Paneer Bhurji

A wall of silence on the blog! While I may have not blogged for the last 2 weeks, a lot of cooking happened. Past few weeks have been all about cooking for family.

Late Holi wishes to everyone out here, this Holi we celebrated with our extended families, lots of food, laughter and a sense of belonging. Gujiyas relished from Old Delhi sweet shop. One of the best festive celebrations we have had since we embraced our expat lives in Dubai.

Gujiya

These days I’m trying to follow a high protein diet. Being a vegetarian, paneer or cottage cheese is the most common substitution for meat in Indian sub-continent. It is also an excellent source of calcium. 

If I’m busy, I just buy a block of cheese from Lulu’s or Bikanerwala or else make it at home. It is a staple in my pantry. While I love my Paneer with vegetables and in Makhni gravy, sometimes all you need is a no-fuss and easy to make dish.
On days like this, I have this recipe of Paneer Bhurji handy. A bhurji is simply means a scramble. On work day mornings, it gets ready in a jiffy including the prep and it means I can brown bag my lunch and not spend my molaah on take-aways.
Paneer Bhurji 1
Serves : 4
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 minutes
 
Ingredients 
200 grams cottage cheese / paneer
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
2 medium sized tomato finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
5 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
One bunch of Spring onions greens finely chopped
Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped for garnishing
In a wok heat some oil, add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle and add green chillies and ginger garlic paste.
Onions
Add onions after a minute and cook them until they are translucent.
Masala
Add tomatoes, tomato paste and the dry spices and cook them until the mixture leaves a ring of oil on the sides.You can also add green peas and capsicum to the mixture.
With your hand just crumble the paneer lightly or you could use a box grater.
Paneer
Blend the paneer well with the onion-tomato mixture and cook for a while until the mixture is not quite moist.
Spring Onions
Sprinkle with the greens of spring onions and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and take the Bhurji off heat. I did not have some on hand hence no garnish for me 😦
Paneer Bhurji
Serve with fluffy phulkas or toasted bread with butter.
Next post I will bring you stories from my meeting with the MasterChef himself, Sanjeev Kapoor and the euphoria that followed after the same. Also my experience of meeting the Curry Queen – Camellia Panjabi, such a lovely lady. Me and Sahil had a really candid and heart warming conversation about differences in coastal cuisines and misrepresentation of Indian cuisine internationally on many instances. How we asked her to please write a new cook book and much more!

 Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Aloo Ki Sabzi – Spicy Potato Curry

Potatoes are such a versatile ingredient to work with. From making Fries, patties, hash browns to making Pav Bhaji, you can adapt this crop to whatever catches your fancy.

For a simple weekend lunch, I made this spicy and tangy potato curry and served it with some chapatis. A quick assorted salad and raita on the side make it a complete meal.

Serves : 4
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Ingredients
2 large potatoes boiled and cubes
1 large onion finely chopped
1 large tomato finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies broken in half
8-9 curry leaves
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 cup water
4 tsp tomato paste
Salt to taste
4 tsp canola oil
Handful of fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Boil the potatoes in salted water. Let them cool and peel the outer skin, chop the boiled potatoes in cubes.

Heat oil in a wok, add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they start to crackle, add red chillies and curry leaves.

Let them sizzle for a while, add ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute until the raw flavor diminishes.

Add onions and cook them until they are translucent.

Add tomatoes and cook them for a few minutes.

Add tomato paste to this mixture and cook until it leaves out a ring of oil on the sides of the wok.

Masala1

Add all the dry masalas to this mixture and cook for a minute.

Add boiled potatoes and let it stand in the mixture so that it absorbs the masalas well.

Masala

Slowly add water to the potato mixture, you can choose to use less or more water as per the consistency desired for the gravy.

Cover the wok and let the curry cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture.

Take it off the heat and garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Spicy Potato Curry

Serve this with rotis or rice as per your preference.

Chatori Galli – Barsha 1

I love eating street food and the mere mention makes me go weak in my knees! Such is my fascination with chaat vendors that I should be given the most loyal customer award for visiting Elco, Bandra Mumbai traveling to the other side of the city just to eat the pani puri and papdi chaat.

