Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Rosemary Infused Yogurt Mousse With Fresh Berries

Featured on FoodBuzz Top 9

You can’t beat the taste of homemade yogurt. Its sweetish, grainy and rich. Something, which you are supposed to fall in love with. Eating yogurt is soul satisfying for me- it caters to the senses in the most pure & luscious way. There is something so addictive about the homemade version that I can eat it plain without a speck of salt or sugar. In India, the concept of readymade yogurt or starters/ probiotic cultures & stuff hit the grocery stores only a few years back. Till date, a popular way to get good quality yogurt is from the mithai (sweet) shops – it comes really close to home taste. Still, in most of the Indian families, including mine, yogurt is only bought from outside when there is a dire need to do so. Else, we Indians have all the patience in the world to make our own, at home.

One of my very fond memory of childhood is to eat a big bowl of dahi (yogurt) with lots of seasonal fruits & honey after every meal. We used to have this large, round earthen bowl in which my grandma made yogurt every night. Before going to sleep, her usual regime was to warm up the milk, dip her finger in there to check the temperature, mix it up with a starter from previous day, wrap up the bowl in a old woollen & set aside to set overnight. Everything was plain impulse and approximation – no thermometers or modern gadgets…as inexact as it can get. Nonetheless, her yogurt came out perfect each morning – ethereal white, milky sweet with a tangy note & thick. She said that the earthen pot sucks away the sourness as the bacteria play with the milk overnight. It didn’t make much sense to a 10 year old then.Only when I learnt science, I understood the fundamental about how & what difference an earthen bowl makes. Rarely, I saw her getting irked when her yogurt did not set in the morning ,we were then kicked out of the house with little bowls to get the starters from neighbors or nearby sweet shop.

Having lived on the homemade version half of my life, I never quite liked the gooey, gelatinous, slimy store bought versions. I understand smooth texture but I don’t understand lack of texture! I have my own theories that few of the brands have loads of cornstarch mixed along with emulsifiers & stabilizers. Even though, mostly I make my batch at home but if you should buy, try organic yogurt. Okay, I m not dumping my great ideas about organic milk products on you, but if you are a lazy bum like me at times, organic is certainly the way to go. The day, I discovered my favorite brand at Whole foods, my aversions about store bought yogurt were gone forever.

They say that true happiness lies in simplicity,this mousse highlights that simplicity. This virtually guilt free mousse is a fluffy bundle of joy.It is so airy that you wont realize you are eating a dessert. Such healthy desserts are always delightful – aren’t they? You bet, especially in this hot Vegas weather where the temperatures are still in the hundreds.Not only savory, I am crazy about spices and herbs even in desserts. You may find rosemary intriguing at first in a dessert, wait till you try it, come back & tell me what you feel. The touch of minced rosemary accentuates the feeling of comfort with an added aroma in each bite. Infact, P said that rosemary was the best part about the dessert and called it an “Aromatherapy dessert” Whatever! 🙂 I topped it with a simple mush of fresh berries mixed with lemon juice & sugar. The extra tang from lemon in the topping adds in a layer of flavor. No cooking, No oven, No grill- Just you and the whisk. Top it up with whatever fruit or nuts you are crazy about- I tell you, even chocolate will work wonders.

Home Grown Rosemary 🙂
 

Ingredients:-

For the Yogurt Mousse :- [Makes 4 servings] 

  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1-1/2 cup plain yogurt (just take care that the yogurt is not very sour)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp minced rosemary (adjust to preference)
  • Less than 1/8 tsp of salt
For the topping :
  • 1/2 cup each blackberries & raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (avoid if you berries are very tart)
  • Sugar to taste
Method:-  
  • In a small bowl, thoroughly mix yogurt with minced rosemary & salt.
  • Tie the yogurt in a clean muslin/cheesecloth.Set the tied cloth on a sieve with a bowl placed below it and let the yogurt sit refrigerated for 4 hours.
  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to bloom.
  • In a large bowl, tip in the thickened yogurt and whisk it for 3-5 minutes to fluff it up.Set aside.
  • In another bowl, with a hand beater/electric mixer start whipping up the cream.While whisking, add sugar in parts to the cream till you get stiff peaks.Set aside.
  • Heat the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds. If you do not have microwave, you can use a double boiler to melt the gelatin.
  • Immediately, pour the melted gelatin over the yogurt and whisk thoroughly to mix.
  • Very gently, fold in the whipped cream with the yogurt until everything has combined well. The mix will be thick and fluffy.
  • Spoon the yogurt mix in bowls or glasses and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to set.
  • For the topping:- In separate bowls, add berries with lemon juice and sugar. Mush them with a spoon or masher to desired consistency.Top the set mousse with this berry mash and serve chilled.
Notes:
  1. You can increase the quantity of heavy cream and reduce equivalent quantity of yogurt from ingredient list depending on how rich you want your mousse.
  2. If using greek yogurt, since it is already quite thick & sour, reduce the straining time in the refrigerator by half.
  3. Use your mortar & pestle to mince rosemary leaves- add few drops of water if needed as you mince.You can chop them really fine too.


 
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by !
 
