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Badam Chikki (Almond Brittle)

Similar to peanut chikki(brittle), I often make this 3 ingredient almond chikki with silvered almonds, jaggery and green cardamom powder. It is super easy to make and a healthy(ish) snack. Can be easily made vegan if you substitute that teaspoon of ghee. Crunchy to dig into and a pleasant smoky sweetness from jaggery makes it so addictive for times when the cravings strike.

The only tricky thing in making chikki at home is the jaggery syrup. It is important to cook it to the right stage and temperature before adding almonds. If you under cook it, the almonds won’t stick together and chikki will fall apart. If over cooked , the syrup will have a burnt after taste and will become too hard to set. I use age old indian technique of checking the “hard ball” formation of syrup like our grandmothers used to. I start checking by pouring the jaggery in a bowl of water and try to make a ball, once a hard ball is set, the time is perfect to add almonds. This technique needs a bit of practice but once you get comfortable, its a great trick up your sleeve.

Ingredients

  • 200gms silvered almonds
  • 140 gms powdered jaggery
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fresh ground green cardamom powder

Method

Weigh the ingredients accurately using a kitchen scale. Line a small sheet or plate with parchment paper and and grease with 1/2 tsp melted ghee. In a pan, dry roast the almonds on low heat for 5-8 mins until you see that a few of them start to turn light brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add jaggery powder, water and ghee. Mix well. Start cooking on low heat stirring continously. Slowly in about 3-5 minutes the jaggery will start bubbling(similar to how milk boils). Keep on stirring and cooking. After about 9 minutes, start checking the syrup. To do this, pour a few drops of jaggery syrup in a bowl of cold water and try to bring the jaggery together to form a tiny ball. At about 11 mins, I could form the ball. However, time also depends on the quality, type of jaggery and the moisture content so it might be little longer or shorter.

Add the cardamom powder, mix and immediately add the toasted almonds to the syrup. Cook for 1-2 minutes and mix together nicely such that all the almonds are covered in syrup. Work fast and transfer to the greased sheet and press down using a spatula or spoon to set a thickish layer.

Leave to cool for around 5 minutes and the using a very sharp knife, mark squares on the chikki(this helps in neat pieces later). Cool the chikki completely for 2-3 hours or you can leave it overnight.

Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

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Mom’s Ginger Garlic Chicken

She simply calls it ginger garlic chicken but this recipe is way more special than that. It does use a lot of ginger and garlic, but then most chicken dishes do 🙂 This is one of mom’s incredibly delicious chicken recipe and she has been asking me to make it for him for a long time.We usually get boneless chicken so it took me a while to get to it. The first chance I got to visit our halal middle eastern store last week, I got bone in chicken. This recipe, it needs chicken with bones because the main flavor comes from there. The method of cooking and the short list of ingredients here will not allow for much flavor if you use boneless chicken. There are no powdered spices and the chicken cooks in its own juices with herbs and green chillies while you bhuno(saute) it, bhuno it for good half hour without halting. Its very easy to make. The little masala that there is, it is full of ghee caramalized onions, garlic ginger and table spoons of thick full fat yogurt. Finished with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint leaves and a good dose of kasuri methi, the chicken is delicious if served as soon as it is cooked.

The only thing to be kept in mind is a wide heavy bottom kadhai or cast iron pot, its a must for that beautiful caramelization , smokiness and even cooking on open stove. An easy weeknight dish which will take you under 30 mins to make and it will still bring the feeling of “something special” to the table. On days we had unannocuned guests over, mom quickly whipped up this dish.You can even serve these chicken pieces as starters or with some doughy naan or rotis and some pyaz for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb skinless, bone in chicken(cut into medium pieces)
  • 3 tbsp full fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4-5 thai bird green chillies, slit (or to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper – to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp kauri methi
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint & cilantro
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream(optional)

Method

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in yogurt, ginger & garlic and salt. Massage the chicken well, cover and let marinate refrigerated for atleast 2 hours, overnight is better.

