Indian Curry/Stew

Chicken in Yogurt Cardamom Sauce


This tangy, cardamom scented chicken in yogurt sauce is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. It can get pretty hot in Vegas during summers and I love a good yogurt based sauces, its light but still rich on warm evenings, that how this recipe came into being. You dont need to marinate chicken, if you can use bone in, the flavors come out amazing though this recipe will work for boneless dark meat chicken as well. Honestly, one cannot have enough chicken recipes on hand and this one is good change up from the red ones(though there still is bit of a tomato in here). With rice or rotis and a quick salad, this is a satisfying dinner. The sauce is chunky and thickish, it won’t win many laurels for the way it looks, its not one of your smooth creamy ones, rather delicately aromatic with hints of coconut and freshly ground cardamom in each bite.

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5 from 1 vote

Chicken In Yogurt Cardamom Sauce

A tangy and fragrant dish of chicken in yogurt sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic green chilli paste ,simply pound 4 garlic cloves with a knob of ginger and 4-5 hot green chillies(adjust to taste, this is the only heat that goes in this masala)
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium tomato just grate flesh of tomato using a box grater and discard the skin.
  • 1.5 lb bone in chicken(preferably dark meat)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk thick yogurt, whisked
  • 1/4 cup fresh dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Cilantro & mint leaves – chopped

Instructions

  • Place a kadai or a shallow pot on the stove. Add oil and let it heat up on medium heat.
  • Add the cardamom and cloves to the oil and saute for 30 seconds, dont let burn. Next add the cumin and let crackle.
  • Next, add the onions to the oil and saute them on medium heat until they start to brown but dont let brown too much.
  • Add the ginger garlic chilli paste and saute for 15 seconds followed by coriander and cumim powder and saute the spices in oil for 30 seconds. Add the tomato pulp next and saute on medium heat till you see oil seperating.
  • Next add the chicken, sprinkle salt and mix well with the masala. On medium heat, saute the chicken for 5 minutes. You will see that the chicken will slowly release its juicies and the masala will become a bit runny.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and let the chicken cook for 10-12 minutes (time will depend on the size of chicken pieces so adjust accordingly). You will need to saute in between a few times so that chicken dosent stick to the bottom.
  • Open the lid, reduce the heat to low and while sauteing add the yogurt over the chicken. Also add the coconut. Mix well and cover again for 10 minutes. Avoid adding any water to the sauce. In 10 minutes you wil see the yogurt is warmed through, thr masala resembles a thick slurry and there are oily bubbles on the top.
  • Remove the lid and saute the chicken for another 5-8 minutes till you see that the color of sauce has deepened and a nice amount of oil is seperating.
  • Finish with cardamom powder and garam masala. Take off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves.
  • Serve warm.
Appetizers/Snacks

Oats Spinach Muthiya

Muthiya is a traditional healthy Gujarati(western India) snack made with different kind of flours, vegetables and spices. The dumplings are steamed and then quickly pan fried in a tempering of sesame & mustard seeds, curry leaves and lemon juice. The balance of flavors is impeccable- sweet, spicy, tangy, yum! These irrestible, soft and crispy savory bites are good for breakfast or any time snack.

My recipe uses oat flour and chickpea flour skipping the wheat flour(which is traditionally used).The recipe is vegan and gluten free. “Mutthi” or a making a fist how the dumplings are shaped traditionally and that’s why the name. You can make fistfuls or make oval shape dumplings of dough or make long rolls and slice them(that what I find easiest to do).

Oat flour & besan dough studded with vegetables – I like to use grated lauki(opo squash) & loads of spinach and with a kick from fresh ground green chillies and ginger, these dumplings are super flavorful.

