Saturday, September 29, 2007

MY FIRST ALU METHI FOR THE SEASON & A BREAK



Methi is just about arriving in the vegetable markets, but its always such a nice feeling to pick up something after such a long time, though come winters, it is going to be the only thing that you make on & off!!! Methi is a veggie which some people hate totally & some people love completely.
I never liked it all that much - more so because it is very tedious to clean it. I miss my FIL a lot when it comes to cleaning veggies, coz he was such a sweetheart & used to keep all veggies cleaned so perfectly & cut them up & put them into dubbas whenever he visited us here in Delhi. Even if someone would be coming down from Kanpur he always handed over a box of cleaned methi leaves, or a bottle of peeled garlic flakes. He used to worry that since I am working I wouldnt have the time to do all this & therefore he would be more than willing to help me out this way. God bless his soul.
Ing -
1/2 kg - Methi leaves (cleaned & chopped)
2 potatoes - scraped & diced
2 tbspn - mustard oil
1/2 tspn - jeera
5/6 flakes garlic - grated
1 tspn - garam masala
1 tspn - chilli powder
1/2 tspn - haldi
1 tbspn - malai / cream
Method -
In a kadai burn the mustard oil. Add the jeera & the garlic. When brown add the potatoes.
Cook till the potatoes are half done.
Add the methi leaves. Cover & cook till the potatoes & the leaves are cooked fully
Add the haldi first & stir well
Add the salt, garam masala & chilli powder - mix well
Cover & cook till the oil start separting & the methi / alu has turned crispy - stir in between.
Lastly add the malai & the sugar. Mix once more. Let cook for another minute & remove from fire
Serve with chappatis or parathas.
I know the dish does go with the subzi, but I absolutely had to show off the new dish that I purchased from The Home Store - Noida. I couldnt wait for something more perfect to display on the dish!!!
2nd Oct is a holiday & therefore me & Rajeev are off to Agra for a small break. I will miss you all & blogging. Its so become a part of my life & enjoy everything very much, especially you girls!! I was secretly hoping that he would agree to pick up the laptop, but he gave me a dirty look - knowning fully well why I was enquiring.
Will catch you girls soon with more news & recipes & hopefully something new from Agra!!!
Love you all & miss me !!!


KARARA KARELA


This blogging is really doing me a lot of good - at least my culinary skills. I tried my hand at Karela for the first time. First time because, I myself am not a fan of Karela & also because my husband never eats Karela. But yesterday when I made it I was so glad to him eat up the whole lot, (though I myself did not)..........but it made me really happy coz he said that he liked it very much!!!


Ing -
250 gms - Karela / bitter gourd / pavvaka
4 onions - chopped finely
1 tspn - haldi
1 tspn - red chilli powder
1/2 tspn - garam masala
1/2 tspn - amchur
1/4 tspn - saunf

Method -
Wash the karela nicely & skin them using a peeler. Dont throw away the skin.
Chop the karela into very small pcs. Apply some salt on both the pcs & the skin & leave overnight. If you like yours really bitter, you can avoid this step.
In a kadai, heat some oil add some saunf to it.
Now add the karela, the skin & the onions into the kadai & add some salt (I know you might wonder that if I had to add the skin into the kadai then why peel it in the first place - I dont know, I felt like & so I did, but then the skin came out really criply & I liked it).
Cover & cook till the karela is cooked.
Now add all the masalas, cover & cook till the karela turns cripsy all over. You have to keep stirring in between.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

CHATPATA BAINGAN ALOO


This one is quite simple........but absolutely chatpata with chappatis.


Ing-
250 gms - small eggplants / baingan, washed & cubed.
3 potatoes - medium sized, scraped & cubed
2 big onions - chopped finely
4/5 flakes of garlic - chopped finely
1 tspn - garam masala
1 tspn - amchur
1 tspn - chilli powder
a dash of lemon juice
Method -
In a kadai, add some oil. When hot add the garlic.
When just about brown, add the eggplant & the onions together & some salt
Close lid & cook till tender, stirring in between.
Meanwhile, in a frypan, add some oil. When hot, add some jeera.
When the jeera sputters, add the potatoes & cook till crisp on all sides.
Now add the potatoes to the baingan.
Add the masalas, mix well.
Cover lid & let cook for another 2 minutes
Uncover, stir & add a dash of lemon
Serve with chappatis

RAJMA MASALA


There's this old man who comes to Nehru Place (a very famous office complex in New Delhi) everyday in his plush Merc with his sons. You might wonder what an old man, his sons & Merc have got to do with Rajma Masala, well he comes there to sell Rajma Chawal !!!! .....dont fall of your chair please..........this man puts up his stall at a corner & the queue to his stall is as long as the queue of sinners coming to visit the temple or the churches. Lately he has added variations like daal, chole, paneer & kadi with rice. Priced all at Rs. 25/- per plate (!!!!) he winds off everything by about 3 p.m. - n in flat 2 hrs he goes home with pocket full of notes!! I sometimes envy him n wonder if I could do as good as he is doing .............maybe some day!!!! I too will open up something like this.......


Well, I dont know about him, but here's my version of Rajma, which is quite popular ........


Ing -
1 cup - kidney beans / rajma
2 onions - pureed finely
4/5 flakes of garlic - added to grinder along with onions
1/2 inch ginger - added to the grinder along with onions
3 tomatoes - pureed separately along with a handful of corriander leaves
1 tbspn - garam masala
1 tspn - haldi / tumeric powder
1 tspn - red chilli powder
1/2 tspn - amchur / dried mango powder
1 tspn - dhaniya powder
Method -
Soak the rajma overnight & cook them till tender along with some salt.
In a wok add some oil, first add the onion, ginger garlic puree. Fry till dark brown colour
Add the tomato puree & fry till oil separates.
Add all the masalas.
Finally add the rajma, adjusting the salt & consistency with some water.
Serve with plain rice.
I call this comfort food !!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ZAIQA CHICKEN ROLL


Some few years before Bengali rolls were only to be seen in Chittranjan Park area - the Bong domain in Delhi!!! Very soon it caught like wild-fire & now there is a Roll Corner at every nook & corner of the markets all around Delhi - n what do they sell???........the variations are endless......mouthwatering is the least I can say.

I call mine Zaiqa Chicken Roll coz theirs is the best I've had. They are in the Sector-18 market in Noida & they beat even the CR Park guys too!! They are absolutely the way I want them to be..........

Ing -
For the rolls -
1 kg - maida
4 tbspn - oil
salt to taste

For the filling -
1/2 kg - boneless chicken - cut into very small pcs
4/5 onions - chopped finely
5 tomatoes - pureed
1 tbspn - ginger - garlic paste
1 tspn - chilli powder
1 tspn - haldi
1 tbspn - chicken masala (use any brand MDH or Everest) - if not avlbl use 2 tbspn - garam masala
1 - capsicum
1 tbspn - ketchup

Separately -
2 onions - finely sliced
1/2 cabbage - sliced finely
1/2 cup - corriander-mint chutney
1/4 cup - chilli sauce
Mix all this together just before assemgling the rolls

1 egg - per roll

Method -
Rolls -
Knead the maida, oil & salt using some water into a tight dough.
Roll out like chappatis & keep them half done (not fully cooked from both sides)

Filling -
In a kadai heat some oil, add the ginger-garlic paste & fry well.
Add the onions & fry till brown
Add the tomato puree & fry till oil separates
Add the chilli powder, chicken masala, turmeric & fry well
Add the chicken pcs & the capsicum & cook till done.
Before removing from fire just add the ketchup

Finally -
On a nonstick griddle, drizzle some oil & place a roti on it. Fry from one side & flip to cook the other side.
Break an egg in a dish & beat well, now pour this onto the cooked side of the roti & flip over to cook the egg
Again flip with the egg side on top. The other end should have nice golden spots all over.
Remove from fire & in the center put some filling length wise.
On top of this add the onion/cabbage masala
Spread some more chutney /sauce on top of this & roll

You can wrap one end with a foil paper so that the filling does not fall out while eating.