I find very limited good chaat houses in Dubai unlike India wherein there is one in every corner of the street. I came to know about Chatori Gali in Al Barsha via Twitter. Some one strongly suggested that I visit them for their jalebis.

Chatori Galli

This is a relatively small dining place just behind Mall of Emirates and a stone’s throw away from Bikanervala which is more popular in the area. Just a disclaimer, I have tried these dishes reviewed over 5 visits and found them to be consistent.

I started by trying the Gol Gappe (Delhi) or Phuchkas (Bengal) or Pani Puri (Mumbai). It is hollow fried crisps filled with a sprouts / potato mixture and downed with flavored water. I wasn’t impressed. It lacked serious amounts of masalas and that “ahhaa” factor.

We next moved on to try Raj Kachori, deep fried round flattened ball filled with a stuffing of lentils, cubed potatoes, sprouts, well beaten yoghurt and chutneys and garnished with sev.

Raj Kachori

The Kachori in itself was quite dried out and hence not crisp and was overloaded with yoghurt. There was very minuscule amounts of stuffing and hence it was another ‘No’ for me.

Pyaaz Kachori

On a side note, the Pyaaz Kachori (Onion stuffed) was great in comparison.

We also tried Ram Ladoo, a popular snacking dish in North India. These are deep fried moong dal (split green gram skinless) and urad dal (split green gram skinless) balls served with spicy tangy green chutneys garnished with grated raddish. It was average and needed to be soaked in the chutney before serving them. That’s how it’s traditionally served, maybe I had high expectations!

Ram Ladoo

The best memories I have had of Ram Ladoo are in my teens when I visited Amritsar and ate them at a small time vendor. He soaked them in Kanji, a popular Punjabi fermented drink made with red carrots, turnips, beets spiced up with rock salt, red chilly powder and mustard powder. He later topped them with spicy hot green chutney and radish! Drool worthy!

Moving on to the review, we proceeded to order Bread Pakoda, now this won me over completely. Bread slices sandwiched with a spicy mashed potato mixture coated in chickpea flour batter and deep fried.

Bread Pakoda

It had a generous sprinkling of chaat masala. It was served to us piping hot and with a side of coriander and tamarind chutneys.

Samosa Chaat

We tried Samosa Chaat, it was delicious. They served the samosa piping hot and were quite generous with the chutneys (thank goodness!), as a result, me and my guests were vying to get the last bite. Gluttony!

On another visit we tried “Parathe wali Galli ke Parathe” this immediately took me back to the bylines of Old Delhi in Chandni Chowk where Sahil first took me for a date many years back shortly after we visited the magnificent Jama Masjid.

For old time sake, we ordered the Parathas, you can choose two from the various varieties of parathas available. We ordered aloo pyaaz (Flat bread stuffed with spicy boiled potato and onions mix) and Gobhi (Cauliflower stuffing). Usually parathas are cooked on a tawa (flat griddle) but this particular type of parathas are deep fried in a wok.

Paranthe Wali Galli ke Paranthe

The parathas are served with Chole (spicy and tangy chickpea curry), Kaddu Ki Launji (Pumpkin cooked downed with spices and mildly sweet), Aloo Sabzi (Potato cubes in onion tomato gravy), Mixed cauliflower and carrot pickle smeared with mustard powder, a few pieces of tomato and cucumber and sweet chutney. Unfortunately since we have ordered this twice, I can’t seem to find the picture with Kaddu ki Launji.

I loved the Aloo Sabzi, it was quite spicy but I savoured every morsel of the paratha dipped in the sabzi. Yumm!

As for the parathas, I could not have beyond one piece. The parathas were crisp on the outside but all that deep frying made them too heavy.

Bedami Aloo

We moved on to Bedami Aloo. Bedmi is an another popular breakfast option served in Chandni Chowk and Old Delhi. It is a puri (deep fried puffed bread) made with wheat flour and ground lentils, either skinned black gram dal or green gram dal.

The accompaniments which come along with the Bedami Puri are same as the parathas. We were keen on having it only with the Aloo sabzi and asked to be served the same instead of the Chole and Kaddu Ki Launji. Again great dish and a must try once you visit this place.

