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Carrot Zarda

This post is sponsored by Authentic Royal Foods.

Rice is symbolic of prosperity in Indian culture and an integral part if all our festivals.Right from childhood, I can hardly remember any celebrations when rice wasn’t cooked on auspicious days. From festive pulaos to kheer to soaking and grinding rice and using it for decorations of the prayer room, it has always been in every way imaginable.

Diwali is a little over two weeks away and around this time of the year, I start jotting down our Diwali Menu. Over years our menu has evolved into a beautiful amalgamation of old traditional recipes and flavors that I eat and experience around here in the States.Any festival menu in our house is incomplete without basmati rice dishes prepared and my go to always has been royal basmati rice.

Diwali is a little over two weeks away and around this time of the year, I start jotting down our Diwali Menu. Over years our menu has evolved into a beautiful amalgamation of old traditional recipes and flavors that I eat and experience around here in the States.Any festival menu in our house is incomplete without basmati rice dishes prepared and my go to always has been royal basmati rice.

In this recipe I combine the flavors of classic american carrot cake with indian meethe chawal or zarda. Ghee sautéed shredded carrots, orange zest, pecans, candied pineapple and warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon bubble with long grain basmati rice and sugar syrup filling the air of house with enticing aroma. If you serve this wing a dollop of whipped cream cheese(which you totally should),it leaves you with the warm fuzzy feeling after eating a moist carrot cake.

Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup authentic royal basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp food color – orange, yellow whichever you wish

For the Tempering

  • 2 tbsp + 1/3 cup ghee
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar + 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, warm
  • 10-12 saffron strands infused in 1 tbsp of warm milk
  • 1 tsp fresh grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews
  • 1/3 cup candied pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Fresh ground nutmeg, a generous pinch
  • Pomegranate arils for garnish
  • Extra nuts for garnish.

Method

Wash rice under 2-3 streams of running water. Set aside.

In a large pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add pinch of salt and add washed rice to the pot.Stir gently and boil for 8 minutes on low medium till rice is 90% cooked.

While the rice is boiling, start prepare the tempering however keep an eye on rice. In a shallow wide, non stick pot /kadai (with lid), first saute the cashews & pecans in a 1 tablespoons of ghee until they are toasted. Transfer to a bowl. Next, add another tablespoon of ghee and add the pineapple and raisins, saute them for just few seconds. Take out in the same bowl as the nuts. Se aside.

On the second stove, set a large tawa or cast iron griddle (larger than the pot you are using for zarda) to heat up. We will use it for dum cooking.

Add 1/3 cup of ghee to the pan. Once the ghee is warm, reduce heat to low and temper it with cinnamon and cloves. Saute for about 20 seconds till you smell the aroma. Next add the carrots and saute for 1-2 minutes. By this time rice would be 90% done, strain the rice. Immediately add the rice to the kadai layering it over the the carrots (do not dump). Add the orange zest and sprinkle both kinds of sugar. Also add the warm milk. Very gently, using a spatula, mix the rice to mix with everything. Cover with a tight lid.

By this time, the cast iron griddle or tawa would have been heated. Place the rice pot/kadai on it and set the stove to low(not very low). Let dum cook for 20-25 minutes till rice is cooked. This time will depend on quality of your rice, please adjust from experience.

Add the nuts and saffron milk next along with pinch of nutmeg. Don’t stir. Cover the lid and let dum cook for another 5-8 minutes. Switch off the stove, take the kadai off the griddle and leave undisturbed for atleast 20 minutes.

Fluff gently with rice spoon from a side and mix everything. Serve it warm in a wide dish garnished with more nuts, pomegrante arils or however you wish.

Enjoy!

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Ramdana (Popped Amaranth) Ladoos


The windows of my grandma’s kitchen directly opened into the cemented aangan(backyard) next to which was a huge vegetable patch. Lying just below the window there used to be a heavy, long and wide takhat (wooden bench) one side of which was the resting place for all the pickles and papad she made throughout the season while the cushioned part of was where she sat and chopped vegetables for dinner.