I made this for Christmas once. The previous day I made the rotis & refrigerated them & used them to save me all the trouble of preparing everything the same day.

I know this is quite long, but its not all that difficult - n beleive me every bite with be worth the while.

Yummilicious !!!!

CHICKEN PINEAPPLE SALAD

I love pineapple a lot. There are some people who dont, coz they say they are allergic to it. They are missing out on one of the most wonderful products of God's creativity !!! Its so juicy & sweet & tangy. My ammuma (maternal grandmother / naani) had a row of home grown pineapples, I would sit in the verandah & dwell in the lovely smell of ripe pineapples. And the pleasure of having a homegrown pineapple, or for that matter any fruit or veggie is indescribable. Checking out which one's ripe, plucking as many as you want..... & not having to bargain with the vendor all are such wonderful experiences.
I had chicken pineapple salad for the first time at the Nirula's Potpouri - Salad Bar. The flavors blend immensely well & they are a treat for your taste buds.
Ing -
1/2 kg - boneless chicken
1 small - pineapple
1/2 cup - mayonise (you can use fat free or any variety you like)
1/2 tsp - sweet paprika
1 cucumber - finely chopped
1/4 cup - canned cherries (deseeded & chopped roughly)
1/4 tsp - black pepper powdered.
a pinch of salt.
Method -
Boil the chicken in as little water as possible. I would microwave it till cooked.
When cold just shred them into bits with your hands.
Slice the pineapples into rings & then chop them into small slices.
Do not throw away any juice.
Scrape the cucumber & chop into small pcs.
In a dish add the mayo, chicken, pineapple, cherries & cucumber - mix well
Add the paprika, pepper powder, salt & any leftover juice of pineapple - mix well
Put the dish into the fridge.
Serve chilled.

Monday, September 24, 2007

PANEER CHILLA

Teatime on Sundays is always quite thought provoking.........yeh banau yah voh (translation - should I make this.....or should I make that). I really like to keep changing the Menu on the Tea table. All it takes is a little before-thought. This is one good recipe & is quite filling too. You can also use it as a breakfast item.

Ing -

For the Chilla
1/2 kg - besan / gramflour
1 onion - chopped
green chillies as per taste
salt as per taste
a big pinch of asofetida
1/4 tspn - saunf / fennel seeds
a bunch of corriander leaves - chopped

For the filling
250 gms - paneer mashed
1 onion - chopped
1/2 tspn - jeera
1/4 tspn - garam masala
1/4 tspn - red chillies
corriander leaves chopped

Method
Add water to the besan & make it into dosa batter consistency.
Add all the ingredients listed above & keep aside for a while
Meanwhile in a fry pan add some oil & when hot add the jeera
Add the onions. When pink in colour, add the paneer & the rest of the ingredients.
Fry till the moisture dries up.
Heat a griddle & pour the batter onto it. Spread it like a dosa
Cook on both sides by drizzling some oil on the sides.
When a nice golden brown add a tbspn of filling in the center of the chilla.
Spread it lengthwise & fold it just once.

Serve with mint corriander chutney.

MEAT CUTLETS

This is one yummy snack. I guess everybody has their own version, which is more or less similar too........but this is my mom's who used to make this all the time. And this makes me remember my little pet Silky (who has gone to be with the Lord - I hope), for whom the day the cutlets were made meant a feast for the next few days!! She was so adorable, she used to go and wait at the door of the kitchen, waiting for mom to open the cooker & pass some cooked minced meat onto her plate. Come what may, she would not budge from there till she got her share. But she was such a greedy dog, she just wouldnt stop at the meat, she would also very affirmatively ask for her share of the cutlets too. She would tug & toss at mom's saree till mom would give into her demands.......she was really the apple of our eyes, & we miss her so much that it hurts at times. I could go and on writing stories about my beloved pet, but I guess I'll stop here & go on with the recipe.
Ing -
1/2 kg - mince meat (mutton, beef or chicken)
5/6 - onions finely chopped
3/4 tbspn - ginger finely grated
a big bunch of corriander leaves - cleaned & finely chopped
4 tspn - garam masala
lots of green chillies
1/2 tspn - black pepper crushed
2 tbspn - cream
some atta diluted with water, add some salt (it should not be a very thin paste)
either bread crumbs or crush cornflakes in the grinder.
Method -
Cook the meat very well.
In a kadai put the meat & stir till the moisture evaporates. Dont make it too dry, just enough that the water dries up.
Now add the onions, ginger, corriander leaves, garam masala, black pepper & mash well with your hands. You should do so to ensure combining of all the ingredients.
Now add the cream - you can avoid this ing. But adding this makes the texture really smooth.
Now roll into desired shaped patties.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Dip the patties into the diluted atta mixture, roll into the crumbs & fry till golden brown. If you feel like you can leave out the crumbs too. The patties hold together even with the diluted atta paste very well.
We always had it with ketchup, or roll into chappatis & eat.
I am really missing this snack so much while posting this that I really feel like calling mom & askin her to make it.
Not being able to cook non-veg food as much as I would want to is the biggest disadvantage of marrying a preferred vegetarian. But poor thing, he never stops me from doing anything I wish, but then how is one to cooke 250 gms of chikcen or make just 2 cutlets???? So I leave it out. Maybe if I have kids one day I will make them pure nonvegetarians & enjoy food with them.

CHEESY POTATO BALLS

I have made this snack just once & it was really good. I had made it for a get-together of colleagues at my place & got great reviews for the same. It was pretty simple so I bet all of you can try it.

Ing -
1/2 kg - boiled & mashed potatoes
1/2 cup - grated cheese
salt to taste
green chillies - very, very finely chopped
corriander leaves - again, very very finely chopped
2 big Onions - finely chopped & then fried
bread crumbs

Method -
Mix all the ingredients together. Dont try to mash the potatoes after adding the cheese, but do so before hand & then add the cheese. There should be no lumps in the potatoes.
Heat oil in a pan. Roll the mixture into balls, roll them into bread crumbs & fry in hot oil.

They come out very crunchy from outside & gooey from inside, since the cheese melts.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

HEALTHY PANEER ROLLS



Today morning was a rush-rush morning coz Rajeev had to go out till about 9 a.m. & by the time I woke up it was 8.00 I overslept, coz I was two-timing watching both the exciting India-Australia match on one hand & A PERFECT MURDER - the movie on the other channel. I woke up & worried on what breakfast to give him. I was tired of pohas & upmas and didnt want to make the same old thing. Some thinking & experimentation brought me to a nice variation to the daily breakfast. You can add / subtract whatever you like.

Ing -
For the filling -
250 gms - paneer
1/2 capsicum - sliced very thinly & small
2 big onions - finely chopped
1/2 tsp - jeera / cumin
1 tbspn - corriander-mint chutney (I used Heinz)
1 tbspn - tomato ketchup
salt to taste
green chillies
For the base -
1 normal roti or paratha
Method -
In a fry pan, add some oil
Add the jeera, when they sputter add the onions & capsicum. Fry till onions are light brown.
Add the chillies, chutney & ketchup & salt.
Mash the paneer & add into the kadai
Fry well till there is no moisture.
Meanwhile you can make the rotis.
Keep some fill in the center of the chappati & roll.
Cut into two pcs each.
I served it with a glass of chilled chocolate milk - check out my favorite mug - isint it cute?? I had two of them one with the face of a boy. That was his, & this is mine. His broke.......& I was really very sad that the pair had been spoilt.
Pls dont mind the pics, they were taken in a rush.

