Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!

Punjabi

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Food for thought..! Ever wondered how some dishes/recipes were named.. !?! I’m sure every cuisine has some very interesting names.. Since my interaction has been the most with Indian food … Indian food  does have some real bizarre names like – pasanda, navratan, jalfrezi, tikka, ragda patties etc.. whoever came up with such fancy names.. hats off! Now come the other boring names, probably named by someone who was simply caught up on a day like this where he could not just come up with anything fancy…I’m talking about the use of names like masala, fry, curry, kadai, handi, tandoori etc. The name of this dish sounds familiar huh… just like Aloo Shimla Mirchi.. I know! But I couldn’t come up with a more innovative name…! I kept racking my brains over it.. Not one of my very innovative days when it comes to naming dishes I suppose & of course not for K as well..! I asked K to try the dish & give this dish a name.. he came up with this tacky name…! I smiled & asked him if it’s all he could come up with.. he replied “I’m hungry, right now this is what I can come up with!”. I did not want to bug him more.. so I just stuck with naming it this way.. !!!

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

I had a huge stash of Paneer in my fridge which I had completely forgotten about… Thanks to my 3 year twin nephews who were fighting for more Paneer on their plate during our Skype Video chat, I decided I’ll cook K a paneer dish for dinner!

With all the shows on TLC I watch.. K is always drooling on the Bacon, the numerous cheese’s, pink salmon, Ham & cheese, fish & chips, .. the list goes on..! You place paneer in front of K along with some roti’s, he is happy..! K’s vegetarian happy meal formula in Indian food has to have some Paneer…!

This dish is again something I just made up on the go.. ! It tangy, sweet & sour and mildly hot… with some lovely flavour & crunch added by the green peppers/capsicum/Shimla mirchi.

Shimla Mirchi & coriander if you were wondering what were those things in the background which were out of focus…

This is one of the first time I tried to shoot pictures this way.. not too much on the background, a less busy picture.. Just a little bored with my usual style of photography. Hope you guys find these pictures appealing..! Change is the only constant isn’t it??!

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3 ) Preparation Time: 30 mins
Paneer – 175 gms, cubed
Onions – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Bay leaves – 1/2 of a medium-sized leaf, roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Dried red chilli’s – 2, medium spicy variety, each roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble-sized ball, without seeds, soak in 1/4 warm cup water & keep aside
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Capsicum – 1 medium-sized, de-seeded and cubed
Coriander – 2 sprigs, finely chopped to garnish
Cashews – 5, soaked in 1/4 cup milk for at least 30 mins, make a paste of the cashews with the milk
Tip: Skip the Cashews if you wanna go skinny with this dish
Cooking oil – 1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh paste:
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, roughly chopped
Coriander – 10-12 sprigs with the stems
Green chilli’s – 1, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8 plump cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 small piece,roughly chopped
Cardamom – 3 whole
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Method:
Heat oil in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. Once the oil heats up, set heat to medium. Throw in the bay leaves bits & let them sizzle. In about 30 seconds, throw in the cumin seeds & let them sizzle, do not let them turn black. Add the finely chopped onion & add some salt to help fry them quicker. Let them turn translucent.

Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned for a paste except the tomatoes. Once the rest of the ingredients have turned into a rough paste, add the tomatoes & blend to as smooth a paste as possible. Add a bit of water if required.

Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw the pulp away, reserving all the water.

When the onion begins to turn a light brown, add the roughly torn dried red chilli’s, mix it around. Next add the freshly ground paste along with 1 cup water. Simmer. When the sauce thickens throw in the turmeric & coriander powder. Mix it around. Let it fry for a couple of minutes. Now throw in the sugar, tamarind juice & give the sauce a good mix.

Note: Do not let the sauce burn, reduce heat & add a little water if it is too dry.

When all the raw flavours fade away add the cashew paste if you wish to add & throw in the capsicum & fry till the capsicum cooks in to a way you like it, I like a bit crunch in them so I cook them halfway.

Note: If you need some gravy in this dish, add about 1/2 cup of water before you add the capsicum. Else you can let all the water evaporate & make this a dry dish.