When she popped ramadan(amaranth) seeds for making the ladoos, we climbed over the bench and hung over the kitchen window to witness the process. The amaranth seeds would fly all over the stove off the hot kadai, they made a crackling sound and she held a large brass dish to cover the kadai every now and then.Next, she melted the amber colored soft desi gud(jaggery) in the kadai and it bubbled and bubbled before being mixed with the popped amaranth seeds. At that, time I didn’t have a clue or two about culinary terms, but the drama presented by these simple & rustic ingredients was one of the most delightful and stimulating sights in the kitchen.

It will take a few batches to decide the right amount of heat needed to pop the amaranth seeds without burning them. You can pop a day in advance and keep ready for the day you want to make ladoos. These ladoos can be stored for 3 weeks at room temperature, they are so nutritious and one of my favorite ways is to crumble them in a bowl of warm milk and eat,so comforting 🙂 You can add few crushed nuts to these like peanuts or almonds or dried fruit like raisins to these, but I keep them simple and let the taste of the grain shine.

Recipe

Ingredients (makes 10-12 ladoos)

  • 1 cup ramdana/rajgira (amaranth seeds)
  • 1 cup jaggery (about 200 gms), crumbled
  • 2 tsp softened ghee (or substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Method

Clean the amaranth seeds by spreading them on a wide dish and picking out the black ones, tiny stones etc.

Heat up a heavy bottomed kadai or a deep pot (you can use dutch oven) to high. Once pot is really hot, add a pinch of amaranth seeds to test. If they start popping immediately without a time lag, the pot is ready else wait a little more to get it hop. Please check this video link, it explains rightly how to pop amaranth seeds.

Add 1/2 tbsp of amaranth at a time to the hot pot, cover the pot and continously shake the pot itself so that the seeds don’t burn. When popped, the seeds immediately turn whitish in color.

Sieve the puffed seeds from the pot using a colander to separate the un popped seeds from the popped ones. You can grind the un popped seeds and make a flour and add to roti flour.

Pop all the seeds this week and transfer to a large. In the same kadai add ghee along with jaggery and water. Let the jaggery melt on low medium heat for a bit. Slowly you will see the syrup will start bubbling. At that time, turn off the flame and strain the melted jaggery in the same bowl as the popped amaranth seeds. Add (ghee sautéed) nuts or raisins at this stage if using. Using a wooden spoon, quickly mix such that all the seeds are coated in jaggery syrup.

Wet your hands and quickly bind to make lemon size ladoos while the mixture is still hot. Let cool down on a plate. Serve or store in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

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Sweet potato(Shakarkandi) Peda

Nine day long Hindu festival of Navratri starts today. These melt in the mouth pedas made with earthly sweet potatoes can be offered as prasad as well as eaten if you are fasting. These are unexpectedly creamy and grain free.The beautiful color is natural from the yams and they are such a breeze to make.

The sweet potatoes are sautéed in ghee, which makes them so earthy and then patiently cooked in milk and mawa until they are caramelized and extra delicious. Peda is one of my favorite kind of sweet and I was so happy how this recipe came out.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes about 18 pedas)

  • 2 whole sweet potatoes (yield 200 gms of pulp)
  • 2-3 tbsp softened (not melted) ghee
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp finely ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can go unto 1/3 cup )
  • 50 gms fresh mawa or replace with 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 10-12 saffron threads ground fine in a mortar pestle and infused in 1 tbsp warm milk

Notes –

  1. Substitute sweet potatoes with any kind of yams you like.
  2. I found that pedas were perfectly sweet after adding just a quarter cup of sugar, however you can add more sugar if you wish.
  3. Add cardamom or rosewater in place of saffron.
  4. Add ghee slowly, I start with 2 tbsp and really, you can add upto 5 tablespoons of ghee, the potatoes will absorb it all. Since I was already using mawa and whole milk, I avoided.

Method

Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Add them to a big pot and to the pot add 1.5 to 2 cups of water. Do not let the potatoes submerge in water completely. Let water start boiling, reduce heat to medium low and then cover tightly with a lid.Let the sweet potatoes cook for about 20-25 minutes.Check once or twice in between. Don’t let the sweet potatoes cook to very soft and pulpy, once they are fork tender, use tongs and take them out.Let cool down. Peel the skins once cooled enough to handle(you might need a knife, since these arent very soft) and then using medium size of a box grater, grate the potatoes. Avoid mashing them with fork, they will remain stringy and won’t come out good.

