The week that went by was such a mixed bag. It started when many of my spice jars came tumbling down on the counter while clumsy moi was trying to fetch something from at the back of the rack. Few of them, brought from Kerala (indian state known for its premium spices),travelled with mum last year and I was almost in tears looking at my counter.Hah, actually not! Thankfully, the jars didn’t break and as of now I am sitting on two or three cupfuls of forced homemade spice mixture of sorts which I need to put to use in future.
Then, my tripod started behaving weird.Out and out.The socket to grip the camera & lens got free and the next day the extension arm won’t stay in place.Before clicking next set of pictures, I have to get a new one now.We will see when that happens because tomorrow we are leaving for a family trip after more than a couple of years since I was pregnant. You can tag along on Instagram in case you want.It has been a long stay at home and I am really looking forward to some time away from cleaning & cooking & solo baby watching.!.Couple of trips got booked in between and got cancelled for some reason or the other, so until I set my toe on that plane, fingers crossed lovelies! Right now,while I am sitting surrounded by ziploc stuffed with cherrios & m&ms,scattered diapers,half packed bags and un ironed clothes,don’t ask me why I am writing a blog post instead. Just don’t.
My mum confirmed that she would be visiting us in December this year and I can hardly wait! Then, the weather in the Valley came dropping down. I am loving it since winters are my more favorite of the seasons. I pulled out those leg warmers and those furry, fuzzy coats. Happppy!Then, as always the cold weather succeeded in pushing me towards heavy deep-fried, robust food and earlier this week, I prepared this super spicy chill gobhi with warm tones of ginger, a strong garlic flavor and kick from chillies for our meatless monday dinner.
I have written about indo-chinese a couple of times in my previous posts. I often make indo-chinese in our house since there is not much to order from restaurants here. When making vegetarian dishes,though paneer is more popular in India, I find cauliflower as good an option too.This firm vegetable, usually cornered as bland, when coated in spicy batter, deep-fried and with hot sauce tastes meaty and satisfying. And then, technically you are eating a vegetable,so little less guilt.The dish has got some bold, saucy flavors.
There is not much chinese about this recipe or for that matter any indo-chinese recipe except the use of garlic, soy sauce & vinegar.But certainly it is not a curry and an amazing fusion dish with lots going on- cripsy, spicy, tangy, hints of sweet.Pair this recipe with plain rice, indian fried rice or serve as an appetizer or snack with drinks if you like.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
For the Sauce
2 Kashmiri dry chillies (these give a beautiful color and good amount of heat but use any mild or hot chill variety you like)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1.5 tsp cornstarch +3 tbsp cold water
4 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable or grapeseed oil)
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1-2 Thai bird chillies, finely chopped (adjust quantity of taste, de seed if you like less hot)
1/4 -1/3 cup water (or as required to make the batter)
Canola Oil for frying (or vegetable oil)
Making the Sauce
Soak the red chillies in warm water for 5-7 minutes. Using your mortar and pestle, make a smooth paste of the soaked chillies and garlic using with 1-2 tbsp of soaking water. You can de seed the chillies if you like less hot. Set aside.
Mix cornstarch with cold water. Set aside
In a wok/wide mouthed pan,heat up the oil to smoking hot. Add chopped garlic & ginger,green chillies and cook for 1 minute or till you smell the aroma. Do not let burn. Next add the onions & scallion.Cook for 2-3 minutes or till light brown in color. Add the chilli-garlic paste that we made earlier and saute till the raw smell is gone, about a minute or so. At any point you feel that the mix is drying or sticking to bottom of the pan, add a splash of water. Add soy sauce next along with tomato chill sauce and sesame oil. Saute for 1-2 minutes.Next, add the cornstarch mix to the wok. Reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for another 2-4 minutes till the sauce thickens to desired consistency.
Next, taste & adjust the salt. Sprinkle the garam masala, add honey & vinegar and stir everything well. (If you want a thinner sauce add some water right now).Let simmer for another 1 minutes. Put off the heat and let sit while you fry up the cauliflower (recipe below).
Deep Frying the Cauliflower
Cut the cauliflower florets into halves.Do not cut very small else the florets will turn mushy while frying and not hold up in the sauce. Wash thoroughly under running water & let the water drain.Pat the florets completely dry.
In your fryer or in a heavy bottomed wide pan/wok let the 2-3 inches of canola oil heat up. In a bowl, throughly mix all the ingredients listed to make a smooth and thick batter.Dip the gobhi florets one by one in the batter and deep fry on low-medium heat till golden brown.Drain on paper towel.
Note – I do not boil the cauliflower before frying. I want the cauliflower to have a bite after deep-frying. However, do not fry the florets on very high heat either else they will be raw from inside.
Warm up the sauce prepared earlier if it gets cold. Gently add the fried cauliflower florets to the sauce and toss. Garnish with chopped ginger, chillies and cilantro if you like. Serve immediately!
I usually make the sauce first and then fry up the cauliflower.This makes sure that the cauliflower stays crisp.If you are making the fritters first, let them stay warm in a 200 degree F oven while you make the sauce)
You can use little tomato paste and sriracha in this recipe if you do not have tomato-chilli sauce.Adjust quantity to liking. Go light on vinegar at the end since the tomato paste is quite acidic.
Adding tomato â€“ chilli sauce adds sweetness too, you can adjust the level of sweet in this recipe either by adding ketchup or honey/agave/sugar.
I can’t remember a single meal in my home when there weren’t homemade flatbreads to eat.Except a few daysÂ when khichdi( gooey lentils & rice) formed dinner, softÂ and steam filled rotisÂ smothered with homemade gheeÂ or Â with grainy white butter were brought fresh off the tawa (griddle) to everyone’s plate.You would hardly count how many you to eat,the ladies of the house took rounds to roll, puff and help each other on occasions like Sunday lunch when the whole family was eating together.Always; there were always plenty for everybody.