Lastly add the paneer cubes, mix well so that the sauce coats the paneer. Cook the paneer till tender. 

Garnishing:
Garnish with some chopped coriander.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot as an accompaniment with hot Indian breads.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Else you can make them into rolls. Add a couple of spoons of the sabji with some freshly chopped onions, coloured peppers and make yourself a roll or a wrap. 🙂 This sounds perfect if you have just enough leftovers right?


Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

A simple dish, yet so flavourful. This is something I have been meaning to post from a long time. Baby potatoes are a favourite in our kitchen. They have a very distinct sweet flavour & they are just so silky smooth in this curry… A definite must try for all potato & Indian curry lovers. So easy to prepare but, the time taken is a wee longer compared to other curry’s, but then if you are looking for a good curry then you better not complain. Try it out once & it will frequent your kitchen very often then on.

Indulging in a curry with some cashews as the base is not a sin..! Every once in a while you do need to pamper yourself with a rich curry. Look at the brighter side – there is no butter, cream or cheese.. its healthier since you are adding some curd/yogurt. But please don’t go skinny on the yogurt too, else you are going to destroy the dish.

A typical dish from the Northern state of India – Punjab. You can’t say no to Punjabi curry’s can you?? A very staple recipe from a Punjabi family’s house. You will find loads of recipe’s for this dish over the internet. This is the way I make it at home. Being a friday post, hope this gives you an opportunity to try this dish out over the weekend. A true delight & you will never order this at an Indian restaurant again, since you will master this at home with this recipe. 😀
Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4) Preparation Time: 45 mins
Baby potatoes – 22-25, washed
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2 cloves
Cashews – 10-12 whole
Cloves – 3-4 whole
Bay leaves – 1 medium-sized leaf, torn into 3-4 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 5-6 cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Onion – 1 large, roughly chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder/Dried Kashmiri Chilli’s – 1 tsp/4-5; Alter according to your palate as the spices used will also make the dish hot
Fresh curd/Natural yogurt – 3/4 cup
Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 tbsp, crushed between your palms
Sugar – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves (Optional) – 1-2 sprigs, finely chopped
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Take a small fry pan & dry roast the spices – cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon along with the cashews. If you have Kashmiri chilli’s add them too (i.e. if you plan to use dried chilli’s instead of the store-bought powder). Maintain heat at medium. Do not burn the spices. Roast them till the aroma of all the roasting spices fills up your nose & they begin to slightly change in colour. Turn the heat off. Keep aside to cool.

Bring about a litre of water to a boil in a pressure cooker. Add generous amount of salt to the water for the baby potatoes to absorb some. Add the washed baby potatoes. When the water begins to bubble, cover with the lid & cook for 10 minutes with the cooker weight on, at medium heat. Turn off the heat & let the cooker cool. It is perfectly fine if the cooker does not blow its whistle at all.

Meanwhile, when the potatoes are cooking away, transfer the dry roasted spices & cashews to a blender jar & powder them to a fine powder. Keep it aside.

If the pressure is off the pressure cooker, open it transfer the baby potatoes to a bowl of cold water. Notice that the potatoes are not completely cooked & they are still firm. Now peel their skin away. Next pierce the potatoes with a fork in 2-3 places so as to help them absorb the flavours from the gravy.

Heat 1 tsp oil in deep bottom non stick fry pan. When the oil is hot a pinch of asafoetida & let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Turn heat to low & throw in the baby potatoes. Slowly cook them on all sides till they turn golden brown.

Fry the baby potatoes till golden brown..

Probably will take you 12-15 minutes on low heat. While the potatoes are frying away, keeping a close eye on them, mince the roughly chopped onions, garlic & ginger using a mini chopper or food processor.

Take out the golden brown potatoes from the frying pan & transfer them to a kitchen paper to drain away the excess oil.

