Showing posts with label Spices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spices. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stuffed n Spicy Okra!

Allow me to introduce the slimiest of em' all- Okra (aka lady's finger)! Don't read this the wrong way...It is gooey and when cut has a bit of slimy substance oozing out. If you are put off by its appearance then you are missing one of the tastiest and healthiest green vegetable- Okra contains vitamin A & C and is a good source of iron and calcium. I have always loved okra and it tastes amazing with Indian spices. You can chop them in pieces and stir fry them with Indian spices or you can pamper your taste buds by slitting and filling them with Indian spices and frying them. Also known as 'bharwa bhindi' which literally translates to stuffed okra, it is a very popular Indian dish- Enjoy!

Ingredients-

500 gms Okra
Oil for cooking
Onions- 1 cup (sliced)

Spices required for stuffing-

2 tbsp Coriander powder
2 tbsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tbsp Cumin powder
2 tbsp Dry mango powder (amchur)
Salt (according to taste)

Preparation-

  • Wash the okra and pat them completely dry. If it is soggy or wet, preparing the dish is difficult.
  • Cut the edges from both ends and slit each okra in the middle.
  • In a separate bowl mix all the ingredients listed under spices.
  • With the help of your fingers or a small spoon stuff the spices in the slitted okra- it is a tedious job and requires a good 20 minutes to carefully stuff the spices inside okra.
  • Retain the left over spices separately.
  • In a frying pan, heat some oil.
  • Add the sliced onions and cook for a minute.
  • Add the stuffed okra to the pan.
  • Cover the pan and cook on a low heat (stir occasionally)
  • When okra is half cooked, add the rest of the spices.
  • Cook on a low flame till the okra is deep fried and well cooked.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Aloo Gobi!

I realised that one Indian dish which has become universal is Aloo gobi. I was talking to a swiss lady in the tram and she confessed that she loved Indian dishes. In her german accent, she said- I love aloo gobi! A very popular menu in Indian restaurants, it sure has caught the fascination of people- Cauliflower (gobi) florets & potatoes (aloo) sauteed with Indian spices!



Ingredients-

1 medium sized cauliflower (seperate the florets from the stem)
4-5 potatoes - peeled and cut in small cubes
one medium sized onion (chopped finely)
garlic & ginger paste 1 tsp
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
red chilli powder- 3/4 tsp
garam masala- 1 tsp
coriander powder- 1tsp
salt according to taste
kasoori methi leaves (dry leaves crushed) 1 tsp (fenugreek leaves)

How did I make it?

If you are a bit careless, you will land up making this dish into one soggy yellow paste. The potatoes take a longer time to cook and cauliflowers cook pretty easily. First step is to heat oil and add cumin seeds. As the seeds start to sputter, add onions. Fry the onions for 3-5 minutes till they become translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes. In a small bowl of water, mix coriander powder, garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric powder to a liquid paste. Add this paste to the onions that are getting sauteed and cook for a couple of seconds. Mix in the potatoes and cover the wok to cook. When potatoes are half done, add the florets and salt. Cover to cook. Open after a few minutes, add kasoori methi leaves and mix them thoroughly. Sprinkle a bit of water, if need be. Allow the cauliflower to cook with potatoes for 5-8 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy it hot!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

carrots & potatoes cooked in a masala gravy

Nothing fancy about this dish- all I can describe is - hearty, comforting with simple flavors to go with roti or rice! I just made this dish and my whole house is smelling of a lovely coriander flavor with garam masala wafting through out the house. Should get that appetite up and running, shouldn't it?



What do we need?

2 cups chopped/cubed carrots
1 cup chopped/cubed potatoes
garlic/ginger paste - 1 tsp
cumin seeds
1 green chilli- chopped
garam masala 1/2 tsp
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
salt according to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli powder

How did I make it?

Once the veggies are chopped, cooking the dish takes about 10-15 minutes. It is a gravy based dish and works well with rice dishes. Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sputter. Add green chilli pieces and chopped onions. Fry them for about 2 minutes till the onions become translucent. Mix the garlic/ginger paste and toss them for a second. Add the tomato puree and cook for a couple of seconds. Blend in the garam masala and red chilli powder. Add the carrots and potatoes to this mixture with a bit of water for them to cook. Adjust salt according to your taste. Cook on a medium flame till the vegetables are cooked. Bring in the magical coriander leaves for garnishing! Enjoy :)













Sunday, January 9, 2011

Punjabi cholay

Cholay is a very popular chickpea dish in northern India. Cooked in a rich brown gravy with exotic spices this dish tastes heavenly with roti, rice or bhature. Chickpeas can be cooked in a simple normal gravy with spices but then if you ever had the chance to taste punjabi cholay you will never want to eat anything else! So, take a plunge and get cooking with something exotic and flavorful.



