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.
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.”
Baking · Desserts · Eggs

Apricot-Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

For someone like me who is not a big fan of chocolate,baking with fruits is one of the most favorite things.It gives a perfect opportunity to experiment recipes with fruits & relish the results.Baking with fruits always overwhelms me, the way the flesh, natural oils and sweetness transform inside the oven is intriguing.Take for example an apple, the texture before and after baking is completely different and good in its own way..while the fresh one is juicy & crunchy, baked is dense & succulent.

Me and P adore fruits & try to include them as much as possible meals.With temperatures already soaring in Vegas,fruit based recipes are absolutely delightful.I saw really gorgeous stone fruits at the grocery store a week back.There is something about pink/plum/red colors – they catch my eye from far away and seem to call my name.I rushed towards them.There lay boxes of fleshy,bright-colored peaches, nectarines & apricots in front of my eyes,each trying to catch my attention.Helpless at being able to choose, I bought all of them – all in the name of health foods! Gnawing my teeth into fleshy stone fruit is super exciting.The rush of juices between the teeth & the texture from the flesh add a refreshing dimension to my dull, lazy days.Eating fruits heals me psychologically, it’s comforting to feel the intake of antioxidants the most natural way possible.

Our tastes in fruits match  to the extent that we LOVE them but differ in the kind of fruit.While he is a tropical fruit fiend, I swear by berries & stone fruits.The moment,I picked up the first apricot,Oh what a pink blushing beauty it was outside.I pitted it knew that I had to make something to showcase inside-oozing with juices, accurately tart & with golden-colored flesh, just waiting to be baked!

Started my google search and found this perfect recipe from Good houseKeeping of an apricot cornmeal upside down cake.It has very less quantity of oil.And one of my favorite ingredients to bake with – buttermilk! I was slightly apprehensive because I had never baked with cornmeal what if we don’t like the taste or it doesnt rise much or is dry? It was painful to think about  a 8″ cake making its way into the bin.But then, unless I took a leap, I would not have discovered the delight of baking with cornmeal.We totally loved it.It was moist, perfectly sweet & very homey looking.The slight tang from the buttermilk complemented the sweetish tartness of apricots very well.A perfect cake for summertime get togethers. Below goes the recipe:-

Ingredients :- [ Makes one 8″ tall cake]

Printable Recipe

[Adapted from here ]

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 whole ripe apricots
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Method:-

  • Wash the apricots if using fresh.Ceach cut in half and pit them.Set aside.If using canned apricots, drain them and discard the liquid.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8″ cake pan with at least 2″ high sides. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of skillet. Arrange apricot halves, cut side down, over brown sugar.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, granulated sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until blended.
  • In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, butter, oil, lime zest, and vanilla extract until blended.
  • Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and fold with a spatula until just blended. Pour batter over apricots and using a spatula spread evenly.
  • Bake 30 to 35  minutes, or until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.Mine took 32 minutes.
  • Let cool in skillet on wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife around side of skillet. Place platter on top of skillet and carefully invert cake onto platter. Remove skillet.
  • Cool cake slightly to serve warm, about 30 minutes.

Notes:-
  • I thought that  just 4 tbsp oil+butter for a 10″ cake was less.So I increased the oil quantity by a tbsp.
  • If you like your cakes very sweet, then you may need to increase the sugar quantity in this recipe.
  • This recipe will work well with all kinds of fruits.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
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!
Breakfast · Brunch · Side Dishes · Vegetarian

Khatte Chole Aur Bhature

Chole‘ or chickpea curry is very popular street food in the northern parts of India.The curry is known for its blackish color due to use of tea bags while boiling it and has dominant flavor of roasted cumin.In my house, dry pomegranate seeds or anardana is added to this curry along with lots of tomatoes to make it more tangy or ‘khatte‘.This curry is not hot but is spicy.The chickpea curry is traditionally eaten with bhatura or a fried leavened puffed bread.Some people make a yeasted version of bhatura too.What I am posting is an instant recipe which requires an hour of resting time.

