Dal Tadka – Tempered Yellow Lentils


Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsIf you ever chance upon a dinner or lunch in India, dal or lentils is a must thing on the meal table. In north indian states it could be a choice between kaali dal (black lentils) or dal tadka (the yellow ones) but in other parts, quintessentially, it has to be the yellow one. Generously tempered with a fat (ghee, coconut,mustard or sesame oil) &  the crackling spices – cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves or mustard seeds, it is further flavored with garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions, chilies (both green & red),turmeric and even jaggery (sugar).Essentially dal is quite an aromatic and soul nourishing food.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsI like to compare dal preparation in Indian homes to the roasted chicken in the west. It is such a simple thing to make but the taste of dal can vary easily between two cooks.Comforting and satisfying food compounded with warm, smooth texture and laced with hints of spices. Every home has its own way of making it and that recipe is no doubt the best, certainly better than how it is done in your home (in case we get into an altercation ever!). We eat dal on days when we are sick as well as on days when we want to feast.Mostly severed with a spicy pickle (green mango in our house) and dollops of ghee on top, steamed basmati rice is the best vehicle for dal. In India, dal sums up the daily protein chunk for majority of indians who are pure vegetarians especially the ones who refrain from eggs also.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsBetween me and the husband we are poles apart when it comes to a favorite dal. For me its the black lentils which, at some point, I could eat every day with rotis (flatbread) but he is more of a chawal (rice) – dal kind. Since I mostly lost a knack for lentils after my pregnancy (its both amazing & weird what giving birth does to you!), he is having it his way in the house now.I usually mix a couple of lentils whenever cooking and the toor/arhar (split pigeon pea lentils) are an important ingredient here. Sadly I haven’t spotted it in regular or bulk grocery stores here so you might want to visit an indian/pakistani store to get it.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

  • 1/3 cup arhar/toor dal (pigeon pea lentils, husked split variety)
  • 1/3 cup masoor dal (red lentils,husked split variety)
  • 2 tbsp moong dal (golden lentils,husked split variety)
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped onion (I use red onion)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes (I use Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 fat garlic clove,finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp ghee, melted
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 3 cups water +more
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder, substitute with fresh lime juice to taste)
  • Chopped Cilantro

For Tadka (tempering)

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 whole dried kashmiri red chilies
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)

Notes -

  • The cooking time mentioned in this recipe are for split lentils. If you use whole lentils the cooking time could be more. Also keep in mind that you use either all split or all whole when choosing lentils for this recipe
  • Hing or asafoetida is a strong, aromatic spice available both in crystal and powdered form. It aids digestion & is used more often than not in indian cooking, also a little goes a long way. It gives a unique flavor to dal but can be skipped if you do not have it.
  • If you are vegan, use any oil in this recipe instead of ghee. Coconut oil might not be a very good choice since the spice selection in the recipe does not go great with it but you can use any neutral oil.

Method

Thoroughly wash all the lentils under running water 2-3 times. Drain and transfer the washed lentils to a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water. Let soak for 10 minutes. Add chopped onion, tomatoes,garlic, ginger(if using), hing, ghee, turmeric and salt. Put on the lid and pressure cook the lentils on medium heat for 1 whistle (This cooking time will depend on the quality of lentils, so adjust). Take off the heat and let sit on the counter till the pressure releases out of the cooker.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, use a heavy bottomed pot with lid and cook the lentils for around 30- 40 minutes or till completely tender.

Once you open the lid, add amchoor to the dal. With the help of a whisk or a spoon, thoroughly mash the lentils so that they are creamy. If you like a thinner consistency of dal, add a cup or more of water.If you add extra water, return to the stove and let simmer for another 5-7 minutes on medium heat.

While the dal is simmering, make the tadka. In a small sauce pan, heat up the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and let crackle. Also add the whole dried chillies and let them turn darker in color. Lower the heat and immediately add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds or so taking care that it does not burn.(Tadka can become very hot very quickly, take care that you act fast so that nothing burns.) Put off the heat and add the red chili powder. Immediately add this tadka to the simmered lentils and close the lid so that the aroma infuses. Let sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

Kesar Kulfi

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Late Summer. The days are filled with blueberries and peaches and cherries before the seasons changes.This year we had an overdose of summer bounty in the house since most of our produce shopping was from Costco, there was hardly a day when we were out of fruits.May sound impatient, but I want those crunchy sweet tart apples and soft pears and ruby-red  pomegranates and rest these berries till next summer. In lieu of new, I picked up my first fresh figs this summer (yup, it took me five odd years to do that since I moved to the States) and kind of liked them but still didn’t understand the craze. The ones I ate though sweet,had a slightly slimy aftertaste so maybe they were unripe? Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Anyhow, the evenings turn up sooner and are much cooler than a past few weeks back.We are having a few rain spells every ten days or so which I am liking a lot since those are rare in this part of the world. I am barely able to decide if the air conditioning should be turned on or not all night even though I am waking up cold for last few days.

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Talking of few weeks back, I broke my blender jar, it came shattering down on our tiled floor.The following day my year old Panini maker gave in as soon as I plugged it in. I smelled smoke and saw a spark. Short circuit. Dang. In the latest, every time I use it, I hear a scratchy sound while our food processor runs,looks like it will join that gang soon. Good lord. Just wondering if all the universe has joined hands against my kitchen equipment or is it really a coincidence?

