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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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.

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
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.

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
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.

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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Chicken Rezala

A nutty, delicately flavored chicken dish from East indian cuisine.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 1 hour

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.

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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Matar Ka Nimona

An indian curry made of ground peas and fresh sweet peas.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
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.

Matar Kulcha (Delhi Style Matar)

Matar Kulcha is one of the most popular street foods from Delhi. Usually sold on carts in huge brass handis(pots), it is lip smacking vegetarian curry made with white dried peas and served with a flatbread(called kulcha). We used to call them ghanti vaale chole since the vendor came ringing a bell, handing them over in a dried leaf bowl (dona).

Safed or Sookhe matar are dried white peas and the same are used to make Mumbai street food ragda pattice. They are a dried version of the fresh green peas and gained popularity in dry parts of India as a way to preserve vegetables. A perfect meal for #meatlessmonday, the curry is not at all heavy and uses less amount of oil for cooking.

These dried matar are a great source of vegetarian protein and quite wholesome. They are very easily to make and just need a few steps. You need to start a little ahead and soak these overnight before boiling them next morning. The curry uses a fresh ground wet chutney paste and that is one the main flavor boost of the recipe. Pair with buttered kulcha or ladled over aloo tikkis or enjoy a warm bowl as it is garnished with onions, ginger, green chillies & chutney.

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Matar Kulcha

Famous Delhi street Food of dried peas usually served with kulcha (flatbread)
Prep Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker, Cooking Pot, Blender

Ingredients

Boiling the Matar

  • 1.5 cup matar (dried peas) soaked in enough cold water for 8 hours and drained
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil

For the Matar Curry

  • 1 medium potato
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard oil/cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 green chillies, slit adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp corinander powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala adjust to taste
  • Salt to taste

For the wet chutney paste

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 green chillies adjust to taste
  • 1 inch fresh ginger

For Topping

  • ginger julinnes, chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro etc

Instructions

Boil the Matar

  • In a pressure cooker, add everthing listed under "Boiling the Matar". Add 2-2.5 cups water and pressure cook on medium for 2-3 whistles until tender. These peas cook very fast so keep an eye. Let pressure release naturally. The peas should be soft when squeezed between your fingers.

Making the Matar

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks. Set aside.
  • In a wet grinder- add everthing under "For the wet chutney paste" and make a fine paste. Add water if needed. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a heavy pottom pot until a bit smoky.
  • Add the cumin seeds, hing, green chillies and ginger all at once and saute for a minute or so. Dont let burn.
  • Add the potato chunks next, add a bit of salt and saute the potatoes in oil for a few minutes to brown their edges.
  • Once the potatoes are slightly browned, immediately add the onions. Saute for a few minutes till the onions are transculent but dont brown them.
  • Add all the powdwered spices – corinader, turmeric, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala next. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and saute the spices with oil for a few minutes till you see little bubbles of oil seperating.
  • Add the boiled peas next along with all the liquid. Check and adjust the salt. Coved the lid and let the peas cook with everrthing for about 20 minutes on low medium heat till the poatoes are tender.
  • Once the poatoes have cooked, add the wet chutney paste, mix nicely, you can mash the peas a bit for a thicker consistency. Cover and let everything simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm with kulchas. You can add chopped onions, tomatoes, green chiilies and fresh lemon juice on top.

Tamarind Mackerel Curry

A very simple and sour soupy fish curry with fresh ground spices and tang from sweet tamarind and vinegar. I found fresh mackerel at the store and was immediately inspired to make this.

There are no tomatoes or yogurt like most north indian fish curries here. The much needed sour comes from vinegar, the use of which is slightly inspired by how goan fish curries are done, however I didn’t use any coconut or coconut milk in this one.

With a bowl of warm rice and few sliced onions, this is absolute delight to eat. You can use any firm mild fish in this recipe. Fresh ground spices make the aroma of the curry even more bold and I really recommend you grind them fresh, incidentally that is the only time consuming part of this recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 Mackerel, cut into pieces (about 1 pound), cleaned
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 th piece star anise
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp hot red chilli powder(adjust to taste)
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1.5 tbsp malt vinegar (less if you like less sour)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp jaggery (skip if using sweet tamarind)
  • Salt to tatse

Spices

  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 Black peppercorns
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick

Method

Place the fish in a bowl. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt over the fish and massage nicely. Set aside for 15 mins.

Dry roast all the spices listed under “Spices” and grind them to a powder using your spice grinder. Mix the spices with red chilli & turmeric along with a couple tablespoons of water in a bowl and let stand.