Sarso Ka Saag - Makai Roti

We also ordered Sarson Ka Saag with Makke Ki Roti. Sarson ka Saag is mustard leaves and spinach leaves cooked with spices in and usually mustard oil. Makke ki Roti is flatbread made with maize flour, easily available in Indian grocery stores here. It was delicious and was served with a side of jaggery and raddish.

Tawa Paratha & Raita

If you are looking for a lighter option than the parathas then you can also opt for the various menu options like Methi Roti, Gobhi Roti or Missi Roti. I chose Tawa Paratha (Wholewheat flatbread cooked on a disc shaped griddle) with Boondi Raita. Simple home style dinner option.

Kadhi

I tried the parathas with Raita and once with Kadhi Pakoda, it was simply delish. The Kadhi was punjabi style, buttermilk cooked with gram flour, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and red chilly powder.

Vegetable Poha

We also tried Poha, it was a nice light snack. Poha is flattened wife flakes cooked with onions, peas, mustard seeds and garnished with peanuts, coriander leaves and Sev (Savoury Gramflour Vermicelli).

It was just good to be had with a side of masala chai. The tea served at Chatori Gali is prepared fresh and they use Lipton tea bags for the same however I did skip this on my subsequent visits. I don’t blame them, I’m quite picky about the masala chai I have.

Thandai

Sahil tried Thandai, it is a chilled drink made from milk, ground dry fruits flavored with kewda, rosewater, saffron, sugar and fennel seeds. This one was made with store bought syrup and sparingly topped with almond flakes. He found it quite refreshing. Their drinks menu also has fresh juices, Kanji, Fresh Lemonade, Lassi and Milkshakes.

Motichoor Ladoo

In desserts, we tried the Motichoor Ladoo, it was quite dry and not good enough.

Let’s move on to the sole reason you should visit Chatori Galli, which is their Jalebi. It’s deep fried flour shaped in spirals and soaked in sugary syrup flavored with cardamom or saffron at times. It’s difficult to explain what a “jalebi” is and hence the pictures below:

Jalebi In Making

It was crispy, crunchy and supremely heavenly. It tasted divine and was just the thing you need to taste on a day when you feel under weather. When dipped in the Rabdi, it is a killer combination!

Jalebi & Kulfi

We however had the piping hot jalebis with their stick kulfi. The kulfi was quite creamy and not too sweet and good way to end a hearty meal.

Matka Kulfi

The Matka Kulfi was pretty looking in the earthen pot but did not taste as great as the Stick Kulfi.

Visit Chatori Galli with a big appetite, the service is quite off sometimes mainly due to how busy the place is in evenings. However we have found a friend in Sandeep, a great guy who takes pleasure in serving you well.

Until next time, Happy cooking 🙂

Other Locations: Oud Metha / Meena Bazzar, Bur Dubai

Disclaimer : All featured dishes and meals were paid for my me and this post is not a sponsored one.

Besan Ka Chilla – Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes / Crepe

This is a recipe for Besan ka Chilla, simply put Indian savory pancakes made with chickpea / garbanzo bean / gram flour. This is a very easy to make recipe and is perfect for winter mornings or evenings. Goes perfectly with a cup of hot masala chai.

Assembling the ingredients is also very easy. This is my go-to weekend breakfast recipe and is quite filling as well. Chickpeas are an excellent source of proteins and this is an easy gluten free option as well. You can add any vegetables to this versatile crepe / pancake recipe. Sometimes I like to add capsicum or shredded carrots to the mix.

Serves : 3
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup besan / gram four
3 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 finely chopped green chilly
1 medium sized finely chopped onion
1 medium sized finely chopped tomato
1/2 cup coarsely chopped spinach leaves
1/2 tsp zataar powder
1 tsp carrom seeds
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala
A pinch of turmeric powder
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Water to the consistency desired

In a mixing bowl, sieve the besan and add all the dry spices and salt. Mix well with a spoon.

Add chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach, coriander and chillies to this mixture.

Add little water and mix. Keep adding until it reaches desired consistency.

Some people like the batter to be thick while some like it runny. I prefer reaching a mid point. Here’s how my batter looks like.

Batter

Now on a greased hot pan over low heat, drop a ladle full of the batter and let it take shape. Let the mixture cook.

Besan Ka Chilla

Add any regular oil to the sides and gently flip it over. Here’s where practice comes to the rescue.

