Indian Curry/Stew

Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi

Fleshy and sweet summer okra cooked in a masala of onion, garlic and spices and coated in roasted chickpea flour. This okra dish is so delicious as a side with daal– rice or with soft warm rotis and a bowl of yogurt. I love such simple and light meals during summer. The addition of besan(chickpea flour), one of my favorite flours, makes it taste so earthly and spices like mustard, fennel & cumin complement the combination of fresh vegetable and nutty flour.

Zunka is a Maharastrian (Western Indian) dish which is basically chickpea flour cooked in a tempering of mustard and cumin seeds along with fresh chilies and powdered spices. It is like a slurry or can be dryish. It is usually served with bhakri(flatbread bread) and pickle for a meal. It is a super light dish during summers and quite flavorful like anything made with chickpea flour is.

Here, I added fresh bhindi to the spiced chickpea flour. I also addd fennel seeds since I love the flavor with okra. Okra isn’t slimy at all once the dish finishes cooking, the dish is perfectly spiced and comes together very quickly. The is my version inspired by the iconic zunka dish, which is usually a slurry. I like this drier version with okra a lot. Here are a few things to be kept in mind while cooking okra and this dish. Keep these things in mind and your okra will never be slimy.

  1. Wash the okra at least 1-2 hours before beginning to cook and let air dry if possible. Quickly washing and wiping with paper or cloth table is okay but I recommend air drying. Do not cut okra until its completely dry else it will be super slimy.
  2. For this dish, cut the okra in longish pieces, don’t cut very thin discs.
  3. Don’t skimp on oil. Some vegetables like okra, eggplant etc cook better if the oil quantity is good. At the same time, besan(chickpea flour)also need extra oil for the right texture post cooking. Right quantity of oil also helps in reducing the slimy texture of okra since it dosent steam but stir fries well while cooking.
  4. Okra is a delicate vegetable and when fresh, it cooks quite fast. We don’t need to cover it for a long time else it loses its color, get overcooked and the texture isn’t right. Just cover for a few minutes in the beginning to get cooking started and then cook uncovered till its tender. Writing the method I follow in the recipe.
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5 from 1 vote

Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi (Okra Cooked in Chickpea flour)

A flavorful dish of summer okra coated in spiced chickpea flour. Pairs well with soft rotis or dal and rice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (400gms) okra
  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 5 tbsp mustard oil or any cooking oil you use
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green or red chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves,finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-3 tbsp water or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)(or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Wash and air-dry the okra. Trim the ends and cut each okra into maximun of 3 pieces. Set aside.
  • Take a kadai or heavy pan with lid in which you want to cook and set it on stove. First, dry roast the chickpea flour on low heat stirring continously till you smell a nice aroma but it does get not browned a lot. Takes about 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye and stir continously. Once roasted, transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • Add the mustard oil (or cooking oil) to the kadai and heat up till a bit smoky. Temper the oil with mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. As soon as they crackle, add the fresh chilies and saute in oil for 30 seconds.
  • Next, on medium heat, add the onion and let the onions cook in oil till they are a nice shade of golden brown. Add the garlic next and saute for a minute till you smell a nice aroma.
  • Add the coriander and red chili powder next and saute in warm oil for a minute or so.
  • Add all the okra to the onion & spices now, sprinkle salt and mix well. Saute for 2-3 minutes with the masala. You will see that the okra will start to look deep green in color and little moist(its own juices if your okra is good quality and fresh). If you feel its not releasing its juices, add couple tablespoons of water, mix and set the stove to low medium and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Let the okra cook for 5-7 minutes covered without opening the lid in between. Remove the lid and you will see that okra is much softer, let it cook for another 6-7 minutes without the lid till its soft but not falling apart. The okra will be browned and you wont see the slime. Once okra is cooked properly, its slimy texture goes away.
  • Sprinke the besan a few tablespoons at a time and gently mix well. The besan will slowly absorb the mositure from okra and will appear sandy. Add all the besan and keep mixing. If you feel that the sabzi is looking dryish, add a tablespoon or so of water. I didnt need to add any extra water. Taste and adjust the salt.
  • Finish the dish with amchoor and garam masala.Mix well and serve warm.
Indian Curry/Stew

Yellow Curry Salmon Bowl

Disclaimer :-This post is sponsored by Bluehouse Salmon. I was sent over the salmon to try but the recipe, images and opinions are my own.