Khatte Chhole

Printable Recipe

Ingredients: [Serves 2]

  • 1/3 cup dry chickpeas [substitute with canned garbanzo beans]
  • 1/8 tsp cooking soda
  • 2 black tea bags
  • Water for boiling
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 green chillies, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 black cardamom [badi elaichi]
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dry pomegranate seeds [anardana]
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil [or canola oil]
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Soak the chickpeas over night in 3 cups water with cooking soda.Once soaked, drain the soaking water and discard it.
  • Boil the chickpeas with enough water, tea bags & 1 tsp salt in a pressure cooker till 80% cooked.About 15 minutes on high and 2 whistles. [Omit this step if using canned garbanzo beans]
  • Once cooked, drain the chickpeas and preserve the water.We will use it in curry later.
  • In your coffee blender, coarsely crush the dry pomegranate seeds, cloves, pods of black cardamom and roasted cumin seeds.Add the cinnamon powder to this spice mix.Set aside.

  • In a cooking vessel with lid, add the oil and heat it up on high till the oil starts smoking slightly.Once smoking, reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and cook till golden brown.After this add the bay leaf & saute for 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the grated garlic, minced chilli & ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes along with chilli,coriander,turmeric powder,crushed spice mix made in 4th step and salt.Cook this curry masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the vessel.
  • Tip in the boiled beans into the vessel and combine well so that all the beans are covered in the masala.Saute for about 3 minutes.
  • Next add 1/2 cup or more of preserved water depending on how thick you like the gravy,cover and let the gravy come to a boil on a low heat.
  • Once the curry has simmered for 10-15 minutes, add the garam masala, stir well and let simmer for another 5-6 minutes till the chickpeas are soft,
  • Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm bhatura

 
Bhatura 
Ingredients: [Makes 6-8 flatbreads]
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small boiled potato, finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk,at room temperature ( as required for kneading a soft dough )
  • Oil for deep-frying.

Method:
  • Combine the all purpose flour with semolina and soda thoroughly.
  • Whisk oil, sugar and salt in the buttermilk.
  • Add the grated potato and buttermilk mix to flour mix.Start with 1/2 cup of butter milk and knead well to make dough.You may need to adjust the buttermilk quantity.The dough will be slightly sticky but pliable and soft.Knead for about 5 minutes.
  • Cover it with wet cloth and keep it in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Make a lemon sized balls of the dough.On a floured surface, roll the flour balls into an elliptical shape, about 1/4 ” thick.

  • Heat oil in a deep-frying fan.A quick way to check the temperature of oil without thermometer is to pinch a small quantity of dough and put it in oil.It should sizzle to the surface immediately.
  •  Once oil is heated, tip in the rolled bhaturas into the oil sliding from the sides of the pot.Be careful because the oil may splutter.Fry the bhaturas flipping them  as till they turn slightly golden on both sides.Make sure that you don’t fry the bhatures long because you want them to be soft and light golden.
  • Drain from the oil and place on paper towel.
  • Serve them with chickpea curry, salad and raita.
Enjoy!
Non vegetarian · Side Dishes

Chicken Dopiaza-Spicy Chicken Curry With Pearl Onions

Did you send your entry to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Mango Desserts?Please see details of the ongoing event here. Hurry..just a week more to go, contest ends 28th April 2011, Pacific time.

Chicken Dopiaza is a popular indian curry with origins in east india.”Do” in Hindi means two and “piyaz/piaz ” is hindi for onions.So it translates to a chicken dish cooked with twice the normal amounts of onions in a curry or a dish where onions are used two times in the preparation.Wiki tells me that in eastern india particularly in the state of West Bengal which had a lot of muslim travelers then,this dish originated and then got popular in the rest of the country.