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi The only good thing that happened was this kulfi, laced with saffron threads and sweet cardamom aroma.I badly needed to make something comforting to calm me down.A childhood ice cream treat from the streets,as kids we licked a few sticks each afternoon from the kulfiwalla(vendor) who visited our neighborhood. Needless to say, it was dirt cheap (may be few cents if you convert the currency) but came with huge flavor and texture. Traditionally, whole milk is simmered for hours and hours till it reduces to half its volume, the fat goes up and so does the sugar and protein content.Flavors are then added and its frozen immediately, no churning or custard business needed here.   Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi As time and occasion permits,these days it also depends on how cranky the toddler is, I use either ways to make kulfi, sometimes I start with whole milk and sometimes with cans of evaporated milk or half and half to shorten the process.  This time, the husband offered to watch the little one and I took the traditional route – just like how mum used to make it at home filled with toil and sweetness of love. Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mava (milk solids, see recipe here to make your own, omit if you do not have)
  • 1 no 14oz sweetened condensed milk can
  • 2 tbsp fine rice flour + 2-3 tbsp whole cold milk (to dissolve)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or any nut of choice)
  • 1 tsp heaping saffron threads+ 1.5 tbsp warm whole milk (to dissolve)
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • Silvered almonds to serve

Notes

  1. This recipe yields a lightly sweet kulfi (which is how it should be) but you can add more condensed milk or sugar as per taste.
  2. Addition of mava lends the kulfi both richness and a chewy texture but it can be skipped.
  3. Ideally, kulfi is not creamy, rather lightly chewy and grainy.
  4. You could use cornstarch in place of rice flour
  5. Substitute almonds with any kind of nuts (pistachios, cashews)

Method In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to a boil. Once the milk is boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook down with constant stirring. You do not have to stand by the stove but check and stir every 10-12 minutes so that the milk does not stick to the bottom or sides of the pot.You will need to keep on scraping the side of the pot while you stir.  Depending on fat/water content of the milk it could take 3-5 hours for the milk to reduce to half of its volume.

While the milk is cooking, crumble or grate the mava (if using),there should be no lumps. Set aside. Dissolve the rice flour in cold milk and let sit. Crumble up saffron threads between palms of your hands and dissolve in warm milk. Set aside.

Once the milk has reduced, it will be light brownish in color, much thicker in consistency. Add the rice flour slurry to the pot with continual stirring (so that no lumps are formed) and let cook for 5 minutes on low heat . The mixture will thicken further and become smooth. Add the mava next and cook for another 5-8 minutes so that it softens a bit.

Remove from heat. Add the condensed milk, almond meal, dissolved saffron and cardamom powder to the milk mixture and combine well. Let sit to cool down.

Pour into kulfi moulds or popsicle moulds. Freeze for 24 hours with lid on.

Once ready to serve, use a sharp knife to loosen the edges and unmold the kulfi. You could run the mould under a stream of water to loosen it. Serve as it is or sliced up with nuts and falooda (recipe here)

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Vegetable Fried Rice

Sinfully Spicy: Vegetable Fried Rice #indochineseWith the summer in full swing, this easy fried rice is suddenly a favorite in the house for quick meals.Combining deeply flavored,saltiness of dark soy sauce with nuttiness from sesame oil, the sweet crunch of fresh vegetables and hints of aroma from indian spices, this rice comes together in no time if you have a big rice portion leftover from last meal. The recipe can be twisted and turned to suit the occasion and the crowd you are serving to – add any assortment of vegetables (or fruits – pineapple, apricots, raisins)and any protein you like. Though a warm bowl is good on its own but I like to make hot chicken or manchurian along side sometimes for a hearty meal.Someone like me who prefers flatbreads to accompany our meals is enjoying it a lot.

Sinfully Spicy: Vegetable Fried Rice #indochinese I had conveniently forgotten but when WordPress wished me a lot many years to fly with them, I realized!! Four summers. It has been four years of sharing little anecdotes of my life and recipes with all of you.Sometimes I wonder how much memories from life back in India and childhood or teens could my mind still retain even though I always thought otherwise. It has been a gratifying journey so far. Thank you for the love and support.This blog has been a wonderful nook to share and connect with all you who are hungry for indian food. Thank you so much for your interest and loving my country’s cuisine.

Sinfully Spicy: Vegetable Fried Rice #indochineseComing back to the recipe, I quite marvel at the brilliant concept of fried rice in asian cuisine. From Thai to Indonesian to Filipino, each fried rice is different yet wonderfully flavored. I have talked about indo chinese cuisine in my past posts and this recipe is another addition to that collection. This indian style fried rice  stems from the chinese variant but the use of spices lend it notes of warmth and aromatic smokiness. I have been making fried rice for many years and have learnt a few things through trial and error. I guess this is the right post to share my little tips with you.

Sinfully Spicy: Vegetable Fried Rice #indochineseI always use cold rice from night before.Cold, day old rice doesn’t break while tossing and absorbs flavor better. If you are making rice the same day, start earlier and cook it like pasta in large amount of water (keep it a bit  ardent) and refrigerate it till you start making the sauce.It works!

Try not using a short grain (with higher starch content) or glutinous variety of rice. Make use of the largest utensil  in your kitchen for sautéing the rice with sauce and vegetables. This helps in keeping the rice separate and more fluffy when you toss with the sauce. If you do not have a large pan, try to cook in batches if you are feeding a crowd. I also suggest not being stingy with the amount of oil you are using in the recipe, the oil keeps the rice moist and separate. Lastly, once you have added the rice to the sauce, stir very gently, preferably using chopsticks or fork else the heat as well as the soy sauce will make the rice mushy.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 .5 tbsp pure sesame oil
  • 3-4 fat garlic pods, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai green chili, slit
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely sliced
  • 6 scallion stalks, green & white parts chopped separately
  • 3/4 tsp ginger, minced (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded/julienned vegetables (I used cabbage, green&red bell pepper, blanched green beans, carrots)
  • 3 cups cooked rice, cold
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • scant pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp red chili flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 3/4 tsp Chilli tomato Sauce (I use this, you could use ketchup or 1/2 tsp tomato paste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp butter, melted (optional, see notes)
  • chopped cilantro

Notes

  • Adding butter at the end may seem a bit unusual, but this is a small secret I learned from the husband who makes some mean fried rice. Try it.
  • The rice from the this recipe has pronounced hints of ginger, you can omit or cut down the quantity if you do not like it.
  • You can vary the ratio of neutral oil to sesame oil based on your liking. You could even cook using either of the oils, I am just sharing the ratio that we prefer.
  • Add tofu, fried egg, pre cooked shrimp,chicken or any kind of protein in the recipe just at the end and warm it through with the rice.

