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!

Savoury Veggie Oats Upma

I wake up most days thinking what to have for breakfast. It constitutes the most important meal for me personally.

Given that I have a massive sweet tooth, it is tough to stay away from peanut butter jam sandwiches, honey cereal or granola with berry yoghurt and fruits or simple blue berry muffins. However you regret these choices by lunch time since it makes me guilty reaching out for sweet treat after lunch.

I love a hearty breakfast, it just prepares you for the day ahead. Also the first thing I like doing once at work is to pour myself a nice cup of home made masala chai and let out my breakfast box. Ask my work mates and they would vouch for my masala chai getting the most amount of attention even on busy days. It’s cute to have them ask me to share some with them sometimes.

Off late I have been piling on the kilos and am trying to reduce my sugar intake early in the mornings. This led me to look out for savoury options for breakfast, I started with making Indian breakfast essentials Thalipeeth, Poha, Daliya, Besan Chilla and Upma but soon got bored.

Since I had already experimented with oats while making Idlis, I thought giving the humble Upma a uplift with this fab ingredient. And what do I say I am addicted to this recipe!

Oats Upma

It’s easy to prep and make on busy work mornings. I usually don’t go by adding all vegetables as listed below but make use of whatever is in the fridge. Feel free to add or remove the vegetables listed and go by the ones which is easily available for you.

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Ingredients

2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin
1 green chilly finely chopped
1 white onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
2 carrots julienned
1 cup spinach chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas thawed and washed
1 tomato finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp super seed powder
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 1/2 cup water
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

In a wok heat some oil, add cumin seeds and green chilly.

Oats Upma3

Once it sizzles, add onion and cook them until they are translucent.

Oats Upma4

Add peppers, carrots to the mix and cook them for a few minutes.

Oats Upma6

Add spinach, tomatoes and peas to the mix and sauté them lightly. Add salt, super seed mixture and spices.

The super seed mixture I use has a mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, wheat germ and some dried goji berries. This is rich in omega 3s, folic acid, fibre and other essential nutrients. I do not like having them on it’s own so disguise their presence. Adding the super seed mix in the upma gives it a good nutty texture.

Oats Upma7

Add rolled oats and mix them well in the mixture. You can roast the oats before adding them.

Once it is blended well with the vegetable mixture, add water and mix well.

Oats Upma8

Cook until all water has absorbed and the oats get a creamy consistency.

Oats Upma1

Serve hot and you are ready to tackle the day ahead. This stays good for 3 days if kept refrigerated in an airtight container.

Oats Upma2 Until next time, happy cooking!

Oats Vegetable Tikki

Oats Tikki

Oats Vegetable Tikki 

I am a huge appetizer fan and usually love to serve a variety whenever I have dinner parties or friends over for chai.

On one such occasion, I served this crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside tikki. Patties, cutlets or tikkis are a staple snack in Northen parts of India. Aloo Tikki is mostly featured in the appetiser section in most Indian eateries and serves as a base for many chaat items.

Move up towards western India and Mumbai has aloo tikki’s popular cousin Ragda Pattice. The spicy chutneys the tikkis are usually served with make it a medley of flavours. Sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy what more would you need!

These are fairly quick to assemble and make and perfect way to use up leftover boiled potatoes. Since I wanted to feel less guilty, I added some oats and vegetables to them. Adding oats also helped up the crunch factor in the tikkis.

Cooking Time : 10 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats + 1/4 cup ground oats
2 potatoes boiled and mashed
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp dried mango/ amchur powder
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp minced ginger
2 green chilled finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
2 carrots grated
1 tsp wheat bran
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Canola Oil for shallow frying

Grind the oats. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them well.

Now with greased hands, make 12 equal portions and roll out in flat tikki (cutlet) shape.

Dust them in a plate with equal portions of ground oats and breadcrumbs.

Shallow fry on each side until they acquire a even brown color. Serve immediately with coriander mint chutney.

Let me know if you liked this recipe and any variations I can try the next time.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Mumbai Diaries – Dhokla

I came back to Dubai earlier this week after a 20 day long vacation in Mumbai. It was good fun meeting family and enjoying delicious meals from my mum’s kitchen. How I miss it!

