Dal Fry

Masoor Dal

Missing home and want to comfort your soul ?
Got 20 minutes to put together a meal ?
Feel like eating something light yet nourishing ?

If your answer was yes, make this simple home style dal.

The silky smooth dal is a perfect accompaniment to some jeera rice. Serve with a side of cucumber raita, papad and pickle to make it a complete meal.

Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 cup masoor cup
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp rice bran oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp coriander finely chopped for garnish
2 dried red chillies broken
1 tsp butter (optional)
Salt to taste

Wash the dal with several changes of water.

Pressure cook the dal with water and some salt. It should get done in 3 whistles.

Uncover the lid and whisk the dal until smooth. Add a dollop of butter and whisk the dal lightly, this gives the dal a buttery sheen.

In a pan, heat some oil. Once hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chillies.

Allow it to sizzle for a while and then add the onions, cook until translucent.

Add tomatoes and all spices, cook for a few minutes and add the dal to the mixture.

Add little water if the consistency is not as you prefer. Allow it to simmer for another minute or so.

You can add kasuri methi to the dal to make it fragrant.

This time around I added chopped coriander instead of kasuri methi. Take it off heat and serve with fluffy basmati rice or rotis.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Sindhi Kadhi

SK

This post is an ode to my maternal grand parent’s house and visits to their house during summer holidays. My maamiji makes the best Sindhi Kadhi and I can’t stress how good and firmly the flavours remain etched in my mind till date.

My other favorite recipes from her kitchen are Bharwan Bhindi and Besan Bread.

Maamiji used to spoil all us kids with treats from her kitchen. I remember we all used to assemble at their terrace, fly kites or play some silly games and she used to get us onion bhajjis and bread pakodas with ketchup.

After relishing those hot snacks, we used to queue up at a shop which used to sell coloured popsicles in different flavours. I used to go for Kaala Khatta always.

Ahh! Those were the good old days. Nostalgia is precious!

Off to the post, I have always found Sindhi cuisine very underrated. It needs to be given it’s due. My favourite Sindhi cuisine recipes are Sai Bhaji, Koki Paratha, Lola (you read it right, that’s what it’s called!), Dal Pakwan and Sindhi Kadhi of course.

I have been fortunate to have many Sindhi friends while growing up. Later on our extended family also welcomed my cousin bhabhi’s who were Sindhi. The best part about Sindhi’s is that they really love their food and are happy, good at heart people who value close bond with families and friends. That’s just how Punjabis are!

Alright! Enough of family melodrama from my side, on to the recipe. I am not sure if this is the best recipe for a Sindhi Kadhi however this surely is loved by my family.

Sindhi Kadhi4

Ingredients
4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
12-15 curry leaves
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 green chillies finely chopped
6 tsp besan (gram flour)
5 fresh tomatoes pureed
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup drumsticks
1/2 cup lady fingers
1/2 cup cluster beans
1 potato diced
1 carrot diced
1 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste
500 ml water

In a frying pan heat some oil, add lady fingers, carrots and cluster beans and sauté them for a few minutes until they are soft.

Take them off heat and set it aside.

In a thick bottomed vessel, heat some oil and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.

 

Sindhi Kadhi1Once they splutter, add finely chopped ginger followed by green chillies. Sautee for a bit and add besan. Roast it in oil until it becomes fragrant and gets a new brown hue. This usually takes 5-8 minutes.

Keep stirring the mixture else the besan can stick to the bottom of the vessel and get burned easily.

Add the drumsticks, potatoes and the sautéed vegetable mixture to the mix.

Sindhi Kadhi3

Add pureed tomatoes and cook them well. You can add all the spices, tamarind paste to the mixture at this point and give it a good stir.

Add water and let this simmer away for 20-25 minutes with a lid on.

Keep stirring the mix at regular intervals. Once it has reached your desired consistency, take it off heat.

Serve with fluffy basmati rice, papad and some aloo bhajjis.

Sindhi Kadhi

Until next time, happy cooking!