The good thing about this curry is that it used simple indian spices and herbs and has a yogurt tomato based sauce in addition to onions.I have used red pearl onions in the curry, you can replace with shallots or even chunks of medium-sized onions.The idea is to use onions in the sauce with as well as include them in the curry on their own.Dont be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients, these are all easy to find things available in your pantry.The recipe is adapted from here.

Ingredients: [Serves 2]

  • 1 lb chicken ,bone in ,skinned [I used chicken thighs]
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup red pearl onions [or equivalent quantity of shallots or thick sliced onions]
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1″fresh ginger shoot
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp oil [mustard/olive /canola]
  • Chopped cilantro [for garnish]

Whole Spices:
  • 6 cloves
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Dry Ground spices:
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder[adjust to taste]
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp dry coriander powder
  • Garam Masala to sprinkle [optional]

Preparation:

  • Soak the dry chillies in half cup water for about 15 minutes.
  • Once soaked, coarsely grind them using a mortar & pestle.
  • Rub chicken pieces with lemon juice,above red chilli paste and 1 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Peel the pearl onions and set aside.
  • Thinly chop the  onions.
  • Coarsely grind the mint leaves, ginger shoot and garlic cloves.Mix them which beaten yogurt and juice of the onion.Set aside.

Method
  • In a heavy bottomed pot with lid, add the oil and let it come to a smoking point on high heat.Once smoking, reduce the heat, wait for 1 minute and add the pearl onions.Fry the pearl onions for 2-3 minutes until they turn light brown.Drain on a paper towel.
  • In the remaining oil,add the sliced onions along with all the whole spices and cook till onions turn golden brown on medium heat.About 5-8 minutes.
  • Next, add the chopped tomatoes along with turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder.Cook on medium heat till tomatoes become tender and you see oil separating on sides of the pot.About 5 minutes.
  • Add the marinated chicken along with marinade,yogurt mix and stir everything to combine properly.Check the salt at this stage.Adjust if required.
  • Now reduce the heat to low and let the curry cook till the chicken is tender.About 20 minutes for the size of chicken pieces you see in the pictures.
  • When the chicken is tender, add the fried pearl onions & sugar ,mix well, cover again and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and sprinkle with garam masala if u like.
  • Serve warm with rice or flatbreads.

Notes:
  • You can use lamb, mutton or beef for making this curry.Adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • I recommend using bone in and dark meat chicken pieces for this curry because the curry cooks for a long time on slow heat.
Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!
Brunch · one pot meals · Rice Dishes · Vegetarian

Vegetable Biryani

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp canola oil [or olive oil]
  • 2 tbsp ghee [clarified butter]
  • 1 large red onion,sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 /2 cup plain greek yogurt / thick yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, fried brown onions for garnish

Dry Spices

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 black pepper corns
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed open
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Powdered Spices

  • 2 tsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Vegetables : {You can any vegetables of choice, I m writing proportions and kind I used}

  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and 1/2 ” cubed
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut small
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Method:

Thoroughly was the rice in 2-3 streams of water.Let the rice soak in enough water for at least 2 hours.Drain the rice after soaking, transfer to a heavy bottomed pot with at least 7 cups of salted water and cook it till 90% cooked. Note: The rice cooking time will depend upon the quality and type of rice both.My variety takes approx 20 minutes. Once cooked, drain the rice and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot with lid , heat the oil on high heat for about 2 minutes.Add the ghee [clarified butter] to the pan followed by sliced onions.Fry the onions untill golden brown.Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for about 2 minutes.Next tip in the chopped tomatoes, all the spices except garam masala and yogurt.Cook for at least 10 minutes on medium heat until the oil starts separating on the sides of the pot.Next, lower the heat and add yogurt to the mix.Stir for about 3 minutes on low heat.[Tip: Any recipe which calls for using yogurt, just ensure that you lower the heat and then add yogurt.Cooking on low heat with yogurt is important to avoid the curdling]

Next, add the potatoes, beans, carrots and cauliflower florets to the pan with 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes covered or until the vegetables are tender.Add the peas now along with salt to taste and garam masala..Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes on medium heat or till they are tender.Once done, remove from heat.