In a cooking pot, add the oil. Once the oil is smoky a bit, add the star anise and saute for 10 seconds. Add the onions next and let them brown. The onions have to be browned nicely for a good flavor. Once the onions are browned, add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or so till you smell the aroma.

Next add the curry leaves along with the spice paste, you can add a splash of water (about 3 tbsp) and cook everything together for a few minutes till you notice the oil separating. Dont saute a lot.

Add 1 cup warm water to the pot, add salt and let come to a slow simmer. Add the fish next to the pot and let cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes. Dont let boil. You can cover if you fish but really fish cooks fast.

Once you notice that the fish is white and firm, add the vinegar, tamarind and jaggery. Gently mix everything and let cook for another 2 mins.

Switch off the stove and cover the pot. Let sit for 2 hours before serving.

-Enjoy!

Khoya Paneer Kali Mirch

This north indian paneer dish is not as popular as the tomato based creamy curries but it is such a great switch up from regular curries. Fresh ground kali mirch(black pepper) is the main flavor here and the peppery sauce of browned onions and yogurt is just so delicious. To make it tad more indulgent, I add crumbled khoya & hatful of makhana to this dish and it is so good with doughy naan, especially garlic naan.

If you have browned onions ready to go, this dish takes hardly 15-20 minutes or so. I usually deep fry onions at home and keep a stash but you can use any store bought brand that you like. Refrain from using too much onions else the gravy will become sweet. I recommend using fresh ground black pepper but don’t add too much at a once, the gravy is mellow with subtle hints of spice. All in all the dish is mild, faintly sour and creamy and such an indulgent addition to any festive menu.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 50 grams raw cashews
  • 6 oz paneer, cut in chunks or triangles
  • 1/3 cup makhana (foxnuts)
  • 100 grams sliced onions
  • Oil to fry the onions, about 1/2 cup
  • 2-3 thai bird green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp +2 tsp ghee
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom
  • a small twig of mace
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, pounded in a mortar pestle
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder (not roasted)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp thick plain full fat yogurt, whisked
  • 1 tsp sugar (or more if you like a sweetish gravy)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup water (depending on consistency of gravy you like)
  • 1/4 cup grated khoya/mawa
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp rose water or kewra water (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro

Method

Soak the cashews in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 mins. In a pan, add 2 tsp ghee and fry up the paneer slightly. Once done, take out in a plate and add the makhana to the remaining ghee and very light toast them for 1-2 minutes. Take out in the same plate and set aside.

Add oil for frying in a wide pan and heat it up. When the oil is hot but not smoky, add sliced onions to it. On medium heat, fry up the onions to a deep shade of brown, but don’t make them too brown. Frying in a wide pan in a single layer will avoid the onions from becoming soggy. Keep an eye and keep on stirring them. Once done, drain on a paper towel in a single layer and let cool down, they will crisp up a bit. This step can be done 2-3 days ahead. Use the oil for making any savory curry if you wish.

Add the soaked cashews (without water), onions and green chillies to a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Use little water if needed.

In a pan, add 2 tbsp of ghee and warm up on low medium heat. Temper the ghee with all the whole spices – cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and mace. Saute the spices for 30 seconds and then add the ginger and garlic paste. Saute for 30 seconds taking care that they don’t burn. Add a splash of water if you feel that the pan is too heat when you add the ginger garlic.

Next, add the onion paste to the pan along with all the powdered spices- coriander, cumin, fennel and red chilli. Also add the black pepper powder. Saute the onions and spices on low heat for 4-5 minutes until you see little oil bubbles on the surface and sides. You will have to stir it continuously since the cashews will tend to stick to the bottom of pan.

Once sautéed, take the pan off the stove. Add the yogurt and sugar, immediately mix it with the onion masala. Keep mixing till it is nicely combined. Return to a low stove and keep on continuously mixing till the yogurt is heated through. This will ensure that the yogurt won’t curdle. It will take 5-6 minutes.

Continue to cook and when you see little bubbles of oil on the sides of the pan, add 1/2 water to the pan. Add the salt. Taste and adjust the salt and sugar high now.On low medium heat, let the gravy simmer, do not let boil. Once the gravy is simmering, add the mawa, heavy cream, paneer and makhana. Let everything simmer on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Finish the curry with garam masala. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes more. Switch off the stove and mix in the rose water if using. Gently mix everything. Cover and let the curry sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and a pinch of black pepper powder. Enjoy with naan or jeera rice.

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!