Archive for the ‘North Indian’ Category

Pregnancy Take 2


2011
03.31

My Pictures 

Howdy folks!! I’m sorry, I’ve been long quiet. Didn’t mean to. Thought every other day I would get back. But each of those days for reasons of their own often killed my enthusiasm for blogging. Like the title says already, we are pregnant again :). That obviously is  my pathetic excuse for the long absence. We’ve been well. The baby inside me is getting lumpy and my two boys have been the best I could  ever wish for. Over indulgent and ever ready to please me they are exactly what any woman could want. For their charming behavior and for my ‘only existent during pregnancy’ luscious mane of hair and dimples I wouldn’t mind staying pregnant and carrying this baby well into adulthood ;).

Anywhoo, I’m back and I hope to stay. In a couple of months Mom is going to be here to help with the new baby and it would be outrageously sinful if I didn’t post all the amazing food she is going to ‘insist on’ making. Yes, she is coming to help with the baby. But while at that, on her own accord, she will take over my house, my life and my SOUL. And that’s why I’m back Internet, to prepare you for all my ramblings in the future months, For my now faithful boys, will soon shed off their adoring skins and take cover under their grandma/mil’s wings and I will be left all alone holding on to my postpartum blues for company. And I’ll have only you Internet to hear me out then and in gratitude  I shall throw in some good recipes amidst the sobbing to make it worth your while. As a overture for the future and in a desperate attempt to entice you to come back in spite of my drone here are some yum recipes.

Vegetable Biryani – Chettinad Style

IMG_9199Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally [read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Fry – Coorgi Style

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Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought [read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navrathan Korma

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Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get. [read more]

Navratan Korma


2011
03.25

Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get.

IMG_9085

Ingredients

10 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
1/2 cup cashew nuts 
1 large onion chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1 tsp punjabi garam masala
1 1″ piece of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 pod of bruised cardamom
4 cloves
3-4 cups mixed veggies(I used cubed potatoes, chopped French beans, diced carrots,green peas,cauliflower florets, diced bell pepper)
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
10-12 raisins
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
2-3 tbsp refined oil
Salt to taste

Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Grind 1/4th cup of the cashews along with the onions.
  • Parboil with salt all the veggies individually (cooking time for each varies) and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add turmeric and cumin powder and sautéfor 30 secs.
  • Add the remaining cashew nuts and the whole spices.
  • When the spices puff up add the cashew onion paste and the ginger garlic paste and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the garam masala and pepper powder.
  • .Add one cup of water and bring to boil.
  • Add the the veggies, paneer, raisins and pine apple and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.
  • Garnish with heavy cream
  • Server hot with Indian breads
  • What was that again?


    2010
    10.20

    Collages1

    The last one year for Nish who turned 4  in September has been profound in terms of mental maturity and verbal acquisitions. His preschooler sass, innocent fumbles, wise observations and insightful witticisms never fail to amuse us. Our days would definitely be dull without him.

    Here are some of his quips for some laughs—

    Ma, can you please leave the bathroom? I need some privacy.

    Pa, you need to listen to Ma, ok? him is the only grown up in this house.

    Ma, grow up!

    Hey Pa, can you turn on the lamp? I need some sun light in the room.

    Ma, when I was a baby in your tummy did I come out when you threw up?

    Ma, I don’t need a baby brother or a baby sister, can you make me a baby puppy instead?

    Reciting the Lords prayer – Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name ……do not bring us to the test but deliver us from Eagle – Amen

    And these might be incriminating for my food blog, but nevertheless ….

    Ma, I only said it smells good, I didn’t say it tastes good.

    Ma, this tastes  funny. are you sure it is food?