MUTAR PANEER MASALA



You might wonder how much of mutar paneer do I make, but believe me thats one combo that I can make in a jiffy & in so many different ways that it saves myself & Rajeev from eating food from outside manier times. I always have the frozen variety of both of them always in the stock. Here's another one for all mutar paneer lovers. This is a very lovely way to make this dish.
Ing -
250 gms - paneer
1/2 cup - mutar
2 onions - pureed
2 tomatoes - pureed
1 tsp - ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - turmeric pwdr / haldi
red chilli pwder as per taste (try using red chilli powder to enhance the colour)
2 cardamoms - crushed
1/4 tspn - fennel seeds / saunf
1 tbspn - curd / dahi
2 tbspn - cream
1 bay leave - crushed coarsely
Method -
Take a pressure cooker (preferably). Add a little oil into it & add cardamom powder & the bay leaves.
Add the ginger-garlic paste.Fry well & add the onion paste and fry till brown.
Add the tomato paste & fry till the oil separates.
Now add the turmeric, chilli, garam masala & saunf - in that order.
Fry well for about a minute. If the masala gets dry instead of adding more oil add a little water & fry till the water dries up, this way the masala will not stick.
Now add the cream & curd & mix well.
Dice the paneer & along with the matar add to the cooker.
Add salt & fry for about 2 minutes till the masala is well coated.
Add about a cup of water & put the lid of the cooker.
Do not put the whistle. On very slow flame cook for about 5 minutes.
If you dont wanna use the cooker you can use the kadai as well. You can add a bit of salt to the onion paste to fry quickly. You might wonder how this is a quick way to cook when cooking raw onion paste & tomato paste takes so much time, but I just put it on & do some other work meanwhile.........& return to the gas once in while to check & give a stir.
I hope you will like the recipe.

Friday, September 21, 2007

BROWN, BROWN WINE .............



There's this beautiful song by UB - 40 which goes "Red Red Wine, goes to my head, makes me forget that I, still need her so........". My wine is not Red it is deep brown & it doesnt even go into your head & will not even make you forget anyone........so I pass the judgement that it is perfectly fine to gulp it down......My mom makes this lovely wine for Christmas every year, without fail & the same is so blatantly publicized (of course by me & my brother & my Dad ......& a wee bit by herself too) that everyone visiting us on Christmas has to have the wine. I have never made a bottle myself, coz I am handed over a bottle or two by her, which I unashamedly & proudly serve to my guests. I am sharing this wonderful wine recipe with you. The pics will of course come only during Christmas time. Till then "Brown, Brown, Wine......."
Ing -
250 gm - Ginger - Cleaned & Crushed
1/2 Kg - Sugar
5/6 - Laung / Clove
1 inch - Dalchini / Cinnamon
1 - Jaifal / Nutmeg
5/6 - Red Chillies - Deseeded (use only the skin)
4 Ltr - Water
Method -
Boil all the ingredients in the water for about 1 - 1-1/2 hours. After a boil, simmer on slow falme.
Remove from fire & let it cool. All the pulp will settle down. Remove the liquid into a separate container by seiving.
Into that liquid add 1/2 spoon Citric Acid.
Take about a handful of sugar & on slow flame melt it, when it has started turning brown, add about 1/4 cup of water (or more if required) very slowly. Keep stirring
While adding the water, be very careful cause it starts sputtering a lot & you can run the risk of the liquid falling on you. Dont bend close to the pan - this makes the caramel.
Add this caramel into the ginger water.
Again let it settle.
Strain & pour into clean, dry bottles.
This stays well for quite a long time.
I hope you enjoy your wine, & will give it a shot for this Christmas!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

WHO'S CHEESE IS IT ANYWAYS???

Its mine, its mine .......& only mine.
At a home of two people, where the husband does not favor cheese, the whole box of cheese slices or cheese spread is mine & only mine!! Whenever I reach out my hand to pick up a cheese from the stands, I quickly pull it back reminding myself "you'll have to eat it all by yourself.......do you want to add up on so many calories......nobody is going to share your burden". I am able to put that back only once in a while, but there are times when the cheese beckons me from the stands, begging me to pick it up, longing for a home........& taking pity on the poor cheese, I pick it up & put it in my basket, giving it a name "Shella's Cheese". How I use it is a different story altogether. I pretend to ignore it sitting on the shelf of the fridge, but when I crave, I use it either on bread slices, or on Pizzas, or just consume on its own.......but what I love most is the Omlette I make for myself.........heavenly oozing cheese, in a bed of an egg (mind you, only one egg). It may be known to quite a few of you, but nonetheless, its given below.
Ing -
1 - egg (you can use two or more if you want, I restrict myself for known reasons!!)
2/3 - green chillies (I really like it spicy & the flavor of the chillies do wonders to the omlette)
a little green corriander - finely chopped
1 big onion - finely chopped
a small pc of ginger - grated
3/4 curry leaves
a pinch of sugar
salt to taste
1/2 tsp - sooji / semolina / rawa
1 tbspn - milk
cheese - as much as you like
Method -
In a fry pan, drizzle very, very little oil & add the onions & the sugar.
After about half a minute add the curry leaves
On slow flame saute till onions are a good pink colour.
Meanwhile beat well the egg with the corriander leaves, chillies, ginger, semolina, milk, salt. What I generally do is add the milk, semolina & egg into the mixer & whip it up for a few seconds till frothy, & then fold the rest of the ings very lightly.
Now add the sauteed onions, after removing the curry leaves.
Mix lightly.
On the same pan, add some more oil & spread the omlette.
Let cook on slow flame from one side.
Flip it over & on the cooked side, add the cheese (if its a spread - just add as it is, if slices - just shred them, or if cubes - grate them).
Now fold the omelette & let cook for another few seconds.
You have an absolutley heavenly omelette with a heavenly filling all set for your stomach!!!
Just try this out & you'll feel heaven!! I always do. I dont take any bread or anything to go with this.
Just take a little ketchup or mustard sauce to go with it.

PANEER MALAI KABAB

This is a lovely Appetizer with flavored paneer cubes. They melt in your mouth & its difficult to stop at just one. My husband being a preferred vegetarian, I had difficulty in having him adjust at parties where mostly people were non-vegetarians. At close friends places I used to really have to put up a fight with them coz, for them snacks for Raji meant cut pcs of paneer sprinkled with salt & pepper on top or chaat masala!! - it really put me off..... This is one dish that does justice to my preferred vegetarian husband's palatte. Here goes the recipe.....
Ing -
1/2 kg - paneer
1st marinade
4 tbspn - vineger
2 tbspn - ginger paste
2 tbspn - garlic paste
salt as per taste
2nd marinade
5 tbspn - full cream
3-4 tbspn - thick curd / yoghurt
4 tbspn - corn flour / maida
2 eggs - lightly beaten
2 tbspn - red chilli powder
a bunch of corriander leaves - finely chopped
a few strands of saffron soaked in about 2 tbspn water
2 tspn - garam masala powder
1 tbspn - roasted cumin powder
Serve with
grated carrots, cabbage & capsicum
Method
Cut the paneer into thick cubes of 2 inch pcs.
Mix the ingredients of the first marinade & add the paneer into it. Mix well but use a light hand so as not to break the paneer - keep aside for about an hour.
Mix the ingredients for the second marinade very well & pick up the paneer from the first bowl & add to this marinade. Leave out the water. Keep aside for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 200C & line a dish or a cookie tray with foil. Arrange the pcs of paneer one by one & bake for 5 minutes. Then turn the pcs & bake for another 5 mins. The Paneer should turn a little brown.
If you dont have an oven, you can use a nonstick pan (a pan because that will ensure that the pcs dont fall one on top of another) & cook on slow flame, but ensure that the pcs dont break too much. You'll have to add some oil into the pan
For serving - grate the cabbage & carrots and cut thin slices of capiscum add a tsp of olive oil & mix well. You can even add just lime juice & salt. If you can indulge a bit, you can add about 2 tbspns of mayo.
Spread this on a dish & then arrange the paneer on top of this spread.
Enjoy a delicious snack

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

HING WALE BEANS ALU KI SUBZI


This is a very simple dish. The hing gives a very different taste to the preparation. I make it often & we like it a lot. I hope you guys like it too. This is only for people who like the hing flavor.

Ing -
250 gms - green string beans - stringed & chopped into 1/2 inch pcs
2 medium sized potatoes - cut into very small cubes
1 onion chopped
1 tsp - jeera
about 1/4 tsp - hing
1/2 tsp - red chilli powder
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1/4 tsp - amchur
salt to taste

Method -
In a kadai, heat some oil & sputter the jeera in it.
Add the onions, the hing (I very conveniently forgot to add the hing in the "hing wale beans alu"- thanks to my anonymous friend (refer comment) I have added it now) & the potatoes & cook till the potatoes are half done.
At this stage add the beans & salt and cover with lid & cook till beans are just about done. Keep stirring in between.
Add the haldi, red chilli, garam masala & amchur - in that order & mix well after each addition.
Serve with rotis or parathas.