After Indian cuisine, my next favorite has to be Thai cuisine. What’s not to love! What I am drawn to the most is how the spices and herbs used in both cuisines bear resemblance to each other but the flavor profile of dishes is so unique.

No points for guessing that the myriad of Thai curries are my favorite! I love using seafood with fresh vegetables in the curries and this soupy yellow curry bowl is cooked often in our home. The moment I saw Bluehouse Salmon, I knew that the fresh fish would be so amazing in this week’s yellow curry.

Bluehouse salmon are land raised in Florida practicing sustanability. Think of Bluehouse like a greenhouse. In their land based Bluehouses, salmon farming is done observing ethical practices, as a result, we can feast while our oceans thrive. Their salmon is always fresh, never frozen, antibiotics & hormone free and has a super taste.

I only have good things to say about this salmon. Being a seafood lover to the core, I have tasted numerous kinds of salmon and trust me I can differentiate. The taste of this fish is clean and rich. You really feel like eating something that is good for your body and mind (cue all the omega acids).After cooking, the salmon turned out to be firm yet buttery. It was nicely moist and flaky and not dry at all. With different kinds of colorful vegetables and steamed jasmine rice, this soupy bowl of superfood salmon goodness is satiating, wholesome and delicious all at the same time. 

Making Thai curry bases from scratch can be time consuming especially on weeknights. So I use store bought yellow curry paste when I am in a hurry but I pep it up using shallots, a fresh pounded paste of ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric. While the curry base simmers, I prep the vegetables. The rice can also cook in the same time if you start them at the beginning of cooking. If you plan a bit and with little help from the store, this amazing meal can be prepared in 30-40 minutes. 

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5 from 1 vote

Salmon Yellow Curry Bowl

Thai Yellow curry Salmon, vegetables and jasmine rice served in a soupy bowl.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4, 6oz Bluehouse Salmon Portions
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp tbsp cooking oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped    
  • 1 tbsp garlic-ginger-turmeric paste (simply pound 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 inch knob of ginger and a tiny knob of fresh turmeric using mortar & pestle)
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, slit (adjust to taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp yellow curry paste, adjust depending on how strong you like the curry taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water (adjust how you like the consistency)
  • 1 can unsweetened full fat coconut milk (400ml/14floz)
  • 2 tsp sugar, (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, or to taste

To plate

  • 1.5 cup blanched vegetables (I used asparagus, broccoli, sliced mushrooms, baby corn and red bell pepper)
  • Cooked Jasmine rice
  • Garnishes – Chopped cilantro, chilies etc, lime wedges

Instructions

  • Rub the salmon with turmeric, salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp oil to a heavy and wide pot, let heat and sear all the salmon portions carefully on both sides. Do not cook through. 2 minutes each side is good enough. Transfer to a plate and keep nearby. 
  • Add 2 tbsp oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and chilies and cook for a minute or so. Add the ginger garlic turmeric paste next. Sauté for 30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma. 
  • Next, add the yellow curry paste and sauté in oil for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the coconut milk next along with water.Add the salt and sugar as well. Bring to a very slow simmer, it should not boil. 
  • Once simmering enough, carefully add the seared salmon. Let simmer on low for 8-10 minutes (adjust time depending on how thick your fish portions are). Finish with limejuice and chopped cilantro. Switch off the stove and let the curry rest for 10 minutes. 
  • To Plate :- Take a wide bowl. Place salmon, scoop of rice and blanched vegetables. Pour over about 1 cup of warm yellow curry. Add a lime wedge, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Indian Curry/Stew

Keema(Minced Meat) Bhari Mirch(Peppers)

Delicious peppers stuffed with minced meat. A delicious low carb dish which can be made with leftover keema or with a fresh cooked minced meat masala. The ground meat is stuffed in pasillo chllies and baked off, you can add a few shreds of cheese if you like. I serve them warm drizzled with a garlicky cumin yogurt slurry. A hearty indian meal which is a hit with family.

During summers, I am on a look out for light yet hearty lunches which are not necessarily salads and these peppers are just the right answer. Stuffed peppers are a classic comfort food in many cuisines and here instead of the bell peppers, I like using zesty pasilla chillies which are not hot but have lots of peppery flavor. You can cook the keema fresh and cook it a bit ahead as well and at the time of serving just stuff and bake in oven.

Some tips and variations to try in this recipe depending on how you like.