In a wide, 12 inch nonstick pan add the ghee. Once ghee melts, add the sweet potato pulp, milk and sugar. Using a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula start sautĂ©ing the sweet potatoes, continue to do so for about 10-12 minutes on low heat, until all the milk is absorbed and the moisture from the sugar is evaporated. Don’t completely dry out, but the mixture should not be a slurry. Add the almond powder and crumbled mawa (or milk powder) next along with saffron and continue to sautĂ© on low heat.

After about 5-8 minutes you will notice that the mixture is thick and shiny and starts to clump around the spoon/spatula.If you try to fold it over itself, it does it smoothly. At this point, switch off the stove and transfer the peda mix to a plate.

Once cooled down a bit and is easy to handle, gently knead the mix for 2-3 minutes like you knead roti dough. Pinch little portions and roll between palms of make pedas. Makes about 18 pedas. Decorate as you wish.

Store in fridge for 3-4 days.

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Date Apple Pudding Cake

Date Apple Pudding cake with Cardamom Butterscotch sauce. Oooo thats a mouthful. We love pudding cakes. The kids are crazy about them and us too. I start making them as soon as the seasons change and like to keep them frozen as well for a quick treat.

The basic recipe that I been making is same for almost five years now, however I keep on switching things up and this time I added some granny smith apple in the batter. Such beautiful flavors came out of the oven. With the sauce and real dates in the batter, this cake can easily get overwhelmingly sweet, the tart bite that apples added was simply impeccable.

Vanilla is my go to flavor for butterscotch sauce, but few pinches of lemony balmy fresh ground green cardamom makes a lot of difference. I could eat that sauce by the spoonful 🙂

You can freeze these pudding cakes easily, they store well for upto 2 months.Just dont soak them.Cool completely and store in ziplock bags. Always serve them warm. Poke holes in before you add the sauce and let soak for a few minutes before digging in.

Recipe

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 8 oz chopped pitted mejdool dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium granny smith apples (chopped in medium size)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Method

In a medium bowl, add the dates, sprinkle the baking soda and pour boiling water. Let the dates soak for 10-15 minutes. Using a fork or masher, mash the dates into a chunky paste once soaked. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease 6-8 ramekins with melted butter or cooking spray. You can a use a 9 by 9 baking dish as well.

In a bowl, sift together the salt, flour and baking powder. In another medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg one at a time and incorporate. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix using a spatula until just combined.

Fold in the date paste, ginger and apples until combined. Don’t overmix.

Divide the batter into ramekins until 2/3 full and using a spatula smoothen the tops.

Bake the ramekins for 20-23 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you are baking in a pan, check for firm cake in the middle of the pan, it should be springy to touch. The cakes will pull away from the walls of the ramekin and shrink a bit once done and as they cool.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes and the poke a few holes all over. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce and let soak for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out of ramekins on to a plate and serve with extra sauce and whipped cream.

For the Butterscotch Sauce

Make the sauce while the cakes are baking. Combine all the listed ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over low medium heat stirring continuously for 7-8 minutes. This makes about 2 cups of sauce and it can be stored for upto a week refrigerated, you can half the recipe.

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Shakarkandi Chaat

Sharkandi Chaat. One of the healthiest chaat there could be😍 

Warm sweet potatoes tossed with chaat masala, roasted cumin, tangy black salt, green chillies and squirts of fresh lemon. I like to steam the sweet potatoes than roast them. They stay so soft  that way. Followed by a drizzle of smoky sweet date syrup or sugar. A scatter of fresh cilantro & pomegranate arils and done. You can add cut up apples or cucumbers as well if you wish. It’s gluten free and can be easily made vegan.

A winter must have from the streets of Delhi. I could smell the charred shakarkand from a mile away. As you draw near to the thela(cart😄), a whiff of burnt charcoal mixed with intense incense hits your senses. The vendor takes his time to mix up the bowl, meaning you get to witness each step of turning simple coal roasted yams into deliciousness. The yams were not orange there, but tasted same, tossed with sharp, tangy spices and generous heat of chillies. Each cart has his own recipe. The one we always bought from threw in cut up kamrak (the mouth puckering star fruit, anyone remembers?) to balance the sweet – spicy. Yummm. Best.

