Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bharwaan Baingain (Stuffed Eggplants)






Here is a simple and delicious recipe for stuffed baingan/eggplant. I have used the small round variety and stuffed it with dalia (roasted chana dal) and ground and roasted peanuts, along with the other Indian spices that are used in everyday cooking.






Ingredients

12 small baby eggplants
1/4 cup roasted dalia
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 heaped tablespoons dry mango powder (amchur)
3 heaped tablespoons coriander-cumin powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder (saunf)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (or more, add as per taste)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar or jaggery
handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
Salt according to taste
Oil for cooking









Method

Grind the peanuts and dalia and mix all the other spices with it, including salt. Make cross slits in each eggplant, keeping the ends with the stem intact. Fill in this dry mix with the peanuts and all the other spices. Stuff the eggplants well and keep them aside.There should be about 1/4 to 1/2 cup stuffing left. Keep that aside.  Heat oil in a pan and place these stuffed eggplants in it. Cook on medium heat, carefully turning them around to brown all sides. Once the eggplants have browned add the remaining spice mix to the pan and cover the eggplants with it. Add half cup of water, halved cherry tomatoes. Cover the pan and let the eggplants cook in the gravy. Keep checking and add more water if needed, till the eggplants and spices are all well cooked. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving.























Monday, April 7, 2014

Roasted Peanuts and Sesame Seeds Granola




My father loves making Indian desserts like kulfi, kheer, and peanut chikkis. He makes one of the best peanuts and sesame seeds chikkis and laddus :)
They are soft yet crunchy, the peanuts are well roasted and he likes to add a hint of spice like ginger powder or fennel seeds. I decided to follow one of his laddu or chikki recipes and post it here. To make the laddus you have to be quick and roll them into balls before it cools. And I thought to myself that maybe I can let it sit in the pan for a while and then just crumble it to give a granola type texture. So that is what I have done here. The recipe remains the same except that I reduced the amount of jaggery to make it more crumbly and ate it like any other granola with some fruit, sprinkle of chia seeds and milk. It is delicious and  can also be eaten dry as a snack.





Some other ingredients that can be added to make the granola are
Walnuts
Roasted almonds
Sunflower seeds
Pistachios
Cashews 
Raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries
flax seeds
Oatmeal





Ingredients

2 cups roasted peanuts
(I roasted raw peanuts and then removed the skin)
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 and 3/4 cups soft jaggery/gud
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder/saunth
1 teaspoon ghee






Method

Grind the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds into a coarse mix. Do not powder it completely. 
Take a non stick pan and add 1 teaspoon ghee to coat the surface. Now melt the jaggery, stirring continuously. Once it is completely melted,  fold in the peanuts and sesame mix along with the fennel seeds and ginger powder. Mix everything well and turn the heat off. 
It will start setting in the pan as it cools. Crumble it with a wooden spoon or with your hands once it is cool to touch.
















Saturday, March 29, 2014

Paneer Tikka Masala




Here is a recipe for paneer tikka masala that I make quite often. I have to admit that I have not been posting lately. I have many excuses reasons for not posting, like I have been busy, I have not cooked anything worthy of posting, or am not happy with the pictures, my computer crashed etc.  I had been promising my family and friends who frequent my blog that I will be back soon.. My cousin, who shares my passion for food has been motivating me for the last several months by sending a guest blog post (that I have yet to post!), sending me some delicious recipes to inspire me and  several gentle and not so gently reminders. Finally, yesterday she asked for this recipe that has been sitting my drafts for more than a year. Happy to post it finally.   





Ingredients

250 grams paneer
4 fresh tomatoes
6-7 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons garam masala
3-4 black cardamom
2 bay leaves
kasoori methi
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder 
1 tablespoon coriander-cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 green capsicum sliced
7-8  cashews broken and soaked in water









Method

Cut the paneer into cubes and marinate it with  red chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, salt, garam masala, 3-4 grated garlic cloves and kasoori methi. Add about a tablespoon of oil just to coat all the spices.

Blanch and peel the tomatoes. Puree the tomatoes along with the remaining garlic, turmeric, chilli powder, fennel powder, garam masala, sugar, salt and kasoori methi.
Heat oil and add jeera, black cardamom, and bay leaf. Now add the pureed tomatoes. Cook till oil separates.

Grill the marinated paneer in a non-stick pan or your oven, add a little ghee for flavor.  Once it is grilled add the paneer to the cooked gravy. Thinly slice some onions and capsicums and saute them on high flame till slightly charred. Add these to the gravy too. Grind the soaked cashews to a smooth paste and mix everything well. Adjust salt as required. Sprinkle chaat masala before serving.

Charcoal smoke can be given to it to give a restaurant style smoky flavor.  Light a charcoal and carefully place it in a small metal bowl. Place the bowl directly on your paneer, pour a teaspoon of melted ghee on the charcoal and immediately cover the bowl. The charcoal will smoke due to the ghee and add flavor to your gravy.
P.S. The charcoal should not touch the gravy.













Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kundru/Tendli Masala Fry




Kundru or tendli is a type of ivy gourd. I have heard many different names for it in India regionally. I love to eat it stir fried with onions or just slow cooked till it becomes caramelized and crispy. Apart from the taste it is good to know that this gourd is considered beneficial in lowering blood sugar.