Ingredients

Chickpeas/garbanzo beans -1 cup

For the gravy

2 onions chopped
1 tomato chopped
Ginger - peeled and grated (about 1tsp)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Spices

Coriander seeds 2tsp
Seeds of wild pomegranate/anardhana (omit if not available)- 1/2tsp
1 piece cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 black cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 dry red chilli piece

Preparation

Soak the chickpeas overnight in water. It will double in size the next day. Rinse it thoroughly and pressure cook it with a tea bag. Yeah, yeah, you read it right- tea bag! Why tea bag? Punjabi cholay is known for it's rich brown color and when you cook it normally it turns out yellow in color. To give it a good brown color you always pressure cook it with a tea bag. The chickpeas should be cooked super soft and should melt in your mouth.

For the spices, roast all the above ingredients in a pan. Keep tossing them and do not allow them to get burnt. Once roasted, grind them to a fine powder.

Now comes the gravy- Heat oil in a wok and add the chopped ginger. Add the onions and sauté them till translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook the mixture till the oil separates (takes around 8 to 10 minutes). Add the fresh ground spices and garam masala with chilli powder. Cook on a medium flame till the masala gets incorporated. Mix the cooked chickpeas and adjust salt according to taste. Add a little bit of water to cook the chickpeas. Allow it to cook on a medium flame for 20 minutes(keep stirring it consistently). Garnish with chopped onions, lemon wedges, split green chilli pieces or coriander leaves. Enjoy!



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Masoor dal - red lentils

Cooking lentils is fun. You can mix and match different spices and give a new look to them. Tired and bored of cooking lentils in a simple manner I tried something different- check out!


Ingredients-


2 cups masoor dal (red lentils)
1 dry red chilli - broken to pieces
1 big onion chopped
1 tomato chopped and smashed
2 garlic pods - crushed & chopped
oil for cooking
red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
corriander leaves chopped for garnishing
mustard seeds -1/4 tsp
Salt according to taste

Spices-


2 tbsp corriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp white sesame seeds
2 cloves
cinnamon stick-1
bay leaf-1
black cardamom or badi elaichi- 1 (remove the skin and discard- just use the seeds)
black pepper seeds - 1 tsp
oil to roast the above spices

Preparation- spices

In a pan, heat oil and roast all the spices mentioned above till they turn dark brown. Just ensure that you don't burn the spices. Once roasted, remove it from fire and allow it to cool. Grind it to a fine powder-

Preparation- dal


Pressure cook the red lentils till they melt in mouth. In a pan, heat oil and add the mustard seeds along with the broken red chilli pieces. As the mustard seeds start popping saute garlic and onions on a medium flame for 5 minutes. Add the tomato. Cook for another five minutes till they are incorporated. Mix the above prepared spices and red chilli powder. Add dal (lentils) with a bit of water and allow it to cook well with the spices. Adjust salt according to taste and cook the dal for 5-8 minutes. Remove from flame and serve hot with chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy with rice/roti/naan!







Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tomato & paneer aromatic rice

I love basmati rice. The aroma of basmati rice is simply irresistible. Use bay leaves and cardamom to bring out the best from basmati. It is not necessary that you have to go the extra mile of making it exotic- a simple combination of the right spices is all it takes to win you accolades on your cooking. Even if you don't have many ingredients just cook your basmati rice with bay leaves and cardamom to enhance it's aroma!


Ingredients

2 onions sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
2 green cardamom pods crushed
Kasoori methi leaves (I used dry crushed leaves- also known as fenugreek leaves)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
3/4 tsp garam masala powder
Cumin seeds
Garlic & ginger paste
1 Bay leaf
1 small cup chopped cottage cheese
Coriander leaves for garnishing
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
Salt according to taste
Dry red chilli (broken)

Preparation

First step is to cook rice with two cups of water over medium flame on a non-stick pan. Allow the rice to cook on its own and do not stir in between otherwise the long grain of basmati tends to break. Once the rice is cooked just give it a slight toss and keep it aside. In a separate wok heat a liberal dose of oil- add cumin seeds and bay leaf. As the cumin seeds begin to sputter add broken dry red chilli and onions. Fry them till they are translucent. Add garlic-ginger paste and cook them over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Toss in the chopped tomatoes and cook till it is incorporated. Add the cottage cheese and cook for a couple of minutes. Now comes our spices- red chilli powder, garam masala powder, crushed cardamom, kasoori methi leaves. Add a bit of oil and mix the spices. The aroma should get your audience up on their feet literally begging you to serve the food immediately! Adjust the salt and blend this mixture to you cooked rice.