Categories
How To Indian Curry Vegetarian

Masala – Everyday Indian Curry Paste

Indian restaurants in the western world have brought about a drastic conceptual change in the way people decipher Indian recipes – particularly the “curry”. Curry has transformed from being healthy & brothy to oily and thick. How many of you avoid restaurant food on those days when you desire light dinner and don’t want to ogle at the pool of oil, which will welcome you when you order curry? As much as Indian food opens your appetite and makes you want to eat more, I m sure most of you would be eating the non traditional version of curry at restaurants,feeling sluggish, thereby putting it off on certain days. I do not intend to dismiss restaurant curry as devilish but it’s a far cry from what home-style Indian version is. Even though I love thick, creamy restaurant curries with all my heart, I will certainly not categorize it as something I want to cook in my home daily or healthy. So for all of you who share curry love with me, I decided to post the basic Indian curry paste or masala in this post – the way we Indians make it in our homes – sans the calories & full of taste!

Onions Tomatoes & Garlic – The Veg Trio

Masala” is a very generic term used to describe any blend of spices in Indian cooking. Masala can be dry or wet, chunky or smooth, hot or mild, thick or brothy. In curry making it is a pasty, spice mixture, which forms the base. You add water or broth to the masala and make a ‘sauce’ or ‘curry’. Curry is not a dish by itself in India, it is a sauce. You prefix the name of meat or vegetable before “curry” to derive the name of the dish…chicken curry, potato curry, cauliflower etc.

Chili, Coriander & Turmeric Powder – The Spice Trio

Traditional home-style north Indian masala is not cream laden, not made with curry powder, does not have cashew or almond pastes & is not silky smooth in texture. It is chunky, healthy & light to eat. The way onions, peppers & celery start any stew or soup in the western cuisine, the Indian masala has equivalent trio of onions, tomatoes & garlic or OTG.The basic trio of spices being coriander, turmeric & red chili powder which lend it the distinct consistency, color & heat. The beautiful, deep orangish-red color is from the combination of red from chili & yellow from turmeric. This color depends on the quality of spices used and the slow cooking.In everyday cooking,Masala is not churned in food blenders or pureed through a sieve, it is cooked on low heat so that the onions & tomatoes soften but do not become mushy, and the natural sugars in them are caramelized. Garam Masala & Amchoor (dry mango powder) are added to masala to give it smoky and sour tastes respectively. Though rare,  but sometimes, addition of both these items depends on what is it that you are making curry with. As an example, I wont add both of these when making a fish curry, garam masala will overpower the mild taste of fish & citrus will be a better addition than amchoor. I hope you get an idea of what I m trying to say.

This masala has a lot of uses, you can whisk it in boiling water while making rice for an instant curried flavor, use it as spread on tortillas, buns or wraps, mix it with some mayo & make a curried dip, beat with yogurt, mix some veggies & make a side to the main meal. I even use it as a pasta sauce sometimes ..I m weird 🙂 Another way which I absolutely love this masala is on top of triangle paratha  – absolute bliss! Or maybe devise your own way of eating it & let me know.



Please note that this recipe does not substitute the whole spices in Indian cooking.This recipe is to be used as a base in curry making.

Ingredients: – [Makes about 1 cup, can be doubled]

  • 4 tbsp mustard/olive/canola oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (We like masala more garlicky than usual, adjust as per liking)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (slightly sour)
  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 tsp red chili powder/cayenne  (We like masala hot , adjust quantity to tolerance depending on mild or hot you want the sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder, available in Indian stores)
  • 1tsp salt

Method: –

  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and heat on high up till you see ripples on the surface.If using mustard oil, you will need to heat it till its smoking to do away the raw smell.
  • Reduce heat to medium.Add the finely chopped onion and cook them till golden brown. About 6-8 minutes.
  • Next, add the cumin seeds, minced garlic & ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes till you start smelling the aroma.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes next along with chilli, coriander, and turmeric powder. Cook this masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes. If you see masala sticking to the bottom of pan, add some water. Cook thoroughly to reduce water. This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, please do not rush.Allow the masala to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color.
  • Remove the pan from heat and mix in the salt, garam masala & amchoor.
  • Allow the masala to cool and transfer to jars for storing. The paste sits for up to 5 days refrigerated and 2 months in the freezer without losing flavor.
  • How to Use:– Whenever you want to use this masala for making curry, add the desired quantity of water to it,check the seasoning & bring to a boil. Next add the meats or vegetables, boiled beans, lentils and cook covered or in pressure cooker till tender.
Notes: –
  1. Although you can freeze this masala and save for later use, in Indian homes, it is prepared whenever needed. I recommend making a fresh batch everytime too.
  2. You can add anything and everything under the sun to the basic masala from coconut milk to cream to tamarind paste to yogurt to flavor it up depending on what you want to use it for.
Categories
Desserts Festival Recipes Vegetarian

Sinfully Spicy Turns One!! Celebrating With Gulab Jamun & a Giveaway!

365 days…125 recipes…a few thousand comments..a bag full of memories & a truck load of friends around the globe..I m so elated to welcome all of you to the first milestone of a culinary journey which I embarked upon exactly a year back! Sinfully Spicy is 1-year-old WooHoo! 🙂 Traditional & Modern Indian Cuisine with tales woven my family, fusion twists on classic recipes, all coupled with an effort to make Indian food look good through my lens – this is how I envisioned Sinfully Spicy back then..and I am so happy to see it shaping up ..bit by bit..thanks to love buttons pressed by each one of you who lands here.Thank you so much!