Chutneys or sev but that’s not traditional. If you use sendha namak(rock salt), this is so perfect for the upcoming fasting  season. 

Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 250gms)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or any vegan cooking oil)
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tbsp hot red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  • 2-3 green chillies(adjust to tolerance) 
  • 1.5 tsp kala namak(Indian black salt) 
  • Table Salt to taste 
  • 1 -2 tbsp lemon juice (adjust to taste) 
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils( or chopped cucumbers or apples
  • 1 tbsp date syrup 
  • Fresh chopped cilantro leaves 

Method

Wash and scrub clean the sweet potato skins. In a cast iron pan, add the potatoes along with 1 cup water. Cover the pan and let the potatoes steam. Check periodically to make sure that the water has not evaporated, keep on tossing the potatoes and add little water as needed. We don’t want to boil them. Steaming makes them retain their moisture and flavor. You can roast them as well if you wish but make sure the retain their shape and are not too mushy.

After about 20-22 mins the potatoes will be fork tender. Cool down and while still warm, peel the skin. Cube the sweet potatoes. 

In a heavy pan/cast iron pan, ghee and add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle a few pinches of salt and toss them around in the hot pan for 3-4 minutes to lightly sautĂ© but don’t crisp them. 

Mix the sweet potatoes with all the spices as listed, adjusting to taste. Add the pomegranate arils and cilantro. Drizzle with extra syrup and serve warm. 

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Creamy Chutney Chicken Sandwich

Thank god it’s almost Friday. It’s been a super busy week and these sandwiches have saved lunches this week. 

I started playing with this recipe sometime when quarantine started in April and finally I think I got there. If you stroll around streets of Delhi, you will find hawkers selling those creamy vegetables/chicken sandwiches. With truck load of mayo and butter in them, slightly sweetish and really delicious.I love them! 

This sandwich is a huge hit in our home.My recipe doesn’t have mayo or butter, it’s elevated by pudina(mint) chutney and lots of fresh herbs and lemon but I think of those sandwiches when I make it. Needs a bit of preparation- cooking chicken, making chutney etc. And lunch gets so easy to put together from there. 

Some blanched petite peas go in, on somedays it’s shredded carrots or spinach. So amazing between soft white sandwhich bread (kids love that way) I like it between rye or sourdough too. Best eaten room temperature like the ones you find on streets. 

Recipe (Makes 4 sandwiches)

For the chicken

  • 1 chicken breast (boneless. skinless, about 8 oz in weight)
  • 3-4 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Mint Chutney

  • 1 bunch mint (about 20 gms), separate the leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 25 gms). removed the stalks
  • 2 thai bird green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tso cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor(dry mango powder) or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Creamy base

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 2-3 tbsp of mint chutney
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped herbs (dill, chives, scallions whatever you have at hand)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha/green chili sauce (optional, leave out for kids)
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste

For the sandwich

  • about 1/3 cup blanched vegetables – peas, carrot jullians, spinach leaves etc
  • 8 slices of white bread

Method

Set a pot of water (about 2 cups) to boil on stove. Add 1/2 salt and peppercorns. When the water is boiling, slowly place the chicken in there. Reduce to a low medium simmer, cover the pot and let boil for 8-10 mins. Switch off the stove.Let the chicken breast cook in residual heat. Adjust time depending on the thickness and quality of chicken breast.

Take the chicken breast out, you can use water as stock for soup etc. Dry the chicken and using two forks, on a cutting board, shred the chicken into thin shreds.

While the chicken is boiling, you can make the chutney. Simply add all the ingredients listed to a blender and blend smooth. Use as less water as possible.

In a large bowl, add everything listed under the “Creamy base” Using a spoon, mix very well. Taste and adjust whatever you feel like- sour, salt, sweet etc. Add the shredded chicken and peas. Mix everything very well. The right consistency of the stuffing is soft and spreadable.

Stuff the chicken filling between slices of bread. Serve!