My badi mummyÂ made the best rotis and parathas that I have ever tasted.She rolled perfect rounds,as if Â a compass or a cutter has been used with the dough, rotis so soft that you could use just thumb and index fingers to break a bite, perfectly charred with black spots from the high flame on both sides. My mother makes the second best to her, paper-thin and larger rounds but still delicate and slightly chewy.I might already be sounding obsessive with these sorts of descriptions but trust me in indian homes, especially in norther parts,roti making is a serious business.A deftÂ techniqueÂ which is taught to daughters whenÂ their Â wedding day approaches.Â It is the bread of life, something you start and end your day with. Giving away a roti to a needy & poorÂ is symbolic of highest level of ‘punye‘ or good deed in Hindu vedas, it is a thingÂ which subsides the hunger of animals, birds or humans equally. The daily bread is revered.
RotiÂ is a everyday unleavened flatbread in our homes,cooked on stove,Â chapatiÂ is similar toÂ rotiÂ just rolled out much thinner,Â phulkaÂ is another nameÂ used in India forÂ rotis, a Hindi word denoting the puffy look of it.Parathas(skillet-fried dough) or Pooris (deep fried dough)Â areÂ also made from the sameÂ dough, layered or unlayered, stuffed with fillings, rolled in all different shapes.You could see myÂ triangleÂ parathaÂ as an example. But, necessarily, the dough remains the same. It is only the handling and shaping that differsÂ Hoping I have not confused you too much!
It would be really surprising but as compared to the naan, which got more popular in the west, in indian homes, you will found rotis and parathas cooked on a daily basis. Naan, fine all purpose flour (maida)Â flatbread is a once in a while thing, something you order when eating at restaurants or like in my home,when mom made really special exotic curries or we had family gatheringsÂ with lots of guests, she would send us with home-made yeastyÂ dough to the street side guy with the tandoor and we came back with stacks of naan for supper.
Let’s get to making some rotis.Shall we? I have invariably used the word ‘atta’ in my post and recipe. Atta is nothing but Hindi for whole wheat flour (loosely used for both dry, wet flour as well as the dough)
Measure the atta (durum wheat flour) and slowly, start adding (warm) water to it.In India, we use a paraat (a utensil made ofÂ brass/copper/stainless less specifically for kneading roti dough). The one you see in pictures, is some 40 year old treasure from my grandmother, still going strong.
Incorporate water in a circular motion into the atta with your fingers.Start kneading gently.
As the atta absorbs water,it will start clumping up.Â Continue to add water till all the dry flour becomes wet, your hands will be mighty messy but the flour starts to come together.
At this point,ensure that the attaÂ is not very dry,try to squeeze it between your palms as if making a fist and it should be soft and sticky (and messy!). Start using your knuckles to knead the atta next.
Use your knuckles to flatten it out and then pull it all together towards yourself using your palm & fingers,then knead again with knuckles to flatten out. Knead this way (flatten and bring together) repeatedly for 5-7 minutes. At any point you feel that the dough is tight or drying out, add a light splash of warm water.
Towards the last 1-2 minutes of kneading, use both hands to knead for a very smooth & elastic dough (this will work up the gluten really fast).You could add a bit to oil while kneading to make it smoother.
Time to rest those gluten.Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for (not more than) 15-18 minutes.You couldÂ smear a layer of meltedÂ gheeÂ or oil on top but you really do not need it if the proportion of water is correct and you made sure that the dough didn’t feel or look dry when kneading dough will stay moist during rest time but starts losing moisture after 20 minutes. So if you are not planning to make rotis right away, place the dough into an air tight container with lid and refrigerate.
When ready to make rotis, uncover and divide into equal portions.Â Approximately.If you refrigerated the dough, take it out 10-15 minutes before and let sit on kitchen counter.
Take each dough portion betweenÂ palms of your both hands and roll to make as smooth balls as possible. Flatten the balls. GetÂ some loose atta on to the dish. Its time to make rotis!
Roll each ball in the loose atta and place on a smooth rolling stone or pastry board or kitchen surface. Flatten out lightly from edges using tips of your finger. Using a rolling-pin, start rolling the dough to a flat circle.
Dust the board or the roti as and when required when rolling. Initially, you will need to dust moreÂ but it will get easier as you continue.
It takes practice to get the shape. Even if you don’t get perfect rounds its okay,Â doesnt affect the taste.The trick to roll perfect rotisÂ is that when you are rolling the dough itÂ should also be moving in circular direction by itself. If not, you can move it yourself and flatten from all sides to get a 6-7″ round.
Another tip (from my grandmother)Â to get thin edges ofÂ rotisÂ is that towards the last 15-20 seconds of rolling, your rolling-pin should be half on the board and half of theÂ roti.
Meanwhile, place a tawa (griddle), I use 12″ cast iron on high to heat up. Keep the box lined with kitchen towel near by to store rotis. When the griddle is hot, flour one of your hands and carefully, lift the roti.
Place the roti on the hotÂ tawa.Â Â Cook it for 30-40 seconds (this time will depend on thicken of your roti too)Â on first side,just so you see the surface changing color orÂ trying slightly. I would say about 25% cooked.
Flip using kitchen tongs and let cook for another 30-40 seconds on the other side. You might or might not get charred dots but do not cook on griddle for too long else the rotis will dry out.
LiftÂ theÂ rotiÂ with tongs and place it on open flame on the first side directly on fire and very lightly press with tongs to helpÂ it puff.Let puff and get charred on first side. About 10-15 seconds.Flip and repeat for the second side. If you storing rotis, you should not let it brown too much else it will dry up. Some people like crispy and chewy rotis, so you can char them to liking.
In case, you have a electrical stove with no flame, see the recipe on how to puff up the rotis.
Very gently press on when you puff the second side too. Smear with ghee and wrap in a kitchen towel to store.
Typically, you can serve rotis as a side bread with all sorts of things – curries (both dry & wet) to lentils to as a wrap or fried and a chips or any which way you like. One of my personal favorites is warm roti, smothered with gheeand sprinkled with sugar, rolled up. In India, it is normal to consume rotis for all meals,Â two, sometimes three times a day,sometimes in our house we serve roti alongside spicy egg scramble for breakfast or quick lunch too.
One of my close friend once told me a very interesting way to introduce the correct way of eating rotis to the western world.”Use roti as a spoon to eat the curry and laterÂ eat the spoon”, he said.Spot on!
In other news, Sinfully Spicy was featured last week by SBS Australia as a favorite indian food blog in their food section. You could read the featureÂ here.
