May 30, 2014

Egg curry with fennel and dil weeds

I had a bunch of boiled eggs and some dill weeds in the fridge, so decided to make the curry that I had fallen in love with more than a month back. It tastes much better as an egg curry than as a potato curry!

6 boiled eggs
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
Paste of 1 large onion
2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
Haldi powder to taste
Chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (about 1 tbsp)
Dil leaves for garnish
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp sugar, crushed

In a little oil, fry the boiled eggs till lightly browned.
Heat oil and add fennel seeds and bay leaf, fry for a minute till the aroma releases.
Add a mix of fine onion paste, ginger paste and garlic paste, haldi and chilli powder.
Fry the masala well till oil seperates. 
Add eggs. Bring to boil and take off the fire.
Garnish with dil leaves and a pinch of fennel and sugar powder.

Tomato rice

It was too hot to cook, but families don't just feed themselves, specially during the holidays. On top of it, I wanted to have something slightly traditional. This tomato rice was perfect.

For ground masala
2 red chilies
1 tsp dhania seeds
1 1/2 tsp split chana dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
A pinch of hing

2 cups of cooked rice
Cooking oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 onions chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 green chili
2 large tomatoes- 1 chopped, 1 pureed
Salt to taste

Roast the whole spices till the dals are well browned. Cool, and grind to a powder
Heat oil,temper with mustard seeds. Once they stop spluttering, add onions, green chilli and curry leaves, and saute till the onion turns transparent. Add tomatoes, and the ground masala and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
Add cooked rice and mix well. Serve with curds or raita or pachadi.

May 28, 2014

Carrot Curry

There are days when you just don't feel like spending more than the minimum time required in the kitchen, and when you also need to feed a family on those days, you have no choice but to turn to the simplest dishes there are. Whether this is a Traditional Dish or not, I do not know, but this is exactly how my mother and her mother made carrot curry.

250 gms carrot, diced

Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Curry leaves
Gingerly oil
1/2 lime
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powdera pinch of hing
salt to taste

Heat the oil, and add mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add urad dal and curry leaves and saute till the dal is browned lightly.
Add chopped carrots, and the dry masalas, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and let it cook in its own steam till soft.
Squeeze lime juice before serving.

May 27, 2014

Pink lemonade with subja seeds

When the heat is killing you, the best way to beat the heat is to pull out the holiday knick knacks from all your previous beach vacations. If thinking about holidays that were memorable despite the heat doesn't make you feel better, nothing will.
And what better drink to sip while you are going through those old memories than pink lemonade?

1 lime
1 tbsp strawberry preserve
Sugar to taste (I didn't add)
1 glass water
1 tsp subja seeds

Soak subja seeds for 15 minutes, and watch in amazement as they quadruple in quantity.
Mix the lemon juice, strawberry preserve and water* to make a lovely pink lemonade. Do a taste test and add sugar if required (I don't add any, because the strawberry preserve has enough for my needs).
Pour over the subja seeds and sip away.

*- I don't like my drinks to be too cold, so use regular water, but you can use chilled water.

Moong dal khichdi

May is the hottest month- so hot that one doesn't even want to step into the kitchen. But there are only so many times you can order takeaway before you get totally fed up of it. And mouths need to be fed. Which is when innovation steps in.
This khichadi is high on taste, and very low on effort- exactly my kind of dish.

1 measure whole moong dal
1 measure rice
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 pinch hing
salt to taste1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp jeera
2 red chillis
Coriander leaves for garnish

Wash the dal and rice, and pressure cook with haldi powder and hing till well done (20 minutes on the pressure cooker should be sufficient). Remove from the fire, and let the pressure release on it's own. Add salt to taste, and mix well.
Heat the ghee, temper with jeera, and once it stops spluttering, add red chillies and saute for about a minute. Pour over the khichadi. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

May 23, 2014

Gavarfali Subji

Whenever I go to the vegetable market, I see bunches of gavarfali lovingly tied together with a rubber band (or a piece of twine). For the longest time, I didn't even know what it was called, and even after I found out, I could never understand why people seemed to treat it with so much reverence. To me, it seemed just like a rustic version of beans (a vegetable none of us is fond of).
Yesterday, however, I decided to be a little more adventurous, and bought a bunch of gavarfali. Now I know why people swear by the vegetable!