Besan Ka Chilla1

Let both the sides get evenly cooked. You are looking for a lovely brown look. I wish I had better pictures for this post.

Besan Ka Chilla2

Serve with tomato chutney or any dip that takes your fancy. I prefer it with toasted bread and butter.

Side Notes:
Adding carom seeds aids digestion.
Zataar powder can be skipped if you do not like it.

Eggless Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Weekends usually mean having family over for lunch or in evening for snacks and some drinks. I have a dear brother-in-law staying here in Dubai for the last 6 years. He helped us settle in when me and husband were newbies around here and is our only close family out here.

He got married a few days back and I’m currently in New Delhi, visiting home for his wedding. He came over to discuss his last minute anxieties and we were happy to share his joy. To celebrate this occasion, I decided to bake some brownies, who doesn’t like a chocolate chip brownie served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. A late post but as they say it’s better late than never!

I’m posting this today on my Mum-in-law’s birthday.

Brownies3

Ingredients
Serves : 4
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Baking Time : 28-30 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 walnuts chopped coarsely + 2tsp to garnish
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 cup of milk
1 tsp of vinegar
1/2 tsp coffee powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Handful of chocolate chips to garnish
A pinch of salt

Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees Celcius.

Sieve the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt.

Mix the milk at room temperature with coffee powder and vinegar and set aside

Mix the caster sugar to the dry ingredients.

Mix the oil and vanilla extract to the milk mixture.

Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture together and blend well.

Add chopped walnuts to this and fold the mixture gently.

Pour the batter to a well greased pound cake pan and top it with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.

Batter

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Brownies 1

Cool the brownies completely before cutting them in neat squares.

Brownies
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and cut strawberries.

Brownies 2

The brownies will stay well up to 3 days.

The India Pavilion – Mall Of Emirates

I love Mall of Emirates, that was the first place Sahil took me to. It was my first outing when I came to Dubai some more than two and half years back. In the first week of being in Dubai, I visited the mall thrice. There are many firsts associated with this place, the first movie, the first grocery shopping, the first big splurge, the first coffee date (with the husband of course!) and so on.

That’s my go-to place for movies or shopping. On one such tiring shopping spree, we ended up at the first level food court of Mall of Emirates and visited The Indian Pavilion next to Vox Cinemas.

Papad Chatni

It offers good Indian good and the prices and service is pretty decent too. The restaurant provides complimentary fried papas with green chutney and pickle. How nice! Who doesn’t like a good crunchy one!

The restaurant has an interesting concept of ordering mains which is a complete meal or a platter in itself. It comes with an accompaniment of roti (flat bread) or pilaf rice, 2 falafels / aloo tikkis (potato patties), cucumber raita, home style split yellow lentils and mixed salad.

Baigan Bharta Platter

I ordered the Baigan Bharta, it simply means roasted and mashed aubergines cooked with spices. I loved the roasted smokey flavor of aubergine with green peas in onion and diced tomato gravy. The green peas required to be blanched a bit more, they were quite firm.

Baigan Bharta

The Bharta cooked at my place by my grandmother used to have more of tomatoes giving it a rich red color but in the restaurant it was with less tomatoes. I liked how they finished the whole dish with red chill infused oil. This was a hit!

Achari Paneer Platter

We also ordered Achari Paneer Mutter, that’s cottage cheese and green peas cooked in a spicy brown gravy of onions and spices. The cottage cheese was slightly tossed on a pan since it had browned on the edges. It was spicy and I loved the heat in the gravy, it was finished with a garnish of coriander and chili oil.

Paneer Tikka Masala Platter

We also ordered Paneer Tikka Masala on one visit, the paneer was soft and the gravy was tangy but not overtly spicy. The red onions, capsicum and tomato wedges were char grilled and we could see the sides browned evenly.

Paneer Tikka Masala
I am a gravy person and would have loved if it came with little more gravy. Nevertheless it was a good dish with a side of butter naan.

The accompanying pilaf was fragrant and mildly spiced, the dal was the best part of the platter. I can keep going back to this restaurant just for their yummy dal. It is perfect home cooked version of split yellow lentils tempered with green chillies, finely chopped onions and tomato.