Add coriander leaves and a bit of melted butter to make it more silky. Serve hot and watch the rice vanish with the aroma lingering to make it a memorable meal!


You can really do much more with this rice- add different vegetables to make it look colorful or add cloves/cinnamon to give extra aroma. If you are not fond of cottage cheese/paneer just skip it or fry it befor you use if you don't like the raw taste of paneer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chickpeas in a spicy gravy (chole)

I am really comfortable making chickpeas. Easy to cook and tastes great with everything- Rice/Roti. I always get the regular white chickpeas (also known as Kabuli chana in northern India) and hardly use the black small ones. If you get your hands on the small black chickpeas also known as kala chana, try them out. If you cook them with Indian spices in a gravy, it tastes swell and doesn't take much of your time either!


What do we need?

2 cups Kala chana/small black chickpeas
one onion medium sized (chopped)
1 big tomato (mashed to a paste/pureed)
2 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
1/2 tsp ginger grated
1 green chilli chopped
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
coriander powder 1 tsp
cumin seed powder 1 tsp
red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
black pepper powder 1/4 tsp
garam masala 1/4 tsp
kasoori methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
coriander leaves (for garnishing)
1 bay leaf
cinnamon powder (dash of it)
salt (according to taste)

Preparation-
Soak the chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook it till they are soft and melt in your mouth. Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Add onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger. Fry them till they are golden brown. Add the tomato puree/paste with red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, garam masala and a dash of cinnamon. Keep stirring till the oil separates from the gravy. Take 2 big tbsp of chickpeas separately in a cup and crush them to a paste. Add this paste to the gravy and fry the gravy for five minutes. As the gravy starts becoming rich and thick, add the rest of the chickpeas with some water (for the chickpeas to cook and blend with the gravy). Add salt and kasoori methi leaves. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or roti!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Potatoes cooked with peas in a gravy (aloo matar)

Come sunday and my house smells of good authentic Indian food. I love taking my time to whip up something special. The demand of the house was aloo matar and boy, we had a sumptuous lunch with basmati rice, aloo matar, lemon pickle and raita. Here is my take on the famous north Indian dish- Potatoes cooked with peas in a gravy (aloo matar). Enjoy!



Ingredients-

4 big potatoes (boiled, peeled and chopped in cubes)
1 big cup thawed and ready to use frozen green peas
onion (1 big sliced)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
cumin seeds (1 tsp)
garlic (2 cloves)
red paprika powder (1 tsp)
coriander powder (1 tsp)
garam masala powder (1 tsp)
salt (according to taste)
dash of cardamom powder
coriander leaves to garnish

Preparation-

In a pan, fry the cubed potatoes and set it aside. Grind the onions, garlic to a fine smooth paste. In a wok heat some oil. Add the cumin seeds. As the seeds start to sputter add the onion-garlic paste. Fry the paste till the onion loses its raw taste and the gravy starts to become golden brown. Mash the chopped tomatoes to a pulp and add them to the onion-garlic gravy. Cook it for 5 minutes and then add the spices- paprika powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, cardamom powder and salt. Keep cooking on a medium flame for 10 minutes till oil separates from the paste. Add the thawed peas and some water for the peas to cook. When the peas are cooked add the fried potatoes and stir it for a while. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with roti or rice!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Patatas Bravas

Inspired by Jamie's recipe, here is my take on patatas bravas...very popular spanish spicy appetizer! Patatas bravas are nothing but fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. Ever since I tasted this dish, I was in hunt for a good recipe. Inspired by Jamie oliver's book, I finally made my own patatas bravas and it was perfect for the Friday night by the telly! Enjoy-














What do we need?

4-5 medium sized potatoes- peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
Fresh rosemary leaves
dash of paprika powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt to taste

For the bravas sauce-
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
red chillies- 3 (deseeded and roughly chopped)
1 carrot (chopped finely)
fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika powder
3 medium sized tomatoes (chopped)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (recipe requires sherry vinegar, couldn't get a hold of it and had to substitute balsamic vinegar- Use sherry vinegar, if possible)
ground black pepper
salt (according to taste)

How did I put together?

Boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes till they start to get tender. Make sure they do not lose their shape. Remove from gas, drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool down. Once the potatoes reach the room temperature, cut them into cubes or chunks. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the potatoes to the pan (with garlic and rosemary leaves) and cook them till they are golden all over. Transfer the potatoes, garlic and rosemary to a plate. Add a dash of paprika powder, fennel seeds and salt. Toss them all together until well coated.

For the sauce- Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook it for five minutes before adding the chillies, carrot and thyme leaves. Cook them on a low flame for five minutes. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, paprika powder, salt and pepper. Bring it to boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. The gravy should start getting thick and rich. Remove from gas, and allow it to cool. Use a mixer to blend the gravy to a smooth consistency sauce.

Serving suggestions-

Pour the sauce over the potatoes and toss them together (like I did). Alternatively, you can serve the sauce in a jug next to the potatoes in a bowl.


Tastes amazing! You know your recipe was a hit when you see an empty dish :) - Have a great weekend 




Patatas Bravas

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tamarind fever

This is one recipe I was keen on making for such a long time. My mom makes great tamarind rice- though I got the recipe, I never got around to make it. You get instant tamarind powder mix at shops that can be added to your rice and the dish will be ready within 5 minutes. The joy of making a gravy from scratch and mixing with rice is lost in this fast paced world...In reality, I was cleaning my book shelf and found a notebook with some recipes from mom. The first recipe was tamarind gravy and I made it as my mom would make it- The best part is this gravy can be kept up to two weeks and I am enjoying some smashing tamarind rice whenever I feel like it- Enjoy!













Ingredients- Gravy

Tamarind paste (3 tsp)- dilute them in a bit of water
mustard seeds
yellow split peas (chana dal- 1tsp)
dry red chilli pieces- 2
salt
sesame seeds- 2 tbsp
groundnut- 3 tbsp
corriander seeds- 2 tbsp
paprika powder 1/2 tsp

Preparation -

In a wok, add some oil. Once the oil is hot throw in some mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add the yellow split peas, red chilli pieces and 1 tbsp of groundnuts. Fry for 1 minute and then add around 4 glasses of water to this. Add the diluted tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp paprika powder and salt (according to taste). Allow this tamarind water to boil. In a separate pan, fry the sesame seeds till light brown (in a bit of oil ) and set it aside. Fry the groundnuts and corriander seeds separately and keep it aside. In a mixer, grind the sesame seeds, groundnuts and corriander seeds to a fine powder. Once the tamarind water reduces to half, add this powder and stir it for few minutes. Keep it on a low flame and allow the mixture to thicken. Keep simmering the mixture till it becomes a good rich liquid gravy.

Now for the tamarind rice- Add the gravy to cooked rice...Simple! Vary the proportion of the gravy to your rice according to your taste-

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fusion cooking!


Having born to a south Indian orthodox family, I spent major chunk of my life up in North India- I am fully aware of all the cuisines in both the regions and let me assure you that they are vibrantly different! There comes a time when you tend to make a south indian dish and give it a north Indian twist and vice versa. I love fusion cooking- as it brings the best flavors to your dish. So, my dish is a simple palak dal (north Indian dish) completely cooked with flavors of a south Indian sambhar dish. If you are wondering what in the world will it taste like- go ahead and try it :)

Ingredients- Palak (Spinach) about 500 gms , Moong dal (split yellow bean/lentils) about 1 cup, sambar powder, 1 small teaspoon of tamarind paste, salt, 1 tomato diced, 1 cup of cashew nuts and 3 green cardamom pieces.

Preparation- Wash the Spinach leaves and boil them in water till they become tender and shrink in size. Allow it to cool and grind it to a paste. In a wok, boil the lentils with two cups of water. After half an hour of boiling, the lentil becomes soft and thick in volume. (don't forget to keep stirring to avoid it from sticking to your wok/pan). Once the lentils are cooked, add the spinach paste and keep stirring for five minutes till the lentils completely takes in the flavor of spinach.

Now comes the spices- add in the sambar powder, tamarind paste, diced tomato and salt to the mixture. Sambar powder is a spicy south Indian powder readily available in any Indian store- Allow the mixture to boil for a good 10 minutes so that the spinach takes in the spices- I will add around 1 big teaspoon of sambar powder to get a strong flavor. Now comes the finishing touch- grind the cashew nuts with cardamom pieces to a fine powder and mix this powder to the palak dal to give it a rich taste. In a separate frying pan, heat a bit of oil. Once the oil is warm toss in some cumin seeds and 2 pieces of dry red chillies. Once the cumin seeds start sputtering, remove the pan from fire and pour this oil in to the palak dal. As usual don't forget to blend in some chopped corriander leaves to enjoy Palak dal with rice.