  • Choose long and firm peppers which are not wrinkled and have fresh stems. Look for dark green ones since they have better flavor.
  • Seasoning the peppers with a little bit of salt and oil and letting them stand for 10-15 minutes brings about good flavor in their flesh.
  • Protein – Use ground chicken or ground beef.
  • Vegetables- If you wish, you can add a few extra vegetables like bell peppers or peas to the ground meat. One small potato mashed with the mince tastes really good.
  • Grains- Mix some cooked rice or quinoa with the keema before stuffing.
  • Serve with a side of rotis for a full meal. They taste amazing with rotis.

Keema Bhari Mirch (Ground Meat stuffed peppers)

Tender pasillo chillies stuffed with indian spiced keema or ground meat filling. Serve with garlic mint yogurt or wamr rotis.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Mexican
Servings 12 stuffed pepper halves

Ingredients
  

  • 6 pasillo chilies, sliced lengthwise and skin & seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 pound ground meat (choose chicken, lamb, or beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Spice blend(recipe below)
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro & fresh mint
  • 1-2 tbsp shredded cheese (optional)
  • Oil for brushing or cooking spray

Spice Blend

  • 1/2 tbsp corinader powder
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes(adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, add all the powdered spices, mix well and keep ready.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the insides of pepper with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Let stand.
  • In a heavy skillet/pan, warm up the oil and crackle the cumin seeds, bay leaf and cardamom. Add the chopped onions and cook them for 3-4 minutes till they are soften but not browned.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and the spice blend we made. Saute for 30-40 seconds. Add the tomatoes & sugar next and cook them with the spices for 3-4 minutes on medium heat till you see oil seperating.
  • Add the ground meat, break it using a spatula and mix well with everythhing. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes till the meat is browned and has released its water. Open the lid, sprinkle the salt and then saute (bhuno) uncovered for another 8-10 minutes till all the liquid has evaporated. You will see that the meat is much deeper in color and the fat has started to release a bit. Dont dry the meat completely since it has to bake in the oven.
  • Take it off the heat, pic out the bay leaf and cardamo, mix with cilantro and mint. (At this point you can mix boiled potatoes or cooked rice) Taste and adjust the salt.
  • Divide the warm meat mixture evenly between the peppers. You might have some leftover meat.
  • Lay the peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet.Bake for 20-22 minutes. If you are using cheese, take out of the oven, top with cheese, return to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes till cheese has melted.
    These taste good if they have a slight bite. Dont overbake. Serve warm.
  • For the Yogurt Slurry – Mix 1 cup yogurt with 1/3 cup water. Grate 1-2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder, fresh lemom juice and 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves and add to the yogurt. Mix well.

Notes

  1. This recipe makes 12 pepper halves which isn’t easy to finish in one go unless you are serving to a big family. I store the leftovers, they taste good for next 1-2 days. Reheat for 5 minutes in a toasted oven. 
  2. If you are topping with cheese, just top the ones you are going to consume right away. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Indian Curry/Stew

Bhuna Mushroom Masala

This mushroom masala is notch up than usual and made by simmering whole button mushrooms in a browned onion, yogurt and spiced sauce. Its an incredibly flavorful dish. You can serve this with a doughy bread like naan or rotis, its pairs well with pulao as well. I make a side of fresh kachumber (indian salad) and some chutney. If you are making this for entertaining, you can make it in ghee but for usual weeknight dinners at home I prefer using oil.

There are many ways to make masala in northern parts of india but essentially it is a onion and tomato base to which yogurt and nuts are added along with fragrant spiced. I love this version so much without dousing the vegetable in cream and milk. Its not heavy at all and very comforting.

Me and the little one are mushroom lovers in our home. However, my husband loved this dish so much though it will take more cajoling as far as the older ones goes 🙂 I like to choose the white button mushrooms for this sauce, I like their mild taste and how they carry forward the delicate flavor of the dish .There is no need to slice the mushrooms, keep the stems intact as well, however do remove any bruised end parts.

Try and purchase mushrooms a day before you plan to make this. I dont know what it is but I find that the fresher the mushrooms, they add of the taste of the dish than those lying around in the fridge.They absorb the scented sauce well and are so juicy after cooking. You can add cashew powder, I prefer the the taste of almonds in the sauce. It differs from family to family about the use of tomatoes and some people go to an extent of saying thats its not an authentic korma if tomatoes are used and they might be right as well. I decide whether to use or not depending on the kind of korma, for example lamb or chicken korma can do very well without tomato because they are so flavorful, however the vegetable korma dishes do need a little push as far as flavor goes.