The aloo tikkis (potato patties) served had a nice crust on the outside and were piping hot inside, the mashed potatoes had a strong flavor of roasted cumin. It also had soaked chana dal and grated onions.

Mixed salad and cucumber raita provided a refreshing feel to the otherwise spicy platter.

Lamb Madras Platter

Sahil enjoyed his Lamb Madras style, as per him, it was cooked nicely with hot red chilled and curry leaves. But it was quite basic, it was good but that great.

Add On

Being an ad guy, Sahil loved the packaging of their wet tissues and even clicked it as a reference. He finds them quite fragrant.

On a side note, I have also tried their Masala Dosa which was pretty soggy and not up to the mark. The restaurant has consistently disappointed us on it’s desserts. We once ordered Phirni which was served to us hot traditionally it is always served cold and the gulab jamuns they do were quite average hence we keep skipping the dessert order.

However when in MOE and in mood for good Indian food priced decently, I would visit them for more!

Locations : Level 1, Food Court – Next to Vox Cinemas, Mall of Emirates / Spinney’s Umm Suqeim

Pricing : Average AED 120-150 for meal for two

2014 – A new year! An old post! Super Moist Chocolate Cake :)

Chocolate Cake1

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a blessed year with good health, happiness and contentment in life. Late wishes I know, but like they say – Better Late Than Never!

Before I hop on and start creating memories for 2014, I want to share that it was a lovely December last year! Apart from the ever increasing To-Do list, year end review and strategy meetings at work, I have had a blast.

I have been dining out almost thrice every week for a month now, given late evenings at work leave me too exhausted to face the stove top. However I have been batch cooking a lot for friends and family this month. I even sent a care package of granola bars and cookies to mom-in-law ensuring she does not miss her granola at breakfast. She lovingly distributed some to her kitty party friends.

Last 10 days of 2013 have been very endearing filling me with gratitude for God having given me a great year and making me hopeful of an even better 2014.

I participated in @uaesecretsanta this year, it’s a stand alone gift exchange for tweeps within UAE. I got gifted an amazing book on baking and a Gingerbread house making kit from Tavola by my super sweet Santa.

Ain’t it cute! My secret santa was very thoughtful towards my wish list I’d say. See them below, so this post is dedicated to her 🙂

Secret Santa Gifts

I did my bit by sending gifts to my Santee too and it reached her just in time.

This year New Year’s evening was a quiet one for me and Sahil, we are home listening to some music, sipping our favorite beverages, me masala chai and him his Old Monk. He was working on his final draft for his upcoming coffee table book and I was catching up with friends and family back home. We later stepped out and saw the amazing fireworks. We parked ourselves with several others on the Knowledge Village flyover, we had distant view of fireworks at Global Village, JBR and Burj Khalifa. The magic begun when Burj Al Arab started it’s colorful array of fireworks.

And then like Dubai style, the best was saved for the last. What I saw gave me goosebumps! The much awaited fireworks started over the Palm, a 180 degrees view of colors and lights saw me giggling like a school girl. I such a sucker for fireworks! This was the highlight for my New Years Eve and I will cherish this for the longest time ever.

For the first post of 2014, I’m sharing a recipe for a chocolate cake I baked for my office pot luck lunch for Christmas. Yes! I had a full working day but it turned out to be fun towards the end of it.

I have completely followed the recipe from Joy of Baking’s website. This is very simple cake, comes together in just less than an hour including the prep time. Perfect when you are hard pressed for time like I was!

http://www.joyofbaking.com/cakes/SimpleChocolateCake.html

Chocolate Cake Making

It’s quite a thin batter which can get you scared in the beginning whether the cake will hold it’s shape but it’s alright. The end result is a gooey, moist chocolate cake oozing with flavor. This is one recipe I swear by, it’s not let me down ever.

Chocolate Cake

I simply topped it with some home made chocolate fudge frosting and strawberries! My colleagues are a berry loving lot 🙂

Chocolate Fudge Icing 

1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cocoa powder, sugar and milk in a saucepan and blend all together for few minutes on medium heat. Take off heat when it starts to simmer, add butter and mix well. Add vanilla extract and blend all the ingredients together. You can add little milk if the mixture is too dry. Let the mixture cool down. Spread over cake sparingly, the fudge icing stays well if kept refrigerated unto 3 days.