NO WASTAGE

There are many times when the dough for rotis get spoilt at home. Most of us throw it away not knowing what to do. I am giving below (3) ways in which the same can be used fruitfully - after all its hard earned money. We slog out to earn every penny so why waste anything (look who's talking!!), but still........there's always space for some improvization - right??

  1. Take the atta & put it into a bigger bowl - put some water into the atta, so much so that it is fully immersed in water. After about 15-20 mins, add a handful of arripodi - rice flour - chawal ka atta into the same. Chop in some onions, green chillies & corriander. Add some asofetida & salt & mix well with a ladel. This will turn into a batter. Adjust the consistency by adding more water or riceflour. It should be a flowing consistency. Makes dosas out of it which turn out very yummy & crisp.
  2. Once again immerse the dough into water. Melt some jaggery & add into the bowl. Mix with ladel add some cardamom powder. Heat oil in a kadai & drop spoonfuls into the piping hot oil. Nice snack.
  3. The third trick does not require any immersing in water. In a kadai, heat some oil & fry some besan. When the besan is brown, add some ajwain, salt, corriander leaves, asofetida, crushed peanuts. Mix well. Now make small roll of the dough into your hands (use some wheatflour to avoid sticking of the dough onto your hands). Make a dent the way you do for making stuffed parathas & put in the mixture of the besan & close. With your hand pat the roll into kachoris. Fry them out for a delicious snack & serve with some corriander or mint chutney
Hope you liked the suggestions & will try them out soon.

KAALI DAAL















I absolutely loved this daal. The texture is smooth & creamy, yet not as heavy and rich as the Daal Makhani, which though, is a personal favorite, but rarely made. I actually do quite a bit of mix & match with daals, & use either urad sabut or masoor sabut to make the daal black or brown.

This is my latest experiment & it really turned out good.


Ing -
1-1/2 katori - black masoor daal
1/2 katori - chana daal
1 tsp - haldi
1 big onion
1 tsp - grated garlic
1 tsp - grated ginger
pinch of hing / asofetida
1 tsp - jeera
1 tsp - garam masala
either green chillies or red chilli powder
1 tsp - amchur

Method -
Wash & pressure cook the daals well, adding salt & haldi in the cooker itself.
In a fry pan, add the oil & when hot add the jeera
When it sputters, add the ginger & garlic & fry well
Add onions & on slow flame fry till about brown.
Add the asofetida / chilli.
Now add this tempering into the daal.
Add garam masala & amchur & mix well.
Cook for about 2 mins & garnish with corriander leaves.

Serve with rice, rotis or parathas.

There was a bit of confusion about the masoor sabut daal. I have therefore posted a pic of the same. Hope it helps

PUMPKIN / MATTANGA / KADDU SUBZI - NORTH INDIAN STYLE

Another one in my list of most detested subzis as a kid (except of course, when my mom made Olan). Whenever I heard of pumpkin pies etc. I wondered how people could relish something like the Pumpkin. The yellow veggie!!!

I got married in Kanpur (my husband's home town), & the morning of my marriage my relatives had been offered a breakfast of pooris & pumkin curry along with other North Indian delicacies. You cant imagine, how perplexed I was........idli, dosa, sambar, puttu eating mallus being served pure North Indian food. My mind raced as to what reactions I would be getting from them, saying ........"its just because of you that we have had to go thru this, We had to eat all that food"......."if only you'd chosen a malayalee cherkan (boy)"...Couldnt they have served us some idlis or puttu.........I couldnt put a morsel of food in my mouth. I was anyway going against the wishes of my parents, they were just present there because of my stuborness to marry the guy I had chosen or stay a spinster througout life - the choice was theirs....... Coming back to the venue - after the breakfast was over......I timidly asked one of my aunts, if she had been satisfied with the food......the answer amazed me. She said that the mattanga kootan (Pumpkin curry) was the best she had ever had. I heaved a sigh of relief, & very soon, I had heard the same comment from a few others too.

I later on learnt how to prepared the dish from my MIL & I happily share the same with you all. By the way, even till today I have my relatives praising the mattanga curry!!! So much so that I shared the recipe with them this time when I went to Kerala.

Ing -
250 gm - pumpkin / kaddu / mattanga
1/4 tsp - saunf
a little more than a pinch of fenugreek seeds
1 big onion - chopped
4/5 green chillies
1 tsp - haldi / tumeric / manjjal
1/4 tsp - amchur
1/4 tsp - garam masala
1/4 tsp - sugar
salt as per taste









Method -

Chop the pumpkin into cubes along with the skin. Wash well & keep aside.
Coarsely powder the fennel & fenugreek seeds in a grinder. I generally have a small dubba of this masala always ready, which I often put in some veggies.
In a kadai heat some oil & add the onions. Fry till just about pink. Add the powdered masala. Fry for about 1/2 a minute.
Add the pumpkin & salt. Close lid & cook till pumpkins are soft & fully cooked.
Add the haldi, green chillies, amchur, sugar & garam masala
Mix well & fry for about 2/3 minutes till any moisture is dried up.

Serve with pooris or parathas. You can change the chatpata-ness according to your liking by adjusting the amchur & sugar!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CHANA DAAL WITH GHIYA - SPLIT GRAM WITH BOTTLE GOURD



When it comes to comfort food - daal - tops the list. You can have a bowl of dal on its own, or with rotis, or parathas, or bread, or rice. You can use it to make rotis, dosas, pulao, kichri......the list is endless. Add some bottle gourd to it, & you have a nice wholesome daal subzi. I like this so much that I crave for this dish at times.........


Ing -
2 katoris - split peas / chana daal / kadla paripu
2 katoris - bottle gourd / ghiya peeled & diced into cubes1 big onion - roughly chopped
1 tsp -grated garlic
1 tsp - jeera / cumin
a generous pinch of hing / asofetida
1 tsp - haldi
1 tsp - red chilli powder
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1 tsp - lime juice

Method-
Pressure cook the dal & the ghiya along with salt, chilli & haldi. My normal procedure is to let one whistle pass & then cook on slow flame for about 10 minutes. The result is fully cooked but not mashed dal.
In a frypan, add the ghee. When hot add the jeera & let sputter.
Add the grated garlic & fry.
Then add the onions & fry till light brown in colour.
Add the hing.
Now pour this tempering onto the daal & add the garam masala & lime juice & mix well.

If you wish to add tomatoes you can do so at the time of pressure cooking or during the tempering.

I prefer it without the tomatoes. The flavor of the dal comes out excellently without them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

BANANA NUT CAKE

I baked this for sunday breakfast. My husband is not too fond of bananas. To be precise, he pretends to be allergic to the smell of them (yeah, I always thinks he pretends that bit). I made this & he was delighted with the cake & gaves me a "thumbs up" for the same. After he had finished ....I revealed to him the truth that this was a Banana cake..........the reaction.......Oh, it was not bad at all!!!

Well, here goes the recipe -

Ing -
3/4 cup atta
1-1/4 cup maida
2 mashed ripe bananas
a handful of walnuts & raisins
1/2 cup ghee / butter
1/4 cup - brown sugar
3/4 - sugar
2 - eggs
1 tsp - baking powder
1 tsp - baking soda
1/2 tsp - salt

Method -
Beat the ghee & the sugars together till creamy
Add the eggs one by one & beat well.
Sieve the flours, baking powder, baking soda & salt together
Add this flour into the egg mixture slowly beating on one side with the ladel
I pureed the bananas & added them in the end, mixing well with the ladel
Add the walnut & raisins in the end & mix well.
Preheat oven to 160 C, & bake for about 45-50 mins, till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

It tasted very good & vanished before I could click some of it. I have two more bananas left & I plan to bake it tonight. Hope I get some pics this time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SOOJI HALWA




















This halwa tastes awesome. Its comes straight from my MIL's kitchen. Amazingly smooth & sweet & definitely sinful!!!