A few things to keep in mind when you make muthiya:-

  • Don’t make a very dry or a very soft dough. Since we are adding grated lauki, due to salt, the juices will be released and that’s majorly enough to bind the dough once you start squishing. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed or you can use a dollop of yogurt as well (gives it a very good taste).
  • You can substitute lauki(opo squash) with zucchini or finely grated cabbage. Instead of spinach you can add methi (fenugreek) leaves or a combo of leafy greens.
  • Don’t make a very large batch. In my opinion, as compared to dhokla, these don’t store that well after getting pan fried, make a small batch and consume right away or same day. However, the steamed muthiya can be sliced and frozen. I make them a night before many times and temper when I am about to serve!
  • I like to grind my own oats and not grind them super fine. The texture of the muthiya is great that way. I find that using store bought oat flour makes them a bit sticky. You can substitute oats with wheat flour as well if you wish.
  • You can steam the muthiya in Instant pot as well. Find the recipe here which explains the IP method well.
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Oats Spinach Muthiya (Vegan & Glutenfree)

A popular gujarati snack made with oats, chickepea flour and vegetables like spinach & bottle gourd. Pairs beautifully with chai.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

For the Muthiya

  • 1/2 cup ground oats (dont super fine)
  • 1/2 cup besan(chickpea flour)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated lauki (opo squash)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Pinch of ajwain seeds
  • 2 tbsp ginger green chilli paste ,simply pound 1.5 inch knob of ginger and green chilies in mortar pestle
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to tatse
  • water or yogurt (if needed)

For tempering

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustad seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves

To sprinkle

  • Sugar, Lemon Juice, Cilantro, Grated coconut(optional)

Instructions

  • Brush a little oil on the base of your steamer basket or dish. Set up your steamer arrangement by filling it with water and keep it ready to go.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients listed under "Muthiya" except water. Gently start squishing everything to combine. The lauki and spinach will start releasing their juices and you would be able to almost bring the dough together. If needed, add a tablespon of water at a time to form a firm yet soft dough. You can use yogurt in place of water as well. Dont knead the dough too much. Once a ball is formed, dough is ready.
  • Cover the dough with a cloth and rest it for 10 minutes. Meanwhile start your steamer so that the water is boiling when you are ready to steam.
  • Divide the rested dough into two portions. Shape the dough into thick logs.
  • Place the logs in the steamer. Make sure that the water is boiling when you place the logs. Steam for 18-20 minutes until a skewer when inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Switch off the stove and let sit covered to continue cooking in residual steam. After about 10-12 minutes when the logs are cool to touch, using a sharp knife, slice the logs into small portions. Use knife in a saw manner so as to not squish when you slice.
  • In a wide pan, add the oil for tempering. Crackle dried chilli, mustard and sesame seeds. Add the curry leaves, they will splutter. Place the sliced muthiya in a single layer in the tempering. Let pan fry for 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Once the muthiya are pan fried lightly, switch off the stove. Sprinke sugar, lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Add the grated coconut if using.Serve immendiately!
Brunch · Desserts/Baking

Sooji (Semolina) Halwa

Halwa is a runny pudding made in indian homes using different kinds of grains, flours, nuts, lentils as well as fruits and vegetables.Halwa is usually pretty quick to whip up and quite popular due to ease of cooking and that it requires basic ingredients that our available in our homes. . Semolina halwa in north indian homes is cooked in a blink to translate any occasion- big or little into a celebration. It is one of the frequently cooked meetha(dessert) in my home, much more than kheer. Thats partly because, growing up my grandma made it everyday was an offering after prayers. A small bowl of nutty, melt in the mouth halwa appeared mid morning infront of us, glistening with ghee and scented with ground black cardamom. It is one of my loved memory of her- of my badi mummy, wrapped in a starched cotton saree feeding us halwa every morning 🙂

You need very basic and few ingredients for this recipe- fine semolina, ghee, sugar and whichever flavor you like- cardamom, rose or saffron. This recipe can be easily made vegan, just swap ghee with coconut oil, you can add a handful of shredded coconut to elevate the coconut flavor in that case. The halwa can be made in about 30 minutes, the most effort and patience is needed while roasting the semolina in ghee, else this is a quick recipe.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you make Sooji Halwa:-

Kind of Semolina (Sooji) – Its best to use fine semolina when making the halwa, the texture comes our great, its melt in the mouth. Avoid coarse semolina.

Water or Milk:- You can use either, or you can use a combination of both. I use water, not only it keeps the color of the dark amber halwa intact but it avoids the halwa from getting too rich (there is already quite a bit of ghee in there!) Also keep in mind that milk will make the halwa a bit soft or sticky to taste.

Sugar or Jaggery or Honey- Again you can use either but traditionally sugar is used and I do the same. If you are using jaggery, don’t use milk. If you use honey, the halwa will be quite sticky and has the tendency to easily burn while you “bhuno” it, since honey caramelizes fast. Also keep in mind that the taste profile sweetened with honey or jaggery is quite different from the traditional recipe.