I hope I’m able to bring out more posts at regular intervals this year around! Here’s too more cooking and creating great foodie memories ahead 🙂

Pickled Onions

Some times me and Sahil go crazy while shopping for groceries. We have umpteen menus playing on our minds and we end up buying produce that does not get used at all.

We love to stuff our refrigerator with all kinds of cheese, fresh herbs, veggies, sauces, preserves, fruits and proteins. Opening the refrigerator and looking at the loot lovingly while deciding what to cook is my stress buster at the end of a tiring work day.

Last week we both shopped separately for groceries and ended up having kilos of red onions. Now what does one do when you have a sudden abundance of red onions! I say try this recipe which was inspired from BBC Good Food website I read sometime back. Somehow I am not able to find the link anymore on the website.

This recipe was tried after we had our fill of Onion Bhajjis and Pakora Kadhi twice in the same week.

I serve these pickled onions with Rajma Chawal, Parathas or Chole Kulche.

1 large red onion cut thinly in rounds
1/2 white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
6 peppercorns
3 sprigs rosemary
2 dried red chilli

Par Blanch onions, I just soaked the onions in warm water for a few minutes. Don’t overdo at this step since you don’t want the crunchiness of onions to go away.

Red Onions

In a sterilized mason jar or pickle jar, add vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic cloves, peppercorns, rosemary and red chilli.

Pickled Onion

Give it a good mix with a spoon and add onions to the mixture. Close the lid of the airtight container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Pickled Onions1

This stays well for a long time if refrigerated. The onions will have a beautiful pink hue after a day or two and is ready to be enjoyed!

Rajma Masala – Red Kidney Beans Curry

Sundays in Punjabi households usually mean either two things. One the mums or grandmas are off duty and aren’t going to feed you at your beck and call and just make one pot wonders, or they do have a crowd to entertain and would be seen slogging a day before the feast is to be served.

For the casual Sunday mornings, at my place, it used to be poha, upma, bread pakoda or vegetable stuffed sandwiches for breakfast. The fussy ones in the household could eat just jam, butter and toasted bread :/

Lunch used to one pot meals or there comes any curry with basic pilaf rice or steamed rice. My grandma used to make Rajma / Samhar / Kadhi lovingly for us. She used to serve this with Cucumber Mint Raita, onions marinated in vinegar and salt and mango pickle.

Sunday lunch used to be a long affair with conversations drifting around family gossip, plans for the week to come, silly family jokes and general chit chat. Such a heavy meal used to ensure the kids retiring for an afternoon siesta and the ladies after patting them to sleep enjoying long tea sessions.

This recipe is inspired by the way Rajma used to be made at my family house.

Rajma Masala

I usually include legumes and beans in my diet. Red kidney beans being an excellent source of fiber and are recommended to individuals with high cholesterol and diabetics since they help regulate the blood sugar level. It also good source for keeping iron deficiency at bay and being a vegetarian, it helps me up my protein intake as well.

This recipe is inspired by the way Rajma used to be made at my family house.

Ready in 45 minutes
Serves : 6

Indgredients
4 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 cup red kidney beans / rajma
2-3 bay leaves
3 cloves
4 black cardamom
6 medium sized onions grated
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
6-7 large tomatoes pureed
1 tsp tomato paste
2 green chillies slit
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp rajma masala
1 tsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek
Handful of Coriander Leaves coarsely chopped
Ginger juliennes
Salt to taste

Soak the red kidney beans overnight. In the morning, add some salt, turmeric powder, cloves, bay leaves and black cardamom to soaked kidney beans with 5-6 cups of water and pressure cook until it has 5 whistles. Do not discard the stock once they have been cooked.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of remembering to do this the night before, just grab two cans of red kidney beans and you will be are sorted!

In a deep sauce pot, heat oil and add slit green chillies. Deseed the chillies if you do not want the heat, I prefer to have them as is, it gives a nice kick to the gravy.

Once the green chillies sizzle, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook them for a bit.

Rajma Masala2

Add the grated onions and cook them until they acquire a nice light brown color.

Rajma Masala1

Add the tomato puree and keep cooking the mixture for 8-10 minutes until it forms a ring of oil on the sides.