Method

Heat up the sunflower & sesame oils in a wide skillet or pan ( I use 12″) on medium high. Add the garlic and green chili to the oil and sauté for 20-30 seconds or so till you see tiny blisters on the chili skin. Take care that the garlic doesnt burn. Add the red onion next along with white scallion parts. Saute for 2-3 minutes on medium high till the onions soften and begin to turn light brown.At this point add the ginger along with the chopped vegetables.Sprinkle a pinch of salt and let the vegetables cook for 2-3 minutes till they are tender but not mushy and still have a bite. (This time will depend on how thick/thin you have cut the vegetables).

Next turn the heat to lowest possible on your stove and add the cold rice to the pan.Also add the soy sauce,turmeric, garam masala, red chili powder & chili tomato sauce. Toss around so that the rice is covered in all therse . Check and adjust the salt (remember that if you are adding butter at the end, it has salt too). Turn the heat to medium for a minute or so till the rice is warmed through.Do not stir too much

Put off the heat and while the rice is still warm, add the green scallion parts, vinegar, butter(if using) and chopped cilantro. Using fork or chopsticks toss around and serve immediately.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Tandoori Chicken

Sinfully Spicy - Tandoori Chicken #indianfoodOn evenings coming back from work, when the bus was running terribly behind schedule, I volunteerd to get down way before my stop and walk down home.The side walk still wet from the rain spells an hour or two before smelled of decaying earth and lush green foliage all along looked as fresh as just bathed.The moist breeze of monsoon evenings was a much sought break after spending the whole day in air conditioning.

The fastest way to home get to home was through of busy market surrounded by the yellow government quarters (apartments) which looked like tiny match boxes stuffed on top of each other. In India, such streets are dotted with places to eat and these little food joints have been around for so many years that they turn into local favorites.

Sinfully Spicy - Tandoori Chicken #indianfoodThere was is a take out restaurant which was one of our favorites for non vegetarian food in the area. All you notice as a passerby were two or three young men wearing colored vests standing in front of the clay oven (tandoor)on one side,their hands stained in spices skewing marinated birds and tikka on to the slender iron bars, and some making rumali roti (paper thin flatbreads) on the other side. The aroma of smoke & cooked dough clinged to the blanket of air surrounding the entrance and the eternal long queue at the coupon station was a common sight.The place looked terribly modest with no neon painted claims of best food in the area or banners of farm raised or organic stuff. One taste and you know its authentic mughlai cuisine, rich in flavor and honest in preparation. Simply put,- the tandoor at the joint popped out one of the most delicious chicken I have eaten ever.

Sinfully Spicy - Tandoori Chicken #indianfoodWhen we went to Delhi last year, I made sure that the husband tastes the food from there. I remember we ordered garlicy naan, butter chicken and tandoori chicken for home delivery. Its been quite a while and we still talk about the meal from that night so you know what I mean. There must be thousands of places in Delhi serving bestest tandoori chicken but this little restaurant thriving in a tiny pocket of big city is where most of my family memories are woven around – of celebration, of laughter of cheerful Sunday meals around the table.

Sinfully Spicy - Tandoori Chicken #indianfoodThis recipe  took me quite a few attempts to get together. In India,the tandoori is more charred and blackish in appearance  than the orange hued you see here at restaurants. Infact, if you use good quality turmeric and kashmiri chilli powder, ideally the reddish-orange color should come along on its own during high heat roasting. In India, we do not eat chicken skin, so whenever making tandoori, use skinless chicken, the meat should be succulent and moist on the inside & chewy on the outside (not crispy).

Sinfully Spicy - Tandoori Chicken #indianfood

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks  (my package weighed total 2 lb, you could use any dark meat cut)
  • oil for basting
  • For serving – Chaat masala, onion slices, lemon wedges, fresh chopped cilantro.

First Marinade

  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne (adjust to tolerance)

Second Marinade

  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 black cardamom, seeds only
  • 1 green cardamom, seeds only
  • 2 cloves
  • 8 raw cashews, broken (or use 2 tbsp cashew meal)
  • 1 small twig of cinnamon (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup thick plain yogurt
  • 1″ fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1.25 tbsp chaat masala
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (this lends the color,not the heat)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • scant pinch of ajwain (carrom seeds)
  • 1 tbsp ghee, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp good quality saffron threads (optional)

Notes:

  1. Indian cinnamon is quite sharp as compared to the sweet cinnamon used in the west, that’s why I have noted a small quantity, adjust as per taste but do not go overboard.
  2. Black Cardamom has no substitute in this recipe. It has a woody, strong flavor and aroma much different that the sweet smelling cardamom. If you do not have it simply skip it.
  3. Chaat Masala is a tangy blend of spices which is used in indian cuisine.In this recipe it makes the marinade thick as well as lends it distinct hints of sharpness & smokiness,if you do not have it, use some lemon juice and a bit of roasted cumin powder in its place. If you want you can order online  or buy at indian/pakistani store. It keeps well for almost a year and can be used in salads, roasted vegetables or meats etc.
  4. You can make the tandoori marinade and immediately freeze it up to a month. When using, thaw it in the refrigerator and mix in the proteins or vegetables you are using.
  5. I recommend not using lean or boneless cuts like chicken breast for making tandoori because the high heat of cooking will immediately make the poultry chewy. You could use whole boneless thighs though.