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Panjiri

Whenever I returned back from hostel, I was greeted by aroma of panjiri that mom made earlier in the day to welcome me after months of hostel food. Panjiri is slow roasted atta (whole wheat flour) massaged with ghee till each speck of flour is moistened and then mixed with all sorts of nuts, seeds, and flavors depending on home to home. We make a few kinds, one which is to eaten post partum with edible gum and all, one which is simpler and mostly kept in the house as a snack and another kind which is made as an offering on festivals.

This morning I made panjiri for it is one of my favorite things to keep around the house during cooler months. I am old fashioned when it comes to snacks, I like the snacks that grandma used to make, ladoos, nut mixes and panjiri 🙂 if eaten in moderation(which I tell you is harder than you think), these snacks are quite wholesome things to feed to your body. I want kids to have a taste of these traditional recipes and develop a sense of appreciation.

It is a work of patience to slow roast the atta in iron kadai, till each grain is turned golden brown. Another kind of patience is to wait till the roasted atta is just rightly cooled down and ready to be mixed with ghee, for if too hot you cannot massage well, and if too cold, you won’t get the right texture- those small granules you see, thats the right texture. Use any selections nuts or raisins as you like. You can add cardamom powder to it,I don’t coz I like to keep the aroma of roasted flour.

Recipe

  • 1.5 cups of atta(whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup- 1/2 cup ghee, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, don’t use confectioner sugar, we can’t a grainy texture (can go upto 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup whole alomnds
  • 1/2 cup makhana
  • 1 -2 tbsp mishri (rock sugar)

Method

In a heavy wide pan/large iron kadai, add the atta. On low heat, stirring often, roast the atta. It will take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to roast the atta. Rushing will give a raw taste to the atta so avoid doing so.
Once the atta is roasted, transfer it to a wide bowl. Let sit. Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp ghee to the same kadai and roast the almonds in it for 2 minutes. Transfer the almonds to the same bowl as you put the atta in. Again add 2 tbsp of ghee to the kadai, and slow roast the makhana in it stirring often. Transfer to the same bowl.

Wait for 5-7 minutes till atta is warm to touch but not cold. Add the sugar. Start adding soft ghee to the atta and massaging it with hands. Incorporate ghee slowly and keep mixing. To check if the right amount of ghee has been added, try to make a ball of the atta, it should bind together loosely into a ball/laddu alike

Mix in the rock sugar and nuts (you can chop or slice or crush the nuts) and any flavorings if using. Store in an air tight container for upto 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

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Hare Kaddu(Pumpkin) Ki Sabzi

One of my favorite, no points for guessing :), things about Autumn is pumpkin, how cliche, right? I look forward to cooking with pumpkin-curries, stir fries, baking. Hara Kaddu is different in taste and texture from the yellow/orange variety. Its not as sweet or stringy. Its quite crisp in texture and I love making mom’s hare kaddu ki sabzi spiced with garlic, hing and dried chilies. The skin is just so delicious and cooks in no time, so don’t peel it. This sabzi goes so well with a bowl of dal and rice or with thin plain rotis or pooris. I was out of jaggery powder today and finished it with date syrup for the smoky sweetness along with mango powder (amchoor) & little kala namak(indian black salt).There are savory, sour and sweet elements in this dish. So so good.

I am finicky about texture in food so I keep a close eye and cook the pumpkin just till its tender. You can cook it little longer if you prefer a more soft vegetable. The finishing touch of ground spices adds so much warmth here.

Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb hara kaddu (or kabocha squash)
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil (or any cooking oil you like)
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder (or adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • a good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kala namak (indian black salt, skip if not available)
  • 1/2 tsp date syrup or jaggery

Dry roast and pound (in a mortar pestle) the following spices to add in end

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cardamom pod(seeds only)
  • 1 gm (tiny) piece of cinnamon

Method

Cut the pumpkin into 2 inch chunks skin on. Discard the seeds and pulp. In an iron kadai/cast iron pan, heat up the mustard oil till its a bit smoky. Take the kadai off the stove, and add the dried chillies, wait for few seconds and temper the oil with fenugreek and fennel seeds.Let the seeds crackle and add garlic and hing to the hot. Return the kadai to the stove and saute everything on low heat for a few seconds, then add the red chilli powder and turmeric to the oil.