2.5 cups durum wheat atta (fine ground whole wheat flour made from durum wheat)
1 +1/4 cup warm water or more/less if needed
1/2 tbsp – 1 tbsp any neutral oil (to moisten the dough when it rests, optional)
Ghee to spread on warm, cooked rotis (optional but recommended)
about 3/4 cup dry atta, needed when rolling the rotis
A wide, heavy shallow dish large enough to knead and dough. In India, we use aÂ paraatÂ (a brass or stainless less dish specifically for kneading roti dough). You could use your mixing bowl too but a wide dish will make it a lot easier.
A flat, clean, smooth rolling stone or surface
2-3 kitchen towels (to cover the dough when resting as well as to wrap the cooked rotis)
1-2 sheets of paper towel (I line the kitchen towel with paper towel to absorb the moisture when storing rotis else they turn too soggy)
A wide container (8-10 inch in diameter) with lid to store the wrapped rotis. If you do not have, you could use a couple of dinner plates.
Tawa or cast iron griddle (I use my 12″) to cook the rotis.
A pair of tongs to be used when puffing the rotis on direct flame
There are superior varieties of Indian wheatÂ which are stone ground to make atta (fine whole wheat flour). Largely, you could choose between durum wheat orÂ sharbatiÂ wheat.Â Infact, a lot of leading atta brands in India now have a mix of both. It is important to understand that attaÂ is different from the pastry whole wheat flour available in baking aisles. It is a much fine ground which make the rotis soft and less chewy.You will need to visit indian/pakistani grocery stores to get it.There are multigrain and high fibre atta varieties also available and all are suitable for making rotis. A 10lb pack will usually cost you $7-$8 and it has a really good shelf life of 3-4 months.
In a wide, shallow dish measure andÂ placeÂ the atta. With one handÂ slowly start adding (warm) water and mixing in circular motion with the fingers of other hand. Incorporate water a little at a timeÂ and start to kneading gently.
As the attaÂ absorbs water,it will start clumping up into a ball.Continue to add warm water till all the dry flour becomes wet, your hands will be mighty messy but the flour willÂ come together.Remember not to add too much water at a time.
Once a ball is formed,Â ensure that itÂ is not very dry by trying to squeeze the dough ball between your palms as if making a fist and it should feel soft and sticky. Start using your knuckles to knead theÂ doughÂ next.
Use your knuckles to flatten the doughÂ out and then pull it all together towards yourself, using your palm & fingers, then knead again with knuckles to flatten out. Knead this way (flatten and bring together) repeatedly forÂ 7-8Â minutes. At any point you feel that the dough is tight or drying out, add a light splash of warm water.The dough should not feel or look dry at any point.
Towards the last 1-2 minutes of kneading, use both hands to knead for a very smooth & elastic dough (this will work up the gluten really fast). Once the dough looks and feels really really smooth, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for (not more than) 20-25Â minutes.You could smear a layer of meltedÂ gheeÂ or oil on top but you really willÂ not need it if the proportion of water is correct and you made sure that the dough didn’t feel or look dry when kneading. The dough will stay moist during rest time but starts losing moisture after 30 minutes. So if you are not planning to make rotis right away, place the dough into an air tight container with lid and refrigerate.
When ready to makeÂ rotis, uncover and divide into equal portions.Â Approximately.(Note: If you refrigerated the dough, take it out 10-15 minutes before and let sit on kitchen counter)
Take each dough portion betweenÂ palms of your both hands and roll to make as smooth balls as possible. Flatten the balls. GetÂ some looseÂ attaÂ on to the dish. Its time to makeÂ rotis!
Roll and cover each ball in the looseÂ attaÂ and place on a smooth rolling stone or pastry board or kitchen surface. Flatten out lightly on edges using tips of your finger. Using a rolling-pin, start rolling the dough to a flat circle.Dust the board or theÂ rotiÂ as and when required when rolling. Initially, you will need to dust moreÂ but it will get easier as you continue.
It takes practice to get the perfect circle shape. Even if you don’t get perfect rounds its okay, it doesn’t affect the taste.Â The trick to roll perfectÂ rotisÂ is that when after 1-2 minutes into rolling the dough itÂ should also be moving in circular direction by itself. If its your first time, this might not happen but remember practice will make you better and better each time. If not, you can move the rotiÂ yourself to roll and evenly flatten from all sides to get a 6-7″ round.
Another tip to get thin edges ofÂ rotisÂ is that towards the last 15-20 seconds of rolling, your rolling-pin should be half on the board and half of theÂ roti as you roll.
Meanwhile, place aÂ tawaÂ (griddle), I use 12″ cast iron on to heat up on high. Keep the box lined with kitchen towel near by to storeÂ rotis. When the griddle is hot, flour one of your hands and carefully, lift theÂ roti.
Place theÂ rolled rotiÂ on the hotÂ tawa.Â Â Cook it for 30-40 seconds (this time will depend on thicken of your roti too)Â on first side,just so you see the surface changing color orÂ trying slightly. I would say about 25% cooked.
Flip using kitchen tongs and let cook on the griddle on the second side for another 30-40 seconds. You might or might not get charred dots but do not cook on griddle for too long else theÂ rotisÂ will dry out.When you cook on the second side, you will see that little puffs coming up on the surface.
LiftÂ theÂ rotiÂ with tongs and place it on open flame on the first side directly on fire and very lightly press with tongs to helpÂ it puff.Let puff and get charred on first side. About 10-15 seconds.
Flip and repeat for the second side. If you storingÂ rotis, you should not let it brown too much else it will dry up. Some people like crispy and chewyÂ rotis, so you can char a little longer to liking.
In case you do not have electrical stove, you can puff up the rotis on the griddle itself. Once the second side is cooked, reduce the heat to medium and gently start pressing the roti with a soft kitchen towel on all side. It will puff up.
Smear ghee on the hot rotis and server right away or store then wrapped in a kitchen towel. I line the kitchen towel with a small piece of paper towel, this helps in preventing them from getting soggy.
In case you want to freeze the rotis (yes it can be done), make all the rotis and let them cool down to room temperature wrapped inside the towel. Then stack them on top of each other with a large piece of wax or parchment paper in between.
When wanting to use the frozen rotis, thaw them in the fridge and warm up on high for 8-10 seconds in the microwave.
Roll the dough very well and as evenly thin as possible.This helps in puffing up the rotis.