Method

Skin the chicken and wash it under a running steam of water. Using paper towels, completely pat the chicken dry.Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the chicken and place in a bowl. Thoroughly rub the chicken with lemon juice, salt and chili powder. Set in the refrigerator.

Lightly crush the the black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon in mortar & pestle.Place them into the blender. Add the cashews, yogurt,ginger, garlic, garam masala, chaat masala, kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, nutmeg, ajwain, ghee, saffron and salt to the blender.Blend everything very very well till a smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate this paste for 30 minutes for flavors to mix.(If its not very hot, you can leave it on the kitchen counter top else in the fridge so that yogurt does not turn sour)

Mix in the chicken and the marinade and let sit refrigerated for 18-24 hours (at least). This time of marination is really important. You could marinate up to 2 days in advance.

Once ready to cook, leave the chicken pieces out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes cleaning easy) and set a rack over it. Also, preheat your oven to its highest temperature  (600 F in my case). Place the chicken pieces over the rack and roast for 20 -25 minutes or until done, basting liberally with oil. Use a lot of oil for basting, this is very important for a moist chicken. You will need to open up the oven door and brush the chicken 3-5 times, keep on turning it to cook on all sides. Alternatively you could grill the chicken outdoors,basting it at intervals

Serve hot immediately with chaat masala, onion slices, lemon wedges, fresh chopped cilantro.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

Layered Mango & Raspberry Dessert

Sinfully Spicy :Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertSinfully Spicy :Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertRemember I mentioned that I made two desserts back to back over the 4th of July weekend? This is the second one besides the mango pudding. It is rather an assembly than a cooked or baked dessert but it came out so well. It is a spontaneous idea that I trying to share with you.But this layered thing came out so well and mainly because it is the best thing I have made so far this summer,I wanted to share it. Share it badly so you can try it this season itself before the mango & berries are gone. I don’t even know what to call it, maybe an indian cassatta because that’s closest to what I had in mind when I was it putting together. Maybe an ice cream cake? Or let’s just call it a frozen-layered-dessert. 

Sinfully Spicy :Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertLiterally, I played with food. I just had an idea to start with and few leftovers – mango puree after making the pudding, cake slices and heavy cream nearing expiration. A dessert which brings together pound cake, ice cream, berries, mangoes and cream and nuts(if you like)could hardly not taste good. It like hitting the bull’s eye standing at arm’s length. This was a bomb.Literally. It is not everyday that the husband complains that I should have considered a 8 or 9 inch round instead of the little 6 inch cake pan. But then, I wanted to finish off the leftovers rather than start something new in itself. Anyhow.

Sinfully Spicy :Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertSinfully Spicy :Layered Mango &  Raspberry DessertYou can use the recipe just as a guideline and play around with whatever flavor or textures you like. I wanted to sneak in some dried mixed fruits and nuts but held back since the other half is not very fond of textures in food (how boring, right?). Whatever, make this dessert before summer ends and if your kids are of that age, involve them in the fun too.

Sinfully Spicy - Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertIt took me half a day to put all these layers all together – freezing the previous one and topping with next one and all. But so worth it. When I saw family asking for second or third serving, I decided that the next time I make this, it would be a 9″ or 10″ round.

Sinfully Spicy :Layered Mango & Raspberry DessertPrintable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes a 6″ round)

  • 4-5 slices pound cake
  • 1 tbsp rum mixed with 1 tsp powdered sugar (or any liquor of choice or you could use simple sugar syrup in case you do not want the alcohol)
  • Fresh raspberries, mango to serve

For the Mango Ice cream Layer

  • 20 oz mango ice cream, softened (I used Haagen Dazs)
  • 1/3 cup mango puree

For the Raspberry Layer

  • 2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-3 tbsp sugar (to taste, depending on how tart the berries are)

For the Whipped Cream Layer

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • Few drops of vanilla

For the Top Mango Layer (You could use softened mango sorbet if you do not get mango puree)

  • 1 cup mango puree
  • 1/8 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (optional)

Method

Line a 6″ cake pan with plastic cling film such that the film covers the edges of the pan. This makes it easier to pull out the entire round once it has frozen.

Pulse the cake slices lightly in your food processor. You could arrange the cake slices as it is on the bottom of the pan too. Soak the cake with the rum mixture. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the other layers. In a bowl, mix the softened ice-cream with 1/2 cup mango puree and set in the fridge.

In another bowl, macerate the raspberries in sugar and lemon juice  and let stand for 15-20 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, using a fork, mash the raspberries or you could blend them into a smooth puree. Save about 1/3 cup  of this raspberry sauce to serve later.Refrigerate till ready to use.

In a third bowl, lightly whip up heavy cream with sugar & vanilla till it gets thickish. You don’t even need to go to soft peaks stage.Refrigerate till ready to use.

In another bowl, whisk the mango puree, cardamom powder and sugar (if using, depends on how sweet you want the top layer) and refrigerate.

Now, take out the cake pan and top the sponge cake layer with mango ice cream layer.Set in the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour till the ice cream is firm. Add the raspberry layer next followed by cream and mango puree layer. Its just the matter of letting the previous layer set in the freezer before you add the next one. Once all the layers are done, let the dessert set in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours till completely firm and solid.