Once the powdered spices are very well toasted in oil, add the pumpkin and sprinkle salt. Toss everything together and cover the kadai. Let steam for 5-8 minutes on medium heat till the pumpkin is tender. Cook a little longer if you want the pumpkin to be softer. Uncover the lid and add the ground spices, amchoor powder and black salt.Add jaggery and then toss everything very well. Saute the pumpkin with the spices on medium heat for 2-3 minutes and then switch off the stove. Let sit for 15 mins for flavors to mingle.

Transfer to a dish and serve warm.

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Jardaloo Salli Boti (Parsi Apricot & Meat Dish)


This post is sponsored by Spice Tribe.

This post is sponsored by Spice Tribe.

Happy Autumn!!Meat or chicken with juicy apricots is a popular Parsi Dish. Parsi cuisine has a heavy persian influence and hence use of ingredients like apricot, rosewater and nuts is very popular in the cuisine. Jardaloo (apricot) boti (small meat chunks) is a very simple dish to make, it does not need any fancy ingredients or equipment, just some extra time because in my opinion, slow cooking meat is very important for right flavors and that requires patience. The final dish is a beautiful combination of spicy and sour, with hint of sweet.

I used a selection of single origin and ethically sourced spices by Spice Tribe to make Parsi garam masala which is one of the most important component in this recipe. Parsi garam masala, unlike punjabi garam masala uses more of aromatic, sweet smelling spices like green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg.The resulting blend isn’t very smoky, rather very pleasantly aromatic and so perfect not just for cooking but also as a finishing sprinkle on the dish. I added some toasted coriander seeds and black peppercorns. The resulting spice blend is woody and aromatic and it lends so much depth of flavor to this hearty meat dish.

Spice Tribe spices are sustainably farmed, preservative free and sourced from all over the world. I used wild black cumin to make cumin rice as a side dish.

Salli – or deep fried potato sticks, potatoes cut to resemble matchsticks is a hugely popular accompaniment to many parsi dishes. What can be more comforting than potatoes you ask – meat, rice and potatoes together on a plate. This recipe can be made with chicken too, use bone in chicken. This dish can be made ahead and enjoyed for unto 2 days, it gets better and better. However, i would make the Salli(fried potatoes) only when serving.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

For the Jardaloo Boti

  • 3 oz(90 gms) dried apricots, the right variety is Hunza apricots, but I used the ones I could find
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 150 gms thinly sliced onions
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 inch ginger shoot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tsp hot red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 100 gms finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1.1 lb(500 gms ) goat meat/mutton/bone in chicken or lamb, preferable cut in small bites to resemble a “boti”
  • 1 tbsp of Parsi garam masala (recipe below)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Parsi Garam Masala (to finish)

For the Parsi Garam Masala

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 10-12 green cardamom, seeds only
  • 1/2 piece of nutmeg

For Salli

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil for deep frying

For Cumin rice

  • 1 .5 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cups water (or as per rice quality)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

For the Jardaloo Boti

Soak the dried apricots in 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1/2 tsp vinegar for about 15 mins. Drain and discard the water, squeeze the apricots and set them aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, I use my dutch oven, warm up the cooking oil. Add the onions to the oil and brown the onions for 10-12 minutes until nicely golden.

Add the garlic and ginger next to the pot and saute for 30 seconds until you smell the aroma.

Add the cumin and red chilli powder next and saute the spices for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes soften and oil begins to separate.

Then add the meat, parsi garam masala and salt to the pot and stir fry the meat with everything for about 5 mins on medium heat. When the meat pieces are browned on all sides, add 3/4 cup warm water and let come to a slow boil on medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and let cook slowly till the meat is tender. Depending on the cut, quality and size of boti (meat), the time will be anywhere from 45 mins to 2.5 hours. Keep an eye, if you see that the water has evaporated add about 1/3 cup water at a time, mix well and keep cooking.

When the meat is tender, add the drained apricots, vinegar and sugar. Cook for another 10-12 minutes. Switch off the stove and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of garam masala that we prepared. Mix up and let the curry rest for 1/2 hr before serving.