Assembly:

In the same heavy bottomed pot, spread 1/3 of the cooked rice at the bottom.Layer half of the cooked vegetables on this layer and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.Spread again with 1/3 of the rice and spread rest of the cooked vegetables and cilantro.Cover with remaining cooked rice. Note: You can create as many layers of rice & vegetables as you want.

Next, dampen a clean, thick cloth with water large enough to cover the mouth of the pot.Cover the pot with this damp cloth, put the lid tightly on the pot and set the pot to a very low heat. [Alternatively, you can place the pot on top of a tawa/griddle to reduce heat further] This method is called Dum cooking wherein, the contents of the pot cook on very low heat in their own juices and develop flavors. Cook like this for at least 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from heat.Do not remove the lid or cloth immediately.Let the rice set for about 10 minutes. Mix rice gently with the vegetables and add 2 tbsp of melted ghee [optional]

Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with chopped cilantro and deep-fried onions.Serve with pickle, raita or salad.

Recipe for cucumber mint raita here.

Enjoy!

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #40

Beverages · Breakfast · Brunch · Easy Recipes · Side Dishes · Stir-fry · Vegetarian

Indian Spiced Peas(Chuki Matar)& Masala Chai

 

 

 

 

Spiced Peas/Chuki Matar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 2 green chillies. thinly cut (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice [adjust to taste ]

How I did it:

  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Once heated, temper the oil with cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan and let the onions saute till transculent.Dont brown them.
  • Next, add the chopped green chilies and ginger julians and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the peas, red chilli powder, cover the lid and let the peas steam till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Once tender, open the lid,add salt and garam masala and stir fry on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fresh lime juice and serve warm with masala chai

Masala Chai

Ingredients

  • 1 tea bag per cup (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves/cup)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 fresh tulsi leaves [holy basil leaves if available] NOTE:Holy basil is totally different from Thai or Italian basil.
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of warm milk
  • ¼ tsp chai masala powder
  • sugar to taste

Masala/Spice Mix  [Makes 1 cup masala]

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/4 cups whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cups green cardamom
  • 4 twig mace, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 piece nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

How I did it

  • Fine grind all the ingredients under the head “Masala/Spice Mix”.Store this spice mix in an air tight container in a dry place.This lasts for 2-3 years.
  • To make the masala chai:In a saucepan, add the water along with ginger and tulsi leaves[if using] and let come to a boil.After 2-3 minutes, add tea bag or tea leaves. Let  brew for 2-3 minutes.Next, add “masala” and milk and let it again come to a boil.Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.Strain and serve with sugar (or sweetener).

Enjoy!

 

Indian Curry · Non vegetarian · Side Dishes

Indian Style Mutton Stew

What I need:

  • 1.5 lb of  [bone-in ]mutton, cut into medium pieces [or lamb or beef]
  • 1.5 cups of buttermilk [slightly sour]
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, grated
  • 2″ shoot of ginger,grated
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices :

  • 2 cups onions , thinly sliced
  • 10-12 whole dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 nos black cardamoms, cracked open
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1″ shoot of cinnamon
  • 1 twig mace
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil [I use mustard, you can use olive/canola]
  • 2-3 cups warm water

How I did it:

Marination:

  • Wash and pat dry the mutton pieces.
  • In a ziplock plastic bag, pour in the buttermilk, grated nutmeg,grated garlic & ginger along with salt.Give it a shake to combine well.
  • Next, tip in the mutton pieces into the bag and give it a shake again to make sure that the buttermilk covers all the pieces.Lay the bag flat in a big square tray and let marinate overnight or at least 3-4 hours.