Take out the chicken out of the fridge an hour before ready to cook. Heat up ghee in a wide, heavy bottomed kadai/pot. Temper the hot ghee with cumin, bay and cardamom. After 15 seconds, start adding the onions and separate the onions as you go. Add the green chillies as well. Once the onions are browned, lower the heat and add the marinated chicken. Keep on mixing continuously for 5-7 minutes to avoid curdling of yogurt.

Once the chicken starts to cook, add the black pepper and salt.Keep the flame on medium low. Don’t cover else the chicken will become watery. Keep on mixing around, tossing and turning regularly for next 25-30 minutes till the chicken is browned and cooked through. You will see the chicken starts to separate from the bone.

Add the fresh herbs and the kauri methi. Saute for 4-5 mins with the herbs. Finish with cream and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Indrani/Angoori Rasmalai

A delightful dessert usually sold chilled in little matkis (clay pots) at halwai shops in north india. It is different from rasmalai though there are few similarities. Rasmalai is chenna patties served with thickened (but still runny) milk, in this sweet, the milk is almost rabri like consistency. Quite a bit of layers of flavors and textures going on in here- spongy petite (grape sized) roundels of chenna in a lacy rabri base. You can make a traditional rabri, I add little custard powder to milk for smoothness and flavor. There’s desiccated coconut in the custard along with plump golden raisins, sliced nuts and cherries. Takes time to put together but on festivals I like pull out all plugs and spend time in the kitchen .

To color chenna balls naturally pink, I add roohafza (rose syrup) to the sugar syrup while boiling. The chenna balls can be made ahead and your can make custard next day and assemble it all together. We are in the middle of a heatwave and I wanted to make a chilled dessert for Rakhi. Their excitement about mithai will never be similar to mine, however the girls were elated to see “pink balls” Rakhi wishes to those celebrating 🙂

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For Chenna Balls (Makes 16-20 grape size balls)

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp roohafza (rose syrup)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 -2 tbsp rosewater

For the Rabri

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla custard powder mixed in 2 tbsp cold milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 5 tbsp desiccated coconut, lightly roasted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Miscellaneous

  • Marachino Cherries – as much as you want
  • Sliced nuts- as much as you want
  • Edible gold or silver film(varq)
  • Crushed rose petals

Method

For the chenna balls

Set milk to a boil in a heavy pot and keep on stirring it.Once the milk is boiling, switch off the flame and immediately add vinegar to it. Stir gently 2-3 times. You will see that the milk starts curdling. Let the curds form, don’t stir a lot. Once you see that all the milk has curdled and a greenish whey has separated, strain the curdled milk through a muslin/cheese cloth. Pour some cold water to remove the traces of vinegar and to cool it down. Tie the cheesecloth and hang it for about 20-25 minutes to remove some liquid from the chenna.

Transfer the chenna to a wide dish and using the base of your palm, knead the chenna for around 5 minutes to a smooth grain free dough. Pinch small grape size portions and make smooth round balls. Set aside, covered.

In a wide pot, transfer the sugar and water for the syrup, add the cardamom pods and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the rose syrup, let boil again and slowly add the chenna balls in there. Dont lower the heat, let cook for 10-12 mins. Meanwhile transfer a little (about 1/2 cup) sugar syrup to a bowl of ice. Immediately add cooked chenna balls to ice bath and let cool off for 5-8 mins. Mix rose water with the remaining syrup in the pot and cool down the syrup. Transfer the cooled chenna balls and syrup to a container together and let soak for 6-8 hours. Discard the syrup in ice bath.

For the Rabri custard

In a heavy pot, add the full fat milk, bring it to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 mins. Add sugar and mix well. Then slowly add the custard powder mixed with cold milk while continuously mixing the milk in the pot with the other hand. Also add the heavy cream(if using)

Cook for 5-7 minutes, we don’t want the milk to get very thick. Switch off the stove. Mix in the coconut along with the vanilla and raisins. Chill the custard completely for 3-5 hours in the fridge.