For the Parsi Garam Masala

Dry toast all the spices on a very low heat for 3-5 minutes until you smell the aroma. Pound into a powder using your mortar pestle or spice grinder. This recipe makes little over 2 tbsp, you can save the rest and use in other dishes .

For the Salli

Peel the potatoes and wash them. Cut the potatoes using a sharp knife as thinly as you can to resemble match sticks. Soak the cut potatoes in water seasoned with salt and turmeric for atleast 4 hours or overnight. Soaking is an important step, as the soluble starch of the potatoes is removed and they come out very crispy after frying.

Drain the potatoes and let them air dry for about 10 mins on a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Flash fry the potatoes in very hot oil until super crispy. Since these are thinly sliced, they take very less time to cook as compared to regular fries. Fry the potatoes right before serving to make sure they are crispy.

For the Cumin Rice

Wash the rice 2-3 times in a running stream of water until the water runs clear. Soak rice in 3 cups of water (adjust the water quantity as needed depending on your rice brand) for 20 minutes. In a medium cooking pot with lid, warm up 1 tbsp ghee. Once the ghee is hot and melted, take the pot off the stove and temper ghee with cumin seeds, let crackle for a few seconds.Immediately add the soaked rice along with water to the pot. Add salt and gently stir a few times to mix everything.

Return the pot to the stove, cover with lid and let water come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let all the water absorb, takes between 10-15 minutes.When you see that all the water is absorbed and there are no bubbles on top, add another tablespoon of ghee and cover the pot for a minute. (If you wish you can add little lemon juice at this point to brighten it up.) Then, switch off the stove. Let cooked rice sit for atleast 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Serve warm. Comes out perfect every time!

-Enjoy!

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Shrimp Masala

Seafood dishes are usually served with a side of rice but growing up, we had them with rotis or naan bought from the next door tandoor vala all the time. The joy of scooping a succulent masala laced shrimp with soft roti or paratha is something. There would be a sirke vale pyaz (vinegar soaked onions) or cucumbers to go along and on some days, no rice at all 🙂

In northern india, in those days, shrimp were a difficult to find. A fancy items store near our house, used to carry them – a frozen pack of super tiny prawns that mom would sometimes turn into this dish. I looked a lot but could not find super small shrimp so I used what I usually buy- raw, deveined wild caught jumbo shrimp. If you happen to lay hands on shell on shrimp, use those, its a bit of hassle while eating but so worth it. This shrimp dish has a ginger, cumin and kasuri methi (fenugreek seeds) laced fresh tomato sauce. The fenugreek seeds swell up a bit after cooking and they add such a bitter sweet bite to the masala. I like to cook it in mustard oil however use any cooking oil you like. So delicious & easy when you want to rustle up a quick dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 lb(about 400gms) raw shrimp/prawns, deveined
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp pure mustard oil (substitute with cooking olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (yield about 1 cup)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1.5 tsp hot red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (gives a red hue, can be skipped)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor, substitute with lemon juice to taste)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves, crushed between palms)
  • 1/3 cup of warm water (adjust to desired consistency of the curry, adjust amount accordingly)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Method

Rub the shrimp with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder & pinch of salt while you make the masala.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and heat on high up till you see slow ripples and little smoke on the surface. Reduce heat to medium. Add cumin & fenugreek seeds, let crackle. Then, add onions, keep sautĂ©ing and cook them till golden brown. Takes about 6-8 minutes. Next, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes till you start smelling the garlicky aroma.

Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes and ginger next along with kashmiri chilli, red chilli, coriander, and turmeric powders. Add a pinch of sugar. Cook this masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes. Cook thoroughly to reduce moisture from tomatoes . 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.

Reduce the stove to lowest. Wait for 2 minutes.Then, add the marinated shrimp next.Also add salt to taste. Stir around gently so that the shrimp are coated in the masala. Cover the pan and cook on low for 5 -8 minutes or until the shrimps are opaque. This cooking time will depend on the size of shrimp. Adjust accordingly. When the shrimp is just about done, add the water (if using) to adjust the consistency of sauce. Add the kasuri methi, amchoor and garam masala and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes till everything comes together.

Let sit covered for at least 10 minutes, undisturbed.Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Enjoy!