250 gms gavarfali (cluster beans)
1/2 tsp jeera
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of hing
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp oil
salt to taste

For the curd mixture
1/2 cups curds
2 tsp dhania powder
2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tbsp besan
salt to taste
String the gavarfali by removing the ends and edged fibre.
Pressure cook the gavarfali in 1 cup of water for 2 whistles. Keep aside.
Combine the curds, coriander powder, chilli powder, gram flour and salt and whisk well.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida and fennel seeds.
Add the curd mixture, curry leaves, 2 tablespoons of water and salt and stir continuously.
Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the gavarfali along with the water used to pressure cook it. and mix well.
Cook the subzi for a few minutes more.
Serve hot with rotis.

Mushroom-spinach casserole with leftover rotis

When I saw a packet of plump mushrooms, I couldn't resist picking it up. It was only after I got home, that I thought about what to do with it. Since I had half a bunch of spinach, and a whole lot of leftover rotis, I invented this dish which ended up tasting really good.

1 packet of mushrooms, cleaned well
1/2 bunch spinach
4-5 pods garlic, chopped
6 leftover rotis
4 tbsp grated cheese
1/2 tbsp butter

Wrap the rotis in a towel and microwave for  30 seconds. Tear into bite sized pieces
Slice about 1/4th of the mushrooms, and chop the rest into tiny pieces
Chop the spinach into thin slices
Heat the butter, fry the garlic till the aroma is released. Add mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, and fry for 2-3 minutes, till half the water that was released is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Grease a baking dish with butter. Put one layer of leftover rotis, one of spinach-mushroom sauce and top with cheese. Repeat.
Put in a preheated oven, and bake at 175 degrees for 10 minutes.
Serve hot.

Baigan bharta

Though married to a Punjabi, I have never attempted to make Baigan bharta- not because I don't like it (because I do), or because hubby doesn't like it (he does too), but because I've never been too keen on cleaning up after making it. However, since I had decided that the kitchen needed a good scrubbing, it made sense to make this. Surprisingly, it didn't leave the kitchen in as much of a mess as I thought it would, so I am definitely making it again.

1 large baigan
1 medium onion
1 medium tomatoes
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp jeera
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Coat the baigan with oil, and roast on a open flame turning every 2 minutes till the surface is well charred, and the smokey aroma fills the kitchen. Pop it in a bowl of water to cool, then peel off the charred skin, and mash the flesh.
Meanwhile, chop the onions and tomatoes.
Heat oil, add jeera, and once it stops spluttering add the onions and saute till transparent. Add ginger paste, tomatoes, chilli powder, and saute till tomatoes are well cooked. 
Add the mashed baigan and salt to taste, and saute for 4-5 minutes till well cooked.
Garnish with dhania patta and serve hot with rotis.

May 22, 2014

Palak Dal

Palak-dal is a dish I make fairly often, and have never blogged about since it is so "regular". This time, however, I tried a different technique, and the result was so much nicer than normal that I had to document it.

3/4 measure masoor dal
3/4 measure tur dal
1/4 tsp haldi/ turmeric powder
1/2 bunch spinach/ palak chopped fine
1 medium onion chopped fine
4-5 pods garlic chopped fine
1/2  tsp jeera
2 red chillis
a pinch of hing
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
cooking oil

Pressure cook the dals with haldi till soft- I reduce the flame after the first whistle and cook for 20 minutes
Heat the cooking oil, temper with jeera. Once the jeera stops spluttering, add red chilli, hing, garlic and onions saute till onions start getting transparent. Add spinach leaves and saute till the water releases, then dries up.
Add cooked dal and salt to taste. Bring to boil, reduce flame and cook for 1 minutes. Squeeze the lime just before serving.