Mushroom Masala

Mushrooms in a delicately scented sauce made with spiced ground onion, tomatoes and yogurt sauce.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8-10 oz (about 300 gms) white mushrooms, whole
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1.5 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tsp shah jeera (caraway seeds)
  • Whole spices – 1 mace, 6 green cardamom, 1 bay leaf, 2 inch cinnamom, 3 cloves
  • 1-2 hot green chilli, sliced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder(or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 large tomato (pureed)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (crushed between palms)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp ghee

Instructions
 

  • Clean the mushrooms by rubbing them with a dry cloth. Keep the stems but do remove any bruised parts. Add the cleaned mushrooms to a bowl and masage with 2 tsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt and red chilli powder. Let sit near while you make the sauce.
  • Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Once oil is hot, add the sliced onions. Cook onions till they brown evenly. Strain the onions from the oil using a slotted spoon.You can take out 3 tbsp of oil from the pot after frying the onions. Reserve the oil and use in 1-2 days in any savory curry you make.
  • Reserve 1/3 cup of onions and add the rest to a small blender jar along with yogurt, red chilli powder. Blitz to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • To the remaining oil add the whole spices and crackle for 30 seconds. Add the green chillies and caraway seeds next and let crackle. Next, add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute or so till you smell a nice aroma.Then add the tomato puree and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes till you see oil seperating on the sides.
  • Stiring continously, next add the yogurt onion paste and now and cook again on medium heart till oil starts separating.
  • Add the mushrooms now and saute with the masala for 2-3 minutes. Next add 1/2 cup hot water to the masala, taste and adjust the salt of the masala and bring it to a slow boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and let cook for 8-10 minutes till the mushrooms are tender. Dont cook too much else the mushrroms will shrink and become chewy.
  • Finish with ghee,kasuri methi and garam masala. Mix gentle and take the pot off the stove. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve garnished with reserved fried onions.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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.
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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5 from 1 vote

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.
Indian Curry/Stew

Navratan Korma

Navratan Korma with its beautiful medley of colorful vegetables, mildly sweet yet rich nutty sauce reminds me of spring in a bowl. “Korma” is a mughlai dish which is widely popular in India and it has both vegetarian and non vegetarian lovers. I already have a chicken korma recipe shared before. See it here.

Korma is royal dish which does take some effort in terms of collecting and preparing vegetables, soaking and grinding the nut pastes, hand pounding the spice powder etc but on occasions like Holi or Diwali I like to delve into that territory of tedious cooking and relive the memories of times when my grandmother and mother spent long hours in the kitchen come any festival. As a little girl, I used to spend the entire day watching them, tasting and learning the intricacies of indian cooking.

Navratan translates to” nine jewels” and the mughlai dish is said to be named after the nine courtiers of mughal emperor Akhbar. The recipe of the sauce base changes ingredients slightly depending on which part of india it is being prepared in but essentially the base is made with yogurt, cream, nuts and seeds paste(north india),whole spices or a coconut base (south india). Last but most important, using ghee as a cooking fat gives it that a luxurious authentic taste.

A few things about how I make Navratan Korma :-

  • I like to add paneer to my navratan korma though its less common. But even when we order this dish from restaurants, I ask them to customize (if possible) and add paneer. You can say I love my paneer:)
  • I use a lot of colorful vegetables – 6 to 7 kinds when I make this dish. Prepare the vegetables according to how long it takes to cook them since they finish cooking in the sauce and we don’t want few of them to be mushy.
  • I add nuts like cashews and almonds both in the sauce base as well in the curry. Also fruits like pineapple chunks and pomegranate arils give the sauce a nice fruity burst here and there when you eat. Nuts and fruits are totally optional though.
  • I grind fresh spice powder which takes the sauce to next level, however you can use store bought powders and mix them and use.
  • Use fresh nuts and seeds to make the nut paste for the sauce, it makes a lot of difference in taste.
  • There are few steps to the recipe however, you divide the work in between a couple of days. Like I make the nut paste, prepare the vegetables and (sometimes) grind the spices, slice the onions etc a day ahead to make cooking easy.
  • Please avoid using pressure cooker for making this dish, it is one of those dishes where slow cooked sauce gives absolutely delicious results.
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Navratan Korma