Nuts & Flavors– Anyting you like! I like almonds and raisins because those were what my grandmother used to use. You can add cashews, makhana or pistachios or shredded coconut as well. As for the flavors, I add black cardamom seeds fresh pounded in mortar pestle and a tiny bit of rose water. You don’t taste the rose as such but it adds a nice floral aroma to the halwa. You can choose green cardamom, saffron, even vanilla 🙂

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Sooji(semolina) Halwa

Also know as sheera, Sooji Halwa is a semolina pudding made with simple pantry staples- semolina, ghee & sugar. It tastes heavenly and takes just 30 mins to make.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • A heavy kadhai (preferable iron) or cast iron pan, sauce pan, bowls and spoons etc

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted ghee
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (can go down to 1/3 cup if you prefer less sweet halwa)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1 whole black cardamom seeds removed and crushed to a fine powder in mortar pestl
  • 7-8 almonds, thinly sliced (Use any nuts you like)
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water

Instructions

  • Add the ghee and semolina to iron kadhai (or cast iron pan). Mix well for 2 minutes so that you see all the semolina is covered in ghee. Place the kadhai on a low medium stove and begin roasting the semolina. You will have to keep an eye and keep stirring frequently for it can burn easily.
  • While the semolina is roasting, add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan or pot and set on the other stove on medium heat. In about 5-8 minutes, the sugar will dissolve in water. Switch off the stove, dont cook the syrup. We dont want any string consistency or anything. Keep the syrup near and warm.
  • Coming back to semoilina, keep on roasting it while stirring it making sure to scrape it from the bottom of the kadhai, it burns that way easily. Roast the semolina for good 10- 15 minutes(see notes) till you see that the ghee has begun to seperate and the semolina granules are dark brown in color. There should be no black specks of semolina- that means the semolina has burnt, a conistent medium heat and contuinal stirring ensures that wont happen.
  • Reduce the stove to low, and slowly add the warm sugar syrup from one side of the kadhai to the semolima while stirring it at the same time with the other hand, this makes sure that no lumps are formed. There will be spluttering so watch out.
  • As soon as the syrup is added, you will see a puddle followed by big bubbles in a minute on the surface of the halwa, your will notice that the semolina granules begin to swelled up. it will be runny, let the halwa cook on low heat. Add the raisins, almomds and black cardamom powder now.
  • Keep stirring everything gently and continue to cook the halwa for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee (if you wish)and mix well. The halwa will be glistening and of thick smoothie like pourable consistency by the end of 5-6 minutes. Dont let all the liquid absorb. Switch off the stove. Mix in the rose water. The halwa will thicken as it sits.
  • Serve warm garnished with nuts. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. If you don’t want a dark halwa, no problem, roast the semolina for just 5-7 minutes, until its golden in color. Rest of the recipe remains the same. 
Pickles/Condiments/Spice Powders

Instant Olive Oil Tomato Pickle

Delicious, tangy and spicy in every bite, this instant tomato pickle is healthy and super delicious. As soon as warm weather comes knocking and tomatoes start appearing in the markets, I start making this instant tomato pickle. If you don’t want to use cherry tomatoes, you can use regular tomatoes, make sure that they are ripe but firm. Dont use very soft tomatoes else the pickle becomes a chutney 🙂

Picking in oil is the most common way to preserve seasonal vegetables and fruits in India. Though mustard oil is the first choice, with the rise in popularity of olive oil, with time its also a common picking oil now. You can skip or add anything to this pickle, I add sliced garlic, chilies, fresh tumeric and ginger. The combination of these work quite well together. The pickle is so good with anything- with flatbreads, on toasts, with eggs, chicken or fish or even some crackers on a cheese board. It keeps well in the fridge for about 8-10 days and gets better as it sits.

My grandmother used to keep busy entire summer pickling almost every vegetable you can think of and her pickles were the best, no one in our family has ever been able to replicate the taste and I mean it. But we keep trying from what we remember of her pickling process.

This pickle is super heathy- preserved in olive oil which is a heart friendly oil and full of anti inflammatory turmeric and ginger, a tablespoon of this pickle could well one of the best things to pair with your meals. Olive oil pickles are so fruity and here with all the fragrant indian spices, the pickling oil itself turns so flavorful with time, if you are left with just oil, dab it on your sandwiches or use it to cook parathas (yum!).