Pesto Spinach Pasta

We are a family of pasta-fanatics! I have my pantry full of different shapes and types of pasta. I would really love to make fresh pasta for my meals soon. I attended a fun pasta making class at Galeries Lafayette two years back, more on this here. Need to put the knowledge to some use!

This makes an interesting lunch option on weekends. The pasta comes together in literally a couple of minutes. This is a go-to recipe even on week nights when after work, all I want is an indulgent bowl of warm pasta and griddled bread.

I usually do my groceries from the Fruit & Vegetable market on Saturday afternoons. So making a fresh batch of pesto early on to use the fresh basil seems a good idea. I readily use up the pesto within the first half of the week for this recipe.

The pasta sauce is fragrant and oozes with flavours of basil, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, a handful of parmesan and pine nuts. I am not sharing the pesto recipe since I do not follow any standard measurements when making one.

This is my husband’s favourite recipe as well. Some days I just toss the pasta in the sauce and top to with kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes and then there are times when I add some spinach to the mix.

Pesto Spinach Pasta

Here’s the recipe with spinach:

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Serves : 3

1 cup pesto
3 tsp roasted pine nuts
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic mayo (Add more if you’re feeling naughty!)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 red onion thinly sliced
250 grams of Tagliatelle pasta
250 grams baby spinach
Flaky sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a pan, heat some olive oil and add sliced onions. Cook with minced garlic until it is lightly browned.

Add pesto and make a sauce with little water in which the pasta is getting cooked. Season as required, add garlic mayo to provide some more creaminess to the sauce. Go easy on the salt since the pesto already has salt from the parmesan cheese added to it. Add some spinach at this point and just sauté it gently.

Pesto Sauce

Cook the pasta, drain and add it to the sauce. Coat well and serve with a side of toasted baguette.

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Green Beans & Carrot Sabzi

Green Beans is a very versatile ingredient and can be cooked in various ways. Steam, blanch, braise, roast, sautee – they really adapt well to different cooking techniques.

They are good source of antioxidants and cartenoids apart from being a powerhouse of Vitamin K. I picked up some lovely organic green beans from Waitrose after work, it was trimmed already and made them on one weeknight. I love the ease of using pre-cut vegetables at times.

Here’s a simple recipe of making them Indian style, I have just substituted the usual potato with carrots and given it a tangy twist.

The dish came out quite saucy and I served them with a side of Surati Dal and steamed rice.

Green Beans

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients

2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 green chilly finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 red onion finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
300 grams french beans trimmed
2 carrots cut at an angle
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp chaat masala/ amchur powder
1 tsp tomato paste
Salt to taste

Blanch the trimmed beans in boiling and salted water for a couple of minutes.

Drain them while they still have a bite to them.

In a wok / wide pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds.

Once they splutter, add green chillies and follow it up with onions and garlic.

Once onions have browned a bit, add the chopped tomatoes and cook them for a few minutes.

Add the carrots and sauté them until they have slightly softened. Add beans followed by all dry spices, salt, tomato and tamarind paste.

Cook until the mixture is well coated and just about to leave a ring of oil on the sides.

Green Beans & Carrot Sabzi

Remove off heat and serve with fluffy rotis or dal-rice. Until next time, happy cooking!

Aloo Jeera – Potatoes with Cumin

Some days you crave the same old good old classic home cooked recipe! Aloo Jeera or potatoes tempered with cumin seeds and spices are a staple side dish in most Punjabi households.

I guess potatoes find their place place in every pantry. I even go through some of my own “can’t-do-without-my-aloo” days. My Punjabi genes dominating, I set one such evening post work to settle for a simple dinner of Dal Tadka tempered with rai and jeera, Jeera Rice and Aloo Jeera.

Thali

Err! Isn’t this too much of cumin for one evening ? I know I must be high on cumin!

I vividly remember this fine evening as I roasted cumin, the entire house smelled divine. I had some lovely Indian classical instrumental music playing in the background, sipping chai along the way, I ground the freshly roasted cumin and couldn’t help but add that on to every thing I set to cook eventually.