I will start chronicling now on my travel diaries in the blog as well and this is the first of the many to come, let me know your thoughts on the same. The series will have my experiences while travelling to a destination and not necessarily a recipe to go with it. Again I am no expert at writing about travel but being a professional travel writer’s wife, I have come to love travelling even more over the years now.

Going back to my trip to Mumbai, it was such a fulfilling experience when I cooked for my family one evening. I made some pasta, oats spinach tikkis and dhokla.

Dhokla is popular Gujrati snack and quite nutritious at it too. Weight watchers can rejoice since this recipe goes easy on the calories too.

The dhokla turned out much better than usual, must have been my grandma watching over me and giving her expert tips when she saw me mixing the batter or tempering the dhoklas later.

I could see a glint of pride and her smiling ear to ear when I made the tempering and not get deterred by the crackling and popping of mustard seeds. This stuff used to always scare me and I had burnt my wrists a few times panicking over the popping mustard seeds in hot oil.

How things change! We just looked at each other and that moment melted my heart, it was simply beautiful.

Dhokla

Ingredients
Dhokla batter

2 cups gram flour
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 sachet eno (fruit salt)
3/4 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cup water
Handful of freshly chopped coriander powder
Pinch of red chilly powder (optional)
Freshly grated coconut (optional)

Tempering
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves (optional)

In a mixing bowl, sieve the gramflour and add salt, eno, chilli, ginger paste and mix well.

Add water, little at a time and blend all the ingredients together. The consistency of the batter needs to slightly thick and hence add water as per requirement. Do not pour all of the water instantly.

Add oil and mix well, this helps give the batter a good sheen. Do not let the batter sit on the side for long after it has been made.

In a steamer, boil water and add the batter to greased plates in the dhokla stands. Fill the plates with the batter only to half the capacity since once steamed, the batter will rise.

Steam for almost 10-15 minutes with the lid on. Always set the steamer on medium heat, high flame will dry out the dhoklas and the end result won’t be soft and spongy.

Just like we check cakes, use a toothpick to check if the dhoklas have been cooked throughout after 10-12 minutes. If the toothpick comes out dry, remove the dhoklas off the heat.

Let it cool for a while and then un-mould them from the plates and cut them in diamond / square shape.

To make the tempering, heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, remove from the heat and with a spoon spread it over the dhokla pieces. I wish I had curry leaves that day so I could have added them to the tempering but we were too lazy to venture out and get some. Aren’t holidays all about lazing around and not stressing over the little things ?

Garnish the dhoklas with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander leaves, a pinch of red chilly powder and serve with green chutney and tomato ketchup.

I also like garnishing with freshly grated coconut but again it was not available and we gave it a pass.

This is one special post, for me this is not much about the recipe here but about my experience that one rainy evening in Mumbai spending some quality time with my loved ones.

Here’s to my family who taught me cook with love! 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!

Peas Pulao

Simple home style meals never go out of fashion. I find it difficult to whip up a full fledged meal on weekdays after a 10+ hour work day. And on days like these when I would still want a home cooked meal with minimum effort, I make this peas pulao.

My special touch is only the kasuri methi i.e. dried fenugreek leaves, I usually use the roasted ones. They tend to be less bitter and enhance the flavor.

I put all ingredients in a pressure cooker and 15 minutes later can settle for dinner. Even on rushed mornings, I make this and brown bag it for lunch.

Cooking Time : 15-20 minutes including prep
Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cup water
1 stick cinnamon broken in half
5-6 cloves
2 bay leaves
4-5 peppercorns
2 star anise
2 tsp kasuri methi
3 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup green peas
1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add all dry spices on very low heat so that the spices do not burn.

Spices

Let it sizzle for a while so as the oil absorbs the flavors. Add sized onions, cook until translucent.

Add peas, salt and coriander powder and sauté well.

Add soaked (optional) basmati rice to the mixture and mix it well for a few minutes. This help the flavors to seep in.

Add water and kasuri methi and pressure cook the pulao until 3 whistles or 15 minutes.

Take it off heat and let it rest before you open the lid for the pressure cooker.

Peas Pulao

Serve it with a simple salad, pickle, dal tadka and cumber mint raita.

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