Slice using a sharp knife dipped in hot water and immediately serve chilled with fresh fruit and raspberry sauce.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Rajma Masala

Sinfully Spicy - Rajma Masala, Red Kidney Beans CurrySpice laden tomato(ey) sauce, gooey beans, hints of cinnamon and cardamom, steamed rice on the side and lots of fresh cilantro on top.This pretty much sums up rajma (kidney beans)-chawal(rice). Quite similar to the warming pot roast, we pretty much savor this dish every other Sunday afternoon in the house followed by a long nap which by all means is the necessary element of the brunch ritual. This north indian kidney beans curry is spicy and comforting, all of you who love beans and a side of carbohydrate (potatoes/rice) would know how addictive it can get, just few minutes into eating.

Sinfully Spicy - Rajma Masala, Red Kidney Beans CurryWhen I think something comforting – an event, a memory, food, travel or in general, any milestone of life, I want to be in that moment and think more and even more about it.These days, I seem to remember my home in India a lot. The routine of daily life back there keeps on flashing in my mind now and then.Our domestic help sitting on the floor peeling and chopping squash, talking about the other homes she works in, mum next to her and grinding fresh chilies and garlic in our decade old mortar & pestle. They discussed nuances of long power cuts- the preparations that precede it, casually chatting about unusually above normal temperatures and yet how late monsoons have been this year. In between, my mum would pour her elaichi chai with few crumbly rusks, both having a good ladies time.

While I brew my green tea on summer afternoons, my lil daughter napping, I also prepare dinner side by side, it is such a pleasant time to dig pockets of such spontaneous memories when I am all by myself in the house. It’s a warm feeling – nostalgic & bitter – sweet at the same time.

Sinfully Spicy - Rajma Masala, Red Kidney Beans CurryWhen I severely miss home, it’s just left to the meals to comfort us. Talk about comforting and rajma masala is my soul food. Not only because of how hearty it is but also because how uncomplicated the flavors are.Its bright and nourishing, its simple and doesnt need you to baby sit the pot. You could start with a simple masala, add the beans, let simmer and done. As a variation add vegetables (I am thinking whole baby potatoes or even few chopped greens here), why not? I personally like to serve it alongside paneer bhurji, rounding off our punjabi meal.

Sinfully Spicy - Rajma Masala, Red Kidney Beans CurryIf you happen to taste this dish at restaurants, it comes rich and heavy, the base recipe remains similar but the final dish is finished with butter and cream. Most Indian restaurants in the west do not cook like how indians cook at home. I don’t know how this piling on of the fat started.The way rajma masala is made in rural, punjabi homes is a far cry from the overbearing use of butter and cream, it is homely and essentially what true Indian food is like. That said, stay clear of butter pool and make this kidney bean curry –  delicious, healthy & comforting!

Sinfully Spicy - Rajma Masala, Red Kidney Beans Curry

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup red kidney beans, raw (make sure the beans are not more than 6 months old, I buy my stock from Whole Foods)
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1/4 heaping cumin seeds
  • small twig of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 fresh Thai green chillies, whole or slit (adjust to tolerance)

For the Sauce

  • 5 tbsp mustard or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (slightly sour)
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder/cayenne (adjust quantity to tolerance)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt
  • Chopped cilantro

Method

Cooking the beans

Note – Skip this step if using canned beans, add the whole spices listed under cooking the raw beans at the time when you make the sauce. I highly feel that raw beans is an amazing way to start this recipe and that stock from boiling them adds way lot of flavor to the dish and totally recommend it.

Soak the kidney beans in enough water overnight or for at least 8 hours. This is an important step if you are using raw beans, if not soaked enough, the recipe will not turn out well. Once the beans have swelled, drain and discard the water. Transfer the kidney beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3.5 cups water, cloves, cardamom, tejpatta, cumin, cinnamon, oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Close the lid of the cooker and pressure cook on medium heat for 2-3 whistles or till the beans are 95% cook. An easy indicator to know if the beans have cooked is that the skin starts peeling off from few of them but the shape is intact. You could cook the beans open in on stove top till tender for approximately 45-50 minutes.

Once the beans have cooked, pick up the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, tejpatta and discard. Transfer the cooked beans and stock to a bowl and mix in the ginger and whole chillies. Let sit while you make the sauce.

Making the Sauce

In the same cooking pot/pressure cooker that you boiled the beans,add the oil and heat on medium till you see ripples on the surface.If using mustard oil, you will need to heat tills it’s about to smoke so that the raw smell goes away.

Reduce heat to slightly and add the finely chopped onions and garlic and cook them till golden brown. About 6-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes next along with chili, coriander,turmeric and amchoor powder. Cook this masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes. If you see masala sticking to the bottom of pan, add some stock. Cook thoroughly.This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, please do not rush.Allow the masala to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color.

Add the boiled beans to the pot next along with all the stock.Check and adjust the salt. Add the garam masala & kasuri methi. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.

Once the beans have simmered, removed from heat and let sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours.

Serve warm garnished with cilantro.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Mango Pudding

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Custard (eggless)On days when I have to have a dessert, either we drive down to Freeds Bakery, or just about any bakery that is open after 8 pm and I bing on a slices of florentine cheesecakes and parisian chocolate cake or almond croissants with extra shot of espresso and phew, I am covered for a week. If its way too late to step out I make this quick pudding. The sugar rush is taken care of in hardly any time- because I like it lightly warm.

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Custard (eggless)After a dessert making hiatus of over two months, (when I made these ladoos),this long weekend,while the husband was pretty much glued to world cup for most part of the day, I whipped up a couple of them back to back.It started with this mango pudding after I got reminded of this childhood favorite in one of the indian buffets and the other one was put together rather compulsively because I wanted to finish up that 20oz of mango puree leftovers.

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Custard (eggless)Done right, this could be a luscious dessert that you can put together in no time. My mom used to make a lot of pudding for after dinner treats growing up, I remember how in winters, the warm, luscious vanilla custard was topped with caramelized apples while the chilled mango version was a summer thing. In the most clumsy way, I always licked that velvety, thick thing more from the back of the spoon and it was gooey and almost coated all your taste buds – comforting just like a sweet dish should be!