Aloo Sabzi

Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Ingredients
2 tsp canola oil
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 large potatoes diced & parboiled
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Handful of parsley finely chopped

In a wok, heat some oil. Add green chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the same and let it sizzle.

Now add the ginger followed by potatoes and the dry spices.

Cook until the potatoes have softened and have a roasted texture.

Add lemon juice and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Voila! My dinner table looked lovely. Until next time happy cooking.

Aloo Mutter – Potatoes & Pea Stew

Simple meals are sometime the trickiest to create. Many a days all you are left with is limited pantry staples. That for me would be canned chickpeas, herbs, dried pasta, potatoes, ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes.

Either one of these said ingredients needs to be replenished, in order for me to make the run to the supermarket. These days my run to the supermarket is slightly different, I mostly visit the Fruits and Vegetable Market.

It gives me immense pleasure to get the fresh produce straight from the market, not your fancy farmer’s market setup but very economical. I have made some friends with a few stall owners who provide me with their freshest produce of the day. One stall owner Mehran whom we visit for buying greens and herbs, keeps stock of basil and spinach handy for me. He knows I visit Saturdays.

I have successfully been able to slash my grocery budget substantially. Moving on to the recipe of home style Aloo Mutter served with Jeera Rice and yogurt.

Aloo Mutter

Cooking Time : 25 minutes
Ingredients

3 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp carrom seeds
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 onions finely chopped
300 ml tomato puree / 2 tomatoes finely chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups diced potatoes
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chaat masala
3 cups water
Salt to taste
Handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped to garnish

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil, add cumin seeds.

Let it splutter, add carom seeds followed by onions. Once cooked, add minced ginger and garlic and tomatoes, cook them well.

Add dry spices, salt and then the potatoes to the mix. Blend well, add water as required.

Close the lid and pressure cook until there are 2-3 whistles. Uncover after a while and garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.

Aloo Mutter1

Serve with fluffy rotis or Jeera Rice. Until next time happy cooking!

Dukkah Spiced Chickpea Rice

What do I pack for lunch tomorrow ? This is a question I ask almost every day to my dearest husband and he never has a good enough answer. He does not like to take leftovers of dinner last night as is. This leaves me in a fix!

So I have to work a lot with leftovers in one way or another. Some days I use the curry or vegetable in parathas and make kathi rolls or if I have stir fried veggies, use them up in noodles. On most days, I have a bowl of left over rice staring back at me. When I am at leisure, I sometimes make Spicy Peanut Balls from leftover rice.

On one such instance, I made this rice with chickpeas and spices. This is a easy office lunch option, gets ready in few minutes and is very easy to prep.

Chickpeas add a source of protein to an otherwise basic recipe. I used to always spice this up with the usual coriander and cumin powder. However this time around I decided to experiment with dukkah spice mix.

My colleague recently visited his home back in Egypt and his mum lovingly packed homemade dukkah spice mix for me. See packing brownies for team mates comes with it’s own advantages! 😀

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix comprising of toasted sesame seeds, hazelnuts, coriander, almond meal and cumin. I’m no expert about these spice mixes but just sharing the information imparted by my colleague’s mum!

I have used chaat masala previously to add some zing to rice dishes like Tawa Pulao. This time since I was using a Middle Eastern spice mix, I decided to substitute the chaat masala with some sumac. And I’m glad that I did so!

Here’s my recipe for the Dukkah Spiced Chickpea Pulao:

Chole Pulao

Comes together in : 20 Minutes
Ingredients

2 onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
1 green chilly finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp dukkah masala
1 tsp sumac powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp carrom seeds (optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
3 tsp canola oil
4 cups cooked rice
A handful of parsley roughly chopped
Salt to taste

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds and carom seeds. Once it sizzles, add green chilly followed by onions.

Cook onions until they are translucent, add tomatoes. Let them cook till they are mushy.

Add the spices, salt to taste and blend well together followed by chickpeas. Let it stand in the mixture for a while.

Add the cooked rice and mix it well with the mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve hot with a side of cucumber raita.

Chole Pulao1

Until next time, happy cooking!