Check out a variation of this spinach dish with almost the same ingredients (with coconut minus spices)-                                   http://eq-myblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/keerai-molaghootal-with-vendakkai-puli.html


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Two second flavored milk...

What do you do with a forgotten bottle of strawberry jam lying in the fridge? Make some flavored milk...All you need is a bit of milk and icecubes- In a blender, scoop in a liberal dose of the strawberry jam, ice cubes and chilled milk. Give it a quick blend and viola, enjoy the chilled milk for a sunny afternoon- Generally you make a milkshake with icecream and milk- why not try it with Jam and milk instead? Generally all jams contain sugar so you don't even need to add sugar! Just blend it and top it with chopped nuts...Yum :)                                                  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spinach cooked with cottage cheese...

I love Paneer (cottage cheese) and any recipe tastes great with it! Especially if you are not a huge fan of spinach, then try making it with paneer and boy you will love it. This recipe is very popular in northern India. Here is my take on palak paneer- Enjoyyyyyyy


Ingredients- Spinach (about 500 gms), cottage cheese (cubed- about one big cup)
For the Gravy- you need 2 onions (finely chopped), garlic (3-4 cloves-crushed and chopped), grated ginger (about a small tablespoon), medium sized tomatoe (finely chopped)- the spices that go in are- cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, bay leaves, a little bit of ajwain (carom seeds), garam masala, corriander powder, amchoor powder (dried mango powder), dried red chillies (2 pieces) and of course my favorite chopped corriander leaves!   

Preparation is simple- We need to wash the spinach leaves, and boil them a bit in water till they become soft- once they are soft blend them in a mixer to a paste and keep it aside- Now get the gravy ready- In a wok, pour oil (liberal dose), and once it becomes hot add the cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, a bit of ajwain or carom seeds-When the garlic is golden brown add the chopped onions, dried red chillies and roast them till they are golden brown. Toss in the chopped tomatoes and keep mixing the ingredients till the tomatoes blend with onions and becomes a paste. 



Now comes the spices- Put in the garam masala, corriander powder(about a big tablespoon each) and amchur powder (just a dash of it). Cook the ingredients till the masala blends and the mixture starts to become a thick consistency of a gravy. Add salt according to taste. 



Add in the blended spinach to the gravy and cook till spinach loses its raw taste and takes in the spices. Add the bowl of cottage cheese towards the end and cook it on a low flame for around 5 minutes. Before removing it from fire, add a big tablespoon of butter and blend in till the butter melts. Garnish it with chopped corriander! There is a slight variation in this recipe- Usually, the cottage cheese is deep fried (separately) in oil before mixing it with spinach. I simply love to keep the flavor of cottage cheese and mix it without frying it in oil. 



Serve it with hot rotis- yum!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spice up your world....

I wanted to highlight some of the spices used in Indian cooking- 

Garam masala- (hot masala powder)- well, the recipe differs from region to region and I am pretty much sure that you will get a decent brand from your local market- Garam Masala is a culmination of various spices like- cumin seeds, shahi jeera or black cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom (Green, black and brown varities), nutmeg, coriander seeds, fennel seeds (may contain traces of garlic powder, ginger powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder- depending upon the brand). Using Garam masala will add good authentic Indian flavor to your food.








Another powder which I most commonly use is the hot curry masala powder. This is similar to garam masala but has a different and strong flavor than Garam masala- This masala not only contains similar spices to that of Garam masala but also asafoetida, mustard seeds, caraway, coriander seeds and brings in a little bit of color to your food (because of turmeric).


Corriander powder- I love using this one and tend to add it to almost all my cusine because of the exotic flavor it brings to the food.


Turmeric powder- Bring that lovely color to your food with turmeric powder- it is really good for health! 
To get a tangy taste to your recipe you can even use amchur powder (made from dried, ground mangoes)- A dash of this powder in vegetables wouldn't hurt and gives a nice tangy flavor-

Bay leaves gives you an exotic aroma to any gravy or rice and I do use it a lot along with green cardamom-


I love adding a bit of Ajwain seeds (Carom seeds) for medical reasons- It helps reliving gas from your stomach- 



There are many more masalas that can be used to bring a good flavor- I have often seen that sticking to the basic ones really helps and you can keep trying out different ones till you feel a particular combination gets your taste buds tingling! There is no hard and fast rule for the masalas- My mom always used to tell me- Keep it simple for the real flavor to come through :)










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