To assemble

Transfer the custard to a wide dish. Squeeeze the syrup from the chenna balls and add it to custard. Add drained cherries and nuts. Add rose crushed rose petals and some edible gold film to decorate. Serve chilled.

You can form individual servings as well following the same steps.

Enjoy

-Tanvi

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Chausela With Lauki Raita

Chausela – A rustic flatbread.It is quite similar to gujarati thepla. Not as thin as theplas though and what makes them special is these flatbreads are cooked in mustard oil. There is raw mustard oil in the dough giving them a smoky flavor. On hot summer days, these are amazing for lunch with a cold raita made with tender lauki or shredded cucumber, a garlicky chili chutney and achaar. These cannot be stored like theplas, make a fresh dough, cooked and serve right off the skillet.

My grandmother’s family had western ultra pradesh influence and this flatbread is a perfect example of regional recipe gems embedded in the heart of indian states. The dough is not gluten-free, a little atta (whole wheat flour) is added for binding. Chopped onions, ginger garlic along with spinach(or any greens can be added) and cilantro go in next along with few spices and yogurt.

These are utterly soft and delicious to eat and if you ask me quite wholesome too. You can change up the vegetables – add methi in place of spinach or add grated squash. Either way, these are a welcome switch from usual rotis.

Ingredients (Makes 6-7, 5 inch flatbreads)

  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/3 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 2-3 green chilies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil + more for cooking
  • water as needed for kneading

Method

In a wide dish or in your food processor add all the ingredients except water and mix to combine. Add water slowly 1-2 tbsp at a time to make a stiff dough. Knead it a few times to bring it into a ball, cover and let rest for 10 mins. After resting, the dough will be soft, since the vegetables release water due to salt. That’s why its important to not make a soft dough to start with.

Pinch 6-8 equal portions. Preheat a griddle/tawa on the stove. Roll on a floured surface into thickish discs. Cook using mustard oil generously-about 1 tbsp oil each side. Flip and cook on other side.

Serve with lauki raita (recipe below)

Lauki Raita

Peel and grate one small lauki. Remove big seeds if any. Yield about 3/4 cup. Add 2-4 tbsp of water and ddd it to a pressure cooker or instant pot and cook for 1 whistle. Cool down completely. Squeeze the liquid out and reserve.

Whisk 1.5 cup thick plain yogurt with 1 tsp roasted cumin, cut up green chillies to taste, 1 tsp kala namak(black salt) and 1/4 tsp sugar. Add table salt to taste. Use the reserved water to thin out the raita as needed. The leftover liquid can be used to make roti dough.

In a small pan, temper 1/2 tbsp cooking oil with some 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add 1/2 tsp red chili powder(or to taste). Pour over the raita and mix. Add some chopped cilantro. Chill for 30 mins and serve.

Enjoy!

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Chilli Lemon Cashews

Chilli Lemon Cashwes

Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by wegotnuts.com

Cashews are a favorite nut in our household. From mithai to creamy curries like korma or as a snack, we love them. My kids usually go for the plain salted roasted ones, but him and I and are fond of, you guessed it, the spiced ones. I make a few kinds and in this recipe I experimented a bit and used fresh lemon juice and that tang combined with the creamy and natural sweetness of the cashews was just wonderful.

Spicy, creamy and crunchy – these are so great with a cup of chai. As the cashews slow roast in their own fats in the oven, the natural sugars in them caramelize a bit and the spice coating tends to toast and together just makes the cashews so addictive.

These are a great option for gatherings or cocktail nibbles.You can make them days ahead and store them. The ingredients are few and they just require a little checking while slow roasting. You can use any kind of chill powder, I use the hot variety. If you have Tajin at home, you can add that in or sweet paprika works amazing as well-it gives them gorgeous color and smokiness. Yum.