Store the leftover dough in the refrigerator for not more than 1-2 days in an air tight container.
If you are wanting to serve rotis later in the day, you can make ahead them. In this case, add 2 tbsp of melted ghee while making the dough.They will remain soft.
Late Summer. The days are filled with blueberries and peaches and cherries before the seasons changes.This year we had an overdose of summer bounty in the house since most of our produce shopping was from Costco, there was hardly a day when we were out of fruits.May sound impatient, but I want those crunchy sweet tart apples and soft pears and ruby-red pomegranates and rest these berries till next summer. In lieu of new, I picked up my first fresh figs this summer (yup, it took me five odd years to do that since I moved to the States) and kind of liked them but still didn’t understand the craze. The ones I ate though sweet,had a slightly slimy aftertaste so maybe they were unripe? Anyhow, the evenings turn up sooner and are much cooler than a past few weeks back.We are having a few rain spells every ten days or so which I am liking a lot since those are rare in this part of the world. I am barely able to decide if the air conditioning should be turned on or not all night even though I am waking up cold for last few days.
Talking of few weeks back, I broke my blender jar, it came shattering down on our tiled floor.The following day my year old Panini maker gave in as soon as I plugged it in. I smelled smoke and saw a spark. Short circuit. Dang. In the latest, every time I use it, I hear a scratchy sound while our food processor runs,looks like it will join that gang soon. Good lord. Just wondering if all the universe has joined hands against my kitchen equipment or is it really a coincidence?
The only good thing that happened was this kulfi, laced with saffron threads and sweet cardamom aroma.I badly needed to make something comforting to calm me down.A childhood ice cream treat from the streets,as kids we licked a few sticks each afternoon from the kulfiwalla(vendor) who visited our neighborhood. Needless to say, it was dirt cheap (may be few cents if you convert the currency) but came with huge flavor and texture. Traditionally, whole milk is simmered for hours and hours till it reduces to half its volume, the fat goes up and so does the sugar and protein content.Flavors are then added and its frozen immediately, no churning or custard business needed here. As time and occasion permits,these days it also depends on how cranky the toddler is, I use either ways to make kulfi, sometimes I start with whole milk and sometimes with cans of evaporated milk or half and half to shorten the process. This time, the husband offered to watch the little one and I took the traditional route – just like how mum used to make it at home filled with toil and sweetness of love.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
5 cups whole milk
1/4 cup mava (milk solids, see recipe here to make your own, omit if you do not have)
This recipe yields a lightly sweet kulfi (which is how it should be) but you can add more condensed milk or sugar as per taste.
Addition of mava lends the kulfi both richness and a chewy texture but it can be skipped.
Ideally, kulfi is not creamy, rather lightly chewy and grainy.
You could use cornstarch in place of rice flour
Substitute almonds with any kind of nuts (pistachios, cashews)
In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to a boil. Once the milk is boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook down with constant stirring. You do not have to stand by the stove but check and stir every 10-12 minutes so that the milk does not stick to the bottom or sides of the pot.You will need to keep on scraping the side of the pot while you stir. Depending on fat/water content of the milk it could take 3-5 hours for the milk to reduce to half of its volume.
While the milk is cooking, crumble or grate the mava (if using),there should be no lumps. Set aside. Dissolve the rice flour in cold milk and let sit. Crumble up saffron threads between palms of your hands and dissolve in warm milk. Set aside.
Once the milk has reduced, it will be light brownish in color, much thicker in consistency. Add the rice flour slurry to the pot with continual stirring (so that no lumps are formed) and let cook for 5 minutes on low heat . The mixture will thicken further and become smooth. Add the mava next and cook for another 5-8 minutes so that it softens a bit.
Remove from heat. Add the condensed milk, almond meal, dissolved saffron and cardamom powder to the milk mixture and combine well. Let sit to cool down,
Pour into kulfi moulds or popsicle moulds. Freeze for 24 hours with lid on.
Once ready to serve, use a sharp knife to loosen the edges and unmold the kulfi. You could run the mould under a stream of water to loosen it. Serve as it is or sliced up with nuts and falooda (recipe here)
With the summer in full swing, this easy fried rice is suddenly a favoriteÂ in the house for quick meals.Combining deeply flavored,saltinessÂ of dark soy sauce with nuttiness from sesame oil, the sweet crunch of fresh vegetables and hints of aroma from indian spices, this riceÂ comes together in no time if you have a big rice portion leftoverÂ from last meal. The recipe can be twisted and turned to suit the occasion and the crowd you are serving to – add any assortment of vegetables (or fruits -Â pineapple, apricots, raisins)and any protein you like. Though a warm bowl is good on its own but I like to make hot chicken or manchurian along side sometimes for a hearty meal.Someone like me who prefers flatbreads to accompany our meals is enjoying it a lot.
Â I had conveniently forgotten but when WordPress wished me a lot many years to fly with them, I realized!! Four summers. It has been four years of sharing little anecdotes of my life and recipes with all of you.Sometimes I wonder how much memories from life back in India and childhood or teens could my mind still retain even though I always thought otherwise. It has been a gratifying journey so far. Thank you for the love and support.This blog has been a wonderful nook to share and connect with all you who are hungry for indian food. Thank you so much for your interest and loving my country’s cuisine.
Coming back to the recipe, I quite marvel at the brilliant concept of fried rice in asian cuisine. From Thai to Indonesian to Filipino, each fried rice is different yet wonderfully flavored. I have talked about indo chinese cuisine in my past posts and this recipe is another addition to that collection. This indian style fried riceÂ stems from the chinese variant but the use of spices lend it notes of warmth and aromatic smokiness. I have been making fried rice for many years and have learnt a few things through trial and error. I guess this is the right post to share my little tips with you.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 .5 tbsp pure sesame oil
3-4 fat garlic pods,Â finely chopped
1 Thai green chili, slit
1/3 cup red onion, finely sliced
6 scallion stalks, green & white parts chopped separately
3/4Â tsp ginger, minced (adjust to taste)
2 cups shredded/julienned vegetables (I used cabbage, green&red bell pepper, blanched green beans, carrots)
3 cups cooked rice, cold
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tspÂ garam masala
scant pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4Â tsp red chili flakes (adjust to tolerance)
3/4Â tsp Chilli tomato Sauce (I useÂ this, you could use ketchup or 1/2 tspÂ tomato paste)
Salt to taste
1/2 tbsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
1.5 tbsp butter, melted (optional, see notes)
Adding butter at the end may seem a bit unusual, but this is a small secret I learned from the husband who makes some mean fried rice. Try it.