In the same fry pan add 1 tbsp of oil. Maintain heat at medium. Once the oil heats up, throw in a pinch of asafoetida, let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Next add the torn bay leaf, fry for about 30-40 seconds till its aroma fills up the air around. Now add the minced onion-ginger-garlic paste. Add some salt to help the onions turn translucent quicker & mix well. When the onion is cooking to turn translucent, beat the curd/natural yogurt to remove any lumps.

Once the onion turns translucent add the turmeric & the freshly ground spice paste & mix well. Add the red chilli powder if you did not use whole dried red chilli’s while preparing the fresh spice powder.Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the beaten curd/yogurt to the frying pan along with the sugar. Mix well. Turn the heat to low.

Once the mixture begins to bubble, throw in the golden baby potatoes along with the crushed kasuri methi. Add about 300 ml water, add salt to taste & give it a good mix. Cover with a lid & cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, till all the raw flavours fade away & the excess water has evaporated leaving behind a gravy with the consistency you need. Originally this dish is served with a thick gravy sticking to the potatoes.

Note: Be around & check once midway so that the gravy does not begin to burn from the bottom. If you cannot be around, heat a heavy pancake pan/tava & transfer the frying pan with the potatoes over the tava & cook on low heat for 15 minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.

Garnishing:
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves if required. You can opt not to as the gravy already has an awesome flavour from the Kasuri Methi.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with Roti’s/Chapati’s/Naan or your favourite Indian breads. This also is a good accompaniment for Vegetable Pilaf/Jeera/Peas Pilaf.

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..Kumbh Mutter Masala with a Shahi twist to it..! etc.


Paneer/Cottage cheese burji with hints of Celery…

Paneer/Cottage cheese burji with hints of Celery....

Burji is nothing but a scramble. It’s a hindi word. Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asian Cuisine.. In the eastern parts of India its called Chhena.

Paneer is an unaged cheese. Preparing this cheese at home is easy, curdle heated milk with some lemon juice or vinegar & then you need to drain the water out using a muslin or cheesecloth, that’s how you end up with fresh homemade Paneer, which is alter chilled. Since it’s really hot in India there is always an episode when the milk curdles up ,hence the only way to use up this milk is to prepare Paneer at home. But a litre of milk may give you just about 150 gms or less paneer. x

Another lunchbox favourite of K is paneer burji, rather anything paneer is always his favourite.. Waking up late which I end up doing most days.. 😛 requires me to cook something in a jiffy to go into his lunchbox. I was low on eggs, so I would not be able to make enough Egg burji, which he could carry along. My fridge is also a little low on supplies.. So I saw this slab of Paneer/cottage cheese lying there which I had completely forgotten to use up.

It has been long since I packed Paneer burji for his lunch, also this dish has not been posted on my blog. Moreover the fresh packet of celery in the fridge was talking to me.. It was longing to be dressed up in some Indian spices.. 🙂 That’s how this variation to the otherwise simple dish was born.. 🙂

_MG_0763

Ingredients: (Serves 2) Preparation Time: 15 mins
Paneer – 200 gms, crumbled/ broken into smaller pieces, use your hand to crumble
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Celery stick/stem – 1, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or more based on your taste
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2-3 sprigs, finely chopped
Fresh Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat oil in a fry pan. Set heat to medium. Add the chopped green chilli’s when the oil is hot. Sauté them well & let the flavour get infused in the oil. Next add the cumin seeds & let them splutter. Next add the chopped onions & sauté them till they turn translucent. Add a pinch of salt to help the onions fry quick.

Once the onions turn translucent, add the chopped celery & mix well. Next add all the spice powders mentioned. Mix well. Fry them for a couple of minutes. Next add the tomatoes & fry them till they turn into pulp. Add salt to taste. Lower heat if required & fry till all the raw flavours of the spice powders added fades away.

Next add the crumbled paneer, mix well. If you like the paneer soft, then turn off the heat in a couple of minutes else fry the paneer till most of the water content from the paneer evaporates. Check & adjust the seasoning. Turn the heat off.

Garnishing:
Add the lime juice & garnish with the chopped coriander leaves/cilantro. Mix well before serving.

Paneer/Cottage cheese burji with hints of Celery....