A rich and aromatic mughlai dish made with nine types of ingredinets.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Vegetbles, Nuts & fruits (Prepare upto a day ahead)

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch thick dics
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 10-12 green beans, cut in 1 inch stalks
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 1/3 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup shelled peas, blanched
  • 50 gms paneer, cut in chunks, optional
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple, ripe & firm
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup raisnis and nuts of choice (raw cashwes, almonds, walnuts etc)

For the Nut paste (Prepare upto a day ahead)

  • 1.5 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp melon seeds
  • 12 whole cashwes
  • 12 almonds
  • 1/4 water for grinding

Whole Spices

  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamom stick
  • 2 twigs of mace

For the Spice powder (Prepare upto a day ahead)

  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 green cardamom (pods only)

Ingredients of Korma Sauce

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp ginger + garlic + green chilli paste ,simply pound 4 garlic cloves, 1 inch piece of ginger and 1 hot chilli in mortal pestle
  • 1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt, beaten
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4-5 saffron strands
  • 2 tbsp ghee (for garnish)
  • Garnish fresh mint, pinch of saffron (optional), ginger juliennes etc

Instructions

Make the nut paste

  • Add all the listed nuts and seeds to a bowl and soak in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water, remove peel of almonds and transfer everrthing to a small grinder jar.
  • Add 1/4 cup water or as needed to make a smooth fine paste.Set aside.

Make the Spice powder

  • Add all the listed spices to a dry grinder and make a fine powder. Set aside.

Make the Korma

  • Heat up the ghee in a deep and wide pan. Temper the ghee with all the listed whole spices and fry for 30 seconds till they crackle and become aromatic. Dont let burn.
  • Add the sliced onions next and saute them for about 5-6 minutes in medium heat till they turn golden.
  • Add the ginger garlic & green chilli paste and saute for 15-20 seconds till the raw smell goes away.
  • Next, add the nut paste that we made along with tumeric and red chilli powder. Saute for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and while continously stirring add the yogurt else it will curdle.
  • Saute everything for 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame. The nut paste has a tendency to stick, so stir often so that the mixture does not get stuck to the bottom of the pan.If neede, you can add 1-2 tbsp of water.
  • Add the vegetables (except corn and peas). Stir and add 1 cup of water. Season with salt and mix to combine.
  • Cover the pan and and simmer the vegetables are about 95 percent cooked, dont cook too soft.
  • Add the paneer pieces next (you can fry them in a bit of ghee if desired) along with corn and peas. Mix and add heavy cream next and gently stir everything again. Let simmer for another 2-4 minutes on a low stove. Dont let boil once you have added the cream. Switch off the stove, while still hot, sprinkle the spice powder that we made along with saffron strands and let sit.
  • Heat 2 tbsp ghee in another small pan and fry the whole nuts for 30-40 seconds untill golden.. Add the pineapple, raisins and ginger juliennes next and saute for 30 seconds untill raisins plum up.
  • Add everything to the korma along with fresh herbs and mix gently to combine.Let Korma sit for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Indian Curry/Stew

Bhindhi Pyaz Kadhi

Spring is almost here. Yesterday I found the greenest okra at the store and instantly wanted to make kadhi with it. ‘Kadhi’ is a yogurt and chickpea flour based curry made in many ways all over India. The spice selection changes from region to region and each family has its unique way to make it.

Kadhi comes from the word, “Kadhana” which means boiling the yogurt broth long enough so that it attains a velvety consistency. Done, the right way a well made Kadhi is comfort food. Mom is a champion when t comes to adding vegetables to kadhi- from okra to eggplant to spinach to fresh fenugreek leaves to mixed vegetables, she makes many kinds. If you would love to make a traditional kadhi, there is already a recipe on blog here

A few things to be kept in mind when making Kadhi

  • Don’t be tempted to add a lot of chickpea flour all at once when you mix it with the yogurt. Not only will the yogurt be become lumpy but too much chickpea flour results in a very thick kadhi.
  • When tempering, make sure that your oil is not too hot and whisk continuously as you add the yogurt to it else the yogurt will curdle.
  • Use mustard oil for the best taste, if not use ghee.
  • Use full fat yogurt or indian style dahi if you can find it.
  • The yogurt should be lightly tangy, if not place it in a warm place for few hours or 1-2 days to make it sour.
  • The spice selection is for you to decide- I like to make it north indian style with coriander seeds, cumin, ajwain and fenugreek seeds.
  • It important to boil the kadhi on low heat for good 22-25 minutes for the best consistency.
  • Stir fry the vegetables before hand in a tablespoon of oil before adding to kadhi and then finish cooking them in kadhi, gives the best taste.
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Bhindi Pyaz Kadhi