But this is really only for those who can afford to indulge - unfortunately, me not one of the lucky ones, therefore I really keep away from this........but the aroma filling the kitchen when this is cooking is too much to deny a spoonful, ........& another one..........& another one - just one last spoonful!!!! The story goes on.......you just cant resist. See if you can......

The following quantity will make enough for two people.

Ing -
1 katori - sooji / semolina / rawa
1/2 katori - besan / gram flour
1/2 katori - atta / wheatflour
1-1/2 katori - ghee (if you want the authentic taste, use ghee......or else substitue with oil)
2 katori - sugar
a handful of cashew / raisins - fried
a tsp of crushed cardamom
6 katori - water

Method -


In a kadai add both the ghee & the semolina, gram flour & wheat flour. Fry well on slow flame.
It has to be fried till the colour has turned to a golden brown & the aroma will fill your house.
When this is done, add the water. Increase the flame & add the sugar & the cardamom powder.
Stir continuously till the water dries up.
Add the dry fuits & serve.

This is really an authentic dessert & tastes absolutely heavenly.

There is also a halwa made of only wheatflour, which is used to give as a prasad at Gurudwaras. There's a story behind it..........which I'll write when I post the recipe. Till then, happy cooking!!

MASALA KATHAL - RAW JACKFRUIT CURRY

This is a delicacy from Northern parts of India. Where in part of the country the Jackfruit is consumed as a fruit, the other part has it as a vegetable!! In Southern India "chakka" is something to die for, whereas in the Northern India, I have seen people make faces at the mention of having jackfruit as a fruit. They dont know really what they are missing up on - do they??? In Kerala, they would discard the tender jackfruit as a waste not knowing what to do with it, & oblivious of the fact that they could cook up an excellent subzi with it. Now I wonder which part of the Nation is more at loss - South or North?? Maybe you could help me solve this puzzle..........

While you think on this subject, I am giving below the recipe.

Ing -

1/2 kg - really really raw jackfruit.
3/4 onions - sliced finely
4 tomatoes - pureed
1 tsp - garlic paste
1 tsp - ginger paste
1 tbsp - garam masala
1 tsp - haldi / turmeric
1 tsp - red chilli powder
1/2 tsp - amchur / dry mango powder

Method -

Discard the skin of the jackfruit, remember take out only the green skin part, let the base remain intact. Cut them into cubes about an inch wide.
Heat oil in a frypan & fry these cubes till golden in colour & remove on tissue paper to drain the extra oil
In a kadai, heat little oil & add the ginger / garli pastes. When fried well add the sliced onions. Let the onions be a pinkish brow. Add the tomato puree. Fry till oil separates.
Add all the masalas & fry for another minute or so.
Add in the fried jackfruit cubes & mix well till the masala is coated properly
Add about 1/2 a cup of water, close the lid of the kadai & let cook for about 3/4 minutes.
Open the lid & stir properly ensuring the gravy coats evenly on all the pcs.
Let any gravy dry up on high flame.

Goes excellently with chappatis / parathas. Believe me, when I say it really really tastes wonderful.

Friday, September 14, 2007

MOONG DAL FRY


Hi there!!


I have been a bit lazy today & all this blogging has really made me addictive. All I can think about is what to blog? Has anybody left a comment on my blog? Whose blog do I check out today?? I keep asking Diji (my friend at work) what recipes to post - she is a great help at that. I eat blog, I drink blog, I dream blog, I walk blog, I talk blog......blah, blah, blah!!! And the result has been that I have a constant headache these days (because my eyes are almost always glued to the computer !!) & I have a left eye infection (dont blame the blogging for that).

My eye is quite better now, therefore am back again.........cant keep myself away for too long, can I??

Moong dal is one dal that I have hardly ever had before marriage, & today, its the most frequently made dal at home. Now even my mom has started making it because of its simplicity.


Ing -
1 katori - moong dal (split green gram without the skin, which is a light yellow in colour)
1 tbsp - jeera / cumin seeds
5/6 garlic flakes - crushed coarsely
1 tsp - haldi / turmeric powder
1 tsp - red chilli powder
1 tsp - garam masala

Method -
Wash the dal well & pressure cook till done. Add salt while cooking. The ratio of the water should be 1:4 = dal:water.
In a small fry pan, add about 1 tbsp ghee.
When hot add the jeera. When sputterd add the garlic flakes
On slow flame let the garlic brown.
Turn off the flame & add the haldi, garam masala, chilli. (turning off the flame saves the masalan from being burnt since the oil is already very hot)
Add this into the cooker & mix well.
Garnish with corriander leaves

Serve with either phulka or rice





Thursday, September 13, 2007

MATAR PANEER - 2

This is my second version of the dry matar paneer. This has been inspired by my husband, whose mom makes this & he gave me a description on how the subzi should look, & I had to really imagine the recipe to make it look the way he wanted it to. Phew.....it could have added to a Sherlock Holmes series.......the guessing & the mystery of the ingredients. But somehow, I did it.........& the result was a shiny-happy husband (Shiny Happy People - R.E.M.)
Ing -
250 gms - Paneer (diced - not very big chunks)
1/2 cup - matar / peas
a big, big bunch of corriander leaves, cleaned & chopped
1 tsp - jeera
2/3 big onions - chopped finely
1 tsp - garam masala
green chillies - as per taste
Method -
In a kadai heat some oil. When hot add the jeera
When jeera sputters, add the onions & the matar / peas
Add some salt
Close the lid & let the peas cook.
When the peas are done, add the paneer cubes, the garam masala, chillies, & more salt.
Cook till water from the paneer dries up
Add the corriander leaves, mix well
Serve with chapatis or stuff into grilled sandwiches.

BHINDI ALU

This a quicker version of the subzi, though the oil utilized is more.......but as it goes all unhealthy things taste divine, likewise, this one is definitley more delectable than the ordinarily made bhindi subzi.
You can try for yourself to find out the difference, & you'll be convinced to make this again and again.
Ing -
1/2 kg - bhindi / okra / vendakaya (washed, thoroughly pat dried & chopped into 1/2 inch pcs)
3/4 - potatoes (scrape & slit the potato into two, then cut them into equal strips not too thin)
2 big onions - sliced finely
1 tsp - haldi
1 tsp - red chilli powder
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - amchur
salt to taste
Method -
Heat oil in a kadai & when hot, fry the bhindi & the potato separately
Drain on tissue paper
In a kadai, heat some oil, add the onions. Fry till pinkish brown.
Add the haldi, chilli powder, garam masala, amchur.
Add the bhindi & the alu. Sprinkle salt as per your taste
Mix well & close the lid & cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve with rotis.

PALAK DAAL

Another dish that I was not too found till MIL came along. She has a wonderful hand at cooking & however much I try I cant come close to her taste, & that is even if I add the same ingredients, in the same proportion as she does.......I guess that's what's called "haath ka kamaal". I am giving you the recipe, maybe we could try & come to close to what she cooks. What she cooks is perfectly salted & has a creamy consistency, the onions are sort of caramalized & a rich garlic flavor......

Ing -
1/2 kg - spinach/palak leaves - cleaned, washed & chopped finely
1 katori - split green moong daal.
8/10 flakes of garlic
1/2 inch - ginger (grated)
1 tbsp - ghee
1 tsp - jeera
1 tsp - garam masala
1 tsp - haldi
a pinch of hing
green chillies to taste
2 big onions - chopped finely

Method -
In a cooker, add little oil.
When hot chop the garlic finely & add into the oil.
Add the grated ginger.
When they are a bit brown add the daal & the palak, add water & cook for about 2 whistles on high & 10 mins on slow. Let the steam pass.
In a small frypan, take the ghee, add the jeera.
When jeera sputters, add the hing & the onions. Fry the onions on a low flame till brown
Add the haldi & the garam masala
Pour the tempering into the cooker & mix well.