The rice from the this recipe has pronounced hints of ginger, you can omit or cut down the quantity if you do not like it.
You can vary the ratio of neutral oil to sesame oil based on your liking. You could even cook using either of the oils, I am just sharing the ratio that we prefer.
Add tofu, fried egg, pre cooked shrimp,chicken or any kind of protein in the recipe just at the end and warm it through with the rice.
Next turn the heat to lowest possible on your stove and add the cold rice to the pan.Also add the soy sauce,turmeric,Â garam masala, red chili powder & chili tomato sauce. Toss around so that the rice is covered in all therse . Check and adjust the salt (remember that if you are adding butter at the end, it has salt too). Turn the heat to medium for a minute or so till the rice is warmed through.Do not stir too much
Put off the heat and while the rice is still warm, add the green scallion parts, vinegar, butter(if using) and chopped cilantro. Using fork or chopsticks toss around and serve immediately.
On evenings coming back from work, when the bus was running terribly behind schedule, I volunteerd to get down way before my stop and walk down home.The side walk still wet from the rain spells an hour or two before smelled of decaying earth and lush green foliage all along looked as fresh as just bathed.The moist breeze of monsoon evenings was a much sought break after spending the whole day in air conditioning.
The fastest way to home get to home was through of busyÂ market surrounded by the yellow government quarters (apartments) which looked like tiny match boxes stuffed on top of each other. In India, such streets are dotted with places to eat and these little food joints have been around for so many years that they turn into local favorites.
ThereÂ wasÂ is a take out restaurantÂ which was one of our favorites for non vegetarian food in the area. All you notice as a passerby were two or three young men wearing colored vests standing in front of the clay oven (tandoor)on one side,their hands stained in spices skewing marinated birds and tikkaÂ on to the slender iron bars, and some makingÂ rumali rotiÂ (paper thin flatbreads) on the other side. The aroma of smoke & cooked dough clinged to the blanket of air surrounding the entrance and the eternal long queue at the coupon station was a common sight.
When we went to Delhi last year, I made sure that the husband tastes the food from there. I remember we ordered garlicyÂ naan, butter chicken andÂ tandoori chicken for home delivery. Its been quite a while and we still talk about the meal from thatÂ night so you know what I mean. There must be thousands of places in Delhi serving bestest tandoori chicken but this little restaurant thriving in a tiny pocket of big city is where most of my family memories are woven aroundÂ – of celebration, of laughter of cheerful Sunday meals around the table.
This recipe Â took me quite a few attempts to get together. In India,the tandoori is more charred and blackish in appearanceÂ Â than the orange hued you see here at restaurants. Infact, if you use good quality turmeric and kashmiri chilli powder, ideally the reddish-orange color should come along on its own during high heat roasting. In India, we do not eat chicken skin, so whenever making tandoori, use skinless chicken, the meat should be succulent and moist on the inside & chewy on the outside (not crispy).
8Â chicken drumsticks Â (my package weighed total 2Â lb, you could use any dark meat cut)
1/2 tsp redÂ chilli powder or cayenne (adjust to tolerance)
10 black peppercorns
2 black cardamom, seeds only
1Â green cardamom, seeds only
8Â raw cashews, broken (or use 2 tbsp cashew meal)
1 small twig of cinnamon (see notes)
1/4 cup thick plain yogurt
1″ fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
1 tbspÂ garam masala
1.25 tbspÂ chaat masala
2Â tspÂ kashmiriÂ chilli powder (this lends the color,not the heat)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
scant pinch ofÂ ajwainÂ seeds
1 tbspÂ ghee,Â melted and cooled
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp good quality saffron threads (optional)
Indian cinnamon is quite sharp as compared to the sweet cinnamon used in the west, that’s why I have noted a small quantity, adjust as per taste but do not go overboard.
Black Cardamom has no substitute in this recipe. It has a woody, strong flavor and aroma much different that the sweet smelling cardamom. If you do not have it simply skip it.
Chaat MasalaÂ is a tangy blend of spices which is used in indian cuisine.In this recipe it makes the marinade thick as well as lends it distinct hints of sharpness & smokiness,if you do not have it, use some lemon juice and a bit of roasted cumin powder in its place. If you want you can orderÂ onlineÂ Â or buy at indian/pakistani store. It keeps well for almost a year and can be used in salads, roasted vegetables or meats etc.
You can make theÂ tandooriÂ marinade and immediately freeze it up to a month. When using, thaw it in the refrigerator and mix in the proteins or vegetables you are using.
I recommend not using lean or boneless cuts like chicken breast for makingÂ tandooriÂ because the high heat of cooking will immediately make the poultry chewy. You could use whole boneless thighs though.
Skin the chicken and wash it under a running steam of water. Using paper towels, completely pat the chicken dry.Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the chicken and place in a bowl. Thoroughly rub the chicken with lemon juice, salt and chili powder. Set in the refrigerator.
Lightly crush theÂ the black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon in mortar & pestle.Place them into the blender. Add the cashews, yogurt,ginger, garlic,Â garam masala, chaat masala, kashmiriÂ chilli powder, turmeric, nutmeg,Â ajwain,Â ghee,Â saffronÂ and salt to the blender.Blend everything very very well till a smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate this paste forÂ 30Â minutes for flavors to mix.(If its not very hot, you can leave it on the kitchen counter top else in the fridge so that yogurt does not turn sour)
Mix in the chicken and the marinade and let sit refrigeratedÂ for 18-24 hours (at least). This time of marination is really important. You could marinate up to 2 days in advance.