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice. You can also use this as a filling for Paneer rolls/burgers/sandwiches/samosa’s. 🙂 Enjoy this the way you like..

Paneer/Cottage cheese burji with hints of Celery....

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala…Paneer Enchiladas/Cottage cheese Enchiladas infused with Indian flavoursAdraki Aloo Gobi/Gingery Potato & CauliflowerChole/Chickpeas in a tangy spicy Indian sauce etc.


Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala…

Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala...

I was wondering what to cook…I just could not decide.. Called K on his way to work..  & asked him what he would like to eat for dinner when he got back.. instantly the answer was Paneer.. If you have been following y blog.. you would know from my earlier Paneer posts that I’m quite fond of Paneer & K loves Paneer..

When we were dating there was this small Punjabi restaurant in the vicinity where I used to live, in Bangalore; & he continued asking me make Paneer in the manner similar to the kind we used to eat in that restaurant. Now he put me in a spot. 😀 I began to mentally savour the Paneer dishes we had eaten there, since I did not quite eat the Paneer dishes much as I always ordered their yummy chicken when we visited that restaurant for a meal. This recipe is solely based on the taste that I remembered from that restaurant. Also please note that they used a Tandoor to chargrill the chicken, since I don’t have a tandoor & since I had ready cut cubes of Paneer I could not grill them in the oven.

Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala...

Tip: If you plan to chargrill the Paneer for this dish then use big chunks of Paneer that would easily go into a skewer without breaking. The pieces I had were too small for a skewer.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)     Preparation Time: 15-20 mins
Paneer/Cottage cheese: 250 – 300 gms, cut into cubes
Red Onion – 1 small-sized, cut into cubes
Peppers – 1 cup, cubed, use different colours
Tomatoes – 3 medium-sized blanched, skin removed & puree’ed or use 200 ml ready tomato puree
Garlic – 3 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Kalonji/Nigella seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp or more based on how hot the chilli powder you use is
Turmeric powered – a pinch
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a deep bottom fry pan, set heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the cubed red onions & sauté them with a pinch of salt till they begin to get slightly burnt, immediately add the cubed peppers & a pinch of salt fry these till they look half-cooked but they get slightly burnt, as shown. Take them off the fry pan & transfer them over a paper towel if they look too oily. This dish should be a little on the oiler side hence I did not use the paper towel.

Stir fried Peppers & red onion..

Now add 1 tbsp of oil to the fry pan. Set heat to medium. Add cumin seeds & let it sizzle, when it begins to change colour add Kalonji seeds, sauté it for a few seconds. Next add the chopped ginger & garlic, sauté them till for a few seconds. Don’t let the garlic change colour. Now add the paneer cubes & toss them around till they start to change colour. Immediately add the tomato puree & reduce heat to low. Add the different powders – Turmeric, red chilli, garam masala & coriander powder & a wee bit water if the puree is too thick. Add salt to taste. Cover & cook till the raw flavours vanish & the oil begins to separate.

Let the sauce cook till the oil separates & the raw flavours fade away...

Tip: You can make this with more sauce or gravy if you want it as an accompaniment with rice; all you need to do is after adding the tomato puree, add water, based on the consistency you require . As this is a recipe that’s eaten as a starter or to go with Indian breads this has very little sauce.

But make sure your around & the sauce does not begin to burn when the water evaporates. Now turn off the heat, add the stir fried peppers & onions kept aside. Mix well.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot as a starter or with Indian breads of your choice. Enjoy your weekend.. 🙂

Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala...

If you liked this recipe, you may also like – Paneer Methi Malai Kali MirchPalak Paneer , Paneer Enchiladas/Cottage cheese Enchiladas infused with Indian flavours etc.


Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..

Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..

It took me a good 20 years to realise that Spinach is yummy… just like all parents run behind their kids to make them eat greens, I made my mum run too… don’t know why I never liked any kind of spinach then… Now anything green.. & leafy I just gobble it up.. hell no.. I’m not a cow..