A food blog, which was born to kill boredom of sitting at home, then shortly graduated to a hobby and not until few months back when it became a passion, Sinfully Spicy was my foray into this VAST community of food bloggers with absolutely no air of anything except that I could cook a decent meal..which by the way, I thought was enough to barge 🙂 Today, I can plainly say that its was a slight misconception …food blogging is so much more than just being able to cook ! The journey had its ups & downs.Similar to so many of you..when you suddenly smile corner to corner seeing comment love, or when your heart skips a beat the moment it sees a mail ping , or those butterflies in the stomach when a reader tells you that they are going to try your recipe & a rush of disappointment when your recipe doesn’t work out for somebody, it’s a sine curve and I have lived it so closely in one year. Then the most precious thing- the bunch of talented people you touch..each different in their own way – sweet, loving, kind & helpful.

Slowly ..I learnt terms like “social media”…”food porn”…”trackbacks”…”subject”…”food styling”…”shot composition”..etc etc etc …each more complicated than the other and frightening for a highly unsocial & introvert person like me. Add to that the photographer who came out of the camera auto mode a few months back 🙂 But the immense love of all my readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers & blog subscribers brings me out of this cocoon each day. Each morning I get up, open up my mailbox or log on to the dashboard of blog…and see love pouring out from every nook and corner of the computer screen..it is so overwhelming to start the day like this..and no matter how much I write here, only my heart knows how these notes of appreciation have become treasured gems of my life.I may or may not blog forever but the only thing for sure is that even when I will open this page some 15 years down the lane and witness this love & support ..few tears of joy will trickle down my cheeks. Thank you so much all of you ..you have been a source of endless inspiration for me each day – to believe in myself & to be able to recognize & explore the culinary passion that I nurtured in my heart all the way.Hugs 🙂

I would specially like to thank all the readers who tried my recipes.As soon as you inform me or link back, I update my existing blog post with your posts or feedbacks. Maybe I ll do a recipe shout out sometime. Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies with Nutella Filling is the most visited recipe on blog closely followed by Bhuna Murgh, Mutton Meatballs Curry & Indian Espresso Coffee.Indian food is considered to be an intricate affair in the western world..Its always my effort to bring recipes to you without stealing their soul..if you get a hang of basic things..Indian food is an experience! Trust me nothing makes me more happy than knowing that Indian food is able to reach your kitchen via my little blog.

Image via Google

Now lets come to the Giveaway. As a little token to appreciate your fathomless love & support, I have decided to give away 1 copy of Anjum Anand‘s cookbook Anjum’s New Indian.She is lesser known in USA but is a celebrated television personality in UK.If you have seen her shows on The Cooking Channel, you would mirror what I feel about this lovely lady who has been hailed the “The Indian Nigella Lawson” by Vogue.The best thing I like about her is the fact that even though she grew up in the western world, her recipes, story telling and cookery is so close to her indian roots.Her recipes are innovative, combine the best of traditional & modern indian cuisine & really easy to follow. In this cookbook too, she presents more than 100 doable, regional recipes – both vegetarian & non vegetarian.I recently got this book with beautiful photography & have already tried few of her recipes.See the rules of giveaway at the end of  this post.

Images via Google

I asked my  FaceBook fans a couple of weeks back about what they would love to see on the anniversary post – and the request was unanimous – Gulab Jamuns…what better way to celebrate something Indian. A simple sweet which is now synonymous with Indian dessert scenario all over the world. Deep Fried, Melt in the mouth kind dough balls dunked in sugary,rosewater & cardamom syrup – its pure bliss to gobble these up especially when slightly warm. “Gulab” means “rose” in Hindi and “Jamun” is a south asian fruit which has a similar shape & size – that is how the sweet gets its name. Again in India – there are two varieties available one is called gulab jamun (which is light brownish in color) & the second one is called kala jaam/jamun – the same thing except that the dough balls are fried till they are deep brown/blackish in color.I love the second variety more coz the crust is quite chewy!




Rules for the Giveaway:-

This giveaway is open to USA residents.If you reside outside USA but have relatives or friends here, you can use the address & still enter the giveaway.The giveaway is open to bloggers as well as non bloggers.

Mandatory Entry:-

Tell me in the comments section what you like or dislike about this blog, what kind of recipes you would like to see on this blog , scope of  improvement, your suggestions. Just say anything nice..joking 🙂

Additional Entries:- (Leave separate comments for each )

  1. Follow me on Twitter  & tweet about this giveaway.Please include my Twitter handle (@gettanvi) in your tweet.If you are already following me, tell me. Tweet – “Just entered the #giveyway on Sinfully Spicy to win #AnjumAnand cookbook”
  2. ‘Like’ Sinfully Spicy fan page on FaceBook.If you are already a fan,let me know.
  3. Subscribe to this blog via email.

Last day of entering this giveaway is 7th August 2011,11 :59 pm (your part of the world). Since I will be away for a little vacation to Florida, I will come back & announce the winner on Monday, 8th of August, picked by a random draw.See you then!

Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

  • Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

    For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

    • 1 cup milk powder, unsweetened ( I use Organic Valley )
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tbsp fine powdered nuts (optional ,see notes)
    • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (see notes)
    • 3 tbsp ghee, at room temperature
    • 2-3 tbsp whole milk yogurt, at room temperature (or as required for kneading)
    • Canola Oil for deep-frying
    • Nuts/dessicated coconut for garnish (optional)

    For the Sugar Syrup:-

    • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cups water
    • Few saffron strands (optional)
    • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
    • 2 tbsp rose-water (use 1-2 drops if using essence)

Notes:-

  1. I take 8-10 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios), grind them in coffee grinder to a fine powder.Adding this to the dough gives a terrific, nutty taste in each bite.This is my mom’s trick & I really love it to pep up the texture of the jamuns.
  2. You dont need to buy cardamom powder (its uber expensive), buy whole pods instead from any indian or middle eastern store, just crack open the pods and use your mortar & pestle to grind the seeds into a powder.This is how cardamom is commonly used in Indian homes.
  3. Traditionally, jamuns are fried in pure ghee, however I add 2-3 tbsp of ghee to the oil to add the rich aroma, if you don’t have ghee,then skip)

Method:-

For the Syrup:

  • In a large pot,add water, sugar along with cardamom pods and bring it to a boil.We are not looking for any consistency here, just boil & stir till the sugar dissolves.About 6-8 minutes on medium heat. If you see some scum on top, remove with a spoon.
  • Let the syrup simmer for a minute and then put off the stove. After 5 minutes when the syrup has cooled down a bit,add saffron strands & rose-water to the syrup.
  • Set the sugar syrup aside.

For the Jamuns:-

    • In a bowl or pastry board ,combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder & soda, green cardamom powder & nuts powder(if using) and mix thoroughly.You can sift this once to catch the coarse nuts or lumps if any.
    • Next add the ghee to the mix and rub between hands so that the whole flour mix is moistened.Start adding yogurt and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough.You do not need to knead or over mix because gluten should not form.Mix with gentle fingers. If you over mix, the jamuns will not absorb syrup and will be hard inside.The dough will be quite sticky.Cover the bowl with a cloth & let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
    • Heat the oil in a frying pan/kadhai on medium heat. The frying pan should have enough oil to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. A way of testing the oil temperature is to pinch a small ball of dough & tip it in the oil, it should rise slowly to the top. If using a thermometer, use the temperature you fry doughnuts at.
    • While the oil is heating, with greasy palms pinch the dough into 18-20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls.As far as possible, roll out such that there are no cracks on the balls.This will give the jamuns a smooth look.The balls will double up after frying & soaking in syrup so do not make big balls. Line the balls on a plate & keep covered till ready to fry.
    • Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.We want the sugar syrup warm (not hot) when the fried jamuns are tipped into it. Once warm , transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to accommodate all the jamuns & keep them soakedAlso keep the sugar syrup nearby because the fried jamuns will go straight from frying pan into the syrup.
    • Once the oil is hot, tip in the rolled jamuns into the oil.Do not over crowd the pan/kadhai.While frying keep flipping the balls gently for even browning all around. Fry until the jamuns become golden brown. About 4-6 minutes depending on size.
    • Once browned,using a strainer, transfer the jamuns straight to the warm sugar syrup.The jamuns should sit undisturbed in the hot syrup for at least 30 minutes before ready to serve.
    • Once soaked, serve in bowl with few tablespoons of syrup & nuts/dessicated coconut garnish.I like them slightly warm.

Notes:-

    1. Do not fry the gulab jamuns too much or on very high heat..they will harden & wont soak up the syrup.
    2. Gulab Jamuns can keep well in the fridge for up to 20 days.Whenver you want to serve, just microwave for 10-15 seconds.They can be frozen for 3-5 months.

Enjoy ..Have a fun Weekend Everyone & Thanks for stopping by !

Categories
Easy Recipes Lentils Side Dishes Vegetarian

Sukhi Urad Dal – Tempered Dry Lentils

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Ingredients: – (Serves 2-3) 

The recipe can be used to make any lentil variety you wish to. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the lentil type and whether it is split or whole.

  • 3/4 cup dhuli urad  (Split urad lentils, easily available in indian stores)
  • Water for Soaking (as a thumb rule, 1:3 ratio of lentils to water)
  • 1/2 cup water for cooking (or as required, depends on how old your lentils are, grain size etc)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Fresh lime juice (as per taste)

For Tempering: –

  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp sabut dhania (coriander seeds), crushed
  • 1/4 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 Thai green chilies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)

Notes: Hing (asafoetida) is a pungent, unpleasant smelling indian spice but adds a lot of flavor to the tempering. Try getting it in powdered form in indian stores, trust me its worth the buy!

Method: –

Pick the urad dal and thoroughly wash it under a stream of water, 2-3 times. Let soak in enough water for at least 4-5 hours. Note: Soaking the dal is really important so that you don’t end up overcooking it on the stove. Once soaked, drain the water & discard. Spread the soaked lentils on a paper towel.

Cooking the Dal (lentils) – In a heavy bottomed pot with a lid/kadhai, add the soaked lentils along with turmeric powder, salt to taste & 1/2 cup of water. Note: -This quantity of water may sound less, but if your lentils are soaked properly, this amount of water is sufficient to cook them. Transfer the pot to the stovetop, cover with a lid & let the water come to a boil on high heat. When boiling, you will see some scum/foam on top of the lentils.Using a spoon, remove it. Once boiling,reduce the heat to minimum and let the lentils cook on low for about 8-10 minutes. You may need to go and gently stir once or twice in between while cooking to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom. Also if you feel that water needs to be adjusted, do so but add very less quantity of water at a time. The whole idea is not to end up with mushy lentils. We want the grains to remain intact and al dente. After you see that all the water has been absorbed by the lentils (approx 12 minutes from start), remove from heat and let the lentils sit in their own steam for 5-8 minutes. Fluff up with the help of fork once done. Tip:-Once the lentils have cooked & are hot, avoid stirring or mixing too much- they will become mushy.