Spicy Cashews With Chai

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder(use mild or hot or extra hot depending on tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup(it won’t make them sweet, it balances the tang) 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 to 3.5 cups wegotnuts raw whole cashews

Method

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients except the cashews. Let sit for 30 mins for the flavors to mingle. Preheat oven to 250F. Pour the spice mix over cashews and combine well with a spatula so that all the cashews are coated nicely. Spread the cashews in a single layer on a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Roast for 60-90 minutes(I baked for about 80 mins) stirring every 30 minutes for even roasting. Keep a close eye after 60 mins, they go fast from there. Cool down completely and store in air tight container. Enjoy! 

Stay spicy!

-Tanvi

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Kala Jaam/Jamun

Kala Jaam/Jamun

Kala Jamun- A bolder smokier version of Gulab Jamun.I won’t lie if I tell you that I like these more. I love the thick, pleasantly bitter crust soaked in cardamom scented syrup.

Ever since I came to States, I have been making jamuns using milk powder, and while those are amazing the ones with milky mawa are authentic- those are utterly soft and truly melt in the mouth. I add some fresh chenna while making these, the texture and the taste is wonderful. Reminds me of little halwai shops in the nooks of delhi where trays of these sit on decorated counters. One of the very few mithai which my kids really adore.

Printable Recipe

Recipe

Makes 20-22 pieces

Ingredients 

For the Jamuns

  • 250 gms mawa/khoya
  • 100 gms chenna or soft fresh paneer
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour(maida) 
  • Scant pinch of baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder 
  • 2-4tbsp of whole milk(as needed) 
  • Ghee or oil for frying

For the sugar syrup

  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 3-4 drops of fresh lemon juice 
  • 1-2 tbsp rose water 
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder 

Method

In a large wide dish, fine grate the mawa and crumble the chenna, if using paneer, make sure it’s soft and grate it very well, there should not be any lump or big pieces of mawa or chenna.Add all purpose flour, baking powder and cardamom. Start adding milk a tbsp at a time and gently mix. I needed about 3 tbsp. Don’t squish or squeeze,depending on the fat content of your mawa, adjust the milk quantity to make a soft dough. Dough will be slightly sticky, use some ghee if needed to bring it together. No kneading of dough needed. Let rest for 15 mins, covered with a damp cloth. 

While the dough is resting, make the sugar syrup, mix sugar and water and let come to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Add the rosewater and cardamom and lemon juice. Keep warm. 

Heat up enough oil(or ghee) in a pot(or kadhai)on low- medium. Pinch small portions of the dough and roll them between your palms to make a smooth round ball. You would get about 12-15 jamuns. Keep them covered. 

To check the temperature of oil, drop a small portion of dough into the oil, it should come floating up slowly. If it comes up fast, the oil is too hot, if it settles to the bottom, the oil is cold. Fry the jamuns 4-5 at a time. They will plump up bit. Fry them for about 3-4 mins on all sides till they are dark brown in color. 

Drain on a paper towel. And immediately add to warm sugar syrup. Repeat with all the jamun batches. Cover them and let soak for atleast 30 minutes in syrup. These need a longer soaking time than gulab jamuns. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Festival Recipes General Uncategorized

Holi Recipes

Hoil (Indian Spring festival of Colors) is around the corner.Its 5th March this year! Over the years I have posted quite a few favorites which I typically make on this day, Here are few recipes from the blog that you can make for entertaining family and friends.

Many of these recipes have been cooked in the kitchens of my readers and they were kind enough to leave feedback on the posts.Thank you! These feedbacks come some handy when there is shortage of time and you want to try something new. Knowing how these recipes performed ( I look forward to that all the time on someone else’ recipes) makes life so easy. No?

Enjoy, Stay Spicy & Happy Cooking!

Gujiya – Deep fried flaky pastry with sweet milk & coconut filling.Step by step pictures included on how to shape these.