Anyways.. I wanted to use up the cream I had in my fridge. There was also a packet of frozen sweet corn kernels I had been meaning to use from a while. It all fell into place when I picked up the spinach from the grocers..

Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..

Punjabi’s (People from the state of Punjab in India) eat a lot of corn & prepare loads of dishes using corn. They even prepare a bread callled Makki di Roti using a flour of corn.

This dish is very very simple.. ( 😉 You need a blender though.. ) but it’s lip smacking.. so it’s totally worth it.. There are similar dishes available in most Indian restaurant menu’s. This is my quick version of the same.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)       Preparation Time: 20 mins
Sweet corn kernels – 1.5 cups
Spinach – 150 gms, I used baby spinach leaves, You can use the variety that you want.
Double Cream – 2 tbsp
Ginger – a piece which is equivalent to a small clove of garlic
Green Chilli’s – 3, slit
Garlic – 2 medium-sized cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Onion – 1 small, peeled & roughly chopped
Cumin Powder – 1/4 tsp
Clove – 1
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Bay leaves – half of a small leaf
Cooking oil – 1/2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash the spinach leaves. Add the spinach to a bowl of water & cook them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes till they turn soft. Then let them cool to room temperature. I used about 200 ml of water.

Some of the ingredients..

Washed the frozen sweet corn & kept them in a bowl of warm water so that they defrost & cook quickly…

While the spinach is cooking in the microwave, you can use the time peel & cut garlic & onion. Once the spinach has cooled to room temperature, add the leaves along with the garlic, ginger, green chilli’s & onion to a blender jar & blend to a smooth paste. Do not discard the water used to cook the spinach. You can use this if required while preparing the paste in the blender or while cooking the dish.

Heat oil in a pot & when the oil is hot add the dry spices – clove, cinnamon & bay leaf. Fry these till you can smell the blend of these spices. Make sure the heat is set to medium. Now add the ground paste of spinach. Fry for a minute. Now add the corn kernels & mix well. Add some water used to boil the spinach. Add little by little. The sauce will be too runny if you add all the water. Also it depends on if you preparing this curry to go with rice or with breads. If with rice then you can add all the water. If with roti then add accordingly, because you need the curry to be thick, so that you can scoop it easily with a piece of bread. Add the cumin powder, mix well. Add salt to taste.

Tip: If you want to, you can add some cubes of cottage cheese at this stage..

Add salt to taste. Simmer & let all the raw flavours fade away, once they do add the cream. Mix well. Let the curry cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Garnishing: (Optional)
If you really want to indulge.. then add a dollop of butter on top before you serve. I did not add any..

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot along with some hot Indian breads or with actual bread.. :D. Serve it with some rice if you have made a sauce a little runny..

Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..

If you liked this recipe, you may also want to check out – Indian Kidney Bean curry/RajmaPalak PaneerDal Makhni/ Buttery Black LentilsLobia Dal.. more


Chana Masala/ Khatte Punjabi Chane/ Tangy Chickpeas

Chana Masala.. grab the bread & dig in.. :)

This is my 100th recipe post. Yaaayyyy.. 🙂 This recipe was one of the first recipe’s requested to be posted by one of my blog followers – Jeff. Jeff, this is dedicated to you. Hope you enjoy preparing & eating this dish as much as I did. 🙂

Chana Masala..

This dish is very famous in the Northern states of India. Specially around Delhi & Punjab. Eaten as an accompaniment with Batura’s, Kulche for breakfast. Yes, a spicy tangy chickpeas dish for breakfast. 🙂 When the winter set’s in, in these places, you will not realise how many Batura’s or Kulche you have gobbled up along with these yummy chickpeas, & to wash down the spice you have a tall glass of Lassi (Sweetened, lightly thinned yogurt shake, sometimes flavoured or made with some dry fruits). All to keep your body warmed up to fight the cold.