A garlicky yogurt & chickpea flour curry with okra. Serve with rice or rotis.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Cooking pot, Cooking Spoons, Mixing bowls

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup plain whole milk yogurt, slightly sour
  • 5-6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp  extra hot red chilli powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2.5-3 cups slightly warm water
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 15-18 tbsp okra, ends removed, cut in half if they are too long
  • 1 small onion thick sliced
  • 3 tbsp pure mustard oil (or ghee)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • Generous pinch of hing powder
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
  • 3-4 whole dried red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil

For the Temepring on top

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-3 thai green chillies , slit open, seeded if you want (optional, adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine besan, yogurt,turmeric & red chilli  powder, kasuri methi (if using) salt to taste and water to make a lump free smooth mix. Let stand.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, heat 1 tbsp mustard oil to smoking point.Remove from heat. Add the okra and char for 4-5 minutes till the skin is slightly blistered. No need to cook through. Take the okra out in a plate and set aside.
  • Add 3 tbsp mustard oil to the same pot. Let warm up. Remove from stove and let cool for a minute else spices will burn. 
  • Add cumin, ajwain, fenugreek and coriander seeds along with hing & whole red chillies. Return to stove top. When spices begin to splutter and you smell the aroma, add minced ginger. Let cook for 10-15 seconds.
  • Next,remove the pot from stove again and slowly add the besan-yogurt mixture and mix thoroughly. Return to medium heat and let the kadhi come to a boil.
  • Dont be tempted to rush this else kadhi will curdle. Once you see the kadhi starting to bubble, turn the heat to low, add the garam masala and let the kadhi simmer for about 15 minutes till it thickens slightly and is rich yellow in color.
  • Add the okra now along with sliced onion, add a little water(1/3 cup-1/2 cup) depending on the consisteny you like and let th ekadhi simmer for another 8-10 minutes till the okra is cooked through. Remove from stove and let stand.
  • Temper the Kadhi – In a small saucepan, warm up the ghee and add cumin seeds to it, when they splutter, take away from the heat and add sliced garlic and red chiilies.Return to stove and cook for a minute or so till garlic is slightly browned.
  • Top up the kadhi with this cumin garlic ghee just before serving along side rotis (flatbread) or steamed basmati rice.
Indian Curry/Stew

Chicken Rezala

A slow cooked creamy, mughlai inspired chicken dish from the east indian cuisine. Chicken rezala is a royal curry of chicken cooked in a white gravy fragrant with spices and creamy due to addition of ground cashew & poppy seeds paste. There is no cream or milk used. In the original form, mutton is used in rezala but I prefer using chicken.

The best thing about mughlai cooking is the use of exotic yet delicate and rich flavors. The gravy is thin, its not saucy, its slightly on the sweeter side, tangy from whole yogurt and creamy from the nut paste. The rezala dish has complex yet mild flavors.

The heat comes from ground white pepper and green chillies, there is no use of turmeric or red chilli powder. The thin layer of fat that separates from yogurt, chicken, fried onions and ghee used in cooking is indicative of its authenticity and rich taste.

I did not grow up eating this dish but after getting married, I really got interested in Bengali cuisine and this is one of the gems of the cuisine. Bengali cooking is complex, it teases your palate and caters to your senses with the use of mellow fragrant spices.

A few things to be kept in mind when making rezala.

  1. Don’t make rezala with boneless chicken. Use bone in chicken and choose to slow cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour till the chicken is cooked rather than pressure cooking it.
  2. Always marinate the chicken.
  3. You can replace the cashews with blanced almonds if you wish.
  4. If you not every finicky about color, use black peppercorns in the recipe, the curry will be less sharp and darker in color.
  5. Use ghee for cooking, it gives an authentic taste.
  6. White peppercorns have a sharp taste compared to the black ones, be sure to check the taste to sauce as you add it so as to not land up with a very spicy sauce. The rezala has a mild sweetish taste.
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Rezala

A nutty, delicately flavored chicken dish from East indian cuisine.
Prep Time6 hrs
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian