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Instant Olive Oil Tomato Pickle

A fruity & fragrant pickle made with tomatoes, garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup classic/cooking olive oil (dont use extra virgin)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp rai (small brown mustard seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anardana(dried pomegranate seeds, coarsely pounded)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 200 gms (about 8oz) cherry tomatoes (cut in half if too big)
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh turmeric, cut in thin discs
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut in thin discs
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • In a pan, on low heat set the olive oil to heat. Dont let it get smoky. If the olive oil gets smoky, it will lose most of its antioxidants and flavor. Also, the spices will get burnt when you add them.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the hing and the whole spices. Keep the flame on low medium. The spices wont crackle immediately and thats what we want. Let the spices infuse for 2-3 minutes on low heat in the oil so that the aroma of spices in infused in oil.Dont leave unattended.
  • The spices will swell and you will smell a very nice aroma as they infuse in the oil. Next, add the curry leaves carefully and let infuse for another 30 seconds.
  • Add turmeric and red chilli powder to the oil, mix and let cook for 10 seconds(they should not burn) followed by the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sprinkle salt.
  • Mix everything gently and cook for 2-3 minutes till you see that the tomatoes skins are little soft but not falling apart. Take off the stove and let cool down a bit.
  • Transfer to a clean container and keep in fridge for upto a week. Enjoy!
Indian Curry/Stew

Cashew Yogurt Tofu & Bell Pepper Masala (Vegan)

A super flavorful tofu and colored bell pepper curry that will please your tastebuds whether or not you are vegan. When I am entertaining, I try to have a few dishes in the menu keeping in mind speciality diets of few my guests and this tofu masala always appeals to everyone. The creamy texture of the curry along with satisfying plant protein from tofu is pleasantly satisfying.

It is super creamy due to use of the cashew yogurt and fine ground almonds, you can skip the powdered nuts though if you wish. Also,you can switch up to oat milk yogurt or any nut free yogurt in case of nut allergies. The spices in the masala are usual indian kitchen spices, you can deep fry the tofu before adding it to the base. The curry is super quick to make and pairs beautifully with rotis or rice.

If you don’t want to use tofu,you can add anything you like to it right from cauliflower to soy nuggets to potatoes to chickpeas. Sometimes its a good to experiment and experience the nuances of restrictive cooking and I really enjoyed creating this recipe for my vegan readers.

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Cashew Yogurt Tofu & Bell Pepper Masala

A vegan curry in afresh tomato & cashew yogurt sauce with tofu and colored bell peppers.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • Whole Spices – 1 bay leaf, 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves and 1 inch cinnamom stick
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (simply smash 6-7 garlic cloves with 1 inch ginger shoot in a mortar pestle)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • 5-6 tomatoes blanched and pureed (about 2 cup thick puree)
  • 1/4 cup super fine ground almonds (or cashews)
  • 6 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup colored bell pepper chunks
  • 2-3 tbsp cashew yogurt
  • Warm water to thin the curry, as needed
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (crushed slightly)
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a large wide pot or slighly deep pan, heat up the oil on medium heat. Temper the oil with all the whole spices and saute for 10-12 seconds.
  • Add the onions next and saute on medium heat for 6-8 minutes untill soft and lightly browned. Dont darken.
  • Next add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 10-15 seconds till the raw smell goes away.
  • Add all the powdered spices next – cumin, coriander, tumeric and red chilli. Add 2-3 tbsp water and saute the spices in oil for a minute or so.
  • Add the tomato puree next and cook for 6-8 minutes untill you see oil bubbles seperating. If the masala is looking too dry, add a little warm water at this point.
  • Add the ground almond and bell peppers next and salt the curry. Let peppers cook in the tomato masala for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Next add the cashew yogurt and mix well with the masala.Check and adjust the salt. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes taking care that bell peppers dont soften too much.
  • Add the tofu cubes next and using a spatula, very carefully combine them with everything. At this point if you want, add warm water to adjust the consistency of the masala. Dont mix too much else tofu will break. Avoid cooking on high heat.
  • Let everything simmer for 5-6 minutes on low medium heat. Finish off with garam massala and kasuri methi. Combine gently. Switch off the flame. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.