Yummy tasting dal with rotis or rice. I always take a katori in advance to eat by itself.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NUTRI KOFTAS


As I walked along the 1 km stretch of the jogging path of the lush green Sports Complex, my mind was busy thinking up something for tomorrow's tiffin. I had to leave early morning with Dad for his test, & wouldnt have the time to cook something then. And honestly, my fridge was empty, except tomatoes, & I hadnt had the time to stock up my grocery, so there's nothing except daal. Cooking chole or rajma would again take a long time & I really would be tired to do all that after 8 more rounds of this ground!!! And not just that, come what may, I absolutely needed to make that trip to the grocery store, coz I am already running out of stuff at home.

I thunk & I thunk!! All I had some Soya nuggets. No matar, so couldnt make soya-peas subzi. Was not in the mood for the soya stirfry subzi, it is too dry for office lunch. What could I do.........?? Didnt have the heart to tell "patidev" to have lunch from outside.....I was churning up things in my mind & finally came down to the below, & let me add, the beautiful wind help me do so.

Ing for the Kofta
2 cups - soya nuggets
green chillies - according to taste
1 onion - chopped finely
1 potato - boiled & mashed
1/2 tsp - garam masala
2 slices of bread
1/4 cup - aata
salt to taste

Ing for the gravy
2 onions - pureed
3 tomoatoes - pureed
1/2 tsp - jeera
a pinch of hing
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - haldi
2 tsp - dhaniya powder
1 tsp - red chilli powder

Method for the kofta
Soak the nuggets in water for about 10 minutes.
Grind them in the blender along with some green chillies
Take them out in a dish & add the salt, boiled potatoes & onions
Soak the bread slices & squeeze out the water (pls squeeze the water out well) & add this pulp to the mixture
In a kadai, heat oil
Make a paste of the atta, water & some salt. It should have dosa batter consistency.
Make balls of the mixture & dip them in this batter & fry till golden brown
Remove on tissue paper to drain extra oil.

Method of the gravy
In a kadai, heat some oil.
Add the jeera & hing. Let sputter.
Add the onion paste, add a pinch of salt.
When fried well, add the tomato paste.
When this is also done well, add the garam masala, haldi, chilli powder, salt & dhaniya powder.
Fry well till oil separates.
Add some water & let boil
Add the koftas before serving.

To save myself time - I did the gravy & the koftas simultaneously.

All in all, it turned out quite well.

GOBHI KEEMA

Yes,........another one of my quick cooking dishes. Actually, I have a lot of them, coz I go to office, & that means I dont have time to spend on lavish dishes, & because of this I was always looking for excuses not to cook, & we used to dine out almost daily. So my MIL (for the love of her dear son) taught me innumerable quick cooking dishes. Now that I know them, I really cant get out of cooking for him.........kya karoon.....majboor hoon.

Jokes apart, I love cooking & have learnt a lot of N. Indian dishes from my MIL, & I find them easier than the S. Indian dishes which call for a lot of coconut.

Ing -
1 big cauliflower
a handful of peas
a bunch of finely chopped corriander leaves
1 big onion - finely chopped
1 tsp - jeera
a big pinch of hing
salt to taste
1/2 inch pc of ginger grated
red chilli / green chilli (whatever you prefer)
1 tsp - garam masala powder
1/2 tsp - amchur

Method -
Wash the cauliflower thoroughly & grate it.
In a kadai, add some oil & when it is hot add the jeera
When the jeera sputters, add the ginger & the hing. When it fries a bit add the onions
Just about when the onions get pink add the grated cauliflower & the peas
Cover & let them cook.
This will take about 5 minutes.
Open the lid, add the haldi, garam masala, chillies & amchur
Cook for another 2 /3 minutes, till a little oil starts showing on the sides.
Garnish with corriander leaves & serve with chappati or stuff into toasts.

MAST MAST PUNJAB ALOO










This is also one dish which is quick to make, a life saver at times, loved by all & very versatile. I wont add any more adjectives, & give you the recipes.

Ing -
5-6 big - aloo / potatoes boiled
2 tbspn - kasoori methi / dry fenugreek leaves
juice of half a lemon
1 onion - thinly sliced
red chilli powder - according to taste
1 tsp - haldi / turmeric powder
1 tbspn - garam masala powder
1 tsp - jeera / cumin seeds
4/5 flakes of garlics - crushed
a pinch of hing
Method -
Dice the boiled potatoes coarsely & keep aside. You can even mash them if you prefer.
In a kadai, add some oil. When hot add the cumin seeds .
Add the hing.
Put in the crushed garlic & onions & fry
Add the haldi, garam masala & red chilli powder.
Immediately add the diced potatoes.
Add the kasuri methi & mix well.
Flatten the mixture on the kadai as much as you can, drizzle a little oil onto the sides of the kadai, close the lid & let the aloo turn brown from below.
You can mix the potatoes once & allow another round of browning.
Add the lemon juice & serve with chappati & raita.

FAUX MEAT CUTLETS

Hmmmmmm what a funny name for something edible, right???
This is so because, I actually fooled a hardcore non-vegetarian to eating this and believing it was meat cutlet!! It is worthy to mention here that after he had relished the dish I gave out the truth and he was pretty surprised, but satisfied nonetheless. So it was a happy ending therefore.
I did this on my own. I had never heard of this dish before, & since I had this unexpected guest & didnt have any meat at home I thought this up. .....But later on during my various stints with the internet in search of "recipe nirvana" I did land up with some modifications of the same. Well here goes my version. I dont make it too often, because of the frying bit, but whenever I make it next, I shall post a photograph.

Ing -
2 cups - soya granules (if you dont have granules you can use the nuggets after grinding them)
2 big onions - finely chopped
green chillies - according to taste
1 tsp - finely grated ginger
2 big potatoes - boiled & mashed
a big bunch of corriander leaves - chopped finely
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - saunf
salt to taste
Bread crumbs to coat
1 egg - beaten (or a maida batter of watery consistency)

Method -
Soak the granules in hot water for about 5-10 minutes.
Squeeze out the water from the granules & move into a big dish for mixing
In a pan, add very little oil & fry the onions till brown (dont burn them). You can use them even without frying, but this gives a very nice taste to the cutlets
Add these onions to the granules.
Add the mashed potatoes, green chillies, ginger, corriander leaves, garam masala, saunf & salt
Blend well with your hands. It should form a very smooth paste.
Shape into cutlets, dip in the egg & coat with breadcrumbs
Heat oil in a kadai, let it heat well, lower the flame & fry the cutlets.
Dont put too many at a time.
Remove on tissue paper to soak any extra oil
Serve with either ketchup or corriander-mint chutney

TEA-TIME

In this day and age when people are evolving to be more health concious, and not to forget the market mantra of being innovative to sell new products, the markets are flooded with a horde of Tea varieties.

The brands vary from Twinings to Teltey to Organic to what not. I am a collector of Tea and have almost had all flavors and types at one point of time. At any given point I keep at least 5 flavors, excluding the normal day-to-day one that am presently using. Whenever I go to a supermarket, I always pick up a new falvor on the shelf, or even a different brand. I like to give it a try at least once. The latest to addition to my stock are straight from the Tea Estates of the breathtaking Munnar. One is dust tea, which is a day-to-day Tea but a very satisfying one, and the other two are lemon grass and jasmine flavors (both of them smell heavenly).

I like to hold the cup in my palms and feel the heat flow from the clay of the cup to the palms of my hands - this feels specially good during winters.....and then I smell the tea and let the flavor flow through my nostrils into my system. I feel that tea could add to your mood, i.e, the way you are feeling. There are times when its a lazy Sunday morning, we prefer a fruity Tea, either mixed or Cherry, or Orange. When down with a cold of a sore throat, I always extend my hand to pick up the Ginger or Tulsi or the "Good Health" Tea. On a nice breezy evening, I pick up the Jasmine flavor (without Sugar). After a heavy dinner, its always the "kaava" brought from Dehradun's my MIL's maika (mom's home). For a more filling drink I use the daily tea with milk, and I add my own flavors - sometimes its saunf, or ginger, or tulsi, or cardamom or all of it.
I am giving below a recipe for a good Tea that serves as a cold and cough remedy. Its a little difficult to drink though, but once you get used to the taste a bit, you will find it really soothing. And the funny part is that you dont have to add any tea in it, but still its tea......