Equipment

  • Bowls, Dutch Oven or Heavy Bottom Pot with lid

Ingredients

Marinate The Chicken

  • 1.5 lb (750gms) bone in, skinless chicken, (choose 1 whole chicken cut in 8pieces OR Chicken legs Or bone in Chicken Thighs
  • 3/4 cup plain full fat yogurt (not greek yogurt)
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp melted ghee

For the Spice Powder

  • 2 black cardamom pods only
  • 8 green cardamom pods only
  • 2 large mace twigs
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns adjust to taste

For Making the rezala

  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 15 raw whole cashews
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 6 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion paste
  • 1 tbsp green chilli paste adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp shah jeera
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorn powder optional
  • 10-12 saffron strands, soaked in warm milk
  • 1-2 drops kewra water, optional

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add the cleaned chicken pieces to a large bowl and add all the listed ingredients. Using your hands massage the chicken pices nicely with yogurt, ghee nand spices. Cover the bowl with a cling film and marinate overnight (6-8 hours). Dont skip the marination step.

Make The Spice Powder

  • In a small skillet, lightly dry toast all the spices. Place in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Set aside.

Make the curry

  • Set the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
  • In your wet grinder, add the poppy seeds first, add 3 tbsp water and give it a grind. Open and add cashews along with 3 tbsp of water. Grind both the things on high speed to a very fine paste. Add water if needed.
  • In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, add the ghee and warm it up on medium heat.
  • Temper the ghee with all the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds. Take care that the spices do not burn.
  • Add the onion paste next and on low medium heat saute the onion paste till you its beginning to change to light brown in color and the oil is separating. Dont let the onions brown too much.
  • Add cumin seeds and the ginger garlic and chilli paste next and saute for a minute till you smell a nice aroma.
  • Reduce the heat to low, wait for a minute and slowly add the marinated chicken to the pot. Also add the ground spices we made earlier. Gently stir the chicken continously for 2 minutes. Let the stove be on low while you stir the chicken. This will make sure that the yogurt wont curdle.
  • After stirring for 2 minutes, cover the pot and let cook undisturbed for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Open the pot, stir the chicken, you will see a gravy forming from water of yogurt and chicken juices. Add the cashew-poppyseeds paste we made along with salt & sugar. Stir to combine , cover the pot and let cook again for 15 minutes on medium low. While the chicken is cooking just check once or twice to make sure that nothing is sticking to bottom of pot since cashew have the tendency to stick.
  • At the end of 15 minutes, open the pot. You will see a layer of fat on the sides and top of the chicken. Make sure that the chicken pieces are cooked through but not falling apart. Depending on the quality of your chicken the time taken can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 25 minutes.
  • At the end of cooking, check and adjust the salt if needed. Add the saffron, kewra and white pepper powder. Mix and let the curry simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Switch off the stove and let stand for atleast 30 minutes before serving.
  • The sauce of rezala is not runny at all so no extra water is added so please dont add any water, it will dilute the taste of the sauce.
  • Serve with rotis. parathas or rice, as you wish.

Notes

  1. Don’t make rezala with boneless chicken. Use bone in chicken and choose to slow cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour till the chicken is cooked rather than pressure cooking it.
  2. Always marinate the chicken.
  3. You can replace the cashews with blanced almonds if you wish.
  4. If you not every finicky about color, use black peppercorns in the recipe, the curry will be less sharp and darker in color.
  5. Use ghee for cooking, it gives an authentic taste.
  6. White peppercorns have a sharp taste compared to the black ones, be sure to check the taste to sauce as you add it so as to not land up with a very spicy sauce. The rezala has a mild sweetish taste.

Indian Curry/Stew

Matar Ka Nimona(Gluten free & Vegan)

Nimona is a traditional recipe made with ground green chickpeas or fresh peas in western Uttar Pradesh. My grandmother family belongs to that belt and no wonder this is one of our favorite family recipes. She cooked Nimona atleast once a week. Very arduously, she spent the entire afternoon shelling the green chickpeas which were in season during late winter. Nimona was made with peas rarely, however, I make it only with fresh peas (do not use frozen) since I dont have access to the green chickpeas. I tried the frozen chickpeas once and truly regretted it 🙂

Sweet shelled peas, blanched quickly and then ground into a coarse paste. The coarseness of the peas gives this curry a beautiful texture and if you ask a cook, the way a vegetable is cut, diced, crushed, pureed etc makes so much difference in the taste of the finished dish. Please do not make a smooth paste. In addition to grinding the peas coarsely, save a handful to add to the curry while it cooks.