    Aloo Gobi

    IMG_8647Well since I could never bend it like Beckham I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain )…[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     Methi Pulao/ Fenugreek Leaves Rice Pilaf

    IMG_8794Methi Pulao is something that I usually make when I’m entertaining vegetarian friends.  No reason in particular. But since I’m a big fan of the flavor of fenugreek leaf flavor I just assume every vegetarian out ….[read more]

     

     

     

     

     Kadai Paneer

    IMG_8663

    This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. This is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, it tastes amazing too….[read more]

    Methi Pulao/ Fenugreek Leaves Rice Pilaf


    2010
    10.20

     

    IMG_8794

    Methi Pulao is something that I usually make when I’m entertaining vegetarian friends.  No reason in particular. But since I’m a big fan of the fenugreek leaf flavor I just assume every vegetarian out there will find it irresistible too.  And frankly every time I’ve made it I haven’t met anyone till date who hasn’t gone for a second helping of this. So like I always say, my assumptions are very rarely wrong ;).

    Ingredients

    1 cup Basmati/Long grained rice
    2 packed cups chopped fenugreek/methi leaves
    1 med onion, finely sliced
    1/2 cup fresh green peas
    1 med tomato cut into chunks
    2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    4 cloves
    2, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon 
    1 crushed cardamom
    2 tbsp roasted cashewnuts 
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp saunf/fennel seeds
    Salt as per taste
    ghee/oil

    Directions

  • Soak rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan, gently roast the rice for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour two cups of water and cook the rice. When cooked fluff it up and set aside to cool.
  • Heat oil/ghee in a wide pan.
  • Add cumin, fennel, cloves,cinnamon, cardamom and let the spices roast.
  • Add onions and sauté until they are golden brown.
  • Add green chilies, ginger garlic paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, chili powder and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add fenugreek leaves, peas, salt to taste and sauté until cooked.
  • Add rice and lemon juice and gently mix on low flame.
  • Kadai Paneer


    2010
    10.15

    This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. It is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, the taste’s amazing too. The powerful Indian spices ignites a roaring flame of passion between the mild and sweet colorful peppers  and the nutty cubes of paneer. Just one bite and you’ll know exactly what I’m harping about.

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    Ingredients

    2 cups mixed multicolored bell peppers
    14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1 medium onion chopped fine
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 large tomato chopped into chunks
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    2 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red paprika/ kashmiri mirch
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    1 bay leaf
    1 star anise
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1 tbsp cashew-almond paste -optional (cashew nuts and almonds in equal proportions ground to a paste with little water)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    2-3 tsp fresh cream for garnish
    refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise, bay leaf and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies,paprika,  turmeric, coriander, spice mix, cashew-almond paste and tomatoes and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add the bell peppers and kastoori methi and sauté till the veggies are cooked but yet crunchy.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Aloo Gobi


    2010
    10.14

    Since I could never bend it like Beckham, I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain intact in shape and size but are yet cooked thoroughly through. And of course the cauliflower florets shouldn’t be giving off that God-awful gaseous stench.  Over the years I figured the best way not to stink up your kitchen while cooking cauliflower and the like (cabbage, kohlrabi etc) was to cook them dry. And the easiest was to cook them dry is to deep fry them (tastier option) or broil/bake them (healthier option). You of course can cook them dry directly in the pan too. But that requires frequent stirring and totally depends on how patient you are willing to be. I’ve detailed all four techniques here. Follow what ever floats your boat.

    IMG_8647

    Ingredients

    2 cups cauliflower florets
    1 cup quartered potatoes
    1 small onion chopped fine
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1 medium tomato chopped into chunks
    3/4 tsp amchoor /dry mango powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    1 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

    If deep frying – Heat refined oil in a deep pan. Sprinkle salt on the cauliflower and potatoes and deep fry them until they are cooked through and light golden brown in color.  Set them aside on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.

    If broiling – Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Broil until cooked through to a golden brown color tossing it every 8 minutes.

    If baking – Preaheat oven to 350 F. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Bake on 350F until the veggies are cooked through.

    If stir-frying in a shallow pan with no water – Follow the instructions below to make the masala. When done, add the veggies and mix well into the masala. Close the pan and let is simmer on medium heat. Stir every 5 minutes and close the pan with a tight lid when left to simmer.