Mid way while cooking the onion tomato mixture add the tomato paste, coriander powder, salt, kashmiri chill powder, cumin powder, half of the garam masala and half of the rajma masala and blend the spices well.

Rajma Masala3

Add the cooked red kidney beans to the mixture and mix them well. Pay attention not to squish the kidney beans.

Add the stock from the pressure cooked rajma as per the consistency you wish and cook with a lid on. If you have used canned beans then you can use a cubes of vegetable stock.

After 3-4 minutes, mix well and add the remaining rajma masala and gram masala. Add kasuri methi, it makes the gravy quite fragrant. You may choose to skip the same.

At this stage I usually take a ladle full of kidney beans in a bowl and mash them with a back of spoon and add the mashed beans to the pot. This is a old trick my grandma uses to get a smooth consistency. This is how the mixture would look.

Rajma

Cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat and keep stirring at regular intervals. Add ginger juliennes and turn off the heat.

Rajma Masala

Voila! Serve hot with steamed rice and side of pickled onions and masala papad.

Homemade Granola Bars

Thou shall be more regular with the blog! I usually keep repeating this to myself but never get around to clearing the drafts in my folder. Nonetheless here I am, if you are someone who enjoys a good breakfast then read on.

It’s one of the most blissful feelings waking up early on weekday and fixing yourself a good hearty meal just when life takes over. An empty stomach growling on a busy work day in the middle of a business meeting is never a good call.

I’m not much of a morning person but having a steaming hot cup of masala chai followed by breakfast definitely helps me begin the day beautifully.

It’s actually an indulgence for some but for me it’s a necessity. I never ever skip a breakfast.

I usually like savory in my breakfast so most mornings consist a sandwich, toasted brown bread layered with peanut butter or labneh and topped up with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and some crumbled feta or cheese.

Other days I like a hearty poha or upma but it’s a task to make them and means dedicating 20 minutes in the morning for this. Then there was a phase where all I would want to eat was granola bars so I loaded the pantry with some oats and honey crunchy granola bars.

After spending a fortune on store bought artificially sweetened and calorie heavy variety, I decided to bake some at home. I baked some chewy granola bars fews weeks back and some more over the last fortnight for Mum-in-law to take them home.

I personally love them to be crunchy however since mum-in-law was in town, I decided to make them chewy so that she can eat them easily.

Granola Square

Prep Time : 10 minutes
Ready in 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 cups organic oats
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and cashews, the ratio was 70:30)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup date syrup
2 tsp brown sugar (skip if you want them to be less sweet)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of sea salt

Pre-heat oven at 175 degrees Celcius.

Toast the Oats slightly, it gives them a good crunch. You could toast them in the oven for 3-5 minutes or just dry roast in a wok.

Granola

Mix oats, chopped nuts, raisins, almond meal and cranberries really well in a big mixing bowl.

Granola Mix 2

On low heat, add oil, sugar, peanut butter, honey and date syrup in a saucepan and keep stirring it so that it does not stick to the bottom of the same.

Sugar Syrup

Take off heat once all the ingredients have blended well, add vanilla essence and mix well.

Pour the hot mixture over the oats mixture and with the help of a spatula mix them well.

Scrap the mixture from sides of the bowl and let it rest for a few minutes.

Grease a baking tray and layer the oats mixture on the same. Bake for 20 minutes and voila you are saying good bye to hungry mornings!

My first attempt at this was not that great and I wasn’t happy with the shape for the granola bars since I tried them in a 9 inch cake mould. I just couldn’t find my baking tray.

So there you see chunky bits of granola however this time around I spend some time on doing my prep right. I used a baking tray and dumped the mixture on the same.

With help of greased spatula I spread the mixture and had a thin layer on to the tray. You can even grease your fingertips and flatten the mixture on the surface.

Let the mixture cool down for a while before you cut them in neat squares. Store in an airtight container, they will stay well for a 7-10 days.

Granola Bars
The sides which were uneven at my end were crumbled and used as granola later on. I simply topped them with yoghurt and fresh diced kiwis and strawberries! Win 😀

In the next few posts, I would be bringing you my experiences from my recent and the very first trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Till then, happy cooking 🙂