Sinfully Spicy :Mava Gujiya, Pastry With sweet nuts & coconut filling

 Jalebi – A sorta indian funnel cake, bet you cannot eat just one!

Sinfully Spicy: Jalebi #indian

 Gulab Jamun – Some Old favorites never fade! You can never go wrong with these on any festival. Soft, moist dumplings in sugar

Sinfully Spicy - Gulab Jamun

Kesar Kulfi – A no churn Indian ice cream flavored with saffron and nuts. Gluten free.

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Papri Chaat – Crispy flour discs topped with sweet yogurt, tangy chutney & cut up onions or grated radish.

IMG_20571

Chole Chaat – Chickpea Chaat, kind of a warm salad in bowl.

Sinfully Spicy- Warm Chickpea Chaat/Indian Salad 001

Jal Jeera – A tangy drink spiced with cumin & tamarind. A Holi day must have! Make this and stuff golgappas (puffed flour rounds) with it. Yum!

Sinfully Spicy - Jal Jeera - Indian Tamarind & Cumin Cooler

Gajar Kaanji – A probiotic, fermented carrot drink. So tangy and refreshing and good for you!

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Thandai – Holi is not the same without this fragrant milk drink with spices & nuts.How about making some?

Sinfully Spicy - Thandai

Dahi Gujiya – Gluten free stuffed lentil patties topped with tangy yogurt & spices

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lamb Rogan Josh



Sinfully Spicy: Lamb Rogan JoshMany days I need something different, not the usual preparation but an equally aromatic and meaty curry but without the typical onion-garlic- tomato masala. The rogan josh delivers. Rogan (fat) from the lamb and josh (intensity) from the kashmiri red chillies, combined with the warming flavors of ginger, fennel & hing, each morsel of this kashmiri dish with origins in Persia is a true delight.The spice selection is different than the usual turmeric or coriander and its a much needed change at dinner time.You can easily do it wrong by choosing a lean meat (like chicken) for making rogan josh.It is not rogan josh unless the meat cooks in its own fat plus the aromatic & bold infusion of whole black cardamoms, bay leaf and sharp indian cinnamon or cassia bark to develop a robust, distinctive taste.

Sinfully Spicy: Lamb Rogan JoshThis recipe comes from my aunt, a true blue Kashmiri. To tell you the truth, I had eaten it all wrong before I ate rogan josh prepared by her. My first time was some six years back, and while the meat cooked on the stove, I could tell that it did not smell like the usual curries which we are used to eating in our homes,the strong liquorice aroma of fennel & smoky chillies permeating the atmosphere of the house till quite a few hours later.The vibrant red hue of the dish was indicative of  its essential character, of royalty, of feast. Last month, I tried the recipe she told me over the phone twice, it didn’t come out great the first time. I over did the ginger, but the second time it was insanely good. ‘You could use a few spoons of thin dahi (yogurt) if you like, but it’s not necessary, water will do’, she tells me.In addition, she briefs me about using ground fennel the way I would use coriander powder in day today north indian recipes.Using mustard oil is the authentic route but since its not a popular oil in the west, I would say substitute with any neutral oil in this recipe if you do not get it.



Sinfully Spicy: Lamb Rogan Josh No tomatoes, no garlic, no onion and no ready to use garam masala (please). These are not used in kashmiri rogan josh. The finished braised dish is more of meat chunks coated in oily flavors than a thin gravy or sauce.It is supposed to have oil separating on the plate from the meat chunks when you serve.Mop that oil with roti or soak some basmati in it.It taste unique and smells fragrant. Your tastebuds will take a while to adjust to the fennel if you are a heavy coriander eating person like me, but then it gets addictive. Many a times, dried kashmiri chillies are soaked in water, ground to a paste and then used to make rogan josh but I think, the dry kashmiri chill powder works fine too. Traditionally,ratanjot spice is used for the intense red color but trust me it’s not easy to find outside India.