Ing -
5-6 cups - water
10-15 leaves of Tulsi
2-3 cardamoms crushed
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 ginger - crushed
2 Bay leaves - crushed
about 2 tsps of Mishri
5-6 peppercorns crushed
1/2 tsp - saunf / fennel seeds
2/3 - laung / cloves

Method -
Boil of these together till the water reduces into half. Strain and sip hot. You can alter the sweetness by adding more mishri if the pepper really burns your throat. If you dont have mishri you can use honey, but then add it in the cup and not in the pot where you are boiling this tea.
I generally dont replace the ingredients after one drink. I add more water and reboil the whole stuff to make more, and if required, add a bit of all the ingredients.

Best way is to sip this before getting into bed at night and by morning you'll be very relieved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DAD, DEAR DAD

By my little finger you led me,
promising always to be near.
Just the knowledge of your presence
removes my every fear.

You guided my every step
shared a secret smile
Carried me as a treasure
deep inside your heart - all this while.

Manier times I misunderstood you
Got angry about your interference
And never once did I understand
the reason behind your perserverance

Always providing for my every need
You were my Hero, supportive & strong
For me as a child,
any decision of yours could never be wrong.

As I grew older, I pretended to be wise
But you would be on a constant watch
with your eagle eyes,
but nonetheless trusting me all the while

Today you are old, frail & weak
But Dad, dear Dad - you pretend
to put up a brave front
and if I need a helping hand, yours you will happily lend.

And even today, if I cross the road with you
You will still pick up my little finger
And hold it tightly within your firm grip,
...your careful hands
.......lest, your little angel is lost from you.

I have written this poem for my Dad. I have never tried writing anything like this, but my Dad is unwell & quite frail, & as I sat alone in my home day before yesterday, my feelings just poured out of my heart onto the keyboard. He has loved me through and through, in between all my mistakes, and all the hurts I would have caused him. He waits in anticipation day after day to see a glimpse of his "doll", his "little angel", but my life keeps me more than preoccupied, refraining me from spending as much time as I would like to, at this stage in his life.

He cuts out newspaper articles which he feels will be relevant to me, just in case I didnt see them myself. He would save something mom would have cooked with the desire to secretly hand it over to me, when I meet him. He would wait at the staircase, waiting for me to park the car & greet me with a big hug & a kiss. He would put each & every edible item in the house spread in front of me on the table, only to be given irritated looks of ...."Dad, please I dont want all this". One sneeze of mine will make him fret, a slight fever will make him cry. To see a tear in my eye will break his heart into a thousand peices.

The thought of loosing him is too much to bear. Even saying the words make me dread, how it would be.........& I never ever want to face it.
I love you Dad, & really wish and pray that you remain hale & hearty and I get to see you for a very, very long time

MUTAR PANEER IN A JIFFY
















This is a fairly simple recipe & my all time life-saver. I have many versions of this, & will post them all one by one.
The one I tried yesterday was for the first time, but it has come out well & was fairly quick too. Matar Paneer is an all time favorite "jugalbandi" be it gravy, dry, mashed, & a few additions here & there add to the taste.

Ing -
250 gm - paneer
1/2 cup - matar/peas boiled with a little salt & strained
1 big onion - sliced finely
1 medium tomato - pureed
3/4 garlic flakes
a pinch of cardamom powder
a pinch of saunf
a pinch of jeera
1/2 tsp - kasoori methi
1/2 tsp - turmeric / haldi / manjal
1/2 tsp - red chilli powder
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - sugar

Method -
In a kadai, add oil. When hot add the jeera, saunf.
When they sputter, add the chopped garlic.
When the garlic is fried (it will begin to get brown), add the sliced onions.
At this stage add the cardamom powder
Let the onions fry till pinkish brown
Add the tomato puree. Saute till oil separates
Add the haldi first, then the red chilli powder. Fry for about 1 minute
Now coarsely mash the paneer with your hands & add this to the masala
Add the peas also.
Mix well & let any water evaporate.
Add the sugar & the kasoori methi and cook for another minute or so.
Garnish with corriander leaves

This goes very well with chappatis, or as a side dish with rice. You can even stuff this into sandwiches & grill them, but for that ensure that the mixture is very dry, or the sandwiches get soggy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

DAHI ARVI

I did some experimentation to get the following recipe right. But it turned out good & is quite a favorite. I had almost forgotten about it, until my friend Diji in office reminded me to post this one on the blog. So here it goes.

Ing -
250 gms - arvi/colacassia (try & use the same sized arvis, it makes them cook evenly)
1/2 katori - curd
1 big - onion
1 medium - tomato
4/5 garlic flakes
1/2 inch - ginger
1 pinch of heeng
1 tsp - ajwain
1/2 tsp - haldi / turmeric / manjal
1 tsp - kasoori methi
1 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - red chillies
Salt as per taste

Method -

Wash the arvi & pressure cook for one whistle.
They will peel off easily & chop them into slices
In a cooker, add some oil, add the ajwain seeds
Make a paste of onions, ginger & garlic. & add it to the oil
Let fry well & add the tomato puree.
When the oil separates, add the hing, haldi, kasoori methi, red cillies. Fry well
Beat the curd using a spoon. There should be no lumps, it should be creamy.
Add this into the cooker & mix well.
Add the arvi & the salt.
Just put in 1/4 cup of water if you like a thick gravy. If you want more, add more water.
Close the lid of the cooker & wait for 2 whistles on high.
Switch off the gas & let the steam pass.
Open & add the garam masala & mix light handed, ensuring not to mash up the subzi.
Garnish with corriander leaves.

P.S - if your arvi has over cooked during the first cook, then you need not recook them. Just prepare the gravy & add the arvi. But this mehtod ideally allows the arvi to soak in the masalas.

Friday, September 7, 2007

BATHING BEAUTIES




These gorgeous giants are enjoying being pampered by their mahauts at a lake in Jaipur. Hard to believe that they are such gentle creatures!! And have you ever seen a baby elephant. They are soooooo chweeeet. I could just take one of them home to make my pet.




AROMATIC RICE











This is a fairly simple recipe, but is quite flavorful & the spices make it blissfully aromatic. Just a whiff of this is enough to make you soar..........was that too much of a description??

Well go ahead, make it & see if you soar.
My measurings will do good for two people for a single meal.

Ingredients -

1 tall glass - good quality basmati rice, washed & soaked in water for about 20 mins
2 tbsp - ghee
2 big onions - finely sliced
about 10 pepper corns (black)
5 cardamom pods crushed
2/3 - Bay Leaves
1 tsp - Cumin seeds
4/5 - cloves
1 inch stick of - cinnamon, broken down to small peices
8/10 - cashews (fried)
10/15 - raisins (fried)
a few strands of saffron.

Method -
In a pan, add the ghee & when hot, add all the khada masalas, i.e., the cumin, clove, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon & bay leaves (in that order).
When they give out their aroma, add the onions & fry pink (if you want a whitish coloured rice) & fry slightly brown (if you want a golden coloured rice).
Add the drained rice to this & fry them for about 2/3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the cashew & the raisins. Also add the saffron strands
Now add double the water of the rice, i.e, in this case, two glasses, add salt & stir well
Cover the pan & cook till done, stirring occassionaly.
Perfection calls for the rice to be well done when the water evaporates.
Oh Oh - I forgot to add that putting in about a squeeze of lemon while adding the water allows the rice to be cooked to their maximum length.
Serve with anything, but best had with a nice tangy chutney or a spicy pickle or a flavored simple raita.

BAINGAN BHARTA

Roasted, mashed, flavored Eggplant!! This is for all the non-Hindi speaking dwellers of the blogworld.

This one is a keeper. My husband hated eggplant, that's probably because his mom never showed him the right way to eat it, n I loved eggplant (especially this version). Initially, I never cooked this dish, coz of the reluctance to prepare one dish for him & another for myself, n that too in a family of just he & me. After much patience & sacrifice, I one day decided to just go ahead & told myself that I dont give a hoot to what he thinks about eggplant, like it or not, I am going to make it.....(Honestly, I actually had a leftover dish of yesterday's to fall back upon, just in case...........he throws up a fit).