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Pudding  (eggless)This eggless custard is such a breeze to make and one of those baby steps in indian dessert cooking, infact the recipe is a no brainer, cornstarch is used to thicken the sweetened dairy and then you let it sit in the refrigerator to set. The only way to spoil it is during the time when the mixture is on stove (I say that from experience), its slightly tricky to stop cooking just when the custard begins to thicken and though I have noted times in the recipe, I strongly recommend you to trust your instincts and gut when the stove is on.

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Custard (eggless)The pudding can be served as it is,with any kind of seasonal fruits you like. You can fill up a tart base for a decadent dessert or top it with few teaspoons of sugar and brûlée it (ideas!) Do not mix fresh fruit with the custard unless you are serving all of it right away, this way it can keep good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Sinfully Spicy : Mango Custard (eggless)

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 4-5)

  • 2 cups mango puree
  • 1 tiny black cardamom, seeds only
  • 200 ml whole milk, cold
  • 200 ml heavy cream, cold
  • 2.5-3 tbsp cornstarch (known as cornflour in India)
  • 3-5 tbsp sugar (adjust to taste)
  • drop of almond extract
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins (or any dried fruit of choice)
  • Grapes, Mangoes, berries (or any fruit of choice to serve)

Notes

  • I use tinned mango-saffron puree available in indian/pakistani stores, if using fresh, choose the sweetest mango variety.You can add little bit of saffron for color and flavor.
  • Black cardamom has a really strong woody aroma so be careful when using it. You can substitute with green cardamom powder, though its taste & aroma will be entirely different (but good).
  • You can substitute the heavy cream with whole milk but the cream makes the custard nicely rich and (of course) creamy and delicious.
  • Adjust the quantity of corn starch and sugar depending on how runny and sweet your mango puree is. Different brands have different liquid and sugar content.
  • The correct consistency for the chilled custard is that it should be ‘ribbony’ when you pour it.

Method

Crush the cardamom seeds and mix with mango puree. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix cold milk, cream and cornstarch. Whisk thoroughly till all the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pour the mix in a pot on low-medium heat. Whisking continuously let the mixture warm up. It will take about 5-6 minutes. Once you start seeing little bubbles on the sides, reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk. The mixture will thicken fast now and you need to keep a watch.

Once the milk-cream mixture is thickened and starts to bubble in the middle too, immediately add the mango puree. Whisk thoroughly and let cook on lowest heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and combine well. Cook for a minute or so more. Remove from heat and add the almond extract. Let sit on counter to cool down a bit. Strain using your soup strainer in a bowl so that any lumps are removed. At this point, you can mix the dried fruit if using. They will swell lightly as the pudding chills. Tear a cling film and place it right on the surface of the pudding, this avoids the formation of skin as the pudding chills.

Chill overnight or for at least 5-6 hours. Serve with fresh fruit/nuts of choice.

Enjoy &Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce

Sinfully Spicy ; Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce #indianfood #seafood #curryOver the years, I have changed this recipe a lot from how mom used to make it. When one of our neighbors gave it to her some 8-9 years back, in the most unexpected way we embraced it in our cooking and more so instantly loved it just because it broke the monotony of the ‘only’ fish curry that we had been eating all the while.

In India a lot of exchange of food and gossip happens with neighbors.This aunty (as we fondly call anybody other than family back there),her house eternally smelled of cakes and good food but this recipe is one of the best things that she shared with us. She churned the tomatoes with nigella and mustard seeds to the point that they become almost velvety. Instantly, the blend hit the hot, virgin mustard oil, a loud sizzle, and boom, the sharp aroma choked up all your senses along with the piquancy of turmeric and fenugreek.Then the masala (spice paste) got slow fried for a good half and hour till it got brown and caramelized. The crisp, deep-fried fish steaks from the other side of on the stove stove finally met the party along with few cups of water and slit green chilies. The soup then simmered for another half and hour and rested till meal time. That light tart, soupy sauce ladled over steaming rice was all you could ask for on hot summer evenings.

Sinfully Spicy ; Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce #indianfood #seafood #curry
Sinfully Spicy ; Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce #indianfood #seafood #curryI remember how growing up we would not eat much of seafood from April to August since these summer months were categorized as the breeding season, quite contrary to here in the States when essentially seafood is labelled as ‘summer foods. A couple of weeks back I visited our asian seafood store after a gap of year or so and could not help but gorge on the vast choices available – crabs, shellfish, live lobster and what not. I really can’t tell you why this place is one of my favorite,the fact that I can get the freshest black pomfret and indian mackerel here – cut and cleaned ‘my’ way or because of the produce which I do not find in my regular grocery store – taro root, banana leaves, bitter melon squash. Not to forget – fresh jackfruit and lychees!

Sinfully Spicy ; Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce #indianfood #seafood #curryI bought home fresh tilapia thinking about this curry all the way. With the temperature hitting over 110 degrees F in my part of the world as the Independence day approaches, I could not think of an easy and light meal than this one.

You might try to find an east indian influence in the recipe but sadly it will disappoint you. The use of tomatoes and garam masala lend this quick recipe the right amount of tart, acidic and smoky profile to balance the piquancy of mustard and nigella. I do not deep fry the fish even though that is how it should be done. Also I add a little bit of garlic because the sauce tastes better than without.