Tempering the Dal: In a saucepan, add the ghee and let heat on medium. Once heated, add the cumin & coriander seeds and let crackle for about 30 secs. Be careful while adding the spices to hot ghee, they splutter. Reduce the heat to low and add the hing powder, sauté for 10 seconds. Just take care that the spices don’t burn. Add the ginger julians and garlic next and cook for 1-2 minutes till you smell the aroma. Increase the heat to medium and add the sliced onions and let the onions cook till they turn golden brown.About 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat once the onions have browned and add the red chili powder.

Immediately add this tempering to the cooked lentils along with garam masala and chopped green chilies. Mix thoroughly, adjust the salt if required and squirt some fresh lime juice.A dollop of melted ghee on top tastes amazing too.

Serve warm with flatbreads or rice.

Categories
Breads/Flatbreads Indian Curry Side Dishes Stir-fry Vegetarian

Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread)

Thousands of miles away, when you cook food which you ate back home – on family picnics, long drives, with friends, at birthdays parties & weddings, there is a certain sense of overwhelm which grasps me.Does it happens to you too? – tastes which remind you of good times spent.One such memory is eating at dhabas in and around Delhi.Dhaba is indian equivalent of a diner, very popular amongst drivers and long distance travellers for quick & inexpensive food.If you ask me the best places to eat in Delhi, I will recommend most of the dhabas on the outskirts of the city and some in Old & central areas.

The typical setting of a dhaba is not fancy,very basic, you might or might not get cutlery or tissue paper, but you are sure to find food made with love and bursting with authentic flavors.Mostly you would be eating on reusable stainless steel plates, you may get mineral water,there might be mosquitos during summers and monsoons [grin],AC is out of question,if it’s a popular place – you ll get chairs else enjoy seating on a cot & don’t shy away from humming old hindi film songs playing on the radio…the food is glorious,the atmosphere – intoxicating! When my dad used to work outside Delhi, most of our summer vacations were spent on road trips. I remember that we used to plan our visits such that we can have dinner at our favorite dhabas which dotted the interconnecting highways.As I write this, my mouth is already watering at the thought of food served – dal makhani [ lentils], palak paneer [ spinach & cheese curry],  kadhai chicken served along with hot& fluffy butter dunked tandoori rotis [flatbreads] straight out the the clay oven, jeera [cumin] rice & a BIG glass of lassi or chaas [ salty buttermilk] during summers or masala chai during winters.Here you don’t kill yourself over worrying about calories or hygiene, its the zesty experience which matters!! The recipe in this post is one which you will find at almost every dhaba in north india – trust me the very mention still stirs the emotions of best family times 🙂

“Kadhai” is an indian wok.It is one of the most indispensable utensil in an Indian kitchen..be it for making quick stir fry, curries, shallow or deep-frying or simmering stews.Its shallow & less heavy as compared to dutch ovens and something I just can’t imagine my without.A dish which is made start to finish in a “kadhai” gets its name from there & is Indian answer to a stir fry. However, you do not compulsorily need a kadhai to make this recipe 🙂 The point to keep in mind is that since it’s a quick cooking method, you can make a kadhai with almost anything under the sun.The recipe is very simple, you can prepare & store the kadhai sauce in advance & add whatever you wish to it- from chicken to cauliflower to fish to vegetable medley .Today I chose paneer [Indian Cottage Cheese] which is the most popular of all kadhai preparations in northen India. A typical addition to any kadhai is lots of bell peppers – of all colors, choose any you like.The dish is bursting with indian flavors, mostly made semi dry, is really one of the most colorful curries around & is really simple to whip up.

Although kadhai tastes awesome with naan bread, tandoori roti or even rice, in my home we are used to eating it with tawa parathas or skillet cooked flatbreads.Since childhood , I have known parathas in this triangle shape right from dinner plate to lunch box.Infact my granny was very particular about how neat a triangle you are able to roll out.I hope my pictures of the steps will help you in that regard 🙂 This triangle paratha has layers , is soft & flaky coz its brushed with oil/ghee inside – I can have few of these straight from the skillet on its own- Love the aroma of steam which escapes when you bite the layers. You can add chopped chillies, herbs, spices etc to make your own variations.


  • .

Ingredients:- [Serves 2-3]

 [ You can replace the paneer with any boneless meat or vegetable of choice]

  • 1 lb / 1.5 kg Paneer, cubed or cut in strips  [ Indian Cottage Cheese available in all indian stores, recommended brand “Nanak”]
  • 1 tbsp canola/corn/vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized each of red & green bell peppers, seeded, cut in strips or diced
  • 1/2 cup onions, thick sliced [ optional]
  • Salt to taste [ if required]
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro for garnish
  • Fresh lime juice
Basic Kadhai Sauce Ingredients [ Can be made fresh or well in advance.For storing, put in dry-air tight containers & freeze.Thaw 1-2 hours before you need]
 