Sinfully Spicy : Spices, Lamb Rogan Josh

Sinfully Spicy: Lamb Rogan Josh

Ingredients (Serve 2-3)

  • 1.5 lb (boneless) lamb shoulder, cut into 2 ” chunks ( or mutton or beef)
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2.5 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt (not greek)
  • 5 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • scant 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)powder
  • 1 small tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 5 green cardamom, cracked open
  • 1 black cardamom, cracked open
  • 1.5 – 2 tbsp kashmiri mirch powder (or use 1.5 tbsp paprika)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1.5 tsp powdered fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (or cayenne, adjust to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • scant pinch of saffron (optional)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

To be dry roasted

  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cardamom
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon (cassia bark)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small blade mace

Notes :

  1. Traditionally mutton is used in the preparation of rogan josh. If you get it where you live, go ahead and use that meat. I used lamb since I do not get good quality mutton or goat meat where I reside. 
  2. Fresh ground fennel is really strong. I usually grind the fennel a day ahead and leave covered on countertop. If you use fresh ground do not use more than 3/4 tsp or maybe less.
  3. The rogan josh is supposed to have little or no gravy. So do not add too much water. It is supposed to have an oil separating from the meat chunks when you serve.You will need a soupy side dish or gravy if you plan to serve it with steamed rice.
  4. Substitute mustard with any neutral oil.

Method

Rub the lamb pieces with 1/2 tbsp mustard oil and salt. Set aside for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, thin out the yogurt with 2-3 tbsp of water. Mix to a smooth consistency. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat up the mustard oil.Mustard oil needs to be heated more than the usual oil to do away the raw smell. Heat till you see that the oil turns pale from its deep golden color. Reduce heat to low. Add the cumin and hing. Wait for the aroma. About 5-7 seconds. Add the marinated lamb. Bump up the heat to medium Stir around so that the lamb pieces are coated in oil. You will seed that in 1-2 minutes the lamb will start changing color. Add the green & black cardamom. Stir for another 1-2 minutes.

Now, reduce the heat to low. Add the kashmiri chilli powder a teaspoon at a time and immediately add a splash of thin yogurt.Stir around gently.Do this till all the chili powder and yogurt are exhausted, adding yogurt at the last. Continue on low heat so that the yogurt does not curdle and the chili does not burn.If you feel that the pot is way too hot, take off the stove for a while and return back.After about 2 minutes, bump up the heat to medium and add the ginger powder, ground fennel, red chili powder and salt.Str around, you will see a lot of liquid in the pot but that’s okay. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let simmer covered on low heat for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (or more, depending on how big the meat pieces are) till the lamb is almost 95% cooked.  You will need to check the pot 3-4 times in between to ensure that it is not sticking to the bottom, you can add a splash of water if needed.

While the lamb is cooking , in a small pan dry roast the spices listed under ‘to be roasted’ for a minute or less. Transfer to a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle and coarsely grind. Once the lamb is 95% cooked, add these spices to the pot, add about 1/2 cup water and cover again. Let simmer for another 20 minutes till the lamb is cooked through.

Let sit for 40 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

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Brunch Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Indian Curry Lentils one pot meals Side Dishes Soups Uncategorized Vegetarian