Sinfully Spicy ; Fish in a Light Mustard Sauce #indianfood #seafood #curry

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 lb fish ( 4-5 steaks,I used tilapia)
  • 1 tsp virgin mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil

For the Sauce

  • 1.5 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves,minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp virgin mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp virgin mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup fresh tomato puree
  • 2 green chillies, slit open (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 – 1.5 cup water (depending on the sauce consistency you desire)

Notes 

  1. The sauce from this recipe has a pronounced mustard taste and a bitter end note. We like it this way. However, you can reduce the mustard quantity to not less than 3/4 tsp for a mild flavor.
  2. I used fresh roma tomatoes in this recipe so didn’t feel the need to add any souring agent (like lemon juice or amchoor /dry mango powder), you could add them at the end of cooking if you feel that the sauce needs some tart.
  3. Mustard oil is traditionally used in for the curry and it enhances the taste of the sauce. I cannot suggest a substitute but you can use any neutral oil.The curry will taste different though. 

Method

Clean the fish. Pat dry with a paper towel and rub with 1 tsp mustard oil and turmeric. Set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Grind mustard and nigella seeds to a powder (not very fine) using your coffee grinder. In a small bowl, mix with garlic, turmeric , 1/2 tsp mustard oil and red chili powder. Add 2 tbsp water to make a paste. Refrigerate this paste along with fish for 2 hours. (do not skip this refrigeration part)
 
After 2 hours, take out the fish and mustard paste from the refrigerator and set on the kitchen counter.
 
In a wide, non stick pan, heat up the 1 tsp oil on medium. Layer the marinated fish steaks on the pan and sear both the sides of the steak.About 2 minutes on each side (this time will depend on the variety and thickness of your fish). Put the stove off and let sit.
 
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai, pour the 3 tbsp mustard oil and heat it on medium till you see ripples on the surface.Reduce the heat to low, wait for a minute and temper the oil with fenugreek seeds. Sauté for 20 seconds till you smell the aroma. Next, reduce heat to low and very carefully add the ground mustard paste. While adding to hot oil, the paste will splutter a lot so be careful.Cook the paste on low heat for 2-3 minutes till you see oil starting to separate on sides of the pan. Add the salt, tomatoes puree and mix well.Let cook on low heat,or about 10-12 minutes, stirring in between so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the paste till you see oil separating on the sides of the pan as well as it changing color to deep reddish-yellow. Make sure that all the water has evaporated and the masala is thick and shiny. Again, as the tomatoes cook,they splutters a lot, be careful.
Once the paste has cooked, add the water, green chillies, cilantro and garam masala,check the salt and bring to a boil on medium low heat. Once boiling,add the pan fried fish along with the drippings in the pan if any. Also add the sugar. Cover and let cook for about 5-8 minutes. (this time will depend on the variety and thickness of your fish, cook till the fish is done)
 
Remove from heat, and let sit for at least an hour before serving. Serve warm with steamed rice. You could squirt some lemon juice at the end if you like.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Semolina & Quinoa Upma (Savory Porridge)

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastWhile the whole world has gone crazy over quinoa and come back, here I am, a food snob you may call who never liked it. I found it gritty and bitter and terribly failed to admire it.When everyone was riding the quinoa bandwagon a few years back, just when I had just entered the food blogging world, I could barely tolerate it in puddings with loads of nuts and cardamom thrown in to cover its taste. I stopped buying it because I felt intimidated by it.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastA couple of months back, at Whole foods check out, I spotted a packet of red quinoa on sale and I almost jumped on it (more because it was a good deal a Wholefoods & less for the deal itself), anyhow I got it home again. A week before that, I had spotted this delicious looking salad in bon appetit paired with a beautiful chunk of fish and I decided to give quinoa another chance thinking that my love for fish and pistachios will pass over the dislike when they all are plated together.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIt turned out that red quinoa was such a revelation. Vastly tastier and less stinky than the plain one. I liked the nuttiness and the earthly flavor which I didn’t admire much during the first years. And the fact that even though you are eating a grain but not piling up on carbohydrates, proteins & fibre instead was such a cool thing.

I would not say that quinoa is a favorite thing in the kitchen yet like rice or oats and even tough I am still a far away from eating it all on its own but we are enjoying it a lot mixed in with other grains, vegetables and or serving it alongside proteins.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIn India, upma is a hugely popular breakfast down south. I love it. Its a brave thing to say for someone who likes to start the day with stuffed parathas(flatbreads), but there is something really comforting about upma.Light, moist and speckled with nuts and crunchy bite of lentils and mustard seeds,  I woke up to upma and rice idlis (steamed cakes) during the short two month trip that I chanced upon in Chennai.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastUpma is whole grain savory, thick porridge with flavorings thrown in and mostly is traditionally served alongside a dry spice powder.Even though the sooji/suji (semolina) version is more popular in the rest of the country, anything from short grain rice to tapioca pearls to vermicelli to coarse rice powder can be used to prepare this wholesome porridge which could really be a nice, light meal in itself on a hot summer day.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfast

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  •  1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I use this tutorial to cook )
  • 4 tbsp oil (I use half olive and half coconut, you could use ghee too)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dal
  • 8-9 fresh curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 Thai green chilies, slit (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2-3 tbsp raisins
  • Fresh Lemon Juice to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish

Method

On a low heat, dry roast the semolina till it begins to turn light brown. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and let cool.

In a heavy bottomed, wide pan/kadhai, heat up the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, wait till they crackle. Be careful because the seeds splutter a lot. Add the chana and urad dal next and cook for 30-40 seconds till they change color to light brown. Lower the heat and add the ginger, curry leaves and green chilies. Wait till they crackle and you see blisters on chili skin.

Next, add the onion to the pan and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes till it starts to soften but does not change color. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes till they begin to soften. At this point, add the roasted semolina and cooked quinoa to the pan with 1.5 cups of water. Also, add the salt. Lower the heat and let water reduce, do not stir much. The semolina will swell up and just when the water has reduced by a little more than half, turn off the heat. Add the raisins and lemon juice and gently toss everything together.

Let sit for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork and all the water will be absorbed. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!