  



Ingredients

 kundru/tendli sliced  lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

red chilli powder (I used 2 teaspoons, adjust according to liking)

dry mango powder/amchur or juice or lemon

1 teaspoon garam masala or chaat masala (optional)

salt to taste

Oil for cooking (about a tablespoon)







Method


Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and once they pop, slide the sliced vegetable in the oil. Mix well so that oil coats the vegetable. Now add salt and turmeric powder. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until kundru starts wilting. It will reduce in quantity as the water from it dries out so be careful while adding salt. Once the vegetable is soft and slightly caramelized, sprinkle the chilli powder, garam masla and dry mango powder. If not using mango powder then squeeze the juice of lemon after transferring it to a glass bowl.

Serve with parathas, roti or plain rice.














Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nani ke Pindi Chole (Chickpeas soaked in spices, my grandmother's style)





This recipe belongs to my Nani. It is full of flavor and tastes even better the next day after the chickpeas have soaked in all the flavor of the spices. Apart from the fact that these are delicious, I love making chole this way as it is also a quick recipe if you have the spices ready. I usually roast and grind the spices and keep in in an airtight container to use it whenever I need to. All you have to do is boil the chickpeas and mix in the masala. These chole taste the best with bhature or deep fried bread but I wanted to keep the meal healthy and so I served it with pita bread, greek yogurt and raw onions.





Here is the recipe........




Ingredients:
250 grams chickpeas
1 teaspoon thinly sliced ginger
2-3 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
half teaspoon asafetida/hing

Spices to be dry roasted
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
half inch cinnamon stick
2-3 cloves
1 tablespoon dry pomegranate/anardana

Other spices to be mixed in
1 teaspoon garam masala/chana masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoons dry mango powder/amchur
1 teaspoon black salt
1 teaspoon black pepper powder

2 tablespoons oil for cooking and salt according to taste









Method:


1.      Soak the chickpeas overnight. I soaked them longer so they got little sprouts too.

2.      Boil the chickpeas with salt, black cardamom and bay leaf.

3.      Prepare the masala/spices by dry roasting cumin seeds/jeera, coriander seeds/dhania, dry pomegranate seeds/anardana and cinnamon/dalchini.

4.      Grind the roasted spices in a coffee grinder and mix the other dry spices in it (red chilli powder, dry mango/amchoor powder, garam masala and/or chana masala, black pepper powder and black salt.

5.      Sprinkle all the masala on top of the cooked chickpeas.

6.      Heat two-tablespoon oil drop in thinly sliced ginger and asafetida/hing powder and pour it over the chickpeas. Mix everything well. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water, although it should be on the thicker side.

7.      Before serving, add chopped cilantro and juice of lemon.

Traditionally this is served with bhature and a side of raw onion, green chillies and maybe some pickle. However, since I decided to avoid the fried bhature I served it with pita chips and yogurt and it was equally delicious.













 
 






 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mango and Avocado Sandwich



Mangoes and creamy avocados are both delicious and I often pair them together in salads, salsa or even curd rice. Avocado is great in a grilled cheese sandwich or or a veggie wrap too. But I would have never thought of making a sandwich with sweet mangoes had it not been introduced to me by a friend. When she made one for me....a really simple sandwich with plain white bread (no healthy nutty bread here) and sweet Indian mangoes and butter. It was delicious. Since then I have made mango sandwiches often and this time I thought of adding avocado along with the mango.
This is one quick and simple sandwich for anytime.




Ingredients
Sweet ripe mango (peeled and sliced)
Avocado (sliced)
Any white bread or bun
(I had the Hawaiian sweet rolls, so I used those)
A pinch of black or plain salt and red chilli powder (optional)
A drizzle of honey







Method

Slice the buns/rolls into half and apply butter on both sides. Place slices of mangoes and avocado. Sprinkle with a little salt and red chilli powder. Drizzle with a little honey and place the other half of the bun on top.
Eat immediately.

















Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kathal ki Sabzi (Raw Jackfruit curry)


My blog has been idle for quite some time and for no apparent reason. I am going to try and get it going again by posting some recipes from my drafts. I realized that I have more recipe drafts that I thought I had.
I made this vegetable earlier this year and loved it. Raw jackfruit (kathal) has a unique texture and flavor. It is delicious and can be used in many ways. I have also made biryani with it and will try to post the recipe soon. As much as I love raw kathal, I never liked the ripened fruit . I made a this in a spicy gravy of onion, garlic and aachari spices (spices that are usually used in Indian pickles).







It is a little tricky to cut a jackfruit. It is helpful to rub the knife and your hands with vegetable oil while cutting/handling the fruit. I found this website that has steps explaining how to cut a jackfruit. Click here.






Ingredients
1 small or medium sized jackfruit, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
1 heaped tablespoon ginger garlic and green chilli paste
 mix of mustard seeds, cumin, kalonji(nigella seeds), fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds.
1 bay leaf and a few black cardamom
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander-cumin powder
1  heaped tablespoon garam masala
2-3 tomatoes (pureed)
1/2 cup beaten yogurt
Salt (according to taste)
Oil for cooking
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Method
Season the kathal/jackfruit pieces with salt and then boil in a pressure cooker till tender. It can even be pan fried, if desired. Keep aside. Heat enough oil in a pot and drop the bay leaf, cardamom and all mix of seeds mentioned above. Cover the pot and let the seeds splutter. Carefully add the chopped onion and fry till it gets golden brown. Now mix the ginger, garlic and chilli paste. Cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Mix all the dry spices (turmeric, red chilli, coriander-cumin and garam masala, salt) with a few tablespoons of water and pour the mixture in the pot. Cook for about a minute then add the tomato puree. Stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Gradually mix the yogurt and keep stirring continuously. If it looks too dry then add half a cup of water. Add the boiled kathal pieces. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes and let the kathal absorb the flavors of all the spices.




Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot phulka/chapatti.