I made the dish for lunch & when I asked him if he would like to taste it, he made a "yucky" face & therefore I decided not to let him go through the usual wife grumblings, & served him the leftover dish while I myself relished the bharta.

For the evening at tea, I made myself a crunchy toast & spread a spoonful of bharta (bharta actually means anything in mashed form) & was sitting & muching away, relishing every bite of it. All this while I was unaware that two eyes were watching me with a certain amount of "greedy piggy" looks, n then I heard a voice saying "mujhe bhi ek bite chahiye" (I too want a bite of it). Without a word & some astonishment, I handed over whatever was left in my hand, only to find him taking not just a bite of the toast, but the whole thing was satisfactorily devoured, & after a moment, I heard the same voice asking me "mujhe aur chahiye" (I want more).

I cant tell you how satisfied I was with my accomplishment. I made him eat & like, something which he probably hadnt touched all throughout.....& my final reward was, one day, very soon, when he asked me to guess something that he wants to eat......something which had peas in it, I guessed all the dishes except this one, coz I never thought he would ask me for this!!!

Euphoria .......!!

Now before you feel like kicking me on my back, I'll come to the recipe -

Ing -
2 medium sized - round egg plants / baingan (you have to choose the light weight ones - the
heavier ones are loaded with seeds)
1/2 cup - boiled green peas
3/4 big onions - chopped, but not very fine, n neither very chunky
4 medium tomatoes - pureed
1 tbsp - grated ginger
1 tsp - grated garlic
1 tsp - dried fenugreen leaves / kasuri methi (optional)
1/2 tsp - cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp - red chilli powder, preferably use one like deghi mirch to give a nice red colour, n add
more if you prefer it hot
1 tbsp - garam masala powder
1 tsp - amchur / dried mango powder (if you dont have it, use lime juice about a tsp full)
a good amount of corriander leaves to garnish

Method -

On the gas, roast the eggplant. You have to turn them around frequently to have the flesh cooked evenly. The skin should be charred & when you poke the flesh with a fork, it should go in easily.








Take them off the gas & immediately put them into a air tight dish. After this, the peel will come off easily.
Cut off the stalk of the eggplant & mash the flesh well. I dont throw away the stalks but add them in, to chew upon them.!!! Nice thought ??
Keep this separately.

To save upon time, I make the masala on one side & roast the eggplants on the other one.

Now for the masala -
In a pan, add some oil. Add the cumin seeds, wait for them to sputter & add the onions
Add the ginger & the garlic at this stage.
When the onions turn a good pink in colour add the tomato puree. Cook till the masala leaves the sides of the pan & the oil starts leaving it.
Now first add the red chilli mix well.
Add the garam masala, salt, amchur & the dried fenugreek leaves








let the masalas fry for half a minute.
To this add the mashed pulp of eggplant. Using a masher blend the pulp into the masala very well. It should resemble a fine smooth paste.
Add the boiled peas. Mix well
Garnish with green chillies & corriander
Serve hot with parathas, rotis or plain rice, or as I mentioned earlier, use it as a spread for a toast!!








Another point - while making the masala, if you add half a capsicum, it gives an extra flavor.

Pls dont go by the photograph, it has been taken at night & that too with the mobile camera.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

RED MILK

Red Milk - the name sounds interesting, right?? The recipe is interesting too...and it is a very healthy one at that, tastes good, looks good, doesnt need too many ingredients and too much of mehnat (efforts)- which is the best part. Again a gainful inheritance from my MIL, which adds variety to my morning breakfasts, and it is a wholesome breakfast too, when served with toasted bread. And when it comes to kids, I guess they will be attracted to the colour & it is a nice way to get in some Vitamin-A into their systems.
The hot sweet milk is quite a delight during cold winter days, when all you want to do is cuddle up in the rajai (blanket) with something (& someone!!) hot, n picking the gaajar with the spoon keeps you occupied for a much longer time than plain milk would. It can also be substituted when you just want to have a very light meal.

The following recipe is for about 2 people i.e., me & my husband.

Ing -
5 carrots / gaajar - (I dont know how this would turn out with the orange ones, we always
use the red ones avialable in Delhi during winters)
Milk - about 3 glasses.
1 tsp - of oil
Sugar - as per sweetness liked
4/5 pods of cardamom - crushed
You can add any amount of dryfruits you would like to, or leave out all of it.

Method -
Scrape & grate the gaajar
In a kadai, add a little oil and add the grated gajar. Saute for about 4/5 minutes, just enough for the carrots to be tender.
Now add the milk, crushed cardamom and sugar.
Allow it to boil, and the reduce the heat, let it simmer & cook till a thick milk.
Garnish with the dry fruits if you wish to.

Serve in individual bowls or glasses with a spoon.

LAUKI KI SUBZI




Lauki was one of the most loathed veggie during pre-marriage days. The very moment my mom stopped at a vendor to buy the veggie, I used to be making all sorts of weired faces to give her the indication "please mom, dont buy this, .....yuck" n when she did not give into my tantrums, it used to further put me, "you do whatever you want, but you just cant make me eat that stuff". The only form I would let this subzi pass my throat without any forcing from my mom was, disguised as a "kofta". The other forms would have had to inevitably be gulped down with a glass of water, (of course escaping my mom's eagle eyes) coz she wouldnt let me budge without finishing the food on my plate.

Reading the above it would be difficult to imagine that me, Shella, is posting a recipe on this veggie. If my mom ever reads this, she will probably fall out of her chair, coz she still doesnt know that I am not averse towards this subzi anymore, let alone taking a liking to it.

Now you might wonder how all this happened. All credit goes to my MIL. My MIL has a knack of making the most dreaded subzis into delicious dishes in the most simplest of ways. I have picked up this amazingly simple recipe from her, and it really is one of my all time favorite. Beleive me or not, I buy a minimum of 1 kg of lauki every week!!!! And this one dish, is presented before my husband on a weekly basis.

I will not delay in any more talking, but give you the privilege of going thru the secret.


Ing-
1 - big lauki / ghiya / bottlegourd, scraped and diced into chunks
1 - aloo, scraped and diced into smaller chunks
1 - big onion, chopped.
1 tsp - kadugu / mustard seeds
1/2 tsp - haldi
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - amchur
green chillies as per choice or use red chillies
Method -
In a pressure cooker, add oil a little less than you actually need, and over this add a tsp of ghee (you can totally omit the ghee, but this is one of the secret ingredients of the recipe). I have made this alteration of adding just a spoonful of ghee over a period of time. Not adding it makes a world of difference in the flavor.
When it is hot, add the mustard seeds (the second secret ingredient, try adding jeera instead of this, and you'll see the difference yourself). Let them sputter.
Add the chopped onions
Now immediately add the lauki and aloo together. Laukis releases a lot of water while being cooked, therefore, if you are washing it immediately before putting into the cooker, there's no need to add water, but if it is pre-washed and quite dry at the time of putting in cooker, just add about 1/4 cup of water.
Add the turmeric, salt and the chillies.
Mix all this with the spatula ensuring that the subzi is coated with the turmeric. It should be a nice yellow colour.
Close the lid and wait for one whistle. Lower the flame and let cook for about 5-10 mins.
Wait for steam to pass and open the lid.
Now light the gas again and put the cooker on the flame.
Add the garam masala and the amchur.
Using the back of a ladle mash the veggies coarsely, dont make a paste out of it, just beat them up to blend with the masala.
Let any watery gravy evaporate.
Garnish with corriander leaves
Serve hot with chappatis, parathas or chawal.
The trick lies in getting the colour, which comes with experience.
I hope all of you try this dish once and you will surely add it to your staple recipes. It is that good.
I will post a picture when I make the dish next.
Dtd - 10/09/07 - As per my promise I had made lauki today for our tiffins. Am posting a photo right from our lunch dubbas. The big one's hubby dears & the small one's mine.