Mango ice cream

When it is mango season, can mango ice cream be far behind. I adapted this recipe from the internet, and though it was nice, I think I will stick to store bought mango ice creams in future.

3 mangoes
1 1/2 cups whole cream milk
1/4 cup sugar

Peel, chop and puree the mangoes with the sugar.
Add milk, and blend a few times in the mixer till well incorporated.
Pour into a flatish container and freeze for about 2 hours.
Remove from the freezer, and blend again in the mixer.
Pour it back into the same container, cover with cling film, taking care to ensure that the surface touches the film, so no ice particles are formed.
Let it set completely before serving

May 21, 2014

Fajeto/ Gujarati mango kadhi

Mango season is upon us, and since alphasos are much cheaper this year than normal, I am really freaking out on them. So when I heard about fajeto, I just had to try it out. Since the recipe I was given didn't sound quite right, I googled it, and found a recipe that really worked for me.

1 cup ripe pureed mangoes
1 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons gram flour
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
2 teaspoons jaggery
salt to taste

For tempering

1 tablespoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 dry red chilli
1 teaspoon grated ginger
5-6 curry leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

In a sauce pan combine all the main ingredients along with 2 cups of water and whisk them together until well combined. Bring the mixture to come to a boil whisking occasionally. Once the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Heat ghee in a large sauce pan on medium heat; add mustard seeds and cumin seeds allow them to crackle. Add the cinnamon, dry red chilli, and curry leaves and stir for a few seconds.
Pour the seasoning over the simmering Fajeto. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.Serve the Fajeto along with a hot bowl of rice and your favourite vegetable*

* preferably serve it with a spicy vegetable curry, because this tends to leave a sweetish taste in the mouth

May 20, 2014

Drumstick potato in khus khus gravy

Drumsticks and posto! A match made in heaven.
What more could someone like me ask for?
When I saw this recipe, I knew I just had to make it, and it was every bit as lovely as I hoped it would be.

2 large potatoes, cubed
1 drumstick, cut into 3" long pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 large tomato , chopped
5 tbsp khus khus / posto (soaked in water for 15 mins)
2-3 green chillies
2-3 flakes of garlic
1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
A pinch of turmeric powder
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Grind the soaked khus khus with jeera, coriander, and garlic into a smooth paste. Add water as necessary.
Heat the oil, add onions and green chillies and fry until lightly browned. Then add the drumsticks and potato cubes. Add in 2 cups water and mix well.
When the mixture comes to a boil, add the ground khus khus paste, chilli powder, turmeric, and some salt. Mix well.
Throw in the tomatoes and mix.
The mixture should still be a bit watery for the vegetables to full cook. If it's not, add some more water. Cook covered until the potatoes are soft and the drumsticks are cooked through. Adjust salt.
Serve with rotis.

May 19, 2014

Aam raas Poori

In a classic case of miscommunication, but me and the hubby picked up a dozen mangoes each over the weekend. Since you can eat only so many mangoes, I decided to make Aam raas Poori for lunch today.
This is the Gujarathi version, which uses a pinch of ginger powder- in the Maharashtrian version, you add saffron instead.
4 ripe mangoes
Sugar to taste (I added just 1 tsp, but could have done without)
A pinch of ginger powder

Peel the mangoes, and slice the flesh into a blender. Add the sugar and ginger powder (no milk or water).
Blend for about two minutes, till you get a smooth consistency.
Serve chilled, with Pooris.

Mixed vegetable quick kootu

We Tamilians love a balanced diet at every meal, so what better than if you can combine proteins and vitamins in the same dish? Mixed vegetable kootu is a stable lunch item for my mother, and while I don't swear by it the way she does, I have to admit it makes cooking easy on hot summer days.

