Thursday, November 13, 2014

Aloo Methi (Potatoes and Fresh Fenugreek Leaves)










Methi is one of my favorite green leafy vegetable. It has a distinctive bitter taste. I learned to make raw salad with methi leaves and was reluctant to try it the first time but when the leaves are mixed with salt, a little sugar, lemon juice, chilli powder and sesame oil it makes a delicious salad.

Today I have made a very common dish that is prepared in most Indian households...aloo methi.
I am trying to include greens in my daily diet due to the health benefits that all greens have.



Ingredients:
2 bunches of methi leaves.
(Trim roots, pick out the leaves from the stems and wash several times in cold water)
3 medium sized potatoes (cubed)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3-4 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
2 dry red chillies (optional)
Pinch of asafoetida,
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Oil

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and drop the cumin seeds, asafoetida, and red chillies. Once cumin seeds start to splutter, slide the potatoes, sprinkle salt and let the potatoes cook.
Roughly chop the washed methi leaves.
When potatoes are completely cooked add turmeric powder and methi leaves.
Mix everything well. The methi leaves will wilt and coat the potatoes. Once that happens continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Add more salt if needed.

Serve with rotis or rice and a side salad for a delicious and healthy Indian meal.














Saturday, November 8, 2014

Vegetable Biryani







Here is another rice based dish that almost everyone loves.....Biryani.
I have been experimenting with vegetable biryani for some time and this is by far one of the best recipes that I have now.
It takes a while to make and has quite a few steps but, it is definitely well worth the effort.
One of the secrets of making a good biryani is boiling the rice just right. It should NOT become too soft.




Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice washed and soaked in water for half an hour)
3 large onions ( thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons ginger garlic green chilli paste
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons turmeric (haldi) powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder (use more or less as per taste)
2 tablespoons coriander and cumin powder
3 heaped tablespoons biryani masala or garam masala
2 sticks cinnamon, a few bay leaves, 3-4 small cardamoms
2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas, corn)
(If using fresh vegetables, chop and parboil the vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be used once thawed)
2-4 sliced green chillies (optional)
Half cup fresh chopped cilantro and mint leaves
8-10 cashews and a few raisins
1-2 tablespoons ghee
Salt according to taste
Oil for cooking















Method:

1. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the sliced onions till golden brown and caramelized. (Add some salt while frying the onions). Remove about 1/4 cup onions from the pan using a slotted spoon and reserve it for later use.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, chili paste to the fried onions in the pan. Mix well and cook till the raw smell of the paste goes.
3. Now add all the dry masalas (red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander/cumin powder, biryani masala or garam masala). Mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and the yogurt. Add the mixed vegetables, adjust the salt. Cover and cook till oil separates. Top it with sliced green chillies and half of the mint and cilantro. Do not mix now.

Preparing the rice.
1. Bring a large pot of water with salt cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamon to a boil. Add the rice and cook till rice is al dente. About 5-7 minutes. Strain the rice and keep aside. Take a cup of rice and pour the saffron soaked milk in it.
2. Heat ghee and fry the cashews and raisins

Assembling the biryani
Take an oven proof pot and add a layer of rice. Top it with the vegetables and another layer of rice. Gently mix the saffron rice with the top layer of rice.
Top the biryani with cashews, raisins, fried onion and the rest of the cilantro and mint leaves.
Cover tightly with a foil. Place the biryani in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for half and hour.
Just before serving gently mix.

Serve the biryani with mixed vegetable raita.








Sunday, July 13, 2014

Methi/Fenugreek Rice











Here is a recipe sent by my cousin who lives in Bangalore. She got it from her cook and friend...Pushpa. Here's what she had to say about Pushpa....

" .....a good-hearted woman who has seen more than her share of tragedy in life. But she is strong of spirit, and I hope that the smile never leaves her face for too long"

When she told me about the  dish, I begged her for the recipe and I could not wait to try it out. So I substituted the beans with black eyed peas that I had at home but I am posting the exact same recipe as Pushpa makes it. 

This was such a delicious dish and a complete meal with a side of raita. The beans add a lovely texture and the fresh cilantro and mint along with ginger and garlic makes every mouthful burst with flavor and happiness!






Ingredients:

I cup Rice 
250 g Surti paapdi/vaal seeds - soaked overnight to remove the outer skin the next day (this is called "hitikida avare kaaLu" in Kannada)
100 g fresh double beans - the brown speckled variety
1 bunch fresh fenugreek leaves
 fresh mint leaves (about 20-25)
coriander.cilantro leaves (half a bunch)
green chillies (5-6)
1 large onion - julienned
1 large tomato - chopped into small pieces (not too small)
whole spices - bay leaf, star anise, "marathi moggu" (these are dried pistils of the silk cotton flower), cloves, cardomom
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
garam masala powder







Grind the mint, cilantro and green chillies to a paste. Chop the fenugreek/methi leaves. Heat some oil in a pressure cooker, and add the whole spices (2-3 of each). Then add the onions, ginger garlic paste and fry till pink. Add the green paste, fry for a minute, and add the methi leaves and the tomato. Fry till the cooked smell of methi is released. Add the green beans (paapdi) and the double beans and stir for about 2 minutes. Add washed rice, and water as required (two and a half cups is recommended). Add salt to taste(I taste the water since this requires more salt) and garam masala powder (2 1/2 tsp). Mix well and cook for 3 whistles at medium flame. Open only once steam has released on its own.
Enjoy with a mixed veg raita of onions, tomatoes, green chillies and coriander!




















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.