This curry is gluten-free and ideally, if you cook it in mustard oil just the way it is should be, it is vegan as well. Traditionally, deep fried potatoes are added to this curry. And they are quite delicious, no question about that. However, I like to brown the potatoes in a couple tablespoons of oil rather than deep frying and later the potatoes finish cooking in the curry. Also, sautéing ground peas with the masala is an important part of making this curry. Dont be tempted to leave the peas green, the proper taste of nimona will not come through. After the peas “bhuno” with masala for good 8-10 minutes, the smokiness of the curry is just irresistible.

On some days, I like to temper the nimona, it is optional and only enhances the taste. Nimona is amazing served with rotis or steamed rice. A dollop of ghee on warm bowl of nimona is a beautiful finish. Make extra because it tastes better next day!

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5 from 1 vote

Matar Ka Nimona

An indian curry made of ground peas and fresh sweet peas.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Food processor, Kadhai/Heavy pan

Ingredients

For Blanching the Peas

  • 10 oz (284gms) shelled fresh peas ,please dont use frozen peas
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Curry

  • 4 tbsp mustard oil (or use regular cooking oil)
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and quatered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1 medium onion,finely chopped yield about heaped 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 inch fresh ginger peeled
  • 1/2 tbsp corinader powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder adjust to taste
  • 3 medium tomatoes add to blender & puree smooth
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 tbsp ginger julinnes optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder

Tempering (Optional)

  • 1.5 tbsp mustard oil (or use ghee)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger

For Serving

  • Sliced Onions, Cilantro, Ghee etc

Instructions

Blanch & Grind the Peas

  • Add salt and sugar and water to a cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Add shelled peas and switch off the stove. Let the peas stand in hot water for 3-5 mins. Drain. You can reserve the water to adjust the consistency of curry later.
  • Save 1/4 cup peas and add the rest to food processor jar fitted with metal blade and pulse 10-12 times until the peas are coarse. Dont make a smooth paste. The peas should be coarsely ground. Set aside.

Make the Nimona

  • Pound the garlic and ginger along with cumin seeds using mortar pestle. Keep ready.
  • In a wide kadhai or heavy pan, add the oil and warm on low medium heat until its slightly smoky.
  • Carefully add the poatoes to the oil, sprinkle a pinch of salt. Brown the poatoes on all the sides. Do not cook them through. Once browned, take out in a bowl and keep near.
  • Remove the kadhai from stove and temper the remainng oil with bay leaf, cardamom and cloves. Add hing. Saute for 10 seconds, be careful the spices might crackle.
  • Return the kadhai/pan back to stove. Next, add the ginger-garlic that we pounded earlier and saute in hot oil for 10 seconds. Dont let burn.
  • Add the chopped onions next and on low medium heat brown the onions stirring regularly to a nice golden color.
  • Once the onions are browned, add all the powdered spices- corinader, chilli power, tumeric to the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of water. Saute the spices very well for 3-5minutes in oil. Once you see oil bubbles seperating, add the tomatoes and pinch of sugar. Saute the tomatoes with onions and spices for 5-6 minutes on low medum heat till you see that the masala is deep in color and the oil is seperating again.
  • Add the ground peas along with julinned ginger(if using) and mix well with the masala.Also add the reserved peas. Saute the peas with the masala for good 6-7 minutes, scrapping the sides and bottom of pan since the peas have a tendency to stick.
  • The peas will slowly start turning brown. Keep on sauteing till you see that the peas are lightish brown and bit shiny.
  • Add about a cup and a half of warm water. Add the potatoes as well. Mix everything, it should be a thick curry right now. Taste and adjust the salt. Bring to a slight boil, cover with a lid, reduce the stove to low and let simmer for 12-14 minutes untill the potatoes are fork tender. If you feel that thenimona is getting too thick for your liking, add 1/4 cup or more water. Simmer after you add water. Dont make very watery though. You will see a little thin layer of oil on stove by the end. Nimona is ready
  • Mix in the amchoor and roasted cumin powder. Add the tempering(if using). Mix well. Cover and let rest for atleast 30 minutes before serving.

Make Tempering

  • In a small sauce pan, heat up the mustard oil till smoky. Switch off the stove and the cumin and ginger. Let crackle. Add to the nimona.