250 gms carrots diced
100 gms potatoes cut into small pieces
1 measure dhuli moong dal
1/3 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp sambar powder
Salt per taste

For tempering
Mustard seeds
Jeera seeds
Urad dal
A pinch of hing
Curry leaves
Cooking oil

Put the cut vegetables, green gram dal and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover the vegetables. Pressure cook for two to three whistles.
After few minutes, remove the lid from the cooker and slightly mash the vegetables.
Heat the oil, temper with mustard seeds. When it stops popping, add urad dha, jeera, hing, curry leaves and fry for about half a minute. Add sambar powder and immediately add the cooked vegetables.
Add salt and mix well.
Serve hot with chappatis.

Mango milkshake

Summer time means mango time. More specifically, Alphanso time. And this year, we are lucky- for some reason, the EC has banned imports of mangoes, which means prices are lower than they have been for years. And therefore, time to indulge!
Presenting the most basic drink of all- the mango milkshake.
2 ripe mangoes
2 cups milk
Sugar to taste (optional- I prefer not to add)

Peel the mangoes, and slice all the pulp into a blender jar.
Add milk, and sugar (if required), and blend on the lowest speed setting for about 90 seconds.
Pour into glasses and enjoy.

May 16, 2014

Parupu shadam with Vatha Kuzhambu

Parupu shadam with Vatha Kuzhambu used to be a classic combination at my grandmother's place. Since she made the vatha kuzhambu with dried vegetables, it would be accompanied by cucumber pachadi. I used fresh drumsticks, so did without!


The best thing about Tam Bram cooking is the fact that every meal is a well balanced one, and it the main dishes don't provide all the nutrients, there will be an appropriate side dish that invariably complements it. Since her son loved rasam, my grandmother made it often, and everytime she did, there would be a big dish of Parupu for everyone to dig into. In time she realised that I loved the parupu more than many of the main dishes, so at every meal she would ensure I had my share of parupu on the side.
Despite loving the dish as much as I do, this is the first time I actually made Parupu, and it tasted every bit as good as I remember.
1 measure toor dal
1/2 tsp haldi powder
salt to taste
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves

Cook the toor dal with haldi powder and minimum water for 2 whistles (one whistle, and the second one on sim).
Add salt to taste, mix well, smashing the dal slightly, if required.
Heat the oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves, and pour over the parupu after the seeds stop spluttering.
Serve with piping hot rice, and Vatha Kuzumbu.

May 2, 2014

Brown rice in a Creamy Mushroom- Dill Sauce

A couple of days back, I bought a beautiful bunch of leaves intending to use it in an egg curry. Unfortunately, however, plans changed, and I never got to use it. On the same day, I bought a packet of button mushrooms, but ended up serving a very different dish when I had guests over for dinner.
With us leaving on a ten day vacation, I tried to clear up the fridge, and adapted this recipe to fix ourselves a great lunch.

200 gms mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs chopped fresh dil, reserve a little for garnishing Salt to taste
Grated cheese
1 measure brown rice
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cornflour

Soak the rice for 30 minutes, and cook with 2 1/2 measures of water till done. Drain and keep aside
Heat the butter, saute garlic and onion till they turn transparent.
Add chopped mushrooms and salt to taste, and saute on a low flame till the water evaporates.
Add dill leaves and salt and stir for another minute. Keep aside.
In the same pan, heat the milk, and taking a little milk, make a paste with the cornflour. Add cornflour to the warm milk, bring to a boil, and simmer for about a minute. Add 2 tbsp grated cheese and salt to taste.
Add cooked rice to the white sauce, and after well mixed, add the sauteed mushrooms.
Serve garnished with some dill leaves.

1.Start by cutting up 1/2 LBS mushrooms 2.Finely chop 1 onion and 2 garlic cloves. 3.Heat up a pan and saute mushrooms, onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until the mushroom starts to golden and the onion is soft. 4.Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 1/2 cup cream and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. 5.Let it simmer for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. 6.Cook up enough pasta for 4 people, remember to ad salt to the water. 7.Boil until al dente. 8.Strain and place in a bowl. 9.Add the sauce, mix and serve with shaved parmesan on top.