  • 1/3 cup mustard/canola/corn//vegetable olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes [ any variety which is slightly sour, chopped fine to yield 1 cup]
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder
  • 7 dry red chillies, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder [ adjust to taste]
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp brown sugar [ adjust to taste,do not skip]
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi,crushed with hand [ dried fenugreek leaves,do not skip, makes all the difference in the taste, available in all indian stores under ” Peacock” brand]
  • 2 tsp salt
Method:-
Make the Kadhai Sauce:- [ Makes about 2.5- 3 cups] 
  • In a kadhai or any heavy bottomed cooking pot, heat the oil on high heat.Once the oil is smoking, reduce the heat to medium.If using mustard oil, it is important to cook it to smoky point at the start of cooking to do away with the raw smell.
  • Add the chopped onions and cook on medium heat till golden brown in color.
  • Next,add the grated garlic & ginger and saute for about 2 minutes till you smell the aroma.Next add the chopped tomatoes,coarsely ground coriander & red chillies,green chillies, turmeric and cook on medium heat till you see oil separating at the sides of the pot.About 5-8 minutes.
  • At this point add the kasuri methi, garam masala, salt & brown sugar,stir well cook for 5 minutes more on medium heat.
  • Above is the basic kadhai sauce, if you want to store it for later use, let it come to room temperature and refrigerate for using within 3-4 days or freeze up to a month.
  • Making Kadhai Paneer :- For the stir fry, on high heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai or a cooking pot.Add the diced bell peppers & onion slices [ if using] to the oil and saute for 3-4 minutes.This saute time depends on how tender you like the veggies.Next, add the paneer and saute for another 1 minute till paneer sarts to become light brown.Be careful while stirring after you have added paneer because it softens quickly & crumbles easily in heat. Add the sauce and mix well.Check the seasoning and let simmer for 2-3 minutes till everything is heated well.
  • Remove from heat,squirt some fresh lime juice & sprinkle chopped cilantro.Serve warm with flatbreads & a salad.


Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.
Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Snacks Vegetarian

Corn-Peanut Fritters With Mango-Mint Chutney

 

 

 

 

For the Corn-Peanut Fritters:-

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:- [Serves 2]

  • 2 cups fresh white corn kernels [ you can use frozen variety too]
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts, skinned & slightly roasted
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 Thai green chillies [adjust to taste]
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro/parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp amchoor [dry mango powder]
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi [dried fenugreek leaves]
  • 6 tbsp besan/chickpea flour [ or as required to make a thick batter]
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying [ I use canola]

Method:-
  • Using a mortar & pestle, coarsely crush the roasted peanuts.Set aside.
  • Keep 1/2 cup of corn kernels aside.
  • To the food processor jar, add 1-1/2 cups of corn and pulse 8-10 times.We do not need a paste, just a chunky mix.If using thawed,frozen kernels, you might need to add a tbsp of water while processing.
  • Transfer the kernels to a medium bowl.Add the crushed peanuts, remaining kernels,scallions,garlic, green chillies, cilantro & all the spices except salt to the bowl.With the help of the spoon, gently mix to combine.
  • Add the chickpea flour next and combine to make a batter.Since fresh corn kernels are very juicy, you will need to ration the flour quantity as per requirement.Start with 4 tbsp of flour.If the liquid from corn makes the mixture too wet, put in additional flour.
  • Heat oil on medium in a fryer /deep-frying pan/kadhai.The indian way of checking if oil is ready or not is by putting little batter in the heated oil; if it sizzles right to the top without turning brown, oil is ready.
  • Add the salt just before frying & combine.With the help of hand or a spoon, tip in small portions of the batter into the heated oil in a single layer.Do not overcrowd the pan.
  • Fry on medium heat, flipping in between for even cooking till the fritters are golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove  with the help of a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.Repeat the process for the entire batch.
  • Serve hot with mango-mint chutney
    and chai.

For the Mango Mint Chutney:-
Ingredients :-
  • 1 cup green mango, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 Thai green chillies [adjust to taste]
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
Method:- Put everything in a blender and churn till smooth.If needed, add a tbsp or more of water.Transfer to dry jars/bowls and keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Enjoy!
Linked to “Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.”
Categories
Easy Recipes Pickles/Preserves Vegetarian

Aam ki Launji – Green Mango Chutney with Jaggery & Nigella Seeds

 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:- [Makes approx 3.5 cups of chutney]

  • 3 cups chopped green mango [from 2 large mangoes,raw & sour]
  • 1 tbsp mustard/sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds[kalaunji]
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds [methi dana]
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tsp black salt/kala namak [substitute with normal salt/adjust to taste]
  • 6 tbsp of jaggery

Method:-
  • If using a jaggery slab, with the help of  a sharp knife cut it into small pieces.Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil on medium heat.If using mustard oil- heat it to smoking point to do away the raw smell.
  • Once heated, add the Nigella, fenugreek, cumin & fennel seeds to the pot.Wait till they crackle & you smell the aroma.About 30 seconds.
  • Next add the turmeric powder and red chilli flakes to the pot.Cook for another 30 seconds.TIP:Whenever adding turmeric powder to hot oil, keep a watch because it burns easily.
  • Add the chopped green mangoes to the pot and stir on medium heat to combine well with the other ingredients.Stir for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Next, cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let the mangoes cook till they are 90% cooked but not mushy.About 15-20 minutes.Again note that this cooking time will depend on how thick you have cut the mangoes.
  • Add the  jaggery to the pot next and combine gently with mangoes.You will see that as the jaggery will cook, it will release water.Do not worry.Everything is as per plan.

  • Cover the pot again and cook on low heat for another 7-10 minutes until the jaggery has completely melted and mangoes are cooked thoroughly. At this point add the black salt and roasted cumin powder and stir well.
  • Remove from heat.If you want, you can crush the cooked mangoes slightly using a masher.
  • As the chuntey will cool, it will become more and more thick so don’t worry if you feel that its is watery when hot.
  • Once the chutney has cooled, transfer to dry, air tight jars and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!
 