Once ready to cook, leave the chicken pieces out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes cleaning easy) and set a rack over it. Also, preheat your oven to its highest temperature Â (600 F in my case). Place the chicken pieces over the rack and roast for 20 -25 minutes or until done, basting liberally with oil. Use a lot of oil for basting, this is very important for a moist chicken. You will need to open up the oven door and brush the chicken 3-5 times, keep on turning it to cook on all sides. Alternatively you could grill the chicken outdoors,basting it at intervals
Spice laden tomato(ey) sauce, gooey beans, hints of cinnamon and cardamom, steamed rice on the side and lots of fresh cilantro on top.This pretty much sums up rajmaÂ (kidney beans)-chawal(rice). Quite similar to the warming pot roast, we pretty much savorÂ this dish every otherÂ Sunday afternoon in the house followed by a long nap which by all means isÂ the necessary element of the brunch ritual. This north indian kidney beansÂ curryÂ is spicy and comforting, all of you who love beans andÂ a side of carbohydrate (potatoes/rice) would know how addictive it can get, just few minutes into eating.
When IÂ think something comforting – an event, a memory, food, travel or in general, any milestone of life, I want to be in that moment and think more and even more about it.These days, I seem to remember my home in India a lot. The routine of daily life back there keeps on flashing in my mindÂ now and then.Our domestic help sitting on the floor peeling and chopping squash, talking about the other homes she works in, mum next to her and grinding fresh chilies and garlic in our decade old mortar & pestle. They discussed nuances of long power cuts- the preparations that precede it, casually chatting about unusually above normal temperatures and yet how late monsoons have been this year. In between, my mum would pour her elaichi chai with few crumbly rusks, both having a good ladies time.
While I brew my green tea on summer afternoons, my lil daughter napping, I also prepare dinner side by side, it is such a pleasant time to dig pockets of such spontaneousÂ memories when I am all by myself in the house. It’s a warm feeling – nostalgic & bitter – sweet at the same time.
When I severely miss home, it’s just left to the meals to comfort us. Talk about comforting and rajma masala is my soul food. Not only because of how hearty it is but also because how uncomplicatedÂ the flavors are.Its bright and nourishing, its simple and doesnt need you to baby sit the pot. You could start with a simple masala, add the beans, let simmer and done. As a variation add vegetables (I am thinking whole baby potatoes or even few chopped greensÂ here), why not? I personally like to serve it alongside paneer bhurji, rounding off our punjabi meal.
If you happen to taste this dish at restaurants, it comes rich and heavy, the base recipe remains similar but the final dish is finished with butter and cream. Most Indian restaurants in the westÂ do not cook like how indiansÂ cook at home. I donâ€t know how this piling on of the fat started.The way rajma masalaÂ is made in rural, punjabi homes is a far cry from the overbearing use of butter and cream, it is homely andÂ essentiallyÂ what true Indian food is like. That said, stay clear of butter pool and make this kidney bean curry -Â Â delicious, healthy & comforting!
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
1 cup red kidney beans, raw (make sure the beans are not more than 6 months old, I buy my stock from Whole Foods)
3.5 cups water
1 black cardamom
1Â tejpattaÂ (indian bay leaf)
1/4 heaping cumin seeds
small twig of cinnamon
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2Â tbsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 fresh Thai green chillies, whole or slit (adjust to tolerance)
For the Sauce
5Â tbsp mustard or olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2Â garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (slightly sour)
1.5 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder/cayenne (adjust quantity to tolerance)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tspÂ amchoorÂ (dry mango powder)
1/4 tspÂ garam masala
1/2 tspÂ kasuri methiÂ (dried fenugreek leaves)
Cooking the beans
NoteÂ – Skip this step if using canned beans, add the whole spicesÂ listed underÂ cooking the raw beans at the time when you make the sauce.
Soak the kidney beans in enough water overnight or for at least 8 hours. This is an important step if you are using raw beans, if not soaked enough, the recipeÂ will notÂ turnÂ out well. Once the beans have swelled, drain and discard the water. Transfer the kidney beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3.5 cups water, cloves, cardamom,Â tejpatta, cumin, cinnamon, oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Close the lid of the cooker and pressure cook on medium heat for 2-3 whistles or till the beans are 95% cook. An easy indicator to know if the beans have cooked is that the skin startsÂ peeling offÂ from few of them but the shape is intact. You could cook the beans open inÂ on stove topÂ till tender for approximately 45-50 minutes.
Once the beans have cooked, pick up the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon,Â tejpattaÂ and discard. Transfer the cooked beans and stock to a bowl and mix in the gingerÂ and whole chillies. Let sit while you make the sauce.
Making the Sauce
In the same cooking pot/pressure cooker that you boiled the beans,add the oil and heat on mediumÂ till you see ripples on the surface.If using mustard oil, you will need to heat tills it’s about to smoke so that the raw smell goes away.
Reduce heat to slightly and add the finely chopped onions and garlic and cook them tillÂ golden brown. About 6-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes next along with chili, coriander,turmeric andÂ amchoorÂ powder. Cook thisÂ masalaÂ on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes.Â If you see masala sticking to the bottom of pan, add some stock. Cook thoroughly.This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, please do not rush.Allow theÂ masalaÂ to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color.
Add the boiled beans to the pot next along with all the stock.Check and adjust the salt. Add theÂ garam masalaÂ &Â kasuri methi.Â Cover and let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.
Once the beans have simmered, removed from heat and let sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours.
When I posted the pictures of these noodles on Instagram, a few of you asked for the recipe. Well,to be true these are such a casual thing in my kitchen on days when I am a lazy ass to cook that I never cared to put together a recipe. There is hardly any fixed way I make these noodles because in real, I toss them together with any kind of vegetables, protein or spice mix I can lay my hands on from the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets. However, they always leave us wanting for more. I always end up telling myself to-make-a-larger- batch-next-time.The leftovers are better than freshly made,something so typical with asian flavors. I don’t even remember how and when these became a regular in our kitchen, but now they are usually a mid-week dinner and lunch the following day. For the last few of times I am noticing that our little girl is reaching out for a couple of strings so I make a chili and soy sauce free version for her. Looks like these are slowly lining up to be aÂ family favorite.
You know the thing about noodles – thin or thick, whole wheat or buckwheat, stringy or tubular, hand pulled or knife cut, I have hardly met anyone who doesnt like these little carb packs. There is no denying the versatility with which they marry vegetables, meat, seafood and soak up any kind of sauce you toss them with.Most of the time you will find me mixing them with a tomato based sauceÂ loadedÂ with spices which is a typical example of the kind you will find on indian streets.