I had visited Chandigargh for a colleagues wedding & what fun it was.. It was the first time ever that I had visited a cold place. I have been to some of the Hill stations in the Southern part of India, but believe me it is nothing compared to the winters in the Northern states. We were staying at another colleagues place in Chandigargh & his mum is such a lovely cook.. you won’t believe the amount of paratha’s that she kept making to feed us.. the winters make you so hungry.. I just could not imagine myself eating 4 stuffed Paratha’s, so you can imagine how many the boys ate.. we were about 5 of us.. Along with every meal aunty would serve a bowl of Mooli salad. I hated Mooli until I tasted that salad. Down South the Mooli has strong flavours & its bad. I love the fresh Mooli or Radish that you get in these regions. A perfect accompaniment with your meal is some grated Mooli sprinkled with salt, lime juice & some chat masala.. !!!

You could also have this dish with some bread or paratha’s or phulka or roti’s, basically along any sort of Indian breads.

Khatte Chane/Channa Masala

You could use ready-made chana masala powder to prepare this dish. I used basic ingredients that make up chana masala. This dish is very different from the Chole recipe I posted earlier.

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6) Preparation Time: 30 mins (Excludes the time taken for soaking the chickpeas)
Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana – 2 cups
Water – 6 cups
Tea bags – 2
Cardamom – 2 whole
Bay Leaf – 1 whole leaf, torn into smaller pieces
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
Tomatoes – 3 medium-sized, blanched, skin removed & chopped. You can use fresh chopped tomatoes as well.
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1/4 tsp
Tip: If you want to use ready-made Chana masala powder skip using Cumin powder, Coriander powder & Garam masala powder & instead add 1 tbsp of Chana masala powder.
Anardana– 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1/2 tsp
Amchur/Dry Mango Powder – 1/2 tsp
Red Onion – 1, small-sized, finely diced + 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green Chilli’s – 1-2, finely chopped/slit as per you taste
Coriander leaves – 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1.5 tbsp

Method:
Soak the Chickpeas overnight. Transfer the chickpeas along with all the water it has been soaking in into the pressure cooker. Make sure the water is well above the chickpeas. Bring the water to a boil. Add in cinnamon stick, bay leaf,Cardamom, teabags & some salt to taste.

Tip: The teabag is added so that the chickpeas have a light brown colour to them once they are pressure cooked. If you do not want this colour to the chickpeas, skip using the teabag. 

Mix well. Close the pressure cooker with its lid. Set the heat to high. Allow the chickpeas to cook well & let the pressure cooker whistle 4 times. Turn off the heat. Let the pressure cooker cool & let off its pressure.

To save time, when the pressure cooker has whistled twice, heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan. Set the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot add the asafoetida powder & let it sizzle. Next add the chopped onions & fry them till they turn translucent. Add blanched tomatoes next. Let the tomatoes cook & separate from the oil.  The pressure developed in the cooker would be off by now. Separate the water and the chickpeas, do not discard the water, keep it aside for use later on. Throw away the tea bags. 

Notice that the chickpeas have a pale brown colour to them. Throw away the cardamom, bay leaves &  cinnamon if you wish to, else let them be.

The pressure cooked chickpeas, with the light brown colour...
Now add in the cumin, coriander powder or the chana masala along with the rest of the powders (chaat Masala, red chilli powder, dry mango powder & anardana powder). Remember not to add the Garam masala powder now. (This is for those not using ready chana masala powder). Mix well.Let the masala fry for a couple of minutes. Add in the Chickpeas and mix well.

Begin to add in the water that had been set aside, little by little until you have added all the water. Adjust the salt. Lower the heat once the water begins to boil.

Cover & cook. Keep stirring in between to check on the water level & the dish doesn’t burn. When half the water has evaporated add the garam masala powder (This is for those not using the ready chana masala powder).

Tip: If you want some curry along with the chickpeas, then turn off the heat a few minutes after adding the garam masala powder.

Once most of the water has evaporated & the chickpeas have cooked completely, as shown below, turn off the heat.

When most of the water has evaporated..
Garnishing:
Garnish with finely diced onions and green chilli’s.

Chana masala, before adding the coriander leaves..

Finally add some chopped coriander leaves.