 
Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Brunch Salads Side Dishes Vegetarian

Bharwaan Tamatar-Indian Style Stuffed Tomatoes

Living in Las Vegas is so much fun.I call it my second home.A city,I personally feel everyone should see once in their lifetime for it’s a different ball game altogether when it comes to defying the meaning of entertainment.The first time I went to the strip,the only thing I was doing for initial one hour was to swing my head in all directions possible to catch the glimpse of the glitz while sipping on the yard long glasses which were the additional wonder of that day.You walk into a casino and there’s this sudden thrash of loud music,gaudy yet ornate decor and lots and lots of people.I call it the MAD crowd…mad about enjoying life, about letting their hair down and experimenting with their fortune.Walking into a casino is a great stress buster on the other hand, every time I have walked in with a cluttered mind, feeling low,I seem to forget my worries for some time, its like a magic wand erasing all the tensions for a while when you see everyone around letting down with a common mission-to enjoy!

P always says that the downside of being a local is that we wont be able to enjoy the stay in luxurious hotels here.It is our secret wish to lock our house for 2 days sometime, take a cab, grab few clothes and stay over at one of the casino resorts and experience the king size life for few days out there.But did I tell you that locals enjoy discount rates at casinos and shows?I love the pace and quality of life in this city.Love the landscape which is all about tall,lush palm trees and succulents but still a drive through the valley is bound to leave you asking for more.I do not miss sky scrapers here; I like the homely feel of apartment homes and condos.The weather is extremely hot & dry,I have humidifiers in the house and battling the scorpions during summer months becomes a challange.The ONLY thing I miss a lot is the rains!With almost 340 days of full sun, I strive hard to save my little home garden from the gusty winds and aridity.Sometimes it just feels so dry that I have a hidden fear of not getting enough water to drink.

 

Tomatoes remind me of all those summer evenings at home when mom used to quarter them,sprinkle some salt and gave us a bowl each before dinner.Let me confess I do not like raw tomatoes all on their own. I need bread,cheese or some other veggie paired along to eat them raw.Another point of stark contrast from P who pops them into his mouth like a candy.This is one of my summer favorites, stuffed tomato recipe which my mom used to make during the times when abundant tomato produce hit the market.You can put any kind of stuffing – this is my indian way of doing it.Normally, paneer [ indian cheese] is widely used for stuffing, I like the tang of cheddar more instead.I usually like to serve them as appetizers, you can make a gravy and serve them as a main dish.Pair great with cheese puffs or a dry side with lentils.Recipe below:-

Ingredients:[Serves 2-3]

Printable Recipe

  • 6 medium size, firm tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil mixed with 1/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp white poppy seeds to sprinkle on top
Stuffing:
  • 3 medium size potatoes, boiled
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 green chillies,chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes [adjust to taste]
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds,crushed
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 /2 tsp dry mango powder [ amchoor]
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp golden raisins [optional]
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method:-
Preparing the tomatoes:-
  • Wash the tomatoes, pat them dry and using a sharp knife cut off  a about 1″ thick slice on top of the tomatoes.Reserve the tops.Note :- Just check that all the tomatoes rest on their bases, if not cut a thin slice from bottom to balance them.
  • Run a sharp knife all around the edge of the tomatoes and using a melon baller or scoop,take out the seeds and pulp. Tip:-Do not discard the pulp, refrigerate/ freeze it,can be used in curries or gravies later.
  • Using a paper towel pat dry the inside of the tomatoes and rub them with seasoned olive oil inside and outside.Set aside in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Making the stuffing :-
  • Thaw the peas and corn if using frozen.Mash the boiled potatoes thoroughly so that only tiny bits remain.
  • In any heavy bottomed utensil, heat the oil on medium and add cumin seeds and green chillies to it, fry for 30 seconds.Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.Add the chopped onions next and cook until they turn golden brown.About 7 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the turmeric powder, red chilli flakes and crushed coriander seeds.Cook for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the spices.
  • Turn the heat high and add the mashed potatoes, peas ,corn and combine everything.Add salt and let cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.The mixture should be ready when you can smell the aroma.
  • Remove from heat and add garam masala, grated cheddar cheese,raisins.Combine well.Let the stuffing cool down for 5-8 minutes.

Making the tomatoes:-
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
  • Make balls out of the potatoes mixture and fill it into the refrigerated tomatoes.Do not press down.
  • Transfer the stuffed tomatoes to a greased baking dish or cast iron skillet,cover stuffed tomatoes with the tops and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the skins start to shrivel and the tomatoes are soft to touch.Towards the end of baking , sprinkle the poppy seeds and continue to bake till done.Note that for the last few minutes you need to keep a watch to avoid tomato skins from rupturing.
  • Serve warm.
Notes:
  • Instead of baking, you can cook the tomatoes on stove top covered over medium -low heat.You will need to separately toast poppy seeds and sprinkle before serving.
The composition of main dish pictures is inspired by White on Rice Couple.The beautiful setting in their pictures stuck in my memory for days.
Enjoy!
Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry Phirni – Indian Semolina Pudding

This recipe was featured on 100 ways to use Strawberries at Endless Simmer

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: {Serves 4-5}

Printable Recipe

For the Strawberry Sauce:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries [fresh or frozen]
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For Phirni [Semolina Pudding]

  • 1/2 cup fine semolina flour [suji/sooji] [available in indian stores]
  • 1 tbsp ghee [substitute with clarified butter/unsalted butter]
  • 4 cups evaporated milk [ Substitute with half n half /whole milk/soy or almond or coconut milk for vegan version]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar [ adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp rose-water [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & almonds [Or any nuts of choice] + Extra for garnish.