Dal Tadka – Tempered Yellow Lentils


Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsIf you ever chance upon a dinner or lunch in India, dal or lentils is a must thing on the meal table. In north indian states it could be a choice between kaali dal (black lentils) or dal tadka (the yellow ones) but in other parts, quintessentially, it has to be the yellow one. Generously tempered with a fat (ghee, coconut,mustard or sesame oil) &  the crackling spices – cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves or mustard seeds, it is further flavored with garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions, chilies (both green & red),turmeric and even jaggery (sugar).Essentially dal is quite an aromatic and soul nourishing food.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsI like to compare dal preparation in Indian homes to the roasted chicken in the west. It is such a simple thing to make but the taste of dal can vary easily between two cooks.Comforting and satisfying food compounded with warm, smooth texture and laced with hints of spices. Every home has its own way of making it and that recipe is no doubt the best, certainly better than how it is done in your home (in case we get into an altercation ever!). We eat dal on days when we are sick as well as on days when we want to feast.Mostly severed with a spicy pickle (green mango in our house) and dollops of ghee on top, steamed basmati rice is the best vehicle for dal. In India, dal sums up the daily protein chunk for majority of indians who are pure vegetarians especially the ones who refrain from eggs also.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow LentilsBetween me and the husband we are poles apart when it comes to a favorite dal. For me its the black lentils which, at some point, I could eat every day with rotis (flatbread) but he is more of a chawal (rice) – dal kind. Since I mostly lost a knack for lentils after my pregnancy (its both amazing & weird what giving birth does to you!), he is having it his way in the house now.I usually mix a couple of lentils whenever cooking and the toor/arhar (split pigeon pea lentils) are an important ingredient here. Sadly I haven’t spotted it in regular or bulk grocery stores here so you might want to visit an indian/pakistani store to get it.

Sinfully Spicy- Dal Tadka, Tempered Yellow Lentils

 

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

  • 1/3 cup arhar/toor dal (pigeon pea lentils,husked & split )
  • 1/3 cup masoor dal (red lentils,husked & split )
  • 2 tbsp moong dal (golden lentils,husked &split )
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped onion (I use red onion)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes (I use Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 fat garlic clove,finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp ghee, melted
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 3 cups water +more
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder, substitute with fresh lime juice to taste)
  • Chopped Cilantro

For Tadka (tempering)

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 whole dried kashmiri red chilies
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2-3 whole red chilies

Notes –

  • The cooking time mentioned in this recipe are for split lentils. If you use whole lentils the cooking time could be more. Also keep in mind that you use either all split or all whole when choosing lentils for this recipe
  • Hing or asafoetida is a strong, aromatic spice available both in crystal and powdered form. It aids digestion & is used more often than not in indian cooking, also a little goes a long way. It gives a unique flavor to dal but can be skipped if you do not have it.
  • If you are vegan, use any oil in this recipe instead of ghee. Coconut oil might not be a very good choice since the spice selection in the recipe does not go great with it but you can use any neutral oil.

Method

Thoroughly wash all the lentils under running water 2-3 times. Drain and transfer the washed lentils to a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water. Let soak for 10 minutes. Add chopped onion, tomatoes,garlic, ginger(if using), hing, ghee, turmeric and salt. Put on the lid and pressure cook the lentils on medium heat for 1 whistle (This cooking time will depend on the quality of lentils, so adjust). Take off the heat and let sit on the counter till the pressure releases out of the cooker.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, use a heavy bottomed pot with lid and cook the lentils for around 30- 40 minutes or till completely tender.

Once you open the lid, add amchoor to the dal. With the help of a whisk or a spoon, thoroughly mash the lentils so that they are creamy. If you like a thinner consistency of dal, add a cup or more of water.If you add extra water, return to the stove and let simmer for another 5-7 minutes on medium heat.

While the dal is simmering, make the tadka. In a small sauce pan, heat up the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and let crackle. Also add the whole dried chillies and let them turn darker in color. Lower the heat and immediately add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds or so taking care that it does not burn.(Tadka can become very hot very quickly, take care that you act fast so that nothing burns.) Put off the heat and add the red chili powder. Immediately add this tadka to the simmered lentils and close the lid so that the aroma infuses. Let sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Indian Streetfood Uncategorized Vegetarian

Kesar Kulfi

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Late Summer. The days are filled with blueberries and peaches and cherries before the seasons changes.This year we had an overdose of summer bounty in the house since most of our produce shopping was from Costco, there was hardly a day when we were out of fruits.May sound impatient, but I want those crunchy sweet tart apples and soft pears and ruby-red  pomegranates and rest these berries till next summer. In lieu of new, I picked up my first fresh figs this summer (yup, it took me five odd years to do that since I moved to the States) and kind of liked them but still didn’t understand the craze. The ones I ate though sweet,had a slightly slimy aftertaste so maybe they were unripe? Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Anyhow, the evenings turn up sooner and are much cooler than a past few weeks back.We are having a few rain spells every ten days or so which I am liking a lot since those are rare in this part of the world. I am barely able to decide if the air conditioning should be turned on or not all night even though I am waking up cold for last few days.