    Making it all come together –

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in shallow pan
  • Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric, sauté until the cumin is roasted. (omit this step is broiling or baking)
  • Add bay leaf and saute for 30 secs.
  • Add ginger and onions and sauté until onions are golden brown
  • Add tomatoes, coriander powder, green chilies, red chili powder,garam masala,  kastoori methi, amchoor and sauté until oil separates. 
  • Add the cooked veggies and mix them well into the masala until they come together.
  • If adding uncooked veggies follow stir-frying directions.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Switch off the flame.
  • Server hot with Indian breads 
  • Methi / Fenugreek Parathas


    2010
    07.15

    IMG_7539 

    Ever since I came back from India having been thoroughly brain washed by my Doctor and health freak sister, Sony, I’ve been working hard to reduce the waist lines of my family – husband, son and yours truly. We’ve completely moved away from our most favorite, slurp slurp rice (sorry I can’t say it without doing that a couple of times) to whole wheat rotis for dinner.  The transition hasn’t been difficult like I expected though. On the contrary, I’ve been plotting on bringing the same change to lunch as well. Here’s why- When it comes to rice (slurp slurp), I usually have to make at least 3 dishes to go with it. A dal or the like that has some sort of gravy to wash the rice down, a side of sautéed vegetables(you can’t do without vegetables right?) and a piece of fish or meat to satiate the mallu carnivores in us. But with rotis surprisingly, just one dish does it for us!!! It has been saving me a hell lot of time and the lazy me couldn’t be more happy.

    If rotis had me making just one side, imagine my joy when parathas asked for none ;)!!!!  Now you know what my boys have been eating a lot of lately!! All I need to do now is figure out an attractive way to talk about the change in menu for their lunches as well ;)!

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    Methi parathas which according to me are the healthiest of all parathas because of all the greens that go into them, are also (according to me) the tastiest of the lot. Many like to make a masala of the methi by cooking them with onions and spices before rolling them into parathas. But I don’t. I seriously think it is sinful to overpower the taste of these fine leaves with the spices and kill their nutrition with all the cooking.  People – it is JUST my opinion. Please aim your shadoobies else where. …I simply knead my methi in their immaculate form, directly into the dough with a little bit of amchoor (for the tang) and what I get out of them – I totally totally  LOVE!

    Ingredients
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    ½ cup besan/gram flour (Optional. I don’t add this, cause I don’t like it. My mother does though. Replace with ½ cup wheat flour if you don’t do besan like me)
    2 cups fenugreek leaves chopped fine 
    1 tbsp refined vegetable oil
    ½ tsp. red chili powder
    1 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1 tsp amchoor/dry mango powder
    ½ tsp turmeric powder
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and knead it into into a soft smooth dough adding water, a little at a time.
  • Set aside covered for an hour.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal parts each and make smooth balls out of them
  • Pat the stuffed balls with dry flour before beginning to roll them out
  • Roll out the balls into circles using a rolling pin and  to the thickness you desire. I like mine very thin..
  • Heat a skillet on high.
  • Place the paratha over the skillet.
  • When the paratha begins to puff up on the edges turn it over.
  • Repeat.
  • Apply 1/2 – 1 tsp of ghee to the surface when you notice brown spots and turn over.
  • Press down using a spatula and apply ghee similarly on this side too.
  • Take off the flame when cooked thoroughly on both sides.
  • Serve hot with, curd, pickles or butter.
  • Mutter Paneer


    2010
    07.01

    IMG_7428

    Apart from  the obvious 35lbs of sweets, guess what else I carried back from India? 40lbs of mud and stones!! Don’t believe me? Wait till you see my future posts where I plan to flaunt all my new acquisitions as subtle props in my pictures. You can’t even begin to fathom how happy I’ve been ever since each and every piece of them arrived into my kitchen untarnished to its last element! My mother frowned as I packed the 10 kgs of earthen pans and the 5 kgs of granite. What are you going to use them for? she grumbled. Like she didn’t know *eyes rolling*. Of course from now on I’m going to cook ALL my meen curries in the meen chattis and all my pounding will happen with the granite mortar and pestle. I have to admit (though reluctantly), my mother’s concerns are not totally baseless. I tend to go overboard at times. While people carry fine silks and jewelry back from India, I carried 5 kgs of copper khadais, cast iron unniappam pan, a brass idiyappam press, chirattas for puttu etc etc, apart form these mud and stones. I know I can’t fool anybody let alone my mother when I say I plan to use them all. But, like I’ve said before, I love to make sure my kitchen is well provided with all the right contraptions, lest I fall under the category of the ‘inexperienced’ and the ‘ill-equipped’.