4 scallion stalks (green & white part chopped separately)
1.5Â cups shredded vegetables (I used cabbage, carrots, green/red bell pepper)
3Â tbsp sunflower oil (Use any neutral oil)
1.5 tsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste
For the Eggs
1 teaspoon oil
Salt & black pepper to taste
1 tsp fresh cilantro, very finely chopped
Cook the noodles as per package instructions. Drain, wash with cold water and rub thoroughly with both & 1 tsp regular and sesame oils and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, you can prep the vegetables and chop the onions.Also using your mortar & pestle coarsely grind the garlic. Slit and half the green chilies or finely chop them depending on the heat level you prefer.. You could seed them if you like.
Beat the eggs thoroughly and add the salt, pepper and cilantro.In a small pan, heat up 1 tsp oil and on very low flame, cook the eggs stirring continuously. The eggs should be cooked such that they are not loose or runny.Set aside in a small bowl.
In a wok, heat up the oil to medium high. Take off the heat,add the garlic and slit green chilies.Cook for 20-30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma (this is important) and see blisters on chili skin and they crackle. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Return the wok to the stove and add the sliced onions and white parts of the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high till the onions begin to soften but do not brown. Add the vegetables to the wok and a pinch of salt. Saute for another 2-3 minutes till the vegetables are lightly coated in oil and soften a bit.
Next,reduce the heat to very low, add the noodles to the wok along with green parts of scallions, soy sauce, garam masala and black pepper. Toss well so that the noodles are coated well. Check the salt and adjust. Let cook for 1-2 minutes till the noodles are just warmed through. Put the stove off. Add the vinegar and the cooked eggs.
Toss well and let sit for 20-30 minutes if possible else serve right away.
Should I eat it? How will it taste? Will it be okay to eat it in public? Similar to hesitations when trying anything new, I was a bit reluctant when I ate lamb first couple of times. It was a red wine stewed lamb T-Â bone at one of the elaborate buffets here and the husband was all over it. I could not help but stare at his enthusiasm. If I remember correctly, it was only lamb that he ate all night. Eventually I fell prey to his company and gave in. No points for guessing that I did not quite like it at first, you know how clingy we can get to childhood tastes- Â firstly the lingering tasteÂ of mutton I grew up with & secondly I am not quite up for wine sauces – not yet.
During the initial years, we never really cooked it at home.I scurried through the supermarket aisles just looking at the the wide variety of cuts available but never really bought it.
However, once I did (thinking I will empty my spice box while cooking to layer ‘that’ taste),there was no going back. Lamb paired so beautifully with those cardamons & turmeric in my kitchen and as I cooked it more, adding indian flair to recipes, we slowly embraced it as a regular in our meals. Even though mutton mince ispopular back home, after eating it more and more, we have as much love for lamb dishes in our household now as poultry & seafood. Due to its easy availability, I have substituted all mykeema recipes with lamb mince & there is hardly anything not to like. Equally good, equally satisfying & equally delicious is all I can say.
This lamb burger is for those days when we are looking for a change & feeling lazy to cook but still want to eat at home. It is hearty. It is big, spicy and juicy. It is something which is a quick every now & then dinner for us.
I like to stuff my buns with lots of tomatoes, and with that mint laced, garlicky yogurt or whatever salad leaves at hand, however the husband keeps all that at bay. His meaty version is indulgent in itself with just the mince patty & lots & lots of onion slices and kettle chips on the side (which by the way are a must out here).
Ingredients (Makes 5-6 burgers)
1 lb lamb mince (or use mutton/beef mince)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1″ ginger shoot, minced
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2-3 Thai green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 green cardamom
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
For the Yogurt Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 fat garlic clove
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 tbsp Lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste
For assembling the burgers
Sliced Onions, Tomatoes
Pepper Jack, Colby or any easy melting cheese
To serve alongside
Fries, Chips, Onion rings, beer, hot sauce,pickles etc
In a small bowl, mix up the mayo & yogurt. Mince the garlic clove using your microplane and add the mint leaves to the yogurt. Add lemon juice, salt & pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Using your coffee grinder coarsely grind black pepper, fennel, cloves, cumin and cardamom.Set aside in the grinder itself.Â In a bowl, add the lamb mince. Add the garlic, ginger, mint, cilantro & green chillies. Add the ground spices over it along with nutmeg,cinnamon & olive oil.Using a fork (or your hands), lightly mix up the mince with all the herbs and spices. If you have time, you can cover the bowl with a cling film & let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours or else you can use it right away.
Heat up a cast iron pan. Divide the lamb mince into six equal portions.(We do not like very thick patties, so I could make 6 out of these, however if making thicker patties, divide intoÂ desiredÂ portions). Brush a tsp of oil on the pan and cook the patties onÂ moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook on the other side, about 3-4 minutes more. When cooked, add the cheese on top and cover with a lid, the cheese should melt in under a minute. Â Note – We like our burgers cooked through and the times are noted for that. If you like your burgers pink in bewteen, please reduce the cooking time.These burgers grill beautifully, you can use your outdoor grill to good use for cooking these.Â
While the patties are cooking, you will see the mince releasing a lot of fat and juice, soak it up by warming up the bun halves on the same pan.Â
Assemble the burgers by slathering the yogurt mayo on both sides of the buns,add in the onion & tomato slices, lettuce and place the cooked patties.
Last weekend was eventful.We celebrated our little munchkin’s first birthday. I made her a smash cake and we also got an adult cake. Her reaction towards both the cakes was the same – she cried. I think the flickering candle frightened her. It’s so funny that they react completely different to how you think they might.
Taking advantage of fading winters, I made this warm chaat this weekend. The weather out here is not yet hot for a crisp cold salad & a bit too warm for soups, thisÂ chaat drizzled with imli (tamarind) chutney & tossed with fresh mint leaves perfectly fitted the onset of spring mood.We are huge fan of Â textures and multiple flavors in food and that is what thisÂ chaat is full of.
In India, chaat is a savory preparation which can be categorized as street food. There are few base ingredients which essentially form part ofÂ chaat– chopped onions or grated radish/cucumber for crunch,chaat masalaÂ (tangy spice powder) for the pungency & heat, tamarindÂ chutneyÂ adds that saucy, tart layer while the green chutney & cilantro (or any herb)add the much needed freshness.The yogurt adds the acidity as well as cools down the palate.These are usually the toppings without which a bowl ofÂ chaatÂ is incomplete. However, you can pick or drop any as per your taste.ChaatÂ could be layering of fried dough or diced up fruits cut up and mixed together.If you are looking for really heavy options thenÂ kachorisÂ (stuffed fried breads) orÂ aloo(potato)Â tikkiÂ are your choices.