Chana masala...
Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with Puri’s, Batura’s, Kulche, Chapati’s, Roti’s, Parathas, Phulka or Naan. Enjoy.. 🙂

Chana Masala.. grab the bread & dig in.. :)

If you liked this recipe, you may also want to check out other side dishes for Indian breads like- Lobia Dal, Dal Makhni/ Buttery Black Lentils, Chatpata Methi Aloo more


Chole/Chickpeas in a tangy spicy Indian sauce

Chole/Chickpea in a tangy spicy Indian sauce..

K loves North Indian food. Any curry that serve as an accompaniment for chapatis’ or roti’s is a big YES for him (but they need to be made out of veggies or meat he likes). Chole is one of his favourites & while I was in India & he studying here in Glasgow he asked a friend of mine – Anupampreet Kaur for the authentic Punjabi recipe & passed it on to him. From then on he prepared it so many times that he has mastered it. So now when I feel like eating chole on the days K is off work, he makes it.. 🙂

Chole..

This is that very same recipe. One of my blog followers – Jeff, had requested for Chana Masala recipe, that’s on my list and will be up soon. If you like Indian curry’s with chickpeas, you will surely love this one.

Yes all the basic Indian spice powders along with a paste of onions, ginger & garlic. Chilli’s for the spice. Tomatoes add the tangy flavour. Some coriander leaves to garnish & there you go.. but remember you need to soak chickpeas overnight or a minimum of 6 hours. Potatoes are added just to add some thickness in the curry.

You could use canned chickpeas as well. If they are the one which are ready cooked you can skip the pressure cooking process. But if they are not then you would need to pressure cook them. I soaked chickpeas and prepared the chole. Some also use a tea bag when they pressure cook the chickpeas. This is just to add some colour to the chickpeas. I did not use a tea bag.

Soaked & drained chickpea..

Ingredients: (Serves 4)          Preparation Time: 25-30 mins
Chickpeas – Soaked,4 cups
Potatoes – 1 large, peeled, cut into 4-6 pieces
Green chilli – 2, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, chopped
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or more depending on your taste
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
for the paste:
Onions – 2 medium-sized, chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, chopped

Method:
Wash the soaked chickpeas and drain. Add all of the chickpeas into a pressure cooker. Add enough water. Make sure the water level is about an inch above the chickpeas level. Also add some salt, a pinch of turmeric and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Keep the pressure cooker. Do not open the pressure cooker till the pressure is off. It should take about 15 minutes.

Pressure cooked chickpea... along with potaoes..

Meanwhile while the chickpeas is cooking you can chop the veggies and prepare the paste.
Add the onions, ginger, garlic to a food processor jar and grind it into a smooth paste. If you do not want to grind them into a paste then you need to chop them very finely.

Once the paste is ready, heat oil in a deep bottom vessel and sauté the cumin seeds when the oil is hot. Make sure the heat is set to medium & do not burn the cumin seeds. As soon as they cumin seeds turn a light brown add the chopped green chilli’s and sauté them for a minute so that all the spice is absorbed by the oil.

Next add the paste and lower heat and fry the paste till it turns translucent.

Frying the onion, garlic & ginger paste..

Would take about 4-5 minutes. Add some salt to fasten the paste frying process. Also wait till the raw flavours of the ginger & garlic fade away.

Add the different spice powders except the garam masala. Garam masala is added towards the end.Fry all the spice powders for about 3-4 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Fry the tomatoes till they become lifeless.

Fry the different spice powders..

The pressure should be off the cooker by now & you should be able to open it.Now add the pressure cooked chickpeas and mix well.

Add the pressure cooked potatoes & chickpea..

Add water used to cook the chickpeas. But add accordingly, based upon how much of gravy you need in the chole. Increase the heat to high. Add salt to taste.

Add the required amount of water & let the curry bubble..

Lower the heat when the water added begins to boil. When the curry has bubbled for about 5 minutes add the garam masala powder, mix well. Let the curry bubble for another 8-10 minutes so that the chickpeas absorbs all the flavours.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot along with Indian breads. Is a good accompaniment for rice as well.

Chole/Chickpea in a tangy spicy Indian sauce..

