Monday, May 30, 2011

One pot meal ..khichdi

This easy wholesome and delicious meal can be prepared in many different ways. Every family has a favorite khichdi recipe. I like to make it in many different ways but this is one of my favorite way of preparing it. There is nothing fancy about it and it tastes best only eaten hot and fresh with a chilled glass of buttermilk or yogurt.

1/2 cup yellow moong dal
1/2 cup rice
1 cup chopped carrots
1 bunch of chopped spinach
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
red chilli powder 
Lemon juice
salt to taste

Wash the rice and lentils and soak them in water for about half and hour. Transfer the rice and lentils to a pressure cooker and add about three cups of water, chopped carrots, spinach, ginger, turmeric powder salt and 1tsp of ghee. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (2 whistles). Let the pressure cooker rest for another 10 minutes and then open the lid and add the asafoetida and a generous amount of ghee and lemon juice. Mix everything well. Sprinkle some red chilli powder and black salt to taste. The consistency should be smooth and creamy. I usually serve it with a simple potato vegetable, side salad and yogurt.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Golden paneer in spinach and cashew gravy

I was planning to make paneer bhurji when I realized that I had some spinach and sweet peppers that had to be used so instead of making paneer bhurji the traditional way I sauteed some paneer with sweet peppers and served it over a gravy made with sweet onions cashews and spinach leaves. It turned out quite well.

1 cup paneer crumbled
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers
handful of baby spinach leaves
1 large sweet onion (chopped)
1 large clove of garlic (grated)
2 slit green chillies
1/4 cup cashews soaked in water
3-4 cloves crushed
1/2 tsp shahi jeera
turmeric, black pepper, salt

Heat some oil in a pan and add shahi jeera. Once it starts spluttering add the crushed cloves, green chillies
and onions. Cook on medium heat till the onions start getting golden brown. Now add the grated garlic and stir for a minute. Remove from heat and grind it along with the soaked cashews and baby spinach leaves.
In the same pan cook the crumbled paneer and sweet peppers. Season the paneer with a little turmeric, black pepper and chaat masala. Cook till the paneer gets golden edges and the raw smell of turmeric goes away.
 Once the paneer is done keep it aside and pour the ground mixture of onions, spinach and cashews back in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes and mix the paneer in it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spinach and chickpeas salad with stilton cheese

 This is a delicious mango ginger stilton cheese. It is slightly sweet and salty with small chunks of mango in it. It has  a crumbly yet creamy texture. I love this cheese as a snack with crackers or over a toast. Sometimes I make a grilled cheese sandwich with slices of apple of pear in it. Here is a quick and easy salad that I tried. 

a few spinach leaves
handful of boiled chickpeas
one sweet mango cubed
mango ginger stilton cheese
salt, pepper
juice of a lemon
 olive oil

Combine all the ingredients for the salad together. For the dressing I mixed a little olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper and poured over the salad. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cauliflower soup with spicy relish

I had been thinking of making a cauliflower soup when I came across an interesting recipe in a magazine which had an almond relish to go with a simple soup.I liked the idea of a smooth and creamy cauliflower soup topped with spicy and crunchy relish.  I decided to make the soup with Indian flavors and the relish to counter-balance those flavors.

 florets of 1 small cauliflower
1 potato cubed
1 onion sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2tsp curry powder 
2 cups vegetable stock or water as needed
salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil or butter to cook 

Panch phoran

For the relish
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup roasted red or orange bell pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped mint
1tsp chopped cilantro
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 habanero pepper seeds removed (it is very hot)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
juice of one lemon
salt to taste

Put all the above ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times to get a coarse consistency.
Spicy relish

For the soup
Heat some oil in a pot and add the panch phoran and bay leaves. Once the seeds start popping add the onion and garlic. Stir till the onions turn translucent. Now add the curry powder, potatoes, cauliflower, salt and pepper. Mix well and pour the stock or water in it and let it boil on low heat for 10-15 minutes till the potatoes are cooked through. Let the soup rest for a while then remove the bay leaves and puree the soup in a blender. Serve hot with a tea spoon of relish on the top.

For kids, I would add a dollop of butter or cream to the soup and top it with colorful goldfish

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ginger tea

My day starts with a cup of ginger tea. And this is no ordinary ginger tea, it is sweetened with jaggery instead of sugar. I have been having this for as long as I can remember. I learned to make this from my father who still loves to make this tea for  anyone who visits him.

For one cup of tea
1 cup water
1tsp tea leaves 
jaggery (about one tbsp)
an inch of fresh  ginger (crushed)
fat free milk
a favorite tea cup

Bring a cup of water to a boil along with the ginger and jaggery in it. The jaggery should melt completely (about 5-7 minutes). Reduce the heat and add the tea leaves and milk according to taste. Bring to a quick boil and strain into a cup. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pakode wali kadhi

This is one of my favorite comfort food and brings back fond memories of family, food and fun. No one can make this dish better than my Nani (grandmother) and therefore I had never tried to make it myself, until now. The dish itself is very simple with just a few ingredients but the trick lies in the way you beat the yogurt and gram flour and make it smooth and creamy.  Besan pakode, or gram flour fritters are added to the kadhi which would melt in the mouth. It is served with a tempering of  homemade ghee, cumin seeds, asafoetida, mustard seeds and red chili powder poured over it. I don't make too many fried things at home and so while I was frying pakodas for the kadhi I decided to make a few vegetable fritters using the same batter, since I already had the oil ready to go. I cannot say my kadhi was as good as Nani's but it was close and I am glad that I tried it.

 For Kadhi
3 cups yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons besan (gram flour)
1tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp methi seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
2-3 dried red chillies
salt to taste

Plain gram flour fritters for kadhi

For pakode
1 cup besan
about 1/2 to3/4 cup water (enough to make it like cake batter consistency)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (optional)
a pinch of salt

For vegetable fritters, I used the same batter by making it a little thinner by adding more water and dipping vegetables in the batter and frying it. I used cauliflower, onions, potatoes, and green chillies.

Onions, potatoes, cauliflower, green chillies for vegetable fritters

Mix the gram flour in the yogurt and beat the yogurt very well. There should be no lumps and it should have a smooth and creamy texture. Heat oil in a deep pan and add the seasonings (cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and the dried red chillies). Now add the yogurt mixture and keep stirring it continuously till it comes to a boil. Now add 1-2 cups of water depending of the consistency you like. Add a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and boil for at least 10-15 minutes. Now add the prepared dumplings and boil for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep in cover for a while. Make the tempering by heating some ghee in pan and add cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida and red chilli powder. Pour a teaspoon of this on the kadhi before serving.

Beat the gram flour and water with the seasoning for about 5-10 minutes. To check if it is ready pour a drop of batter in a bowl of water, if the drop rises to the top the batter is ready for frying.
Heat oil for frying in a deep pan or kadhai. Drop spoonfuls of batter in the oil. Fry them and keep aside.
Once you have enough for the kadhi, add a little water to the batter and dip the vegetables and fry it to make vegetable fritters.

Vegetable fritters