I like how healthy and filling this recipe turned out. You can also use black chickpeas(kala chana) or mung sprouts in this recipe and it works fine. It can be served as a perfect appetizer as well as a side dish. All the prep work like boiling chickpeas, potatoes, making the chutney, chopping toppings etc can be done a day before and then its just tossing everything together.Â
I soak raw chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook them in enough water with little salt and a tsp of oil. Drain the chickpeas and reserve liquid for use as stock.
Ingredients (Serve 2)
1 cup boiled chickpeas (or use canned)
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled & diced into bite size pieces
2 tsp oil, any neutral oil of choice
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
generous pinch ofÂ hingÂ (asofetida)
1/4 tspÂ garam masala
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Chopped onions – about 1/3 cup
Chopped tomatoes/ Grape tomatoes
2 Thai green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
Black Salt/Kala NamakÂ ( to taste)
Chaat MasalaÂ (to taste) (available online or at indian groceryÂ stores)
Imli/Tamarind Chutney – 2 tbsp or to taste (recipe below)
Roasted Cumin Powder- to taste
Red Chilli Powder – to taste
You can add cucumber, grated radish, pomegranate seeds,Â sev, crushedÂ paprisÂ etc to add more texture and crunch.
In a pan, heat up the oil. Add the cumin seeds and once they sizzle add the hing. Once you smell the aroma, add the chickpeas & potatoes. Also add the garam masala, cumin powder and salt. Toss around for 3-5 minutes till the chickpeas look shiny.Remove from heat & add the lemon juice. Mix well.
Transfer to a large enough bowl and add the listed toppings as per taste. Toss well and serve immediately.
I soak raw tamarind in warm water for 4-5 hours and then mash it until pulp is separated.Sieve the pulp into a bowl and discard the seeds and thick fibers. You canÂ also use store bought but just keep in mindÂ that its very salty & slightly acidic so adjust seasonings accordingly.Â
Ingredients (Makes about 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup thick,tamarind pulp(store bought or homemade)
3/4 cup – 1 cup jaggery powder/granulated sugar (adjust quantity to your sweetness)
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
pinch ofÂ hingÂ (asafoetida)
1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to tolerance)
1/2 tsp roasted cumin seed powder
1/2 tspÂ kala namak/black salt [available in indian stores, else replace with normal salt, adjust to taste]
1/4 tsp ginger powder
salt to taste
Up to 1/2 cup water ( you may or may not need it, usually not needed when using sugar instead of jaggery)
In a small sauce pan, heat the oil.Once heated add the cumin seeds, as soon as the cumin starts to crackle, add all the ingredients listed above to the pan except water.Simmer the Â for atleast 20 minutes till it starts to thicken. You can adjust water once the chutney has simmered. It will thicken more on cooling.Â Remove from heat, let cool, transfer to a container.
Let cool completely. This can sit for unto 3 weeks in a refrigerator.
Whats your favorite beverage? I m not much of a beverage person, but am always up fresh fruit & vegetable juices as well as a couple of homemade coolers make it to my list.I distance myself from store-bought beverages, unconsciously.
He doesnt care much – his HUMONGOUS liking for beverages is oblivious of the concept of homemade or store bought.As I write this, our refrigerator is stocked with all sorts of flavored lemonades, coconut water, mango nectar & weird-looking smoothies. I m not joking. This is pretty much the same all round the year – he drinks more than he eats – I seldom tell him. Needless to say refrigerator space is one eternal bone of contention between us.
Jal Jeera is an essential north indian summer beverage, served as a refresher with meals.You will find a lot of street vendors serving chilled jal jeera stored in earthern pots sitting atop their decorated carts in India. It is another show stopper of indian street food scene. I just can’t imagine rounding up summers without it.
My mom makes a mean jal jeera from scratch. She does not use any pre made spice powders, its a a crisp concoction of fresh made tamarind pulp water (jal) & roasted cumin (jeera) flavored with mint, black salt, green chillies & ginger. Each ingredient plays a role – tamarind & mint have cooling properties, cumin & black salt aid in digestion & chillies provide the essential kick. Many people use fresh lemon juice instead of tamarind pulp in their preparation and skip sugar.
There is no written recipe, like most indian moms. It is even pointless to ask for one for all I will get is how many palm fulls and pinches. I have come up with this recipe from memories of taste of her jal jeera. Hers will always be the best though.
Indian Tamarind is quite sharp & fibrous in taste as compared to the Thai variety. You need to soak it for few hours in water & mash to separate seeds & fibre to extract the pulp.Tangy & smoky in taste, jal jeera is usually topped with boondi – puffed, crispy chickpea flour balls (available in indian stores) & crushed ice.
1/2 tbsp kala namak (black salt, substitute with table salt)
1 serrano chilli (de- seeded , if desired)
2 tbsp red chilli flakes (adjust to tolerance)
3″ fresh ginger shoot, peeled & roughly chopped
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup water
Table salt (to adjust)
5 cups water, cold
To Garnish – crushed ice, boondi, mint leaves (optional)
Tip everything except table salt & water into your blender. Blend on low for 2-3 minutes until you get a semi smooth mixture. Dont make a very smooth paste.
Place a colander over a large bowl & sieve the paste through it. Note – I sieve the paste a couple of times to obtain a clear(er) drink. Place the collected paste into a jug, top with 5 cups of water. Adjust the salt.Chill till ready to serve.
Before serving, stir thoroughly, pour into glasses, garnish & serve.
Jal Jeera keeps fresh for 3-4 days, refrigerated. It can also be served as pani for indian street food- pani puri.
To see how to extract tamarind pulp at home, click here.
Store bought tamarind paste can also be used in this recipe. The paste is more concentrated and way salty compared to home extracted version.Adjust the quantity to your liking.
You can substitute tamarind pulp with fresh lime/ lemon juice. The taste differs from traditional recipe but still good.
Place cumin seeds in a sauce pan and roast over medium heat.