We tried this with some Pita bread. Pita bread seems to be a good accompaniment as well. Also at times I have it with bread slices as well. 🙂

You could also try this recipe with black chickpeas. The only issue with black chickpeas is that if you happen to have an unlucky batch of them, they may take a while to pressure cook..

Chole with Pita bread..

If you like chickpeas, you can also check out Kala chana chaat recipe.

You may also want to check out – Palak Paneer, Grilled Filled Capsicum, Mix-veg skewers with a Yogurt dip etc.

For more Indian dishes check – more Indian dishes .


Dal Makhni/ Buttery Black Lentils

Dal Makhni/ Buttery black lentils

If there was a word better than yummy, it would describe this dal. Maybe divine is a better suited word for this dish. Of the various kinds of Dal preparations from India, this one is the richest. It has butter and then it is garnished with some cream in the end.

Dal Makhni/ Buttery black lentils

If you want to have this Dal make sure you have loads of patience and time. I had made up my mind last night that I would prepare this Dal today for dinner. 🙂 Yes, this is another one of those dishes where you need to plan a day in advance, almost like my previous post – Rajma. The reason being that these black lentils would need to be soaked anytime between 12- 16 hrs at least. So overnight is a good option. I soaked them for about 18 hrs or so.

Soaked black lentils

This dal is not complicated, just that it needs to simmer for a long time on your stove. 🙂

Again another dish from the Northern state of India – Punjab.

So when I started to cook this today I picked up a book to keep me occupied while my cooking was on the way and it kept me busy & my mind off the wait to dig into this yummy dal :). So make sure you have something to keep you occupied when you plan to cook this.

Ingredients: (Serves 4) Preparation Time: 1.5-2hrs
Whole Black lentils/Whole Urad Dal – 2 cups, washed & soaked in 6 cups of water, overnight
Kidney Beans – 2 tbsp, washed & soaked along with the black lentils
Onion – 1 large, chopped finely
Garlic cloves – 6-8 medium-sized, chopped finely
Ginger – 2 inch piece, finely chopped
Cumin/Jeera seeds – 1 tsp
Garam Masala powder – one and a half tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp,
Green chilli – 1-2, slit, You can reduce this to reduce the spice
Tomato – 2 medium-sized, chopped finely
Butter – 2-3 tbsp
Cream – 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Drain the extra water out of the soaked lentils. Add the drained lentils to a pressure cooker. Add some salt and some chilli powder and one half of the chopped ginger along with a litre of water. Once the water starts to boil, close with the lid and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Take off heat and open the cooker once the pressure is off. Check is the lentils have been cooked. You should be easily able to mash them with a spoon. If so then they are cooked well. Else pressure cook for another whistle.

Heat the oil and butter together in a frying pan set to medium heat. Add the cumin seeds once the butter melts and the mixture is hot. Fry the cumin seeds till they begin to change colour. Next add the chopped garlic, onions & rest of the ginger. Fry them well. Once they turn golden brown, add the chopped tomatoes along with the remaining chilli powder and slit green chilli’s and mix well. Fry till the tomatoes turn to pulp. Once so take this mixture off heat, put the cooker back on the heat. Make sure the heat is set to low. Add this Butter/onion & tomato mixture to the lentils and mix well. Make sure there is enough water, and let the lentils cook for about 30-40 minutes on low heat. Keep stirring in an interval of 5-10 minutes. Check salt. Add the garam masala powder to the cooking lentils. when the Dal has reached a nice consistency you want then remove it from heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some cream.

Garnish with some cream

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with a bowl of hot steamed rice or roti’s, with some salad/pickle & papad/poppadams on the side.

Dal Makhni/ Buttery black lentils

Notes: If you have ended up with some leftovers of this Dal do not worry at all. This Dal tastes even better after warming up the next day. The flavours get infused better the next day, but do remember to warm it and let it simmer for about 10-15 mins.  This does not mean it does not taste good fresh. 🙂

If you liked this recipe, you may also like Lobia DalIndian Kidney Bean curry/RajmaPalak Paneer and other curry recipe’s.