 

Malai Kofta

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfoodGrowing up,we ate at home daily. Dining out was at the most once in a month thing,that too usually in the form of a take out. No matter what was ordered,we always looked forward to it just because it was a different taste and broke the routine of everyday food. My uncle would get that dreamy, delicious special butter chicken and rotis from our favorite place in the town and that was it. In complete contrast to the way eating out is a way of life in today’s world, in those days it was considered a luxury.

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfoodLike most indian homes, our daily meals were whole wheat flat breads,steamed rice alongside lentils and simple vegetable or protein curry.Only when the craving turned to demand for something special aka restaurant like,it was best recreated in the home kitchen. On those once in a blue moon occasions that creamy curries and naan were cooked from scratch – usually for a birthday party or day of results or a wedding anniversary and the dinner table received its calorie laden share of adulation.

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfoodOne of dishes I liked a lot from those days was malai kofta which is sort of a vegetarian version of meatballs in a tomato based rich sauce.It was fragrant and sweetish and nutty the way mom cooked it, paired beautifully well with fine flour flatbreads.

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfoodI rarely make creamy curries at home. Not that I don’t love them but I am a bit chicken to witness all that butter and cream business that they require.For last couple of weeks, I am hit with this intense craving to eat rich foods and I am cooking korma, biryanis and what not. I made this curry probably two or three times and it came out really good.

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfood

Malai (Creamy or Melt in the mouth) Kofta (dumpling/balls) is an extremely popular muglai dish in India. An orange hued sauce with pillowy,stuffed cheese and potato dumplings scattered in, just waiting to be scooped with soft bread (even though husband mixed it in with rice!). There is always a side of kachumber or salad or few cut up raw veggies to add freshness and a pickle (mostly this) to spice things up. As opposed to being baby food textured, the chunky sauce we prefer has little bits of cashews and raisins which pop in the mouth here and there.Yum!

Sinfully Spicy - Malai Kofta, Cheese Balls in Creamy Tomato Sauce #indianfoodPrintable Recipe

Ingredients  (Serves 3-4)

For the Koftas (Makes 12)

  • 6 oz paneer
  • 2 small potatoes,boiled
  • 1.5-2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • salt
  • To stuff the koftas : 2-3 tbsp finely chopped nuts, raisins, cilanto, chili (optional)
  • Oil for frying +more

For the Sauce

  • 3-4 medium size tomatoes
  • 1/2 ” cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 clove
  • 2 small green cardamom,cracked open
  • 1 small black cardamom, cracked open (substitute with green ones)
  • 1 tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1/3 cup ground onion paste (I use red, you could use yellow or white)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp corainder powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew paste
  • Salt
  • 1/4 tsp(heaped) garam masala 
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1-2 tbsp of golden raisins (optional)
  • sugar (to taste)

Notes -

  • Stuffing the koftas is optional.You can fry up little balls of dough just as is and add to the sauce.
  • You can replace the heavy cream with coconut cream to make this sauce vegan. Instead of paneer, you could make dumplings with grated squash, pumpkin or chopped greens and dunk them in that flavorful sauce. You could use tofu too but remember to adjust the quantity of corn starch needed for binding.
  • I soak 15-20 raw cashews in warm water for 30 minutes and then blend them with water(as little as possible required) to make the paste. You could use ready to use cashew meal and make a thick paste with water instead.Even almonds or melon/sunflower seeds (for nut allergic) can be used in this recipe but the taste will change completely.
  • The sauce from this recipe is more spicy(in a nice way) than sweet. Since I use raisins, we didn’t feel the need to add sugar but you can add sugar to taste at the end.

Method

Making the Koftas

Fine grate the paneer and potatoes.In a bowl, mix both with cornstarch, pepper and salt. Mix and mash to get a smooth,lump free dough. Moisten you palms with oil,take a small portion of dough and flatten it between your palms. Place a very small quantity of chopped dry fruits, cilantro etc in the center. Bring the edges together and seal completely. Take care not to put too much of a stuffing else the koftas will burst open while frying. Make all the koftas in similar fashion and set on a plate. Refrigerate the koftas for about 15 minutes before frying. Meanwhile you can start making the sauce as below.

Shallow fry or deep fry the koftas on medium heat until golden brown on each sides.Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Making the Sauce

In a small pot, bring 1.5 cups of water to boil. Using a sharp knife, make light incisions on the top of the tomatoes. Once water is boiling, add cinnamon stick to it along with the tomatoes. Let boil for 5-8 minutes, such that the skin of tomatoes starts coming off. Take out the tomatoes using a slotted spoon, let cool and reserve the water. Discard the cinnamon.

Once the tomatoes are cooled,peel off the skins and blend them. Set aside.

Heat up the oil in a large pot and temper it with cloves, tejpatta and cardamom.Wait till they crackle,about 30 seconds.Add the onion paste to next along with minced garlic and ginger.Saute for 5-6 minutes till starting to turn light brown.

Add the coriander, turmeric, chili powder next and sauté for less than a minute. Add the blended tomatoes and cashew paste and reduce heat to low.Let cook slowly till you see little bubbles of oil separating on sides of the pan and the paste glistening. At this point, first taste and adjust the salt and add the reserved water depending on how thick/thin you want the sauce. (I usually add 1 cup of water and reserve the rest for later since the curry thickens later/next day). Also add the kasuri methi and garam masala(if using). On low heat, let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes till it thickens.

Add the heavy cream and raisins next and simmer (not boil) on very low heat for another 2-3 minutes.Once the sauce has simmered, let sit for at least 45mins-1hour or till ready to serve.

Once ready to serve, warm up the sauce and add koftas to it. Once you have added the koftas, do not touch with spoon much else they will break.

Serve immediately. You can garnish with cilantro, cashews or grated paneer.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

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