    The mortar and the pestle till date is the best addition into my kitchen(Thank you, Sophie!). I don’t know if you have noticed in some of my older pictures, I do have a tiny one already, made of brass. My mother had gotten that made when I moved to California as a new bride. But today I’m proud to say that my cooking and my kitchen have out grown that size. YES, Ma! I do cook. I do cook much more than you think I do!!  (argghh, Mothers! You can’t live with them. You can’t live without them!). This morning as I made Roy’s favorite Mutter Paneer, I had my spices pounded in a second and my cashew nuts ground in a jiffy all the while singing a Bollywood number that I’d recently picked up from my trip. Yes, singing at 6:45 in the AM. Can you believe that?  Only because I didn’t have to fish out the Magic Bullet and  its ever so many accessories  from my drawer of ‘gadget confusion’, plug it in, shake it up and down and waste valuable 15 minutes of the ‘morning panic’ just to grind  a tsp of spices and 5 cashew nuts. Ma, I’m veRRRRy glad I carried the stones!!!! 😉

     IMG_7418

    Ingredients

    14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    2 cups of shelled peas
    1 large onion chopped very fine
    3 tomatoes pureed 
    1 &1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    1 star anise 
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    2 green chilies chopped fine
    1 tsp kashmiri mirch/paprika
    3 tbsp heavy cream
    5 –6 whole cashew nuts
    1 tsp kastoori methi /dried fenugreek leaves
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

    2 –3 tbsp of refined oil

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Toast the cashew nuts, pound them to a fine powder and keep aside
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies, turmeric, coriander, spice mix, powdered cashew nuts and tomato puree and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add peas and kastoori methi and sauté till the peas cook.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it boil for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Aloo Tikki / Spicy Potato Patties


    2010
    04.01

    These are just about the easiest patties to put together. They make amazing appetizers when served with a combination of meetha chutney (tamarind and sugar),  green chutney (cilantro, green chilies and lime) and chole.

    IMG_5985 

    Ingredients

    3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
    1 tsp corn flour
    1/4 cup green peas, boiled
    2 green chilies, chopped
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp red chili powder
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    refined vegetable oil for frying

    Directions

  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except the oil.
  • Divide into 10 to 12 equal portions and shape them into flat patties
  • Heat oil in a fry pan and shallow fry over medium heat until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
  • Drain and pat dry on absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot with chutneys and chole.
  • Punjabi Chole


    2010
    03.30

    IMG_5987

    Garbanzo beans/chickpeas are cooked in a variety of ways all over the Indian subcontinent. Each preparation exhibits the distinct characteristics of the regional cooking. The Punjabi Chole, a preparation from Punjab, is a great accompaniment with Pooris, Bhaturas and Chaat.

    Ingredients

    1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 large tomato, finely chopped
    2 green chilies, slit into halves
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 tbsp tomato paste, or half a cup of tomato sauce (from the can)
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp whole cumin
    1/2 tsp amchoor powder (dried mango)
    1 tsp anardana powder (dried pomegranate seeds)
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    salt, to taste
    1 tsp kala namak
    1 tbsp cooking oil
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish
    water, as needed

    Directions

    • Cook pre-soaked chickpeas in enough water in a pressure cooker till soft. ( I let it whistle for about 5 – 6 times and simmer for 10 minutes)
    • Heat oil in a deep pan and sauté whole cumin for a minute.
    • Add in onions and green chilies and sauté until the onions are translucent.
    • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté till slightly browned.
    • Stir tomatoes, tomato paste, ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, amchoor, anardana, punjabi garam masala and salt and sauté till the oil separates.
    • Add chickpeas and about a cup of water, and let cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
    • Garnish with fresh cilantro.