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi Talking of few weeks back, I broke my blender jar, it came shattering down on our tiled floor.The following day my year old Panini maker gave in as soon as I plugged it in. I smelled smoke and saw a spark. Short circuit. Dang. In the latest, every time I use it, I hear a scratchy sound while our food processor runs,looks like it will join that gang soon. Good lord. Just wondering if all the universe has joined hands against my kitchen equipment or is it really a coincidence?

Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi The only good thing that happened was this kulfi, laced with saffron threads and sweet cardamom aroma.I badly needed to make something comforting to calm me down.A childhood ice cream treat from the streets,as kids we licked a few sticks each afternoon from the kulfiwalla(vendor) who visited our neighborhood. Needless to say, it was dirt cheap (may be few cents if you convert the currency) but came with huge flavor and texture. Traditionally, whole milk is simmered for hours and hours till it reduces to half its volume, the fat goes up and so does the sugar and protein content.Flavors are then added and its frozen immediately, no churning or custard business needed here.   Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi As time and occasion permits,these days it also depends on how cranky the toddler is, I use either ways to make kulfi, sometimes I start with whole milk and sometimes with cans of evaporated milk or half and half to shorten the process.  This time, the husband offered to watch the little one and I took the traditional route – just like how mum used to make it at home filled with toil and sweetness of love. Sinfully Spicy : Kesar Kulfi

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mava (milk solids, see recipe here to make your own, omit if you do not have)
  • 1 no 14oz sweetened condensed milk can
  • 2 tbsp fine rice flour + 2-3 tbsp whole cold milk (to dissolve)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or any nut of choice)
  • 1 tsp heaping saffron threads+ 1.5 tbsp warm whole milk (to dissolve)
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • Silvered almonds to serve 

Notes

  1. This recipe yields a lightly sweet kulfi (which is how it should be) but you can add more condensed milk or sugar as per taste.
  2. Addition of mava lends the kulfi both richness and a chewy texture but it can be skipped.
  3. Ideally, kulfi is not creamy, rather lightly chewy and grainy.
  4. You could use cornstarch in place of rice flour
  5. Substitute almonds with any kind of nuts (pistachios, cashews)

Method

In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to a boil. Once the milk is boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook down with constant stirring. You do not have to stand by the stove but check and stir every 10-12 minutes so that the milk does not stick to the bottom or sides of the pot.You will need to keep on scraping the side of the pot while you stir.  Depending on fat/water content of the milk it could take 3-5 hours for the milk to reduce to half of its volume.

While the milk is cooking, crumble or grate the mava (if using),there should be no lumps. Set aside. Dissolve the rice flour in cold milk and let sit. Crumble up saffron threads between palms of your hands and dissolve in warm milk. Set aside.

Once the milk has reduced, it will be light brownish in color, much thicker in consistency. Add the rice flour slurry to the pot with continual stirring (so that no lumps are formed) and let cook for 5 minutes on low heat . The mixture will thicken further and become smooth. Add the mava next and cook for another 5-8 minutes so that it softens a bit.

Remove from heat. Add the condensed milk, almond meal, dissolved saffron and cardamom powder to the milk mixture and combine well. Let sit to cool down,

Pour into kulfi moulds or popsicle moulds. Freeze for 24 hours with lid on.

Once ready to serve, use a sharp knife to loosen the edges and unmold the kulfi. You could run the mould under a stream of water to loosen it. Serve as it is or sliced up with nuts and falooda (recipe here)