cooking. It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat or harder vegetables such as beetroot, aubergine, and zucchini. The process may last seconds or days.

The marinade can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice or wine, or it can be savory with soy sauce, brine or other prepared sauces. Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices.

In meats, the acid causes the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed and giving a juicier end product. However, too much acid can be detrimental to the end product.

A good marinade will have a delicate balance of spices, acids, and oil.

Sabudana Khichdi


Soaked sabudana is cooked with ground peanuts, coconut and green chilies to make tasty and easily digestible khichdi which is rich in carbohydrates.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sabudana(sago)
  • 2 Green Chillies chopped finely
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground peanuts
  • 1 tbsp grated/dessicated coconut ( optional)
  • 1 boiled, peeled and diced potato
  • ¼ cup ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves

Method:
  • In a bowl, soak the sago 3-4 hours in enough water to cover.
  • Mix crushed peanuts, coconut grated, black pepper powder and salt with soaked sabudana and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle add green chillies and potatoes, fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix sabudana mixture and fry for about 8-10 minutes till sabudana becomes transparent. Sprinkle lemon juice.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.


Do You Know?

Sago is a starch extracted from the pith (central part)of the stems of sago palm. Trunk of sago palm tree is opened lengthwise to remove pith, which is the crushed and kneaded to release starch. Starch is then washed, strained and collected in settling containers.

Sago flour (Metroxylon) is nearly pure carbohydrate and has very little protein, vitamins, or minerals. However, as sago palms are typically found in areas unsuited for other forms of agriculture, sago cultivation is often the most ecologically appropriate form of land-use, and the nutritional deficiencies of the food can often be compensated for with other readily available foods.

Vegetable Fried Rice – Indian Style


A very easy preparation. You can try frozen vegetables in place of fresh ones. Serve with some sort of raita or just plain yogurt.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups Rice
  • ¼ beans finely chopped
  • ½ cup diced Bell Peppers
  • ¼ cup spring onions finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Green Peas
  • few Mushrooms
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • 2-3 Green Chilies finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4-5 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
  • Wash and soak the rice in enough water for 10-15 minutes and drain.
  • Boil 12-15 cups of water in a big pan. When water is boiled add rice along with a little salt.
    Cook uncovered on low heat till rice is just less then tender.
  • Take care not to overcook the rice. Each grain of rice should be separate.
  • When rice is done, drain and add some cold water and drain again using a large sieve and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large pan, add asafetida and chopped vegetables.
  • Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Take care that vegetables are not overdone, they should be crisp.
    Mix salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked rice and mix well. Cook rice for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon juice, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Serve hot with Raita and chutney.


Do You Know?

White rice is produced by milling the seeds of the rice plant using rice huller. Chaff ( the outer husks of the grain) and bran ( rest of the husk and germ) are removed by this method which makes white rice less nutritive then brown rice.

White rice may be also buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called polished rice)
Despite the hypothetical health risks of talc (such as stomach cancer), talc-coated rice remains the norm in some countries due to its attractive shiny appearance, but it has been banned in some and is no longer widely used in others such as the United States.

In some places instead of talc , other substances such as glucose, starch, or other coatings may be used to improve the appearance of the grains.
For this reason, it is recommend washing all types of rice before cooking in order to create better-tasting rice with a better consistency.