Method:
For the Strawberry Sauce:-
Add the chopped strawberries and sugar to a sauce pan and let cook on low heat for about 5-8 minutes till they are soft.Once they are soft, I used my spatula to mush them in the pan itself,you can blend them to make a smooth sauce if you like.Once cooked, let cool to room temperature, if you feel that the sauce is runny after cooling, you may need to cook it little more to achieve a thicker consistency.Tip the sauce into the glasses or serving bowls and let chill.
For the Phirni :-
[While the strawberry sauce is cooking]
  • In a skillet, on very medium heat,toast the semolina flour along with ghee till its light golden in color.You will need to continuously stir the flour as it roasts and keep a watch because semolina burns easily.Takes about 5-8 minutes.
[While the semolina flour is toasting]
  • In a wide-mouthed, heavy bottomed utensil, let milk come to a boil on medium heat.Stir once or twice midway to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the utensil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and start adding the toasted semolina flour to the boiling milk and whisking thoroughly with the other hand.This is a very important step, if you do not whisk continuously, semolina will form lumps within seconds.
  • Within 5 minutes you will see that the milk starts to thicken as the semolina granules swell up and absorb milk.Continue whisking for about 3-4 minutes until you get a thick but runny consistency similar to ketchup.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.Add the granulated sugar, nuts, cardamom powder and rose-water to the semolina-milk mix and combine thoroughly.You will see that as the sugar dissolves the pudding will thin out.Note that it is important to add the sugar while the pudding is still warm.
  • Let the pudding cool to a room temperature and then add it on top of the already cooled strawberry sauce.Cover the bowls/glasses with cling film to avoid formation of skin on top and let set in the refrigerator till set [About 2-3 hours]
  • Garnish with chopped nuts or strawberries and serve chilled.

Notes:
  1. I used canned evaporated milk because we like the taste and the caramel color that it lends to the pudding.In case you will use milk and half n half, you wont get the same color.
  2. Instead of strawberry sauce, try pureed mango , sliced bananas or any other kind of fruit.Please do not use citrus fruits because that may lead to cuddling of the milk in the pudding.You can avoid the fruit sauce completely & make the pudding on its own only.
  3. The same recipe can be used to make phirni with ground rice or cornmeal.In case of rice flour,do not toast it.
  4. The pudding keeps for 2-3 days, refrigerated.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Easy Recipes Lentils Side Dishes Soups Vegetarian

Aamer Dal- Red Lentils With Green Mango

P

Tips on Cooking that perfect bowl of dal:-

  1. Adding salt at the beginning can toughen the grain.So preferably add salt after the lentils have cooked.
  2. Adding tomatoes/lemon juice or any acidic ingredient can lengthen the cooking time.Add these after the lentils have become almost 80% tender.
  3. Very old lentils [6 months or older] can take longer time to cook and may not taste great.Try to use a fresh batch.
  4. Adding a tsp of mustard/olive oil/ghee can really bring out the flavors of the grain.Try it.
  5. Since cooking & soaking time of each kind of lentil vary, its always better to keep a watch so that they do not overcook. A perfect cooked dal has a nutty taste to it.

Ingredients: [Serves 2]

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup red lentils , broken
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp ghee (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 large, sour green mango [or 1/2 cup grated mango, or use lime juice at the end for tang]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Generous pinch of garam masala
For tempering
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp Nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder/cayenne (adjust to taste)

Method:
  • Peel the skin from the mango and finely grate it.Set aside.
  • In a bowl,wash the red lentils under a stream of water 2-3 times.
  • After washing, tip them in a pressure cooker or large, heavy bottomed pot along with turmeric, tomatoes, ghee and grated mango(if using) and let soak in water.Note: Although I have given the measure of water above,it is totally your call.As a thumb rule, the water should be enough to cover and rise 1.5″-2″ above the lentils. Let soak in water for at least 1.5 hours.
  • Cooking the lentils [Any one of the below]:-
  1. Using Pressure Cooker {this is what I do} :- Cook the lentils [along with soaking water] for 8-10 minutes on medium heat till the first whistle.Immediately remove from heat and wait till the steam completely escapes..Again this time will vary if you are using whole lentils.Once the lentils are cooked add salt.
  2. Cooking in a pot :-Add lentils [along with water] and simmer on medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.Once the lentils are cooked, add salt.
  • Tempering :-In a small sauce pan, heat the ghee till hot on medium heat.Add the cumin, mustard & Nigella seeds.Wait till they crackle.Add the cloves & dry chillies.Cook for 20 seconds.Remove from heat and add the red chilli powder.Immediately add this tempering to cooked dal.
  • Stir in the tempering and garnish with cilantro, sprinkle with garam masala
  • Serve warm as a soup or with steamed rice.
Notes:-
  • If you are adjusting the water after the lentils have cooked, add warm water.
  • You can cube or slice the mangoes too, grating them is a personal preference.
  • Sometimes I add a tomato or two, if my mangoes are not very sour.
  • If soaked properly, red lentils quick very quickly, to keep a watch as they cook.
Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!