Making the Stew :

[Method 1 : Cooking in an Open pot [with lid]/Dutch oven]

  • Heat the oil in a pot/dutch oven to a smoking point on medium heat.TIP: When using mustard oil, you need to heat it up till the point it starts smoking to ensure the raw smell is gone.For 4 tbsp oil, atleast good 8-10 minutes.If using olive/canola, the heating time will be way less.
  • Once heated,reduce the heat to low and wait for 5 minutes to lower the temp a bit so that spices don’t burn.Add all the whole spices except dry red chillies to the oil and cook until the spices emit their aroma..around 3 minutes.
  • Next add the onions, raise the heat to medium and cook the onions stirring constantly untill they become translucent to light brown.
  • Add the dry red chillies then.
  • Strain the mutton pieces from the buttermilk mixture, retain the marinade.
  • Add the mutton pieces to the pot and on high heat, cook the mutton pieces for 10-12 minutes until all sides of the meat have browned.
  • Next, add the marinade & 2 cups of warm water to the pot, check the salt and cover the pot/dutch oven.
  • Let the water come to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to as low as possible.
  • Let the meat simmer in the pot/dutch oven for good 4-6 hours periodically checking to make sure the liquid doesn’t dissipate, and adding warm water if needed.
  • The stew is considered finished when the meat is very tender, just about to fall apart from the bones and the flavor of the gravy is intense. Adjust the salt again if needed.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with warm khamiri rotis [yeasted flatbreads] and onions.

[Method 2: Using a pressure pan/cooker]

The time taken by this popular Indian method is very less and the taste is slightly different and less intense. The cooking steps remain the same except that you need to cook the meat as per your pressure cooker.To give a rough estimate, the meat will take at least 25-30 minutes with 6-7 whistles on a low heat to become tender.

Enjoy!

Appetizers/Snacks · Easy Recipes · Indo Chinese · Non vegetarian · Side Dishes · Stir-fry

Chilli Chicken

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochineseAll of you who grew in India in the 80’s would swear to eat or crave this chicken dish every other day.Atleast I did! The best about this dish is that the recipe is so quick that it can make its way to your tummy within minutes.The other day when I felt ultra lethargic,I made a quick chilli chicken & steamed rice.

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

When I say CHILLI chicken,I mean lots and lots of chillies..of all kinds…whole red chillies, black pepper and red chilli powder..Okay dont be scared..this is not some deadly chicken preparation..it is just a really hot chicken recipe.Succulent pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce with onions and dry red chillies.If they say, heaven exists on earth,a bowl of chilli chicken personifies it in some crude distant form! Though I never actually asked Mom the recipe,and only saw her making it while chatting beside the stove,I still prepare it recounting those times and the lingering tastes from childhood.I normally refrain from deep-frying the chicken pieces and settle for shallow frying.A handful of red or green capsicum tastes very good, but P is not a great fan, so though I didn’t use it I m noting down!

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces [even bone in chicken can be used too]
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups sliced red onions [the more onions, the better]
  • 3-4 pods garlic,crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 12-15 whole dry red chillies, broken into 2-3 smaller pieces (adjust to taste, use less quantity or milder variety)
  • 2-3 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp hot & sweet tomato chili sauce (I use this brand)
  • 1.5 tsp – 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Few chopped green chillies
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp canola oil

Notes –

  1. The dish taste much better when you deep fry the chicken as opposed to shallow frying it.

Method

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.Sprinkle the chicken with cornstarch, all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper and combine well.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a wide-mouthed pan, heat the 3 tbsp oil to the smoking point.When the oil is hot, tip in the chicken pieces and saute in oil till they become white on the outside and slightly tender.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken pieces and drain on a paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add the 1 tbsp oil and on high heat add the crushed garlic and ginger julians.Saute for 2 minutes and add the sliced onions.Saute the onions till they are soft and translucent but not brown.
  • Next, add the whole red chillies,chicken,soya sauce, hot & sweet tomato chili sauce, salt and red chilli powder to the pan and cook on high heat till the chicken pieces are tender.About 8-10 minutes.Add the diced capsicum now (if using).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and add the vinegar.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with few green chillies.
  • Serve warm with steamed rice or chow mein/hakka noodles.

Enjoy!