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.

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!

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 sautéing 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!

Paneer Lababdaar

Paneer lababdaar.A rich & robust paneer curry which has bit of an influence from Mughlai cuisine in use of nuts and yogurt but the whole spices and the unique texture of the sauce from adding grated paneer sets it different. 

On those special weekends when we visited Pandara Road restaurants near India gate for dinner, this was one thing I always ordered along with tandoori rotis.The first bite of crispy ghee smeared rotis straight from the tandoor with softest paneer chunks covered in a mild yet deftly spiced sauce was no less than romance.

I was itching to write down this recipe for long and finally it happened over the labor day weekend. Such dishes are special occasion and a perfect switch up from the home style paneer curries. 

If you would like a more reddish sauce, add a bit of good quality Kashmiri chilli powder when adding other spices. Also, if you like the sauce on a sweetish side, add more sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp oil (any neutral oil)
  • 4 cloves
  • 5-6 green cardamom
  • 1/2″ cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp shahjeera 
  • 2 small blades javitri (mace)
  • 1 large tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow/white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 inch fresh ginger shoot, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Thai bird green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup raw broken cashews (or 5-6 tbsp whole cashews)
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee
  • 2/3 cup plain whole milk thick yogurt, beaten
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup water (depending on how thick/thin you want the sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, optional)
  • 6 oz paneer (cut into any shape you like)
  • 1/3 cup paneer, grated
  • salt to taste
  • 5-6 tbsp heavy cream (quantity can up to 1/2 cup, depending on how rich you like)
  • a generous pinch of good quality saffron (ground to fine dust in mortar pestle),soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (fresh ground if possible)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp golden raisins
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Method

Soak the cashews in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

In a heavy bottomed pot or kadhai, heat up the oil on medium high. Add the cloves,cardamom, mace, shahjeera, cinnamon, tejpatta to hot oil and let the whole spices crackle, about 8-10 seconds or till you smell an aroma.

Next add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes until the onions starts to turn translucent (don’t brown them). Add the soaked cashews next along with green chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low now and add the coriander, turmeric Cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat until you see oil separating on the sides. Put the stove off, pick out the bay leaf & cinnamon, half of the cloves & cardamom and tip the contents into a blender. The mixture is going to be hot so wait for 10 minutes before you start blending it. Blend (use as less water as possible during blending).I do not make a very smooth paste, you can decide the texture of the sauce at this point).

Meanwhile, in the same pot or another pot, heat up the 2-3 tbsp ghee on medium. When the ghee is hot enough, start searing the paneer pieces on both sides. You could do this is batches. Once paneer is seared, take them out and in the same ghee, add the blended sauce. Stir around, lower the heat and add beaten yogurt.Cook for 6-8 minutes continuously stirring till you see little drops of oil bubbling.

Add the water now depending on the desired consistency  of sauce (I add 1/2 cup water) along with crushed kasuri methi. Check and adjust the salt. Let come to a slow boil on medium. Add the paneer cubes and grated paneer. Finish with cream, saffron infused milk, cardamom powder, sugar and raisins. Let simmer (not boil) for 5-7 minutes on very low heat. Once simmered, put off the heat and let sit covered for 2 hours.

Serve.

Walnut(Akhrot) Ladoo

Walnut(akhrot) ladoos. Nutty, ghee laden and so delightful. Full of walnuts and scented with addicting aroma of ground cardamom. If you are little bit like me, ladoos stocked in the snack shelf provide you sort of a comfort. They were a huge part of my snacking regime as a child, and even now, itâ€s hard to keep myself away from them. Given that these are loaded with goodness of walnuts, I am happy to handover them to kids anytime. 
These ladoos are glutenfree, I used a little bit of besan(bengal gram flour) to bind these together however atta(whole wheat) can be used as well if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup raw walnut halves
  • 5-7 tablespoons melted ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup besan (bengal gram flour)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (boora)
  • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom

Method

In a wide heavy bottom pan or iron kadai, dry roast the walnuts on low heat for 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool down. Once cooled, using a sharp knife, finely chop the walnuts (don’t powder).

Add 5 tbsp of ghee to begin with to the kadai and add the besan. Continuously stirring, roast the besan in ghee for about 10-12 minutes or until its golden and you sniff a nice aroma. Add the chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly with the besan. Roast everything togther for another 2 mins and then switch off the stove.

When the mixture is cool to touch, add the sugar and cardamom, and mix everything with hands thoroughly. If you feel that the mix is dry, add more ghee and mix well (I used about 7 tbsp ghee in all). Divide the mixture into portions and using your palms and fingers, form into ladoos of desired size without cracks.

Store in an airtight container for upto a week. If its summer, store in fridge. You can freeze unto a month too.

Enjoy!

Mutton Kabobs

Grilled meat kabobs that we made over the weekend. My husband loves kabobs so I came up with this recipe using goat meat. They turn out very well, marinated in a herby lemony marinade, you will need raw papaya for tender kabobs, if bimeat tenderizer will work well too. Spicy and juicy with mild notes of fresh pounded spices- these are quite delicious. Green chutney, rice, some doughy naan etc to go along. Simple late summer meal. 

Ingredients

First marinade

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) boneless mutton, cut in 1.5-2″ chunks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp raw papaya paste (or use meat tenderizer)
  • 1 tsp salt

Second marinade

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5-7 black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fine grated onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp birds eye green chilli paste (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1.5 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped super fine (cilantro, mint, parsley)
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 2-3 tsp salt(adjust to taste)

Onions, lime, so serve with

Method

Pat the meat dry and place in a large bowl. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice, papaya and salt. Rub everything nicely and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds along with pepper corns, pound them fine or grind in a grinder. Add everything for the second marinade in a bowl and mix very well. Pour over the marinated mutton, mix very well till all the pieces are coated, cover the bowl with a cling film and let marinate for at least 6-8 hours.

Once marinated, drain and discard the marinade. Thread the meat on long metal skewers.Brush some oil. Preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to high. Grill for 12-15 minutes for well done kabobs.

Serve warm.